My Teenage Occult Experience.

OK, so here's where I finally talk about the group I was involved with when I was in High School, the similarities between it and Nicholas de Vere's "Dragon Court" philosophy - and how it differed.

I've been procrastinating about writing this, actually - because I don't have the permission of anyone else who was involved at the time. And because it was literally thirty years ago, and I'm worried about things getting distorted or maybe overly romanticized through thirty years of hindsight.

The first thing to note is, we weren't properly or technically a "coven." We referred to ourselves as "The Guild" because we sort of used our school's writers' club or "Author's Guild" as a cover for our activities.

There were only ever four of us at any given time (like the film The Craft) and generally less than that - because our ringleader, who I'll can "Ven," had a very controlling and abusive father who jealously policed her friends and her extracurricular activities, and it was rare that the four of us were all able to meet up together outside of school. I can probably count the times this happened on both hands with several fingers left over. But the rest of us spent as much time together as humanly possible.

And it wasn't a situation where we formed a group balanced by the Elements, either - we were three Waters and an Earth. Which may have helped contribute to some of what took place that year (roughly a nine-month period between 1993 and 1994. October 1993 through May or June 1994.)

Here's the thing. Previously, I talked about Magic(k) and the idea that many traditions have adopted romanticized mythologies to explain their history and philosophy which don't hold up to academic or historical scrutiny. In previous writings on this subject, I mentioned the belief that a lot of practitioners have come to: mainly that the "lore" or "mythology" is irrelevant just so long as the Magic works or the rituals work.

Those who are coming to this article after having read my other ones, and who are also familiar with Nicholas de Vere's writings as well, may be asking: "What rituals? The only ritual Nicholas de Vere talked about at all was a variation on the Middle Pillar Exercise, substituting Sumerian God Names for Hebrew ones. Everything else was all just about Moonblood." And the Moonblood angle is one that I feel has gotten lost - or intentionally glossed over - in people's seeming overwhelming desire to prove their descent from the "Grail" or "Dragon" bloodlines, due mostly to the "squick factor."

Because when he isn't dragging New Agers and Wiccans or the Church, Nicholas de Vere desperately wants us to know just awesome it is to drink the monthly or "Moon" blood of Dragon Priestesses, directly from the source - and the entheogenic and spiritual benefits it's supposed to have on people of the proper genetic descent.

As much as he expounds upon this, you would think it was a well-known aspect of Nicholas de Vere's philosophy. But we used to get visitors to the 2001-2006 era Dragon Court dot org website who had no idea about this aspect of it at all. And in the words of one forum member when she finally read about it, "what I just read is more than I ever wanted to know about that."

People who were aware of the "Moonblood" angle seemed more interested in Laurence Gardner's theory that "white powder gold" had eventually been employed by Ancient Egyptians as a substitute. Mainly because the idea of that was a lot more palatable (and maybe more socially acceptable) than moonblood.

(Sort of related: ‘Do not eat the cake of light!’ Attending Aleister Crowley’s Gnostic Mass")

The thing is - as far as I was aware - this wasn't what the group I was involved with in high school were doing at all. Yes, you can make whatever assumptions you want about four queer teen girls, but there it is. There were some dropped hints and discussions of alchemical euphemisms and all that. But the thing is - we already there mentally where drinking the Moonblood was supposed to have gotten us.

No, We were more into "energy-working," but also what would come to be called "Fiction-Suiting," and what is commonly referred to today on TikTok and other places as "Reality-Shifting."

The "Mythology Story" of our group was hauntingly similar to Nicholas de Vere's story of the Nephilim and the Elves, and the "Thousand-Year Elven Holocaust." So much so that it immediately grabbed me when I read it years later.

According to our beliefs, the Elves (who were descended from the Nephilim) had existed in this world - and probably still did on some level, in hiding. I believed I was probably descended from them. We all believed we were really fantastical interdimensional beings incarnated into human bodies here on Earth.

But beyond that: we believed that we were in touch with incarnations of ourselves in multiple realities where this was also true. This was years before any of us heard the term "Otherkin," though we pretty much had the concept down. Also: at least two of us were also Multiple Systems with both Insourced and Outsourced Alters.

We were also starting to study "real Magic" or Magick, via Donald Michael Craig's book Modern Magick: Eleven Lessons In The High Magickal Arts. I also picked up Silver Ravenwolf's To Ride A Silver Broomstick that year.

So, Reality Shifting isn't even a new concept. It probably wasn't a new concept even when we were doing it in 1993 and 1994. There have probably been several iterations of small groups of kids like we were then, going back a long, long time. The Internet just made the General Public aware of its existence.

