My Personal Journey : Part 3

Part 3:  Power corrupts

I am going to stop making promises about how far I will get with this story in each installment – since I quite obviously have more to say on some of these topics as I commit them to the page than I initially thought.  So – from now on, I’ll just keep adding parts of my story to the journey as it unfolds.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the fact that this post took me awhile to get up because of the effects that writing it had on me.  I began by writing about the change of power dynamics in the Lodge, and how that affected me both then and now, but as part of writing that, I began to relate in some detail one of the rituals that I was always the center of attention for, and as I was writing it, I started to re-experience the feelings that I had, and I had to stop.  I have cut most of that, but I’ve left what I can, for now.

One could be excused for thinking that the feelings that bothered me so much were feelings of victimization or exploitation, but that’s not what really bothered me.  I felt megalomaniacal, with delusions of grandeur.  I’ve been having some small amount of difficulty in keeping these feelings from bleeding over into my day-to-day life. , but I think I’ve managed to normalize things at this point.  I am somewhere in the middle of where I want to be: warm and open, honest and bold – and where I was: cold and closed, aloof and narcissistic.  I’m not as open and warm as I was just a few weeks ago, but neither am I as aloof and unconcerned as I was twenty years ago.

But to get back to the story…

My interactions with Joe’s extended family and a few others from the neighboring communities started to have a profound effect on my view of myself as a man over the next couple of years.  I will refer to this extended group of followers from now on as the Lodge (since that was how we referred to ourselves).

My interactions with the Lodge began to take on more and more ritually significant roles, and either by fate or happenstance, this coincided with my own realizations concerning my atypical neurology and how I interacted with the world.  This would prove to have a profound effect on who I became and the decisions that I would make for the next decade.

However, in order to understand how this happened, it is first necessary to explain something about the central concept at the core of our beliefs – the Thelemic concept of True Will.

I could probably write a book on that subject alone, but to provide just a small bit of context so that this makes sense, I will relate the two meanings that the concept of True Will carries.

Firstly, the meaning given to the outer order and the world at large – and the only official definition – is basically this: every person has a ‘best path’ – or True Will – for them to live in this life, and as long as you stay on that path, you will be happy and things will be easy for you.  All of the things that are stressing you out now are things that are happening because you are not aligned with your True Will.  This concept goes a bit further and early induction rituals involve contacting your own personal Holy Guardian Angel to help reveal your True Will, but basically you are told that there are different voices within that speak to you about what you should do, representing different facets of a cognitive being that connects us all, and you need to be able to filter out the voices that do not belong to you and that once you do that, everything will be perfect for you.

Secondarily, there was the meaning given to the inner circle.  This may have been unique to our Lodge and my future interactions with members of the more official Ordo Templi Orientis would indicate that they do not generally acknowledge any other interpretation of True Will.  Whether this facet was a perversion unique to Frater Jubal (for he did claim to have secrets) or a more widespread ‘inner doctrine’ I do not know, but the gist of this facet of True Will is this:  as long as you are aligned with your True Will, you can do no wrong.

That is a very simple statement to encompass a much broader range of things, but that was the justification for every evil thing done by Joe or myself or any other member of the inner circle of the Lodge.  If I am acting on my Will, what I am doing is absolutely – even Divinely – right.

Tying destiny and will together like this is insidious.

And then Joe did something that I’m certain every other Thelemite would balk at – he told me that I had the power to read others’ True Will.

According to everything that I had read, this should not be possible.  One’s own True Will should only be revealed through a few specific rituals or ordeals.  But Joe called me an Ascendant Being and told everyone that I had the ability to read their True Will, putting me in the position of being the Lodge fortune teller, for the most part.

In retrospect, I see it as a cunning move on his part.  He thought he could control me, and he saw the opportunity to use a smart, observant kid to gain even more control over his flock.

