UPDATE 30 October 2008
Regular readers of this site may well wonder what happened to me since late June when I last posted in this section, reporting on my conversation with Gaia on Infinity Ridge here in Andalucia. That was one of the more profound and moving exchanges I've had in my years of conversing with the Goddess. Gaia told me that the social system was in total freefall: the collapse of our way of life is not immanent, it is current. She also told me that Beauty is the path ahead, the refuge for those who will survive the planetary shift. If the human species does not survive, it will ultimately be due to failure to observe Beauty. Hence the epitaph I wrote, straight from Her instruction:
Perished for the failure to observe Beauty.
At that midsummer moment, Gaia-Sophia said that we must pay attention to the sources of the water we drink. She also made some intriguing allusions regarding anearobic systems, the disappearance of the bees, and more. I was intent to follow up these allusions, but never did... I am grateful for the patience and tolerance of readers who were waiting for a further installment that never appeared on site.
Truth be told, something momentous occured on that midsummer day on Infinity Ridge. I underwent the paramount event in my inner life, an experience of which I have not been prepared to speak until now. In one destiny-shaping moment, I was led toward a spiritual awakening unparalleled in my sixty-two years. As a natural-born mystic, I have had my fair share of revelations and cosmic wake-up calls, but this one tops them all. After four months, I am finally ready to communicate about this rare and magnificent event.
I'll tell it pretty much as it came down, blow by blow.
I went up to the Ridge that day with a certain reticence, feeling almost sheepish. Although confident of my clairaudient ability to communicate with Gaia, I was distracted by an emotional problem that consumed a lot of my attention and intention. Seventy-nine days earlier, on April 6, I had been slammed with an emotional trauma. I am being precise about the timing here, for reasons that will become clear as the story unfolds.
Gaia, the earth goddess, and Sophia, the cosmic divinity or Aeon who morphed into the planet earth, are considered as female entities. The earth is a woman, or a woman-like organism rather than a man-like organism. I won't go into the argument here, but I will state that I firmly believe in the gendering of divine and cosmic forces. This is not merely a matter of anthropomorphism. Sexuality and gender are innate formative properties of the cosmos. Chirality, or handedness, occurs all through nature, causing the DNA coil and the chambered nautilus to spiral in a particular way, left-handedly. Gender is also omnipresent in the phenomena of the universe from the elementary level of quantum matter right up to the galactic scale. So, I am totally comfortable in addressing Gaia as a woman. Untold millions of people in all cultures throughout history have gone along with this approach.
The problem on that day was that I went to the Ridge to talk to the planetary woman and immerse myself in the subtle vocations of Her Mind, with another woman on my mind. Since April 6, I had been engulfed in a full-blown obsession with a woman I had known for 13 months who had declared total and passionate devotion to me, claiming that I was the ultimate man in her life, then turned around and callously abandoned me. I was reeling from this brutal and blasé act of rejection when I climbed to the Ridge that day, accompanied by a genial species, Stropharia Cubensis.
On the Ridge is a gnarled, half-dead tree I call the Devi Tree because I recognize in that tree the presence of a powerful Deva or feminine divinity. Devi is the honorific term for addressing such a Deva. Over some years of my practice, I came to understand that this particular Deva was my guardian, a Hindu goddess of timeless origin. She was not Gaia-Sophia but one of the goddesses in her service. So I perceive her in my mystic intuition, anyway. This Deva is the residing divinity of Infinity Ridge. She is also my personal guardian and tutelary deity, my supernatural teacher. When performing sacramental and shamanic rites on the Ridge, I always addressed the Tree Deva and invoked her to witness my acts, feelings, and thoughts.
On that fateful day, I proceeded to do as I had always done: address my guardian Deva before I turned my gaze upon the eastern flank of the Sierra Blanquilla. This is the direction I always look to enter the presence of Gaia in Her ecstatic display of Organic Light, where it creams like surf over the crest of the Sierra del Palo, the Mountain of the Witches.
Now, I should say something about the divine presence I call DMD, Devi My Dakini. (I am not permitted to know her traditional or received name, for occult reasons.) DMD is present in the Deva Tree but also as a huge reptile, like an anaconda or the rainbow serpent of ayahuasca visions. In other words, the half-dead, fantastically ornate tree on Infinity Ridge is the abode of a great serpent goddess. Tree and serpent are one. When I sit beneath that tree, I can feel myself embraced by the coils of a huge serpent whose body emanates from the planet. This is Kula Devi, the kundalini snake in its planetary form -- DMD, my guardian and teacher.
The Devic coils are immense and velveteen in texture. Her embrace as she squeezes me is sublime beyond any description I could offer, infinitely tender, almost lethal. But DMD does not only squeeze. She gives great hugs, for sure, but she can also assert her presence in another way: she strikes like a cobra. Her coiling embrace is an act of love, offering refuge and protection. Her strike is an act of instruction and transformation. It confers empowerment and triggers long-term initiation. When DMD strikes, it's like being hit by a boxcar. Right between the eyes or, more often, right in the middle of the upper chest. There is no way to prepare for such a strike, or to anticipate when it will happen.
