Sunday, December 23, 2012

Umbilical Specter

******** ********

The strandentwining cable of all flesh.  Omphalon.  Childhood memory.  Negative ionic pulsing gentle, virgin, dandruff.  Each delicate, lacy hexagram containing a chant of exorcism: inscribed transformation into the library hours.  A bubble of time, contained, complete, perfect. Ekstasis. The tip of every tongue breathes life into each embedded incantation, an alchemical metamorphosis:  heavenly host, now water.  The land covered in a soft white blanket, under the burning glow of street lamps, clear night’s stars as witness, just for me. An unknown sun rises, stretching its arms through a seeming adiaphane, the grey sky obscuring the horizon, grinding itself into the grey ground.  A bubble of time. 

Sleep would come like a struggle.  Some nights more than others.  Forcing my eyelids open made them close.  In the dark hypnogogia the bright figure in the corner turns to sinister shadow, approaching.  Pull the covers over my head.  Hot breath on my face.  Like a crack, floor boards forced open.  The sinister messenger grasping with both hands, pulling me down down down.  Never exploring too deeply, always keeping the exit in sight, silver cord dangling in the wind.  Omphalon.  Fear in my youth.

This messenger would visit when it pleased, leaving a burning mark, indelible wernicke.  Only pulling me as far as the cord grew taught, plucking a low vibration, then a high note, far enough: turn back.  The brand in my brain diffusing heat, pushing blood down my arm, to my hand.  The hand moves itself, the paper fills itself.  Like opening an artery, it must bleed out, then what?  Wait, he’ll come back one of these days.  Not so scary any more.  Dependant.

The click-clack-gnosis of the train underneath, projected into the exhaustion of a travel’s terminus.  After the bricks stacked and set, who can say what hands touched them?  40 days and 40 nights in the desert without food or water.  A severe privation stretching thin the diaphane.  What do I build?  With these hands, these eyes, this blood?  What comes of it?  Half dead on a hospital bed.  That smell.  A crimson swatch cutting a doorway to somewhere else, traced with my finger.   11 years later, I find myself walking through into unknown territory the cord finally cut. 

A new country.  New gods, new devils, new good, new evil?  The urge to create linked closely to pain.  My age betrayed through swollen joints, through gritted teeth.  If only I…started earlier…have so much done by now….want to finish…before I die…this story.  Exploring this place.  Before I die, I want to finish exploring this place.  My own little world, intricately detailed, a place to run in misery.  Everything in its place, where I put it.  As a child, my revery.  As an adult, my message.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Commutative tension


Driving on a highway, somewhere.  The small specter warm on my nostrils then cool, lungs slowly fill and empty in soothing rhythm.  The slower it goes: sleep may pull down already heavy eyelids, or pull awareness so far back into that open-eyed white velvety darkness.  "A darkness shining in brightness which brightness could not comprehend".  An opening for an overlap: smashing metal, scraping skin, slow-motion cartwheels, shattering glass, a sharp blow, sleep.  These things I know.

Bright lights batter, I don't like them.  Under my hands, the steering wheel sheds epidermal layers.  Sweat, white knuckles, this despite deep breathing.  Strands of overworked muscle hook higher up the chain, my shoulder hurts at the end of the week and I can't figure out why, even though I watch it build up.  Energy used for tension.

On a cushion, pull my legs into an unusual shape for this side of the world.  Lately my legs fall asleep only a little after half an hour.  I consider this progress, at least in so far as it keeps things interesting.  Back takes a long time to fatigue now, not sitting on my 1st lumbar vertebrae anymore.  All is vanity.

Eyelids light, like they want to open.  Body tall, like a radio antennae.  Toes hold the lower pentagram's tendons.  Knees stay loose, but regular and organized. Sinking bones, expanding breath.   Tongue tip back two front teeth.  What will I do after I sit?  Remember... Sinking bones, expanding breath. Bottoms of the thighs are pushing the right side of the pelvis, relax.  This story should really...I think I see something.  Sinking bones, expanding breath. A ball, rolling up and down the ghost ladder.  Cut body lines.  Energy used for awareness.

