The seeds of inquiry that Leonard has planted in my mind have started to sprout in a variety of creative ways, this blog being one of them. But this new found enthusiasm for educating both myself and my reader has not been without severe labour pains, by any means.
At first I found remembering the conversations that took place at Elmfield House to be tremendously difficult but, as I have mentioned before, I now have an efficient system in place. I scribble everything that I can recall from our discussions into my notebook during the return journey home from Elmfield House and I type up my notes at the earliest opportunity to sit at my computer and write without raising Alex’s suspicions. Often important details such as names and bible verse numbers go astray, but I find that a few hours spent trawling the internet or chasing references in the university library can quickly restore the missing parts of each conversation.
This extra-curricular research is having a debilitating impact on my undergraduate work as I am too distracted to complete essays and my regular trips to the library are unrelated to my classes, but my desire to learn more about Leonard’s theories has entirely surpassed any interest that I had in my coursework. I am fully aware that this obsessive behaviour will lead to difficulties with my forthcoming exams, but there is another issue that is of even greater concern to me at the moment…
Over the last few weeks I have become increasingly preoccupied with Leonard’s warnings about revealing hidden secrets and as a result I am starting to feel like a criminal for writing this blog. It is as though God Himself is reading my blog posts and the scribblings in my notebook and God Himself is going to punish me for discussing Leonard’s theories on such a public platform. I have Leonard’s superstitious mind to thank for that. But it is not only the revelation of this knowledge that is worrying me, the simple possession of this knowledge is also a cause for concern and my uneasiness has been deepened by a number of factors recently; overheard whispers passed between Leonard and Luke, a paranoid sense of being followed home from university and glimpses of shadowy figures in the street when I am out with Alex. I feel as though I am being watched, but I am not sure by whom. I have reassured myself that even the greatest magicians would keep notes of ritual words and spell ingredients and the true crime is committed in the act of revealing these secrets to others, in which case I am safe because I doubt that this silly, self-indulgent blog has many readers! But that is where my greater sin comes into play…
I have a confession. I have drawn up the blueprints for the worst crime ever; a proposal for postgraduate study. Postgraduate education is a notoriously tricky business as competition for funding is fierce and a research proposal must be extremely interesting or immensely ground-breaking if it will stand any chance of catching the eye of a funding body. But I am confident that the raw material contained within my notebook will make for an attractive research proposal and, if it is accepted, then I intend to produce a thesis that will investigate the magical techniques that are present in the Synoptic Gospels (I hope to be accepted for an MPhil and then upgrade, with the MPhil constituting the first year of a doctorate). I suspect that sharing these secrets in such a public manner might alarm Leonard and he would be angered as grievously as the gods themselves, so I must be extra vigilant and keep my notebook, this blog and my research plans hidden from him. It looks as though I am destined to spend most of my time skulking around Elmfield House and the university corridors clutching these secrets to my chest like the paranoid magicians of antiquity!
Now here’s the embarrassing part. Although I am confident that my scholarship bid will be successful and my research proposal will be accepted, I have nevertheless found myself toying with desperate measures. I was putting the finishing touches to the submission documentation yesterday evening when an eyestrain headache crept upon me and I was forced to turn off the computer screen for a while. As I sat quietly and waited for the headache to abate my eye fell upon a stack of books at the far corner of my desk and on the very top of the pile was The Omega Course. The book had remained unopened since I brought it back from Elmfield House and I had intended to take a closer look at it when I had some spare time, so I retrieved it from the pile, opened it and flicked through the pages. Very little of the contents made any sense to me and each page was filled with arcane sounding words and bizarre diagrams. The only recognisable sentence in the book was a quotation from the Gospel of Thomas on the title page that read: ‘whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death’. Quite a fearsome promise for such a harmless looking book!
One paragraph entitled ‘Spell for Success and Good Favour’ caught my eye and I switched on the desk lamp to take a closer look. I could feel myself smiling with amusement as I read the instructions for the spell. Leonard is right, I do suffer - and ‘suffer’ is the precise term that he emphasises time and time again in this matter - from a post-enlightenment rejection of the supernatural. But I was grappling with an element of indecision. Where is the harm in testing it? Surely every channel of support for my scholarship application should be considered – magical or otherwise. So I temporarily suspended my precious rationality, took a blank sheet of paper from the printer tray and meticulously copied the diagram from the book onto the paper, taking care to replace the key elements of the picture with my own personal details as instructed. When the drawing was complete, I folded the paper, pushed it tightly beneath the books on my desk and returned The Omega Course to the top of the pile.