That day, I rather sheepishly turned to address DMD before entering the directed clairaudient trance required to communicate with Gaia in pitch-perfect, full-toned audition. I wasn't sure I could sustain the necessary level of concentration as long as I was mentally and emotionally obsessing about the woman named Emma who had abandoned me on April 6, some eighty days before. But I was not going to apologize to DMD for being distracted from my sacred practice, because one does not trouble supernatural allies with such matters -- so I thought. Nevertheless, I could not hide my reservation or conceal my state of obsession from her all-seeing gaze.
I turned to the Deva Tree to make my usual salutation before entering, or trying to enter, full-toned clairaudient rapport with Gaia -- and wham, the cobra struck. DMD hit me like a boxcar coming at 120 mph. I was stunned, arrested in mid-thought. Then the Deva delivered her message, phrased in shockingly personal terms:
This is pretty much verbatim how the instruction of the Kula Devi came to me in a split-second realization as I reeled under the impact of the cobra strike. When I came down from the Ridge that day, I immediately drew up a timetable dating from April 6 until July 22, 108 days. As I looked over the timeframe and reviewed events, it dawned on me that I was indeed immersed in an initiatory process with a month remaining to its completion. The shift of consciousness I underwent at that moment was dramatic. Suddenly, I was no longer the victim of a sexual obsession with a woman who was inaccessible, thus depriving me of any way to "work it out" with her. I was working out something else, something much larger than a personal trauma. My emotional anguish now took on "spiritual dimensions," if you will. Everything about my personal obsession with the woman who had rejected me began to shape-shift before my eyes. The obsession became the supreme opportunity of my life, giving me the chance to undergo a far-reaching transmutation of my life's intent and my vision of myself as a mystic and Tantrika. I shifted in a white-hot flash from being knocked down and overwhelmed to being downright awed.
Immediately, things began to happen around me, supernatural events, synchronicities, insights, and more, showing me that life was never going to be the same. My capacities as a mystic were activated in ways I had only previously imagined, or not even imagined. Fantasy became hyper-reality. I moved each day into the realm of interactive magic, engaged with the supernatural as if it were same setting as the natural world I inhabited. The obsession that had threatened to undo me became the reflex for my transformation, a total remake of JLL. The intensity of my anguish over losing someone I loved delivered me into a new dimension of awareness. I realized my true role and mission as a Tantrika, a devotee of innocence and ecstasy. I have not been a particularly happy person throughout my life. Now I began to find happiness -- or it found me -- in wild and wanton abundance. My newfound joy of living was not tentative or partial, not subject to external conditions, although it was co-emergent with the magic dawning all around me. It was total, unconditional, all-consuming happiness such as I had never known. And the best was yet to come.
As July came around, I had just three weeks to the completion of my 108-day "ordeal." I was still deep in obsession about Emma, sleeping no more than three or four hours a night, hardly able to eat -- I had lost 25 pounds, one seventh of my body weight, since April. But now, moment by moment, the obsession was taking a direction all its own. It was morphing so fast that I could barely keep up with it. I held the course by observing a keyTantric principle: everything goes into transmutation. Tantrayana is often contrasted to the other paths of Buddhist practice, Hinayana and Mahayana, in this way: In the lesser vehicle of Hinayana, we avoid what would harm us or others. In Mahayana, the greater vehicle, we undertake practices that counteract all that harms us and others, and impedes liberation and enlightenment. The method of Hinayana is avoidance, of Mahayana, counteraction. In Tantrayana, everything that happens is turned to liberation. Tantra is the transaction of all kinds of experience, positive and negative, into the subject matter of enlightenment.
I knew this principle theoretically, and had a pretty good record with the application of it -- so I thought. I had no idea what was coming down the road from DMD. There is no more potent force in human experience than obsession. My obsession over a wild and tender encounter with a younger woman was to be the ultimate Tantric challenge, the supreme opportunity in my life as a man and mystic. As the final days of the 108-day initiation sped away, I came to understand the instructions of my guardian Devi by living them, enacting them. Events in my life took on an astonishing edge, a supernatural flair. I began to sense how the supernatural played into every moment of my daily life. It was as if an interdimensional gate had opened. The transmutation of my obsession into enlightenment was so vivid that it generated a field of high excitement around me. Suddenly, everything that I had held potentially in my inner life ignited. Outwardly, I blazed again and again into rapture and beauty.
Fortunately, I had a witness and ally in this extraordinary process of awakening. My precious friend Constanza had listened to me rant and rave about my sexual obsession with Emma for days on end. She became my accomplice in turning the force of that obsession into clarity, compassion, and magic. We discovered together what we would come to call "the sorcery of love and intention." Constanza witnessed how the love I carried for Emma, because I did not relinquish it even though she had abandoned me, propelled me into the supernatural and engaged me with the divine dimension of life.
