All Hallows’ Eve
Some time ago this year I mentioned to my friend that Samhain is the time the veil is thinnest. Given that, he decided to have some adventures in lifting the veil this October. We performed specific rituals meant to do so. A pentagram, five candles, and three pints of the blood of children later (kidding about that last one!) he had success. He had tried this before and was not satisfied with the result, which is why we tried to make this ritual as potent as we could. Luken and I had already had success with this, so we were observers and guides. My friend experienced a loss of his identity, his ego. I don’t mean that he merely forgot who he was. He began to see himself as not even a “person”- though he always had his self with him. He always knew, “I am me”, and had a consciousness. It was merely an entirely different way to exist… without any labels. Without any past, without any future- only now. He said it felt like it lasted for hours, when in reality it only lasted a few minutes. The first time I performed a version of this ritual, upon myself, I thought it only lasted ten minutes, when really it had lasted almost three hours. He has a lot to think about now. I wish him luck.
What else have we done for Halloween? Well, my friends and I all got stoned as fuck as I watched The Exorcist for the first time. My friends discovered that I had never seen it before and so they insisted. They couldn’t believe it. I’d just never had the urge- I guess I had supposed I wouldn’t like it. Even though my mother said it was the scariest movie she’d ever seen. She only saw it the once, in the theatre when she was twelve. She brought several friends and provided rosaries for all of them. Her father was the supervision. My mother said that’s the only time she’d seen her father scared- he didn’t talk much afterward, and neither did any of the girls. They were just quiet. So I suppose I thought there would be no use in watching a movie that was merely scary, merely a helpless girl in the throes of possession.
Well, little did I know that The Exorcist is a pretty awesome movie. I already happened to be wearing a fashion rosary with my work clothes- instead of a crucifix at the bottom, it has a circle with the word “Love” engraved in several languages. Isn’t it lovely how fashion works sometimes? So, we lit a votive candle, placed it in my black skull candle holder, turned off all the other lights, said a prayer, smoked, and enjoyed.
If anyone who might read this hasn’t seen it, I recommend you do so right now- it’s instant watch on Netflix, at least. Otherwise, proceed and know there will be spoilers here.
Mike Nichols turned down the chance to direct this film because he did not want to direct a movie that relied so heavily upon a child’s performance. I can understand that. But it turns out that Linda Blair is spectacular. It was not just her- the entire movie, I think, was just about perfect. Sure, the plot was… not obvious, but that’s okay- if one wants, one may find out the details after one watches the movie, and I think the simplicity serves the movie well. Each moment is golden. One doesn’t need to know the demon’s name or details particular to him.
The demon, by the way, is Pazuzu. Son of Hanbi, and king of the demons of the wind. A malevolent spirit who drives off the more-malevolent spirit of his wife and rival, Lamashtu, daughter of the Sky/Heaven, Anu. She is analagous to Lilith. Pazuzu, I noted immediately in the movie, has a serpentine penis. Oh my! One of those phallic entities, I knew as I saw him in the beginning of the movie, though I knew little else about him throughout the rest. Other than: Pazuzu is not very kind to our young heroine Regan.
Now, I should note also that The Exorcist is not an account of any true story but rather is inspired by such. Regan was never possessed by Pazuzu. Instead, a little boy tried to contact the spirit of his dead aunt, who had been a medium and his only friend, and he had to be exorcised. That exorcism lasted far longer than the one depicted in the movie… but I like the way the movie tells this story.
Really, watching this was almost surreal. The entire experience seemed like déjà vu. A beautiful, slightly troubled but healthy and wealthy young girl played Ouija by herself before succumbing to Pazuzu. Her actress mother (well-meaning, but also but caught up in her own violent dysfunction with her ex), was not religious. I suppose this would not be significant except that she seemed to have a problem with crucifixes (I expect she thinks it all bunk and she wouldn’t want to seem silly is the implication). She took her daughter Regan to several awful, horrible doctors’ tests. They could do nothing for Regan and thought the disorder to be a lesion interfering with her temporal lobes. This made sense to me- indeed, as they so scientifically explain in the movie, when one’s temporal lobes are unhealthy, one may develop dissociated personalities and schizophrenic psychoses. But they found no lesion. Thusly, the only explanation they could give the mother was the following: That Regan suffered a psychosomatic reaction induced by she herself, who believed herself to be possessed, and therefore, only by virtue of exorcism could Regan possibly be cured, because this would be the only way to undo her self-induced prison. Suffice it to say there is an exorcism and very traumatizing scenes in Regan’s bed.
The possession, even labeled as psychosomatic, made sense in the movie- perhaps that is why there was such déjà vu. I could sense what every moment must have been like for that poor girl and her demon. Now, I should also note that the only indication of intention from Pazuzu’s character was a desire to get closer to the young priest. That is the only time I heard him voice such. I think even only that one line speaks volumes.
Now perhaps the scenes are not as disturbing when we know that the vomit is split-pea soup, but oh well. I was still moved at the bedroom scenes. Like I said, I could sense the nature of Regan’s state, and I knew what it must be like to affect the entire room with telekinesis while being trapped in the body of a girl in bed. Under those blankets and strapped down… to unstrap oneself being a vulgar display of power.
I think this movie may serve as a warning to the squeamish and blunt honesty for the courageous. Regan was a strong and beautiful young girl, innocent and powerful, and she went looking for a spirit to contact on her Ouija board. It teaches one to be careful. Even if one thinks one is doing everything right, and one is following the cosmic law of love, there may be chaos and suffering. Pazuzu WAS pretty nasty, and he drew Regan into a dark and violent place. Luckily, there are diligent (if initially distracted and selfish) young priests. Anyway, I’m just saying that while I might use a lot of satire when it comes to goetia, contact with demons can be surprisingly intense. So one should be aware of that as one dives in.
All Regan wanted to do was speak to her friend Captain Howdy, and look what happens.