If you look up Third Degree in the Urban Dictionary, you come up with the following description. "Derived from an extreme form of police interrogation of the same name, its a phrase people use to describe a situation where you are being asked a series of many questions." Well there is some of this attached to the ritual. (and they are wrong - many policemen used to be Masons - that's where it first came from.)
I can't and won't tell you what goes on in the ceremony, but I can say that the content of the ritual takes you to place which you don't often think of - in particular, beginnings, endings and mortality. Everybody reacts differently to this ritual. I remember my Third Degree. It was a great night. I was surprised, in awe, and truly felt that I came out the other end another person. That's what you hope for in any ritual.
Regardless, whenever we work the Third Degree, things can happen.
Last night, on arriving home after the meeting, the call came through.
Lachlan. Aka, the axe wound.
Thankfully, the wound has closed. It's stopped seeping. It's healed over. I wouldn't say I'm immune to him, but I am feeling better about the situation. We've also been talking, and that is a good thing too. It's letting me work through some things without having to do it on my own.
Anyway, for the most part, we had a good chat. For the better part of an hour we talked about English politics, the #metoo movement, the joys of job hunting, and how the Gallagher Brothers, from Oasis are turds.
Then the conversation turned morose.
Fun. The joys of the third degree. Bring on the heavy energy.
How do you approach somebody, who at 55-years-old, has it in his head that he wants to die? What are you supposed to do about this?
I think this is the element of the relationship which is helping to keep me upright. After watching my niece suffer and die a few years ago - and after watching a friend process the suicide death of her husband, along with the messages in the third degree, the thing that keeps getting reinforced for me is that life is far, far, far too precious to waste - and he wants to give up.
What do you say to somebody who thinks like this? Not much. The last time he tried this on, I got very upset.
This time, I remained calm. And told him I though he was an idiot and a coward. What would his kids think? (They are now adults, but still?) What about his family?
I'll admit, this is pressing a few buttons. My own father died at 55. He's just turned 55. It saddens me that he doesn't want to live on. It makes me angry. Life is too precious to fuck with.
He's also on the other side of the world, so I can't do anything practical - just listen.
The next statements don't have that same emotional punch that they used to. He tried to thank me for being the love of his life.
My thoughts on this are that if he did actually love me, he'd fight. To be honest, if I was the love of his life, he would have been beside me twenty years ago - but we'll leave that be for now.
He has no fight left.
I hopped into the shower after the call, and washed off the third degree, and the phone call.
What else can you do?
In some ways, I took a little solace in the messages of the ritual. Where there is life, there is hope. Where there is death, there is rebirth.
I'll be processing this for a while.
At least it's stopped hurting.