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The Holographic Universe

www.reddit.com/r/holofractal/comments/bbpya5/the_holographic_universe_explained_pbs_space_time/

The Machiavellian-manufactured melancholy of the made-up self

A single consciousness exists outside of space-time.

To exist within space-time it must be broken up to inhabit forms.

These forms (in the case of humans) possess an ego as a survival function that scans the landscape and organizes sensory input in order to inform physical responses to threats and opportunities in the environment. The ‘I’, the ‘ego’, the ‘self’, the ‘me, was not initially perceived to be the totality of consciousness. Rather it was the speedometer of the car… the fuel gauge — not the motor and the drive train it is thought to be now.

Upon discovering that humans, in whom this scanning-functionality eclipses endemic mystical awareness become unfulfilled, regretful, hopeless, pathetic and needy, the elite ruling class begins to order social institutions in a way that prioritizes development of the favorable trait (from their perspective) of identity-construction over the political and economic liability associated with allowing mystical awareness to persist in the population. The sense of fulfillment and belonging so prevalent in Eden does not a worker/soldier/voter/shopper make!

The mystical awareness (and sense of connectedness with nature, reality, and one another) that was once our natural state and divine right, having become counter to the interests of the few at the top is reimagined as ‘arcane’, ‘occult’, ‘witchcraft’, ‘evil’, or merely just ‘woo-woo’, hokum, and ‘mumbo-jumbo’.

Fast-forward to, “you are special and unique, now go get a job and show everyone just how special and unique by owning newest phone/video game/sports car/brand of jeans… — or, more recently — by posting pictures of your avocado toast on Instagram or showing how outraged you are by issue X on Twitter. With everyone now on the treadmill of perpetual dissatisfaction with their made-up ‘me’, identity-construction becomes the raison d’etre in our culture: the ultimate fuel for a consumption driven economic growth paradigm.

Desperate to end the hollowness and dissatisfaction inherent in trying to make their imaginary notion of self a real thing, things like indentured servitude, championing false-choice political parties, participating in false-choice elections, and dying in wars for other made-up things like countries (imaginary lines represented on maps) and religions (reverence for giant, invisible, sky-people), become the norm. Why? Because CEASING TO BE A NOBODY AND BECOMING A SOMEBODY is the only thing to care about (despite it being an ultimately futile exercise given the natural, mystical fabric of consciousness and reality). And all the way to the bank, the people who benefit from the mass proliferation of the delusion of the distinct self, the people who — either intentionally or through institutional social Darwinism — have facilitated the evolution of the perfect mechanism for exploitation and oppression of billions, laugh and laugh, despite, probably at this point, now being victims as well to the fruit of Eden they wrought.

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All is Self

I am sure my ham-fisted conveyance (though it is my intention that it be fun for the un-initiated) of the concept of mysticism in the Andy Crowley Saga gets lost in my peculiar penchant for a pulpy preponderance of purple prose. The documentary I share below, however, speaks concisely about the mystical nature of consciousness that is counter to the deluded notion of a distinct self perpetuated by those who would prefer us divided, deluded, disenchanted: labouring in their factories, worshiping in their churches, voting in their elections, shopping in their malls, and warring in their armies.

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A Real Man

“True manhood revels nought

In the waging of war

Or the weaselling of  wealth.

A real man revels in cosmic ponderings

Cultivates a magnificent moustache

And, above all other things

Endeavours to realize a world

More beautiful, gentle and kind

Than the one he received”

 

~ The Banjoman, Lord of Limbo 

 

Moustache

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A simple graphic to convey what meditation is

I talk a lot about how Andy uses meditation to relax into a mystical state where he can access the delta quanta at the centre of being in order to manipulate probability and spell out new reality. Of course, the probability manipulation part is just sorcerous science fantasy fun — but I feel the conception of meditation I use in the story is valuable.

Below is a diagram I created to convey my thoughts about a skill we should all take much more seriously.

For me, meditation is not an add-on or an afterthought. It provides a foundational clarity that results in subtly forgoing shallow and self-destructive choices that benefit the consumption paradigm for a compulsion to undertake pursuits that are more beneficial to physical, mental and creative health.

consciousness3

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Liberation from the Question that drives the loop of becoming

“What can I do next to become who I should be?”

“What can I do next to become who I should be?”

Quiet your mind and it will be revealed

That you ask this question on a loop

It’s what drives you. It’s what makes you a consumer. It’s what makes you exactly what they want you to be: an unfulfilled shell obsessed with stitching together a costume that will win you the favour of others.