Together we learned a momentous lesson about the power of Tantric conversion. I not only held ferociously to my love for Emma, I held faith in the love she had confessed for me, even though she later reneged on it. Because I sustained both my love for her and hers for me with unfaltering intent, my visceral anguish and terrific fear of losing her turned into a force of revelation. Doing so, I discovered a tremendous secret of Tantra that has never yet been revealed: how love abandoned and retracted triggers the most profound response of the supernatural powers that permeate this world and surge within us. With Constanza as my witness and accomplice, I learned how love and the supernatural go together, how they operate on the same frequencies. The ramifications of this insight are immense. I am just now beginning to formulate and communicate them.
Rites of Pleasure
Perhaps by now you are getting the drift of my experience, dear readers. The course of my initiation become known as such as I learned what it was teaching me, moment by moment. There was no pre-formulated "lesson," no agenda, not traditional path to follow. Everything emerged spontaneously as my obsession was transmuted by the Devi My Dakini.
On April 6 I was plunged into my obsession by a single sentence: "I can't lay my heart on the line for you anymore," Emma announced to me. She closed her heart to me, then and there. She reneged on the love she held for me, which she had declared openly and passionately in the preceding months. A month later, early in May, I saw her for the last time. She thereafter refused all contact with me. She would not talk to me, nor respond in any way to my calls, emails, texts, and letters. She cut me off totally. Being denied access to her, the object of my obsession, turned out to be the key factor in transmuting that obsession. By shutting me out entirely, Emma was contributing to the conditions for a Tantric conversion unlike anything I had ever known or guessed was possible.
Constanza and I talked furiously for days on end, consuming quite a lot of champagne and dancing wildly to sarod music. We explored the emergent revelations of the Tantric process and put them into words. Transmutation of negative emotions such as aversion, fear, and greed, is commonly cited as the method of Tantric practice, as explained above. In short, Tantra turns around whatever afflicts or harms the practitioner. I knew this, and had tested the principle in experience a good many times. What I did not yet know was that the deepest transmutation arises from emotions both positive and negative felt toward people who cannot be reached. By withholding from me so completely, and not responding in any way, Emma caused my obsession to escalate to a white-hot intensity that fused it into pure and perfect desire, the magic ore of Tantric intent.
Talking through the process with Constanza, I realized that the supernatural world is linked to human intention far more intimately than we suspect. If we do not ordinarily detect this link, and thus are unable to explore and apply it, it is because the intensity of intention is not sufficiently high. What raises intention to the required level is an impossible situation: in my case, obsession with someone who keeps herself totally out of reach.
My intention was twofold: to remain faithful to my love for this woman even though I could not express it to her, and to hold faith in her love for me, even though she had reneged on it. Holding this dual intention against impossible odds, with unfaltering persistence, generated a force that shot me beyond myself, as if I were launched into the stratosphere.
So rapidly did the instruction from DMD erupt in my experience, that I could hardly follow the insights it produced. I learned that to operate at the level of intention I was attaining, in full and conscious interaction with the supernatural, I had to ritualize my actions. Ritual was the most effective way to manage the instruction I was receiving, and ground it. I could not control the process I was in, but I could steer through it by ritual. Constanza and I learned the importance of ritual in the spirituality specific to Kali Yuga, which I call Kala Tantra. We engaged in daily rites of mindfulness and ceremonies of Tantric intention using cords or colored strings of pure wool, silk, and alpaca. "Cording" had long been a practice of mine, a shamanic technique for invocation, protection, and casting spells. Now I found that cording was a more powerful rite than ever, due to the added force of my self-transmuting obsession.
There is nothing theoretical about how cording works. Its effects are completely tangible and immediate. In the sorcery of love and intention, cording is the customary rite, the main method of intentional magic. It works by the beauty that goes into performing it. The more beautiful the rite of cording, the more transparent it is. The more transparent it is, the more effectively can the supernatural forces work through it. The results are immediate. The efficacy of these rites lies in their emptiness -- in the unity of beauty and emptiness, if you will. You do not have to believe they work, for there is no hype or self-suggestion involved, whatsoever. You just perform them with ease and beauty.
The Mahanirvana Tantra is the primary text for Tantric practice in Kali Yuga. It says, "The religious rites of the worshippers (who are called " Kaulas") of Adya Kali are pleasant to perform" (VII, 89). This rare teaching is custom-fitted to the needs of the present age when people lack the capacity for sustained attention. In the Mahanirvana Tantra, yoga means interactivity, to be joined in action. "Where there is an abundance of enjoyment, of what use is it to speak of yoga, and what is yoga with no enjoyment -- but the Kaula enjoys both"(IV, 38). In other words, pleasure is the key factor in the Kaula practices. No yogic exercise of effort or obligation or denial or exertion can compare to the yoga of pure enjoyment, the sole liberating path in Kali Yuga -- so teaches the Mahanirvana Tantra.
