Wednesday, March 20, 2024

On the Welcoming of the Unexpected Guest


On December 27th, 2023, I published an essay in The Dark Mountain Project called “At First, There Were Eight.” This was a companion piece to “Entering the Tunnel of Time in Cappadocia,” which went up on December 28th, 2022. Coming a week or so after the winter solstice in both years, both essays were panoramic views of world destructions, with hints of a larger cosmic context and hopes for cultural renewal. These were the first and last essays in my book The Preexistent Race Descends. If asked whether these essays were pessimistic, I would say they were written at a turning point, at a time when the trees have withdrawn their sap into their roots, before new growth has appeared. I would say that they were characterized by what Yeats called “tragic joy.” If the screens that monetize our vision are destined to go blank, why not take this as an opportunity to see with other eyes?

Beginnings are not that different from endings. The east is not actually separate from the west, and it’s possible, from a great enough distance, to view the seemingly flat earth as a sphere. As I’ve come to understand it, just as both essays are simultaneously present in the book, the future, to some extent, may already have occurred. We just don’t see it yet, even as we’ve moved into it through the reading of this sentence. Similarly, 99 percent of the past may not yet have taken place. There are worlds within worlds still waiting to be discovered. The one moment in which we live continuously slips by us, as does our relationship to the ground beneath our feet. If we’ve lived 10,000 times, to what culture do we belong? We may have farther to go than we think to define our true identities.

In the essay, I had attempted to explore our relationship to deep time, or really, to the high peculiarity of time itself, to the forces, both external and internal, that keep us from looking very far beyond our stage-set, that assure us that the most up-to-date of building codes were followed, that our indifference to the extent of our lost history will protect us. How wonderful it would be if this were true. How beautifully gradualist is our geology. How linear is our progression from Lascaux to social media. Yes, how miraculous such an arc would be. If only social media were not the ritual desert of our ghost dance.

I was lucky enough to receive a comment—somewhat accusatory—from a reader called Larissa. In spite of certain misunderstandings, I was, nonetheless, grateful. Since I first began to publish online essays, in 2007, in Reality Sandwich, I’ve done my best to respond to any comment on my work. These were the wild west days of the internet. Arguments could be heated. Exchanges of comments on an issue would sometimes stretch into the hundreds. The strength of disagreements would be moderated, however, by a sense of curiosity, by the excitement of being able to communicate with people half a world away.

I learned to let no source of conflict go to waste. If attacked, I did my best to flow with my opponent, to treat even the stupidest criticisms of my work “as if” they might be true. Through such exchanges, I became more aware of my flaws, and I got better at revision. I learned to welcome each seeming enemy like an unexpected guest.

Now, sadly, even in the most literate and well written of comment sections, there often seems to be some unspoken agreement to toe the party line—without, perhaps, even knowing what this is—to valorize the “Us” and demonize the “Them.” At a time of converging crises, when so much is demanded, when we must stretch our vision to the breaking point just in order to imagine and survive what will come in the next 20 years, we often seem to be shrinking rather than expanding, regressing to the thrill of schoolyard taunts, retreating to the faux-safety of the in-group. This reflexive strategy is, perhaps, a small-scale illustration of our relationship to time itself. When overwhelmed, when we are in the grip of traumas we don’t acknowledge to exist, it’s easier to focus on the foreground than the background, on the clickbait of the day. Pay no attention to the ocean as it floods the New York subways. There is a perfectly good target on that shadow over there.

My own approach is best described by the Roman playwright Terrence, who writes, “Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto,” or “I am a man, thus nothing human is alien to me.” So, in spite of our divergent views, I was glad to hear from Larissa, that she had taken the time to read and respond to an admittedly nonlinear and challenging essay, even if this response came as a series of insinuations. I’d hoped to open up a space where real dialogue might occur. Was this no more than a pipe dream? Life is short. My patience is long.