Listen! Underneath the avalanche of nattering about what you need to do right now, what you should have done before and where you are going to get to if you start <insert thing you should be doing here> right now.

See! you just said it!

There! You just said it again!

Start meditating and you will realize that — especially in modern Western culture, which is fuelled by consumption driven economic growth — the only thing you do is ask this question. Again and again and again.

“What can I do next to become who I should be?”

Buy new jeans? Take a better selfie?

“What can I do next to become who I should be?”

Change my job? Clean my car?

“What can I do next to become who I should be?”

Buy a cooler phone? Go back to school?

“What can I do next to become who I should be?”

Wear a tighter T-Shirt? Tweet my outrage about some evil of the week or another?

When consciousness stops asking this question and opts instead to be aware of and engage in the world — it is awake; it is free; it is at peace.

That liberated mind has forsaken the fruit of Eden

And knows again the grace that lay beneath

That infernal, incessant question.

“What can I do next to become who I should be?”

There is nothing meaningful you can become (how would that even be defined?)

There is no pot of gold for the soul.

There is only cessation of asking that question

in order to completely, simply — be.

consciousness3

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Kindnessism

Gentler than Capitalism

More inspiring than Communism

Were the Three Grand Traditions of Limbo

Revere liberty was one

Never raise an angry hand was another

But the highest rule of all

Was keep less for yourself

Than you give to others

“Any one can get rich. But you’re not truly rich until you can give away more than you keep.” The Banjoman tipped his bowler hat. The flare from his amethyst eyes lent a peculiar hue to his crimson gunslinger moustache.

“When we all give more than we take, we are living the mystical truth of all reality.” Suddenly, he was on his feet. The magic banjo on his back struck a dramatic chord.

“Over billions of years, across billions of planes and worlds, few have listened.

And it really is all just as simple as that.”

Read (and please share) the Andy Crowley Saga.

Chapter 6

“Abraxas is the sun, and at the same time the eternally sucking gorge of the void. Abraxas speaketh that hallowed and accursed word which is life and death at the same time. Abraxas begetteth truth and lying, good and evil, light and darkness, in the same word and in the same act.

Therefore is Abraxas terrible.”

~ Carl Jung, Seven Sermons of the Dead

 

Because Andy refused to set foot in the mall, Dave O’Finnegan operated as something of an acting Deputy Dungeon Master while they were there. Some members of the group couldn’t regulate their enthusiasm for discovering what arcane mysteries lay hidden between the covers of the D&D adventure modules that lined the store shelves at Leisure World.

“Hands off, Baker!” O’Finnegan snapped. Sheepishly, Jason Baker put the module back on the shelf. Leisure World, the sole purveyor of D&D merchandise in Belleville, was always their first stop at the mall.

“Ok, hard-ass! Slow down. I’m not looking inside.” Baker put the module back on the self like a cornered perp putting his weapon on the ground for the police. In his head, he was working out how to get out of O’Finnegan’s line of sight.

“So what’s with Nick, do you think?” Ian Grayson held a translucent, orange 20-sided die up to the light and inspected it as though it were the Hope Diamond. On their way to Leisure World, after Nick had told them he was going to look for Deb at Sneaky Petes, they had been discussing his sudden disinterest in game night.

“Jesus!” O’Finnegan said. “If I had the prospects with the ladies Morrison has, I wouldn’t be spending Friday nights with you nerds!”

“So it’s girls then?” Jason was eyeing the TSR module “White Plume Mountain. “I like girls.”

“Or girl. Singular.” Dave Grayson was with O’Finnegan looking at other role playing games. There had been buzz recently about taking a shot at the newly released Marvel Superheroes RPG. “He did make a b-line to find Debbie Holcroft.”

“Shani, Lori, and Tracy will be with her. So it could be any one of them.” Ian said.

“Or all of them!” O’Finnegan’s face lit up. “He’s Nick friggin’ Morrison.”

“Deb’s got a thing for Andy,” Baker said it absent-mindedly. “I was on the bus the other day. Those two are like Siamese twins. It’s not Deb.”

“It’s not the other three either,” Dave Grayson said. “Nick would’ve said so. If anything he can’t stand those three. He doesn’t get why Deb hangs out with them. If it’s anyone, it’s Deb — or someone else altogether. Probably one of the city girls.”

