A Klondike Sorceress Falls. A Banjo Goes East.


The steel grey sky over Dawson City shone a little bluer to the boy’s eyes. Less smoke than usual meant folks were indeed sleeping later today. Fair enough, he thought, it being the first day of a new millennia and all. He pondered how wild it would have gotten last night and looked over to Zadok Jon, who plodded alongside him on a spectacular Palomino that deserved far better than the haggard ribbon of road that lead into the Klondike’s capitol city.

“A proper shindig last night, do you reckon?” The boy, held his horse’s reins loose in one hand and pantomimed drinking from a bottle with the other.

Zadok Jon laughed. “Proper might not be the word I think!” His English was perfect for a member of the Han tribe. Like his best friend, who he rode with now, he had learned his letters on the works of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, and the conversations that accompanied same.

The snowfall was light and the flakes were large. The town seemed peaceful for a change. But it didn’t matter that it was New Year’s Day, in the year 1900 by Christian reckoning, Dawson City was always open for business.

 

“Sorry to hear about the Maestro, Pluck.” Percy Greymore, who was the train station attendant, tipped his stovepipe hat to the boys. He had scurried over as soon as he heard the door creak shut. As e scurried to the desk, he made an effort to hide a darkened, swollen cheek he seemed ashamed to have acquired the night before. The boys looked at one another and tried not to smile. Proper shindig indeed.

“You too Jon. He lit up a lot of nights for folks around here. We will miss him a lot.”

“Thanks Mr. Greymore,” Pluck Doherty quickly pulled off his derby hat to show he meant what he said. “It woulda meant a lot to him that you said that.”

“Here it is.” Percy slid a yellow envelope under the opening under the bared enclosure. “I hope it’s good news, boys. You deserve it.” He looked at them and nodded. It struck Pluck that he was a genuinely kind soul. Not a common find in the Klondike. “And give a Happy New Year to your mother from me and Betty. If she needs anything we will be sure she gets it.”

“Will do, sir.”

“Obliged for your kind words, Percy,” Zadok Jon gave a curt nod. His fearless confidence and urbane manner was unsettling to the outsiders who had come for the gold. The Han native took great joy in flaunting what he had come to think of his white-man costume.

Outside, the town had livened up somewhat.

“Aren’t you going to open it?” Jon exaggerated his distress at watching Pluck put the envelope in one of his horse, Cherie’s, saddlebags.

“When I get home. I want mom to see.” He stroked Cherie’s haunch. He was pensive. The telegram had come Christmas Eve and his father had died the day after Christmas. It had taken him until now to work up the gumption to come pick it up.

Zadok Jon swung up effortlessly onto his palomino, Plotinus was her name, after the Neoplatonist philosopher. “You’re a good boy, man. I would’ve opened it.”

“Lets see what’s up at Dolan’s,” Pluck said. “Maybe they’ll have somethin’ left behind the bar.”

Zadok Jon’s eyes lit up. “Happy New Year brother!”

“Happy New Year.”

And the boys on their horses sauntered toward the saloon.

 

When an Asian dragon enters the material plane, the long tendrils from their nostrils and brows are always the first things to manifest. Sniffing the quantum substrata for stray aether, they grab the first molecules they can find. In this case, the majestic serpentine spirit became the smoke from a woodstove in a quaint log cabin in the Canadian Yukon.

Elizabeth Crow pumped a shotgun. The Ancient Sumerian hieroglyphs and Asgardian runes etched into its twin barrels made it look like it was carved from Grecian marble. Blowing a damp strand of her auburn hair from her face she pointed the weapon at the ceiling.

She muttered a circle of protection into existence around her body. The pail green light it cast made her look more frightening than frightened. The true face of a witch – a witch with the face of an angel.

She pulled the trigger and blew a hole in the tin roof. When she heard nothing she knew their was no point in reloading. She turned to the door and smiled. Not a hint of fear was in her.

The dragon, now fully formed from the chimney smoke was elegant, white, gold and beautiful. It bowed its head and looked into the witch’s eyes. Believing in neither good nor evil, the dragon was merely serving the balance. It would feel no regret for what it was about to do. Its eyes smiled. The witch’s eyes smiled back.

Then with a simple breath, the Elizabeth Crow became silver dust on the pine plank floor. Not burned by fire, just simply and painlessly transformed.

And with but a thought, the dragon was gone as well. Back to its home in skies far beyond this realm of our experience.

Two riders and a wagon pulled by a large draft horse came up the hill to the east and out of the bush to stop at the cabin’s front door.

The smallest of them, and no more than a teenager really, flipped the tails of his confederate army long coat away so he could crouch down to frown at the pile of silver dust by the magic shotgun. Elizabeth Crow was a kind and good woman, He thought. But this was necessary.

He handed his tricorner hat to one of the enormous thugs that worked for him.

The banjo rested on the mantle of the stone fireplace. It was magnificent.

Its ouroboros-rimmed head; its marble neck; the orange, demon-wing leather strap. Legend was, its head was skinned with the hide of the Nemean lion, its strings were wrought by dwarves of the nine realms.

Despite his best effort, the man could not safely lift it. Indeed, it took both of the henchmen to load it into the back of the horse-drawn cart.

As per their agreement with the witch-slaying dragon, the banjo was the only item they took from the house.

 

His mother had been a prostitute in Skagway, Alaska when she had met his father. She had come to the Yukon with her boyfriend from California. The boyfriend had fallen through the ice in Northern British Columbia. Elizabeth Crow had finished the journey alone.

