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The Azrael Project Newsletter Archive

1)Necrophilia in the Necromantic Rite
2) Keeping the Dream Alive
3) The Quest For Power
4) Essential Darkness
5) Daniel's Encounters
6) Loose Ends
7) The Philosopher in the Mausoleum
8) A Dream Within a Dream
9) Necromancy 101
10) Mortuary Science for the Absolute Beginner
11) On the Wedding of Night & Death
12 The Mystery of the Rings
13 Loose Ends-Part 2
14) 2001- A Time Odyssey
15) A Beautiful Agony
16) Dialog Between Death & Lady Night
17 How We Die



Necrophilia in the Necromantic Rite

It is very easy to get "caught up" in the ecstasy of Death, especially during high necromantic practice when the spirit of one's affection is manifest through a physical catalyst, such as a corpse. One must never violate the sanctity of Death for one's own physical curiosity or pleasure. You must never force your affections onto an unwilling or unresponsive catalyst. Doing such is no better than raping an innocent child. In necromantic practice, the corpse must always be viewed as the pure vessel that contains a divine spirit. The crypt is a sacred temple, and the catalyst, a sacred chalice that must never be defiled by empty, physical urges. The only passions that should manifest in the physical are those born in the spirit. In other words, all sensual stirrings must have firm roots in the soul. One must love the entity one is seeking to contact, and not simply make "love" to the empty catalyst. If there is contact on the spiritual level, the catalyst will either make the first move, or respond in some way to your advances, and you need only follow its lead.

To violate a corpse for simply the satiating of one's own sexual needs is the highest form of irreverence one can show towards Death, and he or she who engages in such profanity will feel the full wrath of Azrael's fury. One can "make love" to Death on many levels, providing they emerge from the core of the soul, and not the seat of the libido. Death is a gentle and exquisite lover who can take you to new heights of expression, providing that you do not try to pull Him down into the physical too much, in which case Death's affections are anything but gentle! Being a magician, especially in the necromantic arts, does not give one license to "do what thou wilt". In dealings with such entities as the Angel of Death, one must adopt a new law, a law of reverence and purity of spirit. Divine love is the "law", and nothing less be the purpose of thy will.

©1991 by Leilah Wendell, excerpted from "The Necromantic Ritual Book"

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Keeping The Dream Alive

I, for one, know how hard it is to keep a dream alive. Sometimes it seems that the very act of day to day living sucks the life-force from that dream- that dream that is the essence of our lives, that sense of purpose that seems so difficult to maintain in the stark face of daily existence. Just "getting by" in this world can often take an enormous amount of strength and commitment. Force that we would rather be converting into spiritual energy to somehow "overcome" our material prisons.

How can one justify the need to "get by", with the need to pursue one's ultimate purpose? Sometimes we're blessed by jobs that enhance or enable our purpose to unfold. More than likely, however, one's job and one's purpose do not mesh. Some say that a "job" is a means to an end. In effect, that sort of logic can be construed as constructive in that one's job should become the means to fuel one's ultimate 'end', i.e., purpose. If we view our jobs, no matter how unsatisfactory as providing the necessary fuel for our dreams, we would gain the inner peace we need to complete our Great Work. Whether that fuel be money, knowledge, security, regimentation, or emotional vacuousness, we begin to see our earthly jobs in a different light. If one has a message to put forth on this physical plane, one must learn to accept the fact that it takes physical means to fulfill that end.

Many spiritual people tend to believe that when their purposes are revealed to them, they no longer need the physical means as a vehicle to propel that purpose. This couldn't be further from the truth. When we are gifted with the recognition of purpose we often have our heads so high in the clouds that we fail to remember that our feet are still firmly planted on this Earth. We have been given physical form for a reason. To affect the physical world around us, and those that dwell within it. And, as long as we remain here, we will have to learn the fine art of compromise between what is physically necessary and what is spiritually potential. I am not talking about compromising our purpose, but rather compromising for our purpose.

We are tested at each and every turn to see just how far we will go to pursue our dream. How much will we sacrifice? How strong is our faith, and on what is it based? How deeply we believe in what we do? If we truly believe in the message we have to deliver, we must do everything within our power to see it through, even if it means bringing our heads out of the clouds to look at our feet. Purpose must be grounded to have any affect in this world. We are given to flesh bodies so that our message can have a physical vehicle to touch other physical beings. This often requires means made of the same material. Hence, the compromise. We may have to work at a job we don't really enjoy in order to support the Great Work. At least until the Great Work begins to fuel itself. This can take years, even a good part of one's lifetime. For many, this is a distressing compromise. Who wants to return to mundanity after having been kissed by an angel? After all, we're destined for "greater" things, right? The key word here is "destined". You cannot rush the unfolding of the dream anymore than you can force open a rose bud without its petals withering and falling off. Meanwhile, we give it water, sun and nutrients, and wait until it's good and ready to open. Some are just so eagerly impatient to see it fully open that they tear away at it until nothing of beauty remains to be revealed.

The unfolding of purpose, and the spreading of its seeds takes much time, patience, and faith. Accepting responsibility for the same involves much dedication, sacrifice and compromise. In order for us to survive long enough to execute our purpose, we need to realize that our basic continuance is essential to keeping the dream alive. It's simple common sense, really! This blatant reality forces our heads out of the clouds and makes us realize the importance of grounding our purpose. While the idea of purpose might be essentially a spiritual ideal, it is meant to be expressed in the physical world. Why else do you think that you have come into this flesh if not to make a dent in this same dimension? However, the simple act of being flesh immediately subjects us to the little rules by which it is lived. Survival being first and foremost. At least until the dream becomes a mute point. In order to both survive, and keep the dream alive we must learn to meld our spiritual goals with material realities. One does not function without the other on this plane! They go hand in hand in very much the same way that Life and Death does. As long as we view the material means as the fuel for the divine mission, we can never become buried in overcompromising. A practical application of this philosophy is obvious. We may toil at a job we hate, yet we continue to do it solely because it allows us the financial fuel to put forth the product of purpose.. The tangible form of the dream. One day, The Purpose will begin to generate its own energy and fuel itself. At that time you may be in a position to quit the job you hate and pursue purpose full time. But compromise does not end here, it simply shifts into another area. The compromise then may be your solitude, the time spent with family and friends. The very lifestyle you've grown accustomed to may change dramatically. Your circle of friends may change. The nature of compromise is fickle and difficult to foresee.

Basically, any time you accept Purpose, dedicate yourself to it and desire to reconcile it with your current incarnation, you must also be willing to accept the inevitability of some form of compromise. It happens on various levels, dependent on a whole host of personal factors. The best assets to have, and often the hardest to acquire are patience and faith. Both come only with time. If you still have problems reconciling earthly existence with spiritual goals, just ask yourself each morning before you get out of bed; Why am I getting up? Why am I doing this shit job? If you can answer I AM DOING THIS OUT OF LOVE, then compromise is something you can calmly live with. Because love is the only reason one should have for justifying daily survival with divine purpose. Faith, patience and dedication are but the cornerstones, but Love is what keeps the dream alive.

Copyright 1996 by Leilah Wendell

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THE QUEST FOR POWER

Some think power is the ability to instigate change. Others view power as a mechanism of control. Whether it's control over circumstances or individuals, power is a precarious element, no less dangerous than a vial of nitroglycerine.

Perhaps true power is effective use of will, which neither overwhelms another nor becomes addictive to the user. To some, power is contained in material things; money, position, etc. To others, power is more subtly expressed in gestures, and actions of a faithful determination. What empowers one to follow a goal? There are a whole host of answers. From financial gain to spiritual deliverance. Power is like a fine wine or a potent drug. It is to be used in moderation to achieve the desired, pleasant results. Perhaps it would be best to ask, from what fountain does one's power flow? True power comes from unshakable faith. What I  call, "Certain Knowledge" which is simply that which filters directly down into the spirit without dilution or corruption. It is a pure source, meaning, it is without conditions, editing or expected gain. Power is not control over someone's destiny. Rather it is in the letting go of one's own destiny and trusting in the natural progression of purpose. A simple parable would be the strong man who picks up a flower and crushes it in his grasp. Not knowing one's own strength can be detrimental to the souls we touch. While overestimating our power can be equally as bad, case in point, the man who claims that no sword can harm him when a simple suggestion can cripple him.

There are many religions and 'magickal' schools of thought that utilize the illusion of power to lure in "lost" souls- Usually that "power" consists of sparking fear into impressionable minds, minds that have not yet found their own source of power. They offer them a paper "shield" and "sword". Like children, they pick them up and engage in mock battles with invisible enemies. All the while thinking that they grow quite proficient. Until one day their illusion of false superiority gains them a genuine confrontation with an adversary who holds a gold sword and a shield of silver. Their paper weapons have no chance against the real thing. Swords forged out of fear and shallow belief are never a match for those forged from genuine faith and love. It is not true power that is the danger, it is the illusion of power. It can be devastating to the faith of the wielder. True power wields a divinely sharp sword that pierces without pain so the blow is often not immediately felt until one looks down and realizes one is bleeding! "Tools" such as this are forged in the fires of intrepid faith, not in ceremonial kilns. Even the precision of Excalibur could only be wielded by one with these qualities. What good is a divine sword in hands that know not how to use it?

Still others believe that power is in the length and intensity of a glance. But the cat is best at this game because the cat understands that it is just that, a game- and proves nothing. The cat quickly grows bored and prefers to lick its paw. There is more purpose in that than in playing silly games with humans.

Power is perhaps best expressed as conviction to one's purpose. Power is faith fueled by the deepest form of love. It is knowing what has to be done and doing it! Power is confidant silence. Contrary to some belief, there is no power in magickal spells or incantations themselves. For surely power is better expressed in the actions of one who truly believes rather than in the words one uses to explain belief. Power is "right use of will". The confidence that a certain action will yield a certain result. There is no power in ceremonial tools or trappings, just as there is no potency in, for example, the Tarot or the crystal ball. Such items are simply tools of concentration. A focusing point, if you will, no more effective than a candle-flame, to keep peripheral distraction to a minimum. A "magickian" who wields his or her sword without faith can never evoke a manifest destiny no matter how many "tools" they have, nor how much occult schooling. On a more mundane level, some believe that money is power. However, without the wisdom to use it wisely this form of power is at best fleeting, at worse, remorsefully addictive.

There are those who like to think that they are vessels of power by affiliation. In other words members of a particular religion, cult or school of "esoteric" study. Their content of power is often measured in degrees, i.e., "He is a level 8 or 9, a Magus Adeptus, an Imperator, etc." Such "schools" foster only the illusion of power and give one a false of importance that often leads to their eventual downfall. True power is not taught, it is instilled by a personal sense of divine purpose, which differs greatly from a false sense of importance, which has no goal or ultimate purpose other than to impress friends and relatives. True power does not seek to dominate nor "show off" and true power cancels out phony power in all situations. For example, the old myth of giving one the "evil eye" has no affect on those who believe in the genuineness of their own power source over the "suggestion" of one who thinks he or she has power.

Power springs from an internal fountain...from a sense of purpose. The replacing of fear with understanding. Power is the hermit who strides silent and alone against the wind. He ignores the mirages of such a lengthy and arduous journey because he understands what they are. He knows that his destination awaits him just up ahead, and nothing will keep him from that appointed place. Faith and love are the seeds of power. Fear and doubt cringe in its shadow. Power is only good when it is not used as a weapon of control, when it is instead applied toward making ones own purpose manifest without distorting another's.

Copyright  Leilah Wendell 1991

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ESSENTIAL DARKNESS

One of the biggest fears still continues to be Death. The ultimate "dark unknown." But even Death can be intimately known and understood here and now. All one has to do is listen to the night. The Angel of Death's message is carried on the cool breezes that come out of nowhere. His whisper demands hearing. It permeates our collective memory with a Truth that is undeniable. Too many try to "rationalize" His whisper as coincidence or madness. Remember what "coincidence" really is. Signs in succession try desperately to gain your attention. And madness? Well, madness is nothing more than remembering too much and not knowing how to justify that memory with every day life. The "madness" subsides when understanding and acceptance begins.

Mankind has a long way to go until (S)he understands the true nature of Death.

Death is not the bringer of pain. Death is the release from pain. Death does not want your tears of grieving, nor does He deserve your anger. You lash out only of misunderstanding, which too often grows into fear and aversion. He knows that He is the one who truly grieves.

Death does not require the sacrifice of innocence. No soul need accompany another destined for eternity, as some earlier tenets believed. We must go each, at our own time. No one before the other unless it is so deemed. And it is not we who can make that judgement.

Death is not what you read in the headlines. Death is not brutality, rape, murder, suicide, mutilation or other such things perpetrated by one human against another. This is Lifenot Death!

To die is to let go of the flesh and all that the flesh receives and sends out. Dying is something we have all done before, and which most of us will do again and again. The way in which we die is not of Azrael's choosing. It is as random or preordained (depending on how you view creation) as the way in which we come into this world. How we come and go does not matter. It is what we do in-between that counts.

