Most magickians fall foul of depression at some point in their lives.
It comes with the territory for individuals who consistently push the boundaries of consensus reality, descending like a numbing cloak to paralyse otherwise brilliant minds past the point of inertia.
Perhaps it directly results from living lifestyles which enhance our isolation from the average human herd, a reaction to constant conflict with people who, through either dogma or stupidity, like to point the bone at those that stand apart.
Regardless, many a great sorcerer has been broken by the weight of the lies in which we all drown, sinking into the depths of insanity.
That said, the very fact that occultists see the world differently can be your greatest asset when combating depression in all its myriad forms.
The most important thing to remember is that internal stimuli can be better faced if it is first personified. Samuel Johnson coined the term black dog to anthropomorphise these feelings in the Eighteenth Century, while Winston Churchill would cement the convention in the Western mindset once his low mental state became more widely discussed after World War Two.
Such has been the mundane method of coping with this cannibalistic angst, and the overtly canine results fill the pages of many pop psychology texts around the world to this day.
Of course, those supposedly great men could never have foreseen just how useful this damnable Shuck would be if put to work.
The beauty of the underlying methodology involved in lifting your spirits is that it requires very little in the way of physical accessories, instead relying on the self same psyche which is being constantly buffeted by the winds of banality.
This is because feeling helpless feeds the black dog like no other emotion until misery renders even the most pleasurable experiences moot. No love, no lust, nothing can fill the aching void at the centre of your soul.
You simply become a slave to emptiness, and that is exactly what is required to birth this servitor.
Once the ego is compromised in such a way, successful spell craft becomes noticeably harder to achieve, further fueling the endless cycle of self recrimination.
This is especially pronounced in those who do not rely on external godforms for their practice, instead preferring to hack reality by sheer ingenuity alone.
But the very action of anthropomorphising and externalising this otherwise nebulous feeling of self loathing can create a powerful, and most times deadly, servant to fling at your enemies like a trained war hound.
And best of all, this creature will remain true to its destructive nature with very little programming either during or after its creation.
It is widely accepted that servitors fed on negative emotions are dangerous.
Ethereal beings created from bundled information, these unreal homunculi are reflections of the mindset of their creator, all too easily becoming scrying mirrors into the depths of a damaged psyche if given even half the chance.
Thus, many occultists may caution against undertaking such a birth while suffering from any form of mental aberration, let alone that caused by the black dog. Yet as any true magickian will attest, there is great treasure to be found in desperation, while personal anguish can become its own initiation under the right circumstances too.
The concept of crisis magick is as relevant now as it was when the term was originally coined back in the early days of the internet, leading those who will dance on the razor’s edge to greatness one splash of blood at a time.
Quick, dirty and unpolished, such sloppy casting perfectly suits the depressed frame of mind. Daily mindfulness meditation in this vein will allow the magickian to analyse the entropic gnawing that they are feeling, to turn these darker thoughts over within their mind and then stitch them onto the heavily scarred canine patchwork that now dwells like a roiling ball of hate in the corner of the room.
Thus the black dog is imagined, sigilised, evoked and expelled much like any other servitor, albeit a far more personal one than most the magickian will create in their lifetime.
As for keeping it fed, pain finds its own level and destructive thoughts only know how to sow chaos, so be warned that your particular Shuck will have a one track mind when out and about. It can be easily loosed towards the person whose actions caused your current low mental state. Or it can be freed to do as it pleases, taking the negativity with it as you hear the tap tap of paws get ever further away in your mind.
Regardless of how tightly you decide to hold its leash, remember that the blood will be on your hands alone should the beast decide to bite.
In the end, how large and aggressive your personal black dog becomes will only be limited by the amount of negative energy you can channel into it.
While depression can cling like fleas to the average psyche, it is the magickian who has the force of will to scour these parasitic feelings freely before putting them to work.
Meditation, visualisation, all the skills usually required to become an adept will allow the practitioner to divest themselves of their chains.
After all, the anthropomorphic idea of a four-legged canine looming over your shoulder may not be a bad thing, especially if you can teach it to play fetch.
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