auspicious omens

From the 38th Book of Nonnos of Panopolis’ Dionysiaka:

The Satyrs dived into a bear’s cave, and hollowed their little bed in the rock with sharp finger-nails in place of cutting steel; until the lightbringing morning shone, and the brightness of Dawn newly risen showed itself peacefully to both Indians and Satyrs. There was no carnage among them then, no conflict, and the shield which Bacchos had borne for six years lay far from the battle covered with spiders’ webs.


A foreboding sign was shown to winefaced Bacchos in the sky, an incredible wonder. For at midday, a sudden darkness was spread abroad, and a midday obscurity covered Phaethon with its black pall, and the hills were overshadowed as his beams were stolen away.


Then a happy omen was seen by impatient Bacchos, an eagle flying high through the air, holding a horned snake in his sharp talons. The snake twisted his bold neck, and slipt away of itself diving into the river Hydaspes. Trembling silence held all that innumerable host. Idmon alone stood untrembling, Idmon the treasury of learned lore, for he had been taught the secrets of Urania, the Muse who knows the round circuit of the stars: he had been taught by his learned art the shades on the Moon’s orb when in union with the Sun, and the ruddy flame of Phaethon stolen out of sight from his course behind the cone of darkness, and the clap of thunder, the heavenly bellow of the bursting clouds, and the shining comet, and the flame of meteors, and the fiery leap of the thunderbolt.

Uhm … really? I shouldn’t be surprised, but really? Bears, Spiders, the Shield of Dionysos, a Black Sun, an Eagle carrying off a Serpent, and Thunderstrike. Literally everything I’ve been posting about for the last week or so, all in one passage.

The Phrygian prophet then goes on to interpret these as auspicious omens indicating that he will triumph over his adversaries.

Somewhere up there midnight strikes

Evening rises, darkness threatens to engulf us all
But there’s a moon above it’s shining and I think I hear a call
It’s just a whisper through the trees, my ears can hardly make it out
But I can hear it in my heart, vibrating strong as if she shouts

Oh Ariadne, I am coming, I just need to work this maze inside my head
I came here like you asked, I killed the beast, that part of me is dead
Oh Ariadne, I just need to work this maze inside my head
If only I’d have listened to you when you offered me that thread

The Sun is a Spiderweb

At least that’s what scholars think the Neolithic Spiderweb Stones in Denmark signify:

FROM ANCIENT NATIVE AMERICANS TO the classical Greeks to today, spiders and their webs have long had symbolic and religious meaning. Now, archaeologists digging at a Neolithic site on Bornholm, Denmark’s easternmost island, have unearthed some mysterious 5,000-year-old stones engraved with what appear to be spiderwebs. But they may not have had anything to do with arachnids.

Their patterns are not vastly different than those on the roughly 300 “sun stones” found since the 1990s at the site of Vasagard, on the same island, which appears to have been a ceremonial center for Neolithic sun worship. (Bornholm is the place in Denmark with the most hours of sunlight per year—so perhaps it is no surprise that prehistoric sun-lovers gathered there.) However, as explained by Finn Ole Son Nielsen, chief archaeologist at the Bornholm Museum, sun stones usually have a simpler set of radiating lines—while the new finds have more intricate lines in between, giving them a distinctly arachnoid look. Researchers have found at least four so far, including one that is somewhere between a sun stone and a spiderweb stone.

The hypothesis is that spiderweb stones may, in fact, just be another way to represent the sun. So Nielsen looked to the symbolic use of spiderweb-like designs across Europe, and found one depicted on the ceiling of medieval church in France. In that case it probably represented heaven or the space between life and death. He suspects the Neolithic stones held some kind of similar purpose, but there’s no way to know.

How dark is the cosmic web?

This interesting story came across my newsfeed:

The universe is permeated by a vast, invisible web, its tendrils weaving through space. But despite organizing the matter we see in space, this dark web is invisible. That’s because it is made up of dark matter, which exerts a gravitational pull but emits no light. That is, the web was invisible until now. For the first time, researchers have illuminated some of the darkest corners of the universe.

How wyrd. 

I mean, isn’t it funny how science is just now starting to catch up to shit our ancestors grasped thousands of years ago? 

Relatedly, a spider’s web is part of its mind, new research suggests:

Spiders, it turns out, appear to possess an extraordinary form of consciousness that we’re only beginning to understand, and it has to do with their webs, reports New Scientist. Researchers are slowly coming around to the idea that spider webbing is an essential part of these creatures’ cognitive apparatus. The animals don’t just use their webs to sense with; they use them to think. It’s part of a theory of mind known as “extended cognition,” and humans utilize it too.

The Journey Begins

The instinct to take the last post down after getting up from my nap was strong, and only got stronger as the evening wore on.

