On the walk home today i was puzzled by my continued existence. i felt that i had made a mistake prolonging my useless and unnecessary existence beyond, well, 1976, but especially last winter. However, as i made my morose way round the supermarket, looking for apples and green tea and washing powder, i reflected that, in an initiatory sense, black feelings are appropriate and valuable. If one takes initiation as the accessing of greater powers, the escape from the merely everyday self, then it cannot but be an uncomfortable and unnerving process; and anything which serves to unsettle and crush the ordinary self should be regarded as a gift from the interested powers.

There are two principle reactions to the kind of intense discomfort i felt today: one can shore up the self with anger or reminders of one’s own gifts (“okay, I’m shit at this but I’m good at other things”); or one can simply exit the self, regarding it rightly as of no value, as a useless, irredeemable mess. The former is easier, more “natural”, and reinforces the extant self in its complacent self-regard and estimation; the latter is unnatural, and difficult to manage without morbid exaggeration or self-pity – however, if you can coolly regard yourself as a thing without value, something that should not exist, and then strive to escape this mess – without physically dying – then you can get somewhere. It is a kind of suicide, but of the superficial personality rather than the body. It is a sacrifice of oneself to oneself – and therefore to the old gallows god, crowfather, one-eye, grim master and hard friend, who gave himself first, to himself, on that tree on which we all variously hang, in our little wisdom, wanting more.