Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Songs of Ramprasad

I'm listening to a CD of my guru singing the songs of Ramprasad, a CD I listened to every day on the way to work for several years...until I saw the light of the rising sun on the clouds and in the trees as Kali's Shakti infusing Her's one of those works of music that I can get scared of after a while, for the emotions it encodes are so intense I'd rather avoid them.

The music is arranged in a treacly Western style, but Ma sings the traditional Bengali melodies and Her voice is such a marvel--fragile but vibrant and filled with love and light (weirdly, She sounds not unlike Billie Holiday towards the end of her life). What happens as I listen to this music is I feel my heart chakra open, an opening I wanted for many years and that happened finally, in the initiatic sense, the summer of 2004...but I wasn't counting on the fact that, as Thoreau wrote, "There is more day to dawn." I was working from that Calvinist playbook in which you score the spiritual touchdown, win the God game, and celebrate with an eternal glass of grape juice.

Mother Meera, my first teacher, likes to say that since God is infinite so is the spiritual path; we always have more to learn and can always become More...we can always grow and move beyond, and we have a duty to keep growing. This sounds nice, but in practice...sometimes I don't want to long for Kali this much or feel the painful intensity of my Angel's love for me...I worry that one day I won't be "functional" any more (though the more of a religious wacko I become, the better I actually seem to be at my job and in social settings), I worry that I could turn into some religio-geek who can't talk to anyone and has nothing in common with anyone, I worry that, since Laura tricked me into taking the Oath of the Abyss that fateful summer two and a half years ago, and since I have mightily been battling Choronzon of late, at any minute I could fall down the stairs of sanity all the way to the rubber basement of nutso-dom...

I dunno, man. Ramprasad fell down those stairs, it's clear from his words...and as Laura said yesterday, after I apologized profusely to someone at Wal-Mart for something most people wouldn't even think twice about, "If you think doing the right thing all the time is hard, try doing the wrong thing all the time." It's beautiful outside today and I'm sitting by an open window, being caressed by soft, cool winds...whatever darkness may roil inside me, whatever fear, whatever night, there is always that inner sun, always the light of Kali. Once when I was privileged to be in the presence of my Guru and hear Her sing Ramprasad's songs in person, She sent me into such a samadhi with Her singing that the whole room was filled with golden light, and slowly everything and everyone disappeared except for Her and that light...

as I floated, not knowing who I was anymore, the people sitting in front of me abruptly sprang up, scraping their chairs and muttering, "This is boring! Let's get out of here." I would have guffawed had I been more grounded--not at their expense...but at the possibility of two such varied perspectives on the same "reality." It's all a question of what I'm tuning in to, and I want to stay tuned to the same Kali time, same Kali channel...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


No, not the people you work with, but the sound...some believe that the entire universe averages out to a single, reverberating tone, and whether or not that's true I have always enjoyed monotonic, shimmering soundscapes with as little variation or ornamentation as possible. One of the classics is Metal Machine Music, a series of alpha-wave generating pieces whose reputation as a chainsaw symphony of sonic punishment seems more based on its reception in the fern-bar milieu of 1970s yacht-rock than its actual sound (though maybe my sensibilities have been permanently clusterbombed by listening to all that Merzbow)...Metal Machine Music can sound too pop to some of us...

but the drones on Jliat's web site are perfect: pretty yet powerful, peaceful yet intense. Years ago I stumbled across the Jliat CD The Ocean of Infinite Being and bought it because the cover art was so great, and then listened to it and felt I'd found the drone holy grail. Ocean is available here, as well as some stuff that's even better (16.05.94; A long, drone-like piece of music...; Jliat "J").

This is good music to meditate to, space out with, go to sleep listening to, get a massage to...or just have playing in the background as sonic laudanum.

BTW, as you probably know, Indian classical music is based on drones rather than on a key signature; the harmonics created by a complex drone instrument like a tamboura make it possible for a skilled player to create a complex and satisfying raga using just three notes...I've heard this done and it's awe-inspiring. There are performances of Indian music that reveal the original purpose behind the raga system--allowing performers and listeners to tune in to the molecular machine musick of God's creation. The best example I know of this is Out of Stillness by Gopal Shankar Misra (also available on iTunes). (I know I've mentioned this CD before so please forgive the repetition.)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

More funny stuff (?)

I was making these every day for a while last year for a friend who was depressed...she claimed they helped...

Something funny

I drove past this sign every day on my epic commute from East Podunk to Stonewall, where I work. I moved to Stonewall and it's pretty great...quiet, easy to get around, people are nicer, no crack addicts knocking on your door. But I miss this sign and the fit of laughter it would provoke, every single day, until invariably I would drive into a ditch and my car would burst into flames but I was laughing so hard I didn't notice...

