“We’re done. Just let it be done.” It is finished.
The Christian story is the story of rational law being wielded as a club, and this being transcended by grace. It is the story of how an entire planet learned to love, instead of trying to beat the house. But there is a side of the story people miss.
Well, two sides. Evening and morning, the first day. Annunciation and Good Friday, the only day. Genesis and Revelation, the last day. Two sides, one man, one hero in one story.
But what modern readers of the Gospel, all of them, miss is this…this constant struggle to define Jesus the Christ as something other than the Man Yeshua. The disciples want people to understand he’s the One, sure…to take the red pill and awaken to a new awareness. We get that.
“Feed my sheep.” I just want someone to go bowling and eat pizza and be my wife. I don’t want this existential bullshit back and forth.
But the difference between Apostle and Pharisee is not blindness and sight, mind and heart, but which eyes you’re using. Our greatest heroes are someone else’s traitors. Roles are defined by words, which is another way of saying that roles don’t exist. Only power exists.
We miss the part where the Pharisees needed his role as the Messiah to be valid. Everyone had heard of the Jewish Messiah. There were a thousand false claimants. To force him into an admission that he believed he was the Messiah was to force him into a box.
And as darkness falls on Good Friday, this is where the story takes a turn. We have spoken of a man and his relations with the sacred spiked club of power, the mockery of the thursus the King wields. Now we speak of the cup of joy and Communion. Now we speak of secret covenants New and Everlasting (good to the last drop!) and of women (the best part of waking up…)
In the religion of Thelema, the mystical experience of Gethsemane is represented by the Abyss, the Cross and its atonement by Babalon, the Sacred Whore. There is the same problem in mystical Christianity…the reckoning and resolution of the conditions of matter. This shit sucks. It hurts. I have a bipolar mind. It is caused by a warp in the structure of my ordinary mental function. I don’t say “brain chemistry”, but that may be part of it. I think it’s related to cultural double binds and familial experiences, to the state we call genius, although I’d put just as much money as I would on brain chemistry imbalance. Point is, Eden is fallen. Eve is a whore, Adam is a dick, they’re naked and they can’t go home without each other.
JUST get to the FUCKing point ALREADY
The text is the phallus. Words define the problem. Riddles can be masks, but they can invite their own solutions. This is basic mysticism. Power and love are joined at the hip to words and thoughts. Eden is a briar patch and we are naked and afraid. The solution, to one who is barely awake…is to fall in love with the game. You realize your own faults and your own potential because you’ve realized the game. The circle defines the point, the point defines the circle. The words define the problem, the problem defines the words. Obviously, there is no problem. The problem is merely a game, seen by people hung up on propositions and Name-Forms and the idea that words are things. You love words. You would fuck a bowl of alphabet soup, dawg. Verily, thy speech is phat like the beats of Babylon…
This is adepthood. The wine of fornication is sweet. Power and knowledge are yours, a ring hanging around your neck and the hammer next to it. You are the storm. The earth is fertilized by your…it can’t be bullshit! Words are how you create reality! They’re your passion, your trade!
Words are things, you see. Stories are greater things than we shall ever be. They inspire us. Words are our gods. We build propositional concepts out of words. Gods, cultures, arcs, stories, god complexes. Everyone has seen a movie where a young man sets out to seek his fortune and meets a woman, is harmed by an enemy, and narrowly avoids succumbing to a God Complex, which would have lost him the woman and made him a slave to evil…then defeats the evil. Probably with some bullshit device like a word of power, a magick sword, or realizing what hurt the evil person and made them evil.
OH NO NOT THE BRIAR PATCH
But you like it there so much, you piece of shit!
We couldn’t really define the story without the words. What is a young man? What is a fortune? What is a woman, an enemy, evil? What is setting out? What is harm? Succumb, slave? What is narrowly? What string of characters can easily express our pain and the evil that besets us, the heroism that springs from within us, the relationship between good and evil, love and power?
So the adept is drunk on the power of words. Why? Because he knows the words of power. Words can’t hurt anyone so potently self-actualized. I had to work for that self-actualization, the realization that concepts have real, painful effects but that they can be transcended by treating the concepts as straw dogs. I was even beginning to believe in bloodlines and gifts of power. My level of understanding, the depth of my knowledge and the craftsmanship with which I could put two totally disparate ideas together and create a new insight, a synthesis of world and God, love under will, was becoming incalculably orgasmic. I was so sure of my creative abilities that no concept could hurt me, and everything was true. I still am. It’s remarkable. Wonderful. But I missed something. If it’s all a glorious game of Words With Friends, and there is no enemy, and the only thing that can enforce a proposition is Will…and Will is not interchanged into Love…then the only thing that matters is power. Creation is null. The text is the phallus, and this is either virility or a prison. I understood everything. There were no more stories to discover. No new oceans. There were no unknown technologies. I was an engineer. What was undiscovered in 2011 was now a barren waste, what seemed impossible unless you know how was simply a matter of creative implementation. There was no need to enjoy the ride when I could reach destinations with such competency. It wasn’t that I wanted to stop exploring…it was that exploration was now easy, and doubly fun.