Mankind must relearn how to feelhis thoughts, not simply think them. We must return again to acting upon what we feel inside is truth, and not to what others enforce as truth. In essence, we must reconnect with our spiritual self on all levels of life, not just for brief moments in meditation. Then, we will be able to feel again, and remember who and what we truly are. In the light of such revelation, there will be no room for fear. For, we will discover the "dark" side of ourselves again and realize that this is what was missing in our lives. That this darkness is a necessary and beautiful part of our essential being, without which we would be forevermore separated from our true selves, and our ultimate purpose.

**********

This is the essence of duality. The importance of balance. In order to completely coalesce that duality back into the Union of One we must achieve an equal balance within ourselves to the point where both halves of the dualism cannot distinguish one from the other. All thoughts and emotions become blended unequivocally. In effect, the "spiritual" portion of our duality becomes sentiently human, and the human side becomes sentiently astral.

This is something "we" understand all too well sometimes. It is never an easy or painless thing. Although, if we ever hope, both personally, and as a collective mass, to end the cycle of birth, death and rebirth into and out of flesh, it is something we must learn to accomplish. And we learn by heeding the fleeting glimpses of memory of who and what we truly are until that memory becomes the sole guiding force of purpose.

Nonetheless, being here and now in human form and coalescing your duality can prove to be quite a disconcerting experience. A kind of madness that disrupts the human synaptic system, pitting mind against emotion, and flesh against spirit. The Ego's limited expression of self fights against the expanse of its true nature. The Ego soon comes to realize that it is a very small "part" of "itself" and eventually gets consumed by its greater part. In effect, the personality is absorbed into the union that duality ultimately becomes.

Copyright  Leilah Wendell 1991

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Daniel's Encounters

This time, I am giving background information to some people I am in correspondance with as well as a new "e-group" dedicated to Necromantic pursuits. (See our message board for more info) Herein are a few excerpts, sometimes repetitive, of my encounters with Uncle Az. I just feel it's best to quote from the souces, as each bit was written at different times, so they differ, somewhat. Chalk it up to the fallibility of the human brain......

Excerpted from "Encounters With Death"

"One night, after Leilah and I had said goodnight to each other, I was sitting in my room. It was about 2:00 am and I was getting ready for bed. While I was in the bathroom I heard a voice. It was a distinctive voice in that it seemed to be four or five voices overlaid upon each other. There was a mournful, desolate quality to it. It was also deep and what I can only describe as "gravelly". I thought, at first, that I was hearing the neighbor's TV, but as I came out of the bathroom I could hear their TV distinguishable from the voice. "Night risks everything!" it wailed. "I am Death. I strip the flesh from your bones. Night risks everything!" This was repeated a few times, along with the name "Na'Haliel". At first, I though I was somehow "picking up" on a conversation between Azrael and Leilah, (our rooms are adjacent). I opened my door to find Leilah's room in darkness and silence. She was asleep. When I opened my door the voice stopped. When I closed it, the voice started again. By this time, I was getting quite nervous, as it seemed Azrael was pissed. This voice was extremely different from the demeanor expressed in Leilah's books. I crawled into bed and snuggled under the covers. The voice kept on repeating the same thing for about an hour and a half! Finally, I started to drift off to sleep when the voice said to me, "Go where you belong." and sent me out to Her, to Night who assumed the form of a Hindu woman with blue skin.

I kept the encounter silent for a time (of two weeks) and finally I told Leilah about it. She said that she had heard the same voice used with different people, but never with her. Soon thereafter we began a written "dialogue" between Death and Night which turned into an attempt from Azrael to communicate certain things to me. It came down to the point where I was asked, by Azrael, to spend some time before His effigy (a particularly potent wall sculpture Leilah made that is more akin to a talisman). She prepared the room for me with some incense and candles and I went in to lay down before the image. My experiences in the room were the exact opposite of the voice. The sculpture's face "altered"and a series of waves swept over me. They began at the top of my head and carried through to my feet. I could see coruscated bands of "light energy" being transferred between Azrael and myself. The feelings are indescribable. I was transfixed and could not move. I can't even say how long this went on, except that I was in the room much longer than I thought. I felt strange for a few days afterward.

One night, a few days later, while sitting in the French Quarter with Leilah, we discussed the contents of the "dialogue" we had begun. All of a sudden I somehow understood what Azrael had been trying to say to me. It was as if the knowledge had been implanted directly within me through His touch. I have been promised further "illuminations" from Him, and can only say at this point, that He is an unorthodox, yet highly instructive imparter of knowledge and feeling. And His touch is sweet..."

Daniel Kemp
New Orleans, LA

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Excerpted from "Life in the House of Death"

Azrael

I can understand my friend, or at least I think I do. She is admittedly wacky at times. Yet it all seems to work out for the best. I am right where I need to be, doing what I should be doing.

Azrael, however, remains an enigma to me. At times, He seems to be remarkably similar to the Lady, at times - completely different. Azrael was the first entity I was forced to recognize as being distinct from Her. This, I was not used to.

I do not mean this in a negative way. It was important for me to admit the existence of beings other than my friend. A simple lesson that took years to achieve.

Azrael can be as simple as a cool shadow crossing one's path, or as complex as the entirety of life's culmination knocking on your door at once. The sensations are always fleeting, but with lingering after-effects. The experience of Him is unique, as I have come to learn. There are no two people who go through it in the same way. Dealing with people in the gallery everyday has taught me that. I am constantly meeting people who have had their own interactions with Azrael. I am always amazed at the differences, and the similarities.

Uncle Az makes for a strange family. I am lucky in having my friend and Uncle Az's company as well. There have been times when it is difficult to tell exactly who is watching over me. Many times I seem to be disrespectful to Him. This is not true. Familiarity may breed contempt, but in my case it breeds sarcasm. I have been told I've taught Death how to laugh. I can only hope this is true. I fully expect to pay for my indiscretions. Yet, what would life be worth without taking chances?

The ultimate irony would be for me to die, expecting retribution, and receiving none. That would prove Death does indeed have a warped sense of humor. For I would spend the rest of infinity on the lookout.

Azrael is both gentle and harsh. If He has something to say to you, it will not always be couched in flowery language. At least he treats you as an equal. After all, He does get to meet everyone sooner or later. Azrael cares. Who would want to live in a world where the Reaper did not care for the harvest?

Until I met Leilah, I subordinated Death to an aspect of my friend, the Lady. Once I had to look at Death as a manifestation in His own right, I kind of understood that He did care. This was difficult for me. I had gone quasi-psychotic in my treatment of the Lady. I thought there was nothing but Her. Here comes Uncle Az shattering one of my most important illusions. How do you think you would have reacted?

I had not realized that Death could be independent. Yet, now, it explains why I was not taken when my lung first collapsed. I was calling out, but to the wrong place.

But He is not only the Death of Life, I've come to realize. Azrael manifests himself in our lives in a variety of little ways. The Death of ideas, or ambition, hopes, dreams. He is the harbinger of constant change. Without Him life would be static, have no meaning. It is all fine & well for me to sit around saying the Lady is in ever-present motion and constitutes the vast whirlings of existence in Her dance. Yet, what would a dance be without a partner? Azrael makes it possible for us all to be partners in the silent dance. We all die, a little bit, each and every day. Without that we would be nothing but unchanging spectators. With that, however, we dance with Her, the Lady.

Only by writing this do I think I understand why Leilah and I are brother and sister. It could never be any other way. Strange.

Just as Azrael and the Lady sometimes appear very close, so are Leilah and I. Inseparable. Symbiotes. I think our relationship is almost unique. We have no secrets from one another. It is very odd, growing up the way I did, hiding myself from everyone around me, to share myself with another individual. The only other being I've ever been that open with before is the Lady. Yet with Leilah I can feel so comfortable. I never worry about how stupid I may appear in front of her. This contributes to a number of interesting times. Yet I trust her implicitly, and her opinion is important to me. With one brief sentence she got me out of seven years of being a good, perfect Crowleyite. With one other sentence, in the form of a question, she totally disrupted my life and I found myself moving to New Orleans, not having any clue as to whether I could make a living down here or what. She's good at things like that. But then, so is Azrael. With one visit He not only convinced me He existed, but also got me to acknowledge Him to the world at large. This may not sound like a difficult feat, but I am very, very stubborn.

It was about two o'clock in the morning. I was preparing to go to bed. As I was standing in my bathroom I began to hear a voice. The voice was "gravelly", kind of like if you try to speak two octaves lower than you normally do with a lot of phlegm built up in your throat. It was also chorused, with a slight delay behind each repeating voice. In retrospect I have to say it sounded like I was being bitched out by a choir of people with bad timing who smoked too much. It was the same statement repeated over and over. "I am Death. I strip the flesh from your bones." This went on for about two hours.

At first I thought I was hearing our neighbor's TV. Then I listened closely. I did hear the TV next door, but I also kept hearing this voice. I popped open my apartment door, to see if I was picking up on something between Leilah and Azrael. As soon as I opened the door the voice stopped. Leilah's room was dark, she was asleep. I closed the door and it started up again. Obviously I was the focus of Azrael's attention.

I crawled into my bed and huddled under the covers. When this continued to go on forever (two hours is a long time when you're scared) I thought I would piss my pants. Finally, Azrael did the sweetest thing anyone or anything could ever do for me. It was the last time I heard that multi-layered voice. It said - "Go where you belong." I got an image of the Lady in my head as a blue skinned Hindu woman, replete with the jewel in the forehead. As I gratefully sank into unconsciousness I felt myself being drawn to this image. The last memory I have of that night is coming almost close enough to touch Her.

This was my introduction to my "Uncle". I didn't even tell Leilah about it for a couple of weeks. The mental adaptations were too much. I finally had to admit Azrael was real, for me and everyone else. Up till then I had believed Leilah about her friend, but somehow never thought He would affect me.

I always thought the Lady would come for me at death, and perhaps She will. It depends upon how much of a sense of humor I've instilled in the Reaper. My friend does await me. That I do not doubt. But She is also in cahoots with Azrael. I'm sure there is something planned.

But none of that matters. It's just a reminder of the games I've played in this life. What is important is that I'll once again, for a brief moment, have Leilah's company. Just think about it! The whole family will be together. What a tea party that will be! If I were not going to be there I would sure as hell want to be a fly on the wall.

Leilah is Azrael. It is impossible in my mind to separate the two of them. I, however, am not the Lady. I am an aspect, just as we all are. Everything that lives (basically, everything that exists, for all existing things are alive) is part of Her. The image of fading sunlight caught on the belly of a bird, in flight at sunset, describes Her best, to me. At that moment I was the bird, myself and everything around me. That is the Lady.

Leilah feels a loss I do not, having been torn away. I can only understand this psychologically (i.e. by inference). I imagine it feels as if having been cast off, sometimes. Most times I can only think of the longing to be re-joined. That can be a bitch. She handles it well. I have to admit that. That's also why I love to make her laugh. If I can lighten her load just slightly while I'm stuck down here, I'll have felt I accomplished something.

She told me, soon after we met, that I made her face hurt (from laughing). I like that. I affected Death to the point where her face hurt! How many people can say that? Perhaps our respective "friends" are seeing what happens when you put a totally somber person next to a silly one. Maybe they even have bets on the outcome.

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Excerpted from "Life in the House of Death"

Then there are the encounters with Azrael, one of which is mentioned in the "Azrael" chapter. He has washed through me as pure emotion, twice. Each time it was a slightly different emotion. The one I like best, though, is right after Leilah and George Higham completed "The Gift", a magnificent, life-size sculpture here in the gallery. I was watching the gallery alone for the four days they were working on it. And I was good, I didn't go and disturb them or anything. Azrael came to the foot of my bed and held out his hand to me. This was the only time I had a corporeal vision of him. After I told Leilah about the "voice" encounter, she suggested the next time I "see" him to put my hand in His. That's exactly what I did. The electric feeling that shot through my body was a mixture of joy and gratitude. He was thanking me for watching the gallery! The sculpture itself is truly magnificent. I swear I've seen it come to life, soon after we installed it. It is a very powerful piece. Leilah and George both put a lot of themselves into it.

Another encounter with Azrael was when I laid on Leilah's bed, in front of a very powerful wall sculpture, with a cemetery lock and key on my chest. I turned the key in the lock, to "open" it, and waited. All this time I was concentrating on the wall sculpture. I don't really know how to describe what happened next. Waves of silvery light began to emanate from the sculpture. They coalesced about my head, ran through my body and exited through my feet, returning to the sculpture. Now, a variety of feelings/emotions ran through my body/consciousness along with this. For some reason, I got a mental image of a woman in a bar (or pub) in England during World War Two, singing a song. She was on stage. London was being bombed. The only lyrics I caught were the chorus, something about a "blue, velvet rose". I have no idea of what the song is, or whether that was a previous incarnation (which is what I was asking for a glimpse of) or what.

