Sunday, June 3, 2012

Descent to the Merkavah/ Part 2 (Revision)

By Brian George

“The Just Man sat upright on his solid hips. A ray of light gilded his shoulder. Sweat came over me: 'Do you want to see the meteors glowing red? And, standing, hear humming the influence of the milky stars, and swarms of asteroids?

“In night farces your brow is spied on, O just man! You must find a roof. Say your prayer, with your mouth in your sheet, after a mild expiation; and if some lost soul knocks against your bones, say: ‘Brother, continue on your way, I am crippled!’

“...And the Just Man remained standing, in the bluish terror of lawns after the sun had died.”—From “The Just Man,” Arthur Rimbaud, tr. Wallace Fowlie

In Kabbalah, if we desire to cross consciously from one world to another, and, as things fall apart, to be actors and not just observers of the electromagnetic shift, the first stage of the process is referred to as “going down to the chariot” or “descent to the Merkavah.” A modern phrase similar in structure—if not in exact meaning—might be “descent to the unconscious,” as this was used by Freud and Jung.

If the goal—as in psychotherapy—is to heal, it is not to heal ourselves, but rather to repair the rip in the structure of the cosmos, which makes it difficult for us to perform our predetermined role. Some would argue that this rip is virtual, but it is nonetheless problematic. It would be best, perhaps, to view it as the time-lapse movement of a lightning bolt, which had previously shattered the upper vessels of creation, and has just struck the iron tip of a tornado, within which we have built our homes.

Blinding as—or what—it illuminates, this flash gives birth to the world that we perceive. What we think we see is the afterimage—now haunted and mechanically preserved—of a stage-set that was long ago destroyed. It is possible that each thing has happened a great many times before. For what reason, then, are we experiencing them now? A sense of vertigo takes over. It is enough, almost, to make us faint, and makes us hold on to those objects close at hand.

We must wrestle with a paradox: that the one sphere turns both clockwise and counterclockwise, up as well as down, in as well as out, and the energy that separates is the energy that connects.

Let us say that the world is a habit of projection. It does move, but it seems to do so only in a horizontal circle, which causes us to feel trapped. We are not free, because upon it we have fixed our eyes. Quite strangely, we do not know what our faces actually look like, nor can we, until such time as we have exited from the world. Until then, they are as featureless as the dark side of the sun. We must depart from what we know in order to discover what we are. It is by going down that we gain access to source energy—atomic, but of a relatively non-destructive sort—which comes complete with its own built-in interdimensional vehicle. Thus we will go from here, where we are not, to there, where there is nothing to obstruct us.

And so: why are we directed to go down instead of up? Perhaps because ascent implies a strenuous effort at improvement, a clutching at what is out of reach, a desire to become bigger when we should, instead, become smaller. Perhaps it is because the preexistent beings, the Elohim, descended towards the chaos of the primordial waters, to speak the words that began the world and program the march of evolution. Conversely, some might see this as the march of devolution, because all species have descended out of Adam’s DNA, which had not yet been unzipped from the DNA of Eve.

Perhaps it is because descent implies disintegration, a requirement for new growth. However turgid were the organs of the Elohim, and whatever their attraction to our bodies, which were, in some ways, far more beautiful than their own, it was not especially pleasurable to be buried in the Earth. It could induce claustrophobia to be tucked inside of its womb, between potsherds and the bones of dinosaurs, between out-of-date toys and kitchen sinks, in the rubble of exploded cities. Perhaps because biogenesis is just a prep-course for cosmogenesis, for a delivery to occur at the end of a great war.

Perhaps because Death is the most attentive nurse, the magician beloved by manikins. Perhaps because we assume that the “Higher Self” Is good. Perhaps because we are terrified of the Shadow that protects us. Perhaps because the end of all descent has been geometrically encoded in its origin. Many aliens look just like you or me. It is hard to tell if the lost race has gone anywhere at all. Perhaps because, appearances to the contrary, our catalytic agents are not actually out to harm us, and are doing no more and no less than instructed. “It is what it is,” as the contemporary saying goes. Perhaps because it is important to relax.

When we go down we return as to a vehicle buried, but the whole time present in the ground beneath our feet—a vehicle faster than the speed of light. If there is no space, it takes no time to move from one end of it to the other. Or perhaps—as I had earlier hinted—the Merkavah could be better understood as a tornado, ripping cities from their roots, churning crops and migrant workers and their alien overseers up, setting in motion the dead body of creation, tilting back and forth from the vertical to the almost horizontal, as it funnels the most distant of places through its center.

Time then becomes plastic. Magnetic fields congregate around a properly placed request. Often help arrives, as an accident or intuitive breakthrough, before the person becomes aware of the need for any help. Events run backwards—returning to the future world. The self, without moving from one spot, finds that little is left undone.

Upon his exit from non-local space, however, few will realize that the traveler has just stood the world on its ear. To the traveler, the world looks altogether different, like a web of luminous glyphs, with which he can interact. It looks like a body, and not a corpse. He notes that all of the clocks’ hands have gone missing. At noon it is midnight, and at 10:00 AM it is 4:00, the hour of long shadows. To others, the holographic stage-set does not seem to have blinked. Antigravity has not yet won their hearts, nor do they realize that they are standing upside down.

