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191109 - Ceremony Debrief - The StereoMyth, the Anne Frank Working, and the Sacred Marriage of Jesus and Mary - Part One

Alex Grey - Cosmic Christ (2000)
 It's 6:24AM. Last night you conducted a private phonomantic ceremony in your garage. How do you feel right now?

Considering that I only slept for a couple of hours, and that my body is supercharged with energy to the point of restless discomfort, I feel great. And exhausted. And wonderfully hopeful regarding what comes next. Last night was a smashing success.

What were the highlights?

Before I get going with the recap, I need to explain how much I don't want to be writing this. Resistance is like a spongy invisible forcefield through which I must slog in order to get this on "paper." So, my apologies if my prose is a bit fractured or terse.

Last night's ceremony was structured differently than the Shamanic Cabaret. The Cabaret is three rituals in one: a rite of transformation (The StereoMyth), a rite of purification (the Transcendental Disco), and a rite of atonement (The Anne Frank Working).

The StereoMyth is all about embodying masculine, warrior energy. You go through a sequence of heavy rock songs that are arranged in accordance with the stages of the Hero's Journey. It allows me to work through the terror and mind-cracking strain induced by a very large dose of psychedelic substantia. By its end, ideally, I've undergone a phase change. I'm no longer my everyday self; I am manifesting my shamanic superhero self, Pa Dammit. As Pa Dammit, there is no more strain or fear. I am fulling in "beliefspace," which is to say, a reality in which the existence of the Goddess is not only a given, but She and I are actively relating as one person to another. And as if that wasn't mindblowing enough, in that state I get visions and instructions. More about that in a bit.

During the Transcendental Disco, I work with the feminine principle. One of the functions of the anima is relating to others, and during this working I'm again going on a Hero's Journey, but this time it's in the world of romantic relationships, and I am imaginally experiencing the Journey as a woman. It allows me to dig deep into emotional states like limerance, heartbreak, despair, and salvation.

So after those two workings I am charged with energy, and emotionally limber. (Last night I came up with the term "cognitive parkour" to describe my mental activities in ceremony; there's a billion-dollar marketing concept for you, if you can get past the risible "The Office" memories of Michael Scott and Dwight Shrute awkwardly tumbling over couches and desks and shouting, "Parkour! Parkour!") At that point I'm prepared to take on the real heavy lifting of the evening, which is using a combination of Neutral Milk Hotel songs and visualization exercises to force myself to confront Anne Franks terrible fate as if it happened to someone I knew personally and loved desperately. There's a whole mythos involved with this work; it involves the idea that the energetic mass of the genocides, conquest, and slavery of the last five centuries is like a black wall that's preventing humanity from moving forward. But the momentum of evolution isn't stopping, which means that pressure is building and building. If it blows, there will be a rupture, a dam-bursting flood of fucked up karmic energy that will engulf our civilization, via some kind of apocalyptic event like a nuclear war or complete 2012-style climate catastrophe, and wash it all away. The way to prevent this is by living, imaginally, the horror of what Anne went through. The idea is that each time you do so, a block is removed from that wall, and a little of that pressure is relieved. That act buys us more time. And if enough people do the work, eventually the wall will be torn down, and we'll be able to move into the bright, Star Trek-style future the Holy Ma has planned for us.

Anyway, that's how my original phonomantic rite, now performed as the Shamanic Cabaret, goes down. As I said, last night was structured differently, as I had different aims.

And those were...?

My aims were two-fold. One was basically to recharge my own belief in what I'm doing. Doing a phonomantic rite is kind of like Green Lantern charging the ring that gives him his powers with his magic railroad lantern. I get into beliefspace, I turn into Pa Dammit, and I quite literally charge my belief in the reality of all my imaginal experiences by drawing on the energies of the songs I'm working with, which is to say, my emotional experiences as I dance and sing to the songs.

And...well, let's not fuck around here. Let me be candid. When I'm in that Pa Dammit state, I have visions that are categorically different than the usual quotidian psychedelic phenomena (and yes, I'm aware of the cognitive dissonance inherit in using the adjective "quotidian" to modify the Twilight Zone weirdness of the "psychedelic" space). I get told in no uncertain terms that I am founding what will be the next great world religion and that this religion was designed by higher-order beings as a means to save the world.