I actually have no idea if this was his true motive or not, but it certainly makes a great deal of sense.  By not claiming the power for himself, Joe was being falsely humble, and by telling the members of the Lodge that I had the ability to read their True Will, and then ‘guiding’ me to do so in such a way as to get everyone to do what he wanted them to, Joe was able to elevate himself – and me – from teacher/priest to demigod.  Suddenly, if you had too much difficulty with the initiation rites (which was a very common problem for new acolytes), you had another option – you could just ask me.

This made me indispensable,  and Joe continued to groom me to ascend to leadership positions within the Lodge.

This break from previous teachings actually caused a few people to leave, but those who remained were even more loyal and bound to us.

Ultimately though, this would prove to be the linchpin that gave way and allowed me to escape the Lodge.

As I grew older and more confident in my abilities (and while there was always a part of me that knew that something wasn’t quite right, I was, for the most part, a believer at this point) I began to disagree with Joe.

I can still vividly remember the argument that he and I had after I had read someone’s Will and gave a different pronouncement than Joe had pre-suggested to me that I should tell her.

It was a direct challenge to his authority, and he began as you might expect, by distancing himself from me and pronouncing that I had strayed from the path, appealing to the Lodge to oust me, for the most part.

It worked too – but only because I let it, and realizing that has been one of the biggest events of my life.

He made certain that our argument was very public, and while Joe was a very smart man, he was outclassed in this fight.  He said that I had lost my way and that I would need to do penance to find my way again.  This was not the first time that he suggested that I would need to do penance, but it is the first time that I disagreed.  I took Joe’s own words that he had previously lavished upon me when I was a more timid, more compliant acolyte.  I stopped speaking to Joe, even though he was the one in front of me – I started speaking to be heard – and I said that as an Ascendant Being, my mastery of Will was complete, and that as an avatar of the Lightbringer, I was the only being capable of discerning the Truth, and that, indeed, Joe had lost his way.

The last part is almost certainly actually true, but I no longer cared.  I was about to leave for college and I was beginning to see things for what they truly were – a dangerous cult built around some stolen ideas and a charismatic personality.  I was happy to let that argument be the last interaction that we had before I moved hundreds of miles away.

It wasn’t until much later that I would begin to understand the actual value of the things that I was taught and to use the gifts that Joe had helped me to hone in reading people as a way to gain personal power, and even later than that before I realized that to be such a creature would be to lose myself completely.

When I was 18, I graduated from high school as Salutatorian and left behind my small rural home town.  I would spend a few days back in my parent’s home during that first year away, but after that, I would limit the amount of time that I spent in the area, even to the point of seeking poorly thought-out plans to ensure that I wouldn’t have to return.

One of those would result in an early and inappropriate marriage – and the other would result in sex work and my first introduction to BDSM.

I’m nowhere near done yet…

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Interlude: Kneel for me

If you know me personally, this is probably not a new piece of writing to you.  I posted this first to my fetlife profile rather than here, about a year ago, but I re-read it myself recently and thought that perhaps it should be cross-posted here as well.

It is short, and while I intended it to be akin to free-verse poetry, it’s really just a short monologue… but I kind of like it.

I hope you do too.


Kneel for me.

Meet my gaze and hold it. Do not look away.

I know it is not easy. Nothing worthwhile is.

Cry for me. Not because you are sad, not because you have lost, not because you are missing someone dear, but because I am asking you to.

Open your heart for me. Pour the blood of your emotion on the floor at my feet and let me sink into its depth.

Sing your song of sorrow until it fills my soul and covers the rough parts, smooths out the edges, fills the gaps of my emotional canvas.

Cry for me. Not because you need to, but because I need for you to.

Lift your heart and mind and soul to the sky and let my love surround you. This is a place of safety and security, you are in my Protection and nothing in the world can harm you right now.

Rage for me. Not because you need to purge the poisonous vapors of mistrust and envy from your mind, but because I feed on your ire.