I told grigorss I'd post something funny...a Cherish'd Reader who has probably long since stopped being a Reader said I seemed very serious, and I can see why she would say that...people who know me well, on the other hand, probably wonder if there's anything at all I
am serious about, while the people who know me best know that I am passionately serious about a couple of things and those only (and no, I'm not talking about Zankou Chicken, but if they would open a branch in Stonewall I would want for almost nothing...)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Dance

leaf on carpet (not street)
I want to go out and play with Isis...I want to brush aside my microscope, slides, science books...images, idols...and dance with the Beloved...and I did this evening, while out walking, when my walk had long since become a trudge...

I thought of Izzi, thought of my own rational mania, and made myself stop and notice the next dear instant of Her unfolding...which happened to be a leaf in the street, a fragile and imperfect one, to be sure, which I picked up and wondered at--not forced wonder but falling-in-love wonder...wondered at its involute folds, its heart shape, lover shape, river and vein and mother tree there reflected...reborn...

This is SO going on my iPod

scroll down, and up...tons of good stuff...I've listened to most of the Robert Anton Wilson's good. I was having a fairly intense email dialogue with Fiorenza this a.m. and it seemed like her and Wilson AND Laura were triple-teaming me! I would read something in F's email--on the mp3 Wilson would say the same thing a second later...I'd type a word of reply to F...Wilson would say the word I was typing...and it was all stuff Laura has been saying, to the effect that I am in the process of becoming someone new and while that's happening the old slimy tentacles of my past patterns will be trying their damndest to drag me down. so make sushi out of 'em...

Wilson wrote somewhere that maybe you don't know you're in the Illuminati until it's too late to get out...

Friday, February 16, 2007

Mourning and Melancholia

There are times these days when it seems the whole world is in mourning, when it seems the bare tree branches are jail bars and the bright winter sky a lamp of pain. And then I find joy in the meekest thing--green leaves sprouting from a strawberry, this morning, that spoke to me of life everlasting and then, and thus, of death. The strawberry smile was fleeting but so real--was it real?..I hear a love song and hear hope, and then it's unbearable, an open grave.

But I have seen Her...have seen Her in the vision I had at 22 that shaped my whole life since...have seen Her in sparkling pollen of life renew'd...and in tantrick visions of all forms of the Goddess...have seen Her in my Guru, Who made me laugh, helpless, the first time we met, Who made me ecstatically say "Now I
know there's a God"...though I was 34 by then and thought I already knew ...have seen Her across a café table as the oblivious thumbnail moon waxed Shakti, in blue wisdom... She has spoken in cards, in dreams, in Angels, in songs, in stars, in hallucinations, in human voices, in the heart-shaped black stone She gave me on a beach...I have seen Her,

and yet still do not always believe...or maybe the thing is, I can't help believing now, and so must mourn all the more that these green fields of Her unfolding drip with death and sorrow. Every day I ask Kali to take me beyond dualities, to show me there is no difference between pleasure and pain, gain and loss, spirit and flesh, life and death...every day it seems to get harder to imagine that I'll ever get there, and given the histories of the great founders of my sect, Ramprasad Sen and Ramakrishna, I have no reason to believe I ever will. Ramprasad's embittered, accusatory, yet sweetly loving poems to Kali should probably be all I'm reading right now, and even Ramakrishna, universally acknowledged in his own lifetime to be God in human form, would cry at the misfortunes and sorrows of people he loved and those of strangers.

I guess I am still imbibing the western religious poisons of instant gratification and happiness: pray The Prayer, get saved, problem solved. Hindus invented evolution thousands of years ago and we envision a pretty steep spiritual hill for ourselves...but if I jump off now I'll just have to start over from the bottom. In a dream the other night a gigantic owl appeared to me, with deep and intelligent eyes...she perched on a ledge and I was still, so not to frighten her...had she gone over, she'd have soared, and Laura tells me that I, too, have wings...

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A Brief Natural History of Angels

One of my fave Media Store authors, Patrick Harpur, recently wrote an article for Fortean Times about guardian angels (requires free registration). It gives a sense of Harpur's supple intellect, especially in the little riff on Richard Dawkins's selfish gene theory.

