Alright y’all, just like Jesus took a three day staycation in a cozy cave to get away from the hustle and bustle of the world and came back better than ever, so too have I returned from the wilderness feeling refreshed and full of the Holy Spirit.
DISCLAIMER: If you are either one of my parents, one of my older relatives, someone I haven’t seen since high school, or in any way supportive of the war on drugs I can pretty much guarantee that you are gonna want to skip this installment of Yama Yoga Story Time. Seriously. Stop reading, mom.
For those of you with the moral and intestinal fortitude to stick with the trouble; strap in/on, take some deep breaths, and get your assholes situated because I have got a hilarious, horrifying, horrendous, and true story that may cause some chafing as it goes down.
This all happened in the bad old days, around fifteen years ago. Let me set the scene; I’m in my mid-twenties and hopelessly addicted to oxycontin with a daily habit that would kill most horses, not to mention people. The assholes in charge realized that in their attempt to get the entire nation hooked on pharmaceutical-grade heroin they had overlooked the looming PR nightmare of tons of middle class white kids hooked on pharmaceutical-grade heroin and began pulling back on their campaign of over-prescription. This of course drove the street value of said pills through the goddamn roof. When I first cultivated my edgy, antihero, rockstar, drug-poet habit of snorting 320-400mg of oxy a day, I could get an 80mg pill for twenty fucking dollars. As far as deadly opiate habits are concerned, eighty dollars a day is a steal for the amount of fucked up it got me. I hear that krokodil is equally cheap and similarly intoxicating but the side effects always seemed just a tad over the top, with something like a 90% chance of contracting gangrene, plus, at the time, it was hard to find outside of eastern Europe.
I would highly recommend saving yourself the trouble of cleaning your own vomit off the screen of whatever device you're reading this post on by keeping the word "krokodil" out of your search history.
So here I am with a massive pill habit and all of a sudden my pills cost three to four times more than they did a month ago, from 80mg for twenty dollars to 80mg for eighty dollars. And I paid it, and I sold a few pills, and spent my savings until there weren’t any pills to buy and I started smoking heroin, and then very shortly after that I started shooting up.
I must in(ter)ject at this point a small factoid: heroin, that demonic concoction, is, at its average street purity, much less potent than oxycontin. Take it from someone who has done a shitload of both; heroin is milder by far and is much easier to come off of. As long as it has not been cut with fentanyl or carfentanil which are 100 and 10,000 times stronger than morphine, respectively. Trust me, the shit coming out of those pharmaceutical labs makes heroin look like ginger beer.
The scene is set: tons of middle class white kids are switching from oxycontin to heroin, the drug trade is booming, I know lots of people in said trade, and I myself have a massive heroin habit that I supplement daily with large doses of cocaine, and/or crack cocaine, and MDMA. The streets are flooded with high quality narcotics and affluent junkies, so I did what any lazy junky would do, I started selling drugs. And so, it is on a run north, to a major metropolitan area to purchase an objectively large quantity of narcotics, that our story takes place.
It had been about twelve hours since we started smoking crack. I had arrived at D’s waterfront apartment around 1:00pm, and as soon as I had traded my money for his drugs and shot up in the bathroom to shake off the sweats, he brought out the crack and the glass rose and the steal wool and we got down to business. It was around 2:00am and we were all out of crack.
This, as any crackhead will rapidly and aggressively inform you, is an untenable position.
“You should cook some up from what I sold you”, said D.
“You know that both of us are fucking garbage at cooking crack”, I replied, thinking back to all the times I had lost a gram of perfectly good coke because the shit popped out of the spoon and into the shag carpet when it finally became hydrophobic. (Crack cocaine got its fanciful and onomatopoeic moniker from the sound that cocaine makes when it converts from cocaine HCL [ standard issue powdered cocaine] to a solid, through the application of heat, plus water, and baking soda.)
“Let’s go buy some,” D blurted, after a long and thoughtful pause of 1/3 of one second.
“You know I gave you all the money I had. I’m perfectly happy to just shoot up,” I replied through the violent ups and downs of the narcotic cocktail jitterbugging through my shriveled veins.
After a lot more of this back and forth we both agreed that the smartest way to go about procuring more crack would be to drive downtown at 2:30am on a Tuesday with a guitar hero controller and trade it to someone D said that he knew.
Great. I love it when a plan comes together.
So off I drove into the night with felony amounts of two different narcotics, a scale, a spoon, and a fresh needle in the pockets of my shorts. Not to mention the car full of spent needles and mostly empty baggies barely camouflaged in the sea of fast food wrappers.
We drove around downtown for about a minute and a half before i realized that D did not know anyone down here and that what we were doing was driving around the shittiest part of town looking for a homeless crackhead to trade us some drugs for a guitar hero controller.
“Pull over here,” D shouted excitedly, over the pulsating sound of Justice grinding through the stereo.
So I pulled over and a very large woman walked up to the passenger window and asked what we wanted. D replied that we were looking for “soup”, which, apparently, is what the people in the streets call crack. She said she didn’t have any on her, but that if we waited right there for five minutes, she’d come back with someone who did and we could easily trade our video game controller for a rock. She turned to leave and reiterated that we were not to move until she got back.
“FUUUUUUUUUUUCK THIS. She is coming back with some big dudes to beat the shit out of us and steal everything we’ve got and, if we’re lucky, they’ll let us walk away. I am getting right the fuck out of here,” I said calmly, as soon as the giant woman was out of earshot.
