12 april 2012

5

“Bowie once had a conflict with Jimmy Page at his Manhattan townhouse, and since then he believed that Page had put his soul in peril. He was convinced that Jimmy, who owned the home of black-magic philosopher Aleister Crowley, was in cahoots with the witches and they were out to get him. Hence he stocked all his urine in his fridge to keep it safe from them.”

Rock’s Sympathy for the Devil

April 12, 2012 By davidjones

By MICHAEL HOWARD (1948–2015)—

It was popularly believed in the 1930s that the legendary bluesman Robert Johnson, who inspired Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton, sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for his musical gifts. It was believed Johnson had the ‘Evil Eye’ and was murdered because of his alleged power over women. He seduced the wife of a beer hall owner who in revenge laced the musician’s whisky with arsenic. Many moralists saw his fate as a punishment for dealing with the powers of darkness.

Johnson is said to have sold his soul to Old Nick during a midnight ceremony at a crossroads. However, that story did not originate with him. In the 1920s and 1930s there are numerous tales of black musicians and gamblers signing a pact with a mysterious ‘man in black’ at the crossroads. Famous examples are the black singer Clara Smith and Robert Johnson’s namesake Tommy Johnston, a decade before him. The dark stranger has been identified by some writers as either the Christian Devil or the West African trickster god Eshu, worshipped in voodoo and taken to the southern states of America by black slaves.

While there is little evidence of modern pop and rock musicians actually ‘selling their souls’ to the ‘Devil’, the link between popular music and the occult is a strong one. Christian fundamentalists have predictably seen the widespread use of magical and occult symbols in rock music as evidence it is the work of Satan, but the truth is far stranger than their religious fantasies.

Sometimes the alleged connections of famous rock musicians with occultism surfaced in apocryphal showbiz gossip or rumour. For example, everyone knows that ill-fated glam rock star Marc Bolan studied as a sorcerer’s apprentice with a magician in a French chateau (in fact he actually admitted it), that the late pop diva Dusty Springfield allegedly belonged to a satanic group called the Temple of the Prince in Manchester, and that Jim Morrison of The Doors married a Wiccan high priestess (which was true).

Then there was the 1970s British musician Graham Bond, accused by his fellow R & B artist Long John Baldry of sacrificing his pet cat in a magical ritual. Bond told his groupies he was one of the illegitimate sons of the infamous ‘black magician’ Aleister Crowley, and that his musical output was designed to contact “higher forces.” Bond also believed he had been cursed by a fellow occultist. When in 1974 the musician fell in front of a train on the London Underground in mysterious circumstances, many thought the curse had worked.

The Beatles & the Rolling Stones

The Beatles are well known for flirting with Eastern mysticism and transcendental meditation during their psychedelic hippy stage in the late 1960s. They may also have had darker interests. For instance, the Great Beast 666, Aleister Crowley, is featured (top left corner above) in the photomontage of “people we most admire” on the cover of the Fab Four’s famous album Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Antiquarian bookseller and Crowley bibliographer Timothy D’Arch Smith relates how the Beatles attended an exhibition of rare books on witchcraft and the occult he held in Swinging London. Jane Asher, Paul McCartney’s then girlfriend, had suggested the visit to him and, according to D’Arch Smith, encouraged him to buy rare books as an investment.

If the Beatles were mildly interested in the occult, then their main rivals for the pocket money and affection of teenage girls, the Rolling Stones, were definitely involved in a more dramatic way. Despite their respectable middle-class backgrounds, in the Sixties the Stones were deliberately promoted as the ‘bad boys of pop’. It now seems this was a marketing ploy by their then manager Andrew Oldham, and is summed up in the famous newspaper headline, ‘Would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone?’ If the parents of Middle England had known about their dabbling in the occult, the answer may have been in the negative.

Lucifer Rising

The so-called ‘satanic’ influence on the Stones was through the avant-garde filmmaker, Luciferian and Tinseltown gossip-queen Kenneth Anger. He had become interested in the band’s career and particularly in guitarist Brian Jones and his girlfriend Anita Pallenberg, a German film actress and model. Jones had some unusual interests, and both he and the pop singer Robert Palmer were fascinated by the master musicians of Joujouka in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco in North Africa. These musicians claimed to be still practising the ancient rites of the goat-footed god Pan. Jones went so far as to travel to North Africa to record an album of the tribal music performed by this pre-Islamic cult.

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine Robert Palmer described how he had witnessed one of these rites to Pan. He said the dancing tribesmen appeared to be in an ecstatic trance with their eyes rolled back in their heads. Palmer said that when “the power came down” the dancer was suddenly “not there.” In fact “something else” was looking out of his eyes, which began to “glow like ruby lasers” (Rolling Stone, 23 March 1989).

Kenneth Anger believed that Anita Pallenberg and Brian Jones, who was to drown in mysterious circumstances in the swimming pool of his Sussex mansion, were witches. Allegedly, Jones showed the filmmaker an extra nipple he had on his inner thigh and told him: “In another time they would have burned me [as a witch].” Extra nipples were regarded by witch-hunters as a sign of the Devil’s Mark. A friend of Anita Pallenberg, Tony Sanchez, believed she kept her drug stash hidden in an old carved wooden chest in her flat. One day he looked inside. Instead of drugs he found it contained bones and pieces of fur and skin from “strange animals.” Mick Jagger’s one time girlfriend Marianne Faithfull described how she and Pallenberg used to sit for hours reading aloud passages from Robert Graves’ book The White Goddess and studying the ancient Celtic tree alphabet.

In her autobiography Marianne Faithfull claims the gay Anger had a crush on the bisexual Stones’ singer which was not reciprocated. When the filmmaker’s sexual overtures were rejected he became a bit of a nuisance. One day he turned up at the couple’s house in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea and bizarrely threw several books by the 18th century poet and mystic William Blake through the window. Jagger responded in disgust at this stunt by burning all the copies of the occult works that Anger had given him by Crowley and the French occultist Eliphas Levi.

