Tucson in Darkness
Death is Transitory and Other Lessons
The last session is fairly easy to understand, but hard to describe…
Diksha: One can not properly enter a new life without a death, and one can not serve that which one does not understand. All who care to join our number, as part of their rite of entry, before they receive their names or their mantras, or their sacred tools, must walk on the other side of life. They must lay curled within the belly of death and return to us before we will count them in our number.
I have heard rumors among our kin that some in our order are neglecting this as a part of our requirements. I hope this is not so. I would never have considered the Euthanatos without Diksha and anyone who would is someone I would suspect deeply of an unhealthy mind. Yet once you have seen our own body and walked away from it, you are allowed a moment of clarity towards your own life with none of the emotional baggage. And you must know what you are doing to others… MUST have the kind of compassion that only seeing our life leave you behind can do. We die a little so that we value the lives of those we protect and especially those we release.
Another reflection day.. .this time at the beech with my friend. Her perspective has been invaluable.
Tyaga: Since action done for pleasure and one’s own gain carries with it always the danger of corruption, we shall forego such actions. Our duty shall be done in the name of the cosmos, and offered in sacrifice to the cosmos. We shall eschew action that is created purely by our desires, for such action would threaten our souls and our duties.
Where Daya instructs us on the sacrifices that must be made for strength of mind and soul. This is about the why. Our association demands a higher aspiration than enlightenment. It demands that we must place the needs of the Wheel above our personal desires. My instructor uses the term “To be Olympus Minded.” When we must remove a hinderance to the wheel we must be able to do so for the sake of the wheel. To help the wheel for our own benefit is no better than kissing babies for political favor. It means nothing… and likely accomplishes nothing. Whys matter! The harder part of this is that it means we need a certain level of communcation and accountability in our work. I know of less and less lone Euthanatos because sometimes the work is personal…too personal and we cannot confuse justice with sacrifice. Several of my instructors have mentioned that they have a confession comrade, whom they allow access to their mind to help them understand their thoughts. And Intersting idea.
Today I find myself questioning my decisions. I have awoken some nights haunted by the screams of those victims of the vampire I killed. So it seems the time to write about
Daya: It is impossible for us to complete our duty if we close our hearts to the suffering in the world around us. To attempt such would be to open our doors to corruption and evil. Thus we must never close our eyes to the pain of others, or to the pain our own actions cause.
That moment I stabbed it in the chest and missed its heart, she howled in pain… the echoes of it driving her thrall to madness as they eviscerated 20 people huddling in a shed. I killed those people. I have thier blood on my hands and their suffering in my heart, just as much as I have their captors. It helps only a little that they are avenged, and I can only pray that my actions in the future bring them more comfort. I weep for that pain, and I shall not forget it. My instructor says that we must never forget their pain.
Every Sociopath has a family, kids, friends, employees, followers and dependents who are pained or devastated by the work we do. The fact that we must be resolute in our duty, to protect others does not lessen or invalidate the pain we cause by doing so. Nor does it remove our responsibility or guilt. There is no clean kill, to keep the wheel in motion we must make sacrifices and the sacrifices are not fully born by us. We inflict it. But our compassion for it, and our responsibility for it ensures our ability to do it correctly. Its why we are better than robots.
Sadhana: One cannot remain pure without being controlled of the senses and the spirit. Hence, we vow to always seek our own spiritual betterment. We shall practice the rites, sing the sacred songs, and subject ourselves to trials to strengthen the body and will. We will resist the temptations of desire, no matter in which form they come to us.
This means keep control of yourself. Doesn’t mean resist all desire, doesn’t mean you turn yourself into a robot. It means you don’t just throw yourself into something because you desire it. Something comes along that you want to throw yourself into like that, step back, take a good look at it, then if you still have a good reason to go into it, go. But make sure you have a good reason, beyond “It feels good.”.
It also means work to make yourself better. Smarter, more educated, stronger, faster, wiser, etc. Never stop learning, never stop trying to make yourself better. Learn to speak Sanskrit. Learn to tame a falcon. Stretch your muscles until you can touch your toes without pain. Learn to do a back flip. Learn to play the French Horn. Hell, even learn Calculus. (well, you might not have to go that far. You have to draw the line somewhere, and my line stops at theoretical mathematics which is useless in most everyday life, but when calligraphied properly, makes wonderful decorations.)
