Snakes & Rivers – Year L

December 31st, 2015

Looking through the lens of Snakes and Rivers at this year has created a framework to connect several of my experiences. Now, I realize my latest painting was an encounter with an “eternal serpent” I did not slay it, but used it as tool through several applications.

The year began with a practice of Slaying Apep. I had just moved into a new apartment to aid in cleaning out my life. It was smaller and cheaper than my last space, and I made the choice to pack up my television and the sewing paraphernalia I no longer used. It was freeing to rid myself of what I no longer needed to be able to see what I did need moving forward. I sorted out my outer world so I could also focus on sorting out my inner world.

Following this purge, the year continued with travelling to locations of natural beauty every month. A lake or river were often present at the locales I chose. My interactions with the bodies of water were deeply personal and introspective, occasionally connecting with other people. Some of my journeys I capture in photography at

In Spring, I visited Madison, a city of many lakes. I found my second python, Ellie.
The isthmus of Madison is a resonate former home where I created my old sewing business and attended school. In the Kettle Moraine area, I boated through new lakes, exploring many hidden discoveries. My folks shared more of their and our family’s personal history than I had known. All of these experience brought a self-remembering through a connection to the self that remains me through my evolutions.

In May, I returned to Devil’s Lake to spend the weekend. The beautiful craggy rocks are challenging enough while viewing the lake below. A purpose for this trip was to throw a rock through the Devil’s Doorway, symbolizing passing through a gateway into deeper self-exploration. My previous trip, I had attempted to throw a stone through and missed. This year, I’ve attained more patience and focus, and was able to make the stone fly through.
In June, I happened to find another gateway rock on a Devil’s Mountain. I attempted another toss and succeeded. Nearby, I took a plunge into a cold lake at midnight, watching the sunset. With purposeful intent, I went below the surface without fear of the unknown or the painful cold involved.

After the lakes, the snakes started appearing in my artwork. Another confrontation with Apep, A journey through the Duat or battling Apep through Imagination. While working through that image, I felt it incomplete. This painting is about the Space of the Duat, but it doesn’t incorporate the experience of Time.

The next painting was a response to that missing piece, At the Center of Time or Weaving through Existence.  A different snake has appeared in this image, no longer the bendy Apep, but the pristine ouroboros. Seeing the image through the lens of Setne’s journey, the ouroboros painted here is a confrontation with the eternal serpent in an appearance as the eternal now. Currently, I am not trying to destroy it, but I see that it holds something in its center.

Re-reading the Scroll of Thoth after completing the painting, I noticed the below from Essay 14 correlates with the imagery of the painting:

"The other point is the ever-changing world of time, where you can see the effect that your Coming Into being has had. Like the ageless Intelligence of the Universe, you can interact with either realm, and you are in a place of your own making between them. You dwell in this borderland at all times–but one of the best magical opportunities to explore this threshold is when you are on the threshold. Freedom and Responsibility (which are the conscious forms of Chaos and Order) swirl around you. All is made new and the decisions you make shape the future–yet your only guide is the wisdom you've squeezed from your past.

What a wonderful moment to pause and fill yourself with the words "Xepera Xeper Xeperu" ("I have Come Into Being, and by my Coming Into Being, the way of Coming Into Being has Come Into Being!") It reminds you of the importance of the present as shaping the future. It reminds you of your force of Being, which has created all of your knowledge of your past. It actively takes your past, present, and future and Creates from them a gate to the Eternal. It takes from the Eternal and makes a gate for its manifestation through your life which is, after all, the magical link for the Great Work."

On the right of the painting, the spiral represents Urd, the past, the Known, what Is and what has been formed, the already occured, Djed, what has been established. This is less of an organized spiral, but more of a woven tapestry. It has chaotic areas of happenstance, and more organized and porpoisely created areas where one has been able to create according to their vision. The weaving has taken place, the cord has been woven into a spiraling tapestry of memories and experiences. This web exists in what could be seen as water or space, visually in my painting. I see these two kinds of areas as variations of the same theme.

