Kat and I engaged in a psychological exercise this weekend and I think in conjunction with work stress it may be having a destabilizing impact on my consciousness. I note this by noting a higher rate of mistakes in issues that have become politicized or emotionally charged, and a reduction in useful social inhibitions.
I also find myself wishing to bathe again, which could mean a number of different things, from the need to relax my muscles to a feeling of inner stain. Bathing is not a desire I often resist, and so I have now bathed. For some reason -- I don't know why, but perhaps it will be obvious to everyone else -- I feel the need to post this.
The last time I saw Ebony Anpu was in a Top Dog in Oakland near his apartment, where he held classes in magick. These revolved around the use of recreational drugs and a magical working he had derived from Madeleine L'Engle and from Hermetic Qabalah. He had asked me to stop coming there after I attended a few of his classes at the nearby Ancient Ways. We had gotten along well at first, but when what he called "his women" had expressed too much interest in me, and after he had attacked me for some of my questions in class, he became much more hostile, and yet his behavior was still curiously interspersed with seeming kindnesses.
At Top Dog he was friendly enough, being at the time with Kim, for whom he made a show of civility. At this time I was on Order-Wide Bad Report and had been refused initiation to the first degree, based upon a string of slanders which I hope you will forgive me for not repeating here. The OTO was to drop the charges within a year after this meeting, two years after I was placed on Bad Report without trial or consultation. At the local level it was another seven years before anything resembling justice was done, and that only at the behest of the national and international authorities.
During this meeting it was still the worst of times. I had stopped going to Ancient Ways since a group of local members gathered outside and jeered at me through the window. (For my part and with my trademark rapier wit and indefatigable courage, I pretended to ignore them until they went away.)
Here a few blocks away, Ebony told me that I should move to another part of the country. I don't remember what I said back. I was in my play-it-down, handle-the-lunatic mode, which tends to respond to outrageous statements by changing the subject to small talk. What I wish I had said to him now is "Fuck you. I live in Berkeley." And you know, even though Kim was there, even though it would have been awfully rude, somehow I think Ebony was someone to whom I could have made that statement, and who might have understood that it was meant in the best possible way.
There was a lot not said between Ebony and myself. After that I heard a variety of reports. He wasn't exactly quiet about his enthusiastic support for my banning, and he described me as "a monster" to a close friend. Ebony also told this friend that he would break security on AOL to crack into his computer and take his Gardnerian documents if he refused to share them. This seems believable to me, since he had threatened to tap my phone, and ranted constantly about his intelligence community connections. That is, the threat seems believable, even though he may or may not have had the ability to carry it out.
I ran as directly into Ebony as I ever would again on IRC a few months before his untimely death. We chatted pleasantly on a few occasions. All this was some years in the past and my comeback in the OTO was under way. It felt like making up, but there was a lot we never talked about. I was surprised by his death, being so far removed from the local OTO that I had not heard he was sick, and he had not mentioned it to me in chat. I heard about his death at a Gardnerian Beltaine in the North Bay from a mutual friend, and jumped immediately to the conclusion that the drugs had gotten him, which does not really seem to have been the case. In some ways it was a reasonable enough guess but I have never completely forgiven myself for it, and there is no one else to forgive me.
At his wake, which I was allowed to attend since it was not on OTO premises or at Oz House, I saw a number of people who I had not seen for many years. It was pleasant enough, as a wake should be, but you know, we didn't really connect, and a lot of people kept a distinct distance. I didn't go to the wake to see them, or because it was the first thing remotely resembling an OTO event I'd been able to participate in locally for years. I went to mourn my friend. And it is very strange, given what transpired between us and that we were only on good terms for one short season, but I still mourn him today, and sometimes think I see him when I look into the nighttime stars.