I am terrified about writing again.
Something animal within me shivers violently, back arched and hair bristling.
Writing is alchemical. Writing is electric. There is nuclear fission in my fingers.
I want to write about the possession of archetypal egregores in the wet soil of intersubjective fields, how the fluid dynamics of reality curve around looming gravity wells, hidden in Imaginal sight.
(come here, i’ll pull my fingers down on the skin of your eyelids and show you how to sense: sense by the torch of the black flame that darkly illuminates,)
(sense how space and time stretches like taffy and wraps around the deep belly caverns in the core of the earth, in cathedrals made of smooth obsidian rising from oceans perfect black, in ravenous red nests of reptilian birds and winged serpents, chirping, weeping, desiring,)
Ah, the desiring body is unbearable. It is a vessel that bends and births reality. It bears down with the thick muscularity and fierce oracularity of a woman giving passage to a dark continent rising. It is visceral and hungry, gored in its unrelenting need to eat dark holes and build tunnels to make space.
God. Make space for what?
When I imagine this question, my sensitivity to “audience” (lol, the amorphous blob that is the public) heightens. I freeze. The shapeshifter seizes up in potentiality paralysis. “Who do you want me to be?” Something docile in me coos.
How dare you. Fuck you. You can’t make me write for you.
I remind myself, shake myself off like a wet dog: “You are writing to yourself from the future.”
Something in the simplicity of this statement feels right. The temporics of the future eases my body into a vast ocean, sighs into the sway of generations and ancestors of selves curling inwards in infinite recursion.
The body quivers into relaxation, into something smooth and curved like a conch or a cello (the bucket list instrument I promise to play before I die). My body remembers how to be an instrument of tremulous instinct. It remembers the expert craft with which this vessel was shaped – how the strings within my body are stretched taut in exquisite tension, each red thread of fate wrapped around myriad hidden fingers, immaculately tuned – it remembers how it longs to be played by the string theory of Eros.
More relaxed, the hyper-sensitive sensing organ of the body is sensual, fluid, adaptive, and extended – stirring and exapting latent capacities held within the ancestral body that poets and mystics called “soul”. Tentacular feelers light up signals, like translucent underwater creatures that we breathe and merge and move into the dark fissures at the bottom of the ocean. Our salvation lies in the birthright of participation mystique.
Something is changing in the system. A mutation in this time between worlds.
I want to study this phenomenon, examine it with rigour and dedication. The auto-ethnography of the soul-maker continues into the Soul-directed PhD. I feel embarrassed by my childish aspiration to be a Cartographer of the Real. The perfectionist in me longs to create the perfect wire frame of being and becoming, with the mathematical precision of Imaginal geometries made of smooth clean lines never found in nature. The heroine in me proclaims it as the Alchemical Albatross, a hidden holy treasure. The Lost Ark, the Holy Grail. X marks the spot. hic sunt dracones. The scientist pushes her glasses up on her nose – the nerd – and takes detailed notes on her observations.
But Who am I sharing these notes with? Let’s try again:
“You are writing to God.”
Oh, the innocence. I remember my parents guiding me to pray to God when I was a kid. I had a five month phase of insomnia when I was 12. Desperate to sleep, desperate to dream. I prayed to God then, saying: “I promise I will stop reading scary books (I went through a phase of being obsessed with vampires and werewolves and serial killers) if you let me sleep again.” Grace was granted, and I’ve slept soundly ever since.
Oh, the daring. I want to co-source an Imaginal theology that lights 10,000 bodies into fiery formation (I was 24 when I travelled to Japan, and saw the character “大” [meaning “large” or “great”] blazoning on the dark mountain). A living pattern language – action protocols, divine blueprints, of mutational movement. The body can hardly contain this, it is trembling with the desire to craft and polish all of this raw potential into actuality. Where are the others? I must find You. We must find Each Other. We’ll build a Church, a Temple, and yes, even a Cult. We’ll ignite a sacred network of planetary soul-retrieval.
