Thursday, July 30, 2015

INSANE IS THE NEW NORMAL: POST EIGHTEEN

Two of Wands



     At the age of fifty-five, I discovered that I’m left-handed. I had done just about everything with my right hand for over fifty years and for all that time I never suspected that I would manifest this physical tendency of the right-brained person. In a world dominated by right-handers, I eat and deal cards and open doors and turn on lights now with my left hand. My right hand and arm are stronger and more dexterous after years of conditioning, but even though my left hand is a bit clumsy at some of the finer things, like writing, it can maneuver on the fretboard of a guitar in a way that my right hand will never do. I’ve always suspected that I’m a right-brainer because I’m one of “those” artistic types, but I only finally accepted that I was truly a lefty about a year ago after I learned that I have celiac disease. 
     Some of you know that I have had to eliminate gluten  and stimulants, such as caffeine and alcohol (which affects the body at first as a stimulant), from my diet because of irregular heartbeats and debilitating stomach issues. Because I also have allergies to eggs, milk and corn, and I am sensitive to many chemicals, my diet now consists mainly of brown rice, chicken, fish, yams, potatoes, peanut butter, and fresh greens. I have never felt better in my life.
     Suddenly an aspect of my true nature has surfaced, but why did it happen? I attribute my unexpected left-handedness to self-purification. When I discovered that I was seriously ill, I changed my diet and also went through a period of intense mental and emotional purification. In other words, I regularly eliminated negative energies from my mind through ritual and meditation. (See previous posts.) I have discovered that you cannot separate the body from the emotions or the mind or the spirit. If one aspect is diseased, all aspects are adversely affected.
     My mother recently confessed that she suspected when I was very young that I was left-handed, and consequently she would always hand objects to my right hand. It was a right-handed world back then (and still is), and she thought it would be easier for me in the long run if I fit in. 
     The right brain, seat of creativity and psychic abilities, controls the left side of the body. According to Craig Weiler, “A dominant right brain naturally produces different thought patterns; specifically, those who are possessed of this feature tend towards more holistic, creative thinking than is ordinary.  Right brain dominance is a matter of degrees and it follows that those who are outliers in this area will have substantially different modes of thinking than is ordinary.  In other words, there are physiological reasons for psychic people to experience strong feelings of being different.  (Because this is physically true.)" 
     Without knowing it, I have always been a right-brainer in a left-brained world, which explains my “different thought patterns,” as well as my rebelliousness and my difficulties fitting in. It may also explain why I have some of my problems with allergies as well as my ability to heal myself quickly through the power of intention. According to Weiler, “Psychic people are referred to...as anomalously sensitive people (ASP’s) because the sensitivities go far beyond psychic ability....As a group, psychic people are more vulnerable to allergies and autoimmune diseases and those who are left handed are more prone to accidents than the general population.  However, ASP’s also possess the best neurology for self healing and have a better ability to reduce key stressors and their negative effects through intention.”  


Path 26
     Unfortunately, this tendency to think and act differently has led to the stigmatization of left-handers. For thousands of years, there has been a superstition that the left hand is the hand of the devil. According to anythinglefthanded, the Devil is normally portrayed as being left-handed. In the seventeenth century it was thought that the Devil baptized his followers with his left-hand and there are many references in superstitions to the “left-hand side” being associated with evil. It is interesting to note that there is a belief that you can only see ghosts if you look over your left shoulder. Moreover, it was believed that evil spirits lurk over the left shoulder and that you should throw salt over that shoulder to ward them off....In Roman times, salt was a very valuable commodity, giving rise to the word “salary” and was considered a form of money at the time. Spilling salt was considered very bad luck, which could only be avoided in the future by throwing some of the spilled salt over the left shoulder to placate the devil. 
     While dealing with celiac disease, I became a walking, talking, left-handed, gluten-free case of cognitive dissonance, morose about the unfairness of it all. I had been conditioned to believe that I’m a right-hander, only to discover that I’m left-handed, and I’ve also been told to eat foods that are “good for me”  for as long as I can remember--only to discover that they are killing me. Innumerable packages weighing down grocery store shelves contain ingredients that seriously threaten my well-being. I have never met a doctor yet who believes that common foods items, supposedly good for everyone, can cause serious harm to millions of people like me, which has only made me doubt everything even more. I began to believe that left-brainers would never understand us or even believe that we are telling the truth about our physical problems.


