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Ashé Journal, Vol 2, Issue 3, 2003.

The White Springs Café

By Mogg Morgan

In an instant, the White Springs Café was on the point of closure. What had I been doing all day—pushing the same fragment of cake around the plate—drinking yet another cup of tea—my back aching from the hardness of the garden seats in the lane outside—it was too damp in the old well house to sit there for more than an hour or two. There was little conversation—just before closing time a tall dark man and two beautiful girls walked up the lane towards the café entrance. I smiled knowingly at them—knowing they were part of the trip. They avoided my stare—perhaps it was too intense—the fixed gaze of the pseudo occultist.


Yesterday was a bad day—someone had stolen my passport as I sat meditating—I still couldn’t work out how. How could it happen—years ago in India—my girlfriend had taken my money belt from me as I slept—just to show how easy it was.


Later in yet another Glastonbury café our paths crossed again—this time the tall man and his female friends were paying the bill, quietly discussing the craziness around them.

“Not everyone in Glastonbury is nice are they” I heard the tall one say.

“Why, what’s happened?”

“Outside, on the pavement, one of the local winos just gave us a hard time. A big bloke—arms like a farmer—I was feeling lucky—you’d just given me the little Ganesha statue—I saw Lianne walk out of the shop and lean against the bench, so I walked over to talk to her but this drunken farmer arrived at precisely the same instant—arriving on a bicycle—he came from nowhere. As I tucked myself between him and Lianne he made some comment about her hair—it turned my stomach—the thought of this guy thinking that way—him so ugly, brutal and emotionally dead. I wanted to say something to turn the moment—I meant to try humor but it came out as a challenge “do you mean my hair?” “No, not your hair stupid” he said “his arm swatting the air in front of my face”—


I wanted to talk to them, to be with them, and tell them about how my passport had been stolen yesterday but how that wasn’t gonna stop me—I was going to Amsterdam on Saturday—I’d had a knock back but I was still going. They looked at me like I was just another drunken farmer. What do they know—are they on a quest—that has taken them half way across Europe and ends this weekend in Amsterdam—I don’t think so.


Amsterdam—Ramesh says call by at the shop and maybe he can find work for me in his ‘Empire’. The Empire is Ramesh’s most successful enterprise to date. He sells magick mushroom growbags to the coffee shops. He’s made so much money that he bought a house overlooking the temple of Sethos at Abydos. He plans a magick guest house with a pleasure dome open to the sky, but somehow protected from the night flying insects by an invisible metal screen. He plans to bribe officials and steal the Stele of Revealing from the Egyptian museum. (I haven’t the heart to tell him, that as Egyptian artifacts go, its pretty banal). He spends so much time there that he needs trusted minions to look after the shop in Amsterdam. In no time at all I’ve the keys to the kingdom and a little room upstairs.

I’m stoned all day long but love the work.

I’m lonely.

I’m stoned so much of the time that I’m getting sloppy. This morning I found a whole jar of mushrooms that had gone bad—without thinking I peal the lid off and a fine must rises up and assaults my nostrils. Coughing madly I run cold water and bleach into the bottle and throw it down the sink. But since then my lungs have felt funny—I need to get out for a bit—but the other staff don’t like me too much and I don’t have company.


I walk the streets


A girl looks down at me from a large picture window—her room looks very cozy—overstuffed bed visible with the covers turned down—she’s darked skinned—maybe mixed race—she looks—she looks big. She’s wearing lace stockings the color of galaxy chocolate.

“Hey” she says “come inside”

I think to myself “Is this how it was for Aleister Crowley?”

There wasn’t much formality, in broken English she asks me to give her money. I still have the shop takings in my pocket. Being still not very familiar with the currency I slowly fumble through the wad of notes. Impatient, she snatches them from me and expertly counts a few hundred out, she thrusts these in my direction and says ‘that’, then she adds a few hundred more, and again says ‘that’ and then a few hundred more and says again ‘that’.

A wave of tiredness sweeps over me, stronger even than my lust “I just want to sit down”. My lungs are aching again, feels like I might be getting the “flu. As I sit down on the edge of the bed, flecks of light, the shape of teardrops swim around my head.

