Monday, August 26, 2013

The Story of Z (The End)

Maybe it's just me, but when someone tells me they're going to do something then it's perfectly reasonable of me to expect them to do it. I had a decent job that I really enjoyed, occasionally I could find some male company for a night or more (keeping it, however...) and I had every reason to enjoy my frequent visits to Z's shop on Congress Street. Even despite not getting back one dime for all of the books or the gas-money, even despite snap-back answers to seemingly innocuous questions during classes and Circle meetings, through all of the doubt and skepticism tightening inside my brain like vines, I still attended regular rituals and meetings like clockwork. With increasing tension between myself and family at home I began looking for a serious way out, a few of Z's students had managed to find a place between the three of them very recently so I figured that finding a place should be easy if I had a potential roommate.

Z didn't seem all that enthused at first, I think he may have been growing suspicious of me having doubts at this point. This frightened me, toward the end of my time among those people I felt like I was walking across a very thin wire: The wrong answer, the wrong question, hanging out with or talking to the wrong person (including a long-time friend that, despite not abusing substances or owing any serious debts, was somehow a poisonous influence and "draining my energy like a leech" please...) was all it would have taken for that wire to snap right out from under me, but that I needed to continue to function within the Circle's expectations in order to have a meaningful life.

The really great thing about working at a book-store with such a sweet employee discount: Access to a wealth of information about the very cause I thought I had pledged my life to.

Sure, Z sold books at his shop too but getting new ones took him fucking forever: He told me once that he had the same distributors that Borders used, considering how frequently Borders had new products that needed shelving, yet again I became doubtful. If the sources were truly the same, why were Z's access to those resources always so limited? 

Eventually it dawned on me that not only was something not quite right about how Z ran his Circle and dictated instruction to the other students, but the super-exclusive nature of the entire shop itself: Crafted items that no other Circle/Coven had known of or what to do with, extremely specific products (oils, incenses and other things pre-made within such parameters that were unique to the Circle's own rituals, other things I'd never seen or read of other Covens adopting into regular practice...) The fact that the items for sale in the shop only had known use for members of the Circle, occasionally people would wander inside and pick up a few things because they were curious about them but beyond that WE were almost always the only people buying anything, THAT should have been a huge indicator that maybe the direction these people were headed wasn't somewhere I wanted to be.

Not only had Z been laying a very rigid frame-work of how he thought we should practice our rituals and spells, but he made damn sure that HE was the only resource for "real magick" that we could utilize.

"Everyone else is doing it wrong, if you want to do it right you do it through me" to paraphrase the later lessons that I can recall. Between September of 2001 to Spring of 2003 the Circle had expanded from about 5 or 6 of us to a pretty steady 10, sometimes more. Sometimes we'd see new students, they didn't usually last very long and when they left we'd never see them again: Z's explanation was usually that some people can't handle this kind of thing, and for people who are new to Wicca or anything New Age this might have been true. However I still can't figure out why an "experienced Witch" in her late 30s who'd been doing this almost all of her adult life would only stick around for maybe two meetings and then run away like her ass was on fire.

Our social circles were eventually limited to only each-other, if I managed to meet a guy I usually felt guilty about having contact with someone outside the Circle and eventually I was encouraged (by Z himself, often during member meetings) to end whatever was going on. 

Z ordered me to break all ties with my own best friend because he was gay: Hanging out with gay men was a sure-fire way to drain my "Magickal Energy" dry. Oh, cruel irony...

Not the money, not the books, not the belittling in front of other members or my suspicions about where Z wanted to take us as a group, he managed to serve up my own pain against me: Singling people out because of who they love, choice or not, was the very reason I ditched Christianity for whatever he was selling to me and my wounded mind. I am NOT going to play this game again, I am not a bigot and I will not associate with them if I can help it. Damn near every book I had read up until that point said absolutely nothing about Wiccan ideals (or even the Rede itself) conflicting with adult consensual sex WHATSOEVER, so either some of Z's own prejudices were managing to slip through into his teachings or he was fighting some kind of insecurity that he didn't want to face.

I met a new boyfriend (who turned out to be a psychopath, but THAT's another blog series) left the group for good and never looked back.

For years I continued with rituals and spells on my own terms, but I never really trusted ANY spiritual guide all that much after having run with Z's Circle for so long and seen such blind obedience. I guess I wanted so badly to believe in such things that I almost sacrificed my sense of self just to be a part of it. Kool-Aid is Kool-Aid no matter what flavor on the package: You can either pour out the cup or taste the hint of almonds far too late.

I flipped ALL RELIGION the Bird while deployed to Iraq, I've seen quite enough of what horrors vindicated people are capable of committing. 

Z's operation might still be in business SOMEWHERE in Southern Maine, it looks like his last location in Westbrook didn't pan out: I drove past the old building last week, it's empty and looking for someone to lease it out. I have no idea what he's doing now and I don't want to talk to him, but our very last conversation was a very angry exchange via MySpace (long before that site went full-retard.)

Not long before moving out of Maine, I put together a small bag of all the stuff he ever gave me. Oils, potions, "Holy Water" and a little white rock that was supposed to protect me from evil. I left everything on the lawn and walked away: I was simply returning defective merchandise.

Fuck right off, dude.


  1. As a former wiccan my self (And now just a person with generic nature based beliefs)the Dude Z here sounds like another Koresh in the making. Good job smelling the shit he was shoveling my friend.

  2. I was right. This dude was a wannabe TV preacher and obviously not a good one. A good one can convince the sheep to send him Millions of Dollars so God won't make him die. :P