So with much protesting from D, we drove on for another ten minutes until D told me to pull over again, this time in front of a very large, very sketchy looking alley way with two guys leaning on either side of the alley mouth. D rolled down his window and one of the guys ran over to the car and asked what we wanted. D asked for soup again and the alley-man assured us that he had what we needed and asked for money. D and I explained, in rapid fire unison, that we had no money and would instead prefer to trade this shiny and new guitar hero controller for some rocks. Alley-man, unfazed by this outlandish request, asked to see the controller.
And then in lightning fast slow motion, everything goes wrong.
D holds up the box with the controller in it. Alley-man reaches his wiry, monkey-strong crackhead arms into the car and grabs on to the box. D raises his voice and tells the guy to let go. Alley-man wrenches the box out of the frail hands of my companion, all the while reassuring him in a very calm voice for a robbery that if we just follow him to the back of the alley way we can get our precious rocks. D is out of the car at this point and has grabbed back on to the box, wrenching with all 120 of his sickly, fragile pounds, as the alley-man effortlessly pulls him into the darkness.
I finally snap into action and jump out of the car. Grabbing hold of D’s arm, I manage to convince him that getting beat to death for a guitar hero controller is probably not worth it. Alley-man is still beckoning us to join him in the darkness as I steer D back to the car.
Then I hear the single dumbest sentence I’ve ever heard in my life:
“Fuck that, I’m calling the cops.”
“Yeah right,” I laugh, “let’s go home, it’s cold as shit out here.”
But D’s not joking. Oh no. In fact, D already has his fucking phone out and, before i can slap it out of his hand, I hear two sentences that must be high on the list of all-time-dumbest things ever uttered by a junky:
“Yeah, is this the police? I’ve just been robbed.”
At this point my brain is about to explode. I hear D give dispatch the address of the corner we’re on and a brief description of the event and the perpetrator. He hangs up and starts shouting down the alley that the cops are coming and that alley-man is fucked and that he shouldn’t’ve messed with D.
My mouth is open and my brain has gone completely blank. I am standing on a corner in downtown Portland at 3:00am wearing basketball shorts, slippers, and a hoodie, it’s forty degrees outside, I have at least two felonies worth of drugs and paraphernalia on my person, I’m high out of my goddamn mind, and now I have to explain to a police officer how and why we just got robbed at the mouth of this fucking alley looking like we do.
I’m usually great in a crisis but this is a big fucking ask.
The cop car arrives in under five minutes. This is a terrible neighborhood full of junkies and homeless folks, so of course they show up instantly.
The cop asks D what happened and it quickly becomes apparent that I am going to have to do the talking. D, bless his heart, is not a great liar and is too wound up from the robbery and the twelve hours of crack smoking to keep any kind of story straight.
I, on the other hand, am a professional.
“So what, exactly, happened here?” asks the cop, surveying what, in any other circumstance would have been a hilarious scene.
“We got robbed,” I blurt out over D’s inept, cracked out nonsense.
“How?” replies the officer with a raised eyebrow.
“We were at the mini-mart over there,” I stutter, eyes darting wildly in an attempt to Keyser Söze some kind of narrative out of the scenery.
“That mini-mart there?”, asks the officer, pointing up the street.
“That’s the one,” I say, “we were buying cigarettes,” I add, with a touch of pride for the backstory I was improvising.
“That mini-mart that’s been closed since 11:00pm?”
“Yeah, you see what had happened was, we didn’t know it was closed so we went to check the hours on the door and left the windows down while we got out and this crackhead just ran up out of nowhere and snatched it out of the passenger side of the car.”
A very long pause, as the officer digests the strung out, machine gun fast, automatic verbiage that has just exploded through my teeth.
“OK, so what do you boys want to do about it?”
“Well, I don’t know, I was trying to tell D before he called that we should just…”
“We wanna go get that fucker!” Shouts D.
And with those six words I felt every drop of life I had in me run down the inside of my leg as the cop opened the passenger door of his cruiser for D and then, as casually and deliberately as a hangman he walked around the car, each footfall another nail in my coffin, to the back and opened up the door for me.
I stood for a very long time looking at the hard plastic seat with the grooves in the back for arms bound with cuffs and weighed my options: run and get caught and get raped to death in prison, or get in the back of a cop car with a whole fuckload of drugs and paraphernalia willingly and hope for the best.
After what was most likely a very suspicious amount of time, I clambered into the back.
We drove around for a while as D gave the officer increasingly less believable details and odd suggestions as to where “that fucker” could’ve got to. I was in a daze. I was fucked. I was in the back of a cop car with multiple ounces of two different class I narcotics and a scale and baggies and a spoon and a needle, high out of my mind, though, if I’m honest, getting into the back of a cop car is a real bracer and my buzz had been choked to death while shouting it couldn’t breath several times over by the events of the night. Nonetheless, I’m sure I looked the very picture of a junky; track marks, inappropriately dressed, wide eyes, greasy long hair, shifty, twitchy, and also oddly sleepy. I watched the world go by and halfheartedly daydreamed about eating the drugs in my pocket and overdosing before they could put me in jail.
And then a miracle occurred.
“Stop the car, that’s him!” Screamed D with all the fervor and none of the charm of a contestant on The Price is Right.
The cop pulled over next to a homeless camp and put the car spotlight in the general direction D was wagging his finger, got out of the car, and opened the door for me to get out, ostensibly to identify this fucker. I could’ve kissed him. I could’ve danced like a Dervish and slapped God in the mouth. I was free.
