I have been lucky enough to experience many supposedly occult and paranormal events since moving from Fortean researcher to self appointed chaos magickian almost twenty years ago. However, as I look back with the cold eyes of a more mature, more questioning occultist, I am left embarrassed by what I so easily considered to be fact. My earliest research diaries read like a third rate creepypasta, a one man journey into self inflicted paranoia wherein I stood as a lone point of light against darkness that others could not see.
Had I not found a lover who could stabilise my worldview I hate to think where I would have ended up. Said overestimation is normal among new wizards of course, especially those who lack a group structure to reign in their mental excesses. Such support is one of the few points that stand in favour of the old hierarchical occult orders, though this positive is ultimately tempered by the long trail of failed adepts who are discarded once the group realises that they require too much work to become a viable pawn in the greater game.
Regardless, I still claim a charmed life, though one far less exciting than I originally thought. Many bizarre experiences still ring true, still resonate, and as such I do not intend to deny every bloodstained step that got me where I am today. But I am also looking to acknowledge those events that seem to grate a little with my psyche, that lack evidence or just feel downright stupid in light of my current learning.
I am an intelligent being capable of telling the difference between fact and fantasy, and very much aware of the possible future that awaits me should I fail to maintain some sort of balance between the seen and unseen worlds. In reality it is highly unlikely that an inexperienced wizard could challenge Odin to a bar fight or hunt down the very shadow entities that have plagued the rest of humanity for centuries. Aside from anything else, one person is just not skilled enough to the grand scheme of things to blunder into those situations on their own without many years of dedicated practice.
I am all too aware of the fact that much of my prior experience may have been the result of misattribution, hysteria or delusion. Over excitement and lack of sleep even. In accepting that humbling fact my observations beyond this point, after the mental house-clearing that I am attempting to carry out as I creep ever further into middle age, hold greater weight. Sometimes it is worth taking a step back to catch a breath, and this is exactly what I have decided to do. That said, certain things are not in doubt.
It is a definite fact that I once boasted a working relationship with Lilith and her children. I have experimented extensively in the necromantic paradigm and worked at the cutting edge of memetic sorcery too. Played on tramlines with the ghosts of children at Oradour-sur-Glane and bathed in the mystical energy that spilled forth from the ground floor of Tredegar House. Stalked Highgate Cemetery for answers. Spoke with the dead via OiuJa boards in derelict buildings after hours.
I have been ridden by succubi, played hide and seek with shadow people and even lost a mental duel with the spirit guarding one of the graveyards that I had hoped to raid for supplies. I have seen the ghosts of English Civil War soldiers appear and disappear before my eyes, made love in graveyards surrounded by disembodied voices and waged supernatural war on the city streets of old London Town. So as you can see, my existence is already weird enough that it does not need any embellishment.
Ultimately, my greatest fear is the kind of person that I would become if I did not remain true to myself. We have all met them, of course. Those damned souls active within our occult communities who appear to have lost touch with the drumbeat of reality. That claim experiences that are just too difficult to believe, yet fail to notice the eyebrows raised and hushed accusations when they nip back to the bar for another beer. We are all just a heartbeat away from becoming one of those people, unfortunately, unless the time is taken to weigh up the truth and discard the lies.