Continue reading at Metapsychosis:

My first book of essays, Masks of Origin: Regression in the Service of Omnipotence, is available through Untimely Books and Amazon:

Image: Salvador Dali, The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory, 1954

Sunday, February 11, 2024


Part five of my piece “The Goddess as Active Listener” are now up in Scene4. Excerpt:

 When I remember Sue Castigliano, I think of almost naked dancers vaulting above the gold-tipped horns of Cretan bulls, to the sound of waves breaking in the distance. Wandering with the ghosts of an exploded island empire, I enter the doors of a library that I first thought was an octopus. When I think of her, I see wheat bound in sheaves, gourds hanging from a makeshift wooden peristyle, grapes being stomped by rhythmic feet in vats. I think of the minute preparations of a glad community in the month before a human sacrifice.

 When I remember her, I think of a face that encompasses multitudes, whose each component is distinct, the dark face of the goddess, projected against lowering clouds. I think of Ceres, of Inanna, of Isis, of Coatlique, and of Oshun. I think of olive oil sleeping inside of prehistoric jars, the Sibyl smoothing out her wrinkles in the shadow of the arch of Constantine. I think of a young girl standing on a cliff above the sea, the wind playing with her hair, as she listens for the voice of her drowned lover.

 Her body is the world tree. Her navel is Omphalos, the place of interconnection. Her womb is the cave where stars can get changed into their human suits. In her left palm Saturn, time’s comptroller, tilts and revolves. The fingers of her right hand touch the Earth with a gesture of abundance. And then, quite unexpectedly, she stands before me in a robe. In her eyes, I can see ships sailing back and forth. There, beneath the gigantic shadow of a wave, a wave that towers, still swelling, up and up, they go in search of a dock that is nonexistent.

 Above our heads: a roof, whose beams have disappeared. There is only a charred corner. The shore is not far away. The astringent scent of salt is softened by the scent of moss and rosemary. “Beloved, come. Like fireflies, the ghosts of all past seers flicker in the dusk, where, if you hurry, you might catch one in a jar. Our fingers touching, like our souls, by its light we will read an elegy on the metastasis of Rome, on the triumph of the Age of Iron, the last statement by a master who is called by some “Anonymous.” Upon your lips, my breath: the elixir by which your name will be alchemically removed.

 “Many years have passed since the day that you were buried, facing east, with a luminous stone clutched tightly in your hand, with much to say that would never be expressed. It is reasonable that your knees should start to tremble and give out. A drum beats in the distance, in the labyrinth of your ear. My pulse suspends you. Are you dead, or are you not, or is there some third alternative?

 Continue reading:

My first book of essays, Masks of Origin: Regression in the Service of Omnipotence, is available through Untimely Books and Amazon:

Image: Massimo Campigli, Three Idols, 1960

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Part four of my essay “The Goddess as Active Listener” is now up in Scene4. Excerpt:

 Is the ego the knower of the self, or is the self the knower of the ego? Perhaps the soul is itself a mask, soon to morph into a different form with the astronomical rotation of the fashion industry. Although, as a matter of convenience, I use it here, I do not like the word “ego.” Over the past six years or so, I have tended to use it less and less. I have just as little use for or patience with the all too popular term “seeker.” I far prefer Picasso’s formulation. He states—somewhat arrogantly, perhaps—“I do not seek; I find.” The term “teacher” I like more, but this term, if casually used, has problems of its own. Too many students of famous gurus, for example, can’t seem to wait to give away all of their own intuitive authority to the teacher. It can be difficult for the teacher to be idolized, either spiritually or intellectually, and many are tempted to want to turn their students into small, submissive versions of themselves. This can be as true in a PhD program in archeology as in an ashram.

 Clearly, good teachers are needed to transmit information, to help students to discover themselves, and to model certain skills. We cannot do without them. Even the most abstract of knowledge is not abstract; at least in the first stages, it must come attached to a living body. In this essay, however, it is the more primal concept of “teacher”—the teacher as spiritual catalyst—that I am attempting to explore. If such teachers are, in a different way, essential, they may sometimes tend to hold themselves to a lower standard than their students: They may stamp the void with their brand; they may speak highly of their total unimportance; in an energetic contest with Joe Average, they may judge themselves the victor; they may take themselves as seriously as their most obedient followers; they may believe that the light has more to teach them than the darkness; they may take as much as they give; they may have the power to catalytically intervene but be unwilling to let go.

