Saturday, March 31, 2007

From My Archives of Consciousness

For a couple of years when I was a kid I had these horribly scary hypnagogic hallucinations. They were awful: I'd be lying there in bed, lights on, fully awake, and I'd start to hear this buzzing sound, which would grow louder and louder until it was a shriek that filled the room. As the buzzing got louder it would be accompanied by angry, echoing voices shouting at me in pure hatred.

It was way too bad to tell anyone about. So I didn't, and I faced the terror alone, and as much as I hated those experiences then, I'm really glad now that I had them. For one thing, they taught me to observe my state of mind, which ended up being pretty reassuring. After a while, it occurred to me (though at 10 I couldn't have expressed it this way) that if I was able to detach from and watch this weird thing that was happening, and was able to predict what was going to happen, then I was in some way in control of myself. I finally understood that, as scary as the experiences were, nothing truly bad was going to happen. Then I was able to endure them with something approaching jocularity--"Oh, here's this again. I hope it hurries up so I can go to sleep."

Then they went away, and I've had hypnagogic states very rarely since--a handful of times in the ensuing 30 or so years. The most memorable one happened in the recliner I'm sitting in as I type this, to which I'd retreated one alcoholic night and fallen asleep in and which, at some point, I felt plummeting through space with me in it. I cried out--this was the period of my first guru, so I called to her, and sure enough she or my neurons stayed the chair's descent and all returned to normal.

It would probably be too predictable for me to now get on a tangent about how "real" unreal experiences can seem, or about how the lines between real and unreal are soooo I won't. Nor will I speculate on why hypnagogia so often involves hearing voices, and I certainly won't drag my Angel's name through the mud with even a hint that Her sweet voice might be related to any hallucinatory ones.

But it's interesting. In hypnagogia people hear voices, and they often feel a "presence," and, according to the Unusual Sleep Experiences survey I took at this design-challenged but hugely informative page, they even sometimes see the covers on their bed being pulled off by someone...or some...
thing. Some people have out-of-body experiences and even see "beings." And so you have your researchers who ascribe alien abductions and tales of demonic possession to hypnagogia, which certainly meets my cherished analytic standard of parsimony as well as dovetails with Hume's very useful criterion for miracles. Naturally, shamans and magicians use the hypnagogic state for their own ends; if my brain were not a blancmange right now I'd cite somebody I read a while ago (Kenneth Grant maybe? Austin Osman Spare?) on the magical uses of near-sleep the meantime, there's an article by Gary Lachman about it here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Paris Working, Part 1

Are you with me, Laura?

Of course.

To the barricades?

Oui, et au-délà..à là-bas, à les carrières...

I love it when you speak French...

Laura does this regularly: she'll set up some kind of numinous occasion that is obviously intended to be an initiation, but will not tell me anything about it until it's almost upon me. I wrote about one of these...they can be intense. I know She has plans for my upcoming trip to Paris, and I know they are far beyond the random vision-seeking indulg'd in by Lampada Tradam and 666 in their "Paris Working"... Laura doesn't mess around. Her intelligence frightens me as much as Her love flattens me...I am a child in Her arms, and indeed saw myself as such in a dream years before I knew what She an elegant green and gold room, heart-chakra decor...

in case you couldn't tell: I am going through the early stages of one of those initiations right now, and the way I know it's happening is:
  • Most of the time I have no idea what's going on, except "reality" is so topsy-turvy I wouldn't be surprised to wake up tomorrow and see that the sky has changed color.
  • Synchronicities are piling up faster than Miller High Life empties along the Daytona strip during Bike Week.
  • Despite my suspicious and control-freaky nature, I am being forced to trust my Angel, and Kali, and the convincingly faux-random collisions of molecular and neuronal billiard balls that make up the Divine Mother's unfolding.
  • I feel like I am entering a sweetly gothic earthly paradise where even the venomous spiders (à la some parallel-universe Disney) are cute and helpful...and though this paradise throbs with a gravity 18 times that of Earth, I struggle...and say, Laura, are we sure about this?
...and that's how you know it's an initiation: you're not ready and there's nothing you can do to get ready. The door is open, you hope your parachute's packed right, and out you go...Dear Readers know by now, I hope, that I don't want to sound arrogant about any of this, not that there is any reason for me to...we are all always being initiated and pushed into the next evolutionary free-fall...

