It is hard to leave the familiar and present ways to return to the ancient ones, for appearances are delicious and the invisible is unbelievable.
– attributed to Hermes Trismegistus in The Message Rediscovered, by Louis Cattiaux
Much of what we encounter on a daily basis in the hyper-digitalized realms of our culture is little more than illusion and simulation of meaning. We are fat with idiocy having been fed on a prosaic puppet show that pretends to greater depth than it can ever possibly hold within the flimsy languor of image and imitation. Those aware of more subtle sensibilities know that there are immediacies that far outstrip anything which can be read or digitally digested. These immediacies must be approached within the humble confines of the everyday however, and are often overstepped by those eager for the promise of some more grandiose entrance into mystery.
I was driving back from Atlanta on the afternoon of December 31st, and decided to stop in at the Chapel of Our Mother of Many Names in Conyers, Georgia. This farm house chapel was the site of a series of Marian apparitions during the 1990’s, and has since become a beautiful and contemplative shrine complex dedicated to the Virgin Mary in all her forms. It seemed a good way to end the year, to sit for awhile in the farm house chapel and reflect on things under the auspices of the ever watchful ‘Mother of God.’
Voice excerpt from Don Basham’s sermon ‘Occultism: The House of Satan’
” I come to the garden alone
while the dew is still on the roses,
and the voice I hear falling on my ear
the Son of God discloses.
And he walks with me, and he talks with me,
and he tells me I am his own;
and the joy we share as we tarry there,
none other has ever known.
He speaks, and the sound of his voice,
is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
and the melody that he gave to me
within my heart is ringing. (Refrain)
I’d stay in the garden with him
though the night around me be falling,
but he bids me go; thru the voice of woe
his voice to me is calling. “
One of the great things about living in the southern United States is that you can still easily find gas stations that sell Lottery Dream Books. For those unfamiliar with them, these are small pulp print books that provide lists of common thematic elements appearing in dreams. Regarded as superstitious novelties by many, these books were once a cornerstone of gambling culture with the promise of offering insight into what numbers to pick on your next bet, as well as more general interpretations for symbols found in dreams and synchronistic events.*
What interests me about these simple manuals is their ability to systematize a symbol set which can be slowly memorized and tied to intuitive responses. Once the supernatural cover story is dropped, what you essentially have is a folk version of the art of memory with the intention of accessing dream states and day to day synchronicities to heighten intuitive functioning.
The ‘experimental counter-culture’ – its a wonderful term that highlights the potential of digital collaboration for enhancing the avant-garde experimentalism that produced some of the most deep reaching science of the 20th century. In an interview with pioneering consciousness researcher Dr. Charles Tart, Greg Taylor, Founder of The Daily Grail, highlights how science can become a rigorous adventure into the unknown:
GT: Do you think that the revolutionary work undertaken by individuals and groups in the 1950’s (such as the Round Table Foundation) had an influence on the rise of the experimental “counter-culture” of the 1960’s and 70’s…or were they simply parts of a larger trend in the way humans thought about themselves?
CT: No, I’m sorry to say that Puharich’s research has been almost totally ignored by scientific parapsychologists at the time and since then. I fear this has been a big loss. Puharich had a lot of influence in more fringy, “New Agey” circles, but that has not resulted, to my knowledge, in any solid scientific discoveries. As to the counter-culture, that was created by a combination of existential discontent with a shallow, materialistic culture, plus a desire for actual spiritual experience, not just being told what to believe, plus the introduction of oriental meditation techniques – something you could actually *do* instead of just believe – plus psychedelic drugs, which showed many, many people that there were more profound experiences possible than consumerism – to vastly oversimplify a complex historical phenomena, of course.
The Round Table Foundation, mentioned by Greg, was the brainchild of Andrija Puharich. Consisting of a fully equipped laboratory set up in a rural location in Maine, the original group saw collaboration between figures such as psychedelic explorer, Aldous Huxley, the famous medium, Eileen Garrett, and a number of prominent socialites and inventors to create a think tank that put experimentation before assumptions and produced viable medical technology as well as insights into anomalous cognition and consciousness. As a protege of Puharich’s, Charles Tart’s own work would go on to influence the development of scientific investigations into Altered States of Consciousness, lucid dreaming and Out of Body Experiences. Continue reading
“The ethereal nature of poetic resonances teaches us about the inner dimensions. It is up to us to immerse ourselves and trod through the gross associative landscape of common expectations to recognize the buried treasure in our midst. But no matter how strong and beautiful feeling tones may appear, they are still traps. The arrow of mind must not stop at any target. Hitting a target means grasping at some phenomena, whether it is a paradise or a hell realm. The pursuit of gnosis has no end. No stoppage point should deter its longing for the infinite. The goal is for the dynamism of the arrow to be realized as equal to the space in which it flies. The open nature of that dynamism usurps its linear motion, and a new aspect of its meaning becomes possible, and it is reborn. In this manner we approach En Sof, the unattainable. If the arrow stops and hits any target, contemplation is officially over.”
– David Chaim Smith
Living near the Georgia Guidestones, I am constantly reminded that the world is filled with strange frequencies. When Dr. Raymond Moody was developing The Dr. John Dee Memorial Theater of the Mind to facilitate his experiments with mirror scrying and the therapeutic effects of necromantic divination, he followed certain design principles aimed at developing a sense of temporal displacement in those who would enter the institute’s psychomanteum chamber hoping to manifest an apparition of a past loved one. He found that creating an environment where ideas of time and place are displaced through mismatching antiques and curios was a powerful way to draw the seeker out of their normal sense of self.
The town of Elberton, Georgia where the Guidestones are located, and really the entire surrounding area, needs no additional tweaks to accomplish this. Situated in the midst of antiquated farms, untended woodlands and the general pace of rural life one is immersed in an atemporal environment where contemporary influences mix freely with the decaying images of the past – dead memories dance in step with the living present to create an phantasmal environment that is prime for contemplative experimentation.