you are invited to remake the world in your own image

this feeling of activity, inside and outside the mindbody vibrates, notices, emanates this one day, the one moment of time i am suspended in my third dimensional being feels more i train myself to experience to perceive the experiences already happening sensation, impulse, desire, thought cognate, recognize i close my eyes and see clearly for the first time expanding my senses to feel the All to lie in the arms of my most beloved to comfort, strengthen, heal recovering flow, identifying the will: what is my natural state of being? this moment in time, my presence becomes honest with itself so much undoing, unlearning so much guilt and other crappage baggage to let go so much forgiveness to embrace especially of myself especially to myself if i can heal myself, in some way i heal All the challenge always to leave the path of the familiar the untrodden path beckons us to our fates full of danger, joy, unknown a reality of our own making together with the All we heal, we forgive, we become human once again: homo sapiens sans sapiens we become indigenous to this place our home we rest in our movement, part of the natural flow of life synergy beyond our wildest imaginings... dare we accept this invitation?

2

contente de tabula rasa
love letters from past and future temptation my realities reach within you and fight with tools the journey begins psychosomatic chatter my wabi-sabi life how could i ever forget? festival of life in the cracks wishing well celebration of passion loves learning the will zomba not zombies 2012 armpits can’t help but be sexy alchemical infusion, courtesy of the active imagination sylvan being where i find myself and how i got here the reconstruction era the gospel of beauty and the art of appreciation baring beauty is nothing other than the promise of happiness blending remembering sacred blood sofia to you, the most beloved in inner and outer space take heed, pyramid builders! time is ripe! unschooling the children’s crusade for truth and beauty a waypoint for weary travelers flow doing it ourselves: ritualizing our holy days may day celebrations we are having a now emergency of the highest order levitating over the prison walls: it can be done well, pyramid workers, what shall we do? diy health for all dandelions: miracles in your front yard dandelion tincture a healing gift of love emotional gardening trappings of language and mysticism in the arms of my most beloved get ready! the floodgates are open! lying in feral grass with saralin breakdown breakthrough 2010 tarot forecast, passionately infused with a kiss of pronoia a rational magick trick roaming terrachronos incognito 4 6 7 8 9 12 13 16 17 19 20 21 24 25 28 29 30 31 31 32 34 35 38 39 42 43 49 50 51 56 59 60 61 63 64 65 73 74 77 78 79 81 82 84 85 87 88 92 94

love letters from past and future
The energy, the spirit, infuses me. Almost everyone I know is having mystical experiences, even and especially the skeptics. It’s like a pulsing pushing up feeling coming into us, inhabiting us, reminding us we are alive. Now, my friends, is the time for anamnesis, the loss of forgetting. The culture of destruction forgets that we are living beings, with health and vitality as our birthrights. But some of us are remembering. We are starting to dream. Our dreams contain common threads. We are neighbors. We grow food to nourish our bodies and cut wood to warm ourselves. We cook food and eat it together. We listen and talk. We care. We love. We share the abundance present in our lives, insuring we each have enough. We share the sorrow also, knowing that a burden shared among many makes it easier to bear. We have each other, sharing deep abiding human relationships. These are the things that matter.

<black swans>
We create our individual and collective realities each and every day with our thoughts and actions. This is powerful. We (that would be you and me) have it in our power to imagine and enact a different reality—one that makes sense in the world as we see it. Global economy and ruin make sense only to the culture of destruction and to those who sit on top of the pyramid thinking they are in charge of it all. With our eyes open, we see no point in continuing down this path. Paradigms are the foundations, or cornerstones, of cultures. They are the underlying basis of any culture, the basic truths of which are so well understood that they are never even discussed. Paradigms are so fundamental to our upbringing and education/indoctrination that we are not aware that the foundation of the paradigm into which we are born is actually something separate from ourselves. (Are fish aware of the water in which they swim?) There is the misfortune of building a culture on the cornerstone the builders rejected, and the empire of Rome/America, Inc. seems to be a prime example of this. There is no program that can make it better; the foundation is rotten. It takes a lot of effort to notice the underlying paradigms of our lives. How many even stop to ponder? In some ways, it is like coming out of a trance, or waking up. It can be somewhat startling to realize that what you’ve always taken for granted is full of baloney. It takes an awful lot of courage to think the next few questions out. And then 10 years later, you may find yourself writing lunatic love letters from the future and the past; encouraging people to think about what really matters; to feel the strength and beauty of the whole universe coming from inside us; to see paradise beneath our feet, where it has always been, waiting for us to (re)enact a shared story of life on this planet.

4

<apocalypse literally means to uncover>
This culture of destruction, or “civilization” as they pride themselves in calling it, is a 10-15,000 year-old culture, not even spanning as great a time as the Venus figure cultures that precede us. Civilization’s time has come, and gone. Civilization is not us, not the foundation of us, if we choose for it not to be. There are many cultures in which humanity has lived, and we need not put up with one that makes no sense. There are many answers, many keys, many paths—and there are so many of us to ask the questions which uncover them. Time is ripe.

If we have courage, we can be healers. Like the sun we shall rise. —Starhawk, The Fifth Sacred Thing
The courage is necessary, and we won’t find it in the temples of Mammon (WalMart, etc.). It is something that matters—something we create and find within ourselves, and draw from the collective strength of our community, near and far. It takes courage, and despite the sales of pain killers, we are strong. Sometimes we forget that. Anamnesis again. We are remembering another expression of the humanity encoded in our DNA throughout our millions of years of existence. This is our birthright, and we claim it. Our fear can be powerful. We see what’s ahead if we continue to follow the path of destruction: messed up climate, dwindling resources, and perpetual war. Many people are afraid of this future to the point of becoming paralyzed, apathetic, addicted to distraction, burned out. We can move beyond this place of stagnant fear by envisioning what we would like to happen, what makes sense, and taking the actions that demonstrate our active choices as we decide what future we would like to create. It is important not to rely on your tv, president, teachers, boss, or money for any support in this endeavor. Those things aren’t even real, and are idiot puppets of the culture of destruction. Once we realize what we are for and not just what we are against, we can begin to focus on creating. The bridge from here to there may seem intimidating to build diy from scratch. Some advice I followed: “Don’t lie, and don’t do what you hate.” Being honest with ourselves is vital. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be alive. What a challenge! Forging a path that dodges the bullet of civilization is the challenge of our lives and the challenge of humanity of the present. I feel incredibly privileged to be a part of it all— humanity, in revolution, giving birth to ourselves, yet again. We are so blessed to have this opportunity. We are so fortunate to take it.

5

6

my realities
Once one's seen the garden, one's willing to assassinate anyone to regain it. —Peter Lamborn Wilson
I think this is true.

Reality is that which continues to exist after you stop believing in it. —Philip K. Dick
I think this is true also. I've assassinated many an imaginary deity on this path to the garden: god, the dollar, the boss, the law, the teacher, santa claus. They all fell by the wayside. I feel od, the living world, human relationships, belonging. There's the garden, right outside my kitchen window. It's right here on my doorstep, in the potholes in every parking lot, and in the souls of wage slaves and welfare moms and homeless people. It's right here in front of our eyes, if we take the time and attention to rent the veil overshadowing another existence. Every muscle in my body works. Every feeling in my heart is there waiting to become. My eyes flow with beauty and abundance. Time ceases to exist. Textures come alive, and nothing seems as delightful as what's before me. The five stars visible in my city night—I rename them, recover them, remember my DNA, staring at these five stars among billions. My drunk neighbors under their porch light—I remember them dancing around the campfire fiercely alive in the glow. They lived with purpose. They were alive. They were not killing time. Anamnesis. The loss of forgetting. I remember. I am filled with the holy spirit, with anima, the life force. My eyes are wide open. I feel joy. This is no hippie dippie bullshit. This is life right here, right now. It's a full-fledged karma adventure play land.

7

reach within you and fight with tools
Belief is a tool, perhaps the most effective one in our soul battle, in the landscape of consciousness, where paradigm shifts occur. How do we make this consciousness real without losing ourselves? How do we enact a story we’ve never been told? How do we reclaim our birthrights of mental and physical health, freedom from bureaucratic oppression, a membership in the reciprocal divine trust, and countless others we’ve forgotten? How do we begin to envision this story, knowing that our wildest dreams of freedom are merely the seeds of this next beautiful paradigm? I get the feeling the word paradise and visions of the garden of Eden are concepts we can’t yet fully take in, even if we think we’re ready for it. But still. Belief is a tool, and quite an effective one at that. We say “abracadabrazomba”, flap our butterfly wings, and find ourselves taking the form of chaos magicians, with change springing up in our footsteps, akin to the fruitful oases springing up in the wake of the Green Man, Khadir. We endow ourselves with magic spells, super powers—whatever it takes to make us powerful, full of energy and spirit. We radiate the golden cords, illuminating the way in front of us, the untrodden path. Somehow, we make it together. We figure it out—all of us. If there is a human story a few thousand years from now, this will be a part of it. There are no slaves in the landscape of consciousness. War is confusion, trickster friends and allies; we must remember our heritage. Hermes, divine thief, is poised to steal this current absurd reality of civilization. For a chaos magician, presto change-o reality is easy. Our consciousness manifests as reality. They make believe they are still in charge. We make believe we are in charge—of our own selves, to be sure! The ties that bind us to the old ways are slipping away. We have only to create new ways of living, to participate in a new kind of economy. We create rituals and myths around things that are sacred, not merely advertised as such. The relationship between city and citizen is practically nonexistent, but the relationships in our communities are born of love and are getting stronger with each day. These things are real. If you’ve ever lived through a natural disaster or (gods forbid!) encountered FEMA, you have learned that our government cannot take care of us and does not look out for our welfare. You remember that we have only each other. We are our strength, courage, and love. If you’ve never lived through a natural disaster, there’s no reason to wait. Community, yep. All that. Nature practices fecundity. It is organized to create abundance; we are nourished by it, in vivid contrast to the stark neglect we experience from those to whom we pay taxes. Pavement and poison are effed up, tentacles of the destruction machine Empire. We extend our own tentacles, aiming for the blind spots of civilization, filling them up with love, beauty, life—manifesting the reality of this as-of-yet unveiled paradise. The landscape of consciousness, this divine boundary between worlds, is where trickster warriors play. It is where “do what thou wilt” becomes the whole of the law. I shall meet you there. Who knows what we may create with our many allies, with our minds fully engaged in the task before us? Adventure to those who seek it! 8

the journey begins
Sofia Runciter duly went through the transaction process as dictated by an email accidentally directed to her spam folder. Soon thereafter, 40% of unfortunate death money, unclaimed by next of kin, was deposited into her account. Since she was a spirit of energy, there wasn’t a whole lot of use for money in her society, but Sofia mentally clutched the outdated tourism brochure she had found wedged behind a drawer in her desk shortly before she became fabulously wealthy and resigned.

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Tactile Travel, Incorporated, was a collaborative effort between Jean Smalljohn and Lila Beanblossom. It was Jean who had first detected the odd vibrations from a rocky-watery-fiery-airy planet in a distant galaxy. It took Jean some time to learn the energetic language of the beings who themselves were only beginning to 9

communicate with each other. Jean realized they were spirits of energy in another form, a physical form. After much observation and baby steps, Jean was able to enter the physical body of one, and his mind was blown away. Oh, sure, Jean was somewhat more intelligent and receptive than the average spirit of energy, but still. The human experience was incredible! Through his “time” on Earth (time being a peculiar notion relevant to this place), Jean was educated in all areas of human life: creating fire to cook the flesh he recently claimed as his own, communicating with plants to cure particular ills or to provide necessary nutrients, making love, crying from joy and ache, swimming, dreaming (possibly the closest experience to being a spirit of energy these corporeal beings imagined)... the list goes on of Jean’s beautiful and memorable experiences. In fact, it wasn’t until his human body stopped transporting him around that he remembered he had not been born a human being and that he was, in fact, a spirit of energy. He had his wits about him to uproot his cosmic being from the base of the human body’s spine (such a good landing spot—like it was built for spirits like him!), and emerge once again into the world of the non-tactile, the cosmic world. Jean had spent what the humans called a lifetime experiencing the tactile world, and he desired more of same. But first, he, kin of Hermes, raced home to tell others of the news of his experiences. The first spirit of energy who took time to listen to his tale was Lila Beanblossom. She was not only more intelligent and receptive than the average spirit of energy, but more shrewd and business-minded as well. It was her idea to market the tactile sensation as a tourist destination. She hired Jean to be the trainer and guide, and before long, they had their first class of tourists headed for Earth. It was a hit! Word of mouth brought Lila more customers than she and Jean could handle. As shrewd and business-minded as Lila was, she was also ethical. She took time to make sure each tourist was trained thoroughly, as she did not want a bad trip on her hands. That would not be good for business. But finally, just as Lila had enough trainers to keep up with the surge of demand for tactile tourism, she encountered another problem: finite resources. “What do you mean, there are no more hosts?” Lila demanded. “That’s exactly what I mean, Lila. There are no more human bodies to enter. They’ve all been inhabited by spirits of energy.” Lila mentally paced around her office. There had to be a solution to this unforeseen and ridiculously limiting problem. The numbers of human beings was indeed continuing to grow, but oh so very slowly! Tactile Tourism, Inc., had a waiting list that was growing exponentially by the moment. Lila’s salvation came in the form of her lowly file clerk, Edison, who proposed sending a bio-program to increase fertility rates. They studied the anticipated planet-wide impact and could foresee no stumbling blocks. But lots of profits! “Do it.” Lila commanded. Unfortunately, an ice age intervened on Earth, and there was nothing Lila and her crew could do but wait it out. However, even a physically challenging existence was still good for business. “Cold” was an interesting experience, often a difficult one, as was “hungry”, but seeing sunlight refracted through snow and ice, tasting dripping hot meat when one’s belly was empty, 10

making love to pass time through inhospitable weather—all that offset whatever physical hardships may have presented themselves. In fact, the tourists seemed to believe that there was no “good” or “bad” experience. All experiences on the physical plane were embraced as beautiful as they existed in the moment of being. When the ice retreated, the population began to grow rapidly. Humans responded to this change in their naturally maintained fertility by congregating in cities, organizing themselves into hierarchies, dividing their time into specialized activities, and forcing the ground to grow their food. It was about this time that the first reports of “bad trips” began to filter back. The returning spirits were faded, barely able to cast a light. It took a long time to heal from the experience, and many never fully healed. As one young spirit described: “I was prepared for the gamble of the body I would land. I knew you could land anywhere, in any climate, in any experience, in any circumstance. And I was prepared for that eventuality because I knew I was capable of feeling the beauty surrounding me, regardless of the actual physical discomfort that was also possible. The two always balance each other—the opposites integrate to enable the whole experience, and that is the blessing. But I was not prepared to be born a slave. It is the most horrible experience imaginable. By the time I somehow regained the memory of having been a spirit of energy, I could barely feel any beauty whatsoever. “All day, day after day, I enacted someone else’s reality. I made life into death. It hurt so much, I stopped feeling. I was surrounded by humans who stopped feeling. I was “cared for” by humans who had stopped feeling. We were alive, for sure— the tactile sensations were horribly omnipresent. When the body finally released me, I could barely escape. The body was even buried under the ground to impede my ascent back to the All Place. I felt nothing but relief to be away from that reality, and overjoyed that it was not my reality. “I want my money back, absolutely.” From there, it was a quick descent into lawsuits and reneged guarantees. Lila sent a crack crew to tackle the problem, but they returned with bad news. The humans produced as a result of the bio-program were mere copies of authentic humans; in other words, they were fakes. Tactile tourists continued to return describing the reality of taking up residence in a fake human as “unbearably heavy” and “hell on earth”. The worst news was that not only were the fake humans reproducing much faster than the authentic humans, they invented a bio-program of their own called War that decimated the remaining undamaged populations. “Well, damn,” acknowledged Lila. “It’s a challenge to build a universe that doesn’t fall apart in 10,000 years.” She filed for bankruptcy and left in disgrace for parts unknown. As for Jean Smalljohn, he wept.

11

psychosomatic chatter
I have stumbled upon the secret of Job, the ability to see beauty and feel the abundance of blessings in this hell-on-earth. The garden is beneath our feet, under the pavement, under the landfills. Our culture has worked —slaved— to turn life into death under the magic spell of civiLIESation: the spell that entrances, hypnotizes. This is a culture of destruction, and we are immersed in it. And yet—and yet... Within each of us is the seed of life, impregnated with a kernel of hope, of love. We are kinetic information and despite our brainwashing, we possess the key to remembering. What is it that germinates the seed? That retrieves the key? What breaks the spell of entrancement? For each it is different, to be sure. Our hardships make us what we are. They make us crazy, or strong. We who survive the jolt of the Deranged Mind, we are unstoppable. In this toxic environment, we feel beauty love hope. We share these ideas, spread them: We are already free. We can use our imagination and Will to create something better than Empire, something better than a culture of death. We experience our perception of reality. For if you see beauty everywhere you look, you will always reside in paradise.

12

my wabi-sabi life
Wabi-sabi is a Japanese term that does not translate well to English, but using a thousand words, perhaps we shall begin to understand. Wabi originally referred to the loneliness of living in nature, but now reflects a meaning more of rustic simplicity, freshness, or quietness. Wabi also refers to the quirks and imperfections that arise during the creation process. Sabi refers to the beauty which comes into being as something ages. According to wikipedia, “if an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi.” Also, wabi-sabi “nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.” Wabi-sabi can also be translated to mean “perfect poorness”, when something is so vibrantly je ne sais quoi–—when it invokes that exquisite feeling of such suchness— that is the power of wabi-sabi welling up within us. This feeling requires no effort on our behalf, nor on the behalf of the object or situation beheld. It is a feeling of immensity that exudes, like the mysterious power of flowing water, the caress of a gentle breeze, or empty space. It is natural and spontaneous, and often can produce “satori”, a zen kick to the head, akin to a sudden awakening or enlightenment. When my eyes were opened to the splendor of wabi-sabi, a whole new reality snapped into focus. For want of a word, I could not see its special reality. It makes me wonder, how many words have I not been taught? How many realities are to be revealed? The more layers that are stripped, the more layers appear. Will I ever reach the core of my own apple? (A few bits of harmless cyanide, encased in sweet flesh...) Of course, unveiling those realities are the seeds of many other caffeinederived maniacal essays, to be expounded upon later. Now that we’ve gotten our Japanese terms somewhat defined, though they will forever reside in the vacuum of culturally-deprived ill translation, we can explore what wabi-sabi means to us. I live in what is politely referred to as the inner city, acknowledged to be a blighted area, and what is informally known as a ghetto. The term ghetto can be offensively taken as a derogatory term by the dominant culture that created this reality, neutrally understood in terms of the definition of an enforced separate place to live (in this case enforced by socio-economic conditions, as well as ethnicity), or it can be embraced as the words queer and nigger have been, completely diffusing the dominating power of words. I live in a ghetto. If you’re from a real ghetto, my neighborhood probably seems like a nice quaint place to live. But if you’re white and middle class and from Springfield, you’ll be sure to lock your car doors while commuting to and from work, and be nervous when stopped at a red light and a black man crosses the street in front of you. The infrastructure in my neighborhood has not seen “improvement” for decades, and in fact, nature has reclaimed most of the sidewalks, and the potholes will soon be deep enough for trees to take root. Many small run-down houses are falling in because the housing market is so depressed no one will buy them, not even for a 13

few thousand dollars, despite the deep fertile topsoil that naturally occurs in this area. Rental rates have skyrocketed to nearly 50% of homes, far above what is considered the risk rate for “transitory” dilapidated neighborhoods. More houses on my block are empty than are lived in. I could go on about the schools that produce students who are functionally illiterate and hate learning, the police that are quite good at harassment but are never around when their brute force would be appreciated, the deaf ears of city government who happily take tax money from us but do not return it in basic city services, but you get the idea, I’m sure. I live in this ghetto, and I see the beauty that surrounds me. It is wabi-sabi in its essential and ethereal state. I see people who flourish in the economy of community while the economy of the imaginary dollar and bipolar stock market attempts to keep them firmly in the purgatory of poverty. I see verdant empty lots, full of hardy pioneering weeds, fixing the soil and adding nutrients and humus, allowing trees to take root to reforest the ghetto, and healing herbs sprouting beneath our feet. I see children playing in the streets, disregarding the hierarchy of vehicular traffic. I witness practically everyone biking and walking, using their own fuel instead of supporting blatant slaughter of those who happen to live above “our” oil fields. There is a remnant of an American elm forest, those that survived the blight and also a recent tornado followed by a winter of ice storms. It shelters us from simmering August heat, as well as soaks in the massive downpours of climate change. Life abounds, not only human, but also many forest animals you would not think could make it in a ghetto: rabbits, foxes, raccoons, possums, owls, and deer. Mostly, though, it is the people here who embody wabi-sabi to their cores: the old withered women who ride the bus to work, as they have for 50 years previously; the redneck who hunts deer and shares with all his neighbors; the overworked single mom who ran from her home to help a stranger shot in the street, put his leg in a tourniquet and comforted him, telling him, “hang on baby, you gonna be okay” over and over, while waiting endlessly for an ambulance. There are the grans who are faithful to the farmers market, getting good greens to cook up for their grandkids; the manly men who put their arms around teenaged boys who cry because their friends and relatives get shot. It is the homes that were built, one stray piece of lumber at a time, and the yards that cannot possibly be called lawns, sprouting highly valued od things, junk for all purposes and manners of being. It is the conversations on the bus, a rolling coffeehouse sans coffee, catching up on all kinds of gossip and good times, harkening encouragement or chastisement to those who need it. There are young people who also see the inherent wabi-sabi of this ghetto neighborhood. They are not interested in pursuing the unattainable American dream; they are uninterested in working, consuming, and dying for the sake of America, Inc. They see paradise sprouting up between the cracks in the pavement, the alleys overtaken by passion fruit and elderberries and lambs quarters. They see down to earth people who remember how to care. They seek an affordable life, free from the toil required by Leviathan, empowered by the care and creation of ideas that make sense and their hands aching to enact them. They see not a place 14

of despair and poverty, but a place of richness and beauty in community. Gardens sprouting up in front lawns are only the beginning. Wabi-sabi resides in the relationships of the people who live here. It is perfect poorness, something acquired with age and beauty, something that does not occur in plywood and vinyl subdivisions, no matter how shiny and well advertised. Wabisabi is indicative of the small pleasures of life, those that require no money, just an eye for beauty. When your eye is focused not on the toxic mental and physical environment of America, Inc.—not mired in the media bog that requires you to internalize this toxicity—but is focused on the wonder of wabi-sabi, a whole new reality snaps into being. There is abundance, fecundity, beauty, purity, a richness beyond compare, a suchness that can barely be put into words. Wabi-sabi is my life, my manifesto. Wabi-sabi surrounds me, pervades from the inside out. It is as close to perfection and imperfection as I ever hope to be.

