Sunday, June 19, 2016

Orlando's Triaphilia of Terror

The number "three" has always carried superstitious connotations in American folklore. In volume 2 of “A compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett” …there is a section titled: Numbers, Counting in the Lore of Death. This section included references to one death or funeral followed by two more. This occult trinity is often referred to as a “Triaphilia.” The triaophilia myth-arch is most commonly summed up as: “Death comes in three’s.” Old wives tales such as this have been handed down and prevail because they occur at potent and meaningful cultural moments. They persist because their occurrence falls well outside the realm of coincidence.

This tri-specter of death manifests in the prevailing form, takes the predominant shape of the collective phobias and fears of the culture it is visited upon.

The "death comes in three’s" myth-arch, hit with a horrifically potent vengeance in early June, in Orlando, Florida. The first example came with the shooting death of a reality star from “The Voice,” Christina Grimmie. She was shot on June 10th, by an apparently deranged fan, while signing autographs, following her concert performance in Orlando. She succumbed to her gunshot wound on June 11th.

The next day, the second horror was visited upon Orlando by a lone gunman who, it was widely reported, claimed allegiance to the Islamic State. The June 12th attack, occurring inside the popular nightclub: Pulse, resulted in 50 deaths, including the gunman, who was killed by Orlando police after a three-hour standoff. This was the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman and the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in U.S. history; the largest mass killing of LGBT people in the Western world since the Holocaust; and the deadliest terrorist attack in the U.S. since the September 11th attacks in 2001.

Incidences one and two of the Triaphilia of Death speak directly to our current cultural fears and fascinations. The symbolic elements of Christina Grimmie’s murder include our collective obsession with youth, especially the young female (the mythic maiden) and fame… the prevailing “reality star” version of fame is exceptionally pertinent in our modern media existence. The most nightmarish symbolic element of the first killing is obviously connected to the recent rise in gun violence in America. This specter of death cuts more deeply into our collective psyche than any politically partisan debate about gun laws.

The symbolism of the Pulse nightclub mass murders descends into some of our darkest collective subconscious phobias, which have manifested in over 160 mass shootings in America since 2001. The Pulse murders/shootings also symbolically connotate, not only Islamaphobia and the war on terror... but more significantly a deep-seated homophobic ailment that afflicts our culture. This most horrific attack that clearly targeted our LGBT  community… adds to the list of what law enforcement euphemistically refers to as: “soft targets.” Columbine, Aurora, Sandy Hook and now Orlando all target the vulnerable, the defenseless and otherwise harmless sectors of our society.

The third, and in some ways, the most inexplicable and bizarre visitation of Death, came on June 14th, when a 2-year-old boy was grabbed and drowned by an alligator in a man-made lake at Orlando’s Disney Resort. The father purportedly fought to save the child but was unable to free him from the alligator's grip. This third and final visitation is perhaps the most symbolic and most tellingly primal aspect of the Orlando “Death comes in three’s” nightmare. I hesitate to think of the connotations that arise. A prehistoric reptile rises from a body of the water to claim a small boy… seems almost anciently, spontaneously ritualistic. Shades of Cthulhu.

The Alligator is symbolic of ancient, primordial power. Many Native American tribes consider alligators as creatures responsible for creation. The alligator is a mediator in many Native legends because it emerged from primordial waters in creation myths and brought forth the sun and the earth. Mayan legend tells of four great alligators supporting the entire world... keeping Earths delicate balance in-tack by the strength of their backs and with fierce determination.

The third and final death of a small innocent, in the jaws of a primeval reptile, raises deeply mythic, archetypical questions of humanity’s relationship to ancient powers. It is as if these primordial powers are waking after millennia of slumber, to once again assert archaic authority. The waking of ancient powers somehow resonates with our prevailing zeitgeist. The Hopi people’s term: Koyaanisqatsi… translated as “Life out of Balance” …typifies our current sociological predicament.
I will leave further interpretation of such signs and portents to those more synchro-mystically in-tuned than I. There is, no doubt many more synchronicities and occult connections that will take us further down the (proverbial) rabbit hole. In these dangerous and increasingly deranged times, those among us who pay attention to the mythic, paranormal signs of our emerging new paradigm will undoubtedly prove invaluable. It will be our seers and visionaries who will recognize and guide us through the re-awakening of these powers. 

What our archaically re-emerging, rapidly transcendent, brave-new-world now needs is...
more shamans!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Muhammad Ali – In Memoriam

"I am the greatest! I shook up the world! I'm the prettiest thing that ever lived!" 

