Monday, December 31, 2018

A Swarming and A Singing$File/Paul-Klee-With-the-eagle.JPG

2018 was kind of a low ebb for grapejuice. Robbed of time by usura and other voluntary commitments and distractions, less was manifested than intended. In a way, though, the work continued on in a different form. The following are a series of podcast discussions, hosted by the good folks at Sync Book, in which I contribute a bit and try to extend and interweave the threads of several narrative strands often surfacing here in the blog.

All of these talks revolve around either a book or film, but no boundaries are fixed and things tend to spin off. And if you listen closely you can follow a story from one to the next; themes, symbols and images repeat and modulate, encompassing ever more into the fold. Please enjoy.

The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon: Part 1 and Part 2.

Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace: Part 1 and Part 2.

Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf: Part 1 and Part 2.

Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle, Vladimir Nabokov: Part 1.

Lolita, directed by Stanley Kubrick: 3 Parts.

The plan is to get more written this coming year -- it's always the plan. Stay focused, stay inspired, expand the glimpses and moments of wonder. Shuffle off melancholy at the door. Peace to you all.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Mask And Phenomenon

Metamorphosis of finitude.
            Even here mosquitoes bite;
                   always prey as much as predator.

Winged fleeting shadows,
     heaving brine soup.
Flutes of bone,
    notes ricocheting off cave walls.

                                                    You must only get through one day.

          Nullity and powerlessness.
          Reciprocity and conjugality.
          Bright apophatic nothingness.

Scouring the cemeteries for Shaun the Post.
Jumped a wall,   grave hopping,
             but didn't find him.
     Red rose placed on another.

                                     The landscape thinks
                                                   itself within me.

Post-nasal, itchy, greasy-haired, fuzzy-toothed,
    cross-legged, eyelash follicle depletion.
Every physical imperfection
     yet a magical circle has been drawn.

                                                        Wonder and bedazzlement!

Miracles always
followed by unbelief.

Slave labour bunker excavated
      for a private pebble

                                                                   Babylon is too rude

Open to the abysmal
character, Kora,
to the crevice between skeletal ribs.

At the limit of reason, intuition. Already possessed
      by the mass?       But no -- attained without reaching
                                                                      the summit first.
 And why is it necessary?
                             Needed to properly give thanks,
                              else like a child;
                        receiving without knowing,
                         innocence without wisdom,
                          unable to truly return
                              the gift.

Jumping over one's
own shadow:
"Ego sum qui sum"

                                                            Sound of small waves
                                                                  Prows cutting through water

     Go to the Dogana point
Bring yer own bottle,
sit, drink and write
sense or nonsense,
Anything that rushes out.
Invoke the masters
without fear of pretension, in an
attempt to make it sing again,
ringing off the rim of
the bathtub.

                                                 Each breath takes
                                                  us to the moment of

                                                                                                Cracks, stains, mould,
                                                                                               butts, caps, corks,
                                                                                                ship masts, boat motor
                               For one evening me and
                                my wine hold the
                        responsibility of keeping
                          the city afloat.
                            Wager with the adversary.
                       Marco Polo to Dadu to
                     do business with the Khan.
                          Geologic ages compressed
                                                             into seconds.

Wine for cigar exchange
and now a small torch
between my fingers.

                                                               The incarnation must be
                                           held in the body and in the mind,
                                       in the senses and in the

Medium of star shine
and street grime.

                                                                                           The guerilla always puffs
                                                                                           a cigar while on a jungle romp.
                                                                                           The edifice of the land.
                                                                                           Ash tapped in the crevice
                                                                                     of the pier stones.
                                                                               Phenomenology is a metallurgy.

Quick puff succession.
Forgetting vowels,
the breath between stops,
impasse and the overcoming of impasse,
 ongoing con-spiracy between God
      and Man.

                          A mad swamp of incomprehension,
                       tension, and then words graced
                              from somewhere above.
                      At this milieu, at this
                middle, something
                      sparks, smoke is produced,
                     the world is fashioned,
                     breath, anima, ruah.
                    Smoke drifts across
                       the sparkling water,
               a line of lights,
                         vaporous curl of letters.

                                                              "As one that would draw
                                                                           thru the node of things"

Cigar a baobab of ash.
Toes free.
Only the stars remain firm and clear.
Not even these --
     a flicker of the death of Heaven,
like the improvisation
of music, forced amnesia,  
            a terrible disease that
has no name.

                                            Floating on the azure air...

                                                                                        Jubilee must be conscious,
                                                                                        elegies of discarded empire,
                                                                                         ignored accordions in the
                                                                                      plaza, body as the intersection of
                                                                                      the physical and spiritual worlds.

The Calypso was the first ship I spotted;
stranded on an island of seduction.

                                                                          Christ changed the nature of category itself.

                   Thurn und Taxis

                                               Mars to my right,
                                             Venus already below the
                                             horizon and behind me,
                                                Neptune, on porpoise-back, straight ahead,
                                            rising and blessing from the sea.

Interface of light, of water, of sound, of blood, of wine. The door was open
             and we rushed to the event.

                                                         Committing the only sin
                                                                of letting a single breath pass
There is no space that
needs completion,
every detail is already
drawn in.

                                            Even this solid rock is sinking.

The deity moves
through love, everyone incomparable, neighbour encountered
                       in the rupture of
                                                                                             Respirating, perceiving.
                                                                                                 Not a hole in this world.
                                                                                                   Fragmented, distorted,
                                                                                       risk, paradox, ambivalence, precarious.
Philosophy must trace the mystery which precedes being.

                                   Naiads, dryads, sylphs
                                        and undines assemble unseen beneath
                               the stars and spheres.
                               Matter is not inert
                                                      but moves.

                                                                                  What a place to drown!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Phases of the Loon

Excuse please    no boast 
    only the glory of 

the processes
   of Earth 
           and man. 

-- The Maximus Poems, Charles Olson 

Magma flow, glaciation, cellular mitosis, species extinction, tribal federations, the founding of cities, imperial overreach, the inscription of epics. Interpenetrating processes, differing in rate, rhythm and tone, converging on a single individual, a single town, a single planet. An intersection of geology and psychology on main street in a luminous flash of conception, then branching out, retreating down the back alleys.

Yet none of these sequences advancing blindly. Each possessing a sort of wisdom, a wariness, an archaic animation, a god in a mask. Bound by no moral code, they revel with Dionysus; haunted, intoxicated, tearing flesh, ripping limbs, naked in the sunlight; creeping vines, braying jungle cats, praising, overwhelmed. An ecstatic chorus older than the bedrock.

As the ancient song bubbled up opposite Regent’s Park Tube Station, still the earth seemed green and flowery; still, though it issued from so rude a mouth, a mere hole in the earth, muddy too, matted with root fibres and tangled grasses, still the old bubbling burbling song, soaking through the knotted roots of infinite ages, and skeletons and treasure, streamed away in rivulets over the pavement and all along the Marylebone Road, and down towards Euston, fertilising leaving a damp stain. 

-- Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf

Music is the original expression of chthonic creation, all other arts extending from it. It plays and rills and riffs not in imitation of the Forms, but as immediate presentation of them, as if mocking their supposed primacy. Its courses flow through the elements; through media of water, flame, channels of sap and marrow, verse, cold architectures of steel and glass. Bubbling still -- right now -- in the imperial metropoles. A beggar woman, a hag perched on the fence pole, a creature of the street, takes up the chant; vessel of ALP, spring of the Goddess, the passing voice of life itself.

The universe is a continuous medley of mental processes, or a single huge mind with different levels of activity going on in it at once. As awareness descends through these levels, it produces ever more thoughts so that the lower reaches of the mind are noisy and full of chaotic and disharmonious impulses bound together only by the illusory chain of causality; as it reascends, it produces at each higher level fewer, less object-oriented and fragmented thoughts, up to the objectless contemplation of the One. 

-- The Shape of Ancient Thought, Thomas McEvilley

And yet her song becomes distant, its tune indistinct, its words unclear, its listeners few. The song gets reduced to a concept. “Gets reduced,” but that is not how it was viewed by the wise of that era. Instead, it was “purified,” made transcendent, stripped of its contamination by the physical, the feminine, the animal, the non-intelligible, expression in time.

Crystalline, star-like abstraction. Mathematical purity, the suppression of dissonance, categories fixed, the notes unbending, a hierarchical gradation to absolute Spirit. A vast and austere beauty, eternal and perfect, free from the fluctuation and decomposition of phenomenon. All is a product of mind. The One is without objects, without any contact with Nature which at best is viewed as being an imperfect copy of Spirit, and at worst something wholly Evil.

Superficially seen, Plato was a playful dialectician, but deeply understood, he was an extremely religious man. In a certain sense, Platonic philosophy is in its essence a powerful synthesis of Greek shamanistic beliefs that have been systematized and spiritualized. 

-- Out of This World, I.P. Couliano 

Several steps separate the Dionysian from the Platonic, the shamanic being one of these. The Apollonian healers and seers, the iatromantis figures like Aristeaus and Abaris, translated or responded to general Dionysian ecstasy by shaping it into something individual and internal.

This course is reflected in Plato’s own life. Before becoming a disciple of Socrates, he was of a religious nature. He wrote tragic poetry which he burned after being initiated by his master, and later banished the poets from his ideal Republic. The archaic Dionysian, Orphic and shamanic musical vision of the unity of being/becoming was made intelligible, bound under the category of Reason.

And we may add that the Pseudo-Dionysius, whose works were the source of mediaeval Christian mysticism, and were held in great reverence by Thomas Aquinas, Tauler and Meister Eckhart, were copied from the order of the divine hierarchies as set forth by Plotinus, Jamblichus, and Proclus, who all, through Plato and Pythagoras, based themselves on Orpheus. 

-- Orpheus, G.R.S. Mead

In this way, the original song of the Orphic book of nature was not entirely silenced. Its notes were transformed into text, its poetry had mostly become prosaic and rationalized, but its call could no more be stifled than starlight be extinguished. A mystical tradition persisted, at times meeting in secrecy and at times in open and honoured acceptance by the reigning religious and secular authorities. It largely ignored divisions of orthodoxy and heterodoxy, of religious and political affiliations. Mystics of all lands and creeds were united by vision.

There had been, within this broad tradition, a movement away from the total affirmation of the processes of life, a progress of emphasis on the embrace of Matter to the goal of the apprehension of pure Spirit, but certain seers (like Iamblichus/Jamblichus and others) were still able to catch glimpses of the primal ecstasy. Even in the writings of the most orthodox of these spiritual seekers, Thomas Aquinas most notably, the old inspired chorus can still be heard.

At times I even feel moved to address all future prophets of mankind as follows: “Prophets! Dear, kind prophets! Leave us alone. Do not try to fan the flames of lofty sentiments in our souls; do not try to make us better than we are. For so long as we are bad, we limit ourselves to petty felonies; as we grow better, we kill. 

“Try to understand, dear prophets, that it is neither perfidy nor cunning nor vice that forces us to rage like vengeful animals; it is our inborn feelings of humanity and justice: without nobility of the soul we should never know righteous indignation. And try to understand that our souls work like swings: the stronger the push up towards the nobility of the soul, the stronger the swoop down towards the fury of the beast...”

-- Novel with Cocaine, M. Ageyev 

The emphasis on spiritual purity and moral uprightness has taken its toll. Much of the nightmare of history during the last millennium emanates from fanatical responses to the words of the prophets of the pure: Nature has indeed fallen and with it the nature of man, but it can be made good and holy once more.

Crusades, inquisitions, witch hunts, religious wars, colonialism, genocide, racial supremacy, revolutionary reigns of terror, reactionary counter-suppression, totalitarian ideologies, scientific single vision, technological eschatology, commercial omnipresence all stem from the desire -- not wrong in itself -- for Truth without error and change, and for Spirit (however codified or designated) free of all impurity. But this leads to a split in the soul. What is whole is not necessarily perfect.

And so the soul swings, as it were, from nobility to the fury of that which is sub-bestial, monstrous, Satanic.

“...Up to now I have spoken only of local Satanic associations, but there are others, more extensive, which ravage the old world and the new, for Diabolism is quite up to date in one respect. It is highly centralized and very capably administered. There are committees, subcommittees, a sort of curia, which rules America and Europe, like the curia of a pope. 

“The biggest of these societies founded as long ago as 1855 is the society of the Re-Theurgistes Optimates. Beneath an apparent unity it is divided into two camps, one aspiring to destroy the universe and reign over the ruins, the other thinking simply of imposing upon the world a demoniac cult of which it shall be high priest...”

-- Là-Bas, J.K. Huysmans 

The satanic perfectly mirrors the orthodox. Both exist as highly centralized hierarchies, each held in thrall by their own dogma which divides the cosmos into categories of the accepted and the unaccepted. They are virtually indistinguishable.

Agents, double agents, triple and quadruple agents, flip back and forth across the border, employing identical methods and means, blurring the lines, provoking schisms, making words imprecise and ideas incoherent. Tradition and counter-tradition each calling the other black, a willingness on both sides to both conquer and destroy the world, each guilty of atrocity upon atrocity.

Was not everything, after all, like this bewildering woodland, this dance of dark and light? Everything only a glimpse always unforeseen, and always forgotten. For Gabriel Syme had found in the heart of the sun-splashed wood what many modern painters had found there. He had found the thing which the modern people call Impressionism, which is another name for the final scepticism which can find no floor to the universe. 

-- The Man Who was Thursday, G.K. Chesterton 

Chesterton’s perceptive novel tells the tale of an anarchist terrorist cell that is wholly infiltrated by and composed of police agents, each convinced that the others are genuine violent revolutionaries. All anarchist violence is really state violence, all state violence is really anarchist violence. Shadow and sunlight, evil and good, can no longer be separated. All comes into question.

There is only the impressionistic dance of light and darkness -- only a play or a mirage, without bottom or foundation, universal nausea. A sort of chaotic music returns, the maenads reassemble, but there is no acceptance of the frenzy. Most try not to listen, stuff their ears against the siren song, but a few -- mainly unstable, outcast -- begin to be caught up in the dance.

