Sunday, March 19, 2017

Alien Con Travelogue – Synchronicity & the “Papa Legba” Incident


In our first entry of the Alien-Con Travelogue entitled: “A Spy in the House of Ancient Aliens” I outlined the “setting” of Team Tek-Gnostics’ participation in the History Channel’s inaugural fan convention celebrating their hit Cable TV show: Ancient Aliens. The event took place in the savage heart of Silicon Valley… Santa Clara, California. In the second installment in this series, I fleshed out Team Tek-Gnostics’ “set” wherein my attorney… Agent 87 & I undertook the development of a cultural Ethnography of Alien Con, via a psychedelic emersion experiment known as micro-dosing.

This was the set and setting, of what would prove to be a very synchro-mystically charged week-end.

Previously we had decided to keep a Synchronicity Log to keep track of the significant, synchronous events during the fan convention. This proved to be a “triple whammy” within our synchro-sphere. I’ll explain... The methodology of micro-dosing is that by repeated daily psycholytic doses of a psychedelic compound (in our case, that rascally chemical trickster… Lucy), one is subjected to a cumulative, albeit sub-perceptual effect of the hallucinogen. The intention of micro-dosing is to spark creativity, performance enhancement, etc. Our experience was that, as the weekend rolled on, the effect of the micro-dose seemed to snowball. This cumulative effect worked synergistically with the act of keeping a sync-log.

As many readers of this blog well know… the act of paying attention to synchronicity increases and intensifies the experience of synchronicity. The very action of recognizing synchronistic events brings about… or more accurately… draws, or attracts more instances of synchronicity to one’s sphere of consciousness… Like moths to a flame. As is the intent of micro-dosing, the experience of synchronicity is cumulative. Or, in the words of my attorney, the enigmatic 87: “The more you see, the more you will see.” 

So during the course of the weekend, the snowball of the micro-dose, picking up speed and size as it careened downhill (from atop the figurative “Mount Alien Con”), merged with the intention of our sync-log… also picking up speed. As the effect of the micro-dose accumulated... so did our experience of synchronicity. Now, these two cumulative events were co-occurring… complementing one another. 

The third principle of the “triple whammy” mentioned above, was the synergistic and cumulative effect… of the two cumulative effects! …If you follow my pretzel logic. As the weekend wore on, the sustained effect of the micro-dose, appeared to amplify the continued attention that we placed upon the expanding synchronicities (or vice versa!). These two compatible experiences amplified each other, to form a psychedelic synchronicity that was somehow more profound than the sum total of its parts.

It was before this backdrop that the third element... the third principle... began to kick in.

Papa Legba...

During the course of Alien Con, 87 and I dutifully recorded synchronistic events. One such culminating event began when we made the acquaintance of two mysterious Sisters. I am not saying that these two women were witches, but had they been around during the Spanish Inquisition (Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!) they would have been burned at the stake! It was clear from our conversations that the Sisters were well versed in many esoteric and arcane arts. Their knowledge was clearly deep... these were powerful women.

So it was that on Saturday night, the two Bene Gisserit had found their way back to our booth. We discoursed on a variety of occult topics… often following multiple threads of conversation simultaneously. This was all intellectually stimulating, intuitively inspiring and a little confusing. So I am not at all certain how the topic of African Vodun, New Orleans Voodoo, and Caribbean Santería came up (the curious reader will find more information on this topic, from an earlier post, here).

Thinking back now, it’s all a little fuzzy, but I remember talking about the African Diaspora of not only spiritual & magical iconography and practice, but also the cultural and musical exodus from Africa, the Caribbean, and the American Bayou. These are all, of course, interrelated phenomena and are what inform and infuse American Soul. Invocation and chant became jazz, became R & B, became Rock n Roll! All Hail!

A cultural evolutionary element of the above Diaspora (and in keeping with the etymological power of synchronicity), is the concept of Syncretism. This is when different beliefs and practices of various schools of thought merge or blend over time… especially in the theology and mythology of religious practice. Consequently, the spirits or "Loa" of Haitian Vodou and Louisiana Voodoo, morphed into the Saints of the Christian dominator culture. This was a brilliant cultural protectionist strategy. However, unlike saints or angels, Loa are not simply prayed to, they are served. Also, contrary to pop belief, the Loa are not deities in and of themselves… they are… intermediaries. 

During that conversation, I had brought up my favorite Loa… the gatekeeper… opener of doors… the keeper of the keys… lord of the crossroads… Papa Legba. Legba, or “Eleggua” as the Sisters knew him… is the Loa who serves as the intermediary between the pantheon of Loa and humanity. He stands at a spiritual crossroads and gives… or denies… permission to speak with the host of spirits. Accordingly, he speaks all human languages. Per the syncretic cultural overlay, Legba was hidden within or associated with the image of St. Peter, the Christian Guardian of the Gate and Keeper of the Keys.