Because there were millions of realities out there, according to our beliefs - and this one wasn't even one of the important ones, except where it intersected with others. So why worry about our grades, or our futures in this reality, or what college we were going to go to, or what jobs we wanted to get? (As if!)

If our group had a motto, it was "everything is real." If you can imagine it, or if someone else has imagined it, then it exists somewhere in the multiverse. In practice, imagine a cross between the film The Craft and Ernest Cline's book Ready Player One: but substitute "The Astral Plane" for the OASIS.

Yes, a lot of of this probably just seems like the kind of maladaptive and escapist coping strategies that traumatized, isolated teens tend to develop. But there comes a point when you have to decide that there are things which are definitively real and definitely happened, and things which definitively not real and did not ever happen. Just as there are things which are definitively true, and things which are definitively not true. And it's better to figure this out sooner rather than later, or things can go really bad really fast if your grasp on your mental health is already tenuous. As I was soon to find out.

But at that time we were all in full "rejection of the adult world we are about to be forced to enter and participate in against our will" mode. We had no long term goals or plans or even dreams regarding anything that existed in the mundane world; nothing that involved anything resembling a "career path," anyway. The adult world seemed like a harsh and terrifying place to us at the time. And we'd seen what decades of having "careers" had done to our parents. We didn't want any part of that. To quote the meme, we didn't dream of labor.

I'd grown up on my Mother's anecdotes of being a hippie in the 1960s. And to me, what we were doing just seemed like the natural, logical progression of the "turn on, tune in, and drop out" ethos that our parents had all abandoned as they gave up on their progressive, psychadelic, or bohemian ideals, and rejoined conformity.

And this is where we get to the part where the "Chaos Magick Surge" which permeated so much of the 1990s was a huge influence. This is where you get to the stories of people making Egregores and Tulpas based on comic book characters, and the anecdotes about Chaos Magicians successfully invoking Bugs Bunny as a Godform and things like that. As Nicholas de Vere himself might say - "BINGO."

And I think a lot of people who have moved in Esoteric or Weird Circles might have encountered the other side of this - people who claim they met/killed/had sex with/married mythological figures, gods or goddesses or fictional characters on The Astral Plane, etc. (The collective unconscious does not know the difference.)

I had come to this situation already aware of some basic mysteries - mainly that "magic" works via communication with the Collective Unconscious and the Subconscious Mind, and how this affects Consensus Reality. And I already had an instinctive grasp of what I called "Chaos Magic" - and what I later learned was actually called "Chaos Magick" by others.

The thing is, having a so-called "instinctive grasp" of anything will only get you so far without proper study and practice. And sometimes it just gets you into trouble. Which is what happened to us.

I'd spent that whole summer in 1993 before the school term hammering out what my thoughts were about "Life, The Universe, and Everything," (when I wasn't reading Michael Moorcock's Elric saga or playing Dungeons and Dragons.) I'd attempted to expand my mind without the use of drugs. Hey, we were the D.A.R.E generation. I'd heard horror stories from Boomer-age hippie acquaintances about the dangers of Bad Trips, and "Reefer Madness"-type cautionary tales from "experts" sent to our school to talk to us about the Dangers Of Drugs.

It all started with afterschool hangouts at each others' houses, a get-together to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas in the theater, a slumber party over Halloween, and repeated viewings of Buckaroo Banzai: Across The Eighth Dimension. It ended in disaster. About nine months or so into the existence of "The Guild," It was basically like every mental issue or disorder or trigger we had sort of all went off at once.

I had a breakdown. And by the time I came back out of it, I found myself apparently being ostracized for things an alternate universe incarnation of me in another reality or timeline had supposedly done to an incarnation of another member of the group in that reality. It didn't make sense at the time (it still doesn't) but that was the excuse I was given. And then "the group" as it had been basically fell apart.

To outsiders, the implosion of our group probably just looked like the usual teen drama - because of course, the relevant bits were all happening in other realities or The Astral Plane. To us, it was Multidimensional Magickal Conflict. To everyone else, it was a group of teen girls screaming at each other in the High School commons area.

But when you are first getting into Magickal practice and you aren't prepared for some of the things that can happen to you spiritually and psychologically, especially when you're "crossing the streams" of reality and imagination in the ways that we were, "Spiritual Psychosis" (or "Mad Bastard Syndrome") is a very possible outcome (if not inevitable.)