“Purpose of life is unknown, and hence way to be is hidden from the eyes of living critters. Who can say if perhaps the schizophrenics are not correct? Mister, they take a brave journey. They turn from mere things, which one may handle and turn to practical use; they turn inward to meaning. There, the black-night-without-bottom lies, the pit. Who can say if they will return? And if so, what will they be like, having glimpsed meaning? I admire them.”

-- Martian Time-Slip, Philip K. Dick 

It makes sense that it would be the “mad” who would first make the plunge. They have the least to lose -- already shunned and sidelined by the civilization of light -- and they have made a commitment, or have been by circumstances forced, to rediscover meaning. This meaning can no longer be universal and consensual -- everyone has become a skeptic -- but instead is particular, fluctuating, ad hoc.

Here alone -- with the mad, the drug user, the ignored artist, the socially despised -- is there the willingness to dive into the abyss and to attempt to surface with some answers from among the confused kaleidoscope of worldviews. Most do not reemerge. They attempt a sort of shamanism, but with total lack of support from their society, their would-be tribe.

The song is rediscovered, though there is the lingering drive to make sense of it. Even for the schizophrenic a rational -- in their own eyes -- grid must be overlaid upon the tumult of nature. And in this attempt to make rational sense, to privilege the abstractions of mind over completed embodied and ensouled experience, they suffer, they drown.

The prima materia of poetic emotion is a synesthetic chaos. A confused mixture of diverse emotions is first felt painfully in the body, like a swarming of multiple lives trying to escape. It is usually that uncomfortable feeling that forces the poet to take up the pen, be it as a vague and imperious need to exteriorize himself or in a less coarse fashion. 

-- “Clavicles for a Great Poetic Game,” René Damaul 

But for the very few that accept this synesthetic chaos in its own terms, in Her own terms, they may be blessed with creative enchantment. True poetry springs from this well, human imagination is found again, but not in concepts or ideals, not in anything that can be limited to the intelligible, but in the senses and emotions, in swarming life and in physical touch and beauty.

The eternal shines in the particular, the timeless in time, and all within the riotous details of perception. We return to the processes of the Earth, and to the inner processes of imagining and perceiving, and the bonfires are lit again. Prose becomes poetry, poetry song, and song is coupled with dance.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Capsizing the Polypus

(This piece was written for inclusion in a coming art exhibit by Dennis Koch. The exhibition will open in Los Angeles on 6/23, and will also feature the Crypto-Kubrology research of Alex Fulton.)

It was Blake who prophesied that the senses would once again combine and permeate the entire surface of the body. No longer would seeing, hearing, smelling and tasting be isolated to the head but would, like the sense of touch and synergized with it, be coextensive with the skin.

This would not mean, however, that the skin would be covered with tiny eyes, ears, nostrils and tongues, but that it would be radically transformed into a synesthetic sensory medium in which one blended super-sense would perceive with the whole body -- ubiquitously and omnidirectionally -- all possible sensory data; at once an ever-changing kaleidocosm of blended colours, sounds, smells, tastes, textures and emotions.

This synesthesia of enhanced touch, which Marshall McLuhan may have ultimately meant by the haptic, is not, according to Blake, an exotic and unrealizable fantasy, but is in fact the birthright of our physical form. This is the true nature of the human body: created in the image of God before the Fall.

Nor was the body meant to be isolated -- male and female He created them. The body was made for communication, copulation, procreation, subsequent creation. All-sensing skin in blessed union with all-sensing skin. An unending shower of perceptual grace, in no way confined to what are now called the organs of reproduction or the genitalia, in every way exceeding or transcending the sexual. The same power that fires the Sun is generated by this coupling. And, as taught D.H. Lawrence, it is this power of life which causes the Sun to burn and not the opposite. It is the apotheosis of the making of love.

This urge, this snaking and riverine intensity, flows up from the lower extremities of the body, absorbed by channels of marrow and blood and breath, rising and recombining at various confluences, gathering at the heart -- “the cardiac synthesizer” -- where it is churned alchemically into pure imagination, spiraling up to the brain and beyond and then descending in circuit through contact of skin with skin. Perfected perception of the one in total sensory awareness of the perfected perception of the other. Instant manifestation of all percepts/concepts (there being no distinction between the two) as something indistinguishable from both imagination and love.

McKenna spoke of telepathic cephalopods -- octopuses and other marine animals -- who communicate through the rippling and gyrating of patterned colours and lights on the surface of their bodies. Meaning is not something to be heard in communication with other individuals of one’s own species but beheld. And the same could also be true for our prelapsarian forms; not only perceiving and receiving but also emitting and transmitting dancing lights, colours, sounds and fragrances. Communication as sensual synesthetic simultaneity.

Here, McKenna is less anthropocentric, less biblically oriented, than Blake, although he is much more concerned with being considered “scientific.” Blake could care less about literal and scientific “facts.” A thing is true if it is affirmed by poetic vision. In such a vision, the unified sensorium is reflecting upon itself. But, as in McKenna’s thought, there is no need to limit this to the human and still less to any one particular human story. Nature in each of her ever-transforming aspects consists of a myriad of organs of perception, each perceiving the other in a nearly infinite variety of designs and forms. And as human perception has fallen -- the senses isolated from one another -- one sense, notably sight, dominates the rest.

Yet what is the Fall? What characterizes it? The Bible explains that it was brought about by sin, but that only begs the further question -- what is sin? Nietzsche’s answer is most lucid: sin is separation. Separation of the senses from each other. Separation of human beings from the rest of nature. Separation of reason from desire. Separation of male from female. Separation of Man from God. Separation of subject from object, of self from other, of figure from ground, of mind from bodies, of bodies from their crafted extensions.

And of these extensions language itself is most important, being the scaffolding of all subsequent technology. After the Fall -- and it matters little if this is expressed in mythological, psychological or biological terms, each of these being merely different stories within language -- language became split off from the things that it referred to. In effect, language as we have always known it and can presently conceive of it was born at this point.

But in all of the ancient and archaic stories -- depicting in verse language’s own longing to cross the river Lethe and behold its real nature -- every Fall is followed by an eventual Redemption. Language will be redeemed. History will be redeemed. Nature will be redeemed. The senses will be redeemed. The multiform kaleidoscopic protoplasmic sensorium will be cleansed and become radiant.

Within the Abrahamic religions, as in the progressive and evolutionary ideologies that spun off from these traditions, this moment of return is projected out into the future, into the “to come.” Yet time itself is a product of separation, of the Fall. Prior to the Fall there was no time. As the two terms, Fall and Redemption, are logically linked -- the one necessitating the other -- the existence of the Fall implies the existence of the Redemption. It will come. A timeless state has happened and a timeless state will happen again, and from the perspective of either, these two states are the same. For either, there really was no lapse into time. There was no Fall to begin with. In the timeless state -- sub specie aeternitatis -- nothing has fallen so there is no need for redemption.