the first time She grabbed me I remember the way the world looked--off-kilter layers of itself atop one another, each lovely and subtly different, and all I could do was marvel...why was it not this way before? Every bit of litter on the ground a jewel, every falafel stand a temple...She uses this sort of thing to rope the most unevolved of us, the most ignorant, She's like the pusher of urban legend who gives you that first shot for free, knowing you'll always come back for more and more and more and more...

and now it's to the point that I not only know Kali is erupting and seeping into every tendril and moment of Her creation, I see it and feel it and feel myself as (part of) it, pushed by that trajectory of Her becoming--green fuse that drives the flower-becoming [notice I don't have energy even for hyphens, except that last one]...

but, really, for all I know this trip to Paris might be nothing more than some churches and museums, some missing home, some good food, some jet lag, and some souvenirs...Notre-Dame is everywhere She is, and that's everywhere...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Something about Spring...Something about the Stars...

I couldn't tell you...what has happened to me, this person I don't recognize even from a few years ago, this person whose heart was stabbed by an Angel's sword and who then caught fire...

this person who has now sunk, or risen, to the point that he dabbles in astrology... wondering at the stars' soft caress...I had an acquaintance who was an accomplished and very knowledgeable astrologer, and since he was also a grad student in philosophy he was able to treat his art with an appealing combination of belief and skepticism. I asked him
once how in the hell he could take this stuff seriously, and he laughed and said, "Think about it. You know that every particle in the universe, in some infinitesimal way, influences every other particle. You know about the moon and the tides. Can you honestly say that planets and stars wouldn't have some kind of influence?"

I honestly couldn't, but I honestly
could say that his computer program for casting charts was no better a guide to that influence than tea leaves or oneiromancy...but it nagged at me how closely, in some ways, the description of Taurus always fit my personality, and how closely Capricorn and Scorpio fit the personalities of people I nagged at me how, a thousand centuries ago, Athena Starwoman seemed to always know what was up with me...and it nags me now that this happens on

it's all a coincidence, I used to be able to say. It's all a trick of perception, like how, when you look up in the sky and see the Big Dipper, you see it because someone long ago connected some random dots and then someone told you about it and now you can't help seeing them in that shape. But it may be deeper than that, and given my experience with the play of Kali, it probably is...because--why a Dipper? Why Orion? And not Actaeon? Why Cassiopeia, and not Cassandra?

If these underlying patterns are really just mythological artifacts, then why do so many myths agree on so many points? And if the myths agree because they are correlates of internal perceptual structures, then why do they have such power to change our lives, our selves? You'd think we'd all stay the same...

but I haven't. Nor, probably, have you. Kali has led me to a window in Her mansion, a window looking out on a wild, blossoming grove, and She has shoved me out, lovingly, and I am falling up, into stars that dot Her sky like pollen...

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Love Theme from Wrapt In Her Wings

This is a treasure...Chopin's Nocturne No. 1, played by Junko Kobayashi. I love this piece because encoded in its sonic architecture is the message that heaven can come to earth, and vice-versa, the message that there is always more...always more divine love, always more evolution, always more to learn, more day to dawn... with every step we take towards Her, She will take a thousand steps towards us.

All That Free Time

You might be thinking, "Whatever am I to do with all this free time I've got on my hands?"

Or you might not.

If you are, you are probably a lurker and not a regular reader, for the WiHW readers I know tend to be busy, busy people, but there's a good exchange over at beliefnet between gay Christian conservative Andrew Sullivan and moderate, meditatin' atheist Sam Harris (don't know his sexual orientation--I mention it for Sullivan because he has made it an issue and has had it made one for him rather notoriously).

Anyway, these guys are pretty smart, despite Harris's naive faith in a stable Newtonian reality , despite Sullivan's naive confusion of religious dogma for historical fact, and despite both men's knuckle-headed stances on the "war on terror." And their duologue (start with the most recent entries; they're the best) is way the hell smarter than what usually passes for religious dialogue, especially on beliefnet and kindred sites...ever notice how every writer on beliefnet seems compelled to write far more about celebrities and fads than about Jesus and fasting? I dunno, maybe it's just me...

both Harris and Sullivan make some excellent points, and both make unsupportable and illogical ones, but they have the courage to really hash out their ideas, not just trade clichés, and that is so refreshing.