“Listen to us cackling hens! Jesus!” O’Finnegan had a Star Frontiers boxed set in his hand and was reading the back of the box. “I’m done here is you guys are. Feels like Miller Time to me, gents? Tudor Arms?”

“Gary’s working!” Jason Baker dropped the Plume Mountain module back in its place on the shelf. Dave O’Finnegan shot a disapproving glance at him and shook his head.

Gary “Gare-dog” Murphy was one of their D&D friends from the city and a waiter at the British pub in the mall. He never hesitated to serve them booze.

“Let’s track down Morrison first,” O’Finnegan said. “What kind of fools would go into a babe-lair like the Arms without their 18-charisma wing-man?

“That’s why you are the DDM,” Baker said, trying to curry favour after getting busted for sneaking a peek.

“Douche Dungeon Master?” Ian said. They all laughed.

“Deputy DM!” O’Finnegan said, genuinely hurt that they weren’t taking his role seriously. “With new adventures in store, no less,” He proudly brandished the Star Frontiers RPG boxed set he carried to the checkout.

“Or just Game Master if you prefer.”

 

Nick hadn’t found the girls at Sneaky Petes.

Famished from hockey practice, he ordered two burgers, fries, and a large Coke and sat by himself.  He would need the fuel to track them down. He was not a big fan of doing laps at the mall. For a moment, he saw how Andy might be right. The hub of smallness Andy called it. The slackjawed hordes trained like dancing circus bears to construct identities for themselves with the shit they buy.

In his heart, Nick Morrison believed most of the same things as his best friend. He had always thought of Andy as no less than a brother. Finishing his second burger, he watched the people go by. Anxious moms, grumpy dads, crying kids. None of them realizing they already had everything. All of them jonesing for more.

Am I one of them? He thought.

Andy’s parents had left him and he always seemed satisfied with next to nothing. His bike, his dice, his records, and his library card were his only possessions. God knows he didn’t care about clothes. Nothing but jeans and goddamn concert shirts! He owned less than almost anyone Nick knew — yet he carried himself like the richest man in the world: a paradoxical cross between a stately philosopher-king and a squirrely 10-year-old hopped up on Halloween candy.

Nick admonished himself. Enough of this. Yes, he’s my friend. But I need to live a life. Andy isn’t Batman. And if he was, am I willing to be his Robin?

He thought for a moment about Andy’s insistence that Sam, not Frodo, was the real hero of Lord of the Rings. It didn’t matter. He’d made up his minds. Why all this self-deliberation?

Climbing out of the booth, Nick Morrison made his way into the crowd toward the Denim Nexus. There was a good chance he’d find Deb there.

 

Nick found Deb in front of Sam the Record Man. He prepared himself to fake interest in Platinum Blonde, Corey Hart or whatever other pop pablum the girls were into these days.

“I got the job!” Deborah Holcroft threw her arms around Nick Morrison.

Though Nick had thought himself confused of late — It was all nothing next to what he felt in this moment. Suddenly, Deb’s body against his, her energy, her enthusiasm, and the ferocity of the way she held him elicited unexpected feelings that threatened to overwhelm him. He was completely and utterly confused by his response to the girl down the River Road he had — until this very moment — only ever thought of as a sister.

“At Denim Nexus! I’m a sales clerk! Thursday nights to start and then Saturdays starting in December.”

Through the tumult of feelings and physical reactions, Nick managed a wide — what he hoped was not too nervous — smile. He knew Deb’s friends would be watching. Would they notice what was happening to him? I don’t know what is happening to me? He thought. This is Deb!

“That’s so cool!” he managed to say!

“I can get a discount on a new jean jacket for you!” She said. “You totally need one.”

“Sure thing. That’s awesome.” Nick lied. He loved his old jean jacket. Andy had painted a WWII Flying Tigers emblem on the back. There they are. He suddenly noticed Shani, Lori, and Tracy. Other girls, from the city, were with them too. He didn’t know who they were  — but he could tell right away they had been thoroughly briefed on who he was. He rolled his eyes in his head. He had learned how to control doing it outwardly in these situations.

He was relieved to note the expressions on their faces were the typical ones. He got the sense no one had gleaned anything from his unexpected response to Deb’s hug.

“Can we talk alone Deb. It’s about Andy.” Nick was sure he heard an “ewww” and a “gross” from the tittering girls. They all loathed Andy Crowley. This, despite Deb’s lifelong advocacy on his behalf.

