Sunday, January 25, 2015
My favorite word in the German language is Verwesung; it means putrefaction. Until today I haven't really thought about why that word appeals to me. I suppose it is so direct and matter of fact and doesn't invoke in me the sort of emotional revilement at a natural and essential process that the musically precise Latin-French-English equivalent does. It is a philosopher's word.
Now, I do not draw from the Tarot often. I think maintaining limitations in its use sustain its magic. But, on the morning of the Winter Solstice, I did draw a simple past present future spread in which The Devil featured prominently, and with the other two cards painted a picture of my aching discontent and promised good things in just a short while, ...patience was the message. "Soon" was the message.
Today, after yesterday's post about stepping off the Chariot, a card linked to Cancer, my sun sign, and about that hardened time of self protection and plowing through the onslaughts of life protected, I saw a need to draw another card.
As I sat shuffling the cards I thought about The Devil card and the story of patience and "soon" that I witnessed on the Solstice. But I kept calling it The Death Card in my head, even though I knew very consciously that that was not correct. I was visualizing The Devil but saying Death. And at that moment I flipped out a card, with the question, "What now?" in mind.
The card of Verwesung. The card of Scorpio, my moon sign. The 13th card, the number of the moons. And the card of the final stage before a new beginning. But the reversal indicates to me that a kick in the ass is required and required like right the fuck now! to fully decay, to finish my putrefaction, my Verwesung so that I can proceed without carrying forward the filth of that which is long dead and useless into a new beginning.
This card is why I have come to this Monk's Retreat. This card is why I have chosen this isolated place and why it has been chosen for me-- to do this. Not to clean house exactly, but to decay the filth of my heart into the "thick warm humus" of which I spoke in November such that when the cotyledon unfurls it's promise of springtime flowers that promise might be fulfilled.
Posted by Ian at 8:34 AM
Saturday, January 24, 2015
I took the above photo in April of 2013. It is The Chariot card in the Tarot. And among other things it's about becoming impervious to harm, hence the whole suit of armor imagery.
This is one of the reasons I continue this blog and Instagram photos and whatnot. For the ability to go back and examine what the hell was going on in my life and to try to learn from it in a more objective manner than just choosing a comfortable story to be my history.
Today I was thinking about dreams. There have been a few big chunks of time in my life where I haven't had many. And there have been a few big chunks of time when I haven't blogged anything. Some of those chunks of time are the same. Now there are a number of reasons and possible reasons for why I become active on-line. Sometimes I'm hurt and trying to reach out and scraping through the confusion to make some sense, to take something out of the darkness (e.g. late 2012, early 2013, a very foggy, and in retrospect embarrassing time). Sometimes I'm excited and want to share (brag). And sometimes I just have some good ideas or somewhat significant events that I want to plot out there in a record of my evolution. But why is it really that I am not blogging at times?
Looking back I see an interesting trajectory after the fallout of 2012. Basically four months passed and I hardened up (and stopped blogging as much). I may have thought of it as a recovery at the time, hence the smile above, but in reality I was just calloused. And excepting for a month in March and April after a very special sort of ~ehem~ spirit journey involving a snow cave and a wild cold glassy and sparkling night over Tahoe that helped me to dream vividly for a while, I dreamed very rarely for the next 20 months or so. I suppose since I felt both bruised and under continued assault and way too much negatively foreboding uncertainty my mind kept certain things on lock-down. Coincidentally, this period of time was also the one during which I flirted most with nihilism...
Now, over four months into being on my own, and after a lot of healthy distance in the summer leading up to it, I'm starting to dream again. Good healthy, normal dreams with some wild visuals on the edges of asleep and awake and awake and asleep. And I think the reason that I'm starting to dream again ties into being able to be vulnerable again. My mind is finding that it is safe to dream again.
And it feels weird. It's exhilarating and a little scary. Like boarding a plane to a country where you don't speak the language and have no idea what to expect. And being all the more excited to go and surrender oneself to the flow of destined life. Nihilism is the last thing on my mind.
Posted by Ian at 12:31 PM
Monday, January 19, 2015
I don't really do new years resolutions, but I do tend to focus on some things in particular years. This year it's health, both physical and mental.
