There are Stars in the Night

[This was first posted at The Last Refuge. I’ve been meaning to repost here, but the time never seemed right. Good Friday is a good day for Confessions, so here goes. . .]

I must start by admitting that I don’t know exactly why I’m writing this. All I know it that since reading Dagny’s Women’s Voting piece, I’ve felt the need. Nagging, pressing, annoying. That usually means there’s some manner of Divine impetus behind it. Maybe somewhere in this story is something one of you needs to read. Maybe I just need to tell the tale to some people who haven’t actually met me personally. Maybe between the telling and the reading, some measure of clarity or understanding is offered. I really, really don’t know.

What follows is a partial autobiography at least to this point in my life, an attempt to explain why I approach certain topics from some rather strange angles. Many details will not be shared. Sometimes I may seem to go off onto a tangent—if so, it is only because I am trying to prevent at least some of the seemingly inevitable misunderstandings. Many of you will find some of these experiences strange—I will be as clear as I can and, if you ask questions, I will answer to the best of my ability. But that’s no guarantee to understanding—much I don’t even understand myself.

Please, bear with me. And yes, when I figure out what the point to all this is, I’ll let you know.

The fact of the existence of God was never a problem for me. From my earliest memories, the fact of God was as apparent as the clouds in the sky, or the fact that water was wet. “Du~uh, of course God’s real, dummy!” This has never changed, though to my great joy, my relationship to that Truth has changed a great deal over the years. No, my problem in my earliest years was that fact meant nothing to me. One might say: the brain knowledge was not connecting to the heart.

It was sometime in forth grade, when I was nine or ten years old, that I realized I had no conscience. I remember being a bit of a bully, and never feeling the least bit bad about some of what I did to my fellow students. My brain knew these things were bad, my heart didn’t get it. But around this time, I realized that I was in quite a quandary. For just as the existence of God was never in doubt, nor was the existence of Hell. And one night, with amazing clarity, I saw my life stretch out along two paths before me, one path which meandered through horror after horror until ending in Hell. The concept of Eternity suddenly bloomed in my understanding, and I knew that, whatever else I wanted in life, I really, really, wanted to avoid Hell. So, I asked God—a God who I really had no relationship with at the time– to fix my conscience. Yes, there are far better reasons for being “Good” than simple fear of Hell but, for a ten year old, it’s an effective place to start.

There is an assumption among many in our world today that children either don’t have the interest or the understanding for religious, spiritual matters. This is wrong. Maybe there are many children that don’t, I don’t know. But I know, from my memories, that children do have the interest, and they can understand more than most give them credit for. I was ten years old when I chose. Everyone has a moment like that in their life. Of course, the challenge is to keep choosing, but that first Choice is always very important—at ten years old, I’d decided which side I wanted to be on, even though I was seemingly lacking in some important areas.

When I was eleven years old, I was awakened to the reality of Evil. Growing up Catholic, I always had a mental, intellectual understanding and belief that evil existed, that somewhere was an evil intelligence we called “the Devil” that worked to destroy all that was good and wonderful in the world. In the abstract—like the reality of Hell—I got it. It was a concrete understanding I lacked. But when I was in the fifth grade, Evil came for a visit. Some of you may have experienced such a visit—I have found, in my time speaking to people I’ve met, that some have experienced the exact thing I experienced, and everyone else has no idea of what I’m talking about.

I was waiting for sleep, watching my ceiling fan turn in the dim light of the nightlight, when I found I couldn’t move. Invisible hands (I could feel the fingers) pressed upon my left cheek, my shoulders, my arms, wrists, legs, a great weight upon my chest slowly pressing down. My fingers could move, my eyes could move to see the emptiness above me. There was this overwhelming feeling of hatred bearing down on me—whatever this was, it didn’t hate me, so much, as it hated the fact of my existence. How an eleven year old me could discern that difference, I don’t know. But I knew this. And the more I struggled, the harder it became to move. Fear, panic, the panting rush of adrenaline as my heart and nerves strained to move one arm just a little—all to no avail, my air slowly running out because I couldn’t breathe and my hammering heart was quickly running through what little I had left. There was nothing I could do. So I stopped. I let go. And in that moment, my mind uttered the first, soul-deep prayer I can recall praying, the words forming of their own accord in the echoing confines of my brain: Father, I know you can remove this weight from my shoulders.

And like that, the horrible, hateful thing was plucked away like a petulant toddler, the hatred and fear replaced with warmth and a subdued little joy that had me curling up on my side with a smile as I finally fell asleep. Even so, I could not fall asleep on my back until very recently. Some things don’t leave you, no matter how many years pass.

This experience showed me the reality behind the beliefs. God was real, the Devil was real, God replies to prayers. All those supernatural things that are so often dismissed were real. I went to my parents a few days later and told them what had happened. They are both devout Catholics, but are also rather grounded folk. Most of the time. Mom was concerned that there was some neurological problem, and there followed a round of doctor’s visits and tests. Dad told me it was Hypnagogia, sleep paralysis. I learned later he was trying to reassure me—as much of a hard nosed realist as his is, even he knew that the diagnosis of Hypnagogia couldn’t account for the miasma of hatred I’d felt—and he’d read enough other accounts of the same thing happening to other people, that he knew nothing explained the widespread tales of hateful things.

I understand why they reacted this way—it was their way of trying to reassure me, of making me feel safe, as was their job as my parents. But what it also did was convince me to never, ever tell anyone about such things, because they won’t believe you, at best, or they’ll think you’re nuts. Silence was learned quickly and effectively. I had been looking for guidance, and learned I was on my own. I had to find my own answers.

At this time I was in public school, so once a week I went to CCD (Confraternity of the Catholic Doctrine) which is basically Sunday School, only not on Sunday. Any Catholic reading this will likely agree that, overall, Catechesis in the 80s and 90s in America was deplorable at best. I was one of the few kids in class that actually paid attention to the readings and lessons, and I quickly realized that somewhere along the way, I’d missed something. I didn’t know what it was, but I felt this great, gaping hole in my understanding. I was filled with a great drive to find that thing that was missing, because it seemed to be the Key to The Whole Thing.

So I told my mom that I wanted to go to a private, Catholic high school, preferably one without boys. To say the least, she was surprised, but pleased as well. I ended up, through some miracle, getting accepted into the oldest American Catholic Girls’ School (not to be confused with the oldest Catholic Girls’ School in America, which is Ursuline in New Orleans), Georgetown Visitation, a prestigious school with a reputation for very high-level academics that had survived the fires of 1812, the battles of the Civil War, and various riots and unrest since.

Four years of solid schooling later and I was more logical in thought, but that gaping hole was still there. The solid year of Bible Study, the semesters of Church History and thought, Bioethics, all that, and while I knew a heck of a lot more, there was still this great, gaping chasm between knowing and understanding. I could rattle off a thousand interesting things about Jesus, the saints, various mystical paths and traditions. . . and yet still, everything seemed hollow, like I was missing something important.

