“All things are lawful to me, not all things are expedient. All things are lawful to me, all things edify not.”—I Corinthians 10:23
Philip K. Dick noted that one of the first places that the spirit of salvation tends to manifest is in the trash heap. Some trashy bit of fiction, a cheap bit of jewelry, a character in a TV show, becomes illumined all out of proportion to their material presence and speaks to us. It’s the sort of thing that superficially seems to justify all sorts of pop culture magic experimentation, but if placed in the context of the ghost-ridden fallen world, speaks against such efforts.
Dick (correctly) understood that the vital part of the encounter was the spirit animating the trash heap, not the trash heap itself. The trash heap is a vector for the spirit of salvation to speak directly to us because we are so wrapped up in the trash heap. Those spiritual receptors which should open to the sacred and holy are so wrapped up in the toxic world of ghosts that it is only by subverting the ghost world that Zebra-Sophia (and others) can first communicate.
The piece of the trash heap that first speaks to us may become a token of spirit contact. At best, such a token can serve a mnemonic device for finding our way back to that point of spirit contact. Less ideally, it can serve as a pleasant reminder of the spirit contact, a sentimental cue that reminds us of strong and healthy spirit contact achieved. At worst, it becomes a replacement for real spirit contact, a reflex to which we return when we have lost our sense of spirit and are hungry for any vestige of it.
If we want to preserve the communication with proper spirits that burst through the trash heap, the rest of the work is on us. We must, as Simone Weil advises, take the long journey to purify ourselves such that we can speak to spirit without the mediation of the trash heap. That requires us to pay increasing attention to the quality of our spiritual sensations, to the tone of them. The more pure sensations are less emotional, less imagistic, qualitative in an almost impressionistic fashion. These tones pick up and animate bits of the trash heap, no doubt, but they also discard those elements easily. Those forms of magical practice that demand we return to the trash heap of popular images and dwell upon its elements are almost always fostered by the reflexes of the ghost world from which Zebra-Sophia and her ilk hope to liberate us.
The ghost world is the residue of consciousness and so the human world is the greatest source of it. This provides a critical counterpoint to those forms of gnosticism that identify the world of nature with the fallen world. While all forms of consciousness can leave behind ghostly traces and human beings are not the sole forms of consciousness, they are the most widely distributed sources of it. In part, that has to do with the messiness of our consciousness, of how poorly suited it is to serving our spiritual intelligence. In part, it just has to do with how many of us there are.
There are other forms of consciousness, though, and at least some of them suffer from problems similar to us, namely, they are vulnerable to ghostly entanglement. The account of emanation found in Valentinus seems to reflect such a ghostly entanglement with Sophia generating a spiritual force that she and other spiritual forces could become entangled with as if it were a higher creative force. While I remain suspicious of any gnosticism that focuses on self-deification (feels like ghosting aggrandizement), gnostic spiritual independence makes a lot of sense against this horizon. If even a higher spirit can be caught up in the ghost business, you got to be mindful of yourself.