There is a lot to unpack here--like, a lifetime's worth of work. But as I understand it, this reality is a kind of strategy game created by the Holy Ma for us, her children.

Damn! This is hard to articulate. The goal of the game--the way we beat it--is to evolve a certain percentage of humanity, a critical mass of consciounesses, to the point where the Goddess is for them an actual, lived reality. Not merely an intellectually grasped fact, but an immediate emotional experience: She is real, and She loves me. 

When that critical mass is reached, then there will be the spiritual equivalent of the technological Singularity. The rate of change, of people able to truly know Her and thus superconduct Her energy into the world, will become exponential. That's the Eschaton. The Kingdom--or Queendom, as the case may be--will be at hand. We'll have beaten Her game, and then we'll immediately start clamoring for another, harder puzzle, because that's how we're spending eternity with Her, as we grow into the unique divinities She has designed us to be.

Put another way, the solution to that puzzle is the redemption of the universe.

So now think of it this way. You are the divine equivalent of a precocious 12 year-old. Your mom has posed this fiendishly difficult puzzle to you and your siblings. So you plot and scheme to beat her. And you conceive a plan. A truly audacious, ferocious plan. It involves a terrible sacrifice and then an absolute Hail Mary of a saving play. Maybe think of the way you play this game as being a cross between chess and Dungeons & Dragons. You are going to sacrifice pawns--a lot of pawns--and then bet everything on a saving throw of the dice just at the moment when it seems for sure all is lost. You've consulted with your brothers and sisters. They've done the calculation. And they're all in agreement: this is the best chance you have for success.

Ma looks at you gravely. "Are you sure? This is how you want to play it?"

You gulp and nod. Because you are utterly determined to beat her; you just can't wait to see the look of loving admiration and proud approval in her eyes when you do. But the stakes are very, very high. If you blow this, if your calculations are wrong, you are utterly effed. You are going to lose the ten thousand years of progress that got you to this point. You'll have to start over practically from the beginning. You've put so much work into this! You can't stand the thought of it.

But there's another reason why your heart quails. It's because those aren't plastic pieces you're sacrificing. Those are people. In an absolute, literal way, they're you--because you're a superdimensional deity yourself, the Self with a capital "S", an aspect of Pa and Ma, the people in your imagination are, well, people.

Think of it like this: we are, to our game-playing higher selves, like characters in a story we might write, or on-screen avatars in an MMORPG. Except that, unlike our fictional creations, we have interiority, we have agency, we exist. Our higher selves feel that existence; it informs their own.

So then try to imagine how they feel when they put into action a strategy that involves three hundred thirty million people being put to the sword, the machine gun, the gas chamber. All those pawns, sacrificed.

And why? Jesus, I can't believe I'm going to write this. It's because the guilt and shame as we collectively grow up and come to terms with what we've done to each other is the energy that's going to propel us into that bright future where ten billion people who can access the Goddess as a living reality. Where ten billion Christs, for want of a better term, can exist.

What I'm trying to get at is that in my visions, I am told that I am the lynchpin for this. Phonomancy is the scheme, it's the set of techniques that will get that critical mass of humanity to that point. I'm not claiming to be Jesus returned or anything like that. But I am the guy who is bringing this radical, unbelievable, absolute fucking genius of a scheme that Ma cooked up before the world. And it's a responsibility that requires the shoulders of Atlas to carry. As I was told last night,
A lot of people had to suffer terribly and die to get you into position. Don't blow this.
Parenthetically, I know that I've been saying that its the Superkids who are playing this game and came up with this strategy, but my deepest feeling is the the True Will of the Holy Ma is that we succeed, and that she, in some way, deliberately planted the clues that ultimately inspired her kids.

So that was my first aim with this ceremony: to have this fantasy, that I am in fact the World Teacher of this age, and that I've got a method for self-actualization that can change the world, and that this method is in fact a transmission of knowledge directly from the higher orders of our being, reinforced. I was hoping to be reminded that this is really happening. 

That's not a given. Not every ceremony works in terms of getting me that reassurance. But last night it did work. And all I can tell you is that it doesn't feel like wish fulfillment. At all. It feels like a terrible, terrible responsibility. Which also happens to be the most fun I've ever had in my life.