So this week was really my first disagreement with my mentor. Spoke # 4 is both empowering and controversial.
Gopaya: We have been given our insight and power for a purpose: to be guardians of humankind and of the world. This is our sacred duty from which we will stray only on pain of death and the loss of our souls. We will guard the Wheel and those caught in its thrall, regardless of the danger to our mortal existences or the suffering it may cause us.
1. First with the agreement. Our awakening, our Agama, our Insight & Power… they are gifts. They may be gifts of Time, Maturity, Dharma, the Gods or Fate, we acknowledge that such gifts are available to all and that we have no innate superiority.
2. Where other traditions have a much more free exploration purpose, we are clear and present in our focus. To guard humankind and the World. Like the dreamspeakers, we serve a clear purpose both within the Council and within the world. This is where I disagree with my mentor though. She informed me that we are not heroes. That we guard the wheel against things that threaten its momentum or its balance. However, I believe that the wheel constantly moves and wants to be free and balanced. All of creation is caught in its thrall and we move to guard humanity against things that destroy their place in the wheel at every stage.
We are Heroes. We Seek out those things that destroy the ability the fates to operate in a persons life. We seek those pockets of death that feed off life, and destroy them so that the wheel keeps turning. If we were honest with ourselves we would be working to destroy every institution that stifles and depresses the soul making lives less impactful and forgetful. We would stop looking for villains and start removing the leeches that seek to corrupt and destroy all things through conformity, apathy and false comfort.
This defense of what makes us human and unique is our sacred task, handed down from Mount Olympus and adopted by each of us. Be Heroes, Be Something Worth Believing in. Because belief empowers action and action allows us to strive, and striving is that creative force that turns the dead and decayed into new life and possibility.
This ideal we must pursue with all passion and purpose. We must guard humanity’s ability to embrace living or we are no better than the technocracy placing ourselves up as benevolent shepherds of ignorant masses. Those masses ARE us! We must pay any price, including our lives if necessary to protect the Cycle that enables anyone from any origin to push through struggle and strife to success and enlightenment. We are heroes, heroes who fight not to eliminate pain and discomfort, but fight to make it so pain and discomfort has a purpose and an end. These are things worth fighting for.
So this week has been deeply involved in my education of the Changlings. Specifically the Satyrs. They have a deep connection the the KoR and maintaining them as allies is a high priority for the order. This has been some of the most experiential and pleasurable learning experiences of my life. It is not often that one has cause to learn with both body and mind.
It seems that the satyrs have existed since the dark ages and have existed as the dream of life. To bring creativity and pleasure, pain and ecstasy. They are the essence of our most primal natures and seek to release us from the shells that make us stagnant and remove us from the wheel by denying us life. They were started by the God pan, who sought to invoke the primal in the gods and they hated him for it. Order is a tempting mistress and Satyrs seek to keep us pure in our own selves. It may seem like drunken debauchery and carelessness but it serves a greater purpose that should not be ignored. They remind us what we fight and kill for and I have come to love their companionship.
They have a not-so-secret society that is called the fellowship of pan. They work to support efforts that embrace the primal creative and fight tyrannical order or ambivalent routine. I am not sure how pick them out, perhaps Pan will show me.
This week was spoke # 3…
Kala: We avow that Decay and Entropy are part of the natural Cycle, and that all things must eventually decay to dust so as to return to the womb of the universe. We accept this as a part of our existence, and vow that we shall not cause ourselves undue pain in a futile battle with this principle. Rather, we shall harness the endless Wheel of Time and the secret Web of Fate as our allies in guarding the structure of the universe.
This tenant has kept me in thought and solitude most of the week. I am not convinced that I have mastered all of the nuances of this statement, but here is my best understanding so far.
1. We embrace the hard truth that we live in a world of rebirth. From the foundations of world religions to the foundations of physics (second law of thermos’ or something) reality is constantly in the process of breaking things down and reusing them for new things.
