Saturday, October 11, 2014

Of Crystal Skulls and Ouija Boards Part III

“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” 
~William Shakespeare

When you are in the psychic business, weird shit happens all the time. I am regularly spooked by myself and others, although I have trained my facial expressions to be calm and neutral. Clients often ask with a wink if I play poker, assuming that the supernatural combination of clairvoyant knowing and inscrutability would provide me with everything I need to win million-dollar tournaments. I suppose I could give it a try, but my aversion to card games has deep roots in early childhood when my insane grandmother, Alice would pull me to her side during Canasta marathons and attempt to teach me the rules from a cloud of cigarette smoke. My nervous attention was drawn more to the ash of her cigarette which would grow to incredible lengths before falling into her lap where it would burn little circles of melted polyester or onto the carpet where the dog would come to lick it up and then sneeze spasmodically. When it became clear that I had no aptitude for cards, she put me to work fetching cocktails and chocolate covered peanuts for everyone at the table.

Since that time, well-intentioned folks have tried without success to teach me various card games which hold no appeal for me. I have been to Las Vegas a few times and tried my luck at the slot machines, but to no avail. Except for dining at some questionable Mexican restaurants, I'm simply not a gambler.

Back to the weird shit.

Tales from the crypt

I'm rather neutral about the undead. The stories told by Stephen King, Anne Rice and Dean Koontz entertained me in my youth, I was undaunted by the zombie apocalypse craze and never pledged allegiance to either Team Edward or Team Jacob.

Perhaps it was my nonjudgmental attitude that made my service attractive to fringe dwellers and alternative lifestyle advocates; I truly do not harbor animosity about any group or belief system (of course I laugh at the outrageous antics I hear about in sessions the same way that I laugh at myself when I drop an open carton of eggs in the grocery store or choke on my own spit during a wedding ceremony). Maybe it was just a cosmic joke test to see how compassionate and accepting I am, but a few years ago, several new clients called for sessions and through the course of our discussions, revealed themselves to be practicing vampires, werewolves and witches.

Case #1
Client named Disturbia* begins our telephone session by informing me that she is a vampire/werewolf hybrid and that if I am afraid of those kinds of things, we should not work together. Boom. There it is. Out of the coffin in the first thirty seconds of our call. I assure Disturbia that I can handle whatever it is she wants to talk about and her defensive energy calms immediately. I learn that Disturbia is an assistant manager at an Applebee's restaurant in the Midwest and for the most part, leads a fairly ordinary life during daylight hours. We talk about her challenges with certain employees at work, an upcoming vacation to Disney World and the breast augmentation surgery she is considering. It's all very mundane, but forty minutes into our session, the conversation takes a weird turn when Disturbia tells me that she has been feeling uncontrollable urges during the full moon to prowl around the woods at night hunting and eating small animals. She feels as though she is "becoming" more of a werewolf and is wondering what the future looks like should she pursue this path. I ask about her childhood and she tells me that she was adopted from an orphanage by an older couple who are now both dead ("of natural causes", she is quick to add). The upshot of our session is that Disturbia is considering leaving her human life behind to join a community of hybrids who roam the backwoods, sleep in caves during the day and hunt forest animals at night. She is attracted to one fellow in particular who is more of a vampire, but she's certain that they can work out their cultural differences in time, and she can sway him towards the way of the werewolf. At this point, though, Disturbia is not quite ready to abandon her familiar routines, so we explore some less-exotic potentials and she seems confident about going ahead with the double D implants. 

Case #2
New client by the name of Leandro* arrives for his appointment dressed completely in black, sporting the arrogant goatee and fedora costume that is unfortunately popular these days. When combined with painfully snug jeggings and opaque gothic sunglasses, I realize that I am in for an...interesting...hour.  (Larry David once commented that blind people and assholes wear sunglasses inside. Leandro is definitely not blind, so that's a pretty good indicator of what awaits.) When he pulls a comically long black vapor cigarette out of his vest pocket, I draw the line on the pretentious affectations and ask him to refrain during our session. He says nothing, but slowly puts the cigarette back in his pocket and crosses his legs. I can't see his eyes because the stupid glasses are still on, but I get the distinct feeling that Leandro is already unhappy with me and my "rules".

