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How to Train With the Phonomantic Rite - Part 1: Uh, What is It?


This is a transcript of the first of a series of videos that will explain how to train with the First Church of David Bowie Phonomantic Rite.

Well hey! I’m Pa Dammit, and today I’m going to cover some basic concepts. But first, a little background.

In the summer of 2017, I had a series of intense visionary experiences in which I downloaded the metaphorical schematics for a religion of the science fictional future. The central ceremony of this religion was something I’ve come to call entheotainment, meaning “a theatrical spectacle designed to create in its audience an apprehension of the sacred.” At one point in my visions I saw a sold-out stadium, tens of thousands of people, singing and dancing along with a stage show that was like a cross between the Cirque du Soleil and old-school Van Halen.

But they weren’t just watching the show—they all had roles to play. Their participation was vital to its success. And every one of them, I was given to understand, was on a heroic dose of the substantia.

Substantia is the Latin word for substance. I used it as a euphemism for my psychedelic medicine of choice.

So yeah, they were tripping balls, but they were also able to conduct themselves with perfect self-control and focus their attention on their tasks. If their inner experience took a difficult turn, they knew how to handle it. They didn’t let their private travails impose on any else’s experience. They kept their shit together and soldiered on until the job was done.

When I tried to imagine a society that could produce so many people who were so disciplined, yet also wild and adventurous to take part in such an outlandish practice, and knew that was where I wanted to live. So for the last three and a half years I’ve been trying to put those plans I downloaded into action. I wanted to help create that future.

I developed a prototype entheotainment I call the First Church of David Bowie Shamanic Cabaret.

Entheotainment is based on a practice I call phonomancy.

Phonomancy is the art and science of entering visionary states of consciousness via a combination of high dose substantia, meditation techniques, and singing and dancing along to your favorite songs.

People have long known that music can have a profound effect on one’s psychedelic experience. Phonomancy takes it a step further by recognizing that it’s not the music so much as how the music makes you feel that affects you. The stronger the feeling, the deeper you go. To perform phonomancy is to use music to consciously, intentionally amplify specific emotions states in order to access higher planes of existence and communicate with the entities one encounters there. In short, with enough practice, you can talk one-on-one with the deity of your choice.

A phonomantic rite is a series of acts of phonomancy. It’s a way to structure a psychedelic experience by imposing upon it a narrative structure.

Narratives are essentially emotional experiences set in a particular order. A good narrative provides catharsis—that it, it builds a tension of strong emotions, and then offers the relief of release.

A good example of narrative structure is the Hero’s Journey. That term might be familiar to you from books like Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth. The Hero’s Journey is a template that forms the basis for stories from many times and places, from the Greek myth of Jason and the Golden Fleece, to the American myth of Luke Skywalker and the Force.

For each stage of the Hero’s Journey, there is a related emotion. It starts with boredom or humdrum mundanity, then segues into the surprise and excitement of being called on a quest, then moves into wonder as you enter a new, unsuspected, magical world, and etc.

In its original conception, the phonomantic rite was a Spotify playlist—songs that inspired specific kinds of emotional response, which I ordered according to the Hero’s Journey. There was a part that was all heavy rock music; I called that the StereoMyth. There was a part that was almost all pop songs with female vocalists—that was the Transcendental Disco. And then there was a part called the “Anne Frank Working” that was based on the songs of an indie band called Neutral Milk Hotel. I’ll go into detail about these in subsequent videos.

The net result of going through all these emotions in sequence is, as I mentioned, cathartic. When you experience catharsis on a high dose of substantia, you are launched into in a headspace where God is an absolute, unquestionable reality.

If the term God makes you uncomfortable, feel free to substitute your term of choice—the Divine Mind, Brahman, the Void, Transcendent Reality, whatever. But let’s be clear on one point: you are an aspect of It, not the other way around. And in one sense, it’s utterly alien, omniscient but as uncaring of you as you are of an epidermal cell deep in the crack of your ass. But in another, it is a Person, you are Its favorite thing in all existence, and it want very much to communicate with you.  

That experience is the ultimate goal of every real religion. It’s the most profound experience you can have.

It was in this state that I received the plans for how I could make this available to others, with the specific goal of ultimately finding a way we could do it together, in public, and start laying the groundwork for realizing that vision of the future I’d had.

The first time I tried to get other people to perform this phonomantic rite with me, I realized they were having a hard time figuring out what the target emotion of each song was.  So I started improvising a story that served as an explanation.

Eventually I filmed myself reciting this narrative, and made music videos for each song that contained images that were intended to reinforce the participants’ ability to hit the target emotions. These were gathered into a series of movies that are the foundation of my public-facing version of the phonomantic rite, which I call the First Church of David Bowie Shamanic Cabaret.

But they can also be used when working solo. Under the correct conditions, they’ll deliver an experience that’s like a cross between the Ludovico Technique from A Clockwork Orange and the super soldier creation process from the movie Captain America.

I’m not kidding. It’s incredibly intense. Do not attempt this if you have any history of mental illness, or if you have any doubts about your courage or adaptability. Consider yourself warned.

But! If you do try it out, like it, and then practice regularly with this version of the phonomantic rite, you will develop what I only half-jokingly refer to as “cognitive superpowers.” And you’ll be on your way to becoming a shamanic superhero, the kind of highly self-actualized individual the world is going to need if we’re to survive the trials to come during the next couple hundred years.  

I’ve uploaded these movies to YouTube for anyone to use. You can find the playlists on my YouTube channel. And so that’s why I’m making these instructional videos: I want you to understand how to use them correctly in order to achieve the promised results.

I also want to promote a broader concept: that with proper preparation and progression, you can learn to use psychedelics skillfully. You can actively bend the psychic and somatic energies they unleash toward realizing your own specific goals. In so doing, you are effectively training as a shaman.

That’s the last thing I want to say today: if we as a society are going to work with psychedelics, we’re going to need to evolve a shamanic method. One based in our own culture, not simply aping the practices of others. We need to do this because psychedelics eventually reveal that there’s much more to the world than our current materialist worldview admits. We live in a psychic ecology, an endless ocean of consciousness, and like in any ocean there’s all kind of flora and fauna, and some of them want to eat you.

As I define it, shamanism is a series of techniques that allow you to access other levels of reality, deal with what you find there, and create change back here in the every day world, whether that means summoning rain, healing someone's stomach ailments, or returning with transformational ideas.  

Shamanism is not just for our brothers and sisters in the Peruvian jungle or the Siberian steppe. It’s a universal human capacity. It’s ultimately just learning the means to safely navigate those lovely and treacherous waters. My work is not intended to be the last word, just an initial contribution to that development effort.

Doh, I lied. One more thing: all this is a phonomantic rite. I’ve begun developing another, and I fully expect others to invent their own. I want them to. I want artists to piece together phonomantic rites based on their own tastes and experience, and then package them for public consumption as entheotainments, so that others can experience, for a little while, the Divine the way they do. I imagine a future in which on any given Saturday night, one could go into a night club that is also a church and have a mind-blowing experience of the sacred—one as unique as the person who created it.

Got all that? Okay. That’s the end of Part 1. If you’re interested in learning more, be on the lookout for Part 2, in which I’ll explain some of the terms I use, and the unique spin I occasionally put on existing terms.


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