Over the weekend, the “Loas of Synchronicity” were winking with increased intensity and regularity. So while we were lost in a very animated conversation about Legba… no one noticed the man with his back to us… standing across the aisle from our booth. He was a large man, examining the wares of the vendors opposite us. I was the first to notice him… I remember the back of his black t-shirt was festooned with Mardi Gras iconography. And in the middle of the design, framed by beads and bones… was the top-hated and grinning face of none other than… Papa Legba.

First I nudged 87… “check out that guy’s shirt” I half-whispered… “It’s Legba!” Not sure if he heard me, I said a second time, a little louder… “Look... on the back of that guy’s t-shirt… It’s Papa Legba!” Agent 87 looked… he looked again… and immediately grasping the synchronistic situation, he leaned back toward me… “Man… I got goosebumps” he said, showing me his arm.

As the immediacy of the sync was so glaringly obvious, we nudged the Sisters, laughing… “Check out Legba, grinning at us from across the aisle!” Upon seeing the guy’s shirt, one of the Sisters, smiling a knowing smile, simply said… “Ah… that’s Eleggua!”  The moment that all four of us had gotten a good look at the mysterious man in black’s “Legba” shirt, he began to meander away, down the aisle of vendors. But as he receded, blending into the crowd, just before he left my field of vision… I swore I saw the image of Legba wink…

The ways of synchronicity are mysterious indeed. The manner in which it/they reveal themselves can be subtle… or they can hit you over the HEAD. Regardless… and by definition… syncs must be infused with meaning, for the observer. Meaningful coincidence is what separates syncs from mere coincidence. For me, and under the circumstances, Legba was the epitome of synchronicity as I have written on Voodoo in general and Legba in particular, many times on this blog. It was as if Legba himself was peering through the veil that divides the mundane and spirit realms, to verify the sync in such a way that was simultaneously subtle and meaningfully conspicuous. Such is the way of synchronicity.

And what, might the curious reader ask, does Papa Legba have to do with Alien Con? Well for one thing… who or what are the Loa anyway? Also known as "mystères" and "the invisibles" they act, within their mythology, as intermediaries between the Supreme Creator, who is distant from the world… and humanity. In this regard, they seem to function similarly to the infamous Archons of Biblical era Gnosticism and subsequent Ancient Astronaut Theory fame. Like the fairie folk, the Loa suspiciously resemble, serve a similar function as the Little Green Men of Alien Con mythology… from a different cultural perspective.

And when dealing with UFO phenomena, just as in synchronicity, perspective is everything...

By the time 87 and I reached the end of Alien Con… we agreed that our sync log/micro-dose experiment was a resounding success. We agreed that having Papa Legba make his dramatic appearance, the portal of which turned out to be the back of some guy’s t-shirt, was a satisfying finale. For us, it fulfilled all the criteria that make up a profound synchronistic experience: brilliantly obvious, yet plausibly deniable.

Further reading from earlier posts, on this most intriguing topic, can be found below...    

More from Alien Con Travelogue:  Part One  ~  Part Two

More on Voodoo:  Voodoo in the Digital Realm   ~  Mardi Gras & Voodoo

Who knows where the next Tek-Gnostics Field Expedition will be? Stay tuned...

Thursday, March 16, 2017

John Oliver interviews the Dalai Lama

Daily show Alum, John Oliver is a comedian, writer, actor, television personality and most importantly a Liverpool FC fan. He is currently the star of HBO's satirical newscast, LastWeek Tonight with John Oliver. Recently, Oliver interviewed his Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet… 

The Dalai Lama is a monk of the Gelug or "Yellow Hat" school of Tibetan Buddhism, the newest of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism founded by Je Tsongkhapa. The 14th and current Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso. In addition to being the successor in a line of tulkus who are believed to be incarnations of Avalokiteśvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion... The Dalai Lama has quite a sense of humor... Enjoy…

Thursday, March 9, 2017

What Would Hunter Do?

“We can't stop here... this is bat country!”
- Hunter S. Thompson - from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Are you still thinking like its 2016? Such thinking will avail you naught. This is 2017 and we must come to grips with the fact that we are all living in Bat Country. The world has gone bat-shit crazy. Really weird drugs have kicked in on a National level... mass hallucinations… dogs living with cats! The worst type of alt-right conspiracy theorists are running amok in the White House. The President appears unhinged. I can’t shake the vision of the President locked in the West Wing bathroom, trousers around his ankles, furiously tweeting, while aids are banging on the door shouting: “Mr. President! Unlock the door this instant!”

Meanwhile… honest-to-god, hard working journalists are characterized as “the enemy of the people” …peddlers of “fake news.” Not that the national press doesn’t bear responsibility for their share of alt-reality. The 24/7 news cycle continues to propagate sensationalism. Headline grabbing, network one-upmanship… pursued over responsible, fact-checking journalism... breeds shallow, simplistic, Entertainment Tonight styled programming. Little wonder the public’s reaction is confusion, mistrust and resentment. 