With an exhausted sigh, the Grim Reaper begins talking about himself and how much he hates this world we live in. It's so fake. It's full of morons and liars. People are afraid of their dark side. The government is a joke and Obama is an animatronic replicant sent from the future to kill us all. When I attempt to speed up his peevish monologue by asking how I can be of help, Leandro discloses that he is the leader of a local vampire community and that he wishes to write a book about the "real vampires" in the world as opposed to "that Twilight shit" that most people believe. Warming to his subject, Leandro begins to share details of the rituals he and his cohorts enjoy, including the consumption of human blood (cutting, not biting, I learn) as part of the nightly group sexual frenzy over which he presides (I imagine sweaty, bloody bodies thrashing around on a black shag rug while Haunted Mansion organ music plays from someone's iPod).

As he drones on about the cutting and blood-letting protocols (I gather that a feeble human like me can only consume one ounce of pure blood before vomiting, but a Real Vampire such as Leandro has a much higher tolerance and is therefore a Superior Being), I am more than ready to ask him to leave. How the Prince of Darkness found me and why he would seek my counsel is a mystery, but here we are. Sensing the shift in my energy, he stops himself mid-sentence and a silence fills the room. As if on cue, Leandro begins crying and produces a black silk handkerchief from his pocket to wipe his tears and blow his nose.

What sort of fuckery is this?

Through his tears, Leandro confides that the responsibilities of community leadership are weighing heavily on him and that he simply cannot keep up with the demands (no elaboration, thank God) that are being placed on him by the clan. I attempt to shift the energy of the conversation by asking if he is writing about his experiences as a precursor to the book he has envisioned and the tears abruptly stop. And then this:

Leandro: "Do you think I'm fucking stupid?"
Me: "No...just wondering if you had an outlet for the emotions you're feeling."
Leandro (with withering contempt): "My 'outlet' is perfecting the art of black magic and genuine vampirism."

I now have a mental image of Leandro busying himself during daylight hours rigging up and refining an elaborate torture camp in a dank basement where hapless delivery people, innocent children walking home from school and Jehovah's Witness peddlers are lured to their doom. My next thoughts go something like this:

1. Get this miscreant out of my living room.
2. Fumigate house.
3. Establish a more rigid screening process.
3. Change my name and move out of state.

I have had root canals that were more pleasant than this half hour. I give Leandro my standard speech letting him know that I cannot be of help to him at this time and the upstairs smoke alarm starts screeching. Leandro touches his index finger to his cheek displaying a huge ruby-eyed devil ring while arching an eyebrow as if to say that I should proceed with caution or worse things will happen.

Oh, it's like that, motherfucker?

I can clearly see the outline of his cramped gonads through the skin tight jeggings and imagine myself delivering a well-placed kick to the nut sack if it comes down to it. Even a vampire can be temporarily disabled by excruciating pain, and seeing as how I probably outweigh the delicately-framed Leandro by seventy five pounds, I might have an opportunity to actually do some damage and prevent him from polluting the world with his future offspring.

But before I have a chance to cripple this jackass, there is a loud knock on the front door. It's the brawny neighbor from the adjoining townhouse checking in to see if everything's okay since he can distinctly hear my smoke alarm and is concerned that the entire complex is about to burst into flames.

Leandro chooses to exit the house after the neighbor, not bothering to say goodbye or wish me a good day. As he speeds away on his flashy black Ninja motorcycle I wonder who's been running Hell while he was here contaminating my couch.

Case #3
I can trace most of my decisions to participate in group events back to a toxic combination of being a compulsive people-pleaser and not having the mature self-confidence to just say no. It's certainly an indicator of mushy boundaries established in childhood when my mother would deliver passive-aggressive emotional punishment if I dared to challenge her or refuse to participate in the things she thought I should be doing. It was not unusual to find her weeping in her room after a disagreement, and when asked what was wrong, to hear that I had "disappointed" her and/or "broken her heart" which was dramatically out of proportion to the situation (not wanting to attend a birthday party for a snotty girl I hated or refusing to join a church group for teens who needed to know more about the sacrifices Our Lord made for the sins we may be thinking of committing in the back seat of someone's car). Then there were her epic silent treatments that would last for days, punctuated only by tears and murmuring to no one in particular, "to whom much is given, much will be expected" while trying to establish eye contact with the framed portrait of Jesus hanging in the dining room.

What horrific karmic injustice must I have committed to be doing hard time with Carrie's mother as a cellmate?

Here we go again. I have been invited to a gathering of women for a "Drawing Down the Moon" ceremony which is not fully explained to me initially, nor do I have the presence of mind to ask for details before agreeing to attend. I imagine that it must have something to do with menstrual cycles, and as I am driving to the event, I'm already cooking up an exit strategy and kicking myself for saying yes in the first place.