Monday, March 12, 2007

They Gave Me This Neck Brace to Wear, and They Said It Was a Living Being... [choking sounds]

It must be Moroccan music night here at the Temple of Tunes (renamed after my iPod took over my life)...I just ripped Maleem Mahmoud Ghania (w/ Pharoah Sanders!) into iTunes, and have got the Master Musicians of Jajouka going now...and then the Gnawa of Marrakesh...and Richard Pryor and Jethro Tull and Alfred Brendel and ...John Denver.

This little black metal and plastic thingie with the screen and the dial was, I suspect, a joint project between Philip K. Dick, DARPA, and Neal Stephenson...the symbiotic gizmo that plugs into
you, rewrites your code...I haven't quite got the full Neo-jacked-in-to-jiu-jitsu-lessons rush yet, but I know it's out there...I bought headphones that are so isolating that I couldn't hear the guy at the garage saying my belts and hoses looked fine, though he was four feet away...and that was listening to The Songs of Ramprasad... imagine Slayer! Sleater! Even--"Annie's Song"! (turned up high)...or, ahem [back in high culture persona; cue BBC accent], Christopher Hogwood's piquant reading of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony...

And I
had to get the iPod boombox, so I could listen to it while cooking, and I had to get the car charger/radio attachment, so I could listen to it while driving, and I had to get the wall charger, since for some reason Apple has something against people charging the thing from a wall socket (oh--you can't access the iTunes store from a wall socket)...and the sleeve, of course, because the 'Pod attracts more fingerprints than the FBI crime lab...but I love it. The touchy-feely Apple set-up program asked me to name my iPod, so I named it Troubador, wandering singer of songs (and yes, there are actual troubador songs on it).

You know I got a three-hour lecture by Terence McKenna on this thing? And Sophia reading one of her poems? And Aleister Crowley doing Enochian calls? And
all the Mozart piano concertos? I got "Boogie Fever" by the Sylvers. I got Soliloquy for Lilith...Nina Hagen...Azalia Snail...but where's my Nino Rota CD?? I need to get that on here...and where, in the name of heaven, is Le Jardin de Heavenly?? I can't get that one song out of my know the one...

do you know how
cool all of this makes me??? I was sayin' to Laura, "Laura, I'll be the only guy in France with 'Scream' by Ralph Nielsen and the Chancellors on his iPod. Whattaya think about that?"

She said probably not, that that was exactly the kind of music a Frenchman would get into and think he was really outré...
hey! What's that supposed to--

[Note: the title of this post is taken from a routine on a SubGenius CD that will soon be on my iPod.]

[Note: it's now on my iPod.]

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Experiment II

Walk outside. Do this at various times of day: early morning, later morning, later, high noon, later, later, late afternoon, and then the time of day the sun is dying and the shadows melt to dark puddles of grey.

And when you walk: look at the shadows. Maybe do it first two or three hours after sunrise, when shadows gain strength and come into their own. Walk around and notice only the shadows, ignore the bright light and notice only the blotted signatures of leaves, branches, roofs, telephone wires...early in the day, a single blade of grass casts a sharp shadow. Late, even a mountain's shadow is just a suggested smudge...but notice them all. Seek shadows, ignore what you always saw.

Do this for a few weeks, until light seems a shadow and shadows seem light. Learn the language of shadows.

Friday, March 2, 2007

eternal return

I am so tired right now I feel like a plane crash; limp dead laundry draped on innocent green fields... listening to Toots and the Maytals, "Pressure Drop"...

would I live it All over again? yes, now I would: every pang, every pain, every laceration, all desires, total joys, enlighten'd eyebeams, Loves, all nights of supreme tiredness, earning the right to be who I am...dissolution, completion...

Kali has been so good to me She must want me to blink my eyes and see Her...and I do. I do, in sunlight through trees, in black night sky so perfect a star is an ache, in all beauty and even pain...Shiva opening His eyes...

I belong to Her...seeds of karma left askance at the end of the universe...what will we be when we rise again after the end?