And holy shit, it really was that dirty, crackhead, alley-man fuck face that started this whole debacle.
D was incandescent, vibrating with joy and hate and righteous indignation. I don’t think he ever understood how close we were to going to prison that night.
“That’s him officer. That’s the guy!”
The cop swiveled his Mag Light on the crackhead and sure enough, it was indeed Alley-man. Calm as ever, sitting on a milk crate with a blanket over his lap, surrounded by a swarm of other denizens of the homeless drug population all bunched in together, sharing blankets against the cold, and staring at us with disdain.
“You take something from these boys?” the cop drawled.
“I’ve never seen these two faggots in my whole life,” sneered alley-man.
“Bullshit!” screamed D, “He’s got it under the blanket, I can see the fuckin’ outline!”
“What’s that under the blanket sir?” the cop asked as he reached out and, to Alley-man’s consternation, grabbed hold of the box for a guitar hero controller poorly concealed under the blanket on his lap.
The officer handed the box to D who quickly inspected his hard-won prize to make sure the cables and controller were still in there. Everything checked out and I start thinking that I might actually have a chance, a small chance, but a chance nonetheless, to get out of this without getting raped to death in prison.
“So, you got your game back, what do you boys wanna do?” asks the cop.
“I…” is all i get out before D screams,
“I wanna press charges! Fuck that guy!”
Quickly stepping in between D and the cop, I tell him that we are certainly not pressing charges and that, more than anything, we’d just like a ride back to my car and to go home. So into the back seat I climb once more, elated that I have so far beaten all the odds and eluded arrest.
The ride back was mostly quiet. D muttered to himself indignantly, while I tried to look innocent in the back seat of a cop car, my pockets brimming with drugs.
“You boys weren’t out here tonight... (a talented chauffeur could've driven four stretch Hummers through this pause) trying to buy drugs were you?” asked the cop with a slight arch to his eyebrow, as he caught my eye in the rearview mirror.
“Oh heavens, no” I spluttered much too quickly. “Like I said, we were just trying to get cigarettes when this whole thing spun out of control.”
“Uh huh…” was the skeptical reply “Well, you boys oughta get home, I don’t wanna see you down here again.”
“Certainly sir, no problem, we are going straight home to bed, this was more than enough excitement for one night.”
And with that the officer let us out at my car. We got in and drove back to D’s place. At which point I shat my pants in terror, scooped up my shit, slapped D in the face with it, and put a load of heroin in my arm to balance out the adrenaline… and the crack, slept for an hour or two and drove back home at first light.
And that is how the Yama Yoga do.
I would like to point out that if either my friend or I had had even a slight suntan, we would both likely still be in federal prison. The fact that my friend the drug dealer and I (both white, middle class dudes) got a ride in the back of a cop car looking and acting like we did, without so much as a frisk speaks volumes about the inequality present, especially in the justice system, in this country. Obviously I’m not complaining about how it turned out for me, as far as I’m concerned that night went about as well as it possibly could have. Just food for thought.
Gimme a group hug you glorious goonies of goodness! In an effort to avoid yet another post about grief and trudging through it with a sick sense of humor and an air of having been through worse while remembering that nothing is permanent and things tend to change for the better in my life, I am beginning a new series of posts called Yama Yoga Story Time.
“What the fuck is a Yama Yoga?” I hear you ask from the future as I type this at the last minute on a Wednesday. Yama Yoga, or “Death facing Combination” is an aspect in Jyotish (Vedic astrology) in which Mars and Saturn are conjoined or even just in close aspect to one another. If you want to know more, check out this article or this article by folks who knows a fuck load more about jyotish than I ever will. The gist is, when Saturn and Mars are in tight aspect to one another it gives the person the ability to, paraphrasing Austin Coppock, calmly walk through the killing fields. Bruce Lee had it, David Lynch has it, Madam Blavatsky had it, and, incidentally, my dad, both my brothers, two of my best friends, my wife, and I all have the Yama Yoga.
So what does that mean practically? In my experience, it means that my life has been filled with some gobsmackingly gnarly, fucked up shit which is mostly my own fault and, so far, I have strolled through it without losing my mind (permanently) and kept a lovely, gallows sense of humor about the whole thing. The stories I laugh at while regaling customers at the bar with my past exploits often result in looks of dumbstruck terror pimp-slapped across the faces of those within earshot. I know right away who I will really get along with because they’re the ones who will laugh with me and immediately serve up some fresh tales of horror from their own lives. And why not? It all happened, we can either laugh and rejoice in the fact that we’re still here, or cry and lament our past actions. It’s an easy choice for me.
Another benefit of Yama Yoga is the noticeable absence of the fear of death. Neither myself nor the army of crazies to whom I am related seem to fear dying. This is not bragging, not fearing death would be a super weird thing to brag about.
I should point out that I do fear things: large spiders upon my person in the night times, large crowds sometimes, pain, suffering, and shitting myself during an ayahuasca ceremony all rank pretty high on my fear-o-meter. Death, however, just seems like the gateway into the next phase, and a fucking cool adventure to be sure.