Despite this, Marianne Faithfull got involved in Anger’s experimental movie Lucifer Rising, allegedly financially sponsored by Anita Pallenberg, and with a score originally to be composed by Mick Jagger. Initially the Stones’ singer was to play the leading role in the film, but he got cold feet and backed out of the project altogether. In the first version, made in 1967, the lead was taken by his brother Chris Jagger. Marianne Faithfull became involved in the second version filmed in 1972 and she agreed to take the part of the demon-goddess Lilith.

Faithfull described the baby-slaying Lilith as one of the classic female archetypes and compared her with pagan goddesses such as Diana, Astarte, Ishtar, Aphrodite and Demeter. However, she added: “From the view of patriarchy, of course, she was the pure incarnation of evil” (Faithfull by Marianne Faithfull with David Datton, 224). Interestingly, the part of the ancient Egyptian god Osiris in the film was played by Donald Cammell, son of Charles Cammell, a friend and biographer of Crowley. The younger Cammell made his own films including the controversial Performance in co-operation with Nic Roeg. It starred Mick Jagger, Anita Pallenberg and the archetypal English actor Edward Fox. Donald Cammell committed suicide in the 1990s.

The shooting of Lucifer Rising took place in Egypt and Faithfull claims that as soon as the crew and cast arrived in the country it was obvious Anger did not know what he was doing as either a film director or a magician. At that stage in her life Faithfull was seriously addicted to heroin and admits she did not know what she was doing on the set either. The whole thing was a recipe for disaster. The last sequence of the film was a winter solstice rite shot at a Neolithic site in Germany. During it, Faithfull managed to fall off a mountain. She somersaulted and landed on her feet without sustaining any injury. This convinced her that her magic was stronger than Anger’s. In her autobiography she dismissed him as a “kitsch occultist” and “a witch out of a Hollywood tabloid.”

Marianne Faithfull claims that both Mick Jagger and the Stones’ lead guitarist Keith Richards were also sceptical about Anger’s “satanic hocus-pocus” and did not take any of it seriously. However, after an incident involving the magician at the house in London now shared by Richards and Anita Pallenberg, Faithfull became seriously spooked out. As a result, she believed she was under psychic attack. Allegedly, she wore a clove of garlic around her neck and slept in a circle of lit candles for protection. Whether this paranoid behaviour was connected to her heroin addiction is not known.

One of Marianne Faithfull’s tracks on her comeback album Broken English is called ‘Witches Song’. She dedicates it as “my ode to the wild pagan woman I know and have always around me.” Faithfull says she got the idea for the song after she and Mick Jagger visited an exhibition in Madrid of paintings on the theme of the Witches Sabbath by the Spanish artist Goya. Her autobiography also describes an incident when she and Jagger took LSD before visiting Primrose Hill in North London “where the ancient ley lines are supposed to run” and where modern neo-druids hold their seasonal ceremonies. Under the influence of the acid the couple saw “a great face in the sky” they were convinced was the head of the Celtic giant god Bran. This seems to fit with Faithfull’s professed pagan beliefs. In her autobiography she says she believes not in God the Father, but in the Great Goddess and her consort Pan.

Jimmy Page & Aleister Crowley

In 1969 the satanic aura around the rock mega-group Led Zeppelin reached such a pitch that, in echoes of Robert Johnson, rumours circulated in the Los Angeles music scene that its members had signed a pact in their own blood with the Devil to gain fame.

James Patrick ‘Jimmy’ Page’s well-known interest in the occult fuelled these rumours of the group’s alleged satanic activities. Described by the magazine AllMusic as “one of the all-time most influential, important and versatile [rock] guitarist and songwriters,” Page had been interested in alternative religions since childhood. While a member of the Yardbirds, he had hung out with Brian Jones and Anita Pallenberg at their studio flat in South Kensington. Page has never hidden his interest in Aleister Crowley, and Led Zeppelin’s famous album Rune has a photograph of the Great Beast on its cover. In an interview with Soundsmagazine in 1976 Page is quoted as saying that Crowley was “a misunderstood genius of the twentieth-century.”

Jimmy Page purchased as many artefacts and first edition books belonging to Crowley that he could find. In 1969, Kenneth Anger rented Crowley’s old (seriously haunted) house Boleskine on the shores of Loch Ness where he lived in the 1900s for a few months. When it came on the market for sale, Anger suggested to Page he should buy it. This he did and hired an occult artist called Charles Pace to paint suitable atmospheric magical murals in each room. The Led Zeppelin guitarist could be seen driving around the area like a Scottish laird in a Land Rover with a stack of stag’s antlers on the bonnet. Page also visited Sicily and contemplated buying the old villa where Crowley established his ‘Abbey of Thelema’ in the 1920s.

In the early 1970s Page opened an occult bookshop in Kensington called The Equinox. It was done out in a futuristic style with glass bookshelves and display cabinets and chrome steel pillars. Under its auspices, Page published a facsimile of Crowley’s 1904 edition of the medieval grimoire Goetia.

Kenneth Anger approached Jimmy Page and asked him to provide a soundtrack for his ongoing film project Lucifer Rising. Unfortunately, the two men fell out when Page only managed to produce 23 minutes of music and Anger wanted 28 minutes. The filmmaker accused Page of being a mere dabbler in the occult and a drug addict so out of his mind he could not finish the film score. However, in 1976 Page lent Anger the basement of his London house for film editing purposes. Again, the two men did not see eye to eye and Page allegedly cursed the filmmaker. Page later branded the incident as “silly and pathetic” and said he still respected Anger as an occultist.