The coming of Christ, His Incarnation, has already negated all of history. The Buddha’s awakening under the Bo tree accomplished the same. In fact, this mighty event occurs continually although it only really happens once. At every fraction of a second -- being a meaningless division of an illusory condition, time -- our perception paints a universe onto the void. Nature is perpetually incarnated. There is nothing to wake up to for we were never asleep. The perceived dreams and nightmares, and the cycles and patterns containing both, are all part of the mix.

Hell, purgatory and heaven are equally present, a fluid palimpsest of worlds and dimensions. All stories become true, each a branch or a twig of some living and breathing and breeding Orphic saga of existence. The elves are here, as are angels and demons, as are subatomic particles and wave functions, as are the gandharvas and the duende, plants and animals and fungi, each moving at different rates, each arising and passing, each supplying food and inspiration for the others. And each also non-existent for exactly the same reasons. None are complete in themselves. None are apart or autonomous. All sins have been forgiven long ago.

Already, then, the senses have been perfected and fused. The world of our perception -- the only world that we have access to -- is even now a sublime synesthesia. The psychedelic plants prove this. Consciousness is malleable. And the plants themselves are unnecessary. They, as with other techniques used to induce visionary experience, may tweak the mind into providing glimpses of the eternal, but it is a mistake to say that they, or even more reductively the chemicals contained in them, cause these experiences. They only remind us of what is already there.

Just as the body is not isolated from other bodies, there is no definite boundary to the mind. In his psychological studies, Jung could find no limit to the unconscious. Even to call it a collective unconscious is to mislead. For what is it a collectivity of? Eventually Jung identified it with the classical idea of the World Soul or the Anima Mundi, which both Yeats and Joyce referred to as the Great Memory. The Soul of the World, like each individual soul, is everything between the two impossible poles of pure matter and pure spirit.

The body, alive and sensing and also "collective" -- Albion and Finn and Adam Kadmon are all names of it -- is also synonymous with this. All of matter may make up this body, all of nature certainly. And the composition of the World Soul-Body is also language. The word made flesh, the flesh made of words, of verse. And this is what is seen in every sight, is heard in every sound. It is combined and projected "outwards" with every sensory experience.

The cycle of fall and redemption, a cycle found at every level of existence, is actually a cycle of forgetting and remembering afresh. The ancient art of memory, embedding the archaic systems of connection and correspondence which seethe in the heart of all magic, has for its end a general anamnesis, an awakening to the eternal.

The Muses being the daughters of Memory -- a fact of myth that Blake curiously disputed -- means that the cycle of the imagination itself, of image-making, of secondary creation, of perception as incarnation, is exactly this cycle. And to be more precise there are endless cycles within cycles, occurring at different speeds and seasons, eddies in the World Soul, at different stages of dreaming and waking, each perceiving the others, all perceiving the all. Media extending language extending breath extending wind extending starlight extending love extending the generation of haptic images in the heart.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Sycamore

Formulating past broken nights of sanguine finabulators. Reckoning fish-weights accepting missives from embassies out past lawless half-breeds. Bleeding noses. Fell down from the beech tree. Ronny Totmann. Runny Titman. Did it to prove that I was lying when I said that it could never happen. It did happen. He made it happen. Sacrificed himself to devalue my word. What a turd. The toady of what’s-his-sneer. And then the even greater malignance of neighbour Adam. A singular event that stunted all growth. Tarnished all memories. Ass-stench and licorice-taste. Yet forgiven, perhaps, in a ceremony at the forest temple. Candy crushed. Howling. Demons devouring. Flies sucking blood. Full chod action. His skull pounded and buried at Golgotha. Washed by the blood...

General doubt. Cosmic Cartesian doubt, but without the rebirth. I think I am what? And that melts, decays, drifts away. Upon reflection no I is found. Yet there is reflection, perception, something flowing, something attempting to get a bead on...what? A flow spiraling around a flow. Poe’s maelstrom, the sudden flushed toilet of civilization. But in fact it is far more personal, more intimate, right under my nose, part of my breath. Breathing walls conjoined with disintegrating emotions, terrifying memories, armpit sweat, bad posture. And then flights of near-ecstasy, almost a calm, almost an eye in the storm, almost a foothold on truth. Then another stumble, another blow to confidence.

Fide. Faith. Fidel. Religion, ideology, science, fact, certainty, balance, reason, strength. All is vanity. And all this time I’m trying to suppress a fart. But then there’s that jasmine vine growing up and out from hell-knows-where among the banana trees with the promise that in May, for a couple of weeks with luck, there will be the fragrance of heaven on the breeze. And that beauty is also me/not-me.

Sartre and Huxley were both on mescaline, but one went to hell and the other went to heaven. Haunting giant crabs versus the corduroy slacks of the gods. The nausea, I think (but not am), is the more interesting of the two states. Seasickness on solid ground. Like the thousands of aftershocks which followed in the wake of 3/11. Another earthquake? Or is my inner-ear balance fucked? Or am I drunk again on this 400 yen Prince de Bao red wine that’s supposed to be a viable bulwark against radioactive strontium poisoning? Who says this? I don’t remember. Watch the street lights. Are they shaking or is that tremble coming from me? All is liquid, undulating. The only effective antidote against universal seasickness is to jump with a whoop into the sea and drown.

Drowning with panic is drowning with the illusion of self still intact. But give up. Observe motion without analysis or struggle. Acceptance. The undertow takes the offering and deposits it smoothly almost peacefully within a few strokes of the shore. Sputtering and hacking on the rocky sand, but senses still aware, still alive. Praising what? Who knows, but there is something to praise. A mysterious thing to rejoice that is beyond all doubt, that escapes doubt, not because it is me, but because doubt itself comes from the same place as the jasmine vines & the beech tree & earthquakes & nausea & tears & memories. When it blooms everything is in question except that its scent, nearly of decay, will also quietly fade into the wind and be lost for a while.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Just Typing Care Or Whack Rip Off Interlude Practice

