Dogged By Fear

Dogged By Fear

The search for the cause is rather misleading, since the existence of the fear continues, not because it has been originally started in the remote past, but because a task is incumbent upon you in the present moment, and, inasmuch as it remains unfulfilled, every day produces fear and guilt anew.

The question is, of course, what do you feel to be your task?

Where the fear, there is your task!

Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 205-206

This post was published on earlier versions of the blog, originally appearing 1/31/2021. This version has been edited to account for events that have since transpired. It comes into a much clearer focus given my current understanding of Hermekate as described in the post Hermekate, Occultism, and Mental Health.

In previous posts such as this one, I introduced the primary “cadre” (that was always the word I was most attracted to) of spirits with whom I’ve worked over the years. I spent most of the time focusing on Rose and Ilyas, two trustworthy and wholesome beings who demonstrated that they had my best interests at heart. I’ve discussed some of the machinations of a darker entity–Minora–whom I came to view psychologically as the spirit manifestation of my Shadow. There was a lot of detail that I purposely avoided, knowing that I’d get to it later. The time to fill in that gap is now.

Minora

As I described in the post I linked to above, Minora was a “monkish,” sort of “wraithlike” entity who appeared, at first, as a human in ornate red robes trimmed with gold filigree. He wore a raised hood, with two glowing red eyes underneath being the only visible features other than his gnarled hands. Later in life, his robes turned black. I do find it interesting how I always realized his form had a connection to the figure of Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars–whose robes were black all the way up until the culmination of the Skywalker Saga, in which he eventually donned ornate red robes, with gold filigree.

The techniques and philosophies Minora professed mirrored Sith teachings in many ways, and there was probably some influence there due to my unabashed Star Wars fandom. In short, he taught me to cultivate my anger and use it as a source of power. In addition, he would often whisper to me, “You will make your presence known,” while simultaneously making it my mission to eventually isolate myself completely from all others; yes, by the time I was 15, despite the influence of Ilyas and Rose in my life, I had made it a conscious “spiritual” practice to systematically separate myself from everyone around me by destroying all of my relationships completely.

Minora would eventually tell me that he ran with his own little “crew,” referred to as “The Dark Brotherhood,” which he claimed was a real association of dark adepts through which he and I were connected via past lives. I was always skeptical about the truth of this claim.

One such being was named “Phobos.” Initially, he did not speak to me at all and was very mysterious. He took the form of a medium-sized black dog, with glowing red eyes like Minora’s, and goat horns. He was Minora’s demon dog.

One of Minora’s other “Brothers” was a younger, pale monk in brown robes, hood down, whose face I could see, who went by the name “Cronos.” So I had Minora, Phobos, and Cronos. Well, Cronos was a deity name. What about Phobos? I came to associate him with the satellite surrounding the planet Mars, and I think I also conflated him with Phobetor of Ovid’s Metamorphosis.

Phobos

Most of the time, Phobos did not use or much care for words. He would typically just kind of show up and hang around somewhat ominously. His very energy and aura just generate fear. Often, around the time he would show up, I would also start having nightmares about spiders (I was terrified of spiders from my earliest days) appearing in webs to block my way. They took place in my family home in Davis, which was truly infested with black widows. I’d be trying to leave, a web full of them would appear in the front doorway. Then I’d try to get out the back door, and another web would appear there just as I reached it. Then I would turn around, and suddenly a third web full of black widows would appear right behind me, and I would be standing between two of them; Phobos was associated with nightmares about my deepest childhood phobia, appearing in doorways–thresholds.

There is plenty of folklore about black dogs, doorways, cemetery gates, etc. A book that really lit up my understanding of Phobos was Toby Chappell’s wonderful tome, Infernal Geometry and the Left-Hand Path: The Magical System of Nine Angles.