At the same time, I was discovering that my mind worked in its own way, different than most others. Some people discover that geometry or calculus make sense to them. It just clicks. Likewise, some people find the same with history, or music, or cars or computers. They just make sense, even when everyone else is scratching their heads in bewilderment. I found that my natural talents always seemed to find their way back to all the strangest, most “forbidden” subjects. Yes, I was good in history, music, literature, Japanese and religion. I aced every religion test and assignment. But visiting the school or public libraries, or the library of neighboring Georgetown University, it was always the subjects that the dear nuns who ran my school would have disapproved of that I found myself reading. No, nothing sexual, gutter brains! No, it was always subjects that, for lack of better (and I wish there was better) word, we shall classify as “occult.”

Nothing in depth, at the time. I had far too much on my plate to really pursue such subjects going to the school I did—6 hours of homework on the easy nights, after clubs, rehearsals, and an hour commute home. To wake up at 5:30 to get there for chorus and classes. No, no time for those pursuits at the time. But my inclinations were not entirely hidden—at a Christmas party my senior year, I received my first Tarot Deck and a book of spreads from two of my best friends. Apparently, they had noticed.

It was the summer between high school graduation and starting college that one day I felt Heaven pressing upon me the need to find, what was even in my journal at the time, written as The Truth. I didn’t know what truth it was I was supposed to find, only that I was to pursue every clue, every hint of a trail until I found it. This “pressing” catalyzed an instinctual reaction that others, later, would term my first bit of “magick. [Yes, spelled with a “k”. *sigh* For a reason.] But I knew nothing, really, at the time, despite my sometimes readings at the libraries. It was all prayers and psalms and a vow with a knife and a ring. It was a formal acceptance, really, of the mission being laid upon me: To follow every trail and crumb until I’d found the Truth that He wanted me to find.

Despite my ignorance (that I was rather aware of even at the time), I also knew that I was setting out on a very dangerous path. One misstep and I could well be lost forever. I was eighteen years old, and facing up to the fact that if I slipped, I wouldn’t loose my life—I’d loose my soul. I think this fear was a Grace straight from God. It wasn’t mere curiosity that compelled me, a desire for power or knowledge that drove me—it was the fear of failing the Mission I’d been given. I really want to impress that on you so that when you read what follows, you understand that at no time, no time, did I turn away from Jesus. To the contrary, every step resulted in a wondrous growth in my devotion for Him. Please, keep that in mind.

I attended college in New Orleans, mostly because when I visited, I got that elbow-in-the-gut feeling that one sometimes gets when something is supposed to be. In my brain, I went to New Orleans because I was majoring in Music Education (voice) and I loved jazz. Looking back, I went there to follow my Mission and meet my best friends.

When not studying for classes, my pursuits took me in two, seemingly opposed directions: I was reading all I could of theology (my best friends were all Theology majors, so that helped), but I was also learning everything the occult subculture of New Orleans—and the budding internet– had to offer. In the theological realm, my pursuit finally found itself circling that huge question that practicing Catholics learn to loathe: Why can’t women be priests? (This is why this writing was inspired by Dagny, btw) I really wanted to know—but all the authorities I asked were useless, or worse. Their answers made no sense, or were too stupid to be given much merit. I realize now it’s because most modern American Catholics (even the conservative priests and theologians) either don’t really understand themselves or, if they do, they are entirely unable to communicate that understanding to the honest questioner. When I would ask, the best I could hope for was “Because the Church says so.” Usually, I was met with accusations of trying to destroy the church, of being an insolent heretic, blah blah blah. Really, it’s no wonder I made more progress in my faith through witchcraft than through the “approved channels.”

Yes. Witchcraft. Wicca. Didn’t stay there long—Wicca, for the most part, is far too shallow for my tastes. But, one thing I will grant, is that studying the Craft taught me how to believe. This was the very first part of what I’d been missing all along, and I realized that almost right away. Never in all my years of CCD and Catholic schooling had I learned how to believe, how to take what the brain knows and make it connect with the heart. I think this is because formal Catholic education stays strictly away from anything that might smack of mysticism (the Sacraments aside)—when that is exactly what the mystically inclined person like myself needs. That great gaping chasm was, in the most basic light, a lack of experiencing what I believed. And it was with witchcraft that I learned how to believe. So, when I say; I am a devout Christian because I was a witch—as a direct result of being a witch—I hope you will understand. My faith would not be what it is today if I hadn’t studied and learned all that. This is why I cannot regret any of this—because if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t love Jesus, wouldn’t be as in love with Him, as I am now. This effect cannot, for me at least, be divorced from the cause.

So I was hitting dead ends with the official, “safe” routes. Even my friends, the theology majors, were getting increasingly frustrated. They have continued to work through official routes (they are now Doctors of Theology, the over-credentialed bastards ~_^), but I continued along the way that seemed to be giving even the slightest clues.

In time, I found the one person I’d ever call a mentor. I’ll refer to her as K-sensei. K-sensei once told me that while most people had to learn and study really heard to understand the concepts behind what is generally classified as “the occult”, some people are just born with the ability and understanding. “For you,” she said “Magick simply is. You’d do it eventually, whether you intended to or not. It will manifest in dreams, intuitions, sudden knowledge. It manifests in the way you played make-believe as a child, in the way you pray as an adult. It influences the way you see the world, and you will never be rid of it. All you can do is either ignore it as much as you can, or train it and use it to glorify God. Magick is a prayer, and praise. Some people have a talent with football, welding, accounting or physics. This is what you are natural at. This is the talent God has given you. You can bury it in fear, or you can nurture it and give it back to Him. That is your only choice.”

So I nurtured it—with great caution. I learned I was natural with Tarot, found I was rubbish with runes. I studied Kabbalah—not the purely Jewish Kabbalah that rabbi’s would approve of, nor the stupid Pop-Kabbalah that Brittney Spears and Madonna seemed to be involved in. This was more. . . AJ Crowley. Speaking of which, read his stuff, decided that he had moments of genius (777 and Sepher Sephiroth are quite useful), but was otherwise a dumb-a$$ punk. Dion Fortune was much better. Tried to study various methods of healing, only to learn I was much better at knocking heads than fixing them. Astrology wasn’t a strong suit, mostly because I didn’t really buy the premise. (Although Carl Payne Tobey’s premise that astrology was an expression of a mathematics of influence was intriguing.) Alchemy was a strong interest, but I couldn’t find much information on that until much later, well, beyond a few writings of Israel Regardie on the matter, and of course CG Jung. History was always fascinating, and you could always be certain that waving Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy in front of me would prove quite distracting. Angelology was natural, Demonology avoided like plague. (Although, studying the former does end up exposing you to a certain amount of the latter. But I believed that a person reflected what they studied, and I wanted to reflect the better beings in the universe. . .) In fact, one could say that certain aspects of angelology became a primary focus for me, at least for a time. Mostly, though, my studies in this area were focused on simply sifting the small bits of wheat from the huge piles of chaff, the small jewels from the waste of useless rocks. Most of what is written in this area is chaff—useless at best, very, very wrong at worst.