2. As I have been here I have been tutored by a man from india, whose reclusive people watch the secret things and believe that the force which turns the wheel to neccessary destruction and decay has become unbalanced through the constant interference of order. I do not know if I believe this, but if it is true, perhaps it explains a bit of why we are here.
3.Perhaps in our deepest souls all people realize that life is transitory, but fear death to be eternal. We who awaken to the wheel know the cycle, and strive to ensure that moves in balance as much as possible. Death is Transitory Too! As mages we have the distinct advantage to looking past this shell into the minds and memories of our former selves throughout history. We know that whenever we die, it is but another step. This truth is the foundation for much of our reasoning and policies regarding punishment/death and gilgul.
4. This is also the reason why it is not hipocracy when one of us lives longer or much longer than normal. Just as we do not hesitate to destroy a vessel to assist the wheel, we do not blink at preserving a vessel to assist the wheel. I agree with my instructor when she said that as we become closer to the Cycle, we realize when we have reached the edge of our perception for a lifetime and must be refreshed before we can be of more use.
So… I wanted to do a few Notes on what I have learned this week. The guru that taught me is a real inspiration to me… I hope to all the gods that I may meet him again.
Within the wheel there are those who have been blessed by nature or the gods with a deep kinship to a certain animal. These brave souls who brave the line between animal and man are known collectively as the fera. While from disparate areas, they seem to share some very common philosophies regarding creation and religion. Also, societys seem to be cast by breed and there is no love lost between them. I shall list the ones I know of so far.
1. Werewolves – Violoent warriors of their goddess torn between subjugating their kin and destroying spirits of destruction. Often seen as barbaric and always dangerous.
2. Nuwisha – Tricksters who live to impart wisdom through humorous if painful lessons. They are
3. Bastet – Exist to seekout knowledge and secrets. They are wise and terrible and bonded with many different types of Wild Cats. I was blessed and enlightned by my time with a Jaguar kin known as a Baghera, however he mentioned that his temerance is balanced by the fury and corruption of the Khan or Tigers.
4. Corax – Messengers of the Spirits and joined to RAvens
5. Ghural – Healers of the earth and Joined to Bears… VERY RARE
6. Mokole – Memory of the world… as old as Dragons and Dinosaurs. VERY RARE
7. Ajaba – Faithless Hyena followers of Africa
8. Ratkin – Disease ridden shifters that are joined with rats their purpose is the bring disease and pestilence.
9. Rokea – Shark People… Eat – Fight… that is all. AVOID!!
Today’s Topic, the second spoke of the Chodona…
Hiranyagargha: We believe in the fundamental unity of all that exists, and that Creation springs from One original source, to which it will return. We further state that all animate beings carry within them the pure seed of this original source, no matter how corrupt their outer shell might be.
So one of the deepest beliefs of our tradition is that we are all exist in unavoidable, undeniable, foundational oneness. Every aspect of creation springs from that first well spring of life and power. That primal river that pushes the Wheel forward and carries us all along with it. Its important to realize that every life contains this power within themselves that moves and unites them with the rest of creation. No matter how corrupt of despicable the actions of the person, we must never forget that when we fight, we fight a part of ourselves. When we must destroy corruption, we take solace that the spark within them that joins them to us is uncorrputable and our actions allow it to move back through the wheel and have the chance to shine again.
So I have been told that part of my training here will involve a deep and perhaps even experiential understanding of the Chodona. This 8 Spoked wheel has been a guiding force that has unified collectives from diverse and even opposing cultures for hundreds of years. This connection predates the Convocation by so long that while we may not be able to call ourselves the first tradition, we can likely lay claim to the first world tradition. I will try to transcribe my thoughts here as the discussions continue. This week: Prevabhnava
Prevabhnava, or 1st Spoke as it would probably be thought of nowadays is stated simply: We testify to the existence of a Cycle of birth, death and rebirth that pervades the cosmos with its rhythm. We testify that the souls of humankind and all animate beings_ are conducted through this Cycle toward an eventual end. We testify that this Cycle is the Law of the universe. We swear to support this Cycle, and prevent its stagnation or corruption._
I made special note of a number of words here that I believe are worth noting for understanding.