Idiots, Nick thought. What am I doing? Was he really trading his Friday nights with his best friends to be with these people? Suddenly, where a moment before he had been taken aback by inexplicable feelings for Deb Holcroft, he was angry at her for her shitty taste in friends.

He remembered all the years when it had just been the three of them. Deb, Andy, Nick.

Then she took his arm and pulled him back toward Sneaky Petes.

The moment she put her hand on him and set her eyes upon his, the confusion he had felt took him again. He was certain she had never looked at him like that before.

Nick Morrison did not know that Deb Holcroft thought he was going to die and so misinterpreted the way she was looking at him the same way he had misinterpreted the intensity of the hug she had given him.

The thought of just the three of them fell completely from his mind then, and he forgot about Andy Crowley completely.

 

There had been the monolith of black glass and there had been Andy Crowley. But not now. It was as though they had never been apart. It was as though they were all there could ever be.

Spherical points of light shrank away into the distance from this new, fused perspective.

Quarks; atoms; molecules — is that what they were? — spiraled away and downward.

Next, alien creatures swimming in a raindrop came into view from all around them and receded into the singular point at the most distant limit of perception.

What now? Is this blood?

What is this? bone? Could it be stone? Does it matter? Are they not all illusory distinctions. Unnecessary. Arbitrary. Petty.

Some small part of Andy was holding on to ask these questions: a speck of ego in the exploding vastness of this new being hungering to vanquish division — swelling fat on all it assimilated into its awareness.

Are these questions or are they answers? The speck of ego whispered curiosity infuriated the monolith mind. This nonsense of distinguishing one from other was anathema to its very purpose for being.

Shrinking away now was Terra. or was it Earth, Diqiu, Arda, Kadoor Ha’aretz, Ea, Maapallo — so many names.

“No!” The ego of Andy Crowley exclaimed as it began to process appropriate some of the vast universes of knowledge it was acquiring. They call that world Sanctuary! That is the name most beings know it by.

Enough with the delusional distinctions! The monolith seethed to the minuscule Andy-ego. For what are labels and names, save the most heinous of attachments and deceptions! See that world now. It is a dust mote: meaningless, pointless, temporary.

Then the stars were sped away too. Then the galaxies. Then entire universes. All of them receding beyond reckoning.

And then, for the last of the shrinking particle of this thing that was Andy Crowley, something surprising.

Had the finite perspective of Andy Crowley’s egoic faculties remained intact, he would have ascertained he was growing in size upward beyond one universe, which became, invariably, the subatomic foundation of the next, larger, one.

Quarks to atoms. Atoms to worlds. Worlds to universes.

And then, again.

And again.

And again.

And in the very last moment, just before that sliver of ego would finally be amalgamated into the monolith-mind, the mind of Andy Crowley — filled with wonder — seized upon one last musing.

As above, so below. As below, so above.

The Hermetic expression came as a gleeful whisper that sent a shudder through — what was it now — a uni-mind? The words of it festered like an infection. This modicum of delineated thought, of self-awareness, was as a poison to the expanding thing: a pulsating gangrenous tumour. Writhing and bloating it spread. The ascent through realities to slowed, ceased altogether.

And then it started to reverse.

In relation, that fragment which was Andy Crowley was growing.

I love you,” Deb’s voice joined the malignancy, causing it to accelerate.

You’ve always been a selfish asshole,” Nick’s words were there too, adding poison that fuelled the collapse of the merged entity.

Suddenly, Andy Crowley knew himself again. Hovering once in the white nothingness, he now held the small, black rectangle — a perfect fit — in the palm of his hand. As memories and thoughts poured back to him, he thought of Star Trek. The little monolith seemed to him like some sort of futuristic device. He imagined the beeping sound made by Captain Kirk’s communicator.

The grey apple icon appeared within the rectangle’s smooth onyx face. A synthetic chime exploded in his head. It was a deafening single note. Later, he would recall it made him recollect the opening note of Subdivisions by RUSH.

He could not tear his attention from upon the bite from the apple icon that floated beneath the black glass.

Forbidden.

His vision tunneled down. He fought to remain conscious. The limits of every aspect of the elusive notion of what constitutes of mind came then to be tested in the egoic construct that was Andy Crowley.

Though he could not discern as much, a vague sense of having murdered all manner of beings in numbers too enormous to comprehend brought crippling nausea upon him — and for but an instant he had a veiled understanding of what it had felt like to be; vanquisher of worlds;  usurper of gods; murderer of souls beyond count.