- Cassius Clay, 1964

"I Ain't Got No Quarrel With The VietCong... No VietCong Ever Called Me Nigger" 

- Muhammad Ali, 1966

It is refreshing and downright encouraging to see the outpouring of love and respect, by the American press and the American public... toward a Muslim. As we have seen in the political arena, such has not been the case... as of late. Clearly, Muhammad Ali (January 17, 1942 - June 3, 2016) is America’s favorite Muslim… even before his passing. He is perhaps best remembered and beloved for transcending his fame as a boxer to become a champion of Civil Rights. Indeed, his transcendence went beyond race and religion as Ali is today best loved as a humanitarian, worldwide.

Muhammad Ali was beautiful and flamboyant. He hit the world stage in the early 60’s with a never-before-seen bravado. In his pre and post fight antics, he both foreshadowed and pioneered Rap and hip-hop culture, with unrivaled media savvy… To Wit: “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can't hit what the eyes can't see.” And… “I wrestled with an alligator, I tussled with a whale, I handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail, I'm bad man....Last week I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick. I'm so mean I make medicine sick.”

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr, he won the world heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston in an upset in 1964. Shortly after that, Clay converted to Islam, changed his "slave" name to Ali, and gave a message of racial pride for African Americans and resistance to white domination during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.

In 1962, Clay met Malcolm X, who soon became his spiritual and political mentor. By the time of the first Liston fight Nation of Islam members, including Malcolm X, were visible in his entourage. This led to a story in The Miami Herald just before the fight disclosing that Clay had joined the Nation of Islam, which nearly caused the bout to be canceled.

In 1966, two years after winning the heavyweight title, Ali further antagonized the white establishment by refusing to be conscripted into the U.S. military, citing his religious beliefs and opposition to American involvement in the Vietnam War. He was eventually arrested, found guilty of draft evasion charges and stripped of his boxing titles. He successfully appealed in the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned his conviction in 1971.

“I ain’t draft dodging... I ain’t burning no flag... I ain’t running to Canada. I’m staying right here. You want to send me to jail? Fine, you go right ahead. I’ve been in jail for 400 years. I could be there for 4 or 5 more, but I ain’t going no 10,000 miles to help murder and kill other poor people. If I want to die, I’ll die right here, right now, fightin’ you, if I want to die.
You my enemy, not no Chinese, no Vietcong, no Japanese...

You my opposer when I want freedom.
You my opposer when I want justice.
You my opposer when I want equality.

Want me to go somewhere and fight for you? You won’t even stand up for me right here in America, for my rights and my religious beliefs. You won’t even stand up for my right here at home.”

- Muhammad Ali, 1966

Muhammad Ali rose to fame as a fighter... but it was his humanitarianism that truly made him great. This blogger will leave his phrase for those more eloquent than I. In his passing, I will say this... the marking of Ali's death serves as a reminder for us all… to put aside hate and fear… to embrace the goodness and justice that, I believe, is inherent in all of humanity. In this day and age of ethnic fear-mongering and outright xenophobia… we can all take a lesson from “The Greatest” in remembering that we are all one. At this most critical, consequential time in this tattered old planet's evolution... we are all in this together.

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room, here on Earth.”

- Muhammad Ali

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Nobody For President - "Nobody can make America great again!"

“If you want to discuss politics… you have to get down on all fours.”

- Timothy Leary 

The Carnival-of-Horrors sideshow that has been the US presidential primary elections has been one big-ass, macabre and sordid spectacle. It has left the two major political parties… the Grand Old Party (aka: the republican party), as well as the democratic party in tatters, as both the RNC and the DNC have completely lost control of their national nominating process. The American press has fared no better as they sit, shell-shocked… while the traditional fourth estate crumbles under its own weight and into its own decay.

Amid this unprecedented turmoil, the American public is left scratching its collective head… Hillary, the better half of the "Clinton Cabal" is teetering as the only traditional political candidate left standing. This is not reassuring. Meanwhile, Bernie’s optimism and the Donald’s pessimism don’t seem to smell quite right. Both, each in their own... shall we say... unique way, have called out the status quo’s innate corrupt nature. 

On the Left, Bernie has captured the American youth’s imagination and mobilized them, as well as many progressives, by revealing that the PTB banking (and campaign financing) swindle will leave them holding the proverbial bag. Feel the Bern yet? Over in the conservative corner of the madhouse, Donald’s ignorant and confusing rhetoric seems hell-bent on burning down the house, all together.

In these days of political disarray and dysfunction, what is a sane person to do? The obvious choice… a candidate arising, phoenix-like, from the ashes of a deteriorating, deranged political process… the candidate who's time may have finally come at last...
No... not Cthulhu... the only reasonable choice, the only safe and sane choice is… Nobody. 