When I began to put this teaching into practice, I finally became able to direct the initiatory process into which I had been plunged by Emma's rejection, without at first knowing that I was engaged in such a process.
My obsession broke early in July. Concurrently, I came into the practice of Tantra in ways I had never imagined possible. My instruction from the Deva expanded. My understanding exploded. Again and again, my heart-mind blazed into rapturous knowing. I realized that the Kulamarga or practice of the Kaulas (literally, "the tribes") was the central and supreme path of Gaian-oriented shamanism. Kulamarga is the purpose for which I had introduced the message of Gaian deep ecology on metahistory.org in the first place. I came to this realization through my obsession with a woman, a seemingly personal affair, merely a sexual adventure that went on the rocks. But to Gaia and my guardian Deva, it was some adventure! They had a stake in my experience, and then some. From April 6 I suffered loss and anguish such as I had never known before in this life, apparently in the usual fashion of love gone wrong, but those supernatural allies had other plans for my pain. They were doing their own Tantra magic with my passion and my sexuality.
I have not been able to write about any of this until now -- largely due to reticence about exposing such a personal matter. I could only do so when I felt confident of presenting it in a transpersonal perspective.
Knife on Tongue
On sunday July 20 I returned to Infinity Ridge. This time, in full and clear awareness that I was entering a sacred moment when I would complete the Tantric process into which I had been guided -- okay, shoved -- by Devi My Dakini. It was a gorgeous summer day, not too hot, the entire valley below the Ridge fragrant with herbs and animal scents. Butterflies and gnats buzzed in the still afternoon air. I went to the Deva Tree to address my guardian, then I retreated to a small grove of gnarled olives that I call "the rehearsal booth," it being the place where a rite to be performed at the Tree is prepared, or rehearsed. As I will explain in future writings on the Kulamarga, intentional Gaian magic for Kali Yuga, all rites in this genre of interactive magic are improvised. There is no tradition for this path, no precedents. It is entirely new and current, invented in the moment it arises. Preparing to complete my initiation, I found myself in a unique position. I was to be the first to improvise a rite for the Tantric transmutation of sexual obsession. Once devised, this rite would apply for any and all obsessions. I had no idea how I was going to accomplish this rite when I went up to the Ridge. I just knew that I was set up for it by DMD!
I sat in the rehearsal booth for five hours, getting up occasionally to stretch my legs and limbs. In that time, I plunged to the bottom of my obsession, and when the bottom fell out, I plunged further, down to the root of all obsession. Letting myself sink into the depths, immersed to the point where I felt I might die of sheer anguish, I touched the sweetest satisfaction I have ever known. Whoa there, what was this sensation? At the core of my pain was a pleasure, a payoff so intensely attractive that I could not even consider giving it up. Now this was a revelation. I realized that at the core of all obssession is the addiction to an insuperable pain that feels supremely good, and that at the core of that pain, whose flavor is different for each of us, is the universal pain of not being seen.
The core of all addiction is addiction to the pain of not being seen, the same pain for all of us.
In complete spontaneity, without any idea of where the anguish of my obsession was taking me, I reached this insight. I knew already that addiction is the root condition of the human spirit in Kali Yuga. This being so, addiction is also the ultimate path of liberation. I do not say that overcoming addiction or giving it up is the path, but addiction itself, the inherent force of it, becomes that path. "The addiction becomes mastery." This is the first principle of Kala Tantra. I had never felt the pain of my own unique brand of addiction as deeply, keenly, and nakedly as I did that glorious day on Infinity Ridge. I let the pain rip through me, rolling like sheet lightning in slow motion. I screamed and sobbed until I was exhausted by it, then I started over. How deep would I have to go into this anguish to reach the point where it would turn into the very elixir of liberation, tasting of wisdom, compassion, and bliss?
Suddenly I had what I will call the insight of releasement: you know the core addiction of your life when you realize that you don't want to give up the pain it causes you. This is a pain so sweet, so familiar, so alluring, that you do not ever want to give it up. This is the pain of your core addiction and the elixir of your liberation. For me, it was the pain of my addiction to loving in sexual adoration women who do not recognize me in the totality of my mystical self. This language is a precise formulation of the specific nature of my core addiction. For someone else, the formulation would differ, but it has to be stated with equal semantic precision for the rite to work. Behind any and all such formulations of the pain of a particular personal addiction is the universal addiction to the pain of not being seen.
Sitting there in the reheasal booth, slumped like a junkie on my side, drenched in sweat and sobbing hysterically, screaming Emma's name to the low-cruising vultures, I nevertheless managed to talk calmly to myself as a loyal friend would talk to someone in total desperation, on the point of suicide. I was able to formulate in precise terms the exact nature of the pain that feeds my core addiction. I identified its most intimate taste -- which, by tasting it, allows me to remember who John Lash is. And I realized with complete astonishment, yet with a certainty surpassing any I have ever known, that the proof of reaching my core addition was that I did not want to let go of that particular pain. The high specificity of the language for the pain is the requisite for this rite: "name your addiction" is the name of this game. Any pain that you want to surrender cannot be the pain of the core addiction. You must delve deeper, go for a more precise formulation. You identify your core pain by the desire never to give it up. This insight was the greatest lesson I have ever learned on human terms. It is foundational to the new practice of Kala Tantra, or Planetary Tantra, to be elucidated on this site.