The biggest danger in this subject area is not the books (and I say this despite having  experienced first-hand the mind-twisting effects of merely skimming Crowley’s Liber al vel Legis ; The Book of the Law)—it’s the people. While I was for a time associated with a group of people online—where I met K-sensei—I never had much in the way of personal association with the various groups and factions in the New Orleans occult community. I had some—I had a nodding acquaintance with the kind Lady Mimi at Esoterica on Dumaine (who has the best incense blends I’ve ever found). I was friends with a girl (we’ll call her Katie) who was a student in one of the local groups, and through her knew her teacher Satori, his then-wife Brianna (always the better of that pair), and her student Hazel. But other than this, there was an invisible wall between myself and most of those in the community. At the time, this vexed my lonely self, but looking back I can see this was a blessing. I was kept a solitary, which kept me from the influence of some charismatic, twisted individuals. I was kept away from all those potential emotional attachments that cloud the mind, forced to decide for myself what was Truth and what was Not.

So while I saw many things, I was kept from direct interaction, for the most part. I always had the feeling of being an observer. In fact, apparently that feeling was shared, because Katie and that lot started referring to me as a “Watcher”—a reference to the Grigorim of the Book of The Prophet Enoch. This was more true than any of us realized at the time, but I only came to understand that later. That said, sometimes merely observing is an interaction, and things seen can haunt you forever.

In general, I was actually rather safe—kept that way both to my own caution and a healthy dose of Grace and angelic intervention (when I say I’ve a pretty interesting relationship with Michael, I actually mean it). But that’s a hindsight realization. At the time . . . well, there were sleepless nights with a rosary wrapped about my left hand, little crucifix in my right, trying to keep the nightmares at bay. There were days when my peripheral vision was swimming with shadows that I wasn’t entirely sure were there, times when the conversation in the dorm room would stop because something large and not-feathered had just passed by our 10th floor window. That I wasn’t the only person to see these things was not a reassurance. On the other hand, there were moments of joy, sparkling diamonds in a blasted waste. I cannot describe them, except to say that they were a comfort in a dark, stormy place, a reassurance that I was not lost, not yet.

I think I need to make one point, here. Most people who get involved in the occult are posers, or dabblers. The latter are generally harmless, though they can get themselves into heaps of trouble because their emotions overcome their sense. The posers are at best irritations. The more loudly one proclaims their experience, knowledge, whatever, the more likely they’re full of crap. There are authors in the field who’ve made careers out of faking it, making people believe they know what’s what. I’m temped to toss Crowley in that pile, but he was the real deal, despite his issues.

I think I also need to expand a bit on what exactly studying these matters entails. It is, primarily, a way of training the mind in certain ways that support a given cosmology. That is, you learn to think in certain patterns and habits in order to interact more effectively with the greater universe around you. “Magick” (with a k! *sigh*) is “Causing change to occur in conformity with the will—in a manner exceeded or not used by standard physics”. The first part is often quoted because it’s how Crowley defined it, the second half is me, distinguishing that from the mere act of opening a door with a doorknob. And spelled with a “k” to distinguish it from stage magic. It’s all very pompous and self-righteous, like most practitioners of the occult. Very self-important. Magick: Now with more K! *rolls her eyes*

The danger in the occult comes not necessarily from the rituals, ceremonies or any individual practice (with some notable exceptions). The danger is that while you’re futzing about with your thought-processes, while you’re re-creating your personal cosmology, you are wide open to deception. Self-deception, deception from outside influences, any of it. And, of course, the slightest mislaid course, and you end up going through a black hole instead of arriving safe at Naboo. There are some rules that help, but people are always trying to wriggle around them. The first rule, learned in my short days as a witch, that you never, ever, abrogate the free will of any other sentient being. One cannot force one person to love (or have any given feeling) for another. But, likewise, you cannot heal a person without their permission– no matter how well intentioned, you must have permission. This has even carried over to now for me– with the exceptions of some generalized prayers, when I pray for people, I get their permission first. Even better when they ask (It’s why I love our little prayer threads– no need for permission when people are asking!).

Another guidence comes from Donald Michael Craig in his book Modern Magick. Craig describes for us a good working definition of Black, Grey, and White Magick (this is far from the only scale, but it is very precise and useful). Black magick is any magick that causes harm to any other individual. Grey Magick is any magic that has an effect on the physical plane. White Magick is solely concerned with bringing the practitioner closer to God. So, therefore healing someone is grey, even though it’s clearly a good thing. Also, while intention is important, it doesn’t decide what type of magick something is– the results do. For instance, say you want to help out a local battered women’s shelter. They are in desperate need of funds, so in addition to donating what you can, you perform a little ritual designed to bring you more money, so you can donate more. Your intentions are clearly good. But, you’re careless in your ritual, and seven days later, your rich, physically fit and not very old uncle dies of a sudden, massive heart attack, and you inherit a tidy sum which you can now donate to the shelter. Guess what? In magickal terms, you’ve just done some very bad black magick, because you brought about the death of your uncle. That wasn’t your intent at all, but because you were careless, that was the easiest way for the universe to fulfill your desire. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Likewise, good intentions are not enough– it’s how you go about fulfilling those intentions that determines the quality of your actions. Hey, that’s kinda like socialism . . .

Most practitioners of the occult underestimate the dangers they pose themselves, and the danger they open themselves to. Oh, they are so very sure of themselves, and that very confidence is their downfall. Like sprinting through a lightless cave, they make quite a bit of progress—at first. My friend Katie was one of these. She sped through learning material, revelation after revelation. I thought, at the time, that it meant she really knew what she was doing. I couldn’t have been more wrong—the faster one progresses on these roads, the more trouble they’re in. Katie was in big trouble.

I don’t know if you’ve ever watched someone damn themselves. Maybe it was drugs, or alcohol, or something like that. Well, occult philosophies and practices can do the same thing as the most insidious drugs. First, the mind twists just a little. Judgement is compromised first, as it always seems to be. Then the mind twists a little more. And if someone notices that something is amiss, well they’re just trying to undermine you, they’re betraying you, you don’t need them, and you don’t need their “advice.” More and more the mind twists, the heart poisoned against care of any nature, gradually twisting the very soul of the person until Katie isn’t Katie anymore. She’s hardly human. She cannot function in regular society, and a once beautiful-girl who had presented papers at philosophy conferences is now roaming the streets, homeless and hate-filled, queen of her own wretched, filthy little existence. It hurt so badly, watching that happen. I had tried to tell her, tried to pull her back, but only got spiteful words and accusations in response. Satori and his lot had kicked her out before that, because she wouldn’t listen to them, so convinced of her own greatness.

