I am having one of those weeks where dream, ritual, contemplation, and synchronicity intertwine tightly. That is so hard to talk about because the links that hold those together are oceanic and intuitive, more expansive than metaphor or concept can easily grasp. Yet the message at the center of that work feels too important to leave in silence, pace Wittgenstein. So, let’s see if I can spin this out more allusively.
The disorder is part of it.
So, Tarot for today emphasized the Seven of Cups covered by Three of Swords. Right now, I can see very clearly that these two are the posts that hold up the lintel, beneath which the future is able to pass. The Seven of Cups because the future arrives in a visionary reverie of possibility and the Three of Swords because that vision must contain the bite of sorrow, the remembrance of failures and a sense of responsibility to their legacy.
The future has to appreciated for the rupture it offers with the past, but it is a rupture that depends on the past, too. The sorrow also entails the need to release that past, too, not out of some vague notion of acceptance or forgiveness, but because it is only through the release of our ideas of what the past means that we will be able to fully take advantage of what the present makes possible.
However, since much of the world will not follow you in this release, it is essential that it be remembered, because it will continue to exist in the habits of this world. Think of the higher moments of this grubby little country, of Martin Luther King’s Dream, alongside the lower, of King in prison, of King murdered. Again, the souls joined by bullets in this land…
Bloodshed and cruelty. The posts are hard to raise and easy to collapse.
Think of the sorrow of having to release what is good about the past, too, the comfortable fixtures around which we decide who we are.
I had a dream of a “Temple to Sophia,” built into a Wild West saloon, a massive headless cancan dancer atop it, flanked by much smaller, fierce black demons, in the style of some Tibetan and Indic sculpture. It reminded me that there was some headless Hindu goddess with attendants, and I turned up the Mahavidya and Chhinnamasta with a little library work. The book reminded me that the ‘vidya’ of Mahavidya is wisdom, of the same root that forms ‘wit’ in English.
Wit, which puts me back in the world of Lacan, already hinted at by the figure dancing the cancan. French jouissance, the play of signifer and signified, the bar of signification that makes meaning. The bar of signification, or the lintel of the future. Signifer, or the post of illusion. Signified, or the post of sorrow.
Which puts me back in the domain of Sophia, of great wisdom, but this time crossing away from the forms she has gathered to herself.
And as I note this down to myself, there are two young Indian American women going over notes for a class they are taking. Notes on Plato and Aristotle.
The cyborg, the movement into the future, the usurpation of the smooth humanism of the goddess into a darker cyborg mystery beneath which new forms manifest, a mystery already prefigured in the potency of the mantra and yantra over the icon.
Also, there is this from Mr. Ellis, too:
“Last night I dreamed of being able to curate a hub on Medium that was nothing but the confluence between the apocalyptic, the technological, the numinous, the archaic and the future. A Black Mountain College of the next new normal.”
A Black Mountain College…oh, the weight of modernity on a place no so far from me. And technology. And. And. And.
The problem with virtually all contemporary talk of syncretism these days is that it is so painfully academic, failing to catch sight of the destructive force of wisdom as she rends her children and demands they be remade. The cyborg, Frankenstein’s monster, the productive monstrosity on the other side of Hegelian beauty.
Kant’s ideals, the faltering glimpses of a future which will inevitably be destroyed by the present they bring about.
But Mother, don’t you see that I am burning?
The ambiguous place between death and burial,
the conflation of the sacred burial with necromantic entertainment,
of the enshrinement of an ancestor whose hand rests on the till while the prow faces the future with the necromantic entertainment in which the restless dance in a rictus imitation of present whim,
of the masquerade with the costume.
The misunderstandings to which so much of the African thought has been subjected.
The conflation of the sacred pact with common barter. The eager repetition of a crafted past in which we have been divided from each other in concept as we were never truly divided in space.
“When that which drew from out the boundless deep / Turns home again.” Tennyson, speaking of the bar, words, signification, and death. Bar bar bar-bar-ian. Elephants, gods, the crossing of boundaries back and forth, the so-called war machine which is so much more than war, like Elisha Apes, Pequot, among the Maori.
None of this is good enough.
Because the bite of history lies in the flesh of our fellows. It lies in the hand to hand, in the word that passes from mouth to ear, in the circle of presence that includes the fabric of society through which the truth must be wound. It also lies in the suffering inflicted and suffered, in the wound that truth may heal.
In the visible collegium that manifests the invisible congress. That invisible congress remembers. How do we remember when the visible expression has been erased?
Back to her temple in the dream, notice the intertwining of puns. Of Indian motifs in the Wild West, Indian in the sense of India and in the sense of Indian, first people of the Americas. Of the black demons, and of the blackness that has been subordinated in our culture. The headless passage beyond the veil. Not to be achieved in life but to which life ought to be subjected.
The frustration of the ancestors. Of my ancestors with the path we have taken.
Or, perhaps more gently as another spirit has put it to me through geomantic contemplation, the head discovers its feet and finds a place.
I’m starting to catch sight of my feet.
Long time coming, that, though perhaps in part because the ground itself was missing.
Of those too enamored of the past, at least we know they will be devoured with the corpses to which they cling.
This is not a manifesto. This is the fire. Burn as clean as you are able. Where, indeed, are we?