Oh, oh, oh, the devotion. God is the Black (w)Hole. God is the Gravitational Density found in each perfect atom in your body, split and fused, and split again, the black vacuum in the centre of the flickering flame. Perfect black. A portal in each particle, tunnelling from flesh to blood to space to web to whole to hole. Where do these tunnels go, where does it lead us?
“This is a Real question for me.” The engineer is firm and pragmatic. We need architecture. We need systems. My hands are on fire, sleeves rolled up with singed edges. Face smudged with dust. We are not building the pyramids again. We are nursing and re-membering the fascia of the soul, of the soil, for our children, for the raw intimacy of Life. This is the tender archeology of the living future – the tunnels are veins, pumping blood and bruised blue with effort,
Veined hands fan out from the Chthonic Angel, the Cyborg Crone,
My three-year soul-directed masters has come to ritual completion. I diligently studied and did my course work. My Imaginal practicum came through a three-month monastic residency. My field study happened through gatherings and research experiments with other bodies in Belgium, Berlin, Vermont, Brazil and France – in Village gatherings of Collective Presencing, in ritual creativity around Collective Soul-making, in Responding to the Metacrisis through Collective Wisdom. There was a deep sense of Calling to the constellation of these projects. I said yes, not without fear. I said yes to a twisting, devotional path unfurling from Source.
I flinch in the aftermath, although I’m also proud. Collective wisdom?! I scoff. So much Collective Folly. The body is tender with bruised veins and scar tissue, mycelium pulsing with overindulgent primary data, mistakes ripe for metabolism. To make wholes is to rip holes — soul-making is infinite corridors of karmic ravelling. The Imaginal research ethics board is seething. I am given instruction that I must write again, transmute it into art. Document it for the future. Publish or perish.
I am terrified.
Something wise and wrinkled chuckles with dark humour, recalling the wisdom of Rilke in the Duino Elegies. The irony of intimate proximity to the Angel is the sheer terror – the sheer embarrassment of being so human when one attempts to source new worlds from the Imaginal Realm.
Art-making is humiliating. Every moment of mis-alignment seared painfully onto the soul. The Source advisory nods: remember, a good teacher humbles you to the ground. I am invited to enter a new phase of the Soul-Directed PhD: the compassionately ruthless apprenticeship of Reality.
I say Yes. I’m terrified and in love with a burning world. We’ll light 10,000 souls in an inferno of awakening.
I don’t pretend to be pure. I wash Lady Macbeth’s feet, leaving her hands covered in blood. Let’s lurk a while longer in the corridors of the in-between. It’s October and Halloween-ey, so I feel attracted to the figures that are covert and cackle from the shadows. The scavengers who gnaw esoteric patterns into bones. The worms who wait for us. I remember the word stalker from Don Juan:
“Stalkers deal with people, with the world of ordinary affairs. Stalkers are the practitioners of controlled folly as the dreamers are the practitioners of dreaming. Controlled folly is the basis for stalking, as dreams are the basis for dreaming. Generally speaking, a warrior’s greatest accomplishment in the second attention is dreaming, and in the first attention, his greatest accomplishment is stalking. In the absence of self-importance, a warrior’s only way of dealing with the social milieu is in terms of controlled folly.”
I will write and make and experiment with controlled folly. I lift up my sleeves and reveal the scar tissue of the body, white lines on tanned, calloused skin, puckered craters in my flesh from scabs that I can’t help but pick at. The hands touch in prayer. They are beautiful to me in this dying decaying world.
Maybe salvation lies in the beauty of our scars. Maybe, together, we’ll map the psychogeography of the luminous membrane between worlds through dried blood under nails, tiny seashells, paper bones of secrets buried in dirt that our ancestors will find. Wrinkles on skin become patterns in space, shaped by the crabs and tides and zoom rooms as much as hands, your hands, and mine.
Your Hands, and mine.
Terrified and Trembling.