There are other, brief, things to touch on. One afternoon, while working on The Book of Night, I got exasperated. I just sat back and said "Lady, what do you want me to do?" I swear it felt like She just reached down with Her littlest finger and drove it straight into my brain. The ecstasy was intense! But I knew I was on the right track, after that. Confirmation, in whatever little way, can be important - sometimes. And it usually comes in little ways, ways you'd not expect it to. I'd spend years looking for certain books. Invariably I'd just be browsing around a bookstore and there they would be. Once a friend of mine wanted to find Skeat's Etymological Dictionary, which it had taken me years to find. We were in a bookstore, so I said, "Okay, follow me". Don't ask me how I pulled this off, but I walked directly to the shelf where there was only one, lonely copy of it sitting there. And this was not the dictionary section, but the foreign language section. Now, that is not exactly a popular book, most bookstores will not stock it. I just knew, somehow, that there would be a copy for him. He thought I produced it by magick. Who knows? Maybe I did. The girl at the checkout counter was certainly surprised to see it. Stranger things have happened.

But my relationship with books has always been strange. I love them. I've had copies of some very rare occult texts that people coming into the gallery these days would kill for. (For instance - The Secret Rituals of the OTO. This book was only published once. I got it from a rare book dealer in Washington state via mail. I was in NY at the time. The catalogue listing it arrived one day after the postmark. Now, it is impossible to get the Post Office to deliver a letter around the corner the next day, much less across the whole damn country.) Like I've said, I gathered an extensive library. Sometimes in unique ways. My friend provides for me in strange ways. It's always interesting.

You know, there is one other occurrence I've left out. But this one is really weird. Leilah and I were in Sayville one night, in the cemetery. We found one grave plot where no grass would grow. You could tell it wasn't a new grave, the earth was packed and hard.

Now, I had this vial of oil I got from Coven Gardens, in Colorado, that was labeled "Nuit". I had saved it for five years without ever opening it. For some reason, when we were getting ready to go to the graveyard that night, something told me to stick that vial in my pocket. I had another vial of the same oil that I used every day, but I didn't bring that one. I brought the one I'd been saving for a "special occasion".

Anyway, Leilah and I were hanging out by this grave and she said something along the lines of "There's a soul at unrest, here". So I stood up, silently called to my friend, the Lady, and brought out the vial of oil. I opened it up (after waiting five years) and tipped it over the grave in three different spots, once at each end and once in the middle. I thought I was just spilling out a drop or two each time. I wound up dumping almost the whole vial of oil on the grave. Leilah said something after that, to the effect that I had just done something wonderful and released the soul that was trapped.

That night, Leilah left her jacket on the tombstone right in front of this plot. I went back the next day to pick it up for her. The jacket was gone, but what I saw still makes me wonder to this day. I knew which grave it was, I have a good memory. Fresh grass had grown in the dirt covered plot! Now, I thought I was nuts. I scoured the whole graveyard, in case I was mistaken about the location of the grave. I wasn't. Somehow or other, I feel, I participated in a miracle.

I attribute all these occurrences to my friend, the Lady. Except for those connected with Azrael. But somehow She and He are in conjunction, so it gets difficult to tell them apart. I used to worry about this, not anymore. Azrael has a lot to do with B'heti - the principle is similar. Azrael also makes all motion possible by remaining absolutely still, yet also everywhere. Maybe He was involved in my life before I even knew of Him.

©1996 by Daniel Kemp

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Loose Ends

To us all, a time will come when we feel that our purpose here has been achieved and that our days are drawing to an end. Through this realization, many of us "waning souls" will revert to the impatience of earlier days. We may even grow frustrated or downright angry that we haven't yet been called "home".

Purpose can be a tricky thing, as it is woven into our lives like a fine spider's web. All of its intricacies not totally seen. These are the loose ends that we acquire over the years that hold us tethered to the flesh. We may not even realize that they are there, having spent most of our thoughts on the "Big Picture". Although, they entangle us just as tightly as any sense of ultimate purpose.

It is an odd form of paradox that waning souls focus so intently on the Great Work, that we see not much of the detail. While, on the other hand, waxing souls concentrate so much on the intricacies of the day to day that they see no Greater Purpose. A humbling balance?, Or, a cruel joke? It depends on one's viewpoint.

Regardless, it can take just as much time and focus to tie up these loose ends as it takes to complete the Great Work. And no destiny is ever complete unless all frayed ends are mended.

As our days Wind down, and the pace of our path slows, we get a chance to count our loose ends. However, we cannot go backwards in time to mend them. Strangely enough, and in a way that is truly magical, they seem to eventually "catch up" to us as we come full circle on the path. There is an overwhelming sense of fate at work here. A subtle predestination that ties ALL THINGS together in the end. While we cannot actively change the past, we can transform the future, and, thereby recreate the present. Remember, they are all one anyway.

Loose ends, can be best described as things, or even lives, left unfinished. People, places or events abandoned or left incomplete on the sweeping winds of change. Little by little, they waft back into our lives awaiting recognition, and consummation. Tying them up may be as simple as a good-bye left unspoken, or as complex as resuming an unfinished life. We may have inadvertently done someone wrong in the blinding light of Purpose. Or, we may have hastily exited an event before it came into full fruition. No matter the manifestations, all of our loose ends are inextricably tethered to our ultimate purpose. One affects the other to a greater or lesser degree depending upon its outcome and how it "weighs" in the fold.

If we think about it in quantum terms, even the universe itself is held in perfect balance by the most subtle of its elements. Such are the details of our lives tied into the balance of Purpose.

As I've said before, we cannot actively go "back" and tie up loose ends. However, the closer we each get to our own End-Tymes, the further along the circle we travel until they come "back" to us. Along that course, and if it is meant to be, we will meet up with those things left unfinished. Both having changed in the journey. Both recognizing their need for each other in order for either to complete the Great Work and venture home.

Patience is indeed, the virtue it is claimed to be. All things come to us so long as we keep moving along the circle. As long as we bend with the winds of change, our loose ends will not bind us to the past, but find us as we reach our journey's end.

OUR wish to you all, is that when you outgrow these heavy robes, that you drown in the River of Remembrance never again having to forget any portion of who and what you truly are. May you emerge always remembering the sweet melancholy of the dream. Do not simply cleave to its shadow, but become its essence as well.

Copyright 1997 by Leilah Wendell 
(Excerpted from "End-Time Fragments- Supplementary Writings to the Azrael Material)


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The Philosopher in the Mausoleum
"Adieu, Memento Mori"

In a society so loath to face the ultimate reality of death that the witty and iconoclastic George Carlin could base a comedy routine on its euphimisms, it's hard to believe that once being black-clad for constant mourning was fashionable, that the crafting of jewelry  made from hair of the dearly departed formed a thriving cottage industry, and meditating on one's future demise considered healthy, mature, and philosophically uplifting.

Nowadays, the dying are shunted far from sight, demeaningly reduced  to a helpless, childlike condition, even resented by some doctors who see their condition as unwelcome reminders of their own limitations. Cemeteries, rather than picturesque locales for contemplative strolling, filled with eloquent sculpted memorials to the departed, have become cropped lawns with flat plaques arranged in sterile military formation. Even the upkeep of the graves is left to professional groundskeepers, rather than being a regular family occasion, as done on All Saints' Day prior to decorating the family tomb. The media focus is on the worship and pursuit of perpetual youth. Everyone seems eager to avoid facing the fact that the shadow of the Reaper must fall over us all.

Susan Sontag has noted, "We no longer study the art of dying, a regular discipline and hygiene in older cultures..."(1) Yet nowadays such a pursuit would be considered morbid, a word which has among its meanings "diseased" and "unhealthy". But ancient cultures, and some Asian ones not yet crushed into   conformity, do not share that attitude. The Buddhist monks of Tibet carry prayer beads carved in the form of human skulls.  Ceremonial cups and the two-headed Damaru drums are sometimes made from the skullcaps of deceased monks. Art created by a culture where death is not a feared finality, but an exit from one life, simply leading to another. 

"Hindu (and Buddhist) tradition has affirmed in some important way the efficacious or spiritually enlightening effect of confronting or meditating upon death."(2) In India, the Tantrics of the so-called Left-Hand Path meditate upon the cremation grounds, home of their beloved goddess Kali. In seeming opposition to Hindu taboos, where the low-caste handle and dispose of the dead, they affirm the divinity existing within all that is considered unclean, by meditating covered with corpse ashes, seated upon either a dead body or a chair made out of animal and human skulls, drinking wine, eating forbidden flesh, and most notoriously, taking part in sexual rituals. "Kali's boon is to grant liberation before death ...a freedom that comes to one who knows himself to be mortal, a freedom that enables him to revel in the moment..."(3)

In ancient Catal Huyuk, considered the first true city, located in what is now Turkey, the bones of close relatives would be buried beneath the family sleeping platform so their spirits would linger in the household, a loving, protective presence.(4) Among certain peoples of Africa, the dessicated dead are seated reverently in ancestor huts,  to be visited for inspiration and meditation. Yet one need not go so far afield as these exotic examples to see how deeply modern societal attitudes have shifted.

InBooks of the Dead: Manuals for Living and Dying, by Stanislav Grof, it is pointed out that "While many people have heard about the Egyptian and the Tibetan Books of the Dead, it is generally less well known that an extensive body of literature related to problems of death and dying exists also in the western tradition. It is usually referred to as Ars moriendi (The Art of Dying). Toward the end of the Middle Ages the works belonging to this genre were among the most popular and widespread literary forms in many European countries... The intense interest in death and dying in this period of history was greatly stimulated by the general uncertainty of life in the Middle Ages. Death was ever-present, as openly visible in the cities as in the villages. People died by tens of thousands in famines, wars and epidemics... People were used to witnessing the deaths of their relatives, friends and neighbours. Funeral corteges and processions with corpses were a standard part of daily life, rather than exceptional events... (This) literature carries in many forms a strong reminder that a life oriented exclusively toward material goals is futile and wasted. Such an orientation is based on deep ignorance, and is possible only for those who are not aware of, or have not accepted, the fact that everything in the material world is impermanent and that death is the absolute ruler of life."

Memento Mori (Latin for "Remember that you must die") emblems once regularly appeared in European art and decoration. Skulls would be strategically placed in ornamentation to serve as reminders of the transience of earthly life. In the images of the Dance of Death, (DanseMacabre), "an extraordinary mass phenomenom that developed in France in the late 13th century and spread to the other countries of Europe"(5), Death would caper in many widely disseminated series of woodcuts, snatching kings from their thrones, separating lovers in the midst of their trysts.

In "The Ambassadors", by the famed portraitist of Henry VIII, Hans Holbein, a pair of magnificently-clad aristocrats pose amid symbols of learning and the latest scientific instrumentation of the era.  A strange object stretches at an angle from a corner of the table. It is a study in a once-popular technique named anamorphic distortion. "The Ambassadors" was designed to hang above a doorway. Those passing through, should they look up just then, will find that enigmatic, stretched-out object compressed into recognizability by the angle of their view. It's a human skull. Can one imagine the portrait of a modern-day politician or industrialist having such a symbol of decay and the fleeting nature of power among the props of his wealth and prestige?

This relentlessly forward-looking society, where "what's past is prologue", has the attitude that continual progress is the natural state of things, rather than the once-universal and far more accurate cyclic perspective. The avoidance of the past, the lack of ancestral reverence and respect, is epidemic. Hence the neglect of historic cemeteries, vandalized by mindless youths, weed-overgrown and untended by a society which sees more value in a football stadium or parking lot. Even the nature of obituaries has changed, to reflect the growing materialism of our culture. 19th-Century obituaries focused on the piety, moral character, familial devotion and charitable deeds of the deceased. Modern ones, predictably, pay most attention to the wealth and fame of the departed.

Grof writes, "A main objective of the medieval Ars moriendi literature was to bring home the futility of a life-strategy dominated by the pursuit of external goals, such as wealth, possessions, power, and fame."(6) It is precisely because that message is so dangerous to the economic foundations of this hedonistic and shallow society that the once important Memento Mori is now considered unhealthy rather than beneficial. So thinking of death has become... unthinkable.

Nowadays, we are no longer citizens but "consumers", creatures whose sole function is to buy things (and work ceaselessly so we may continue to buy more). What would it do to the economy if the masses were to truly realize that all their accumulation will be for nought? If they were to realize the fleetingness of their mortal existence, and perhaps be motivated to spend their time in doing something that will make the world a better place, rather than spending decades of their life vegetating before the television, as if they had all eternity ahead of them, rather than a brief span? Nurses and hospice workers report the statement most frequently made by those about to die is, "It all went by so quickly..."

Short of a worldwide plague and series of disasters that would leave the sterile cities of modern industrialized societies littered with corpses, it is difficult to bring the message of the reality of death to a culture so steeped in avoidance, where "escapism" is a multibillion-dollar industry. A favorite possibility lies in the gradual importing of Mexico's most famous celebration, the Day of the Dead (Todos Santos), celebrated on the first of November. For a party-loving people, it offers the chances to extend the festivities of Halloween, a holiday that, despite the onslaughts of fundamentalists, continues to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in sales of candy, costumes, and macabre paraphernalia every year. Nothing like being good for business to ensure publicity and popularity. Can we line up some major corporate sponsors? "Corona, the official beer of the Day of the Dead"..!

