Since my father’s death earlier this year, I have been in a period of deep reflection. Grief, of course, is itself a form of reflection. When he was dying, and for some time before that, I imagined that his death would bring some relief, and end to the suffering for us all. Relief..never came, and instead I was faced with the grief of an entire decade of pure loss: the loss of my father as I knew him many years ago to a disease in a way I never realised was happening; the loss of him never getting to meet who I have become or will ultimately become; the loss of some hypothetical life I never had because of all the ways a person like me struggles; and the loss of a life I could have had, had it not been for the circumstances that led to my reclusiveness in the last six years.
When I delivered my father’s eulogy, people were blown away and, actually, I received attention and praise I was in no shape to receive. I don’t use my voice that way very much anymore. I had this kind of out of body experience, listening to this just-gone-thirty-nine year old woman describing the only man she ever knew who was never once shitty to her, not even the slightest bit. It hit me hard in the weeks after that I had ever let anyone in this world treat that amazing man’s daughter the way they had. The was a reckoning to be had in how it all laid bare, how he was disappearing and I was too busy letting the world chew me up and spit me out to notice, and in how I came to be here, now, so isolated, and living so much in fear. With more financially dire times on the horizon, I have had to let the weight of these reflections, these sorrows, bear down on me fully, if I ever wanted to break free of those fears and live again.
Back in 2015, I was the best I’d ever been, I was prolific, I was popular, I was so busy, and I was happy. I may not have thought I was at the time, but I look back at that now as a time when I experienced a lot of joy, a lot of vibrance. Around the same time, when I took a formal step into the occult world, and more specifically an organisation who shall remain unnamed but who need no introduction, it all fell like a house of cards. In the few years that followed, I was at the centre of, or dragged fully into the middle of, a variety of cataclysmic events that shook the occult world, especially across Britain and Ireland. I became brutally vilified, the subject of conspiracy theories, and a pawn of intrigue. For all these years, I have kept my silence. I won’t be giving up that silence today, not at the extraordinary price I paid for it, no. Over those years, many believe I was not that silent, when in fact I was, others think I was too silent, when they wanted me to gossip. A lot of the time, my narrative has be written for me, my thoughts assumed, my motivations devised, my intentions deduced. But I kept my silence.
I did so for a variety of reasons that could be a whole essay in themselves. The truth is that I couldn’t speak. I kept shutting down more and more, despite the din around me of voices shouting at me to have my say, to state my allegiance, to pick a tribe. I went into shock about a hundred times in a few years. I spent those years on dead end waiting lists for emergency mental healthcare; I spent them helplessly watching events unfold; I spent them bearing the weight of false accusations; I spent them listening to people tell me all the horrible things I am; I spent them on the run; I spent them losing a lot of friends, causing an ever widening hole of sadness in my chest; I spent them trying to build a new life on the continent where people had been forewarned of my arrival; I spent them having my alienation orchestrated by those closest to me; I spent them looking over my shoulder; I spent them looking after my family; I spent them in multiple kinds of debt; I spent them almost dying and being gifted life; I spent them mourning friends and family I’d give anything to have back; I spent them navigating the systemic misogynies of the psychedelic world whilst I was still in the trenches of the systemic, and harrowing, misogynies of the occult world; I spent them deconstructing cult abuse mechanics and the theological justifications of cult abuse; I spent them focused on my own spiritual work, in silence, occult; I spent them…in exile.
I have been trying to find a way to put this into words for a while now. Any crossover with events in the occult world in recent days is mostly coincidence. (Much as I would love to add some nuance to that conversation as someone who was actually there, unlike a lot of the people providing absurd commentary, this is not the time for that.) Recently, when Sinead O’Conner died and was finally glorified for her relentless vocalisation, I felt a sort of shame, shame that I had once been more vocal, more visible, but some of the people that I have encountered over these last years have shown me that the darkness in this world can be so close by, and you won’t know until it snaps you in its jaws and pulls you under. I hesitate to do anything now. Most of the time I just stop dead in my tracks altogether. There are a lot of people in the world who feel this way, especially now, a time of truly renewed, emboldened hate. Popping your head out of the foxhole will surely get it blown off. It’s not a matter of brushing it off and rising above it, that could get you killed. And if it’s not a physical death, it will be an even worse one.
I’m…tired of being silent and afraid, but not only that, I’m bored of it. I want that vibrant life again. In one of the multitude of statements from people in the occult in recent days, only one made a truly magickal point, no surprises as to which, but may surprise some that I would reference it. They say, and I paraphrase, that in one’s undoing, there can only be a complete redoing. This, and wholly this, is what spiritual work is. This is how grief itself is the most potent of all magickal tools. Only in loss is there abundance, without it, only indolence. Only when the house of cards falls can we figure out what bricks are for. And it is not the thing you build in the end that is the magick, nor the act of doing the building, it is the wisdom in simply knowing that the act of building is the only tool you need to navigate impermanence.
My internal self-esteem remains intact after all these years. My external self-esteem is in rather critical shape. I have a very palpable feeling of being a pariah, the low key exclusion, the subtle shunnings, the whispers behind my back, the suspicious amount of closed doors, the well meaning giving of space and infantilization of my pain, but overall, the thing that is most devoid is the fire I once had to be everywhere and anywhere, meeting people, showing up, doing stuff, just brimming with passion. That, together with so much death can leave one yearning for days of energetic innocence, but it’s important not to fall into the trap of believing that we are doomed to become miserably cynical the further the veil lifts. There may be no going back, but have we thought about forwards?
Ultimately, these reflections have led to the conclusion that not only have I never recovered from these experiences, but that they haunt me to much the same degree now as they did then. I’m far from being the only one who’s whole life path was altered in a significant way by those events. As it is said: