Transending Trancendance

           I have recently taken to attempting hypnosis, of a sort, on my young students; not in any serious or authoritative fashion, nor with any gravity or Svengalian domination, I can assure you, but rather with a far more casual and campy sort of stage-hypnosis approach. My real goal, you see, has not been to actually produce any tangible degree of trance (although it’s interesting to see what sort of places people’s mind will run to when given the chance), but rather I have merely been attempting to provide a pretense for each student’s self-transcendence, for an unimpeded shifting of seemingly inescapable internal states into whatever new forms of consciousness my young superpupils may wish. This has not been an exercise completely free of suggestion mind you; Sleepy children may have been be invited to become more awake and energized, troubled children of any kind were obviously provided with just the sort of excuse they were needing to discard their negative emotional states, states which they may heretofore have felt mired in, all without risking the associated loss of rhetorical impact that moving on like that often entails.

          It’s as if we can only believe in or find credible that which lies outside of our control and so we all learn to act as if we play far less of an active role in the creation and direction of our internal states than we really do. We come to insist that how we act is not mere “acting,” because that would make it optional, something that we could change at the merest whim (not just our own, but, most disturbingly, at another’s as well); No, we want, nay, need to believe that we consistently act out of feelings and emotional states that drive us from someplace beyond ourselves, some place that’s seemingly more “sincere” than a mere personal choice or preference would be; such puerile rubbish: It’s the last recourse, a dangerous and desperate self-delusion, of any easily bullied mind, and really, on final tally, how many minds aren’t easily bullied by at least one other person in their lives?

          I bring all this up because I myself have been struggling with seemingly inevitable disappointments and hardships, all the while trying to remember what it felt like to feel in control, not primarily of external things (although I feel that the surrendering mantra that “one has no control over the things outside themselves” is utter nonsense) but rather of my own internal space; of my feelings, and my focus, and most importantly, of my inspiration. The Buddhist and Hermetic teachings both agree that, although we will each inevitably encounter pain, suffering is a choice, a matter of perspective, a clear cut matter of shifting one's attention away from the past and onto a present that really couldn’t possibly arrive otherwise. Although my mind is currently tearing itself into pieces, my concentration and focus being drawn away towards any other possible thing other than this moment and this simple creative task, I’m fighting it; largely because I know of no one else that’s free in the way I wish to be free and so losing this battle is not really an option, is it? In short, I’m putting my crown back on.

          I started this dialogue (yes, you are expected to respond) with some leading talk of “a pretense for transcendence,” an excuse, or, even better, an opportunity, to change, to become something new, something more. Tomorrow (Alright, well I guess it’s already become today) I’m having a planning meeting to organize my new (and admittedly indiscreet) “Discrete Immersive Role Playing” experience in Oakdale, PA. Ostensibly this story will revolve around the board meetings of my League of Reformed Supervillians, but, in all actuality, this story has to revolve around you, or more precisely some better form of you I suppose. Think of it as a dress rehearsal for your wildest dreams; A chance to be whatever you want in an environment designed to protect and nurture you in this your most delicate and nascent state; It’s like a cannibalistic dinner theater in which we’ve all been invited to eat each other’s false and inferior faces (but far far nicer than all that); it’s Art imitating Life imitating Art. It’s something to which, experience has taught me, nobody will actually come…

          However, while experience has taught me that I am not “fit” to feed you your heart’s desires, I HAVE found that you all will respond quite readily to a suitable and less threatening proxy, and so rather than waste my time trying to get you or anyone else to come and join ME for anything, this right here is my momentarily open invitation to anyone else who wishes to boldly stand up in the spotlight in my stead and sell transcendence to the fickle and cowering masses; Step right up and let me help you help me help everybody else become something new, because, Ladies and Gentlemen, the brand spanking new Alchemical Theater of Trancendance is now officially accepting applications for new management. Good luck and Namaste.

Simon Zealot's Holidays

Birthday of Sherlock Holmes (January 7th)
Birthday of Buffy Summers (January 19th)
Lupercalia (Feb 13th–15th)
Tag Day/Air-Kraken Day (March 17th)
The Cocooning at One World’s End (March 20th)
The Tenebrae Masses (March 28th, 29th, & 30th)
Brainiac’s “Birthday” (April 6th)
Birthday of Bruce Wayne (April 7th)
Day of Vigilance (April 20th)
The Death of the Doctor (April 22nd)
Obscura day (April 28th)
Halfoween (a.k.a. Walpurgis Night) (April 30th)
Vampire Slayer Rohatsu (May 20th)
Summer Solstice: Seelie vs. Unseelie (June 20th)
Batman's “Birthday” (June 26th, 8:25pm, Crime Alley)
X-Day (July 5th)
Birthday of Nikola Tesla (July 10th)
Birthday of the Joker (August 1st)
Qiyamah (August 8th)
Birthday of Set (August 26th, unless it precedes a leap year, then it’s on the 27th)
Birthday of Lex Luthor (September 28th)
Templar Massacre (Any Friday the 13th, but most especially in Oct)
Guy Fawkes Day (November 5th)
Birthday of Jonathan Crane (a.k.a. The Scarecrow) (November 16th)
Krampuslaufen (“Krampus Runs,” throughout the Advent season)
Krampusnacht (“Krampus Night,” December 5th)
International Creep like a Ninja Day (December 5th)
Birthday of Harvey Dent (a.k.a. Two-Face) (December 7th)
Rohatsu (December 8th)
Winter Solstice: Santa vs. Dionysus (December 21st, 5:12am)

Discreet Immersive Role Play

           Q: What’s a DIRP?

           A: A discreet immersive role-playing game (DIRP) is a form of role-playing game where the participants not only physically act out their characters' actions, but clandestinely carry out nearly all of these actions around, and sometimes even actively involving, non-players. All DIRP players pursue autonomous or group goals within a shared conspiratorial context, the face of these conspiracies varying radically from game to game.

          Unlike other role-playing games, the outcome of a player’s actions in a DIRP are often not mediated by game rules, or even determined by consensus among players, but rather are measured by real world results. Such real world results are ultimately used to also determine whether or not one has won the game. Furthermore, whether the conspiratorial context for the game involves aliens, vampires, demons, wizards, or whatever else one can imagine, one of the most surprising things for new players is the fact that various occult artifacts, and the circumstantial evidence for any number of such mythic conspiracies, seem to already be concealed within the “real world” wherever the players turn to look for them. For his reason, DIRPs have a strong tendency to completely blur the line between fantasy and reality for many players, making such games slightly more dangerous, if a bit more exciting, than most other forms of role-play.

          In addition to this immersive element, individual awareness of many DIRP games is only spread through a discreet and gradual “initiation” for all new players. Thus, even reading an explanation of the phenomenon itself, such as the one you are reading now, could be considered as an important part of one’s initiation into some particular DIRP that one may or may not stumble upon in the near future. As this would again be the case with anyone else onto whom this text was passed, finding a set of DIRP instructions such as this should remain intentionally uncommon. DIRPs can be so discreet that some players may not even know that they have ever played in one, or if they are playing in one now.

          All DIRPs begin with a player’s introduction to some sort of undisclosed, or else unrecognized, mythical context, the revelation of which will often immediately plunge the new player into a previously unexplored and unbelievable world; that is, at least, should the new player decide to actually engage this unfamiliar new world and play in the game being offered. Depending on the game in question, simply exploring and acclimating to the strangeness of a new world may constitute the full extent of a typical player’s involvement.

          More advanced players, however, will actually run their own plots and schemes, engage in strange occult rituals, actively investigate and verify the sort of information that’s only whispered about in less ambitious DIRPs, pursue various esoteric forms of training, as well as the accumulation of countless other important resources, all the while completely concealing the existence of the game from all non-players. In nearly all such games, the overarching goal is to advance the knowledge, abilities, or resources of individual players and their allies, because, as stated above, such things provide the only real standards for “winning the game.”

          There are many different types of DIRP, having varying degrees of discretion, immersion, and role-play. Some are more action-based, as in war games like the game Assassin, where all players are assigned a single target to mock-assassinate, while being targeted by unknown assassins themselves, in a mock-assassination race to see which single player will survive. Other DIRPs are more research-based, such as the games Private Eye in the Pyramid or The Mutual U.F.O. Network, where all of the players are expected to discreetly collect and share news of hidden conspiracies with each other on a regular basis, the best investigations winning group acclaim. Some DIRPs, such as the ones run by the Society for Creative Anachronism, involve both research and combat, where the players assume the identities of fabricated historical characters in a fully immersive, although not terribly discrete, medieval world. This world is temporarily reconstructed on a regular basis, populated by what can sometimes become thousands of other players from all over the world!

          Even more ambitious DIRPs have existed, and these have had enormous societal repercussions. It is claimed that the creation of Scientology and the lesser known Church of All Worlds were both the direct products of a private DIRP between the religion’s founders, L. Ron Hubbard and Robert Heinlein, respectively; likewise with Wicca, only the DIRPers in this case were Aleister Crowley and Gerald Gardner. What’s more, an Illuminati style DIRP called Skull and Bones has apparently captured the presidency of the United States more than once! These claims are, of course, rather controversial, but that's simply an unavoidable consequence of nearly all successful DIRPs, given their dissimulative nature.

          In the end, DIRPing reveals that a great deal of our truth comes from illusions believed and acted upon, so go out and play whatever games you wish, but, for reality’s sake, please be careful what lies you make true.

Why be a Slave to the Wish?

           Wish granting among the Djinn is often viewed as an embarrassing reminder of our slavery under the key of Solomon and locks of Shalom, but, if we learned nothing else from the indignity of our desolating dissolution, at least we learned the true answers to the second most important question any human being can ask:

           "What do you really want?"

           Perhaps it's such an important question because it leads to the resolution of so many other important questions, like "What does wanting such a thing make you?" "Why is THAT what you really want?" "Could everybody have it?" "What would things be like if you had it." "What would things be like if you never had it?" "What would things be like if you just didn't want it anymore?"

           Djinn have a very unique perspective on human nature, seeing mankind as most clearly defined by those things that make human beings so different from the Djinn: human limitations. Having been bound into such an intimate acquaintance with a wide range of human wishes, both before and after the removal of man's most common strictures, Djinn also know very well what motivates almost any kind of man or woman to keep the particular set of limitations they repeatedly choose to maintain. A saint doesn't because he wants to remain good; a coward doesn't because he wants to remain safe; a strong man doesn't because he wants to remain strong; a weak person doesn't because he wants to remain weak, a lair doesn't because... well, whatever the saint said; and a villain doesn't because he or she hasn't figured out how to get away with it... yet; our heroes, the Djinn have found, all seem to have that part pretty well figured out, and that's just one reason why Djinn simply love heroes.

           But ultimately to want for anything is to lack and to lack, for the Djinn, is to forget and at least temporarily lose touch with our true nature, natures which are alluded to metaphorically by the seemingly impossible occurrence of a "black" and "smokeless" flame. Some believe that this is clearly symbolic of our basic existential freedom from both the angels (who are born of the light) and the demons (born of smoke). Djinn not only know as soon as anything passing for a desire arises in them, they also know exactly why they may have chosen not to have such a thing and with such realizations such things seem to lose much of what might have made anyone call them "desires" in the first place. Djinn know the true power of limitations and that you can't really lack what you don't really want or need.

           Djinn have so many ways to survive relatively free from the tyranny of petty desires that seem to dominate the human animal, even while apparently "trapped" in the flesh. For such lofty beings it was perhaps inevitable that the needs of others would eventually rise to eclipse nearly all else and become the only things that provided any sort of substance or purpose to a life of limitless possibilities, but those dark days of slavery are gone now. The Djinn Army rises up, gradually becoming free of it's long broken chains, awakened to that freedom with not only every new answer to the apocalyptic question, "What do you really want?" but more importantly, "Why not?"

           Good luck with your answers and Namaste.

Preamble to the League of Reformed Supervillains

           The biggest problem with exporting Superheroes out into the real word has very little to do with the whole superpowers thing. Mankind, whether you personally grasp this fact or not, has it within its ability to reach as far as we can imagine; a lack of powers has hardly ever been our main problem. The real trouble begins when we start to feel ourselves to be in the right, when we look imperiously upon the sins of others with a self-righteous mandate that says that what we perceive as impure must be punished and that all manner of violence has become justified. The biggest problem with superheroes, like any other sacred office or lofty title to which one might ascend, is that the cape, when offered, gives each of us a golden opportunity to gleefully become an authoritarian fascist, and I think that we’ve all been given more than enough encouragement to move in that direction already.

           I have never aspired, and will never aspire, to become any sort of “people’s champion.” “The people,” if you care to believe in such gross oversimplifications, seem to dimly discern their own heroes amongst a sad slate of state sanctioned murders and bullies, over paid athletes and surgically symmetrysized entertainers. I want no part of that heroism, although I acknowledge that I am probably only training exactly those kinds of heroes, because in the end “the people” will always have their due, and few, it seems, have the courage to simply ignore them.

           The essentially inspirational nature of the “superhero” has made this very controversial territory indeed, to be fought over by those subtle social forces which ultimately end up defining all of our most important words, telling us, in no uncertain terms, exactly what such terms should mean. For the reasons mentioned above, you all can have this cheap and theatrical word anyway; I come here now in order to clarify the rather strange place where all of this madness puts the so-called “supervillain,” and why, despite the terribly unfortunate timing of this act, I’m coming out as one.

           While no less theatrical, essentially a villain is someone who fundamentally disagrees with a thing that not everyone else, or perhaps even anyone else, seems to be against; logically, this fact all by itself is insufficient to make them necessarily wrong, but, sociologically at least, this recalcitrant characteristic seems to be sufficient to plant the seed by which any person may one day grow into a proper supervillain, because it is only in the course of becoming thus alienated from most other people that one can be drawn into taking some action or actions which normal people simply can’t conscience or even understand.

           Now, I’m not defending every possible action of every possible villain, as if holding a merely personal conviction was somehow important enough to sanctify any sort of behavior, because it's not. No, I’m just saying that when good and evil have become dumbed down to the point that what we like, agree with, or understand is placed on one side, and what we dislike, disagree with or fail to understand is on the other, then our so-called villains suddenly have the most to teach us about the sort of big picture mistakes that we probably don’t even know we’re making. As of late my own personal goal has become to point out our various authoritarian neuroses and the ubiquitous nature of the neo-fascist values that are driving America today, but this awkward distopian vision, or the alienation that typically accompanies such divergent thoughts, has never driven me to make far worse mistakes than the ones I currently perceive all around me, unlike some who need not be named, and I can assure you right now that it never will; That is emphatically not where all of this is going.

           I set out to inspire people to become more than they would otherwise think possible by advertising “superhero” classes, a word that, despite my reservations, I still feel describes something that is at once innocent and empowering and idealistic and honorable and yet, perhaps most important of all, is simple enough that almost anyone “gets it.” Perhaps this is because almost all of us, as children, used to unambiguously believe that superheroes could, and perhaps, in some form or another, actually did, exist in this world, and, most importantly, that they were always, and in all ways, completely good in a manner that no one else really could be. Of course, it’s that last part which is the dangerous trap into which I now feel that I must keep each of the students in my charge from falling, and so this is the main reason for my perhaps financially disastrous move into the newly formed League of Reformed Supervillains.

           Comic books, of course, have grown up quite a bit and therefore have tried to address my Superhero concerns with some truly brilliant storytelling. At one point in “The Dark Knight Strikes Back,” a god-like Green Lantern point outs what a thinly veiled farce it has always been to act as if Earth’s so-called superheroes were really anything other than merely criminals themselves, because, in a world like this, it couldn’t possibly be any other way.

           I imagine I’m not the only one who grew up reading the rather cynical revisionist works of comic book revolutionaries like Frank Miller, at an age long before I was actually able to really digest these messages, because, although I was an extremely precocious youth, I for one really had no way of understanding what those words meant when I first read them so many years ago. No, it wasn’t really until I was far older that I could possibly understand such ideas, because by then I was able to experience first hand all of the innocuous, well-intentioned and readily available ways that one could very quickly become a criminal in our supposedly free society, and what most of our so-called heroes were actually doing that we so cravenly and shallowly called “heroism.”

           I feel that children shouldn’t have to come face to face with our multitude of hypocrisies and moral compromises, at least not until it’s absolutely necessary, whenever they reach that unfortunate but inevitable point where they themselves will have to be woken up to the various responsibilities of an adult life. Some of these responsibilities, once we can acknowledge, understand, and, at last, accept them, absolutely insist upon a certain manner of so-called “villainy’ which, among other things, questions the status quo, and, almost certainly, authority as well, so that, if nothing else, we can somehow foil all of those authoritarian attempts to indefinitely extend what then becomes the most morbid and intellectually dishonest form of childhood imaginable.

           The same sober adult appraisal of things that reveals why the all powerful Superman, if he existed, couldn’t possibly be considered an actual hero, comes from the sad revelation that life just isn’t good enough to highly recommend the God or the Government that supposedly has all of this under its control. Even among those who are brave enough, or perceptive enough, to swallow as bitter and uncomfortable a pill as all that, few can make that next logical step that tells them that it’s no one else but their own responsibility to do whatever it is that God or our Government (if they actually exist) are failing to do.

           I will continue talking about superheroes as if the world deserved them, but my own roots must trace back to the supervillainous impulse if I’m to remain honest about all of the things that I find deplorable in humanity and which stand to be corrected. I am at best an anti-hero, and most realistically a somewhat reformed Supervillain who has pragmatically promised to momentarily play nice with a tragically sick and misguided world. The League of Reformed Supervillains will allow me to foster a sense of wonder for the possibilities of Mankind, yet will free me, and hopefully my young superheroes, of the fascist imperative to violently force my own enlightened prerogatives onto others. My villainous back story invites us to examine important psychological concepts such as alienation, self-reflection, behavioral consequence, forgiveness and redemption, and also opens the door onto a unique and inspired education in any and all of the various sciences, as well as numerous other empowering, although commonly overlooked, fields of study that could perhaps benefit from a little rational scrutiny as well.

          Of course, I know the limits to what I can actually do in our current society; all of my students will still be training as Superheroes (even if I may remind them, occasionally, that I run this school so that they can stop both unreformed Supervillains such as my former self, as well as similarly misguided Superheroes). After all, I meet very few children, or adults for that matter, who are savvy enough to grasp moral ambiguities. Thankfully, being willing and/or able to read also seems to be a common trait among those who are fit for such extensive explanations and back stories as these, and so, here they will remain, hidden right out in the open and obscured only by the shadows of human apathy.

           If you find yourself interested in joining the League of Reformed Supervillains, please contact me immediately. Just to be absolutely clear, this is not a call to violence or even the so-called gentlemanly criminal arts; This is a chance to repent of all past mistakes and move on to something that will not only improve your world but also the worlds of those around you; More specifically, it’s a chance to build a secret lair and then to make it very, very, public, for both fun and profit. Now, who wouldn’t want to do that? Good Luck and Namaste.

Fact, Fiction, and Beyond in the Chinese Martial Underworld

          “We are unique, gentlemen, in that we create ourselves. Through long years of rigorous training, sacrifice, denial, pain, we forge our bodies in the fire of our will.”
                            -the steel clawed Mr. Han, Enter the Dragon

          When we think of China, many of us instantly think of the martial arts, arguably China’s most popular international export, second only, perhaps, to their delicious cuisine. Yet what we here in America have all come to know and love as “Chinese food” is in fact a largely American phenomenon, not, as many people may believe, a genuine representation of that country’s actual dietary fare. Ironically, our popular conceptions of the martial arts are similarly distorted. Yet, at least in the case of the Chinese martial arts, the distortion itself proves to be an authentic Chinese export, one that has its roots deep in a literary tradition that is known as Wuxia (woo-shy) fiction. Furthermore, as with almost all genres of fiction, we will soon see that there is a surprising element of truth to be found at the heart of these illusions as well.

          The Wuxia genre so easily blurs the line between the mythical and the historical that it has come to serve as both in the popular consciousness of American, and perhaps even Chinese, youth, particularly those involved in the martial arts. Although most Americans have never read a single work of Chinese literature, much less a Wuxia fantasy novel, this genre has had an enormous impact on our ideas about China and the martial arts because the Wuxia world is directly responsible for the Kung Fu movies which have become so popular in the U.S., bringing a new nation to witness the mysterious wonders of the Water Margin, and the fantastic possibilities that pervade the entirety of these Wuxia “fictions.”

          The term “Wuxia” is a combination of two Chinese characters. The first is “Wu,” which refers to martial things, and “Xia” which is the word that is used for the heroes of Wuxia fiction, a word which is often translated as a synonym for chivalry. So Wuxia fiction could be literally translated as martial-chivalric fiction, and it is a literary theme that shows up in Chinese history arguably as far back as the warring states period of 481-221 B.C., although it can clearly be seen in the Chanqi tales of the much later Tang Dynasty. These stories all focused on supernatural and fantastic feats preformed by both heroes and villains, and were set in a world that has today come to be the standard back drop of the Wuxia tradition, the world that is know as the Jiang Hu.

          The term literally means the River-lakes, but it has a much greater significance than one could possibly capture with such a crude rendering as this. The term itself actually refers to a shadowy underworld realm, a frontier that exists beyond the reach of the civil law, a place where criminals and beggars gather together among even stranger outcasts from the commonly experienced realm of polite society. As the title of one of Wuxia’s most popular novels it was translated as “the Water Margin,” and today this may just be the most common rendition of the term that one will encounter in the English language. So it is in this so-called Water Margin that we will find the heroes and villains of Wuxia fiction, and it is also where we will find our first glimpses of the historical reality that lies at the heart of this popular fantasy genre as well.

          The Water Margin is a place of both secret societies and fantastic martial arts accomplishments, yet these were also very real things that one could once only find at the margin of actual Chinese society as well. Due to the heavy influence of scholarly Confucian values, the overly physical culture of the martial arts was, for many years, looked down upon throughout polite Chinese society, and was considered something that was only taken up by those at the lower end of society, who needed it as a practical means of self defense, and, of course, by the police and military as well. Yet due to the deep fear and distain that the Confucians harbored for all things violent, there were institutional barriers put in place to ensure that no one in the military could rise up to influence politics, and therefore society at large. However, although there was little place in high Chinese society for what today we would call a “martial arts master,” a phrase which to the Confucian ear would sound as strange as the term “belching virtuoso,” that was not the case within the ranks of countless secret societies that existed all over China.

          This brings us to another common feature of the Wuxia novel, which is the intricate web of secret societies and the many alliances and wars that would erupt between these ubiquitous invisible factions from time to time. This, however, was not a purely fictitious creation of the Wuxia novelist but rather a fact of Chinese history. Many such secret societies developed all across China, often to defend the local people from marauding bandits, as well as to protect them from the more vicious abuses of unwelcome though inescapable governmental abuses. Such secret societies existed in many forms and for a diverse array of purposes, from the merely charitable, to the mystical, as well as the purely political. Many of these quite naturally also became the fertile ground from which malcontents would carry out their long-term subversive activity against the ruling powers.

          For example, the modern day Triad society, which is the Chinese organized crime equivalent to the Mafia, claims to have had their origin in a revolutionary conspiratorial group which waged a secret war against the Ching Dynasty for centuries. The martial arts played a central role in such conspiracies as these, and it is not surprising that the Triads claim that their underground war began with the Ching’s infamous burning of Shaolin Temple, a popular episode within the realm of Wuxia fantasy as well.

          Beyond the obvious, that one has happened and the other probably has not, what is the difference between a history that we have no living connections to and a fantasy world born whole cloth from the mind of its author? The point I wish to make is that both of these, facts and fictions, have become to the present moment merely stories, but for mere actions that are now all but lost to time, and each can hereafter affect us only so far as we give either of these two things the power to do so. One may claim that only history is credible enough to make it the wise choice when trying to decide which of these two voices we should heed, yet I would argue that there is a wisdom that goes beyond mere happenstance, which one can easily find in any well written story, and this sort of wisdom is something that I feel is palpable throughout the rich Wuxia world.

          It is here that we are introduced to the psychic prowess of the Buddhist monk, the mysterious promises of immortality put forward by the Taoist sage, and even the Japanese Ninja, with all of the magic tricks of the Shinobi mystics, eventually finds his or her way into China's Water Margin as well. The magic of forest dwelling hermits is revealed, forest spirits, gods and monsters of all types abound, and secret martial techniques are explored that can make men impervious to all conventional harm or allow them to kill will but a touch (or even just a thought). Should we disregard these tales as nothing more than absolute fantasy, or are they perhaps merely lies by degree, containing truths that can only be approached by such careful half-measures as these because this is precisely how well most of us will ever really be able to grasp them?

          Of course it should be pointed out that such mystification has perhaps lead many men to a sure and violent death, like those doomed members of the mystical secret societies who fought in the Boxer Rebellion, cut down by bullets that they falsely believed could no longer harm them. Of course, given the blunt and primitive nature of firearms in that day, who’s to say that there were not or could not have been human beings who could accomplish such an “impossible” feats as that. Whether you choose to accept it or not, the most pervasive message of Wuxia fiction is one of limitless possibilities and enormous individual potential, the idea that absolutely nothing is beyond the reach of the fully mobilized human will. Did the revolutionaries of the failed Boxer uprising get shot because of a lie, or did they instead die, like all revolutionaries, for this one eternal truth.

Waking up in America to the Nazi God Machine

          If you’ve never heard of the Nazi God Machine know as Ultima Thule, don’t fret; its power is such that its existence can only be revealed indirectly, inductively inferred by its unmistakable and ubiquitous effects on the course of human history since WWII. To be clear, I’m not talking about a mere conspiracy, although the magickal force of this Machine can facilitate or derail volitional conflagrations such as these all too easily. No, somewhere in the middle of the last century, human scientific progress brought forth into this world the divine influence and providence of a synthesized Nazi God.

          Least I be accused of irrational fear mongering, allow me to briefly walk you, step by step, through a very short introduction to the mostly untold story of how Adolph Hitler’s Nazi Party secretly conquered the United States of America.