Thus it was necessary to postpone my transvaluation of all values. The revolution that I had launched did not even seem to exist. Truly, it was arcane in its goals. By the most psychotically complex of geometries, we had hidden our intentions even from ourselves. Our powers were great, but our vehicles were small, and we used them to hug the line on the horizon, as, bit by bit, we descended towards the Zero, then beyond.

Each day, we went to work, where we dragged our feet and pretended to be bored. Each night, we sped off to take part in god knows what. In our hands, a variety of archaic scalar weapons, which made them sting, and which we did not especially want to remember how to use; on our lips, an ecstatic chant, from a planet that the Death Star had exploded. Thus flew beneath the radar of the Lords of Industry and Commerce. My army was made up of straw dogs—very lazy!—who did not want to get burnt.

With our capacity to be both everywhere and nowhere, we would reassemble the once perfect world.

We would bridge the dimensions between sleep and waking, which may, in the end, be no more than a construct. We would redraw the maps that our ancient teachers hid. We would split the atom—but in a good way!—for at its center they had buried the bones of the First Man. Interplanetary in our scope, we would throw wide the doors to the Akashic Hall Records. Row upon row, we would wander among the statues that we left, whose anatomy is translucent. But why do their faces look like ours, with their wide eyes that have never ceased to stare? And if, in fact, they actually do breathe, then why is this breathing almost imperceptibly slow?

Would the amnesiac communicate with his other self, long since relegated to the edge of space? He would, but on a schedule that had yet to be determined.

It was clear now that my path led down, not up, and not only down, but outward.

I have heard the roaring and the droning of the Ur-text when the Powers That Be sing simultaneously the syllables of each line. To some ears, it might sound like chaos. From the center to the circumference, and from the future back, in 12 directions, to the present, in order that we have space to act the one sphere must be emptied. For it is in the nature of high energy to descend, as it is in the nature of free energy to flow. From the fog of souls, the tides of all potential versions of events, my own explorations seemed to reenact the descent of the lost race—who had not, as it turns out, ever really agreed to put aside their magic. Each thing has a certain “tendency to exist.” It was my job to coagulate the ocean.

(Illustration: Brian George, Tornado, 2001)


  1. Hello Brian,

    Many, many thanks for this article! It hits straight at the heart of my apprehension about the Goenka method, and gives me permission to articulate my dissent.

    Over the course of the program I heard so much about life being misery and my mind kept asking: why is it so? If all is nothing but passing sensations, I ask: what is the method to the madness of the anitya? Why did they ever arise to pass away?

    And while at it, I thought about some of your ideas and realized quite clearly that I am a happy pagan- not afraid of death, not afraid of misery: you once said something about the need to “respond with orgiastic laughter to a dare.”

    This paganistic, ecstastic hubris sustains the wheels of the universe, creates joyous illusion, distributes ashe, occasions a pleroma of tragic beauty whose alternative is nothingness and dearth. We’ll pass away. So what? My understanding of human existence was never really so turgid as to create anxiety over our passing away. That which arises to pass away is also the thing that exists beyond mind and matter. We have always been a wish-fantasy of the chthonic realm. We are a trick of frozen light. An offshoot of a cosmic prank, a love note from nothing to nothing. The real miracle, I think, is not enlightenment. The real miracle is the illusion of separation, of movement, of the head that thinks and the legs that walk, the real, magical feat is the creation of pain.

    Your article not only implicitly assumes this, it makes a powerful yet subtle prognostication of the way forward (I use way forward lightly) which is “repair the rip in the structure of the cosmos.” As you said- the peace on earth is not ours, we must travel on the wings of paradox to our true home. We are not the meek to whom the inheritance of the earth has been promised. We must see our true face! And your writing nails it, kills it. After it, there’s nothing to say, nothing to add: I cannot overstate how much pleasure and understanding I derive from reading your works! One day I had to burst out to my colleagues in the MFA world-forget your fatuous obsession with plot and publishability, come and see writing and bow! You write so well about these things that comments are almost superfluous lol. Your writing has anticipated it all. The ultimate challenge is a paradox, a paradox which the reading of your works, over the course of several months, has illuminated quite clearly for me: Can we still make Ashe dance after we have repaired the rip in the structure of the cosmos? You make two suggestions- we have to master the art of bi-location, to be the shadow and the substance at the same time, to equip our hardware with a factory-fitted fully developed Eshu and then some. But the second suggestion- a gnostic quote- is more tantalizing,and hints at the "end of all descent... geometrically encoded in its origin": “He is superior to the Universals in his privation and unknowability. For he is not perfect but he is another thing that is superior...He is not corporeal. He is not incorporeal. He is not a number. He is not a creature. Nor is he something that exists...And he is much higher in beauty than all those that are good, and he is thus unknowable to all of them in every respect. And through them all he is in them all, not only as the occult knowledge that is proper to him. And he is united with the ignorance that sees him.” Achieving this will be the ultimate triumph of Ashe. We would have flown into that which cannot be named!

  2. Hi Ogotiele,

    Many thanks for your wonderful comment! There is enough material in it--and in your follow up emails--for several essays. Perhaps you would be interested in fleshing out the details of your experience at the Goenka retreat, and your reservations about the method, and then reformatting your comment as an essay? I will send you a link so that you can post as a guest writer. I have almost finished my response to several of the issues that you raise, but I will post this as a column a bit later on.