In Media Res

“White bears graze in lush green meadows. A shrieking black boy dances around in civilian bones … emerald whirlwinds. “It’s always her toes to be left alone.”

These magical visions are totally devoid of ordinary human emotion and experience. There is no friendship, love, hostility, fear or hate. There are no rules, no series of steps by which one can be in a position to see. Consequently such visions are the enemy of any dogmatic system. Any dogma must postulate the way, certain steps that will lead to the salvation which the dogma promises. The Christian heaven of pearly gates and singing angels, the Moslem paradise of eternal whores and plenty of water, the Communists’ heaven of the worker state. Otherwise there is no place for a hierarchical structure that mediates between dogma and man, that dictates the way.

To endure in time, any structure must present predictable recurrences. The visions, the glimpses of the Western Lands exist in space, not time, a different medium and a different light, with no temporal coordinates or recurrences. The medium bears some relation to holograms. 

I remember seeing an exhibit of early holograms, mostly chess pieces in little glass cases. There is something strangely oppressive about these objects, a feeling of something that doesn’t belong there. The vision medium can be faked. A hologram can fake it. But when faked, it becomes quite disorienting and unpleasant. A hologram is the illusion of magic without magic.”  W. S. Burroughs – The Westernlands

These “magical visions” are textualized,  direct, unfiltered experience. In this way, they are the raw medium of experience, or information. This information takes on a common kind of meaning only when it is “bent,” or conformed into structures that are recognizable to the viewer.

If the premise is true that all information is existent as a binary code, whether it be in the form of 1s and 0s in a computer system or peaks and troughs of waves (The angle and frequency of Fullerian geometry and synergetics), then the kind of information conformation discussed above would be an abstract, or high-level, form of programming because it contains whole words, usually in grammatically valid sentences.  High-level programming means rearranging large sections or continua of the basic computational language involved to create form, instead of individually placing each 1 and 0. These large sections or continua are analgous to functions in computer programming, but more immediate to the human condition they are signs or symbols in the semiotic sense. See Terrence McKenna’s lecture “Psychedelics in the Age of Intelligent Machines” for a comparison of semiotic languages and computer languages.  The majority of modern society functions on the communication of these signs and symbols in the form of the spoken word, text, facial expressions, icons and money.

The shamanic experience is a shift to a lower-level semiotic programming language of the mind. The reality of the symbols upon which your previous lived experiences were predicated come into question because you can see them as constructed and made out of smaller parts that can be rearranged, or they simple appear incoherent. Far more complicated and sublte symbols manifest as your perception is refined in the lower-level languages. Soon you begin to redefine your personal identity and the set of experiences that you are willing to admit into the realm of the “real.”  Which brings us to me.

My definition for a shaman, outside of the cultural role, is “anyone who both perceives and interacts with informational, energetic, etheric or spiritual states of existence and has guides or helpers within those states. I am a shaman.

I’m blogging as an experiment in documenting and relating my experiences. The title is from Robert A. Monroe’s Far Journeys. A rote is a bundle of thought and experience, so you can imagine what a wild rote is.

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One Response to “In Media Res”

  1. Quanta Says:

    I was rather hoping we could this particular conversation via e-mail rather than commenting back and forth via our websites (except for occasional comments, etc…) – but I tried and my note bounced back.

    The last comment/question from you on my site Friday got my thoughts cascading, and I wanted to add more to what I wrote late last night in response. If you do wish to e-mail, just say so and provide an address. For now, its good to know I always, always find (or make) time for meaningful, civil communication, whether between myself and humans or myself and “other” – so if we must speak via comments to each other’s websites, then I can work with that.

    I’d like to know more about your shamanic initiation experience(s) and also your guides…..and would love to share some of my apparent shamanic initiatory experiences (stemming back to my childhood) as well. I’ll be posting at least a few of those stories at some point – maybe sooner rather than later. Now that I’ve read this post and your most recent comment to me, I’m really starting to think back to shamanic initiation – a fascinating subject, and related to your question after all.

    Stace Tussel

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