Death’s Handmaiden

 

As some of you out there may know, I spent the last 5 years caring for my elderly, dementia-ridden mother-in-law. I lived with her 24/7 and took care of all her needs. Although not a fun experience by any means, I will say that I learned a lot. Most of it I was unable to process until after she had passed, in fact I’m still processing. One thing I did learn is how to appreciate death. I realize this may sound a bit out there but the truth is that there comes a time when death is a blessing and this was definitely one of them.

In life, my mother-in-law was a fiercely independent and self-sufficient woman. She detested asking for assistance and would have despised what her illness did to her. Towards the end she was unable to recognize any of us (although she did still occasionally respond to my hubby’s voice); she had no control over her movements or bodily functions and no awareness of what went on around her. It was horrible to watch as she deteriorated over time and be unable to do anything about it. In her final days her doctor came for a home visit and told us that he felt she didn’t have much time left – days to months at the most. Ironically she died within two days. At the time we were arranging for in-home hospice care for her. We joked that she found the idea of strangers in her home so repugnant that she decided it was time to move on.

After she died she laid in her bed for several hours before the funeral parlor folks were able to pick her up. Although no funeral services were planned, we did want her to be cremated. The hospice agency sent a nurse so that time of death could be declared (it was actually 4:30 although legally the time was recorded as 6:30). The nurse also change my mom-in-law and cleaned her up. Now this is where things got strange for me. I am one of those people that has always refused to touch a dead body – visions of corpses sitting up and trying to grab me have always filled my mind, blame it on too many zombie flicks. Even when my father died I could not bring myself to touch his corpse. With my mother-in-law it was a very different experience.

Perhaps because I had tended her daily for the past few years (there was literally no part of her body I hadn’t seen), I was able to stroke her head and help prepare her for the funeral hearse. I helped the nurse change her and clean her. Before the nurse arrived I found myself entering her bedroom numerous times just to say goodbye and reassure her that her son, my deaf, mute & retarded brother-in-law, would be fine. There was something soothing about this ritual. It made me understand why having a loved one waked in the home makes more sense than a funeral parlor. Doing this for her made me feel like a priestess.

This experience also taught me not to fear death. Although dying can be traumatic, especially to those left behind, it is a natural part of life. If there is no death then there is no room left for new growth. Death can also be a blessing in disguise. I am often reminded of the classic Star Trek Season 3 episode The Mark of Gideon. The basic plot is that Kirk is beamed down to a fake Enterprise where he meets Odona. It turns out her planet is suffering from overpopulation and in an effort to control it Odona hopes to become infected by a disease Kirk carries but to which he is now immune. To these people, death has become a promise of relief, a surcease. For some people who suffer from a long-term debilitating illnesses or dementia, death but start to become a welcome experience.

What I have learned is that even if I have times when death seems cruel and capricious, there are also times when it is a boon signalling an end to suffering. Yes, it is a journey to the unknown but I now believe there comes a time in our lives when what is known is no longer tolerable and it is our choice to embrace this transition. Instead of fearing death and putting off the inevitable, we should speak to our loved ones and make our wishes known should certain situations arise. We should have the right to consciously decide if and when we chose to make this transition and the only reliable way to make our wishes known is through legal documents. These conversations may be painful but knowing how my mother-in-law felt about such matters make caring for her final days much more bearable.

Blue Rose Tower

16

Blue Rose Tarot
Created by Paula Gibby
Published by Soul Guidance

The creator says: The struggle within the Fool has triggered all three of those “laws that we have just discussed”. In that tiny flicker of a moment, the Fool has opened a space within himself. A space ready for change and open for filling. He has appealed to the Universe for help. That tiny flicker of internal light radiating outward like a beacon in this absolute darkness, is immediately detected by the Universe. And lastly, the indecision within himself and his own inability to decide his fate creates an imbalance . . . And still the Fool soars upward. Frightened yes, but there is a strange exhilaration, a reckless abandon which now pervades his senses. He sees something – an opening – a gateway that wasn’t there before. The opening that was created by the Universe to gain access to the Fool and snatch him away. As he speedily makes his way to that gateway, its aperture crackling with the same electrical energy that encases him, he sees something else. Something so beautiful, miraculous and magical that he is overcome with emotion and gladness – the tears springing from his eyes and rolling down his flushed face. And as our Fool explodes like a lightning bolt through that sizzling gateway, leaving the womb behind him, he weeps with joy and whispers a thank you to the Great Creator of the Universe who has interceded for him and allowed him to see what his eyes now behold.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: This is one of the more intense and frightening Tower cards I’ve seen. Is the head exploding out of the top of the building? Is the hand opening it for him?  Or is trying to trap the man forever?  Either way it is a disturbing image but it reminds me that Tower experiences are painful and traumatic even if they are ultimately liberating.  We have climbed to the top of the building and now we have to make a choice – do we quietly walk back down the stairs, stay stuck at the top forever or break free and start over again?