My work is hard. I carry around stone and logs and swing hammers and axes and saws all day every day. And that develops strength, but not a balanced strength, and that has been causing me injuries and a lot of pain for the last several years. Carrying of heavy things in front of the body for example tends to cause upper trapezius dominance where the upper portion of those muscles become stronger than the lower and it ends up messing up the alignment of your scapula and then your shoulder leading to impingement of nerves and tendons and then bursitis and more pain, and so on. It's ugly. And for years I've had the incorrect attitude about strength. "I'll just get it through work and I'll never have to go to the gym." Well, wrong. Things need to be balanced out and good body mechanics through the work is not enough. Though I'm still trying to do the exercises I need at home, because you know, fuck those gym guys, I do need to do them, and much more so than someone who is sedentary. And so learning about physiology and exercises and doing them has become a focus for me this new year.
Also I bought myself a Vitamix 5200 for Christmas and have been making smoothies everyday. If you're not familiar, this is sort of the G650 of blenders, though my refurbished one bought on a coupon code saved me some dough with no loss in quality at all. Anyway I've been drinking over a liter of fruits, vegetables, and greens everyday. It's costing me a bit of money in food, but living sans girlfriend that's a non-issue. Combined with a meaty dinner, my work and the aforementioned balancing exercises the result has been enormous amounts of energy and rapid recovery and muscle development and a lot less shoulder and back pain. Why the hell didn't I do this years ago? Cutting down to minimal caffeine and having a very low stress lifestyle has also helped a lot.
Mentally I've been trying to do an overhaul as well. The first and key aspect of the overhaul being to remain present. Eckhart Tolle put it best:
"All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry - all forms of fear - are caused by too much future and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past and not enough presence."And I aim to practice this as much as possible.
Secondly to read a lot more. I'm not sure I even read a dozen books last year. I'm not OK with that.
And Third, a difficult but very important resolution to share in this puritanical world. To quit, completely, my ...ehem, consumption, of porn. Some explanation of course is in order. And I have several extremely important points to make on this First and foremost. For men today it is a drug, pure and simple of the opiate variety. Never before could this be delivered with the rapidity, exaggeration, and volume as it can with the Internet now. It hyper-stimulates your dopamine system for a prolonged period of time and as any drug abused it will over time damage that system. You require more and more stimulation and the sort of stimulation you require becomes more and more "Gonzo" which is to say typically abusive media. And the end game is impotence with actual other people, first unless you are yourself engaging in "gonzo" (abusive) acts and then impotence in entirety. This is more common than you might think. See: yourbrainonporn.com
Men won't talk about this. But I've spoken to women who have suffered the consequences of this in a variety of ways from their porn-addicted boyfriends. Erectile Dysfunction, abusive sexual interests, etc. That is where this leads. I myself am fortunate to be naturally highly resistant to addiction, but even so I could see where my own consumption might have led given a failure to identify these unspoken risks... Being sexually open and being sexually crippled look from an uncritical viewpoint very similar, but the latter is very dangerous and destructive to yourself and your partners. And it is very often the result of overconsumption of porn.
Additionally porn equates directly to human trafficking (and drug abuse). Not always, but typically. And consuming porn, even if no money ever leaves your pocket (ad revenues, hello?!) is supporting human trafficking. I won't bother making the argument, look it up, it's a thing.
These are things I've known and / or intuited for years, and being a believer in moderation in all things I have tapered down my consumption for years. Less extreme, less volume, less video, then to stuff depicting more loving acts etc., and less and less often. But some things, even in moderation are still bad ideas. Heroin for example, rape for another, human trafficking for a third, and porn IS all these things. Literally.
I've heard all the arguments in favor of porn and I agree with many of those arguments as isolated points but taken in totality the larger picture is as I have described and porn is in my opinion morally indefensible.
There are hundreds of millions of people who are sexually, neurochemically, and philosophically damaged by this invention of the last 20 years. It is high time we start talking about the consequences of it.
Don't mistake me as some kind of goddamned prude either. I deeply believe that one of our critical failings as a civilization is that our life schedule doesn't provide nearly enough time for fucking. And I am for myriad forms of sexual openness, but not abuse, and porn is abuse. And though I have been mostly done with it for some time now, I am completely done with it now. And you should be too.
Posted by Ian at 8:47 AM
Friday, January 16, 2015
Just a quick post to mention that now that it seems that Tumblr is standing the test of time I am using it a bit more for posting pictures, quotes, and 5-7-5 shitty Americanized haiku, etc. The disjointed stuff. Nothing changes here, just thought I'd put that out there in case you're a Tumblr feed junky. I will not however, and for I think obvious reasons, cross-post stuff from here to Tumblr.