Scream for me. Not because your voice needs to escape your throat. Not because you have broken through the wall of your pain and anger and the primal need for screaming catharsis is pulling apart the walls of your soul, but because I want you to.

And then do all of those things again for the reasons I told you not to before.

I will hold your heart close and keep it safe while you channel the dark things away and I will eat them for you.

And when you are ready, I will return your heart to you, clean, shiny, and new.

And any time you need me to, I will be here, and you can…

…kneel for me.

My Personal Journey : Part 2

Part 2: Lightbringer

I have an extremely complicated relationship with this next part of my story.  It examines a time in my life where I was rudderless and manipulated and took part in things that cause me nightmares today.  I feel shame for what I did in some cases, but more than that, I feel shame for allowing myself to be so manipulated and exploited.

However – despite the shame and tragedy that dogs every thought I have about that period of my life, it is also an integral part of who I am.  It continues to have a profound effect on the very way that I think and process information.  It is responsible for many of the various coping mechanisms that I have developed for navigating the normal world – some of these are good, some, not so much… but they are all very important to who I am today.

For the sake of brevity, I am going to have to leave out most of the details about the things that I learned and did, and focus instead on how these things shaped who I am today.

But I will have to give you a little bit of background so that things make sense…

Joe and Monique took me under their wing and into their family.  While I still lived at home with my parents and looked to most of the outside world like I was living a very normal teenage life, I was really leading a double life.

I was a genius, straight-A student, involved in all sorts of extracurricular activities, and because I was a little socially awkward and unfailingly polite and all of the other things listed before this, my parents basically paid no attention to me at all.  My sister was a bit more demanding of their attention, which I definitely felt the lack of, but did not have a good way to express.

This turned out to be yet another thing that Joe and Monique could exploit to control me and gain my trust… they gave me a place to belong.  They didn’t care that I was a little odd.  They celebrated my differences.  They told me that I had great gifts of insight and that my intelligence was a thing of literal divinity.

Whereas I felt misunderstood and unappreciated in my real home, I felt important and special in Joe’s home.

My parents were raising me to be Catholic, and lacking any information to the contrary, I was at first a true believer.  But at this juncture in my life, when I was encountering the things that I was with Joe and Monique and their extended family, I was also undergoing a crisis of faith.  I could not rationalize away some of the things that I was being taught each Sunday with the reality in front of my eyes any longer, and Joe seized on that and used it to mold me into his very own disciple.  I wasn’t the only one, but I was certainly the youngest, and definitely his favorite as well.

Joe was the center of a cult that wasn’t Astron Argon, though it used their initiation rites, and it wasn’t Ordo Templi Orientis, though it used their degrees and advancement rituals for the ‘outer order’ –such as it was.  There were no more than 60 of us at any given time, and most of the rituals involved far fewer.  It was a mishmash of Crowley-ist secret society nonsense along with a fair share of ‘secrets’ the were ‘only known to Frater Jubal’ – who was Joe, of course.

However, it also happens to be where I had my very first non-masturbatory sexual experiences, which is something that I feel very strangely about now – and pretty much always have.  I have very complicated feelings about what happened.  I enjoyed a lot of it.  I never really felt like I was not giving consent, though at times I did feel like I had no choice… somehow it was both of those things at the same time.

I can vividly remember the very first time that I climaxed by means other than my own hand or rubbing up against some surface, and it was as I stood on a small footstool so that I was not touching the ground and Monique knelt between my legs, rendering what may yet be the most gentle blowjob that I have ever had, and I came into her mouth furiously, almost instantly – which under other conditions would likely have caused me shame, but this was immediately greeting with exclamations of joy from the people around me, because I had an audience, and was, in fact, the central part of a ritual that I would perform many, many more times before I finally broke free.  I had almost no agency in my actions.. I doubt I could have controlled myself even if I were not being heavily manipulated emotionally and psychologically as well, but under those circumstances, I felt like a god, and they told me that I literally was one.  I was the Child of Light, but more than that, I was a special invocation of such – I was an avatar of the Lord of Light himself – I was Lucifer, reborn.