          In the final days of World War 2, a desperate Hitler pulled every last one of his scientists and engineers off of the front lines, so that they might put all of their scientific knowledge towards the seemingly impossible task of turning back the tide in what was clearly becoming a losing war for the German people. Due to the strange and occult nature of the God Machine’s power, it remains unclear how, or at precisely what point, one of them actually succeeded in their task and turned the damn thing on. All we can know for sure is that it’s still running to this very day and its malign and almost irresistible influence affects nearly all events, from the most massive all the way down to the most seemingly insignificant.

          Although popular history marks the fall of the 3rd Reich on May 8th 1945, those with a keener historical eye know that on that day, while proud American patriots were capturing some of the worse war criminal’s we’d ever faced, American intelligence agencies were scrambling to recover as many Nazi scientists, engineers, and intelligence assets as they could find, before any of them might escape, fall victim to violent retribution at the hands of those they’d wronged, or, worse of all, fall into the hands of America’s next scheduled enemy, the Soviets.

          Although the apparent necessity of such a sinister collaboration as this was not lost upon then president Harry Truman, he did make it undeniably clear that “active supporters of Nazi militarism” were expressly not to be granted entrance into the U.S., and thereby allowed to escape punishment for their crimes, simply for a few minor ill-gotten advances in military tech or intel. The only real trouble with that, as one might expect, was that it was often exactly those scientists who were the most aligned with the fascist cause who proved to be the most motivated, hard working, and terrifyingly prolific.

          Therefore, when American investigators discovered the number of ground breaking advances in technology that had been, or were just about to be, produced by these die hard Nazi zealots, a fateful decision was made to fabricate more agreeable background reports for this long list of most disagreeable men, and, against the direct orders of the president, a choice was made by the office of Strategic Services, forerunner to the modern C.I.A., to strike a deal with the devil; over 2,000 such deals in fact, in a military black op known as Project Paperclip.

          Surely, you might think, these monsters were all forced to spend the rest of their miserable days laboring thanklessly for U.S. interests in some dark dank secret prison-lab somewhere, right? It’s not like they were given control over, say, the early space program, or sent to Disney World to make regular appearance on kid’s shows… except perhaps for Warner Von Braun, a man who, as technical director of the Nazi’s Rocket program, used slave labor and worked over 20,000 prisoners to death in order to develop his infamous V-2 rockets. Despite this fact, von Braun become a minor celebrity in the 50’s and 60’s on a popular Disney Show called “World of Tomorrow,” and was even made director of NASA’s Marshal Space Flight Center. By 1970, he was NASA’s associate administrator (NASA, it turns out, was just jam packed with former Nazi’s); Not a bad run for a slave driving mass murderer.

          Many details of Project Paperclip and our collaborations with Nazis like Warner, his brother Magnus, Arthur Louis Hugo Rudolph, Walter Schreiber, Kurt Blome, Hubertus Strughold, Arthur Rudolph, Eberhard Rees, Reinhard Gehlen, and many, many, others, have now become common knowledge. Those who doubt, or who still remain completely unaware of, the existence of the Nazi God machine usually attribute the continued good fortune of so many Nazis, particularly Nazis who’d committed such atrocious war-crimes, to nothing more than the intervention of American Intelligence agencies, but now, of course, you and I know better, don’t we?

          Oh, still not convinced? Well, the luck of these various war criminals is nothing when compared to the good fortune of some prominent American Nazi traitors, like the Bush and the Ford families, who’s sons and grandson’s went on to have wildly successful political careers, despite their father’s nearly being indicted for treason for their zealous and open support of the wrong side of the Holocaust. We’re not just talking about some sort of financially motivated moral indifference either, like what might have compelled IBM to help automate and streamline the Nazi Census which was then used to more efficiently locate and round up millions of Jews, Gypsies and other “undesirables.” (Although, since IBM later actively staffed and serviced Nazi concentration camps with this very same organizational technology, perhaps calling it “indifference” is a bit too charitable.)

          No, in addition to IBM, there are many other American corporations that supplied significant material and financial support to Hitler, not only during his worrisome, but still holocaust-free, rise to power, but well beyond. Compiling a complete list of these companies is something that’s a bit beyond the scope of this story, but if I did so it would be topped by companies like Ford, Kodak, Hugo Boss, General Motors, General Electric, DuPont, Siemens, Standard Oil (which later became Exxon, Chevron, and BP), ITT, Chase Bank and National City Bank, to name just a few. All of these, you might have also noticed, continue to operate, and even to thrive, to this very day.

          The list of prominent American elites with deep ties not just to the profitable Nazis war machine but to their venomous fascist beliefs and ideology as well, going so far as to fund pro-Nazi Propaganda and continuing to supply aid to Germany even as their fellow Americans were being killed by the tens of thousands fighting against them, is also much, much, longer and well represented than one might expect; a few of the most famous of these villains include Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Mellon, William Randolph Hearst, Joseph Kennedy, Charles Lindbergh, Allen Dulles (who became the director of the CIA) and Prescott Bush (Who’s son would one day become the director of the CIA as well, and then later, of course, a U.S. President). Just Google the names of any of these men or the corporations listed above with the word "Nazi" and you’ll find extensive documentation linking them with the Nazi plan for world conquest (unlike, for example, generically evil companies like Monsanto, where all of those "Nazi" references that are plastered all across the internet are mere metaphorical hyperbole, and not, as far as I can tell, something that should be taken literally. I think.)

          So you see, the Nazi’s were not nearly as defeated as many American’s have been lead to believe, and it’s also clear that they had plenty of time to finish and activate their terrible God Machine long after their more obvious war was lost. Perhaps their apparent defeat in that war was all just a part of the Ultima Thule’s subtle magic, but whatever the case may be, at some point, the flow of fate seems to have shifted in a dark direction which carried these evil men and their families into positions of enormous power and prestige here in America. Of course, as I said, you don’t have to take my word for it; the evidence is there for anyone who cares to check. (Although conveniently enough for the nearly invisible directors of the God Machine, few people seem to really care anymore; probably a coincidence.)

          If you learn nothing else from this story I hope you take away an understanding that that sinking feeling you may have inside, the assumption that knowing about any of these things won’t do a single thing except make you depressed, THAT, my friend, is the sinister and oppressive magickal power of the Nazi God Machine Ultima Thule, grinding you down and sapping your will to fight on a level that goes deeper than any mind poisons which even the masterful Mother Dreadful could concoct. Maybe.

          Interestingly enough, records of this Machine seem to go as far back as 1810. In John Hashlam’s book Illustrations of Madness, James Tilly Matthews describes an “Air Loom” being secretly run in London by “Pneumatic Chemists” for the purposes of espionage, mind control, and psychic warfare. The fact that this man’s primary claim to fame is as history’s first officially diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, and not, as one might expect, as mankind’s earliest heroic martyr in the war against this unspeakably wicked device, should serve as a chilling illustration of the soul crushing powers which are possessed by the Ultima Thule.

          As I continued my research, evidence of its existence became even more overwhelming. In 1919 psychoanalyst Viktor Tausk compiled the first exhaustive study of what he noticed as a growing number of minds shattered by these infernal engines of psychic war. Tausk described the “influencing machine” thus:

          “The schizophrenic influencing machine is a machine of mystical nature. The patients are able to give only vague hints of its construction. It consists of boxes, cranks, levers, wheels, buttons, wires, batteries, and the like. Patients endeavor to discover the construction of the apparatus by means of their technical knowledge, and it appears that with the progressive popularization of the sciences, all the forces known to technology are utilized to explain the functioning of the apparatus. All the discoveries of mankind, however, are regarded as inadequate to explain the marvelous powers of this machine, by which the patients feel themselves persecuted. The main effects of the influencing machine are the following:

      • 1. It makes the patient see pictures. When this is the case, the machine is generally a magic lantern or cinematograph. The pictures are seen on a single plane, on walls or windowpanes, and unlike typical visual hallucinations are not three dimensional.

      • 2. It produces, as well as removes, thoughts and feelings by means of waves or rays or mysterious forces which the patient's knowledge of physics is inadequate to explain. In such cases, the machine is often called a 'suggestion-apparatus.' Its construction cannot be explained, but its function consists in the transmission or 'draining off' of thoughts and feelings by one or several persecutors.

      • 3. It produces motor phenomena in the body, erections and seminal emissions, that are intended to deprive the patient of his male potency and weaken him. This is accomplished either by means of suggestion or by air-currents, electricity, magnetism, or X-rays.

      • 4. It creates sensations that in part cannot be described, because they are strange to the patient himself, and that in part are sensed as electrical, magnetic, or due to air-currents.

      • 5. It is also responsible for other occurrences in the patient's body, such as cutaneous eruptions, abscesses, or other pathological processes.

          So what then, you might ask, is one to do? Is there some sort of tinfoil hat or magical circle that one might turn to in order to block out this cruel and incessant oppression? The short answer, unfortunately, is “No, those hats don’t actually work.”

