Ordeal Ritual For My Knighthood
By Sir Caz, October 2006
Knightly Order of Blutwasser
I made it. I passed through a trial of my own design, as one of the most difficult tasks to achieve the responsibilities of a Knight's rank. My King has asked me to describe the experience in this paper, and I am honored to do so. King Raven was also gracious enough to offer me an extension on the time limit, having not fulfilled my obligation by the deadline.
My original idea for the ordeal consisted of being buried up to my neck in the earth overnight and taking a vow of silence while Asphodelians taunted me. I was denied this course due to the potential physical danger and emotional torment. The test which did come to pass was more difficult in some respects; my self control, will, fear of the unknown and mental endurance were tested in a safe manner.
During my squire-ship under Asphodel's First Knight, whom I greatly respect, I spent a year examining my emotional and spiritual state in regards to personal warrior energy and what it would mean to be in the service of someone and a community. Through this years-long journey I discovered a basic truth about myself: I was addicted to beating myself up and constantly being hard on myself. At that time I seemed to have three main aspects about which I beat myself down; Stupidity, Ugliness and Insanity. A kingdom of freaks and monsters seemed to be the right place for me.
What I ended up doing for my ordeal is as follows: I constructed a large club which was to represent my self-prescribed mental/emotional beatings; a physical manifestation of my dark, self-destructive pattern. I think it stemmed from always having been very sensitive (and being picked on) as a kid, and beating myself down mentally and emotionally developed into an overexaggerated defense mechanism. The logic was that no one could hurt me if I'd already done the job more completely than any attacker. The aggressors would have no reason to bother with me if I were already defeated. I think it is important to say that at that time in my life it was not conscious logic; I just did it.
I found the club in the woods where I go hiking. It was a cut-off young dead tree trunk with the rootball still attached, which had three fingerlike roots. The whole thing was about three and a half feet long. A toad led me to it and I was able to pull it out of the earth. I felt it was necessary to carry this now-sacred object on the rest of my hike instead of taking it home right away, and this allowed me to meditate on its purpose in the place where I do some of my best contemplation. I placed the club on my altar at home, and it was either laying on it or leaning against it until the ordeal. I spray-painted it black and put thirty-three drywall screws in it, ten in each finger and one more for each of the aspects of the ordeal. The last three were painted red to symbolize, blood, wounds and my self-hatred. It was important to me to concentrate on each of my issues of self-loathing as I drove in each screw into the fingers of the club. I did happen to get cut while making this instrument, so my blood was in it, which made me feel that it was truly part of me and not altogether inanimate. I also attached multiple pieces of green and clear broken glass with epoxy-resin. I wanted it to look as menacing as my unyielding feelings.
Next, I bought reptile sand which I colored from orange to red by kneading it with my hands. For this ordeal, the red sand represented Aries, my blood, fire and protection. I also consecrated in salt water three strips of red fabric from an old T-shirt of mine.
The participants in this ritual were King Raven and the Head of the Knights of Blutwasser as witnesses, three people of the Kings' choosing ( his choice unknown to me ), a fire tender and myself. The three participants chosen by the King were each given a written account of the three types of emotional abuse with which I tormented myself: Stupidity, Ugliness and Insanity. The three individuals were the Princess Jess of Asphodel, The Kingdom's First Knight, and a Noble Lady of the Kingdom, all of whom had my respect.
The night of my ordeal I prepared myself down at the ritual field. Next to the fire circle, I made a protective circle around myself with the red sand. (I actually got this idea from the film "The Last Temptation Of Christ", which bothered me at first, but Raven had assured me that a protective circle was a protective circle and I shouldn't worry about it.) A Greek Orthodox friend of mine assured me that Scorsese's depiction of Jesus doing that in the desert was never actually in the Bible anyway. Within the circle was my club, the three strips of red fabric and me. I was kneeling, turned away from the entrance to the field so I could not see who was approaching.
Then came the voice...a whisper, taunting me, a reminder of how stupid I was and how my life would be so much easier if I was only smart enough to be able to spell. Why, it's a wonder I ever made it though college without basic math skills, which everyone had but me. It was the Princess in my ear. Only a voice, staying behind me where I couldn't see its source. I responded by holding my ground, and stating that I was not stupid and that my ability to make it through school was a sign that I had compensated in other ways for my deficiencies, that I am learning what I need to know at my own pace and I can still improve on the skills where I lack.
The test of the ordeal was that I could not flip out. I had to control myself in the face of my three biggest demons. If I lost control and let go to rage, I failed. Before the ritual I was terrified that I might end up in such a state - confronted by a physical manifestation of my inner demons - that I might attack the speaker... and fail. Moreover, I did not know when the person representing my demon would stop. They individually got to decide when I had had enough, and if I left the circle before my demon had finished, I would fail.
It ended up that each person playing a demon/voice asked me to prove that I was not stupid, ugly or insane, and that became the invitation to step outside of my protective circle. When I did, I would give that demon/voice a hug, which would signify a desire to heal myself and stop beating myself down.
After each demon/voice challenged me and I stepped outside of my circle and hugged them, I would then tie a strip of red fabric around my club to symbolize that I had faced that challenge and passed each test. After I stepped out of my circle and hugged my demon of Stupidity, she told me I did a good job and it was as if a weight lifted.
My second demon was personified by Asphodel's First Knight, the woman whom I had squired under for a year. She was the one person in the Kingdom who knew me best, and the most intimidating for me in respect to this demon which called me Ugly, because she is not. She took out a chair, sat directly in front of me where I knelt, and spat out stinging venom. I actually stood up and she followed suit, casting her chair aside. But I did not lose my composure as we stood nose to nose. In the end, she asked me to prove that I was not the most hideous creature on the face of the earth, and I did. As we hugged she told me that she loved me and I almost cried.
The last was my demon/voice of Insanity, embodied by a Most Noble Lady of Asphodel. She circled, she taunted, she was relentless, she was Ruth-less, she tested my endurance and patience. I did get loud with her and argued, but maintained control, and when she decided that I had lasted long enough, she asked me to prove that I wasn't crazy...and I did. She said she respected me.
The strange thing was that before this ordeal I though the most difficult thing about it was going to be outlasting my demonic voices. It wasn't; one of the hardest parts of this whole experience was stepping out of the circle each time. I think it was so because the act was a physical manifestation of my desire to heal myself. The act happened, it was real in the world. The ordeal allowed me to make it so.
But without a doubt, hands down, the act of throwing my club of self-hate with three red ties around it into the fire, was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life. I literally almost could not let it go, but I did. It was fucking amazing. After that final act, I cried and sobbed and held my head in my hands. Then King Raven came to me and said that he would be honored to have me serve him as a Knight of Asphodel, and I embraced him.