Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Amber McCoy Story

I assure you that my claims are quite true. It is an undisputed fact that anyone can wield magic. Children receive their birthday wishes and men utter their curses with little thought to the power behind their words; but this is magic in its most simplistic of forms. Mothers often caution their youngsters,
“be careful what you wish for.”

Veritable advice indeed for magic is not in any way, shape, or form…safe.

My path to occultism and witchcraft is an evolving process; one that begins perhaps with my humble beginnings.

I was born an American in the quaint town of Flagstaff, Arizona to Doctor Kenneth Leland McCoy and his wife, Amanda Mae (formerly Shermer) McCoy. I was the youngest of four, my brothers being named Vern Horatio McCoy, Jules Leland McCoy and Shermer Markham McCoy.

My father was the resident barber, dentist and surgeon of Flagstaff, though that cannot even begin to encompass the whole of his practice. The people consulted him for everything, medicine, politics, ethics, and the weather. It was understood that my jovial father knew the answers to the most obtuse questions and may even have an answer for the very question one had not even yet thought to ask. Even the chiefs and the wise grandmothers of the Navajo and Hopi peoples had their teeth cleaned and checked by my father. The presence of these noble people was a great boon for me, for they introduced me to the metaphysical spirit world and led me to find my totemic spirit protectors. They encouraged me to connect with my family ancestry and from there I learned of the great and powerful Celtic Goddess Cerridwen; Goddess of Rebirth, Poetry, Shape Shifting and Magic.

As for the rest of my family, Vern worked with his hands and settled with a few chickens and a cow and has bred two fine young, daughters, Jules became a rather studious clerk, Shermer, well, he’s had a bit of trouble finding his way. My father had a thirst for knowledge and a great love of music and I was enamored. My father provided me with a most excellent education; I am well versed in Niche, Machiavelli, and Sun Tzu. I have read the works of Aristotle and Homer. I have studied the findings of Sigmund Freud (I find his penis envy theory essentially flawed) and Charles Darwin, who lead my father and I to discuss a broader range of spiritual possibilities. In addition to my native American English, I was taught French, Spanish and Italian. I am gifted in mathematics and have knowledge of chemistry, biology, astronomy, botany and anatomy. I also am a proficient marksman and yes, I can even throw a lariat. I can also sing, play the piano and know all the dances historic in nature and all those currently in fashion.

As one may imagine, my father and I held discourse for hours on every imaginable topic. We were inseparable, the two of us. I even began to assist him in his practice, and I can efficiently stitch a wound and pull a tooth, as well as any surgeon. Everyone in Flagstaff surmised that I would one day take over for my father. I was undeniably, my father’s favorite child and I admit unabashedly I was terribly spoiled. My father absolutely loved technology and sought to procure all of the latest inventions of the day to share with me. We even had a miniature dirigible large enough for only two which we flew often over the Sonoran desert.

It may be this extravagant love of invention that made my mother so miserly, or perhaps it was jealousy; either way it was determined that there would be no costly clothes made for my female form. My mother was brought up as the only child of a poor farmer. Having not had them herself, she charged that dresses would bring down my character and dressed me in the clothes my three elder brothers had out grown. This I did not mind so much. Pantaloons made climbing trees and calf roping that much more accessible, and there were no gown trains to catch on the equipment of the tiny dirigible control room. My hair, though, that was another matter. For the whole of my youth, my mother cut it off, in a style like that of a boy. I often say it is for want of a talented barber that I now keep my hair so long, but that wouldn’t explain my love for ringlets, which is an arduous overnight procedure. I suppose I must admit that my copious coiffure of curls is most likely for spite. What would Dr. Freud have to say about that I wonder?

My operose mother was difficult to please at best. I sought refuge from her reproach and made the decision to travel the world. I had an additional talent inherited by my father. I had sight, and by this I do not mean by my eyes. When a patient would come to my father for a problem that had little to do with his teeth, my father and I would have a wordless exchange and we would employ this sight of ours. What my father saw I cannot say for this was never discussed with words, but I can tell you that I can see when someone lies. It is for me, as plain as the nose on one’s face. The light in front of the face turns black, as if a cephalopod from the writing of Dr. Pierre Arronox released its ink in midair. Helpful in diagnosing illness, crucial when playing poker.

It was actually my brother Shermer who introduced me to the game of poker. Veritably, I find the game rather a bore. I prefer Euchre which requires skill with cards and a ruthless desire to win, which I have. But, it is a rarity to find a saloon offering a betting table for Euchre. Poker has little to do with your cards and more about your ability to spot a lie, and be a liar yourself. This was also a gift I perfected. You see my Hopi and Navajo pedagogues had bequeathed me with the spirit totems. From Sister Deer I learned how to quiver. Grandfather Owl taught me how to dilate my pupils. Brother Wolf gave me command over my own body temperature. All exceptionally delectable talents for delivering a crushing blow at the poker table. With only a meager pair I appear smug and confident and with a Royal Flush, I can convincingly flush my face with feigned agitation. And no matter how superb the bluff, no one can hide that black auric ink from me.

Poker provided me with fiscal independence and for the first time could dress as I myself pleased…though, I found pantaloons much more agreeable for vaulting saloon doors and scaling down drainpipes from third story boudoirs. Ahem, men can be quite jealous of superior skill in card playing among other things.

I traveled the entirety of the United States and Mexico, and across the seas to Great Britain and Ireland. I spent seven years in Ireland…simultaneously the greatest and most deplorable time of my life. Those seven years are an entire story themselves alone. I will make known now however, that my father died while I was in Ireland. My mother saw fit to bequeath the dirigible to Shermer. Vern’s last letter told me that it is currently grounded, rotting away in the desert sun of Tucson, Arizona.

Arizona I do not think was ever to be my destiny.

When I returned to America I eventually found myself in Chicago, Illinois, and it was there in that metropolis, at a high stakes contest where I met the transcendental Professor Marius Mandragore, and my life changed profoundly.

I nearly shot him at our first meeting for during a particular hand he kept up with a disquieting “Ha! Ha!” My fellow players were beginning to suspect he was my plant helping me cheat. During a break in the competition I was surveying the drainpipes when the Professor approached and stated “I know what you are doing.” I nearly vaulted out the window right there; but he stopped me with “auric sensibility my dear.” He followed with, “tell me, have you mastered shape shifting and time travel yet?”

Let it suffice to say, neither did I utilize the drainpipe, nor did I finish that particular competition. I became the apprentice of the Professor. In addition to my magical studies, I help the Professor facilitate meetings of the Owen Society for Hermetic and Spiritual Enlightenment, a secret society for Victorians with a thirst for knowledge of the occult.

I continue my practice of pantaloons, though my latest acquisition were trousers for time travel.

This essay has been altered from it's previous format which is provided below. Many of the photographs of Amber are courtesy of Mike Smith, Photographic Services International.

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