Well into his meandering and brilliant Exegesis, Dick writes of his realization that the message of the parousia, the transformative presence of the divine -- the Second Coming, was not fully revealed until all three books of the VALIS trilogy were published.
There is no doubt: if the 3 books are read (VALIS, Divine Invasion and Bishop Timothy Archer) it is clear that the Parousia is here. Not a theophany is involved but resurrection, of a given man (not of Christ which after all took place 2,000 years ago). This ... is the beginning and it comes trailing clouds of collateral verification, like spinoffs: These in all constitute vast plural indices of the Parousia. Each novel in turn verifies and amplifies and explains the previous one.
Dick adds that the "full and true story [of the parousia] is divided up over the 3 books," and explains that "what I have done in and by these 3 books is penetrate to the heart of the Christian mystery." The three books must be read together as one whole. Only then can the message be fully conveyed, and perhaps only with the aid of the Exegesis can the three be accurately tied together. The Exegesis is the key to unlock and rightfully combine the three.
If the first novel, VALIS, is based on the biography of PKD, his actual spiritual awakening, then his next book, The Divine Invasion, takes us back to the familiar Dick terrain of futuristic sci-fi. Even in this novel, however, the underlying themes are religious, apocalyptic. If the Empire, represented by Nixon, was in the process of falling in VALIS due to the intervention of Zebra/Sophia, The Divine Invasion is an imagined or alternate future where the Black Iron Prison is more firmly in control than ever.
The Earth is united under one rule which, however, has two heads -- a secular head in the Stalinist "Scientific Legate" and an ecclesiastical head in the "Christian-Islamic Church." The parallels of this global power structure with the Emperor and Pope of the medieval Holy Roman Empire is clear.
Interestingly, a very similar power structure is portrayed in the final short story, A Short Tale of the Antichrist, of Russian philosopher, Vladimir Soloviev. Soloviev's 1900 story predicts the rise of a "United States of Europe" ruled over by a new Roman Emperor who expands his dominion over the whole world. The Emperor is in fact the Antichrist and the Pope, who co-rules as chief advisor to the Emperor, is Apollonius the False Prophet.
Soloviev's personal story would be very interesting for Dick fans. The idea of "syzygy" is very important in his work, as it was for Dick, and Soloviev had several mystical encounters with the divine Sophia. He was certainly no fundamentalist.
The coming of a new pope who many consider to be the last, Peter the Roman (and it's a fascinating inversion that in Soloviev's story the deposed good pope is Peter II), and possibly the False Prophet also meshes well with the visions of both Soloviev and Dick. There are multiple indications that both authors are referring to the present day.
In The Divine Invasion, both heads of government are secretly controlled by the demonic Belial, described in the Dead Sea Scrolls as the leader of the Sons of Darkness, who asserts his will through the "Big Noodle," a centralized artificial intelligence system. Yah or Yahweh has been exiled onto a remote planet and here he impregnates a human woman in order to accomplish his "divine invasion."
The Chief Prelate, the pope equivalent, is tipped off by the "Big Noodle" that this invasion will take place and is himself convinced that is Satanic in origin:
We are being spiritually tested, he prayed. I know that is the case. We must prove our worth by casting out this satanic presence. Make us worthy, Lord; lend us thy sword of might. Give us thy saddle of righteousness to mount the steed of... He could not finish the thought; it was too intense. Hasten to our aid, he finished, and raised his head. A sense of triumph filled him; as if, he thought, we have trapped something to be killed. We have hunted it down. And it will die. Praise be to God!
This is another very interesting inversion, one that should be well known to readers familiar with the Orc cycle of Blake. For the authorities of this already fallen world any genuine or even "divine" resistance to their power is sincerely looked upon as being demonic. In other words, the authorities are convinced of their own goodness. This is crucial to keep in mind.
Dick seems to celebrate this ambiguity. In The Divine Invasion, Belial is described as being a goat-like creature from Sirius. In VALIS, however, VALIS itself is speculated to be from Sirius. Is Sirius, then, a good or bad star? Is it both? Is it neither? Are Belial and VALIS perhaps the same? I will delve more into these questions, and into Sirius, a bit later. The point now is to make note of the ambiguity and inversion at the heart of Dick.