This is so insightful, you say! So amazing! You are operating at a level most humans never reach, Jon! Surely this is not about to become about a girl…
That would be cliche. Actually, I thought she was. Her name is Eowyn Langholf. Her middle name is Katherina. She is literally named after the Taming of the Shrew and the Two Towers. She is an adoptee, a Mormon. She had an experience that can be defined by words as a crisis conversion, and she had another bowl of alphabet soup that’s too long to type here, but she’s close to her dad, she’s a military brat…she’s a Hispanic named Eowyn Langholf…she seemed so easy to solve. A character in search of an author, I thought. A lightbulb went on. Bitches love stories. I’ll write that bitch a story!
Jack Parsons once wrote to Marjorie Cameron that the tarot is an arcana of our myths as a people,.a tool to know one’s self as God. It is far more than just another tool to determine when and where the tall, dark stranger will meet the pretty farm maid. This was rich, given that he had constructed his reality as a romance game in which she was Babalon. She was to serve as a vessel for the incarnation of a New Aeon. He would tell her what to do to bring it about, teach her the art of magick. She probably tried to teach him the magick of art. But the tall dark stranger thought himself the Antichrist…his hopes were bound up in romance becoming something greater. She, messiah! She, redemptrix!
Well, I said, looking at Eowyn, I’d never do that. I’m not a beta cuck like Jack Parsons. I don’t need saving, and I don’t want any woman that needs saving. She doesn’t need saving! She just has to understand who she is and her natural destiny will, like Sophia remembering who she is, fall into place!
Oh, Samael, you proud little fuck. Haha.
That was three years ago. I have of course moved on, after it blew up in my face and I realized that’s not how you treat people you love. Adepthood! Drunk on competence! I can spell so good I’m not afeerd of tpying liek dis!!!!111!one! lol! I’m so smart I can look down on idiots who are too smart for TV and pro sports! I am so unafraid of intellectual rigor I can be a Thelemite, reactionary and Mormon all at once! And…let’s try Eowyn again. Let’s fall in love with her one last time and prove we’re worth it.
There is so much more backstory I could not print it all. The idea that names reduce to numbers played a huge part, and so did my recent realization that the numbers a person finds personally synchronous are far more important than the numbers a name reduces to. Gematria is madness. Love is nothing more than a rocket equation…well, it was a start. The thrust I gained from choosing to treat her version of reality as valid for her, for us, was immense. The ride a thrill. It literally could not get better. I was beginning to realize that our miscommunications were my fault. I had imagined ghost lovers that were not there. There was no story to liberate her from. She knew better than I did how names do not correspond to things. Film noir and Dickens do not correspond to life stories. Tropes are not personal traumas, battle themes are not heartbreak, victorious montages are not the birth of anyone’s children.
There was no box. But I had suffered inside the box I thought she was in before. I could not escape it. There was legitimate hurt, legitimate pride. I’m not pretending she had no part in the grand miscommunication, I said. It’s just that the Shrew Who Was No Man had hurt me, the turncoat against her own creative spark living in her own story…that was the one who had miscommunicated. I would begin to ignore that story, that imagined version…I would forge on.
There have been several serious incidents between us since then. Every time, I assume that I have inadvertently reacted to Storywyn, and I have this flash…because you see, we’re all stories in the end and mythic word-runes are the only truth…I return to the face of the boy who was hurt and react accordingly. I am living in a shadow world of my own projections. Even the Eowyn I know now has been a story. I am older, wiser. My stories do not match reality. Reality does not really exist. It is a truth agreed on. My stories are miswired. There is a difference.
This is the Protestant understanding of Christianity. I am better than that. But accidentally, we recapitulate all stories of all kinds, knit into our fabric as they are. CS Lewis claimed Christ was a true myth. More nuanced critics realize that Christ is a compelling literary character, possibly the most compelling ever written. I’m not sure these folk know Christ any better than I know Eowyn. He did not incarnate to become a story. He incarnated to tell us that if it is all story, then nothing has to be. If it is all story, full stop, stories become games. Games have winners. Texts are phalluses, wands, spells. Winners know all the best stories. Jon can marry Eowyn, we can make America great again. Little Red Riding Hood will know the Wolf has her best interests at heart. Stan Pines will tell a compelling story. Dipper will meet the Author, marry Wendy.
