My Response to Overwhelming Community Support   14 comments

Greetings, brothers and sisters!

I have been pretty quiet over the past couple of days – mainly because I really just “needed a moment.”  What I’ve witnessed over the past 48 hours has utterly floored and humbled me, leaving me (perhaps for the first time ever) speechless.

Umm..... No.

Umm….. No.

But I know I gotta say something, so I’ve been trying to think of how best to share my feelings.  That’s no easy task because I’m really all over the map on this one.  Where do I even begin??

Here’s Looking At You – For Now…

Ok, first let me tell you how all of this came to be.  Last fall, I went to the eye doctor because the vision in my right eye was getting increasingly blurry.  I had to squint one eye closed to do almost anything, and I was getting headaches besides.  I already “suffer” from ocular albinism, which basically means bright light hurts my eyes, I have incredible night vision, but everything else about my vision generally sucks.  Oh, and it means I have a chance of various eye problems as I get older – such as cataracts.  Which I got, in spades.  I was told I have the eyes of a 70 year old man.  lol  Also, I was told that my right eye was already legally blind, and the left eye would follow soon enough.

When it came time to talk payment, my heart sank.  I’m not very experienced with the insurance game (in my youth, I sure as hell couldn’t afford medical) – so I was shocked to learn that my out-of-pocket expenses combined with a ridiculous deductible meant I had to raise over $5000!

And could I spread that out over a payment plan?  Of course not!  This is America, boy!  Cars and televisions come on easy payment plans.  But sick people can just suffer unless they raise the money because fuck sick people.  :(

Bunch of jerks...

Bunch of jerks…

When I told this news to my household, my friend and brother Steve Kinney said, “Screw that, we’ll crowd-source that bitch!”  And that was the last I heard of it.  The Holidays followed soon after, and all of our attention and resources had to focus on that.

Those of you who know me have seen the eye patch I’ve worn for the last several months.  Some of you actually thought I was joking around about going blind, and that the eye patch was a prank or weird fashion statement – which officially makes me the Andy Kaufman of the occult world.  lol

Yep – Seems about right…

Then, just two nights ago, Steve up and published the YouCaring website to raise the funds.  I was at work at the time I discovered it, and thought ‘Well, it’s got a month, let’s see how much it can raise.  Every little bit helps.’

What I saw from that point forward was nothing short of incredible.

The Modern Western Occult Community

You guys know the rest of the story, because you ARE the rest of the story.  I believe the first donation came in around noon the following day.  Then – ye Gods! – I think the entire global occult community responded!  I believe I now know what it’s like to “go viral” – because I was suddenly all over Facebook, Twitter, emails, phone calls, etc, etc.  Even Chic Cicero was getting calls.  Many of you, quite rightly, wanted to make sure this was not a hoax or scam before you committed yourselves.

But, once you knew it was real, you all got together and showed such incredible, mind-blowing support.  The full goal of the fund-raiser was reached in less than a day!  I have also been reading the comments you’ve posted to the YouCaring page as well as Facebook, and I have been deeply moved and humbled by the expressions of love, caring, support and well-wishes I have seen there.  I wish I could respond to each and every one of you personally, to express even a small portion of my gratitude for all you have done.  :)

youre-awesome

All too often, you guys are going to read about how awful we occultists are.  You’ll be told we are all ego and no compassion.  You’ll hear that we would rather fight and belittle one another than give the time of day.  You’ll even see it said, emphatically, that there is something wrong with occultists that just makes us horrible people.

And every time you encounter that nonsense, I want you to come back here and read this post.  (Or, even better, read the comments made by the Supporters at the YouCaring page.)  In the past two days, I have seen every wall crumble.  Every hatchet set aside.  Every hard feeling forgotten.  And I have seen Thelemites, Golden Dawners, Pagans, Voodoo and Hoodoo practitioners, Wiccans, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Atheists and more all come together with one single proclamation:  “We take care of our own!”

Unity-Poster

And you did!  We are certainly a dysfunctional family, but when the chips are down and a member of the family is in need we come together and get shit done.  :)

And this isn’t an isolated case!  I’ve seen you guys do this before, and I have no doubt whatsoever you’ll (we’ll) do it again when another member of our family needs emergency help.  Because, yeah, we take care of our own.