15

16

festival of life in the cracks
Life in the cracks can be looked at in many ways. Weeds growing up through the cracks in the pavement are a fractal assertion of all life revealing itself through the cracks of civilization. My neighborhood is indicative of that. This year’s Festival of Life in the Cracks (March 10) coincided with a meteorologically beautiful day, one of the first of spring’s blessings of warmth and sunshine. On a typical working day, most “normal” neighborhoods are empty, their residents off working to pay for all the stuff in their fine homes. My neighborhood, on the other hand, is full of life. People are in the streets, walking and biking, wholly ignoring the hierarchy of vehicular traffic. My neighbors are out and about, getting stuff done and hanging out. I had the pleasure of washing and wringing my clothes outside in the bright sunlight and warm breezes, and hanging all on the clothesline to get that fresh earthy smell that cannot be extracted from a bottle. After my work was done, friends dropped by, hearty beers in hand, and we sat on the porch, talking, relaxing, spending time reinforcing the ties that bind our community together. The blighted areas of Springfield, Illinois, are a microcosm of the ruins of cities like Detroit. The neglect and abandonment of our neighborhoods by those to whom we pay taxes is evident. And these feelings are reciprocated. What is the point of being a citizen in a city that doesn’t claim you? We are well aware that we have only each other to rely on. A tornado ripping through our city four years ago with its subsequent FEMA encounters made that obvious. If it were not for the good will of my friends and neighbors, who knows where I’d be; still waiting for FEMA assistance, maybe? And yet, there is life everywhere. Nature is reclaiming the pavement, the falling down houses, and empty abandoned lots. The people who remain here are here for the long haul. Poor people are well aware of the economy of the community, even if most of my neighbors do not know what that term means; it flows freely from their hearts. When you have not money to purchase the assistance and care you need, you use the time you have to assist and care for others, and they reciprocate. It’s security that life in civilization cannot buy, especially now that we are in the horribly depressed phase of our bipolar economy. A neighborhood filled with people on a traditional work day begs the question: how do these people get by? How do they pay their bills? It is increasingly challenging as the economy tanks, with middle class people lining up to take jobs that were formerly the sole purview of the poor—minimum wage service jobs. Many people here survive on government handouts, be it in the form of social security, disability, or welfare. Many people work nontraditional jobs (like metal recycling or giving plasma), have start-up companies in the black market (many people currently in prison were merely trying to make a buck and support their families), or live exceedingly frugally. Last year, I made less than $2000 from my job, but I want for nothing. Most people here live in a similar fashion. We get by the best we can with what we have. Many live by the mantra of the depression-era grandparents who raised me: use it 17

up, wear it out, make do, or do without. We are scavengers, opportunists, and we share the bounty. We are producers, not consumers. We create abundance by our ability to share what we have. It’s an odd thing, coming from the money economy, where scarcity is the model. There is only so much pie to share, and each person for themselves! The competition is fierce, and if you can’t compete, too bad, you die. In contrast, the economy of community is based on abundance. There is pie for everyone, and more pie can always be had because we had the forethought to plant orchards. The more we share, the more we each have and are willing to give. We don’t each need a lawnmower; one will suffice for many families. Actually, we don’t need lawnmowers at all if we plant gardens to nourish ourselves and the entire community of life. Bioconcrete in the form of the American lawn is a delusion of idiocy; it makes no sense. One of the blessings of creating a new paradigm in the crumbling ruins of the old is the ability to throw out things that make no sense and replace them with things that do. Observation and feedback are excellent tools in paradigm building. Need generates its own power, and this is where our hope lies: we are what we want to become. Nothing is more adventurous and rewarding than real life. The challenge is creating systems of living for ourselves, cultures and rituals that provide for our needs. It is quite difficult, being raised without an understanding of what a viable human culture could be like—being raised in a culture of not understanding. Our reality is constructed by our beliefs, reinforced by our rituals. Many people now believe that working, consuming, and dying is the way to go, and they reinforce this belief by their daily patterns of working and shopping. Somehow they’ve become slaves of a system that makes no sense, and is indeed, killing off the basis of life itself. Waking up from this entrancement and becoming aware that options exist have given me opportunity and motivation in my own life. As hobo poet Vachel Lindsay remarked, “I am further from slavery than most men.” This has been an unexpected gift from downshifting (dropping out) from mainstream consumer culture and exploring what can variously be called simple living, “green”, diy, urban homesteading, welfare and poverty, community, or even paradise. As Greek philosopher Heraclitus noted, we must expect the unexpected, or we’ll never find it. The wealth we hold may not be obvious. Indeed, it takes an eye for beauty to see the wealth that abounds in my neighborhood. Our wealth lies not in consensus reality dollars, but in our collective security and abundance. We have each other, and we will always have each other. As governments fall short on cash and their enforcers (police, zoning, etc.) disappear, our freedom increases. We use this freedom to create realities that make sense in light of the world we inhabit. We invite homeless people to squat the houses that are falling down from neglect. We scatter seeds of plants that nourish ourselves and the community of life in vacant lots and alley ways. We rediscover handy skills in the dumpster of history. We raise animals and build structures that do not fit into zoning’s view of safety, but that do fit into a paradigm of making sense. We raise our children with the knowledge that another life is possible, and provide them the tools they need to make a living in the economy of community. 18

Disintegration and renewal are happening side by side— calamity and fertility, rot and splendor, grievous losses and surges of invigorating novelty. Yes, the death of the old order is proceeding apace, but it’s overlapped by the birth pangs of an as-yet-unimaginable new civilization. —Rob Brezsny
There is life in the cracks, for which we are ever thankful. These pioneering plants and people are the seeds of a new paradigm, of what comes next. Life explodes into fecundity and abundance, emerging from the cracks with a fierceness beyond compare. It is a birthright our culture seems to have forgotten, but through the magick we create in our daily activities, we illuminate our culture’s collective blind spot. We discover the strength of ourselves in the love and care we share with each other. Who knew life could be such an adventure? Who knew life could be so sweet?

wishing well
Wishing well of my path, I rest in my awareness and think: what more could I want or need, than to be on this path right here, right now? Wishing well, I remember of long ago. I give thanks. So much flow to find myself within. I leave you an offering: my soul, my anima.

19

celebration of passion
Smooth, round, firm, but tender and yielding, like a woman's breast nestled in the palm of my hand. Gently I insert my fingers in search of edible fruit. Moist and soft, it clings to my fingers as I take it lightly into my mouth. It is a taste without compare: sweet, tangy, musky, reminiscent of melons, perhaps. I suck the fruit, pushing it around my mouth with my tongue, applying pressure and releasing, encouraging the juices to flow, the seed to release. Down my throat slides the sweet divinity. I lick my fingers, remembering the promise of sweet beginnings and the satisfaction of eating a passion fruit found in my alley.

20

loves
Love. It makes the world go round. It causes as much pain and suffering as it does joy and elation. Love is a mythical beast, a concept that is difficult to wrap one’s arms around to put it lightly. Valentine’s Day is only good for massacres, says one good friend. Maybe he is right, but the notion of what love is has been on my mind. My first post-divorce boyfriend broke off our relationship a couple of months into our relationship. It was too intense for him, this notion of falling in love—too much to endure. I was in love myself, so the end of the relationship was hard to accept, and no amount of talking and trying to resolve issues seemed to have any impact in repairing the rift. It was during this time I read The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk. It is a fabulous book, with many practical common-sense examples of the paradigm I hope to fully inhabit one day. Relationships function differently as well, with love abounding in every direction, and people freely giving their sexual love as well as emotional love, but without the ideas of clinging or expectations. I was raised as a fundamentalist Christian, and was previously a partner in a 15-year monogamous marriage. Although I intellectually understood how an open relationship–free love—could work, I didn’t emotionally understand until I could see it in this new paradigm sort of way. In talking about it with my ex-boyfriend, to whom I had only just given up any notions of getting back together, he too began to see love in a different light. He asks, “Is it the idea that I can give my love freely, just for the goodness and fun of giving it and sharing it, without the complication of feeling like I am then committing myself to being there giving it forever? ...I’m somewhat enamored of this idea of being free to love someone without feeling like there’s some sort of commitment attached. Why does our culture make it so complicated to love?” Why indeed? My (suddenly no longer ex) boyfriend and I talked about what these words mean: love, being in love, sex, and romance. As he says, “I love words, and I love language, but sometimes they really do clog things up. As speaking animals we get very hung up on labels, and get very nervous about just experiencing things we can’t put a name to. And of course we’re hypnotized by the names; once we can label it, we have limited what we can experience, filtering out any aspect that doesn’t fit the label.” For him, being “in love” is a scary overwhelming experience, with clinging notions of expectations, especially of forever. But for me, being IN love is quite different. I fall in love with my friends—with everyone—and to me that means pretty much the same as loving them. There is the danger that with falling in love, emotions can take on a life of their own, and that can get oppressive and destructive (emotions being the visceral reaction of what happens to you). Desire is a beautiful and horrible thing! With open emotional love, even sexual love, people are still going to get irritated at each other or need space; it’s human nature. And people can give space and work out issues without breaking ties (because there are 21

no ties). I tend to fall in love easily, and never fall out. What can I say? It’s how I function and relate to my world. For me, being IN love is an active state of loving someone. I am in love with my friends, and they with me, and as a result, we spend a lot of time nurturing each other, loving each other. There is time, effort, and energy involved in building this kind of intense relationship—intense in a comforting way! There is no sexual desire involved, but that does not lessen the intensity of our love. As my dear friend Abby explains: “Love itself is so delightful, is the motivation and necessary foundation for every single thing, and it is spirit also. I truly believe that love and spirit are the same, and the capacity to love mirrors our ability to have faith. Love and faith really aren’t different, either. Love nourishes our faith, which builds our spirit, which makes us human and stewards of the entire earth and her creatures. I was trying to show you that movie about the Kogi people in Columbia because they are very adamant that our purpose as human beings is to care, that’s what our capacities are designed for. I love that, and I want that to be my religion. It’s a little like our spirits are little pieces of love, all tied to the greater font of love that springs from the ? in the universe, and it (love) is the greatest tool we have, and we all have it. “So I think you know these things to be true, too. I think the two of us together are capable of loving each other in a really nourishing way, and in that way we are food and strength and hope for each other. Our bond has the potential to help us create whatever reality we want to see, because love is ultimately the greatest foundation, the only foundation that allows anything to be possible. I’m filled with excitement for the future, here, and for us to grow together, to continue to help heal each other and bring each other into the new beautiful world.” It may seem odd living in a paradigm where loving and being in love mean the same thing, but it’s also a beautiful notion, one that comforts. And now, onto sex and romance! Sex of course is something we are all familiar with, at least the billboard-advertised, glossy magazine depicted dominant view of sex, as a conquering desire in any relationship. For me, though, sex is an expression of a special kind of love. I have yet to figure out the word that differentiates the in love I feel for my friends from the in love I feel for my boyfriend. Perhaps the Greek word Eros will have to step in for a moment, meaning physical love and sexual desire. Eros is the Greek god of love, whom the Romans identified as Cupid. He continues to live on in our lives through the celebration of Valentine’s Day (unless you believe that Valentine’s Day is best celebrated for massacres). I believe Robert Anton Wilson was onto something when he pointed out in the third book of the Illuminatus trilogy that the Illuminati were afraid of love and sex, because it broke down the walls between people and allowed them to merge and feel a blissful oneness and connection that plugged them into a universal consciousness that destroyed any control the Illuminati could hope to have. Love and sex make that connection—being inside one another physically, emotionally, and spiritually. He also notes that abundant orgasms can generate enough energy to achieve transcendental illumination. 22

Rob Breszny also wrote of this concept in his book Pronoia. He had worked hard to become a good lover, to sexually satisfy the women in his life. But he had not focused so much on satisfying himself. This changed when he met a woman named Celia. She asked him, “So is there any chance you want to see what it’s like to have orgasms like mine? Implosive prayer wheel-spinning jubilations instead of those crash-and-burn style evacuations you’ve gotten so dependent on?” Of course his answer was yes, as was mine! He relates this new experience: “Spiral waves of nectar rippled out from the epicenter of my bliss. My heart was first to receive the blessing, then my throat and thighs. Gradually the entire inside of my body was awash with the bliss that had previously been confined to one small part of me. And as Celia continued to swirl me around inside her, I claimed the birthright I’d always denied myself: long, billowing orgasms, one following another. They were whirlpools of sweetness congealing in an ocean of delight. And unlike the expulsive, spasmodic burst I’d always regarded as the One True Orgasm, this new improved model kept expanding my capacity for more pleasure. ...The gratifications swarming through me were increasing, as if my ability to feel pleasure in three dimensions were expanding into four, and then into five and beyond.” You’ll have to read the book to see how exactly how they managed to achieve this (oh, tease!). After many hours of experiencing orgasms, one after another, it is hard not to achieve the illuminated transcendental state that RAW writes about; to see the golden cords that connect us all to each other; to become the sun, gods, creating life itself. Metaorgasmic bliss is certainly a fun journey to explore with someone you are in love with. And romance. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to wrap my head around this notion. I think it mostly exists to sell crap, especially in February (slave labor corn syrup chocolates anyone?), but perhaps there is a side of romance that I have yet to experience. As it is, I no longer feel like I need any of these words to confine me. I am open to experiencing what feelings I do, in whatever manner they present themselves, without shoving the experiences into the categories claimed by words in the dictionary. I love, I am in love, and there is love enough in my life for all.

23

learning the will
We have to train ourselves to believe in what we are perceiving. —Vicki Noble
It is up to us to relearn the language of the universe, not limited by words. Using all of our senses, peeking through the rip in the veil of Maya, we may begin to understand the ecstasy that is our birthright (pistis!) as living beings, as part of everything. Pistis refers to the relationship of reciprocal trust we have with the universe, the trust in the normal chaotic rhythms to which the universe moves. We trust that life will continue, and in some way, we (body/mind/soul) will always be a part of it. We all trust, all who reside in this universe. Trust is love, care, abundance, beauty. It is the name of god. It is our power with. It is what it is, and it is what is. Reclaiming the lost union, the oneness of all being—words just cannot begin to describe. Stick your finger in the tear in the veil, the boundary between worlds, and slip through with your awareness intact. We live in a magickal world we can barely comprehend. Our culture has brainwashed our preconceived notions of reality to the point we no longer have words to describe the natural law—the Will, as Crowley called it. Once we learn the language of perception, we gain access to new manners of thinking, new realities. Pistis is the way it works, the oil in the machine (a joke people will not begin to understand 10,000 years from now). It is the natural order. It can be called love, though it is not the emotion of “love” as this obsolete culture defines it. It is the feeling of oneness, divine union. This is a feeling we can radiate as well as receive. (We are receivers AND transmitters!) This is a method we use to create a new reality for ourselves. Keep on to the way of the trickster. Continue to draw your own trap doors and exits. Drop into the new world and create—manifest—be flagrant—on fire—full of energy radiating and receiving—flying on a spirit of light. There is so much beauty to behold. We hold love before us, our conveyance into what comes next. Time to blast off into inner and outer space once again. Heal ourselves. Heal others.

pow!
dirt in my third eye uncounted blessings emerge the sun fills my heart 24

zomba not zombies 2012
Although the next election is linear time away, I, as an agent of chaos, hope to proactively provoke you all into doing something different. I act in hopes that we (the big We) manifest a different result than the normal cycle of election b.s.— business as usual. No matter how well believed a politician’s promises, time always proves Curtis Eller’s prediction: “that sonofabitch gonna wind up in the White House every time.” Instead of participating in an election between two corporate puppets (or, if you’re terribly open-minded, add in a third-party candidate who’s been shut out of the media circus with no hope of winning), I encourage you to run away from the zombie horde and Vote Zomba 2012. “Zomba” means the people, as many tribal names reflect that similar sense of self and purpose. Zomba originated on an overnight shift in a data entry factory, but its memes have spread far and wide. At what point does a joke TAZ (temporary autonomous zone) manifest itself into reality? This now PAZ (permanent autonomous zone) exists in the hearts and minds of the people who recognize themselves as zombans, those who know they stand on liberated territory in the landscape of consciousness, and will defend it. Zomba is not really a what or a who but a how and a why not. There are no “rules” in zomba, no pledges of allegiance, no bill of rights, nor taxation without representation, media spectacle, or celebrity entertainment. But there are many cultural traditions that zombans share. These traditions are a foundation of a new paradigm, something to replace the Empire that is crumbling around our ankles. Down with plastering over the cracks with yet more mortar! Up with celebrating life bursting up between the cracks with vigor beyond compare! One focus of zomba, perhaps the main one, is community. In translating new paradigm terms in view of the old, community can be explained and compared in terms of an economy. The economy of capitalism, civilization, TWAWKI, etc., is based on competition and scarcity. In capitalism et al., one toils for rectangles of green paper with imaginary value that one trades for vital tangible goods like food, clothing, and shelter. If one does not acquire the opportunity for toil, one may starve or freeze to death. This paper with perceived value (dollars) is the oil which greases the gears of this economy, the money economy. Money is considered more important than people or relationships, and always results in what John Ruskin called illth. In community, wealth is based on time and relationships. People share what material goods they have, with a focus on being producers instead of consumers. People share of themselves and their time, helping out those in their community in whatever ways they can. This is the security of the community, that burdens as well as joys are shared by all. Everyone is your family; everyone’s got your back. The economy of the community is based on cooperation and abundance. There is enough for all—more than enough—especially of the time and love we have to give to each other. As zomban Hakim Baker remarked, “It’s all about fun and hanging out, and everything else proceeds from that.” 25