Two of Swords

     Coincidentally, around the same time that I became left-handed, I also started to become free of limiting beliefs instilled in me by my parents and society. After my lefty tendencies surfaced and my health dramatically improved on all levels, veils dropped from my eyes. After so much self-purification, I felt free of left-brained social conditioning. I realized that I am happy being right-brained. I do not need to compete with anyone because as a right-brainer I know that I am essentially a magnificent spiritual being, capable of inner harmony, love, and abundance in almost any circumstance.  I do not need to live in fear in an interminable and cynical left-brained battle for survival, status, power, and money. Somehow, so far, in all circumstances, I have survived attacks by left-brainers on my right-brained person, whether physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual, and I know that I can stand alone as a human being, if necessary, because I am connected to field upon field of divine energy throughout the world and the cosmos. I am resourceful. I am creative.
     Due to my cognitive dissonance and self-purification, I have not only freed myself from the “mind-forged manacles” of social conditioning--I have realized a few surprising truths. I have conformed from the beginning to please the people who have held my fate in their hands. I have conformed again and again, sometimes without knowing it, even though it was against my true nature and against my best interests. I have been conditioned to be a worker and a consumer, and I have never honored my true nature as a creative, magnificent spiritual being until now. I have always been afraid of it. I’ve felt guilty for being myself. 
     The left-brainers in charge maintain a fear-based system for their own benefit and do not necessarily tell the truth or act in anyone else’s best interest. What if we are so conditioned that we are allowing them to use up the last resources and poison us out of existence? Will only the most serious crisis snap us out of our conditioning? 


Two of Cups

     On the brighter side, I also realized that right-brainers and perhaps even some left-brainers can exalt consciousness enough to develop a deep reverence for all of creation. Despite all of my negative experiences with left-brained people, I do not believe that left-brainers are essentially corrupt or that people cannot or will not change. I have changed in a radical way for the better as I have become a left-hander, on the emotional, mental, and spiritual levels, which means that others can change too, if they choose. Right-handers and left-handers can become ambidextrous, which is essentially what I am now, thanks to my mother.
     Even though I am essentially now a head-in-the-cloud right-brainer, I am not saying that we should stop maintaining basic rules of conduct. The smooth operation of society requires that people have boundaries, and fear plays an important role in establishing and maintaining rules for children and those (usually left-brained) adults who have not developed reverence for others. 
     With this knowledge about right-braininess, I wish to help humanity. Since I believe the artist, to have any relevance, needs to help establish balance in the world, I have created a new religion that moves beyond social conditioning--what others might consider a non religion, perhaps, or an ambidextrous, gluten-free spirituality.
     We don’t need an exclusive religion just for left-brainers anymore. We have all the symbols and archetypes we need to exalt consciousness; all the miracles we need exist in the world. We just need to comprehend the miracles and connect with the archetypes that exist. The divine energies of Earth and Heaven connect us all. For most now, unfortunately, only suffering connects us. 
     A simple process enables right-brainers and perhaps even a few left-brainers to free themselves of social conditioning and move beyond weariness and pain to greater abundance and harmony of spirit.

Tree of Life

     Throughout the centuries, each culture has revealed an awareness of the archetypal energies behind existence, which is reflected in religious symbolism and the diverse pantheons of Gods and Goddesses (no doubt fashioned by right-brainers). Gods and symbols represent unseen forces that exist both within the cosmos and the individual: As above, so below. 
     Every major religion has presented its own set of symbols representing the archetypal energy. On the surface, those symbols from culture to culture might appear wildly different to the left-brainer. However, they are actually similar in many ways because they reflect the basic subtle energies of the individual and the cosmos. All the major religions, however outdated, reveal the archetypal energies and spiritual principles in their own way, emphasizing different aspects of them.
     All the symbols and Gods throughout the ages fit on the Tree of Life because it represents the basic energies in humanity and the cosmos. The Universal Waite Tarot dovetails with the modern Tree of Life in every respect.
     With the Tree of Life as the map, the seeker can simply use a process that involves purification, immersion in nature, contemplation, meditation, and ritual, choosing the symbols and archetypes as tools of exaltation and enlightenment. The process does not require money, only time and dedication.
     
Two of Pentacles



A Process


  • Start with mental and physical purification. Sickness and negativity on all levels interferes with health and spiritual development. Harmonizing the psyche, besides establishing spiritual balance, leads to stronger connection with divine energies.



  • Choose something to contemplate. Using your imagination, become what you are contemplating, whether its a tree, an animal, an inanimate object, or another person. Feel divine energy within whatever you are contemplating and within yourself.



  • Meditate on the different pantheons of Gods and symbols, allowing the mind to follow an association chain of related symbols. All Gods are aspects of the one God revealed within the archetypal plane, just as all life in the physical world is energy within field upon field of One energy.



  • Perform rituals, with a focus on exaltation and understanding principle and developing your potential. Ritual focuses the mind and channels the ideal, archetypal energies into the psyche. Remember that the archetypal energies operate within the law of polarity; in other words, they each, except for the highest, contain a balanced and an unbalanced aspect. Strive for the balanced aspect but understand that missing the mark is common for everyone. The emphasis is on learning from mistakes--which often stem from a lack of balance--not on failure.


  • What the Gods truly are remains a mystery, but for the purposes of spiritual development, treat a God as a principle or potential that can be activated by you or a group of worshippers through invocation and meditation. Meditate and invoke, in other words, for the purposes of understanding principle or of realizing potential through the influx of the archetypal energy into the psyche. Avoid insisting that there is one savior or a specific God or pantheon of Gods to worship or invoke. Each person is free to make choices, so honor the choices of others.


  • Let the mind drop into the void during meditation. Sometimes if you have purified your mind enough, the higher self will speak to you through symbols or voices that reveal spiritual principle.



