Crystal River / #Occult30


Day Twenty-Eight of #Occult30 —
a month long celebration of
True Tales of the Strange & Unusual.

Crystal River

By the early 90s I was struggling. As is all too often the case, I had become dependent on drugs and alcohol. Whatever gains I had made spiritually were being laid waste by addiction. After a magical time in the desert southwest, I had returned to the mundane world and my factory job and was slipping into a dark place emotionally.

In an attempt to right my course, I accepted an early retirement and received a sizable amount of money as a result.

I went back to university, moved in with old friends, and then began to spiral out of control.

I was drinking heavily and had developed a cocaine habit that ate through my finances.

I just couldn’t get my act together. I had been walking in Crowley’s shadow a bit too closely…

One afternoon, someone complained of being bored. I was high and reading, I think, an issue of Magical Blend. There was an article about the top 10 spiritual sites in North America. Number 10 was a 2000 year old mound complex located in Crystal River, Florida.

I suggested we hit the road and check it out. I was in need of a spiritual kickstart and thought this fit the bill.

I drove straight through— 18 hours, fueled by illegal substances and a desire to get my mind and spirit aligned right, not seeing just how far I had fallen.

Arriving on site, I consumed psychedelics, waited for them to kick in, then marched solemnly toward the mound structure.

I was filled with awe and reverence, convinced this was the life-affirming catalyst I needed.

I climbed the long stair, feeling transcendent. I could feel the power of that sacred place. Arms outstretched, I reached the top of the mound, eyes closed. I walked to the edge, prepared for gnosis. I opened my eyes and — found myself looking out over a trailer park.

I came  crashing back to earth. We left, dejected. We set up camp in a nearby woods, continued our party through the night, and then I drove straight through again, back to Indiana.

All with no sleep. More than 48 hours, and it would be another day and a half before I finally crashed.

Within a year I quit drinking and hard drugs cold turkey. I’ve been sober now for 28 years. Crystal River was not my rock bottom, but it was close and, I believe, the beginning of my recovery.

The dichotomy and juxtaposition of Crystal River mirrored the conflict I was mired in. On one hand, I had risen to unimaginable spiritual heights, but my soul was a trailer park of dependency and depression.

I was alone and lost, but Crystal River awakened in me a hunger to become better.

Yes, I had found myself in a very dark place, but I am thankful for it. I would not be the man I am today otherwise.

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