Beside the skeletal costumes and imagery (actually more characteristic of Mexico's urban Day of the Dead celebrations), another aspect of  Todos Santos that would be beneficial to transplant would be the custom of preparing feasts for the dead, inviting them to come visit this world once more to partake of their preferred food, with favorite possessions also at the table for their enjoyment. It is unfortunately doubtful, in this geographically fragmented society, that people holding candlelight vigils at the graves of  loved ones could become widespread here. Even in Mexico, it's more of a rural, small-town tradition. But a domestic and more convenient party-for-the-dead seems more likely to achieve popularity. And, in the midst of a festive atmosphere, to offer a chance to reminisce about absent loved ones. And perhaps ponder on one's future demise...

Until a more mature attitude returns, "normal" society remains fearful and suspicious of those displaying much outward interest in death and its imagery. In a culture that believes there is only one way to live and think (public pronouncements to the contrary), it is a predictable reaction. For those who unflinchingly face and speak of  that inescapable finality are the atheists in the Vatican, the somber antipode to the brainless bright yellow smiley-face. The living  Memento Moris in the unthinking revels of modern life.

(1) Introduction to Portraits in Life and Death, by Peter Hujar
(2), (3) The Sword and the Flute, by David R. Kinsley, pgs. 142, 144 respectively
(4) The Everyday Life of a Stone Age Trader, by Giovanni Caselli
(5), (6) Books of the Dead: Manuals for Living and Dying, by Stanislav Grof, pg. 82


Copyright 2000, by  Mike Hunter

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A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM

What follows here, is actually a very old piece culled from Part 1, of Our Name is Melancholy. It was from a long and strange dream sequence I had in the late 1970's I have decided to reprint it here because so many of you asked about it. Perhaps you can all take a read through it and exchange your ideas on the message board. Part of it is still a mystery to me and I'd be interested in your comments and opinions.

"Men tell lies for two reasons only," a soothing voice echoed through the ancient corridors, "Because they're either ignorant of the Truth, or because the truth simply doesn't suit them."

"I see." I said to my faceless guide, as our footsteps sounded like dull thunder in the long and stately foyer.

In the dream, we were walking through what appeared to be an old yet well maintained library. I'd never seen so many books. Neatly shelved in gargoyled bookcases as high as the eye could reach. White and gold pillars of stone interspersed between the ornate shelving served to support a palatial structure.

"Rather than changing to conform to the Truth, they manipulate the Truth to conform to them. Twisting the "Divine Word" and passing the iniquitous doctrine down through the generations, where it continues to be altered until no one knows the Truth at all!" The flaming figure explained dramatically.

At the foyer's end two, large golden doors swung open and we entered a spectacular room, richly paneled in a warm cherrywood. The firelit chamber was circular in shape. The bleached alabaster walls were almost completely covered with even more books. A musty scent, made bittersweet with sandalwood permeated the heavy drapings with its potent spice. In the center of the room, was a large, elaborately carved round table. Made of either mahogany or rosewood, it was oversized to say the least, and an impressive feat of detailed artistry.

Seated around it, was a flaming council of twelve white robed figures humanoid in shape, yet just as faceless as my host. Looking at them directly for more than but a few seconds was like looking into a white-hot sun! Their bodies appeared to be made out of pure starlight!

"Come. Sit." my host pulled out an empty, "Queen Ann" style chair, opposite the others.

"Do you want the Truth?" another of them asked, very earnestly.

I'm sure it was obvious to them that I was made somewhat uncomfortable by their intensity. The fact that I was seated facing them led me to deduce that this was either some type of symbolic "test", or a probing inquiry. I felt as if I was on the "stand" and that they were some kind of divine jury waiting to determine my guilt or innocence of purpose! I felt it best to go along, as the general tone was one of serious intent.

"Yes! Of course I do!" I answered with enthusiasm.

"Good!" he appeared pleased.

"The individual mind is the infinite universe." one of the others blurted out impulsively.

"Feel free to ask any question," my host spoke in a more cordial tone as he took a seat beside me. At least I had one "friend", I thought to myself. "Anything at all!" he loudly urged.

"I hear a question," a low voice from the right side of the table broke in. The sound of many voices could be heard coming out of his month! All in unison like a perfect chorus. "I see hands flailing up at a desolate planet. You want to know more about who you are," He announced. "So you implore the heavens to speak and threaten an unseen god with your fists raised with impatience."

He was alarmingly perceptive. He could pick up even fleeting thoughts in my mind. I was impatient with the Godsoul for keeping me from my beloved.

"Yes!" I said. "I'd like to know why I'm here? Why we're all here for that matter?"

"Do you not ask your own reflection this very question each morning in the mirror?" a softer voice interceded.

"I suppose . . . but I'll look anywhere for answers."

"In essence Na'Haliel, we are all the Many and the One," the same voice continued, addressing me by an ancient name, "Cells in the universal body. Each with its own function, power and capability. Why I am "here" or you are "there,' is simply help the cosmic body grow and flourish."

It sounded all too easy, and it wasn't really the "kind" of answer I was looking for. I needed something more practical, more geared towards my "immediate" life.

"What for? What is the ultimate goal of LIFE?" my bold query drew a few strange looks from around the table.

"To achieve the completion of both individual and cosmic purposes of course!" I was unsure of exactly who answered as the voices again seemed to be many!

"How can we achieve this?" I fired back politely.

"By teaching the principles of the Universal Mind and acting upon their lessons," the first voice said, to which my host attached;

"But only when you're certain that you truly and fully understand them and how to apply them to best suit your station. Knowledge without the wisdom to use it, is useless."

"And don't just listen to the ramblings of one source!" another added scoldingly.

"Or one book," said another.

"Listen only to direct and personal communications from the Godsoul." my host again spoke. "This is the ONLY TRUTH!"

"No catalysts." I mumbled under my breath.

"Not unless you can honestly discern who speaks through them. "

"But I can, now."

"I know."

"Where did we all come from?" I pointedly addressed the resplendent council.

"We? You and I?" the soft voice returned by query.

"All life," I clarified. "Everything that is! Time. Space. God, the Universe!" I exclaimed with dramatic hand gestures.

"From the infinite womb of the space-time continuum," a different voice answered with contrived humor. A few low snickers followed, and were quickly silenced by my host's menacing stare.

That's no answer anyway, I thought to myself. Sounded more like something Carl Sagan might say. Didn't think he was hiding under that flaming robe. But, it was a dream, after all. So, I guess anything could be possible.

"You're right." my host unnerved me by his easy reading of my thoughts, "That isn't an answer."

"And you deserve more." someone else contended.

"Look around you." The figure next to him bolted up adamantly from its chair. I had to turn away from the brilliance of Its full garment. "Everything that is, is simply a dream! And when the Godsoul awakens, everything will be no more." he shrugged, then added, "If, and when the Great Spirit does return to sleep, It may dream something completely different. Where would that leave us all then?"

After that outburst, he sat down. The others eyed him with embarrassed chagrin, shaking their heads as the meeting lapsed briefly into an uncomfortable silence.

I could tell that he said something he shouldn't have. (I discovered that even angels can be victims of "foot-in-mouth" disease.) I felt the mental adjectives being hurled around the table. Theirs was an argument to which I was not privy.

What he said made some sense to me, though. It seemed quite plausible. After all, this dream was creating its own unique reality for me. How do we know that we're all not simply the product of a dreaming deity? Hum?

"Dream is creation," my host resumed speaking in an attempt to relax the tension in the air, "Everytime a mortal surrenders unto dream, I am born. Death is the dreamer's life. Do you understand that?" he calmly asked.

I nodded. I did understand, but I couldn't put my thoughts into words.

"Essentially, we're all "here" to learn why we are here."

The others concurred with a nod, but now he was losing me in riddles. He could see this and tried a different approach.

He got up from the chair and moved about the room like a tall dancing flame. The scintilla flying off His garment with each motion, leaving a trail of sparks as He glided across the floor.

"Do you see these books?" he pointed a fiery finger at the wall of volumes behind us. "They are all lives. Not individual, physical lives," he stressed each word slowly. "Rather, each is a complete accounting of one, individual soul through many, physical and spiritual lives." He searched my face for evidence of comprehension.

"Some books are small and unfinished." He picked one at random from the shelf, "Others, are long and complete." He motioned toward a more hefty tome on the shelf below.

"Yours, for instance," he reached for a large dusty volume the far corner, "is one of the lengthier ones." The book he pulled from its slot looked to be an antiquated text, marked in several places with frayed red bookmarks. Carefully, he opened the worn, black cover and thumbed to one of the marked pages. The paper crackled with a crisp brittleness. "Here!" he pointed and began to read aloud with the echo of many tongues, "Coincidence is the divine element at work trying desperately to gain our attention by SIGNS IN SUCCESSION." "Do you remember this?" he asked.

"Sure I do!" I replied with amazement, "It's something I found to be true in my life."

"It is a Truth!" said one of the council. "And eloquently expressed! Bits and pieces of the Ultimate Truth are scattered into all minds. Pity they can't share this enlightenment on the physical level."

"Divinity brings the Many and the One upon seemingly chance encounters for a very definite purpose." My host resumed quoting from the fragile pages.

"Is everything I've ever said in there?"

"Not everything," he answered, as he closed the book, "only those things that are expressions of the "Perfect truth" ... and a few, specific events of importance in your complete life."

"That includes all of your incarnations." Another voice pointed out.

"Can I see it?" I asked with great curiosity.

My application drew a chortling reaction. Again the adjectives were flying. I gathered they didn't want me to see it. What was the big deal anyway? If it's a record of my own life, what was the problem?

"Why do you wish to see it?" my host inquired, a bit on the defensive. "You know everything that's in here."

"So, what's the problem?" I asked.

No reply. "Maybe by reading through it I can get a better understanding of some of the things that happened to me." I tried to give them some kind of valid reason for wanting a peek. "What about the events from my other lives that I've forgotten? Aren't their lessons important? Couldn't remembering more of them help me in this life?"

"You haven't forgotten anything important," a voice interrupted in a patronizing timbre, "It's just that you've not reach that point in this existence where you require that specific knowledge."

That made some sense, but I still wasn't convinced.

"I'd like to see the book anyway."

They engaged briefly in another psychic conference. I could tell that at least a few of them were on my side in this matter.

"Very well," my host reluctantly supplicated, and carefully handed me the heavy, bound volume. Its weight required both hands to steady. Its textured cover was made of an unusual material that looked like velvet, but felt like stone! It was damp and strange to the touch.

"Any particular life?" he casually inquired.

"No." I shook my head, as he reached over and peeled open the book in a random fashion.

"You'd best put it down," He said and guided the awkward volume out of my hands and onto the table in front of me. "This will be a very special time," he told me, pointing at a particular passage on the upper part of the left-hand page.

"Will be?" I repeated his words. "You mean, it hasn't happened yet?"

"All things have "happened". Or did you forget about the coexistence of all time, including your "future". It's just that you've not reached this point yet."

Slowly my eyes surveyed the open page with anticipation.

"I can't read this!" I complained, noticing the unfamiliar hieroglyph it was written in.

"I'm sorry," my host seemed genuinely apologetic. "Here, close your eyes. Please!" he entreated.

I did as he asked for but a few seconds.

"Now you can read it," he told me as I opened them, and refocused on the glowing page. "If you speak aloud the words, you'll recreate their images," he warned. "If you summon names the entity associated with it will appear. For this is the language of angels. So take heed to only see the words, and not to conjure their images by lending them emotion!"

I took a deep breath and began to carefully read the scribed pages:

October 16 - Final Entry:
(What followed here, was a very lengthy and detailed description of my death and subsequent burial, replete with emotions of all that attended. It is not included here to keep this page at a reasonable length.)

* * * * * * *

"Please! You must stop!" A voice was hailing from inside my mind. The scene before me burst like a pricked balloon. "I warned you about lending emotion to the angelic tongue! Now, you must close the book," my host said as he drew my attention away from the open page.

"A moment to collect myself?"

"Of course," he nodded.

How wonderful! How absolutely marvelous that these fondest wishes can be played out so vividly before my eyes. So real. So positively real! So unnervingly personal. Where did these images comes from? How did they get onto these pages? Moreover, who recorded their impressions and emotions so perceptively? So intimately? So exquisitely?

"Who writes these books?" I addressed the council nervously. "These are quite intimate descriptions," I told them, noting their personal relevance, and highly "private" nature.

"Why, each soul dictates to its own personal scribe." my host casually replied.

"I don't understand," I shrugged, "Are these 'scribes' witnesses to even our most intimate moments?"

"These aren't external beings," the soft spoken one emphasized. "You're writing your own book! This is the true power of the angelic language. To impress its image directly and permanently into the cosmic library."

"Are you telling me that the words write themselves?" I inquired with balking skepticism.

"You could put it that way," stated another.

"Perhaps, it'd be better to say that you write them indirectly. You participate in the events, both as an observer, and as the central character. This way, all their details are sure to be recorded. They don't "write" themselves. The images have no energy without the emotion a living soul puts into them," my host corrected.

"They're like a psychic diary," said yet another.

"Like the symbols in your mind," my host cut in. "The emotions that lack a word equivalent. These are transliterated like hieroglyphs, and then entered into the archives of eternity for others to reference from. Do you understand?" he probed my face for evidence of perception.

"I think I'm beginning to," I said. "And you are all "Keepers" of these archives?"