  • “Follow your bliss” to improve and exalt the mind. No one can force moments of exaltation, but those moments are extremely important for expanding consciousness to attain the vision of harmony: the understanding that all energies are connected.



  • Immerse yourself within nature to experience the divine energies of the Earth. Open your heart and mind to the miracle of a plant or insect or animal or stone or another person--in order to know the energies of Heaven.


     And if your a right-hander, try to use your left hand more often.




Wednesday, July 22, 2015

INSANE IS TH E NEW NORMAL: POST SEVENTEEN

Fishing Hole



     (This is fiction inspired by the previous nonfiction post. Although the events in the story, with one exception, have all happened to me, they did not all happen in one period of time.)

     As we scrambled down the steep hill to the river, I slipped once on wet moss and almost lost my footing on unstable stones but somehow retained my balance. I shadowed Dad and Tom, my older brother, until we reached a small stone promontory jutting into a deep pool. Finally Dad set down the tackle box and baited our hooks with writhing worms. I soon lost track of time, lounging on the smooth stone and gazing at my line where it disappeared into the dark water.
River above Fishing Hole
     Suddenly a gray spider with long legs and a large, bulbous abdomen crawled out of a crack in the rock next to the promontory and lumbered towards me. I leapt to my feet and reeled in my line, keeping an eye on the spider, which continued to approach as if totally unafraid or unaware of me. Then to my surprise other gray spiders, four, five, six of them, crawled out from the crack in the rock and marched directly towards me.
     At the same time, Tom, who had been fishing from a rock about ten feet away, dashed up river without any warning. Terrified, I jumped over the spiders, hoping they wouldn’t attack me. Surprised that I had escaped unscathed, I sprinted after my brother, soon discovering that most of the stones in the river bed were not fixed. My brother scurried across them without losing his balance, so I did my best to keep up, not wanting to be out done.
     Eventually, far from the hole where my father was fishing, I encountered a large rock in my path, which proved a great challenge to climb over, mainly because it was smooth in some places and sharp in others. I slipped several times, realizing as I got higher that if I fell and injured myself, there was a good chance that no one would find me. At that point, some latent power in me surfaced; before I knew it, I reached the top of the rock. I had a strange feeling that I had lost time, almost as if I had blacked out, when that other part of me took over. 
     As soon as I climbed down to the river on the other side, I looked around and could not see my brother anywhere. I turned and examined the rock I had just climbed over and realized that I would be risking my life to go back the same way. At that point in the river, the hill back up to the road seemed even more treacherous than the way down to the fishing hole.     
Flowers near River
     A wave of panic swept over me. I crouched down next to the rock and tried to figure out what to do next. Then the strangest thing happened.

     As I gazed at the river, listening to my breath and the rushing water, my fears melted away completely. A wave of peace washed over me. I recognized the same peace in the trees and the grass and the rocks, in the river and the sky. I wanted to sing, my soul in tune with the earth and its creatures, and I did sing, a song called “Rocky Mountain High,” for a long time. I didn’t know it then, but the core of me had surfaced from deep in my subconscious mind, and I felt timeless. I knew in that forest I would feel free of time whether I was twelve or fifty-five because of the peace of the Earth, a fervent exaltation opening up a connection with all things. I finally remembered that I needed to find a way back to my family. They would be devastated if I did not return. Since the hillside next to the river was an unknown to me, I examined the rock again carefully and determined the safest way possible to climb back over. 
     On the way back, I hiked along the top of a small rise next to the river into an area that seemed to have been cleared by someone, and immediately I felt an eerie sensation, as if there were a presence of some kind nearby, animal or human, I couldn’t tell. I thought at first that my brother was hiding nearby behind an outcrop of rock. Fearing an ambush, I plopped down on a smooth stone and waited to see if he would leap out at me, and my mind shifted to a state alert to any subtle signs of movement. I heard a lizard scuttling through dry leaves and saw a snake slithering through the grass about twenty feet away. I watched a blue bird flitting from the ground to the low branches of an oak. 


Pounding Stone under Oak Trees
    
     Under the oak rested a long, flat stone blanketed by moss, with tufts of grass sprouting from it. Curious as to why grass was growing out of the rock in so many places, I pulled up one of the tufts and found a smooth cup underneath. I pulled up a few other tufts and found other cups of varying depths. Perplexed, I surveyed the area and noticed five large oval indentations in a stretch of earth that was darker than the ground nearby.
     “What is this?” I asked myself.
     “Native Americans lived here,” an adult male voice replied. 
     “Native Americans? You mean Indians?” I wondered. No answer. “What is this cup in the stone?” I asked.
     “You will find out what it is,” the voice in my head answered.
     “When will I find out?” No answer.  

Woman in Vision

     Suddenly the image of a woman rose into my mind’s eye. She wore a green dress covered by flowers and stars and held a golden cup in one hand and what seemed like an emblem of rulership, a scepter perhaps, in the other. On her head she wore a crown suggesting the phases of the moon, her jet-black hair flowing all the way to the ground. A few animals, a bobcat, doves, and farther away, a stag, remained in her sphere, and each seemed less like companions than symbols of different aspects of her self. I blinked, and the woman disappeared, but she unexpectedly surfaced again in my consciousness a few moments later as if stubbornly reasserting her ubiety.

