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To Believe or Not to Believe

teafaerie | Musings | Monday, November 2nd, 2009

teafaerie_entity_seuss_deanThe Teafaerie does not believe in discarnate entities. This is my official stance. It’s the stance that I absolutely have to take at this point in order to maintain what I’m still pleased to call my sanity. The last thing I need, insofar as my tenuous and tempestuous romance with consensus reality is concerned, is to think I’m some kind of god damned Faerie Ambassador. I get the irony of my name (Teafaerie is actually a title, like Doctor or Professor, rather than a proper name) but in fact I don’t believe in faeries, demons, lizard people, or self-transforming machine elves. Clap all you want, it won’t do a lick of good. Or rather, I should say I don’t Believe in them, with an emphasis on the capital “B”. I’ve taken enough ayahuasca that I can’t deny the compelling intensity of some of these experiences, nor dismiss their relevance, but I don’t think I know what they are anymore than I think that I know what I am, myself. To label such a phenomenon as “entity contact” is to attempt to box it into a metaphor that is perhaps not large enough to contain it.

I could totally go there if I wanted to. I would not be straight-up lying if I said that I’ve had dozens of entity encounters. But is it True or true or “true”? No one can say, least of all me, as I’m the sole observer of whatever it was that may or may not have happened, and I have only the most subjective possible viewpoint from which to assess its validity.

If they were asked to take them at face value, almost nobody else would believe my entity stories. For one thing, they all took place when I was tripping fairly hard. For most people that’s the end of the conversation. My early attempts to process this kind of thing, even and maybe especially with my intimates, were discouraging, to say the least. Far from impressing my friends and lovers with my honored status as a contactee, my fractured and breathless tales of “whoa” elicited no small concern for my mental hygiene. It soon became clear that a cusp was approaching, and I was going to have to figure out how to frame my experiences in more acceptable terms or face some sort of attempt at intervention. I don’t blame my family for their reaction. In fact, I love them for it. I had a friend who was getting kinda paranoid around the edges for a while, and if we had all taken refuge in relativism or humored him about the agents forever lurking just out of view, he might well have drifted further and further off. Instead, his friends quite properly took the stance that this was all a bunch of whack talk and insisted that he get some help. It is perhaps because of our vigilance, concern, and willingness to discriminate that he remains amongst us, now untroubled by his former preoccupations. Friends don’t let friends go crazy. This is a good thing. It does make it hard to talk about certain experiences, though.

People are of many minds about the entity thing. It’s difficult to gauge what the general consensus is, if there even is any. Religions seem to prefer having an immunity to ontological analysis. Some of this stuff is maybe a little bit embarrassing for them, but it’s too central to their basic mythologies to just sweep it under the rug, so they kind of have to go with it. It’s perfectly normal to believe that (pick your favorite religious superhero) had all kinds of weird-ass entity contacts. You know, they cast out devils, and they talked to the Creative Principle as a personified entity, and they were harassed and helped by angels or devas or whatever. Not only that, but the followers of most of the popular religions are asked to believe, nay, commanded to believe, that they are players or pawns in some sort of a spiritual war or game between a number of disincarnate entities, and that they must guard themselves scrupulously against supernatural attack, and that they must perform rituals to please or appease certain deities and demigods who might come to their aid or intervene for their salvation. Really stop and think about this: it has been absolutely impossible to get elected president of the United States without at least professing to believe that intelligent demons are out to corrupt your soul. Variations on this theme hold true all over. Millions of people believe in ghosts, too, and most believe that their consciousness continues on in some manner after death. Don’t tell folks that you hear voices in your head, though, or they’ll lock you up!

Is it crazier to believe in other people’s entity encounters, or to believe in your own? It’s one thing if it happened to you, right? Believing in entities that appeared to you personally, established some kind of ontological priority, showed you impossible things, and shattered your soul with unbearable gnosis (or whatever), is generally considered nuts; but believing in entities referred to in ancient texts because the texts themselves tell you that you’d better believe, or else, is not only considered sane behavior, it’s systematically instilled in our children by the most innocuous of social institutions. I’m not trying to piss anybody off here, and I’m not really trying to diss religions or impugn their metaphysics. For all I know, some might be true. I’m just saying that people are kind of schizzy about the whole entity question, and it’s not just a psychedelic issue.