I love this:

Those exceptional souls [perhaps You, dear Reader] who become aware of their daimon, as Jung did, have the satisfaction of fulfilling its purpose and hence of fulfilling their true selves. But this does not make them immune to suffering; for who knows what Badlands the daimon would have us cross before we reach the Isles of the Blessed? Who knows what wrestling, what injury, we are in for - like Jacob - at the hands of our angel? What our daimon teaches us, therefore, is not to always be seeking a cure for our suffering but rather to seek a supernatural use for it. "I have had much trouble in living with my ideas," wrote Jung at the end of his long and fruitful life. "There was a daimon in me… It overpowered me, and if I was at times ruthless it was because I was in the grip of a daimon… A creative person has little power over his own life. He is not free. He is captive and driven by his daimon... The daimon of creativity has ruthlessly had its way with me."

Friday, February 9, 2007

Brain scan 'can read your mind' -- BBC Story

Above is an artist's conception of possible results if my brain were scanned using the exciting new technology being developed at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences. It really is interesting to think about interior voices of all kinds (parents, deities, news demons, teachers, beloved ones) and where they fit in relation to one's "own" inner voice. My hypothesis (thanks to sources suggested by Elissa) is that there is no "me," but rather a collection of voices that arise from learned patterns of language, innate survival responses, and social cues...and of course the Divine Mother, though I realize She isn't so scientific.

The old cliché was "You are a radio," though it should be updated to "You are an iPod," since we do have a lot of control over input and hard as it can be to take control, sometimes, for an obsessive man like I was walking around my neighborhood the other evening rotely repeating "I am a child of the Divine Mother and She has a plan for me, and it's better than anything I can imagine." I didn't believe most of this spell I was reciting, but it was better than putting my brain on shuffle and letting all the bad thoughts play.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Drawing Down the Lunettes

This is a story about an early act of magick I was involved in. I have been drawn to the misnam'd "dark arts" since I was a kid; one time me and my best friend in those 1970s pre-fundie days got a book on witchcraft from the elementary school library and, as we sat on my front porch, I recited a spell to turn him into a rabbit. Nothing happened immediately, but four or five years later he moved to Texas.

Anyway: fast-forward to age 18, when I and many of the men in my college dorm worshiped the same Goddess, a deity named "Linda Ellerbee," whom one could only approach in deepest night. Linda would appear to us in our temple, the TV lounge, uttering sacred oracles about the world, politics, stuff that happened...

well, we weren't listening as carefully as we could have been. She was of voice dulcet, of mighty intelligence, and yea most wittie and sardonick, and yea of Her entire pantheon (television news) was She the fairest and most wise. At the time, the early 1980s, the idea of a non-T&A-flaunting "smart chick" on TV truly--I'm not making this up--confused many people. Linda t
o them was a Lilith, but to us the very Shekhinah.

Not least among her allures were her glasses. (It was the geek dorm.) If you are at all stirred by
swimsuit or Victoria's Secret models, then it may be impossible for me to convey to you the occult significance of glasses, for we speak erotic languages as different as Dante's Italian and New York cabbie slang. Suffice it to say that to perusers of Plato and the periodic table, glasses in combination with a high IQ are Da Bomb...a 100-megaton hydrogen bomb of Hot.

Each night the dark rites continued. Linda made us laugh and, most supernaturally and mysteriously for a network television personality, made us think. All was happy in our sect until, one fated day, there dawned a ratings Ragnarok. Linda's show, NBC News Overnight, was to be banished from the air, to be replaced, I believe, by reruns of Nightline. The myrmidons of Mithras had won out...

and so we had to reach Her. Bring Her to our humble realm, and lift ourselves to Her heaven. And so the name of the deity (very important) was inscrib'd
'pon finest paper, and so the proper zodiacal coordinates were determin'd (the address of NBC Studios in New York), and so a sacrifice was made, of that most precious substance: money. We took up a collection so we could FedEx (back when it was damn difficult and a big deal) a prayer to our Goddess. We asked for a sign. We asked: When Thou say'st, for the last time, Thy supernal Verse, "And so it goes," wouldst Thou take off Thy glasses?

In the wording of our spell we groveled, the way only males can do when trying to curry female favor. Did we speak to Her of our pet dogma, that She had borrow'd her verse from the Prophet Vonnegut? I know not. But the spell was cast, and we had only to wait; we cast the spell Tuesday, and Gotterdammerung would air Friday night.

She manifested as usual, and the vision contained farewells and lamentations of divers sorts. At the end, as She was about to speak the Verse, all was breathless silence in our temple. And She lifted Her hand...and yea She spake the Verse, and... yea Her hand touch'd the spectacles playfully but removed them not. The temple erupted in laughter and joy, for She had come down to us, yet stayed in Her starry heaven; we were with Her and She with us.