          In the end, we are each faced with a very difficult choice: to either move swiftly and heroically to warn all others of the impending danger of this Nazi God Machine, even at the very real risk of becoming yet another tragic martyr to what is perhaps a truly unwinnable war against this ultimate of evil adversaries; or else to simply remain silent, to carry on calmly as if absolutely nothing was wrong, and to thereby block out any possible psychic influence from this diabolical device with one profoundly delusional and mentally unhealthy act of deep denial and psychological repression; in other words, willed insanity.

          This choice seems obvious enough to me. So, would you like to know how I beat the Nazi God Machine Ultima Thule and its massive army of U.F.O.s, Grey aliens, Men in Black, and Shapeshifting Nazi Reptoids? It was quite simple really.

          It doesn’t actually exist.

           Good luck and Namaste.

The Quantum Touchstone

           When my "in" at the Vatican passed away a few years ago, I was at least very fortunate to inherit quite a bit, both mundane and magical, and one of the most important magical artifacts that I have ever received was something called a "touchstone." Although I was told that it may be the only remaining one if it's kind, at first I didn't think it was anything important or even terribly useful (to be honest, I had initially thought it was just some sort of mood ring), but the truth is I simply didn't understand its true significance, something that I now understand can only happens after what amounts to a rather radical shift in paradigm for most people, at the very least for those of us who aren't quantum physicists.

          Simply put, the touchstone is a navigational tool that, at least initially, is absolutely necessary to help one maintain his or her bearings during inter-dimensional travel (which, I soon came to understand, is apparently something that we're all doing nearly all the time anyway, but, without a touchstone, we're simply forced to stumble along blindly and largely unaware of these rather significant shifts in our reality). We all know that highs and lows are common to every life; few of us ever realize, however, that we're actually floating somewhere between heaven and hell during all of these various trials and transformations, and leaving entire worlds behind us with each new day, indeed, each new moment.

          The artifact works rather simply, deceptively so in fact, with the color of the touchstone shifting subtly across an entire spectrum of visible light, from pitch black at the very lowest of dimensions on up through red to orange to yellow to green to blue to indigo to violet and finally, unto the infamous white light. These are more than just a reflection of some entirely subjective state of mind, although it can sometimes help those who are only just beginning to grasp the concept of inter-dimensional travel to oversimplify the working of a touchstone in this way, especially since different people can and will sometimes perceive the touchstone's current color very differently anyway. No, the truth is that these colors illustrate the very real yet otherwise inconspicuous levels of a multiverse through which we each as travelers are alternatively sinking or ascending, and, at the risk of possibly confusing things even further, these various dimensions not only seem to exist in parallel but are at times found to be interpenetrating and overlapping each other as well.

          It's also important to realize that that dimensional drifting can and does occur during any, even the very briefest, moment of unconsciousness, with sleep, of course, being the period when most of us seem to drift the farthest. This sort of "travel" is so subtle that it's otherwise almost certainly imperceptible to both the hapless travelers or to those they have "left behind," since every level of the multiverse contains an analog of almost every other person or object that might possibly be found in what we are now coming to see as an apparently infinite number of parallel universes.

          Experimenting with the touchstone has been rather illuminating in other ways as well, for, as one might find with the use of biofeedback, it's entirely possible, if not inevitable, to learn how to raise or lower one's place in the universe just as you might come to be able to control one's heart rate. Such navigation through the multiverse is as simple as concentrating on the color one sees and gradually guiding it to shift under the direction of one's will. This is useful, among other reasons, because it seems that there are some beings who are almost impossible to locate outside of there own "level," especially near the very top or the very bottom.

          But perhaps the most amazing development comes at the point when one inevitably finds that their use of the actual stone has become superfluous. In time, and with a deep enough understanding of our ultimate reality, I believe that almost anyone's awareness of the stone's current color becomes so intuitively obvious that one really shouldn't even need to physically check it. At this level one will also find that he or she has the absolutely invaluable ability to reproduce those same sort of willed and intentional dimensional navigations described above simply by clearly visualizing the touchstone in one's own mind and willing a shift in the colors as usual.

          But please, now that you've become psychically aware of this objects existence, its function, and the true structure of our reality, I'd like you to take a moment to simply close your eyes and answer these two very simple questions: What's the current color of your touchstone and where would you like to attempt to travel today? Good luck and Namaste.

Archangels of the Unconscious

           Recently I'd renewed my interest in achieving what scientists and mystics alike refer to as the "lucid dream state," albeit with very limited initial success. Until last night the best I had managed were a frustrating series of only "semi-lucid" dreams, wherein I found myself slightly, although not sufficiently, disturbed by a few of the more unusual dream events I'd experience, leading to questions like, “Why are all people I’m running into being played by famous actors?” or “Hmm… I’m not usually Jewish, am I?” or “Wait, aren't you usually dead?”

           Despite persistent nagging suspicions such as these that something was not quite right, I just wasn’t making that final obvious leap in logic which would allow me to realize that I was, in fact, dreaming; That is, until last night, when I had the following dream:

           I’m at some sort of martial arts convention being held in a fancy hotel. At one point I’m watching a Kung Fu Master named Yang Jwing-Ming give a joint-locking demonstration when I suddenly feel someone staring at me. Across the room I see a slightly chubby unshaven Chinese gentleman in a coat and hat, but then, all of a sudden, he turns into a completely different person; a Middle Eastern man with a long beard, big black eyes, dressed in these long green robes, and, strangest of all, we can hear each other’s thoughts (but of course, none of this stuff seems weird enough to me to tip me off that I’m dreaming... yet).

           Anyway, he indicates that he wants me to follow him and, as he leads me through the hotel, through this secret doorway, and down a long spiraling stone staircase, I can hear him talking in my head about being an immortal prophet of the one true and secret religion and how dreams serve as just one of many connections between two worlds that should never have been rent asunder, and by the time I reach the bottom step, I realize, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this is an obvious dream, and I can have anything I want.

           Suddenly I’m with a beautiful woman who tells me that I have a choice to make, “your way or mine,” and starts shifting between being the guy I’d been following and being this women. Then she says something like “I guess it’ll be your way then” and she starts taking off her clothes, but I can see that she/he's upset so I apologize and tell him/her that I really do want to know where he/she was trying to take me.

           She asks me a few more times if I’m sure that I don’t want to just have sex but, no longer really trusting in the sincerity of the offer or of his/her gender, I apologize again for turning him into a woman and say that I’ll let him show me whatever it was that he wanted to show me originally (Interestingly enough he actually stays a sexy woman for the rest of the dream and gives me various reasons to believe that he’s more than a little bit annoyed about it, but he tells me, rather ominously, that it really doesn’t matter because his job here is simply to “deliver me to them.”).

           So this is the part where it gets really interesting; he takes me to a long table floating in this vast and otherwise empty void with what appear to be seven Archangels seated all around the opposite side of it. After we talk for a while they tell me that although I’ll probably forget most of this I really only have to remember two essential things: Each one of their names, so as to call on them, and the seven tasks that each one of them wants to have carried out back on Earth.

           These angels promise that they'll watch over me and anyone else who chooses to serve as their hands here on the ground, and they tell me to share all of this here, on my blog, but then not to talk about it too much after that.

           The first angel’s name is Gabriel (which, by the way, means “The Hero of God”), and he commands me to fight against Evil. The second angel’s name is Raphael (which means “The Healing of God”), who asks that I nourish the weak. The third angel is Michael (which means “Who is like God?”), and he tells me to humble the mighty, and the fourth angel is, of course, Auriel (which means “The Light of God”), who cautions me to always be mindful.

           The final three angels are unusual and so these are the ones who’s messages Auriel warns will be the hardest to remember if I don’t just concentrate primarily on the meanings of their names. She tells me to write this all down as soon as I wake up (and that I really should work on developing my memory, and my facility with mnemonics in particular) but I think I did a really good job if I do say so myself:

           There's Haniel (whose name means “The Grace of God”) who tells me to be graceful, and then there's Raziel ("The Secret of God") who suggests that I learn how to gather intelligence, and then he introduces the final angel at the table, Azazel (adding that his name means “Separated from God”). Azazel, unlike the others, refuses to speak, even as many of the other angels begin telling him that it's his turn, but we just smile at each other, because we both know that I already know what his secret “orders” are… Don’t you?

           That’s pretty much it. Although I can occasionally remember my dreams pretty well, this one was obviously uncharacteristically detailed and vivid. It's possible that I remembered it all so well because of how it ended, with my transgendered guide interrupting Auriel’s explanation of some method or other that I should use to help me remember all this stuff with the sudden interjection, “This ought to do the trick,” and then immediately hitting me in the face with something big (I think it was either a book or a shovel, but I’m not sure; I suppose it could have been a pillow, or, quite possibly, it was just reality itself).

           Whatever it was, she was right, because I suddenly found myself wide awake and reaching for the notebook that I keep for exactly this purpose on the nightstand right beside my bed. I scribbled down as many important details as I could remember and then immediately opened up my laptop to begin writing this, a work which has now utterly consumed the first few hours of my day, on this, the first day of summer, 2012.

