on the desirability of being poisonous

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I’ve made this monograph public, but it would normally be a Sublimis Serpentibus tier work. I began writing it yesterday afternoon.

For a long time, I thought the very concept of having a tribe wasn’t a good thing. It excluded. It shut out. It created an “inside” and an “outside,” with the latter being evil.

So I’ve been evil for most of my life.

These days, my answer to that is, so what. I’m an evil outsider.

What of it?

When I went to MISTI-Con (a Harry Potter gathering) in 2013, I attended a presentation that involved a guided visualization exercise. It was quite powerful.

I bought a beautiful leather journal in the dealer’s room, and on the first page, I wrote what I’d experienced during the visualization.

In the Room of Requirement,
I saw Master Severus with his midnight black garments,
his face like brilliant moonlight,
so white.
He was holding a bouquet of white lilies.
He spoke to me.

He said: “Trust me.”

I remember how vivid this experience was, and it turned out to have many more layers of meaning than I understood at the time. Friends and I were sharing our respective visualizations, and when I said the words, “Trust me,” my throat tightened with emotion.

I’d just gone through many upheavals, with yet more to come. Incredible upheavals.

And now, here I am: I’ve surmounted them all. I learned to listen to myself, to trust myself. I was guiding my own footsteps at last. Making my own choices.

The lily’s message is, “Take a regal stance and embrace your own power. Remember that renewal is  just around the corner and that the end of one thing heralds the beginning of another.” (https://www.flowermeaning.com/lilly-flower-meaning/).

I’ve done this as well. It’s been an excellent development.

I’m not only an evil outsider these days… I’m an evil insider, too.

I found my tribe. Its power had flowed in my blood since I was a small child. The tribe of the outsiders, of those who don’t require compulsory weekly meetings and aren’t expected to automatically like each other, but who abide by an infernal esprit de corps that mandates, at the very least, respectful decorum.

What I once mistook as a dislike of tribes was, in fact, a dislike of herds.

A number of herds preach “equality” and “universal love,” and embody neither. That’s because both of these are fiction, the latter being particularly harmful.

For years, I longed to care for all of those who’d been branded as sinners, as the children of perdition, as “the lost.” Although they often were, in theory, part of a herd, it actually wanted nothing of them, while proclaiming the exact opposite. Who could make sense of this? How could I resolve this conundrum, how could I appease the hostile institutions that mistreated those it described as goats?

I believed the solution lay in no grouping whatsoever. Everyone belonged to a whole, whatever that meant.

Loving everyone is a terrible idea. Why should the “children of perdition” love the people, the institutions, the deities that despise them, strip them of their dignity, and brand their foreheads with an indelible mark forever setting them apart from “the beloved”?

There’s no individuality in the herd. “He must increase, and I must decrease.”

Any inkling of thought, of questioning, any deviation is a sign that you’re in danger. You must love with all your mind; no room for yourself there. Blessed is the one who believes without having seen.

No matter where you find yourself in this madhouse, whether it’s within its boundaries, on the doorstep, or outside the front gate, regardless of the shape the madhouse takes, love the one who makes you suffer is the message. Don’t trust yourself. Set aside your legitimate questions, desires, needs. Soon your own thoughts confuse you. You no longer know what hate or love is. “I scourge those I love,” you hear over and over. “Take my yoke upon you and you will find rest.”

It takes strength to free yourself from this insidious lie. A yoke isn’t easy or light. A yoke is nothing but a device meant to subdue and control.

Those who won’t submit or fit in, those whose necks won’t bend, who won’t obey, are evil.

In one way or another, I never submitted. I was always on the edge. I was always the edge itself.

“They went out from us because they were not of us.” Yes, and what of it?

Isn’t that, shouldn’t this rather be a source of pride?

“All are welcome” is a web. Eluding it, or freeing yourself from it, makes you alien. If you’re poisonous, the warden will remove you himself.

Herds have this common characteristic: they’re all the one true flock. The Only People. The world, the universe is for them, about them, ruled by them. All else will perish, be cast out or, in rare instances, assimilated somehow.

A tribe is an association of individuals.

Not everyone is welcomed. This is healthy and realistic. While a tribe has a great deal of variation, it also has a certain cohesion. I have no interest in climbing mountains; why would I join a mountaineering association? A herd drags you up the mountain by force, and frequently throws you right off it. Conversely, think of a herd of mountaineers forcing their way into a book club and knocking everything over by scaling the walls and furniture.

Because I’d been treated abominably, I thought true love meant accepting everyone. The institutions, the deities, the controllers said they did this, but they didn’t. I still believed in the hazy “universal love” falsehood, so I thought, either all were welcome, or none, though my mind indicated a third option. It always did, and for a long time I interpreted the third option as a cosmic union, as bringing all things together in a manner that reduced them to none, as a dissolution of distinctions that somehow preserved the uniqueness of different elements.