A blank white space.  Needs some order?  Based off the last one?  If a ruler keeps a line straight, why can't I draw a straight line with it?  This one will fill one blank white space.  Get out of my way.  Out of the whale?  yes.  Then he will walk in the woods?  Yes!  Maybe he sees three paths? Which one will he take?  His brain, his process, the place where the process stands to grip the lever.  Clear sight after years of preparation.  The world behind the tree will begin its slow creep in no matter which one he picks, as he digs deeper and deeper.  The path of the priestess through Daath.  Will he pass through and discard knowledge?  Breaking through the rough soil of the underearth.  Yes.  Pencil to paper.  Maybe like this.  Like this.  Just like this.  Up for air, did I breathe?  Energy used for work.

Spine bent uncomfortably for 8 hours? 10 hours? 3 hours?  Hand gripping the pencil, body curling up like a drying leaf, crumpling.  Gripping, this energy whips through, fire extinguishing fire.  So many physical signals demanding attention.  Some of work's energy, misappropriated.  Tiny screams all over.

Hot water loosens up my hands.  Devoting awareness to work: Sit up taller, breath softer, less tension.  How can I hold a pencil or a pen, making marks without hurting my hand? This way?  This way?  Yes...much better.

Shoulder shrugs, fist gripping, legs taught, tension.  Take a deep breath, grip with a muscle in tandem, stronger grip: deeper breath.  Open up and say ahh.  deflate and relax.  That sighing ahh, drops the weight of the world.  The weight of the car keys.  Tension to energy.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

St. Catherine of Alexandria's Demon

The myth of individuality must see defeat.  The ego, constantly confronted begins its steady recoil, its steady death.  It becomes a puppet.  What speaks through this puppet?  Anything but 'you'.  The pretentious baptismal blasphemy of identification.  The wretched flagellate fights, devoting the sinful body and thus the will with constant blood.   Sleep comes in a barrel of wine.  The pain means distance, separation, hierarchy, definition.  This too, must end.

The passing hebdomad: a swollen knee, a bent shoulder, some additional tension.  Must not have trusted the inside all the way, applied too much outside, too much me.  A jagged yellow rises up the middle column, devastation pays tribute to king 'I'.  Eventually this passes, and the teacher begins learning again.  Practice with them, with 'no-mind' and eventually practice-itself, with those people, develops sentience.

We receive billions of signals from the environment in every moment, most don't make it past the receptors, not strong enough to create action potential and reach the brain. Of these, thousands remain.  I contemplate them, stumbling to figure out who they apply to, what they mean, how to use them, a stasis of recursive interpretation.  Listen with the whole body and don't stop.

Instead of doing what you can do, or doing what you think others should do, or doing what you prepared for these specific people.  Every resistance in front of you, every groan and grunt, every eye rolling, every hard face, every blank eye scrutinized, the yellow streak never ends.  Armoring the inside against discomfort dulls the connection, makes a mind of no-mind.  Breathing through doubt, paranoia, guilt, shame, fear transform their tension into time.  Every decision in the space of 7 deep breaths.  Practice with them. Observe closely and learn, let go.  Stop thinking.

For every person a complaint.  A desire.  An expectation.  These things separate them. If you spend more than 20 hours practicing with someone recovering from shoulder surgery without developing a certain specific tightness and pain in the shoulder pay closer attention to them.  If you spend the next ten hours without every idle moment apart resulting in a constant fidget in an attempt to dispel that affliction, pay closer attention to your body.  Yog means "yoke" or union.  Learn patience, to teach patience.

Knowledge has no use.  Fold knowledge into the body, wring knowledge out of the body.  Daath's crown shines in the thick dark.  Wearing it, become king of the dark, blind but the length of one foot.  Forget knowledge, sentience means listening.  Just listen, practice listening.  Hold the singing bowl up to your chin after dragging the stick across the lip.  Listen, how long until the reverberation passes completely?  You can do better than that.

The nether vertex of a descending hexagram plunges into the heart of a rising pentacle, piercing through Tipareth and filling the hollow with the flood.  A yantra steered by padmasana.  I saw the subtle body in this shape.  "The best teaching: Practice with someone."  Stop teaching.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Chess (pages 4 and 5)

"Here and there in the ancient literature we encounter legends of wise and mysterious games that were conceived and played by scholars, monks, or the courtiers of cultured princes. These might take the form of chess games in which the pieces and squares had secret meanings in addition to their usual functions."