Another common trait among zombans is their intelligence. At a recent gettogether someone asked, “Who here was in the gifted class?” Every person raised their hand. People who escaped the school system with their intelligence intact are the same people who search for something more than the entranced pursuit of the lowest common denominator of the American dream. We are not fooled into thinking that working, consuming, and dying is a gay old time. After all, who wants to spend their life dragging stones up the pyramid? We want more, and we’re willing to blaze our own trails to find it. Oddly enough, we find each other. One zomban describes zomba as “a self-organizing system—a chaotic strange attractor, attracting strangeness.” Zombans tend to have weird fascinations and interests, ranging from the occult to outsider art to ...anything and everything else that does not smack of sameness lameness. For example, penrose tiling [http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/ 200905/the.tiles.of.infinity.htm] came up as a topic of conversation, and no one had to ask what it was. Not that every zomban needs to educate herself on penrose tiling, but each zomban contributes to the community the breadth and depth of their acquired knowledge and shared thoughts, expanding our educations and enlarging our perspectives as we each describe our shared reality as we perceive it. We are always learning, always thinking, and always communicating. Zombans are typically quite odd. In fact, the concept of “od” has been adopted into the zomban culture at large. It sheds the illusion of God or god, and embraces the perfection of the imperfect, and sings slightly out of tune in the wabisabi musical of life. Found objects are od, as are waist-high dandelions, homemade anything, good karma, and erratic missives from the gods, often displaying themselves as strings of meaningful coincidences (synchronicities being a measurement of the sum of one’s ability to pay attention plus one’s connection to that beyond the self). An odd person is not always a zomban, but rest assured, zombans are always odd, and certainly od. Zombans resemble mammals, with body hair and human odors. We relish our natural bodies, the way they look and smell, and pooh pooh those who advertise the necessity of toxic hygiene. Our beauty radiates. Zombans are often interested in the occult, spirituality, and mysticism, but not in an ordinary way. Much research goes into wild theories that smack of uncommon sense. As Philip K. Dick remarked, there is something about going crazy (the etymology of delirious means leaving the furrow, the rut) that inspires one to do a lot of research, attempting to pull all the clues together to yield a more complete picture. It doesn’t always result in sanity, but it’s always interesting and inspiring. We recognize that the divine often intrudes where you least expect it. We acknowledge a priori evidence—we observe our experiences and perceive them from outside our own reality tunnels. We are psychonauts, exploring the human mind and the reality beyond that which has been scientifically proven to exist. We are oneironauts, waking ourselves up from the trance of ordinary life to a world we never knew existed. We can do anything we want. WHAT do we want to do? Zombans tend not to enslave themselves more than is necessary to provide for their basic needs. Partly this is due to the economy of the community providing for needs, and partly that zombans have too much integrity to sell the hours of 26

their lives for mere material crappage. (More wealth! Less illth!) As a result, diy culture and simple living are tenets of zomban life. Dumpsters and alleyways are our friends, yielding up food and, usually, just about anything else one could ask for. Most every want and any need can be met through the friend network, as well as reclaiming goods from the waste stream. Why toil when manna is on the ground (or in the dumpster) for the taking? Often needs are met through doing it ourselves (diy). We reclaim skills and knowledge from the dumpster of history. We have taught ourselves to forage, grow, and preserve food, including reclaiming the magick of fermentation. We know how to forage for and grow herbs that heal, and we recognize that health requires the nourishment of the bodymindsoul. We like growing things and take delight in the living world. We build structures. We play music and make art. We enjoy unmediated experience, face to face, and we live this life largely without money, without enslaving ourselves. We explore and create solutions that are lowcost, low-tech, and easily improved upon. We are building a new paradigm from the ground up, from a stone the builders have not rejected. We’re doing it ourselves, as there is no one to inherit this culture from directly. We take what we can from the history that remains available to us, and (presto-chango abracadabra zomba!) we envision and enact—we make real—something that makes sense. It’s a handy implement in our cultural toolkit, and we pass this thought process on to those who inherit our memes. I asked the first native born zomban what she thought of zomba, and her zen answer was “I don’t think anything.” Like a fish unaware of the water in which it swims, this child is immersed in the memes of the zomban paradigm. She knows not what it means to enslave oneself to work or school. She is an unashamed dumpster diver and od things collector. She thinks people spending their days together, hanging out, having fun, and helping each other, is normal. It is normal. It is way more normal than shopping at Wal-Mart or voting with the zombie hordes come election time. What reality we prefer is a choice we make each day with each thought we manifest into action. Are we actively participating in the reality of creation of the All, of which we are a part? Are we living in zomba? (or) Are we actively participating in the reality of destruction that is the manifestation of the black iron prison? Are we even aware of what we’re doing? If we don’t like the answers we get, how do we transform our thoughts into the actions that make them real? (...as opposed to continuing to manifest into reality the entrancing agenda of Leviathan.) The ways out of the black iron prison are many. These creative imaginings are adventures full of daring, courage, bravery, skill, laughter and love. This is our greatest challenge and our greatest opportunity. There is one moment in time, and it is now. It is all moments in time. Time awaits our decision. It is our birthright to actively choose. We are not robots. We are not zombies. We choose life, creation. The zomba not zombies 2012 campaign does not need your money, nor will it further indebt your as-yet-unborn descendants. Zomba is a culture of life, of fecundity and felicity. Zomba is a landscape superimposed upon that of Rome, of America, of Mammon. It is the hand outstretched to those who no longer find 27

themselves fitting into the current paradigm and who search for something else, something that makes some sort of sense. Zomba is ever-changing, ever-growing. We are building up a new life for ourselves, and we invite you to join our campaign, or better yet, begin enacting a reality that makes sense to you. We heartily acknowledge that truth comes in many forms. Why wait for 2012? Vote today; vote now and vote often. When a paradigm shift occurs, the whole world is remade. We are vitally immersed in this landscape. We are active participants in reality. We walk the edges of the old and the new ways, bridging what has been with what is emerging. We embrace the mysteries of death, trusting there is always a rebirth emerging out of what has been. This is edgewalking: pushing beyond the known into unexplored territory where new life and growth occur. We make our own maps in zomba, our own language and traditions. We journey; we seek our grail. We start anew, pioneers! Zomba not zombies 2012!

armpits can’t help but be sexy
Ripeness— animal smells. I feel at home.

28

alchemical infusion
courtesy of the active imagination
Sacred agents of chaos? Otherkin? Lunatics? Dreamers? Writers of fantasy? Bringers and bingers of change? Dormant angel wishes? Those alive in the present moment? Who are we that find ourselves waking up at the end of time, where revolution reminds us, remembers us? We who carry the toolkits of chaos and change on our backs—we have no idea the effects of what we’re doing, reaching across galaxies with our fingertips extended. Crossing the isthmus—the barzakh—to where the active imagination creates reality, manifests it, creating matter from consciousness. Being manifested consciousness ourselves, we beget more of same. All in all, all is necessary. The moment is the wonder. It is what is, what is static and in flux. It’s always changing and not changing; it’s something beautiful reflected in ourselves and everyone we meet. We are all universal chaos. We are what is, all of us. There are many truths, as many as possible. Also, there are no truths. It’s all impossible. Concepts are conceived in the mind, and are as false a reality as everything else. When you finish peeling back the layers, nothing remains, except everything that is. Between all and none is everything. Between the polar opposites exists all that exists. There is the point at which all things merge, and if there is something that smacks of divinity, it resides there, at the center of all things. Are you ready?! The world ignites! The fire burns in each of us. We’re reflections of each other, each atom circling restlessly, enacting its reality. Divine experience resides in us all. We’re stylized beings from some absurd mind manifesting its reality. We are passionately and lustily infused with beauty and spirit, worshiped as the gods we are, each in the realm of our own midst. We rise from primordial soup, drenched with our importance, and become forgetful of what that actually means. We each enact being. We set the stage for all to play. The universe is creating us while we create ourselves. We agents of change, locked in a passionate embrace of lux et voluptas—we desire all and want for nothing. Life is a bounty, a feast. It was made for us, as we are made for it. We feast upon each other, an orgy of pleasure, climaxing in the biggest bang imaginable: the beginning and the end, and everything in between. I myself am the recipient of an infusion of divine RRRRAAAARRRRR!!!!! I am a cornerstone. I have strength beyond comprehension. It flows from deep inside, continually refreshed and replenished. Abundance. I am a source of abundance. I have my hands deep in the earth, while my head is in the clouds. My awareness resides in the flow of life, and my soul is flagrant. I am, not I react. The strength coursing through my veins is the same as in mountains. All of us are alive, actively creating our reality, whether we’re thinking about it or not.

29

sylvan being
Raindrops, innumberable pools of beauty. I saw the sun, in a million facets of itself, of myself. I drank sweet earth and sent it forth like honey. I was rooted, to the center of the earth. The pull was desirous, intractable, heavenly. I lived forever. I am still living. I am still conscious. I am still. The landscape of consciousness is what actually exists. It is our imagination, the core of human consciousness. The possibilities are endless. We are limited only by our notions of reality. They (the ubiquitous they) cannot chain our imaginations. We have always been, are, and will always be, free. There is no other truth that is necessary at the moment. The moment. The momentum. The term “synergy” only begins to describe the possibilities. Our words are limiting. There is feeling, an active choice, reaching out to grasp the hand outstretched to us. This is how we cross bridges unseen. We are consciousness manifest. There is no path, no further along. There is just this. Believe in nothing, and all is possible.

30

where i find myself and how i got here
mammal hair, smells instincts, behavior, organization thoughts, beliefs, morals, hierarchy control, threats, law, punishment, slavery doubts, confusion, thinking, perceptions, anamnesis, clarity blending, wonderment, flow, All, trust, the garden, mammal

the reconstruction era
I unbuild my fortress, discarding the unneeded: pain, sorrow, frustration, disappointment, beliefs, clinging, expectations. I build my temple, claiming that which I had forgotten could be remembered: love, trust, joy, abundance, unity, will, beauty, flow. I am sacred. I am all that is.

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the gospel of beauty and the art of appreciation
Springfield’s hobo poet Vachel Lindsay worshiped in the church of the open sky and lived the gospel of beauty. My outdoor self greatly enjoys her time in the divine church of the open sky, and I often find myself (weather permitting) with my hands deep in the dirt on the Sabbath. Many times I am extended an invitation to join dressed-up passersby on the way to their houses of worship. I cannot imagine a church inside four walls to ever be as inviting as communing directly with what I consider the divine, the higher power, life itself. I can’t really describe my religious beliefs, because I don’t believe in absolutes. I don’t hold much in the way of opinion for others to believe or disbelieve. But I do have feelings for what my perception of the divine invokes within me. My hands soak up the earth while my third eye soaks up sunshine. I nurture as I am being nurtured. In what possible way could I more directly commune with the divine than what I experience in the church of the open sky?

There it is. I don’t believe in anything, but I’m always glad to wake up in the morning. It doesn’t depress me. I’m never depressed. My basic nervous system is filled with this optimism. It’s mad, I know, because it’s optimism about nothing. I think of life as meaningless and yet it excites me. I always think something marvelous is about to happen. —Francis Bacon
That is one way of living the gospel of beauty; doubtless there are many others. Again, it is hard to describe the gospel of beauty, because it seems to contain just about everything—all members of the set of reality—the milky way, little babies’ eyes, a butterfly’s proboscis, tears, cracked teacups, crooked teeth, wrinkled skin, sexy curves of fat people, duct-taped shoes, a bum who talks to your kid about Santie Claus, teenagers that cry in public, weeds that sprout up in potholes and in vacant parking lots—all manners of seemingly beautiful and ugly that can be appreciated for the uniqueness they provide to enrich our lives in the presence of never-ending awe of the immensity of what is (the wabi-sabi manifesto!). There is an art of appreciation that comes along with the ability to recognize beauty when your eye rests upon it. If I see weeds reclaiming a parking lot, I don’t tut-tut the downfall of civilization, our bankrupt economy, and the lack of eternal infinite progress. Instead, I welcome the beauty weeds provide, knowing they are helping break down the pavement, to create soil full of nutrients, and return the vibrancy of life to that deserted place. If I am dumped by my boyfriend, I relinquish my longing, and remember that I am a strong person, complete in and of myself while at the same time feel firmly supported by those in my community of friends. Going through hard times is what gives us our strength, and at some point, we may find we are a fountain overflowing. Many times, our struggles become a turning point in our lives when we realize the blessings in disguise. 32

Whatever we do in life starts with us. To be replenished, we need to keep emptying our selves to receive more. In that way, we become vessels, holding up one hand to receive the blessings and then opening up the other hand so that we become channels, letting those blessings flow into the lives of others. —Bear Heart
It does not seem to matter if a situation can be labeled good or bad; the art of appreciation is an attitude taken to cope, adapt, and thrive in the realm of chaos, which orders our everyday lives. One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read about is a Jewish woman who found herself in a pit, holding her grandson as soldiers took aim. She looked the baby in the eyes and cooed and smiled. I don’t know if this story is true or not, but I cannot imagine a more beautiful moment in the existence of humanity as her gesture of love. Growing up in America, the art of appreciation is generally not part of our shared culture, with many exceptions, of course. I grew up in often-violent poverty in an atmosphere of ignorance, alcoholism, and fundamentalism. I think the deprivation of normalcy (whatever that is!) has enabled me to wholly appreciate the good in my life now. I live a life full of blessings. Whatever I need seems to find me without worry on my part. And I appreciate it all, especially the people and the interactions we have. I find my outlook on life mirroring Francis Bacon’s: life is sweet, and I savor each mouthful. Whatever happens, things will be all right. No matter what happens in my life, I will find the truth of beauty in the reflection of each particle of this holographic universe. The gods will always smile on me, and I will see the fruits of each blessing. I will continue to reside in paradise.

The power of love—if that love is sincere and true—is the only force that can melt the human heart. Love repairs and heals; it comes from forgiveness being channeled into the lives of other people, making them feel their worth and stimulating their potential. Love is expandable. It can encompass this whole universe. It can heal. —Bear Heart

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baring
It’s not that I have perky breasts; it’s that I have belly rolls and love handles and famine-proof hips. It’s not that my hair is shiny or resembles the shade advertised on the box. Mine is coarse, straight, and many varieties of brown, blonde, and gray— highlights and lowlights provided by each sunrise and sunset. I do not have abs of steel I purchased with a gym membership, but muscles earned by moving my body in my day’s moment. I enjoy being strong and capable, though I’ve been told it’s not a desired feminine trait. I am not smooth and hairless, some faux pre-pubescent fantasy. I have hair all over, occasionally sprouting in unusual places. I do not smell of roses, unless I am holding one from my garden. I smell of the animal I am—musky, alluring to other animals. I am my natural way, reminiscent of birds, wind, and mountains. I am not air-brushed nor photoshopped. I stand before you, raw and for real, life-sized, basking in the beauty that emerges without effort. I am a mirror of the universe, of you—as you are of me. I stand as a beacon, requesting the authentic to show itself, to be present in the arena of one’s own struggle. For if we are to remember what it is to be human— not a slave, a cog, or a tv apparition— let us spin the bottle and begin our emotional stripping in the here and now. My belly roll, my flaws—all of them—are my certificate of authenticity, my natural wabi-sabi style. I can’t help but be myself. How can I be what I am not?

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beauty is nothing other than the promise of happiness...
Definition of Beautiful
by Amber Tired of the given definition of beautiful? It’s all image and no soul. They say it’s pale skin and painted faces and bones. I don’t know many girls who haven’t gone through some stage in their lives when food becomes unimportant; they’ve been nourished on lies. Nowadays it’s hard to have a body you’re allowed to love. When it comes down to it, I push and society shoves diet pills down my throat. Nowadays a girl’s birth certificate of self-confidence resembles a suicide note. It’s time to claim our word back— debunk the fiction that has somehow become fact. Take beauty from an adjective to an act! Your beauty’s in your spirit, your eyes full of light, your willingness to defend yourself, and put up a fight! Your beauty’s what you’re doing and what you have done. Your beauty is power and you’re a loaded gun! Beauty is a tricky word, as we’ve been brainwashed into believing that it means something like the poet Amber alludes to: skinny pale photoshopped models in provocative poses. It’s been so drilled into our heads that this bizarre conformity is the only guise beauty takes that most people walk around feeling particularly unbeautiful. That’s unfortunate, because as those amazing CrimethInc. kids declare: “Beauty must be defined as what we are, or else the concept itself is our enemy. To see beauty is simply to learn the private language of meaning which is another’s life—and recognize and relish what is.” Sure, advertising glossy beautiful people helps sell products; that’s the point! Products help you be more you! They help you attain perfection! We all know that’s false, but many continually chase this illusion, which ultimately leads to lasting 35

feelings of insecurity and inferiority, of being eternally not good enough. The CrimethInc. kids ask: “Why languish in the shadow of a standard we cannot personify, an ideal we cannot live?” Why, indeed? Once you reject the notion that the beauty that conforms to glossy ads is the only beauty that exists, you may find yourself surrounded—you live in a world filled to the brim with beauty. Although I work minimally and sporadically at a medical school, my full time job is viewing life and my surroundings through a lens of beauty. I’m continually amazed at what I see and feel. Discarding the notions of beauty as advertised and learning the private language of meaning that is another’s life—how do we go about this? For me, beauty manifests as a weird twinge of recognition, like something is breaking through the illusions that permeate our current reality, and smacking my consciousness upside the head. I fall in love with beauty on a continual basis. How can I not? It is my life, my religion, my gospel, the lens through which I view and interpret the world. Springfield’s hobo poet Vachel Lindsay preached the Gospel of Beauty while on a tramp, trading rhymes for bread. He said: “I come to you penniless and afoot, to bring a message. I am starting a new religious idea. The idea does not say ‘no’ to any creed that you have heard. ...After this, let the denomination to which you now belong be called in your heart ‘the church of beauty’ or ‘the church of the open sky.’” Vachel further expands on this notion of beauty, bringing it home: “The things most worth while are one’s own hearth and neighborhood. We should make our own home and neighborhood the most democratic, the most beautiful and the holiest in the world. The children now growing up should become devout gardeners or architects or park architects or teachers of dancing in the Greek spirit or musicians or novelists or poets or story-tellers or craftsmen or wood-carvers or dramatists or actors or singers. They should find their talent and nurse it industriously. They should believe in every possible application to art-theory of the thoughts of the Declaration of Independence and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. They should, if led by the spirit, wander over the whole nation in search of the secret of democratic beauty with their hearts at the same time filled to overflowing with the righteousness of God. Then they should come back to their own hearth and neighborhood and gather a little circle of their own sort of workers about them and strive to make the neighborhood and home more beautiful and democratic and holy with their special art. ...They should labor in their little circle expecting neither reward nor honors. ...In their darkest hours they should be made strong by the vision of a completely beautiful neighborhood and the passion for a completely democratic art. Their reason for living should be that joy in beauty which no wounds can take away, and that joy in the love of God which no crucifixion can end.” The neighborhood in which I live can hardly be called beautiful by any “normal” person. There is utter poverty, falling down houses, litter everywhere (including my personal favorites, used condoms and dirty diapers), junked cars and other miscellaneous debris, overgrown weedy vacant lots, potholes and missing sidewalks...the list goes on. However, beauty abounds if you are open to it striking the chords of your 36

heart. There is always more than one reality going on, and to rent the veil of Maya—to break through the illusion—we must learn to view our surroundings from outside our programming, our reality tunnels. I don’t see the nastiness of an overgrown vacant lot; I see pioneer plants nourishing the soil until some fortunate person decides to plant an orchard. Junk laying around is actually one of the resources, the security nets, of poor people, as there is always someone who needs exactly the junk you have. Trash, well, it’s hard to see the beauty in a used condom or dirty diaper; I admit, it can take a lot of strength and an active imagination to appreciate some things. But I get the feeling that people who thoughtlessly discard trash are the people who have built their walls of protection so high they can no longer feel. These are the people who could most use a peek through the lens of beauty—the people I most hope to get a chance to talk with. But really, the people who live here and the interactions they provide are by far the most beautiful aspect of my neighborhood. As Aleister Crowley said, every intentional act is a magical act. Our thoughts manifest as action, and each action changes our reality. We are presto-chango magicians in our own daily lives. Each heartfelt, for real conversation I take part in is an act of beauty, whether it’s talking with my mates about the nature of reality, or telling a teenager on the bus that I found her refusal to fight her schoolmate intensely courageous. I find particularly beautiful those things in life that are just for real, without pretense. The concept of wabi-sabi comes to mind, wabi-sabi being a hard-to-translate Japanese term meaning, basically, the beauty and the flaw. It’s just for real, and it’s hard to deny that beauty in a culture overflowing with fakeness. In fact, it may be that American culture is fraught with fakeness that especially illuminates the beauty of the authentic.

What is really beautiful must always be true. —Stendhal
When we view life through the lens of beauty, we may be surprised to see and feel beauty emanating from ourselves. It does not matter in the least what we appear to look like on the outside, whether our physical appearance conforms to society’s current view of “beauty” or not. What’s important is the way we live our lives and view the world around us. We see what we reflect from within ourselves. We “take beauty from an adjective to an act!” We remember and reclaim the patterns of what is, and interpret the unfolding of life before our eyes in a way that makes sense. We can view our reality in any way we wish. We can enact our reality in any way we wish. As the shaman Bear Heart said: “Planting an idea in your conscious awareness is like planting a seed. The subconscious responds by attracting all the things necessary to bring that idea, whether positive or negative, into fulfillment.” It’s important to be aware of what we sow in our reality. It’s important to be aware of what we reap in our reality. Our minds have the power to do anything. It’s an incredible freedom as well as an incredible responsibility.