After all, Nobody is clearly the best candidate… Nobody has all the answers!!!
Nobody keeps his election promises... 
Nobody cares…
Nobody is a candidate we can count on…
Nobody listens to your concerns. Nobody tells the truth. Nobody will lower your taxes. Nobody will defend your unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 
Nobody will make the American political process great again! 
Nobody will love you when you're down and out. And if that weren’t enough… Nobody makes apple pie better than Mom!

Finally… in American politics of power… we can Trust Nobody!!! 

So as the 2016 general election approaches, the time has come to stand up and support the only candidate who, if elected, should have that much power... Nobody!!!

As the prudent citizen mobilizes in support of Nobody... a cautionary note...

This campaign is about active participation in the political process. We all know someone who espouses their clearly superior and "above it all" opinion on how broken the system is... only to proclaim that they are not voting in the upcoming election. They then proceed to sit back, smug in their lethargic self-righteous superciliousness. Such is the ultimate civic cop-out

In the wake of the concerted effort by the GOP to shamelessly obstruct the voting rights of millions of traditional Democratic populations, 38 states introduced legislation designed to impede voters at every step of the electoral process. In this orchestrated and brazen gambit to steal the voting rights of such "undesirable" (in the minds the neocons) sectors of our population, such as students, the elderly, Black and Hispanic American citizens... we are all, each of us... witness to the attempted elimination of all voting rights. In these dangerous times... our very right to vote is being placed in jeopardy.

After all, if the neocons can't trust the people, they should eliminate them and impose a new people!

Flawed as the process is... don't sit on your hands at home. Participate in what is left of the democratic process. A vote for nobody is still a vote. A write-in vote for nobody is far more of an authentic and powerful statement than not bothering to vote at all.

 "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." 

– Plato

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Conspiracy of Ravens

It is exceedingly interesting to see what events or experiences capture people's attention. It reflects their tendency of consciousness. In this fast-paced world, most people pay attention to… other people. As most communication between humans is non-verbal, these signals are received in a variety of ways. Some pay attention to other’s eyes… the windows to the soul. Others observe body posture. Still others read auras, the subtle energy nexus, surrounding the body.

Many, who are insightful and observant, go beyond the individual and pay attention to culture-wide signals. They observe the “Zeitgeist” or the spirit of the times. Within the synchromystic realm of observation, specific pop-cultural signs are recognized as having meaningful significance. Perceived signals from a variety of mass media, such as film or television, resonate with insightful epiphany in the minds of the synchromystics. As such, their attention is placed upon the machinations of media… the cerebral world of words and imagery.

One of my very favorite bloggers and author of Our Gods Wear Spandex… Christopher Knowles... over at the Secret Sun, had recently recognized and reported on a significant gathering of birds: Quiscalus quiscula …commonly known as Grackles. Chris had a meaningful encounter with… the birds. The context in which Chris described his encounter was one of signs and portents. The fact that Chris paid attention to this phenomenon illustrates a certain level of intuitive consciousness. More precisely… a specific type of intuitive consciousness.

Chris’s awareness tended toward reading the signs delivered through the medium of nature. He “paid attention” to the subtle signals conveyed by the natural world… by the peculiar gathering or flocking of the Common Grackle. In this case, the communication was anything but common. Such attention takes the form of spiritual insight and the Grackles Chris observed, assume the role of Totem. An Animal Totem is an important symbolic entity recognized by the observer, and used to get in touch with specific sympathetic qualities found within said animal… which the observer aligns, connects with, or feels a deep affinity toward.

Throughout the ages, birds have been harbingers of fortuitousness... of consequence. Owls, crows and especially the crow’s big brother… the Raven… have foretold of ominous events. It is widely known that a gathering of crows is known as a "murder of crows." It may not be as well known that a gathering of Ravens is called a "Conspiracy of Ravens."

On May 7th, just before dusk, I was roused from my Saturday evening reverie by a god-awful racket, coming from my back yard. At first, I assumed this commotion to be those rascally Scrub Jays… stealing catfood. Slipping out the sliding glass door, onto the back deck, I soon realized that this was no mere catfood heist.

Situated on the edge of a mountainous watershed, my neighborhood is full of towering conifers… Douglas Fir, Incense Cedar, Ponderosa Pine. What I suspected to be Scrub Jays, proved to be a growing gathering of Ravens. There were 50 or 60 flocked in several large Cedars. More were kiting in to perch as the sky darkened. They were squawking and gurgling and carrying on as even more ravens sailed in from the mountain, till at least 150 birds were... conspiring. That may not sound like a lot of birds… but ravens are large creatures and as they conversed… now perching… now circled above the cedars… this conspiracy was quit impressive.

