The Walker

It’s just over a year now since I joined a pilgrimage to CERN where we immantenised the eschaton. I’ve not written a lot about this caper, mainly because I’m still thinking it through, even now – but you can get a good flavour of the events by reading the accounts from Ben Graham and the Moneyburner.

Part of what made the pilgrimage such an intense experience were the preparations we made in advance. We set up a radio station, planned magic rituals, and had a complete tarot deck printed. In the deck was a card for each of the pilgrims involved, and everyone came up with a card design and a pilgrim name.

I’ve long been around people with nested secret identities. I have friends with pen-names and stage-names; burlesque stars, rappers and hackers. It seemed like everyone had an alias – I know one person with nested identities four layers deep. I felt like the only person I knew with just one name.

In preparing for the pilgrimage, I had to take on a new identity for the first time. I needed an attribute that represented who I was. I picked The Walker: For the hiking, for how I would break bounds at school for night-hikes, for how I use walking to solve problems. I found an image of the Pennine Way, resting with my feet pointed towards an unfolding path through the Cheviots. And, for a touch of mysticism, I added a Feynman diagram, the one showing how an election and a positron are the same thing, but travelling different directions in time. My physics days are a long time ago, but I still love aspects of that.

The pilgrimage offered an opportunity to set aside my old identity. For a few days, I would be The Walker. I could forsake my old name, and be someone else. Possibly, I took this too far when someone asked me my name and I replied “The Walker”; they asked for my first, real name. I didn’t mean to be sarcastic when I said “The” – that was who I was then.

The pilgrimage was an incredible experience, which set my life onto a new path. When I came home, I put the identity of the Walker away, like Bilbo putting his Mithril coat in the wardrobe. It’s come out on a few occasions, but not often.

But maybe there is an opportunity here – who might The Walker be in my ‘normal’ life?

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