Recently, someone suggested that the Nascakiyetl Group was an all-absorbing, hierarchical, cult. This public face is one of Raven's tricks, of course. A group like this simply can't be hierarchical or an exclusive cult. Here's a different viewpoint.
Raven has toys: he keeps them on his marble tray. I'm truly not sure whether he moves each one deliberately or whether he sort of tips the tray in an effort to get them moving in the desired direction, but I tend towards the latter theory. Raven has a sense of humour as well: either that or I fell onto the marble tray by mistake.
I guess there must have been a transition from my being unaware of the Group to being associated with it, but I don't consciously recall it. This fits with what I know of Raven's warped sense of humour. Elsewhere on this site there's the suggestion that Raven sets his Toys all sorts of wacky and completely illogical tasks in order to work out how well they can stand the pace. Well, truly, wackiness and il-logic have accompanied me all the days of my life. Somewhere along the line Raven just temporarily took over the role of dishing out the wackiness. If that was the transition to being a Toy, then it didn't hurt a bit. Most anthropologists and most Jungian psychologists would suggest that it ought to have done. Either it wasn't the type of transition they describe or most of them are wrong.
Partly because I was well-used to wackiness and partly because I can be extremely dense in such matters at times, it was a while before I realised that I was a Toy. The first phase was that odd things would happen with which I was uniquely qualified to deal. This was neat - I could help out friends and feel good about life. As I said, Raven has a sense of humour.
The Jungians are right. The next transition hurt a lot. Raven's trickster aspect is also a very good salesman. I have my suspicions that all of the barkers in those shops which are permanently "closing down" are actually Toys. I went into the shop to buy a roll of tape and came out with an inflatable sofa.
Eventually, I was forced to the conclusion that phase one had ended and I was now being set tasks for which I was uniquely un-qualified. I think that the realisation may have stuck me in a taxi, almost completely lost, forty miles from anywhere I knew, with a driver who spoke very little English. The sensation involved in phase two was remarkably like professional project management: your greatest fear is not actually of screwing up, but that one day everyone will realise that you haven't the faintest idea what you're doing.
That I didn't develop a screaming fit and run for cover may well have been because I didn't realise what was going to happen next. After all, I'd already completely failed to light a fire and cuddled a dragon in the pouring rain - what could possibly be more off-the wall than that?
Coming from a strict teetotal background, I had always been told that drink would be my undoing. How right my grandfather was. I was on home territory, the day's Work had been rewarding and the discussion afterwards had ranged far and wide over a number of interesting topics. My guard was down. Raven was nowhere to be seen. Raven's sales-force, however, bought me another drink and asked me to look at a simple geometry puzzle. Raven is, after all, a trickster.
I completed the task I thought I'd been set. Between me and the six numbers I required had been three UK research organisations I won't name for fear that they won't deal with me again. A simple spreadsheet calculation and the answer dropped out. I emailed it off and that was that. Or not. The peripheral information I had gathered worked the trick for which Raven presumably intended it. If "young men shall see visions and .. .. old men shall dream dreams" then I'm middle aged. It would be nice to say "I didn't ask for it to happen" but in truth, I deliberately invited it. It all felt nice and safe in the comfort of my own home. It still felt safe as I compared notes with members of Nascakiyetl. They were all extremely encouraging, in fact.
Dodging white vans in the dark on a road with no pavement whilst trying to locate a geographic feature I just knew was 273 yards from... well, actually, I didn't know where I was, which was part of the problem. And somehow it didn't seem to be quite as safe as the simple visualisation exercise which preceeded it. And then - well, there it was, exactly as the visualisation had indicated, exactly as the arithmetic had indicated. I think that was worse than not finding it. Adrenaline is still brown, the same colour it's always been.
I prefer not to think that I flunked the audition for tool-ship. I don't think the marble bounced off the intended hole. I prefer to think that I'm the wrong shape of marble. Instead, for some reason, Raven decided that a call-off contract was a better bet than direct employment. As a full-fledged Tool, I'd probably get in the way most of the time. As a Friend, Raven can dust me off, wind me up and point me in a desired direction. Raven does this either when I'm absolutely right for the job, or when it's very funny to do so. At the end of the task, Raven puts me back in the box. That's fine by me - it gives me time for other Work. Anyone for a game of pinball?