We're making progress through "The Artist's Way". We're up to chapter 9: Recovering a Sense of Compassion. What does any of that have to do with the Most Evil Man Alive (aka Aleister Crowley?)
I created a new oracle card for my "Bloom Where You're Planted" Oracle deck. The Daisy: Innocence and Hope, although the young lady seems a little sad, maybe a little lost. Perhaps she is on the verge of shedding that innocence and learning that hope is not always well founded or possible.
Aleister Crowley lost his at the age of 10 when his father died. It changed everything for him and shattered the development of a young gifted boy and altered the course of his life. I've always found Crowley to be a very problematic figure, but somehow I always circle back to him. What is the fascination? I recently picked up a biography on him and began to work my way through it. A lot of it I already knew.
He was misogynistic. He discarded children and wives with very little apparent concern. He considered himself a far more talented poet than Yeats. He possessed a great deal of faith in his own powers and gifts.
I've stumbled through bits of his books without understanding any of it. I'm familiar with his cavalier treatment of people that loved him and devoted time to him. He seemed always to walk away with very little regard or concern.
Many years ago, I bought his Thoth Tarot deck. It was my second deck and the first one that I bought for myself. I love the imagery and the symbolism but I've never been able to do a reading from the deck that didn't feel antagonistic. It's almost as if the cards resent my distaste for their creator. I always draw the worst cards in the worst order when I try to read from the Thoth deck, but I've held on to it through the years. It sits untouched in it's box, unhandled and rather unloved.
I picked up an in-depth biography of Aleister Crowley a couple of months ago, determined to work through my conflicted emotions for this man and somehow make peace with his shade and build a better relationship with my deck. At the back of my mind, I knew it was a little odd that I felt so determined to work through these feelings.
Then, epiphany time. My father became very ill a few months ago. My relationship with my father has always been very problematic. We've never had a good relationship and I knew that a good relationship was truly not even possible. Too much pain. Too much trauma.
Within a few weeks, my father transitioned beyond my ability to even think of connecting with him, but really, I know that such a moment wasn't possible. Not for us. Not with the past that we shared and with the man that he was. Ever since his death, I've been struggling with his shadow, with difficult memories, with very conflicted feelings. I don't know that I can make peace with this part of my past.
I'd picked up the book on Aleister Crowley and had been using it as a substitute for my relationship with my own father. Perhaps if I could make peace with the "Most Evil Man Alive", then somehow I would be able to make peace with my own father. The "Most Evil Man Alive" felt somehow more approachable and more likely.
"The Artist's Way" urges us toward compassion for others and, more crucially, compassion for ourselves. I'm working on it. I'm sifting through the pain and memories a little at a time.
I'm also working through the 600 page Crowley biography a little at a time. Maybe, eventually, I can make peace with Crowley's shade and finally work with the Thoth Tarot. And, perhaps, just perhaps, I can truly come to a place of compassion for the man that was my father and lay to rest my own ghosts by putting his to rest as well.
Love yourself. Practice self compassion and work towards compassion for others, even those that make it ever so difficult.
I love you all.