She stuffs the money in a draw and comes over to me “no, don’t lie down yet, take your jacket off” She yanks me to my feet and I give her my coat. “Now you wash yourself” she orders, making a sharp nod with her head at the wash basin. I unzip and pull it out, wondering, as I do so, whether its going to be big enough, why that should matter I’m not sure. I look in the mirror; my face looks puffy. I’d like to ask someone who knows me whether I look alright, I certainly don’t feel it. I stand at the sink not knowing what to do. She helps me, filling it with cool water and pressing a little blob of soap from the applicator, probably medicated, she begins to wash me. This gets some response but I groan “I’m not feeling well” She holds me up, still washing me, maybe thats what I should do, to get this over with, give into ‘that’, let myself come quickly in the bowl then maybe she’ll let me rest a little. She stops abruptly and passes me a towel. I scoop up the soapy water and wash my face, its coolness is merciful and my head clears.

“Come,” she barks, “come here!”

She ushers me to the edge of the bed again, and takes off my shoes, loosens my belt and expertly pulls my trousers and pants from me in a gliding movement. “Keep your shirt on if you like”

I hear the unmistakable sound of a condom packet being ripped open and she’s kneading my legs then stroking me, making me hard. I smell apples. Her mouth slides down over me, as, with ritual skill, she shrouds my erection with the condom, unrolling the last few centimeters with the help of her fingers.

“Magick”, something tells me “This is supposed to be magick, sexual magick. The reason I’m in Amsterdam in the first place.” I try to focus, what am I supposed to do. I hear the panic voice again “do a banishing, do a banishing.” I mumble the first few lines of the pentagram rite “atoh, malkuth…”

She pauses from her task of rubbery fellatio for a second and snaps “what, what is that you are saying”

The thought crosses my mind that she is Jewish. I try to go on as she shakes my rubbery cock back and forth as if trying to shake it back to life. With a look of resignation, she stops and pushes me back onto the bed, stage two, I think to myself.
Somewhere, out in the street, I hear a child screaming with rage, even the musick from the tape machine can’t blank it out. In English, I hear “What have I done, I don’t want to, I don’t want to go to bed!” over and over. My friend has taken her top off and her breasts hang down, the nipples dark from childbirth. I’m getting the full treatment here, pink lipstick, false hair, the works. Miraculously I’m moving inside her the lines of my invocation bumping along with her thrusting

“Pan, Io Pan, come to me, with thorny secrets of alchemy, burn up my soul with secret fire, doctrine divine that I desire.”
My eyes must have been closed, I open them and think I catch her throwing a sideways glance at the clock.
I think to myself, how on earth do I connect with this woman? I can’t even feel her properly inside. In desperation she kisses me, thrusting her tongue deep into my mouth. Years ago at some party, a friend’s sister I hardly knew, led me upstairs to her room and kissed me, her tongue finding the tiny tendon joining my lip to my gums, following it out again over the vertical line that joins one lip bow to another. It was a mystical experience then, the sensation passes over my face like a rash, closing my eyes and opening something in my brow. I rack my brain for the second part of the invocation:

“Come, sweet mentor for which I rant; the long awaited heavenly hierophant; Aleister on my body feast; sigil erect of the wondrous beast”

Too much going on in my head to come yet. My friend is beginning to look desperate. Maybe if I could touch her. I think of the first time I ever pushed my fingers inside a woman’s body. It felt so pure and white. I was gentle and she was excited “come in the bedroom” she kept saying, over and over, but I didn’t want to. I felt the bumps of her vertebrae and I was fascinated and horrified.


I don’t know how I ended up in the closet. Maybe the fever was on me again and I slept for a little while. Despairing of ever getting rid of me, my friend must have dragged me off the bed and into the closet. My trousers, coat and wallet were nearby. For the next hour I lay there amongst the discarded clothes and bulk packs of contraceptives drifting in and out of consciousness, my sleep only interrupted by the slamming of the picture window as clients came and went, the low discussion in a foreign tongue, then the bed creaking away and the sounds of sex, men coming in low grunts—ah ah ahhh.. My lungs were definitely the source of the problem, they felt raw like as if I’d been chain smoking again. Little darting pains shot out across my chest


The door had slammed for about the sixth time when the closet door was wrenched open and she hissed “go, go now”—she helped me dress and almost threw me out through the screen door onto the cobbles. I was surrounded by a coach party on their way to see Anne Frank’s house. They flowed around me as if I didn’t exist. An image came into my head—I must find the dark man—but first I need a doctor.