Writers like Lyam Thomas Chrisopher talk about how "Ego Expansion" can occur after certain esoteric thresholds have been crossed. Anyone who has seen the movie The Craft has seen a fictionalized example of what Ego Expansion and Spiritual Psychosis looks like, in the character of Nancy Downs (played by Fairuza Balk.)

That movie came out about a year and a half after our group had already imploded. And I didn't see it for years because I just knew it would be triggering with how close the events were to what I'd just been through. But for me there was no triumphant happy ending. Just the sudden, shocking scorn and absence of the people I'd come to consider my best friends.

There's a phrase which has been employed by Robert Anton Wilson and Antero Alli, taken from Arthurian literature - "The Chapel Perilous." For me, it's the point in the dead center of the intersection between spiritual psychosis and ego expansion. You either navigate your way through it, are helped through it, or you're stuck there for the rest of your life. However long or forshortened that ends up being.

We weren't prepared to deal with some of the psychological and spiritual effects that can occur when you engage in a lot of the things we were engaging with. As a group of kids who were already dealing with various traumas, neurotic issues, and Cluster B personality disorders, we were just not ready for a trip through the Chapel Perilous. The warnings in books like Donald Michael Kraig's Modern Magick did not prepare us for what happened - because like everyone else who gets themselves into the same kind of mess, we naively thought we could handle it. And not to put words in his mouth, but Donald Michael Kraig likely would have warned us not to mix something like Reality Shifting with actual Magickal practice in the first place.

The thing is, it really doesn't seem like Tracy Twyman or her OLE group were prepared for a stint in the Chapel Perilous either. Her memoir Clock Shavings reverberates with the same kind of ego-expansion and spiritual psychosis that we had been afflicted with.

It seems to me that the "Dragon Court Current" attracts people who are vulnerable to this kind of ego expansion/spiritual psychosis like flies to a bug zapper. Maybe people who are already halfway there. It attracts people who want to be The King or The Queen or The Grand Master. People who want a title. People who want deference. People who want to be told they are already the best, the master, the sovereign, superior to everyone else.

There's a pathology that people can get into when life keeps knocking them in the dirt. Maybe there's some neurodivergence going on there, maybe they just don't fit in with "the normies" or "the mundanes" or "the sheeple" or whatever. When it seems like society keeps reminding you of every way you don't fit in and everything you just can't seem to do right, there's a temptation to seek something out that tells you that you're secretly better than everyone who has been critical of you - that you've actually been doing everything right all along, that it's everyone else who needs to get with the program. Your program.

And actually, I didn't want any of that. I just wanted my friends back. I just wanted everything back the way it was before it all fell apart - and for things to progress from that point as if the fallout had never occurred. And if that wasn't possible, (and it just wasn't at that point) I wanted something that could replace that.

I had wanted the Dragon Court to replace that.

Because when you are dealing with stuff like Reality-Shifting and Fiction-Suiting with a bunch of other people, you kind of get to a place where you've assumed an identity and a self-image (dare I say "residual self-image") that only that group is aware of and familiar with. To my friends, I was an Elven Bard and Extradimensional Adventurer. To everyone else, I was a schlubby goth teen with weird friends, an ever-expanding renfaire wardrobe, and a tabletop RPG fixation.

[My 1993-1994 High School yearbook photo.]

And without the group, I couldn't be that anymore. I couldn't be me anymore. At least, that was what I thought for a long time. Because ironically, it took decades immersed in "the real world" and having to engage with it in every way that I'd dreaded as a teen to teach me who I really was, or who I could be.

So, back on the subject of Nicholas de Vere and the Dragon Court - what were the similarities? What was it about his and Laurence Gardner's material that made me sit up and go, "oh, this part of it was "true" after all!"

Mainly it was the "Elves and Vampires are basically the same species, and they are the spawn of Nephilim, whose progeny were the true royalty/Priest-Kings and Queens of the ancient world, and whose human descendants were the Scythians, Druids, and Witches." And the whole part that Nicholas de Vere calls "The Thousand-Year Elven Holocaust" in which the Elves and their descendants were hunted down and suppressed by the Catholic Church. There was some other stuff about energy-working (and energy vampirism) mentioned by Nicholas de Vere that conicided with things I saw and experienced.

There was enough there that reading it felt like vindication. Like proof that enough of what I'd experienced was real or had at least enough of a basis in other people's belief systems that I wasn't crazy. Well, not about that part at least. Not completely.

More than anything, it just felt like I'd stumbled onto "the real truth" of a bunch of stuff "The Guild" members had just pulled out of "Genetic Memory" and "Personal Gnosis." I'd been looking for it in one form or another in the years since "The Guild" fell apart, and here it finally was - or so it seemed to me at the time.