The pain of the thought was a but a blip in the arrow of time known to his consciousness for it was impossible for him to carry any concrete memory of this magnitude into the everyday fabrication of existence that was self and world. Indeed, no sentient creature in all the multiverse could conceive of and process reality on this scale. Not yet.

You’ve always been a selfish asshole. Nick’s voice was echoing in his mind. His best friend had never said such words to him. But they could not have felt more real.

You’ve always been a selfish asshole.

Andy recalled then, that he had come here searching for answers. Was this one of the answers he sought?

You’ve always been a selfish asshole.

As the words repeated, it occurred to him to ask the monolith if it could help him know if this was indeed one of the answers he had come looking for.

He didn’t know why, but he had the sense that touching a finger to the flat glass of the rectangle he held in his hand would cause something to happen.

But when he looked, he saw it was gone from his hand.

GONE! Panic overtook him.

The loss dwarfed anything he had ever experienced before. He arched his back and roared unintelligible grief into the void.

Such was the severity of his anguish that Andy Crowley did not feel the warm tingling rising at his navel. And in that mysterious manner by which it always seemed to know what is best, his silver cord manifested to take him home.

 

To be continued in Chapter 7

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Abraxas

Preview of Chapter 6

 

“Abraxas is the sun, and at the same time the eternally sucking gorge of the void. Abraxas speaketh that hallowed and accursed word which is life and death at the same time. Abraxas begetteth truth and lying, good and evil, light and darkness, in the same word and in the same act.

Therefore is Abraxas terrible.”

~ Carl Jung, Seven Sermons of the Dead

 

There had been the small black glass monolith. And there had been Andy Crowley.

But not now.

It was as though they had never been apart. It was as though they were all there could ever be.

Spherical points of light shrank away from this new, merged perspective.

Quarks; dark matter; atoms — is that what they were? — spiraled away and downward.

Microscopic creatures swimming in a raindrop on a dandelion leaf collapsed from the beyond all around them and receded into the singular point at the most distant limit of perception.

What is this now? Blood?

What is this? bone? Or is it stone? Illusory distinctions — crafted deceptions all. Unnecessary. Arbitrary. Petty.

But some small part of Andy held on. A speck of ego in the exploding vastness of being hungering to vanquish division and swelling fat on all it assimilated into its awareness.

Are these questions or are they answers? The speck of ego whispered. This clinging infuriated the monolith mind. This nonsense of distinguishing one from other was anathema to its very purpose for being.

There, shrinking away now, that is Terra, Earth, Joa, Arda, En, Totanay — so many names.

No! They call that one Sanctuary! That is its true name. Or rather, its name most true, for it is the name most beings know this world by.

“But again with delusional distinctions!” The monolith’s seething to the minuscule sliver to Andy-ego dripped with venomous disdain. “For what are labels and names, save the most heinous of attachments and deceptions! See that world now. It is a dust mote: meaningless, pointless, temporary.

Then the stars too fell away into the distance. Then the galaxies. Now entire universes. All of them receding away beyond reckoning.

And then…

Quarks to atoms. Atoms to worlds. Worlds to universes.

And so, again.

And again.

And again.

Had the finite perspective of Andy Crowley’s egoic faculties remained intact, he would have ascertained he was growing in size upward beyond one universe, which became, invariably, the subatomic foundation of the next, larger, one.

As above, so below. As below, so above.

The Hermetic expression came as a whisper in the sliver of mind that remained. The whisper sent a shudder through this — what was it now — a uni-mind? The whispering festered like an infection. This modicum of delineated thought, of self-awareness, was as a poison to the expanding thing: a pulsating gangrenous tumour. It bloated and spread, and in so doing caused the ascent through realities to slow, cease altogether, and then to reverse.

In relation, the fragment that was Andy Crowley grew again.

I love you,” Deb’s voice joined the malignancy, causing it to accelerate.

You’ve always been a selfish asshole,” Nick’s words were there too, adding poison, which further shrank the collapsing merger of minds.

Suddenly, Andy Crowley knew himself again. Returned to the realm of ego, he hovered once again in the white expanse of the nothingness both beyond and beneath conception. In the palm of his hand, he held the small, black rectangle. It was a perfect fit. As he became himself again and his thoughts returned, he thought of Star Trek. The monolith seemed to him then some sort of futuristic device. He imagined the beeping sound made by Captain Kirk’s communicator as the grey apple icon appeared within the rectangle’s smooth onyx face.