“Happily ever after” is still a goal, dipshit. There are still losers, winners, propositions…the veil of the temple is a kid’s Superman cape, but it still exists. Christ incarnate hangs on the cross, confident he will win because this is how the story ends.If you know endings, there is no anguish, no suffering. But the suffering is the point of the Cross!
This is what happens after adepthood. The Abyss. The problem, you see, is that I have inadvertently spent three paragraphs not getting to my point, because my point is so hard to understand I could not even phrase it easily to myself. Real truth doesn’t fit into language, into stories…not easily, not fully. I didn’t know her without the story. I knew this. She has told me this for years. I haven’t explained why the story exists…but stories come from the tension between hurt and new beginnings. Annunciation and Good Friday. So if I rightly reject any relationship between the character and the person, I am left with no model to explain the things that the story told me. Galatians 3:23 tells us that before the coming of Faith, the Easter Dawn, we operated by law. Why? Law is reason, law explains, law guides. Faith is the right word here. In a world where dead men walk, we know nothing. There is nothing to explain.
Knowing, then, is impossible but necessary. The lack of story is frightening, and deathly so. Take away a wizard’s story, make him love…only his own failure can hurt him. I have been so upset with her but what I could never tell her was that the silence in heaven, the darkness at noon, was my fear that my God had forsaken me. Not that she had hurt me. Like I said, my brain is all fucked up. I have not helped that by being too smart for myself. The Abyss defies words. It makes us realize the only one in here is us. That hurts. Knowing your meatshell and brain are just borked all to shit isn’t helpful there.
But being loved just as you are does. And she does that. I’ve been so busy processing my old opinions into the new beginning that I have forgotten things I wish I’d known. She’s obviously been hurt, and my garden of love has been so choked with thorns that I still don’t know how or why. But it happened the last time we were close, or near it. I am afraid of what that means. Have I hurt her doubly, as I did recently over the stupidest fears, Choronzon convincing me that everything she said had secret meanings…projecting my story where I’m afraid of myself onto her? How could I tell stories about someone who shows such love to someone so hurtful? How could I act as if I knew she loved me, but the pain of fearing she secretly doesn’t would go away if only she said it out loud? what will words do to ease a heart that love has already lifted? what was I thinking?
She thinks I don’t know the real her. She’s right. But I know how the real her interacts with me, and I know why. I can see how her wind moves through my hedgerow, bustling as it goes. This is enough, I believe. But when I act on knowledge rather than faith, I destroy that link. Eternal links of such incredible power are tenuous and fleeting. They exist in mere moments, point to point gossamers between the fae realm and human hearts. this is why on days like today we remember. Because memory and knowledge hold us up when we’re not merely imagining the truth into being. Love is transformed into Will.
We are crucified on our own stories, which we build as skilled carpenters. Our hearts and minds and bodies become parables of divine grace. To impede that love is to believe we can write ourselves out of a hole. If we try to write ourselves out of a hole…we dig the hole deeper. The pen and the sword are the same implement. When they are used to end silence, only silence answers.
The plowshare, then, is also not enough. Only the sunrise can end the Abyss’ hold, which is enforced by Because. This is the Day-of-Be-With-Us. Good Friday is good. It’s when the cliffhanger ending makes us realize the stories we tell ourselves are harmful.
I have faith that by Easter the person I want to share my story with will return to me. I have faith because the Law tells me I know damn well what I deserve. I’m a fucking asshole. I’m too smart for my own good, and such a torrent of speech can only be answered by endless silence. I am done with creative blocks. I am done thinking Eowyn Langholf is motivated by past trauma, that her pride keeps us from true knowing. I don’t know why this story exists. Probably one of those things where when you’re running from slavery, some guy goes on a mountain and talks to God…and then you don’t eat shrimp or let people have their own stories because that’s what you do. No other reason. (Either that or I’m an author…the characters I love to write are the biggest parts of me. Ribs, kinda.)
I renounce the protagonist’s burden. May 323 honor my prayer of humility.
May we not be above stories, but embody them fully to transcend them. May the pain this causes us give us stories worth telling.
For in the end it is Middle-earth and its dwellers that we love, not Tolkien’s considerable gifts in showing it to us. I said once that the world he charts was there long before him, and I still believe it. He is a great enough magician to tap our most common nightmares, daydreams and twilight fancies, but he never invented them either: he found them a place to live, a green alternative to each day’s madness here in a poisoned world. We are raised to honor all the wrong explorers and discoverers — thieves planting flags, murderers carrying crosses. Let us at last praise the colonizers of dreams.
— Peter S. Beagle
14 July 1973