Now it might be objected, how, if you don't give up your addiction, can you transmute it? I asked myself that question as I wallowed in anguish in the rehearsal booth, coming up on five solid hours. Well, the answer that came to me was nothing less than miraculous. The instruction that came, I should say -- for by this time I was in an altered state, receiving instruction on how to proceed with the ritual of Tantric transmutation. The instruction of DMD was mixed with the muddle of confused thoughts of my own mind, but in moments of lucidity higher insight prevailed. I came to understand that I did not have to give up my addiction, and must not -- I just had to make it available to my supernatural guardian. I could offer it to the Devi as one would offer a bouquet of flowers, placing them on an altar. I was to offer my addiction and hold on to the pain of it at the same time. I was not offering it to be taken away from me, removed or extinguished, but to be transmuted while I was still immersed in it.
This realization blew the doors and windows off my psyche. It released an enormous wave of serenity into my heart. I saw then how to complete this unique Tantric initiation, the first of its kind in our time: I would offer my addiction to the Devi symbolically and ritually, but without giving it up, energetically. I would keep the pain of the addiction going so that I would benefit from the results of her transmutation of it, interactively. If I let it go completely -- "turning it over" to my higher power, as the method of twelve-step recovery advises -- the Devi would not be able to work with it interactively. It Kala Tantra, the rite of transmutation induces interactivity. It demonstrates the unity of love and the supernatural. I could have my fate and eat it too, keep my addiction along with all the pain it brought me, and turn it around into something absolutely sublime. Something unrecognizable. Out of this world.
But how was I to accomplish this offering? After five hours of rehearsal, I staggered to the Deva Tree and crawled on my knees to the small stone altar under the yantra of red and gold cording. Beneath the azure blue of the Andalucian sky, in the presence of those sacred mountains, with Tibetan cumuli drifting overhead, I performed a spontaneous act with the ritual knife I carried for cutting cords, a short curved blade for skinning prey. In thirty seconds I performed an act that took five hours to rehearse, the inceptive rite of Kala Tantra, invented in the moment of performing it: knife on tongue, held vertically with the blade in the fold, point upward, addiction at the tip of the blade offered to the Goddess for instantaneous transmutation into the elixir of wisdom and bliss, beauteous and boundless releasement.
Blue Sky Heart Emptiness
Coming down the Ridge that day, I felt enormous pride. Happiness I had never imagined I could know welled up inside me, expanding with every breath I took. In Kala Tantra, the Devic rite of transmutation is instantaneous. I did not have to wait a second for the results of knife on tongue. But my Tantric initiation was not quite complete, not yet. The rite had a second phase, a second act to be conducted in the world at large. It consisted of a ritual offering, a peace box prepared for the woman who by abandoning me had got me into all this wonder in the first place.
I had not had any contact with Emma for almost three months, for she kept herself entirely out of reach - a condition of the transmutational magic, as noted. I was under no illusions that sunday evening when I prepared the peace box with a handwritten letter and various offerings, sentimental and symbolic objects, a sacred owl feather, osha syrup for her cough, a couple of joke props. She couldn't care less about such a gesture. But the peace box was not intended to appease Emma or bring her around to contacting me. My intention in sending her this offering was entirely transparent and detached from any result or outcome. In fact, the outcome had already happened. The box was a ritual confirmation of my unfaltering intent never to relinquish my love for her, even if she refused it, and never to lose faith in her love for me, even if she denied it to her dying day. Here was the truth of my obsession: the power of love is stronger than the power to refuse love. We'll see about that.
The box was the symbolic offering of my addiction to a woman who, keeping totally out of reach, drove that addiction beyond toleration into a transcendental release. The condition of her inaccessability was crucial, as I said before. The greatest force of transmutation is derived from feelings, both good and bad, held toward those we cannot reach. This is now an open secret, the invitation call for initiation into Kala Tantra.
On the 108th day of my ordeal, I put the offering in my car and drove to Ronda, twenty miles from where I live. I sent the box as if to someone in a coma, who would never get it. There was no expectation of a response or acknowledgement from the receiver. Absolutely none. Clear on that point, I handed it in at the post office and walked out into a glorious sunlit afternoon in one of the great touristic beauty spots of Europe.
Rites in Kala Tantra produce instantaneous results, as I noted. In my instruction I have come to understand that the result will come in about fifty minutes. DMD says she will deliver in five minutes, but I couldn't handle it so fast -- not yet. I learned this is so by the ritual act of mailing that box.
