The Snake and the Butterfly

Has it really been five months since I last updated this blog?  Wow.  So much has changed, for the better.  I’ll do a longer update later today, but I’ve been composing this entry in my head for the last 45 minutes and I want to get it down before I lose it.  Sorry if this is a little disjointed.  My head’s all over the place at the moment.

In 2005 I went on Lamictal.  I’ve mentioned it here before.  It’s a mood stabilizer and anti-seizure drug.  I was on the maximum dosage from early 2006 until October 2016, as I wrote in my last post.  I’m now down to about half the dose I was taking.  And as I was driving home today, I got a sneaking suspicion that two things were correlated.  When I got back to my computer, I looked in my old journals to check same dates.  And my suspicion was proven correct.

I used to be very, very active on LiveJournal.  My old journal is still there.  I posted in 2005 about starting Lamictal, then the dose going up over the next few months.  A few weeks after I hit the maximum dosage I posted to LJ that I was quitting magick.

I used to be really, really into the occult.  A chaos mage, using Thelema as my primary framework, but with a handful of other techniques and theories thrown in.  I got interested around puberty.  By the time I hit legal drinking age, I was doing something magickal at least daily, even just 10 minute meditation-type rituals.  I kept it up until I was 30.  Which was 2006.

A couple of months ago, after I reached a lower dosage of the drug, I found myself dusting off my old collection of magick books.  Charging sigils.  Reading new books on the subject.  Talking to old friends who told me privately that yes, they still believe.  Not really practicing myself, but the intent was there.  Then last week I met a Thelemite, and my budding friendship with her seems like the exact right thing at the exact right time.  So yeah, magick.

There are two ways to look at the Lamictal correlation.  From a skeptic’s point of view, the medication gave me clarity and it’s dimming with my dosage decrease.  From a mage’s perspective, the drug dimmed the clarity I already had.  At the moment I feel like reality is overlapping layers, like transparencies on a projector: the objective and the subjective.  They line up almost perfectly, but it’s still uncomfortable to look at.  (Not literally look at.  I’m not seeing things.  It’s just a simile.)

There’s a maxim in chaos magick that says it doesn’t matter why something works, so long as it does work.  For example: if I do a working to get myself a job, and I get a job quickly, it worked.  It doesn’t matter whether it worked for esoteric reasons or because doing the working gave me the confidence to apply for something I normally wouldn’t have tried for.  It still worked.  So I think I’m going to take that approach.  Augmenting reality, not replacing it.

What started this train of thought was something strange that happened on a bike ride this morning.  My friend K and I were riding through the woods on a paved trail.  She asked me if I’d ever seen any snakes out there.  I never had.  Suddenly there was one right next to my front tire.  I didn’t hit it.  It was long, thin, green and silver lengthwise stripes.  K checked to make sure it was alive.  It was.  It was just sunning itself on the asphalt, totally chill.

We started riding again.  She joked that she’d summoned it by talking about snakes.  I said if we were going to summon animals, we should try for butterflies or–

My sentence was cut off by a butterfly swooping down to fly right between us.  Two more landed on the trail before us.

It was a really weird moment for both of us.  We laughed, said we were magic, joking around.  But there seemed to be something in that strange second when the butterfly flitted between our handlebars.  Magick.  Even if it’s all in my head, it still feels beautiful.

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