It didn’t take too long to find my mysterious, darkly clad friend. I was back in UK. My illness turned out to be more serious than I’d at first imagined. Cut and run I thought. I made for Schipol airport and caught the shuttle back and took a taxi from the airport to the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. I was at death’s door and they admitted me straight away. Turned out I picked up some disease more commonly known as farmer’s lung. The doctor told me I’d done the right thing seeking serious medical attention. Much more of a delay and it might have proved fatal. As it was they admitted me for what turned out to be a two week stay. Towards the end I was pretty much healed and could go for short walks in the streets outside the hospital. I went to the famous little occult bookshop in Museum street and lurked there, browsing the books and earwigging the conversations

My ears pricked up when I heard the name Glastonbury. It came from a petite thirty—something lady. She was bemoaning the isolation of her Glastonbury home, she said she was bored and hardly saw anyone these days. The last time she’s seen a friendly face was weeks ago when Rik and his ‘shaktis’ had come down to visit the Chalice well and Tor. I moved closer and from my vantage point in the stack glanced up for a better look. Pascale and the manager, whose name I gathered was Mathew, looked at each other awkwardly, as they noticed my obvious interest.

“Need any help” Mathew quizzed.

“No I’m OK,” I paused then went on “well, actually there is something you can help me with. I’m sorry to eavesdrop but I heard you mention Glastonbury. I’m looking for someone I met briefly there but don’t have his address.”

“What’s his name?” the woman Pascale asked

“Well, actually, I don’t know.”

“Well what does he look like” she probed

I described him as best my fuddled brain could dredge up. “Very tall, dressed in black”

Pascale laughed “there’s an awful lot in Glastonbury who fit that description.”

“He had very long fair hair” I could see the smile broadened on her lips, enjoying the joke. In desperation I tried “I’m not doing very well.”

Pascale’s expression softened, “well how was his hair?”

A glint of hope. I remembered that it had been tied up in an unusual way, drawn upwards into a hank and tied with a grip so it cascaded from the crown of his head, like a Shikh, oriental like.”

Mathew and Pascale looked at each other and in unison said “Rik!” the name of the person they’d just been discussing.

They seemed pretty unphased by this major league synchronicity. They nodded sagely to each other “it is so often like that.” There was not much more to say after that—they gave me a box number for an address in Oxford and suggested I write care of the Hermetic Students, which had its Head Quarters there. I was beginning to get tired again and shuffled off back to my hospital ward.


Rik was not an easy person to get to see. It took several letters. My first went unanswered, so I sent another, this time with the return postage. I received back a little photocopied newsletter and a scribbled note saying “if I wanted to chat to Rik best ring after six o'clock and maybe he’d be around.” I did that and a soft Irish voice said “hello”—I recognized the voice, it was definitely him, now what should I say. There was a pause. “Are you still there, are you looking for information on the Hermetic Students? He went on helpfully. “Yes, I was,” He told me a few things and then asked me whereabouts I was living. I told him I was in London at the moment having just returned from abroad, and, I lied, was hoping to move to Oxford soon. “Are you a student?” “No, I mean yes, I hope to be in October.” “Well have a think about what I’ve told you, and if you do fetch up in Oxford please do get in touch. That was obviously the signal for the end of our conversation. I put the phone down.


A week later I was in Oxford on a day ticket. I thought I would say I’d been down for an interview and having just gotten through hoped I might be able to meet him for a chat. It was just after six o'clock. Rik sounded a bit out of it “sure”, he said, “come over”. He gave me the address, it would take about half an hour to get there.


The house was eccentric and smelt strange, incense, blocked drains, cats. Rik was making tea in the other room, all English meetings operate on the basis that one is dying of thirst. “Are you alone here?”

“I am now” came the reply from the kitchen.