There has been a lot of debate about whether Jimmy Page ever belonged to one of the modern versions of Crowley’s magical group the OTO (Ordo Templis Orientis or Order of the Eastern Temple). In fact, the jury seems to be out on whether Page is an actual magical practitioner at all. In this respect New Musical Express journalist Nick Kent dismisses rumours the guitarist spends his time with “his head in a cowl ritually slaughtering various species of livestock.” Kent instead says from his experience Page is “just another seeker after esoteric knowledge, a collector of dusty old books, and committed student of the ‘magical’ information that was supposedly contained in their yellowed pages.”

Although Jimmy Page’s interest in Crowley and the occult is well known, his Led Zeppelin colleague Robert Plant also has esoteric interests. These manifest in a study of folklore, Norse and Germanic mythology, and reading ‘sword and sorcery’ novels. Plant spent most of his life living on the Welsh Border and in an interview with the rock music magazine Kerrang! he said he often visited the Black Mountains in South Wales. There he rediscovered his roots in the local Celtic culture. Using an ordnance survey map, he wandered the hills visiting Bronze Age sites and places where the Welsh had battled with the Saxons.

David Bowie

Another famous rock star who openly admits an interest in the occult, magic and Crowley is David Bowie (born David Robert Jones). In the 1970s he says he studied the Kabbalah and “Crowleyism” and more recently became interested in Gnosticism. On a practical level the singer used Tarot cards and a crystal ball for divination, an ouija board to contact spirits, and performed magical rituals for exorcism and psychic protection. His early album Hunky-Dory features a song called ‘Quicksand’ that references both Crowley and the Victorian magical group Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

According to David Bowie’s wife Angie in her autobiography, her husband’s interest in the occult was due to his desire to outdo Jimmy Page. Allegedly, he saw the Led Zeppelin guitarist as a magical rival. Bowie eventually decided, possibly because of Page’s interest in him, that Crowley and his works were “small shit.” For that reason he began studying Tibetan magic which he claimed was far more powerful than anything the Great Beast or Page had ever done.

In an interview with New Musical Express (February 1997) David Bowie admits he had been into “old fashioned magic” in the 1970s, and said he always believed Crowley was a charlatan. He reveals that Arthur Edward Waite, a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn, and the Welsh-born occultist Dion Fortune, author of Psychic Self-Defence, have been important to him. In fact, Bowie used Fortune’s book extensively when he believed he was under psychic attack. Talking of a house he rented in Los Angeles in 1975, Bowie said he decorated it with ancient Egyptian artefacts. This was because, “I had this more than passing interest in Egyptian mysticism and the Kabbalah…” (Stage Fascination: David Bowie the Definite Story by David Buckley, 235).

Angie Bowie says the musician was heavily involved with occult activities in 1975-76. This coincides with a period when he used cocaine and she believed this made him paranoid. Apparently, Bowie stored bottles of his own urine in the fridge and carefully disposed of his nail and hair clippings. This was in case magical practitioners obtained these personal items in order to cast spells on him. He also set up an altar in his sitting room with black candles on it, painted occult symbols on the walls, and performed magical banishing rituals for protection. Angie Bowie once witnessed him exorcise a swimming pool he believed was haunted.

When the couple were viewing properties to rent or buy in Hollywood they came across an old house with a pentagram of five-pointed star painted on the floor. Bowie freaked out and said he could not live there as the building had been used for black magic rites. One day he phoned his wife and told her witches were trying to steal his semen. Allegedly they wanted to create a test-tube baby and then sacrifice it in a satanic rite. It turned out the ‘witches’ were just some innocent groupies he met in a bar.

At this difficult point in his life Bowie also flirted with neo-Nazism. He explained in an interview with the British rock music journalist Tony Parsons in 1993 that this was only because he was fascinated by the use of occult symbols like the swastika by the original Nazi Party in Germany. He was interested in their quest for the Holy Grail because he was also searching for its meaning (Stage Fascination: David Bowie the Definite Story by David Buckley, 235-236). Bowie once said that it might be a good idea to have a fascist dictatorship in Britain, although he later denied he was serious and claimed it was a joke.

Black Sabbath & Heavy Metal

Partly as a reaction to the hippy ‘flower power’ and ‘peace and love’ movement of the late Sixties, heavy metal bands began to appear using violent satanic imagery and playing loud over-amplified rock music. Groups such as Warlock, Saxon, Venom, Motley Crue, W.A.S.P., Slayer, Iron Maiden, Incubus and Bathory put out albums with covers decorated with human skulls, pentagrams, hooded figures, gravestones, goat-headed demons and vampires. One of the most famous and pioneering heavy metal bands Black Sabbath came out of Birmingham in the industrial Midlands of England in 1969. They combined heavy guitar riffs with satanic inspired lyrics and an obsession with the gothic dark side that soon gave them a dedicated, if rather odd, fan base.

The band’s distinctive name was taken from an old horror movie starring English actor Boris Karloff, famous for his movie interpretation of Dr. Frankenstien’s monster. Originally, Black Sabbath started out as a jazz-blues band until they became influenced by the ‘black magic’ novels of the thriller writer Dennis Wheatley and books by Aleister Crowley. Their leader ‘Geezer’ Butler was lent a 16th century grimoire or book of magic. Its contents so freaked him out that he locked it in a cupboard before going to bed. During the night he had a spectral visitation from a dark shadowy figure who stood at the end of his bed. In the morning when Butler opened the cupboard the grimoire had vanished and it was never seen again.

Butler claims the band was invited to play a gig at a Witches Sabbath at Stonehenge, which sounds like something out of a Dennis Wheatley novel. When the boys refused the chief “warlock” of the coven ritually cursed the band. Geezer says he consulted a “white witch” to get the curse lifted and was told the band had to wear crosses to ward off the evil forces directed at them. Apparently, lead singer Ozzy Osbourne’s father, who was a bit of a handyman, made the crosses for each of the band members to wear.