It is not that such teachers lack the knowledge that they claim; they may very well possess it, but they do not give it freely. They do not prefer to overflow. Rather, they choose to portion this knowledge out, and, in the process, they can come to believe their own P.R. How easy it is for the once enlightened teacher—accidentally on purpose—to be sucked into the vortex of his own charisma! Power intoxicates, and the gods do like to drink. The student may then become sadomasochistically attached to his own childhood, to the deadness of his feet and the blockage in his spine. He will not make of his heart a meeting place or expect that his head will click open like an aperture. He will see his mind as an electrochemical databank, as an empty space to be filled up with the teacher’s big ideas. He will not learn how to leap from a great height, to move into and beyond death, or to hatch the universe from an egg. He will not dare to trust that his energy is a kind of self-existent vehicle.

 Continue reading at Scene4: International Magazine of Arts and Culture:

 My first book of essays, Masks of Origin: Regression in the Service of Omnipotence, is available at Untimely Books and Amazon:

Image: Victor Brauner, There, 1949

Sunday, December 31, 2023

At First, There Were Eight/ Part Four


My essay “At First, There Were Eight” just went up in Dark Mountain Journal. This is the companion piece to “Entering the Tunnel of Time in Cappadocia,” which went up last December. In both 2022 and 2023, these were the last pieces DM published for the year. Not sure what this means. I guess both involve panoramic views of world destructions, with hints of a larger cosmic context and hopes for cultural renewal. A pessimist’s way of saying “Happy New Year!” This is part four:

 How much, reader, do you know about yourself, how much is securely tucked in the realm of “known unknowns,” and what shards are still waiting to be unearthed by a shepherd? Yet beneath us, the ground remembers. There are skies that have solidified and cracked. There are oceans that turned upside down. There are urns that hold the bones of radioactive giants, of yogis so violent they can kill us with their love. There are eggs that have grown much larger than our planet. You who through these convolutions have followed me this far, who have climbed the broken stairs to a tower with no top, who floor by floor have plunged down through the flames of collapsing cultures, who have reached across dead oceans to a coast where the sun is green, you believe, perhaps, that you have read this book, but probing here and undoing blockages there, it could be that the book has read you. Fret not, the energies thus released are only the beginning. Great bliss and despair await.

 Do you not remember having read this book? Well, that is a separate issue. Such a book is fully capable of reading on its own, with no help from the living. I can empathize. Like you, I know how unsettling this can be. Be glad, at least, that your discomfort goes only this far, your sense of dread no farther. Just imagine what it was like to write a book that was not yours, to see your hand write words that were not quite your words, to cross them out then cross out your corrections, many dozens of times over, when you realized that no simple act of transcription was involved. What fun it would be to “channel” Occult Masters. You could win friends and influence people. With their higher-dimensional algorithms, they could help to market your Total Seerhood. If only you didn’t have to pass harsh judgement on your work, not once but every day, in this life and in others.

 Instead, my instructions were to actively descend, to actively ascend, to actively shrink, to actively expand, and to find some way to bring you with me, without your full consent, perhaps, without your even knowing you had come. I was to jerry-rig a technology that would let the fifth element speak, to call from hiding the primal power of the word. As satellites crash, as the ocean inches up and then finally pours through subways, as the last bees buzz, as we one day note there is no glass in our towers, we will have gained some fluency in turning against time, some skill in subverting the opacity of space. We will see the remnants of the First Ones in their graves, painted red, facing east, with those small stones clutched in their hands. Why is it that they clutch those small stones in their hands? Together, long ago, we will turn with our fingers the pages of this book.

 Continue reading at:

Masks of Origin: Regression in the Service of Omnipotence is available through Untimely Books and Amazon:

Sunday, December 10, 2023


A revised edition of my book of essays, Masks of Origin: Regression in the Service of Omnipotence, is now available through Untimely Books and Amazon. The new edition contains six recently revised essays. This is the first of six books that I will be publishing with them.

