Currently I live in my car. The story of how I got here is long and winding. I will discuss part of it, but mainly I want to talk about what I have discovered along the way. Whereas this has not been entirely a journey of my choosing it has been entirely a journey of my construction. So with out further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I present the Alchemical Rebirth of the Mutant Mage.
Parking Lot Saints
When my ex and I decided to set the ship of our relationship aflame and run it aground, I stumbled ashore a worse wreck than our Pirate Utopia had been. Since I had been working for my In-Laws, I lost my job along with my marriage and my home of 8 years. At the time in Austin there existed a job share company with a pink logo and I joined their ranks. I was good at it, earning $3000 to $4000 a month. I only accomplished this from working 40-60 hours a week and sleeping in my car in parking lots. This how I discovered the strange and magical ecology that exists in the parking lots of a certain large chain retailer.
I have met many interesting characters here on the margins of society, Travel Trailer Nomads, Homeless Vets, Schoolies (people who live in school buses converted to RVs), and Car, Truck and Van Folks. Some are couples, some are loners, while others are Tribes both formal and informal, one thing they all have in common, they don’t fit in anywhere else. These are the Vagabonds and Nomads of the twenty first century and they are fiercely loyal to one another. I would trust a parking lot nomad to help me over the average suburbanite any day of the week. I guess when one gets used to being misjudged by society, being judgmental of others seems a bit pointless. These are the survivors, people living off of scraps and resources others are too lazy to utilize. These hardy individuals solar cook meat in their windshields and recycle the items you throw in the trash. When society collapses, they will be the ones that know how to survive. These are our Naths and Aghori. Every one is a saint whether you see it or not. Parking lots are our cremation grounds. Every thing comes to die here.
It is there upon the boiling black asphalt that I became reacquainted with my soul and discovered the essence of Urban Witchery. The other denizens of this twilight world are roaches, rats, stray cats, and grackles, the reviled “others” of urban fauna. They have become my totems, invasive, rejected, and thriving despite it all. Like the Saints I have met here and the Invasive Totems, I have learned to live off of mainstream society’s cast offs. I have found clothes, cookware, and receive out of date food items from the food banks. My situation may be temporary, but the stamp upon my soul is permanent. I will never live the same again. First I know how to survive in urban as well as wild environments now with nothing but my wits to guide me. Secondly I will never be sedentary again, the world is too volatile to not be prepared to take to the Road. Third I know of magics that only long lonely nights in desolate places teach. Even as I plan my return to the land of the Comfortably Numb, it will be more of an insurrection. My Feral Heart will never be completely content with the pacified offerings of Babalon. There is a wildness there that I must never quiet again, it is essential to my vitality. I have a project at hand that will be a bit like tending a garden, with the goal of letting the garden overtake the fence and grow into a wild Forest of Delights. Now that I have found the secret to creating gold in the barren lands, I will seek ways to liberate the treasures of the abundant spaces.
Sigils, Secrets, and Silence
All people tend to underestimate the power they possess. As a witch one should know better, when a magician creates a sigil to live free of clock and dollar, one may just end up unemployed and homeless. This could be the greatest blessing one may have ever experienced, if one is open to the lessons to be learned. For me it was hard at first, then some where along the way I realized I was being given an opportunity to realign my life. To start again from the bottom up, sure I have obligations and I must answer those, but it will be on my terms and at my expense. The knowledge gained is worth every inconvenience I have suffered. My sigils are mighty and I must be very specific; sometimes magic gives that which one ask for quite exactly.
I have seen wonders beyond my imagining, like the night I observed “something” swimming in a thunderstorm. Many are the revelations I want to share, but I cannot for they are experiential, One had to be there. Other things I cannot reveal for they are secrets that were imparted to me alone, Secrets form Universe. So often I see others diluting their personal power by revealing the secrets that were meant for them alone. That is the nature of a secret; it only has power as long as it is kept secret. Revealing these secrets makes them impotent, or dismissed as UPG, which funny enough is an apt description for existence on a personal level. Secrets are the stock and trade of magic. The reason people went to the Village Witch was because they knew things that were hidden or occult to everyone else. In order to maintain occult knowledge, one must keep secrets, this knowledge is simply not for everyone. The magic that can be taught and shared is simply technique for accessing the secrets. Initiation is as much about discovering if one has the capacity to keep secrets as much as if one has the propensity for accessing the realms of the numinous. Secrets are Occult.
