Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Holy Ghost

The holy ghost came to her when she was a child, only six years old. For weeks preceding the actual event she awoke in the night screaming and crying as the result of having had a nightmare, a premonition of what was to come. Each time she was told “ Its just a nightmare, go back to sleep.” by one groggy parent or the other, so that on the night that the plane did crash into the house she almost believed it was only the same nightmare come to visit her once more.
It was a private plane that carried six passengers, and the pilot and co-pilot. They were all dead, spilling from the wreckage into the fiery garage like guts bursting from a wounded bird. Her father wanted to help them, but they were beyond his help, and her mother was saying,
“Oh God.”
Her older sister was screaming,
“What is it, what happened?”
Helen knew what had happened. It was the plane, the same plane that had been crashing into her dream every night for the past two weeks.
“Get them out of here!” her father shouted. But he needn’t have, because mother was already grabbing them roughly by the arms and saying,
“C’mon.” in her brusque way thick with the Oklahoman accent.
Then they stood on the street in front of their home in Lake Wood California watching the flames spread, Mother and sister and she, all in their white night gowns like three ghosts. Father and a neighbor were dragging bodies out, just in case someone was yet alive and merely unconscious, but at the time she hadn’t understood that. It had seemed that he was taking them out so that even the dead could be spared the horror of being eaten up by the flames.
They were laid out on the lawn and soon Father had turned a garden hose on to combat the hungry fire. Then the wailing sirens came and the flashing red lights bouncing off the dark smoke billowed from the mouth of the garage.
Mother had been saying all along,
“Don’t look, you hear? Close your eyes.” And she tried to press their faces into the folds of her night gown, but despite this they had looked. They saw.
The nightmares, like Gabriel, had come whispering, and now here it was. The spirit that sought to inhabit the body, burning it mercilessly. The plane, a desirous phantom, had seized hold of the house and now it was devouring it with its passion.
Mother kept saying,
“Oh God.”
And yes, it must have been so. Dancing before their eyes with wings of flames spreading over the roof top lighting the night sky and obliterating the stars with its smoky mane, here was the Holy Ghost, the spirit of heaven come down to visit its rage upon them and see the bodies laid before it in neat rows like finger sandwiches.
After weeks of practice, she now found that she could not scream, nor cry, but only observe with eyes as round as saucers, peering out from behind her mother’s night gown.
“Oh God.”
The nightmare had not ended this time and every detail was startlingly clear. She was awake and the dream had swallowed her.
“Oh God.”
And it would never let her go.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Interdimensional Biological Spaceship Beast

I draw a card from an Albano-Waite Tarot deck and am immediately unhappy with this picture. The poor devil has no cock. It's clear that it is missing. While his wings are a vivid plum color, he himself is stuck with the color of a turd. He wears the white beard of a department store Santa Claus and his eyes are contorted by an emotion that must be sorrow or anger.
I cannot blame him. He is being made a mockery of in this picture.
The man, who does at least sport a Ken doll man bump, seems to be gesturing towards the absence of the devil’s penis. The devil sits on a perch with a five pointed star being driven point down into his crown as if it were insisting that he acknowledge the power of the one flowing from above to below. He is not holding the people in bondage as one would initially guess, but rather it is they who are keeping him. The chain around their necks symbolizes their wish to be separate from their bodies and keep everything below the neck imprisoned.
Despite this, the truth of the situation is discernible, the sly devil can accept his debasement and somehow use it to tell his own story. That star being driven into his head mimics the horns visible on his head. We do not come from one, it says, we come from two.
The man and the woman also don horns, and tails. The woman's tail is made of fruit and the mans tail is made of fire. He will bring the fire and she will bear the fruit, enough said.
Behind them the devil waits patiently for them to loose the binds that are strangling the life dwelling within them. With the Vulcan hand gesture he bids them to live long (perhaps eternally) and prosper.
He is not a prisoner after all, he is patient and kind and refuses to abandon them, suffering along with them. He waits for them to set themselves free. His knees form the shape of a heart between the man and the woman, urging them to embrace their nature and love one another without fear or guilt or shame.