 Excerpt from the newly revised “Early Days in the Vortex":

 If you had a car, you could drive from my neighborhood to Boston in an hour. I didn’t have a car, however. I didn’t take Route Nine. I went by way of the abyss. I worked eight hours a day as a janitor at the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, cleaning ink off all the presses, and also as a counsellor at the Worcester Crisis Center, learning to treat the problems of heroin addicts and would be suicides as being almost as important my own. I then would spend most of my free time at the Clark University Library, going stack by stack in my search for any trace of the Philosopher’s Stone. An abyss had opened, and I entered it. We became good friends, more or less, not that I was presented with any other option. In the two years after high school, I chose to act as my harshest critic. There was lots of catching up to do. To do something once was to do it many times. I saw, I heard, I was led, I learned a lot, but each small gain felt deliberate and laborious.

 And then, in September, 1974, when I moved to Boston to go to art school, my self-imposed atonement came suddenly to an end, as though I had closed the book that I was reading with a snap. Don’t ask for what crime I had been sentenced to atone. A kind of antigravity took over when I stepped from the Greyhound bus. The top of my head flew off. The days appeared to physically grow brighter. The sun moved closer to the Earth. I was as happy as one of the roaches that scurried in my 92 dollars-per-month apartment.

 Did my kitchen not have a stove? Did water leaking from my ceiling destroy a dozen drawings? Was my wallpaper starting to fall off? Did the mice make so much noise that they kept me up at night? What of it? Such hardships fit my definition of adventure. So as not to grow too comfortable, a few days per week I would add to these hardships by sleeping on the floor. In Worcester, I had put my shoulder against an almost immovable wheel. In Boston, in search of the later-day descendants of Bohemia, on the cusp of a cultural moment that I had not yet discovered, not the effort but the sense of difficulty disappeared.

 I had intended to rent an apartment a few blocks from my school. Hopelessly ignorant of the city, I ended up a mile away. What luck was mine! My location was a perfect one, across the street from the Northeastern University Library, whose books would gladly welcome me when I fled from my apartment. Was this place the result of a series of wrong turns? No. I had accepted Baudelaire’s invitation to go with him on a voyage. I had gone where the Old Ones sent me. I was where I was meant to be. If the most important changes are internal, having to do with one’s subtle relationship to events, then there are also times when outer changes are essential, when one would die inside without them. These outer changes then shift the balance between the subject and the object, so that events begin to articulate the psyche, so that the psyche appears to be present in the most random of events.

 I have a new interview up with British transpersonal psychologist and podcast host Lucinda Lidstone for her Talking Tealeaves podcast. Lucinda asked probing questions, really listened to the answers, and had a flowing, intuitive sense of what I wanted to say. She was so much fun to talk with that I ended up saying things that I seldom reveal to anyone. (Artwork: #13 from my new Homage to Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas series) 
Interview with Brian George - Onevsp

Sunday, October 22, 2023


When I was first introduced to my wife, I told her that I had always missed her but had never realized it until we finally met. She was present as a kind of pregnant absence. I was aware on some alternate level of the self of a kind of negative space, like the shape of a missing puzzle part, to which her image corresponded. Shape would one day fit itself into corresponding shape to complete the occult structure. We might certainly wish that this process were more foolproof than it is, that so many things could not potentially go wrong, and yet, in its own wonderfully slipshod way, this tendency of linked fragments to reassemble themselves into an image sometimes takes us where we need to go.

 Are we meant to have certain experiences? Are we meant to connect with certain people rather than with others? At a multidimensional intersection—at a 19th Century train station as designed by Giorgio de Chirico, let’s say, where the newly arriving and newly departed search for their respective tracks—it is possible to see how precarious forces constellate, not always to our advantage. You would think that each soul might choose the simplest path, so that joy would feed on joy. Why would we choose to live in exile, far from our own coast, to be stepped on, starved, and deceived? It should not be so difficult to return to the Satya Yuga. Nonetheless, it is. We break what we love. We then yearn for what we broke. Habit is not harmony. Safety is an illusion of the microcosm. With their eyes that never close, the seers of the World Maritime Empire watch.

 Listen, and I will whisper in your ear. Perhaps earth-shattering events happen every day around you, more or less invisibly, as you brush past in your haste to buy a donut. A catastrophe that occurred in 9800 BC is only just now informing you of the whereabouts of your heart. After so much time it has decided to return, again to advocate for its role as the seat of true intelligence. If you do not stop the world, for just a moment, to talk to the stranger standing next to you, you may have thrown away your one and only chance to meet that significant Other. But where was the music of the occluded sphere hiding, and why did love’s messengers take so long to appear? No doubt you are bad.

