Let me warn you, I am still sick, writing from the end of night into the break of day. As I prepare to take some Nyquil, I think back to PKD and the darvon delivery that would change his life. I suspect most of the readers who peruse these posts will recognize that I have a lot of sympathy for Philip K. Dick. While I wouldn’t necessarily want to follow in his footsteps (man, I do not have the constitution to use drugs like that), I cannot deny that his work exerted a great deal of influence on me. I came to PKD’s work after I was well and truly chugging down my gnostic way because my partner kept nudging me to read him. “You’ll like it,” she promises. Startled probably better captures my response.
I knew of Dick through things like Bladerunner and of his having a reputation as a druggie philosopher. Imagine my surprise, then, when I read VALIS and the Exegesis. These didn’t look like drug experiences, they looked like spiritual experiences…they looked like my spiritual experiences. Everyone gets fixated on the singular experience of the 2-3-1974, but reading the Exegesis makes clear that it occurs against the backdrop of other spiritual encounters. Obviously, the content differs, the medium through which I worked through them differs, but the message?
Dick spends a while wondering whether he is receiving spiritual messages from Dionysos, only to figure out that the figure behind them seems to be much more contemporary than that, Erasmus. Yes, likely that Erasmus. When my partner read the two giants stuff, she was all, “oh, like the Orphic mysteries?” and proceeded to explain the relationship of Dionysos, the titans, and mankind. I have to wonder how much of what Erasmus is trying to explain to PKD with his Dionysos masking manifests in the ZEBRA principle. The funny thing there is that even if Dick did not get the clue contained in the Dionysos material, he definitely understood the message on a deeper level, one that eventually manifested through his ideas about ZEBRA.
Spirit contact works like that. The visionary contact is only part of it and sometimes seems to be just a side-effect of the real process. That real process entails working through and manifesting the material that spirits seed into you. Sometimes that stuff is pretty straightforwardly intellectual (e.g., the Exegesis) or psychological (Jungian therapy works this), other times it requires something else, like producing a vehicle that channels the gnostic current out into the world. Those vehicles can be very diverse, from shrines to books, from full-on ritual to just helping someone at the right time. ‘Doing the work’ is just cultivating those connections to spirit and finding the ways to bring those contacts to fruition, to deliver the message.
Have you seen the (pink) light? Have you got the signal? Testify, my brothers and sisters, testify.