Sometimes the night was beautiful
Sometimes the sky was so far away
Sometimes it seemed to stoop so close
You could touch it but your heart would break…
May is my month. I was born in it and I think it’s maybe likely that I will die in it. And this particular May has chosen itself to be special in my life; at the end of the month I will begin hormone replacement therapy.
Lately I’ve also begun a more robust set of magical practices and we are living in a house on beautiful land that a year ago we barely dreamed might be possible. I largely attribute this to an incredibly successful sigil-working which I named “Kevin”(I don’t honestly know why). We are now in a rural enough area that part of the property is largely invisible to the only neighbors who might see it so long as it remains dark.
Not coincidentally it seems, that part of the yard had managed at some point to grow a rough ring of trees around it, so I’ve done some things in it to make it into our very own little “magical grove”. Perhaps also not coincidentally, just a day or two after I finalized my consecration of it, an acquaintance offered to send me a copy of Gordon White’s “Chaos Protocols” which, as a paying-member of his Rune Soup group, I’ve been feeling rather behind having not actually read.
Also I’ve been having various “coincidences” and other imaginary correlations pointing me in the direction of performing the “Headless Rite” for a few months now. The book arrived just a few days before the 1st of May. Just in time for Beltane or whatever else you choose to call May-day, which is commonly thought of as a time of thin borders between the spirit-world and our perceived “real” world.
Also also, I’d recently come across and been taken with the idea of trying out the idea of a month of ecstatic, meditative dance thanks to another acquaintance/connection from the same group.
In my mind these all correlated to an idea spawning and being decided fairly quickly after I received the book: I would perform a month-long fast and ritual, culminating with my beginning hormone-therapy on the 31st. A ritual and spiritual process of transformation preceding the beginning of my physical transformation. A liminal experience that would lead to a liminal physical reality.
As with many things magical, the process “began” working and building inside of me as soon as I made the decision to do it. That night I had an extremely vivid dream, which is rare in itself for me regardless; I only occasionally recall having dreamt at all during the night, maybe once every couple of weeks, and actually memorable ones only come to me a handful of times a year at best. I’ve only had dreams this vivid perhaps a dozen times in my life.
The content was also of particular note: I’ve been considering beginning a process of magical communion with my ancestors; in this dream I was spoken to by an ancestor. My mother’s father’s mother came and “woke me briefly” to speak to me at some length about her husband(my great grandfather). She told me about their relationship as well as his ancestry and revealing that he had covered up his native-heritage. According to my dream-great-grandmother, his mother had been a “Sioux-woman” taken as the wife of my twice-great-grandfather as a sort of trade or something for services rendered(she was a bit fuzzy on the circumstances) and it was tolerated in the rural southern-Iowa community they lived in because of his influence, although it was seen by most of them as somewhat beneath him. This would have been in the 1870’s probably. I’ve done some research and she would have most likely been Dakota or Yankton. Their son apparently managed through some help from his locally influential father and through intense civic-service beginning during his later school-years to avoid being labeled as “Indian” on census and other official paperwork, effectively “passing white”. In the dream I was shown several faded photographs of him and read me letters that he sent to her and to other people which she had retained, some of which mentioned this, and a few newspaper clippings related to his work in various social-clubs and playing in a community marching-band.
This was an intense beginning. I don’t think this means in any way that it would be acceptable for me to claim Native American heritage(culturally I’m definitely white) but if I am to properly honor my ancestors this information, and particularly having made contact with this woman(who’s personal history, incidentally, I know almost nothing of, other than seeing the picture of her that my mother has) is an important piece of the puzzle! Obviously I need to do a bit of genealogical work!
I continued to have semi-memorable dreams and actually have continuously since that night, which is a thankful relief to me(I’ve always felt vaguely left-out of the whole experience when people talk about them, since I have them so rarely).
On May 1st I performed the Headless Rite proper. It was chilly and I wore my spouse’s hooded-cloak, carried a purple candle, and the book for reference, and wore a headband of plain white with the words AŌTH ABRAŌTH BASYM ISAK SABAŌTH IAŌ written on it in black.
The ritual went as planned; I won’t go into it in depth as there’s not a lot to say: I felt remarkably disconnected through the whole process. Wearing a cloak and holding a candle between yourself an an open book tends to reduce the world down to those dimensions alone. It definitely felt as though it “worked” though, with a strong sense of connectedness to the Being in question as it’s temporary representative in that space here on earth and later as ambassador to the courts of the Four Kings.
When it was done I danced around the circle, hooded and cloaked, quite a whirlwind in black cloth, and after some minutes of spinning and jumping and becoming more and more… alive is how I guess I’ll put it, but also slightly dizzy.
In retrospect, I think I had read about doing part of the Rite blindfolded, which I hadn’t been able to find again when I’d looked for it so I hadn’t done it. But while I was dancing the voluminous hood kept slipping down over my face and so I semi-spontaneously decided to continue the dance “headless”; as the emissary of the Headless One, I myself would become headless. So I drew the hood down, engulfing my sight in warm shadow, then danced and spun, now aimlessly in the dark.
A few times I brushed up against the trees around the circle and it always felt like hands were guiding me gently to stay within it’s bounds. I also somehow never stumbled, despite the ground being muddy, rutted in places, and rather overgrown, since it had been raining extensively and I hadn’t been able to mow for quite a few days.
It may have been a bit reckless, but by the end, when I spent the last several minutes actually spinning around the circle like some kind of blind, mad dervish, I stopped and found that while I had thought I was near the bottom of the slightly sloping circle-grounds, I was actually at the top, exactly at the entrance.
Since that night, my dancing has continued unabated, despite once having my foot punctured by a stick(have been wearing shoes since then until I rake the circle) and despite rain and mud on several nights. The re-connection with my own place in nature seems to be the strongest effect, and occasional spine-tingling thrills for no apparent reason, which I assume is when spirits happen by.
On the third night it was raining and 44°F, so I went out and trugged around in the muddy grass as gracefully as possible for about fifteen minutes, touched the trees, laughed into the rain… etc, mostly trying to work through the process as quickly as possible so I could get back inside. Just a sort of spiritual check-in. One or two steps before leaving the circle, I heard a rough male-sounding laugh from somewhere off to my left. There wasn’t anyone there(I can see very well in the dark), and though it was a bit creepy and the laugh was… somehow assertive..? I still had the impression it was more a laugh at me dancing in tights and a sweater around a muddy circle in the cold rain. I must have looked ridiculous, especially since I was rushing!
Tonight will be my tenth night dancing in the circle. Each time it feels more natural but also somehow as though it is bringing more potential into the world, even on the nights that don’t seem quite as intense. So that is my experience of the Rite and my ongoing dance working so far.
If anything particularly interesting happens in the rest of the month I’ll make sure to post about it, and I’m quite sure that I’ll post about my doctor’s visit and beginning hormone therapy. I expect the rest of MY month will remain eventful.
PS: I don’t actually remember how to Mambo, tho I did learn it in a dance-class long ago; I was looking for a 5th “M-word” for the post-title since I was born on the 5th of May that would be related to dance and the translation just fit so well…