Jumpstart: invoke OAM, kaggle waggle waggle, flop flop, ice in a plastic cup, baritone moondance piano, finger drumming, smiles, paws, beckoning, boring guitar solo, bus parking lot video, transformation down in your soul, baby, German booms in the stairwell, rusted yellow railing with cubic concret block stands, not German French, corner not stairs, Waits? Nothing that good, red flag whitehawks on a tour, the same chord over and over, canned drums, a side glance from the fruit-slurping neighbour, Chip or Dale on her nails, can’t make sense of the ratrace, now Italian? Feminine voices. A chair now occupied. Beard, shaved sides. A whistle shrills. Sigh and a settle into heavy wooden chairs, flowery maroon boulders, mix of English and Japanese, he’s full, and some other tongue. Fingers tapping a plastic keyboard, like mine, noe, misspelling, different stream of though, smaller in maroon and flowers. Slightly weird. Cream parasol, black dress. Each to hir own screen. LOCKER and the red arrow, taken again, grey fedora of soft cloth, steady stream, always a new scene, white gloves crossed, now on large plastic wheel, red cane, white masks, I’ll be waiting, striped convexes, jazz slapping on the laptop keys, black plastic sun visor, a yawn, a flake of eyebrow dandruff, shuffling, ahh..., tall red wooden gate in the corner of the bus square, the Byrds? Up in the tree next to the goat watering hole, mad on cactus, turn turn turn..., And a red Turkish flag wrapped around the pole one third maybe fluttering, not much wind, nose blowing, pollen, troll snot, roasted mutton, can’t see the future, circles connected by blue lines, a map of time, rent a cycle, the rent cycle, inescapable feudal poverty, sunglasses hanging by an arm on a t-shirt neckline, a fluid natural gesture replicated everywhere, I can’t do it, illiterate, deliberate, isolated, alienated, puffy puke green coat rushing to avoid an omnibus, cheating? Reading what is already written, typos allowed? Corrections? Revisions? Genius never makes a mistake, which genius? Djinn? Let it (her?) speak through the errors, blew an eyebrow hair off R, shake out the shoes, nice E, now i7m behind, i seven am, 7AM, nice also at front, more mucus, love don’t lrt me try, kind of magnet, more canes, only one, black, neighbours leaves, raking? Breaking wind, stifled for now, WE, that is what happens, checking again, n but why not? Next to the goat, a floater in the moat, I’ve got more where that came from, perfectly placed short snort, behind again, or not possible? Behinf what? New assembling, zip, clinkle, noice eavsdrop, snort again now please, snort again now, whoop whoop whoop, wooden legs heavy scrape the foolr, foolscape, any marks? Check, jusasec... Nothing fake stone tile why all of the commas commies, another nondescript with a mask, out the window, hand tired, recovering from fall, release this mess? What mlhu! No nono! Cry cry pidgeons in secerret hideouts between building, 5 dimensional coluor receptors, the five skandhas according to haze, why get upset? Dude, slow waiting pace, plaid scarf, back and forth, buzzer on wooden surface fart, red bull hairy uniform junkie in sunglasses and another fucjing mask,,, another tribe, reading glasses resting on the tip of a pink nose, long white hairs surround a bald dome, another hage, hag on the fence’s edge, tennis racket handle sticking out a the top of a backpack, sucum, succour, find a sytyle, a hair crisis, drandruffy arroyo, quick exit, slurp it back shove it in, another sits, jump a dog, a bundle of flowers, 20 long years since Luang, sleeping tofddler in mother’s(?) arms exit taxi, exueny, the high heel twirly locks set, generic hubcaps, can’t afford to sleep, shoulder ache noew, old people everywhere, a quartert baring int, trombones? No shamisen? Okinawa folk wood cane waiting, a little hop a swaddle-de-daddle, Midnight as genius of course, The Muse, Urania, The Cristian crisisian one, of astrology, no astronomy, the stars, GOod Saturday, now down in Hell stealing the keys, freeing those who wait, almost a glimpse down a..., should not have, hanging from the tree, chocolates?fish tar, internal wandering begin not begin, murmurmurmur, slapslap pittapitta sniff, janai, double sunglasses lipstick, caps, hoods, small green plants clinging to the corners, cough muted by an elbow pit, glasses perched on the patch camera huge lensesss on gut, rs, rest, kekekekek, smirk at ? Point at? Incapable of talk, fuzzy ones, sheepish, if you chose to die, concerning the boundary, comma out right hand out, fuck a comma two crows nearly in pigeon space, bruised spohie comma no why not earl gret egret regret Tet white mouths elastic ears continue retinue; semi colon; half ; comma:]3% kennedy was that? I was... Take your smokes off at the dor DOR dearly and deadly orgone radishes, volume up gregariousness of the tung tree Schtitt fell in love with a tree. So have i. Auto capital correditect but only after perios perros and periods. Of war follwe periods @ piece. Spaces also abritrarrry                           freedukeyoudrewcineclub           teoiouycget two light boxes of each pole, disintegrating, shineforth, 45degreepointing tosidewalklenspointgoatee                          gutsandsapporosondebenchtwoshare one can crackswhiskersfagreenplaschain ban on backspace temp removed typooo gone muse finds another device taking off coat best timecounting change glance asleep soundly on to p of head cake eater movement of spoon to choco lips, lightsaber orange/red shuffles over the lot just below vanished behind the wall, risk a glimpse, lovely, purring slurps, cats have a rough tounge tree, catch that or not? Snapping pen, now tuft hair has beer wife with rice crackers? Ssss sounds, so nada, nanda, apologies for wiping, arrival, out with the books, many archetypes, first pregnancy negative nancy janai-oh! Yabai! Oh my! Itchy knee scabs, march the dangerous month, over the handle bars just at the exact moment of a thought of home, nemesis, hubris, green onions negi sticking out of mama bike basket, i’m peeing!! The whistle is white. Changes the sound. Over a thousand of nonsense now. Again bless yous. Covered baby head as bizarre chest growth, blue band, crinkle shuffle, cookbook, late night drunk Hamlet convo cat? No slightly goggle-eyed, baby you sacrifice, ankle crack, placed helpless on the bench, confused or patient, directions, routes of many colours, New york, a cane in both hands, more vertical basket negi, private music, bag behind back, no clouds only a kite a bird a hwak hawk i mean, objay still on bench commuter bike walked past the ginkgo, got it! No red line, parents return, same sad slumping pose, clop clop clop always look, the purpose? Small kid running with big slab of circuitry, Honolua, grated manholes slippery when wet, real release this? Old purple hair and slight smile, cup still empty, how can they talk? Why can’t... Glowing 80s green, bobbing 5d p-picker struts under the sign, read the last section, petering out, fuzzhead like S spins the pole read then

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Hyper-Carbolating the Furtive Gates of Becoming 3: Betwixt

Our dreams are a second life. I have never been able to penetrate without a shudder those ivory or horned gates which separate us from the invisible world. The first moments of sleep are an image of death; a hazy torpor grips our thoughts and it becomes impossible for us to determine the exact instant when the "I," under another form, continues the task of existence. Little by little a vague underground cavern grows lighter... The spirit world opens before us.
    --  Aurélia, Gérard de Nerval

Gilles Deleuze, in particular, had his own early but explicit connections with the occult tradition, and this influence, although suppressed by himself and his followers, can be traced throughout the entire trajectory of his work. In an article entitled “The Sonambulist and the Hermaphrodite: Deleuze and Johann de Montereggio and Occultism,” Christian Kerslake tracks down the beginning of this esoteric career. Kerslake’s essay begins:

One of Gilles Deleuze's first articles, published in 1946, was an introduction to a new French edition of an arcane work of philosophy bearing the title Mathesis: or Studies on the Anarchy and Hierarchy of Knowledge, by one Dr Johann Malfatti de Montereggio. Deleuze was twenty-one when he published his introduction to the French edition of Malfatti's Mathesis, which was the first new edition for a hundred years. "Mathesis, Science and Philosophy" is one of a group of five texts he published in the period 1945-7, and which he subsequently repudiated and omitted from French bibliographies of his work.