I hadn't eaten for days, and still wasn't sure if I could eat anything, but I was feeling so fine that I got the idea to treat myself to a little lunch. I walked across the park to the promenade that winds along the edge of the Tajo Gorge, the spectacular vertical drop of 400 feet for which Ronda is world-famous. The elegant four-star hotel, the Parador, has a small tavern on the promenade, with a view looking west toward the Sierra Blanquilla. There stands the Sierra del Palo, the Mountain of the Witches toward which I always gaze from Infinity Ridge when I commune with Gaia. I sat down at a table and ordered white wine, a chicken breast, salad. It was a perfectly ordinary scene, almost a tourist lunch. (But then we are all tourists in Her Beauty, aren't we?) On my right sat a couple of French tourists with their daughters, two skinny blond girls. On my left, a local couple -- good sign, indicating that the food was better than your average tourist fare.
I sipped my wine, picked cautiously at the chicken, and looked across the amphitheater-like valley that surrounds Ronda, spreading toward the eastern flanks of the Sierra Blanquilla. It was two forty-two, a lovely hour, a savory pause in the afternoon, coming up on fifty minutes since I handed over the box. The eastern flank of the mountain was pale magenta laid down in velvet and nectarine. I knew this sight well. I always contemplated it with immense pleasure from Infinity Ridge. My eyes shifted from the mountain to the skies above, a pellucid dome, pale turquoise, a void saturated with clear, unwavering light. It seemed that the blueness of the sky drank from my eyes. I swooned softly into this sensation. I felt totally poised, serene and complete, but also as proud as a child, due to what I had just done by mailing that box. I contemplated the velveteen mauve of the Sierra del Palo and when my gaze lifted to the cloudless sky above it, something happened. Suddenly I saw the entirety of the blue dome of the sky in one glance, peripherally, and in the same moment I felt what I saw: the sky was weighted, the blue was substantial like the mass of a glacier and, like a glacier, the blue began to fall. The entire mass of the blue sky emptiness I beheld fell in slow motion so that I could observe the blueness and emptiness become oddly compressed. The sky dropped from the heights with the slowness of a glacier calving and all that blue emptiness caved into itself and compressed into a drop and that drop fell into me.
When that drop entered my chest a soft jolt threw me into total ecstasy. The instant the blue sky emptiness poured into my heart it expanded and I felt it from inside like a balloon being inflated. The drop that compressed the entire sky returned to the immensity of the sky but inside me, in the blood-dancing space of my heart. I was lifted into inconceivable rapture, a joy of beholding bliss and being flooded with bliss, and in that bliss was wisdom born, for I knew what I beheld. I beheld the Great Perfection, Dzogchen, already known to me but not in this way. The Great Perfection is the uncorrected, naturally arising state of perfect attention which is self-perfecting -- this I knew before. But now, immersed in the blue sky heart emptiness, I also knew how it did so, how it perfects itself. Streaming with tears of happiness, my eyes dropped to the familiar sight of the flank of the Sierra del Palo and I gazed upon that textured mauve laid down like a velvet sheen by the light caressing those granite flanks. At that moment my rapturous vision became cognitive.
That beauty, under that sky, its emptiness residing in my heart, its luminosity blazing softly in my eyes, was the self-perfection of non-originated attention that seeks its own beauty and suffers the hunger for beauty in the joy of its releasement. I saw in that nectarine shade of light on that mountainside how perfection hungers for its own beauty and the beauty dies into the suffering and joy that arise equally out of the hunger, and how joy and suffering alike die into the hunger that again gives rise to the beauty it seeks and, in seeking, generates ever more beauty out of its own self-perfecting, non-originated attention.
This was my enlightenment in the mystery of the non-originated, self-perfecting state. Ronda, Spain, 2:42 PM, monday, July 21, 2008.
All of which is quite a lot to take in, I reckon. Readers may understand my reticence about where to go next with metahistory.org, and the consequent lack of new material on site. I will be reorienting the entire site based on this experience of Tantric initiation in the genre of Kali Yuga, but the aim originally proposed for this site has not changed. In fact, I can now fulfil that aim in a way that was inconceivable six years ago when the site was inaugurated. I can show readers of this site the way to direct experience of Gaia, how to get her attention and hold it, whereas before now I could only frame such an interaction in theoretical or, at best, mythopoetic terms. I can finally offer practical instruction for interactivity with Gaia.
This instruction is the sacred mission of Planetary Tantra. It is my pleasure and privilege to deliver it to the world. On January 26, 2009. All writing on this site previous to that date will be preparatory to this global rite of transmission. Hang on to your booties, bodhisattvas. The best revelation for Kali Yuga is yet to come.
In effect, I can present the equivalent in Gaian shamanism to the "direct introduction" to the self-perfecting state as transmitted from lama to student in Dzogchen. How wonderful is that.
