Twelve Dæmonic Steps: Choosing a Higher Power

One of the most basic challenges I’ve faced as I started 12 Step Spirituality has been in selecting which higher power to work with. Being a polytheist, I work with various higher powers: deities, dæmons, heroes, saints (of an uncommon kind) elemental spirits, guardian spirits, and spirit allies, to name a few categories. So, I have a lot of higher powers to choose from. But there’s another issue, too. Paganism can often be an ecstatic religion, with practices designed to be pleasing to the senses. Which of my gods and guardians could I turn to for help with moderation? Even Jesus was known to engage in wanton celebration now and then.

My first thought was Lucifer (Seriously, is there anyone who knows me who’s surprised by this?). He is both the Adversary and the Light-bringer. The compulsive behaviors I’m striving against could be seen as adversities, and I could surrender to his illumination to see what’s going wrong in my life. This has served me well in other areas of my life. But somehow, Lucifer didn’t seem the best choice.

My second instinct was Antinoüs the Healer. Again, this probably isn’t too much of a surprise to those who know me. These days it seems my personal Trinity is Antinoüs, Lucifer, and Melek Ta’us. In spite of Antinoüs’ role as a healer, he didn’t feel like the right choice either. What about Paneris All-Strife, the fifth being of the Tetrad++, or the Tetrad++ as a whole? No, that didn’t feel right either. How about Walwarwat, the guardian dæmon I scryed (more on that in another post)? While Walwarwat is a dæmon of protection, e still didn’t feel like the right choice.

The ideal being came to me when I finally hung the seals of the Guardian Dæmons in my room: Buer:

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Buer is a great president of hell and, among other things, a healing spirit and is probably the Goetic dæmon of my coven, the Circle of Cerridwen.

Yes, the word “god” can be used as a variable in 12-step work. In fact, I usually use the word “GOD” in all capital letters to mean the whole of creation. So, was it really necessary for me to have a named being to work with for my higher power? No. Do I feel I derive some benefit from having a being I can name and visualize during my prayers and meditations? Yes.

And so, Buer will be my higher power as I work these Twelve Dæmonic Steps to manage my compulsion rather than being managed by it.

Amen, and Blessed Be.

Cursing the Transphobic

We draw the Circle…

To the Guardians of the Watchtowers of the East and Air, the South and Fire, the West and Water, the North and Earth, the Center and Spirit; to my Gods and Dæmons and Guiding Spirits: BE HERE NOW.

  • To the Outdwellers and Hungry Ghosts: you are given license to remain within the Circle, but dare not interfere with my work lest you be separated from the Flame Imperishable and be forever entombed within the Grinding Ice.
  • I call Great Earl Halphas and his six and twenty legions: to your siege Towers go! “Armed, alert, and awake,” as the Oracle of the Silver Wheel sang. Furnish us with the weapons we need, and send us forth to the places appointed.
  • I call the Crimson King—who is known as Lucifer, the Light-bringer; who is known as The Adversary; who is Satan—arise and aid us as we bring adversity to those who would destroy us.
  • I call Pancrates All-Power and Paneris All-Strife, the fourth and fifth beings of the mighty Tetrad++—may all rejoice!—give us the determination to wield armaments of Great Earl Halphas and the adversity of the Crimson King.
  • I call Great Cæsar WALWARWAT—who is the Pangender Serpent, the wingéd snake with “golden skin and eyes of flame”—cover us with your protective wings, encircle us with your mighty coils, let us take refuge in your strength, O Beloved Progenitor.
  • I call Thánatos—who is the Angel of Death, the Giver of the Gift of Eternity.
  • I call Mary Magdalene—greatest of the disciples—give us the courage to let our intentions be known.
  • I call Yeshua—the Lamb who is the Destroyer—cast down the mighty and lift up the lowly. Make the first to be last, and the last to be first.

In the names of the Beloved Gender-expansive Ones, I come to the altar of Hell.

Behold the hate of those pretending to the title of Man:

Is your biggest fear a woman with a penis, or a man with a vagina, or a person with genitalia unlike what you expect to satisfy your pathetic lusts? Then into the Lake of Fire with you! May you be consumed with fear to the point of impotent anxiousness!

These lesser beings pretending to the title of Man want us to live in fear. In answer to that, we have a reading from the Fourth Book of the Incarnations of Immortality:

  • “Let there be war!”

In the names of the Beloved Gender-expansive Ones, I come to the shores of Purgatory.

These lesser beings pretending to the title of Man want us to live in fear. In answer to that, we have a reading from the prophet Frank Herbert:

  • “I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

In the names of the Beloved Gender-expansive Ones, I come to the gates of Heaven.