~ Herman Hesse

Often, conjectured history achieves a sort of sentience and a will of its own.  Like a virus it infects and propagates replacing what needs experience to verify with "well everyone knows that".  What identities compose this "everyone"?  I have yet to meet one.  History has a high degree of indeterminacy, this keeps it interesting, and keeps historical writers in business.  Each discreet event can have thousands of possible interpretations, in many cases each just as "true" as the last.  What really happened no one will ever know.  This keeps the past just as plastic and changeable as the future.

Many esoteric orders decided to keep many of their initiatory practices and their 'secret teachings' hidden (or occult if-you-will).  This for a variety of reasons.  Many secrets were slowly leaked to members as they climbed the initiatory ladder.  Each rung on the ladder confronted the candidate with programming that required assimilation before the next rung could be tried.  This not only allowed the order greater control over the life and mind of the candidate, but could also (perhaps conveniently) frame itself as 'knowledge descending only when the initiate is ready'.  The vessel must prove its worth for higher 'truth'.  Another prominent reason for secrecy involved societal taboos.  Many techniques and ideas involving this 'higher truth' ran contrary to publicly and governmentally instituted notions of normality in times when resistance in such a capacity usually resulted in lengthy torture and death.

"Before I was enlightened a mountain was just a mountain.
When I was enlightened, a mountain wasn't a mountain anymore.
After I was enlightened, a mountain's just a mountain again."
~Unattributed mangling of a Zen adage

These teachings were often embedded in a combination of pictorial symbolism and simple to sophisticated coding so they could hide in plain sight.  Interestingly many orders utilized great economy with their use of symbols: as the candidate climbs the rungs the symbols gradually change in their meaning as they accrue further attribution and shed now unnecessary intellectual disguise.  One of my favorites of this conflux of code and symbol comes from the Freemasons who have a small book of passphrases with dashes in place of every third letter or so.  The letters filled in, and thus the passphrases spoken, change depending on the grade you hold in the order, but the booklet remains the same.  Some evidence (though not much) indicates that the tarot functioned in a similar manner both in ancient Egypt (where it allegedly, and dubiously hails from) and in medeval Europe.

Unlike the Masons, attempting to suss out wether a common game intentionally housed a depth of initiatory symbolism or later had it applied to its pieces degenerates into something quite similar to attempting to determine if a chicken laid the first egg, or if the first egg simply appeared.  Historically tarot cards were used to play various card games.  Some evidence indicates that different games were played by commoners than were played by the ruling elite.  Were the games different during intiation?  Historical evidence also indicates that these games predated tarot's use as a divinatory instrument as did folk magic involving various cardsI admit to feeling some romance at the thought of a sophisticated initiatory entity hiding in plain sight at every tavern and pub in medeval Italy.  I will write about the sordid history of tarot at a later date, or possibly dates considering how much information exists.

Chess has existed in some form or another (although quite close to its modern variation) for many centuries.  Its simple pieces and complex interactions on a constrained, almost claustrophobic, field of play have come to symbolize many things.  Inner alchemical transformation and trial by fire, success after the first emergency.  Occult glosses in the shapes a piece makes as it crosses, or does not cross, the board.  The unification of duality in its alternating black and white struggle.  The sheer forces of nature, and human deception.  Most importantly though each game tells a story not only about how our brain interacts with the brain of our opponent, but through the risks we take and the gambits we utilize it also tell much about the way we live.  With some reflection each piece can symbolize some part of our internal processes.

Some dubious scholarship indicates that chess comes from the old (5000 BCE (?) old) Persian game Asha which, in legend, was created by Zarathustra for a king who had suffered aristocratic ennui having won wars, acquired riches, etc.  The game bears little resemblance to the chess of today having pieces that represent the primal elements and some occult virtues.  Zarathustra taught the game to the king and in its teaching, initiated the king into the knowledge of the secrets of the universe.  The king, pleased, told Zarathustra he could fulfill anyone's desires and "what would you want?"  Zarathustra asked for one grain of wheat on the first chess sqaure, 2 on the second, this squared on the 3rd and so on.  The king was shocked that he could not fulfill this and thus learned humility.  Asha was allegedly used as an initiatory game in Zoroastrian magic ever since. Do you believe this?