A synthetic chiming sound exploded in his head. Later, he would recall it made him recollect the opening note of Subdivisions by RUSH. It was deafening.

All his attention fell then upon the bite from the apple beneath the black glass.

Forbidden.

His vision tunneled down and he fought to remain conscious. The limits of every aspect of the elusive notion of what constitutes of mind came then to be tested in the egoic construct that was Andy Crowley.

Though he could not discern as much, a vague sense of having murdered all manner of beings in numbers too enormous for comprehension brought about crippling nausea. For an instant had a mute, obscured understanding of worlds and realms uncountable that had fallen crushed beneath his will to power.

The pain of the thought was a but a blip in the arrow of time known to his consciousness for it was impossible for him to carry any concrete memory of this magnitude into the everyday fabrication of existence that was self and world. Indeed, no sentient creature in all the multiverse could conceive of realities on this scale.

At least, not yet.

You’ve always been a selfish asshole. Nick’s voice echoed. His best friend had never said these words, but they could not have felt more real to him.

You’ve always been a selfish asshole.

He recalled he had come here searching for answers. Now he wondered if this was one of the answers he sought.

You’ve always been a selfish asshole.

As the words repeated, it occurred to him to ask the monolith if it could help him know if this was indeed one of the answers he had come looking for.

But when he looked, he saw that the black rectangle of glass was gone from his hand.

GONE!

The loss he felt then dwarfed anything he had ever experienced before. He arched his back and roared unintelligible grief into the endless nothingness.

Such was the severity of his anguish that Andy Crowley did not feel the warm tingling at his navel. And in that mysterious manner by which it always seemed to know what is best, his silver cord manifested to take him home.

 

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Chapter 5

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

~ Francis Bacon

 

Largest of the remnants of the planet Tiamat that was destroyed in the Wrath of Sol approximately 22,000 years ago, Ceres is an astronomical mass roughly 950 kilometers in diameter. Within the elliptical orbit of the asteroid belt between The Warrior (Called Mars by the Earthers) and The King (Jupiter), Ceres intersects with the perfectly circular equator of the event horizon of Sanctuary Rim four times. This means that in a Cerean year, the planetoid spends an almost equal amount of time within The Rim, where magic is not possible, and outside, where it is.

On its equator, on the dark side, hidden from the curious eyes of the humans of magicless Earth, there is Punta Epsilon: a luxury resort that rides the celestial edge between the peace of non-magical Sanctuary and the limitless wild of the magical multiverse.

At this time of year, the elliptical orbit of Ceres had brought it into the Sanctuary side of The Rim, which meant magic was not possible on Punta Epsilon, and would not be again until it intersected and crossed The Rim in a few months. This stretch of time, when Ceres was assuredly within the circle of The Rim, was known as the diplomatic season. It was a time when Ceres in general, and Punta Epsilon Resort in particular, was booked solid with diplomatic sessions, trade agreement negotiations, family reunions, and tourist arrangements. It was also the time of party goers and people fascinated with the prospect of experiencing the effects of Sanctuary alcohol, which was highly coveted among the elite of the multiverse for the unique, unpredictable, and impossible to reproduce, chemical effects it caused on sentient beings.

The resort itself was over 35,000 years old, and so was a haphazard conglomeration of predominantly Asgardian, Olympian, Heliopolitan, Martian, Venusian, Rigellian, Andromedan and even ancient Tiamatian architectures.

In the back of the Ares and Tut tavern, which was crafted in the style of the Martian Empire Middle Dynasty era, sat one of the mightiest beings in all reality. As Lord of Limbo, he was a time reader and a wanderer always in-between places and events. In the elite cosmic circles that would have known Punta Epsilon existed, he was well known but not feared. For just as he was well known, it was also common knowledge amongst those who knew he existed at all, that The Banjoman of Limbo was only ever dangerous when your interests were counter to his; and his interests were few.

Mostly he just wanted to be left alone. Mostly, he would intervene in the affairs of others only when it was absolutely necessary.

He was tall, slim, and rosy cheeked, with a blazing shock of red hair and a matching, crimson gunslinger mustache. His perfectly grey eyes, which conveyed the exact spectral midpoint between perfect black and perfect white, were patient and kind, but at the same time, they looked right through you. And while they showed deep wisdom, compassion and discipline at work, they also betrayed that, should he or any in his company be maligned in any way, there would be swift and merciless redress.