So, the course of metahistory.org has changed, although the destination of this mighty vessel of mythopoesis remains constant. I am not going to report periodically on my conversations with Gaia, as I initially proposed -- although I may allude to them from time to time. I am going to induce the conversation for anyone who cares to engage in it. Instead of recounting my experience of speaking with Gaia, I will enable for others the experience from which I speak.
As in days gone by the telephone operator or receptionist used to say, "Stay on the line, please, I'll put you through to Her."
jll: October 24, 2008, Andalucia
Recently, new readers and long-time followers of metahistory.org have been asking me the same question. Well, two questions in one, actually. First, How can I behold the Organic Light, with the aim of taking instruction? And second, What does Gaia herself have to say about the current collapse of global society?
It's obvious how the two questions are related: Whoever can behold the OL and take instruction is in a unique position to ask Gaia directly about her view of the current breakdown of society. Well, folks, there's the job description and the assignment in one sentence. Since I appear to be the first in line to qualify for this position, I will now begin to report directly from my ecstatic encounters with the Organic Light. I will describe the questions I put to Gaia and attempt to transcribe the responses I receive. I invite readers to comment on the entries in this section of the website. Unless I am advised with the comment submitted to keep it off line, I will post all entries that I deem appropriate, copying them from the email into this page.
1. Infinity Ridge, Monday 23 June 2008
Infinity Ridge is a place in the Serrania de Ronda I discovered in June 2002. Over the last six years, it has became a sacred locale for visionary practice for myself, Joanna Harcourt-Smith, and other mystic travellers and psychonauts who share the aims of telestic shamanism.
I week ago I went up to Infinity Ridge with the express intent to ask Gaia this question:
I spent seven hours on the Ridge contemplating the light over the Sierra de Libar, toward the north, and toward the point of Tarifa, southwest, at the mouth of the Straights of Gilbratar. I would not say that my audition was pitch-perfect on that day. (Audition: clairaudience in a state of trance learning, usually induced by psychoactive plants.) I had quite a lot going on due to some tantric operations I am currently engaged in. Ideally, I ought to have concentrated the entire session on taking instruction, but I had my attention on two other tasks as well. The result was, a semi-toned rather than a full-toned audition. Let me take a moment to clarify the jargon here.
In a full-toned audition, taking instruction from the Light, you are totally overwhelmed by serenity and clarity, if I may use the word "overwhelmed" in this context. This is impeccable silent knowing, with no room for distraction of any kind. You are immersed in total awe and fulness, steady as a mountain. You do not think: you are the subject of a worldess thinking that arises from a current that moves like a huge serpent through your body and sheds a skin of cognitive signals, a skin-chain of scales that flicker in your synaptic lights and flare into ideation, forming a stream of coherent thoughts. The thinking you register in this state is not your own, and may originate from various supernatural and superhuman sources. When it originates from Gaia, from the Aeon Sophia directly, it registers in your body tonically like a familiar, soothing vioce. The aural tonality of Gaia's voice sounds different for each of us, but it is unmistakable. It sounds like the voice of someone you love, speaking to you beyond the limits of time and death.
In full-toned audition, I hear Gaia's voice in her way of speaking to me, which is sultry and comforting. I did not hear this last monday on the ridge, so I refer to semi-toned audition. I heard Gaia but as if through a filter, or as if registered on an answering machine. I intend to return to the Ridge in a few days and complete this audition in full-toned reception.
For the moment, I will transcribe what I heard last monday. It was a unique experience for me, in that it came in three distinct surges, each with its own emergent content, or curl. I use the analogy to surfing: the surfer "in the curl" rides under the crashing edge of the wave. In trance-learning, the shaman rides in the curl of immense waves of information that pour through the atmosphere, the ambient field of the planet. The surf of clairaudient instruction unrolls in an opening movement, rather than rolls and crashes. As it unrolls, you store it, or try to. The act of receiving and storing instruction is called transception—a term from the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan shamanism. (The Tibetan word escapes me at the moment.) It means that you receive and retain what comes through you. A kind of channeling, if you will. Retention of instruction is a high shamanic discipline and can never be more than partially accomplished. In some instances, I have not retained more than a third of what I received. Of that third, only a fraction could be translated to others....
The first instruction I retained is:
I capitalize RIGHT NOW because that it how I heard it, and I was, I must say, rather stunned. I have not heard this tone or urgency before in any audition. Usually, the tone of transception is calm, sober, detached. This command came with acute urgency. It was an instruction like others I have received, but pronounced with emphatic urgency.
Next, I heard this:
I had to take about an hour to contemplate this statement. I am not sure that I understand what Gaia was telling me here, but I will tell you how I worked it through, so far. I understood that the planetary ecosystem is not in endangered by human activity. We can't get near anything that would harm Gaia in other than a minor way, like a scratch, a paper cut on your finger that would heal in a couple of days. "Forest ecosystems collapsing," "species going extinct" is human hype, a reflection of our arrogance, but real enough from our perspective. These events are not to Gaia what they are to us. They do not threaten her at all, they are in fact her measures for regeneration and a future enstatement of her purposes. They are cathartic. She is detoxing us. The more toxic we are, the less likely we will survive the process.
