The Proscenium

The proscenium is a category I gave to a Scape in the Surreal, also to the process of creating it. It’s one of the turnkey concept-methods between the receptive liminal activity—receptivity?—and active liminal…activity. The preceding sentence is why I don’t like dualism, by the way, it gets everywhere into everything when the concept I’m trying to get at is really just one (third?) thing with differing things in the thing.

The library I call my “third chamber” originated as a visualization exercise called the Memory Palace, or the method of loci. As I recall, it’s ancient Roman, but I can’t recall when it became a thing and who authored what specific information about it. As I understand, concepts should become easier to remember if symbolized by an object that occupies spacetime, in the imaginary sense. While I could imagine this place that I’ve never been to, I couldn’t attach specific ideas. I ought to have been able to attach a grocery list to the banister, for instance. Instead, while I could see the banister clearly, I couldn’t help but think there was—because my mind’s eye could see, because my fetch-heart knew—this hoary old man with an eyepatch named Odin (the man’s name, not the eyepatch’s) rattling his cane impatiently against the bars and referring to me as ‘sonny’.

So, that’s one possible example of how something mundanely imaginary can overlap with spiritual significance. I could understand, at least I anxiously anticipate, the embarrassment of interacting with a symbol of my oedipal issues as though they were a cosmic power personified. I could also understand the frustration of hearing something, “Oh, you’re Jung’s Wise Old Man archetype!” over and over again by mortals who want to claim so much is just in their heads that it almost becomes a humblebrag—having so much more in yer noggin’ than most other people, eh?

However an individual decides—or feels is the best way—to interpret it, though, is probably the right way. Even if that inclination towards the psychic-like-psyche or psychic-like-psi-phenomena changes during the process, as the individual gains experience.

I liked that it was a round room. Sometimes, it would develop corners. Rather than wonder what the change in architecture symbolized, what self-work I ought to do so that my imaginary room would be round again the next time I glimpse it…I would make an effortful visualization of the room being round again. That would work well enough. It wasn’t so effortful to get it there in the first place, though, so I wouldn’t say that the mental effort alone makes it -real in the Surreal.

My Proscenium appears to operate on the wishcraft of a fiction. Once, two regular residents of that room vanished with all the furnishings. I re-established the third chamber as it used to be, but I still believe that happened. Am I deluding myself that the third chamber is still fully furnished? It feels awkward, but it doesn’t feel wrong.

I have never attempted to domesticate the landscape of Erstvale like this. I control my fetch when I quest. I wield Eidems like Heartwrench and the something Of Doom (with the pointy bit). We all have stories, and inaudible names I know, and some kind of vibrance. That’s what I experience, and whether I decide it’s in my head or some otherworldly journey, it helps to keep that possible.

~

It would feel wrong for me to summon those two residents back to the third chamber. I thought I could deliberately visualize a ghost-guardian person in Erstvale, the same way I rounded the walls of the third chamber…and, she simply wouldn’t take. I decided not to make the effort anymore, and a year or so later had an unsettling dream about her being melted (something alive or at least moving within the slurry of what used to be form.)

I write stories. I shape my mind for them: plot, aesthetic, voice and style. I let images form in my mind, emotional beats, manifesting potentials like a lucid dream (or, when writer’s block comes around, like a nonlucid dream or dreamless sleep. Is it a mineral deficiency, or do the muses leave me? Whatever.) It’s so common to speculate on the psychology of creators—while that is not the only literary analysis approach that exists, I took for granted that that would keep them safely contained.

But then Captain Marigold fired the cannons through the walls of our realities, so if I thought I made her up (which I shouldn’t have been able to—poor ghost-guardian of Erstvale,) she’s fairly self-made now.

That’s part of the Proscenium process, too: metaphorical thespians, characters, scripts and improvisation, rehearsal and orchestra, backdrops and backstage, costumes and makeup and lighting and masks. None of it strictly real; some level of it always true. Detached, we know it for what it is. Immersed, we know it for what it is.

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Meeting the Paraspirituals

The following content and links may contain triggering material.

…radio silence since the year started, then all of a sudden, take a number and have a seat there’s such an awful lot of you!

This entry was supposed to be about how I woke up one morning and found a Faery Gold Arrowhead of Radiant Shame in the otherreal hanging over my bed in the corporeal, from a necklace that I tried to wear after but it made my chest feel clouded over because the faery gold arrowhead of radiant shame was the pendant. It radiated shame. When I figured its effects would be more difficult to keep track of unless it was on me, I knitted the laces into a glove that fit into my left hand. That way, I would always know where it was, but it wouldn’t put the whammy on me.

And then this entry was supposed to be about Marigold suddenly appearing in the grassy knoll I call Erstvale with an archery bow (Marigold had an archery bow, not the grassy knoll,) and showing me how to send a shard of the shard flying from the glove, and we argued. And I had my own interpretation of what all that was about, which was supposed to be humane and craftily written and poignant about the symbolism or something. Marigold suggested that I visualize my abusers in the field with us, and start shooting at them for practice. When I suggested scarecrows, instead, because I actually don’t like to think about my abusers or interact even with mock-ups of them, Marigold responded with a sternly-worded reminder that those scarecrows didn’t do anything to me. Frackking Fairylands.