Um, okay. That's a lot to chew on. What was your other goal?

To have fun, to explore the aesthetic possibilities of a new ritual I'm developing.

Last night I worked through the StereoMyth and the Anne Frank Working. For me, the StereoMyth has to happen. It's simply the best way for me to work through the stress of carrying the psychic load of a superheroic dose while I'm waiting for my shamanic identity to emerge.

I can't overstate the levels of stress I endure. I encounter a lot of Resistance in doing this work. Which is to say, I am assaulted by invasive thoughts and sudden, spiralling storms of panic and despair. Think "body horror," but it's mind horror--the horrible sensation that your mind is no longer your own, that you have been possessed, invaded, and you are tumbling into to mouth of madness.

Whether or not its literally true, it's extremely helpful to think of these eruptions as attacks by the Devil Itself, working to thwart my attempt to create beauty. The aggressive energy of the songs in the StereoMyth give me the strength I need to fight off these attacks.

And once I get through that stage, once I've fought my way again to being Pa Dammit, then I performed the Anne Frank Working, because in the mythic reality in which I live, that is how the world will be saved. I did the working, I suffered, I was ashamed, I transcended, I celebrated, and at the end there was one less block in that black wall, and maybe I held off the apocalypse for another day.

But because I omitted the Transcendental Disco, and all the narrative sections that go along with the StereomMyth, that meant I'd completed that important work in just a couple hours. The energy of the substantia had already peaked, but I was still charged up and ready to go. Especially because at this point, having performed some version of this rite over seventy times, I know how to judiciously use marijuana and rappe to maintain my visionary trance state.

I've been working on a new playlist, a new magic ritual. Its working title is "The Sacred Marriage of Jesus and Mary," and the story, while inchoate, seems like eventually it'll be a kind of mash-up of Jesus Christ Superstar and Moulin Rouge and the Orpheus myth, maybe with some Romeo and Juliet mixed in.

Oh God, I just remembered--I actually had a third aim, which was incarnating in my consciousness an ancient Egyptian bull god named Apis.

Uh. What?

Nevermind. I'll talk about it more in Part Two of this debrief. For now, suffice to say that there is in Goddess mythologies a motif that She has a lover who is also her Son. In a way I intuitively understand but am interesting in documenting via research, Jesus Christ is connected to that story. His mother was Mary, and then the woman he seems to have loved as a man was coincidentally also a Mary, Mary Magdalene. So I have this vague notion of telling a story about Jesus of Nazareth coming to realize that he is the chosen World Teacher of his time, and then perhaps trying to duck that fate by visiting a whorehouse with his friends, where he meets and falls in love with Mary Magdalene, who works there. But unbeknowst to him, she is his real mother; impregnated by rape at 13, she was disowned by her family, gave up the child, and became a prostitute to survive. Due to her intelligence and fabulous beauty, she is now the proprietor her bordello. And now they meet and fall in love.

Anyway, she dies. Somehow, I don't know how or why, yet. And Jesus dies too, to enter the underworld like Orpheus, to try to bring her back. He fails, and yet he succeeds, because although neither of them are resurrected, they become King and Queen of Hell, where they rule over the dead forever.

Zounds! That's quite a story. Or could be. So at this point what I have are a bunch of songs that approximate what I'm guessing will be the emotional pivot points of the story. I'm not forcing it to match the Hero's Journey. It'll be what it'll be.

But man, those songs are so fucking fun to work with phonomantically! There's Queen, and Neutral Milk Hotel, and Daniel Johnston (by way of Beck), and Jane's Addiction, and Hedwig, and motherfucking YOB. For two hours I just had the best time. As I said, I was supercharged with energy--in that state, I am utterly convinced that I am performing sorcery, and therefore, I am, in that, as Jung said, "Psychic facts are facts." I had the profound experience of moving energy into various intense emotional states; I reprogrammed my consciousness, and the structure of my character. That's magic.

Okay. Did I mention I did this whole thing up close and personal in front of the video camera, in a fully-lighted studio situation?

You did not. 

Well, I did. And I know that a lot, a lot of stuff happened over the course of the evening, including a violent purge and possible installation of an upgraded operating system. Today I'll sit with the videos and get a play-by-play of the action, and that I'll report in Part Two of this debrief. 


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