And the heavily occult nature of Malfatti’s book is absolutely evident:

In Anarchy and Hierarchy it is as if [German Romantic philosopher] Schelling's final theosophy comes to completion in a hallucinatory Tantrism, in which the living body of God, in its most complete self-development, itself appears in hermaphroditic form in human sexuality, where the coming-to-divine-consciousness becomes identical to the psychosexual attainment, along Tantric lines, of spiritual "bisexuality". This "system", uncovered by Malfatti, is said to form the basis for all subsequent Eastern and Western esoteric thought, and now furnishes us with the long-lost key to the ultimate system of medicine.

Not only, according to Joshua Ramey in The Hermetic Deleuze: Philosophy and Spiritual Ordeal, did Deleuze write about the occult. He also attended a salon at the residence of Marie-Madeleine Davy, “a scholar of medieval philosophy and passionate spiritist,” in Paris where esoteric ideas, among other radical subjects, were discussed by certain of the glittering lights of French philosophy.

The salons were the site of encounters between many leading French intellectuals, such as Sartre and Bataille, as well as a very young Gilles Deleuze. 

The company also included a number of French esotericists and devotees of occult philosophy, such as Marcel Moré. Deleuze's work from this period reflects a profound fascination with esoteric themes, inspired perhaps by Davy's own conviction that a secret and subversive medieval tradition of Neoplatonic thought contained a revolutionary gnosis waiting to be rediscovered and redeployed in Europe.

Scrambling and Rambling

Kerslake argues, in his later Deleuze and the Unconscious, that well before such topics were quite openly explored by D&G in the “Becoming Animal...” chapter/plateau (which Kerslake aptly calls “a late modern occult treatise”), they were present in Deleuze’s Bergsonism. Kerslake quotes from near the close of this text, which I’ll further condense here:

It could be said that in man, and only in man, the actual becomes adequate to the visual. It could be said that man is capable of rediscovering all the levels, all the degrees of expansion (détente) and contraction that coexist in the virtual Whole... Even in his dreams he rediscovers or prepares matter. And durations that are inferior to him are still internal to him... man is capable of scrambling the planes, of going beyond his own plane as his own condition, in order finally to express naturing Nature.

This power to retreat into the virtual and to "scramble the planes" is potentially active in all humans by apparent virtue of their being human, but in practice it is only available to the sorcerer-shaman, to the artist-poet, to the master dreamer. In short, it is available to those who have passed beyond the first gate.

Here the powers to transform, to become other, to dissolve or shatter the one into the many, to vary the speeds of existence, to travel instantly in time and space, to expand and shrink the boundaries of the self, to superimpose one place and moment upon others, are all at hand.

The Master of Animals is there to freely present them to anyone who possesses the key and who knows the proper rites and intonations. The mystic, or more accurately the sorcerer who is unbound to theology and priestly tradition, is a singularity, a cosmic anarchist:

He or she is an unnatural figure, who no longer conforms to the established laws of nature (that is, the laws of established nature). (Deleuze and the Unconscious)

The controller of dreams, the artist/magician who comes to realize that the portals to the astral extension are present everywhere, who discovers that in fact there is no separation between the astral and the physical for one who holds the silver key, soon realizes that the “laws” of nature do not apply.

The planes can be scrambled, the bounds of the law can be endlessly stretched, forms can be altered, the only imagined can be manifested in the light of day. Terence McKenna made this exact realization in the confused and confusing wake of the experiment at La Chorrera:

I have come to believe that under certain conditions the manipulative power of consciousness moves beyond the body and into the world. The world then obeys the will of consciousness to the degree that the inertia of pre-existing physical laws can be overcome. This inertia is overcome by consciousness determining the outcome of the normally random, micro-physical events. Over time the deflection of micro-events from randomness is cumulative so that eventually the effects of such deflections is to shift the course of events in larger physical systems as well. Apparently, when wanting wishes to come true, patience is everything. (True Hallucinations)

He goes on to explain that just as consciousness (in a way still unknown to science) is able “to direct the electrical flow in the central nervous system” of our bodies, given greater awareness it appears that electrons and atoms beyond our mere physical boundaries can likewise be manipulated.

Within shamanic states of consciousness, in other words, our personal boundaries -- the area within our willed control -- can be enlarged, can encompass more and more of the “outside” environment. And for McKenna, as in many shamanic and mystical traditions, the means by which consciousness can expand in this manner is through language.

The sorcerer is revealed here as the original and ultimate poet. The influence of Lovecraft on McKenna is obvious here, as Terence readily admitted and Dennis concurred by affirming that the McKennas’ Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss, also the name of Dennis’ autobiographical record of life with his brother, was taken directly from Lovecraft.

As in a Lovecraft story, the shaman-sorcerer descends to a space where words fail, where the senses themselves must open and widen in order to comprehend anything at all. In these spaces or states, the sorcerer must discover the words to convey his or her experiences to the community, in song or in writing or in other creative work, or risk insular madness or even physical death.

The sorcerer, as Kerslake reading Deleuze points out, is “the only successful madman.” And there are many, mostly unknown or forgotten or exiled, would-be sorcerers who have not succeeded. The gate is easier to enter than it is to exit. Laws can be stretched but often they do not contract to their usual and comfortable limits.

Lovecraft’s horror stories are often about those who fail to navigate the vast realm between the gates. And there are many fates worse than physical death. Where many fail -- and especially many moderns fail -- is in taking things too literally.

The Dissolving Borders of Self and Time

Hans Peter Duerr explains, in Dreamtime, that whatever the shaman experiences it is a mistake to say that he or she objectively becomes an animal. Instead, it is more accurate to suggest that the dichotomies of objectivity and subjectivity, outer and inner, break down at this point.

What actually takes place is not that the shaman turns into an animal, but rather that he has now experienced his "wild", his "animal aspect". Not until that happens will he be a true shaman. For he cannot know his human side until he also becomes aware of what it is not. To put it differently, he needs to become estranged from it, to have seen it, that is, to have seen it from the outside. After experiencing that, he is no longer what he once was. In pictorial representations, he now appears as a human bird or a human with bird's legs.

The successful animal-becoming, therefore, is a human-becoming. The werewolves and the vampires are those who do not return, the damned. A similar thing happens with the related phenomenon of magical flight. It would not be possible to say that the sorcerer or the witch flies like a bird, at least as we perceive bird-flight with our modern everyday consciousness, but a type of flight does occur.

It not so much that we fly. What happens instead is that our ordinary "ego boundaries" evaporate and so it is entirely possible that we suddenly encounter ourselves at places where our "everyday body", whose boundaries are no longer identical with our person, is not to be found.

The ego-defined boundaries of the self, which are identical to those boundaries defined by our civilized culture, are at least temporarily erased. The individual psyche and the collective psyche, known in the past as the World Soul, temporarily become once again undivided.

And this extension of the Earth, this astral plane, this psychic realm between the material and the spiritual, between the gates, is precisely the World Soul. The sudden erasure of boundaries can be experienced -- can be known -- as magical flight, as animal becoming, as telepathy or telekinesis, as sexual and mystic ecstasy.

