Your Humble Serpent, Simon Z.

Yesterday I went to the Psychic Institute of Berkeley California for a men’s healing session and a two hour long psychic reading. As with the first time I was there, I was slightly uncomfortable about something in that space, but I wasn’t sure what. As I watched them go through their energetic preparations, I again became concerned that parasites and vampires would thrive in a place like this. Having been given a healing there before I was struck by the energetic burden assumed by the healers, whom, as far as I could tell, were providing everyone who came in with an extended energetic shower that I imagined must be fairly exhausting after a while. It didn’t seem like Reiki, where one’s simply channeling an outside energy, so I started to become paranoid about the possibly nefarious forces behind the design of the place.

            Of course, after feeling like I was being mobbed by invisible vampires, leaving, and wandering around for a while, I convinced myself that running away would be irresponsible and cowardly, and that, as always, I have a responsibility to force myself into any dangerous situation I might be able to neutralize so as to face that danger on someone else’s behalf. At best, I returned so as to find out how foolish I was being, and at worst, I was prepared for war. In the end, I think I ended up with a nice mix of both.

            My reading swelled, from only two students initially, to three additional students and an instructor who were all brought in by an administrator of some sort, for a grand total of seven, counting the visiting administrator. I saw that the odds were shifting should things get ugly, but I was excited at this new level of attention. My belief on the function of a psychic reading is that people possess obscure tools of perception that are best operated through metaphorical abstractions. So when they told me about past lives, the real truth of them has nothing to do with my acceptance or rejection of the doctrine of metempsychosis. Even if they were illusions, they were my illusions, illusions that I inspired when observed by their psychic faculties. I know these faculties are real because I have them. I know these people were sincere because I can read them as well. I don’t know if the stories were evidence of past lives, or just a take on my present life, but I know that they evidenced something about me, and that’s all that matters. They were intuitive snapshots of how I appeared to them under a psychic microscope.

            I’ll skip the details so as to get to the meat of it. Not surprisingly, I was a banished warrior in one life, a silent monk consumed by his visions in another, and then, in the most dramatic and recent of these past lives, I was a wandering witch, a one woman circus, carrying a powerful darkness inside of me that, as in the life of the monk and the warrior before him, forced me to be alone most of the time; a dangerous serpentine force, which, they told me, I still carry in this life. The teacher told me that when she was first mentioned he saw her open her mouth and unleash a snake that flew straight threw all of their heads. He said this snake that lives inside me didn’t like him talking about it and, although he noted that this one was different, he claimed that they normally kill these things on sight.

            When I got out of there, something in me swore at them in a language I didn’t know, and I sang at the top of my lungs all the way home. When I got home I worked on my next book furiously, feeling a pressure on me that I sort of assumed was them trying to kill me, although I tried simply to bargain a ceasefire on the off chance that I had struck first. I still can’t feel my finger tips, and today I spent twenty dollars on iron supplements to try and repair what feels like a lack of blood.

            Even though I was weak when I woke up, I hurried out the door to try and make it to the Gnostic Center. I imagined getting there and finding out that they all had serpents in them too, and that they would protect me from the Church of the Divine Man that was surly hunting me even as I made my way there, to safety. When I got into the meditation room, we were all supposed to be visualizing the flame at the end of a candle, but I kept seeing this vivid image of a snake swimming inside me, and I began to cry, not because I felt like I was evil, but because I didn't feel like anyone else around me was secretly a serpent, and I felt so alone.

            When the meditations were over, I asked them if they had any beliefs about snakes, and explained a bit about what happened with my reading. The guy I talked to just told me that I shouldn’t take it too seriously. He didn’t seem to think I had a snake-demon in me, but he also didn’t seem to believe in such things, so instead I talked about it as an invalidation of some essential part of me, the snake as a metaphor for my potential dangerousness, and why can’t a person have the potential to be dangerous, if they behave themselves? Isn’t evil in the acting out of the thing, the consequences realized, and not merely the potential? Later on I thought of how our pet snake back home wouldn’t eat while I was there, and I wondered if, or how often, the snake in me had to be fed, and on what.

            I basically believe the assessment of the Psychic Institute. It explains a lot of things. Whether that woman was a personal metaphor or a reality from my past, the serpent part of her protected her from a world that was full of danger, and she protected it from a world that would see it neutralized. Things are no different now. I won’t sacrifice a part of myself so that I can be made more acceptable to cripplers and slave moralists, who harbor racist notions of what sort of beings deserve to exist and what sort don’t. I will take some small amount of solace in the rather backhanded compliment that I’m different somehow, one of the more tolerable kind, but I don’t feel that there is anything truly evil in me. In fact, what I have seems to be so rare, if my enormous sense of isolation is any indication, that I can only assume a great genocide of sorts has nearly wiped these things out. That seems sort of evil to me.

I want to know more. I feel a little silly accepting this concept as quickly as I have, but at the very least it has an enormous emotional reality for me that’s undeniable, so I’m going to go on acting as if its real until I can understand the truth of this thing more fully.

I’m afraid that my “travel companion,” who we’ll call Azazel, will instinctually lash out at anyone with so much obvious snake blood on their hands, which isn’t entirely unreasonable behavior, given the apparent racism and genocide. This may, however, impede a dialogue and my search for more answers. I don’t want a war (I have no desire to destroy anyone) but it would appear that Azazel already has one, so I’m not really sure what to do with this issue if I want more information from the Institute. If you’re reading this, please contact me.

In the end, I’d rather be an innocent monster than an innocent victim any day, or, as Emerson said in his book Self-Reliance, "It does not seem to me to be such, but if I am the Devil's child, I will live then from the Devil. No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it." Basically, to thine own self be true.

Your Humble Serpent,
Simon Z.

 
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