January 13th

Saturday afternoon, as I mentioned earlier, I spent time doing pre-ritual ritual. Some of the detail I am comfortable mentioning here is the cleansing. I picked a corner of my desk area that - literally - hadn't been cleaned up in the 3 1/2 years I've lived here. It's a corner desk, and sits behind my desk, so out of sight, out of mind, ya know? It still has the 'things to be done' checklist from my move-in pegged up on the cork board. That was the start of my cleansing. I reduced the stack of nonsense, 2 year old cable bills, empty pens, family photos, CD cases, the 2000 Mariners schedule [hell, the entire sports section from the day the schedule was published that year], and a whole lot more, all down to the wood of the desk under it. All the paper goods that I found and didn't file I put into the fireplace to fuel the heat of the day and be gone. I then put one or two neatly arranged items that I do need there on the desk and reclaimed the space to function.

That gesture in my environment done I took the longest and most thorough shower I've had in a long time, extra shampoo and rinse and mesh-ball scrubbing my entire body with Dr Bronners peppermint. I'll tell ya, for a good cleansing Dr Bronners Peppermint definitely makes you feel cleansed.

I begged Littleone's permission to use the living room and asked her to please not walk through the area I've got the candles around. She consented to grant me this boon, and I was able to successfully complete the process of preparing an amulet to wear in the ritual Sunday.

The alarm went off at 8am and Kevin called twenty minutes later as a back-up alarm clock. [K: "Good Morning!" P: "I've been up for twenty minutes and I'm done with my first cuppa coffee!"] He pulled in around 9, and we picked Stephanie up a few minutes later. and arrived at the Wet Spot in short order. The first person I saw was Vamp, sitting in a car waiting for us. More and more people arrived - my son Catsy and his primary partner Thea, James, Chloe, Annika, Derek, Sol, Troy, Elf and Omaha and more. The more folks arrived, the better I felt about the entire thing.

--- Editorial break of 72 hours, processing the ritual, talking about it with friends who were there, and getting over post ritual writer's block. I'm leaving the date above the 13th, the day of the ritual. Oh - and exactly what we were individually looking for, hoping for, the spiritual goals and so forth - those are personal, and I would never think to speak for Omaha anyhow. This is a description of the event. ---

It was comforting to have James doing the rigging, Stephanie opening and closing the ritual in a blend of native and Wiccan tradition, and Troy doing the piercing. Omaha had her husband Elf as her second, and I had Kevin and Vamp beside me. After stripping naked, and then a couple of comments to the assembled friends of what would happen here Omaha and I each retreated to a private room [she with Elf, I with Vamp]. Vamp and I did breathing exercises, some calming and relaxing exercises, chatted quietly and hugged. The hugging helped as much as the breathing and relaxing. She's heard me talk about needing more soft touch in my life, and she mothered me for a little bit to where I felt like a protected child walking back out to the main floor.

Sitting in chairs side by side, Elf at her left hand, Kevin at my right hand, and Vamp at my left hand, Troy and his assistant prepped both our chests. I noticed that Troy had pierced his cheeks with about 8" steel skewers, continuing a tradition that Al had begun in earlier pulls. He pierced Omaha first, 10ga fishhooks about 3" long and 1 1/2 across the hook. I was really glad to hear her roar some when she was pierced, as I did my usual roar!! on each needle, and felt in good company to have her make similar noise. Half my catharsis at times like this is realized when I'm first pierced and I let the beast out. Much of the energies I am releasing come out right there at the start. He pierced with a needle, and followed it through the skin with the fishhook, and in my case the first needle was the worst. I told Troy to hold a moment, as for the first time ever I'd had a body-shock hit me, like a wet finger in a light socket. After a few breaths I signalled him to continue and he did. Through the little ring on the top of each hook he threaded a loop of parachute line. James had put a hard point into the ceiling at the midpoint of the area, with a rope through and hanging down to a carabiner on either end. Troy threaded our loops of line through the 'biners and we were ready to go.