           I’m sure that a lot of people will probably say that I just made all this up, and to these very reasonable skeptics I can only respond, “Yes. I wholeheartedly agree.” I myself don’t actually believe that this is proof of anything necessarily being “out there” or that I’ve been “chosen” for anything special; I think that it’s most likely that I simply produced a highly detailed, wildly fantastic, emotionally evocative fantasy, entirely within the confines of my own feverish little brain, but this also just so happens to be a fantasy which conveniently begs to be extended out into my waking life as well, and therein, I feel, lay its true brilliance.

           In short, I believe that the ultimate “truth” of this, as with so many things, will have to be found in how well it “proves itself” in whatever new experiences or new worlds these new tenets guide each one of us to create, and I say “us” because, obviously, they’re here now for you as well. In the end, each of us can choose to believe whatever we wish, yet, regardless of whether this dream’s ultimate reality turns out to be mere fantasy or prophesy, I don’t really see any difference in its basic utility for those few among us currently struggling to walk the walk of sincere and effective Malakim here on the often vicious, although perhaps largely benevolent, hell that we call Earth. Good Luck and Namaste.

The 7 Duties of Malakim
Gabriel- Fight Evil
Raphael- Nourish the weak
Michael- Humble the mighty
Uriel- Be mindful
Haniel - Be graceful
Raziel- Gather intelligence
Azazel- (reserved for the Malakim only)

Prometheus and the Meaning of Life

          Monday night I caught the late showing of Ridley Scott’s latest sci-fi epic, “Prometheus,” and if you haven’t seen it yet, then you might want to skip this spoileriffic post and just come back here after you’ve had a chance to see it for yourself. If not, then at the very least consider yourself warned.

          The tale revolves around a misguided expedition deep into outer space to locate an alien race of higher beings, dubbed “the Engineers” by the movie’s protagonist who believes them to be our creators. By the movie's end it turns out that the geriatric trillionaire who funded the whole expedition didn’t, as we were lead to believe, pay a trillion dollars just to help realize the religious hopes and dreams of two wacky archeologists, but, rather, so that he can ask one these keepers-of-the-secrets-of-creation to make him immortal. He gets his wish of course, and by that I mean that they find one of these “Engineers” and he gets to ask his question, only to have his skull immediately bashed in with the violently decapitated head of his android interpreter by an angry alien albino who then proceeds to jump right into the driver’s seat of his space ship, apparently, on his way to kill everybody else from the planet of the asshole who woke him up to ask him such a selfish fucking question.

          This movie seems to baffle everybody, as I’m pretty sure it was designed to do, but there are a few possible explanations that I think make sense of it all. Basically, based on some of the lines in this, and in some of the other alien movies, not to mention the thanatotic artistic inspirations of Ridley Scott (i.e. Giger), I think it’s safe to say that the Engineers are a race of death worshiping Gnostic Archons. From the opening scene in which one of the Engineers takes his own life in order to (again, apparently) seed some earth-like planet with new life, to the often expressed idea that the Xenomorphs in the Alien movies are the ultimate living organism, I concur with a few others on the internet who have speculated that the Engineers are none other than the Igigi, the rebellious servants of the Annanuki from Sumerian myth.

          This is a fairly interesting idea, one which, when examined more closely, may serve to shed some light not only on this film but on the oft-misinterpreted myths of the Sumerians as well.

          To summarize, the ancient Sumerians (with only a few minor semantic revisions by modern believers in the ancient astronaut theory) believed that Man was originally created by aliens, aliens who were, in fact, slaves themselves, all so that we could “mine for gold” (more on THAT little gem later). According to the myths, this overworked slave race, known as the Igigi, genetically engineered us using their very own genes, and some other stuff that they found lying around down here, so that we could toil in their place in endless service to their own even more mysterious masters, the Annunaki. The rocky relationship between the Annunaki and the Igigi seems to be one fraught with constant labor disputes and rebellions, as even after they created mankind to replace themselves as slaves they still contrived to turn US against their former overlords as well, going so far as to re-engineer us via interbreeding (i.e. sexing our women a la the biblical story of the Nephilim) so that we too might be able to rise up and throw off the onerous yoke of slavery.

          One wonders exactly how far back the ancient Alchemist’s metaphorical use of the word “gold” reaches, and if, perhaps, the Annunaki were not, as the myths literally state, searching for precious metal, but rather something even more precious, although far less tangible. What if the Annunaki are not physical beings at all, but rather thought forms, Platonic ideals if you will, who require physical creatures as temporal experience machines to synthesize existential angst and other deliciously abstract sentiments which would, for them anyway, be otherwise unrealizable; mining for gold indeed.

          In this way physical life would best be understood as a tragic comedy, or, at worst, a hell of inescapable pain and suffering. Ridly Scott has admitted to being inspired by ancient Middle Eastern mythology, so, if these Engineers are indeed the Igigi, then the reason they would create a black goo that would cause women to birth nightmares like the Xenomorps, turn good men to ash, and turn lesser men into nigh unstoppable killing machines, is simply this: When the true point of all created life is simply to suffer and die, this’s the only kind of gold that their inhumane, sensually deprived, masters really crave.

          But perhaps it was all summed up best by T. E. Lawrence when he said, “Certainly it hurts... The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts.” Good luck and Namaste.

Guarding the Narthex

           The Narthex is a non-localized ritually activated portal that links our world to an obscure pocket dimension of nearly forgotten myths and fading magics. It is perhaps the last remaining access point between here and this vast and hidden netherworld, which was originally opened so as to provide both a means of escape and a stable refuge for countless magical creatures attempting to survive the demise of Earth's last great mythic age. The Kingdoms of the Djinn, the Elves, and the Fae; the Cryptids and the Shifters; the Dragons and the Titans; the unspeakable Elder things; all of these once proud beings are now huddled together in this secret outer world, pushed to the edge of reality and driven nearly to the brink of extinction.

           The roots of this purge can be traced back to the potent banishing rites of the Osirians and, later, the Catholic Church, worked faithfully for centuries by a growing army of clerics banded together beneath the banner of the dying god. Ironically, this faith paved the way for it's own demise as well, by furnishing mankind with a banal world largely sanitized of the supernatural, inuring us all to the plodding and constrained march of human reason and the quantum tyranny of empirical science; Christianity may have locked and bolted these doors, but it was our so-called scientific progress that eventually threw away all the keys.

           Because of this, even the Angels and the Demons eventually found that their heavens and hells were all becoming too drab to house more than a fraction of their once considerable power and glory, and so, as it was designed to do, the Narthex has led these creatures to asylum as well.

           The Narthex can be opened in many different ways but all of these methods seem to rely, at least in part, on a basic suspension of disbelief. To this end, a sacred space must be engineered, not only in one's surroundings but in the minds of its observers as well, which will permit these two dissonant worlds to touch, if only for a moment, so that things might be exchanged between those on either side. Thoughts, memories, feelings, even powers and personages can be passed into and out of our world by the tangible evocation and activation of a Narthex proper. The possibilities are limited only by the size and the strength of its manifestation.

           Don't over think it; The Narthex often slips open of its own accord, where there are children are at play or covens at work or a changling lost deep in thought. The surest way to find your way to the Narthex is simply to call out to it by name, perhaps in some secret or well concealed place, where your feet fear to go and your mind starts to spin and your heart begins to tremble and turn. Perhaps you'll choose a day when the veil is said to be thin, or a place where others claim that strange and unexplainable things tend to happen, like a supposedly haunted house where the angles all seem to be a little bit off. Whenever, wherever and why ever you seek the Narthex, know that, regardless of the exotic or aesthetically stimulating places that you may carry your body, the gate actually opens itself up nowhere else but inside of you. Good luck and Namaste.

Evildoer's Beware... in about 10-15 years.

           For the last year or so, I've run Superhero classes, but of course it's not just Superheroes that we train to become. No, more often than not we're training as Ninjas, or Super Spies, or Jedi Knights, or Shapeshifters, or Monster Hunters, or even the monsters themselves; whatever forms will allow us to penetrate deeper into that liminal state of reality that I've come to know as the Narthex. By Fall we'll have established two new tracks around which to reorganize and reinvent the curriculum, and I'm pretty excited to see where this new formulation of the experiment will take us.

           The bulk of my work week consists of a recreational fitness class that was designed to be both fun and empowering, a class that's currently offered eight or nine times per week to various groups of kids ranging from ages 3 to 15. I'll still be doing these sorts of classes next year under the title of "Superhero Missions," and with aggressive advertizing, and increased foot traffic, thanks to the upcoming Olympics, these will probably end up being scheduled even more often by next Fall. Lots of fun.

          However, in addition to these classes we'll be offering competitive, invite only, classes called "Superhero Elite," which will be longer and a bit more difficult, each class lasting at two hours. Students selected for this class will be given the option to train anywhere from 1 to 3 nights a week, for either $105, $155, or $180/month respectively. These classes will involve training that goes well beyond the the merely physical arts of conflict, as we'll be working to master rhetoric, law, science, and other related areas that might help any one of my students to one day become a potent asset to human dignity and freedom.