“A recent thing”

“A recent thing” Rik repeated by way of reply.

I light my cigarette and accidentally drop the lighter down the side of the chair. Reaching down for it my hand comes up with a pair of dirty women’s knickers. I think to myself, so things can’t be so bad. Rik comes in carrying two cups of tea, and seeing the knickers, takes them from me without a word.

“Oh people come and go here—for many years I shared this house with a partner, but she’s moved on now, found another life in London.”

“Was she one of the women I saw you with in Glastonbury”

“Glastonbury, who mentioned Glastonbury?”

“Sorry, we have met briefly before, I remembered when I saw you”

“Listen, what is this about?”

So I told him the whole slight story. Rik seemed to accept it, it seemed quite normal. Then he asked “do you know what I was doing before you phoned?”

No obviously not, although you sounded a bit out of it.

“Well that too, I was doing my early evening meditation. I was just thinking how nice it would be to have a chat with my Holy Guardian Angel—do you know that? Then you called. You’re crazy,” he went on, “I’m crazy, so why shouldn’t I just talk to you about all the things on my mind, then maybe you can have a go, if you still want to.”

“I’m game”

Rik sat down and began to roll a spliff, or as he called it a Jay.

He spoke falteringly until he had finished rolling and lit the white tube. “Without wanting to sound too melodramatic,” he said, “I’m at a bit of a crossroads—maybe even the dark night of the soul.”

I laughed and said “women trouble?”

“Could be.”

I don’t know what it was but something made me say “you like the pretty ones, spend all your time fucking and doing magick but run out of things to talk to them about?”

As soon as I said it I wondered if I’d gone to far, but Rik smiled knowingly.

“Go on” I said.

Rik continued “When I was your age I used to talk like that.”

My age, I thought, he couldn’t be much more than thirty-five and said so.

“Maybe a little bit more than that”. I looked harder and thought I could see the deeply incised laughter lines, maybe he was, I never really knew Rik’s age.

“I’ve always been a bit too serious,” He said.

“You mean you’re a softy?”

“Yes, that’s probably right—I’m a bit soft. I assume you’re familiar with the Book of the Law?”

“Of course” I replied

“This verse means something to me now—” “Let the Scarlet Woman beware! If pity and compassion and tenderness visit her heart; if she leave my work to toy with old sweetnesses; then shall my vengeance be known. I will slay me her child: I will alienate her heart: I will cast her out from men: as a shrinking and despised harlot shall she crawl through dusk wet streets and die cold and an—hungered.

“But let her raise herself in pride! Let her follow me in my way! Let her work the work of wickedness! Let her kill her heart! Let her be loud and adulterous! Let her be covered with jewels and rich garments, and let her be shameless before all men!”

“I guess that means you’ve been having a bad time?” I quipped, trying to lighten the mood

“You could say that” Rik replied, “although I am trying to draw out from my experiences, as an ordinary mortal, something of meaning, something universal, its hard sometimes, sometimes I feel very vengeful and wronged.”

“But” I interrupted, “Its the women who is advised by the holy book to “kill her heart”, I doubt if it says anywhere that the man must do the same”

“Its assumed,” Rik replied, “that men are already like that, certainly Crowley was when he inserted these words into the mouth of his first wife.”

“And you’re not like that?”

“I am like that but I’ve worked very hard to soften the edges to try to be more compassionate in my dealings with others, especially those I’ve fallen in love with. Let me try this story on you.”

“A Tibetan lama had retired to his cave retreat with a student. In Tibet a very high percentage of young men are Buddhist students, often with very little natural religious sentiment. This one had other ideas on his mind, namely separating his guru from some valuable in his possession. There was a fight and the student drew a knife and stabbed his guru. The student ran off leaving his guru bleeding and in agony. It was a very isolated spot and help was unlikely to be close to hand. The Lama meditated to kill the pain, meditation can act like a virtual anesthetic to those habituated to its practices. Several days passed and a messenger arrived from another monastery. The novice monk found the Lama, wrapped in his blood soaked robes seemingly asleep. He woke him and asked what had happened. Hearing the story the novice wanted to leave immediately for medical assistance. But the Lama would have none of it and made the messenger swear not to reveal anything of what had happened and to just leave him there.”

