When an associate of mine – we can call him Brother Theodore – completed a shamanic journey earlier this spring, I barely waited a token polite interval to give his brain the chance to reconstruct itself before reaching out to talk to him about it. There wasn’t anything unreasonable about this, really. The whole point of a shaman is for him or her to go into The Other Place, the place where we, the rest of us, can’t or won’t go, and bring us something back. And since Brother Theodore is real, he didn’t get down with any bougie aya-spa bullshit bored New Yorkers dabble in when they fear their more traditional forms of decadence are no longer sufficiently distinguishing at hip, gentrified cocktail parties. No, Brother Theodore is no dilettante. He’s real. He went on his trip the real way, with a real guide that put him through real training and preparation and then administered the initiation with all proper symbolism, ritual, and decorum.
“More adventures and learning to come,” he said to me, a real shaman, after sharing some of what he’d experienced along the way. “Big year for all of us.”
And that’s the thing about oracles and shamans: sometimes the most powerful things they say turn out to be the things you totally already knew. I knew it was true, knew he was right, knew it since the insane and frantic opening days of January, the Year of Our Lord (well, Someone’s Lord) 2016. This isn’t about premonitions or an analysis of signs and omens – not this time. Ambiguity is out this year, my friends. This time, it’s the glaring make-no-mistake clarity of the events themselves, all these frantic events, one after another, with their remarkable frequency and intensity and volume.
“More adventures and learning to come,” he said to me, a real shaman. “Big year for all of us.”
Election years are always, for reasons both material and mystical, wild in character, but this is something else. The election itself might well be the most horrid in all human history, with a dangerous lunatic racist demagogue on the one side and a supremely craven war enthusiast member of a homicidal finance-worshipping blood cult and tens of millions of manic people swarming all around this unable to grasp our accept what this batshit presentation must mean.
Every month this year is the hottest month ever. Sometimes, chunks of Canada are on fire. Shrug emoji! There’s a low boil that seems present in everyone, manifesting in different ways, popping up predictably sometimes but with awe-inspiring surprise in others. And fucking Michael Roberts keeps telling me I’m gonna lose my job any minute.
A lot of this can be seen as a result from plans and chains of events laid for quite some time, the fruit from those seeds finally bursting forth all at once. But some of it is untraceable, at least to mortal methods of deduction. This is no year for the spectator, or for the slow, or for the faint of heart.
Be that as it may, these are good times for the action junkies among us.
In fact, it is said that every junkie for action, given time, reveals themselves a thinly disguised glutton for punishment. Be that as it may, these are good times for the action junkies among us. No time to lose, no time to think, rarely time for rest, and often only time to decide which overlapping activity to do and which one(s) to skip. I mean, a lot of it, a lot of the things that have popped up way outside our conscious control, have been terrible things. In some ways, I think we can expect that trend to continue throughout the year.
But what’s more interesting and energizing to me – tentatively, cautiously – has been our responses to The Terrible, our affirmative efforts toward building and organizing and educating, and the progress associated with this kind of response. Some of that’s the best life can offer and the best we can offer life: beautiful and inspiring and invigorating, and somehow at the same time, all the while, all the time, they’re overwhelming and draining, leaving us all perpetually on the edge of terminal burnout. Pray for us, or whatever.
This is usually that time of year when I talk about Beltaine, also known as May Day, the halfway point between sacred Spring and sacred Summer. Before anyone rushes to point out that this was exactly a month ago today, and that we are rapidly approaching an explosive zenith, remember that if there’s one thing I’ve always been consistent about, as a wizard, it’s being tardy about the cross-quarter days.
Anyway, I’ll save any pretense, mystical solemnity, and even verbosity (shocking), because we’re all way too tired and full up for that. Let’s just sum it up by saying the machinery of this year is in motion. The seeds have been planted – in some cases, long ago, at this point. That which this year will produce at harvest has largely been decided.
Pray for us, or whatever.
In a year like this one, that simple synopsis should be enough to make anyone’s head spin. The only seeds anyone anywhere could’ve planted this year were those of wind and lightning and thunder and fire. Think about that and then good luck enjoying your summer while considering the veritable demons bound to emerge from the earth come autumn.
All right, I kid. Sort of. I mean, I’m kidding about the ruined summer part. It’s really important to have a good summer. I certainly intend to. And you do have three weeks left until the solstice and the most magical night of the year. Got any last-minute things to get started and set in motion? Get out there now. Just three weeks – not a lot of time. And then the betting is closed and only the unknown race remains.
Try and have a little fun if you can, and get some good shit done while you’re at it. It’s a big year. Lot of adventures and learning to come. Good luck out there.