We’ve got to be super careful about what we allow ourselves to believe. We’ve got to take a lesson from our betters and not let ourselves get caught up in the elaboration of whacko theories. Which is not to say that we shouldn’t talk about this stuff. We have to talk about it if we’re ever going to make any progress at all. I think what’s really happening with some of the so-called entity encounters eludes language, though, at least for now. We’re working on the language problem, but it’s tricksy and slow. If you somehow projected your consciousness into the mind of a person who has never been out of the deep rainforest, your contactee would be unable to tell his tribemates what was happening. He would share your experiences as you ride on an airplane or read articles on the Internet, but he would not be able to interpret them, and even less would he be able to communicate them to others. Maybe he would say that he had traveled to the astral plane and flown on a giant condor made of machete skin, and perhaps he would even be believed. It wouldn’t be a lie. It wouldn’t even be imaginary. But is it True or true or “true”? We say that there are “pages” on the Internet and “folders” on our computers, when in reality there are just a bunch of ones and zeros. When you run the programs made up of the ones and zeros, and perceive those running programs through a human sensorium looking at a screen, you experience something vaguely isomorphic to old-school paper pages and files. It appears to us that way, and it’s useful to think and talk about it that way. It’s true enough for our purposes, but it’s not the whole truth. It’s a kind of metaphor or a model that we can use to understand what’s happening. The measure of a metaphor lies exclusively in its power to model a situation in such a way as to most frequently provoke the most appropriate response to stimulus. Period. If your tobacco addiction presents to you as a demon, and you choose to deal with it that way, awesome. For some people that’s a good lens to use. For others it might be better to stick with the chemical feedback loop model. Maybe it’s just different ways of seeing and saying the same thing. Reality seems to be happening on many levels at once, and the fact that it hangs together as neatly as it does is proof positive, for me at least, that there is something going on that is not immediately apparent from our default vantage point.

I think I got lucky, in a way, having lost my religion as a little kid. My touchstone images have always been taken out of mythic movies and psychedelic science fiction, so I’m not prone to taking this stuff too literally. If you’re Catholic, and the Virgin Mary appears to you in an ayahuasca trip, you may be susceptible to believing that the Holy Virgin herself in fact paid you a visitation. When Yoda appears to me, I know damned good and well it’s not really Yoda, because the real Yoda is a muppet. It must be much more confusing for people whose functional myths are easily mixed up with supposedly true stories. It seems like certain psychedelics totally scan you and then they present in a format that’s targeted to you personally. For instance, I recently had an ayahuasca session that involved an odd conversation with a praying mantis the size of an office building. I didn’t get it at the time. Then, a month later, I remembered a praying mantis that I caught like five years ago at Burning Man, and kept alive in a water jug upon which I had written the phrase “alien ambassador god, handle with care”. I laughed and laughed when I finally figured it out. Do I think there are giant bugs in hyperspace? No. Might it have been some sort of alien ambassador god? Maybe so. It sure cleaned my clock, whatever it was. But whatever it was, it was certainly not what it appeared to be. Anything with two eyes on the front of its head is not a creature that evolved in psychedelic multi-space. That can’t be what it looks like for itself, if such a distinction applies.

The mind’s visualization software is awesome. You can feed it really abstract data and it will take its best shot at drawing something in. This stuff comes at you real fast, and your brain runs all the pattern recognition software its got and serves up a trial hallucination. Go brain! So, for instance, with DMT, lots of people get whatever they would draw in for a bunch of quick clever little creatures. Maybe for one guy it’s elves and for somebody else it’s fairies or aliens. (I do believe in aliens in theory, and I’m open-minded about the possibility of them phoning us at home with some variation on Ma Bell non-local or telepathy, but again: how could we tell? When they start sending technical specs that work instead of platitudes about galactic brotherhood, I’ll be impressed.) And yeah, yeah, sometimes apparent entities manifest as nothing we’ve ever seen before. Sometimes they DO look like my idea of what would have evolved in a non-physical space, and sometimes they look like something that I literally could not have previously imagined at all. Some drugs have strange tropes that seem to manifest with statistically uncanny predictability, like ayahuasca jaguars and tryptamine gnomes. Some apparent entities can also manifest as places that I can walk around in, or as music, or as whirlpools in the body, or collages of my own memories. Others seem to be distributed amongst a number of hosts like a virus. Sometimes my friends seem to be sharing their nervous systems with something slippery that flickers into their eyes every third frame or so (I don’t like that one). Occasionally I even get shared hallucinations, like the time my friend Seuss Dean and I mixed up a strange cocktail and we both saw a bunch of researchers with clipboards. Our independent descriptions of them matched up rather uncannily. Do I think they were really there? Riddle me first where “there” is and I’ll try to answer your question.