On the left, the circle and squiggles represent Skuld, Neheh, the chaos of subatomic unpredectabilities, the Unmanifest, the future, that which is unknown until it becomes observed in the center of the ouroboros. A singularity origin point for the chaos in the black circle, the central dark point that is emitting the particles of potentials. These are magnetically drawn to the center of the consciousness to become manifest. The potentials of What Could Be arise from that, the haphazard matter that could become woven into the tapesty of the Known.

In the center, is the Self conscious in the Present moment, the Now. If the painting could move, this part would be spinning around itself in 'space.' The Ouroboros circling on itself, both outside time and time itself - it always exists right now. The central point inside it is where the self transforms all the chaos of the What Could Be into the structures of the tapestry of What Has Happened. It is not time as a linear progression of events, but as a collection of bits of occurrences to create one's world and life. It is a horizon point where the unknown becomes known. We transform the chaotic coils of unknown matter into the formed known. This action is shown in the center of the ouroboros, like an energy field with the creation and transformation point in the center.

The painting of the serpent of the eternal now had become the new visual reference of my current experience of self. The process of the painting reconnected me with my original style of a painting. A still vital painting to me from the past, was secretly entitled the Birth of Creation. I hid the title because it came as inspiration I did not yet understand. Now, I feel I'm beginning the journey to understanding it. In a sense, picking up where I left off, I have traveled the spiral of experiences around to meet the prior point 'in time' and can view it from a new rung.

Having confronted this serpent, and being inspired thereby, I revisited my favorite location for self-remembering, the Retzer Nature Center. Once again, I discovered a 'new' place in this small park – this time a place of a childhood memory of self-realization. I had not been able to find it before, but I hadn't been looking. It was the first time visiting since the original memory. This location has a river flowing under the boardwalk that runs through the heavily wooded and marshy area. It had just rained and was beautiful. As a child I had listened to the river, trying to find everywhere it flowed. Now I could see it quite well from the rainfall.

Contempations here led me to ideas on the two symbols from my paintings - the ouroboros and Apep - in a metaphor of the snake shedding its skin, and the going through a reintegration process of being an ouroboros again.

During the process of shedding, a snake needs to get very coiled up. This imagery could look like Apep. One alters their state through the various processes and positions, passing through being chaotic Apep to achieve their shedding. Once rejuvenated from the loss of dead skin, an Ouroboros position could be resumed. It is a process of continuous reintegration and Remanifestion. One could remain in this state until the need to change and shed arises again. Become Apep to detach and coil up in chaos. Shed and reveal more of the eternal self that remains, revealed further below the layers. Straighten out the Apep-like coils and re-join yourself to have another moment as an ouroboros experience the eternal now.

(Can beetle shit-rolling be worked into what's happening inside of an ouroboros…)

Within the circle of the painted time ouroboros, the use of memory and experiences are valuable tools for continued existence. Things do not happen and just blow away with the next wind, unless we let them. When haunted by memories, they can be forged into the current life mythos if desired. The scope of what we can be capable of remembering is great. Remember the little pleasures of experience. How amazing that cereal was as a kid, the wind on your face on that mountaintop at night. Activate your senses. Remember how good it was to be alive. Remember how good it is now to be alive. The past experiences are as relevant to the current moment as they were when experienced for the first time.

Recall, the thoughts of an 'aha!' moment, the euphoric rush, remember what surrounding sensory inputs were influencing at that time. Picture the woven tapestry of the past in the painting. If the memory triggers located within a branch of the spiral pattern are re-stimulated, could it bring a new insight? Not a replay, but a new layer, the next rung in the pattern becomes connected to what already is built. These environmental triggers may not need to be experienced with your physical senses, perhaps you can call the sensory experience back vividly enough through your memory to make it achievable as an inner experience.

Scent can be the most powerful tool to practice this feeling. When recalling a memory inspired by a scent, notice, where does the memory and sensory experience occur in your mind-body complex. When you smell that rich espresso and recall a coffee house of five years ago, where in your perception does this occur? Does this experience now overlay an atmospheric quality on the moment in the OU you are presently experiencing? The overlay of your subjective experiences onto your objective world creates a way to live that is much deeper, richer and filled with wonders you have created.