When the child incarnation of Yah, Emmanuel, is finally able to settle on Earth he meets a very enigmatic, young girl named Zina. Zina has many names. She is Pallas -- which identifies her with the constellation of Athena, Saraswati, Benten and Brigid of previous posts, and she is also Diana. She is the fairy queen and she is Sofia. She is the Shekinah, the dwelling of God's presence, and the Torah which existed long before God. Strangely, though, she also identifies herself as being the "Adversary," a term usually reserved for Satan.
He said, "You are the Adversary."
"Yes," Zina said. "I am." ...
"You are the Adversary," he said, puzzled, "but you are not Belial."
The Adversary but not Belial. Zina is of a different order that transcends the duality of demonic and divine. She overturns and undermines this dichotomy altogether, and in this way becomes more adversarial than anything described as evil. If Emmanuel is the Holy Blood, and it is within this blood that his battle with Belial takes place, then Zina is the Grail that contains it. But it is also her that flows in the blood. She is flow. Another one of her names is ALP.
In both The Divine Invasion and Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said, Dick quotes directly from Chapter 8 of Finnegans Wake, usually called "Anna Livia Plurabelle." From Flow My Tears:
Observing her youth, her automatic radiance, he said," 'I feel as old as yonder elm.'
"From Finnegans Wake," Kathy said happily. "When the old washerwomen at dusk are merging into trees and rocks."
"You've read Finnegans Wake?"he asked, surprised.
"I saw the film. Four times. I like Hazeltine; I think he's the best director alive."
It's notable that in the globalized police state of Flow My Tears, Joyce's Finnegans Wake has been made into a popular movie. Does it, like the film in Valis or like The Man Who Fell to Earth for Dick, contain signals from a divinely invading source? The "Anna Livia Plurabelle" section of the Wake is also pertinent in that it is the only section which Joyce himself read and recorded. Why should he have chosen this passage in particular? If there is one thing we know about Joyce it's that he would not pick such a piece simply because he happened to like it.
Certainly it is a very lyrical passage. Two washerwomen are spreading out their laundry and gossiping together on opposite banks of the Liffey as it flows through Dublin. As dusk falls the river widens and the two turn into a tree and a stone. As in all parts of the Wake a multitude of things are happening at once. The stone and the tree are the twin brothers Shaun and Shem respectively. The river is both their mother, ALP, and their sister, Isabel. One aspect of this passage is, however, most salient to Dick and his work.
Oronoko! What's your trouble? Is that the great Finnleader himself in his joakimono on his statue riding the high horse there forehengist? Father of Otters, it is himself! Yonne there! Isset that? On Fallareen Common?
One of the washerwomen has, on two occasions, a vision of the Irish mythical hero, Finn MacCool. The other washerwoman accuses her counterpart of having had too much to drink. In this appearance of Finn is also a glimpse of the Second Coming of Christ. This is the parousia. This is Zebra momentarily revealing itself. Could this be why this particular passage was given special attention by both Joyce and Dick?
The connection of this chapter of the Wake, and particularly the last part which Joyce narrated,
seems especially related to Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said. Dick named his book after a lute song, or ayre, by English Renaissance composer and lutenist, John Dowland. Dick quotes Dowland's melancholic lyrics to the ayre throughout the book.
Flow, my tears, fall from your springs!
Exiled for ever, let me mourn;
Where night's black bird her sad infamy sings,
There let me live forlorn.
It's easy to compare this to Poe's similarly dark set of verses in The Raven. The flowing of tears in this lute song are both the tears of the police chief in the novel and the tears of Dick himself. The name for the instrumental version of this song is Lachrimae pavane. In the novel General Buckman listens to Lachrimae Antiquae Pavan, a variation of the same piece.
The first man [Dowland], Buckman mused, to write a piece of abstract music. He removed the tape, put in the lute one, and stood listening to the "Lachrimae Antiquae Pavan." From this, he said to himself, came, at last, the Beethoven final quartets. And everything else. Except for Wagner.