Occam’s razor says it’s just us. Or, to use a slightly duller blade, maybe it’s the collective unconscious or something. We know for sure that we can dream. In dreams we walk around in a totally fake environment spun entirely out of the stuff of self, and interact with apparently autonomous others. We have no problem integrating this. Some of these experiences are shockingly realistic for some people, but relatively few of us believe that the entities that they encounter in dreams are really “out there”, even though they might seem extremely realistic and exude a palpable sense of presence. On the other hand, you know, the psychedelic experience can be quite convincing. It sometimes feels “realer than real” in a way that’s hard to get across to the straights. The resolution can be better than we’re used to in Physicsland. More importantly, it can come with a conviction of primacy that is hard to refute. Psychedelics can suspend the faculty for critical analysis, and something patently ridiculous can register as absolutely and obviously true. It can seem to me like I suddenly remembered all the secrets of the universe and I’ve always known about the entities and this is the most important and primary thing that has ever happened to me. Then they say something really really silly and I’m left feeling extremely confused.

Sure, I know, if I’m going to start disbelieving the evidence of my senses, how do I know that what we take to be the primary world is real? How do I know that all of this is not some sort of matrix universe or something? I guess I do have a solipsistic streak, when it comes down to it; but since it’s super consistent, I’m forced to deal with consensus reality more or less at face value. It’s real enough for me. For all I know I might be a brain in a jar, and my friends and lovers might be projections, but it serves me to see them through the lens that casts them as other spirits in roughly my same predicament.

Sometimes I deal with psychedelic entities at face value, too. I’ve experienced reality diced many ways, and if I can establish an I/thou relationship with an information field I’m pretty stoked about it, because that’s much more comprehensible and useful to me than some of the more arcane alternatives. I tend to behave relative to such entities exactly as if they were what they appear to be and consider myself lucky to have whipped up such a useful interface for my poor little monkey brain to work with. It’s probably quite literally the closest thing to the truth that I can imagine. I don’t Believe it for a minute, though. I try really hard to stay fluid. I’ve seen lots of good people get hung up on their trips because they insisted on taking it all hyper-literally, and pretty soon they think obscure deities are talking to them, and friends get worried and enemies get an opportunity to ridicule what may be a meaningful experience because they simply can’t relate to it in those terms.

I think I’ll let myself believe in entities when I’m an old lady. When I’m good and truly done with the householder’s life and I can afford to be a crazy psychedelic grandma who talks to people who aren’t there, me and the faeries are going to have ourselves a grand old time. Until then, I’ll keep on not believing, and I’ll keep on interacting with them just the same. Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. I am large and I contain multitudes.

26 Comments »

  1. Thank you!

    I have been thinking about this very thing all week, turning it around in circles, and before I could get to the crux, you beat me to the punch. Most of my fellow trippers refuse to even talk about this stuff, bursting into condescending laughter as soon as I try to broach the topic, which is frustrating when I’m far less interested in validating the existence of supernatural beings than I am determined to find some way of contextualizing a confusing and overwhelming experience. Context being a key word here, as my mind is not comfortable leaving experiential loose ends untied, and any functional explanation at all comes as a sigh of relief.

    But I am still intrigued by Stanislav Grof’s assertion that many of the people he has treated/experimented on with LSD have experienced the lives of members of extinct cultures, animals, plants, and single celled organisms, and brought back with them information they had not had previously, information that was later verified in scientific and anthropological texts. He contextualizes this experience in the terms of transpersonal psychology and the Jungian collective unconsciousness. Now, this is not entity contact per se, but it is similar in that it is a transference of information that seems to occur out of the bounds of normal physics. If it’s True/true/”true” (as you put it), that is.

    As for myself, I was on one occasion informed (not by an entity or anything, just informed) that my brain was constructed of spirals, and was shocked a couple of months later when I read that some of the human brain is, in fact, structured in gyral columns. Lucky guess? Very possibly. I also recall a particularly heavy mushroom trip during which I was attempting to learn to throat sing. A tree (or projection of my subconscious mapped onto a tree) noticed my efforts, corrected my errors, and within moments I was throat singing effortlessly. I have been able to do it consistently since that event. Was that a spirit? Was it my own subconscious mind circumventing the barrier of conscious inhibition, taking advantage of my altered state, and sharing with me latent information I had but could not access otherwise? Or did I just have a profound breakthrough while practicing?