I have a really difficult time rationalizing these things.  I am generally completely comfortable with dichotomy, but this is one that my mind still struggles against all the time.  This causes me nightmares sometimes.  I have a hard time believing that I believed them.  I can objectively see how ridiculous it all is when I look at it now, but I remember that I did believe. I was naive and brilliant and awkward and exploited and I am none of those things anymore, and it feels weird.

I don’t trust my younger self to know how he was really feeling and I try to re-write how I felt at the time.  I try to make it as if I didn’t really believe them, but I was playing along because I was getting something out of it, but then that actually seems far worse than if I was just duped.  I try to make it as if I knew that it was all a farce and that I was helpless to do anything to break free because I was emotionally dependent upon these people, but that just is objectively not true, and even if it could be, it’s really no better than just being duped all along.

But I stray from my story…

I was a member of Joe and Monique’s family for years.

Joe is an incredibly charismatic man.  I suppose that’s probably true of all cult leaders, but he could make you feel things.  However – and probably like all cult leaders – eventually the mantle of leadership began to grow heavy, and he started to farm out things to different people.   He spent more and more time with me, and he seemed to be grooming me to take over some of the ritualistic aspects of the cult while others took over more of the household aspects, which made sense from several perspectives, not least of which was that I did not live in the house with them, whereas most of the other inner circle members did.  So I became a figurehead who was being given actual power, little by little.  I was the example for others to follow.  I was the Golden Boy.

Eventually, this went to my head…

…I didn’t quite make it to Beverly Hills in this post, but I promise it isn’t far away.

Next is part three, where I actually do talk about breaking free of Joe’s family and end up getting married, divorced, dropping out of school, and working the mean streets of Beverly Hills.  Or at least, I’ll get as far as a thousand or so words will take me…

My personal journey : Part 1

My personal D/s journey: A story of spirituality, conflict, betrayal, and hope

Part I : Sexual awakenings

My first sexual experiences were not normal.  As a result of these early experiences (which I will detail shortly) I live with the constant fear that I will never find a mature sexual relationship that meets my needs as they now exist.  I often feel like my lifestyle goals are unattainable or even prurient to the degree that merely giving them voice is offensive.

As far as personal struggles go – this is one that I have never managed to really get the hang of or the upper hand over, and it leaves me often feeling as if I am damaged beyond the ability to properly assimilate into collective society.  And yet… I keep trying.  Whether or not this meets the definition of insanity is something that does occasionally cause me to lose sleep.

My sexuality began to emerge relatively early for a boy… I was having my first confusing and unfocused erections at eight years old.  I was masturbating to the lingerie ads in the JC Penny catalog by the time I was nine.  So far, this is not all that unusual except perhaps for the early age, which – while on the edge of normal – still fits the Bell curve rather neatly.  However, I began to diverge from the norms pretty early on thanks to being just a little too smart for my own good.

When I was 11, I made some friends who were both older than I was and just as into computers as I was.  I was given loan of a modem and started prying my way into what was the online world of the day.  The Internet that we know and depend on today was in its infancy, and most of the networked computer world existed as islands of activity around universities, the first generation of what would later become known as ISPs, and a scattered and completely unregulated wasteland of individually run BBSes that were connected by various bridge technologies (uucp, fidonet, etc.) if they were connected to anything larger at all.

Most of the BBSes that I would dial into were not connected to anything larger than themselves, and even in a largely rural area like where I grew up, this led to some diversification of content between them so as to avoid competing for the same users – for the most part.

Within a few months of embarking into this new world, I was hooked and it took very little time for me to secure a modem of my own and begin a pattern of calling in to the same seven or so BBSes every day.  In many ways, this was an extremely primitive form of reddit or Facebook.   I made friends online who I would never end up meeting in person, but of course, eventually I wanted to meet some of the faces behind the screens with which I was interacting, and even in that time and place, there were user group meetings.