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The Buddha did not enter some new territory: he saw things the way they were. What was extinguished was only the false view of self. What had always been illusory was understood as such. Nothing was changed but the perspective of the observer. When asked, “What are you?” by an awestruck would-be follower, the Buddha responded only, “I am awake.”
Beauty resides in every object, every act. It is a reflection of the language of the universe itself: beauty and love—the same thing really. We have the opportunity to remember this truth, to enact it in our daily lives if we wish. It is possible to remember our power as human beings, our birthright to create our reality as something that makes sense and makes us feel whole. If we are all merely reflections of the universe, reflections of ourselves, I like to think of myself as a light in the darkness, a crack through which beauty shines through the veil of Maya. Anamnesis is the loss of forgetting. We have much to remember.

blending
freckles enough to rival the stars— more stretch marks than cloud ripples. i find myself complete, whole, at rest. i am in love with myself as much as the rest of creation. i embrace the All, the wonder. i amaze. there is. and i am. 38

remembering sacred blood
Menstruation is a natural and healthy part of being female, a cyclical reminder that we are an integral piece of the planet that gave birth to us. Yet our culture denigrates this sacred body process to the area of dis-ease. There are pills to cut the pain and gain emotional control, odor fresheners for the “down there” smells, and all kinds of blood catchment devices (pads, tampons, cups). If we’re tired of enduring our periods, modern medicine can even give us a shot to make our periods go away completely. What used to be a celebrated ritual of woman and community is now something we don’t talk much about, except to “fix” it so it interferes with daily life as little as possible. Before electric light artificially lengthened our day, women in communities used to menstruate together, typically, ovulating and menstruating at the full moon and the new moon. As author Vicki Noble states in her fabulous book, Shakti Woman, detailing the shamanic journey of the female: “When the moon passes through its phases of waxing and waning, dying, and being reborn as a new crescent, this can be felt—physically, emotionally, and psychically.” We can only imagine the power of something like this—a tradition bonding women in a community together, generation through generation. Some of the oldest known artwork depicts women and their connection with menstruation, and we’re talking 25,000 years ago. The very earliest human artifacts are menstrual calendar bones, or sculptures of women holding said bones, notched with lunar cycles, believed to be tools used by midwife shamans. The various Venus sculptures, spanning a period of 20,000 years and distributed nearly worldwide, have long been thought to be fertility sculptures. They are small reminders of woman’s role of birther and nurturer, and our monthly bleeding is a fractal reverberation of the cycles of life that surround us. No wonder our bodies were celebrated! No wonder our powers were appreciated! As Noble puts it: “In a more personal way, imagine that when you bled you were able to use the psychic powers that open and become available to you at this magical time of the month. Ancient women were able to access power and vision during their periods that led to tribal decision making and the laying down of tribal law. What must their sacred sense of themselves have been under these conditions? A man coming into your psychic field would have felt honored to be in your presence because you are a woman. He would have related to you with respect and attunement, allowing himself to come into alignment with your magical tides, communing with you from your sense of internal timing and your biological imperative. If he made love with you, it would not be conquest but would happen in response to what your bodies needed. And in that process he would have been made open and transparent, experiencing a transformation for which he thanked you. How would this change your life experience? Your self-image? Your sense of who you are?” I happened to read this paragraph hours before I started my period. “Psychic powers, huh?” I thought. “We’ll see what happens!” The next morning I woke up 39

with a sense that my relationship with my significant other was ending. I had no clear signs of this happening, just a very vague sense that it was over. This feeling grew stronger all week, all during my period. Of course, I chalked it up to the long-scapegoated raging hormones and my emotions taking on a life of their own. But then I got an “I’m dumping you” email. It really blew my mind that I knew! You can believe I will be paying attention to what I feel while on my period from now on, and I won’t be excusing my perceptions on the basis of fluctuating hormones. Menstrual periods are powerful connections. Meanwhile, thinking of one’s period as a beautiful sacred ritual and the reality of experiencing awful cramps and having to go to work or school or be patient with children while bleeding is another. How do we get ourselves from this patriarchal crackpot reality, to a place where we are sacred beings, enacting a reminder of the trust that we are a vital and ongoing part of creation? As Noble says: “Imagine that deep down in every woman’s process, there is an unconscious pull to remember the ecstasy of this ancient, sacred encounter with the forces of earth and sky coming through her body. And at the same time, she has been thoroughly socialized to be afraid to manifest such a longing. Is PMS so surprising under the circumstances? ...By repressing the energies of the menstrual period, we find ourselves trapped in the lack of expression such repression manifests in our lives.” I have always had horrible cramps, to the point where I would throw up from the intensity of the pain, even after taking pain pills. After reading a menstrual rant, I decided to challenge myself to not use pain pills for cramps, and see what happened. I was surprised to learn, after 25 years of relying on pain pills to relieve pain, that my mind is even more powerful than pain pills. As long as I am in a quiet place where I can meditate, I can rid myself of pain by concentrating on it, and grounding it. Several women I know do this, and we each do it and describe it differently. But it works. I may have to lay down and neutralize the feelings of pain several times in the first day or two of a period, but I always feel better, especially after the natural endorphin rush kicks in. Years back, I decided to go to the white coat doctor to figure out why my periods were so awful. I figured if I didn’t bleed so much volume or have such terrible cramps, then I’d be able to enjoy my periods more. I was given a referral to an endocrinologist, who tested my hormones and thyroid and blood sugar levels—the usual suspects. Nine months after I initially saw a doctor, I was told, “Your tests came back normal. You’re fine!” I told my friend Abby of the experience, and she laughed and told me one of the best things for periods is drinking raspberry leaf tea, and since I have a huge raspberry patch in my front yard, it was very easy to do this. I drank raspberry leaf tea every day for a month, and began having “normal” periods. I still cramp and I still flow, but not to the extreme amounts as before. I drink raspberry leaf tea occasionally now, and I still have yet to experience a period so painful that I have thrown up. Raspberry leaves strengthen and tone uterine lining (lessening cramps), help to regulate estrogen and other hormones (lessening typical PMS symptoms), and are also reported to assist in “general uterine health”. 40

Considering that much of the American food supply is inundated with hormones, pesticides, and other non-natural toxins, is it any wonder our bodies feel out of whack, especially in a time of heightened psychic power? Raspberry leaves are rich in vitamins A, C, and E, and in minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, and calcium, giving your body nutrition. Adequate nutrition, rest, relaxation, drinking plenty of water, avoiding stimulants (tv, caffeine, etc.)—all these pillars of health come to mind when thinking of menstrual health. Raspberries themselves are quite easy to grow. They are normally planted as canes, and spread by suckers. I started with four plants, and my yard has slowly been taken over by them. But considering they give delicious raspberries in spring and fall, plus vital menstrual medicine without any care on my part, I value their place in my own life and habitat. They are welcome and appreciated. I am healed. According to Noble, “The healing available to contemporary women through our blood cycle is an instinctual release of what is within us. Our willingness to face the dark is the key to our own development. What we’re afraid of is actually the treasure at the center of our being, the female source energy from which we have so long been severed. The dragon that always gets killed by the hero, the monster that lives under the ocean, the ogress that hides in the deepest recesses of the female psyche is the liberator and savior for the Shakti woman.” Our bodies are really incredible! We get to experience the breadth and width of life on this physical plane through the lens of cosmic intelligence. As the author of Shakti woman reminds us: “The most basic, fundamental tool of magic is the body. Everything felt, seen, or experienced on other planes can be translated through the body into the concrete, physical realm.” We are blessed to be women, gifted with a monthly reminder of our importance in the cycles of birth and death, of life and regeneration. We reclaim our birthright as powerful beings in celebrating our menstruation as a rite of growth and transformation, together.

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to you, the most beloved
In America, we have words to describe the experience of hearing voices: wacko, delusional, crazy, schizoid, etc. To hear a voice speaking to you, whether out loud or in one’s mind, is not allowed. Hearing voices, especially those of God, is viewed as insanity within the rational paradigm that provides the framework for everyday life. To talk about such insanity is to open one’s self up for a trip to the loony bin and forced medications. As Horselover Fat made note of his crack-up theophany in Philip K. Dick’s novel Valis, “When you are crazy you learn to keep quiet.” However, hearing a voice might be more common than you may think. Just because no one talks about it doesn’t make it a false reality. As psychologist philosopher Paul Watzlawick remarked: “That which is objectively repressed (unspeakable) soon becomes subjectively repressed (unthinkable). ...Nobody likes to feel like a coward and liar constantly. It is easier to cease to notice where the official tunnel-reality differs from existential fact.” The Greek word augoeides refers to “the radiant spiritual-divine human soul-ego” (auge refers to bright light, radiance, and eidos refers to form, shape). In the world of this ancient language, to hear a voice speaking to one was embraced. Indeed, Socrates said, “You have often heard me talk of a divine oracle or guide that comes to me. It is a kind of voice, that I first heard as a child. It always tells me what not to do, but never commands me to do anything. It is this voice that has, quite rightly I feel, deterred me from becoming a politician.” It is probably not surprising that Aleister Crowley was in touch with what he called a “Holy Guardian Angel” (HGA) by the name of Aiwass. According to Crowley, the HGA is the “Silent Self ”, the representative of one’s truest divine nature. Even though the HGA is, in a sense, the “higher self ”, it is often experienced as a separate being, independent from the individual. For Crowley, this conversation is the single most important goal of any adept:

It should never be forgotten for a single moment that the central and essential work of the Magician is the attainment of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. Once he has achieved this he must of course be left entirely in the hands of that Angel, who can be invariably and inevitably relied upon to lead him to the further great step—crossing of the Abyss and the attainment of the grade of Master of the Temple.
Whether you are an aspiring magician or not, a conversation with one’s augoeides or HGA can be enlightening. My neighbor Jane confided in me that during her breakdown breakthrough: “I heard a voice talking to me inside my head. It was my own voice, but it was speaking in a way that clearly was not me. I didn’t know what to think, except that it was possible I was going crazy, though I felt and continue to feel rather grounded and sane. The voice was reassuring, confident, 43

and full of love. It stressed the need to heal, and it pointed out insights that were firmly within my blind spot. It gave me hope through rough times. “I did not judge this experience as good or bad, but merely remained open to the experience as it was happening. I wrote down what the voice, who called herself Sofia (Greek for wisdom) said, and reflected upon it. It was only much later I found out the terms ‘augoeides’, ‘atman’, ‘daemon’, and ‘holy guardian angel’, and began to realize this experience was—shockingly—entirely within the realm of the ‘normal’ human experience. What is it about our culture that relegates this experience to the nuthouse?” As Hakim Bey explained in his essay The Obelisk: “Our working hypothesis is that the world’s image of itself not only defines its possibilities but also its limits. ...Not only is ‘pancapitalism’ a global system, it has also become its own medium, so to speak, in that it proposes a universal stasis of imagery. The free circulation of the image is blocked when one image of the world structures the world’s self-image. True difference is leached away toward disappearance and replaced by an obsessive re-cycling and sifting-through of ‘permitted’ imagery within the single system of discourse ....Assuming that our hypothesis holds so far, we might well ask from ‘whence’ there could appear any image of true difference in such a situation. The obvious answer is that it would have to come from ‘outside’ the stasis. ... Everything that enters the discourse, all that which is ‘seen’, is subverted by the very fact that there is only one discourse, one exchange.” In other words, the current paradigm under which we live permits one view of normal life: you work, you eat, you shop, you recreate (which perversely means doing nothing), all through the abstract media of money and hierarchy. Anything outside this world view is not permitted, and to engage in the pursuit of knowledge and experience outside this paradigm usually means one is courting arrest or charges of insanity. To quote Horselover Fat yet again, “Those who agree with you are insane. Those who do not agree with you are in power.” However, if history tells us anything, we are free to discover our own paths in this world, and often this means rediscovering one’s untrodden path through traditional methods, one of which is conversation with one’s augoeides, one’s HGA. Traditionally, a culture’s shaman is the neurotechnician of a tribe. A shaman is the bridge between the physical world and the spiritual world, the psychopomp of mystical journeys. Often a shaman will induce a trance, either through the use of psychoactive drugs (traditionally this means anything from ayahuasca, marijuana, DMT, and the many fungal avenues of pharmakognosis such peyote, amanita muscaria, ergot, etc.) or physical methods such as throat singing, fasting, dancing, self-flagellation, etc. In some traditional cultures, the whole tribe goes on a vision quest together, everyone from babies to the elderly. As the shaman Bear Heart asserts, “Peyote is used for healing. Our people say we don’t hallucinate with peyote; rather we see visions that teach us.” However, in today’s culture that is so radically departed from any kind of tradition or gnosis, it is important to realize the necessity of becoming one’s own shaman, if this kind of path is desired. As Dale Pendell, author of Pharmakognosis states: “Be certain you are ready before you begin. Plenty enough 44

uncertainty will come with the work that follows.” Pendell uses the Greek term “daemon” which many of us raised in Christianity will recognize as the frightinducing word demon. However, in Greek culture, a daemon is an intermediary between the world of humanity and the world of the divine. One’s agathodaemon was one’s personal spiritual companion. As 15th century alchemist Paraclesus said, “Demons teach, instruct, and inspire men; there never was a man of outstanding stature in any art or action who had no familiar spirit to guide him.” It is Pendell’s opinion that, “...Some [demons] can give you power. That part is tricky, because power is the particular specialty of demons—they know it intimately and know all the places within power in which to hide. Sometimes the best approach is just to say ‘Thank you for your unsolicited opinion. Now shut up.’ However you handle it, interesting things will begin happening in your life. That’s guaranteed. Maybe you will start staying up all night. Maybe you will start writing down little things on bits of paper.” The author describes his various psychonautical experiences, and says of his daemon, “She chose me. I didn’t choose her.” In case this topic is straying into the area of “mystical trappings” too much for anyone’s rational brain, we can visit this experience through eminent psychologist Carl Jung. Although I have a degree in psychology, I was never taught that Carl Jung interacted with a spirit called Philemon (among other spirits). Through his many years of ‘confronting the unconscious’, Jung wrote and illustrated The Red Book, which has only recently become available to the general public, and developed his theories of the collective unconscious, archetypes, synchronicity, etc. Jung considered this work invaluable, saying: “The years… when I pursued the inner images, were the most important time of my life. Everything else is to be derived from this. It began at that time, and the later details hardly matter anymore. My entire life consisted in elaborating what had burst forth from the unconscious and flooded me like an enigmatic stream and threatened to break me. That was the stuff and material for more than one life. Everything later was merely the outer classification, scientific elaboration, and the integration into life. But the numinous beginning, which contained everything, was then.” Jung used a technique he called one’s “active imagination” to pursue what he termed the necessary act of individuation, the process of becoming one’s “true self ”. This is a meditation technique where “one’s unconscious are translated into images, narrative, or personified as separate entities”. Jung spent the last many decades of his life translating and updating medieval alchemical knowledge into modern psychological terms and theories. It was Jung’s opinion that unifying these fragmented or disassociated parts of one’s self through the process of personal alchemy is akin to what Thom Cavalli, author of Alchemical Psychology, viewed as “changing the miserable lead of unconscious existence into a refined, golden opportunity of a creative, fulfilling life.” It is Cavalli’s opinion that “alchemy is the archetype of change, whose energies perpetuate all that is conscious and unconscious, miniature and macroscopic, spiritual and physical, to evolve along an accelerated course of evolution by synthetic [as in synthesis] means, into superior and whole form. ...The personal 45

practice of alchemy ...demands an acceptance that nature can be synthetically [again, as in synthesis] altered using physical and mental means. Alchemy is about making things happen using the powers of mind to change matter and the very fabric of reality.” Philo Stone remarks: “The unconscious stores our entire history, both personal and collective, and also potentially has the ability of anticipating our future. It does not, however, function on the ego’s linear time-line; in sacred time, there is a melding of past/present/future so that symbols produced at any given time may or may not indicate the current state of subconsciousness. Frequently, symbols of wholeness appear at the beginning of the work, and are strictly prognosticative. In Magick, the same occurs in the Vision of the Holy Guardian Angel. “This is a far cry from the resulting maturity on the path which brings Knowledge and Conversation with one’s Angel. Individuation arises out of the conflict between ego and unconscious. If you can’t imagine a conflict with your Angel, just remember Jacob who wrestled with his angel. The conflict was an ordeal, but the conflict made him Jacob. Without it he would be among the nameless masses, not a paradigm for contemporary man.” Jung coined the term “synchronicity”, which he viewed as “temporally coincident occurrences of acausal events.” Synchronicity is a well-known experience, and occurs in many ways, such as thinking of someone and receiving a phone call from them, having a little-known phrase pop up in several places in a short period of time, etc. Jung came up with this term when he was listening to a dream of a patient about a beetle and subsequently heard a skittering on the window. Of course, it was the insect in question. It is said Jung enjoyed this line from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, as the White Queen says to Alice,

It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.
It is said when one is on “one’s correct path” one will experience synchronicities out the wazoo. Thus, synchronicity can be viewed as a term of measurement, the sum of the rate of paying attention plus one’s openness to awareness. After describing examples of synchronicities, Jung wrote, “When coincidences pile up in this way, one cannot help being impressed by them—for the greater the number of terms in such a series, or the more unusual its character, the more improbable it becomes.” If you are actively seeking your HGA, a conversation with your augoeides, you may want to follow the advice of Donna Eden, author of Energy Medicine: “By keeping your mind clear, your heart open, and your energies balanced, you are doing your part inviting such experiences if they are meant to happen.” But people do stumble into said adventures, much like my neighbor Jane. After Jane’s impromptu conversation with the spirit identified as Sofia, Jane was reassured by this advice, gleaned from The Pursuit of Valis, edited by Lawrence Sutin:

46

What ultimately distinguishes madness from mysticism is the direction the affected individual’s life takes. For the insane, the experience leads to further disintegration; for the mystic, it leads to unification and healing.
For Jane, having one foot firmly rooted in the world of civilization as we know it was key to her experience of the breakdown transforming into breakthrough. She unknowingly and before-the-fact took the advice of Robert Anton Wilson, who recommended being open to experience, but without belief. Jane did not “believe” that Sofia was talking to her, but she took in the experience and reflected on it. Jane did not “believe” she was “the most beloved”, as this was Sofia’s answer to her question of “why me?” But when she came across these lines from Philip K. Dick’s book Valis, she noted the synchronicity: “‘You of all people,’ the void communicated. ‘Out of everyone, it is you I love the most.’” Jane still does not “believe” her experiences to be Truth; in fact, Jane believes less in Truth than ever before. She says, “This experience has really opened me up to the mutable nature of reality. I realize now that ‘reality’ is constructed in our minds, and that really, there can be no one hardcore reality that we all share. Our reality is made up of each individual’s perception of reality as defined by their culture and beliefs. Our perceptions are a model of reality, not to be confused with reality itself. As has often been said, the map is not the territory; the menu is not the meal. To me, this has led to a feeling of ultimate freedom. I believe in nothing, as did the skeptics of the past, so as to permit all possibilities. I am no longer a prisoner in the fortress of my beliefs. I am free to imagine and enact whatever reality I find that makes sense among the seemingly infinite possibilities of realities. And honestly, I can think of an abundance of more fulfilling realities than Empire. Now to start enacting them!” As Shakti Woman author Vicki Noble states, “For Americans to let in the living play of spirits, we are going to have to stretch our identities quite a lot more than those people living in other countries.” She notes that Americans are trained NOT to perceive what is not observable with a rational eye, and our culture does not have a tradition for this kind of intuitive learning. It is her opinion that “the ongoing work for a female shaman is to stabilize both the energy and the emotions and to continue to grow and transform the personality without losing equilibrium,” and notes, “If we weren’t so afraid of something so foreign to our previous experiences, we would think it was ecstasy and we would cultivate it.” She notes that shedding one’s false skin results in feelings of great liberation, and is indeed the path of the female shaman. At some point, as Robert Anton Wilson states, “If this begins to sound like nonsense, that is inevitable on this level. It happens in both linguistics and mathematics because it happens in consciousness itself; language and math are just models of consciousness. [We almost figure it out/colorfully self-destruct] and we decide that what we have been reading, or thinking, or perceiving, must be ‘nonsense’. It is not nonsense. We are merely confronting infinity where we least 47

expected to encounter it—in our own lonely selves.” Vicki Noble adds: “The experiences are so direct and often so profound that to translate them into words and concepts takes an extra mental effort—the step of mediation that has to be inserted in between the experience and one’s communication of it. The English language, and the Western mode of communication, work against the expression of shamanic truths by virtue of what they have left out of the picture.” Or, as Aleister Crowley noted, mystical writings often sound like “the ravings of a disordered mind.” It is important to view a visit from one’s augoeides as a dialogue. Noble invokes the importance of Jung’s synchronicities, saying “Walking the shaman’s path is like having an ongoing dialogue with Nature or with the invisible world or with the Goddess, in which you are asking a question, receiving information, processing that information, and asking the next question.” When we are open to learning, we learn. When we are open to experience, we experience. When we are open to caring, we care. When we are open, we evolve, change, and grow. We are fluid, receptive. When we are open to experience, the whole world is remade anew. * * * This concept of being united with the divine reality by a love union with the Angel who is present in the person of my Beloved this experience of mystic union LOVE conjunction of the spiritual and the physical, matter and energy imparts the higher Energy of ACTIVE IMAGINATION which alone is capable, in its concentration essentiation instantiation of creating new transformations in the outside world. –poem from Notes for a Supreme Nonfiction by Julian Upwinger, available at www.scribd.com/doc/29242132/Notes-for-a-Supreme-Nonfiction-vs1-0 48

49

take heed, pyramid builders! time is ripe!
We are all gods, all of us. We are stardust, caught in the act of creation. We manifest ourselves. The golden cords tie us together, enabling us to relate. It is up to us to make them glow in the here and now, an invitation to all of the universe to celebrate—an outstretched hand if ever there was one! From stardust we create ourselves, and return ourselves, but for a moment of physical pleasure: aaahhhhh. What an act of beauty, that we are aware, that we create our own realities, and that we share them with each other. We are mere static in the realm of time. It is our privilege to behold. Whispers emanate from the center of the galaxy, the center of time, the center of our minds, where we are caught in the act of being. We hear the echoing waves, interpret ourselves as the divine, and act accordingly as autonomous stardust. How fortunate we are for this experience. We are important! Every last one of us is. There is spirit, energy, and it flows through everyone. Everyone! Every person is part of that flow, is part of us. We are necessary for the universe to experience. We are essential and vibrant, emanating the love and beauty and awe of the divine with each breath, each footstep, each act. We are flagrant—on fire. We’ve been caught red-handed. We are consciousness manifesting itself into being. Our active imagination enables us to conceive of our own magnitude, in such a quintessential state of suchness. Where would our world be without its suchness? We still can’t imagine the full effects of our synergy. The signs, the symbols— they are already in existence. We just need to pay attention, to observe without judgment. In full command of our faculties, we are unstoppable. With all your power, what would you do? What will you do? We will find the words to set ourselves free. They are on the tip of our collective tongue, about to leap from the center of our collective brain. It is electric, the spark, the arc. It is universal. It is known, but veiled, hidden, forgotten. Anamnesis is the loss of forgetting. It has already begun. People are waking up, becoming conscious, thinking, turning off their robot minds and turning on an awareness that puts a spotlight on our cultural blind spot. The world we inhabit is alive. It is sacred, and we are part of that sacredness. No matter the plans of ex-presidents and other highly paid puppets, we are essential, each and every one of us. There are no slaves in the landscape of consciousness. Wake up! You are already free!