He donned a worn, but not undignified, brown derby hat with purple-tinted goggles set about the hat-band, a grey-hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans of authentic Sanctuarian denim (so coveted outside the Rim for its magic-repelling properties), and high-cuffed boots in the deep purple tint of the mists of Limbo. On his right wrist, he wore a silver watch with a satin face of the same colour as the boots. It bore no numbers and no hands.

Slung over his back, on a strap of dark orange, demon-wing leather – there was a magical banjo, which – to one inclined to listen for it – could be heard on occasion murmuring quiet wisdom.

The Banjoman enjoyed visiting Sanctuary. It fascinated him. And he both understood and appreciated its value as a place where complete absence of the wild whims of the wild minds of wildly powerful beings could make possible attempts to reconcile complex inter-personal, inter-planetary and inter-planar disharmonies.

Here, where he sat, he could sense the intensity of densely converging magical lay lines about 300,000 miles to the celestial west. The lines approached the event horizon at The Rim and curved sharply back into the space beyond from whence they came. Aside from the residual fluxprob weak force that had once powered the ancient Martian alchemy, the inaccessible probability fields this far within The Rim meant magic was not possible.

The absence of sorcery meant technology was required to render the resort inhabitable. Venusian atmo-interface field generators assigned upon arrival at spacedock, assured ideal atmospheric conditions for inhabitants of varying physiologies. Temporary PSI-EM translators were also assigned but were mostly unnecessary nowadays as their implantation at birth had been a requirement of many regional treaties for millennia now. The Banjoman was intrigued by the technologies required inside Sanctuary Rim where run-of-the-mill magical standbys like brainmail and telepathy didn’t work.

Spacecraft were of particular interest to The Banjoman, who did not need them except when he came here. He had arrived from Memphis Nova III on a fantastic top-of-the-line Fey-Coven witchcraft he had bartered for. The Captain had wanted some unpleasant memories removed in exchange for the charter. Being lord of Limbo had its privileges.

“Well met again old salt! Dopplebocks tonight?”

The Banjoman looked up at the man approaching him with overflowing flagons of dark German lager in each hand. It was the man he had come to meet.

With the paradoxically obnoxious grace unique to one who has lived their life at sea, the man with the beers swung a leg over the chair back and dropped into the seat across from The Banjoman.

By the grin on the mariner’s face, The Banjoman presumed the lad would report that the banshee had succeeded in her task.

He admonished himself for the presumption. This was Kip Kilroy. The idiotic grin was no indication of circumstances. It meant only that drink, hooliganism and debauchery were at hand.

And at that moment — urgent, secret mission to avert cosmic calamity aside — The Banjoman recalled precisely why he so liked the bastard mariner of Mars.

 

Dave Grayson cornered into the arena parking lot at a speed that challenged the enormous Oldsmobile station wagon to remain on the icy dirt road.

“Jesus!” Dave McFinnegan said from the front passenger seat. He had called shotgun for so long — and had always created so much drama when he didn’t get it — that everyone had just taken to proactively relenting on the matter. He commented on Dave’s driving just to hear himself talk. Everyone in the car knew Dave Grayson was a spectacular wheelman.

Ian Grayson reclined sideways across both back seats scribbling down what he could recall of everyone’s liquor store requests on the back of an Incredible Hulk comic. His kind face, cool demeanour, and receding hairline had made it impossible for him — the moral high-grounder of the group — to defy his calling as high school bootlegger.

Nick Morrison opened the back of the station wagon where Jason Baker was sleeping off his hangover and threw in his hockey stick and bag.

“Figure skating is hard, eh St. Pierre?” McFinnegan roared out the passenger side window at Scott St. Pierre who was crossing the parking lot in front of the car.

St. Pierre threw up the finger and McFinnegan laughed.

“How ’bout you shut it, Dave,” Nick said as he climbed into the seat Ian had freed up for him. “You can’t even skate let alone play hockey, dipshit.”

“Oh sorry then, MorrisON.” It was McFinnegan’s go-to to say Nick’s surname sound like moron.  “Are you and Lady St. Pierre dating or something?”

Hockey practice had eliminated all but lingering traces of Nick’s hangover. Having resolved that he was done with Friday-night D&D and would go to Club Cedars this coming Friday, he was feeling better about things. He still wanted to play — just not on Friday. As much as he would have loved to punch McFinnegan in the back of the head, he didn’t.