More, reliable,  scholarship indicates that the game evolved from the Indian game Chaturanga.  In Sanskrit, Chaturanga can refer to the English '4'.  If each competitor in modern chess has a 'hand' of pieces they play with, then Chaturanga consisted of 4 such hands.  Each hand had a rook (elephant rider), bishop, king, queen, and 4 pawns.  Dice were also used indicating the game had a much higher degree of chance than today.  Little evidence exists suggesting that Chaturanga was used in any initiatory capacity.  The game bounced back and forth between the middle east, india and europe for several hundred years, evolving slowly into the game we know today.  Do you believe this?

In the past 7 months I have taught 11 children to play chess.  Of those 11, 4 have taught others.  I just finished running a 4 week chess tournament which I designed to reward playing almost as much as winning games. At the end the top two children had played almost 40 games each, both of them only attending the program 4 days a week.  Several of them got their parents to buy chess sets so they can practice at home.  One even held a family tournament with the same structure as the one I set up.  If you try to tell a child that the bishop's movement represents the primordial fiery triangle and the primordial watery triangle, immediately their eyes will glaze over.  If you ask them why they like chess, many say that they "just do" or "I don't know."  Ask any adult "Is chess good for kids?" (demon is) and they will say "Yes." ask them why and you get an incomplete answer about it helping their brains, or teaching thinking skills.  Many games go without a winner.  Yet they continue to play day after day.

It takes a long time to get good at chess.  The way you play the game today should in no way resemble the way you play it next year or the year after.  The game initiates the candidate by altering their neural pathways, sharpening their critical and combinatronic thinking.  The simplicity of the figures and board mean that no additional symbols need application for resonance.  I conjecture that the relationship between the game and any change to the internal process happens mostly unconsciously and automatically.  If everything appears the same after enlightenment anyway, why conflate something so simply elegant when you can just relax and let it wash over you?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A dream

******** ********
I broke my seated practice due to work obligations and the requirement of rest from work this past week.  

I had a dream last night.  In the dream I found a secluded forest clearing, late at night, drew a circle, lit candles.  My heart beat faster and my eyes widened in the dark.  I recited an incantation from a book that had been unopened for a thousand years.  I spit and screamed into the moving black, the woods rustled around me.  The night had a thousand eyes, the shadows spiraled around me and enveloped me.  They took me from that place, behind the mesh.

Something led me down a glowing strand of spiderweb, pulling up my feet as they stuck, keeping me moving.  The strand would swell, a glowing boil would pass all the way down, intersecting with some other strand, passing, continuing on its way to I could see not where.  The web seemed infinite with no horizon in sight.  I saw, however, places where the strands ended.  Like looking through an overlay, the strands ended each into the top of a human head.  From each head a steady stream of glowing ichor caused the strand to swell as it moved across the web seeking the center.

It got darker as we moved, like the light was running away, we moved towards the center.  Faster and faster, like leaping boulder to boulder, mountain to mountain.  I gradually became aware of a towering figure in the center, a figure we were speeding towards.

Tall and towering, made of thousands of human bones that shifted and shuffled at strange angles, growing and shrinking, breaking and building, like watching a thousand lifetimes begin, grow and end. Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva.  All sinister in one ever changing form.  Its head, composed of millions of mutating, moving human skulls, mouth open, each strand entered here.  This awful behemoth swallowed every swollen drop.

I understood that as children some retain the ability to see that all time occurs simultaneously.  That past actions, future actions and present actions all mingle on the surface of the object of time.  Agents of this archon get most of us prior to birth, installing a horrible pranic parasite.  This brain worm draws vital awareness, limiting our perception and aiding our belief in linear causal time while feeding this awful entity.  It was beyond dream-me to figure out if there was any other function than feeding occurring here.  There were other webs, I knew, somehow 5th dimensionally orthogonal to the one I was standing on.  Maybe I stood here because my fight was with this parasite, but then what went on above and below?

I woke up with a sore on my lip and a dry and scratchy throat.

This dream somehow comforts me.  Reminds me not to dread the end of a Sunday for the oncoming Monday.  That what I engage in, this moment, has more importance than what my brain speculates, or what it laments.  My battleground, currently, lies here.  Slowly, I draw the line.