What I was really doing was eternally giving “another chance.”

In fact, the third option is that it’s sometimes, even often, preferable for me to shut the door. To walk away. To dig a moat. To raise my sword when necessary. And sometimes, I open the door, I lower the drawbridge, I set two glasses on the table and uncork a bottle of wine.

Welcoming all isn’t possible, and it isn’t desirable.

I already knew this when I was a child. Some things couldn’t be fixed, couldn’t be salvaged. Some people weren’t beneficial, despite their claims to the contrary. My childhood situation was so warped, however, that an urge to undo the harm I endured transmuted itself into a symbolic religious quest. Was there love in the pater horribilis?

When I was finally in a position to grasp what I’d been doing, many things became suddenly clear.

It’s not my job to be a miracle worker. It’s not my job to solve every problem.

Some don’t want me, and lo, there are some I don’t want either. The latter is what it took me years to realize. It took me years to understand I had the power to say no. This happened after I had undertaken to heal some of my wounds, and my mind was no longer clouded by pain.

Some people don’t mesh, and they never will, and that’s how it is.

On the other hand, some people naturally blend, as it were. You know this when it happens. There’s a flow, an exchange, you’re happy. There’s mutual joy, a lovely give and take, a rapport, a camaraderie. That’s not to say you absolutely agree about absolutely everything (another herd characteristic, or so they would have it), but you clinch. It’s most pleasurable. There’s respect.

Nothing obligates me to try to clinch with people who irritate me, or who can’t relate to me at all and vice versa. Or worse, with people who treat me like shit, or utter morons (because yes, there are such people), or people who cause me severe pain or displeasure, or the malignant who would impose themselves on me. Why should I give such persons a minute of my precious time? I do not have to do this.

I don’t force them to do anything; I simply go my way.

From my earliest years, I became tremendously skilled at ignoring those whose sole desire was to compel me to be what they wished me to be: a non-entity at their entire disposal.

If you refuse, behold, the heretic. Burn the heretic!

Some look at you and say, “Poisonous toadstools don’t change their spots.”  They say this sagely when in actuality they don’t have the remotest idea of who you are or what you’re doing.

I say, be a poisonous toadstool to such people. What of it? Perhaps they’ll truly grow wise and leave you alone. These great sages might even learn to Apparate more than half an inch across the room.

Poisonous toadstools, infernal angels of light, tend to be solitary types.

O Solitude, my sweetest choice, as the delightful song goes.

There is, however, a difference between solitude and isolation, and the knowledge that others share our mindset can be a wondrous revelation. Simply reading a book and feeling a bond, yes, I’ve known this as well, can make one’s spirit soar and fill one’s heart and mind with resolve, with meaning.

The House of Slytherin was marked from the start as dubious. There were three Houses… and Slytherin. The hero didn’t wish to be in that House; his parents weren’t in that House; the Headmaster wasn’t in that House.

Yet there were some who were drawn to that House, the forbidden House. The Other House. The House of Pride, Cunning, and Ambition. Words that could be “positive,” but ultimately, for the most part, were dangerous.

Doesn’t it take Pride, Cunning, and Ambition to stand up for yourself?

To stand apart?

When I see the Slytherin Common Room, it looks glorious to me.

Severus Snape and Narcissa Malfoy fooled Voldemort, the Deficient Lord, and snatched Harry Potter from him in the most harrowing of circumstances.

You’re painted black; what do you do then? Master the Dark Arts. Give them something to talk about, something from which to step away.

I did, and I triumphed at last over all that would have stamped me out. I’ve learned that it’s wise to exclude the ones who disdain you, who have no depth, who would destroy you if they could.

If I’m poisonous to them, it’s no doubt for the better. Some who partake of the toadstool die; but others have visions.

Trusting yourself is the most potent, fearsome, awesome brew there is. Master it. Master yourself.


Since I stopped using Instascam, my Patreon output has drastically increased. When Masterful is released, I’ll share the news on IG, but not much else will happen there (in the event I don’t delete that account).

As I wrote to my Patreon members earlier,

A shelf peek, because you’re special.

I remember days when I had difficulty saying such words, because I didn’t want to leave anyone out. Everyone had to be special to me… but who can live like this? It’s depleting madness.

Now, I know that I don’t have to belong to everyone. Indeed, I won’t.

So I tell you, you’re special. Because it’s true. I delight you, and you delight me.

Here are words about “on the desirability of being poisonous” from my most recent Patreon member:

As someone who’s always been labeled a loner or outsider, this is a fantastic gut-check affirming that we don’t have to be a part of the herd, that it’s okay to be poisonous to some. You’ve said it so well, thank you.

Next up for my Patreon Society members: a short essay entitled, “detritus alchemy.”

Focusing on Masterful this week.

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