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Fighter jets are flying overhead; their screeching rage punctuating the rumbling roar of heavy-tread machines behind me. Particles of dust and exhaust cling to sweat-drenched skin in the searing sun. Everything feels dry, desiccated, as if all the shadowed life of this place has been swept over by a sudden desert. My attention’s drawn to something unexpected–four red strokes against white, crimson vivid as blood, pasted against a steel pole. It’s a glyph, a sigil, with a power steeped in terror. I need to leave this place to find a friend, but my attention is held.
[The following is an expanded excerpt from a presentation I will be giving at the Polytheist Leadership Conference in Fishkill, New York on July 11, 2014]
I’m staring at a pile of shiny, polished rocks on a counter by the register. Some are smooth river-stones painted in iridescent colors, others are polished common gems, none particularly capturing my interest more than the small handwritten sign in front of them:
“Take a crystal, leave a crystal.” Just a few minutes before, I’d stared at the wall above the urinal in the bathroom of this cafe, standing longer than was needed for the task at hand, reading and re-reading the poem displayed on the poster. The words admonished against despair, against giving in to the crushing weight of monotonous conformity, urging the reader to look for the presence and gifts and delight of the gods. Perhaps it might seem strange to some that I wasn’t seeing this all in a Wiccan shop or Occult store. Perhaps where I found these things may seem even more strange: an Anarchist café in Seattle.