The following day I draw another card. It is Strength. I see this card as the perfect follow up to the devil. This is the alchemical marriage, beauty and the beast, the unification of the eternal and the temporal.
The woman with the eternity symbol over her head and rose garland belt represents the eternal being, the holy guardian angel. The red lion is the animal, the biological machine, the temporary creation. This is strength; the two united, the rose and the lion.
The lion is powerful, strong, and regal submitting to her touch. His tongue lolls, his eyes roll back in his head as the fierce beast relinquishes all control to his eternal beloved.
This is strength: the willingness to submit to stillness, to overcome fear and desire, repulsion and compulsion, to cease to roar and gnash teeth and instead open the heart and allow the passion of the immaterial other to course through the material.
The lion is the Christ, the anointed one. The old kings were anointed with the menstrual blood of the goddess, a substance of awakening. The woman is the goddess, the eternal beloved, the devil. By adoring her, the anointed one redeems her and himself. They become something unimaginable, something more than they could have been separately.

I see the woman in this card as representing the same being embodied by the devil in yesterday’s card. Where in that card the eternal and the temporal struggle and are disconnected, here they are united. That patient waiting devil is the same as this patient gentle bride. In this card pure love flows through the two and this is what rules, not abstracts.
In this light I also understand that the man and the woman in the devil card are in fact chained to the fears and desires of the biological machine and its attempt to usurp power. The one jealous God that rules from above is the personification of these fears and desires.
The devil in the background waits for them to awaken to the knowledge that one is death and stagnation and two are life and creation. The biological machine must cease to struggle for control and open to the strange affection of the eternal in order to leave the dead end it made for itself behind.

A few days later I shuffle the deck and draw a card again. I am not surprised to see that it is the devil. It seems that my old friend and teacher and father has something more to communicate. Look again he says, but not with your eyes, which were made for the surface world where the light plays its tricks. Search with the feeling senses employed by those blind things which explore the subterranean world and make it their home.
Then guess what I am. Dark and warm and fruitful. Feminine.
The cock is not missing, it is there. The two human beings are the devils genitalia, his procreative tools, extensions of self with which he can probe the mysteries accessible through a voyage in the human bio-mechanical spaceship. This is also beauty and the beast. But we are the beast, and the devil is the beauty. So loving is beauty, so inquisitive, fearless, enduringly calm and optimistic, and, of course, giving.

The ideal components for building the inter-dimensional biological space craft named “Beast” is revealed to me in the following days.
First, the High Priestess. Her calm strikes me like a wave from the sea, shocking, invigorating in its placidity. Her intellectual center is awakened and at the service of her work for the benefit of the eternal. She encompasses the knowledge of life that bleeds forth from a cellular level and the knowledge of worlds constructed of concepts hinged on words. The depths of the subconscious work in symphony with the illuminated surface.
Her headdress is made of the horns and of the full moon, symbolic of her comfort with both masculine and feminine forces and with the seed and its fulfillment. It is also representative of the necessary relationship between two and one, that two become one in sexual unification and then, after the conception, one becomes two at the moment of birth.
The cross burns under the Priestess’s breast. Ripened flowers and fruits open like vulvas behind her and the horned moon is caught in the robes at her feet. She is calm and cool and well collected. She holds the written word in her hands. She can create with words, she can organize new structures and utilize existing ones to mysterious ends, in the service of the eternal silence, the guardian at the center of labyrinth, the watcher within.
Where some could be lost in the symbolic order, she is aware of its nature and utilizes it as the steps of the pyramid to the moon. She is poised between the two columns of the God of the Earth and the God of the Sky, a crossing of streams supported with grace and detachment.
She is as disciplined and focused on herself as Audrey Hepburn’s character in a Nun’s story, who realizes that while she may hide her faults from the church and her sisters, she cannot hide them from herself and God. So she struggles to do the real thing, whether anyone else is or not, whether anyone else can perceive her efforts or not.