As I reflected more, I glimpsed that the anaerobic systems are comparable to a back-up or emergency generator bank for Gaia in regard to what I will call the epi-culture of human making. In epiphenomenon is a phenomenon that arises secondarily to another, primary phenomenon. Human culture on this planet is an epiphenomenon, an epi-system or epi-culture humanly conceived and constructed, not a direct product of natural processes, not a direct expression of Gaian intelligence. What I glimpsed— and what I intend to investigate further, because I am not certain that I have it entirely right—is that the "back-up system" (such as we see in a hospital or office building, to provide emergency power when the main power goes out) kicks in, not because the Gaian ecosystem as a whole is at risk of collapse, but because the human-centered episystem cannot sustain itself on main power, natural resources. We have passed the limit where we can continue to function socially and globally as we do on existing resources. Not so much because resources are limited, but because we have surpassed our capacity to use them in a timely and adequate manner. (More on this point below.)
The message that echoed over Infinity Ridge that day seemed to well up from the mountains around me, amplify through the clouds, and shiver in the wind:
The episystem on which we depend for food, clothing, and shelter is collapsing right now, all over the planet. There is no point in waiting for the moment when it will collapse in front of your eyes, when the ripple will reach your front yard. It is insane to wait for something to happen that is already happening. The sane and sober response to this realization is act before the panic.
The collapse is now. Then follows the panic. And the panic is coming fast. I had a quick preview of it on the ridge. It looks like a disaster movie that makes Escape from L.A. and Mad Max as innocent and amusing as Disney cartoons. You do not want to be in this movie. You do not want to wait until the Blockbuster DVD comes out with you in a cameo role. The dialogue is atrocious and the acting will drive you mad. The production values are hideous. Avoid being in this movie. Consider what to do before the panic. Consider it for at least twenty minutes each day and act on what comes to mind. Before all else, Pay attention to water, RIGHT NOW.
The panic when it hits will be like a glaciar calving in your Wheaties one morning at breakfast. There is no way for anyone to prepare for what comes in the panic, but you can prepare for the panic. This is a key message I extracted from the monday audition, unlike any I have ever received from Gaia. The urgency was electrifying.The message is: Prepare for the panic before it hits you, because no one can prepare for what will happen when the panic hits. Practical measures, survivalist strategies, group emergency drills, whatever-- at this is fine. There is just one thing you are overlooking because it is inconceivable: what will happen to your sense of time. A day, a week, a month, will go in a flash. No even a flash. A blur. You will not be able to think fast enough to manage what comes to you. At moments you will forget who you know, even your closest relatives, your parents and children. You will be saved by people you don't know, who will disappear in a minute, and threatened to death by others you do not know, who may not disappear so quickly. Your time on earth, your sense of being alive in the moment, will blur into uncertaintly under a tension whose intensity you cannot begin to conceive.
Call to Beauty
Lest all this sound negative and, worst of all, alarmist, let me qualify. On the ridge I pondered until I sweat about the alarmist element. Read Lydia (The Throw of Dice) for some sobering advice on this issue. The message of what to do before the panic is not an alarmist message. It is perhaps the anti-dote to alarmism. I will do whatever I can to make this point clear and use the right language to convey what I am transceiving about the current collapse of our episystem. I urge everyone reading these words to make a determined exercise of clearing their minds of any and all forms of alarmism. NEVER speak or communicate with an alarmist intent or tone, if you can help it. NEVER.
Against alarmism, Gaia responds with a message that will register in the heart of all those who are truly her devotees, those who desire nothing more than to learn the sublime discipline of her purposes. To instill this message in your minds, I give you her words, verbatim:
If the human experiment fails, and disappears in the current extinction, it will be because of one failure, one supreme shortcoming, above all others: not to observe beauty. The epi-culture we have created must go because it is too ugly to endure, too ugly to be tolerated. We perish from not observing beauty: this is the epitaph of the human species. The same for the behaviours of greed and deceit that run that epiculture. These behaviors must perish. Only what is beautiful does Gaia deem worthy to preserve. Only what is beautiful in us will preserve us. Indeed, only what is beautiful will serve us, when push comes to shove. In Beauty we have safe passage to a future worth living. The call to Beauty counteracts the disorienting hysteria of alarmism because alarmism triggers a need to survive at any cost, in any fashion, but in the sanity and honor of our hearts, all we really desire is to be beautiful in Gaia's ways. Beautiful, sober, playful, serene.
That is how those who recognize Gaia as the living, indwelling intelligence of this planet will get through the current extinction.
The Bee Omen
Curiously, epiculture is the word for the cultivation of bees. Recently I saw a quote from Einstein to the effect that, "Once bees disappear from the world, the human race will have four years to survive."
Continuing...Updates will be signaled on the home page. jll
Material by John Lash and Lydia Dzumardjin: Copyright 2002 - 2018 by John L. Lash.