The expression on the man’s face reminds me of that painful moment of self-awareness we sometimes experience; that flash of insight that makes us realize just how beneficial or pointless our life has been. It reminds me of the addict who, when sober, realizes just how much of a mess has been made of his/her life. Once we accept this realization, then we are faced with a challenging choice. We can either accept this self awareness, learn from the experience and make our lives better. Or we can try to avoid the truth, remain in the dark and subsume our pain and knowledge under something else – alcohol and drugs, work, false illusions.

This is an intense card but the Tower is an intense experience. What we get out of it and how we use this knowledge is entirely our choice.

Lammas Night by Katherine Kurtz

Lammas NightLammas Night by Katherine Kurtz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This alternative history novel focuses on the myths and legends associated with the sacrificial Divine King combined with tales of magic workings being performed to protect Britain during World War II. It is an amazing read! In fact when I was done I researched just to be sure these weren’t real historical figures.The novel explores themes of sacrifice for the greaer good, witchcraft and the Old Religion and even reincarnation. The characters are well-written and come across as people you wish you could meet in reality – noble and flawed. I can’t recommend this book enough! It gave me chills.

View all my reviews

Celebrating Joy

Ghosts & Spirits Tarot Devil/Chains (Jacob Marley)

As the holiday spending season shifts into overdrive, I find myself once again almost devoid of “Christmas spirit”. Watching the chaos and greed at Black Friday events all over the country I am struck by how truly soulless this season has become for some people. Don’t misunderstand me, I like getting goodies as much as the next person, I’m just not willing to trample over folks to get them at a discount. This is truly nothing new. Even in the classic movie Miracle on 34th Street characters are heard lamenting about how commercial Christmas has become. Kris Kringle is seen as crazy and dangerous because he wants to help people. What does that say about us as a society? I suppose what it really says is that we’ve always been this way. The primary difference is that now the chaotic madness is televised.

Whimsical Queen of Swords

At one point I decided to make gifts for folks on my list – personalized colognes, shower gels etc. That went over like a lead balloon with most of them. I also got tired of receiving gifts that were clearly choices made from convenience with no real insight into what I might like. Once again, not that I wasn’t appreciative but if it’s the thought that counts then what does it say when no thought was behind the gift at all? It can really suck all the joy out of the holiday season. Add to that the friggin’ political correctness bug that has infected us all. Happy Holidays is really not the same as Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah or Happy Yule. Aren’t we grown up enough that if someone wishes us a happy holiday that isn’t our own we can simply smile and thank them or thank them and politely correct them? That certainly seems easier and less stressful than stepping on eggshells while trying to wish someone a happy holiday season.

BoS As Above Yule

I think the biggest issue that can suck the joy out of the season for me is its lack of spiritual focus. I may not celebrate it anymore but Christmas is supposed to be about honoring the birth of Jesus Christ the Christian savior not deciding what kind of video game the kid wants. I would even consider a family focusing on what kinds of cookies to leave out for Santa to be something of a triumph compared to the current topics of conversation – where the best bargains can be found. As if that isn’t sad enough, many of the crazed mob charging stores on Black Friday are primarily buying stuff for themselves.

In addition to all the seasonal madness that can quickly sour one on this time of year, the family responsibilities that limit me can become especially onerous right about now. I can’t even stroll through a shopping center or along the main street of the village without it requiring some major planning beforehand. Who would have thought that simply viewing Christmas windows would become practically impossible. Sometimes this entire situation leaves me drowning in self-pity and depression at this time of year. On the positive side, at least I have a choice. I can focus on what makes me miserable and sad or I can focus on what makes me feel happy and fully of joy. It’s all about where I focus my intentions and attentions.

