I have been asked to submit my dreams to Bardic tests. For years I have allowed innuendoes from my dreams to slip into my daily affairs. Now my friends and acquaintances have grown weary of dividing these dream outcroppings from my intentional deceptions and mystifications. Some warn that I divulge my personal mysteries too recklessly, others complain that I am overly-secretive. Unanimously they demand that I give a full and precise account of all my activities in the Lower Astral Plane — as if this were a simple matter of translating a text from one language to another.
And dare I be anything but ruthlessly accurate and systematic in my mappings of the lower astral? It is one thing to visit there, quite another to return with faithful transcriptions of the landscapes. And there are few, if any, reliable precedents to guide such a survey.
The most recent comprehensive compilation of conditions there is more than a few thousand years old — the Egyptian Book of the Dead. And even if we accepted the unlikely notion that the lower astral has not undergone an evolution comparable to that of the physical plane, there would no doubt, at least, have to be a rigorous re-naming: Surely the Egyptian names for the guardians of the pylons differ from the English? Our bodies, after all, are the descendants of the Word of other creators. The sounds popular among astral travelers in ancient Egypt would presumably fail to register in American astral bodies. Let us not forget that astral conditions are not the same the world over — the astral space interpenetrating Minneapolis differs from that in which my body falls asleep.
Whereas the Book of the Dead surveyed the extent of the two kingdoms of Egypt and established correspondences between the geography of the material earth and that of the astral plane, no one, to my knowledge, has ever turned his power of naming to a similar systematization of American space. The links may exist, but are weak and unvivified by the conscious acts of definition wielded by the skillful magician. The task of course is so enormous that even to consider undertaking it requires a willingness to forego a good, uninterrupted night’s sleep for perhaps thirty years.
Where today are the dedicated hermeticists, scribes, uncomplaining apprentices, who once took the trouble of formulating vast bodies of oral knowledge in their mind’s eye that it might not disappear from human brain? Where are the dedicated self-immolations for whom one lifetime is not too much to consume in the compassionate quest to visualize in detail the entire astral network — that these that follow then might find their nightly forays into astral regions solid and well-illuminated?
Where are the men and women to oppose the active efforts of thousands of distortionists who willfully and maliciously fill the astral plane up with crude and gross institutionalizations of hallucination? Who today can travel through dream lands secure in the knowledge that his vision does not deceive him — in a realm where for some time now no Human Being has taken the trouble to overview the global rhythms.
If there were but a single spark of consciousness engaged in the arduous task — if the vision of the full harmony of astral circulation were tattooed upon even a SINGLE human brain — the nightly visitations of every being on this planet to the astral realms would become more than a vaguely pleasurable simulation of our original and eternal spiritual state, confusing and disorienting even as it refreshes beings with hints of its beloved divinity. Every night would be anxiously awaited — not just a pleasant rest — but an adventure as enriching as any trip on the material earth.
The failure of the memory is most often blamed when dreams seem too dull and obscure to be impressed in the waking mind. But equally at fault are the dizzying currents of hallucinated thought forms that pervade the astral and make it next to impossible to perceive accurately even with the astral senses. What is perceived incompletely leaves no enduring trace to be remembered.
I, for one, will volunteer as soon as I am ready. But my vision cannot yet be trusted. Only this evening I was writing a letter to the Bright and Fertile Mother, Aima, whom I invariably confuse with the Dark and Sterile Mother, Ama. As usual, I could not write my way out of my personal astral shell; the various sheaths, in their several stages of solidification, leaked over into the field of vision — I could not tell my eye apart from what it beheld.
I was raised, tragically, to exploit and prey upon women. And so tonight, like so many other times, discovering the Mother portraying the faces of Anima as they glimmered on the faces of various real women, I fell into the hapless habit of torturing my own map, exposing my own vulnerable guts to a stupid cruelty, heedless of the consequences of exaggerated sex; and of course suffered the revenge of the Mother within hours — so insidious and invisible: a sudden lust to please then interwoven with an utter ignorance of how to do so. Despondent, tormented, I gave myself over to them that they might use me as they wished; finally grateful for the annihilation of my personal vision, left with nothing but the mad vengeful urge to begin again.
The recurring rhythm is ages old, the inevitable consequence of the deluded arrogance of man. This I cannot escape: When I exploit the Bright Fertile Mother I must be broken down and digested by a woman who wears the reflection of her light deflected through me.
Again. And again. To be ruined, to be idiotic, to tell great lies. To be husband to one’s own mother. The seed of the father, I say, is a superstition. The Mothers work with gods alone. I am making me, myself, my little doll, from spirit, blood, and yolk — and the white ash left over from my last death.
To be white in the belly of the Bright Fertile Mother and kill her with my birth! And with the face of a moron or clown, and a dry and arid tongue burnt free from the languages of earth. A turning: I will be a turning-around: a new race of idiot poets, hot to the touch, mouth a furnace too terrible to open. Watch me and my genius together, too dumb to learn the ways of men. What I know I know to the exclusion of all other things. But I am dumb and I am mute and I dance delirious dances, and stupid speech will never bare my ignorance.
Like the BARDS — the old poets and the new — the knot-headed ones — the crowned fools of the silent Mother! The BARDS, who sleep watchfully on the Bardo planes, singing forth the impassioned unions of human souls and their ancient maps, their voices building solid networks of sound for dreamers to climb on.
But when they are awake the Bards are awkward in speech and clumsy in all things until they dance. The Bards, for whom all joy and inspiration originate in the underworld, belly of the Bright Fertile Mother, rise from sleep and trample with heavy feet on that very world, which men call the Land of the Dead. What they glorify by night they beat down by day. Such is their lot: to sing for dreamers and to dance for the earth.
And I am one — a stupid dancer, and a singer in dream — for whom the tongues of men are a grief and a burden. For whose genius is of another time? Whose greatest gift is both hopeless anachronism and future inspiration? Only one, and many — he who is son of the Great Mother, and of no other. He who issues forth from her womb and flees, only to return to claim her as his bride. He who shall be sacrificed in his youth and who shall exhaust his youth in satisfying her desires. He who wandered desolate out of the primeval age of the Mothers and rushes forth to drown in the deluge of her great return.