Thanks.  And Thanks.  And…  THANKS!  :)

I can’t thank all of you enough!  This Monday I’ll be calling the eye doc to schedule my first surgery.  Within the next couple of months, I will set aside my glasses for the final time since the first grade.  That’s right – you didn’t just step in and keep me from going blind.  They’re going to aim a Buck Rogers laser at my eyeballs and damn well fix them for good.  :)  (I’ll always be an ocular albino, of course, but I’ll be able to actually see for the first time I can remember.)

Ahhhh... Memories

Ahhhh… Memories

Thank you, Steve Kinney, for taking the initiative in setting up this fundraiser.  Without you, I’d still be sitting at home wondering how in the hell I’d save the funds before my left eye finally gave out!  I honestly (honestly!) did not know how many people out there seriously appreciate my work and contributions to the Community.

Thank you Carrie Mikell, my lovely wife, who fielded all the calls and texts and emails that poured in once the fundraiser went live.  If she had a dollar for every time she had to say “Yes, this is real” we wouldn’t have needed nearly as much from the fundraiser!  ;)

I also want to thank all of you who shared and tweeted my story over the internet.  Especially Nick Farrell, who took it and ran with it more than any other, both on his blog and on Facebook.  Even those of you who couldn’t contribute funds (believe me I know how it is!) still got the word out there, which was every bit as important.

Some of you even took the fundraising off the net and into your own circles and temples.  I want to thank you as individuals and as organizations.

Keep an eye on the YouCaring page, and this blog, for further updates.  I’ll post pics – especially before and after shots, and maybe a shot of me throwing my glasses in the trash.  lol

Also, remember that any donations beyond the costs of the surgery and associated expenses (like meds) will go directly to the Himalayan Cataract Project.  Steve researched them, and they are top-of-the-line where it comes to your donations actually getting to the people who need help.  So we’re going to make sure that several people get their eyesight back from this.  ;)

And, have no fear, I’ll be getting to work on the next book this year.  That’s what you guys were paying for, and I have no plans to disappoint!  (Next in the queue, Abramelin!  Then maybe one final Enochian book after that.)

It’s damn hard to have faith in this world, as I’m sure you know.  But I’ll tell you one thing – I’ve got an unshakable faith in our particular corner of it.  If this is who we really are, then I’ve chosen the right life path.

In LVX

Aaron

Posted January 12, 2014 by kheph777 in social commentary

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14 responses to “My Response to Overwhelming Community Support

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  1. Congratulations, and all the best. I’d been tracking to see how close you’d get, so see what I can throw in to help, but before it got to that you’d already hit the mark. Yay Occultists. And consider giving your old glasses away, eg to http://www.lionsclubs.org/EN/our-work/sight-programs/eyeglass-recycling/how-you-can-help.php

  2. That’s very good Aaron. Hope you get well soon, may be with fashion glasses because the sun. :)

  3. I am so glad the funds have been raised in such a short time. Eye sight is essential and I wish you will have an easy surgery and fast recovery.
    Best wishes to you and yours!

  4. Shalom. So glad to see that you got what you needed. That was a horrible situation you were in and I’m glad to see that humans acted like humans and took care of one of their own.

  5. Very moving. It’s such a beautiful story, and I’m very glad the community came through for you! Best wishes for the operations!

  6. Wow what a wonderful happening, the occult community coming together to help you, so you are definitely loved. I am sitting here recovering from a neurosurgery earlier in the year Medicare Part B will not pay for and neither do I and have been fighting with the hospital for 4+ months to get my co-pay back. And recovering from recent back surgery i will owe about $2500+ for since they did not consider me poor enough for a charity discount. Money grabbing B_ _ tards. I am even selling off Tibetan Buddhist antiques i have collected for decades on eBay to get the funds. I like how your extra money is going to a Himalayan cataract fund, a Very noble cause. Be Blessed.