The folks I know with Yama Yoga are keenly aware of the impermanence of life and of everything else, they’ve endured pain and trauma that is genuinely shocking to the average bear, and, instead of adopting suicidal, nihilistic, or sociopathic tendencies, most of them choose to celebrate the joy of whatever is happening now and revel in the beautiful impermanence of everything. We’re kind of a fucked up cult of zen junkies making the world brighter and evoking joy in the present, by sharing, with a smile, how much worse it has been and how beautiful it is now. That sounds pretty self-aggrandizing and definitely makes us out to be more stable than most of us are. That said, those who have suffered the lowest lows tend to more easily find the inherent, ecstatic beauty in the mundane.
And then there's Mark Zuckerberg...
But try to imagine how bad it must have hurt when he pulled his own living brain out of his useless, fleshy-fleshy meat body and wired it up into whatever he is now. Or, holy shit, try to imagine how bad just living as a human must have hurt for him to have turned himself into a robot in the first place. I have experienced some very serious pain and trauma but it had never even occurred to me that cutting open my skull, ripping out my brain, and plopping it into a rejected prototype for a real Data-from-Star-Trek cyborg was an option. That’s Yama Yoga.
We also tend to spin a good line of bullshit and are fairly adept at justifying our choices or making the best of a situation that could only be described as totally fucked.
That seems like a solid place to leave it, images of a cryogenically frozen, brainless, Zucker-body floating peacefully in your heads. Until next time when we will likely dive into some actual Yama Yoga Stories.
Be well you crazy fucks. I love you all.
Huddle up, you mystical, magic-matted merkins. It’s gonna be a short post this week and I didn’t want to write it.
Some really challenging shit happened last Monday. Painful, uncomfortable, draining, devastating shit. The essence of this shit is for myself and my loved ones to know, all you need to know, dear reader, is that it fucking hurt to go through and I imagine it will hurt for a while longer.
This pain and the way it’s being processed and coped with now as opposed to ten years ago got me thinking about what it is to deal with pain in a “healthy” way. This is also the only thing I felt I could write about with any sort of integrity at the moment. So enjoy a brief rundown of how to cope when life gets painfully challenging.
The certainty of not being able to express this sentiment any better has crashed over me like a tsunami of liquid LSD and left me standing stark naked and bewildered at the brilliant, mad simplicity of that statement. Nonetheless, I must press on.
Ten years ago if something as painful as this had happened to me, it would have meant a large withdrawal from the bank, a massive purchase of murderous narcotics, weeks or months spent completely numb, and then, when the money ran out, another large withdrawal. This time in the form of three weeks with no sleep, uncontrollable weeping, truly impressive projectile excretions from all orifices and the certainty that my veins had been pumped full of furious, electrified fire-ants as my limbs twitched and writhed in agony.
Today dealing with the pain is sitting with it and feeling it but not allowing myself to fall into wallowing and depression which, for a person of my temperament with a penchant for depressants and a love of Jeff Buckley, is a very fine line indeed. Turning my formerly existential/nihilistic tendencies around and realizing that whatever happens in my life is exactly what is supposed to happen because the events in my life are always unfolding towards my highest good has been incredibly helpful. Knowing when it is OK to take a break from processing the pain and have an edible and relax and recuperate has been an invaluable tool this last week.
Life is fucking weird.
Not to worry, I'm a pro.
Thanks Uncle Hunter
This week, you glorious sparks of the divine, pulsating, cosmic trash-fire, I shall be rambling about eclipses. Specifically what a series of eclipses can do to a broken and neglected life.
Open on a college town in the Pacific Northwest circa 2009.
The writer’s life has gone completely tits up: no job, no life, few friends, only source of income is the buying and selling of illegal narcotics, existential beliefs are getting more nihilistic by the day, massive drug habit, suicidally depressed, and sleep deprived. Heroin withdrawal and cocaine psychosis have become integrated parts of his personality; tall and emaciated, but somehow oddly charming to those few humans he still interacts with. Things are going about as well as can be expected, our intrepid hero manages to get his fix most days as he burns bridge after bridge and isolates himself from any hope or lifeline. Even at this point, he knows that all this is building to something terribly final. Our anti-hero is going to go out like so many of his favorite musicians: smacked up and cracked up and alone. His genius cut down in its prime.
At least that was the romantic horseshit our star and lovable, junky-idiot used to paint his life with. The main problems with that depiction being: our hero is not now and certainly was not at that point any sort of genius, even as a bullshit-artist (which was his sole talent) he was only ranked among the best in his small town and would never have survived among real top-tier bullshitters, and he had not produced any evidence whatsoever of this supposed genius.
Enter the Cancer-Capricorn eclipse cycle.
Eclipses, in this writer’s humble and under-informed opinion, are about transformation. Explicitly, the sort of blow-up-your-fucking-car-while-you’re-inside-it-because-you-neglected-to-get-the-oil-changed transformation usually associated with the Tower card in tarot. The clearing away of old structures, relationships, habits, coping mechanisms, people, cars, money, belief systems, limbs, trust funds, etc.. If, like the writer in 2009, your life is a fucking shambles built out of lies, drugs, and broken coping mechanisms then the clearing away of those structurally unsound and massively dangerous slums can be uncomfortable and dramatic.
The areas of life being swept clean by an eclipse depend largely on which houses the eclipses of a given cycle are occurring in within one’s own birth chart. Here’s a quick and dirty breakdown of the houses and their meanings for those of you who don’t know and an easy site to get a free birthchart with interpretation for those of you who would like one. How vigorously the sweeping is done and whether or not the broom is actually a nuclear bomb depends largely on prevailing astrological influences, how the life in question is being lived and the level of adaptability currently at the disposal of the person living said life.