The initials of this piece are LAP. This is, of course, an alteration of ALP and it is an alteration that Joyce also plays with in the Wake. The melancholic tears that are flowing through Dick's first published work after his experiences of 2-3-74, and a book full of synchronistic parallels to these experiences, are the chittering, hitherandthithering waters of ALP. The hundreds of rivers that flow through Chapter 8 of Finnegans Wake also flow through Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said.
It is salient that the lute songs of John Dowland are also played throughout The Divine Invasion. One of the characters, Linda Fox, is a singer who becomes famous for her renditions of Dowland's songs. The same tears of the River flow through this novel. Appropriately it also quotes from "Anna Livia Plurabelle."
"What is this?" the autochthon said, listening to the translation into his own tongue. Grinning, Herb Asher said, "A famous Terran book. 'Look, look, the dusk is growing. My branches lofty are taking root. And my cold cher's gone ashley. Fieluhr? Filou! What age is at? It saon is late. 'Tis endless now senne- "The man is mad," the autochthon said, and turned toward the hatch, to leave. "It's Finnegans Wake," Herb Asher said. "I hope the translating computer got it for you. 'Can't hear with the waters of. The chittering waters of. Flittering bats, fieldmice bawk talk. Ho! Are you not gone ahome? What Thom Malone? Can't hear-'
The autochthon had left, convinced of Herb Asher's insanity.
Previously in this blog I have quoted from this episode in The Divine Invasion. Herb Asher speculates that Joyce's ability in the Wake to seemingly predict the technology of the future, like "talktapes" and television, indicates that Joyce was somehow tapped into a type of "cosmic consciousness." Researchers William Klaus and Will Morgan have pointed out that later on in the novel Dick does exactly the same thing.
At school, Emmanuel is given an "information slate" by Zina. Emmanuel is assured that this is not the usual slate containing "common microcircuitry," owned by "every young person," and linked up to Big Noodle. His particular information slate is in direct connection to VALIS. These information slates are clearly the tablets and iPads of today. Was the cosmic consciousness that both Joyce and Dick evidently plugged into also VALIS? Or could it more suitably be called ALP? Or are these two the same?
Anna was, Livia is, Plurabelle's to be.
The Other Side
The last book of the VALIS trilogy, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, takes us back, more or less, to a recognizable location in time and space. The book begins on Dec. 8th, 1980, the day John Lennon was shot and killed. Already this connects the story to a gaping pit with no apparent bottom. We later find out that this is also the day that the main character, Angel Archer, discovers that her friend and father-in-law, Bishop Timothy Archer, has returned from the dead as a spirit reincarnated within the mind and body of the schizophrenic, Bill Lundborg.
Timothy Archer is a fictionalized version of James Pike, the Episcopal Bishop of California and Dick's close friend. Pike died in Sept. 1969 in the middle of the Judean Desert while on an expedition to find historical proof of Jesus Christ. For Dick the death of the liberal, antiwar Bishop was just as tragic as the deaths of JFK, MLK and RFK. And, as with these assassinations, he felt that Pike's untimely end was highly suspicious. Dick writes in the Exegesis:
They saw revolution; they saw the anti-establishment counterculture articulations (voices) and plotted correctly a synchronization, but could not account for it, despite the efforts of the police. Who were the leaders
of this revolution? They had killed all the leaders, and it made no difference: the psyche or psychoi of the leaders lived on—literally. Impossible!
Dick speculated that the current form of the Black Iron Prison, Nixon's America, had killed these countercultural leaders in an attempt to extinguish the flames of revolution, but that this attempt had ultimately failed because the spirits of these great men literally lived on. The assassination of John Lennon may have, on one level, hammered the last nail in the coffin of the counterculture, but Dick imagined that on this very day a new spirit was rising.
In the Exegesis, Dick finally arrived at a comprehensive theory which completed and combined the three books of the final trilogy and could fully account for what happened to him on 2-3-74. To put it briefly -- Jim Pike was/is VALIS. In analysing the personality of the individual that Dick called "Thomas," who had entered his thoughts and altered his actions, Dick concluded that this individual could certainly be the spirit of Jim Pike.