Now, at the same time as I was exposed to all this, I was at college, or just graduated from, so I was therefore also getting quite a bit of exposure to the currently standard Academic Leftism. Due to my theological efforts, I often found myself in the uneasy company of various “womyn’s” groups (who couldn’t imagine why I wasn’t lesbian, why I had male friends who weren’t gay in addition to those who were). It was a tenuous association: I was raised with Indiana Jones, so I knew about the Nazi’s, and Neville Chamberlain, and thus couldn’t describe myself as a pacifist. They believed that thinking happy thoughts would make the world a peaceable place. Their “magical thinking” put my occult-laced logic to shame.

So I never really fit in with them. In the church, the groups most likely to take seriously my questions were also those most likely to completely destroy all sense of the mystical and sacred in tradition. Due to my less-approved-of studies, I was gaining a real appreciation for ritual—the necessities of structure, the value of symbolism, the absolute need of Beauty, and how utterly genius the Traditions we had were. And so, I didn’t fit in with them, either, because I wasn’t gung-ho on upending everything. I just wanted to understand why I couldn’t follow what otherwise would have been the most obvious path for my life. Because . . . it hurt, when I didn’t understand. It hurt a lot.

I understand now, at least as far as I am concerned, that this pain was a motivation. It was the fuel of my drive to keep going, to keep digging. It’s what sustained my faith in those years in the Wastes. But I didn’t like it, certainly not at the time. And if even one of those “conservative authorities” had taken my questions and wonderings seriously, I might have found my way a lot faster.

Or maybe not. That’s life—you never know how things might have been different.

So I kept plugging. 9/11 happened, a slap in the face of my leftward drifting. I’m not entirely sure how things changed, but over time, they did. I started to see the fruits of leftist thinking—from 2,996 dead on 9/11, to the chaos that was rocking the Anglican Church, that could be traced back to their decision to ordain women. K-sensei took the time to somewhat publically take me to task over my then-ignorance regarding Israel, and set me straight on that account. I mean, seriously, I was one of her star students, and she kicked my butt in front of the whole class. Thank goodness K-sensei did that! On I went, learning about Islam, the Koran and Hadith, words like Taqiyya and Hudna, traditions like  “abrogation”. I read the account of Mohammad when the “angel” gripped him and demanded that he “recite.” And I, having studied angelology (with a dash of demonology), read that account and, for the first time in a long time, felt the stirrings of fear not just for myself, but for the world. Because when I read that account, I saw a man possessed by a demon that called itself an angel. I saw an entire world religion founded and sustained by an evil entity and its willing dupe. I didn’t even know about the 12th Imam, much less it’s relation to the Anti-Christ. But you can only interact with so many supernatural entities before the Hadith start scaring the crap outta you.

The years passed, and I grew apart from K-sensei, as she had family troubles take more and more of her attention. On my own again, I studied anything that sparked my interest. I finally started finding some leads on Alchemy, a path I think I was always really meant for. On the other hand, I started studying historical shinobi and their philosophies. Why? Well, who doesn’t want to learn about actual ninja? I was reading about various kunoichi (female ninjas) and how they would operate, and in my brain comparing ninja and samurai, when suddenly the whole passive/active, In/Yo (Yin/ Yang), Female/Male dichotomy clicked into place, and then connected to the Pillars of Severity and Mercy on the Tree of Life. Woman is war, man is peace, the rabbis say. Female is chaos, male is stability. Destruction, Creation. Of course, we’re talking archetypes here, but these archetypes exist for a reason.

And that answered my old question about why women couldn’t be priests, at least as far as the Catholic Church is concerned. Because men are stronger externally, women are stronger interiorly. For a civilization to thrive, men must handicap themselves  with various codes of Chivalry or Bushido, and women must handicap themselves on interior matters. A man, by social agreement, is not to abuse his strength. He is to use that strength to protect the weak, the poor, those who have no one else to protect them (like widows and orphans). They do this so they do not physically overwhelm those around them by their mere presence. Thus, the humble knight is most virtuous. The chivalrous man serves women, sacrificing his own dignity and desires to serve hers. (The movie A Knight’s Tale has a great example of this, where the Lady Jocelyn says that if our hero truly loves her, then he will loose every bout in the upcoming tournament. He will sacrifice his pride, his dignity, just to prove to her that it is she that he loves, and not himself. Poor guy!)

A woman, then, stronger in the interior life, should be likewise “handicapped” lest she overwhelm the men—as happens if women are given priesthood and “equal” authority. “Equal” authority is effectively superior authority for women when dealing with religious or spiritual matters. Effective equality comes about through “handicapping” of women—thus even a nun can take on and chastise a pope, and the pope will listen. Maybe not happily, but he will. But you open up those ranks to women and, as history bears out, the men disappear, as they are quickly overwhelmed by un-chivalrous women. And once that happens, religion soon becomes twisted—some of the most horrible, terrifying practices of ancient religion came about through matriarchal religions. Goddesses tended toward infanticide. It is simply the way it is.

Women are chaos, men stability. Men can staff a hierarchy to last a couple thousand years. Bring women into it, and the whole thing shakes loose in a generation. This is not, itself, a bad thing. Chaos is sometimes necessary, destruction is needed just as much as creation. Neither is better than the other, in general terms. It’s simply a matter of what is better for your goal. Women are generally best for defensive fighting, when the enemy is in your streets and homes. Women can do the most twisted, cruel things to their enemy, as any woman who has survived middle and high school will attest. Women know how to poison with smiles, words, or the salad they just served you (I can think of several different ways to use ordinary garden leaves to do just this!). Men are the better fighters for keeping things from getting to that point. Each has a place, each is important, each is different enough that substituting one for the other will not work.

And how marvelous that is! How genius, that our species was created just so. I tend to think in more martial terms, but surely there are non-martial examples of this. Each half of our species is suited for different work, each essential for life above an animal existence. Men are great with building the house, women with making it a home. Men quest and find water sources, men and women say “Wouldn’t it be great to bring the water to us?”, then men build aqueducts, and women wash the men’s smallclothes and make beer. A perfect to and fro. It takes men to harvest grapes, and women to press, to make wine.

Granted, this has not always been appreciated as it should have been. At least, that is my understanding of the past. Men wouldn’t live up to the demands of chivalry, or took the female contribution for granted, or else assumed that exterior weakness translated to interior weakness as well. That was wrong. But the marvelous thing about history is that it’s past. I can appreciate the fact that men are strong (and boy, I do love a man that also appreciates that fact! MM~mmm, shoulders!), and can get irritated that I’m the one that always ends up starting the discussion at Bible Study. Likewise, I hope that a man can at once revel in their physical ability to protect and defend those they love, while at the same time appreciating how different his wife sees things.