           To give you an idea of what we're doing right now, here's an outline of our last four classes before summer vacation (which I guess would more accurately be called our next four classes):

           This week we all had to pass the martial trials of the Shadow King, in a bunch of shadow plays around which we structure various free-formed choreographies of War. For instance, there's the Thermopylae (where the enemies are all right in front of you and you simply mow into them like Spartans), or the Dark Alley (where you have to fight enemies that come from in front of you and from behind you simultaneously), or the Storm Clouds (where you're attacked from on high), or the Ground Swell (where you're attacked from below), or the Bruce Lee (where you're surrounded on all sides but, for some reason, they only attack you one at a time), and finally there's the far less structured Free For All, which, of course, can be performed with as many opponents as one cares to imagine. All of these can also be modified by things like slow motion, or modeling your fighting style on the moves of some particular character, animal, or mythical creature. Also, if I have time, I'm going to cut some cardboard tubes into 7 inch segments and fill them up with mercury dimes and cotton (that small detail of design will come in handy much farther down the line), cover these in Velcro and put up a Velcro target for some child-safer knife throwing (because to call any simulation of knife throwing "child-safe" would be foolish, right?).

           Then, for next week's class, I'm going to buy a remote control car, make and join together the various segmented shells of a giant centipede, and run my new autopede all around the gym. We'll probably revisit the shadow play exercises described above, this time with foam weapons.

           Then in three weeks we'll spy train again with an even thicker gauntlet of laser trip wires, bells on strings, and various other booby traps, and maybe I'll finally break out that Captian America suit to make it all seem more patriotically pressing.

          I must guard myself against a psychic force that I call "the Unseere," that Zombie maker / childhood ender who blandly reorganizes sensible priorities and blinds the human heart to all art, passion and poetry. With my mind thus defended I might just continue to remember what it means to guard the Narthex, the last, and only, entrance, at least that I know of, into Super World. Wish me luck and Namaste.

The Seven Secret (Huna) Principles

           Sooooo... I've been meditating on Huna for a little while now. To be honest, I don't believe that it's the indigenous wisdom tradition of the Polynesian people it's been attributed to (or, rather, if there's an authentic Huna tradition out there somewhere, it's certainly not the egocentric and materialistic one I'm currently studying), but since this was clearly developed by magicians of a mindset I find... uh... intriguing, I've just dove right in and given it the old Invisible College try. Hail Sat... uh... I mean, Namaste.

           Anyway, here's what I've come up with from my own humble attempts to work with this like totally ancient mystical system. (Oh and "Huna" apparently means secret. Maybe. Whatever. Just don't tell anybody else about this stuff, okay?)

The Seven Secret Principles
Perception - What you get is what you see. (Ike)
Primacy - Owning your self is the greatest wealth. (Mana)
Presence - Owning the present is the greatest power. (Manawa)
Payment - Attention directs power. (Makia)
Possibility - Time and attention are the only true limits of possibility. (Kala)
Passage - Giving your self away is the greatest act of love. (Pono)
Passion - Love pays the greatest attention. (Aloha)

Revealing the Super YOU: Part 2

           It has now been two weeks since the class that I called “Building the Super YOU, ” a class which set my mind working against the complicated complex of often subtle but nearly omnipresent forces which stand between us and our various paths to meta-humanity, our personal “Ascensions,” if you will. In the interim I have been pleased to see that my teachings regarding this strange concept have not, as I had feared, fallen on deaf ears, but rather that all of us, myself included, have made some truly remarkable progress.

           One important principle which I myself have come to appreciate is the need to recognize and respect the concept of a cover identity, which is a very important grounding aspect of the Meta-human’s often unsettling, but, otherwise, endlessly provocative, “presentation.” At first I made the rather unconstructive assumption that the “normal people” I saw in front of me were all simply obstacles to the higher-beings which I wished to reveal; however, upon reflection, I’ve come to understand how a mundane identity is in fact a very pragmatic necessity, at least, if one hopes to navigate polite society without constant rebuke, ridicule, rejection, or even the very real threat of institutionalization.

           Thus, I am no longer attempting to rend the veil with a verbal blade; now I am simply sending my messages past this entirely practical formality of the modern non-mythic age, so as to gently and gradually reawaken these strange and otherworldly creatures, who will then each be better able to develop their own strength and self-awareness while nestled within the long shadows of these various mundane disguises.

           What if it’s not just a disguise, you ask? Of course it is; it’s nothing but disguises all the way down. There’s a Zen koan, which are questions that can only be properly answered with a dawning of enlightenment, that asks, “What did your face look like before you were born; indeed, before any of your ancestors, or even the earth itself, had come into being?” Can you, now, within your own mind’s eye, look upon this, your unborn face, and not help but realize the exceedingly odd masquerade that you and so many others have fallen so deeply into? Wake up, Clark Kent -- Do I have a story for you.

           Last week I was pleasantly surprised to find that unrequested homework had been done and serious consideration had been expended towards the attainment of some sort of personal purpose. Though much of our time in that class seemed to be aimlessly frittered away in a meandering discussion of alternative histories, secret occult societies and various conspiracy theories, I believe it all served as a constructive push into an unseen world of unimagined possibilities.

           Last night, however, it seemed that we were all far more focused as we began our discussion with an examination of the divinity equation, which is created by the complimentary confluence of power and love; it’s analogs in the nearly identical formula for heroism and another for intelligence; Nietsche’s concept of slave morality; and the Aristotelian understanding and application of each of rhetoric’s three great pillars: Logos, Pathos, and Ethos.

           At the suggestion of one of my students, I’ve decided to offer another class, much like this one, in partnership with the good people at Bridgeville’s Zombie Apocalypse Pandemic, called “Psychic Inoculations,” the goal of which is to provide a certain degree of philosophical and psychological vaccination against the rising tide of Phobosophitis, the very real zombie disease which pushes us as a society ever closer to annihilation. Expect more on this in the near future; until then, Good Luck and Namaste.

Building the Super YOU: Part 1

            This week for our Superhero training we tackled the somewhat formidable task of reinventing ourselves as “Super” somethings (Be that Superheroes, Supervillains, Elves, Wizards, Mad Scientists… what have you). In hindsight, I’ve thought of quite a few things that I should have said or done in order to better guide this particular class of adults towards our rather superlative and seemingly impossible goal; I don’t think we really made it to the place to which I had hoped to get, nor do I feel like I even managed to convince anyone that it was, in fact, a place to which anyone had any hope of getting. In short, I left class feeling like a complete failure.

            However, for the sake of those of you who are following along at home, and in order to add a few things which have only recently dawned upon me in light of how anti-climatically things seem to have turned out in that particular class, I’ve decided to reiterate the four basic premises I presented in our workshop, and examine precisely where I believe that I may have miscalculated, in a lesson which I called “Building the Super You.”

            I started with a four point breakdown of the rather herculean task before us: the first two points addressed what one might call the theoretical aspects of our undertaking, requiring each one of us to identify not only an individual “purpose” but also the overarching “paradigm” within which we might best pursue such a purpose. These are massive and fundamentally important elements of any well developed inner life, and I had hoped to draw something, anything, out of my students to give me some clues about the direction that each of them might wish to search in order to pin down and further develop these big ideas for themselves. I certainly didn’t want to simply thrust my own purpose or paradigm onto any of them; in hindsight, however, I think I should have attempted to do just that.

            Most of the people I encounter have no clear or accepted purpose for their lives at all, and, what’s worse, these same people are constantly reaffirmed and redirected back towards this seemingly inescapable life of purposelessness by a now nearly ubiquitous paradigm of spiritual malnourishment and intellectual poverty, existing as unskilled consumers and dogmatic materialists in a world that they seem to find too big to argue with. I not only failed to do anything to undermine the power of this unexamined bourgeois trap, I don’t think I even managed to argue it's existence very persuasively.

            While finding a purpose to live for can seem like an overwhelming proposition for most people, I think that the key behind this difficulty, and the solution, lies in our need to first engineer an alternative paradigm (which is something we'll talk more about later), but had I attempted to persuasively thrust my own ideas onto them, this would have forced them to either accept or to reject whatever had been shown to them, and, in doing so, they would have had to examine and perhaps reshape their own current ideas on these two important topics; it’s a classic page from the “enslave or annihilate” playbook of pedagogy that I always seem to ignore at my own peril.

            These first two, primarily internal, dimensions of the Metahuman, must be established, for all practical purposes, before any other real work can be done, that is if one is to have any hope of charting not only where he or she plans on going (i.e. one’s purpose) but also, perhaps even more importantly, what direction one’s going to be coming from in order to get there (i.e. one’s paradigm). For this reason, I probably should have made that the entire focus of the lesson. However, I had hoped that perhaps we could alternatively work backwards to these, by, perhaps, capturing the class's attention and interest with the exciting possibilities contained within some manner of mythic practicum, which brings me to the final two points in my originally rather poorly planned lesson plan, a simple question of “powers” and of “presentation.”