Instead, I’m ramblogging about after the lesson, which lasted about a week in corporeal time and maybe four hours or so in Faery. I wandered from Erstvale into some random room with a clean, friendly-looking concierge desk and papers stacked on it. Two people sat behind the desk, who I knew well but never met before. One, let’s call him Vanilla, is one of the fathers of my fairy mother Vanda. He comes off as basically a very beige and distilled sort of…if the Prince Charming most twee had aged out and retired from adventuring without ever fully losing the twee. The other one was Marigold’s daughter, let’s call her Marjoram. She comes off more like the Goth girl who hates the world and always has a pen knife up her sleeve, but from what I gleaned of her story before I met her, she really aspires to be sheltered. Continue reading

Compass Rose (tarot spread and reading)

EDIT 2017-02-11: Oy, stop reading and re-reading this years-old entry! I write other way more interesting stuff too now that I’m not so fucking emo. And literally ANY other spread in my cartomancy tag worked better, which is why I use those other spreads way more often instead of this one. Go look those up instead, go on, shoo! Or go to Aeclectic!

Seriously the amount of traffic I get to this specific post is bizarre, and even kind of hurts my feelings. Because I blog way more articulately about so many other topics, too, you know! 😦 Look, Jungian psychology! Look, Arthurian Alchemy from a postcolonial standpoint! Do you like mudkipz? GET OUTTA HERE.

 

Lavender (the personification associated with my Shadowscapes tarot deck,) eloped with Eddy (who’d been a sort of dream guardian.) This was a long time ago, but I haven’t really felt like adjusting my reading style since then. This is the first deck that I’ve truly connected with, had truly intuitive readings with, and it was probably because of that first time I opened it up for a reading…I lowered the inhibitions of my imagination and thought of some consolidated space of all calculated information, and I saw a floating island like a cluster of amethyst crystals, floating over an ocean at sunset. Lavender coalesced later, but I think that she’s from there.

When I’ve taken this deck up again, though, it seems that something got in there, because the deck just feels heavy and grouchy most of the time. When I was feeling particularly anxious last night over professional duties that I’ve been failing, I dusted my deck off, shuffled, and drew The Devil.

Tonight, I thought that I’d give myself a proper reading, like I used to but with my uninspired but reliable beginner deck (Rider-Waite Smith.)

I think that something else came into my Shadowscapes one, and I’ve gotten a feel and method for which cards I should pick, but I didn’t have a spread in my foggy mind until this new one came to…from what I would like to believe were the Otherfaith deities because there was such a strong “compass rose” vibe from it.

As a reading, though, it came off to me quite all over the place.

PIC_1898

Clockwise from topmost card, then center:

1. Clarene : 9 of Swords, reversed
2. Darren : 3 of Pentacles
3. Dierne  : 9 of Wands
4. Laetha-Dierne? : 3 of Swords
5. Laetha  : Temperance
6. Laethelia : 10 of Wands
7. Ophelia : Judgment
8. Ophelene : 2 of Swords
9. Center : The Devil
10. Cross : 4 of Wands

(Apologies to the Other People if I got the elemental-directional correspondents wrong. My mind has ingrains of quarter-calling.)

My long interpretation and oversharing rambles (about addictions, disorders, and supernatural suspicions) under the cut.

Continue reading

The Method of Loci

Where My Library Was Supposed To Be

In early 2013, I had sought refuge in Alpha’s home, and while I was there I tried to find a way to better manage one effect of my depression, which was memory loss. I’d recovered enough that the far more insidious “thought process loss” effect of depression had become manageable, so I directed it to supplementing my memory through the method of loci.

The method of loci as a memory tool that attaches a notion to an imagined location. This makes a notion much easier to access than if that notion were just of the mind like an ordinary thought.

The proper use of this method is more complicated than imagining a happy place, though, and… I’m not.

So, I could think up of a round-walled library with a glass dome of a ceiling to let the natural light in, with stairs and wheelchair access to a fireplace area that had cushioned armchairs, and a hidden passageway in the central bookshelf. I imagined this enough that I eventually didn’t need to try so hard: my library would always be ready for me to go into in my mind.

Attaching a grocery list to the banister, however, was more psychologically acrobatic than I could manage.


Continue reading

Vorpal Sword 0/3

 

Granny Weatherwax had never heard of psychiatry and would have had no truck with it even if she had. There are some arts too black even for a witch. She practiced headology—practiced, in fact, until she was very good at it. And though there may be some superficial similarities between a psychiatrist and a headologist, there is a huge practical difference. A psychiatrist, dealing with a man who fears he is being followed by a large and terrible monster, will endeavor to convince him that monsters don’t exist. Granny Weatherwax would simply give him a chair to stand on and a very heavy stick.