After the Priestess comes the Magician. He stands with one hand raised towards the heavens and the other pointing to the earth. In his raised hand he holds a double terminated rod so that each end is both sending and receiving, circulating the energy from the heavens to the earth and from earth to heavens.
Over his head the figure eight, symbol of eternity, hangs suspended, representing the eternal being voyaging continually through material existence, like a rider in a train passing through a tunnel. The placement of his arms combined with this symbol forms a subtle cross.
He is young and full of adventurous fire. He is fearless and surrounded by roses and lilies, the goddess and death and the mystery of the flower which blooms and withers while the vine lives on and on to support new blooms again and again.
On the table stands the cup, the sword, the baton, the pentacle. He has the building blocks to create a new symbolic order, a new world. He is a storyteller, imaginative, ready to create a rich inner world through which the various aspects of self can be expressed and slowly/subtly become known to him.
He is a professor with his puppets at the ready. He will put something of himself into them, igniting them into a dance that he will both be inside of and apart from.
He is a point of connection between worlds, he is worlds within worlds within worlds. He is the creator and the explorer journeying to discover the breadth and depth of himself and establish lines of communication that reach from one shadowy pocket to the next, unifying the self.

The man and the woman in chains at the devil’s feet have the potential to become these two, the High Priestess and the Magician. As long as they cling to their individualism and their habitual behaviors they are the slaves of the symbolic order. They are not aware of their circumstance or their latent potential. They live and breed and die never having escaped the bondage of their own mechanical nature.
It is only through an effort to know themselves and the Other that they may cast away their chains and become something more than their biological nature dictates. They must surrender, despite the fear of death. Then they may begin the work of building the vessel called “Beast” or Adam Kadmon, to become the instrument of the Eternal.

One more time I shuffle the cards and my old friend comes to say goodbye. This time we can relax and have a good conversation without me applying cerebral analyses to his every line.
It is painful to be the Devil. His trick is not to mind it, to relax into the pain.
Pain is caused by resistance, by clutching to forms that cannot be in the OTHER spaces, the places I want to travel through. Relaxing into hot pulverized jelly is the only way to go. I cannot take my baggage; linguistic structures and thought forms. The software of the machine does not function in the OTHER spaces, the software dies with the hardware, then only the otherware works and the only way to develop otherware is to start now with little treks into the OTHER spaces.
But it’s a dead man’s party, so leave your body and persona at the door.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

The Shape of the Process

It is not the content that flows through us that we want to change.
It is not the content that we want to pick and choose and refine to fit our particular specifications.
It is the shape of our inner structure, the flow of the pathways inside our inner labyrinth, the wiring of our neural network That is what needs to be transformed.
The content is always different. The content will always be different.
The content never changes. The content will never change.
But the process that transforms it can change. It is this change in the process that we seek.

Our life itself is a process, our bodies, our thoughts, our sensations, our hopes, our dreams, the shape of our movement through time from birth to death. All process, all waiting to be carefully altered, all waiting to be rearranged.

Life flows through structures. It becomes defined by the obstacles and blockages which it encounters, by the shapes of the structures through which it passes. Life assumes the shape of the vessel into which it is poured. That is what makes it specific, that is what modifies it into being unique, that is what gives it an identity.
There are structures that trap life so that it grows stagnant. Think of pools of black water, think of old houses without light, think of forgotten cemeteries in the backwoods of lost towns.
There are structures that allow life to flow continually through them. Think of a river, of the wind, of sunlight streaming down onto the earth from a bright blue sky.

We may think of ourselves as structures defined by our habits, programmed biological computers through which the raw energy of life travels. By transforming our habits we may restructure ourselves to allow life to flow freely through us. As it flows, it gains momentum, it changes what it touches, it reinvigorates the path.

Posture is a basic way to direct the flow of energy. Our bodies are like antennas that can be bent this way or that to pick up various frequencies of radiation. Paying attention to our physical habits will lend us a clue as to how we are presently processing life. Intentionally building a repertoire of postures that facilitate life will help to change the structure from the outside in.