Also if you use Instagram my username is kairological. I post pics there pretty regularly as well. (and cross-post a little over half of them to Tumblr)
Also if you use Instagram my username is kairological. I post pics there pretty regularly as well. (and cross-post a little over half of them to Tumblr)
Posted by Ian at 5:14 AM
Sunday, January 11, 2015
I have had the (mis?)fortune of having this house completely to myself for an entire month now. That ends today. My roommate returns from his furlough in LA. I suppose I shall have to start wearing pants again.
It has been interesting. It has been at times fun, and at others very hard. I have enjoyed ecstatic times with music and literature read out loud and I have struggled through an aggravated ennui that borders on anxiety riddled depression and a lot of everything in between. I have in a sense been alone with myself as wholly as one can be from moon to moon. That of course is not to say I have been purely isolated. I work with people. I visited family for the holidays and so on. But to come home to the stillness of lead paint peeling on old plastered walls each night. To enjoy the sounds of Beethoven's piano sonatas ringing from those walls and other times to need to turn on the abomination of a sitcom just to feel right as a social animal in an isolation chamber. And to mostly be in between... has been illuminating.
Back to zero. To begin again. In the Shawnee Forest, where it all started 23 years ago.
What a marvel.
And what to do? But to start from the ground up. Be human. Be not ashamed. Be healthy. Be human.
Posted by Ian at 7:02 AM
Saturday, January 03, 2015
Thursday, December 25, 2014
|Turning the other other cheek.|
For all the animosity I hold against Christianity, that dark force of subjugation wielded by the empires of Rome and all that have come afterward to such destructive and terrible purpose, I still find a soft place in my heart for Christmas. Christmas is the pagan's Alamo. This is where the ground has been held. Despite the destruction of our temples and the printing over of our stories we still remember the red cloaked Shamen who invoked the Archetype of Odin and his judgment and benevolence and generosity. We remember his 8 legged steed if only by a slightly different story (8 reindeer), and we remember the elves, the spirits of the dead who are with us if unseen by all but the touched on these Hallowed nights.
We remember the mistletoe which was the poisonous plant that slew the God of the Summer Sun Baldur and began the days of Ragnarök. (The winter solstice / Yule) We remember the Yule log that burned through those dark nights. Baldur's mother, Frigga's tears turned the berries of the mistletoe white. Tears of regret for having overlooked gaining a promise of safety from that most insignificant of plants, an oversight of a creature so small, but none-the-less just as important as all the others. And we remember that henceforth she imbued the mistletoe with the strength of fertility (it was actually used medicinally in this capacity) and made it a symbol of peace and love.
This has been our Pagan stronghold, and each Winter Solstice we gather around our Yggrasil, our World Tree, the tree from which Odin hung himself in sacrifice to himself to gain access to the realm of the dead and bring back the runes of wisdom for himself as guardian of mankind. And we remember this as we hang small ornaments from our own trees commemorating our years and our own growth of wisdom and acts of love. It is a season of Gratitude that has nothing to do with an a-sexual Arab Jewish ships' carpenter, heroic as that man may have been fighting the Romans. He was not our savior, but merely a figure used to hijack our pride and our strength by the empires that would fully subjugate us. But the Weihnachten, the Hallowed Nights, have remained our pagan stronghold. And corrupted as it has become with silly desert miracle scenes and disgusting displays of consumption our symbols have endured through the millennia. It is the great Pagan Fuck You to empire. And there is no shame in loving Christmas, no matter who you are. It's been ten years since I've been home for Christmas. I have so much gratitude for all that I have learned in that time. And in particular I am filled with gratitude for having found the strength to thoroughly remove from myself all the shame and weakness that that disgusting cowards' religion Christianity and its slave morality had infected me with as a child. I only hope someday we will finally remove the name of that tainted usurping slave religion from our Yule, our Solstice, our Ragnarök, though I suppose it does not matter.
Joyous Hallowed Nights to you all. May you remember your roots as you gather around your family's World Tree, and find the strength within yourself to take the Christ fully out of your Christmas. Here's to turning the other other cheek. ;-)
Posted by Ian at 9:29 AM