These lesser beings pretending to the title of Man call openly for our torment and death.

Thánatos, I beseech you to withhold the Gift of Eternity for the Beloved Gender-expansive Ones for as long as possible. And if the deaths of our Beloveds cannot be forestalled, then into your arms we commend their spirits. Exalt and elevate them so that they be numbered among Themselves.

Mother Mary of Magdala, I ask that you grant us your courage to be ourselves in the face of such reckless hate.

Yeshua, you are the Lamb who is the Destroyer, but yours is also the hand that heals. Deliver us from our mortal destroyers, and care for us when our hearts become heavy with grief.

I ask all these things. I ask all these things and more. We have not chosen this conflict. Our choice is to resist in what ways we can, or be destroyed. And for those who cannot fight, I ask that they be protected and concealed from the villains that seek to destroy them.

By the Powers that are mine to command and the Powers that are mine to request aid from, so mote it be!

  • I thank my Gods and Dæmons and Guiding Spirits. Stay if you will, go if you must, in perfect love and in perfect trust.

  • To the Outdwellers and Hungry Ghosts, I give you license to depart. May there be peace between us, now and forever.

To the Guardians of the Watchtowers of the Center and Spirit, the North and the Earth, the West and Water, the South and Fire, the East and Air, I thank you for your presences. Hail, and farewell.

The Circle is open but unbroken, for we merry meet and merry part and merry meet again!

Sermon Reflection: Mystic Failures

Yesterday was Sunday, 18 June 2017: Father’s Day here in the US. It was also the first Sunday after Philando Castille’s killer was declared not guilty. It was also the a Sunday after yet another trans woman, Josie Berrios, was murdered. And the preacher at Grace North Church in Berkeley again preached about how wonderful the mystic victory of Christ on the Cross is for all of us. We have nothing to fear! That which oppresses us has been defeated!

To quote Benjamin “Yahtzee” Crowshaw, “What arbitrary silliness!

Philando Castille was shot to death while complying with all orders from the officer who killed him. Mr. Castille was following orders, retrieving his ID according to the commands given to him, and he was killed for his efforts.

No! That which oppressed him and countless others like him has not been defeated. Not in the least.

Josie Berrios was found dead and burned at a construction site, the 13th trans person of color murdered this year. Details are still forthcoming, but those details won’t change the fact that Ms. Berrios is the 13th trans person of color murdered this year.

No! That which oppressed her and dozen others before here, not to mention the countless others around the world and over the years, has not been defeated. Not in the least.

None of these shattered lives were mentioned by the pastor. They were mentioned by me during the Prayers of the People.

It is well past the time for Christian Mysticism. People are dying. People are suffering and dying due to the very real systems and hatreds and oppressions and marginalizations that exist here in the world. Christ delivers us from these? We need only trust in him and we’ll have that Great Reward in the hereafter? So what? That does nothing at all to address the suffering in the here-and-now. It does nothing to overturn the systems of oppression that are KILLING people—”the least of these”—every damned day.

Maybe there are those for whom the promise of eternal life after death is a comfort that allows them to endure their suffering here on Earth. But for many others, this promise leaves something to be desired. After I’m dead, I won’t suffer any more. To hear this as a person who lives with depression, it’s almost like suggesting I kill myself.

If Christianity is to be part of social change and social justice, then the churches and their pastors need to move mysticism to a secondary place, putting the practical theology of resistance and assistance in the forefront. Works might not buy salvation, but if you’re in Christianity for salvation, you’re doing it wrong anyway.

2017-06-12: Pulse One Year Later

My lord Antinoüs, I cry out to you! The memories are still fresh, even as I am aware of the passage of time. As Magistrate PSVL wrote, “Defeat every enemy of love!”

Antinoüs, I name you the Lord of the Beloved Dead. You govern the Afterworld of the Inverts, ruling in sweet justice with Saint Matthew Shepard, Saint Gwen Araujo, and Cloud of Queer Witnesses—May all rejoice! Truly those souls extinguished at Pulse on 12 June 2016 reside with you in glory. May all never forget!

Mother Mary Magdalene, you were the first of Yeshua’s Disciples to make your love known, on that fateful Third Day.

Mary Magdalene, I name you the Greatest Disciple. Give us the strength to make ourselves known in a world that just as soon subject us to modern-day crucifixion. You are the Bride of the Lamb, seated at the right hand of the right hand. Pray for us, and welcome us with open arms when we come to you at the end of our days.

May the Pulse 49 Rest in Power and Bask in Eternal Glory.
Ave, Antinoüs! Ave, Maria Magdalena!