Mortar in Pounding Stone
     Startled, and afraid that I had been gone too long, I dashed wildly back to the hole, only to find that my Dad and brother had disappeared. How could they have abandoned me? I felt like I was falling into some black pool of suffering connecting me, to some degree, with the other people and creatures of the Earth. The black pool seemed bottomless, and immersing myself in it for even a moment, I began to understand the pain and loss of others even though I knew that I had not experienced anything close to what many had experienced.
Hole
     “Why is there so much suffering?” I whined, tears welling in my eyes. To my surprise, I received an answer, not verbal, but visual. Life forms that had once lived in the area quickly passed before my eyes, including dinosaurs and extinct animals and the first people, and I knew that they had all suffered to a greater or a lesser degree, but then I felt the deep peace of the Earth again, as if the Earth itself were communicating with me, showing me that all life is part of the peace at the deep core of existence, no matter what suffering has occurred throughout the ages.
     Still stinging from a sense of abandonment, I climbed the steep incline back to the car, stopping now and then to orient myself and catch my breath. When I reached the road, I discovered that the car was gone. I could see a silver car parked down the road a ways, but the blue Dodge had vanished, leaving me stranded in the wilderness, with only a thin gray thread of humanness connecting me to the life I once knew.
     “What happened? Why did they leave me?” I wondered. No answer. I stared down at the river, which I realized would just keep flowing no matter what happened to me or what I did with my life. Suddenly my face itched, and I suspected that I had brushed against some poison oak.  When I scratched my cheek, I felt hair on my jawbone. I looked at my hand and saw a ring on my finger. I suddenly remembered my wife and children, but the rest of my life had vanished. What did I do for a living? How much money did I make? Who were my friends? Did people respect me? None of that seemed to matter in the tranquillity enveloping the mountains.
Flowers in Oak Grove near River
     That car down the road....Was that my car? Had I fallen and hit my head on a rock? Was I in shock? I did have a slight headache, but I could not find any signs of blood anywhere. My father, I suddenly remembered, had died a couple of years after we had found the hole down below. My brother had moved to a different state. I began remembering times of loving and caring in my family, and moments of vision and exaltation and attainment, but so much of my life in the past forty years lacked the spark of divinity, the harmony and peace that earlier in the day seemed to hold everything in the world, in the cosmos, together. That sense should unite us, not just the sense of weariness and suffering that bound us all together, I thought. For a moment, I wanted to create a religion honoring the divinity of the energies of the Earth that link us with the unseen energies of Heaven.
River Downstream near the Foundation
     Then I remembered those who had consciously tried to destroy me for their own ends, one even who had tried to kill me, so many people scrambling around me, trying to get a leg up or to stay on top, cutting each other’s throats, literally or figuratively. I had just kept returning to the forest, no matter what, journeying just far enough into a state that corresponds with the subconscious core of my being, a visionary state whose symbols and voices transcend space and time. In the forest, all I had to do was let go of fear and let the peace wash over me.
     I got in the car, and a moment when I had slipped on the rock flashed through my mind. 
     “Did I go so deep into that forest that I forgot forty years of my life, or did I fall and hit my head when I was climbing the rock?”
     I shifted the car into gear. No answer.
 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

INSANE IS THE NEW NORMAL: POST SIXTEEN

Earth Triplicity: Capricorn





     I employ several techniques to maintain peace of mind, mainly because I was fortunate as a kid. My family would sometimes go camping, and when my parents were busy fishing, my brother would often dash into the woods, and I would do my best to follow him until he ditched me in the wilderness. I would cuss him out for a few minutes, but then I would begin to enjoy hanging out with the trees and rocks and water until the deep tranquility of the Earth Soul drenched me, filling me with a peace that I have rarely found in human society. So now I strive as often as I can to find a path back to the Soul of the World. 
Earth Triplicity: Virgo
     When I was a child, this peace and harmony prepared me for the understanding, much later on in life, that the cosmos, including human thoughts and feelings, is comprised of field upon field of energy, all interconnected. And as the core of my being continued to resonate with the Earth, I eventually understood that we experience some vibrations of energy with the soul, not with our physical senses.
     Many obstacles interfere with our ability to experience the Earth Soul and other subtle vibrations. As I grew up, I lived with the fear of failure: the failure to fit in and the failure to be myself. I knew that I would never succeed and gain financial independence unless I made the right grades, impressed the right people and always performed well in the right circumstances. I eventually realized that I could not fit in this society and be my quirky, artistic self, so I grew sick of the fear of failure, especially since I already had an illness that the people closest to me did not wish to acknowledge. Due to chronic illness, no matter how hard I worked during my best times, I could not succeed in living up to what turned out to be, given my constitution, the unreasonable expectations of others. The less I was able to fit in, the more tired I became of a fear-based life until finally I reached a point where I desired to live, to the greatest extent possible, free of negativity. Attaining a simple, harmonious life has since become my greatest challenge as my life grows ever stranger.
Earth Triplicity: Taurus
     In my early forties, paranormal events began occurring on a regular basis. I began having visions of spiritual symbols during meditation as my life blew up. I lost several jobs, and someone attempted at least twice to kill me. (See previous posts and other blogs.)  I realized as I was envisioning symbols of harmony that my psyche was out of balance and brimming with negativity, and I was therefore attracting chaos and negativity into my life. Fortunately, I was able to reestablish harmony is several ways: I found a few paths back to the peace of the Earth Soul, and my visions of symbols led me to a method of spiritual development known as the Qabalah.
     I burn myself up in my own mind every night, which is one of the main reasons I have survived the past decade and a half. At one stage of the banishing ritual, which I perform just before going to bed, I invoke Michael, the Archangel of the element of Fire, and in my mind a silver caduceus wand leaps into me, the central staff extending below my feet up to the crown chakra above my head. Then in my mind spiritual fire consumes me, and negativity burns away. 