I’m preaching to the choir now, I suspect. But this understanding, once it clicked, made me look back. I’ve explained how studying ninjas and the kaballah answered my Catholic theological questions. Funny, how one branch of knowledge illuminates others. For instance, leftism and the various subgroups thereof have a lot in common with occultism. In fact, one day I’m going to study certain parts of history closer, because I’ve a theory that Marxism and leftism in general (as we know it today) have roots in the occult/ spiritualist movements of the 19th century. I watch people on TV, college kids in particular, and trace the “logic” they use, and dang if it ain’t familiar! Who can read the story of my friend Katie and not substitute various strands of leftist thought. Thoughts that twist the mind, slowly but surely, inevitably effecting the soul. I once read the beginning of one of the books by L Ron Hubbard, and I only recognized what he was doing because, in terms of Mind-f*cks, I’d been through worse, so recognized what he was doing (despite his skill). Likewise, when reading various leftist tracts, I can see how they twist the mind, how they take all that is best in people and pervert it for low, terrible ends. I see the way they work, and so I can tell you that there is no end not beyond the pale, not beyond their desire. They say they want peace, but I’ve been to the places they’re going, and I can tell you that what they want is blood and fire. They want pain, and they want to be the ones dealing it. They’ll never admit it aloud, but that’s the truth. They are vicious sadists who smile and proclaim “peace!” They will never be happy, but bodies in the streets will give them a measure of satisfaction. They have damned themselves just as surely as Katie did. Different authors, different declarations, but the same damned sources.

[The good news is that Grace pours like rain upon the just and unjust, and all they need do is repent, accept it, and start making their way home. As long as they breathe, there is hope for them, which is why we must pray for them. ]

Likewise, my skill with Tarot (which I rarely use as such, anymore) coupled with my skill in music analysis, has given me an ability to see the patterns in life. I’ve found that there is no such thing as “coincidence.” This word is a myth, invented by people who couldn’t bear the thought that God might be trying to speak to them through all the circumstances of their life.  The key with Tarot is not to memorize the meaning of each card. Rather, it’s to learn the system of symbolism running through the images, and then to read the connections between the cards to arrive at meaning. Tarot does not tell the future—the future is always in flux, because humans have this pesky thing called “free will” that always changes things. Tarot can merely give insight into What Is. If I might borrow a concept from Jung, Tarot is a way for the conscious mind to use the sub-conscious (by way of a group of symbols) to access the Mass Unconscious. Like a person accessing the internet. Your conscious is the user, your subconscious is the computer, the unconscious is the internet. The Tarot cards then function as an interface, like the browser you’re using right now. All you can find out with the cards is what any human has ever known. But it’s limited to the symbols, just as the internet is limited to what can be expressed in digital languages.

For instance, if I lay cards out in the Tree of Life pattern (a personal favorite of mine), simply seeing The Empress in a given position won’t tell me much. However, seeing how The Empress modifies the Queen of Coins, and is modified in turn by Judgment, is where insight is gained. When I lay the cards out, I see them, but then I see lines unravel and connect certain cards to each other, showing me patterns and relationships, and it’s in these lines that meaning is found. In time, one begins to get the message before the cards are finished being laid, and eventually, one stops needing the cards at all.

For example: The DC sniper left the Death Card at one of the locations of a shooting. He likely did it to try to inspire fear in people. The news outlets were full of experts, trying to divine the meaning of the card, what he was trying to say. Knowing that the Death Card (the 13th card, btw) simply means Change and isn’t actually a scary card at all (leave that to The Tower), at the dinner table that night I said “All it means is that there will be a great change in the situation after the 13th victim”. I was right. Now, let’s turn this around. The card that signifies Change is Death. Death is Change. Change is Death. Hope is the Star. The Moon is Delusion. Hope and Delusion can be found right next to each other in every night sky. Hope and Change. Delusion and Death. Funny how that works . . .

Speaking of the Tower, when 9/11 happened, I seem to remember telling a friend “Well, naturally, when the Tower manifests, it heralds an end of peace and stability. It means things will be greatly upset, but mostly because illusions will be torn down, and people will eventually wake up to the reality around them. But it’ll probably be a very traumatic time . . .” The Tower had two manifestations on 9/11, three if you count the Pentagon as a type of tower, being a fortress. From the Tower of Babel to 9/11, when towers are struck down from above, it always means “Hang on to your butts!”

These symbols were chosen for a reason. God is a rational being, and He uses every chance He can to talk to us, to warn us. No, I’m not saying God was behind 9/11—I am, however, accusing Him of having a hand in the recurring symbolism that led to the Tower Card. When towers fall, upheaval follows.

I think I’m winding up to a point, now, on the twelfth page. Let me try to summarize what I’ve been writing about here.

1) Evil is real, and so is Satan.

a) Satan is an evil bastard, and is actively trying to ruin our Good Time.

b) Fortunately, God is real, too. Cling to him like a limpet, or an annoying five year old, and you’ll be fine.

2) Magick is not to be messed about with. It too is real, and dangerous, and liable to do you great harm unless God and His angels work some serious overtime.

a) Michael the Archangel is seriously awesome, and good lookin’ too! If you ever run into him, know that he’s partial to

red beer and blackberries. And rare steaks  And buy him a cold one, people, the guy’s been working his sexy butt off for the past coupla millennia! You owe him. And his Boss, but that’s a whole other matter . . .

b) School-girl crushes on non-humans are far more common than you’d think.

3) A working knowledge of the occult can be useful for discovering demonic conspiracies from Islam to Marxism, and can likewise give great insight into certain theological questions.

a) points 2 and 3 are both true. If someone you is getting involved in the occult, pray for them. They may be on the highway to hell—or they may be on a Mission. You don’t know, and it’s very possible they don’t either. Pray for them and trust that God will make sure there’s an angel on the job.

b) Anyone who successfully makes their way through the Wastelands of the Occult without going sheer-out nuts will likely have very strong faith. This might be the point of the whole thing. Understand that a deep, abiding love of God and His church is not at all mutually exclusive to talents that are sometimes discouraged. I cannot tell you how vexing it is to always have to battle that assumption. Yes, I can hex you– and I love Jesus. It happens. [Btw, hexing isn’t always bad. For instance, one doesn’t heal cancer—that only makes the cancer worse. One hexes the crap outta cancer, which makes it decrease, allowing the body to heal. Same with infections. Thought I should point that out . . . you know, the good sort of destruction ~_^. . .]

c) That all said, The Occult is considered Forbidden for very good reason, and the rules are written for everyone, not the one percent exceptions. One should never assume they are the exception. That would be stupid. (*looks in the mirror*)

1) The Harry Potter series does not, in any way, teach kids anything occult. As someone who knows both quite well, they’ve nothing to do with each other. Except for the kids being “Witches” and “wizards”, and the fact that actual witches and mages tend to be fond of the books. And Nicholas Flamel was a real person, as was his wife Perenelle, and according to legend, they did achieve the Philosopher’s Stone. Otherwise, if I hear one more person . . .