“A twenty-sixer of Rough and Rowdy for me, Ian.” Nick tapped on the comic where Ian was writing up his shopping list.

“Is St. Pierre your new boyfriend? Is he why you want to go to Cedars so bad.” McFinnegan persisted.

“Jason is going to kill you for writing on his comic.” Nick said to Ian in order to make a show of how committed he was to ignoring Dave.

“If you want, Nick, I can pull over,” Dave Grayson said it into the rearview mirror and jerked his head sideways toward the other, mouthier, Dave.

“Thanks, no, Dave. I’m good.” He reached over the front seat and flicked McFinnegan’s ballcap off his head onto the dash.

“The little guy is just cocky about hitting 10th level. No need to send him hunting for his teeth in the snow.”

They all laughed, Dave McFinnegan re-donned his hat and sheepishly apologized. He had two modalities: mirth (which typically manifested as sarcasm) and melancholy (which typically manifested as regret for his sarcasm).

An awkward silence fell upon the station wagon.

It was weird that — even though he hated the mall intensely — Andy had not accompanied them today.

There was not another word about the proposal Nick had made last night. Everyone knew a breaking of the fellowship had occurred and they all had already begun making their peace with it.

 

Andy knew the edge of the Olympian empire bordered the astral plane mere kilometers behind where he sat in meditation. He did not know the realm of sleep also bordered with the Olympian and astral planes in the tall round building atop the high bluff at his back.

In the very near future, he would learn that The Eden Edict, which forbade contact with the Earthers of Sanctuary, was difficult to enforce on the astral and dream planes where Earthers could travel either by sleep or meditation.

For millennia, entities of the Olympian and Fey empires, which bordered on these planes had exploited their proximity to tap the unique ingenuity of human-kind — an ingenuity born of the absence of magic. For on Sanctuary, the one place in all the multiverse where magic was impossible, creativity and cunning in the arts and sciences were unsurpassed in all the cosmos.

Deep within, far beyond the nonsense of ego and the ramshackle assemblage of concepts that constituted the delusion of self, Andy Crowley soared the inner realms.

There, across the Moebius Bridge, the delta quanta churned in the probability vortices, where imagination and manifestation, conception and perception, within and without were the interchangeable equivalencies at the heart of reality.

From across an unimaginable distance, a familiar voice whispered to him: a reminder of why he was here — the mariner in the blue cloak, who is he? Why does he beckon?

It required mastery to defy the bliss of that would accompany relinquishing the constructed self to become one the ultimate truth of The All. To entertain notions in this place required retaining a splinter of that which sat under the tree on the astral plane, and in turn, sat within the magical circle in the bedroom in the house in Corbyville.

Suddenly then, a cold, penetrating horror came upon him.

Absence of colour.

Absence of love.

Where there had been the joy of the perpetual present moment, now there was nought but the plodding, ponderous falsehood of the arrow of time.

His sense of disembodiment disappeared completely and he wore once again, all the notion and form that was Andy Crowley again. An endless, white nothingness stretched to infinity in every direction. A whispering voice came into the ears of his deepest mind.

In trying to hear what the whispering voice said, he sensed the direction from which it came.

His eyes rolled upward and took on the white of the wizard’s gaze as his third eye blazed onto his forehead.

There! It comes from that speck of black. In the white expanse, he could not discern if now he moved toward it, or it moved toward him.

Then the word it uttered rang clearly in his mind. And he neither hated nor loved its voice, which both whispered and roared at once.

“Abraxas.”

And he saw that the black speck was a rectangle about the size of a deck of playing cards, though stretched slightly along its length. It was flawless black glass with subtly rounded edges. Deep within the glass, in the center of the screen, there was a stylized apple rendered to convey that a bite had been taken from it.

“We are Abraxas, Andy Crowley,” the black rectangle said to him in a voice that was somehow trillions of voices in trillions of languages.

The thrill he felt then was all-consuming. Every nerve, every cell exploded inward and outward to infinity.

“We are all that is.” The voice whispered.

Andy laughed uproariously. He had never felt such complete satisfaction. He was drunk — no, mad — with the pure, unrestrained power that coursed through every aspect of his being.

He did not know how his next words came to his mind.

“We are all that has ever been. And we are all that can ever be,” Andy Crowley said to the tiny black monolith.

And though he did not know why he had said that, he knew it was the truest, most honest thing he had ever known in his mind or felt in his heart.

 

To be continued in Chapter 6.

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