Wands: Fire

     The caduceus wand is not the conventional wand associated with the element of Fire found in the Tarot. A symbol used by the medical profession to symbolize health, the caduceus wand on the spiritual level represents the pure life-force moving through the channels of the aura, the balanced Ida and Pingala energies entwined and flowing along the central Shushumna channel without obstruction. When I first performed the banishing ritual, I imagined the wooden staff that represents the element of Fire in the Tarot, but by the twentieth time I performed the ritual, the caduceus wand appeared in my mind’s eye, and that wand has “leaped” into my aura during the ritual ever since.
Caduceus Wand
     Four symbols in the banishing ritual represent the cosmic force of balance, known in Western civilization as the Christ force, on different levels: the sword, the cup, the wand, the pentagram, each standing for an element of the wise known as Air, Water, Fire, Earth, respectively, each element symbolically representing a type of subtle energy “behind” the material world. An Archangel is associated with each element, Raphael with the element of Air in the eastern quadrant, Michael (Mee-kai-el) with the element of Fire in the southern quadrant, Gabriel with the element of Water in the western quadrant, and Auriel in the northern quadrant. During the ritual, as I invoke the Archangels, the symbols of the sword, wand, cup, pentagram leap into me in turn. The effect of the sword, caduceus wand, chalice, and pentagram on the psyche is hauntingly powerful, like the influence of a dream that only wears off gradually, because the symbols of the elements are links to spiritual realities. Each symbol is a channel for the cosmic force of harmony into a different level of the psyche. 
Swords: Air
     The Christ is currently the central symbol of harmonizing love and spiritual exaltation in Western religion, but the cosmic force of balance and harmony goes by many names and has many faces. Besides Jesus, different Gods and Archangels, from Ra, Ma’at, Thoth, Osiris, Isis, Horus in Egypt, to Apollo and Dionysus and Athena in Greece, to Raphael, Michael, and Gabriel in the Middle East, to name a few, have represented aspects of this force.  
     What could be a more powerful symbol of the conscious mind establishing and maintaining harmony than the shining, double-edged sword, oriented straight up and down? What could be a more powerful symbol of health and balance within the psyche than the caduceus wand? The cup as an archetype, which in the esoteric tradition of the Qabalah is a deep bowl on top of a truncated pyramid, symbolizes spirit manifesting harmoniously in matter. And the pentagram, so often mistakenly interpreted as a symbol of the devil, represents the secret name of Christ, representing the the higher self manifesting in the personality and spirit manifesting harmoniously within matter. Used repeatedly for at least forty days, the length of time it takes to make or break a habit, and then continuously afterward to clear away negative energies and protect against malicious spirits, the banishing ritual channels the cosmic force of harmony and balance, what in Western society we call the Christ force, into the mind.
Cups: Water
     The figure of Jesus emphasizes love as the way to manifest the Christ force, the new commandment being, “Love one another.” I’ve discovered that it is difficult to love if the soul is plagued by negativity and disrupted by chaotic thinking. The banishing ritual is one simple method that aids in the process of mental and physical purification, using symbols that channel the cosmic force of harmony into the soul. This is “practical” spirituality that resolves internal conflicts before they erupt into external conflicts, which within this volatile society can escalate into violence and even war. At this time of planetary crisis, for me the ritual is a simple but powerful way of establishing harmony within my sphere of influence to the greatest extent possible.
Pentacles: Earth
     Due to my compulsions, spiritual, artistic, and otherwise, and my chronic illness, I have lived mainly outside the pale, and I am well aware that in this society, by speaking my truth, I lose credibility as an “serious” artist. My work is either an alternative view of sanity or insanity--but so, I’ve discovered, is most religion that stems from authentic spiritual experience.
     In retrospect, one experience a few years ago at Tamarack Creek reflects how my work stands in relationship to an audience. Claiming that this actually happened calls into question everything I have said, but I will go to my grave insisting that this occurred even if it makes the rest of my work seem to collapse in a clatter of postmodern nihilism and obfuscation.
Water Triplicity: Pisces
     One day a few years ago, my wife and I hiked along a creek past blue gentian, tiger lilies, lupine, columbine, paint brush and sneezeweed until we reached a beach within a small canyon, where we lounged against rocks near tranquil water. My wife began reading a passage out loud from a book in which the writer, if I recall correctly, claims that all time exists at once within the mind of God. A person in physical incarnation, however, must travel through linear time as though through a tunnel and must focus on a particular part of the tunnel wall. If a person were to go through the same tunnel twice while focusing on a different part of the wall, life could end up being different. Any two people who go through the same tunnel have a different experience, depending on their perspective. (That is at least what I remember hearing.)