—Terry Pratchett, Maskerade

 

12 November 2011

For as long as I can remember, I have dreaded and feared this invisible shadow, this inaudible chord, these intangible bonds. Perhaps these were all just in my imagination, but this consideration did nothing to assuage the fear. When my imagination gave these form, however, then they felt like something that I could fend off with that same. Sometimes.

For one example, the dread of walking a hall at home after lights-out took on a more specific location, and the form of a hooded figure with a gaunt face. I could imagine a wall of electricity between this figure and myself, and this accompanied with the conviction that going near me was against some sort of playground rule. Whether that conviction created the wall, or the wall supported that conviction I don’t remember. Sometimes the figure would be caught in the electric net, and this would give me some time to run past it until it lost me. Other times, it would float right through or appear within the bounds, laughing, and I wouldn’t know why the wall wasn’t working this time. I certainly didn’t want anxiety, conflict, or even adventure. I tried to imagine it all away, but whatever logic, courage, or dismissive attitude I could muster would crumble into gut-wrenching horror. I didn’t want this, but I didn’t know how to exorcise it.

I grew out of it, but maybe it did have something to do with the depression I fell into much later. I worked on recovering many aspects that most people have naturally, and just didn’t have what I needed to grow into self-sufficiency. My only parent died. My only sibling continued the pattern, adding substance abuse to the mix, and systematically tripped me every step forward that I could take. I wrenched myself out of there, no plan, no skills, no real connections—to the house of a friend of the family’s. In this strange place, I had two spontaneous episodes of far-fetching. The corresponding overlay would be remarkably peaceful, even stagnant. Strange, then, that I would return to the Mainland and sense sharp threats growing towards me from the corners and edges of the room they lent. Maybe it was me.

This is the only relevance to the story: While I lay waiting for sleep, I would imagine standing ready with a sword. I’d leap up, land, slash across—and whatever I was fighting, it or they would shrink back. I made a story, just for myself, about what I imagined, and by that I don’t mean that I wrote a story (except for this text, which is actually telling this story) but that I conceptualized a story that I would live. It was about the name of the swords: the katana, Mercy; and the wakizashi, Justice. My sense of these respective names, I decided, were what had given these weapons form. I had defined the concept, lower-case, justice and mercy, in a way I hadn’t been able to before.

11 June 2012

I dreamed that a man made out of water, that I’d met before, also in a dream, and named Eddy– he laid four swords before me. I certainly recognized the swords.

Eddy asked me if I could tell the difference between the two black-handled wakizashi, Justice and Spite. It was like the ritual for locating the Dalai Lama, where a bunch of toys and other items would be laid before an infant, and if he selected the items that used to belong to the previous Dalai Lama, then he must be a reincarnation because he was drawn to what was familiar.

I couldn’t do it with my own weapons, in this life. It might have ended there, with me just having to admit that I simply do not know something as basic as Right from Wrong, but when I felt the compulsion to tidy up, I picked up Justice and Spite and held them together. They melded into a single weapon, which gave me an epiphany.

“I forged these as part of a psychic sort of symbolic fighting style that I envisioned,” I explained to Eddy. “It came from the conviction that mercy and justice are one and the same thing, if given that the entire conflict is fully understood. Mercy without justice is not true mercy, because coddling will enfeeble the receiver of such a virtue when real virtue will not do such harm; likewise, merciless justice is unjust because it only perpetuates violence and corruption of power. A full, true kind of Understanding shows a middle way, a course of action that incorporates both, so that both can truly be their respective virtues. I thought that they lacked one another, and that separation and subtraction was the illusion.

“I thought that I could keep them as separate parts, than when brought together dispel illusion and create a whole. Some illusions are necessary, if a subject’s capacity to understand is rudimentary–” I went ahem and pointed at myself, “– so there were times to implement Mercy alone, or Justice alone, for a needed and/or satisfactory outcome. Now I see that, that these virtues are not merely incomplete when they are separated– they are infected.

“Mercy without consideration of consequences, is Ignorance, necessarily it is willful ignorance. Justice alone is necessarily spiteful– consider the phrase ‘brutal honesty,’ honesty does not necessitate brutality, it necessitates truth, so if somebody is brutally honest, then the aim is not to be honest but to be brutal.”

To sum it all up, “I will never perfect the fighting style that I envisioned– not with these weapons. Phooey.”

Eddy nodded, unimpressed, and I sensed that whatever test or trial that I’d been dropped into unprepared– was over, for now. I also got the impression that there is no right or wrong answer in something like this, but there was just my answer. Still, I couldn’t help feeling disappointed, as if there should have been some great double gates that opened up somewhere to symbolize my graduating to a higher spiritual level.

Well, I did keep the swords, because samurai swords are just wicked cool. Perhaps there would have been pomp and circumstance if I’d given them up for a slingshot named Insight, or a rocket launcher named Awesome or something.