Posts Tagged With: inspiration

The Orobouros and the Alt Right

I had been reading in Julius Evola’s book, the  Hermetic Tradition, about the Alchemical image of the Orobouros—the snake biting it’s own tail.  I first tried to tackle this ponderous work some 20 years ago, after I saw that Carl Jung cited it as source material for his classic book, Psychology and Alchemy.  I again returned to it recently when I’d heard that the alt right was greatly influenced by Evola’s dark, cyclical view of history, as well as his particular brand of arcane, spiritual racism.
I then saw an article by Maureen Dowd, who compared Donald Trump to the Orobouros.  I took this synchronicity as sign I should further meditate on this ancient image of western esotericism as a way to gain a more holistic view of a dangerously polarized political landscape which loomed beyond the hermetically sealed world of the dogfish Bay Marina.
Dowd writes of 45’s isolation by an inner circle who shelter him against the verities of the exterior world, parrot his mad ejaculations, and compound his delusional paranoia.  She evokes the Orobouros to point out his self -destructive qualities.
This mandala has long been contemplated by spiritual adepts who sought awakening to ultimate truth of Unity.  Evola says it represents not so much a philosophical concept as much as a state beyond the dichotomies of I and not-I, inside and outside.  According to the literature, the full realization of this state is the “first matter of the wise.”
In the tradition, this unitary awareness is the beginning of the great work.  But in Evola’s dark, elitist, and apocalyptic elaboration, this work is a cyclic process that, after ages of decline brought about by egalitarianism, multi-culturalism, and democratic “leveling,” heralds the triumphant return of the golden age.  He views history as a cycle of degeneration and regeneration which turns in a series toward its ultimate realization in the re-establishment of a hyper-masculine, solar king which dawns only after violent revolution upsets the status quo.  The losers swept up in this upheaval are expendable, and quaint notions like charity, love, and compassion are jettisoned for the profits of a corporate elite.  Evola may have attained some degree of genuine insight into the spiritual truth expressed by the Orobouros, as well as to how that essential unity is not obstructed by its infinite manifestations (dharmas) in the field of space and time.  Evola studied the Pali cannon of the Hinayana (lesser vehicle) Buddhism, which focuses on self liberation from the cycles of existence (Samsara.)  In contrast, the Mahayana (greater vehicle) stressed the cultivation of loving kindness as not only ethical, but the means by which we awaken to the ultimate truth of essential unity even while working to aleviate suffering in the relative world of Samsara.
  As long as we have not realized that the mode of being of our mind resides in the union of relative truth and absolute truth—a realization that corresponds to awakening—these two truths are seen as separate instead of being seen in their original unity.
Bokar Rimpoche
From the viewpoint of ultimate truth, the dichotomy between positive and negative lacks reality, but from the perspective of relative truth, the karmic results of negative actions are inevitable.  The cultivation of loving kindness is essential until ultimate truth is realized.
  This fundamental split between the two understandings of the unitary state—symbolized by the Orobouros– is reflected in the polarized debates surrounding health care and immigration. Republicans seem to champion only the needs of those inside the adamant circumference of racial and economic privilege.
  One of the strangest aspects of our rancorous, political debate is how these venerable teachings are spun by intellectuals of the alt right; and how Evola’s  brand of spiritual fascism provides ideological cover for the rise of global fascism.
Categories: Books I love, Musings, politics, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Alchemy of Bird Poop

The real mystery does not behave mysteriously, but speaks a secret language.

                                                                       –Carl Gustav Jung20160919_101939.jpg

Bird poop is the Prima Materia of the opus, the alpha and omega of the great work of the philosophers.  Transmuted and transfigured by the alchemical fire in the sealed retort of the adepts, the excretions of our winged brethren reveal the grand pageant of creation on the microcosmic scale.  I shall endeavor to elucidate the arcana of avian excrement and thereby elevate my humble office of brush bearer to that of high art; to seek amid the white glyphs that adorn the docks a sign that might illuminate secrets of a hidden world.20160504_183526

 

Bird poop is the mother of all elements, without beginning, existent from all eternity and mixed with the handful of primal earth Adam brought forth from Eden.  It is found always and everywhere.  It contains the Divine presence in the obdurate whiteness of its adamantine– and often goopy–reality.  It is both the beginning and end of the great work, the primal ooze from which the aspirant takes flight into the rarefied spheres of heavenly gnossis.

This post is the first in a series logging my daily circumambulation, bearing the broom of my high office.  The broom is the emblem of adepts, the standard of those who seek the philosopher’s stone among the crustacean beasties that reign over the intertidal zone.

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The Selkies of Dogfish Bay

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Old Hand’s Voyage to the Babylonian Theme Park

The bewitching breezes wafting from  the intermediate zone that had vexed our northerly course along the bleak, rocky coast gave way to an absolute calm as we stood off the rank harbor of Virtual Babylon.  It was as though the anchorage were under the spell of some vengeful deity that held the stagnant seaport in irons-a fitful sleep of waking dream.

McWhirr called from the wheelhouse:

“All right, Mister Spencer.”

I let go the anchor. The silence was broken by a low rumble as I paid out 3 fathoms of chain into the muddy bottom of Moloch Bay.

After 2 weeks of foul headwinds and devilishly flukey breezes, we were ready to don shore-going rig for a nice row to an ancient, stone pub at the head of a dilapidated wharf to splice, as they say, the proverbial main-brace.

The melancholy treble of a loon-bot echoed over the still anchorage as McWhirr sat in the bows of the skiff brooding upon the lurid, crimson sea. Not wanting to disturb his meditations, I rowed on.

