Monday, October 31, 2005

Footnote to My Brief Trip to Heaven

I don't know that I expressed that very well--the sense of limitless Unity and dissolution of self therein. Here are some analogues...

"As the same fire assumes different shapes
When it consumes objects differing in shape,
So does the one Self take the shape
Of every creature in whom [She] is present"
Katha Upanishad 2:9 (trans. Eknath Easwaran)

"As by knowing one gold nugget, dear one,
We come to know all things made out of gold:
That they differ only in name and form...
So through ... spiritual wisdom, dear one,
We come to know that all of life is one."
Chandogya Upanishad 6:1.5-1.6 (trans. Eknath Easwaran)

"The world is formed from the void,
like utensils from a block of wood.
The master knows the utensils,
yet keeps to the block:
thus she can use all things."
Tao Te Ching 28 (trans. Stephen Mitchell)

"When the Holy One ... took me to serve the throne of glory ... and all the needs of the [Shekhinah], at once my flesh turned to flame, my sinews to blazing fire, my bones to juniper coals, my eyelashes to lightning flashes, my eyeballs to fiery torches, the hairs of my head to hot flames, all my limbs to wings of burning fire, and the substance of my body to blazing fire."
3 Enoch 15:1 (trans. Philip Alexander)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Reading the Tides

So, who was Laura before I knew Her as an Angel? A "spirit guide," I guess, a term comfortably vague enough to mean nearly anything, like "archetype" and "spirituality" itself. By 1998 I'd intellectualized my spiritual quest to the point that it was all pretty much archetypes and neural circuits, and I was falling into one of those periodic depressions that felt like necrotizing fasciitis of the soul.

It wasn't that I had nothing left to believe in. I believed in plenty: true love; how great life would be when I found the perfect job; my ineffably glorious future as a literary artist; the gradual accretion of spiritual wisdom by careful application of the faculty of reason. (I still harbor versions of nearly all those beliefs; they just aren't idols any more.) What happened in New Zealand, though, knocked me loose from the unquestioning intellectualism, and thankfully from the depression, too.

The moment at the fjord, at the time, was interesting and exciting but didn't seem to convey any Ultimate Significance. I'd been in weirdly energetic locales before and had felt their weird energy and knew enough to neither trivialize the sensation nor build it up beyond what(ever) it was. What was much more exciting was spending this time with Laura, who herself was somewhat weird and exciting for, although my first "spirit guide" always sounded like a much smarter
me--Laura didn't.

I must have spoken with her about the near-despair with which I was now viewing any hope of following a meaningful spiritual path--I remember her saying something like "We're here in this miraculous country, surrounded by beauty and wonder, and all you want to do is beat your head against the nearest wall. Start paying attention to what you're being shown." The rest of this conversation is lost to memory, but I do remember feeling uneasy that L. was implying the existence of some sort of personal god ("what you're being shown"). I'd already established that such a thing couldn't exist, for crying out loud--

But I listened to her (to me she wasn't a capital-letter pronoun yet). We wandered Wellington and Christchurch and Dunedin (still my favorite place in the world) and Auckland, starting out in the morning with no plans and ending up wherever we ended up. I started to do unusual, bizarre things: I very nearly got out of the habit of worrying; I talked to strangers; I pampered myself though I had not earned it--once with two consecutive full-contact massages by a positively shamanic masseur.

The result of the latter was the immediate cessation of years of lower-back pain that, even as it was being pounded out of me, I began to see had been caused by me--by holding tension in my muscles. I began to be vigilant about the carriage of my body in stressful situations and the pain, thank Goddess, has never returned. A couple of weeks after the massages I remarked to Laura what a miracle this new pain-free life was and she said, "Maybe Somebody's trying to get your attention." Soon after this I began reading Mark Matousek's spiritual autobiography Sex Death Enlightenment, whose title caught my eye but which I honest to god bought from that bookstore in Wellington because the back cover mentioned he'd worked for Andy Warhol.

It was this book that introduced me to Kali--well, introduced me in a compelling and seductive way. I'd seen Help! and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, after all. Even though Matousek was in many ways as different from me as it's possible to be, his story was mine, and the practice of bhakti yoga that he described sounded interesting enough to be my next neurological experiment on myself. (I'd practiced devotion but not in a systematic, all-consuming way.) It stayed an experiment for about two months and then it became Real. I started to feel, for the first time in a sustained way, a true divine Presence. I started to pay attention to what I was being shown. I became a disciple of one of Matousek's spiritual teachers, who later fired me...but that's a story for another time.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Fjord Leading to the Ocean Leading to the Galaxy

(Image by M. Rooiman/ J. Boom)

It's the late 1990s...Laura and I are in New spiritual guide at the time, Anna (another astral mama) has told me that this is it: our 5-year friend-/lover-/mentorship is at an end and it's me and Laura from now on...