These ideas question the space of your memories, and encourages using the subjective experience of time and the use of memory as a tools. We experience external events through our subjective interface, thus making the reality of experiences occur within this timeless, spacially ambigious zone.

To return to the snake metaphor, we uncoil the shedded Apep and return to an ouroboros by self-remembering. The memory bridges our experience of time, and reconnects our self to our self as the ouroboros. Becoming an Apep may not sound like a good idea, but it may be necessary to break stasis. Do we want to remain as a neat ouroboros or do we require the unhinging and coiling up of Apep, so we can re-shed and reform ourselves?

Using Apep as a tool to shake off the dead skin needs practical methods. Awareness of the state is necessary to not fall asleep. A way I've been dealing with this aspect is through observation. After all, it's best to know your prey well to most effectively destroy it.

First, I conducted unbiased observation on myself. I had begun noticing certain habits and preferences that would swing between two options. I started grouping these and made a simple google docs form, so I could just click through the choices I'm making in my current state often and easily enough to gather substantial data.

At first, my assumption was that certain parts might be 'false' or 'true' to my 'best' self. The false choices would be of a self that is more asleep, more strangled by Apep. I did not try to change actions and thoughts, but the act of observing does create an effect.

Once everything was paired down to two selves, the challenge of neutralizing the apparent duality came in. I realized it would be unhealthy to totally rid myself of what I considered false. Although I may disregard and shame parts of it, it was a substantial, just different, part of me that needs expression equally. If it were not there as controlled chaos, would it become instead a blind chaos?

Thus the challenge became, how do I let both selves play in harmony. What habit did I call bad or false and why, it still may need an expression in some form. Take the feeling the laziness on the couch creates, and balance it with what the other self wants to do, to instead doodle idly those notes and sketches. The indulgence of the habit was still taken, but informed with a synthesis of one's other desire. Both selves are pleased enough for one to eventually win out based on the feedback of the activities. The goal is not leading to eradication of that other part, but the awareness of the process we go through in existing as a balancing act.

This work brought me to the discovery of another magickal name.

The name I knew, hkati, is my "beyond" self, my Becoming. She who travels as a Ka, sees and provides hints of insight and inspired action, mostly for optimal existence in the objective world.

sehka was discovered and named as my "deeper" self, my Sekhem, my Being. She who dwells way within the well of self – knowledge and awareness. The hidden one, potential guide and source for the subjective world.

At the time of this naming, I had just finished the At the Center of Time painting. Also in my mind, were two paintings, that Birth of Creation and the always self-iconic Pig God. These two were painted 9 years ago. I realized how many parts of this year were connected to occurrences of 2006, a pattern of Remanifestation within myself was forming.

With this, I chose to perform a working for my transition between 9 year cycles, and as the new age brings the 4th in a cycle of 7 as well, I used this to establish the 4th pillar to stabilize my world using the 7 glyphs of my two magickal names.

For this working, I traveled to Las Vegas' pyramid, a black beacon shining into the night sky. The working performed both there and in the Valley of Fire. My Birth of Creation rite, with the constellation of the thigh above, I visualized each name sign along side a star. This newly built constellation joined the subjective space I discovered in a prior working of large black pyramids and a vortex of rotating constellations in the night sky above. I combined both named aspects of myself so that I became the force balanced between those opposites.

In the desert I had gone to a high stimuli environment my "beyond" self would love, working on bringing out the balance with the "deeper" self. Then, on the darkest day of the year, raining with no light coming through into my new house, a place of my own creation, the "deeper" self thrived while working to bring out the balance of the "beyond" self.

There on the solstice, another working was created as part two of the birthday working. It was a dark deed to feed a Broken KA to Apep. But it led me to re-envision my name ladies as the Ba that they are, here to aid me, but it is I that is master of my own space and time.

Ir Shti Shta-tu!

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