Whimsical Emperor

So I have decided that in order to increase the sense of wonder and joy I feel at this time of year, I plan to savor holiday movies – from classics to some of the rather cheesy newer entries. Even when I know they’re unrealistic, happy ending holiday movies make me cheery. The fact is that I do believe in Santa Claus and always have. I enjoy the feeling of Christmas cheer that sprinkles over many of us at this time of year. I have signed up for a 30 Days of Yule ecourse with Joanna Powell Colbert. I will focus on the happiness I feel when I give someone a gift they will truly enjoy (rather than just a gift card or money). I will lose myself in the happiness I feel simply looking at twinkling Christmas lights. Rather than sink into the dark morass so easily accessible at this time of year, I’ll try to steer my course towards shores filled with tidings of comfort and joy. Oh and I’ll drink tea – lots and lots of warming, comforting tea! I hope others find themselves willing and able to do the same to keep their joy and cheer levels up this Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, Kwanzaa or whatever seasonally appropriate holiday they choose to celebrate (or even if you celebrate none at all).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In defense of The Hierophant

I had a bit of an epiphany about The Hierophant the other day (I love when that happens). As I was looking at the card it suddenly struck me that perhaps many of the traditionally negative attributes associated with The Hierophant are because of our own expectations of spiritual authority figures.

Pearls of Wisdom Hierophant

When one considers the spiritual leader most often associated with this card is The Pope and when one looks at the history of the papacy and its abuses, it’s very easy to get a bad taste in your mouth. It’s not limited to the papacy; it seems to me that powerful high priests in ancient pagan religions created the same kind of negative attitudes. Whenever spiritual leaders acquire power (and mix in politics) we seem to see similar patterns develop. Consider this however, what came first the chicken or the egg? Is it that the types of people drawn to positions of authority (whether spiritual or political) possess character traits that cause them to abuse this power? Or that the demands put upon them by their followers force them to become that way?

I remember reading James Michener’s book The Source and one point he makes is that people get the gods they demand. Perhaps the same is true of spiritual leaders. When one gets passed the hype, at his core Jesus appears to have been a teacher. He used parables and personal examples to get his message through to his followers. He was not trying to force them to submit. He was just showing them a new way of relating to Yahweh and each other. Clearly that has mutated as his spiritual successors have acquired more prominence and power but did it have to be that way? What happened that allowed the papacy to claim such power over people’s lives?

I believe the sad but true fact is that many (of not most) people out there want to be told what to do with their lives. They desire a rule book, a set of instructions telling them what is good and what is bad; how to live their lives so that they will go to heaven. They want a clear map to help them find their way through this confusing, sometimes dark and often chaotic thing we call life. Lest it seem that I am picking on Catholicism (it’s just the Christian religion with which I’m most familiar), I see the same trend in various Pagan sects. How many high priestesses and high priests become de facto parent figures for their coven? How many find themselves besieged by followers (not coven mates) pleading “tell me what to do?” It drains them and in my opinion is the reason that paid clergy has become such a hot topic. If coven leaders are being called upon to service so many different needs among their co-religionists it leaves them with little time for anything else. It makes the idea of being compensated for their efforts seem reasonable. Of course my problem is that if I didn’t want to be told what do as a Catholic I certainly refuse to be told what to do as a Pagan.

Blue Rose Hierophant

In my current favorite TV show Supernatural there is an angel named Castiel. At several points Castiel is asked to lead the other angels. They plead with him to tell them what to do next. He tries to explain the concept of free will to them but they insist that they require his guidance. Each time he tries to guide or lead them things turn into a clusterfuck but is that his fault? He is trying his best to help his fellow angels because they feel unable to make decisions on their own. At the same time, Castiel is clearly not competent to lead them. His intentions are good but the results are not. Is that how abusive spiritual leaders are born? Are they initially teachers seeking to help querents, those lost souls seeking guidance, whose demands eventually push the teacher to make increasingly autocratic decisions?

The truth is that I don’t have the answers. I’m simply pondering this stuff and sharing it with whoever ends up reading this post. I guess at the end of the day all I can hope for is to raise questions in the minds of others; to find teachers rather than spiritual leaders. Maybe if we stop accepting or expecting that leaders (spiritual or political) have the right to ignore our wishes and requirements and tell us how to live, we’ll be able to create a better world. I remain eternally hopeful.