I’d heard Saturnius McWhirr was a pious man of Quaker stock who had fallen into some branch of the Zoroastrian persuasion. Or was it some Sufic offshoot of Shi’ism whose adherents await the 12th Imam’s return and wander the storm-wracked shores of this world seeking some vestige of a golden age–a relic safeguarded from the literalist creed by occult signs that can be decoded only in the secret halls of pure imagination?

Be that as it may, McWhirr gazed into the offing as the violet light of dusk fell over his weathered brow and said:

“I first heard of the Babylonian Theme Park when but a nipper on my grandfather’s knee. He told me of the Neo-Art Exhibition, the wonders of the Pharmaceutical Pavilion and how he touched the robe of the King of Wall-mart. He told me yarns of how it’s foundations had first been laid in the 21st Century by drones captured during the great cyber wars.”

“But,” continued McWhirr with a tone of caution, “he also told a darker tale. He said the streets were paved with sorrow, the walls built with the grief of mothers who toiled over an illusory harvest, it’s ramparts manned by desiccated souls who invested all their goods in the virtual fun-house of Mammon.”

“Yes sir,” I said though, in my green youth, I could scarce fathom the depths of his narration..

We landed the skiff and walked the cobbled street toward the the ancient, stone pub. Soon, my attention was caught by the droning whirr of something hovering overhead.

Could this be one of the fabled harpies that had long plagued unwary mariners who sail these latitudes–these droning machines of evil and ubiquitous surveillance that kill with rockets as well as with the bland, droning sameness that reduces our citizenry to penile servitude to the sexless god of materialism?

McWhirr drew his cutlass and, slashing at the malignant thing,  thundered:

“Get thee hence, instrument of Satan!”

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The Circulation of the Light

Friday Harbor is a busy port with boats, ferries and float planes coming and going at a frantic rate. I sit in the Bean Cafe with other hyper-connected wayfarer’s, tapping away at my quaint laptop, churning out this news dispatch from the Salish Sea.friday harbor moon

I’ve dialed back on the barrage of bad news endlessly reported by the media industry to make my own, to  shape these fragments– the discombobulated vessel of my prose– into some kind of order.

With the need for quick passages to make the San Juan’s before the full moon I’ve had little time to pause and reflect on the true reason for the voyage.

Scattered among a pile of cheap, tattered composition books are fragments of my attempt to evoke, in written words, the ineffable impulse that draws me ever further toward a north only dimly seen on the drive-in movie screen of my dreams.

Old Hand voyages into the Sea of imagination, over the vertiginous depths of the unconscious. Her course is shaped by a vision glimpsed when I first beheld the vast azure expanse from my dad’s early 50’s station wagon as the Spencer family loudly tooled down Highway 101, fleeing the smog and squalor of L.A.

With my Brother Slim, I would practice the fine art of “body whomping.” It was then I first felt the sea’s loving caress, as well as the thumping shore-pound that handled my young person with all the tender ministrations of Freddy Blassie.

Yay, even Byron penned florid poesy to the green muse of body surfers in his epic Child Harold which, to this very day, remains blissfully unread by yours truly.decept pass

It is this same feeling of ecstatic immersion in the hylic element of Poisidon that pulls me toward a vaguely descried northern way-point. It is a lapis blue vision of eternity seen reflected on the whirling eddies of Deception Pass.  Here and now, at this particular waypoint in time,  I see the abysmal, turbid darkness overlaid by the counter-clockwise circulation of  the divine light.

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Old Reah’s Bulkhead

After a day spent prepping decks and bowsprit for paint, I sip a local sauvignon blanc in the wheelhouse and view the harbor scene. Old Don Reah is building another rock wall on his steep bank, setting boulders to shore the hillside against rising seas. While I admire his fortitude, I’d think he would take a break after nearly 90 years labor on life’s rock pile.reah

Old Hand lies becalmed while flotsam and weed drift slowly past the bow. I submit to the pull and creak of time and hear the low moan of the hawsers pulling against the weathered dock. Sometimes the almost human sounds start me from revery.   It’s seems as if they  were made by the phantom pioneers who lie buried in Kane Cemetary near the harbor entrance.

The thought of old age, sickness and death recalls me to particulars—the cerulean sky opens between massed cumulonimbus over Port Madison where  fledgling osprey arc in widening circles ever farther from their nests. Each year there’s a whole new crop of them, crying loud in their voracious flight in search of fleeting fingerling.

I am reading the biography of Thomas Wolfe. I love the extravagant, melodic rants of this failed playwright who, battling editors, critics and the philistine aesthetes of the the 20’s, went on to write one the great novels of the 20th Century: Look Homeward Angel. It is sad he died before he could haul his semi-fictional cast of Gants, Joyner’s or Webbers across the continent to the seaside town of Port Townsend as he planed. He caught pneumonia while crossing the very same Strait of Juan de Fuca Old Hand will navigate early next month.

But mostly, Thomas Wolfe’s work inspires me to write–to dare imagine that, after 63 years traipsing this wide, sad earth, I may actually have something to say.

Some, it seems, are born to write, to perpetrate effusive, yet judiciously restrained prose upon the citizenry of this steamship earth– writing which plumbs the deepest mysteries and gets at the heart of unshakable truth. But I have no pretensions to profundity and aspire only to create sea stories which might weather the deluge of time and stand as true as Reah’s solid bulkhead.

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NEW PAINTING – THE PHILOSOPHER’S ROSE GARDEN

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Temenos 3

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Temenos 2

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Inland Shrine again

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