Friday, August 23, 2013

The Story of Z (Part 3)

Atheists often use a term called "Cognitive Dissonance" to describe a specific concept: Essentially, it's an accurate description of KNOWING that something is, or has a distinct and clear possibility of being, complete and total bullshit but going along with it anyway for whatever reason the believer sees fit. This is often applied to lay-believers who "have to believe in SOMETHING" but may be wrestling with some doubt in the back of their minds, sometimes feelings of cognitive dissonance can escalate into full-blown emotional turmoil: This is especially true for people coming from more "devout" situations, countries and families because they may honestly believe that having a shred of doubt at all will damn them forever or even get them killed. 

Cognitive Dissonance is also the title of a frikkin' sweet podcast: Glory Hole!

About a year into joining Z's Circle and trying to find my place in the Universe (as well as with the others in the Circle, who never seemed all that talkative) It was easy to develop an obsession with all aspects of the Occult, and working at a bookstore full time it was even easier yet to accumulate a massive collection of books on the subject and build my own library. Z had his own curriculum that he taught from, there were two books in particular that he insisted were the absolute best way to do magick by: "Earth Power" by Scott Cunningham and "Psychic Self Defense" by Dion Fortune, and you'll notice many modern occultists and neo-pagans insist on adding the letter K to the word "magic" because they want to distinguish their rituals from slight-of-hand and stage tricks. 

I was convinced, by an incident I couldn't explain (at the time) in the old Holbrook Dormitory, that I was constantly surrounded by malevolent spirits and ghosts: Although I should point out that long after I had quit M.E.C.A. and returned home to Raymond, I found legit historical records (via the Maine Historical Society's archive building on Congress Street) strongly suggesting that a settlement of the Abenaki Tribe was violently wiped out not far from where I currently live over 200 years ago. Some people still believe in ghosts, especially in the New England area, and if they WERE REAL I can't imagine any lot of un-rested souls with any better reason to hang around and show the living how pissed off they are than murdered Native Americans.  

I am no longer among those people, but at the time this was all the convincing Z and I needed: I'd be pissed if this were MY ancestral home that white people were building a Banana Republic on, therefore ghosts exist.

He trained a small group of us, three including myself, how to investigate and vanquish spiritual "baddies" who were bothering humans: I began to doubt the legitimacy of Exorcism as a concept pretty early on, but I guess I justified it in my mind because I not only thought this shit was REAL but that it was possible for ghosts and entities to actually hurt people (and not just in the commonly said "feeding on your aura/energy stuff" that many New-Agers often discuss) Let's say for a moment that ghosts WERE real, that the dead could actually communicate with the living and could play charades with human beings, what if one ghost had a legitimate concern or urgent issue that they needed resolved? Like if that dead person was a murder victim and wanted their killer found, but started pestering the current occupants of their house for help because, well, a murderer could still be at large! Lighting up a big bowl of Myrrh in every room of the house and telling them to Go Fuck Yourself hardly seems helpful or beneficial to ANYONE, not the spirit in need nor the current home-owner.

After a trip to some middle-aged lady's house between the three of us, doing pretty much what I loosely described above, that was when some cosmic shit started to hit a really big fan that so happened to be pointed directly at me: Some weeks later we found out this lady had been to SEVERAL "Psychics" in the area requesting the exact same services, we got the impression that she just wanted to be told what she wanted to hear about some incurable problem and that some cosmic force had it out for her and no one could help, boo-hoo. Maybe if you'd vacuum your floor every so often, lady, and clean all those boxes of worthless shit out of your house you'd probably feel a little better about yourself and your life might come together.

This was going down in very early 2003, the drive to and from this woman's house was icy and dangerous: At one point on I-95 my entire wind-shield iced up and I had to pull over to scrape that shit off just so I could see the road. The other two in my crew took that as a sign from the spirit world that they were trying to stop us from doing this, I figured that this was a NORMAL FEBRUARY NIGHT IN MAINE! Z gave me $5 for gas, I don't think the other two offered me one red cent. Thanks, assholes. I think it was at THAT MOMENT that I began to quietly acknowledge that maybe I was wasting my time and resources with these people. I had already ordered several "reimbursable" books that I never got a dime for, now this. 

It's quite one thing to believe in invisible forces and that you can interact with them, not only that but that if you're a member of a spiritual community that actively wants to do this then that you should form some kind of agreement with each-other about about inter-member conduct: That night I honestly felt like I was just being used.

And it STILL wasn't enough for me to leave! I just couldn't accept that a Circle that I had devoted time and resources to would only see me as a means to an end, even almost ten years later this is difficult, at times even painful for me, to wrap my head around: Okay, fuck it, these people really pissed me off! But maybe I was just having a bad night, or maybe malevolent spirits were dicking around with my mind as revenge for the "eviction notice" I participated in serving upon them, or any other excuse I could imagine to explain away my doubts.

I simply COULD NOT BELIEVE, and that's honestly the most accurate term I can think to to express the sentiment, that some weird stranger playing a flute on 9-11 in the middle of downtown Portland Maine, the very same dude that I had managed to befriend and even offered me shelter from the proverbial shit storm that my hipster-classmates sent my way, only thought of me as little more than a resource for the security of his operations. Why the fuck would someone do something like that? Why would a friendship fostered over for over two years be a sham?

Or maybe I'm just taking a small slight (and approximately $1000 worth of donations and books) a little too personally...

Part 4 will be the final installation of this tale.

1 comment:

  1. This 'Z' character is starting to remind me of TV preachers.