    As you say, it doesn’t really matter, it’s what’s consensus and tangible that is important, at least when engaging with other individuals. However, I have found that giving myself different options of belief keeps my mind flexible and open. I also feel that presenting my peers with as many different explanations as I can for the strange phenomena that I experience enables me to find a common ground with them through which we can engage in dialogue. And again, that’s really what matters.

    Thanks again. I feel a little less frustrated and schizophrenic now.

    Comment by Mujo Lila — November 2, 2009 @ 8:27 pm

  2. Lovely! I continue to really enjoy your rants. Several times while reading this, I laughed out loud and felt a strong desire to highlight bits and make them pull-quotes or paste them to friends. Thanks for continuing to write this column. Perfect photo too, send our thanks to seuss dean as well.

    Comment by earth — November 2, 2009 @ 11:55 pm

  3. Quite brilliant. To my mind, the mix of critical analysis and pathos in your writing would make it perfect for a regular column in a quality liberal broadsheet (the Guardian, for example). Such a shame that the subject matter precludes that possibility, as I genuinely think that being exposed to such entertaining and thought-provoking musings on “drugs” (and beyond) would go a long way to exploding people’s prejudices.

    Comment by Dyobi — November 3, 2009 @ 8:31 am

  4. Would these entities still stick around after any brain activity ceases, or after brain damage happens…….I wonder

    Comment by fallout330 — November 3, 2009 @ 8:54 am

  5. Nicely written btw!

    Comment by fallout330 — November 3, 2009 @ 9:00 am

  6. Whether the entities are products of your mind or not, does that make them any less real? If our minds contain all the endless possibilities of existence, and I think they do, because of the power of the circuity comprising our imagination, then these entities are just as much a part of the universe as we are. Think of the quantity of information stored, holographically, within us…we can contain the entirety of other entities in their real forms.

    Comment by fire — November 3, 2009 @ 9:31 am

  7. Great article. Its especially pertinent given that many religious visions, or the stories they emanate from, are likely due to entheogens. Early Christians used amanitas, syrian rue, acacia and possibly some type of ergot… Amazing the staying power of some of those “entities”

    Comment by any major dude — November 4, 2009 @ 6:46 pm

  8. Wonderfully written! I had some strong visions on Ayahuasca, particulery on Jurema, and felt the matter unresolved as well. The lines below are my recent approach to understanding these experiences.

    ….
    The wind dust blows
    Crowns and jewels
    And glitter gold
    My visions colored
    Sleeping and awake
    Frequencies and waves
    Betweenings of day
    Imaginations puzzle

    The I and it
    Is me and not
    When oneness
    Gives birth to all
    How much of me
    Is in my sperm cells
    Till they’re another
    Me and another

    So my mind
    Is life to forms
    Alive in me
    And then one other

    Comment by Gilson — November 4, 2009 @ 7:50 pm

  9. In that aspect, yes they would be “real”. In the end this “reality” is pretty much relative to the observer and the one experiencing. Would this continue without functioning Grey Matter?

    Comment by fallout330 — November 5, 2009 @ 7:53 am

  10. “When [aliens] start sending technical specs that work instead of platitudes about galactic brotherhood, I’ll be impressed.”

    Exactly. If what we’re really seeing is aliens, those aliens are dicks: given an opportunity to make first contact with human civilization, and give me some information that would help alleviate some of our suffering, they instead say “do more pushups.”

    These pushups better lead to enlightenment, you theoretical alien bitches.

    Comment by Alex Vance — November 5, 2009 @ 1:14 pm

  11. Very interesting, could it be that these so called entities are solely a manifestation of the subconscious mind? A desperate attempt to grasp sanity in a surprise change of state? They say the subconscious mind has a very powerful influence; could it be so powerful enough to push its way in to a trip to guide you safely home?

