I figure it might be worthwhile to talk a little about why I am spending so much time with the text of Revelation. There are a few reasons for that. It’s part of establishing for myself a sense of the rich terrain against which gnosticism of all varieties developed and of framing more pointedly my own. It sits within a deep and long history that stretches continuously from its authorship into the present.
It is also one of those texts whose influence is profound enough to have influenced people who have never so much as opened a Bible, because its terms have been so thoroughly incorporated in public consciousness. Warren Ellis has been talking lately about folklore as the operating system of a culture, and the Biblical apocalypse definitely forms a key component of such an operating system.
The centrality of of this book rests on a combination of its vividness and the paucity of rival texts. For the many whose access to forms of gnostic insight were limited, the book was a ready source of imaginal material. While this paucity led to a conceptual distortion which inhibited their experience and development of gnosis, it was nonetheless vital and accessible, energized and supportive of their spiritual work. Examining it, I am setting out into part of their unconscious, part of my ancestral unconscious.
In bringing a perspective that integrates it into a wider world of spiritual and magical experience, I am hoping to liberate some of that ancestral spiritual vitality and prepare it for transmission into a less restrictive vehicle. That’s maybe a little weird, but if you’ve been reading much of this blog, that shouldn’t be too astonishing. Philip K. Dick is one of its patron saints for a reason.
In equal part, I am trying to provide a complementary perspective to it. I see my work in the same world as these texts, but in most cases what is most vital to me in that world seems to appear only in distorted and subordinate form within them. Registering the discontinuity between my present consciousness and this ancestral unconscious is also vital.
Without denying the centuries of experience that these texts have helped organize, I need to remain in contact with my experience. I need to fnd a way to both preserve my relationship to my ancestral past while giving voice to my own gnosis, my own spiritual work. That works best when I am using this material which sits within it and speaking through it.
What comes out of that, I hope, will be more comprehensible thereby, better suited to communicating with the cultural milieu in which I live. That’s part of the evolution aesthetic I’m chasing after, too. Things change, but the change is grounded in a situation whose shape, whose response patterns, have a deep history. Evolutionary change operates within those patterns even as they are rewritten.