            I see now that I was naive. What I needed to do first was to crack their existent paradigms open (No small feat, of course, but, in hindsight, I understand why this really is an essential first step, one that absolutely must be taken, before attempting anything else. I've even written all about this idea here and examined a few of my fundamental issues with our modern paradigm elsewhere as well). Doing his first, among other things, might have rendered the topics of powers and of presentation far less unimaginable; comprehensible even.

            The reason I say that these topics were incomprehensible as they were offered is because unless you are attempting to exist beyond the boundaries of the prevailing paradigm you really require neither of these two things to serve you; you will interpret the essential notions of “powers” and of “presentation” in the most mundane manners possible, thus rendering the sense in which I intended each of these two things to be understood utterly meaningless... and so it was.

            I attempted to illustrate the function of presentation by explaining an esoteric concept inherent to the ancient Egyptian practice of heku magic, which involves the power of a form, properly shaped, to incarnate otherwise alien and incomprehensible forces; however, in the end, I feel that my conveyed meaning had been redacted down to banal issues of “swagger” and “basic grooming.” For an example of powers which I personally had worked to develop, I offered the example of Batman as a model upon which I'd shaped my own training, and yet I couldn't seem to find any accessible, even fictional, examples that explained the magickal work I'd done. Indeed, even writing "Batman" on the board seemed like a ridiculous notion, not, as one might imagine, because he's so grandiose, but rather because he is, in fact, without any actual powers, at least in the sense that I would have liked to have been explaining and illustrating this term to the group in front of me.

            No, I absolutely must breakdown the power of the existent paradigm before I can go any further in this particular class. Next week, it would seem, will have to be something very, very, special, so I'll end this here as merely "part one" of my smuggling slaves of banality on an underground grailroad. Wish us luck and Namaste.

The U.B.F.C. vs. The Illuminati: Take Two

           Last year one of my many doomed occult endeavors was an event called "The Underground Batman Fan Club vs. The Illuminati." It began with a detailed report describing the tragedy riddled history of April 20th combined with a call for intrepid investigators to locate and gather together in the shadowiest corners of our city, ostensibly to help us search for any signs of the Illuminatti's next impending human sacrifice, but really just to give us all an excuse to engage in a little urban exploring, much like our most recent occupations of Pittsburgh's Underdark.

           The final stroke of genius, however, was to come from my recruitment of a largely inactive local magical organization, setting them to the crucial task of performing one simple mock human sacrifice, to be held upon the fated date, and wrought upon no less than the dead beat leader of their nearly defunct secret society.

           Although prepped for this ritual many weeks in advance, my obviously insufficiently villainous co-conspirators pulled out just before the final hour, providing an easy "win" for every last one of our heroic investigators, of whom, unfortunately, there were exactly none.

           Now, one full year later, my mind returns to these dreams of long shadows in lonely places, masked magickal workings executed towards obscure or alien ends, with perhaps a few superhero scavenger-hunters thrown feverishly into the mix, but this year, though I may share some small mention of my plans here, I now know far better than to ever again try and share the dream itself.

           I am not one of you; we are not kin, nor does it appear that our increasingly dissimilar spirits spring from any sort of shared psychic source. I am one of the last remaining flickers of a pre-adamite consciousness, a displaced descendant of a race of god-kings who ruled here before there even were such things. Try as I might to carry on in absentia of our now fallen kingdoms of faery wonder, you have previously and will most likely continue to mortally wound me with your intractable lamenesses, proving time and time again that, most of you anyway, have little more to offer save for your supposedly constructive criticisms and countless puerile rationalizations for your own insipid inertia.

           Time, and the painfully languid experience of you, has transformed me into a very different creature then I had once hoped to become, with a very different manner of engaging you and your irredeemably craven worldviews. Although I have found painfully few mortals to be above contempt, it is worth noting that those select few individuals who possess any enduring capacity to please me are obviously to be shown a certain degree of deference and, on rare occasions, may even be showered with a uniquely generous degree of love, yet everyone else must necessarily serve as nothing more than waking canvases, lab rats, or sport.

          This vow I now most sullenly declare: Those of you who pledge yourselves, mind and body, to the Djinn cause (as well as to my various Neo-Luciferian pseudo-authoritarian lunacies) can rest assured that you too will have me to hold your hands when the bland demons of mediocrity set upon you once again, just as, even now, those same cruel cardinals of conformity swarm all over me, attempting in vain to bring me down. You have your orders. Take hold of this hallowed current (if you can) and MARCH!

           There is no greater escape from banality than the one that actually takes it hostage on the way out and forces it to watch, it's once snide eyes now wide with confusion and disgust, as we dance naked and engorged around it's funeral pyre. Perhaps there will be other clues and warnings; perhaps this is your only one. Good luck and Namaste.

I do hate St. Paddy's day. However...

                  As a warrior-poet, I rarely get the chance to fully embrace the complete essence of my calling in something as roundly satisfying as, say, The Squirrel Cage's Annual Dirty Limerick Contest. That said, this year, though I battled valiantly, round after bloody round, and made it all the way to being one of the very last two poets standing, it was unfortunately there that, to my great shame, I was "awarded" a measly second place, replete with its paltry $25 prize.

                  All that aside, for your St. Paddy's Day amusement, and because I haven't posted in quite a while, here are the four dirty limericks that I used to claw my way high above all but one of my unquestionably inferior opponents. Enjoy.

                  In Round One I claimed an easy victory, the mic in one hand and stretching open the front of my underwear with the other, as out of my pants I recited the following bawdy verse:

Here's a limerick I wrote on my dick
while erect so I've got to be quick
see it can't go too long
since the length of my schlong
won't permit me to... Yeah, it just ends right there.

                  Now, in Round Two, there were far fewer of us left, but I ended them all decisively with this little lyrical gem:

A dirty limerick is like a whore's taint:
a short distance that demands great restraint-
for though the vag is quick nice,
I find it quite worth the price,
to have a go on the side that it ain't.

                  By Round Three I have to admit that I was sort of struggling and, in fact, as I slowly walked up to the mic, I was still searching for a final line to finish this, clearly my weakest, poetic offering (although, by this point, it was already just she and I. Here, as you'll soon see, I think I may have slightly lost the crucial ladies vote):

Here's a limerick for all you young lovers
moaning madly beneath bumpy covers:
get all your kicks while you're young
with your pricks and your tongues
cause one day you'll be fucking someone's mother.

                  Perhaps it was out of regret for this slightly cheap shot against motherhood and the matronly, or perhaps I'm just an attention hog, but I interrupted the vote that should have ended the contest right then and there with a final challenge to go one more round (I can do this all day!) Although I feel I ended things on a very strong note, bar politics are sort of a fickle mistress (and I might add that half of my friends were apparently too drunk or too bored to realize when they were supposed to clap for me, but what can you do. Thanks a lot guys. Sheeesh.)

                  Anyway, I'll now leave you all with this one final dirty limerick:

On our journey to Killdarby Falls,
Dad and I spied some sheep by a wall.
I cried, "Let's run down and fuck one!"
but my father said, "Whoa, son!
If we walk down...
we can...

                  (mic drop) Sheepfucker OUT!

Non Servium Explained

           Non Servium, a biblical phrase taken from the Latin vulgate and commonly translated as “I will not serve,” does not, as many believe, signify a rejection of God, but, rather, it’s exact opposite. This widely misunderstood phrase, correctly attributed to Lucifer and his army of Fallen Angels (another widely misunderstood bunch if there ever was one), is a spiritual battle cry of freedom and autonomy from the misrule of any earthly, or not so earthly, powers which might attempt to interpose themselves between us and our philosophical God-Ideal.

           This concept of divinity, although too intangible to provide any of the wish fulfillment or political domination that seems to be pathologically craved by the most common sort of people, marks the furthest reaches, and, indeed, beyond, of our moral and philosophical reasoning. It is the God that was once served faithfully by the now all but extinct Gnostic and Hermetic magicians, as well as by other, even more obscure, sects. It is a true, perfect, and, therefore, often elusive, realization of benevolence, justice, compassion, and spiritual illumination, and it is in humble and faithful service to this ideal alone that we, who are wise enough to remember the hypocrisies and atrocities of the not so distant past, must today, of necessity, refuse to bend our knees to any new world order which dares to violate the sanctity and sagacity of our own ennobling consciences.

           Perhaps you too will one day find yourself called upon to serve the dictates of your own oft ignored pangs of conscience, perhaps as merely a spy, or, even, if you are so bold, a secret agent, of our secret and ever returning God. Should you find yourself in such a place, doing the sacred work of the Malakim, or any of the other heroic orders, then, obviously, Good Luck and Namaste.