We called ourselves M.O.R.E. and thought that we were especially clever (the name stood for Modem-users Of the Redwood Empire) and in general, it was just good, clean fun.  We had BBQs and softball games and a monthly meeting in the back of a Round Table Pizza in southwestern Santa Rosa.  After attending several of these events with my parents (remember that I was just 11, maybe 12 at this time) – I made friends who were close to my own age and was eventually able to secure rides to and from these events without my parents needing to be present, which turned out to be a wonderful and horrible thing.

One of the things that I noticed early on in these events was that they seemed to be pretty heavily skewed.  Allegiances developed based on particular BBS loyalty, and we seemed to be largely split into two camps.  There was the ‘Rapture’ camp – which was made up of people who contributed to the Rapture BBS, which was an adults-only sexually themed BBS, and then there was ‘everybody else’.

Because the Rapture team was made up of exclusively adults, this often meant that in contests, the ‘everyone else’ team was wildly outclassed, and as a competitive young man, this did not always sit well with me.  This, coupled with the normal curiosity that accompanies being a young man, caused me to embark on a course of action that would later prove to be seminal to my development as a sexual being, but perhaps not in the best way possible.

I decided to break into Rapture and see what all the fuss was about.

So – as a 12 year boy, already a few years into puberty and with zero sex education from traditional outlets (my parents never had ‘the talk’ with me, and sex-education in school was a farce) I ended up being thrown to the wolves in a very real sense.  Using the anonymity that hiding behind a screen gave me, I constructed a believable persona as an early-30’s high school history teacher and began to engage with this new community.

I was instantly accepted and where my lack of knowledge concerning sex activities came through, I was instructed by my new ‘friends’ – all though text, and sometimes pictures, but bandwidth back then was extremely limited, and image files that we would now send in a text message could take an hour or more to transfer.  Without the ability to easily fact check many of the things that I was being ‘taught’, I ended up learning a great deal of bad information in the beginning, but I was being exposed to all sorts of kink and pagan concepts concerning sexuality that I don’t know that I would have otherwise encountered, ever… and they certainly colored my expectations and the direction that I would end up taking.

I found ways to become involved with meatspace events with these people that I should not have been able to attend because of my age without blowing my cover.  There was significant crossover between the pagan group and the swinger group and I was interested in both topics, so I decided to take that route to getting closer to these people in the ‘real world.’  I figured that with enough time and patience, that I could probably force both to converge where I wanted.

I had no idea how ‘successful’ I would become.

I attended my first handfasting when I was 13.  The young couple in question were both just out of high school.  It was early summer, just after the end of the school year, and we were at a site on the Russian River, and it was well-done and beautiful and helped to form the spiritual path that I would end up taking for the next several years.   It was also a travesty, but I would not realize that for years to come.

The party that followed was barely constrained hedonism, and I’m certain that my presence kept things to a much lower intensity than they would have been had I not been there.

There was a great deal of substance use – alcohol, marijuana, LSD, and something speedy… I’m still not sure if it was coke, meth, or PCP – coke being most likely given the time period.  I did not partake of any of these, but I watched with rapt attention.

There were two distinct groups forming within the party – the younger group tended to be more spiritually minded but more socially conservative, talking in lower voices and generally stationary with their conversational topics.  The older group – made up mostly of a group of adults in their late 30’s and early 40’s – was openly hedonistic and gregarious.  A couple of the women took their tops off and there was a great deal of groping, a large cuddle pile in the grass, and even some lighthearted games of chasing, cat and mouse style.

I belonged to neither but was fascinated by both, and the open hedonism of the older group really captivated me.  I found it very difficult to look away from the exposed breasts of the women who had taken off their tops.

One of the younger women decided that it was worth taunting me over, and then one of the other women in that group (who was still wearing her top) came over and ‘rescued’ me from her, asking me who my parents where.