Not only do secrets require silence, but being alone, one starts to cultivate a taste for silence. At first I ran my battery down listening to CD’s and podcasts, but eventually I began to tune into the sounds around me. Every city is silent between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m., with a few exceptions. A spooky kind of silence where one can here the Earth breathing, I first noticed this years ago working the graveyard shift. In those long exhales are secrets millennia old in their scope. In this silence I learned to cultivate my own silence, to become comfortable with my own thoughts. This how I learned to trust my own voice. This why I will be comfortable with my own counsel and rest easy that when I sit silently with a thought and decide to speak it will be with authority and wisdom. Sigils created secretly and kept silent bear more fruit. Let that simmer in your cauldron.
Mystery Cats and the Midnight Nurse
Late at night, usually 2 or 3 in the morning, the other residents of the big black top arrive. There are three main varieties, the explainable, the questionable, and the Mysterions. They all come eventually and all because of the energy of the place.
I will tell you about the creatures of the night. It will be of little surprise that rats scavenge large parking lots at night, but they compete with cats and this is where the surprise comes. There are more than housecats out there, along the rivers and coastal areas other cats come, larger, wilder, more pantherine cats. The rats and the average housecats live off of discarded sandwhiches, fried chicken and whatever else gets left in the lot. Owls being the clever animals that they are perch atop the light poles and feed upon the rats. So far I have only seen small screech owls doing this. Figure the lights are too bright for the larger species of owls. The cats remain safe.
The very first time I saw a larger cat, I felt my eyes were playing tricks on me. There was a cat that looked like a house cat but stood about 15 inches at the shoulder amd had rounded ears like a ferret or otter. So I did research and based on my original sighting thought I had found a jaguarandi. Then I saw it again and realized I was wrong. The tail wasn’t long enough and it’s legs too long. This specimen was nocturnal, jaguarundi are supposed to be diurnal (they’re also not supposed to live in Florida, but do). So I had a mystery cat. I followed it one night and it dissappeared into the wild plants along the Blanco River. Over time I have come to identify two other individuals. Just as soon as I had excepted the idea that this was an anomaly only observable in San Marcos and then I saw one in Port Lavaca, TX. In the Walmart parking lot.
So in addition to the very real and ordinary rats, house cats, and occasional owl, we have large dark Mystery Cats. However the most interesting denizens are the mythic and spectral beings of the Great Asphalt Lot. Death is always lurking in the Lot as are Disease and Misfortune. Yes there are ghosts here as everywhere, usually very hungry desperate ghosts. There is one other type of resident that defies explanation. I will simply share the tale with you.
I have some very interesting tales and stories from the other humans of the Lot, but I am particularly intrigued by the myths, legends, and tales of mysterious happenings. Especially when I hear the story a few times, with variations and in different places. The following I have heard in Austin, New Braunfels and Port Lavaca, Texas. My favorite version is from Anne B. of New Braunfels.
“So one night we were all drinking in Paul’s van. Hanging out, talking, that sort of thing, eating one of them roto chickens from inside, when Charlie roamed off. We all figgered he had to take a dump cause he roamed of in the high weeds. Well a while later he come up outta them weeds, that ole sonuva bitch scared me, but he didn’t look right. He was pale and seemed shocked. Someone asks him if he’s okay. All he can do is mutter on about the lady in white that lead him away. We all told him ain’t no lady lead him off, he just walked away alone. Later he tells me the lady looked like and old timey nurse, showed him where he was sick. Charlie was always complaining about his stomach. So the next day he collapses inside (the Walmart) and the ambulance came and took him to the Hospital. You know they found Cancer in him. Right at the spot he said She told him he was sick.”
The parts of this story I have heard repeated in other locations are the lady is always dressed like a nurse from the 1950’s, she leads people away the group, and she shows the person where they are sick. The diagnosis is always the same; Cancer. This has so much in common with Marian apparitions and I plan to explore that more in my upcoming book. Until then enjoy this introduction to the one I have come to call, the Midnight Nurse.
PEACE LOVE LIGHT