50

unschooling
What is unschooling? What do we do on a daily basis? How does my daughter learn if she isn’t taught or isn’t forced to do homework? Is it legal? These are only a few of the questions we get about unschooling. There are many different kinds of unschooling, as each family adapts the general method to their specific family culture and comfort levels. Overall, unschooling means using everyday life as one’s curriculum, one’s basis for learning. We don’t spend time on homework (although on occasion, we do “play” school, and believe me, it’s odd to hear a child beg for math problems or a spelling test), and I don’t teach in any traditional sense, as in a hierarchical “I am the teacher you must obey!” manner. When learning opportunities come up, and they do quite frequently, we learn. Every interaction in life can be approached as a method of learning. I enjoy learning quite a bit myself, and as an adult, when I get interested in something, I learn all I can about it, from books, people, practical experience, and any other resources I can find. This is unschooling. Just because I am out of school doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy learning! It’s the same kind of process my daughter uses in educating herself, with my help, of course. But what do we do on a daily basis? We live life! As a dedicated unjobber, I work sporadically, making just enough money to support my daughter and myself, and we spend the rest of our time as members of our community. In nice weather, we spend a lot of time in our garden and outside. We hang out with friends, help on each others’ projects, do house repairs, go to the park, read books, play games— anything and everything we want to do, because we are blessed to have the time and motivation to do it. Now with all that goofing off, you might think that learning doesn’t happen. Actually, the best kind of learning happens, because it’s natural, and it totally relates to matters at hand. To give you an idea of how unschooling works, I’ll fill you in on my daughter’s activities of the week. On Sunday, our traditional potluck day, Kid Khalila is at her dad’s house. This week, we and our local friends all hung out with some out of town friends who were stopping through on a spring break trek out west. They came in a veggie oil car, so KK learned how to cook up veggie oil and filter it. She learned all about how the car works with veggie oil vs. gasoline. Later, we tramped around in the woods and walked around in our neighborhood, practicing backyard tourism at its finest. When we got back to my house, KK saw the altar I had set up for a spring equinox celebration, and we talked about why and how that is important, plus what the symbols used mean (such as pomegranate seeds). On Monday, Kid Khalila goes to the local YMCA for homeschool classes. These are mostly, for her, fun classes that provide social time with a variety of age groups of other homeschooled kids. She attends an art class, followed by a swimming class. After swimming class is free time in the pool, and we generally stick around and eat lunch with a pile of kids. For some reason, my daughter is one of the popular kids, and other kids argue over getting to sit by her. She is learning how to 51

handle this kind of conflict, although my shy unfriended kid self has not much advice for her there! I was never popular! By Monday evening, KK had read two 200-page novels. On Tuesday, a gorgeous weather kind of day, KK played outside for quite a while. She collected bugs and worms, played in the mud (oh, glorious mud!) and water, and did tricks on her rope swing for hours. Later we were sitting on the porch, chilling and talking about the meanings of words. I told her I just learned that the word “man” originally meant “woman” in Sanskrit, while the word “wer” meant man. A werewolf, then, is a manwolf, but a manwolf is a womanwolf! We agreed it was weird that a word like man could come to mean its opposite. I talked about the words apocalypse and revelation, and how those words used to scare the bejeezus out of me when I was a kid, but now they make me feel free. Why? I grew up with my grandparents, who were fundamentalists, and we used to have bible study and prayer each evening before bed. Occasionally, we would read from the book of Revelations, and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse would scare me, but not as much as hearing about the world being consumed by fire. After an odd look from my daughter, the one that asks who would really take something like that seriously, I told her about the Cold War. I’m not sure she had ever heard the words capitalism and communism. I explained that capitalism is the economic system of the United States, where everyone must work and exchange the money they receive to pay for food and shelter. Communism was the economic system of the Soviet Union (wow, that’s an antiquated place name!), where the government held all the land and money and everyone shared. She thought that sounded good! Well, sure, except that governments tend to collect power and become filled with corruption. “What’s cor-rup-tion, Mama?” Corruption, dear Kid Khalila, is when people at the top take most of the power and the money and do anything and everything they can to keep themselves in that place. It doesn’t matter what kind of government or economic system you live under; it’s corrupt. That’s just the nature of power. That’s just how it works. My grandparents believed, as Revelations said, that the earth would be consumed with fire. They believed this would happen via nuclear weapons, because in the mid-80’s, this seemed a quite realistic scenario. Sure, the good folks would (die and) go to heaven and the bad folks would (die and) go to hell, and as a little kid, I was scared shitless of death and the nonexistence of my physical body. Personally, I liked life on earth, and I wanted to keep living. After explaining all this, I got back to my original point, that the words apocalypse and revelations are not scary to me anymore. Revelation means to reveal, and apocalypse means to uncover. I recently put together a collection of folktales subtitled, Paradise Apocalypse, meaning Paradise Uncovered, because I believe we have the power to remember the garden that grows beneath our feet. That afternoon, KK accompanied me to work for a few hours, where she entertained herself writing codes in her notebook (codes being any “secret” words or phrases that pop out to her, generally from license plates, but sometimes hidden other places, including vending machines) and reading yet another novel. 52

Wednesday brought us another nice weather day, with more of the same kinds of outdoor activities as the day before. We played a game called Toss Up while we were taking a break from our workplay. I had been clearing dead canes out of the raspberry patch while Kid Khalila had been working her biceps doing yet more rope swing tricks. Toss Up involves adding, and KK did not want to add 13 plus 5. I refused to add it for her, and told her that was math that even little kids could easily do. After realizing how easy it was, she added the numbers with no problems. She also said, “Mama.... You know I can read. That’s all I really need to know.” Well, how could I argue with that? If you know how to read, and you have access to words, you really can learn about everything! That afternoon we discussed how things can be relative. I used the example of time. Five minutes can be a very long time if you are, for instance, waiting to be served a piece of birthday cake. But, five minutes can rush by in what seems like two seconds when it’s almost bedtime. It’s the same five minutes, but the nature of your set and setting can affect your perceptions of its passage. This led to talking about how people can view things differently, depending on the culture in which they are raised. In fact, everyone on earth has a slightly different viewpoint, leading to the idea that there is no One Truth, or rather, that all is true. It was a bit heavy for a 9-year-old, but she got it! Later in the afternoon, we helped a friend rearrange her booth at a craft mall. Kid Khalila and her friend were working out what it means to be competitive, how it can be both beneficial and detrimental to friendship, and what to do when being competitive hurts someone’s feelings. We also went to a resale shop to look for clothing, and KK entertained herself by reading books that were for sale. She finished another novel on Wednesday, and I finished a book I had been reading aloud to her at bedtime. At bedtime, we also played the alphabet game, and the subject was “silly things”. We thought of many silly things, and Kid Khalila got the letter Q, and her answer was Qwerty! Oh, yeah! That’s my kid! I had to work very early on Thursday, and took KK to my friend’s house to hang out. She looked for eggs, hung out, and had general, all around fun. Another friend picked her up and took her to homeschool gymnastics class, again learning some skills and most importantly, some good quality hanging out and having fun time. Then she went to homeschool music class. She is actually learning how to sing and carry a tune, which amazes me, since I can’t! After some more reading, Kid Khalila and her dad went to a Food Not Bombs meeting and played bingo at a local fringe church. She meets a variety of people there, as the FNB meeting is held immediately after an all-topics 12-step meeting. She and her dad normally bike, walk, scooter, or roller skate (well, her dad normally bikes or walks only) the one mile round trip, adding yet more physical activity to her Thursday. As I am writing this, tomorrow is Friday, and we have our entire day free. Who knows what kinds of crazy adventures we may find ourselves in?! Friday evening, we are going on a Critical Mass Bike Ride, and it’s an exhilarating feeling to hear my daughter shout “Whose Streets? Our Streets!” Saturday, she and her dad will no doubt have something fun and entertaining planned, and they’ll also go to the local library to fill up on yet more good books. 53

So, really, how can we not learn using our daily lives as our curriculum? It’s impossible not to learn, unless your curiosity has been deadened by being forced to learn what you’re not interested in learning. This seems to be how America has created its current generation of passionately uninterested learners. No doubt, our school systems are failing, but I don’t think that’s an altogether bad thing. It’s well past broken, and that is very apparent. Many parents, like me, are pulling their kids out of school and feeding their insatiable curiosity rather than letting them rot at their desks. Granted, not every parent has the means or opportunities to homeschool their children, and that is unfortunate. If I had the money the school system would receive for my child were she enrolled—my goodness! Oh, the places we would go! Occasionally people will ask me: but how do you learn math, or science (or any other subject they hold dear)? Well, they come up, as useful as they are in everyday life. I have to admit, although I was good at math in school, it was never something I was interested in. And honestly, math rarely does come up in everyday life. One place it always comes up is cooking with a recipe. Kid Khalila is not intimidated by doubling, tripling, or quadrupling a recipe. In fact, she can make pancakes from scratch, from start to finish! We also dabble in math when we play Yahtzee! or Toss Up. As a public schooled kid, science bored me, but I think it was mostly my teachers. As an adult, science fascinates me, and I’m astounded at my ignorance at the natural world around me. I’ve taught myself the names and uses of many plants and herbs, but insects, birds, constellations, trees—I don’t know what many of these are. Fortunately, KK’s dad had a science teacher for a grandfather, and he knows a lot! Kid Khalila and I are both learning. But that’s pretty much the crux of it. We learn as opportunities present themselves. Sure, KK probably knows more about permaculture and sustainable practices than she does about business acumen, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing! Being able to not only survive but thrive in a changing world, being able to adapt, to live in community—this is useful knowledge worth having. Really, unschooling is learning the ability to learn. If you know how to learn, you can learn anything you might need to know. Is unschooling legal? As always, it depends! In the United States, each state has laws concerning homeschooling in general, and sometimes unschooling in particular. In Illinois, where I live, homeschooling is considered legal because of a court case saying it is. There are no specific laws governing homeschooling, so even though Illinois is fairly conservative on many social issues, on homeschooling Illinois is waaaaay out there, having basically no requirements whatsoever. Other states have different requirements, and unschoolers do their best to obey the rules while keeping their kids’ best interest in the forefront. Unschooling doesn’t work for all kids or parents, especially if there is a strong need for structure desired by either. It works well when structure is not desired, or as in the case of my child, homework is detested, and anything presented as “teaching” provokes hands firmly clasped over ears! However, in learning through every day life, my child is an insatiable learner with a curious and inquisitive mind. 54

Many homeschoolers who use a curriculum use the unschooling method as supplemental learning with their kids. Many adults are unschoolers when they follow their passions to learn about what interests them. For instance, last winter I read a ton of gardening books in order to educate myself on the “real” knowledge of gardening (previously being mostly an intuitive gardener myself). I studied all the time and took copious notes. Then I noticed my daughter taking notes from a science book, because it was important, and she didn’t want to forget! Just like me! Parents are the most important teachers for their children, and my daughter has not just me and her dad to teach her, but a whole community of people who care a lot about her and have her well being at heart. This is what it means for a village to raise a child. Kid Khalila is receiving an education like no other kid, with most of it coming from the depths of a new paradigm where abundance and fecundity are key. We are so blessed!

55

the children’s crusade for truth and beauty
John the peddler urged his horse onward into the night. He was thankful for the nearly full moon lighting his way. From the loaded fruit trees lining the almost overgrown remains of roadway, he could tell he was nearing Zomba. He presumed there would be people awake at the settlement when he arrived, given that this was a time of harvest. As he crested the last bluff into the river valley, he saw the lights of many fires and heard the banging of drums. It must be a feast! He wished he could hurry his tired old horse on, but descending the steep bluff, it was necessary to go as slowly as possible, lest he and his horse and wagon end up a crumpled heap at the bottom. It was good to practice his patience, and when he finally arrived, he would enjoy it all the more. * * * “What’cha got, Peddler John?” He was still working on his breakfast coffee when the children began crowding around him. It was always a good idea to show his wares to the children, especially these children. They were industrious, and often acquired treasures that even he could not. He went to his wagon, thronged by short people, and pulled out his baskets and boxes. There were all manners of toys and delights—dollies with china heads and real hair, wooden blocks, smallsized tools, and even a few good-quality plastic items that had somehow managed to hold together. The children looked over his wares carefully, most trying to hold in their excitement so as to be better bargainers, and then ran off to get their items with which to trade. Only an older boy remained, with quiet intense eyes focused on John. “See anything you’d like, Jeremiah?” “It’s all quite nice, sir, but I think I am getting too old for children’s toys.” Peddler John began to pull out his boxes of adult toys, things that were not exactly practical, but fun to play with, like accordions and flutes, wood carving tools, combs and watches, skeins of yarns and fancy threads, and so on. Jeremiah looked with polite interest, but nothing was yet produced to encourage him to run and get a treasure to trade. “What about this?” John asked, and produced a framed picture of a yellowed newspaper clipping. “What is it?” asked Jeremiah. “It’s the White House burning!” said John with glee. It had been a fierce battle to acquire this item, as its previous owner refused to trade it for any amount of treasures. It became John’s only after a long night of drinking and playing cards, and John so highly valued the item, he rarely brought it out to offer in trade. He kept it in reserve to show off to his best customers, and those in Zomba certainly qualified as that. “What’s the White House?” John looked at Jeremiah in surprise. “How old are you, son?” 56

“Fifteen, sir.” “Ah, that would explain it. You were born after the fall, then?” “Yes, sir.” “Well, you see,” said Peddler John, settling himself down to weave his tale, “the White House was both a real place and a symbol. It was where the President and his family lived—” “President? What’s that?” asked Jeremiah. Peddler John’s raucous laughter drew Beatrix from the house. “Look here,” said John, handing the clipping to her. “Oh, is this the White House burning down? I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was making love in the apple orchard, with the bees buzzing everywhere loving on the blossoms, in the intense spring warmth and sunshine, when the community bell began to ring. We were delighted to hear about it,” said Beatrix. Jeremiah was ignorant of what it meant to live in civilization before the fall. He knew nothing of fully stocked big boxes of commerce or combustion engines. The ideas of working and consuming were completely foreign to him, as foreign as the idea of operating in the community economy was to those living before the fall. “There were more unemployed people than employed people at that point,” began John, “and yet being employed was still considered normal and desired. Mind you, this was not working for the sake of one’s self or one’s community, but working solely to produce wealth for someone else, and getting only a small portion of that wealth in return, to trade for one’s basic necessities.” “Instead of just working to provide for one’s basic necessities?” asked Jeremiah. “Yes,” replied Beatrix, shaking her head. “I know, it doesn’t make much sense to you. It didn’t to me either, although it was expected of us all. At the time, we lived in Stan City, before the Bubble was erected. Our neighborhoods were thoroughly neglected by those who took our tax money and claimed to rule us. We stopped paying taxes, having no money anyway, but then we started being harassed by their henchmen, the enforcers. They built a wall around our neighborhoods, and introduced checkpoints into and out of the ghetto. It was then we made plans for escape, and came out here to the Barrens. “Some wanted to stay and fight it out in Stan City, and others preferred to concentrate their energies and time on creating something new in open free space. Although there was nothing much here besides depleted soil and abandoned falling down housing when we arrived, we thrived in the non-oppressive atmosphere, and with trust in the divine, we nurtured everything you see, Jeremiah.” “Of course, there were many warriors who did fight it out,” continued Peddler John. “They blew up dams and overpasses, stole freighted goods and redistributed them to their communities—they did anything and everything they could to add to the disruption the failed economy was already producing. So many people were out of work anyway, which gave them plenty of time to think and talk things over. It didn’t take a whole lot of thinking to realize life could be different if we made our 57

minds up for it to be. That’s when the emphasis on community life became so strong. And, well, oftentimes talking leads to action.” John grinned in memory of the actions of his own young self. He was barely older than Jeremiah at the time of the fall, in the midst of the slow crash, when daily life changed so dramatically for so many people. He remembered going out with his grandma, pickaxes in hand, to tear up the street in front of their house. They planted corn, beans, and pumpkins that year, and had a bumper crop. He recalled putting on war paint with his brother and blockading a main supply route. They had stopped the army’s convoy and were quite relieved when the soldiers, even younger than themselves, thankfully gave up and gratefully switched allegiance. He remembered scaling impossible walls on a raid with his girlfriend, barely escaping arrest and imprisonment, and then making the most passionate love ever in the moonlight. “The White House burning down, though, that was amazing to hear,” continued Beatrix. “Of course, it had long been empty, the president—I forget which one it was now—and his family having been moved underground to a secret location, for safety. But still. It was a group of children that burned it down, if I am remembering correctly. They burned it down and scattered seeds among the rubble.” Beatrix looked at the clipping. “It says: ‘The Children’s Crusade for Truth and Beauty torched the White House yesterday, the ultimate symbol of the United States of America, formerly believed to be the most powerful nation on earth. Today, this symbol is a pile of rubble and ash. The CCfTaB scattered seeds they collected in the past year, intending to turn this symbol of decay and atrophy into a living monument of What Comes Next. After the fall comes the recovery, and from the ashes, rises the Phoenix.’” Beatrix shook her head, “I wonder what it looks like now.” John smiled. “I’m sure the building itself is no longer recognizable. It’s probably an oasis on the Potomac, a place for weary travelers to camp and pluck the fruits of our current way of life for nourishment.” Jeremiah looked again at the framed yellowed clipping. He understood. “I’ll be right back,” he said. “I think I have something you might be interested in trading for, Peddler John.”

58

a waypoint for weary travelers
Believe in nothing, so you can accept everything. This is the nature of the skeptic. Modern day skeptics seem to have their minds so firmly shut, there’s no point. You might as well explore reality with a brick wall. In fact, it might be more fun that way. It’s probably easier to pass your body through a brick wall than to pass an idea that cannot be proven (ha) through the mind of a skeptic. The nature of reality is tenuous, just out of grasp. We have consensus reality that dominates our minds and eyes, but none of that is real. None of that is real. None of it. It’s all pretend. The walls that surround us, the advertisements that toxify our minds, the money we trade our lives for—t’s all consensus reality. The only thing that is real is this: chi, the energy that holds us star dust together, the golden cords that bind us all. Gravity, really, is just a manifestation of that. We are the sun thinking about itself. We are god manifesting its consciousness, expanding its mind. There is nothing more challenging and adventurous than real life. Video games? Shopping? Pshaw. Right now we might look around and find ourselves in a desert. Certainly modern industrial civilization is working hard to fulfill that goal, taking life and leaving death and desert in its wake—a kind of reverse alchemy. But modern industrial civilization is a manufactured illusion. It is a delicate web of interwoven choices made out of a certain consciousness. If you think you have no other choice, you are already defeated, and indeed, you will recognize no other choice. But this is not Truth. In the landscape of consciousness, options are unlimited. We cannot fight the destruction machine with destruction, or else we become what we enact. The ends do not justify the means; the means shape the ends. We become what we do. We cannot sit idly by, as the destruction machine is akin to a nasty virus, consuming everything, including its host. We are talking about a different way of fighting, not with guns and force, but with vision and imagination. Our collective challenge is to extend our imaginations beyond solutions that have already been tried. The most potent force of the universe may lie in our own minds. Indeed, magic is the art of changing consciousness at will. “Consciousness moves to a rhythm. It follows a beat. When disparate consciousnesses meet, they become more alike. This is the question we must face and the art we must develop: remaining who we truly are. If we can hold on to what we are, then even our enemies must change. Only a miracle can save us. And who will make miracles for us if not ourselves?” (Starhawk, The Fifth Sacred Thing) It is Khadir who brings water to travelers lost in the desert, and flowers and herbs spring up in his path. We open ourselves up to possibilities unknown. The outstretched hand is there. If you reach for it, it’ll grab you back. We are fortunate to live in such a time, where so much potential change is up for the offering. We are blessed if we realize we have a choice. You don’t see with your eyes. You perceive with your mind. 59

60

doing it ourselves: ritualizing our holy days
After attending a winter solstice get-together that was entirely infused with ritual and meaning, I decided to recreate this experience on the vernal (spring) equinox. Although the winter solstice gathering was enjoyed by a large group of extended friends, I spent the spring equinox with my lover, and so we planned our intimate rituals accordingly. Large group or small, creating your own rituals gives new meaning to any holiday, especially ones whose meanings have been largely forgotten. My dear editor reminded me: “The Spring Equinox, “The Birth of the Sun”, marks the passing of the torch— the time when the rhythms of the planet are guided more and more by the Sun, for it is on this day that the Sun is born. (ALL: Hooray!) From now until the Midsummer night, the Sun will become the most prominent influence in our daily lives and will inform how we spend the next few months. The Spring Equinox is a time to celebrate birth, and is thus a time to honor what lives. So too is the Spring Equinox a time to celebrate equality, as it is on this date that the lengths of both day and night are equal. It is a time of blending and merging, of alchemical unions, and playful couplings. The Spring Equinox is when two become one.” If you’re in any part of the country that has seen spring-like weather recently, you’re well aware of the birth of the sun and the effect it has on us. I and my friends are moving out of hibernation mode, planning gardens and summer activities, and planting seeds. Especially as we move out of last weekend’s new moon, we fill ourselves up with light and energy, being nourished and capable of nourishing. No wonder this celebration was so important to our ancestors! In spring, the days begin to lengthen after the equinox, and joy fills us, as it does every living thing! It’s the time when the push at last gives birth to new life and growth. In some cultures, the spring equinox is the start of the new year. In others, it is celebrated as mother’s day. Historically, many cultures celebrated fertility rituals at this time, ensuring good harvests and hunting. There are countless celebrations and rituals to be remembered and reclaimed! When it comes to creating our own rituals, there are many ways to start. One is to read about the origins of the tradition we wish to reclaim. I have a thick 2volume set of books called Customs and Manners of Mankind, published in the early 20th century. It has a wealth of knowledge of customs around the world, and I was surprised to see so many reports (with pictures!) of “pagan” holidays celebrated in “Christian” Europe. What happened in the last century that so many nature-based traditions died out? Could it be suburban monoculture, hmmm? In the last week of preparing for our personal ritual, I have read a lot about Persephone, goddess of spring, and the Green Man, aka the King of the Wood. They will be included in our ritual, as will the partaking of pomegranate seeds and honey, being symbols of each respectively. These symbols are powered by our belief. An active imagination plays a big role in creating rituals that are infused with personal meaning. 61

I enjoy researching both what used to be and what currently is celebrated, and taking from those sources what makes sense and is relevant to my life and situation. I have been called a pagan; though I am not particularly active in that scene, I do consider myself a diy pagan. How could I not?! There is also a lot of information online about pagan rituals, as well as magic invocations. Again, take what makes sense and leave the rest. Participating in a ritual that is meaningful is the whole point. After the winter solstice ritual, I felt infused with energy. Spiritually, it was a “peak experience”. The energy created by the group of people believing wholly in our ritual was intense, pulsating; it filled the room. As Jung said, when the gods act like gods, how can we deny them their existence? Whether the gods are “real” or not, I don’t know or care, but I do know a hefty pile of energy when I feel it, and it certainly bonded us together. Neither shopping at Wal-Mart nor commuting to work can ever provide that kind of feeling and experience. It is beyond the realm of normalcy, and I feel blessed to have experienced it. I desire to incorporate meaningful rituals in all areas of my life, even and especially on a daily basis. History, symbols, rituals, invocations, prayers, blessings, requests, meditations, your own super creative forces, plus an active imagination and strong belief in a reality that makes sense to YOU are some of the keys to creating and participating in diy rituals. It’s time our holidays became holy days once more, mystic revelers!