Blue Rose Devil

Blue Rose Devil

Blue Rose Tarot
Created by Paula Gibby
Published by Soul Guidance

The Book says: Yes, we create our own Devils. We, ourselves. Without any help from anyone else. We can do this trick with no hands. All we have to do is experience a willingness, no matter how fleeting, to give up. To abdicate responsibility. To refrain from thinking. That desire to offer up those gifts that are our most magical and filled with light (our Inner Power and Free Will) creates the vacuum for the Darkness to come in. An invited guest that, once firmly and comfortably ensconced, is very difficult to oust. These days we call it “selling your Soul to the Devil”. And nothing could be more true. Many a rational mind will repel from such a notion. The idea that we each create our own personal Devils or Dark Spaces, is an unattractive idea. It is far more comforting to entertain the notion that Darkness/Evil/The Devil exists as a separate Entity that wreaks havoc upon innocent travelers who have the misfortune to fall victim to him or his followers. But as much as we may like this to be so, it is not. This does not mean that we cannot fall victim to the Darkness of another being, another traveler who has forfeited himself to his darker nature. We certainly can. However, no matter what we may suffer at the hands of another Fool’s “Devil”, it is nothing compared to what we suffer when we succumb to a Devil of our own making. In the first case, we can lose much. We can lose life, limb, a loved one, our sexual innocence, our property. We can lose little or we can lose much. But what we do not lose is ourselves. We do not lose our own Souls. We know this because spiritual “forward progress” can still be made. The Journey may become more difficult or the path may divert into a harsh terrain not previously envisioned or anticipated, but the Soul can continue forward. If it wants to. And that is the key. For even if you think you have observed an innocent Soul succumb to the ultimate Darkness because of the pain or evil inflicted by the Devil of a fellow traveler, this is not the case. Think again. For what has in actuality occurred is that, as a result of that victimization, the innocent Soul experiences a loss, translating to an emptiness, translating to a fear, translating to a need of such proportions that he now creates his own Devil.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: This card is one of attraction that seduces and imprisons, losing yourself in the false enchantment and false promises of an illusion. The masked man is the dream lover who seduces us from reality and promises a happily ever after that will never arrive.  He is the male counterpart to the Spider Woman we saw in last week’s Transformational Tarot Devil.   It is a trap into which we fall.

The image of this Devil reminds me of Charles Boyer in Gaslight – a seductive, sociopathic husband who tries to drive his wife insane. This is the abusive lover who undermines our self-esteem and cuts us off from our friends so we are isolated, vulnerable and dependent upon him. It is the parent who cuts away at our sense of self-worth and confidence so that we feel unable to break away and create our own life. This Devil is everyone in our lives who is supposed to love and nurture us but who undermines us and creates a sense of helplessness and dependence.

The key to liberating ourselves is realizing that we allow ourselves to remain in this trap. We accept the false illusion and give up our power. We allow ourselves to become or to remain weak, convincing ourselves that we will be happier this way. Anyone who has ever given up their dream to maintain the status quo or who has forced themselves to conform when they have wanted to rebel has been trapped by this Devil.

What is important to remember that we can climb that fence, break down that barrier and reclaim our power if we so desire. We have all seen or heard of amazing stories about people who have overcome amazing obstacles to achieve happiness in their lives. One example who always stayed with me is Liz Murray, the young woman whose parents were drug abusers, one (or possibly both) died of AIDS, she and her sister were homeless and yet she still managed to stay in school, get good grades and get accepted to Harvard. What a tribute to the human spirit and our ability to overcome anything.

For every abused child who becomes a child abuser there are hundreds who do not fall into this trap. For every child raised in poverty who becomes a life-long welfare recipient, there are hundreds who manage to get decent jobs and live productive lives. So while poverty and hardship are indeed major obstacles, they are only permanent traps if we allow them to become so.  It is our choice.  In the words of Sarah Connor in The Terminator movies “no fate but what we make”.  We can only remain imprisoned if we allow it.