...a brujo need not be able to fly like a bird in order to arrive at a different place within seconds, for it seems that a sorcerer can change the boundaries of his person so much that he can be simultaneously within his everyday body and also at another place, where his body is not. Something like that may indeed be happening during divination and telepathy, for the people involved do not seem to overcome distances the way electromagnetic waves do. It does not appear to be a transmission as assumed by most parapsychologists. We are apparently dealing more with a "lifting of boundaries", in which there is a dissolution of barriers developed during the processes of civilization and individuation. 

Yet it is not only the boundaries of the self that lift. Throughout history and in many lands, those individuals and groups who have passed beyond the first gate have entered into the timeless. Or, in other words, beyond this point time is no longer experienced as mere duration, measured by clocks or the sun, but is identified with eternity.

Across the world this breach into eternity has been celebrated with processions and parades, with mad dance, with the shattering of taboos, with the overturning of authority and the inversion of social roles, with the expenditure and destruction of property, with inebriation, with unbridled festivity, and with a riot of the senses.

And, very understandably, it is the marginalized, the oppressed, the outcasts and freeks who were mostly likely to jump into the fray, to stomp most wildly in the thick of the hairy ruckus.

It is easy to see how these "good witches", and also the werewolves or the wild women of the Nomkubulwana, are related to those "great throngs of women" who raged through the quiet of the night, the Couroi of Crete, who danced over the meadows in the retinue of the Great Goddess, the enraptured skin-clad maenads of the "Great Transformer", the nocturnal hordes of the spirits of the dead of Artemis-Hecate, and the mad "Bechler" women of the Slovenian Gail valley.

Witches, werewolves, maenads, spirits of the dead, the mad. With these as the denizens of the midnight romps -- as in the cult of Cthulhu itself -- it is easy to see how the existing authorities in the ancient and medieval periods, and in “respectable” society in general, would attempt to suppress or at least contain and rechannel these outbursts of truly subversive energy. Festivals were therefore (mostly) permitted as useful releases of steam, as acceptable (though temporary) penetrations of the eternal.

No matter how great the differences between these groups of people, they were all united by the common theme that "outside of time" they lost their normal everyday aspect and became beings of the "outer" reality, of the beyond, whether they turned into animals or hybrid creatures or whether they reversed their social roles. They might roam bodily through the land or only "in spirit", in ecstasy, with or without hallucinogenic drugs.

Mystery is for the Immature

With the onset of modernity, however, as more and more aspects of life became colonized by the state and its micromanagement of the everyday, the boundaries between time and eternity, between the real and the imaginal, between the civilized and the wild, became thickened and more rigid. The gates became harder and harder to find, and when they were found and passed through there were fewer and fewer guides to point the way home.

With the wilderness being increasingly cleared, with the territory being mapped and over-mapped, with the monitoring and coding and stratification of everything, what was once “outside” retreated to the “inside.” Communal ecstasies and potlatches became something inward and alienated, branded as sickness, antisocial. Psychiatrists became the police of the psyche.

Unfortunately, it happens many times that psychiatrists of this sort are people who equate the boundaries drawn by modern civilization between itself and the wilderness with a dividing line between reality and illusion. As far as they are concerned, the reaches beyond that border are mere "projections", and the dissolution of the boundary indicates mental illness.

The boundaries of the consensus, of the narrow spectrum of thought accepted by civilization, are identical to the boundaries of the real. Everything outside of these bounds/binds is nonsense, insanity, unhealthy, impure. Yet for those still blessed or cursed by dreams and visions of landscapes and beings beyond the borders, nothing within them will ever wholly satisfy.

Randolph Carter -- and likely Lovecraft, too, despite his materialist claims -- was one of these few, and in The Silver Key his melancholic disgust of the consensus is explained:

They had chained him down to things that are, and had then explained the workings of those things till mystery had gone out of the world. When he complained, and longed to escape into twilight realms where magic moulded all the little vivid fragments and prized associations of his mind into vistas of breathless expectancy and unquenchable delight, they turned him instead toward the new-found prodigies of science, bidding him find wonder in the atom’s vortex and mystery in the sky’s dimensions. And when he had failed to find these boons in things whose laws are known and measurable, they told him he lacked imagination, and was immature because he preferred dream-illusions to the illusions of our physical creation.

The illusions of the physical are the only accepted illusions. Fantasy can be explored in art, but only if this art is self-conscious of its separation from the real and confines itself within the authorized mores and tastes of society. All else is dismissed as romantic, foolish and/or destructive escapism. Even children, increasingly, are denied to right to imagine.

The eternal may have burst through in the past, or perhaps will do so in the far distant future (but, the consensus bleats on, such an event is very improbable as “natural laws” would be violated), but it will not arrive today. The laws have been fixed. The gates are closed and the keys have been lost.

No Place In Waking Life

All this indicates, even in the case of normally perceptive scholars like Mircea Eliade, a total misunderstanding of where and when this “dreamtime” is situated. As Duerr explains (quoting Eliade and anthroplogists and psychoanalysts who hold a similar misconception):

The concept of "dreamtime" does not refer to any time in the distant past to which the Australians supposedly think they can be "called up", "repeated" or "emulated", which "endures" or proceeds "parallel" to ordinary time, or which could be "projected" upon the present. The "dreamtime" is not past, present or future time: it has no "location" whatever on the continuum of time.

It, the extension, the astral, the dreamtime, the realm of becoming, the World Soul, does not fall within time. It is both fully absent and, potentially, fully present. It is both underworld and off-world, in the unconscious and in super-consciousness. It “occupies” the space between the rigid categories and typologies of our defined and preassigned reality.

Kenneth Grant, in The Magical Revival, explains that this is also the space of Lovecraft’s writing:

H.P. Lovecraft, in one of his tales of terror, alludes to certain entities which have their being "not in the spaces known to us, but between them. They walk calm and primal, of no dimensions, and to us unseen."

This was also the space that the McKenna brothers, by turning their organic keys, blasted their way into in March of 1971. And in very similar language to that used to describe what Carter beheld after stepping through the first gate (“It is full of those paradoxes, contradictions, and anomalies which have no place in waking life..”), Terence struggles to make sense of what they had witnessed:

Our collective intelligence was not compromised, but what was compromised was the ability of reason to give a coherent account of what was going on, as paradox, coincidence, and general synchronistic strangeness began to increase exponentially. Into the vacuum left by the collapse of reason rushed a staggering array of exotic intuitions about why things were as they were.

Terence McKenna’s thought gets unfortunately pegged to his prediction of the singularity or concrescence that would occur on December 21st of 2012. When this event failed to happen in an obvious and spectacular way (although I think the jury is still out on whether something did begin to ripple into manifestation at that time) his wider perspective has been largely neglected.

The origins of 2012, though, were at La Chorrera. 2012, in a very real sense, already took place then and there, and the date essentially has become a symbol -- much like the Incarnation of Christ -- of a singular event that could potentially happen at any “point” within or between the space-time continuum.

Werewolves Become Vampires When They Die

And there is the feeling, reading these authors, that the space of the extension is really coterminous with the world itself. Borrowing the terms of A Thousand Plateaus, the becomings that characterize the entire plane of consistency also move between the strata of the fixed and ordered. The plane of consistency -- as well as all of the synonyms that D&G suggest for it, including the Mechanosphere -- is yet another expression for the World Soul.