I said I thought that was “an odd response, what was the point.”

“The Lama did not want to involve the legal authorities, which would no doubt get his student into a lot of trouble, maybe even prison or worse. He did not want him to loose his life, as one day he thought he might return, regretting what he had done and return to the correct path.”

“Let me guess” I said, “You obviously identify with the lama, you’ve been stabbed in the back by a student you got too close but you don’t want to fuck her up good and proper.”

“You could put it like that.”

“Well what happened in the story?”

“Nothing, the Lama was left alone to cope with his wounds as best he could. When next someone visited the retreat they found his body, he’d bled to death.”

“Phew, there’ a moral there somewhere I suppose. Here’ a riddle for you—what has four that hang down, four that kick, a dirty one that hangs behind and two that lead?”

“I don’t know,” Rik said, “I’m not so good with riddles, is it traditional?”

“Who knows, maybe Viking, but the answer is simple, its a cow, a stupid cow.”

A look of displeasure came across Rik’s face, maybe I’d gone too far.

“Whatever else she is, she isn’t a stupid cow.” He replied curtly

The conversation stopped and there was an awkward pause that extended for several minutes as both of us searched for some new thread in the conversation, something to lead us out of this territory. With a final gesture Rik replaced the lid on his stash—box and asked me the time. It was an obvious signal for me to leave. I wondered whether I would see him again.

But I did see him again. One thing I soon learnt about Rik is that he never bore a grudge. You could tear his pet theories to shreds in front of his eyes and he would accept that. Maybe sometimes he would loose his temper—he was after all very emotional—but by the next time you met him all seemed to be forgotten. Or at least he was ready to pick up the argument where he thought it had left off, having in the meantime worried away at it and come up with a rejoinder to what you thought was checkmate. It was like one of those very slow games of chess, one move played every few days.

Next time we met I apologized for calling his lover a stupid cow. “Its OK,” he said generously, “It gave me great pleasure to hear you say it.”

I believed him, I could see that it wasn’t really in his nature to say such things. I wondered if I should offer to curse his errant lover for him and maybe even fuck up her new boyfriend. Its what I would do. Maybe later.

“I know you think I’m just an old fool, pining for his young and vivacious lover”

“The thought had crossed my mind.” I replied, wondering if we were going to get into another argument.

“Well the thought has crossed my mind too, many times.”

He obviously wanted to talk about it so I thought I’d humor him. “OK,” I said, I’ll listen to the whole story as long as I can exercise my right to be cynical. Its a deal?”

Rik said nothing, he looked as if he hadn’t been listening, too busy searching under the ghadi for his stash. He found it and with an awkward stretch picked it up. He took the lid off and peered inside. Then he sniffed it and his face lit up.

“Its a deal?” I repeated

He looked up and said “Yes, yes its a deal, I was just preparing for a two spliff story.”


Rik took a deep toke on the spliff. “You see,” he said, “she was sent by God.”

I almost laughed out loud, managing to stifle it but had to look down to avoid meeting his eyes. I looked up in a gingerly fashion, he was smiling. “Its OK,” he said, “but maybe you could restrain your cynicism until I get into my stride. Allow me a few presuppositions just for the sake of setting out the dilemma?”


There was a pause during which Rik stared fixedly out of the window, obviously looking for a new tack. “OK,” he started, “maybe I should say that at the time I felt as if she was sent by god. It was a function of the way I felt at the time.”

“OK, I said, “Before you go into that, tell me why you left Selena?”

He seemed taken aback, surprised that I knew all about his relationship with the famous spirit medium.

“You want me to talk about that?”

“Yes I do?”

“I never really left Selena, she’s with me still. But I suppose in terms of the mundane record, everyone assumes I left her. I speak to her constantly, although I don’t know if she ever hears me.” There was a pause, Rik’s mood had darkened. The he started up again, “and anyway, who says I left Selena? I guess that’s the common perception but really she left me, although I often torture myself with the thought that I let her go too easily. It was a difficult time, relationships seem to work when there is a common purpose. After more than a decade together we were beginning to lose the thread. We’d even contemplated the idea of starting a family—that’s how desperate we were. I just thought of when I first hooked up with Selena, one night late in my living room, talking about love. She told me she was a virgin, and I felt a ghost walk across my grave, feeling with a certain inevitability that ours connection could never really last.”

