Melek Ta’us, the Peacock Angel
I was with my then-lover, now an ex-, in her backyard. She’d asked me to ward while she did some magical work of her own, and I was happy to help. I stood behind her while she did her thing (her story, not mine, to tell).
In my own vision, I was solid and quiet, a wall between her and the world. I reached around her, encircling, wrapping around and above and below. Things were going well.
That’s when I felt an itch on my back. An itch of the spirit, not the flesh. An itch where wings were scratching their way out. What the hell? I thought. But I remembered other times when I’d been warder, and had envisioned wings for myself, to spread around the witch I was warding. Sure, I thought, Let’s go with it.
This is the first important part, the vital part. I could have said no. I felt the beginning of the wings, and I knew I wasn’t doing it, consciously, but I chose to let it happen. For years, I blamed the rest on Melek Ta’us. But I let him in, knowing who was knocking.
Yes, I know how it sounds. Keep reading.
The wings came out, huge irridescent things awash in blue and green and gold. I started to feel distant from myself, then. It felt as if my face became a mask of itself, and then changed shape to be his face. My skin felt bigger, altered its shape, and became his skin. I felt myself as if I were in a huge, open room, but not outside myself.
This is the second important part. I could have stopped it at any time. I hadn’t been thrown out of my head. I may have shared control, but I didn’t surrender it. From here on out, I chose my words an actions, but I was keenly aware that it was not my soul that inspired them.
All I had to do was choose to stop, to thank Melek Ta’us and say farewell.
Of course, I didn’t.
What happened next was personal and passionate and private. Suffice to say that my then-lover gained a new, intimate level of knowledge of the blue god we both honored.
Through that afternoon, the line between him and me blurred at some times, and became quite distinct at others. Sometimes, I was me, and he whispered suggestions into my ear. Sometimes, I was him, and watched from the inside as they were together.
Sometimes, he and I were WE, and it was glorious.
As the hours passed, I started to feel different, discontent. I realized that he wasn’t there for me. He was there for her. I was just the meat puppet who happened to be in the right place at the right time.
Again, remember: I could have stopped it. It would have been awkward–a mood-breaker, certainly–but it was possible.
I chose not to do so. I told myself that it was better to take what I could get, that second-hand divine presence was better than none. And I chose to go on with it.
A lot of this settled in over the next few days, and the memory of it soured. I was bitter about it for years.
But, then, later I came to realize something. That afternoon had been the strongest possessory experience I’d had, up to then. I’d been given the opportunity to watch it happen slowly, so that I could figure out how to repeat it.
I’d already done that, with another god (my beloved Dionysos), before this realization hit. I’d been using the felt-memory of that possession to make myself open enough for Dionysos to enter. Perhaps that had been the point of it, for me at least, all along.
Looking back, I recalled how the experience had deepened my relationship with my then-lover. We both honored the Peacock Angel, and we had a minor mystery to share.
I didn’t appreciate that at the time, though. There are too many things we never appreciate at the time.
My relationship with Melek Ta’us has been intermittent since then, but this is the general form of it: An offer, an acceptance, an experience, a challenge, and a long time processing it after.
The gods are not tame. Sometimes, one can only learn the hard way.
Ember’s doing it, too: MWD-Together