Melinda’s PalmPilot is open to a digitally handwritten note, scrawled across hundreds of pages, with about six words per page. These things don’t seem terribly efficient. I pull the stylus out and start flipping through the pages.
Athanasius tells us of the rituals. It’s about placement, he says. Location is important, he says. Consciousness equals energy equals truth equals place equals history, he says. Our minds are not in time and space, he says. Shake free and be rewarded, he says.
When I first came to the teachings of Owl, I wasn’t impressed. I found their ideas bland. They were disinterested in the betterment of self. I found no use in it.
But when Athanasius came to me, that is, an Athanasius, and requested my help locating some texts, I started to fall for the ideas. I was a young professor at the time, and this Athanasius approached me after a lecture. The man was tall, with little hair on top and a pair of a thick black glasses. He told me he taught English Literature.
We quickly became friends. The task of finding the texts the man was looking for proved trivial, I was able to order them from a catalog I had in my office that same day. But we kept in touch, and over time, the man leaked his knowledge to me. I’d heard of Owl, but assumed that, like the Templars, Golden Dawn, or Illuminati, their present day iteration was folklore. Athanasius showed me that while they were hidden, they were far from make believe.
The principle purpose of Owl is to find and explore new lands. The principle conceit was that the reality we see is only part of the picture, meaning to explore new lands we need to find a way to crack our minds open.
Athanasius and I remained friends over the years. He’d come to my office and we’d discuss his view of the universe. I’d argue, sometimes, but more often than not I’d be struck by his commitment. I’m not sure I’d call myself a believer back then, but I was certainly curious. When the bowling alley was being built in the early ’80s, we decided to leak a little mystery into the world and plant a story about Owl. I called up a childhood friend who worked at the newspaper and asked if he was willing to fib a little to color the story. He was young, bored, and more than willing.
When Athanasius died suddenly in a car accident, I was distraught. I couldn’t imagine a life without his guidance and conversation. I needed to talk to him one last time to figure out what to do, so I organized the seance. It was there he told me that it was up to me to take on the role of the next Athanasius. So I did. I left my teaching career soon after and opened up my book shop as a means to discover new worlds.
Every Athanasius must create their own book filled with their interpretations of the core beliefs of Owl. We all vary, slightly, and Owl allows its members to do so in any medium they like. Reality is as malleable as fiction, he says. The format of every book of Owl is up to its creator. Some choose words, while others choose art, I’ve heard tale of a book of maps. I’ve recently heard rumors of someone creating a computer program. We all interpret the teachings differently. Owl is secretive and we’re told to throw outsiders off our trail if they approach us. But we also believe in the power of discovery and sharing of knowledge. It’s complicated, I guess.
And so, this is my book. As one of the first Athanasius to create a book in the digital era, I decided to create mine here, on this tiny held held computer.