1: I chose that day to wear my Three Keyboard Cat Moon shirt. Although I did not achieve spiritual enlightenment, I did procure the following unsolicited testimonial: "The 3-Wolf Moon T-shirt is only surpassed in manliness by Keyboard Cat. There are women in other rooms who are wet right now due to the awesome manliness of that T-shirt." I don't remember much of the rest of that night, only that I woke up the next morning in a hotel room with two women and a hangover ... wearing a wedding ring.
2: Notes toward the guiding principles of the spirit work I practice -- what one person suggested I call "dragon shamanism" (though I think I agree with the other friend who said the name treads too far into cultural appropriation):
Principle 1: Have friends. Not helpers or guides. Friends.
Principle 1a: Make friends. Don't summon ... welcome.
(Note: Cons, esp. pagan cons that put out huge levels of the right kinds of energy, are great places to cruise and/or network and/or find new friends to invite home.)
Principle 1b: Treat them like friends.
3: I attended the Visceral Magic panel (watch for the upcoming book from Pendraig Publishing). A few choice tidbits from my notes: "To escape a nightmare, look for the END of the story. Escape at the exit, not through the side." And a trick that can allegedly induce a short-term (1/2-hour) state of dissociation/magical perception: Put essential oil of clarey sage (specifically clarey sage, which "smells like cold wet tea bags") on your left wrist pulse point, under your left nostril, and on your left temple. (This sends the intuitive side of your brain into overdrive; he says you can get the same effect by putting frankincense oil in the same places on the right side of your body, which lulls the intellectual side into sleep.) No idea whether this works, but it's cheap, legal, basically safe, and worth a try.
4: I attended the Sandman reconstructionist ritual put on by the Discordians. It was a ha-ha-only-serious performance ritual with a retelling of a major arc of the Sandman comic books, capped off by summoning the spirit of the character Destruction.
I'm going to expand on this one. Bear with me -- because there is a punchline, and it is worth it.
The room was a small island of concentrated mayhem, which was only to be expected -- Discordia is about the celebration of chaos, and everyone was correspondingly doing their own thing. (My thing was to largely sit back quietly and take in the ritual, because I was curious as to how it would go. The thing of the woman on my right was to sort-of pay attention in the manner of a bored 5-year-old, and occasionally overtalk the ritual leaders in a manner that made it difficult for me to do my thing. Eris forgive me my impatience.)
The Sandman comics focus on a group of beings called The Endless -- seven siblings who embody natural forces, whose names all start with D, and who are older and more powerful than the gods. In the comics, Destruction walked away from his post -- causing destruction in the universe to become less directed and meaningful. During the comic series, Delirium tried to find Destruction again and bring him back -- roping some of her siblings into helping, and ultimately locating him again.
We started off by summoning Delirium by blowing bubbles and blowing into "sacred noisemakers"; she arrived and moped about her brother Destruction being missing -- some time ago he had abdicated his duties. She helped us summon Dream (by all feigning sleep) and Death (by popping black balloons: "vessels of our last breath"), and the three of them asked around the audience if anyone had seen Destruction or any of the leads that should have taken us to him. Finally, we were all asked to create a Destruction sigil (crafts time! Construction paper and crayons!), and to tear it in half as an act of destruction to help summon him.
At that point, Destruction -- who had been quietly sitting in the back of the room all along, participating in the ritual with the rest of us, leapt to his feet in disgust. "I'm here already!" he yelled, cranky at all the effort being undertaken to find him -- and grudgingly answered the question of why he had left his post. Humans are too good at destruction already, he said, and don't need his help. But what his supervision was doing was removing human responsibility from the act of destruction: if he was guiding human hands from behind the scenes, then the destruction humanity was causing wasn't really their fault. When he refused to assist in that process, the responsibility was laid on humanity -- where it belonged. He then told us to take home our half of the Destruction sigil as a reminder of the responsibility and the power we all possess.
It was exactly what I needed at the time: pop magick done seriously and presented well, in a setting where there was no expectation of the crowd taking anything at face value, and everyone was free to decide exactly how much they wanted to take out of it. There was a nice, affirming takeaway message, and -- as I found out afterwards -- a hilarious demonstration of the power of creative destruction.
You see, in the next room over, there's a Goetic demon evocation taking place.
The summoner has gone through about half an hour of meticulous preparation and explanation, and is halfway through drawing the evocation circle. Evocation is Serious Business. Every mark has to be perfect, every line complete, before the demon can --
-- and the darkened room full of onlookers suddenly hears the muffled voice of Destruction shouting through the wall: "I'm here already!"
As one, the room stops dead.
Then bursts into helpless, relieved laughter.
(Discordians 1. Demons 0.)