The host entity leaned closer. His presence was an enormous drain on my energy. "It's like when you and your lover communicate," he explained with a whisper. "It's how you're able to feel His "touch " when he doesn't actually touch you." I smiled a knowing smile.

"Yes!" someone else asserted. "And also how you are able to then explain the feeling to others! His thoughts become animated symbols in your mind which you translate into words."

"Ido understand that!" I assured them, "I guess it's just the metaphysics of the actual process that's a bit beyond my grasp.

"Perhaps," my host agreed insouciantly, "but we know that you comprehend much more than you let on. You're just seeking confirmation of things you already know, you always do that," he said as he rose from the chair and deposited the book back into its empty slot. "Come," he motioned from the doorway. I got up from the chair and tried once more to get a clear look at any of the faces around me. "Please, come," he seized me gently by the shoulder. His touch was "charged" with a tempered and pleasant electricity.

Together, we left the room and began to head back down the stately corridor.

"Being in this world doesn't change who and what you are," he said as he walked beside me. "You mustn't be afraid of letting this be prominent."

I looked at him as his veil of light parted slightly, revealing the face of a young man, who I recognized as Michael.

"But they don't understand." I tried to tell him, suddenly finding myself more at ease - more trusting of His words.

"Make them understand. You can't be hushed by simple ignorance. You are the bride of the Angel of Death. This is a troth that you willingly accepted. Would you change this now?"

"No, of course not! Never!" I answered him with conviction. "I just want to feel that I'm doing Him justice. That's not easy when everything you say and do gets turned around."

"Think back. Hasn't everything of Truth been twisted in the flesh world?"

"I guess." He was painfully right. "Sure it does!"

"You aren't expected to force your point, merely present it."

"Then what gives it real importance?" I asked, to which he stopped and looked straight at me.

"Time," he answered resolutely, "simple time. You can't force those things that must take their natural course. Even if that course is subject to Earthbound laws! You cannot always apply the astral to the physical. Besides, humans are notorious for avoiding truths they dislike. I should know. Sometimes, you can only serve to set the wheels in motion. You're doing just fine." he assured me with open affection. "Just fine! You know that your rewards are not in the immediate. Your faith is your strength! Draw from it freely."

He led me down the corridor toward a place where its grandeur emptied out into open space.

"Do you still remember how to bridge the "obstacle" of the unknown?" he asked, pointing to the sea of stars that waited beyond the gilded threshold.

"To fly on wings of faith!" I cited His previous teachings with confidence.

"Then fly!" he exclaimed, as he pushed me over the threshold.

Copyright 1988 by Leilah Wendell, excerpted from "Our Name is Melancholy- The Complete Books of Azrael"

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Necromancy 101

Stop me if you've heard this one. "Necromancy is a dark and dangerous practice so make sure that you stand in your magic circle to protect yourself from evil spirits." Puhlease! Don't tell me that some people still buy into that antique mumbo jumbo. Although, with the advent of the internet, we have immediate access to all types of "information", and when one does an innocent search for a topic, one never knows if the information procured is unbiased and accurate, or simply the by-product of dis-informed minds seeking to perpetuate fear mostly due to sheer ignorance. Case in point, Necromancy, a simple little word that commands a whole gamut of hyperbole. Oh, the sites you'll see! Now folks, I'm not someone who publicly enjoys bitching and moaning (that often), but everyone has that one niggling thing that just sticks in their craw enough to yell ouch outloud.

Folks, it's time to put away all the bad old books inspired by christain fear, intolerance, ignorance and dogma bias and open yourselves to a purer, unconditional level of consciousness. Necromantic practice is aligned with neither the 'right' nor the 'left' hand path. It is simply an acute attunement to what I like to call, the "death energy", an affiliation and natural affinity some people have for  the current of transition. It is a fact that some people just feel more at home among the dead rather than the living. Most of the historical information on necromancy is so heavily steeped in the christain religion that such "staples" of the craft like The Black Arts by Richard Cavendish and The Grand Grimoire by A.E Waite, the Malleus Maleficarum and anything by Eliphas Levi, while fun reading as a teenager, are no longer a viable nor accurate view of necromancy in today's world where many belief pantheons overlap to create the multi-cultural society we live in. The world is a big, diverse place no longer bounded by the harsh constraints that produced these types of  fear-inspired texts. It amazes me that there are several sites out there purporting to be 'lefthand path" necromancy that simply reiterate the same old christian based texts as their "Grimoires".

True necromancy, or what I prefer to call Necromantic Practice can only be achieved when all elements of  fear are eradicated. Necromantic Practice does not involve dominance and servitude. In other words, the spirits of the dead, or of  Death Itself, are not at the magician's beck and call, nor will they, nor "He" do your "bidding". It is only the arrogant soul that believes this. One cannot "conjure" nor "command" spirits.

In earlier times, Necromantic rituals were often elaborately ghoulish, and irreverently brutal. Because of this, Necromancy (or divination through the dead) was considered a "black" art. Something engaged in only by practitioners of "sinister magic". True Necromantic workings, however, do not involve using brutality, desecration of the dead, or any other practice that one would consider the antithesis of reverence. Such methods are the trappings of  fear and ignorance. We do not seek to have the dead tell us our futures, nor to call souls back from that distant realm to do our bidding. In High Necromantic practice, the cadaver is simply a consecrated catalyst - an empty chalice, if you will, that we will attempt to fill with a potent spirit. It is the host body. The death house is not violated, nor is the host. All elements are treated with the love and sacrosanctity a true magician must have if  he or she ever hopes to succeed in contacting and sharing consciousness with non-corporeal entities.

Necromantic rituals are neither "black" nor "white" magic. They are rites of twilight, a merging of dark and light in a beautiful and natural union where all dividing lines become a blur. Black and white are simply sides of the same coin of Truth. There is no balance of one without the other. Everything in the universe must have its balancing factor, or there would be no universe at all. There is great beauty and divinity in the darkness, though fear of the unknown keeps many from looking.   If you have an open heart and are pure of spirit, you may be graced by the presence of spirits, but only when one is humbled by Love and perforce of Faith will one be ready to receive their message and appreciate the visitation for what it is. Contact with spirits, whether the spirits of the dead, or "higher" entities entails responsibility. It is not a game to be engaged in for egocentric purposes. You can play in your magic circle until one day you are mature enough to realize that no circle is necessary, nor can such trappings of man contain any energies outside of our realm.

Many people believe that if they 'raise' the dead, that they can tell one's future because spirits are not bounded by time and space as we know it. However, if a spirit has something vital to impart to you, IT will call upon you, not vice-versa. The dead have better things to do and a higher purpose to serve than to be someone's personal, on-call seer. Necromantic pratice entails respect and reverence not only for the spirits of the dead, but for the spirit of  Death, Itself. So, if you are sincerely seeking to engage in necromancy, ask yourself this-

How willing a lover would you be to Death?

Copyright 2000 by Leilah Wendell

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Mortuary Science for the Absolute Beginner

In November 1993, the San Francisco College of Mortuary Science gave an informational tour, which I eagerly attended. I knew ahead of time that we could not view any actual corpses, since that is against California State law. However, the tour would include a video of an embalming, which was purported to be quite graphic. My stomach fluttered while we waited for the tour to begin. The tour group gathered in the mortuary college's Chapel A. We looked like a fairly normal bunch, though many of us carried notebooks. For once, my morbid curiosity didn't seem out of place.

At the front of the chapel loomed a large stained glass panel of Christ praying in Gethsemane, his face upturned beneath streaming yellow light. The window glowed malevolently red as taillights flashed by outside on Dolores Street. What had I gotten myself in for? Our tour guide was Jacquelyn S. Taylor, President of the College. She wore a conservative pine green dress with gold buttons at her collar and cuffs. Black would have overwhelmed her fair complexion. She looked serious, trustworthy, sympathetic: not at all ghoulish or weird or scary. Her appearance put me at ease, as she undoubtedly intended. Taylor began with a short history lesson. Mortuary science gained acceptance in America during the Civil War, when vast numbers of people were dying far from home. Intravenous embalming  ( replacement of the blood by chemical preservatives ) kept soldiers' bodies intact long enough for them to be shipped back to their loved ones. The original undertakers were cabinet makers, simply because they also built the coffins. Taylor said that salesmen would travel around giving short lessons on embalming procedures to anyone who showed interest, in hopes of selling their wares.

The San Francisco College of Mortuary Science opened its doors in 1930. In the 90s, they graduate 70 students per year, as opposed to a peak of 400 a year after World War II, when GIs flooded the job market. In the past, the funeral industry was a family business. Now 95% of the College's students have no prior experience with corpses. The average student is age 31. Thirty percent are women, true of the mortuary business nationwide. People are attracted to the field for a variety of reasons, mostly economic. When the economy takes a downturn, Taylor said, the College benefits: the IRS can only employ a limited number of displaced workers, so job-seekers turn to the other constant in the death and taxes duality. All of us in the tour group laughed, relieved by the humor, however slight. As a service to the community, the College offers low-cost funerals. Like a beauty academy or a dental school, Taylor said, the College provides necessary services for people who can't afford professionals, while giving valuable learning experiences to their students. Under supervision, students meet clients, arrange funerals, and do the actual embalming. The State of California requires only nine months of study and a one-year apprenticeship for a mortician's license, but the College of Mortuary Science teaches a full-year program. Tuition costs $8400, plus $700 for books and lab fees. Starting salaries in the industry range from $18-24,000. A master mortician may make $40-50,000. Taylor told us the only way to become rich is to own a funeral home. Consequently, the College offers courses in small business management.

Taylor moved on to the "meat" of the subject: what exactly happens to the dead? Nothing to be squeamish about, she assured us, explaining that decomposition is a very natural process. Immediately after death, the body's proteins begin to break down and return to their original elements. Sometimes there is no immediate outward sign of this process. Depending on atmospheric humidity and temperature, some bodies can last several days without embalming. The higher heat and humidity rise, the quicker rot spreads. The rate of decay also depends on a body's composition. A moist, fatty corpse dissolves quickly. A muscular body, one with less moisture, remains intact longer but gets worse rigor mortis, which "passes off" more slowly. Rigor, which locks the corpse into whatever position it lies in, usually begins three hours after death. Twelve hours later, the body becomes completely rigid. (Hence, the term "stiff.") Rigor can last three or four days, after which the body becomes flaccid again. Taylor explained rigor as the depletion of adenosine triphosphate in the muscles. She said that soreness after exercise is the same chemical reaction -- lack of adenosine triphosphate in the muscles -- but since the living continue to move, the muscles don't lock up to the point of complete paralysis. If the mortician is in a hurry, rigor in a corpse can be broken up with massage.