Water Triplicity: Scorpio
     While my wife was reading out loud, I suddenly heard a male tenor belting out a song a capello on the other side of the creek. The singer was so loud that I had difficulty understanding my wife, so I was surprised when I could not see the singer nearby. I thought at first that he was an aspiring opera singer who had chosen a secluded natural area to practice his art, but he sang with a smooth delivery in a different language, without pausing or making any mistakes, each song with a different tempo and tone, each song a masterpiece. After seven or eight of these songs, I realized that I was hearing the work of a consummate artist who was sharing his astonishing voice with the natural world, the way a bird might sing for the sheer joy of it. I shared my amazement with my wife and told her that I wanted to search the area. She stopped reading and smiled. As I hiked down the creek, I looked everywhere but could not find any sign of the singer.
Water Triplicity: Cancer
     As I was hiking, I suddenly envisioned a logger from Europe practicing his art by the creek during his time off, but I had the uneasy feeling that such a situation could only have occurred many years ago. By the time I returned to the little beach by the creek, the performance was over. I was disappointed because I thought the singer had disappeared into the woods and I had lost my opportunity to meet the artist and share my admiration for his work. My wife and I packed up our belongings, climbed out of the canyon and trekked back to the car.
     My wife and I returned to the beach by the creek months later, and I mentioned the amazing performance we had experienced the previous time. My wife looked at me, perplexed. I reminded her that we had heard a song cycle or opera arias in another language while she was reading out loud to me. My wife claimed that she had never heard anyone singing by the creek. I couldn’t believe that she had forgotten, especially since the vocalist had belted out each song so ebulliently that I could hardly hear what she was reading. She became nonplussed and insisted that she had never heard anyone singing by this creek or any other creek, ever. She began looking at me like I was crazy, both of us becoming more and more frustrated at the other’s insistence on a different reality.
Air Triplicity: Aquarius
     I returned a few months later by myself and explored the other side of the creek. About a quarter of a mile down from the beach I found a heavy iron stove in an area that loggers had clear cut. A logging road led from that area up toward the main highway. I deduced, based on the design of the stove, that the camp had been abandoned many years before and that the loggers had decided to leave the stove behind because it was too heavy to transport.
     I cannot explain in any scientific way why I heard the singer and my wife did not. My wife is not deaf, and she is very sensitive to emotional and spiritual currents.  It’s possible that I was hearing a frequency from a subtle dimension that she could not hear, a frequency which to my consciousness was just as real as the sounds of bird songs or water. 
Air Triplicity: Libra
     My paranormal experiences over the past two decades suggest that we each have subtle senses related to different dimensions of consciousness that perceive what the physical senses cannot process. We are capable of experiencing more than just the physical world, and some of us--perhaps all of us at one point or another--tune in to these subtle dimensions, sometimes without even being aware of it. At the time, for instance, I had no reason to question whether or not my wife heard the singer. I expressed my amazement, but she probably thought that I was referring to the passage she was reading. 
     I was not on drugs. Someone slipped me a hallucinogen once, many years ago, so I know what it’s like to hallucinate, and I was definitely not experiencing anything that appeared the least bit surreal or even out of the ordinary, except for those songs in the middle of the wilderness. 
     My wife still adamantly insists, whenever I mention it, that she has never heard anyone singing by a creek, anywhere.
Air Triplicity: Gemini
     I know how long it takes to compose a decent piece of music--days, weeks, even years. My brain could not have spontaneously composed and performed eight or nine masterpieces in a language that I did not know--even if I were hallucinating. How could I possibly have gotten all the notes and tempo and tone for each song just right? I cannot imagine how I could have hallucinated a singer who continued at the same pace and volume without making a single mistake for almost an hour. Such masterpieces would have taken me years to compose. I know because I have created a song cycle, which took me over twenty years to complete. While writing music, I typically stop every few notes and check to see if I like what I’ve written. The singer was obviously a trained vocalist, which I am not. In fact, I have a very limited range; I am lucky if I hit more than a few notes in a row. I have never even imagined myself singing so brilliantly up and down the scales.