I told her that I was there alone, that I was friends with one of the members of the ceremony group, and that I was not really all that bothered by the attention that I was getting from Skye (the woman who had been recently taunting me.)

She laughed, introduced herself as Monique (with just a hint of a Montreal accent)  and then sat beside me and motioned to her partner to come over and talk with us.  And that is when I met Joe MacReedy and began the journey that would culminate in a high degree in Astron Argon, a complete rewriting of my psychological landscape, and a life-long pursuit of the things that exist just outside of the norms of society.

Part 2 to come, wherein I give more details about my life with a sex magick cult, the emotional (and spiritual, and psychological) break that enabled me to extricate myself from that situation, and the shortly following events that would proceed to land me in a possibly even more precarious situation in the mean streets of Beverly Hills.

State of the blog

I started this blog with very little intention of continuing it for very long back in April of 2014.

At the end of every April, I get a yearly summary of my blog activity for the previous year.

It is always a little interesting to see how things change over time.

In my first few months, I got a couple of dozen hits a day if I was lucky, but I was cranking out original content.  (All of the content on this blog is my original work, by the way…) I was posting at least once a week, and most of my content was either rants about my personal experiences and how I felt like things were better in the “good ol’ days,” (even though most of those days were strikingly less good for me in reality) or educational pieces attempting to fill the knowledge gap that interest without reasonably accessible educational materials was causing.  However, the small bit of recognition that I received was enough to spur me on and do more with the blog and my community.

In the second year, things really started to sizzle.  I was getting hundreds of hits per day most days and thousands of hits per day on the busiest days.  I slowed down on content generation, but I was still getting a great deal of attention and I was getting emails from readers almost every day and responding to those took up a good deal of my free time and introduced me to some really interesting people from all over the world – several of whom remain my friends today.

In the third year, I slowed down on content creation even more, and the readership started to dwindle away.  My most frequently read post was An Imaginary Conversation With a New submissive and I was still getting emails from readers almost every day with comments or questions, but readership was starting to diminish as I started producing less new content and started revealing more about me personally as opposed to fielding questions about BDSM or writing informative pieces based on common questions that I often hear.

Now, coming out of my fourth year, and with even more sporadic writing, my readership has dropped back down to first-year levels.  I’m getting dozens of hits per day, up to a few hundred on the busiest of days, but nowhere near where I was at the height of things.  Yet… I kind of like it that way.

I still get emails and comments asking me questions, and I still try to answer all of these within a day or two at most, but it’s a much more sustainable pace for a part-time single parent and full-time tech startup employee and I don’t have to feel like I’m letting people down by not answering them in an expedient manner.  This has helped to reduce my stress level somewhat, especially since sometimes the questions that I get asked are intensely personal, time sensitive, and important.

‘An Imaginary Conversation…’ is no longer my most-read piece, being replaced by Finding subspace – which is, interestingly enough, one of the very first posts I wrote (as opposed to ‘An Imaginary Conversation…’ which was written almost at the height of my popularity.)

Most of my hits in the first year came from links from other people’s blogs – or from ‘likes’ on facebook (which continues to amuse me, since I’m not on facebook), or through some unclassified means of finding me, but now the majority of my hits come from google and bing.

And perhaps most amusingly – I think that most of the hits that I’m getting from google and bing for that particular page are not people who are coming here looking for information on BDSM themes, but math students looking for easy answers to their homework questions about linear algebra.

I have a degree in mathematics – and I can almost certainly answer your linear subspace questions as well – but I’ve only ever once actually been asked such a thing.

I suspect the person who did ask me this question was seriously confused, but I’m really much more amused by the imagined reactions that I suspect of people when they come to a site like this looking for answers to their math homework.

Today is May Day, and the start of Year Five.

I’m really curious what this year will bring… hopefully it will involve drastically fewer broken bones, but I suspect that it will still involve a broken heart – perhaps more often than once, as that seems to be the one thing that I am wholesale incapable of escaping.

Regardless – I remain…

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