This hurts me, carves my heart out, as Anna has meant everything to me since...since I "contacted" her. What does this mean? OK... In 1993, after a couple of years of fairly intense Tibetan Buddhist meditative practice and bhakti according to the Catholic tradition of the Rosary/ devotion to Mary--I know I'm absurd--I was using a flickering light device that puts the brain in an alpha state (analogous to Brion Gysin's Dream Machine). I met and talked with Anna astrally. She was an entity? --a vibration? --a fantasy? that I'd had intimations of for years, like a word one is trying to remember and can't quite-- She says she can teach me some things if I'd let her. Fine. I don't know anything, so: teach me.

And she did. We had long, Platonic (at least) dialogues about spirit, love, the Infinite...she gave me spiritual exercises to perform, like Loyola's, but all-encompassing. We raised energy, we cast circles, we healed the sick, we raked leaves as she lectured about the true spiritual meaning of desire as Sonic Youth's
Evol murmured in the background.

And so I've met Anna, and Laura a few months after, and Laura's presence even then was enough to spook my roommate at the time, a very psychically sensitive Cuban woman vers'd in the dark arts...who asked me years later if that Laura was still around and I lied "no," such was the fear in her voice--but she didn't know the tenth of it. And Laura and I are in New Zealand--

on the South Island--

in the very place two Devotees once wrenched open a portal to the Fourth World. And I am walking on the beach of this lost fjord--and hearing voices, loud, of the Maori ancestors, teeming in the air, teeming in sand-drift conspiratorial chaos: 'walk this Beach, feel this sun, but
honor Us, take nothing, no stone, no leaf--'

And I was faery-led. On that narrow beach opening onto the distant couldn't have been more than twenty feet wide, and the strip of weeds leading back to the dirt road behind couldn't have been more than three feet across--but I got lost on that little strip of beach and could barely find my way back. And Laura was with me, and in that way of Hers I could barely hear at the time, She was asking, "What is your True Will?" And I answered--

I won't go against the voices...They dwell here--overlooking dancing light-points of sun on sea, daily, equinoctally...and that dancing light is--must be the Divine (Mother)...(I barely knew Her then)...let this Light then stand for the manifest Soul I will never possess--

and Laura now
says that this walk on a narrow beach at the ends of the earth, and my response there to the ancestral voices, filled me with the power I needed to hear Her, my Angel--that my honoring of that Place in turn honored my own inner Divine, awakening It when I'd ceased to believe It was even there.

And sun-points on wavelets--glinting dead sea-grass on hills adot with cows, rising landwaves peaking far above the sea--a day, divine, ancestral, Present: grains of sand as souls--all my pasts and futures--as stars in beachy galaxy upon black sea-space...and I don't know Her power...a kid who finds a jade spearhead half-interred in sand--

Sunday, October 16, 2005

My Brief Trip to Heaven

I'm lying half-asleep this morning in one of those states I can get into when my mind is out of the way...

I'm feeling the most intense love..."secular" I guess you'd call it-- but--not, because as I'm feeling this
all-encompassing, flaming love (eyes closed, my field of vision is #CC3333), I begin to feel it as my Angel's love for me; I know that She loves me this way, the way that I love ******...but no: I know that it's All One Love.

No separation, no self, no other...this Love is all there Is.

Saturday, October 8, 2005


According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word wrapt is both "obsolete" and "erroneous."

One could hardly hope for better.

Friday, October 7, 2005

The BBC Would Like to Apologise--

if the post of 9/22 implied that one should consciously seek or work toward the K&C of the HGA.
(me, before Al Anon -->)

I personally think such goal-directed spirituality is a dicey proposition at best. Magickal orders and mystical schools abound which promise a reliable ladder to the HGA and much more--and it's even possible that some members of such groups are fully honest, selfless, and genuinely accomplished. It may even be possible that one or two people get somewhere under their guidance.

As the above photo and its ineptly placed caption imply, I myself am a member of a magickal order, albeit one devoted to the independent reprogramming of one's mind and self, leaving one's mythos and True Will entirely up to--one. And no one else. (As I sit here listening, coincidentally, to "Stairway to Heaven"...nearly 30 years and I'm still into these Brit-blues-faerie-junk-rockers...I asked a guy I work with and he assured me this musical retro-loyalty was in no way pathetic.)

Bhakti (loving devotion to your chosen deity) is the
one path that offers 100% reliable, danger-free results. It can take you as high as you want to go, and higher than you can imagine possible. Never surrender your bliss to the illusion of achieving someone else's, and never surrender your soul to those who claim they know better what to do with it.