Fire Triplicity: Leo
     And I could not have possibly hallucinated a brilliant singer performing an entire song cycle while at the same time I tried to listen carefully to my wife reading out loud. I am simply not that good at multi-tasking. I was in a relaxed state, concentrating on the writer’s ideas, occasionally annoyed that the singer was so loud and that my wife and I were not alone in the forest. 
Fire Triplicity: Sagittarius
     Another possibility is that I was hearing a performance from some other time, in what is known as retrocognition or “timeslip.” In such cases sensitive people can view, hear, taste, touch, or smell aspects of events that have occurred in the past. In some cases, witnesses only hear the event, such as a battle many years after the actual event took place. In other cases, people have fully experienced the past, one of the most famous being the encounter in 1901 with Marie Antoinette by two scholars and early administrators of British university education for women,  Annie Moberly and Eleanor Jourdain, as they tried to find their way to Marie Antoinette's private ch√Ęteau, the Petit Trianon. Believing that they had become lost, they instead encountered Marie Antoinette herself. They published an account of their experience in 1911 as An Adventure, describing how they had become convinced, over the following weeks, that persons they saw and even spoke to on that occasion, given certain details of dress, accent, topography and architecture, must have been in the last days of the Queen at Trianon in 1789.
     Based on my experience, what exists outside the normal limits of our physical senses--and what we are capable of perceiving--is far more than science can explain. Events from different times and different dimensions reverberate through consciousness as eternity unfolds, and the boundaries of consciousness continue to elude us.
     I have heard the laughter of women near pounding stones, without anyone else being in the vicinity. When no one else was around, I have heard voices correctly predicting what would happen many years later. I have heard someone make a farting noise right behind me when no one else was in the house. I have been shaken so hard that I thought my cells were going to fly apart and then nudged hard several times--when no one else was in the room with me. Even though I was alone, I have been tapped hard on the shoulder and other times touched gently on my face. I have experienced visions of spiritual symbols without ever having seen them before, only to encounter them a short time later in the Tarot or in books or on the internet. I have experienced many intuitions that cannot be explained by science, several of which may have saved my life. 
Fire Triplicity: Aries
     Through it all I have relied on the banishing ritual to maintain balance and rid myself of negative energies that latch on to me. It is quite possible that I have had at least some of these paranormal experiences because I have gone through a process of self-purification and am therefore more open to subtle vibrations.
     Until just over a decade and a half ago, I was possibly even more skeptical than you. But an artist, at this stage of history when the fate of humanity is at stake, must speak his truth even if people consider him insane. The artist has no choice, if he wishes to be relevant, but to sacrifice whatever is necessary to help maintain balance in the world. So for you I have placed my art, my life’s work, on the sacrificial altar. 
     Because I have been reborn from the ashes.
     True healing takes place on all levels of the psyche, and archetypes help in the cleansing process and in understanding spiritual principle. During meditation, which can occur as an integral part of ritual, I have discovered that if you are in the right state of mind the higher self presents spiritual principle through an association chain of archetypes, much the same way that dreams often present a chain of psychologically meaningful symbols.


Ma'at

     One of the blessings (or curses) of spiritual development is a hyper-sensitivity to the feelings of others. Once recently as I stood in line at a bookstore lightheartedly chatting with my wife, I suddenly felt the most hateful rage directed at me from a man standing nearby. I felt pierced by it and wondered for awhile afterwards why anyone would direct such hatred toward complete strangers who were simply having a little fun. At the time I was having difficulty letting go of anger and resentment myself--chronic illness over the years as I mentioned has led several times to a failure to realize my potential, and I was well aware that I have on occasion subconsciously projected anger outward at other people. After pondering for several hours, I eventually understood why in the bookstore the stranger’s projection of rage cut me so deeply.  I was being reminded that thought forms charged with negative emotion can truly hurt others on a subconscious level. I have experienced similar psychic attacks before, so I redoubled my efforts to face my own demons. 
Tree of Life with Minor Arcana

     For several days in ritual, during the Supreme Invoking Ritual, I focused on eliminating the feelings of anger and resentment. During the ritual, I moved from the station representing the element of Air--the conscious mind, what some might call the intellect--to the station representing spiritual Fire. In the ritual, you invoke the energy of each element, Air, Fire, Water, Earth respectively, as a way to cleanse and energize your aura. As a normal part of my ritual, I imagine the symbol associated with the element leaping into my heart and then the energy of the ruling Archangel flowing toward me and swirling around me and into me. 
Anubis
     In the first two quadrants of the elements (Air and Fire), I felt the energy of each element cleansing my aura. As energized as that made me feel, it wasn’t enough. I needed more than the purification of the active elements. When I moved to the station representing the Water element, I felt a powerful wave of emotion, which started an association chain associated with the Tarot. I envisioned the card known as The Moon, associated with Pisces, a Water sign, and the Egyptian God Anubis. At that point, I experienced the sensation of going deep into my subconscious mind. Then I envisioned the card known as Death, associated with Scorpio, also a Water sign, which signifies dramatic transformation. I envisioned the child holding flowers up for the figure of Death and realized that I needed to become as a little child in the face of change. At that point, I imagined the element of Water cleansing me deeply as black, negative energy drained out of me into the magma below the earth’s crust. Then in the ritual I moved to the station representing the Earth element, which started another association chain with the card known as The Devil, associated with Capricorn and with the Egyptian God Set.
     The energies of the element of Earth are actually the spiritual background energies of the physical world, what some call “etheric" energy. The pure etheric energies of the element of Earth cleansed me and rejuvenated me until I felt whole, but only after I had consciously experienced a kind of rebirth after releasing the black, negative energies from deep in my subconscious mind and experiencing the cleansing energies of the element of Water as well.