According to California law, a corpse must be disposed of within twenty-four hours of death, unless it is embalmed or refrigerated. Disposal generally entails either burial or cremation. My companion asked about taxidermy. Taylor thanked him for asking an entirely new question; she thought she'd heard everything. She wasn't aware of any law against stuffing a human skin, but guessed that the health officials would balk because they like to keep track of human remains. The innards of the body would still need to be cremated or buried. Most bodies that will eventually be cremated are embalmed first, so that the family can hold memorial services. In Japan, that is standard procedure: to have a viewing, then cremation. In cultures like ours that favor burial, embalming is used as a temporary procedure. It typically lasts only a month or two, though it can last longer if underground conditions are conducive. In the right circumstances, it could keep dissolution away almost forever, as in the case of Vladimir Lenin. Taylor invited us to watch a video designed to introduce embalming to potential students. She apologized for the 1960s organ music which opened the tape. Under the chapel's saccharine cherubs, clutching their chubby hands beneath their chins, Taylor switched on the VCR. The old woman in the video was the complete opposite of the tubby cherubs. She looked half-mummified as she lay on the embalming table. Her mouth gaped as if in terror. Her half-open eyes glowed brightly white, like moons. The mortician in the video said that her eyeballs had flattened due to dehydration. Loose skin hung from her skeleton, draping her bones. A white towel covered her breasts; her skeletal hands lay on another towel folded across her hips. I was unquestionably grateful not to see her shriveled sex. The face was gruesome enough. Even though she was quite visibly dead, I could not depersonalize the old woman. Her corpse retained gender in my mind. I could not think of her body, even though it was clearly uninhabited, as an "it." Because I imputed a personality to her, I empathized with the indignities her corpse suffered. Taylor told us later that the old woman had been indigent, so she had no family to protest the immortality she attained by starring in this training film. The mortician pulled on heavy, clownish rubber gloves, more like janitor's gloves than the sensitive modern latex. Clutching wads of cotton with long forceps, he swabbed her eyes, nose, and mouth "to remove mucus." He wiped each area a second time, with diluted embalming fluid, to kill bacteria. Next, he combed her hair and lathered it "generously." Suds foamed up around the grimacing face. Her head bobbled loosely on her neck. Someone behind me whispered, "That's what you look like at the beauty shop." On the screen, the mortician rinsed out the shampoo "thoroughly, in order to remove all scabs and scales from the hair." Then he combed her hair out to dry "in a manner that would allow it to be styled later." The body was washed with a bacterial soap and "well rinsed, to remove residue." He massaged her face with cream to break up its stiffness. The shiny lotion brought a semblance of life back into her face, adding highlights to her cheeks. He placed tan plastic caps over her eyeballs to give "more normal curvature" to the lids. These "eye caps" have little plastic spines to grip the inside of the eyelids and hold them closed. One at a time, the mortician lifted the eyelids with his forceps and pulled them up over the caps -- like tucking someone into bed. It was difficult for me to watch. I have a phobia about foreign objects near my eyes This lady's nose was sharp as a beak from dehydration, so the mortician padded it out from the inside with "pea-sized plugs of cotton, drawn well forward." He also packed her cheeks with cotton. Since she was missing some teeth "and dentures had not accompanied the body," the mortician cut a clear plastic "mouth form" to fill out her mouth. This "provides a surface on which the lips can be posed." With a needle gun, he inserted needles into her gums, four to each side, as anchors for jaw wires. After her jaws were wired shut and the wires turned inward, her lips were rolled down over the plastic. I was taking notes and missed what kept the lips from peeling back. We wouldn't want Granny snarling in the middle of her funeral, would we? The mortician scraped beneath her nails and filed any that were "jagged or unsightly." I wondered if someone would polish them later, when the makeup was applied and the hair styled. To what extent were we going to beautify the dead? The hands and fingers were massaged with cream to break up the "cyanotic effects," which had left the old woman's fingers looking bruised and purple. Afterward, Taylor explained cyanosis by likening it to your fingers turning blue with cold. It means your blood is not carrying enough oxygen to your extremities. To begin the actual embalming, the mortician located the femoral artery where the thigh joined the hip. He cut the skin with a scalpel, then pushed the muscle tissue aside with a blunt probe to expose the artery and vein underneath. He noted the "sclerotic condition, which is common with age and found in many bodies": the arteries become lumpy with calcium. It makes them tough to open. He lubricated the needle with massage cream and inserted it into the artery, aimed toward the heart. Arterial embalming fluid contains a chemical preservative diluted with disinfectant and a softening agent. The preservative the College uses is formalin, which is formaldehyde diluted with water to a 37% solution. An average adult requires two or three gallons of the mixture. The fluid plumps the tissues up to restore a more lifelike appearance, firming the lips, nose, and earlobes in place. Therefore, "it is important that they are positioned before embalming begins." The mortician recommended light massage of the neck to drain the blood from the head. Embalming fluid, pumped into the femoral artery, forces the corpse's blood out of the femoral vein of the opposite leg. The entire process of replacing an adult's blood with formalin takes approximately two hours. Autopsy or traumatic death might double the time if the circulatory system has been compromised. I'm not sure if the mortician patches together the severed veins, or if he just stitches the wounds closed and does the best he can. In the video, blood ran the length of the white porcelain table into a drain past her feet.

In San Francisco, the blood drains into the public sewage system. Taylor said it is no more contagious than what live people flush down their toilets, but I'm not completely reassured. When the drainage fluid ran clear, the embalming was complete. The mortician cauterized the incision with undiluted embalming fluid. Then he used a curved needle, like an upholstery needle, to suture closed the drainage point in a pattern like a baseball. He informed us that the body orifices were tamponed and packed with cotton but, to my relief, that procedure didn't appear in the video. After hair styling and makeup, which I was disappointed not to see performed, the body would be ready for "final disposition." The students at the mortuary college always do cosmetics, even if not requested, in case the survivors decide at the last moment they want to view the body. I'd love to see a textbook for mortuary cosmeticians.

Following the video, Taylor debunked several urban myths. Corpses do not suddenly sit bolt upright at a 90-degree angle, a feat impossible for most living people. Dead people's hair and nails might seem to grow because, as the body dehydrates, the skin shrinks and pulls back. Grieving survivors might swear they've really seen such things happen, but they are "obviously very emotional." Taylor's tone of voice implied that mourners might be less than rational. She did admit that human bodies will sigh or "expel gas" as they decompose. I can see how that might inspire a few urban myths. One of the mystery writers in the tour group asked about the legal aspects of death. Cause of death is usually determined before a funeral home receives a body. When someone dies at home, the family doctor generally establishes what was responsible. A hospital usually anticipates what the cause of death will be. In obvious cases of violent death, the coroner or medical examiner (the title varies) investigates. The law requires morticians to report anything suspicious. Taylor said that one of the scariest moments of her life was having a doctor stand over her shoulder, asking her to help establish cause of death. Someone asked about living people being embalmed by accident. Taylor said she would like to say that it never happened. However, when she worked in Oregon, her coworkers were about to embalm an infant that was "not as cold as they thought it should be." They called a doctor, gave the baby CPR, and saved the child's life. Taylor hurried to add that the odds of a live embalming are extremely small. Most bodies have been refrigerated for several days before they reach the embalming table. Thanks to modern mortuary science, no one survives the embalming process. Once your body travels through a funeral home, premature burial is no longer any worry. Another person asked how AIDS had impacted the funeral industry. Not much, Taylor said. Assuming that every dead human body is infectious, undertakers take "universal precautions." The HIV virus is fragile, easily disposed of, and too large to pass through latex. If the next plague is small enough to permeate latex, Taylor said she would get out of the business. She tells her students to keep an eye on her, like a canary in a coal mine.

The tour moved on into the coffin room. Several display models gaped   invitingly to reveal complex pleated interiors or tiny ruffled pillows. Some coffins came with an offer to plant a memorial tree in a national forest. Others had tiny ID capsules, so the coffin could be returned to the place of burial if a flood washed it from its grave. (During the Mississippi flood, numerous cemeteries were actually washed out -- and there was no way to identify the bodies plucked from the floodwaters. They have since been interred in unmarked graves.) We stopped in the freezer room, which was a fairly large room lined with stainless steel drawers, just like in the movies. I was very tempted to pull a drawer out and measure myself against it. Taylor told us that a body can be refrigerated indefinitely. I wondered, but didn't ask, about freezer burn. Chicken eventually spoils in the freezer at home. How cold do funeral homes keep their coolers? In the embalming room, I trailed my fingers over the cold white porcelain table. The pump that forces formalin into the corpses' veins was a squat, harmless-looking machine smaller than a bread box. Bottles of bright pink soaps lined the walls of the room. I think I was numb by then, preoccupied by the memory of that sad old woman, enticing generations of undertakers into the business. We peeked into some of the classrooms: polished wood, rows of student desks, chalkboards -- nothing out of the ordinary. Not even a human skeleton hung on a coat rack. The tour concluded in the Mortuary College's cafeteria, where a member of the student council sold sweatshirts emblazoned with the school's logo. We feasted on apple cider and Just Desserts pumpkin cookies. You'd be surprised what an appetite death will give a person.

Copyright 2000 by Loren Rhoads (This article first published in Morbid Curiosity Magazine, Issue #1) It is reprinted by permission.

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On the Wedding of Night & Death

"For the greater part of our lives, both Daniel and I have walked this world alone with our respective ministering spirits. Daniel having the company of "shining darkness" in The Lady, and myself, as willing empath to Azrael, the Angel of Death.

As time went by, we more or less reconciled to the fact that we would always walk this life accompanied only by our spiritual counterparts. While we both find the greatest rapture in those ethereal arms, it can become a lonely road, having no human with which to share the joys and sorrows of such unions, not to mention the simple comfort of having someone to talk to who understands the unique complexities of such an existence. Even though, to our consorts, our little lives here spanned such a small tether in their understanding of "time", because of our bond, they grew to appreciate the dilemmas and small joys of the human condition. We had gifted Them with our lives, hearts and souls, and in turn, They gifted us with the one thing in this life that we both silently cried out for, someone to walk a whilst with on this road of life.

And so, eleven years ago, our counterparts concocted a plan that would alter both of our lives in ways we never imagined. Desperate for change, I vowed to take the first invitation I got to go anywhere than where I was at that point. That invite came from a friend who lived in New Orleans. Needless to say, I packed up and spent four days there for a much needed break from the stagnation of my life then. While there, my friend alluded to a man she had corresponded with who, oddly enough, lived ten minutes from my house back in New York. Upon returning home, this person got in contact with me (see the "Here Comes Trouble" chapter from "Our Name is Melancholy" for full details.)

Our meeting and our subsequent time together seemed as natural as two long lost friends finding each other again on the vast sea of time and space. Before we even realized exactly what was going on, we were both on our way back to New Orleans permanently!

And, here we are, over a decade later, due to the compassionate intervention of both Azrael and the Lady, we have the one thing in this life that we always cried out for. That companionship grew into love, a love that is difficult to explain to many, but a love that has been taught to us by the very forces that brought us together. Not many people that I know of are blessed to have both a life-mate, as well as a soul-mate. Daniel & I are ever grateful to Azrael and the Lady for bringing us together, and like Them, we share a very special and unique bond that we have chosen to honour in the only way this world can recognize, by getting legally married.

It has been a "long strange trip", my friends, but that's what happens when you're caught in a whirlwind with lightning crashing at your feet. You dance, and dance and dance....but, the final Waltz belongs to Azrael and the Lady.

We hope this helps to clear up any "misconceptions" any of our friends may have had. Thank you all for your congratulations and good wishes."

© By Leilah Wendell

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The Mystery of the Rings

Something very weird recently happened. Now, in order for me to explain this, I am going to have to back-track a couple of decades and try not to be too erudite for those of you unfamiliar with Our Name is Melancholy.

It centers around the mausoleum mentioned in aforesaid book in the mid-1970's (Chapter 6 (page 136). Those of you who have read this, know the power this humble place harnessed and understand its relevance as an "earthgate". (Some of you who have been there know this even better.) You may also recall that I wrote about my vision of its "destruction" in 1988, which came to pass in 1993 (see End Time Fragments, Chapter 3).

Now, here's the strange part as well as some of the story I never told. There was a ring that belonged to one of the occupants of this tomb. A very unusual ring with a highly unusual crest...Some of the lettering has rubbed off on the bottom. It reads "Omega Ma De?".

Anyway, I am not one to "rob" the dead and I do not take anything with me from my necromantic encounters save the experience itself and what may be offered by Azrael Himself. However, an old "friend" of mine, who I shall refer to as "S" for the sake of this letter, was not so honest. You see, I had made the mistake of showing her that special place in the early 1980's and sharing some of my experiences there with her, but never giving her entry nor telling her about the ring. In fact, the mausoleum, at this point in time, had been nailed shut by the caretakers for a couple of years. I trusted her, even though we had a very tumultuous on again, off again relationship. However, we shared an interest in various things necromantically related, and at that time, I was simply glad to have someone to share these things with in person.

Shortly thereafter, we had a falling out, due to involved circumstances, and I hadn't see "S" nor had any contact with her for several years thereafter. I had been out of New York for a few years when another friend of mine telephoned me in 1993 to inform me that the old mausoleum was no more. (It more or less imploded in upon itself sending shards everywhere.) All that was left was a small piece of wood that she had sent me. I had always wanted the huge iron door-ring. Call me weird, but it was symbolic to me. I had already had the antique spring lock that fell off of the door and into my hand in 1978. It seems that any item or piece of that place was heavily "charged" with the death energy. And if you doubt me, Daniel can attest to the power of the lock via his chapter in Life in The House of Death, "Experiences and Manifestations".

Anyway, my good friend combed the grounds, no door ring. Around the same time, I received a call out of the blue from "S" who was living out on the West Coast. We both spoke at length, knowing that we had both changed a great deal, and I am not a person that holds a grudge, especially against someone who I knew had some "problems". We began a once again, friendly phone discourse when she told me, quite matter of factly, that she had broken into the mausoleum prior to its destruction and had stolen the occupant's ring! Now, you have to understand my deep and unique connection to that place. I viewed it as nothing less than a sacred temple. And, for many years prior to her phone call, I had sensed that something had violated the sanctity of it. Now, it all became clear and I was simply speechless, to say the least! "S" also expressed her feelings of guilt that only hit her many years down the road. And with much ado (very much ado, in fact) I convinced her to give the ring to me and I would return it to it's rightful owner. The next week, I was on a plane back to New York to return it to where I felt it belonged.

The mausoleum was long gone, but the caretakers did rebury some of the bodies and slap down the old marble wall plaque to denote whose buried there. I proceeded to dig and very deep yet narrow hole and dropped the ring down inside it and covered it thoroughly with earth and replaced the small patch of sod so that it looked completely undisturbed. I offered by sincerest apologies, shed a few tears and headed back to New Orleans. That was 1994.....

A couple of days ago, I received yet another call from my friend in New York, who I hadn't heard from since at least 1995. It seems that she'd been dreaming about me, and I, of her. She hadn't been back to that old cemetery since the mausoleum implosion incident, yet she felt an undeniable urge to venture back there (which is a goodly distance from her home). She had no idea why the urge was so strong. Prior to all this, she visited her tarot reader, who told her that she "would find something and know what to do with it" as well as something about "taking things full circle." (I had always believed that my returning the ring to the ground was "full circle". Obviously, I was about to be proven wrong.) Upon her arrival at the cemetery, she was drawn directly to the old gravesite, on top of which sat...you guessed it...that very ring, as well as the door ring that we had searched so carefully for years back!