4) My name. My name is ZMalfoy, short for Zophiel Malfoy. Zophiel was a name given to me one summer afternoon, rather out of the blue. According to Davidson’s Dictionary of Angels: Including the Fallen Angels, Zophiel literally translates to “The Eyes of God”—the connotation being “God’s Spy”. This is, I think, fitting, for someone who watches and sees quite a bit, but has been kept from getting directly involved in much of it. This is also why I started studying shinobi. God’s Spy ought to know about ninja, wouldn’t you think?

Malfoy is, of course, a reference to the Harry Potter characters. I chose this for the internet so that anytime I say something that horrifies or scandalizes people, they can shrug and say “Well, she is a Malfoy, and a Slytherin. What else should we expect?” And, of course, it’s also fitting for someone with a history in the “Dark Arts”. Why does she know about blood magick, or the demonic influence early in Islam? Well, because she’s a Malfoy, of course! See how that works?

5) For all the above points, I have rather strong opinions on various matters. Because I came to these opinions by some unusual routes, I thought I should give some sort of explanation of those routs. Most people don’t come to the conclusion that something’s wrong with Islam because of their background in “the Dark Arts”. But I did. So when I say “Satan’s behind that sh!t right there. . .” I actually mean that in the most literal sense, and have reasons for saying that. Likewise, when I say that Leftism is a poison out of Hell, I’m likewise being quite literal. Yup, Sammael had a hand in that. Lilith, too, which is why her name is all over that Feminazi crap.

6) Oh, and most importantly: There is no where that you can go that God won’t be right there with you. It’s very hard to see, sometimes. You’re surrounded by confusion and chaos, maybe time itself is warping around you, cause and effect scrambling. Maybe you don’t know what’s real and what isn’t, maybe you cannot turst anyone or anything, inluding yourself. Maybe you’ve been so betrayed and hurt, and the house is falling apart around you, and holy crap! What’s happening in this country?! Amist all the decay and despair, He’s right there, at your shoulder. He’s looking through your eyes, listening through your ears, that’s how close He is. He may have led you to Hell’s Front Porch, but He’s never left your side. And, if you’re taking a breather in Satan’s rocker, just realize that you are where you are for a reason. Maybe there’s something you need to see. Maybe there’s some dead wood that needs burning away. Surely, though, you’ll be stronger when you’ve passed through. Like bootcamp– sucks now, but for good reason.

So, I think that’s all for now.  I think this explains why I sometimes come at things at the angle I come at them with. So now, when I say something a little weird and strange, you all can say, “Look, that’s just ZMalfoy. Her brains got a bit scrambled due to some unfortunate time studying the occult . . . poor girl . . .”


19 thoughts on “There are Stars in the Night

  1. All that good stuff and only one comment? That just ain’t right!

    I love your story, Zoph. But as someone with a little (very little) mystical background and an admiration for and undying gratitude to St. Michael (as you can see by my gravatar), I’m intrigued by your comments about his taste for beer and blackberries. If you ever get a chance to reply, would you elaborate? I may have a few stories of my own! God bless!


    • Beer and Blackberries. heh, where to start?

      Well . . . It’s . . . Ok, so, in the New Orleans Occult subculture, or at least the faction I was familiar with, it was tradition to leave offerings for the entities one worked with. Most of my friends/ aquaintences worked with pagan deities, and so these offerings were referred to as “sacrifices”. However, I didn’t work with them although, to be honest, I had a more than nodding acquaintence with a few. I mostly remained in the Judeo-Christian sphere, and as such, worked with angels. When working with angels, rule #1 is that they are not God. One relates to them as dear and respected elder siblings, if anything.

      Leaving offerings for them was neither required nor expected but, I always felt like an ingrate if I didn’t give some tangible evidence of my appreciation of their hard work. So, my “offerings” were “thank you gifts.” Problem is, as angels are not ever to be sacrificed to (they’ll kick your booty if you try), there’s no literature on what any given angel is partial to.

      I can’t recall how I figured out the red beer part. It may be a holdover from a friend’s interactions with Sekmet, there being leftover Abita at one point, she giving it to me and I, not being much of a beer person, passing it along to my hard-working Celestial Cop buddy. . .

      As for Blackberries. . .
      Understand that I did not choose to work with Michael– he choose (or was ordered, I don’t know, not really my business) to work with me. I became aware of his presence in late spring of one year, a feeling of someone standing right behind my shoulder, hearing whispered answers in my heart, feeling directed toward his name and legends. Of course, my reaction was “Nope, not him. This is clearly a delusion crafted by my frail and obviously twisted ego. Can’t be. I’m nobody.”

      This is actually the correct initial response to have, by the way. Always assume that any entity you encounter is not who they say they are until you have proof. If they are angels, they will not be offended. Michael certainly wasn’t.

      Three months he stalked me/ followed me around. I had send a friend out in search of oral traditions regarding Michael that I might not be aware of. And then one night, in late August, I was standing in the booze aisle of the grocery store on Tchapatoulas (sic? I can never get that right), and I said, in my mind, while looking at a broad selection of wine coolers (I prefer girly booze, myself). “Ok, fine. What do you want? Strawberry-kiwi? Raspberry?”

      And I heard, in my right ear, very distinctly, the following words spoken. “Nah, Raspberry’s for wusses. I like blackberry.”

      I was surprised, but looking closer, could find no blackberry flavor. Again, the voice, this time in my heart. “Get on your knees and look.”

      And there, on the floor, waaaaaay under the shevles, was a 4 pack of 3 blackberry and one strawberry.

      So, I got the 4 pack and took it home. The very next day, my friend finally got back to me. She said, “Hey, you know that blackberries are sacred to Michael, right?”

      “What?!” was my reply. “How do you mean?”

      So she tells me this story that she got from her teacher, who had gotten it from his teacher, that when Satan got kicked out of heaven, it took 13 days to fall to Hell. On the seventh day, he fell through Earth, leaving a rather spectacular hole. Concerned for the integrity of the Earth, Michael filled the hole and a blackberry bramble grew up over it to guard it from intrusion. Thus blackberries are a sign of his protection.

      Needless to say, this was quite shocking to learn. And the sort of proof I needed. That’s why I say he likes blackberries. . . because raspberries, apparently, are for wusses. . .


      • Oh man, Z, do you have ANY idea how low he had to stoop to accept a blackberry-flavored WINE-cooler? Talk about wussy. That stuff doesn’t even have real wine in it! Next time I’d go with Bobby Flay’s favorite Bourbon-laced iced-tea with lots of fresh, whole blackberries. 😉

        Very cool story, actually. I asked because blackberries have been mysteriously coming up a lot lately. Aside from them being my favorite and that I used to grow them, the main coincidence is not something I can share right now because it actually involves a blogger whom you know. But after getting permission, I’ll tell you in a few weeks, because I think you’d appreciate it!