Furthermore, if we consider the plane of consistency we note that the most disparate of things and signs move upon it: a semiotic fragment rubs shoulders with a chemical interaction, an electron crashes into a language, a black hole captures a genetic message, a crystallization produces a passion, the wasp and the orchid cross a letter...
The plane of consistency knows nothing of differences in level, orders of magnitude, or distances. It knows nothing of the difference between the artificial and the natural. It knows nothing of the distinction between contents and expressions, or that between forms and formed substances; these things exist only by means of and in relation to the strata.

All of this at once reflects and is reflected by the various becomings participated in by the sorcerer roaming in the wild:

Thus packs, or multiplicities, continually transform themselves into each other, cross over into each other.  Werewolves become vampires when they die. This is not surprising, since becoming and multiplicity are the same thing... the Wolf-Man's pack of wolves also becomes a swarm of bees, and a field of anuses, and a collection of small holes and tiny ulcerations (the theme of contagion): all these heterogeneous elements compose "the" multiplicity of symbiosis and becoming.

The world of the sorcerer, then, is precisely the physical world apprehended through a wider range of perception, perception that has not been blocked or limited by the various strata. The world is not wholly transformed beyond the first gate, but our sense of it is entirely changed. A new, in-between, realm opens up, one that has always been there but has been little noticed. Henri Corbin, the French Islamic scholar, locates this same understanding within esoteric Islam:

We observe immediately that we are no longer reduced to the dilemma of thought and extension, to the schema of a cosmology and a gnoseology limited to the empirical world and the world of abstract understanding. Between the two is placed an intermediate world, which our authors designate as ‘alam al-mithal, the world of the Image, mundus imaginalis: a world as ontologically real as the world of the senses and the world of the intellect, a world that requires a faculty of perception belonging to it, a faculty that is a cognitive function, a noetic value, as fully real as the faculties of sensory perception or intellectual intuition.
This faculty is the imaginative power, the one we must avoid confusing with the imagination that modern man identifies with “fantasy” and that, according to him, produces only the “imaginary.” Here we are, then, simultaneously at the heart of our research and of our problem of terminology.

Yet another synonym is introduced, then, with Corbin: the mundus imaginalis. This, being a “realm” between the empirical and the abstract or spiritual, exactly describes the World Soul and Corbin explicitly makes this identity. Corbin also provides the key to enter this threshold realm: the imagination or the “imaginal.” And with this we are right back at the start. “To think is always to follow the witch’s flight,” as Deleuze put it in What is Philosophy?

Playing the Games of Satan

But words of caution are required. The astral or psychic realm that we’ve entered into past the first gate is not the highest realm of the spirit. Instead, it is a confusing place, a wonderful but often terrifying place, a place full of angels and devils and all sorts of elementals, nymphs, sprites and kobolds. It is very easy to get lost here forever.

The Traditionalist, René Guénon, who like Corbin became enamoured by esoteric Islam, writes of the fatal confusion between the psychic and the spiritual in his masterwork, The Reign of Quantity and the Sign of the Times:

This confusion moreover appears in two contrary forms: in the first, the spiritual is brought down to the level of the psychic, and this is what happens more particularly in the kind of psychological explanations already referred to; in the second, the psychic is on the other hand mistaken for the spiritual; of this the most popular example is spiritualism, but the other more complex forms of “neo-spiritualism” all proceed from the very same error.

And this error is especially evident within shamanism, especially modern interpretations of “shamanism,” and its power-obsessed shadow, sorcery.

The magical part of "shamanism" doubtless has a vitality of quite a different order, and that is why it is something really to be feared in more than one respect; for the practically constant contact with inferior psychic forces is as dangerous as could be, first for the "shaman" himself, as is to be expected, but also from another point of view of a much less narrowly "localized" interest.

Guénon approaches this with the utmost seriousness and warns, almost curses, those who would lead others down this false path:

It is all too easy to see the gravity of the consequences of any such state of affairs: anyone who propagates this confusion, whether intentionally or otherwise and especially under present conditions, is setting beings on the road to getting irremediably lost in the chaos of the "intermediary world", and thereby, though often unconsciously, playing the game of the "satanic" forces that rule over what has been called the "counter-initiation".

The warning is stark and sobering. Nearly all of the figures mentioned in these essays -- Lovecraft, McKenna, Deleuze and Guattari, Grant, Duerr, etc. -- could be accused of propagating confusion according to Guénon’s strict assessment.

All of the above are explorers of the “intermediary world" and several, Grant certainly and possibly Deleuze and Lovecraft, are associated with occult orders such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, etc.

These orders -- groups incidentally that Guénon was also once an initiate of -- would be accused by Guénon and other Traditionalists as being instruments of the “pseudo-initiation” or even the more openly subversive “counter-initiation.” So how would the authors above defend themselves against this damning criticism? Are they really Satanists?

In the case of Deleuze and Guattari, -- despite their fervent talk of the demonic, of animal-becomings, of unnatural participations and nuptials, and of scrambling the planes and flying with the witches -- their own warning echoes throughout A Thousand Plateaus. It is perhaps most clearly expressed in the final plateau:

Every undertaking of destratification (for example, going beyond the organism, plunging into a becoming) must therefore observe concrete rules of extreme caution: a too-sudden destratification may be suicidal, or turn cancerous. In other words, it will sometimes end in chaos, the void and destruction, and sometimes lock us back into the strata, which become more rigid still, losing their degrees of diversity, differentiation, and mobility.

All of this is playing with fire, dancing with chaos. And the other authors above all have their own warnings and cautions. But do these excuse them from Guénon’s curse? Maybe not. Maybe they are all agents of the counter-initiation and/or its more prosaic sub-organizations. This has certainly been suggested widely of Terence McKenna in quite recent years.

But, beyond the first gate, which our whole culture may be stepping through, who does not escape suspicion? We are all transforming, churning, splitting, melding, becoming. The Traditionists vs. the Perennialists vs. the Neo-Traditionalists. Guénon in the 1940s cautioned that there were no authentic and traditional orders of initiation remaining in the West. Could this also be true of the East today? And how would we know one way or the other?

The Traditionalists of the present may be as confused, as implicated, as anyone else. Maybe they are also playing into an agenda that would prevent any rigorous exploration, any unsanctioned expression, of the imagination at all? Or is this my own satanic confusion and paranoia? The mundus imaginalis encompasses all of this.

To the Immediate

But there still is hope of escape that does not lead back to the merely material. The second gate! None of these authors stay anchored in the astral. ‘Umr at-Tawil, the Master of Animals, leads us forward through the shifting confusion and onward towards the ultimate gate beyond which “all dimensions dissolve in the absolute.” We still hold the silver key. Hyper-carbolation marches forth.

“I am indeed that Most Ancient One,” said the Guide, “of whom you know. We have awaited you—the Ancient Ones and I. You are welcome, even though long delayed. You have the Key, and have unlocked the First Gate. Now the Ultimate Gate is ready for your trial. If you fear, you need not advance. You may still go back unharmed the way you came. But if you choose to advance...”