Well, here it is July 11th, 2000, and I hold those very items in my hands. (Those of you who know my material know the significance of that date.) Exact to the day 22 years ago when the door to that very mausoleum flew open as I stood before it and drew me into an experience that I would not soon forget. The rest? Well, you already know what transpired there on at least one occasion.

What does it all mean? Good question! I guess that only time will tell. It somehow "feels" right in a weird sort of way that I haven't as of yet figured out. It's still all too fresh for the significance to have settled in. I'll keep you posted!



Another neat bit of trivia about this place. Note the "writing" that looks like a relief on the lower right corner of the tomb. It is NOT really there, but this photo captured SOMETHING. We've been trying to decipher this for years!

By Leilah Wendell

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Loose Ends- Part 2

Ah...All those loose ends. Remember one of my earlier letters where I spoke about tying up all those loose ends?    Well, it seems that little by little, they are all getting tied up after all, which is a good omen! The ring thing was really the clencher,  but there are a few more frayed ends on the mend. The only dilemma now, is trying not to create anymore in the process. It takes so damned long to get the universal fabric rewoven as it should be.

Our eternal purpose and our loose ends are inextricably tied together, One does not get finished without the other also in place. Often older people are the first to comment about how they feel that their purpose here on this earth has been served, so why can't they simply go home. They forget about all the loose ends they've created along the way. The longer one lives, the more frayed ends we leave behind. Part of one's purpose is to "clean up" after yourself as well. The loose ends aren't hard to find. They're those things that have stuck in your mind, soul and heart over the many years. You know what they are, but most are simply complacent or rueful about ever having the chance to tie them up. Recognizing and acknowledging them is the first step. Sometimes, if you go out of your way to tie them up, they simply become more tangled. It is best to let the "forces that be" present you with the window of opportunity that you need to do what must be done. Some people are simply cynical and stubborn and they usually become cranky old men and women who never seem to find happiness in anything. I've met some younger people like this as well. They feel that life has dealt them a raw deal and they just want out. These people do not recognize the importance of their purpose and usually go around creating loose ends at every turn making their lives a spider-web of misery that will take any lifetimes to untangle. It's hard to explain these concepts to such people because they are so overcome by the microcosmic nature of their lives that they cannot conceive how nor why they are tied into the universal fabric, yet still so alone.

One of the many reasons some folks constantly have to come back into the flesh is not only because their purposes were left incomplete, but because they left too many loose ends to be tied up in one lifetime. A simple, yet relevant example of this, is someone who meets someone in this life, yet feels uncontrollably drawn to that person. There is an uncanny affiliation, that also incorporates a great wealth of sadness. Through the course of their lives, they realize that they have known each other before and begin having memories of that prior incarnation to the point where they realize exactly why they were drawn together in this life. Each scenerio is unqiue, but a good example of how the macrocosm tries to help us humans put everything in it's proper place and time, much like your body (a perfect example of the microcosm) uses its various systems to heal sickness and rebuild cells and synapses where necessary. The universe does this as well, and we are the cells in need of "rebuilding" in order to keep the Great Body alive and evolving. I have a saying that I always use, that it is we, who are the cells in the body of the godsoul, and loose ends, like sickly cells, must be mended in we ever hope to rise above the need for incarnation.

Remember when your momma told you to clean up your mess? Well, that too was a microcosmic suggestion. I'll keep you posted on how my "weaving" goes.

By Leilah Wendell

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2001- A Time Odyssey

"My god, it's full of stars!"

Here we all are again, with yet another New Year looming overhead. What will it bring? What will we make of it? What will it make of us?

For many, a time of beginnings. For others, a season of endings. That's what time is, a series of continual endings and new beginnings. Adrift on the seas of change, years being nothing more than how mankind divides the seasons of his life. Time, itself, acknowledges no such divisions. It is only the human animal that desires to harness and organize his time here thusly.

We perpetually "measure" out limited perception of time from the smallest interval, to the largest we are capable of understanding. Yet, time itself is fluent and immeasurable and does not acknowledge our divisions. The average lifespan of a human being may be no more than a heartbeat of the gods, while one of our precious "years" may pass even less noticed. Everything dwells in the reflection of its own macrocosm. While an insect may live only the equivalent of one of our weeks, or even a single day, we think nothing of it. To more highly evolved entities, our lives may seem equally as brief and fragile. The body ages in accordance with the expected life-span of a particular species. The snake lives longer than the butterfly, but do they count their days, nor care that they are numbered? It is only mankind that strives to outlive his years. He will do almost anything to avoid the stoppage of time as he perceives it, to eke out one more day, hour, year,  at any cost and by any means.

Perhaps the "gift" of logical thought and free will has made man less intelligent than the other creatures that abide here with us? Maybe they know something we have forgotten along the path of "rational" evolution. For the trees do not cling to their falling leaves, nor should we. For each leaf represents a moment, and time changes just as colourfully as the falling leaf. We "shed" old moments in favour of new ones. The wheel turns, the spiral widens oblivious of the concept of time, full knowing that it is all contained within one contiguous line that blurs all that has passed, all that is, and all that is to come into one point accessible by a number of paths, yet co-existing side by side simultaneously. Time does not move through us, we move through it. Maybe that's what the other life-forms know that we have forgotten...and why they don't have the fears as human's do. Interesting, huh?

As always, from death, comes life- So, as we acknowledge another milestone in our short, little lives here, do not cling onto the falling leaves of yesteryear. But, rather strive to nurture and cultivate the new ones that will unfold from their wake. On that note, I wish you all an auspicious New Year!

By Leilah Wendell

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A BEAUTIFUL AGONY

Some of you may recognize this as  an excerpt from "End-Time Fragments" written in 1994. The reason I'm posting this here and now is multifold. One, I have been receiving several letters asking things of me that are better expressed in this exchange between Azrael and myself than I can answer in an email format where these emotions cannot easily be swiped at. Secondly, because somehow I feel that it will ring true to many of you who may not have read the book but resonate to the emotions expressed here nonetheless. And, yes, these feelings still ring true to me as well.

It is a beautiful agony, this feeling of closeness. The "nearer" to you I am, the more I feel our pain of parting. When you stand at a distance, I weep at the longing, though feel not the pulling away. But, when we are aligned with each other and then you pull away, I am torn apart with such a beautiful agony. It is as if the heart was being ripped from this flesh. The pull upon our spirit devastates my emotion and slurs my thought. No life-force issues from this gaping darkness. It is too old to bleed, yet not brittle enough to crumble to dust. This sacred chalice that I keep tucked beneath my flesh can be partaken of by only one.

I lay my soul bare before thee. My mind stripped of reason and logic. My heart ever silenced in your gentle hand. How can I ever hope to express the rapture of your melancholy? We are too deeply entwined in the fibre of this union - the joining of two that remember being one. This "oneness" caught in the delusion of division. Manifestation creates this duality. The wretched need to incarnate, to reach beyond one's self. Always with the goal of coming full circle, of achieving completion.

Love suffers the agony of being torn in two. The disconsolate cries and the merciless tearing of sentient energy is an ever constant echo, both in memory of spirit, and the codex of form.

There are times, and they are many, when my soul struggles to rip itself away from this flesh, almost as if a great magnet was drawing in something small, and in doing so, pulling it apart.

Whenever He despairs at our disjoining, it is agony that we endure. Though, when I am despairing it is something beyond agony that He must suffer. I would prefer my soul flayed upon the rack of oblivion before I would wish Him anymore of pain and sorrow. I only want to bring Him rapture. To return Him to ecstasy. To give Him that which He has so freely given me. To watch Him swoon away, as I have, in the embrace of angels.

To know divine rapture one must willingly and absolutely give all. Body, mind and soul laid upon the altar of love. Reserve nothing unto one's self, but in faith lift up the chalice of the heart to the lips of one's beloved.

Rise above the flesh and offer it eagerly to the worms. There is ecstasy in the falling away of flesh. A great burden is lifted in the turning to dust. All must come to understand that the purpose of flesh incarnation is to rise above the need for it.

One day, there will come a time when all energy will, indeed, rise above the need to become manifest. Then shall the Angel of Death Himself drown in the dark waters of the River of Remembrance. Such a time will come. Remember the power of the moment, and how it has the unique ability to change ALL THINGS.

It has been so long, yet I am told, not much longer now until this numbing half-life we both endure shall end in a reunion so glorious that even the most mighty shall weep, and their tears shall wash away the memory of this horror we call Life.

SOTTO VOCE
"In His Voice"

"Do you remember enough to recognize the Moment, yet forget enough so that you can walk into it without perception? This is good. For to see the Moment first and then step into it will cancel that Moment forever, but you will not ever forget."

"My love, do not speculate upon the formations of the inevitable. Let it come and surround you, and you will wake up on a bed of cold fire. The Moment will wrap itself around you before you "awaken" and you will not wish to leave that bed. Open your arms and let the chalice be spilled. Let the quenching of your heart demonstrate to them that you can bleed! On that day shall I take all around you up into my wings. For the rush shall pass through them all, and then lift from them as life spills from you and I flow within you. In those final moments shall I be visible through your eyes. So shall your tears be alight with our joy."

"Each time now shall we come closer, and at "odd" times, draw apart, though never far. Through my vision do you perceive the "scene". However, some things I must not let you see so that you do not recognize that Moment until you are irrevocably immersed in it. I should not have let you see so much already. Still, I keep the one who "frees" us hidden. I am sorry, I must do this so that you don't seek out the Moment. That soul shall follow behind you and we shall thank him as One. Though, already have I sent "him", "he" knows this not."

"The agony you speak of is Ours. You know this. It is no more of one part, or the other. It is, as your time goes, "ancient", and it shall all end here. No part of I will be sent there again, only shadows."

"To speak of love with words is to slice the wind with a feather. You feel all that I feel. Do not always anguish to express the things that you know have no content in words. Meanings are shallow, beyond which you feel. This "beautiful agony" is meant to be Ours. None are given to really understand because words do not empty the heart, they only tap upon it and then dissipate."

"Soon shall I come upon you a hurricane does upon a small island. I only wish I could explain as much........ Our love is that which the flesh is too weak of a vessel to carry and yet survive. Such love slays the soul. So much more "feeling" than the flesh is capable of knowing, much less expressing. My love is beyond what this "heart" can speak. To explain, it must empty itself. Such a beautiful end! To love is to be lost within. Lost in a rapture that no words can express. Devoured by the spirit that ATONES within you."

"So much sorrow do we endure. So much love. So much eternity do we dwell within and choose not top forget. No more words on this. They will not reach within you as I feel. This I do not direct (personally) to you because we share the same soul. I cannot impart this to others in the same way. It would devastate them!"

"My hand tightens around the chalice as I "drink" its contents thus taking you back within Me. Thus, retrieving what I am from what I have become."

By Leilah Wendell

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DIALOG BETWEEN DEATH & LADY NIGHT

"I am the fulcrum on which both Life and Afterlife are balanced. You are the jewelled veil that covers those who sleep on my threshold. Together, we both mourn and celebrate the dream. The dream from which we can never awaken."

The following dialogue is taken from an "experiment" Daniel and I undertook over the course of a few weeks in 1992. We were attempting to create a written dialogue between Azrael and the Lady.(For those of you unfamiliar with his writings, the Lady is Night.) It turned out to be a dialogue between Azrael and Daniel, with me translating. Initially we were alternating paragraphs, but once Azrael got started He more or less took over and the dialogue became a diatribe. He has half a book of full pages to show for it. What is quoted here is only a small portion of the material. Much of it is personal, concerning Daniel directly. The portions of the material which could be applied to people in general are reproduced here, altered slightly to make them less personal. Perhaps someday Daniel will publish the whole book, to give you an idea of what it's like to be bitched out by "Uncle Azrael".

Prior to this there was a brief encounter in my favourite old "haunt", a cemetery on Long Island. Daniel was "baptized" in the river there, sinking into the slimy waters atop a shopping cart from the Grand Union across the street. A night he will not forget easily. There was also the encounter with Azrael's "voice" that was described in The Azrael Project Newsletter.

Following this dialogue, there were other, brief, encounters with Azrael. One of which was Azrael "washing" through Daniel. "It was as if His spirit passed through my body, leaving me in a state where I was laughing and crying at the same time. Almost like a bittersweet ecstasy." Another interaction after this was between Daniel and a wall sculpture I made that is extremely potent. (It is like unto a talisman of Azrael's being.) He laid on my bed, in front of the sculpture, with a crypt lock upon his chest. He turned the key and opened the lock. After a while "waves" began emanating from the sculpture. These washed through him starting at his head and exiting through his feet. "The feeling it left me with was one of extreme giddiness, as if I was floating. I have been touched by Azrael now a few times, each time differently. The "wind of change" is not cold or uncaring, but very loving. Leilah and Azrael are one. And to them both I say "I love you."

The quote in italics in "The Nature of Paradox" section is Daniel speaking. All material in normal type and in quotes is Azrael speaking.