Bear in mind that this sensationalism is more a product of corporate & network level commercialism, than it is a reflection of individual journalist’s integrity. Just because the networks have sold out, doesn’t mean that journalists have… or that journalism is dead. There are still many hard-hitting reporters out there, digging deep while upholding the highest professional and ethical standards. The 4th Estate isn’t dead… it’s just morphing. After all… this is 2017. This is Bat Country!

Speaking of hard-hitting journalists… those of you, who have occupied our planet for a half-century or so, may well remember an exceptionally deranged-yet-brilliant journalist by the name of Hunter S Thompson. Thompson was not only a talented journalist and author… he was the creator and chief proponent of what has euphemistically been called: Gonzo Journalism. He was also a raving lunatic and creator, curator and principal resident of Bat Country.  The following is a short bio from Wikipedia…

Hunter S Thompson (July 18, 1937 – February 20, 2005) was an American journalist and author, and the founder of the gonzo journalism movement. Thompson became internationally known with the publication of Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (1967). For his research on the book he had spent a year living and riding with the Angels, experiencing their lives and hearing their stories first-hand. 

Previously a relatively conventional journalist, with the publication in 1970 of The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved he became a counter-cultural figure, with his own brand of New Journalism which he termed "Gonzo", an experimental style of journalism where reporters involve themselves in the action to such a degree that they become central figures of their stories. The work he remains best known for: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream (1971), constitutes a rumination on the failures (and triumphs!) of the 1960s counterculture movement.

Beginning in late 1971 Thompson wrote extensively for Rolling Stone on election campaigns of President Richard Nixon and his unsuccessful opponent, Senator George McGovern. The articles were soon combined and published as: Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72. As the title suggests, Thompson spent nearly all of his time traveling the "campaign trail", focusing largely on the Democratic Party's primaries - Nixon, as the Republican incumbent, performed little campaign work - in which McGovern competed with rival candidates Edmund Muskie and Hubert Humphrey. Thompson was an early supporter of McGovern and wrote unflattering coverage of the rival campaigns in the increasingly widely read Rolling Stone.

Recently, the press has gone to great lengths to draw a correlation between the 37th President of these United States: Richard M Nixon… and the 45th President: Donald J Trump. In his time, especially during his fall, “Tricky Dick” was broadly considered to be exceedingly underhanded and dishonest. He was notorious for using his Black OpsPlumbers” for nefarious activities, most famously the Watergate break-in. He also had a legendary disdain for the press. These and other similarities beg for comparison to Trump.

Like Tricky Dick, Trump enjoys an unsavory reputation for dishonesty… if not being a serial, pathological liar. Like Nixon, this appears to stem from an extreme inferiority complex and excessive overcompensation. Trump’s opinion of the press exceeds that of Nixon. His intent is to dismantle the 4th Estate, which he views as obstructive to his complete control. Trump’s actions and demeanor are strong indicators that he is either crazy… or crazy like a fox.

Consequently… here in Bat Country… we are all left scratching our heads, and not a little concerned for our safety in an increasingly uncertain future. At this most unsettling juncture, the question becomes…

What would Hunter Do?

How would our dearly departed gonzo journalist view the Trump Presidency? We know how Hunter reacted to Nixon’s reign. Would Hunter denounce Trump as a fascist? Would Hunter deride him as a buffoon? …A narcissistic child with a twitter account? How would Hunter chronicle these bizarrely weird times we live in? What would Hunter do?


I suspect that Hunter would be out there on the front lines... living by one of his most famous quotes…

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro”

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Psychedelia Update - Orange Sunshine Documentary

In early January 2017 Passion Pictures released a documentary film titled: The Sunshine Makers. Written by Cosmo Feilding-Mellen & Connie Littlefield, directed by Cosmo Feilding-Mellen & Allison Brownmoore, The Sunshine Makers chronicles the fascinating, untold story of Nicholas Sand and Tim Scully, the unlikely duo at the heart of 1960s American drug counter-culture. United in a utopian mission to save the planet through the consciousness-raising power of LSD, these underground chemists manufactured a massive amount of acid, including the gold standard for quality LSD, "Orange Sunshine," all while staying one step ahead of the Feds.

The documentary has thrilled audiences with its stranger-than-fiction look into the lives of two "LSD evangelists." In fine Synchromystic fashion, we have included a second film, with the same name. The Sunshine Makers is a 1935 animated short film directed by Ted Eshbaugh. It was the 3rd Cartoon in the Rainbow Parade Series by Van Beuren. As you will see… the rascally elves are manufacturing their own sunshine…

We invite each of you to leave your own synchronistic observations in our comments section. Shine on, dear intrepid psychonauts! Shine on!