Smash cut back to 2009.
Our beloved, fucked up, junky loser totals his car at 8 in the morning after staying up all night doing drugs and arguing with an ex at her parents house. Lucky to be alive (he put out the driver’s side window with his head and the airbag didn’t deploy), he gets lucky again when the owner of the tree into which he wrecks his car comes out of his house radiantly high on meth and wants nothing whatsoever to do with the exchanging of insurance info or the calling of cops.
Star wipe to one and a half year depressing, junky montage of disappointed parents, no transportation, no money, and lots of intravenous drug use. Set to whichever the saddest Jeff Buckley song is, maybe “Lover You Should’ve Come Over”.
Fade to black.
Fade up on a cold and snowy Christmas season 2010. Curtis Mayfield’s “Pusher Man” plays as our writer, driving a new car, high as fuck, pockets filled with drugs and cash enjoys the last fun time he will ever have on the hard stuff.
Hectic party montage, lots of glitch hop, hotel rooms full of well dressed junkies, film speeds up as two weeks go by in a blur of bad decisions.
Smash cut to black.
Fade in on our hero, alone in the grossest apartment imaginable: used needles, empty baggies, rotting food, cat shit, and bills are piled up everywhere. The only “clean” areas are the couch upon which we find our writer and the path from the couch to the bathroom. Looking very frail and feverish, we see his arm is swollen to four times the size of its opposite and his fingers are beginning to turn purple. Delirious with fever and pain, he picks up the phone and calls his mom for a ride to the hospital.
Fast forward through a heartbreaking hospital scene, rehab, move in with girlfriend from rehab, relapse.
July 17 2017.
After purchasing a large amount of drugs and going to his parents’ house, his parents being out of town for the week, our hero proceeds to inject all of them in hopes of relieving the vast amount of inner turmoil, anxiety, depression, fear and shame that accompanies not being on drugs all the time. Nothing happens. No relief. Panic builds and a serious bout of cocaine psychosis and paranoia strikes leaving him locked in the top floor office with a loaded gun talking to himself. Suicide looks like a very good option.
And then something spectacular happens.
With the gun cocked and in his mouth he hears a voice. Not the whispering voices trying to scare him into pulling the trigger. A pleasant voice, a clear and sonorous voice with a warm and slightly effeminate British accent, spoken as if through a modest smile. An image flashes into focus of the scene he will leave his loved ones to find if he pulls the trigger. It is an utterly brutal scene that will remain with him forever and does not need to be described here. The soothing and utterly charming voice says, at the same moment the image is presented, “We can’t very well do that now can we, darling?”.
Flabbergasted and assuming he is in the presence of capital-G-O-D, he asks the only question his drug-addled brain can put together: “wait… you’re gay?”
At which the spirit laughs and, in the same fantastically charming hybrid of David Bowie and Freddy Mercury, responds, “I’m everything, darling”.
Our mind-blown and mystified mess of hero puts the gun down and calls his saintly girlfriend. She mercifully decides to keep him out of the psych ward and then drives him around town for three hours as he physically pulls the hair out of his head while raving about seeing demons on every street corner.
Fade to black.
Our hero wakes up the next day feeling fucking superb and not wanting to shove narcotics into his body for the first time in a decade. That feeling persists to this day.
“Cool story and all but what in the fuck did that have to do with eclipses?” Well, I’m glad you asked that, tired-literary-device; let’s shove some dates into the story above and see. December 21 2010, when I was partying my way through the holidays, there was a lunar eclipse in Cancer in my second house. January 4 2011, when that party was screeching to a halt due to scarcity of funds, there was a solar eclipse in Capricorn in my eighth house. I have no doubt that that one-two punch is what sent me, dying of a blood infection, to the hospital. Luck and my fancy, British guardian angel kept me here with all my arms and fingers intact. Then we had a solar eclipse in Gemini on June 1 2011 in my first house and a lunar eclipse in Sagittarius on June 15 2011 in my seventh house of partnerships (bless her heart she had almost as rough a time as I did). And then to cap it all off, on July 1 2011 there was a solar eclipse in Cancer.
As far as I can tell there wasn’t much else going on astrologically for me during those times so I, for the sake of this post and convenience, shall be blaming the total destruction of my terrible, junky life on the eclipses of 2009-2011. And I shall be crediting the glamorous and charming British spirit with the snatching of my life back from the abyss.
The good news is this; if your life is not a giant ball of neglected, junky cat shit then eclipses don’t have to be life-changing, horrific bummers of psychosis and bad decisions. We just passed out of the Cancer-Capricorn eclipse cycle and I had no issues at all. Or at least no issues like I did in 2010-11. I mostly stayed inside during the eclipses and chanted mantras or slept but I know folks who magically harnessed the power of those eclipses and used that dragon energy to power some pretty cool shit. Not my jam at the moment, but it seems to work for them.
I was going to go into remediation measures and the nodes and all that but honestly I would mostly be quoting the Coppocks so I shall link to Austin Coppock's stellar page (bad pun, boooooo) as well as his wonderful partner and super badass Kaitlin at Sphere and Sundry's post about south node remediation.
That’s all for this week you glamorous, galumphing, galaxy-brained glory-bees. Stay as joyful as you can in these crazy days and I’ll see you next week.
