Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Significance of Omens

“You say crazy shit all the time, and you're dead serious about it.”
- V.V.F.


Yesterday, I had a few errands to run in the morning prior to a coffee meeting in the afternoon with another member of the Irreality HiVe. After completing the errands, I bought a hot dog and sat on the steps of Sacramento's Cathedral of the Blessed while munching on my brunch.

As I did so I began considering continuing to harass a certain blogger that I honestly can't stand. I came up with all manner of lovely ontological terror attacks I could wage, and was in full swing of a self-masturbatory War Mode as I wandered down K Street toward the mall.

And then, right as I was imagining praise heaped upon my name for my valiant war efforts... A fucking bat dropped out of the sky right beside me. Had it been four inches over, it'd have pegged me in the head. My War Mode thoughts immediately vanished, and I almost wandered off. Then I was struck by another thought, and spent a few minutes harassing the shop owners on that side of the street until I got a brown paper bag.

Using a twig I gently placed the poor guy in bag and took him home fully intending to release him into a tree in our backyard. However, when I arrived I was convinced that he was probably starving or sick, and it would be more compassionate to end the little fellow's life. (He was honestly barely able to move.)

So he passed on to the other side of the veil, and I sent him along with a couple of finely polished pennies for the River-Man.

On the more humorous end: Nat (“one of those other fellows who's inspired Urban Legends of Pure Horror on certain Chaos Magick bulletin boards across the Internet”) pointed out that I'd sadly put down a sure-fire way to harvest me some Batshit. However, in reflection, all this did was allow me to figure out just how to harvest it. Sacramento is actually full of bats, especially downtown and near the Sacramento River. All I'd have to do is locate a nest (not very hard), and put a jar there while most of the bats would be out hunting, and return later to collect at a similar time. I'd then have a non-captive way of harvesting all the guano I could ever want.

Batshit Crazy!

But really, what is an omen and what did my own mean? Technically speaking: intuiting an omen is “attaching significance to a pattern or event that has been observed, normally by association.” That is to say: as I wandered down the street feeling like an archetypal badass, an event occurred that was a hint – from a spirit or the universe – that I probably shouldn't go around smashing shit shamelessly with words.

I have learned over the years to pay attention to these omens. But why do they happen? Do they happen to everyone? And what do they mean or how do we intuit meanings as to what's happened? What's the difference between and omen and a coincidence?

Well, I have some tips and offerings, at least.

  1. I normally notice “omens” when I'm in a heightened emotional state; specifically one in which magical thinking is already being employed. Once light trance is engaged and the synchronicity machine turns on: the world is about to get just a little bit weirder. At least for people not used to it. As my quoting my spouse at the top of this entry is meant to suggest, it's completely normal for me. (In fact, I rarely even consider what I'm saying to be crazy!)

  2. The omen is normally an “odd” coincidence, or direct synchronicity. You can't completely explain why, but you're sure something 'strange' happened. Sometimes you might even feel a “click” in your head as the emotional state and the event approximate one another.
  3. The omen can be equally a measure of good or ill measure. By noticing the squirming bat, I was immediately flooded with compassion (empathy had been lacking in my previous mental state), and I stopped thinking about my own petty bullshit and noticed something else. On the other hand, I also ended up having to put the poor guy down because keeping him alive probably meant that he'd end up starving to death: a far worse end. While I've noticed this, I'm not sure what it has to do with the person I wanted to smack around, or if it has anything to do with them at all. Hmmm. I'll need to think about that more.

  4. Astral Workings,” much beloved of the early astral-exploring magician, breed omens as an organic byproduct of one's movement. The day after I met Malak Ta'us, I observed a baby peacock sitting in the middle of a field – which confirmed for me, at least, that I was dealing with the correct “angelic spirit.”

  5. Certain normal rituals may breed omens: The day the “Headless Ritual” went right for me, in purest form, I met another bird. At a crossroads. At midnight. Let's just leave that one at that.

  6. The active practice of noticing such events, correctly figuring out what you're being told, and backing such skills up with other talents such as divination leads to what the comic book character John Constantine calls the synchronicity express. I know of at least two others that actively ride it, and I consider both my mentors. Which always made a lot of sense to me... Why else would I have met them?

  7. The universe wants to play.” Get out there and start playing!


brynne said...

If any of the buildings downtown have brick fronts and an awning over the door, look up in the corners beneath it during daylight. I can't speak for Sacramento, but in the towns where I've lived it's always a great place to find bats during the daylight hours.

Lady Scylla said...

My mind began to race with ideas about extracting a bat heart and making (more) real batsblood ink. Or at getting a hold of a wingbone, ocreing it with blood and using it as a Night Flight talisman.

Let me know if you'd have any interest in a trade of any kind.

This is a sign I've gone Hedge. It was inevitable.

The Scribbler said...

I think one of the very first lessons from the mentor of my youth was to pay attention to odd things that happen around you. The materialist dismisses them as "coincidences", the magically inclined see them as significant bending of probability. And I also quickly noted that more of these "odd" things happened around him than around other people. The world had a strange way of making loud noises (cars backfiring, radiator pipes clanging, birds cawing, you name it) whenever he said something truly profound and worth noting.

Mr VI said...

I better not be one of those two people guv ;)

Jack Faust said...

@VI: Don't be ridiculous, brother. I got nothin' but love-beams and shit for you, dude.

@Scribbler: Hah! I've never looked for omens around profound statements before earlier today! You're totally fucking right. ... That's a bit eerie, actually.

@Scylla: Alas, our young and deceased bat has been largely consumed by the pyre. :(

However, should it happen weirdly like that again, I promise you some ripe bat-carcass. Unless I can salvage the old boy and he wasn't actually pyred the other day...

I'll look and let you know if I'm wrong!

Jack Faust said...

@Brynne: Will do!

Mr VI said...

@Jack: Love beams from your mauve-tipped wand o' DOOM? Dude, I know you have a mancrush but you might to want to tell V.V.F something...:P

Norma said...

Too, too true! I've recently had a heightened-emotional state period (very dire illness in my husband, death was likely tho he did make it and is doing well now) and there were so many omens popping up all over that at times it literally made me laugh because it was almost ridiculous. They were SO obvious in places. It was almost a sense of "she's really messed up and needs a sign, let's make it gentle but obvious, something she can't miss." It was like the universe wrote me notes in big loopy crayon, and it really helped.

They really do sometimes practically 'hit you in the head' literally or figuratively don't they?

Rufus Opus said...

The bat symbolizes the shaman's journey. A wounded bat may indicate you've begun a shaman's journey and got sidetracked.

Killing it would, to me, seem to indicate that perhaps you were all fuck this path! and moved on to the next.

Or something.

Z. E. Accordino said...

Maybe it's telling you to gently put this guy down for his own good... ya know, Old Yeller style. ;P

But seriously, maybe it's saying to deal with the situation in a more permanent but compassionate manner instead of perpetuating the bullshit and harassment.

Jack Faust said...

@Z.E.: Ma'am, I love you! I had just come to that exact same conclusion when your comment hit. Thanks, you wonderful lady!

Z. E. Accordino said...

@Jack: *hearts* Glad to be of service.