This is one of my earliest confrontations with our enemy. I had little idea of the meaning until several years later, but I felt at the time that something miraculous had happened. To this day I look back on the encounter with Apep, and wonder whether my friends were cursed or blessed to know their enemy so intimately.
In December of 1999 I was asked to speak before a congregation located in my home city. They were and are a very private group, and asked that I not disclose the identities of their membership; but they agreed that there was no harm in relating this story and giving the name of their order, which is The Turquoise Eye.
First a little background for those who are not routinely contacted by off-mainstream religious orders. They are rare beasts compared to the usual institutions. For example, on the stretch of road between my wetland home and the nearest grocer, there is one Catholic church, 6 other Christian churches, and an administrative headquarters for a Christian charity.
As far as I know, there is only one group of druids in our whole county (there is, interestingly enough, a secular monastic order of scholars on occultism; their story comes a bit later, however).
Before I digress too much, let me tell you why this particular group contacted me. Over the course of 1998 my local reputation had grown, through word of mouth, regarding my investigations into lucid dreaming, sigils, and other topics typically shelved near the metaphysical section of your local book store. I was neither journalist nor debunker nor evangelist, but was driven by honest curiosity, and I think that is why I was well received. “New Developments in Sigil Magick” was the topic that day at The Turquoise Eye, and it was not one of my better presentations, alas.
After I spoke to the congregation, the head of the order asked if I would join them in what they called a looking back. Not knowing what to expect, and hoping it would not involve chemical intoxicants, I agreed. The head of the order went by his ceremonial name, Lord Atum-Ra.
Atum-Ra introduced me to the Justice of the order, who went by the name Brother Osiris. Osiris described details of the order's 98 year history, from its founding as a correspondence group in 1901 to the planting of their grove and later addition of a brick and mortar temple. They were a quasi-druidic order, in that they mixed elements of Druidism with several other schools of religion and ceremony. Notably they had no qualms about writing, one of my enduring frustrations with more traditional druids.