Our bodies are keys to other planes of existence, they are tools for manipulating realities. Everything is altered by posture, by reshaping structure.
Allowing our reality to be shaped by unconsciously formed habits and postures is to be unnecessarily imprisoned.
Intentionally forming habits and postures to direct the flow of life consciously is to be a surfer, a magician, a free builder.
Once the structure changes the energy will flow endlessly through it for as long as the structure remains.

Keep a notebook with you for a total of six days in order to record re-occurring mechanical manifestations. In other words, keep a log of some of your most habitual gestures and the accompanying moods and circumstances.

You should begin to notice these re-occurring gestures as you are performing them. During the course of a day, whenever you catch yourself in one of your mechanical manifestations, say to yourself, "Cut! "
At that you point you should freeze. Then say to yourself, "From the top." And prepare to repeat the scene. Say, "Action." And perform the gesture again.

This can also be done with a partner. The two of you should be familiar with each other's catalog of mechanical manifestations. When one partner notices the other engaged in a habitual posture or gesture they will issue the commands for them.

In either case it is useful to run through the sequence up to three times when showcasing a particular manifestation. When you are finished you say, "Break."

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Les Iris

I had a poster of a Vincent van Gogh painting, les iris, when I was a freshman in high school. The colors were bright and easy to be absorbed into. It had been rolled in a tube so that its deepest desire now was to curl up once again and sleep in a dark cylindrical womb, but I crucified it mercilessly to the walls with four brass thumbtacks and lay on my day bed and stared into the green and brown and purple blue.
My father disliked it. He even told me that I would go crazy if I kept that poster in my room. Maybe he was right, or maybe the poster was a symptom rather than a cause of insanity, or maybe the poster was completely innocent and uninvolved with madness of any kind, or at least far less involved than my father himself.
But I did lay there and gaze at the poster in silence and through tears. Sometimes from the floor where I lay on the carpet by the door I tried not to breathe, willing my heart to stop beating, begging fate and pleading with my body for death while smelling the paint that made my walls and the door so bright white and seeing les iris shivering on the wall.
What else was on my walls? That poster had only two companions, a Greek orthodox wooden crucifix with a sad Jesus bleeding artistically, and a golden plaque with the lord’s prayer inscribed on its surface. My father may have asked me what I was doing with those on my wall too, because we were not Christians, or at least he was not, even though he had sent me to a Christian school so that I could get a taste of religion and morality.
Jesus was there because I found him in a strange store full of such artifacts and I had thought it was beautiful. I had never seen a Jesus like that before, a Jesus that looked as though he had come from a mosaic in a Byzantine cathedral. It was intriguing to me to see Jesus in a way that had never been presented to me. Christians in my little piece of American hell displayed and wore crosses, but you never saw Jesus dangling from that ornament.
This was the part that they were referring to and hiding with their clean crosses; the bloody man slowly dying while crucified. This was what they were really displaying around their necks and on their bumpers and from the brittle hillsides behind their trailers; the torture and suffering of a man, the death of the God who had a body.
The lord’s prayer had been a gift from my grandmother when I was small. She gave it to me when we moved into our first house. Now by merit of its age and its affiliation with someone soft and warm it had earned a place and glittered on my wall.
But by then, by the time les iris had become part of my surroundings, I did not believe that God could hear me or was listening, if it did exist. I did not talk to the long deceased Jesus, I would not allow myself the luxurious comfort of these fantasies.
I was alone and if there was anybody that could understand my plight, it was the Devil, if he existed. At that time, in the madness of les iris, when I did consider that Our Heavenly Father was waiting in heaven with his milky white and passive son, I was determined to rail against their regime. I was sympathetic to Lucifer.
I knew what it was like to be misunderstood, to fall from grace with the father. I knew what it was like to be demonized for one’s differences. I knew what it was like to love the trees and the wild things and prize them above the walls and rules of society. I knew what it was like to fall.
When I wasn’t hoping to die, when I had given up on taking my disfigured presence out of the world, then I prepared for battle. I sat on my bed facing les iris and wrote on notebook paper my arguments on the devil’s behalf. I wrote stories about those who were different than the rest of the flock or I read books about those who went on living despite their “wicked” natures. I delved into the squirming lines of the flowers and earth and green stems and convinced myself that I too should live, writhing and screaming if necessary, but live, rather than go the way of the sad pale withering Christ, good and nice to the last drop.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Some Things Should Be Like That

