Friday, November 24, 2006


Out there...

break on through...


higher... faster... the barricades!-- to the misty mountains-- the stratosphere-- punch a hole in the
fabric of space and time-- go the mantras of spiritual machismo, and you can tell I've bought into them...but... She's right here, right now, I know. One can go to Spain, or as Thoreau said, "go around the world to count the cats in Zanzibar," and She'd be there, too. But She's here, in what Mary Daly calls "the expanding Here."

"Here" is Kali's unfolding...the matter and the spirit and the mind and potential, all cream-in-coffee, biscuit-crumbled-in- gravy together, to/get/her. Creation--but Creation creating itself, birthing itself, mothering forth in continual surprise...Thoreau also said, if I'm not mistaken, "God himself culminates in the present moment," and we can look past the masculine pronoun to the ultimate/intimate shocking depth of the now, the Now that the Zen masters and the Al-Anons and the Sufis and Shaktas and guys in loincloths on mountaintops in
New Yorker cartoons all want to tune in to.

The Omegacoaster as it plummets to total illumination; what I'm saying is, I'm still surprised that I've bought a house after years of gypsy non-committal commitment to everything and everyone (including myself usually)...I've begun to embrace my own space in the lap of Isis, and for me, "the ultimate bohemian" as a college friend called me, this is new and strange and most welcome. I had my Plymouth Rock T-day yesterday, alone (well, Laura was there) and creating the best recipe I've ever thought up, crawfish stuffing that rivals anything at Brennan's. As above, so below: Kali creates the universe, I cook--my humble imitation of Her "incessant influx of novelty," an imitation I can't help, as I am Her child and I, as all the world, reflect Her.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

The Papyrus of Kalibhakta, Part Two

[…at this point I’m going to quote from my journal:]

I walk slowly to Her, in trance, in awe. I reach Her and I kneel.

“What do you desire?” Isis asks.

“The love of the Divine Mother in my heart.”

“Do you see it there?”

“I see glimmers.”

“Close your eyes and see the flicker of that candle’s flame on your eyelids. It leaps and it falls, but at its core resides eternal, pure flame. At your core you are one with All; you are the God, you are the Goddess. There is no separation; all is One, as the flame of this candle. You are beautiful, Kalibhakta. You are loved.”

I felt my heart chakra expanding, pierced, as Isis said this. I felt surging energy within me. At Her bidding I arose and floated out the door that opened for me, leading outside. I thought of the flames: the flickering candle in the inner room, the tiki torch, the small hibachi fire people were gathered around outside, the feathery flames of the Mandelbrot Set I’d been exploring this morning, early, the gas log flame that was going then—all the flames in which Divine Light has flickered, going back to the sheaf of wheat at Eleusis and back to the Big Bang…She is fire, I am a tongue in the flames.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

The Papyrus of Kalibhakta, Part One

The other night I had the privilege of dying and being reborn; this took place in the local Unitarian church under the auspices of Isis, Osiris, and other members of CUUPS. An acquaintance of mine, Holli, who is big into the Mysteries of Khem, staged the event, inviting one and all--who turned out to be me; an ironic gay couple; an aggressively pagan straight couple; a sullen yet rubicund middle-aged man; a mysterious black-caped guy; and a wheelchair-bound older woman and her [son?] [paramour?]—anyway, a Renaissance Faire-clad young man who happily did her bidding.

We approached the event with varying levels of seriousness. Those putting on the ritual, even those with the smallest roles, were wonderfully centered, kind, and serious, without being overly serious. The loyal reader will already know that I treated it as a life-or-death matter (I guess that should be “and death”), being bound by terrible oaths to taste communion with the Goddess in every breath mint. The pagans mostly dwelt in ritual-crit mode, a meta-mindstate in which commentary upon the proceedings is more important than the proceedings themselves. (Is this why paganism enjoys such a following in academe and in the military?) The gay guys were complaining about the cold, and hadn’t had dinner, and thought the whole thing was a bit silly anyway…

I figured, I’ve never been through an Egyptian death and rebirth ceremony, so I’m going to do this right. While I waited for Anubis to appear in the doorway and point his fatal finger towards me, I stared into a tiki torch flame and put myself in an alpha state. I was one of the last people in line, and so had opportunity to think about how I would face my actual death: would I look at it as an adventure, as I did this evening’s ritual? Would it come as suddenly as a masked figure in a dark doorway? Would I be afraid, or would I trust Kali?