FROM WHERE I STAND

"The sea of Night is the underside of my river. Beneath those black waters She waits all burning with none to feel Her warmth. Her stars are the lich-lite of souls that I have gathered, and then released. The ghosts of lives that could have been among you, but chose not top be. She does not extend into my world. She is very "small" from where I stand. My horizon shadows everything, yet contains nothing but the afterglow of all that is, was and ever will be."

"I shall describe for you my world using analogies you understand. I will divide its (corners) into four parts. To one side, lay the river, and its other shore, which is all in negative image to my vision. It is darkness with shadows of light. To another side, be a membrane of opaque white light. It is behind a veil of mists through which I cannot pass. Though, I have not tried. There is no desire. I don't know if it is solid to me or not, having never ventured over the low incline that leads up to it. It is very large in area and serves as some type of viscous barrier. It is through here that come others of my "kind" (i.e. Michael, et.al.). To another side lay "indifference" splayed out as a forest of darkened forms. Shades and phantoms that move in the wind much like a resilient wood. They sing on the outer gales and dance to its current. They are just beyond my vision. They are.... indescribable sentinels. A chorus singing sorrow, so beautiful..."

"To the last side, lay a "window" to all manifest worlds and to all of the images retained from them. A portal to all time, anywhere and everywhere. Except for the places that lay beyond the veil of white, all is accessible from here. Everything in my realm is a shadow. All form is comprised of shadow. I am shadow, absorbing all light, restructuring it, and sending it on its way. In the reconfiguration, I prepare energy for its new "environment"."

"When you come into this flesh, I take part of your discernment and cast it deep beneath my waters. When you leave this flesh, this I return to you. Only then will you understand the full scope of my intentions.... of my function."

"I am that which changes all, yet, is never changing. I temper all energy through separation and union. An understanding that eludes you because you are either one, or the other. Only I am both."

"You are the dancing flame that moves so fast that you are still in my vision. It is because of this stillness that I see you as you truly are. As you move, you remain still. The faster you spin, the clearer I can see your "face". You weep just as I! Though you choose to hide your tears, I can still see them. They are ever frozen in the dance."

"Why do you not come to the Bridge of Sorrows? I can show you all from here. Lady Night is not forgotten everywhere. You are so small, so separate in perception from everything beyond your vision, yet your little life is vital to all that is. Your faith sustains the universe, and what is "outside" as well. Your world hasno barriers, only subtle bridges. None of which are tangible, yet all are real."

"Take heed and be careful not to trip on my threshold. Everyone knows that Night is careless (carefree?) and often stumbles over its own shadow. For fear of those tears flooding bothworlds in the grip of toppling. I remind you, and you shall steady. Remind you of the precarious footfall of faith..... the Leap! The flame, from candle to candle until there are no more to burn. Until all of the burning is quenched in my river and all stars are contained in a ripple."

"I cast a stone into your indigo sea and time ripples. The waves of space cover the shoreline. Many who sleep by the sea are drowned in their dreams. Take heed to sleep far from the shore, for a boulder has been cast into the shallow waters. You can rise above the wave, yet I am the face of the undertow. We dance together, yet apart. Separate only by reflective illusions. You shed your veils with every spin."

"See me as I truly am. For the Night veils all things, even itself. It is not by choice, rather by circumstance that this is so. The gates unveil all things in their proper time. Have faith."

THE NATURE OF PARADOX

"The Godsoul is One. Its parts are three, male, female, and neither. Or, active, passive and ambiguous. It is indescribable. Anything that can be written or said about It is false and true. I describe only one part of it. And everything I write or say is false by the nature of its statement."

"Paradox is simply another form of human attempts at balance. Balance recognizes the validity of equal parts to create a whole. Paradox recognizes this as well, but it also adds, that by being equal Parts of an "opposing" view, one cancels out the other creating nothing as the "Perfect Truth"."

"The Godsoul is, indeed, "One", whose parts are infinite as well as infinitesimal. Just as the Many are One, thus is the One, Many. Gender is only expressed in matter. Ambiguous implies both, yet neither. Therefore, the Godsoul is truly "ambiguous", yet not at all so because it recognizes neither male nor female as separate parts of itself. As we, as personified shards of the Godsoul grew more in numbers, our collective memory was separated more and more from consciousness of the One, from macrocosmic vision. As we exploded outward from source into myriad shards, the One became smaller and smaller in our vision, and we grew larger and larger until all we could see was the microcosm of our own, individual memory. A memory that is no more than one, small part of the ever more distant "whole"."

"Now, we strive to remember, but strive still singularly because "our" world thought it needed no other but itself. Mankind will never again remember as a collective until the shards burn to ash and naught but their essence remains .... until mankind ceases its need to incarnate. Until the Godsoul wakes from Its dream and collects the thoughtforms cast out in dreaming, the harvest of Original Memory cannot be gathered. WE have split the Godsoul into Many because that is what was intended!"

"For now truly, the Godsoul is expanding everywhere and into many forms and energies. Is it less or more of it force compacted, or diffuse? It depends on what It intends to affect...or effectuate. If the Godsoul is experiencing all manner of energy expression and personification, is It growing, or is It shrinking? And if the Godsoul stretches Itself out until all that is left are embers, does It lose Itself within Itself, or does It simply transmute, like all energy eventually must?"

"The answer to this, is but the nature of paradox."

THE NATURE OF UNCERTAINTY

"I come again with new names. Though you should recognize my calling, many have discernment often clouded by thoughtforms awakened in doubt. If you let them "sleep", I can show you what you seek .... if you truly want to see. "Seeing" will force you to change again all that you know to be truth. Be aware, and be ready to be immersed in the Blue Flame. I shall set fire to your soul and leave you to burn. This I do for you, and no more. I will shadow you with a heaviness that shall not be lifted easily. You must pass through it or else be smothered in (these) wings."

"To you, have I come this way because you do not realize what is at stake. Somewhere, there is within you, deeply buried, a desire to avoid my embrace. Of this, you do not speak with words. Though, I sense it is there. This, you try to hide, but your reasons are only partly out of fear. Mostly, they are comprised of uncertainty. An uncertainty that you will not admit, and I will not give words to here. You know how deeply that doubt pervades. I will "shake" you until this is gone. You do not speak of that which you fear most, and I am not referring to any mortal, human fears. I am referring to that eternal fear. That unrest of not being certain enough to bear the flame in your hand without the stick to distance it. One day soon, you must be made to burn, and you must become the flame. This cannot he done by distancing yourself from it with a stick. Eventually, the stick too, will burn and the flame will drop to the ground consuming everything around you .... except you. You will feel the intensity of its heat, but you will not burn .... and you MUST. This you MUST!"

"A part ... apart ... what does this tell? We are all both. One by natural circumstance, the other by selective evasion. Why have I come to speak to you? It is important, yet I know many words "bounce" off of you because you have not made yourself permutable. Your "shield" is up. A barrier unnecessary as my sword shall rend only your veils, and not your heart. Yet, you will only understand when all of your tears grow dry and your voice shrinks to a hollow whisper. To call out then, is strength. To fall into the hollows of your own cry, is weakness."

"Only that which is not spread upon many winds can burn. Seeds cannot all be consumed in fire, but a tree can. Seeds escape on the gales. Will you be a seed, or the tree? And, where do you think the stick came from? Only that which has one path can lead. Only that which is focused can point the way. Only that which is pure can burn in the Blue Flame. All else is the colour of impurity, the smoke of diffusion. The Blue Flame casts out no smoke, nor heat. It is the dark, cool lamp of Truth that burns deeper than any white, hot flame."

"Your fear is showing through uncertainty. There are areas that you veil intentionally. Not because you aren't aware of them, rather because you don't always like what you see. Look at them through the flame of blue and relate them as seen. Do not lend to these images any impure colouration. Will is of no use without the right motives to empower it. Rise above the things you hold onto that are no longer valid, nor necessary."

"To tempt an alternate path from that which we are meant to follow, takes sand from beneath your feet and eventually obliterates your primary path so that you are unable to find your way home. Do you want to wander forever amidst the wood with nothing but grains of sand as your guide? Eternity shall be taken up in the counting of them, and still their numbers will not make visible that original path."

"The ends of the current are meshing. An ending is near. A shedding of skin and a rapid metamorphosis instigated from "without". Two realms are crossing, altering both streams of consciousness. In effect, you will wake up one day very soon and not at all be what you were the previous night. The rip is ever lengthening in the veil of dimensions. Things are "leaking" in-between. Thoughts merging unnoticed by either. All are so caught up in the little distractions of the world, they see not what is really happening. Changes too rapid and subtle to measure are occurring as we speak. The danger is in the onset, the triggering of this. An event which devastates the foundation of everything within."

"Time is not. You will remember all of this from a time before only after the fact. Guard against being drawn into the downward spiral, even if it's a comfortable "place", it is not where you should be."

"Nothing I have said is complete. For words are merely inferior transmuters. Changelings and thoughtforms that you must put feeling to. I speak, but what part of you listens and what part of you truly understands? I awoke to your cries because there was need of me. A need that shall one day end. Do what you must, not what you can. Do not offer the world the "option" of belief. This, you can only do when you no longer offer this "option " within yourself. Faith is a word I know that many do not like, so think of it only then as love. They are the same."

"Wake up and be what you are, and cease waiting to become that which you think you should be. It is not at all what YOU are! What good is it to see the eyes of the Eternal, yet not see through them? You seek to capture a star in each tear, but most weep more from personal, human memory, than from the collective that we all are. Simply close your eyes and awaken from the dream, and in the sweet surrender of love, all memories shall redeem."

(Excerpted from End-Time Fragments Copyright 1993 by Leilah Wendell and Daniel Kemp)

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HOW WE DIE

People often ask why some folks have long, drawn out or violent deaths, while others simply fall gently asleep in Death's waiting embrace. It is a question that weighs heavily on the minds of many, and is the cause of much guilt and misunderstanding that too often portrays Death as "thief in the night" who comes to snatch away unwary souls.

Is how we die a random act? Or, is there an element of predestination involved based upon how we've lived, not only this life, but past lives as well? Many people I know claim that they are "ready to die" and eager for that adventure (without having actually lived long enough to enjoy life. I was once one of them.) Though, when the Spectre of Death looms before them and they are faced with the reality of their own mortality, they realize that they aren't as "ready" as they thought. There is nothing wrong with romanticizing Death so long as you are truly willing to take Him to your bed.

And then there are those who never voice their readiness, but inside they have already entreated Death and are simply waiting His return. They have made their peace with the here and the now and are quietly waiting in the wings to be summoned.

My mother endured a long and very painful wasting away due to cancer some 20 years ago. I watched the disease literally "eat" away at her body and mind. I watched her go from a large woman, to a mere 70 pounds of bone and skin in a little under a year's time. I had to carry what was left of her to bathroom, bathe her and watch the way she looked at me. Half of her in this life, half in the next, not always recognizing me, and sometimes recognizing another part of "Me" too much. It was a hard time. She was a good mother, a kind and giving person, yet a constantly tortured soul. You find that souls with unfinished "business", or "loose ends", as I call them, from past lives often live as haunted people in this life. Such, I believe, was her case, who was prone to flashbacks of disturbing scenes from other lives to the point where she would "go away" and my dad and I would simply watch and listen to her desperation. She was always afraid of something. They were never peaceful visions, and she's always return disturbed yet without any recollection of what she saw. She had waited "out" of this life, but for all the wrong reasons- Unhappiness due to the fact that her dreams never worked out, the choices she made to get her to where she was just weren't what she had in mind for life. However, Life has a way of making some folks "settle" for less than they desire or deserve. Was the way she died connected to her lack of life fulfillment? Was her inner unhappiness literally eating away at her to the point where nothing remained of that persona save its shell? One thing for sure, dying unfulfilled garners you nothing but a guaranteed return ticket!

On the flip side of that example, we have Daniel's father who passed away on Tuesday by simply falling gracefully asleep doing one of the things he loved best. Sitting in the bleachers of Yankee Stadium watching a ball game. He, too, desired an exodus from this plane, but never voiced it, realizing, I'm sure, how that would make everyone around him feel. The last thing anyone needs, is more guilt. Was his gentle passage due to the fact that he could depart this world a fulfilled man knowing that those he leaves behind are happy, and that he has done all he could do to insure that reality?

When Daniel was at his lowest point, almost dead himself in the hospital In Los Angeles some 3 years ago, you could see the sorrow in his father's eyes as he watched his only son flicker in and out of life like a struggling candle in storm. Even though his father had been ill on and off for some time, he could not leave then. Even though he was long prepared for the journey, he had to stick around and make sure that his son would continue and eventually "come back" and recognize that his life had purpose and love too. Only then, could his dad move on in peace.

Certainly, modern medical science contributes to how we die today. In some instances lending a grace period, but too often sacrificing quality of one's final days for quantity of same, thus robbing one of the dignity of a natural death. Our culture is still heavily steeping in the denial of death.

On a personal level, I would prefer not to die like my mom, nor like Daniel's dad. However, what we desire and what transpires are often at odds. But, if how we have lived our many lives affects the way we die, I would hope that we all have the grace and wisdom to depart this world with joy and contentment, rather than regret and despair, leaving those still here free from guilt, with only sweet memories and inner peace knowing that they have exited in love with Life, as well as Death.

by Leilah Wendell 

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