Ozzy Osbourne always denies he was seriously into the occult, although he did have his Tarot cards read – twice. Famously he said the only evil spirits that interest him are whisky, gin and vodka! He describes the strange people attracted to the band, who habitually wear white face make-up and black hooded robes, as “freaks.” Ozzy says the only good thing about all the satanic stuff is it gave the band free publicity increasing their record sales and bank accounts.

Some of the heavy metal bands took their interest in witchcraft and magic more seriously. One of these, for a while, was Black Widow who played a mixture of progressive rock and folk music and used demonic imagery in their act based on serious research. In 1968 the group’s manager approached Maxine and Alex Sanders, the so-called ‘King and Queen of the Witches’. He wanted to know if the couple could recommend a nubile young witch with dancing skills to take part in their new stage act. This featured a magician played by one of the band’s members conjuring up a demon who was once an ancient goddess called Ashtaroth.

Several professional dancers auditioned for the part of the demon-goddess. Each one suffered fainting fits during rehearsals and felt they were being possessed by an evil spirit. In desperation the band wanted to hire a real witch who would not be fazed by the magical goings-on. Black Widow’s manager said the Sanders were happy to help and he described them as “clever business people” only interested in making money in any way they could.

A member of the Sanders’ coven volunteered for the role and the rehearsals were successful. Unfortunately, on the day of the first performance at the Lyceum Theatre in London, she fell ill. Alex Sanders volunteered his wife and the high priestess of the coven Maxine as a suitable stand-in. When the lead singer of Black Widow playing the sorcerer invoked the demon-goddess and accidentally stepped out of the protective magical circle, she was supposed to attack him. In her autobiography Maxine Sanders says the singer complained afterwards about the bruises he suffered from the physical assault by the ‘Queen of the Witches’.

Danny Carey

Another more contemporary band called Tool and its lead singer Danny Carey are well known for their interest in all things magical. Carey collects rare limited edition publications by such modern occult practitioners as Crowley, Kenneth Grant, Austin Osman Spare and Andrew D. Chumbley. During their recordings of albums, Tool use magical banishing rituals to get rid of unwelcome influences left in the studio by previous performers. They have also been known to employ talismans and occult sigils used by the Elizabethan magician and astrologer Dr. John Dee in their gigs. During a South American tour, local Christian workers refused to handle the band’s equipment because it was “satanic.”

The 1990s saw a sinister link established between rock music and Satanism with the rise of the so-called ‘black metal’ or ‘death metal’ groups. These new bands were committed to an anti-Christian philosophy of anarchism, nihilism, violence and an obsession with death that made Black Sabbath stage appearances look like a vicar’s tea party. Possibly the most dramatic and violent manifestation of this new trend was in Scandinavia. A new cultural trend united satanic beliefs with atavistic forms of neo-paganism and extreme nationalist right-wing politics promoting racism and white supremacy. This deadly combination was to lead to arson and murder.

In 1992 an ancient wooden stave church was burnt down in a firebomb attack. Rumours began circulating that hard-core black metal fans were responsible for the outrage. It was alleged they were pagan Viking revivalists who expressed neo-Nazi views. Further church burnings and graveyard desecrations took place followed by murders involving rival groups of black metal fans and biker gangs. Media reports said that self-styled teenage satanists saw neo-Nazism and rock music as cultural stepping stones to a revival of Aryan-based paganism. Because the historic Christian churches were built on the site of pagan temples, they had to be destroyed before the heathen ‘old religion’ could be established again.

Today the number of rock bands using satanic and occult imagery is increasing. The new ‘high priest’ of the Church of Satan in the USA, Boyd Rice, is himself a musician. Critics have dubbed his musical output as “sonic terrorism as an art form.” Strangely enough, his satanic master, Anton LaVey, who found the Church of Satan in the 1960s, preferred Gershwin and Cole Porter with his bedtime cocoa.

It seems certain that in the future wherever and however rock music is played, there will always be those who claim, quite literally, the Devil has the best tunes.

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Bibliography

Heavy Metal Thunder by Neil Aldis and James Sherry, Mitchell Beazley, 2006

Backstage Passes: Life on the Wild Side with David Bowie by Angie Bowie and Patrick Carr, Orion, 1993

Stage Fascination: David Bowie the Definite Story by David Buckley, Virgin Books, 1999

Robert Plant: Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page & the Solo Years by Neil Daniels, Independent Music Press, 2008

The Lives of John Lennon and the Beatles by Hunter Davies, McGraw Hill Books USA, 1985

Hammer of the Gods: Led Zeppelin Unauthorised by Stephen Davies, Pan Books, 1995

The Book of the Beast by Timothy D’Arch-Smith, Mandrake Press 2010

Faithfull by Marianne Faithfull with David Datton, Michael Joseph, 1994

No One Gets Out of Here Alive: Jim Morrison and the Doors by Danny Hopkins and Sugarman, Warner Books USA, 1980

Apathy for the Devil: A 1970’s Memoir by Nick Kent, Faber and Faber Limited, 2010

I Am Ozzy by Ozzie Osbourne with Chris Agnes, Sphere, 2009

Firechild: The Life and Magic of Maxine Sanders ‘Witch Queen’ by Maxine Sanders, Mandrake Press, 2008

Bowie: Loving the Alien by Christopher Sandford, Little, Brown and Company, 1996

When Giants Walked the Earth: A Biography of Led Zeppelin by Mick Wall, Orion Books, 2008

Led Zeppelin: From Early Days to Page and Plant by Ritchie Yorke, Virgin Books, 1999.

MICHAEL HOWARD (1948–2015) was an English practitioner of Luciferian Witchcraft and a prolific author on folklore, paganism, and esoteric topics. From 1976 until his death he was the editor of The Cauldron magazine. The author of over 30 books including Pillars of Tubal Cain, The Book of Fallen Angels, Children of Cain, and Secret Societies: Their Influence and Power from Antiquity to the Present Day, Michael Howard was an exemplary practitioner and teacher of traditional craft.