62

may day celebrations
May Day is celebrated by different peoples for many reasons. May Day is the traditional Labor Day, or International Workers’ Day, often celebrated with demonstrations, rallies, and street marches by unions, anarchists, and socialist groups. In the United States, May Day is celebrated as a remembrance of the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago in 1886, in which a bomb went off (supposedly...) and police opened fire on a group of striking workers, killing many workers and police officers (from friendly fire). Several key labor leaders were hanged, becoming martyrs of the labor movement. President Cleveland moved the national Labor Day celebration to the first Monday in September shortly thereafter, fearing if Labor Day were celebrated on May Day, there would be further riots and violence. However, Americans are not fooled, and often celebrate the traditional Labor Day with the rest of the world. This was especially true during the Great Depression when thousands of leftist workers marched in New York’s Union Square, and in other places throughout the country. May Day is also a traditional Celtic pagan holiday known as Beltane, as it is a cross-quarter day (halfway between solstice and equinox), imbued with magick. Beltane bonfires (lit on May Eve) traditionally “mark a time of purification and transition, heralding in the season in the hope of a good harvest later in the year, and were accompanied with ritual acts to protect the people from any harm from Otherworldly spirits.” Similar to the cross-quarter day of Samhain (Hallowe’en), the boundaries between worlds are fluid, and Otherworldly spirits are quite close at hand. Beltane is traditionally a time to celebrate life, love, and fertility. According to one Wiccan, “Beltane marks the emergence of the young God into Manhood. Stirred by the energies at work in nature, He desires the Goddess. They fall in love, lie among the grasses and blossoms, and unite. The Goddess becomes pregnant of the God. The Wiccans celebrate the symbol of Her fertility in ritual.” The May pole is a phallic symbol of the God, while the flowers and greenery surrounding the May pole symbolize the Goddess. This is a celebration imitating nature in its current state of full erotic desire, with flowers blossoming and animals of all sorts procreating and rearing young. May Day traditionally signals the beginning of summer, with the solstice in June marking mid-summer. As Christianity became more popular, May Day migrated to the realm of a secular holiday, with traditions derived from their pagan roots. The May pole invites celebrants to dance around it, wrapping the May pole in brightly colored ribbons as they walk around in circles. A May Queen, reported to be the most beautiful and fair young lady of the region, is crowned and paraded through town. And ladies! Bathing the face with dew from the grass on May Day morning is reported to ensure a good complexion for the coming year. May baskets, filled with flowers or sweets, were traditionally made by children and left on the doorsteps of neighbors. No matter how you celebrate this traditional folk holiday, be aware that the holiday is also celebrating you! 63

we are having a now emergency of the highest order
Ordinary time demands our attention to keep the clocks going. Those for whom time has stopped, we are blessed with immortality. We join the universe in its waiting, waiting, waiting . . . for what? We wait for the Deranged Mind and the disparate members of the human experience to awaken and cognize, to incarnate spiritually and psychically, to identify the One within us All, and to identify the All within each One. The Ministry of the Now Emergency invites you to take the day off to catch up on your sleep. It invites you to take tomorrow off too, and lay under the trees, beneath the warm shiney sun, to feel each caress of Earth breath. And the next day too, you should take that day off and catch up with your friends. Find out what they’ve been thinking and doing; see what they’ve determined by taking their time OFF and living in the moment. The Ministry of the Now Emergency proposes a Jubilee beginning in this moment, and proposes to extend the invitation past and present to all moments in time...the forever of Now. The Jubilee is a time of forgiveness, of ourselves and others. It is a time when we reset Empires and fortunes. It is when we look to each other and think: Who are we? What are we doing here? What are we doing to and with each other? And I’m just checking in: are we making sense? Are we Americans making enough sense that any child can clearly see and understand what we are doing and saying? Or must we spend countless resources brainwashing and indoctrinating them to believe contrary to what we say we believe to be the Truth? (All men are created equal, ahem, except those below me on the pyramid...) The Ministry of the Now Emergency manifests itself as fluff. Attached to a seed, it sets itself adrift among come what may. It extends an invitation to the universe to participate in (its) creation. It relies on pistis, the reciprocal trust, to put down roots and break through limits unknown into new life. We dissolve our caterpillar selves, liquify our essence and transform into . . . we have no idea what, until we awaken one day and look into the mirror of the Other. Who are we, but reflections of each other? Of the All? We are so much we can barely comprehend. We glow, radiate, absorb, receive, transmit. We are living information, an encyclopedia yet to crack its spine.

64

levitating over the prison walls: it can be done.
1. We must trust ourselves. We’ve been filled with a lot of bullshit that isn’t even real (time, money, religion, government, morals, etc.) while at the same time denied acknowledgment of vitally important and real phenomena (our experiences, for example). It drives us crazy, being born into and raised by the Deranged Mind (a term coined by Philip K. Dick). We must be honest with ourselves about what we experience—all manners of experience. We must communicate and share these experiences, so we can collectively remember what is “real.” We need to experience rather than be told. It’s human nature, our Will. Right and wrong merely contain all possibilities. It is among the possibilities we find the key ring to the gates of the Black Iron Prison. It takes a lot of energy to deny our direct experience of reality. We tend to saturate our lives with the other—the kipple of the Deranged Mind—to the point of universal numbness. In our desire to feel, we seek stimuli, more and more... And at the same time we deny the reality of the bulk of our perceptions. It frenzies us to the breaking point…and still…STILL! Do we, or don’t we? Always, always, we wait to answer. Trying to make sense within the existence of the Deranged Mind—it’s enough to drive one mad! The Golden Age is upon us, but the veil is thick. Poke your finger through the veil, incarnates of Hermes, and let beauty emerge for all to see. Let those with ears, listen! Let those with eyes, see! Wake up! We are already free! One sure way to experience is to be open to it. We have to train our minds to perceive what has been hidden. We must train ourselves to perceive the breadth and depth of experience. It takes skill to discern what is, what is possible, among a world of possibilities. We have to explore beyond what we were never told did not exist. All that is merely forgotten, but it is. Sometimes it takes a divine thief to reveal the hidden treasures, a mischievous messenger to announce the obvious: “The Emperor wears no clothes!” We suffer through our anamnesis (the loss of forgetting) because we do not realize the truth of the message. We are already free. Our chains appear in reaction to the Deranged Mind. Our liberation begins in our minds, in our Will—the natural law. Relying on a priori evidence—our own experiences—we perceive all without judgment. This is what it means to be human; this is the human experience. In our present culture, we’ve been told that hearing voices means we are delusional— schizophrenic. And yet, a quick dig through a history book reveals much to the contrary. Countless humans throughout the ages have heard voices, from Socrates to Buckminster Fuller, and have heeded the words of their augoeides, their agathodaemon. If we are not open to these experiences as possibilities of reality, they will not exist; we unnecessarily limit ourselves. Rob Brezsny’s Catalog of Cagey Optimism includes the term schizofriendia, which means hearing voices in your 65

head that are constantly supportive, encouraging, and keen to offer advice that help you make the most of every experience. Developing a relationship with one’s augoeides seems a very natural human experience, despite legal mental health opinion to the contrary. What other natural human experiences do we disregard because they have been relegated to the purview of the incorrect? It is only when we discard the dichotomous view of understanding, when we open ourselves to the breadth and depth of human experience, when we allow ourselves to learn from our direct experience, that our eyes fully open to the entirety of life, the birthright of humanity.

Our models of “reality” are very small and tidy, the universe of experience is huge and untidy, and no model can ever include all the huge untidyness perceived by uncensored consciousness. —Robert Anton Wilson
2. Alchemy is used to reconcile opposites to create something greater and more valuable than that with which we started. Integrate the opposites into your core of understanding. Be open to experience. You will, at first, not believe, not trust, your senses. But after your ass is thoroughly kicked, you will begin to relish the ordinary, to experience the breadth and depth of all that is. We’ve forgotten a lot. We’re beginning to remember. Anamnesis is the loss of forgetting. Just as “good and evil” are perceived as being one or the other only, between the two lies every permutation of the human experience. So it is with our bodies and minds. Our bodies cannot perceive experience without psyche (mind/soul), just as our minds cannot perceive experience without soma (body). There is no need to choose one end of the spectrum or the other. Between psyche and soma exist every perception available to the human experience. Our modern western culture focuses on the splitting apart into pieces. It dissects the whole in an attempt to gain greater understanding of the parts. It seems our society is so focused on the pieces, we forget the whole even exists. What does it mean to use alchemy to integrate opposites in one’s personal life? Take the subjective opposites of beauty and ugliness. Our culture takes beauty to mean photoshopped models, and ugliness to be that which does not (strive to) fit into these limiting categories. If we combine the notions of beautiful and ugly to experience all perceptions within the context of the entire continuum of possibilities, we may find ourselves utterly surprised. We open ourselves to the Other, to the possibility that ugly things can, in fact, be beautiful, and that our culture’s perception of beauty may not be the all of the matter. We may find that the authentic, no matter its shape and form, is indeed the most beautiful concept in existence. We open ourselves to the wabi-sabi experience, that the imperfection is the flow that allows beauty to burst forth into being. When we open ourselves up to experience the totality of possibilities, rather than relegating our perceptions into the good/ bad dichotomy, we may find ourselves immersed in more than we ever knew 66

existed. We may find ourselves making love to the paradoxes that fill our lives, and what an oh so orgasmic time that is! As Felix King reminds us:

The POET’s function (as tamer and handler of the Logos) is the cultivation of higher Energy states in Human being that enable the EXPERIENCE, rather than “thinking about” of REALITY.
One’s own self becomes the arena of struggle. We eternally allow our hearts to fill to the point of breaking to enable ourselves to hold more and more of the endlessly repressed emotions and experiences. It is our method of toppling empires. As poets, we share the illumination of the divine with each other as equals. 3. PKD realized this world is deranged, to the point it destroys any attempts to heal it. But the physician (the plasmate) is moved by love, and risks all to plant the seeds of knowledge: that this psychosomatic illness is easily treated, once one becomes aware of what it is that is really wrong. The homoplasmate enables healing, at least among those who seek it, desire it, allow it. It is the anti-virus, the meta-virus. It is the outstretched hand of the universe, eternally waiting for a response to its invitation. It is beauty. It is love. It is the physician. It is what enables us to put the pieces (of the Deranged Mind) back together. From the disparate pieces emerges the One, the All, the Light. The heavenly chorus sings Hallelujah; the golden cords illuminated stretch from each of us, to each of us. We become connected—online, mechanomorphically speaking. Is it any wonder we find ourselves broken, ill? We have been born and raised into the culture of the Deranged Mind, into families that have for 10,000 years been born and raised into this culture of competition and destruction. We forget what it means to be whole, to be healed. All the wisdom of the universe resides in each of us. The memory is dormant, as a seed. With nourishment and encouragement, the seed germinates and grows. It is the plasmate. We are homoplasmate. We generate seeds that spread. We are the weed memes, and we propagate healing. How can one heal a Deranged Mind? By creating a new mind, by giving birth to what comes next in all varieties of the human experience.

To start a new civilization is not to introduce some new refinement in higher culture, but to change the imagination of the masses. THE DREAM LIFE OF THE MASSES discarded as superstition (the stone which the builders rejected) BECOMES in the 21st century THE KEY TO OPEN A NEW DOOR. —Felix King
There are no answers but all possible answers . . . the meta-answer. And so we go, zen koaning, chasing our missing tails. Language is limiting, especially now. The 67

descriptive language has been suppressed, unlearned, hidden. We have to learn a two-thousand-year-old language just to begin! But that is why experience—being open and welcoming to it—is vital. The words will come. It is important to be honest with ourselves, to pay attention to our direct experience, and to know we actively create our realities, whether we are paying attention or not. If we are asleep, unaware, but still going through the motions, we are in fact enacting someone else’s reality, namely that of the Deranged Mind. As we find ourselves on the brink of planet-wide ecological and ontological collapse (with the ice caps melting and an uncontrollable spewing oil leak in the ocean—regardless of the data of scientists as translated through their corporate paychecks—do we need any additional evidence to convince us that something is horribly wrong? What does YOUR gut tell you?), it is imperative that we wake up, wake each other up. We must question our long-held antiquated assumptions. We must develop cybernetic know-how, the ability to look at an entire complex system, and see how our everyday actions—the basis of our formations of reality—affect the whole. Do we find ourselves creating life, abundance, and fecundity on a regular basis? Or do we find ourselves, scythes and credit cards in hand, on the payroll of the Deranged Mind, a strongman for the culture of consumption and destruction? We are told as individuals we are inconsequential, that our actions are meaningless. Please remind yourself that the man behind the curtain is filling you with bullshit. I say to you: you are a most powerful being. You are the most beloved for a reason. Indeed, you hold in your imagination and will a beautiful and inspiring future, and joining in conspiracy with your two hands, you have the power (power with, not power over) to enact any future you deem worthy of your time and energy. Will is the feather touch which can move mountains. Now is the most exciting time to be alive in human history as it has been written. We hold the power to create, to begin anew, to evolve beyond what we can even begin to imagine. It is an awesome adventure—a challenge worthy of the unused parts of our larger-than-life brains and our renowned vivid imaginations. How wonderful to be shaken from our terminable ennui and find ourselves in the most exciting adventure ever! Physician, heal thyself! Shaman, heal thyself! Healer, heal thyself! Heal each other. Heal all. This is the way of the plasmate. 4. Time does not exist. It is a spell, a false reality. There is no answer that satisfies or explains. There are no phlogistons either. Living each moment in awareness, we realize there is only this moment. We invoke immortality. It is that easy, with our awareness mingled with all. It takes courage. It takes seeing the potential to endure. We rely on our cunning to lead us out of traps we ourselves set. We are remembering. It is what it is. It is what is. There is one moment in time, and it is now. It is all moments in time. Through the intricate details of experience are woven all that is. To experience the microcosm of one’s moment is to experience the macrocosm of the All, the entirety. It is obvious, but hidden. 68

When we find ourselves fully experiencing each moment, we may at last begin to experience the falseness of time. Moments become hours, hours become days, days become years. We find ourselves living lifetimes between the sun rising and setting. This is how we invoke immortality and become aware of the moment—the long moment of forever. We dismantle the clocks and break free of the illusion of time. It is a maze that can be figured out, but it is seemingly as long and as complicated as pi. There are many things that have been manifested that are mere illusion. Release belief. Be open to experience. Be honest with yourself and with others. If you believe the gods have declared you the most beloved, believe they’ve left you divine clues, believe you can reason and research your way out of madness into bliss, you can. All paths prove valid to those who walk them. Belief manifests into reality. Our honesty—if we (can) maintain that integrity—ensures it. Belief is what makes the unreal real and the real unreal. Forget it all. Wake up into reality and see for yourself with your eyes wide open. There are many realities, as many as there are people to experience and express them. We each perceive our experiences through the lenses of our individual reality tunnels, which are created by the culture in which we are raised, reinforced by what we are told is acceptable or obscene. What is acceptable in our reality is embraced as an experience worthy of perceiving. Anything outside of our reality tunnel is dismissed as hogwash, unbelievable and unnecessary. As Hakim Bey notes, “The world’s image of itself not only defines its possibilities, but also its limits.” Reality is eternally mutable, changeable. Wars are fought over opposing realities, but this is the actual hogwash. There is no need to cling to any reality as being the one true and correct existence, for oneself or for others. According to the Copenhagen Interpretation, also known as “model agnosticism”, any grid we use to organize our experience of the world is merely a model of the world and should not be confused with the world itself. Once we understand that all realities are valid and correct—for those who hold them—we lay down our weapons of the One Right Way of Living and open ourselves to accept the diversity of human experience.

THE MEANING we give to Human being gives rise to a reality made of bricks of Human belief. We see what we believe because our beliefs about ourselves literally create, instantiate—make what we see APPEAR. EVERY APPEARANCE becomes more than apparent, deceives somewhat, reveals somewhat. Only in seeing through them all may we at last come to know WHAT IS REAL. —Felix King
In our present culture, a skeptic is one who rigorously disproves any opinion or experience that does not find itself in the approved dogma of rational science. Originally a skeptic was one who withheld belief or disbelief in order to allow for all possibilities of experience and existence. We could point out that the current 69

dogmatic nature of rational science makes it as much a fundamentalist authoritative evangelical religion as any other. Previously, mysticism and science were two branches on the tree of direct experience, distinguishing these traditions from religion which relied on the passing down of traditions, morals and beliefs rather than perceiving one’s direct experiences. How many scientists are also mystics? We find that many are one and the same—James Watson, Bucky Fuller, Pythagoras, Carl Sagan, Carl Jung, countless alchemists... We realize the value of the honesty through which we observe our perceptions, even and especially if they contradict that of the Deranged Mind. This is the string we unwind as we follow our hearts out of the labyrinth and into What Comes Next. 5. Pistis is the reciprocal trust with the universe, from part to whole to part. We trust the universe to act according to its nature, its Will. The universe trusts us to act according to our natural way, our Will. This is our flow. This is creation. This is synergy beyond imagination. There is what is. This is obvious, but hidden. To live one’s life in the hands of the gods takes untold courage, and yet, it is a feeling of incomparable security and comfort once we become experienced in the fluidity of this reciprocal trust. As Jesus remarked (in Matthew 6:25, right after saying one cannot love both god and money), the divine cares for the sparrows and the lilies of the fields—how could the divine care less for humanity? This is the basis of pistis—of living in the hands of the gods. I live my life free of toil. I rely on the universe to provide for my needs, and it does—time and time again! Do I possess the world’s greatest karma? Or have I merely figured out how to set myself adrift in the natural flow of the universe? Whatever I need finds its way into my path. And I uphold my part of this reciprocal trust. I give, I comfort, I care, I trust—without reservation. Time after time, I am reminded of the abundance of the economy of the community—the natural flow of the universe. I am a valued and important participant. I look around and see untold blessings and the abundance of beauty. You would never guess I live in a ghetto in utter poverty. This is the reality of my existence in the money economy, which necessarily thrives on scarcity. But this is not the reality in which I place my trust. I am well-provided for, comfortable beyond compare. I am further from slavery than most. I am well aware of the abundance of blessings I receive. I know I am wealthy beyond compare in the things that matter. 6. It is an unfortunate role to play, that of cosmic poker of those firmly asleep in the dream world of the deranged; they shriek with pleasure in the Cave of Treasures and shriek with pain in the Black Iron Prison, not realizing they are one and the same. Poke those who are asleep, try to rouse them to their senses, and we see they prefer entrancement. The invitation is always there, waiting for an answer of yes. An answer of no or not yet lends only another invitation extended. 70

[the gods wonder...] What can be done to encourage a blossom too ... unyielding ... to open? Lend courage and a whisper, an assurance that a perfume so sweet and enticing has yet to be experienced. And wait; we remember the Hanged Man. We cannot give up—that future is unthinkable. We know that all eternity may pass before fruition. But we wait, we wait to hear an answer. Patience, tiring, exasperating at times, but worth it. 7. Love is not merely a spurious human emotion. Love is the ease of the universe. It enables life to exist. We have some notions of love, but we have largely forgotten the language. Fortunately, humans are quite skilled at inventing the language they need (hermetical blessings). Acceptance of natural law enables the love to flow. We have many allies, in fact, the All. (...all but the deranged mind.) We allow ourselves to feel compassion and care—love—in the arms of our most beloved. Our existence continues as we gather strength, gather all the love coming from everywhere all at once. It is this moment in time we say yes to the invitation extended us. We are reborn, restored. Our birthrights as human beings are returned to us. We no longer fear, but radiate this love and trust, a meme of primal existence. Through surrender, we gain power unimaginable—power with all existence. It’s a concept overwhelming and intense; it is not hard to understand the preference of the distracting screen. The interminable flicker as, as, as…. CiviLIESation is itself a kind of magick trick, eternally manufacturing the unreal, but under the guise of studious rationality. What makes this miasma acceptable as The Truth, other than our modern culture’s conditioning and brainwashing? A whole ‘nother reality resides in our culture’s blind spot. It should be obvious, but it’s not. If we train ourselves to perceive experiences beyond what we are never told does not exist, we may find ourselves flabbergasted by untold realities, untold moments worthy of our consideration. We are, in fact, magicians. Or at least it appears that way, pointing out the obvious, pointing out the Will, the natural law. It appears to be magick to reveal what is behind the veil, but in reality, we merely reveal the magick trick of obscurement that civilization always has up its sleeve. We wake up in the matrix and we turn each other on. We attract other agents of chaos, concocting viral memes in our subconscious laboratories—alchemy of the highest order! We weave a new reality, the weft and warp of the here and now. We live each moment in awareness of the blessings of immortality. The Great Work is the spirit of the poet pouring forth, manifesting into reality another Truth worthy of consideration. As the original philosopher, the primal magician, Hermes, stated in my dream world:

The words on paper are one thing, but living the life is another. The words make you feel, make you know what is missing. But it is the life, the living out of the words, that manifests them into reality.