Tree of Life with Major Arcana

     In the Major Arcana of the Tarot, twelve of the cards are associated with the zodiac, seven with the planets, and three with the elements (Water, Air, Fire). In order to facilitate the occurrence of association chains, I have laid out the twelve cards associated with the zodiac in the triplicities based on their position on the Tree of Life in their respective quadrants on my central altar, in each case beginning with the card closest to Malkuth, the Kingdom, on the left, to the card more centrally positioned on the Tree of Life in the middle, to the card closest to Kether, The Crown, on the right, each triplicity forming a symbolic progression.
Bastet

     The day after the deep cleansing, I experienced another association chain during ritual. When I invoked the Water element, I envisioned the symbol of Water, the blue head of an eagle, in my heart, and I suddenly felt on the verge of realizing a profound truth. Then I remembered the symbols associated with Scorpio: the scorpion, symbol of primal instincts deep in the subconscious; the snake, symbol of rebirth because it sheds its skin: and the eagle, symbol of the higher self because it flies high and experiences the perspective of eternity.  I thought of those three symbols in terms of my progression of Tarot cards. The scorpion resembles the lobster climbing out of the water in the card known as The Moon. I thought of the snake in terms of the second card in my progression, Death. In the card, as I mentioned, a child presents flowers to the skeletal figure of death. The child in the card without fear accepts change and death as a natural process like the snake shedding its skin. 
Horus
     After recalling the image in the Tarot card Death, I understood why the symbol of the eagle was affecting me so profoundly: I was envisioning a symbol of the higher self in my heart, and I understood then that fear of change and death blocks the manifestation of the higher self. Because of the way I have been conditioned, too many of my actions have been based on fear--the fear of not succeeding or thriving or even surviving. And due to chronic illness, no matter how hard I tried, I could not succeed the way I or others had imagined, receiving the rewards that society promises for those who work hard. So I was growing more filled with anger and resentment.
Seth
     The association chain emphasized that what I truly need is a life of simple harmony and compassion, a life of the higher self. Then I moved to the Earth element and imagined its triplicity, as represented by the Tarot, in a progression moving from The Devil (Capricorn) to The Hermit (Virgo) to The Hierophant (Taurus). The devil is presented as a sphinx, with the legs of a bird, the body of a human and the head of a goat. The Hebrew letter Ayin, which means “eye,” is associated with the card, suggesting that you must look below the surface of the physical world to perceive the divine energies of manifestation.  In the card the devil lifts his right hand up in blessing, much like the character of Spock does in Star Trek, with all four fingers held up in a V formation, suggesting that all of the divine energies in the material universe can be known if perceived with the eyes of the soul. 
     Then I mentally compared The Devil with The Hierophant, a card once known as The Pope, which is associated with Taurus, the Bull. In the card the keys of the Kingdom rest at the Hierophant’s feet because, I realized, knowing the spiritual energies of the Earth opens up an awareness of the spiritual energies of Heaven, which are, at this stage of evolution at any rate, partially concealed to human consciousness, hence the two fingers down in the blessing of the Hierophant, as opposed to all four fingers held up in the Tarot card The Devil. The Hierophant has cloth near his ears that resembles donkey ears to suggest that if we listen with the ears of the humble donkey (or with the ears of our own animal self), we will hear whispers of divine knowledge and inspiration. Once again, in this association chain, I was being reminded of the divinity of the Earth Soul.


Thoth
   The association chains during these rituals added up to spiritual principle: The death of the lower personality into the higher self opens up an awareness of divine energies within the physical world as well as the more enigmatic energies of the spiritual dimensions. Toward the end of my ritual meditation I again envisioned the blue eagle head of the higher self in my heart, but then, to my surprise, I also envisioned my head as a skull, which to me signifies two things. I am dying to my old personality, with all of its anger and resentment, even as I am healing on deeper levels of the psyche. And, also, to remain aware of the higher self in my heart, I must own my death, remaining aware of my own mortality until I no longer fear change or the inscrutable.
      As I mentioned, on my central altar I have placed the twelve Tarot cards representing the zodiac and the triplicities of the elements. On the smaller altar against each wall I have placed small statues of Egyptian Gods, each signifying a different element. On the altar representing the element of Air, I have placed small statues of Thoth and his consort Ma’at. On the altar representing Fire, I have placed a statue of Horus, on the altar representing Water, the statues of Anubis and Bastet, on the altar representing Earth, the statue of Set. These statues add great power to the association chains of the Tarot, each card of which is assigned a path on the Tree of Life. Knowing where each card fits on the Tree in itself can start an association chain that leads to greater understanding of spiritual principle.
     In the final symbol of the association chain that I experienced during the ritual that day, I envisioned the phoenix wand held up by Horus, who symbolizes the higher self manifested in the material realm, and I remembered that Set, on my altar in the north quadrant associated with the Earth, also holds up the phoenix wand: The divine energies of Earth can lead to rebirth into the higher self just as effectively as the spiritual energies of Heaven, and certainly the divine energies of Earth are the most accessible to us while we are tabernacled in the flesh.