Frater 440.’.
93 93/93

This Day in 1D History - April 12

2012: 

  • LILO. SURF. DATE. (LILO!! SURF!! DATE!!)

2013: 

  • “Me, Kim and Pablo in said grapefruit chair.” (via Harry’s Insta)
  • Take Me Home Tour concert – Glasgow, UK #3 

2015: 

  • Louis is a gd model outside his Manc hotel
  • #Hashion at its finest (lmao)

2016: 

  • two tired Tommos on Louis’ Insta :))
  • Liam is too cute leaving the Sexy Fish restaurant in London (yes, you read that right)
3

18 years old soldier Stepan Datsenko (first picture) was admitted to military psychiatric hospital because he started cutting himself. In the hospital he met 18 years old Alexander Tomskii (second picture) who was diagnosed with psychopathy and 18 years old David Ziganshin (third picture) who thought that he could communicate with dead people. On 12 April 2012 Stepan, Alexander and David killed two nurses and escaped from the hospital. They were arrested as they tried to cross Russian-Finnish border later on the day.

youtube

April 12, 2012 - “Lies Acoustic” music video is released

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Coalition Special Operations Forces members defend their position from insurgent small arms fire during a day-long fire fight in Nuristan province, Afghanistan, April 12, 2012. Afghan National Army Commandos and coalition SOF, the first to visit that area in more than two years, defeated insurgent forces overrunning a village. 

anonymous asked:

Do you take prompts? I have this craving for Clexa meeting while walking their dogs.

Do I take prompts? Is a smurf’s butt blue?

March 3, 2012

The German Shepherd sitting quietly observing the children running about is adorable. Its owner is other worldly gorgeous. Seriously, when did God start making women that looked like that. It’s not even that she’s beautiful, she’s fucking radiant. Even from two park benches away, Clarke can see this woman’s… ora? Her energy? Clarke doesn’t know what to call it but it’s big and bright and it’s pulling even ounce of Clarke’s attention. The woman’s hair is so long, thick, and wavy. It is the shiniest brown Clarke has even laid eyes on. She’s slender with perfect skin and Clarke can’t breathe.

The German Shepherd nudges its owner with its nose. She barely looks up from her huge novel as she removes its leash. The dog’s off in a hurry after a squirrel, Clarke thinks, and its owner stays engrossed in whatever she’s reading. Shakespeare comes back with the ball Clarke threw for her about ten minutes ago and drops it on the pavement. Clarke’s 3 year old Norwegian Elkhound doesn’t so much play fetch but more like keep away. She’ll run after then ball or rope or frisby and Clarke always wonders if she’ll ever return. She throws the ball as far as she can and Shakespeare’s back in her own little world.

In the time it took Clarke to get distracted by her canine, the beautiful stranger is gone. Clarke’s on her feet, head swiveling. The woman is gone.

March 7, 2012

Every day she’s been in this park and every day she sees this woman – who she hasn’t talked to, yet can’t stop thinking about – and her well behaved German Shepherd. Today they’re playing fetch and the dog actually knows it’s supposed to bring the ball back. What a concept, Clarke thinks when she glances at Shakespeare who’s rolling on her back in the grass. The woman is laughing at her dog’s antics. The dog is dramatically catching the ball, hopping in the air when unnecessary. Rolling like a football player does when they catch a ball low to the ground. Trotting back to her triumphantly like its found gold. The woman laughs and pets her dog’s head and Clarke thinks she’d act a fool just to make her smile too.

March 20, 2012

This is the first time they’ve passed each other on the dog walk trail. She smiled. Right at Clarke. Her heart froze, her lungs hit the off switch and her feet forgot how to function. Clarke’s ashamed, she’s down right disgusted with herself. In high school, in college, in adult hood, she’s always been so smooth. Whenever she’s out and she sees a guy, a girl, whoever that she wants, she just goes right up to them, makes small talk, and before she knows it she’s added a new contact in her phone. Never has she lacked confidence or felt so helpless. Her best friend Bellamy praises her for being the best wingman ever. His sister turns her nose up at them because the troll for women while she’s been in the same relationship since she was 16. Her other friends egg her own, telling her she can’t get the hottest guy in the bar to notice her. Or that she can’t get the sexist woman in the room to swoon.

They’re always wrong.

And she’s always been so good with talking to people. Talking is her specialty. Her boss once told her he was sure she could sell sand to people at the beach. She’s not arrogant, but she knows she’s the best damn real estate developer his agency has ever seen.

But this woman. This drop dead, breathtakingly gorgeous woman has her tongue tied and her palms sweaty and she’s all the way down the walk before Clarke realized she didn’t smile back.

Shakespeare impatiently pulls on her leash.

April 4, 2012

Several times now she’s walked passed her, or been near her as they played with their dogs. Two days ago Clarke watched in awe as the stranger pushed two little girls on their swings. She was silly and cute with them, hopping back and forth between their swings. Her smile was so big and come to think of it Clarke can’t think of a time when she wasn’t  smiling. Maybe only when she has her nose in a book.

After work, every day, she looks forward to bringing Shakespeare to the park five blocks from her home. It may seem creeping or crazy but she just wants to look at her. That’s all. Well, she’d love to actually talk to her too but she thinks better of it, knowing she’d make a fool out of herself. She’s never been so unsure, so insecure, so frightened.

April 12, 2012

Shakespeare has her head out the window, tongue wagging. Clarke is thinking about the huge lot of land she just secured with a smile on her face. That lot landed her a generous bonus and she, Bellamy, Octavia, her husband Lincoln, and her co worker slash her other best friend Monty are going out to celebrate tonight but first things first. The park.

The long brown hair Clarke has dreamed about running her fingers through, is up in a pony tail. Her nose in in a bright yellow hardback book and she’s periodically sipping out of a coffee cup.