“How so,” I interjected, “most men would relish the idea of a blank slate on which to impress their own personality.”

Rik took a draw on the joint, “well I guess I’m not most men, definitely not. However good our physical and spiritual relationship became, it would only serve to generate a desire for variety. I knew that because its how I felt myself when years earlier it had all been new and a great adventure to me.”

“But your partnership lasted ten years.”

“Yes I know, longer than I’d ever lived with a person before. There was a lot of variety in our life. But sooner or later the day dawned when Selena began to look elsewhere. I to be honest, I also wondered whether Selena would be my final relationship or whether Ananke, the great goddess of fate had something else in store for me. I got settled and thought, no maybe this is how it will be until the end—there was a grime determination about that. I think it led to a drying up of my real emotions.”

“Tell me,” he went on, “are you beginning to wonder what all this has to do with the life of a mystic?”

“The thought had crossed my mind” I replied

“Well humor me, we’ll get there in the end.” Rik started rolling yet another spliff. “I can’t pretend I really understand what was really going on in Selena’s mind, you’ll have to ask her. I’m not an idealist anymore, not in the philosophical sense, she has her own thoughts and motives, as do many other people, that’s something I have learnt, other minds do exist and it must all be worth it if not for that lesson alone.”

“Take that as read, but what did it look like to you?”

“It looked to me as if she was drawn away by the love of a mundane career, for wealth and material security. The money to live in a café culture. I to be sure, my life path was unlikely to make that a possibility. Shit no, she just wanted to have a good time in a way she couldn’t with me, before it was too late and she wasn’t young, pretty and charismatic anymore. People came into our life who represented that lifestyle much more clearly—she was drawn to them. And also, as is natural, friends grow up and get responsibilities, you can’t charge round for ever—or so they say—I’m still not sure about that yet.”

“So she went off with someone else.”

“Well as near as damn it—Selena was still very much in love with me but in spirit at least she was with someone else. And I too started having crushes on my friends and thought that if someone made the first move I might just take the easy way out.”

“Why didn’t you do something more active. Its sounds like an abdication of your will to wait for it to happen to you?”

“Yes I know, I’m not sure what part my will had to do in all this. I told myself I was letting go to fate—I would do nothing precipitate but let it happen to me. Besides, I wanted someone to fall in love with me.”

Then the crunch came—Our social life then revolved around hanging out with other couples, it had become a habit. We’d spent most weekends just hanging, getting smashed and vagueing out to loud music.”

“Sounds fun”

“Well, yes, it can be, but it can be a way of avoiding contact, a convenient way of blanking out conversation and structuring the time because we didn’t have an awful lot left to say to each other. I used to think we’d been brought together for some purpose but we seldom did anything to further that.”

“Sounds like you didn’t really want to talk to them?”

“Maybe, if I’m honest I found myself with a couple of close friends, that Selena really liked but I couldn’t really relate to that well.”

“And you hoped that eventually Selena would come to the same conclusion?”

“Yes—I can admit it now, some of the boyfriends particularly, I found them hard work. Well, you can guess the rest.” He finished abruptly, obviously bored with the conversation.

“Yes, I think I can.” I replied

“Can you.” he probed

“In the words of Pattie Smith.” I said “ “When you perfect lover becomes a perfect fool”.

“Yes, something like that. But come on, I’ve spoken lots, don’t you have something you want to say?”

There was a silence whilst I went through the umpteen questions I’d thought about on the way here. Then I started “Can I tell you about a dream I had the other night?”

“If you wish.”

It wasn’t the most encouraging response but I started anyway.

“I was in some strange and yet familiar place, looking for a friend. Virtually everything I valued in the world was contained in one small briefcase. I put it down for a moment to look around and when I looked up it had gone.”

Rik asked whether I ever found it again in the dream and I told him that I hadn’t done in that dream but later in the night I had another similar dream in which I did find the case, but it was empty.

