This is the face I wore to Goth Prom last night. Goth Prom in Minneapolis is a fundraiser for Sisters of Avalon, a sort of anarchist collective food shelf charity. While a lot of my friends have traditions around this prom, this is the first time I’ve ever gone. I hadn’t played dress up since 2005 when I did the Erotic Angels exhibit for my friend Paul, and I’ve always shied away from extreme makeup. The theme was the Seven Deadly Sins. While most people just “gothed it up” some of us did choose a sin: Brenda went as Vanity, her fiancee as Despair. We did choose sins that fit our daily personalities the best.
I don’t worry about sins much, because in terms of lifelong proportion, I just don’t think I’ve committed all that many. Foul-ups, mistakes, hurting people through forgetfulness of how their emotional reactions can physically hurt them I’ve done plenty. But intentional sin, that’s just not in my wheelhouse, unless you count converting to a religion outside monotheism as a sin. The way I see it, that’s your problem and not mine.
The seven deadly sins are also a condemnation of evolutionary aspects of human nature. While jealousy as an excuse to be a jerk to someone really pisses me off, I accept that jealousy is simply biological. The same is true of wrath, greed, lust, vanity, despair … well, all of them. Some religions count on lust because without it their numbers would dwindle to nothing. Basically the core seven aspects of human experience are labeled “sins” and “wrong.” Sounds like a nasty and abusive con game to me.
Based on my experience last night, each of these sins has developed an embodying spirit that looks for a way to aspect. Enough people believe in one thing, it will personify and then actually exist if it didn’t in the first place. So somewhere out there, the 7 Deadly Sins hang out in a bar and occasionally brawl, when not stepping in on someone quite ready and consciously able to commit to and commit one of those sins. When you get into costume as one of these representatives, they will sometimes step up and guide you through their experience. This is NOT possession, as you are fully conscious and make all final decisions. It’s more like having a heavy-handed tour guide. The last time I aspected I chose Psyche.
My biology and background inclines me towards Wrath, and Wrath was a little too happy to aspect through me last night. While it brought out a few things in my relationship that are making me unhappy I’m thinking there might have been a healthier – or somewhat less terrifying for Mike – way to bring up my issues. There was no blood, I didn’t bite anything, and the reaction people had to me was fascinating.
One guy who saw me in the bathroom (it’s a gay friendly club that refuses to label anything by gender) and said, “I did a little Kiegel when I saw you!” Other people looked at me with expressions of repulsion, fear and attraction. A few guys even tried moseying up to me at the bar, but got close enough to look at my face and see the aspecting writhing beneath the makeup and decided to mosey away. I was out on a side patio that shares sidewalk space with the public street. A woman passing the bar stared at me – and when I winked at her, she ran. When I was sitting out front of the bar, one of the drifters that panhandles saw my face, said “I like your face,” and decided not to ask me for money.
It’s been awhile since I’ve done any club scene that didn’t involve scifi geeks and “family style” entertainment. I’d almost forgotten what sex, drugs and rock’n’roll look like from a front row seat. What it does look like is heavy paint (glamor) on a crumbling house. My friend Steven loves the glamor but since I can see what’s underneath the glitter I can’t unsee it, and where he saw general acceptance with some refreshing rebellion I saw people putting on a front of toughness or overt sexuality to hide that they were drowning, or that they were kids acting out against parents that weren’t even there. This is what my dad used to see, and what he tried to tell me about drugs. And no, most people weren’t on drugs at all, but those that were found me – an interesting message about what Wrath draws to her. I get it now. While I never slipped down that hole when it was offered to me and nothing around me ever got out of hand since I was married to a man who wouldn’t leave the house at the age this stuff would ordinarily come up, I didn’t physically see although I intellectually knew how dark it can really get until now.
I danced, I scared a few people, I had a really good time. But I did conclude the evening conversing with a homeless drug/sex addict who is 28, has Hepatitis C and who expects to die by the time he turns 30. Maybe it was my face that made him not try to con me, or maybe it was because he already had three girls on the hook for the night. Maybe he just had a fix. He talked a lot about how his family is Catholic, and he is a Nietzche nihilist, and how sad he is that they’ve had to cut him off because of his addictions – and he agrees that they were right to. He didn’t ask me for money, or sex, or anything like that. He just wanted to talk to Wrath.
I’m still processing what I learned from that – because it seems like, disturbingly enough, Wrath actually draws from a place of compassion for anyone beyond help.