She let’s Shakespeare off her leash, she quickly finds another dog to play with and Clarke is embarrassed with herself. Her damn dog has an easier time in this dog park and she needs to do something about it. Just as her feet move her a few inches closer to the woman, she stops. What if she’s not into women? What is she’s already involved? A woman that stunning? There’s no way she’s single.

All the confidence she just had 30 seconds ago is blowing in the soft April wind.

May 8, 2012

There’s that bright yellow book again. Clarke is sure she’s seen the stranger read it three times. She wonders about this woman. What she does. How long she’s had her dog. What’s her favorite cereal. What’s her favorite book. What was her childhood like. Clarke has thought of this woman every day for two months and she’s resolved that’s she’s being a total pussy. Well, that’s what Bell had said last week when she finally broke down and told him. For no other reason than the fact that she desperately needed advice. He called her a few choice names, laughed at her, then got her a drink. After his teasing was over, he said the next time she sees her reading a book, to go sit by her and ask what she’s reading.

This is it. This is the “next time.” She’s reading and her German Shepherd is frolicking in a flower bed and she all alone and this is it.

Can a heart break ribs and rip through skin? Is that possible, for the organ to literally leap from a chest? It feels possible and the closer she gets the more of a possibility it becomes. The raging of her heart is only rivaled by the fluttering in her stomach. Clarke’s so fucking nervous she feels light headed. But she’s made it, and she sits on the far side of the bench. The stranger hasn’t moved and Clarke’s trying to remember how this breathing thing works. She isn’t sure how long she sat there before she blurts out, “What are you reading?”

The woman looks up and Clarke wants to tell her she should probably call an ambulance because anyone would have a heart attack after seeing those sharp, green eyes. They’re the greenest eyes she’s ever seen and she’s not sure but she thinks she might be drooling.

“Lies we tell ourselves. Have you heard of it? It’s a phenomenal read.” There’s this little smile on her lips. It seems like that’s something permanent, like this woman is so full of joy and  that’s  why she’s always smiling.

“It’s – it’s my favorite book.” Clarke manages. And it is. Even though it’s an very hard read and led to Clarke researching how bad segregation was in the 50’s. She discovered some hard truths but it helped her open her eyes and try to become a part of the solution instead of being a part of the problem.

The woman’s eyes shine even brighter. “Mine too. It’s such a special book.” Clarke nods. She tries to close her gaping mouth. This woman has the sweetest, softest voice she’s ever heard. “I’m Lexa.”

“Clarke.”

“Clarke…” Lexa says like she trying it out on her tongue. “That’s a unique name for a girl.”

“Yeah.”

Shakespeare’s howling catches Clarke’s attention and she’s off in her direction, chancing a glance at the stranger who just smiles and waves.

May 9, 2012

Clarke doesn’t go to the park. She takes Shakespeare for a walk around the block instead. When they get back home, she trots into the bedroom as if she’s disappointed. Clarke knows the feeling.

May 15, 2012

An excruciating week goes by before Clarke can muster the courage to return to her and Shakespeare’s favorite park. Octavia was far less of a ass about her predicament and gave her some sound advice. She hoped she could go through with it.

The woman – Lexa – was on her usual bench flipping through a magazine. Clarke took a deep breath, just like O had instructed and marched over there.

“Hi.”

“Oh, hi, Clarke. Haven’t seen you around.” She smiling. Clarke is dying.

“I’ve been avoiding the park.” Clarke hopes to God O was right about honesty being the best policy.

“Why?”

“Well because you make me nervous.”

Lexa laughs as if it’s the most ludicrous thing anyone has ever said and Clarke is having second, third, and fourth thoughts.

“Me? How on earth do i do that?”

Here goes nothing. If this blows up in her face Shakespeare will have to get used to a new park. “Because you’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen and I just don’t know how to talk to you. But I want to,” she adds quickly when Lexa’s smile disappears. “I want to so badly I’m just a little…” Shakespeare wants to get away so Clarke releases her. “You could tell me to go away or you could ask me to join you.” She nods at the empty spot beside Lexa.

“To talk.” Clarke nods slowly. “About?”

“Anything, I just want to be near you.”

Lexa’s head tilts, her lips part, her cheeks color.

May 20, 2012

Their first date was two nights ago. Raven, her college roommate and the biggest serial dater she knows, told her to take Lexa Lazer tagging. Clarke was uneasy about it sighting that they should do something romantic but Raven was so fucking convincing. Thank all that is holy for Raven Reyes because Clarke and Lexa had a blast. They laughed the whole time as they mercilessly took down all the kids in the place. Lexa had never been but was a natrual. They teamed up against 52 kids and came out victorious. Afterwards they got ice cream and walked hand in hand to the train. Lexa’s lips tasted like chocolate. 

 Their second date, tonight, will take place at Lexa’s, she said chef at Silvo’s, this fancy itialian eatery in Soho. Clarke is so nervous she has no idea which one of her friends to turn so she makes the mistake of calling her mom. Abby Griffin has never, not once, thought a single person Clarke dated was good enough for her. Abby’s advice was that if she was this nervous then maybe something is wrong with this new girl. Clarke rolled her eyes and insisted this one was different and asked to hear about her first date with her dad for the three thousandth time. Clarke could hear her mom’s smile through the phone as she recounted the nervous wreck Jake had been. She paused and sighed when she got to their first kiss. Clarke’s heart broke in several places as Abby went on. She missed her dad so much.

 Lexa’s apartment was a little too modern for Clarke’s taste, she’s very much into any and all things vintage, but it suits her perfectly. There’s photography lining every wall and books at every turn. Her ceilings are high and her windows are huge and the decor is mostly black, white, and grey. Her kitchen is bigger than the rest of her apartment combined and she’s moving about naturally while telling Clarke all about her day. Thus far, when they are not together, they stay on the phone or texting. On nights when they see one another, they agreed to keep contact to a minimum, just so they can savor their time together after having missed each other all day. Clarke hopes Lexa is just as crazy about her; it seems like she might be. 