The ceremony itself was beautiful and awe inspiring and terrifying and time-warping and healing on a deeper level than I could’ve conceived. It was also delayed because of the wildfires that ripped through the PNW in August and September. The date chosen for the rescheduled ceremony was another massive synchronicity for me as it “just happened” to fall on the feast day of one of my patron saints, the esteemed, super badass, and massively popular among occultists, St. Cyprian of Antioch; patron saint of magicians. To have the ceremony rescheduled to his feast day turned out to be amazing and this final synchronicity was the one that eased my apprehensions the most. I have been working with St. Cyprian for some time now; he was actually one of my first introductions to an organized occult practice and he has been an invaluable guide, teacher, protector, and patron to me in that time.
Back to the ceremony.
We arrived around 7pm, set up our nest of pillows and blankets and sleeping bags outside and sat around nervously until 10 or 11. First we were guided through some meditations and then the ceremony leaders administered some ritually grown “hapé”, a type of tobacco grown in the jungles of South America, by blowing it up participants noses via a large wooden tube. I was told that since it was my first time I couldn't have hapé and I was super fucking bummed and wanted it even more. Then the vomiting began and I was perfectly fine with being excluded. Once everyone had their nose and throats full of powdered tobacco and most of the vomiting had stopped it was time to drink the ayahuasca. The ceremony leaders began to sing their “time to drink the medicine song” and my testicles quickly ascended up into the back of my throat, my mouth was dry but the rest of my body was clammy, I felt like a stoned and paranoid frog with his balls in the back of his mouth. I was second in line to drink and when I was given my ceremonial shot glass and swallowed my testicles back down to their usual place along with the medicine I was surprised at how sweet the medicine was: I was prepared for bitter and earthy and viscous, all of which were present in abundance, but not for the sweetness, apparently there are a lot of sugars present in the plants involved and the act of simmering them down for days of ritual silence concentrates them into a shot that is kind of like mud and opium and cough syrup but also not at all like anything I’ve ever tasted on this earth.
Ayahuasca is, for those of you who don’t know, a potent brew of (mainly) Banosteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis, with other plants added depending upon specific ritual purpose or preference of the ayahuascero brewing it. B. caapi contains a powerful monoamine oxidase inhibitor or MAOI and P. viridis contains N,N-dimethyltryptamine or DMT. DMT is actually found in a ton of plants but remains inactive if ingested without something to stop our natural supplies of monoamine oxidase from neutralizing it before it gets to our brain. Did I mention earlier that I have a deep and abiding interest in drugs and pharmacology?
About 30 minutes after I drank my shot the guy who drank before me started puking quietly into his bucket so I grabbed my bucket and waited… and waited, and waited. Nothing. I listened as the visuals began to kick in to everybody else vomiting and began to feel a bit left out again. At this point my body collapsed over my ten gallon bucket and the visions began in earnest. I had enough presence of mind left to begin silently repeating: “Mother Ayahuasca, I come to you with all due respect and supreme humility to ask that you please heal me”. This trick I learned after a disastrous run in with the plant spirit of Salvia divinorum served to ease some of the pants-shitting terror that I felt when my body turned off and left me semi-conscious and in between two very different states of being. I was experiencing sound on a level I had never known possible, as the songs began to take shape in front of my eyes and enter into my body and transport my consciousness to wherever it goes when one is being operated on by ancient, divine feminine, plant medicine goddesses, angels, and their operating assistants. At some point I managed to lie down and let myself be completely carried away by the medicine. I have no way of describing what happened beyond synesthetic snippets of seeing surreal, faceless giants made of a vibration closer to sound than matter above me as if I were actually on an operating table.
I became aware that something was poking my physical self and came back to my body by small increments as the poking turned into gentle shaking. My eyes came back into focus on official reality and I saw my love poking me and giggled and poked her back. She laughed and said it was time for the second dose. I was genuinely shocked that anyone could take more than what I was already experiencing but managed to sit up, the world around me slipping between states and morphing in sacred geometry and outlandish colors dictated by the vibrations of the sounds around me. I stood up like I had been huffing ether and wobbled my way to the altar like Johnny Depp as Hunter S Thompson in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, dropped hard onto my knees and tried to focus my eyes on the fiery-aura dispensing the medicine. I looked into his eyes and he gave me what I thought was a scrutinizing look as if judging whether or not to give me another dose and then he poured the ayahuasca. I took the shot glass thinking he must have poured me just a drop and held it to the light to verify and was shocked again to find that he had poured at least as much in this time as the last. Giving a sputtering snort of a laugh I downed the glass and melted up onto my feet throwing a “haux” of thanks over my shoulder as I collapsed down onto my nest and was immediately blasted, like a particle of psychedelic gelatin in the hadron collider, back into the medicine as my body fell over frontways into my still empty puke bucket.