Transformational Tarot Devil

Transformational Devil

Transformational Tarot
Created by by Arnell Ando
Published by US Games (2006) ISBN:1572815396

The Book says: Passion at it’s most primal level. Erotica and sensual pleasure. A tendency towards mischievousness. Obsession, temptation, blind impulse. Feeling out of control. Dependence upon another that can lead to misery. Self-destructive tendencies. Ignoring one’s inborn code of ethics. Lack of Balance. It may indicate an inability to trust. The seeker may be experiencing limitation in a current situation which narrow the perception of options. On the other hand this card can imply an attempt to break the chains of psychological bondage. Separation, divorce. It could also indicate pleasure in the subjugation of others: sadomasochistic tendencies.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: This is the Spider Woman, the dark lady who lures you into her web and traps you before you even realize what has happened. She seduces, entices, attracts and repels. Her confidence and aura of self-control and power is a powerful bait. She is the Black Lady of whom Cher sings (“Black Lady sang and danced and lit the candles one by one”) She is attractive and soulless. able to capture you in her web and suck all your energy, all your life force. She is the eternal vampire who takes and never gives. As Billy Joel sang “she’s so fascinating that you stand there waiting while she comes in for the kill”. If she doesn’t direct the demon’s actions then at a minimum she approves and possibly enjoys them.

She could just as easily be male. Think of the lonely hearts con man – a sociopathic charmer who can smile as he empties the bank account. This Devil is the dominatrix who teaches you to beg for her abuse; the addiction which holds you in its thrall; or the lack of self-esteem that keeps you captive in a lousy situation. But the key to overcoming this Devil is being willing to say “Stop”. We only become her victims if that is what we want. If we are finally able to wake up and see how we have become trapped then we have the potential to break free. It may no be easy or fun but it can be done. But first you have to take the initiative

Do the ends truly justify the means?

The ends justify the means. I’ve heard this statement presented as unshakeable, unalterable fact. It seems to get used when the person speaking is justifying some behavior h/she knows is probably wrong. I’ve seen it used to excuse military actions (usually cloaked in some “we’re bringing democracy to this backwards nation” rhetoric). I’ve seen it used to justify cheating in school in order to get better grades or pass tests. It sounds reasonable, but I’ve never been able to buy into this concept.

I don’t understand how we can consider something a moral victory if, in order to achieve it, we need to become as “bad” as the people we’re fighting. For example the “war on terror” has caused the United States, land of the free and home of the brave, to violate a number of personal freedoms and infringe on our liberties in order to ensure safety. When you ask many average Americans how they feel about airport security and strip searching, their responses tend to be of the “well as long as it keeps us safe” variety. Reality is that no matter what steps we take to prevent “terrorists”, they figure more creative ways to circumvent these measures. We willingly give up our rights for the illusion of safety and believe the ends (keeping us safe) justifies the means (the violation of our personal freedoms and Constitutional rights)

Another aspect of the “war on terror” that many people don’t like but view as a necessary evil is torture. We may cloak it in more politically appropriate terms but basically that’s what it is. The United States is allowing military and intelligence personnel to torture certain individuals in the belief that it will reveal crucial information that will enable our government to defeat terrorists. In reality all that is accomplished is that the individual tortured will say anything, absolutely anything, to make it stop. Cessation of pain is a powerful motivator. I’m not claiming that useful information may not be gained in this way but if we resort to torture and violation of civil and human rights then how are we any better than those we profess are terrorists?

How often have we heard law enforcement personnel makes statements about “knowing” the suspect was guilty of something, even if it was not the specific crime for which he was arrested. In other words, it doesn’t matter if he is wrongfully convicted because in the long run he will commit another crime that would result in his conviction and imprisonment. Putting him away now prevents others from being hurt by his actions so the ends justifies the means. I think what bothers me most about this mindset is the inherent hypocrisy. It implies that any action taken, no matter how repugnant or heinous, is acceptable as long as the outcome is “just”. This mindset is what leads to bombings at abortion clinics and police brutality towards suspects. They may truly believe they are on the side of the righteous, so they are justified in their behaviors.

Adherents to this mindset seem oblivious to the fact that they have become as guilty as those they profess to battle. Are we truly justified in committing atrocities against others because they are “evil”? It seems to me that this battle cry is often wielded when the issue at hand is so subjective that it is impossible to reach an impartial conclusion. As has often been stated, one group’s terrorists are another people’s freedom fighters. And if, as we have so often been assured, history is written by the winners then perhaps we have been deluded in thinking there is such thing as a righteous war or justified means. Maybe there are certain behaviors that are just wrong regardless of reason. Is torture ever really justified? Is cruelty ever justified? Is rape or willfully creating situations that result in the starvation and death of others every justified?