It's highly systemized, sort of like the left hemisphere of the Greek-speaking Roman citizen. It seemed to me that the preoccupations of this individual were indeed those of Jim Pike, and thus if you allow all prior steps in this chain of inferential thought to stand, you arrive logically at the final step that Jim Pike broke through to me "from the other side."
Jim Pike, like Timothy Archer in the novel, had written a controversial book about spiritualist communications with his dead son. It was entitled, The Other Side. Dick came to believe that Pike was communicating with him in a similar manner. Pike's vast knowledge of ancient languages would seem to account for Dick's ability to speak and understand Greek and Latin.
But why had Pike come back? An unfortunate event that happened to Dick in 1971 perhaps offers a clue. On November 17th, 1971 (a date that will take on increased importance as this story progresses), PKD returned from errands to his California home to discover that it had been broken into. His stereo was gone and his locked filing cabinet was blown apart with some of its documents missing.
As with other pivotal occurrences in his life, Dick had many theories as to who committed the break-in. He postulated at various times that it could have been neo-Nazis, or black militants, or junkies, or a secret government agency, or even himself during a psychotic episode. The theory he seemed to settle upon in the Exegesis, though, was that the purpose for the break-in was to steal certain theological and perhaps heretical papers left to Dick by Bishop James Pike.
In April of this year when I was in the hospital for high blood pressure
(caused really by these "dreams") I met a lawyer and told him at length about the hits on my house. His theory after careful thought was that it was most likely that they were after papers concerning Jim Pike, religious material Jim had given me or told me before his death.
If this was the case, if the agents of the Black Iron Prison forcibly attempted to prevent Dick from possessing and perhaps writing about Pike's papers they were ultimately unsuccessful. In 1974, Pike seemingly appeared to Dick in spirit form, co-existing in his mind as with Bill Lundborg in Timothy Archer, and imparting to Dick far greater secrets and powers than Pike would have been able to convey through written articles.
One of the most astounding incidents within Dick's whole 2-3-74 experiences directly concerns Richard Nixon and, if true, has huge historical ramifications. In a 1975, multi-page article in Rolling Stone magazine about Dick, his books and the break-in, which brought much needed exposure of PKD to a wider American readership, this story is partially told.
Phil's congressman is Charles Wiggins, the articulate, charming ex-Nixon defender on the House Judiciary Committee. Phil corresponded with Wiggins during the impeachment hearings. Wiggins listened to him, answering his letters personally and in detail, at one point saying that he'd reconsidered and reversed himself on a constitutional issue subsequent to reading one of Dick's letters. Phil and I agreed that Wiggin's radio interview recantation the Monday they found the smoking pistol was one of the most moving moments in the whole Watergate drama.
The "smoking pistol" that journalist Paul Williams refers to was also called the "smoking gun" tape. This tape was one of many White House conversation tapes subpoenaed by the House Judiciary Committee. This tape definitively proved that Nixon willfully attempted to obstruct justice during the Watergate investigation. After Wiggin's, who had been Nixon's most loyal defender, public recantation Nixon lost all support and he resigned shortly after.
In a 1979 interview (starting at about 1:36:00 in the video), Dick reveals an entirely new and amazing dimension to this story. He explains that the presence that had possessed his mind was also female. At one point it had identified itself as the Cumaean Sibyl. The Sibyl warned him that the US republic under Nixon was about to turn into an outright empire, but she assured Dick that they would be destroyed because they were murderers.
She then dictated a series of letters to Charles Wiggins. Charles Wiggins was on the House Judiciary Committee sitting in on the decision as to whether to impeach President Nixon....They dealt with constitutional law... I know nothing about constitutional law. Later I found out that Congressman Wiggins is such an authority on constitutional law that he was suggested as a possibility for the Supreme Court.
Dick explains that Wiggins came from Fullerton, California and it was his practice to reply in detail to every letter sent to him by a Fullerton resident. The Sibyl later revealed that she had directed Dick to move to Fullerton from Canada so that he could send the congressman these letters dictated by her. These letters, sent to Wiggins while he was sitting on the committee, informed him that he should have no loyalty to Nixon as the president had violated his Oath of Office to uphold and protect the US Constitution.