“I was worried, but, in the dream, I carried on searching for the woman friend I’d come there to see. I spent some time there trying to get to know her new friends and world. But I wasn’t impressed, they seemed so light weight. She showed me a book by one of her new friends—it was meant to impress me but I was disappointed by the fact that she found it significant, it seemed beneath her somehow. I sensed hostility. Then I was in a conventional chase dream, being pursued ever upwards through the building, eluding capture and expulsion by her confederates. They threw darts at me but I alluded them, sometimes catching them and returning fire, sometimes I hit the mark. The chase grew more intense as I found the trapdoor that led to the roof of the building. It was so high up that the whole structure swayed violently in the wind. There were workmen there repairing the fabric of the building. I pleaded with them to leave me there, they were sympathetic and told me that I would soon get used to the way the building pitched about. Then I was alone, balancing on one leg on the end of a long flagpole, fighting the vertigo. All around me were hostile forces but I balanced, almost flying.”

“At least then, “ Rik began, “if you do meet a sticky end it won’t be in some anonymous and squalid situation, it will be in the full glare of the sun. Its a good dream I think, troubled but shows you’re have integrity. That’s all I can say, all I can say for today too, immortality beckons”


“I must get on and do some things.”

So we parted.

The next time we met was at my initiation. In the meantime I’d had plenty of time to wonder why Rik had told me so much about his personal life. Phil, short for Philida, the woman Rik claimed to have been sent by god, showed me the way through the woods to the ritual circle—the others had gone ahead to prepare. I could see why Rik might have been quite smitten with her—although from the outside she looked a fairly typical blond bimbet. She’d obviously worked hard on her winning personality, which aside from an annoying mannerism, was definitely winning. That mannerism, an extended ohhhh, that prefixed almost every other sentence. Maybe she was nervous but she was painfully reminiscent of a character called “Olive Oil” in the Popeye cartoons. Still, I wouldn’t have kicked her out of my bed. As we followed the long winding path through the woods, I thought it would pass the time nicely to probe her a little. The conversation was awkward.

“So” I said, “you seem to be a long way from home?” Phil was American.

She stopped at a small wicket gate and held it open for me. A long wooded path opened out in front of us. “Isn’t that what we do?” she said “the magi that is, travel the world in search of magical teachers?” Phil used the archaic expression “magi”—she obviously liked to identify with the ancient caste of magicians that had existed in the past, and whose blood, some still believed, flowed through the veins of modern pagans, it was a theory I already heard Rik expound several times.

“So you were a traveler?” I asked

“Yes, a full—on traveler. Only I was at the end of my journey, just the last few weeks before my ticket expired and I would have to return to Denver.”

I’d done a fair amount of traveling myself and had often run into Americans, who seem to go absolutely everywhere. The pretty ones, like Phil, quickly got into the guts of a place by making “friends” with local bar owners and the like. I wondered if Phil had played this standard traveler’s trick on Rik.

“Had you found what you wanted in your travels?”

“I found this,” she paused, “in the end”


“There was a ritual,” she said, “I went along.”

“Blew you away then.”

“Not exactly, actually it was a pretty crap ritual, and freezing cold, it was February, Imbolc. It took hours for the thing to even start, the organizers first had to light a fire, thank god. I’d spoken to Rik on the telephone, he warned me the ritual was the first ever done by that group and that it might be a bit shambolic. In the end I’d agreed to give him a lift to the meadow, so he could escort me to the rite. Maybe he felt responsible for me, but he kept me company during all the faffing around and took me for a walk to the river, pointing out the constellations he knew, showing me how to find the northern direction from the Plough. Rik said something about the call of nature, and I walked back to the circle leaving him alone. But when I looked round I saw him standing, his arms outstretched, worshipping or drawing something down from the sky. I saw him shaking wyrdly in that way I was later to learn the Vikings had done. Then he literally threw himself face down on the floor. I think that was the moment, so Rik says, at which I was summoned.”

“Summoned you?” I queried

“Well maybe it was a joke, but Rik always says that he summoned me up, maybe its a sex thing, he was having a bad time in his personal life at the time, I think he wanted a playmate, I know I did. He asked him demona to send him something.”

“Did you know that at the time?”