I’m not making any claims to moral superiority. If I don’t engage in this particular form of self-delusion, there are others I seem to commit with wanton abandon. The truth is that I don’t have the answers and even if I did they can only apply to me. I’m not trying to tell others what moral choices they should make. I can only point things out and hope that it makes other folks stop and think for a minute. Maybe if we each consider these issues and lead by example, we can change some attitudes one person at time.

Celtic Wisdom The Challenger

Celtic Wisdom Challenger

Celtic Wisdom Tarot
Text by Caitlin Matthews, art by Olivia Raynor
Destiny Books, 1999
ISBN 0-89281-720-8

The Book says: The Challenger of Will makes the soul question what is accepted and find true release from fear. He speaks words of liberation and wisdom to those who can hear them. Those who hear only what they want to hear, and demand that others obey them, petrify the living stream of tradition into dead formulas. How are you listening to yourself?
Fear, bondage, extreme challenge, misery, obsession, resentment, role-playing for effect, dependence, manipulation, humorlessness, self-sabotage, inability to realize goals.
REVERSED: Understanding, release, breaking the spell, respite from fears, obsessions or worries, recognition of the true self, challenges are opportunities for growth.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: It’s interesting but when I see this card the first thing that crosses my mind is the phrase “dialing for destiny”. The Cernunnos figure seems to be frozen, trapped for all eternity in his familiar pose. While above him the larger figure – human or god, seems to be working a cosmic telephone and dialing some sort of code. Will the code offer freedom to Cernunnos, freeing him from his frozen state? Why is he holding onto the serpent and the torc? If he releases them will he be able to free himself from his prison. Or perhaps Cernunnos is the guide, leading us through the hedge of leaves in into the heart of yourself. Maybe he knows the code for the larger figure to dial to free himself from his familial bondage, his ancestral expectations.

It brings to mind the adage about the “sins of the father”.  Are they the chains that bind this figure – the “sins” of his ancestors? Certainly we have all experienced the prison that is our family’s hopes and expectations for us. How much more prevalent was this attitude in earlier societies? Everyone had a place and a task. But what if you didn’t wish to follow other’s plans for you? Then they became an oppressive prison, a burden and an obstacle. So the challenge to us may be to break free of these expectations and obligations and listen to our own desires and dreams.

Wheel of Change Devil

Wheel of Change Devil

Wheel of Change Tarot
created by Alexandra Gennetti
Published by Destiny Books, 1997
ISBN #0-89281-609-0

The Book Says: When the Devil is a part of your reading; you are in the midst of an intense situation. Perhaps you are experiencing (possibly in excess) the pleasures and pains of living, in yourself or in those around you. Possibly, when you draw the Devil, the situation calls for more emotional engagement. Maybe it is a time to examine your attachments and learn the lesson of moderation. Look around you and really see the part you play in the natural world.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: This card explores the wildness and untamed energy of The Devil. This is the god of the wild woods who invites us to come dancing beneath the brilliant moon. His wicked grin promises fun and merriment, freeing yourself from the strictures imposed by society and everyday life. His drum will transport you to another place and time; a world free from the expectations of others and daily responsibilities. But be warned because once you have “danced with the Devil in the pale moonlight” you will never be the same. It may become easy to walk away from life’s burdens and lose yourself in his wild dance.

Think of Dionysus’ Maenads and their divine madness. They would lose themselves in the worship of the god and attack any who invaded their revels – be it son, husband, father or lover. For this god of the wild wood is a demanding and possessive god. He can take over your life and you can lose your will in his celebrations. He can liberate your spirit or enslave your soul. He is one of the guardians of the mysteries of drunkenness and madness. It is in his honor that rebels and pioneers in the 60s explored mind-altering, psychotropic drugs and how they affected their perceptions of the world. But we must be cautious of crossing that point of no return and losing ourselves in the heart of madness. This Devil is our guide to the brink of self-revelation and freedom, but if we are not careful we can become prisoners of his revels.

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