1. “We” Too often people perceive us as lone gunman or assassins or sociopaths out murdering anyone who offends our ethos in the name of the greater good or the cycle. While this is all bunk, the most important part is this. We are NOT alone. When you meet one of us, chances are there is another one closer than you think. This is especially true with the Knights. We are an order, a team, not cowboys. Although we may come from different backgrounds and perceive the world differently, we operate under the knowledge that the only thing that keeps the knife from your back is your sister guarding it.
2. “Testify” Over and over again we are come back to the simple truth that one of the hardest and most important parts of being Euthanatos is bearing witness or to testify. To see and to speak and not forget. We see the manifestation of the Law of the Wheel, We see through eyes of our past selves and thus bear witness to to the beauty and the ravages of history. But most importantly this truth compels us to not shy away from the darkness that pervades reality, nor revel in it. But to testify to its truth as best we can.
3. “All Animate Beings” By some inconceivable force or will there is more than human life in the universe. Beings of every stripe and nature populate the world embodying war, seeking, healing, harm, construction, destruction, dreams and potential. For every expression of Universal force, there seems to be some type of sentient creature dedicated to its ideal and then several others that defy description. And while as humans, there is an inner fear that can drive us to seek the destruction of that we see as a threat, we must pause and attempt to divine the purpose of such creatures. Sometimes, upon revelation, we find that their purpose is important and vital despite their horror. Sometimes you need to act…but just as important, sometimes you have to walk away.
4. “Law” An important note, like magick has its consequences, we acknowledge that the Cycle is an Immutable Law. And just like the spirits of Paradox strike out at those who flaunt the laws of consensus, bending or breaking the Law of the Cycle will always create suffering. This is also the place where we find common ground with the Chorus. Although I know of no ONE BEING, I do believe in ONE LAW, so there is a respect for the truth of pervasive universal power. I doubt they would see it that way…but that’s their problem.
5. “Support” Another point of commonality with another tradition but this time with the Verbena. While most people, view us as “Death Mages” we are bound by oath and by law to support all phases of the Cycle. I am just as bound to support and protect the Birth and creation of life (Including the Rebirth of life whose time has come). This is why I am so excited to work for the Knights, whose purpose is not death, but the guardian ship of those places of life and mystic power. It reminds us that the death isn’t the only part of the wheel that needs support, life needs it too.
6. “Protect against Stagnation and Corruption” We are charged most solemnly by the Gods and our fellows to sacrifice whatever we must to ensure that the machinations of men and powers do not damage the cosmos. There is no price too high, no relationship too sacred, no treaty so binding, purpose too lofty, that it shall be protected from our frist duty. Only by allowing the universe to move forward in Balance shall birth and life have any meaning. For this reason, we will testify with steel against those that threaten the Cycle.
So I have not yet gotten the feel for where all of the appropriate supplies are around this island so at the moment I am carving hot rocks into marble. I imagine I will probably be beaten or sent to “meditate” for this, but for some reason I find it strangely compelling to write and remember these things.
So after i got black bagged and taken to the entrance hall, I walked out of Hades (I mean straight out of my dreams with ghost lights and cave tunnels and the sound of rivers Hades) into a lush and lovely island. I only spent a few days in the Mediterranean with Clarence on our first walk but I was enchanted then and blown away now. It was like stepping back in time. To a time of heroes & gods when man kind struggled to keep that light that… that… crap… who gave us light again? I will have to ask my teachers later.
Anyway come to find out I am the only one here who is currently training as KOR but we share this place with the Sisters and the Followers as well as several excellent and unawakened acolytes. I have found that the training is expected to be vigorous and deadly with several severe consequences for failure. That being said, I have a mansion all to myself (awesome) and every night they party like its 999 (bc) so there is wine and … well some really flirtatious women. Great food and amazing stories. I was up most of the night trading stories with one of the Satyrs here (she said I should not die) although I got the feeling she wanted more.
Then this morning I was awakened by Ares unholy avatar to begin training. Never in my life have I had the joy of coming at a challenge with such abandon. I have never worked as hard, gotten my ass kicked as hard or had more fun in my life. If I survive this I am keeping him as a friend.