After a while, I began to notice a pattern: Phobos usually showed up during crises. In other words, his presence was never good news. He represented my fears and he served Minora. The connection here seemed clear: My Shadow had a servant–Fear–which it used against me. However, since this Shadow behaves very much like Palpatine, this “pet” of his was much more than a purely malicious intruder: He was there to test me, hone my skills. He was…a Dweller On The Threshold.


Over time, I noticed another pattern: Phobos’ demeanor seemed to get less and less threatening. In retrospect I suppose this is because, although he was such a harbinger of hell, I came to rely on the fact that he would trot off and disappear just as happily as soon as the storm cleared. He was not really responsible for anything other than amplifying the terror of my own dark days–my own terror. That’s pretty much what he did–until he turned traitor.


It all occurred, as a matter of fact, as I was reading Infernal Geometry: Phobos showed up again, as usual, in the middle of some tumultuous bullshit. This time, however, he spoke, and what he had to say was that he was no longer Minora’s servant: Now, he was my servant and protector. He would continue to perform much the same function he always had, except the interaction would now be more conscious and dynamic, and further, he promised me that, as a “demon” who now served me, I could also “send” him to protect me. I had a surprise opportunity to test him on this within a few days, and I would say that things went well.

I was walking to school (my World Religions class, my final paper of which was about Nepalese Shamanism) at North Park University. I had a pin on my book bag at the time with the slogan “Always Punch Nazis” (you can get yours here). At one point, I felt someone coming up behind me (I do that a lot) and as they passed me, they shot me back an annoyed glance. Now, I could have been, and likely was, projecting all of this onto him from my own insecurities, but something about his appearance and the way he was looking at me just “seemed” to me like maybe he took issue with my pin. Maybe he was a racist fuck. He passed me by, and something told me I should slow my roll and let him get ahead of me. I was nearing the Kedzie Brown Line stop when it occurred to me: “I can send Phobos.”

I “called” out to Phobos mentally, as I do with my spirits, and his response was swift and immediate. He appeared behind me, bolted up Kedzie to the man in question, who suddenly dropped the Mountain Dew he was carrying at pretty much the exact moment Phobos reached him. He stopped and picked it up, suddenly flustered, and hurried into the Brown Line station just as the gates closed between he and I. Ah, thresholds.

It could all have been coincidence.

I’ve told some people about Phobos, and, understandably so, they worried about him. However, my relationship with him was about as warm as that of any man’s with his pet dog. I loved the little fucker, even though I knew his presence is bad news.

Why?

Because every time he showed up, I found the way to get him to leave more quickly. My dog was training me.

When I think about it, my relationship with him strongly reminds me of a practice described in the Lion’s Roar article How To Feed Your Demons. Needless to say, practices such as this should be approached with caution and care, but my own experiences, illustrated above, do support the idea that we have a lot to gain by befriending fear; certainly much more than by trying to beat it at its own game.

I’ll tell the deeper story about the process behind it, but Phobos will hound me no more, for I have successfully re-integrated him, such that it’s no longer necessary to relate to my fear as the external symbol that he was. This involved identifying the specific fear which he represented: Not just some inchoate sense of fear for its own sake, not an echo of some primal survival instinct being triggered in some unseen way, but the fear of my soul task. The fear of living out my inner life purpose.

The debilitating fear I was experiencing in the face of the paper I was working on puts the whole situation into perspective, especially as I look back.

The deeply-rooted fear had a great deal to do with the fact that the paper deals with many of the themes which I have introduced as being connected with Hermekate: The reconciliation of spirit and matter or psyche and physis, especially in the face of the multicultural dynamics involved. It’s a really complicated picture that must be handled with extreme care and delicacy, lest more harm be done than good. The attempt to be a world healer, a reconciler of such forces as are under discussion, is no easy task. It is absolutely burdensome, and I am driving toward some of the central concerns, where the “Gordian Knot” is at its most tangled. In many ways, one must be mad in order to even consider the task; no wonder that for so many years, I had to project it all out of my head and reckon with different aspects of it as entities!

But it is the work I am here to do, bit by bit.

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