 The more romantic among us are used to thinking that there may be one true soul-mate for each person. It is less common to imagine that friends or teachers may also play such central roles. How many of these are there? No more than a small handful. They may do no more than acknowledge what you are, but without them, somehow, you would not be you. In the staircase of your DNA, there are certain friends who wait on certain landings. At the Institute of Interplanetary Forms, a bird has programmed an encounter with a teacher. “Real” events are later tweaked to correspond. Such collisions have about them a great sense of uncanniness; the world has changed, and it is not possible to return to your earlier and simpler view of existence. Certain bits of information had been stored in your subconscious. If these were not meant to stay hidden, why would they have been put there? Why should this Mongol invader have access to what you cannot touch yourself? A kind of right to left reversal has occurred. Your mode of vision has been altered.

 Once, let’s say, you despaired of ever meeting a teacher who could see you. Then, through no effort on your part, such a teacher is just there. In retrospect, this meeting will no doubt seem inevitable, the most natural thing in the world. At the same time, you must study how the opposite is true: such a meeting should be seen as an “opus contra naturam,” as an alchemical “work against nature,” as the reverse engineering of a series of wrong turns, as the deconstruction of a badly deconstructed text. How do you know when a bird has programmed a key meeting? You know because the meeting should not have taken place at all.

 Continue reading at Scene4:

Masks of Origin: Regression in the Service of Omnipotence is available through Untimely Books and Amazon:

 Image: Ernst Fuchs, Penna Vulcana, 1973Ernst Fuchs, Penna Vulcana, 1973

Saturday, September 23, 2023

My interview with Michael Kokal for his End of the Road podcast is now up.

Michael will also be interviewing my wife Deniz Ozan-George about her role as a priestess of Lucumi, her experience with various types of divination, her artwork and upcoming exhibit at Galatea Fine Art, and her memories of playing drums with the all-girl, no-wave punk group Bound and Gagged.

End of the Road: Episode 271: Brian George: Visionary Literature/"Masks of Origin" (

Image: Number four from my new series of oil pastels “Homage to Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas

Masks of Origin: Regression in the Service of Omnipotence is available through Untimely Books.


Sunday, September 10, 2023


Before being kicked out, I attended a parochial high school for two years—two years of Hell, or of preparation for the arcane tortures of the Apocalypse. An “education in the Classics,” as they say. The mind is a muscle, which one would never be allowed to use—or else. Self-knowledge was regarded as a form of masturbation. Just see where that would lead. And, once you got started, then how would you ever stop? It might one day become impossible to distinguish between one’s intellect and an orgasm. No exclamations of “Eureka!” were allowed. One’s flash of sudden intuition might disrupt the Pre-Game Pep Rally.

Such intellectual “exercise” as there was—and the use of this term strains language to the breaking point—was like the watching of an aerobics video: The instructor shouts like a drill sergeant. It is good for you, somehow. Although sitting on a couch, one feels virtuous by the end. St. Thomas Aquinas had corrected the few small mistakes of Aristotle. He was smarter than you! In this age of genetic recombination, he was the thinking Darwinian’s modernist. He had determined how many angels should be allowed to dance on a pin. No more need be said. Even now, those angels are too petrified to get off.

 No doubts need mar one’s contemplation of the shadow of the atomic bomb.

 Usurping the right-of-way on Main Street, we were forever staging marches with felt banners and singing songs with choruses like, “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love.”—Ugh. Such sentiments are among the few things that can inspire me to hatred. Even now, the sight of a flaming dove can cause my stomach to turn over. They are not cute; they are evil. When a few football players judged my hair to be too long, such love didn’t stop them from hacking it off with a Polish cavalry saber. And yet, mystery of mysteries, both in their own minds and to school administrators, these thugs were more devout than I. Cosmic love can be difficult, if not in theory then in practice. It is more of a rare element than the evidence-free chorus of a song. Cosmic love is not for beginners, but the basic idea of forgiveness is a sound one.