The common raven (Corvus corax) is a large all-black passerine bird. Found across the Northern Hemisphere, it is the most widely distributed of all corvids (crow family). At maturity, the common raven averages 25 inches in length and 2.6 pounds in mass. Common ravens can live up to 21 years in the wild, a lifespan exceeded by very few species. Young birds may travel in flocks but later mate for life, with each mated pair defending a territory. Amazing feats of problem-solving provide evidence that the common raven is unusually intelligent.

Common ravens have coexisted with humans for thousands of years. Over the centuries, they have been the subject of mythology, folklore, art, and literature. In many cultures, including the indigenous cultures of Scandinavia, ancient Ireland and Wales, Bhutan, the northwest coast of North America, and Siberia and northeast Asia, the raven has been revered as a spiritual figure or “Trickster” god.

Whatever was going down within their realm, these ravens were loud and rowdy. As darkness fell, the Conspiracy of Ravens appeared to come to terms with whatever issue that had gathered to discuss. I had been watching the conspiracy for around twenty minutes. I stood, transfixed as they suddenly took wing. Within a minute, the entire conspiracy was gone… back up to the mountain from whence they came. 

I am still amazed by this incident and continue to process it.

Like Chris’s Grackle incident (which by Chris’s account, evolved into an encounter with another Trickster totem, the Fox… but that is another story), I have long affiliated with the Raven as one of my totems. They have come to me at times of consequence, throughout my life. Another of my favorite bloggers and author of Star.ships: Gordon White, over at Rune Soup had this to say about paying attention to animal totems…

“It would be safe to say that a majority of totem animals have a physical representation that their human counterparts are at least passingly familiar with. Totem animals can often serve as a way to amplify or enhance your relationship to your immediate environment. This is both fine and worthy. And even when you’re not engaging in this way, animal ‘wisdom’ at its most superficial level is about matching a trait or behaviour displayed in the wild to a lesson in your own life.”

Again, it is exceedingly interesting to see what events or experiences capture people's attention. To commune with other species is an ancient, time-honored, magical practice. Those who have a certain affinity for specific non-human species, display a certain generous or inclusive consciousness. The Lakota people have a phrase for this awareness… Mitákuye Oyásin.

Mitákuye Oyásin is a phrase that reflects the world-view of interconnectedness held by many indigenous peoples of North America. The phrase translates in English as "all my relatives" or "we are all related" or "all my relations." It is a prayer of oneness and harmony with all forms of life: other people, animals, birds, insects, trees and plants, and even rocks, rivers, mountains and valleys.

So it is that we welcome and honor all our relations… the two-legged, the four legged, those who crawl and those who fly. We learn from these… if we take the time to listen. Together, we all describe and share this crazy zeitgeist we are all living in… interesting times, indeed.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Microdosing... the new Psychedelia

As many among you may know... and according to the likes of Rolling Stone and Forbes magazines... a recent trend in Psychedelia is "Microdosing." Microdosing refers to taking a much smaller dose, about 10-15 micrograms or about 1/10 the standard dose of LSD ...and is thought to confer a much weaker effect on your body, just the amount to produce mild euphoria, energy lift or added insight, without allowing you to feel like you are “tripping.”

The following excerpt is from an article entitled: Microdosing: The Revolutionary Way of Using Psychedelics ...which appeared in the HighExistence website...

Today we are witnessing the birth of a truly remarkable epoch. With the psychedelic renaissance well under way, consisting of new fascinating research, the coming out of thousands of individuals and the introduction of many, hitherto unknown, psychoactive plants steeped in their cultural context of healing and initiation, we are now facing some new and interesting questions.
  • What types of consciousness are possible, and how are we to navigate these?
  • Which plants and substances are beneficial in which situations?
  • How are we to make sense of these shamanic wisdom traditions, as our own euro-shamanistic traditions and the Eleusinian mysteries seem to be lost in time forever?
  • And how can we develop new ways of healing, new rituals embedded in cultural meaning that are able cure our current “collective insanity“?

I think one of the more fruitful directions we can take is towards is microdosing.

Microdosing is taking sub-perceptual doses (6-25 microgram LSD, 0.2-0.5 gram dried mushrooms, 50-75 microgram mescaline HCL) while keeping up with ones daily activities, engaging in extreme sports, appreciating nature or enhancing one’s spiritual practice.

As we repeatedly stress on HighExistence, psychedelics must be approached with reverence and caution. We believe that in a loving context, psychedelics are powerful medicines with tremendous potential, but there are a number of physical and psychological safety concerns that one should consider before journeying with psychedelics. Please, please do plenty of research, and do not take psychedelics if you have reason to believe that they will not jibe with your personality or particular mental baggage. The Essential Psychedelic Guide on Erowid is an exceptional free resource, and we recommend reading it, especially the section on ‘Psychedelic Safety,’ before ever dabbling in these substances.

Editor's Note: Tip o the hat to Agent 87 for bringing the above video to our attention.