    Comment by Chris — November 5, 2009 @ 2:29 pm

  12. Thanks, Teafaerie, you’re ebrulliant! That’s Brilliant and Ebullient. How you manage to be so literal, logical and lyrical about the Whole Thing simply astonishes me, and of everything I read on the ‘Net, I look forward to yours the most. One of the commentors mentioned you should be published on real paper and the thought occurred to me as well – that your writing is too good to be hidden in such a special place as Erowid. Then again, that’s what I feel about a lot of the secrets the faeries whisper to me in various states of awareness and so no wonder They haven’t told me more! We are honored to hear your crystal-clear coherence of such fuzzy and fractally thoughts and things. Note that ego-dissolution I find is generally accompanied by the loss of the pronoun faculty – the ability to distinguish I/Thou/He/She/It/We/You/They as any more meaningful a description of our own “individual” body and its own in-division from the Universe as a Whole. You’re so right about feeling lucky to have an I/Thou dichotomy through which to conduct a conversation with Oneself. I remember one time feeling so flustered by the overwhelming awe and magificence of the Whole Scene that I “forgot my question” when the Universe asked and so had to iris shut out some of The Light to rummage through what was left of my neocortex for something suitable, or else be disappointed I lost my opportunity to “learn something” to bring back to my quotidian conscience. What did I come up with? “So, like, why Earth?” As in, what’s so special about this place? Then I was whisked away on a whirlwind tour of galactic civilizations of ancient alien trees, hyperintelligent crystalline-computer planet-minds, and comet-tail-riding spore-creatures, etc., before being brought back to regard the Blue Marble (wait, is this the Apollo photograph from my memory or the collective whatever?) Then the Universe explained, this was the only planet where sapient-sentient-spiritual-civilized beings (technical note: the Voice managed to specify somehow the little things that crawled around on planet-skin surfaces with visual recognition of the starry sky’s structure, as opposed to all the other forms of “life” or what-have-you) evolved from apes. It was so obvious that it was humorous – of course Everything Everywhere Eventually wanted to go for a spin on Earth – for a lifetime or two at least – because what could be more fun than a gravity-well barrel of monkeys? Then I lost the I/Thou split, became the Universe, and had a good chuckle at the Cosmic Joke before coming-to. It is a very special place after all, suspended like a mote out there among the Infinite.

    Comment by Jake — November 5, 2009 @ 2:54 pm

  13. Excellent stuff, I’ve been contemplating the same sort of concerns the last month or two and have also a reached a conclusion; you have to wait until people are willing to listen before subjecting them to a too much influx of ‘esoteric’ or ‘paranormal’ information as if their set of believes are too rigid to accept said information there will be a cognitive lock down so to speak as they will not assimilate any such information input by you for a while. :D As for myself personally, I cannot and will not let the pressure of Consensus reality program my set of Beliefs though, as a matter of principle, but hey, that’s just me and it’s not easy, but as they say if life were it would be very boring..

    Comment by Pathfinder8 — November 8, 2009 @ 2:40 am

  14. Dear Madame,

    I am very impressed by your words. Most things you say are pretty clever and attest to an open mind and heart. Not many people dare to question not only the psychedelic experience itself but also the alleged “truths” they received. But, so to say in the words of my beloved mate, isn’t it all memories that our brain is showing and sharing with us? Maybe it would be one of the more interesting things to know what a newborn would see on any psychedelic drug – if he or she could share this. But that’s nearly an impossibility and also, what would it matter? Like you said.

    Because I am compared to my reading and understanding skills not able to write a really “deep” and momentous letter in English, this is all I have to say – for the moment.

    All the best
    Love from Germany :D
    Gesa

    Comment by Justin Credible — November 9, 2009 @ 2:34 am

  15. brilliant! you have experience and wisdom in your words. I can take quite a bit away from what you say and integrate it into my own schema to help me to understand what we can experience when tripping and how to integrate that back into my own reality. thank you. blaine

    Comment by blaine — November 10, 2009 @ 8:48 am

  16. You wisely contradict yourself, teafaerie. I am grateful to learn from your writings.

    Thx Tyantobi

    Comment by tyantobi — November 10, 2009 @ 9:48 am

  17. You have a wonderful ability to articulate the real value in the psychedelic experience. You open your third eye without blinding your critical eye, and thus you’re able to separate real meaning from its mere form of expression. It’s a refreshing contrast to fuzzy-minded psychedelic writing like 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl.

    Comment by dt — November 10, 2009 @ 6:00 pm

  18. WHAT HAS TRUE VALUE TODAY
    THE THINGS WE CAN SEE AND TOUCH
    AND MOST PROBABLY COST MUCH
    OR THE THINGS THAT MOVES UNSEEN
    BEYOND OUR EVERYDAY
    REALITY CLUTCH?