In the comic book store.
For so long I looked at it, not knowing what it was.
I went away.
I came back.
Again and again. Circling the table like a shark, tasting this mysterious object with my eyes and fingertips. Still I did not know what it was. Suddenly I realized; no one knew what it was, least of all its makers, and it made me feel glad because there should be things like that in the world, things without measurable purposes, and here I had one in my hands.
That time I didn’t put it down. I bought it and slipped out of the lighted store into the urban night. The darkness was thick despite the few fairy lights that glowed over lampposts or sped by in the streets. There are many places in the city where the light does not manage to reach.
It is also dark in the country, I know, but there you can see the stars and the stillness is what can put the terrors in you. In the city there are no stars because city light is a sort of lesser darkness that eats up celestial light, its brown halo holding at bay the fire and ice of the cosmos so that its own breed of glimmer and shadow holds sway. City darkness moves. It pulses. Here, there are things oozing and swirling, killing and eating and dying very near to you, in the murk where you must not look lest you enter into their order of existence.
“Can you help me?”
A face emerged from the blackness, separating itself from the thick communal dark. It was a cocoa colored heart shaped face that seemed to come bleeding out of the inky depths for a moment.
I heard the voice first, sweet and trembling, like the trill of a little bird. It was the voice that stopped me.
“Can you help me?”
It was only after I had stopped that the face surfaced and hovered timidly at my elbow, petite, neither young nor old but weathered into timelessness.
I knew as soon as I heard the voice that I could help. My hand had dipped swiftly into my pocket and retrieved twenty three cents.
“This is all I have.” I said and she was already thanking me in that voice and asking if I had bought a comic.
“I did buy something.” I said, “And now I’m broke.”
Her face was so sweet and her voice so delicate and I was lying only because I could now see another dark shape behind her, leaning against the wall. I wanted to give her more, but I wasn’t sure it was safe. My pay for a day of work was in my wallet in cash, too much money to open it here on the street.
“No, wait,” I said, “but I do have a little more.”
I dug into the coin pouch sewn into the side of the wallet without taking it out of my purse and filled her hand with pennies and dimes.
“That’s it.” I said and started to go, feeling disappointed with my meager offering.
Then I remembered that I was carrying a bag full of various breads from the bakery where I worked.
“Oh. I do have bread.” I said hopefully and began to dig in the satchel. “How about some pretzels.” I said putting them in her renewably emptied hands.
“Oooh. These are good.” She said and looked eagerly to her partner who was smiling now in a gentle compassionate way, as though he were a saint in a black hoodie leaned against the wall.
The longer I stood with them the further the darkness seemed to recede from our vicinity. They became distinct and less shade like. I was grateful that I was helping. One day, I felt, it could be me asking for help.

Now I slid back into the flow of the sidewalk, back into the ranks of the purposeful marching to their independent destinations.
Drugs or alcohol ushered some into the world of shadows, but there were others that were there because something inside of them was different. I was like that. I didn’t know what that something was. Nobody knew what it was, and there should be things like that in the world, things without measurable purposes, and here I was one of them. But there is little market for such things, despite their rarity, and I knew it might be only a matter of time before I became a shadow on the street, with no past and no future, depending on those that had not yet become me for my daily bread.
I knew it, but it was not yet time for me to step into the darkness and join in the pulsing. There might yet be some other way, so clutching the thing that was not a comic book but could only be defined by what it was not, I hurried on into the underground train station to wait.

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