I have wanted to pick up a few threads from earlier pieces and weave them together. The discussion of aesthetics and occultism at the end of Phase I and my concern with the disruptive role of capital in spiritual practice come together in this piece focusing on Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” It also has some connection to the hesitation I have around relying on narrative discourse for a deeper understanding of spiritual experience, too.
A powerful urge last night just to gather together all of this and take a picture, put in front of myself the trajectory of this long trajectory of writing I have been involved with. It looks a little mad, doesn’t it?
The top row begins somewhere in 1993 and those numerous, tiny notebooks were filled in front to back, then back to front. They are crammed with thoughts, excerpts from books, quotations of people that I knew, drafts of poetry (some of it is, well, let’s say not terrible; philosophy absorbed my poetry and nowadays I tend to only use poetry as a gesture in my thinking, to tell myself to change my speed, alter my rhythm). I had one of those on me almost all the time.
I have enjoyed watching folks talk about the latest season of Twin Peaks and around the home we have been talking about it quite a bit. I appreciate this post over on the Nightshirt, not least of which for reminding me that this isn’t just a David Lynch joint, that Frost’s influence is key, too. Pointing out the series’s connection to Kubrick’s The Shining also clarifies and I find it exciting to consider how this connects the series to Stephen King and his particular Americana.
Rewatching the original run of Twin Peaks is an illuminating experience, especially alongside the third season. The show establishes joins the surreal and magical to an increasingly traumatic series of scenes in a way that suggests the traumatic material forms the axis of the series. More than that, it suggests that there is a kernel of suffering and cruelty at the center of the ‘mysteries’ that distract us from it.
Every time I think I have a handle on what that trauma is, it deepens and broadens itself, encompassing a wider gyre. There is a question that opens here about the nature of time that necessarily entails asking after the particular shape time takes in relationship to human consciousness. Part of the temporal patterns of repetition have their roots in an inability to confront our culpability in suffering, that we repeat certain patterns precisely because we use them as a form of distraction, a dream from which we dread waking. There is a hint of Freud in this, but in many ways Freud performs this distraction more than he is able to grasp it.
Fiscal responsibility is one of those earthly virtues, no doubt, but when it comes to understanding our present moment in history, we have to grasp that money is a fire. While we have inherited a tradition of tarot interpretation that joins money as coins to the suit of earth, money in late- to crumbling capitalism belongs to wands, to passion, to control. While money can, well-used, provide the means for acquiring and cultivating our patch of earth, the fire is always in the roots and capable of flaring up to consume our homes, both in the literal and extended senses of the term.
Think about this when you bring money to the graveyard. You are bringing fire with you, you are heating up the dead, summoning them forth to take form in the crux of your desires. Do this often, do this in a place where you do not have roots, and what are you doing but stoking the flames that will consume you life? Without fire we will surely die, but without caution fire will destroy us and all that for which we care.
The way in which fan fiction operates may serve as a case study for understanding the way in which the klippot can function, specifically as the klippot of a specific operation that can take place under the auspices of the sefirot Yesod. Let me see if I can walk you through my reasoning.
So, The Get Down. There are some subtle but persistent magical themes going on in the narrative. There are the top-hatted alien and minor characters with names like ‘Thor’*; there is the tension between ecstasy and devotion**; but right now I want to point out the way art, history, and music play out as aspects of time (magic).
I have seen a couple of interesting posts on Stranger Things and I like each of them for the way they use the film as a jumping off point, as an opportunity to shine a light on other things. I don’t know if I have a terribly thoughtful response, but I do have a series of (mostly) coherent thoughts and observations that I’ll share here.
I have been enjoying this new album a lot. By way of introduction, you can read a little about the album’s inception over here. The album aims to fuse the musicality of the spirituals and blues with that of metal and it achieves that on melodic, rhythmic, lyrical, and thematic terms.
“Sometimes the answers just come in the mail.
And one day you get that letter you’ve been waiting for forever.
And everything it says is true.
And then in the last line it says: burn this.”
—Laurie Anderson, “Same Time Tomorrow”
At the end of one of my synchronicity chains this last week is a video, “Let’s Dance,” by the late great David Bowie. I’ve shared it recently, so I won’t link it again here, but I want to talk about it more. In doing so, I want to talk about it in a strange way, as a complex spiritual sign, as if the whole video were being taken up and spoken as a spiritual message. I don’t necessarily want to assert that the video was originally intended to be that message, only that like any message, like any set of words, it can be taken up and given new meaning according to the context in which it is spoken. In other words, I only mean to say that it can be used to mean what I am saying here, not that Bowie or the director intended it to mean what I say here.