I arrive at the house where the moon magic is set to occur and calm my nerves by noticing the attractive landscaping and fountain in the front yard. Nothing bad could happen here! She even has a pretty heart wreath on the door! This is going to be just fine! (Note to self: invest in anxiety meds if group meetings are going to continue.)

The woman who invited me answers the door dressed in a black gown under a purple velvet hooded robe which I pretend to admire. "I got it on Etsy," she chirps as I am ushered into her home lit only by clusters of candles and resembling a Moroccan Pottery Barn. Other women are already here, and right away I see that I am woefully under dressed for this hoodoo extravaganza. Capes and robes in somber colors are worn by all but a few of us, and I observe pentagrams everywhere in the form of tattoos, jewelry and hair ornaments.

It turns out that these are serious Wicca practitioners and this is a solemn ritual in which the Goddess energy will be invoked through a High Priestess named Fortuna*. Gone are my notions about this being a silly slumber party with everyone telling period jokes and giggling at the penis-shaped ice cubes in our drinks. Nope. There is some legitimate sorcery happening here, and I begin to worry that Fortuna plans to summon a demon with essential oils and candle wax.

We are asked to remove our shoes and step outside onto the patio where we gather in a circle under the full moon. Most of the women are really into it, and I see that some are already crying, others are holding hands, swaying and om-ing various tones. Fortuna stands in the middle of the circle, raises her arms above her head (I note that she is not wasting any of her hard-earned cash on razors and shaving cream) and begins to invoke mystical entities I've never heard of, but everyone else is nodding and smiling about.

Some other weird shit gets chanted and repeated, but I'm not paying much attention because of three intense distractions:

1. The urgent need to pee
2. Next door neighbor looking over the fence and making the devil horn sign with his hands. Moments later, Black Sabbath is blasting from his stereo and a dog begins barking frantically
3. One of the women has taken off her robe and is standing naked in the moonlight while her friend (?) whirls around her waving a huge feather.

When the ceremony shifts gears into free-form dancing, stripping and singing, I seize the opportunity to slip back into the house to find the bathroom. While sitting on the toilet wondering how long I can hide, I glance around the room and notice a collection of sinister-looking gynecological instruments from the Victorian era displayed on a dusty glass shelf and surmise that no men will ever live here. With death metal blasting, dogs barking and twelve women singing in unison, I understand that I have blundered yet again into a place I don't belong.

Someone knocks on the bathroom door and I realize I must give up my hiding spot to mingle with the moonlight merrymakers who are now back in the house excitedly babbling about the powerful spirits who were part of tonight's ceremony. One of the women swears she saw an elf by the palm tree and another says that the neighbor's music actually gave her the courage to be naked in front of other women for the first time ever.

I casually saunter over to the refreshment table and begin chatting with a young woman who shares that this is her first Wiccan moon ceremony after being shunned by her vampire community three weeks ago. As she picks the nuts off of a vegan brownie, she tells me that her name is Thana* which means "death" in vampire clan-speak, but that she is waiting for Fortuna to bless her with her new Wicca name as soon as it comes to her in a dream. I nod and act as though this is all very ordinary while trying not to stare at the nipples of one of the naked women who went a little crazy with the piercing gun.

The woman who invited me comes over to ask what I thought about the ceremony. I tell her that it seemed to be a powerful experience for most of the women, but that I didn't think it was my cup of tea. She gives me a dreamy smile as I continue stuffing my face with bean dip and shooing the standard-issue black cat off the snack table.

When Fortuna strikes a large metal gong and announces that we will now be making magical dolls to ward off hexes and curses, I decide to thank the hostess for a lovely evening and take my leave. Nobody seems to care that I am bowing out of the second half of the full moon festivities, and I feel extreme relief as I walk to my car knowing that I escaped being jumped into a witch gang tonight. I am positive that the Daughters of the Night will get along just fine without me.

Session Smidgens

~Client believes that all ancient artifacts in Egypt are part of a movie set the aliens left behind after filming a documentary.

~Client's grandfather eats at Chinese buffet and dies of food poisoning, later communicates with her through the Ouija board about her boyfriends.

~Client believes Al Roker is the incarnation of Satan and is actually controlling the weather in the United States so he will have something dramatic to report.

~Client asks if I would babysit her enormous crystal collection at my house while she goes out of town. She instructs that I must talk and sing to the crystals every day, and if at all possible, refrain from scheduling sessions with unhappy people.

~Client brings new Ouija board to our session for me to "bless", asks that I receive messages and spell out names of spirit guides through the board only to "get it working".

*Not their real fake names

1 comment:

  1. I am truly speechless, what a bizarre species we are, capable of so many personas!