    Comment by VJ — November 11, 2009 @ 3:40 pm

  19. >>Occasionally I even get shared hallucinations, like the time my friend Seuss Dean and I mixed up a strange cocktail and we both saw a bunch of researchers with clipboards. Our independent descriptions of them matched up rather uncannily. Do I think they were really there? Riddle me first where “there” is and I’ll try to answer your question.

    lol Well said!

    Comment by Jay — November 13, 2009 @ 10:02 am

  20. THANK YOU

    I enjoyed these words very much, and I appreciate your honesty.
    This is what so great about the internet, I finally found it, the possibility of complete honesty with zero social risk.

    This is my take about believing\sharing:
    The in timothy leary’s Book of the Dead, which you can read on deoxy.org, he draws a dilemma – whether one should taste the sugar or be the sugar. Whether one should confront the cosmic serpent gnosis or to be it, on weekends and burning man retreats.
    I think that the notion, the metaphors for this\these being is crusial, and that they should flexible in substance and matter. Though talking about the encounters – I think should be avoided.
    I have a grandma in me, too. She says that it’s gossip.

    Comment by Naemee — November 17, 2009 @ 3:05 am

  21. I have to say that dmt is a telepathic gateway to different dimensions. It doesn’t make sense that we would all see the same thing, even having never heard of others experiences unless there was something concrete out there. For example, this doesn’t happen with acid. DMT is the only one that provides such contact.

    Comment by bugged — November 27, 2009 @ 4:47 am

  22. I generally really enjoy your writings & admire that they are unusually well felt, thought & written. This time I must disagree, not with your “official stance” , nor even with much of your reasoning. Certainly not with the wit & humor you imbue all your writings with. Rather I disagree with your use of a ‘bully pulpit’ to negate experiences, which you would rather not integrate, simply ascribing them as being beyond your current capacity for understanding the bewildering ontological complexity of lifting the veil of perception. I object simply because your default position may encourage others to not attempt comprehension, & thus reduce the amount of valuable insight into non-ordinate means of direct apprehension of other realities.

    You are quite welcome to disbelieve your augmented senses, if you feel safer or saner doing so, but be aware the experience was never contained in the substance, ritual, pattern, chant, breathwork, binding or other methodologies of altering the culturally embedded consciousness filters by which our brains discard 9\10ths of the realities always around us. As distraction & direct perception of the superluminal are not survival values. The experience is always in & through the various aspects of self, & that makes validation hard.

    Yes it’s easy to get lost in these non-mundane worlds, to mis -perceive what many have little practice (recently) in attributing qualities of coordinate realty to. It’s disconcerting to attune to frequencies of vibration which can ‘feel’ wrong. Be very glad of friends willing to help even a little & safeguard the way back.

    We should all treasure those who can look & see without differentiation, without assigning polarities to the bits we normally grasp of the totality. It is beyond contradiction that we cannot even be accepting of each other’s experiences with otherness, while almost all ancient contacts are based on the altered perceptions of a few elite initiate proponents of solar or gaian or lunar deities, & the means of alteration since concealed. We are supposed to accept that some ‘beings’ saw some other ‘beings’ some aeons ago, but not to inquire about how it was done. Yet we do know how now, often precisely what (insert choice) was used for (insert event).

    Mystics, seers, magi, & sages of all stripes & dots throughout all aeons have complained of numerous (insert slur for casual sacrament users) intruding upon their work in or vision of the ‘other spheres’ called ‘aether’, ‘maya’, ‘ghola’, ‘astral’, or ‘akashic’ (& many others). How did they get there ? Why did they not seem to know where they were? Why could they not affect what they saw ? Why would they not just go away ? What could be done to prevent this ? Well, the ‘intruders’ took different ‘paths’ to various ‘non-local dimensions’, the same ‘non-places’ the ‘enlightened’ were accessing for their ‘serious’ purposes !

    What was done ? Do we not already ‘know’ ? Restrict access by the vast majority of inhabitants by restricting knowledge of the means of altering perceptual filters. Misdirect populations away from the concealed methods by distortion, false attribution of causality, hiding the plain truths in elaborate deceits. Construct multiple layers of ‘anterooms’ ‘around’ the ‘other spheres’ filled with discarnate constructs acting as guardians, distractors, enticers, guides, daemons, aliens, deities, all sorts of strange attractors & traps to ensnare the few who might discover ‘far & otherworldly realms’ . Offer the masses new diversions, create spectacles of competitive & combative endevours, accentuate divisions, diminish nature. Offer dis-empowering & disabling
    potions & dried plants, while condemning use & attributing the deleterious effects of the sedative & somatic to all other sacraments & plants.