I don’t like showing vulnerability to begin with, and when you consider how many enemies I’ve accumulated over the years it can be a serious liability. (Especially with how many of them are magicians of some talent and could use this to strike against me.)

Beyond that, I admitted some things I don’t particularly like about myself, like how it’s affected me that my influence has waned and the role I’ve played in driving folks away. I can rationalize it by saying that the involvement of others is necessary for the work I’ve been given to do for my Gods and Spirits and the string of failed groups I’ve started is just another way I’ve let them down – but there’s more to it than that.

I crave the respect of others, I want to accomplish meaningful and extraordinary things that will live on beyond me, I want to have people who excite and inspire me that I can collaborate with and who will help pick up the slack when I’m hurting, exhausted and stretched too thin as I often am these days, and – fuck, this is hard – I even want to be liked for who I am, not just what I can do for other people.

And I’m keenly aware that I don’t make that easy. I’m strange and off-putting, I take hard and controversial stances, I don’t care about the things most people do and won’t bother faking it, I don’t let folks in easily or reach out, it takes a lot to get back in my good graces once someone disappoints me, and I have a tremendous capacity for ruthlessness and cruelty when I am wronged.   

To compound things, I’m going through a really rough period health-wise. It’s not necessary to go into all of that, but let’s just say that I count the hours I’m not sick or suffering high levels of pain, and there aren’t many of them in a given day. That’s affecting everything from my general outlook on life to my fraying relationships with friends and loved ones to the state of my religious practice, which requires serious effort to do even the simplest of things like pray and make offerings, let alone the types of ecstatic and magical practices that used to be second nature to me.

I have a sense of what I need to do to dig myself out of this, but most days I find it challenging to manage self-care and household chores, let alone higher level functions such as traversing the abyss, confronting the empty husks of dead selves, transmuting poison into the elixir of life, and harnessing the rays of the Black Sun. Especially since I’m figuring shit out as I go, there’s no guarantee I’m going to succeed and I don’t exactly have any living lineage elders or even a community I can turn to for advice and support.  

But I know that if I don’t do something, and soon, this situation is not just going to get worse – it will destroy me. 

And so that’s why I made the previous post and this one. I needed a good, hard look in the mirror, an unflinching inventory of where I’m at, what’s going on in my head and in my life, and to unburden my soul through public confession so that I can begin to move forward. I do this all the time, internally, as part of my practice of discernment – but there are minimal consequences when it’s just in your head, or something shared with someone who’s going to accept and love you no matter what.

I needed to put this stuff out there because I didn’t want to, so even the folks who hate me could see it, so that both the truths and the lies of it can no longer hold power over me. I had to declare, “this is who I am” so that I could move past that and become something else.

And now it’s time to do that.

Too honest?

And there goes another long-time online acquaintanceship up in flames. Man, I’m really shitty at this whole “playing well with others” thing.

I’ve got around 600 people still subscribed to House of Vines, maybe 20 of which engage with any kind of regularity. And the active ones, well, that number shrinks down to about 5 or 6.

I get it.

I’m arrogant, myopic, opaque, uncompromising and bellicose. And those are my positive traits. 

Worse, everything I write is basically this:


Unless you happen to share my obsessions or enjoy a good rabbit hole, there’s no point following along. Even then, you’re probably only going to understand 1/3 of my posts. Especially since I rely so heavily on breadcrumbs, parallelism, repetition, etc. To understand one post you need to keep in mind shit I wrote 10-20 posts back. A lot of the time I don’t even necessarily know what the point is myself until it all coalesces.

Then I struggle to find a way to communicate it to others, if that’s even possible. When I try to write relatable things it comes off flat and insincere. Projects, contests and other interactive shit just gets crickets. I’m basically writing for myself at this point, and some theoretical community of kindred spirits I despair of ever meeting. People I considered closer than family won’t speak to me, and the rest I pushed away either actively or through neglect. 

Hell, I used to receive a dozen or more e-mails a day; now maybe 3 or 4 trickle in a week, and half of those I lose or can’t get to until they’re irrelevant because my life is a constant whirlwind of chaos and craziness. I’m an Orpheotelest without any clients, which is an oxymoron. 

Am I gonna change? Probably not. Because I feel bone deep that I’m on the right track and a huge breakthrough is just around the corner.

And I recognize how utterly insane that sounds, and not the good or fun kind either.

But what choice have I got? I know the answer to that question: there is nothing but choice. Every second of every day we are choosing, and the shape of our life is determined by that.

And right now I choose to post this with the comments off (since I don’t need any ego-stroking) and go take a nap, hoping my outlook will be a little less bleak when I wake. (And knowing that it won’t.)