 The decision to eat in Lexa’s home opposed to a restaurant was a sound one. Clarke had never tasted anything so delicious in her life. And there was pie, homemade from scratch, after dinner and a couple glasses of wine. 

 Things got quiet and comfortable after dessert, even though Clarke felt like she could listen to Lexa forever. After staring a little too long at each other Lexa got up and put a record on. It was a man’s voice and song Clarke didn’t reconize. It was deep and melodic in a way that touched Clarke’s bones, warming her from the inside out. It was slow and Lexa offered Clarke her hand. They danced around Lexa’s living room while Clarke calmly burned. She was on fire, every inch that touched Lexa was scolding. Her chest ached and she wondered, briefly, if she had truly ever loved her ex boyfriend Finn. He never made her feel like this, no one had. 

 June 2, 2012 

 Trying to stay away from Lexa was akin to trying to not breathe. Unless she wanted to die, she needed to do it. But she didn’t want to move too fast, didn’t want to scared Lexa off. So even though she’d much rather be out with Lexa, she’s hanging at Octavia’s for an impromptu barbecue. She’s sipping a beer suffocating from Lexa’s absence. 

 June 15, 2012 

 Lexa wants to have sex. If she were any clearer there might be a sign around her neck that read, “Clarke, fuck me.” But she doesn’t want to, well she does want to, in the worse way, but she doesn’t want to rush, and she doesn’t want to ruin anything. Sex always ruins everything. 

 “I should head home.” Clarke kisses lexa nose, and forehead, and chin, and behind her ear. She loves that. 

 “I really want you to stay.” 

 “I’m flying out tomorrow, I need to get home.” Lexa kisses her in a way that demands Clarke stay right where she is, but she pulls back and gives Lexa’s nose another smooch. 

 “Well,” her voice is soft as silk, but dripping with seduction. “That’s why I want you to stay, because I won’t see you for a whole week.” Lexa pulls Clarke by the back of her neck but Clarke turns her face. If she feels Lexa’s lips just one more time, she won’t leave. 

 “It’s only six days, and you’ll pick me up from the airport right?” 

 Lexa’s hand drops and so do her shoulders. “Right.” 

 “Hey, come on, it’s only six days,” she reminds. 

 “Why won’t you have sex with me?” 

 Lexa isn’t assertive. She’s a quiet bookworm who’s meek and sweet. She doesn’t like attention, and she pays no mind to people gawking at her beauty. She’s humble and generous and Clarke, on a daily basis, feels no where near good enough for this angel. She can see the pain and confusion that led to that question and it kills her that she’s the one who caused it. 

 “Are you kidding me? Of course i want that, I just… I’m not ready is all.” 

 “I – we’ve been together for four weeks.” 

 “Together?” They’ve yet to label what they are. Is this what Lexa’s been thinking?

 “Um, well…no I mean dating. We’ve been dating for four weeks and I would never in a million years pressure you but it just feels like you don’t want me like that.” She’s tearing up and Clarke’s heart rate makes her sweat. 

“What, Lexa –” 

 “Is there someone else? Are you seeing other people? Because not two minutes again you blanched at the idea of us being together.” 

 “Lexa –” She’s off the couch, pacing. 

“I can’t be hurt again, I won’t be. I won’t sit here feeling all these things, wanting all these things and we aren’t even on the same page.” 

 “Lexa –” 

 “I deserve more than that. It’s taking me a long time, but,” her pacing ceases, she stares Clarke down, “I know my worth and I won’t sit here –” 

 “Lexa!” Clarke’s off the couch and across the room in two seconds, holding Lexa by her shoulders. “There is no one else. How could there be? How could I ever want anyone ever again?” Clarke shakes her head. “You’ve ruined me for anyone else. Lexa, listen to me, the reason I haven’t been ready yet is because of me, not you or us. Lex, I’ve fucked up literally every single relationship I’ve ever been in. Eventually I decided casual sex would be easier. I’ve lived that way for so long, then you come into my life. We haven’t taken that step yet because I always rush, I always move way too fast and before I know it everything comes crashing down. I knew you were different, I knew I couldn’t fucked this up. I don’t know how I’d live with myself if I fucked this up. I don’t want to do the same things with you that I’ve done with everyone else. You, this, us… it’s so special to me, I want to treat it as such.” 

 Lexa’s eyes have unshed tears in them when she sofly, slowly, pulls Clarke to her lips. 

 July 4, 2012 

 Fourth of July in the Hamptons with Lexa’s rich as fuck family. Yay. Clarke had no clue Lexa came from old money, she vaguely glossed over what her mother and father do. She said nothing about them owing estates and private helicopters. Lexa looks so nervous, like Clarke will run any minute. 

 “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you I just never know how to bring it up.” She explains on the private balcony in her room. The home is at least twenty thousand square feet. The land, Lexa said, is seven acres. Clarke shrugs it off, pulls lexa into a hug and worries about her family thinking she’s not good enough. 

 Lexa has only ever brought one girl home before. Clarke knew everything about Costia, the woman Lexa spent nine years with and married. The woman who was Lexa’s high school sweetheart. The woman who proposed in a hotel in San Antonio. The woman who died three weeks after their wedding at the hands of a mugger. That was four years ago. Lexa hasn’t dated anyone since, until Clarke.

 Her family is a bit uppity and a little standoff-ish. They’re polite enough but Clarke feels unbelievably out of place. She went to a superb college. She makes six figures. She comes from the home of a doctor, and the ghost of a mechanical engineer. She of good elk. So why does she feel so small? 

 Lexa finds her by a willow tree, she kisses her so gently, then tells her the fireworks are about to start. She looks in Clarke’s eyes for a moment then kisses her once more. 