    It’s worth noting that almost all our initial knowledge of psychedelics, empathogens, entactogens, & ethnogens comes to us from the ‘healers’ of various indigenous cultures that survived western ‘civilization’ or the records of those ‘primitive’ cultures who did not. As well as the few brave souls who have explored beyond the bounds of what most accept as real. An instance that is not yet widely know is that the clairvoyant Edgar Cayce insisted that the foundation that was to continue his work maintain the availability of Oil of Sassafras, declaring it to be of vital importance in healing mankind in the future.

    You’re right Teafarie, it’s not just an issue of psychedelics (manifesting the mind), it’s much larger & much more a piece of the whole we have yet to grasp in large numbers. We do need to learn how to talk about these large areas of the undefinable occluded unknown, without being assigned to the looney bin, or having our cognitive liberties truncated or our imaginations ridiculed by cultures conditioned to only accept concrete measurable experiences of limited senses with strict limits on sensibility.

    For myself, I don’t believe in hallucinations, that is, I do not believe it is possible to see something that is not there, it is something & it is somehow perceptible. It is occurring somewhere in the fractured spectrum that we know parts of & label ‘the electro-magnetic’. Everything we know of matter & energy vibrates at some frequency, has harmonics of other scales, has phase or perceptible form or imperceptible wave or particle characteristics. Everything pops in & out of this ” reality ” on a inconstant basis. Our mere attention alters these ‘small’ quanta. Understanding is not beyond us, we do need finer sensitivities & more acceptance of the non-dual probabilities of non – static & synchronous creation.

    I love that if you may have seen Yoda & known it for a subcultural referent you were imposing upon an incomprehensible manifestation. But not ‘real’ ? For centuries the great literary works of many authors were consider as ‘real’ as the scope of the readers’ invocation of their imagination. Some insist that mass belief creates parallel worlds. Which begs the question, did today’s consensus reality get so bad from a lack of imagination & positive intentionality ? Or was it constant distraction of imposed nightmare scenarios ?

    Great mantis story ! Next time you encounter one IRL, try communicating a visual image of, or just show it a 2D projection of the E8 Lie group, that is a graphic representation of a mathematical model of a polytope that lives in eight dimensions. It looks a bit like a very complex mandala done by a very intricate spirograph. The original was hand drawn back in the 60’s by Peter McMullen & not capable of being rendered even partially by modern supercomputers (which are not analogous to human brains) until recently (M.I.T.) Anyhow, you just might get an answer, if it’s really an alien ambassador !

    Write On ! I may be small & contain only certain numbers, but I salute your voyaging ! +Cee Are ~~

    Comment by Cee Are — March 10, 2010 @ 12:07 pm

  23. “We say that there are “pages” on the Internet and “folders” on our computers, when in reality there are just a bunch of ones and zeros. When you run the programs made up of the ones and zeros, and perceive those running programs through a human sensorium looking at a screen, you experience something vaguely isomorphic to old-school paper pages and files.”

    I love this part. And if you think about it even MORE, we are all just atoms. As one astronomer said on a history (or maybe discover) channel special, “We are all born from the stars. We’re connected to everything in the universe. I think that’s pretty cool.” One time, when I was younger and hadn’t been on a plane in several years, especially not a tiny one like the one we were getting on, I calmed my nerves by telling myself “Air is just atoms stacked upon atoms. We’re riding up there along the atoms.” I’m not scared of flying anymore, in fact I love it dearly and it gives me a peace of sense of calmness and wonder and awe that nothing else can, but one of my favorite things is when you get above a big, fluffy cloud cover. It feels like there is no way you could fall from the sky because you have this huge cushion underneath you. It breaks my heart to hear about plane crashes because it’s such a magical thing to me that a failure is just devastating. It feels like prince charming in the fairie-tale just got murdered and there’s magical way to bring him back to life. Anyway, went off track a little there. Great column ;)

    Comment by Anonymous — September 9, 2010 @ 10:32 pm

  24. For some good language rooted in tradition check out Evelyn Underhill’s “Mysticism: A Study in Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness”. Some of the folks she mentions in her study say it as well as I’ve ever heard it said, with plenty of time-honored admonishments.

    There is a poetic audio book reading of Underhill’s “Mysticism” by Joy Chan at archive.org (LibriVox).

    Nice article, teafaerie. Appropriate skepticism.