 “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

 Christ—yes; Christians—no. How many devotees of the cross have ever shouldered the full weight of this pronouncement? The first part they take seriously, yes; the second part they ignore. To want to be forgiven doesn’t mean that one forgives. I too do my best to set my enemies free, on certain days, if I am in the mood. “Bless those who curse you,” said He Whose Name I Will Not Speak. “Only connect,” said E.M. Forster. Both injunctions point us toward the fact of our radical interdependence. The web on which we pull is inconceivably complex. We have no way to extract ourselves. The web breathes us, even as we argue that our breathing is our own. In the Cloud of Unknowing, forgiveness may prove the only method of “dead reckoning” that will work.

 From the seed of nothing to the shore of nowhere, we do our best to mark an X upon the fog, to search our pockets for a spark from a dead sun. How strange that our shadows hate us. How strange that we trade enemies from one life to the next.

 Some hard kernel of insight has survived my scorched-earth war against the “Savior,” who, as an omniscient god, should have known better than to hang around with Christians. “Thank god that I am Jung, and not a Jungian!” exclaimed Jung, in a tone that we can imagine to be incredulous with disgust, or perhaps relief. A foreknowing Christ should have followed Jung’s example. I would argue, too, that a Monotheist is the greatest enemy of the One. They have named “G-d,” though in a somewhat generic form. To make an idol, they have shrunk the haunted oceans of the Void. They have cut down the Tree of Life. Omphalos is now horizontal. They have literalized the interdependent meanings of the Ur-Text.

Continue reading at Scene4:

Masks of Origin: Regression in the Service of Omnipotence, my first book of essays, is available through Untimely Books:

Sunday, August 6, 2023

My Friend, the Minotaur/ Part Three


Exempt from politics, uninterested in wealth, devoted only to the care and feeding of my art, it may be true that I am self-absorbed. I seldom give any change to derelicts. I care more for my peace of mind than for the for the fires that will erase whole towns in California. I do not live there, I live on the East Coast, and who among you has the standing to accuse me? I have never owned a car. I prefer to walk. My carbon footprint is much tinier than the average. Even now, I care too much. In spite of all my yogic preparations, I think more about the fifth great die-off than I should. 

Call me focused, if you will, or anxious, or even self-contained; do not call me narcissistic. True, there is a barcode on my forehead, but it is only just barely visible. If I am not pure, I am as pure as most of the 8 ½ billion now being prepped for sacrifice. They are pure enough. They will serve, as will you, dear reader/listener, who have volunteered to bare your throat by the fact of your existence. My role? It is only to inform you of your role. The entrance to and the exit from the labyrinth are the same. There, the choice is yours. It is certainly not my fault if the Minotaur was a friend. It is not fair to describe me as a vector of disease, and if I were, would this really be so bad? How else could I speak of the Minotaur, of your no more than six-degrees of separation from his cult. 

In its “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” the A.P.A. lists narcissism as a disease, but why, when so many narcissists are successful, even famous? Some diseases are common, like life. A true disease originates on the other side of death. It is a broken mirror, a sign pointing at itself. To its host, the true disease is of inestimable value. “Success does not come cheap,” as the maxim goes, but the price will be paid by someone other than the Minotaur. The 12-year-old girl who works at the Dow plant in Bhopal, for example, has volunteered to assist in the clearing of this debt, and she is said to be grateful that she has a job at all. In this age of the triumph of the Top One Percent, of sociopathic chic, to say that someone is “successful” does not imply any personal virtue on his part, or that he has not, very simply, stolen what he wants. 

For now the shadows have come out to play. The light shifts, and they have suddenly become much more tangible than they were, as they dare us to speak up. We are free to say “Please” and “Thank You.” We have somehow incurred a debt by the fact of our existence. “Will that be cash or blood, sir?” It is possible that the 1000 percent interest is too high. Once, Daedalus had set up a receptacle for virgins, which has now been fully automated. We are free to speak up, if we choose. We are free to interact with the forces that, from the time before the Deluge was a tear, have been hidden at the dead center of the labyrinth. 

Continue reading at Scene4:

 Masks of Origin: Regression in the Service of Omnipotence is available through Untimely Books:

Art: Rudolf Hausner, The Labyrinth, 1987-1991