 “Then again, if you’ve seen one fireworks show, you’ve seen them all.” 

 Clarke gives her a grateful smile and they kiss under the willow tree until long after the sky stopped crackling. 

 July 8, 2012 

 The kitchen in her apartment has always been a safe place. A space where she can just go whip up whatever Paula Deen had just showed her. The kitchen has always been where she had fun and enjoyed being creative and trying new recipes. Today the kitchen is a living nightmare. For the first time since they’ve met, clarke is going to cook for Lexa. This woman who is held in such high regard in the restaurant community. The woman who’s restaurant has a five month waiting list. This is the woman Clarke is going to prepare a meal for and she’s having a fucking melt down. 

 The love of her life is wearing a yellow sundress that goes perfectly with those green eyes. They drink wine before she serves dinner – mostly to calm Clarke’s nerves – and she determines there must be a god because Lexa is looking pleased after her first bite. She smiles big and tells Clarke it’s really good. 

 “You’d tell me if it sucked ass though, right?” 

 She laughs. “I don’t think I’d use those words. I think I’d just give you some pointers for next time.” 

 Clarke sighs with relief and pours Lexa another glass of wine. Lexa is looking through Clarke’s extensive DVD collection. “What are you in the mood for?” 

 She takes Lexa’s face in her hands and whispers against her lips, “Not a movie.”

 Clarke was wrong, Lexa’s cooking is the second  most delicious thing she’s ever tasted. 

 March 13, 2014 

 What’s that old adage? Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong? Something like that and it sums up today. Things broke. The band was late, stuck in traffic. A bridesmaid was drunk. A disapproving mother tried to talk sense into a head over heels in love daughter. But after the I dos and the first dance and the cake in the face, Clarke and Lexa lay in a bathtub big enough for six, happily married.

 They’re at a fancy hotel by the airport, their plane to Bora, Bora takes off at nine am tomorrow. Clarke is kissing Lexa’s neck as her hand slips down her wife’s stomach. 

 September 7, 2016 

 Newborns suck, Clarke decides. They’re so small, how are humans ever this small? At every turn she thinks she’s going to break Jake, named after Clarke’s long gone father. They call him J.J. All he does is cry, vomit, eat, poop, and sleep. Lexa thinks every move he makes is the most adorable thing in the world. Shakespeare won’t go near him and Wolf stands at alert wherever the baby is. 

Clarke is worried she’s going to be a terrible mom. Lexa’s first night back to work after giving birth was hard for all three of them. J.J. was colic-y, Clarke was scared he was dying, and Lexa called home every thirty minutes. J.J. was sleep by the time Lexa arrived home but her other baby was a sobbing mess. Clarke is terrified beyond belief that they’ve made a huge mistake. How do people raise babies, it seems so fake to her. How have people not constantly killed their kids, why is having kids even allowed? Laughter isn’t what Clarke expected and she doesn’t want to sleep in the same bed as her wife. There’s a bed in J.J.’s room so she sleeps there. Good thing too because he woke up every two hours. 

She’s exhausted, grumpy, and pissed with her wife. She takes the dogs for their morning walk the second Lexa opens her eyes. 

 February 11, 2017 

 This mom thing isn’t as bad when you get used to it, Clarke finds. They fall into a routine, the three of them, and it becomes so enjoyable, taking care of J.J., that she sits Lexa down and explains she doesn’t want to go back to work. Lexa is secretly thrilled, even though she tries to downplay it, but Clarke knows her wife, Lexa wanted this, but she would have never asked for it. 

 August 29, 2022 

 Three down, one to go and Clarke finally Let lexa convince her to give birth this time. Lexa carried J.J. and Lana. They adopted Henry a year ago and now today they’re in the doctor’s officer waiting for Clarke to be inseminated. Lexa’s been sucking on a lollipop she conned one of the nurses into giving her. 

“You know, someone once told me chances of this taking increase if aroused.”

 Clarke smirks. “I was just trying to get some booty.” 

 “Well so am I.” 

 Her lips taste of cherry.

3

Homs province: The feet of one of the five dead bodies of civilians killed by a mortar explosion in his house, Homs province on February 20, 2012. ALESSIO ROMENZI

SYRIA, Idlib province, Taftanaz: A Syrian woman walks nearby the ruins of a house destroyed by Al Assad forces shelling, on April 12, 2012

SYRIA, Idlib province: Children walk down a street in Killi, a town in Idlib province, a few days after troops of the Al Assad regime entered the village to destroy and burn houses of allegedly pro revolution activists on April 11, 2012. Alessio Romenzi .

“This is the beginning of EXO” *puts glasses on* Well, sir, according to my memory and some investigations, EXO’s official beginning took place on April 12, 2012. I can totally support that information because I’ve fuckING SPENT MORE THAN TWO YEARS CRYING OVER THAT FUCKING BOYBAND AND GAY AND DRAMA AND MORE GAY AND MORE DRAMA AND I WONT FORGET A THING ABOUT THOSE FUCKING MORE THAN TWO YEARS OKAY!????? *glasses fall* Um, I’m sorry, where were we?

youtube

UGHHH. This whole video is just unbelievable.

But the version of Bon Iver’s cover that I just listened to is about 8:10 in. Sean and Justin… glwjealrj. THEY JUST GIVE ME SO MANY FEELS OKAY.

“My family and I were visiting my grandparents so they could see my sister’s newborn for the first time. While I was in the living room my Dad called me into their room really quickly to take a picture of my Grandpa doing my Grandma’s hair before I missed it. It wasn’t until I was about to take the picture when I noticed their wedding picture in the background, so I stepped back to fit it in and it came out great. This picture was taken on February 12, 2012 and she passed away April 12, 2012. My grandparents were married a little over 50 years.”

(Photograph by Paul Mora)