It was around this time that things began to get weird and would’ve been face-meltingly frightening if I had possessed the capacity for rational thought. A low-pitched roar, paired with overtones of amplifier feedback began to tear a hole in the fabric of my already awesomely altered reality. I found that I could “see” the vibrations of this sound combination creating a tunnel in time/space/reality/matter and this tunnel had a pull that I was powerless to resist. Someone in ceremony was sobbing: anguish made manifest bounced around unseen walls creating harmonies of echoing despair. Moments later I was aware of the sound and presence of a giant being snuffling around my physical head and was frozen with what should have been terror but was somehow too detached to be afraid: I was in the presence of something much bigger and older than myself, something that could have, with no effort, ended my existence. The thing snuffled and truffled and made elephantine blasts in deep rhythmic patterns all around the ceremony and I began to have the impression of insects or scorpions for some reason. Then came the demon. In a low growl I heard a being that I could not bring myself to look upon chanting “Om mani padme hum”. Certain that this being had emerged from the underworld, I could feel the flames curling around it like Tibetan buddhist representations of demons. Another voice joined in a much higher octave and their power was terrible and awesome and I became aware that they, as demons, were an intrinsic part of reality and were there, not to hurt anyone maliciously but to bring healing in their own way and that the fear I should've been feeling was most likely just a reaction to their levels of raw power and not any evil or negative intentions the beings were harboring. As Gordon White says: “sharks gonna shark”, they don't eat us because they’re evil or bad, they eat us because they’re higher on the food chain, and these demons felt similarly powerful and indifferent to human life. And yet they were here in a healing capacity, of that much I was sure even if I was too awestruck to look at them.
The chanting stopped and the music took on a less menacing vibration, I felt the heavy under/otherworld power and darkness begin to lift, light began to filter into the music, my spirits brightened with the songs, and I became sure that I had shit in my sweatpants and, not for the first time, decided that I was in no position to deal with it at that moment.
The icaros took on a playful tone and the leader of the ceremony did a dance that channeled, or made him look like, an old man stomping around the circle shouting “hey” and everyone laughed and played and the joy of shaking off all of the heavy stuff that had been drudged up by the earthbound/otherword/underworld spirits was pure ecstasy.
At this point I felt as if I’d been in the medicine for about 10 hours and it was still going strong though my body was now capable of sitting up and shifting between official reality and medicine reality, so I was genuinely gobsmacked to hear the ceremony leaders announce that it was 3:33 and, as such, time for the optional third dose. I felt amazing and was quite sure that I had done the work that I had come to do that night so I declined and enjoyed the rest of the songs on a more superficial level. I could still feel them reordering bits of my body and energy but they were no longer slurping me through wormholes like lightspeed linguini into alien landscapes populated with scorpion demons or giant star doctors or snuffling elephant monsters.
The rest of the ceremony was like being around a campfire with my best friends even though I only knew 3 of the other 12 folks there. I felt better than I ever remember feeling: it was like being rebuilt from the ground up on a molecular, energetic, vibrational, and physical level. Ayahuasca reached all up in me and got rid of a bunch of coping mechanisms that I had grown out of and optimized me for actually living my best life. Which sounds fucking ludicrous and if someone had said that to me on September 25 I would’ve told them to get fucked but holy shit this medicine works and it works in ways that are not understandable through the lens of official reality. I genuinely feel like I had a vibrational tune up and an energetic cleansing and a physical healing all at once and over the course of like 3 hours that felt like 12 because Ayahuasca operates completely outside of time and as the Mother of All Medicines she can do it all.
I started this post a few days after the ceremony and, as you can see, didn’t finish it until almost 2 months later (blame it on 2020). Before the ceremony I had taken a prolonged break from any and all occult practices beyond check-ins with my patrons and some light prayer after an encounter with some spirits that left me feeling like I had grabbed hold of a high tension power line with my teeth. More on that some other time. Since the ceremony I have gotten back into some regular practices with much better results than I had been getting before; I feel closer to that realm or like it is more readily accessible and easier to communicate with, like part of my tune up was optimizing me for this work.
There is such an amazing presence with Ayahuasca and she really does seem to be some sort of incarnation or avatar of the divine feminine spirit, the All-Mother, nurturing and healing, powerful and ancient, loving and playful, awesome and terrifying. I am so grateful to have been given the chance to experience such an incredible healing with such great people in a safe and familiar environment with experienced ceremony leaders and two great friends and my wonderful wife. I would honestly recommend this medicine to anyone; it was like being in Tom Bombadil’s house; love and magic and healing and joy dripping from the rafters. And what could be better medicine for an epoch-ending year like 2020 than that?
Having a very loose idea about what the fuck this site is supposed to accomplish leaves one wide open to the blank canvas blues. Do i post about magic and the magical things happening in my life? or what about a post on psychedelics, or for that matter drugs in general and their effects on the lives of the sensitive people that use them. How about another vulgar astrology post with a side rant about how fucked up the world is; and by the way, why the fuck should anyone, outside the rulers of this system, be concerned about it collapsing into a pile of rotten, corrupt corpses that, we the people, could use to stoke the fires of our great and beautiful ascent into the gods we’ve been programmed to believe we are not? Maybe a delightful, poetic romp through the blasted caverns and ethereal dream-light of the lunar sphere. Oh, who gives a shit? Why choose one when i could just take all of those things and smash them into the crack pipe that works part time as my consciousness in between shifts at the gas station, take a massive lungful and see what comes out of my firearms and breeze-fingers?
The full moon was last night and i haven’t slept, the combination of psychic city sludge and selenite filtered solar reflections always makes my insomnia act up. Lack of sleep has never distressed me as it has some of my peers, my first hallucinatory experience was somewhere around 9 and it was caused by being consistently and quite amusingly awake for 5 days. I was taking a shower before school taking careful stock of my preadolescent sanity and noticing the odd sensations that accompany being awake for that many hours when i noticed some movement out of the corner of my eye. When i turned, with no small amount of horror, to confront the uncharacteristic ambulation of what had, up until that very moment been inanimate and quite lifeless objects i was faced with quite a scene: my shampoo+conditioner bottle, a sea-foam green Pert Plus, was gyrating in a way that instantly relieved me of all my fear and replaced it with a mirth to rival Midas (in those blissful moments before he hugged his wife and tried to have an apple) a crazed and cacophonous cackling rose up from my tiny belly and i watched with the glee felt mainly by the mad as the bottle danced and moved its lagoon-green curves to a song that only we two could hear. I joined in and danced until the water went cold.