When my time came, I was fully in a trance and thus tuned into the ritual’s intention; I was afraid on a mild but visceral level and part of me believed I really was facing death. As I was led down the hall by Anubis, in the darkness, not knowing what was to come, I felt that giddy free-fall of the unknown.

Suspension of disbelief is as important as skepticism to the spiritual seeker. They are the water and oxygen that allow all life to flourish. So after I’d passed through the labyrinth of the Duat and stood facing Osiris, I fully believed it was a God into Whose eyes I gazed, and even when Thoth’s cell phone went off and Osiris very slightly blinked in surprise (but quickly got back in character), I wasn’t thrown off too much. I felt myself start to drift back into beta consciousness, aided by the most potent mind-contracting substance known (righteous indignation), but pulled myself back into alpha, back into the sacred.

After my soul was weighed by Thoth, I was led down another, darker corridor, and into the church’s main worship hall, which this night looked and felt as alien as a cavern on an undiscovered planet. It was lit by a single candle and at the front of the imposing, utterly silent room sat enthroned a dark, powerful figure: Isis. In my state of mind it was the Goddess...a tiny recess of my mind cradled the thought it was Holli, but this point seemed hard to grasp and so I let it go.

I walked down the aisle, in the gloom and hush, and knelt before the Queen of All.

to be continued...

Shirking Responsibly

The reader is probably aware of resistance, arising from moral objections, to the disease model of addiction: “But that relieves them of responsibility for their actions,” etc. (In real life, of course, no one is relieved of anything; the legal/public health/social services system accepts the disease model of alcoholism but people are still jailed for DUI every day, and no expert testimony from addiction counselors has ever saved a homicidal druggie from the The Chair.)

The reader may not be aware that 150 years ago the disease model of disease met resistance from the ancestors of today’s Morality Police. In a book review in the New Yorker, Steven Shapin recounts the debate over the “contagion” model of disease (which eventually proved true) and earlier theories based upon bodily humors or malign, “miasmic” influences. Shapin writes, “some sanitary reformers, Florence Nightingale among them, opposed contagionism precisely because they believed that the poor were personally responsible for their filth: contagionism undermined your ability to hold people to account for their unwholesome way of life.”

Put in less charitable terms, contagionism undermined the power one group of humans was able to exert over another due to their shared superstitions, just as the disease model of alcoholism has undermined my attempts to control Teresa based upon my nutso assumption of moral and practical superiority. It is hard to let go, though…sometimes I still feel an urge to rescue her and fix her problems, though I’ve moved into my own house and thus have a myriad of my own problems to fix. I am responsible for my actions or inactions; today is Election Day and thus I’m off from work but have mucho work I should be working on, but instead I’m writing this and zooming into the Mandelbrot Set with Fractal eXtreme and am probably, alas, also about to play a game of Taipei…and I’m listening to Leila Josefowicz and I’m not sure whether I’m trying to “civilize a space / Wherein to play [my] violin with grace” or just fiddling around.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

The Uncertainty Grows...

...which, in my experience, means that the spirituality grows deeper.

Apparently, according to this poll, "Nearly half of Americans are not sure God exists." That's eight percent more unsure Americans than three years ago, and it would seem to mitigate the constant propaganda we get about how religious, how gullible, how consarnedly sure of themselves these here Yanks be--

but in some areas certainty does obtain. We, the people, may not always know for sure that the Big Guy Upstairs is really upstairs, but we're fairly positive that He is a he (or at least not--Himself forbid--a She):

When questioned on whether God is male or female, 36 percent of respondents said they think God is male, 37 percent said neither male nor female and 10 percent said 'both male and female.'

Only one percent think of God as a female, according to the poll."

Whew! I was afraid the feminazi/pagan/freedom-hating lobby, which as we all know has ruthlessly monopolized mass media and public education since 1967, was making a dent. Glad to hear otherwise. (Sarcasm aside, I'm actually shocked that in the most important facet of my life, I'm such a statistical outlier. In nearly every other poll result I've ever read, I seem to be ass-numbingly average.)

Of course, the metaphysicians among ye are silently taking me to task...Calls himself an aspiring advaitin, then says God's a girl...geez.... I know! And you're right! But, though Ultimate Reality can have no form, the operative wording here is "think of God as," and so in this matter I shall call to the stand my Master Sri Ramakrishna:

"The path of knowledge leads to Truth, as does the path that combines knowledge and love. The path of love, too, leads to this goal. The way of love is as true as the way of knowledge. All paths ultimately lead to the same Truth. But as long as God keeps the feeling of ego in us, it is easier to follow the path of love."