Now, Omaha is a dancer. She's long been a dancer, a talented and beautiful one at that, and it's a favorite way for her to express herself. Me, I used to be light on my feet. I have a hard time doing a clumsy soft shoe these days. She began to dance faster and more furious and I realized that I weighed twice her weight and if I was to dance with similar energy I'd pull her right off her feet, so I instinctively went into anchor mode. Grounded, I felt like a 100 year oak, deep roots and providing her something steadily grounded to pull against, at the same time flowing as much bear-like strength at her as I could. It feels really good to me - it feels ...right... - to be an anchor for someone, to give energy, to be strong when strong is needed. I moved some, but mostly to maintain my counter-balance to her, and then lean back into the rope to get that good burning sensation in my chest as the skin tented up against the steel.. The hook on my right chest had hit a vessel going in, and I had bright red blood cascading down my side, onto the floor, saturating my moccasins. It felt good. [I didn't know it til later but right about here Kevin was on the sidelines, one of the people drumming along with the music we had playing, and he felt himself trancing along with the drumming. That's a happy thing!]

All of a sudden I realized that Omaha had burst through to whatever point she needed to go to, and she was starting to walk in to the middle of the room. I walked in towards her as our time came close to an end. When we arrived in front of each other, I looked up through closed eyes into the light from the skylight, tensed briefly... ///// ************************************ ///// and after a timeless journey found myself coming back from the dark towards the light. I had no idea my body's puppet strings had been cut. I didn't know who I was, where I was, what I was doing, or who the people around me were, but I felt strangers [later I realized Omaha and Troy] supporting my sagging body in their arms, and I was telling the strangers "NO, NO, NO!!!" even before I knew who they were and what they were trying to do [direct me to a chair]. I stuck my feet solidly under my body, stood higher, and started to realize where and when and what I was doing. I was back then, and I knew with a comfortable certainty that I had now reached my own point of completion, that Omaha had reached just a moment before. We both retired to our chairs and Steph ended the circle that she had begun.

Many helping hands began sterilizing the floor, cleansing the blood off our bodies, touching us gently and comfortingly, as we sat back in the chairs and Troy removed the hooks to present to us. At my request Troy dipped two small pieces of leather in my blood - the leather from a hide Al had left me - and inserted them into a pair of vacutainer tubes I had labelled for Kevin and Vamp, for being there close for me. [I had given Troy, James, Steph, and Viktor tokens of appreciation for their participation.] Troy then had a hard time getting the bleeding to stop on my right chest. Wouldn't you know, the piercing on the left chest went right through the branding Al did for me in ritual some years back, and it was like the holes were protected. The right side, through virgin flesh, gushed. He finally got the bleeding stopped and Omaha and I circulated, almost like a schmooze, but actually both of us individually thanked each person who was there for their presence and contribution. There was a lingering, many folks sitting around, some in shock and some in tears and some in smiles. Eventually people began to trickle out.

So, which tshirt did I put on afterwards? The one I've got that says As a matter of fact, it DID hurt. I bled buckets, I cried for my mommy, and I saw a bright white light. That didn't last long though. As I was starting to dismantle the altar that so very many people had brought powerful objects and mementos of Al for, I felt a wetness, and looking down saw a blood saturation on my shirt the size of a dinner plate. I'd popped loose. Troy got some stuff and between several of us we got a maxi pad on my chest, with another rolled up pad on top of the bleeder for pressure and the whole thing held in place by a layered torso wrap of saran wrap. Unfortunately, I'd hemorrhaged all over my only two shirts I had so I had to ride home with Steph and Kevin with just my leather jacket on over the saran wrap. We decided to go out for a late greasy-spoon breakfast some other day. Kev dropped me back off at the house, where Littleone got me immediately reconnected with her whiney demands that I open a can. Sometimes she has no respect.

Long time will only tell what benefits I realize from this journey. For now, I know that I have a calm, a peace, a sense that whatever bad has happened recently I've put a punctuation point to. I know I have a community around me of friends, and that I have regained the spiritual strength and integrity I've always known was mine.

Life is good.

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