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Whatever reality you claim, whatever existence you manifest into being—choose. Make an active choice to be an active participant in the living world. Open yourself to growth and change. Become familiar and comfortable with the indistinctiveness of boundaries. As Cody Meyocks notes:

The revolutionary as well as the magician sees their future as an undetermined blooming of destinies to be guided by the heart.
Synaesthesia is the language of the heart, a way of perceiving that which cannot be expressed in words. These experiences are powerful, and valid. Share and communicate them. These things matter. They are matter. Waking up from the nightmare is the scariest part.

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well, pyramid workers, what shall we do?
planting seeds of paradise weeds, herbs, sustenance relationships, community wealthy in time and company abundant in just enough remembering ourselves as indigenous belonging to this place part of all that is sacred alive, sentient spitting out the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and returning to the tree of life to sustain us this is today where it all begins.

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diy health for all
Cachexia is a term which means being in a general bad state of health, seemingly referring to the American medical system and the health of Americans in general. Rather than taking a reactive approach to health care (such as taking pills to mask symptoms), do-it-yourself (diy) health involves taking a proactive approach— claiming and maintaining health as a normal condition of daily living. When you do not have health care, a focus on health is vital. Consciously treating our bodies with care is the basis of health. There are several key foundations on which to build a healthy body: getting enough sleep and rest, keeping our stress levels low, eating nutritious foods, moderating caffeine and other drug use, being active, exposing ourselves to the sun, maintaining a naturally positive attitude, and immersing ourselves in community. Let’s look at each of these pillars of health in turn. Before the introduction of electric lighting, people slept an average of nine hours per night. I assume that average would be somewhat less in the summer and somewhat more in the winter. Americans today sleep an average of less than seven hours per night. The “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” philosophy is pervasive in our fastpaced, caffeine-fueled culture, but it is detrimental to long-term healthiness. Our bodies make repairs while we sleep, and dreaming is essential to memory and cognitive abilities. Keeping our bodies in a high state of stress has long-term repercussions on our health. For many, commuting, working a fast-paced job, and coordinating workschool-activity schedules add up to a continually stress-filled daily lifestyle. We can forget that our lives, however stressful, are not our LIVES—the state of life that fills our bodies. Many people do not take time to remove stress from their bodies each day, but instead reside in a body that is always tense and hurt, and reactive. There are many ways to reduce stress in a physical way, such as doing yoga or tai chi, or meditating and relaxing. Writing or hanging out with friends can reduce stress in a mental way. Communing with nature and becoming an observer can reduce stress spiritually. Food is medicine. In our high fructose, preservative-filled, and overpackaged manners of consuming food, we forget that food is alive and gives us life. The more fresh, local, non-poisoned (i.e., organic) food that we eat, the healthier our bodies tend to be. However, be aware that fresh produce does not contain nearly the amount of nutrients it did 60 years ago, because American farming practices have depleted soils so that only petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides are what produces vegetables, and trace minerals are not part of that chemical cocktail. Growing our own fresh produce, or purchasing it from small healthy farms is a way to ensure actual and adequate nutrition. Foraging a variety of wild foods also provides a supply of vitamins and trace minerals. Making food from scratch with basic ingredients assures there will be no preservatives, color additives, or mystery chemical ingredients. 74

Most meat raised in America nowhere nohow resembles medicine. Animals are raised in inhumane conditions on mega-industrial animal farms. They are fed and injected with all kinds of hormones and antibiotics, fed waste products and other disgusting things, and after slaughter, the meat is dipped in ammonia or other germ killers, irradiated, and often injected with dyes. Then we have the honor of purchasing it and frying it up! Eating a substance that was raised on fresh air and sunshine and healthy food is a much different experience than eating a substance raised on concrete and confinement and crap. Eating a tortured-from-birth animal transfers all that negatively stressed energy to our bodies. If you eat meat like I do, you may be surprised at the quality of taste and texture of humanely raised and fed animals, fresh from the farm. That meat is medicine. Its life becomes ours. Fermented foods are especially good for us to eat. Lacto-fermented sauerkraut, pickles, green beans—lots of vegetables can be fermented. The process of fermentation provides a natural and healthy dose of good gut bacteria. Our bodies have evolved with a symbiotic relationship with bacteria, and the best way to ensure we are not overcome with unhealthy bacteria is to stock up on the beneficial ones. Traditionally, people in cultures that eat fermented foods every day or with every meal tend to have long and healthy life spans. No matter what kind of diet we eat, eating as fresh, local, and basic is the way to go. Eating a variety of seasonal foods puts our bodies in a good place nutritionally and our minds and spirits in a place of awareness. Think of our food as our medicine; we’re sustaining ourselves with healthy medicine each time we eat. We can infuse our bodies with that understanding each time we eat, by telling ourselves: “Hey, body...self. I love you, and I’m nourishing you with a substance that is alive and well, as much a part of this living world as I am.” Be thankful for the opportunity to do so. I’m not advocating strictness, as I’m not interesting in spreading puritanism, no matter what the subject matter. However, if we continually find ourselves being unable to affirm that our food is medicine, we must be aware that we are, in reality, poisoning our bodies on a several-times-a-day basis. Caffeine is a serious part of American culture these days. Legal stimulants are all the rage in factories, offices, highways, and college campuses. The average American consumes between 200 and 300 mg of caffeine a day, the equivalent of several cups of coffee. As a former factory worker and college student, I can attest that many Americans consume far more than that. Caffeine has a detrimental effect on the nervous system and can disrupt sleep. It is a factor in contributing to conditions like fibroids, and can also affect insulin production and use. Cigarettes are another legal stimulant that has well-known and documented adverse long-term effects on health. As with any drug use (legal or not), moderation is key. Ritualizing caffeine or cigarette use (or anything else) can enable these psychoactive drugs to be a part of our lives but without the long-term adverse effects. Doctors typically advise their patients to exercise regularly, generally 20-30 minutes of vigorous exercise, 3-4 times each week. Finding time to get to a gym 75

can be a challenge, and since I am gym adverse anyway, I try to find ways to incorporate being active in my daily life. Biking or walking where we need to go, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, purging our environment of “labor saving” devices, actively playing with kids—options are unlimited when we reclaim physical activity as part of our lives. Do what feels good for your mind and body. Partnering up with someone can be more motivating, and focusing on variety helps with burn out. Although the medical establishment advises us to slather ourselves in chemicals while outdoors to keep us “safe”, I do not adhere to this advice. To get enough vitamin D for our bodies, we need to expose ourselves to sunlight on our faces, hands, and arms for 5-30 minutes, twice a week. This is, of course, dependent on our skin types and latitude (sun availability). Vitamin D is necessary for bone and skin health, and assists in regulating our immune systems. Vitamin D also has a tremendous effect on our attitudes and general well being, as evidenced by the sales of light boxes and the soaring rates of winter sadness (also known as SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder). Our personal attitudes are vital for maintaining good health. There is no reason to walk around channeling Pollyanna, but to have a naturally positive outlook on life contributes a lot to good health. Maintaining an attitude wherein we view ourselves as healthy people radiating vital life energy simply makes us healthier people. Science has studied this phenomenon and determined it to be “real”, although science cannot explain why this is. Community also plays a vital role in maintaining a good general state of health. Psychologically, spending time with and talking to people we care about and who care about us can relieve a lot of stress and can naturally result in a positive outlook on life. Laughing is a great way to heal your body, mind, and spirit, and what better way to induce laughter than hanging out with goofy friends? People who share the bonds of community spend time helping out and sharing of themselves and their resources. This provides an immense measure of security that most Americans simply do not and cannot possess, regardless of socioeconomic condition. You may by now have noticed that the foundations of healthy living I have covered have much in common with the way our paleolithic ancestors lived. Indeed, many if not most of the adverse health conditions in western lifestyles are diseases of affluence, or the long-term effects of the toxins excreted by said lifestyles. Living paleolithic style is not necessarily about going back to a certain lifestyle, but, being humans, we need to find what works for us and our bodies. We’ve evolved our big brains and vivid imaginations by being active, eating living foods, and being surrounded by people we care about and who care about us. It just makes sense.

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dandelions: miracles in your front yard
The dandelion is a much maligned meadow plant, a native of Europe. Americans fiercely and defiantly dig out and poison this miracle plant, for no obvious reason other than they think they should. I started thinking for myself, and I have found out quite a bit about the blessings of dandelions. All parts of the dandelion are useful, for many things. The blossom of the dandelion is beautiful to behold. I can’t think of a plant that reminds me more of the beauty of the sun in early spring. The heads can be collected and made into wine. Dandelion wine is a great thing to make with friends, as debudding the heads is a time consuming activity that is enjoyable in a crowd of good conversation. Dandelion buds and flowers can also be breaded and deep fried for a southern culinary delight (anything tastes good breaded and deep fried!). My daughter would also attest to the usefulness of dandelion heads after they flower in their abilities to manifest wishes. Just remember, don’t tell what you wish, and do believe it will happen as hard as you can. Dandelion leaves are one of the most nutritious of all greens. According to a USDA health bulletin: “Dandelions are nature’s richest green vegetable source of beta-carotene, from which Vitamin A is created, and the third richest source of Vitamin A of all foods, after cod-liver oil and beef liver! They also are particularly rich in fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and the B vitamins, thiamine and riboflavin, and are a good source of protein.” Grown in nutritious soil, dandelions may also be rich in micronutrients “such as copper, cobalt, zinc, boron, and molybdenum, as well as Vitamin D.” Like all leafy greens, dandelions also contain a lot of calcium, protein, Vitamin C, and fiber. In early spring, before flowering, dandelion leaves are quite tasty and tender. After flowering and prolonged heat from the sun, the leaves tend to get tough and more bitter. However, dandelion leaves can still be eaten in cooked foods, which helps reduce any anxiety regarding the texture and taste. Personally, I like the wild taste of dandelions, and the bitterness perks up my liver like nothing else. Dandelion roots can be roasted and used for a coffee-like drink. Dandelions are incredibly healthy for our bodies. Does this health come from the abundance of vitamins and minerals? Or is it just that dandelions are an awesome natural medicine with no known side effects? Dandelions are particularly useful for supporting the liver. The function of the liver is to detoxify our bodies, and as civilized people, we are in desperate need of that. Not only does the liver process and discard actual toxic chemicals, it also processes the hormones produced by our bodies in response to our emotions. Dandelions function as a diuretic, ridding our bodies of toxins through our urine. Dandelions also contain inulin, and have an effect on blood sugar levels, as well as helping to lower blood pressure. Of course, I am not a doctor, and I am not promising dandelions will cure what ails you. But if you’re looking to function in and maintain a state of health, dandelions are worth checking into. 77

dandelion tincture
1. Gather big beautiful healthy looking dandelions, in full bloom. 2. Wash, then chop into ½- to 1-inch pieces, and pack tightly into jars. 3. When the jar is full, pour in alcohol. I used alcohol that was around 75%. You can use something like Everclear, and dilute it with water. 4. Snap a lid on, and your part of making the dandelion tincture is finished! Each day, take a minute to push the dandelion parts back under the alcohol. In six to twelve weeks, strain out the dandelion pieces and put the finished tincture into jars. Take daily for good health!

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a healing gift of love
I took Reiki I training in early December and was attuned at that time. I had been blessed with a couple of reiki healing sessions over the summer, helping me to cope with the massive emotional response an impending separation from my spouse. I was amazed at the clarity of thought and the feeling of released burdens after each session. My interest in being trained and attuned was to give myself the tools I needed so I could continue doing reiki treatments on myself. In early January, a good friend was visiting from out of state. Micah (not his real name) was bipolar, and not doing well. He had been in the worst mania of his life since mid-October. He hadn’t slept well at all in that time, had made poor choices with their inevitable consequences, and was frightened. He was scared of continuing his mania, fearing he would end up in jail, or dead. He was afraid of the mania ending because of the corresponding depression it would no doubt bring him. Micah had been suicidal before with depressions, and since he had never experienced mania this fierce before, he didn’t think he would live through the depression following it. He was stuck, in a rough place, and he didn’t know how to get out. We talked this over as friends, and I felt helpless. It is akin to watching someone you love dearly slowly slide off a cliff and being unable to do anything but spout encouraging words. In a moment of clarity, and not knowing if it would be effective, I offered a reiki treatment to him, and Micah accepted. We approached this with the idea that it was my first ever reiki treatment on someone else, his first time ever receiving a treatment, and we would both be open to the experience of what happened. Micah laid on my couch on a bitter cold winter day, covered in quilts. The raging fire in the woodstove was our calming aural accompaniment. As a former atheist and rational skeptic, I am still getting used to the idea of praying, but pray I did, asking any and all spirit guides for their assistance. I asked that I be guided to help Micah in any way possible. When I laid my hands on Micah’s crown chakra to begin his treatment, the vision of eyes flooded my inner sight. When I felt the energy begin to flow, it came out not only through my hands, but also through my opened third eye, flowing straight into Micah’s chakras. I felt the energy more strongly flowing than I ever have before doing treatments on myself. My focus was intense. Having not given a treatment to anyone but myself, I have no set manner or ritual of procedure. I spoke when I was moved to speak, as did Micah. Generally we talked quietly and drank water after each hand position, comparing what we felt and saw. When I finished the third eye position on Micah, he cried, and said he had been terrified while I had my hands on him. After he recovered from that, I put my hands on his heart chakra, and gathered all my own heart energy (my intense love!) to add to what the universe was flowing through me. Micah’s heart was beating so rapidly that I couldn’t distinguish one beat from another. It seemed like a long time before the energy flow subsided, and I opened my eyes to move on. I 79

became aware that Micah’s heart was beating ever so slowly. In fact, he had fallen asleep, a near miracle for his manic self. The solar plexus position, seat of the emotions, was quite challenging. At one point, tears came to my eyes as well as Micah’s. I don’t know what exactly was going on, but it was super intense for both of us. I noticed how the energy would shift and change as it went through me. Micah would respond to this as well, sighing, shifting his body, or changing his breathing. We felt connected through the energy flowing through us both. It was at this time that I could feel the earth a short distance under my feet, singing out its vibration, radiating energy. It was a source of strength, and I appreciated it. The experience with the sacral chakra amused me. Micah and I do not have a sexual relationship, nor feelings toward each other in that way. My eyes were in sunlight at this position, and I was bathed in an awesome intense orange and red light (from the sun, obviously!). It was refreshing, considering the weeks of gray blech we had regularly experienced at that time. Then suddenly, I noticed the intensely red and orange light had turned to an amazing golden yellow, and Micah started gasping. I stopped, fearing something was amiss. Micah said he felt like he emotionally and spiritually had an orgasm, but with no corresponding physical symptoms. I don’t know if that’s “normal” but it was a release that he needed. I felt quite comforted myself in the golden glow in my mind’s eye. I moved down to do reiki on Micah’s feet, which took an incredibly long time, as he seemed as ungrounded as a person could possibly be. I felt the earth pulsating beneath my feet and I felt myself opening up to be a wider channel than my body could possibly physically be. I felt an intensity moving through me that I had never experienced at that time. At one point, I could see myself in my mind’s eye, taking a needle and sewing Micah’s feet back together with the massive earth beneath us. After a very long time, I felt the energy subside and removed my hands. I did the back positions on Micah, and I was guided to end by placing one hand on his head and one at the base of his spine. It just felt correct at the time. I admit, I missed positions and probably did some incorrectly, but my intention was present. Micah napped on the couch for a while afterward, and when he woke up, we drank yet more water (we were both incredibly thirsty!) and talked over our experience. For Micah, during the hand positions, he was often able to go somewhere else, usually somewhere warm and sunny, and experience the smell of flowers, the feeling of a light breeze over his skin and warmth on his face, hearing the gentle sound of waves crashing on the beach or sand blowing in the desert. It was a comfortable place for him. A former drug user, Micah said the feeling after a reiki session was more relaxing than taking Xanax, even better than OxyContin. The next day Micah called to say he had slept for twelve hours straight that night, the most since his mania began in October. He also said he had slipped into a mild depression—really, the best that could be hoped for considering the mania he had experienced. Reiki may not “cure” someone who suffers from bipolar, but it is healing medicine, to be sure. There’s nothing like receiving a gift of passionate love from the universe to realize you are indeed important and vital to life itself. 80

A few days later, we shared another reiki session, and it was a much calmer experience for both of us. It made an impression on me how much reiki is a shared experience. Giving and receiving reiki are flip sides of the same coin. It was as much a blessing for me to give the gift of my time to serve as a channel for healing reiki energy and to feel it myself, as it was for Micah to receive it. I am ever so thankful I have access to a tool that can be used to heal my community. I am ever so thankful to the universe for providing it, and to the good people who teach it and put it into our hands, so we may in turn share this gift with the rest of the world.

emotional gardening
So much pain in the everywhere, everywhere. Nothing to feel but more than too much. We numb. Weeding ourselves—painful, necessary. Raw, yielding, we let go. The sun shines. The rain falls. We allow, welcome. We grow.

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trappings of language and mysticism
The dormant seed is a kernel of life, pure, with immense potential. To grow and change, a seed must cease its dependence on the reality of being a seed. It bursts forth into the future unknown, into the air and light, into the depths and dark, to live in an entirely new reality it could never have imagined (if seeds have imaginations...). It manifests its potential as an active participant in creation. It is open to life and experience; it is fluid, yin. It lets life wash over it, through it, and responds according to its will, the law— the love and momentum that is the language of the universe. There is the trust, the magnetism, that holds the system together. The trust stretches from you to the universe, the All, that it will act according to its natural will (creation) and it will continue to provide for you. The trust stretches from the All to you, that you will act according to your natural will, and you will continue to provide for it. The reciprocity is the flow, the exchange, the synergy. We are ancient creatures, the DNA of our bodies attesting to our long history as living information. When we open ourselves up to experience, we receive information without judgment, we become information without judgment, we transmit information without judgment. There is a river of life moving into and out of my bodymind. It is my path, at least in this moment, to be aware, to be a witness, to be a mouthpiece. I am the benevolent horde at the city gates. It’s hard not to fall into “mystical trappings” talking about these things. The language to describe the obvious/hidden is not readily available. I have a feeling as we become active participants in creation, we will grasp it, and our understanding will be exponential. I think mystical experiences are quite common. They are, however, not widely discussed for fear of being labeled non-rational by the scientific community (who hold their own strange orthodox beliefs, to be quite honest) and those who hold the keys to the loony bin. What if the supernatural is merely a part of the natural that we’ve been conditioned not to see? What if having a mystical experience, an experience of communing with the divine, is normal?

Magick seems to be a ritual, a bridge to an awareness of being an active participant in reality. There exist infinite bridges (yoga, meditation, drugs, etc.). Making them appear—that is an opportunity to manifest your thoughts and desires into reality.
It seems the supernatural world isn’t beyond or separate from the rational world, but a part of it, just one we do not, as a “modern rational” culture allow ourselves to acknowledge or experience. But scientific trappings are as much as a dogmatic belief system as anything else. Reality tunnels are reality tunnels, no matter how rationally we label them. It seems that what we perceive with our hearts is as valid as what we perceive with our minds. Our minds are faulty; we know this. Our 82

perceptions are dependent on our reality tunnels, therefore, not “real” in any sense of the word. Any perceptions we have are merely a model, and no perception can be considered real, valid. The perceptions of the heart (I would include intuition and other woo woo stuff here), we are taught to ignore these perceptions, or at least downplay them. It’s not just emotions, but a lot more—a WHOLE lot more. I don’t see the divide between rational and nonrational, between earthy and cosmic. Once you declare the “other” as separate, you create a fortress for your beliefs, and you remain stuck there, imprisoned, defending them. Scientific/skeptical belief is as orthodox as the Catholic Church, as far as telling you what is acceptable reality. Considering the long LONG history of mysticism and its role in cultures throughout time (and if you believe Terrence McKenna, its role in human evolution), I can’t imagine that paranormal stuff ISN’T real. Of course, the old school definition of skeptic was not the current version of proving everything invalid, but was instead holding all truths as possibly true. Accept what is as the natural law. It is what it is. It is what is.