“I knew nothing about all this at the time, but.” Phil paused

“But” I prompted

“By the time I left the meadow that night, I was in love with him.”

We walked on in silence for a while.

I racked my brains for another conversational opener to break the impasse. “Have you been here ever since.”

“God no” she replied, “I went back to Denver pretty soon after that—days even.”

“But you came back?”

“I came back—had to really—something had changed in me—I’d become what Crowley called a scarlet woman—I needed to explore that further with the person who’d really opened me out.” Maybe I’d flinched when Phil had used that term scarlet women—a wicked expression passed across her face, she’d seen it too. “Hey” she said, “want to do something naughty?”

My mind drifted, I could see us sinking down together on the nearby patch of grass. There was nobody around and even if they had been, we didn’t care, we were shameless. The words of a song ran through my head “I dreamt I was making mad passionate love on the heath. Tearing off tights with my teeth….”

But I couldn’t see Phil’s body, only the body of that prostitute, back in Amsterdam.


In an instant I was back again, steadying myself again the guard—rail of the footbridge. I wondered whether that was what they call a flashback.

Phil said “just kidding. Hey, are you alright—you looked funny?”

“Sure I’m alright, just went off on a whole little trip when you spoke. Did you sense that.”

“Ohhh,” Phil uttered her funny little mannerism again, “maybe I caste a glamour over you, I’ve been practicing.”

“Is that what Rik taught you?”

“I think it comes naturally to people like us.”

“Can I ask you a personal question.”

“You can ask.”

“When I spoke to Rik the other day he talked about his dilemma, but..”

Phil interrupted, “but he never got round to telling you what that was, he wandered off on some tangent.”

“Yes” I replied “that was it, do you know what the dilemma might be?”

“I think so, as it probably involves me. I guess the dilemma is between normal romantic love and the kind of more imaginative relationship, which, for a long time Rik and I had.”

“I’m not sure I’m following you.”

“Its like this,” Phil went on, “Rik and I connected for just a few days before I had to return to America. I really did have to return, even though Rik sometimes wonders whether he shouldn’t have asked me to stay then. But all through that year we had the most intense connections.” She paused and looked uncertain of whether to go on but then said “sometimes it was so full on, he’d appear to me in dreams, not like ordinary dreams, he tell me things I needed to know. Have you ever heard Rik drum?”

It seemed an odd question, I couldn’t see how it might be threaded with what she’d just said but I replied “sure, I heard him the other day, I really like the way he drums. What is that got to do with anything?”

“Its an example, just one example amongst many strange things that happened during our separation, that’s all, Rik says that his drumming really improved in the year I was away and that he’s stumbled on his own method of playing following instructions he got from me in a dream! Don’t you think that’s strange?”

“Everything we do is strange. But I think I’m starting to understand. So when you came back did you still inspire each other in the same way.”

Phil looked sad but went on “yes at first, yes, we burnt like flames but things soon got too down to earth, living together and all. That’s when I moved out and went back to my old boyfriend. I thought if I was going to have a boyfriend I may as well have someone who fulfils my social needs even if it can’t be as spiritual.”

“What is the difference.”

Phil paused, you won’t like this but I’m going to say it anyway—someone younger, better looking and above all better dressed than Rik. He just doesn’t care about these things, I respect that but sometimes I just want to be looked after.”

I grunted. “So what is the dilemma?”

“OK, last answer, else we’re be late for the ritual. The dilemma is on one side an active imaginal life full of creativity, to get that you cannot have what most people want, a happy normal relationship. Its the tension that provokes the god. Rik’s dilemma is probably wondering which he wants, a nice settled home life or a year of riding the Hermetic roller coaster. He called me up afterall, and how successful he was, who says you don’t get what you want? Maybe he’s wondering whether to have another go or maybe he’s had his little adventure and now its time to write it all up and go. Its a dilemma.”

It certainly was and I knew which I would choose.

Mogg Morgan is a respected occult publisher and owns Mandrake of Oxford. He is an author whose work includes: The English Mahatma (reviewed in issue I/1&2), Sexual Magick (under the name Katon Shual), Tankhem (reviewed in issue II/1) and the occult journal Nuit-Isis.

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