        Quick St. Michael story: Years ago we had an 18 month old son who was getting into a lot of trouble toddling around. He and his older brother (3yo) were at my sister’s place while my wife was helping paint a second story room. Inexplicably, the 3yo demanded that both women come downstairs and deal with 2 strange men who were standing in the courtyard outside the front door. Only problem was: no one was visible there. The women searched the courtyard while the kid insisted they were RIGHT THERE. Can’t you see them?

        The gals were deeply disturbed by this because they wanted to ignore it as a childish game, but he was dead serious, and I note that he’s never done anything like it before or since. Hesitantly, they climbed the stairs and resumed painting. Within minutes, the 18 month old suddenly climbed an appliance blocking the window and threw himself through the screen of the window 2 stories over the ground level courtyard, directly over where the invisibles had been standing. The women FLEW down the stairs and rushed to the side of the crumpled child who was gently sobbing on the ground.

        Long story short: I was called from work to the hospital to find our child screaming his head off while being secured to a CAT-scan tie-down board. Within an hour, the last trauma doctor shook his head and told us there was no evidence that this child had fallen at all, and we could go home. He had no bruises of any kind, and no concussion. Released from the doctors, he began to play as if nothing had happened. That night we all gathered to eat take-out chinese and talk about WTH had happened. During the meal the 3yo broke his silence to say how wonderful it was that “the angel” had caught his brother. We looked at each other, and remembered that only the 3yo had been in a position, chasing after his brother and looking out the window, to see him hit the ground. We questioned him endlessly, but he refused to say any more.

        After that, I wondered often how a spiritual being could physically “catch” a child. I was rewarded with an internal vision of St. Michael himself, bulging with muscles, and playfully wearing a catcher’s mitt and a big grin. My reaction was that we certainly did not deserve the intervention of the greatest of all the angels, the great chief of the Lord’s hosts. But then I remembered that my son (who fell) and I both shared the middle name of Michael, for a reason. He’s now in his mid teens, and he’s the most devoutly Christian boy I’ve ever met. We both continue to have a devotion to the good angel with the big muscles and a very good eye for falling children.


        • heh. yeah, I know, I know how very wussy wine coolers are. But I hardly drink now, and even less then (even though I was legal, thankyouverymuch).
          Whole bottles of wine were pretty out of my budget (Except really cheap box-wine), and beer was . . . something I’m still learning to like. Good news, Sam Adams has a wonderful Blackberry Witbeir. . . still girly, but a little less so. Sam Adams makes a decent brew, lol. . .
          Fortunately, as you can attest, they are very patient, understanding, and have a good sense of humor. Although, when it comes to Teh Funneh, no one beats Raphael.

          The day I was diagnosed with cancer was the first time I stayed overnight at a hospital. I was about 23, 24 years old (it was right around my birthday), just out of college, but no job yet. No insurance. Just wonderful, amazing parents.

          That first night, I was a bit frightened. I knew, from my studies, that Raphael is called the Divine Physician, the patron angel of all healers. He’s also considered the “chummiest” of angels, although perhaps the word should be “goofiest.” So that night in my prayers, I asked God if, by chance, Raphael had a spare moment, if he could stop by with whatever assistance he had available, I’d be very appreciative.

          When I finally got to sleep, I had this dream of Raphael and his assistants, coming in the room singing “Ragtime Gal”, doing the Michigan J Frog dance, all dressed in tails, top hats, spats, canes, white gloves, everything. It was so silly I woke myself up laughing, and the nurses came running, thinking that the nitrous lines in the wall had sprung a leak. I couldn’t explain to them that an angel had gotten silly to cheer/ reassure me.

          From that moment, I knew everything would be okay. My mother was such a wreck, so consumed by worry, but I just told her that I’d get better, everything would work out, and stop wasting such energy on useless worry.

          I’m glad your boy was being looked out for. It’s hard to understand why such intervention happens in some cases, but not in others. I suppose we should just be thankful when it does. I’m very much convinced that there are plans in motion. Looking back now, I can see why Michael was assigned my case, considering what I was steeped in at the time. Maybe, a hundred years from now, people will know why your boy was saved from the fall.

          I’m also glad I’m not the only one who’s had such experiences. Sometimes I feel . . . flaky. . . weiting about the angels the way I do. I know most people . . . don’t. I’m glad there’s someone else who can relate in some way.

          And I agree, blackberries are the best fruit– from wine, beer, to jam and pie. Robust, but delicate. Nom nom!!!


          • I’m very sorry to hear about your struggles with cancer. Are you in remission now, or still working on the fighting the 2nd round (if you don’t mind the question)? I’m glad you’re at peace about it and trusting in God’s providence and His angels’ help. I’ve also struggled with long-term medical problems, but have no regrets because I’m a very stubborn man, and I acknowledge that suffering was the ONLY way that God could have opened me up to abandoning myself into His hands, and I’m VERY grateful for that. I sense it’s been similar for you. Sometimes being Catholic is a good thing, eh? Being taught not to fear suffering has its benefits.

            About why my son was saved and others were not is a good question and it’s the one everyone asks. But it’s never troubled me. As Jesus said, the Devil has demanded to sift ALL of us, and sift us he HAS. The Good Lord has allowed our family to suffer greatly, and I know that it must be so, just like He had to suffer on Calvary, in order to pay off our debt. But he has assured us that good comes of it if we remain faithful, and He has made that clear to us in many ways. He’s also made it clear that He ONLY allows what suffering is just, or that helps to purge us, and in any case, there is NO suffering that his Love cannot erase from our hearts and memories. I have no doubt that if it had been necessary, for reasons known only to Him, he would have allowed our son to be killed that day. But it was not part of the plan. I believe it was instead his plan to show my sister, who had dabbled in the occult and had lost her faith, that He and His angels are stronger than the forces of darkness that were haunting her at the time. As St. Pio said, there are no coincidences, and there was a reason that our innocent 3-year-old saw two men, dressed in black, standing outside my sister’s door that day. She had been sensing an evil presense for weeks. It wasn’t for our benefit that our son was plucked from certain death. And he wasn’t the only one saved that day. Now, what’s so hard to figure out about that? 🙂

            Please don’t feel flaky about having a closer relationship to angels than other people. The spiritual world is real, clearly. Is it surprising that when we’re in a state of grace we would be more aware of what’s going on behind the scenes? The saints were like that. St. Pio spoke to his guardian angel every day. I won’t lie to you, I’m suspicious of mystical talk that is not firmly rooted in the Holy Spirit with total humility and surrender to the One God. I’m not a mystic myself. I don’t see or hear things…usually. But like everyone, when in a state of grace, the Lord makes things clear to me internally.

            I disagree with you on one thing, though. The Sam Adams Blackberry Witbier is VERY respectable. I would not be ashamed to offer St. Michael a swig of that any day. 🙂


            • Oh, I’m all done with the cancer mess. Almost got my credit repaired, too (enough that I bought a house last november).

