One of the more interesting things that struck me about re-reading the Simonomicon oeuvre late last year was a throwaway comment relating to the first gate (of the moon).
The gate of the moon -like Yesod- is the first one the seeker has to pass through. And the point Simon made was that most seekers don’t make it past; for want of an umbrella term; “the dream state” of their initiatory journey.
How many people have you met who “can’t handle” mobile reception in cities interfering with their clairvoyance or “pain signatures” from meat products messing with their aura? Or who otherwise get distracted from normal day-to-day functioning because of something no one else can see?
Simon’s point was that a lot of people go off track right out of the gate and get seduced by phantasms in the Chapel Perilous. (There’s actually some genuine capital ‘W’ Wisdom in those books alongside the… well, the rest.)
So… This coming week I finish my old gig and start a new job. And it’s kinda a big deal in the ‘high risk, high reward’ sense. The words “opportunity of a lifetime” may have been bandied around. Also the words “if I fuck this up we’re going home because I will be globally ruined.” In a perfect world I would have had a week off to get my head out of one game and into the next one.
Instead I had this weekend.
Common, ‘moon gate’ wisdom would suggest I spend it resting, sleeping, meditating… maybe getting some exercise, avoiding booze etc. Throw in some candles maybe and picture a few colours shining on me, wash my hair in a stream if there is one handy, ride slow motion on a unicorn wearing loose-fitting linen, etc.
And sure, that’s all good advice except for the no-drinking. It would be helpful if I was going to court or heading off into space to stop an asteroid from colliding with the earth or something.
But zen is not what I need, is it? I need me. 150% of me. When I show up to the new job I need to be all there. I need to invoke Gordon.
Here is where you need to be honest about what your head needs. My partner graciously offered to cook, clean and generally be the entire household staff this weekend. I told him to go fuck himself (in a super nice way).
You see, my head needed to spend time cooking, it needed to sit in the sun, reading gnostic gospels and drinking French wine, it needed to get up early and do shit to get ready for the hustle.
All things being equal, there aren’t too many advantages to the occult life. It’s a career risk, it correlates with an increased chance of substance abuse, it carries the death penalty (!) in some countries and so on.
But every so often we find times when it is an advantage. Like being able to reverse-engineer ritual stages outside of the circle and into a typical weekend:
1. Feel rather than think
Gosh I wish I could remember who it was who said this about writing fiction but she described it as being like archaeology, where you “gradually reveal something fully formed from under the ground.” That pieces of fiction were like shapes rising to the surface and you just had to uncover them.
It’s like that.
Think of it like pregnancy but for your whole life. Don’t ever say “I really shouldn’t be doing this I have [important thing] next week” if you don’t mean it. There is no received wisdom for how you get your head in the game.
Mine was weird. I literally spent the entire weekend quietly peeling, cooking, baking and in one case preserving… wandering in and out of the brightly sunlit kitchen, stepping outside into the yard to read for a bit.
2. Don’t look or ask for precedent
My flatmate came into the kitchen and exclaimed that I was still cooking.
No, I was cooking something new. He looked confused. A main meal hadn’t passed and I was cooking again. Was I going to have two lunches?
Who knows? Maybe. (I didn’t.)
3. Build yourself as an imaginary friend
What does this Gordon’s bedroom look like? Well, I know for one thing it sure as shit isn’t this cluttered! (Fixed that.) What does he wear to work? What do his shoes sound like on the front steps?
The thing about invoking yourself is that you can’t not do it. All you need to do is make a space for yourself, so to speak, and then get out of your own way.
4. Find your corseome
I make no apologies for that bone-achingly dreadful pun. Starting something new and high impact is really disruptive to your existing sense of self. This is a good thing and is how any initiation functions on the psychological level.
However, there is also a risk you can “forget who you are” just when you really need it.
Finding your coresome is what Olympic athletes do when they mentally remind themselves of all the training they have done, how amazing they are at diving or ribbon twirling, generally psyching themselves up. It’s not visualisation because there are no pictures and you’re not wishing really hard at an indifferent future. It’s an indwelling in a very Platonic sense of your “core awesomeness”. It’s defined by the past rather than the future.
Shocking though it is, neither diving nor ribbon twirling define my coresomeness. Instead, I decided to pull together a whole rainbow of pre-UK things I have done that have fed into my coresomeness one way or another. Not sure why they are pre-UK only, but it seems that is the thing I needed to be reminded of as I head into the new role. Like: “I can handle this brand new international business role because this kid from a coal mining town that oil tankers like to crash into has swum through bombed-out warships, slept in sunken cities, moved countries on a dare, shot films in some of the remotest places on earth and seen a whole bunch of Lord Of The Rings locations. Wait… where are you going?”
You can see the slideshow here if you like. Even with the comments -and you should really turn the comments on- on I can’t imagine it will make any sense to anyone but me.
That’s kinda the point, though, isn’t it? It’s what my head needs, it’s what my mind needs.
And, like my hero Louis Pasteur says:
Chance favours the prepared mind.
Let’s see if he’s right.