Focus on what you want to happen. Because whatever you’re focused on is what will happen.
Intuition is a sense we as a culture seem to have forgotten. Intuition, chaos magick, crazy vibrations—that seems to be how our world works; this seems to be an interpretation of chaos. But we’ve totally forgotten the language. And how do you learn a language once you become aware that it exists? Baby steps—become the blank slate. Use the words you know and try to expand your knowledge into the more complex overall system. Expand your realm of existence into the All Place. Expand your presence, your reach, the magnitude of your reciprocal trust. Figure out the micro of yourself and heal. Place yourself into the macro, become a part of All the one universe and heal. Vibrate the name of god. It’s the language of our universe. It is what we are made of...dust, water, sunlight, and air. We are made in its image. We are replicas on a fractal scale. A breakthrough is a nonlinear event.

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in the arms of my most beloved
I am awake in the temple. My mind is the Logos. My body, the offering. I am ready.

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get ready! the floodgates are open!
The words on paper are one thing, but living the life is another. The words make you feel, make you know what is missing. But it is the life, the living out of the words, that makes them manifest into reality. —Hermes
I get the feeling that my life is a mystery. I mean, I’m not a mysterious person in the least. But suddenly, I have signs and symbols under my nose in search of meaning—a new paradigm coming to life before my eyes, and I see that I play a part in it. The meaning is so deep, it seems to go backward and forward throughout time. I don’t mean to say that I am special in any way. I’m just paying attention. Or I might be crazy, but I don’t think so. That’s the point of the conscious breakdown. To transform breakdowns into breakthroughs is the function of a master. Civilization is breaking down. There is no need to oppose the spectacle. The veil of illusion has been rent. We are free to disregard it, as we’ve all seen the man behind the curtain. We know the Emperor has no new clothes but is merely full of shit to the point where he has fooled his own mind. We find ourselves with awareness. As the circle revolves, as the revolution circles, we find ourselves with insurmountable opportunities. The outstretched hand is there for us to take hold. We are able to see with new vision, and as humans, we have the ability to use our massive brains and crazy imaginations to create something that makes sense. We can create lives that flow, that are filled with meaning. We can see the consequences of our actions, and, no longer being implicated in a culture of destruction, we can walk away and live fully in a culture of creation. We give birth to ourselves, our culture, our lives, our traditions, our meanings. We live in the present moment, engaged, without barriers, open. The floodgates are open. This action allows something to happen often, or allows many people to do something that was not previously allowed. Ezra Pound said a slave is someone waiting for another man to free him. Wake up! The chains are held in place by our lack of imagination. There are no slaves in the landscape of consciousness. We shift the battle from the threat of force of pain to the vision of freedom of pleasure. The signs and symbols are there; we merely need to make sense of them. I realize this means I am giving myself tacit permission to take reality as I currently experience it and change it into something that makes sense. This is magick, the art of changing consciousness at will. This is magick of the highest order. The war on the imagination is the only one that counts. Our blessing and our curse is that we have the power, each of us, all of us, to change destiny, to stray from this rut. We are not this fucked up system of things, whatever you want to call it. We are living, breathing, feeling animals, and yet we are also cosmic beings, enlightened with a spark of cognizance of Something Else. 85

And now, for some poetical bullshit... Hermes has stolen the present reality, this fake fake. He swiped it while we were all distracted watching our various screens and buying stuff. Somehow, it all changed, and we can’t change it back. No doubt, it’s scary, different, challenging. But the most awesome thing is, now we have the power (power with, not power over) to assert our own reality into the mix. We create some white noise to add to the big picture, tap into our collective unconscious, and our brains assimilate the data in a new way. We’re tripped out, and we continue the attempt to make sense of it all. We manifest this meaning in our daily lives. We make it real. If we consciously break down ourselves, break down this system, we are left with pieces to build up something new. It is the same us, yet somehow healed and strong. It is the same living planet, yet somehow healed and strong. To transform breakdowns into breakthroughs is the whole function of a master.

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breakdown breakthrough 2010 tarot forecast, passionately infused with a kiss of pronoia
At the heart of the pronoiac way of life is an apparent conundrum: you can have anything you want if you’ll just ask it in an unselfish way. The trick to making this work is to locate where your deepest ambition coincides with the greatest gift you have to give. Figure out exactly how the universe, by providing you with abundance, can improve the lot of everyone whose life you touch. Seek the fulfillment of your fondest desires in such a way that you become a fount of blessings. —Rob Brezsny, Pronoia
I feel like a magician in the economy of the community—taking inner wealth, making it visible, and sharing it with others. There is so much! There is so much to be thankful for! There are so many blessings! No matter how terrifying our unknown future presents itself, we must not forget that the holy spirit (the plasmate, for all you PKD fans), has not abandoned us. It is inside us. Jesus, son of man that he was, said the kingdom of god is to be found not in heaven, but within us. We have it in ourselves to realize the garden of eden beneath our feet, to spit out the original sin. We thought we were getting a taste of the knowledge of good and evil, but that is for the gods alone. Have we learned our lesson yet? We can sneak into the garden, through the back door, where angels with fiery swords do not deter us. The symbols, signs, and stories—they’ve all been given to us. Making any sense of them is the hard part. We are in fact living through the apocalypse right now. It’s a slow crash. You wouldn’t even notice if you weren’t paying attention, as usually these happenings are invisible. The ice caps melting—well, now, that’s a bit more in our faces, eh? Even with the silly repetitive blather about global warming, our blind spot is becoming obvious. The media-glorified spectacle of our culture may be able to distract some, but ever increasing numbers of us are waking up out of the trance of the cave of treasures, becoming cognizant of the bars of the black iron prison, wondering where are the keys to our gilded cages. There’s good news and bad news: there are no keys, and it is up to us to forge our own. The apocalypse (from Greek, to uncover) is as much about rebirth as it is about collapse. It’s damn hard to convince the nightly news of that, though. They enjoy telling us about murders, bombings, punishments; fear sells way more crap than telling us about people in blighted areas tilling under our yards, sharing seeds and produce, and forging community in abundance. For certainly, the primary way we experience apocalypse is through the intimacy of our daily lives. Ideas like abundance, chaos, beauty, community, love, passion, care—these are real things that exist, as long as we believe in them and enact the stories behind them in the 88

background of our daily lives. These are the things that matter, and they don’t cost money. You do not have to enslave yourself to get them, nor shop at Wal-Mart. It’s exciting, isn’t it? We realize we have in ourselves the power to shape the humanity of the future. We realize we don’t need to trust someone else to take care of it for us. It doesn’t need to wait until the next president takes office, or even until tomorrow. As Thom Yorke says, “No more talk about the good old days. It’s time for something great.” It’s exciting to see the paradigm shift taking place before our eyes, in the fabric of our daily lives, and to look around at all the other robots, waking up out of their trances, realizing our minds, bodies, and souls are drawn into the process of figuring out the answers for ourselves. It’s not that we follow one answer or another, it’s that we think! During this time, we will instinctively be drawn towards that which encourages blossoming and abundance, and away from that which is of no help. Our ideas and inspirations come from our direct personal experiences. We are becoming what we are becoming. This dangerous and unknown future is being lit from within in our process of healing and renewal. We hear the call within ourselves that wakes us. We arise and begin a future of doing something different than age-old destructive civilization. As brief love affairs become distant memories, so too do the memories of full-time employment, health care benefits, and retirement packages. Into our lives waltz joys of deep human relationships, care for each other, and sharing wealth and scarcity, the joy and the sorrow. It is raw. It undeniably can hurt. But the joy of life shared in community is unmatched.

If you’re really listening, if you’re awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly. In fact, your heart is made to break; its purpose is to burst open again and again so that it can hold ever-more wonders. —Andrew Harvey
We have indeed passed through an arid stretch of our journey, but now, through the process of rebirth, we find ourselves in more fruitful surroundings. Times of desperation and inner tension, when recognized, can be some of the most fertile beginnings of our lives. We trust that the destruction of stagnant ideas and ways of life can only set us free, allowing us to assume the innocence of a child, and wander through the garden unhindered. If we allow ourselves to walk in the hands of the gods, we will.

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The moment you come to trust chaos, you see god clearly. Chaos is divine order, versus human order. Change is divine order, versus human order. When the chaos becomes safety to you, then you know you’re seeing god clearly. —Caroline Myss
Retreating from fear or pain denies a central part of ourselves. Abundance comes from giving without question. We trust in our perception that the more deeply we are engaged in feeling the spectrum of human emotion, the more comprehensive our insights will be. We can trust in our intuitive nature, our inner voice, and our ability to heal ourselves. We trust in our responsibility to ourselves, the responsibility we have to our community, and the responsibility of our community to us. Introspection allows us to find our way to the fertile oases within, the source of which becomes a fount of our strength, courage, and creativity. The more we accept ourselves and share with others, the clearer our individual and collective vision will be. To transform, we relax and give ourselves up to the dance. To walk in the hands of the gods, we give up our worries and embrace the entirety of human existence, to remember the garden beneath our feet. Anamnesis, the loss of forgetting, is our recollected blessing. Contained within our daily lives is everything we need to remake, rebirth, recreate, realize—REALize—our future as humanity. It’s a challenge, no doubt, but surely one that our giant brains, vivid imaginations, and unending creativity are up for. It’s the greatest challenge of our lives, of the life of humanity as far as we know: turning on a dime, throwing our useless baggage into the gears of the system of destruction and death, and walking away into creation–giving birth to ourselves. The origins of any kind of wealth lie in human consciousness. When we bring these hidden treasures into the world, they manifest in our daily lives. The blessings overflow into our physical, spiritual, and emotional modes of being. We share the blessings, making them ever so valuable and abundant. Giving ourselves up to live this life we all know is possible takes courage—a tremendous amount. We discover this courage deep within ourselves, deep into where we radiate a satisfied sense of self-sufficiency. We draw up our courage and feel it spilling forth as we look around and see the strength in our numbers. Our fears have nothing to do with reality.

Wake up and see what is really happening! Wake up! We are already free!
Shine the spotlight directly into our blind spot. We become the black swans, the outliers, the butterflies of chaos, the unexpected events that change reality as currently perceived. Let the power of your inspiration liberate us from the bonds of our conditioning. Let the apparently impossible manifest itself in marvelous ways in our daily lives. In the course of human existence, we trust in our own energy and move with it. We give birth to ourselves, as do stars, which reflect every 90

fractalized cell in our bodies. We have boundless potential. We face insurmountable opportunities. We have attracted to ourselves everyone who is a part of our lives. We have created and participated in every situation in our lives. Indeed, we create our own reality. The wealth we hold in our hands is ours to do with as we choose. It is our freedom and our responsibility. What a blessing to find ourselves endlessly wealthy in the things that matter. [poem] I mirror the universe— a constant state of flux to maintain some sort of chaotic balanced order so complex it cannot be perceived; and then, I explode, collapse— grow and expand— turn inward and get to know myself: an endless spiral of growth and decay being reborn again and again. [end] There is infinite abundance born from the dust of a decaying star, the love and strength and beauty flowing through us remind us of this. Everything unfolds at the proper time when we relax and trust in life. There is no fear or danger when we let go. Having given birth to our own souls, it becomes ever easier to support others doing so. We crawl out of our collective exoskeleton that no longer fits, and we follow our hearts as they push forth in search of beauty. The untrodden path beckons us to behold a new life waiting to be lived.

Learning is finding out what you already know. Action is showing you know. Teaching is letting others know that they know it as well as you.

Many thanks to Robert Brezsny for his book Pronoia and to Gerd Ziegler for his book Tarot, Mirror of the Soul. These two books have had a tremendous impact in my continuous breakdown breakthrough of the last six months. Also many thanks go to my community, for reminding me of my strength and courage when I forget. 91

a rational magick trick
Hermes gathered his crew about him. It was a small crew, really, just a couple of left-hand minor gods, banded together with the kind of trust that is generally garnered among thieves, magicians, and other accomplished liars. “The result of this effort? Ten thousand witches burned at the stake in *** alone. Every time we get the gnosis gathered to the point of effectiveness, the Deranged Mind detects it and knocks it out. How are we ever going to overcome this?” asked M. Hermes closed his eyes and thought. This was indeed a challenge. Several times there had been enough authentic humans alive on earth to transmit the healing energy to the Deranged Mind, but it took time to coordinate the effort. And M was right; each time they had raised the energy to critical mass, the systems of control put into place by the Deranged Mind put the kibosh on the whole deal: torture, burnings, rape, death. How many times could Hermes trigger the mass death of the plasmate? It was dejecting, to say the least. The last cleansing was so thorough, it would take hundreds of earth years just to gather enough authentic humans once again, not to mention the time it would take to train them, to coordinate, and to wait for the perfect opportunity. “I have an idea. We need a magick trick to top all magick tricks,” said Hermes. “The Deranged Mind is so powerful, I am having my doubts we will ever be able to overcome it,” said S. Hermes grinned, “You think so? It is powerful, but it is merely a creation. We can create something more powerful, easily.” Hermes was grinning, but he also remembered the thousands of years of trying, and failing, to overcome civilization. Hermes announced: “I call this trick ‘rational magick’”. Through the next few centuries, the idea of ‘the rational mind’ grew to the point of becoming the dominant paradigm of life on Earth, at least the dominant paradigm of the active parts of the Deranged Mind—the parts that mattered, the parts that acted as the middle man in the culture of death. Hermes cast his glance to divide science and mysticism, which until that time had been on the same branch of the tree of direct experience. It was difficult at first, with many scientists being burned at the stake for (horrors!) disagreeing with the Church, current strongman of the Deranged Mind. But gradually, science was accepted as the only reliable method of perception. If it can’t be ‘proven’ objectively, it does not exist. Hermes’ plan had worked. The crew regrouped. The obscurement of magick was tricky. On one hand, magick was felt to be a childish notion, certainly not ‘real’ in any sense of the word. It was ‘safe’ to practice magick, as long as one could stay out of the loony bin—that was the challenge of the day. But, because magick wasn’t considered ‘real’ anymore, any authentic human was likely to go crazy when the veil of obscurement was lifted. It was a hazy place, this boundary between what is real, what is not, and what is possible. It is one of Hermes’ favorite places to dwell. “I think your plan worked a little too well, Hermes. These people can’t feel or see anything! Magick is so thick they’re swimming in it, and yet, they don’t even notice. I mean, it took that oil leak in the ocean for the masses to begin to acknowledge 92

they’re devouring the life beneath their feet!” remarked S. Hermes laughed. Yeah, that oil leak was something. It sucks when you fly so close to the sun that your feathers become unglued. Nothing much left to do at that point but...splat. Hopefully, the plan would work this time, as time was running out. The crew decided on a brief test run, both to alert the transceivers of the fact that The Time Had Come and to gauge their reaction to being activated, and also to see if they could really get away with it this time. The week leading up to Activation was a challenging one. The crew focused the healing energy on the transceivers, and blew a few of them out simply with the lead-up energy. If the energy wasn’t grounded, it devoured. Such as it is with Shiva’s eye: destruction and creation in the same sweep. * * * The spiral appeared in the night sky, and Myra saw the first report of it on Facebook. Another one! Myra had never been much into UFOs, thinking it was all silliness. But her ability to feel beyond words had grown to the point her perceptions overcame her lingering rational tendencies. She had to admit that magick had kicked her ass many times, to the point where she could no longer deny its reality. These days Myra did not believe or disbelieve in much. She simply remained open to experience, and attempted to make sense of this language of perception— synaesthesia—as best she could. When she saw the spiral, she didn’t immediately think of the possibilities of a UFO. It struck her core as something very important, a sign for all to see, a songline of memory of an ancient path in the dreaming. Myra had spent the weekend thinking and writing, as was customary when she found herself alone. She had been feeling so much that past week, spending a lot of time meditating and doing reiki on herself. Myra had been constantly grounding energy—had been compelled to—as it was almost bursting through her. Her head felt buzzy, her body alive. She had eaten copious amounts of food; apparently she was in need of energy, though it was coursing electrically through her. Myra had recently been perceiving life through the lens of her mind-body, and what a trip that was! No longer were the mind and body two separate things, but she was she, alchemically united once again, body and mind, through a mere adjustment of language and perception. Myra imagined talking to her DNA, asking it to reveal itself as the oracle she knew it to be. She had been what she called “blending” into the universe as a whole—yet another alchemical surprise union. This feeling of becoming one with All was not a continuous experience, but in brief moments she became birds, wind, sky, and mountains, part of the flow of life, enacting her Will, not striving through life. It had been quite a week, to say the least. After displaying the ciel circle, the sPIral in the sky over the southern hemisphere, Hermes and crew activated the transceivers. They poured huge amounts of 93

healing energy through them, and hoped for the best. If you were not a transceiver, you may wonder what this was like. It was akin to seeing the aweful face of God: scary, blissful, overwhelming, terrifying. The transceivers who had not blown out in the lead-up were pushed to maximum. It was a scary time. To be aware that magick exists and to be comfortable with this reality is not the same as needing to pump massive amounts of healing energy through one’s body and managing through sheer luck to focus it in the right place. The transceivers had no idea what they were doing. The long human traditions of magick being passed through the generations had been interrupted with the trick of obscurement, but it was a necessary risk. It was a tense time for Hermes and his crew. This was the last chance. In removing magick from the reality of the masses (as well as removing the concept of magick even from the memory the Deranged Mind), humans for the most part lost all ability to connect their life with that of the planet on which they lived. The Deranged Mind kicked into high gear, under the perception that it had vanquished its enemy—that which was trying to heal it. The culture of death grew exponentially. The planet was toxic and dying more by the day. The humans were toxic as well, but they were disconnected to the point they did not notice or feel enough to care. The magick trick of obscurement was the radiation given the sick host in hopes of killing the out-of-control cancer cells before it killed the living body. The transceivers were amazing, dealing with this way-out-of-ordinary experience with grace, although a good many of them were highly freaked out. Myra Eddy, in particular, was consulting the tarot, trying to figure out what was happening. She was becoming paranoid, which wasn’t like her, but she knew enough to listen to her feelings. She asked the tarot, “What is going on?” and it spit out the 10 of Swords, Ruin. Crap. Myra consulted her book, which told her that her negative thinking was going to affect her reality. Of course. Any kind of seed will grow in the unconscious, whether it is something desired or not. Myra knew that whatever she focused on is what would happen, because whatever she focused on was always what happened. She focused on the bliss and healing she felt instead of the tense feelings of ....terror. “Am I in danger?” she asked the tarot. It gave her the Lust card, known in most decks as Strength. It was her own personal card, the one continually given her to bolster her courage at the beginning of the time of her (then unrealized) magickal initiation. Of course she was in danger, and of course she was protected. Sometimes the tarot is not reassuring. “What can I do?” she asked. The tarot spit out a card that she had never seen before, not a regular tarot card, but one with a symbol on it. She was stunned. “What the fuck?” she asked herself over and over as she paced around the room. “What the fuck?” She had no idea what the symbol was even called, and it was too unusual to have a name she would know. After her overwhelming sense of wtf began to subside, she researched online and, with luck, found it was a unicursal hexagram, used by Aleister Crowley, whose deck she was divining from. A unicursal hexagram is made of one unbroken line, and is a symbol of raw, unadulterated power. The unicursal hexagram holds many meanings: alchemical 94

union, tantric union, one’s True Will, a nexus of magickal power, and Myra’s personal favorite, the butterfly flaps its wings. If ever Myra had doubts, this time was not one of them. She asked what she could do, and she received her answer: be the butterfly, use your power, become one with All. Myra settled herself down on her couch and thought about all this. She wondered, for the millionth time if she was crazy, and answered herself for the millionth time that of course she wasn’t. Myra could feel magick surrounding her; it was the flow that enabled her life to move forward. Myra was not educated much in the ways of sorcery, nor did she honestly have any idea how to enact magick. Myra moved with magick through the flow of life, amplified it, and it protected her, always. Magick became the fount of strength and courage and beauty within her. Myra closed her eyes and relaxed. She went inside her body with her mind’s eye, deep within the cells to her DNA. She asked the oracle for assistance. She was led upon a path to a crystal, and she passed through it. Myra traveled to the edges of the universe and found vast stores of love, truth, beauty, and hope—healing energy all. She gathered them to her, and traveled back to and through the crystal, back through her body, and emanated the healing out into the world around her. Slowly, the energy filled the room, burst out, and filled her yard. It filled her neighborhood, her city, and her river valley. Myra became one with All That Is. She filled herself with healing, filled all she could touch with healing. She had no idea what was happening, or why. But she knew what to do. * * * Hermes and crew smiled and relaxed at last. They had passed the twenty-four hour mark, with no mass killings—a first. The Deranged Mind had noticed...something, but it was unable to find the words to figure it out. What cannot be conceived cannot be perceived. (It was rather focused on the oil leak, anyway, anticipating an anoxic ocean in a mere few years.) The transceivers, the ones that didn’t burn out, were exhilarated, although still rather confused. It would take some time, but they would figure out what was going on. And the next time, the time when all time would be ripe, the time when humanity stepped up to answer The Question, All would break loose, healing the Deranged Mind once and for all. Hermes sighed with relief. At last!

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roaming terrachronos incognito
What does it mean to be a podunk housewife as well as a most powerful being? To hold confusion and clarity in the palms of my hands? To root deeply and wonder among stars? It is here I find myself, this timespace. Terrachronos incognito has become my hunting grounds. I gain sight, strength, understanding. My perceptions expand to hold All, more with each breath, each life, each death. * * * I am psychopomp, ushering in death, ushering in life. I escort our souls from the prison to the garden. Oh steadfast traveler! When find yourself at the crossroads, add another stone to the cairn of my honor. This waystop comforts your weariness. * * * I am a light in the darkness. I am a breeze in the stillness. My wet rain devours your parched throat. I am the first and the last, the culmination of the nothing and the absence in the All. How can I be what I am not? I am.

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