              I’m still working on trusting God. I think I always will be. Funny thing is, I trust Him on the big stuff, but the little stuff? And it’s not so much distrust as in Him, as it’s distrust in myself not mucking things up. And wondering where, oh where, my Prince Charming could be. And bugging Him about it constantly.

              Interesting that all that happened with your son when your sister was having those troubles. The occult is very dangerous, and the only way to get through the muck is to cling to Jesus, wrap yourself in the Spirit, and hold on tight. It’s the only way I could get through, and the only way I’ve ever seen anyone get through. Thing is, that journey spurred so much growth and understanding, ended up opening me so much more to Christ, that I cannot repent of it. Such was the point of the journey to begin with, and the result, and therefore I regret none of it. Well, I regret not being able to keep others from getting lost, but. . . I don’t know if it was possible for me to help them at the time . . .

              You are right to be suspicious of talk or writings that are not firmly rooted in humility and the Spirit. It’s so easy to get lost in the Wastes. . .

              ^__^ And as much as I like them, I still cannot finish a Sam Adams Blackberry. Just. . . can’t. I’ll mull over them, drinking about 3/4 of the way down and then *poof*, I’m done. Literally can’t drink anymore. We’ll call it the “Angels’ share”, like they do with ageing whiskey . . .


    • Oh, and one comment because this was actually orginally posted over at the Treehouse where it got plenty of comments! I just reposted here so I’d have my own copy!


      • Glad to hear it, and I believe it must have drawn quite a few from the Treepers. BTW, if you think the story worth it, feel free to post it at the Treehouse as an addendum to your Stars Post, if that’s possible. I couldn’t anyway, since I’m new at this and don’t even know how to post! -Grunt


        • I’ll . . . consider it. I’ve actually sent parts I and II of a mega post to the mods recently on a very serious, heavy subject. I may save the angel tales for a separate post, to lighten things up a bit.


          • Oh, don’t consider it too seriously. No worries! Actually I was going to ask you about the mega-post you’ve been hinting at. I haven’t seen it on your site or at the Treehouse. Is it done then, and in the hands of the moderators? Sounds interesting.


            • I sent parts I and II off to the mods just a little over a day ago. I haven’t heard back yet, but I’m not surprised– part I is terribly long, and I have quotes from some of the more rancid writings ever written in the English language, so it’s a bit. . . difficult. I don’t expect to hear from them for a little bit– they’re all busy to begin with. . .

              And they may decide not to publish it there, which I would totally understand. In that case, I’ll publish it here. Otherwise, if it gets published there, I’ll wait a couple of weeks before publishing it here. . .


  2. Sorry Zoph, I gotta ask, even though I know that WeeWeed is a fan of angels and knows your story. Do you think WeeWeed’s new MJ Frog gravatar that he switched to last night is a hat tip to you and your hospital room dream about Raphael? Or is it just a “coincidence?” I saw you praise the gravatar in the Open Thread this morning, and saw his response, but there was no direct reference. Sorry if this is just obvious, but I’m curious! -Grunt


    • Well . . . I dunno if WeeWeed has been over here recently enough to have seen my story. . . So I don’t know that he knows. . .

      So. . . I’m not sure. I don’t believe in coincidence, not anymore. But I don’t know. Kinda. . . surprised me, this morning, lol . . .


  3. I think W2 was just playing with us and throwing a little love your way. Within hours of you posting your story about Raphael doing the MJF dance, W2 had posted a video from Warner Bros of the Froggy Evening episode – with no context whatsoever. The very next day he changed his gravatar, and when I asked about it, he was funny but evasive, like he was when you praised the gravatar. I think we’re on to him! I’m still a little weirded out, though, by how he noticed our thread so quickly. He’s never commented on your Stars post here in Malfoy-land, so he couldn’t have set an email hook. If I know the Weedster, he will let us know he acknowledges “message received” by changing back his gravatar today. Bets?


    • Well, Zophiel, I guess I was wrong about WeeWeed and the MJF gravatar. He’s still running around with it, and no indication that he even knows about your story. No big surprise, though. My kids say: “Dad, why do you always want to bet us about things. You always lose!”


      • Gahhh! I’m wrong about more than I thought! How come nobody corrected me when I was calling WeeWeed a “he?” Twice now Tilda has referred to her as a girl, and I figure both of you would know. I feel pretty stupid jumping to the wrong conclusion. Straighten me out if you can. I’m obviously confused. Send email if you have to…


  4. Oh, speaking of being weirded out by angel stuff, I think I can tell you now about the St. Michael blackberry coincidence was hinting at. As I said, I’ve always been a BIG fan of blackberries. I grew them as a child (not wussy raspberries, BBs), grew them when I was in California and have some in the backyard as we speak. I put them in everything.

    A coupla weeks ago I finally got around to inviting Dagny over to the “ranch” for Sunday dinner with the family and conservative buddies. As you know, she lives in Lone Tree, CO. We happen to live just down the road in Parker. Ten minute drive if you do it right. Long story short, she was gracious enough to agree to chow with us, but she demanded pie. I told her about the homebaked options, but of course, we settled on blackberry pie. She was considering coming over last night, but she backed out at the last minute, probably because she was finishing up her Social Security speech that she’s taping today, and she needed the time. Is it a coincidence that we were negotiating about blackberry pie (with Dagny of all people) just before you tell me about your St. Michael and blackberries story? Who knows, but that does seem to happen a lot. Sorry I got mysterious and didn’t tell you this story last week, but I assumed Miss D didn’t want her future locations broadcast to hostiles who might want to say ‘hi’ when she has only her trusty 9mm (and whatever hardware we happen to have laying around) for protection.


    • Heh. That’s awesome, and I approve of your OPSEC considerations. ;p

      When she eventually does visit over blackberry pie, be sure to let her know the significance of her choice. And say “hi” to her from me– she’s Teh Awesome!

      I’ve got blackberries growing at my parents house. I just moved into my own place, and the blackberries I tried putting in failed– because I planted them where the previous owners had cut down some small maples– but hadn’t killed them. I thought they were dead stumps; apparently, not so. So this fall, (prolly on Michaelmas, lol), I’ll be trying again in a somewhat different location.

      In the meantime, the “wussy raspberries” have hung on under the black walnut tree, and should be ripening in the next week or two. And the rhubarb plants (Kurogane and Fai) are doing well, as are the apricot, apple, peach, sour and sweet cherry trees (Hermione, Ryuk, Momo-chan, Sakura and Gaara, respectively), all of which are dwarfs. Fred and George, the Hazelnut trees (regular size), and settling in as well.

      To be honest, I’m rather bummed about the blackberries– the kind I got were from a very well-reputed dealer (I got the rhubarb and most of the fruit trees from them as well), and would fruit even on first year branches. Now that the maples are re-sprouting, it makes sense that the berries just couldn’t get enough nourishment where I planted them. I’ll have to find somewhere else. . . (and I’d picked that spot so their thorns could add a bit to my perimiter! Dang!)


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