Now before you write everything I’ve written off as the ravings of a mad man who has obviously been that way for a very long time, let me say this: crazy people can’t tell when they’re being crazy and although in that moment i could not have told you for sure whether the bottle and i were dancing to the music of the spheres in “official reality”, i was certainly still aware of the possibility that not sleeping for 5 days could effect a person in ways that might alter perception in strange ways, and i’m proud to say that nearly 25 years later i can still tell when i am experiencing phenomena outside of “official reality”. Though these phenomena do seem to be increasing in frequency the more i do magical things…
With a little luck, and that one simple act of lunacy (i’m quite certain that those 5 days must have been around a particularly powerful full moon), my life was ruined forever and now i am forever thinking that under the label of every cereal box and hair-care product there lies the soul of a dancing machine confined to inanimate stationary statuary solely by the static inflexibility and well-restedness of our modern western minds. Later that year in the fourth grade i was given, for the first time, the opportunity to choose a topic for a research paper or book report all on my own. The paper was titled: The Effects of PCP and LSD on the Human Brain. It’s lost now but my parents still remember it with a woeful shake of their heads as a terrible precursor to a life filled to the brim with narcotics, near-death experiences, narcotics, close calls, court fees, narcotics, speeding tickets costing them 2,000 dollars in one go and through it all a noticeable lack of jail time or criminal record. My fascination with different states of consciousness and the potential of psychic augmentation of said consciousness with substances usually outlawed and often prescribed by the powers that be still burns within me and will certainly be a topic of much discussion in future.
Laying down the crack pipe for a moment i must interject a small history lesson. There are not many drugs i would not take or have not already ingested in one way or another in varying quantities and with astonishing consistency but that, for the most part, is behind me and this history lesson is not meant to glamorize the life of a junky who inexplicably survived to tell the tale but to illustrate my abiding interest in chemical brain enhancement and give you a brief and horrifying glimpse into the life of the man you’ve chosen to humor. Roll the tape.
My first forays into drugs were mild but as far as i can tell from my rigorous research and painful interrogations earlier than most of the humans outside the weird spheres i prefer to occupy. Marijuana was a godsend to a terribly awkward and quiet boy who was bullied mercilessly for being awkward and quiet; no longer was i worrying about what anyone else thought about anything, least of all myself and the questionable fashion decisions dictated by household income and a preference for comfortable clothes. High school was full of booze, more marijuana and many mushrooms. The fact that i graduated in four years with a sophomore gpa of 0.35 is a mystery of math and statistics that i will never understand. The best thing about high school was that it ended… and that i had my wisdom teeth out and was (over) prescribed that perfect panacea: the princely Percocet who, in all of his operatic opiate opulence, turned all the keys and opened all the doors that had kept me apart from the rest of the world. More than anything before or since Percocet made me feel like i was home and safe and as confident as i saw the rest of the world acting. My college experience could be summed up by the word “more”. More of everything; life, human contact and drugs of new and interesting varieties with the constant insufflation of cocaine being both the high and low light of the whole shebang and ending with a severe bout of double pneumonia, three hateful roommates, and the loss of 25 precious pounds from a frame that could not afford the loss of even a gram. Needless to say things did not get better from here: my opiate consume ion increased until the new “war” on prescription opiates jacked all the prices up and forced me to switch to heroin. “Buy the ticket take the ride”. In 2 weeks i had purchased my first needle and there began a slow motion sprint to the bedrock and tragic beauty that awaits us all at the very bottom. Say what you will about self destructive tendencies, drug abuse, and thrill seekers of all sorts; there is no better way to find out who one is and what one is capable of than by taking a thing as far as it will go and then, when one finds the edge, jumping with a smile to see what lies at the bottom. Three and a half years later i had to decide, in the presence of an actual angel or God who, for the record, either is or sounds just like a cross between Freddy Mercury and David Bowie, whether i would die by the gun in my hand or try something i hadn’t done since i started smoking weed daily at the ripe age of eleven. That was nine years ago.
I love my life. I found the love of my life at the bottom and we’ve walked the hidden paths up the far side of the chasm together ever since. And even in this year of fucked up space-weather, atrocities, assholes, artillery, and otherwise, i wouldn’t trade my life or my past for anything.
Damn, that got heavy, I’m not entirely sure what this post was supposed to be about but there it is: a brief and fucked up history of the asshole on the other side if the keyboard. Maybe next time i will pick a theme and stick with it, but probably not. I began this post the day after the full moon and at the time of finishing it looks like its been nibbled in half by the persistent efforts of a whole hoard of interstellar rodents not quite believing that the crunchy exterior isn’t just some sort of protective shell surrounding a great glowing glob of gouda. In that time i seem to have lost the plot, but all these ramblings are just an ingenious plot to seamlessly bring us the the point: no matter what kind of awful shit the Powers or powers that be are perpetrating; it could always be worse, AND it can always get better, the choice is often more in our control than we are led to believe. We can always choose to smile as we fall and enjoy the ride. Who knows what grand treasures or mysteries await us on the way down or at the bottom, or what we’ll find on our way back up the other side?