    Comment by dsm4 — November 30, 2010 @ 11:58 am

  25. Teafaerie, you is so lovable! :)

    Although, if one’s beginning to question their own sanity, the single worst thing I can think to do would be deciding to doubt your own perceptions.

    I decided, early on, to accept myself and my experience as legitimate and meaningful. Thank God! I’d hate to have to rely on anybody to give me “permission” to sense what I sense, sober or not.

    Comment by Kaleb — May 22, 2012 @ 9:38 pm

  26. Thank you very much, wonderful Tea, for your scintillating and fearless expose into the nature of altered consciousness through whatever means. While I find it true (whatever that is perceptually) for me to hold stock in the ‘experiences’ being valid and learning how to ascribe them some meaning and oratory without riding the crazy fence, I can see that being difficult for many. For instance, on both ayahuasca and smoked DMT, I have definitely (I believe) physically traveled to other real dimensions which were not constrained by the physics of this one, and were so totally foreign, while simultaneously clear, that I had no choice but to revel in the experience of it, and feel the thriving of that validity, no matter the consequence to my consciousness. Maybe integration of these experiences is a learned aspect or perhaps it is a genetic predisposition. Or maybe it is born of a strong desire to build beliefs around around tangible body experiences. In any case, my efforts to understand the creatures that I have encountered and the purposeful work they seem inclined to be carrying out has led me to stumble upon deep realizations about my own psyche and patterns. Could it all be the depths of my imagination conjuring memes and modalities and themes to guide me along a path using universally human symbols…if so, why are they so universal among users, so foreign, and so damn different with every journey? That said, even the seperateness of our perception is a huge mystery. We have absolutely no guarantee than any other individual perceives anything in the real world as we do…we cannot even correctly define what we look like to another, or what color our hair is…the singularity of perception allows for this disparity. So, in all this muck of unknowns, when something universal and tangible presents itself over and over, can we not ascribe a kind of validity to it, even if it is just a Jungian message from our addled psyche?

    All in all, I believe in other dimensions, in strange unknown creatures, monsters, aliens, spirits, ghosts, angels and demons and Im OK with it. Im not riding a one way train to schizo-ville, and I am absolutely unconcerned with anyone’s opinion about my perception. Still, I have learned just to own my integration and not waste excess time trying to proselytize and dilute the uniqueness of my experiences (perceptions) for another…I can only sit quietly with them as they take the same course of action or medicine, and listen carefully to what they perceive. The totally nuts part is when they come back drawing similar creatures, describing similar patters, or having received similar messages, even when they have no pre-context with which to build the perceptive set. I am most blown away when i see the amazing Visionary Art of my friends and colleagues and the images are exacting reproductions of my own perceptions…now since perception is so fallible and undefineable in its specifics, how could it be that two sets of variant perception would conjure the same entity, wearing the same clothes and jewelry, holding the same weird whats it tools, and chirruping in the same foreign, non-verbal, tonal tongue? The only thing that gives that a sensical and logical, thereby ‘safe’ conclusion is that it must be as real as anything in the eyes open realm. I struggled with this mightily for a long time in my medicine work until one day, the spirit of the DMT, audibly in my physical ears, told me “Open your eyes boy, use your senses” and my ‘hallucinations’ if that be what they are, went off the richter in richness and variety and personality.

    I have been forcibly confronted by all kinds of entity energy, some in dreams, some in hypnagogic states, most in the throes of psychedelia, and my only conclusion is to believe. Interestingly enough, in my milieu, I make this choice for the same reason you choose to refute the ‘reality’ of the images and ideas. That being that for me to refute and deny these experiences would drive me to the crazy house, not the other way around. Also, what you are describing in your article has much to do with the failure of being able to fit into a functional society in regards to relating the experiences. The simple solution is to not share them, keep them as your treasure, and try to make them part of a functional, albeit private worldview…its worked for me, and allowed me the vagaries and subtleties and ‘realness’ of the Visions, without the scandal and ridicule.

    Perhaps in fourth dimensional space someday, all of this will be confirmed, or perhaps not…what I know is I get to choose what works for me, what inspires me, and to decide what I feel is functional, powerful, and beautiful. Thanks for the enlightening, superbly written exploration of this somewhat maddening concept. Botoom Line? integrate for you, and ignore all the rest. mahalo dear one…namaste

    Comment by Rio Gordon — May 22, 2012 @ 10:19 pm

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