And then she sent the final letter. The letter contained the information that the Nixon transcripts were forgeries. They did not correspond to the Nixon tapes. That if the tapes were released it would show that the transcripts were forgeries. That letter she sent to the Wall Street Journal...
Did the Cumaen Sibyl/VALIS/Zebra/Jim Pike provide the information that led to the "smoking gun" tape and Nixon's subsequent resignation? Did VALIS prevent Nixon and his co-conspirators from transforming the US into an unbridled totalitarian empire in 1974? The novel VALIS certainly also suggests this, but it warns that the Empire would attempt to solidify in the future yet again. Did Jim Pike possess Dick in order to temporarily bring down the cabal that had killed him, along with the Kennedys and MLK earlier, in the desert? This could also be the case.
God's Own Spermatozoa
Dick's theory does not stop at mere spiritualist possession, however. It goes much deeper. Dick retained his theory of a plasmate of living information which had laid dormant in the Essene and Gnostic scriptures, and that had only in the 20th century been reawakened with the discovery and translation of these texts. One of the original scholars commissioned to decipher the Dead Sea Scrolls was a friend of James Pike. This was the controversial author of The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, John Allegro.
Allegro's book presented the theory that early Christianity was essentially a fertility cult and a mystery religion that was quite similar to other sects of this sort in the Middle East of that period. Most controversially, Allegro argued that based on textual evidence Jesus was actually a code for the intoxicating Amanita muscaria mushroom. From Allegro's introduction:
Every aspect of the mushroom's existence was fraught with sexual allusions, and in its phallic form the ancients saw a replica of the fertility god himself. It was the "Son of God", its drug was a purer form of the god's own spermatozoa than that discoverable in any other form of living matter. It was, in fact, God himself, manifest on earth. To the mystic it was the divinely given means of entering heaven; God had come down in the flesh to show the way to himself, by himself.
In The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, Bishop Archer travels to the desert in order to find these mushrooms. In the novel Dick does not mention Allegro, but it is clear that his ideas are being discussed. In the Exegesis, however, the true importance of Allegro to Dick is revealed. Allegro is the conduit by which, through Pike, VALIS enters into Dick's life.
A very eerie idea just came to me. Suppose it's been dormant for many
centuries—maybe dormant between the time of "Acts" and recently. Suppose, like an anthrax virus, it was literally buried, sealed up in a scroll or codex, in a jar, in a cave—it is, after all, a life form. In "Thomas" there was no memory between 1914 and "Acts"—a hiatus. Suppose it returned recently? And began to replicate, thus bringing about the end of the age of iron (the BIP). It's possible. Robert Bly says Jesus was an Essene. Suppose it "rode" or was info in the Qumran Cave V Scrolls, went from John Allegro to Jim Pike to me?
This is incredible. From its living expression in the community of Essenes, and its open opposition to the Empire of that time, VALIS was carefully concealed within the sacred texts, sealed in jars and stored deep within caves. Here it rested for nearly two millennia until it was rediscovered and deciphered in the 20th century. Allegro was one the few who truly understood its message and he passed on his understanding to James Pike.
This made Pike very dangerous to the Empire. They had him killed in the desert, but not before he had passed on some of his valuable and subversive theological writings to PKD. These were stolen from Dick in the break-in of 1971, but just three years later Pike returned to Dick in a series of uncanny experiences beginning with the dark-haired girl and her fish necklace.
In the Exegesis, Dick explains this in the following way:
So from Jim the plasmate-form of an Essene entered me (in the late sixties?) and lived subliminally until 2-74 when I/we saw the golden fish sign, and that triggered the plasmate Essene Christian—I experienced his memory—yes ...and then gradually my ego barrier to him crumbled until he took over in 3-74. This would be hard to believe and seem merely "exorcist-ish" or occultish except: I saw how the plasmate can "ride" or better yet be certain crucial info (words-logos). I have always said if there is an answer to "why me?" the answer is: Jim Pike, somehow.