  7. Aaron,

    Books or no books in the future, you deserve whatever assistance modern technology can provide.
    93

  8. Reblogged this on Blau Stern Schwarz Schlonge and commented:
    I originally found this story at The Wild Hunt and it is a wonderful story of how the magickal community helped with Frater Ananael’s medical bills. There are also good links for those of you who may also need this service. Enjoy.

  9. It seems as if donations are closed–correct me if I’m wrong.

    Let me donate some info about cataract surgery, as I had mine in November (worse vision, right eye) and in December (the other…) of 2012. My cost per eye for the special toric lens (should have corrected my astigmatism as well as my extreme far sight) was $1500, on top of any other costs associated with the surgery. My ophthalmologist *would* have given me a payment plan. They’re Sikh, by the way, and I chose Dr Kaur to a large part due to that (no proselytizing), locality, and she was downstairs from my podiatrist (had a bone spur on my right heal that I thought was plantar fasciitis). My previous frames of 4 yrs were decomposing, too. Turns out that Harrup Kaur is in the top 10% of eye surgeons in the country. She also spends time caring for lower-income & otherwise underserved folk who need eye care.

    When I visited her in April 2012, I was told 2 different glaucomas and cataracts at “2 of 4″. How lucky could I get! I got drops for the glaucoma (nice long eyelashes as a side-effect, oh woe is me), and said that when I could tell my vision was affected, I’d go in. Middle of 2013, my husband was going to change employers (not by his choice), and I wanted to use the FSA/MSA money before it went away. Husband needs his wisdoms out, but he’ll put that off until it really hurts, and well, eyes and vision. So I made my appt.

    About a week before surgery, you may be given a series of drops for your eyes. Afterwards, that mix may change. When you go in, you’ll go to a waiting room, and have several sets of drops, some of which are to numb your eye. They may even mark an arrow over the eye being fixed. Once wheeled in, you won’t feel anything around your eye AND you won’t be able to see anything beyond fuzzy blotches of colour. Mine was laser, rather than blade, surgery. You may feel some pressure if there’s a hand on your face, but other than that *I* felt nothing. When they’re finished, the metal shield they’ll put over that eye resembled a nutmeg microplane. The next day, you go in to have the work checked, questions asked, and time to ask your own questions. You’ll be given instructions for aftercare, a plastic eye shield for when you’re in bed, and Solar Shields. If you need to replace those, a $5 pair of toy aviator goggles did better for me. Really. Lights on the road at night may be too bright for safe driving for about a week.

    Now for the fun part. The day after the steel shield was removed, I walked into the bathroom and caught my face in the mirror. The image was CLEAR AND SHARP. Of course I went around *looking* at things afterwards.

    You may be told to wait a couple of weeks for the next surgery. Meanwhile, your old glasses aren’t much help. Get a pair of drugstore glasses that works for your new eye. It may be annoying, but much better than a monocle from the Compact Encyc. Brit.’s rectangular magnifying glass!

    My eyes had been 4+ diopters off each other. My peripheral vision, my depth perception, and even some aspects of my balance are much improved since the surgery. However, not all the astigmatism was cleared up, and distance vision is still not that great. In a few years, I’ll see about getting that taken care of, when insurance isn’t likely to pay for it.

    I wish you as good, or better, an experience as I had. I’m glad someone stepped up for you.

  10. Much blessings and good wishes to you, Aaron!
    May you always see what you want and need to see….

    Warmest regards,
    Mohini

  11. Aaron, I am so happy to hear this! I have light sensitivity too, although not quite the way you have it, and I have had blurry vision a little in my right eye lately too. Mine hasn’t needed surgery though – it has improved with the Herbal Eyebright formula which you can make yourself and it is CHEAP! http://www.herballegacy.com/Eye_Ailments.html – and I think it could be good AFTER your surgery heals to give this a whirl to keep your eyesight from further deterioration. My herb school has amazing testimony with this formula and I can attest it has even worked for me. Seriously, when you heal, I can give you the details more fully OK? HUGS and healing to you!

  12. Pingback: 4 Things I Learned About Eye Surgery (by Having it Done to Both Eyes) | Ananael (The Secrets of Wisdom)

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