She had met Pluck’s father in Skagway and he brought her with him to Dawson city. He loved her and taught her much, including the Kabala, the Tarot and a Hermetic, Gnostic understanding of the esoteric path.

Pluck knew the neat pile of silver dust was her. But he did not weep as Zadok Jon did. He loved is mother – but he did not weep.

He got to his feet and collected the enchanted shotgun. Beth, he named it then and there. It’s what his father had called is mom.

“We need to go if we intend to catch them John.”

“There was three, two big, one small, maybe a child. And a horse and wagon.” Jon wiped tears from his face with the frilled doe-skin sleeves of his jacket. The light dusting of morning snow had told his eyes the tale.

“Why did they kill her?” Jon’s anger was emerging.

Pluck reached into his breast pocket and pulled out the folded telegram. Jon noticed the tab that sealed it shut had been torn.

Gustav!

Time for Moon to return to New York. I have unlocked her secrets. Safe travels!

Nikola

Pluck watched Jon’s eyes look over the mantle for the banjo. As expected they came right back to his.

“Luna,” he whispered. It’s what their father called is banjo.

“Moon,” Pluck said.

And with a bag of ammo, a bag of food, and a bag of essential books. Pluck Doherty and Zadok Jon of the Han tribe set out from the little cabin neither of them would ever see again.

Read Andy Crowley, Sole Sorcerer of Sanctuary

The Five String All


There is one

There is its opposite

Then there is these combined as one

Beyond even these three there is another

Namely, the spirit from which they come

And then, a place for it all to happen

Beyond all the reckoning that can be done

There is the nowhere that is also everywhere

The Not Enough

The And Then Some

Read Andy Crowley, Sole Sorcerer of Sanctuary

Gaea, Cerberus & the Glass Grimoire: Into the Astral Plane


You can’t lose your shit. You can’t lose your shit. Andy Crowly’s Northstar high-tops slid across the mall’s tile floor with a squeak that belied the severity of his immediate circumstances. His mind, which had been forced to process its fair share of peculiarities of late was not ready for this.

At the far end of the entrance to the Tudor Arms, there stood a robot. It was about seven-feet tall and had a tall cylinder of a head tapered subtly down to its chin. Its movements were disarmingly un-robotic: fluid and gracefully athletic. And its manner of dress was unlike anything Andy had ever imagined he might see on a robot: leather breaches tucked into high boots, and a blousy pirate’s shirt. A broad-brimmed hat with a massive black plume trailing from the band perfectly complemented a pencil-thin, swashbuckler moustache painted over its mouth. There were silver-buckled pouches around a wide belt, upon which hung a disturbingly large two-handed broadsword.

Andy followed the robot’s glowing amber slits for eyes to the object of their attention. Surprises upon surprises!

No, not now, Banjoman.” Andy heard the robot’s voice in his head. What a strange accent — right propa British, yet Alabama-somethin’ er’ other.

A powerfully built man in worn jeans and a hooded sweater of a thick, grey, heather fabric under a denim jacket glared at the robot. Amethyst eldritch fire blazed from his eyes. He wore a bowler had and had a spectacular crimson gunslinger moustache. Across his back on a strap of orange leather, there was a banjo.

“Andy!’ Deb screamed. Not the scream of terror he expected under these circumstances, but rather an expression of glee. Does she not see this? He thought.

Then everything changed.

Where the robot had stood, now stood Scott St. Pierre.

The Banjoman, likewise, was instantly gone. O’Finnegan, a bewildered expression on his freckled face, stood in his place.

And not a soul in the Tudor Arms seemed disturbed in the least. It was Saturday afternoon as usual — as though no extra-planar entities had been there at all.

Andy saw Deb coming for him waving papers. Over her shoulder, toward the back of the bar, his eyes met Nick’s. They were perplexed, and Andy instanly  knew his friend had seen what he had.

Three Hours Ago

Andy’s eidetic memory allowed him to remember — simply by glancing at their tables of contents — all the books he had ever read about astral projection.

He had dipped his toe in the astral realm before, but he had been hesitant to explore it. Now, however, trepidation slipped away by the moment. He would go beyond his boundaries today. He had read enough to confirm his suspicions about Guskar’s Earthsotone. It would help him unlock the confidence he needed to delve deeper into the astral plane.

In the basement recroom, Andy pulled back the worn, chorded, oval area rug that hid a protective magic circle etched into the floor. Settling into the full lotus position with a hand on each knee, he contorted his fingers into the necessary neuro-trigger formations. As he breached the inner barrier to the null-point, he felt standard gravitation collapse around his body: the telltale sign he had accessed the probability vortices where he could re-define reality itself.

Elaborate vocalizations, physical postures and gestures, and circles and mandalas weren’t the means by which the sorcerer altered probability. They were merely sensory stimuli, which, in various combinations, generated specific electrical patterns of impulses in the nervous system, and subsequently, specific vibrations in the body’s toroid-shaped morphogenic field of aether. These phenomenon and the quantum field variations they caused opened access by the consciousness to the deepest inner mind where the conceived world and the perceived world are one and the same: where probability could be altered by the dictates of one’s will.

As above. So below.

When Andy could no longer feel his physical body, he opened his eyes.

He found himself nestled between roots of a tree that felt as though their sole purpose was to help him relax. He looked out upon a golden field of tall grass beneath a glowing, peach-coloured sky. Conical islands, like inverted mountains, hung like clouds therein.

The tree at his back felt as if it were part of him. My “splinter of Yggdrasil” he liked to think. He had often imagined that every mind had a tree at its center; and that in-turn, every one of those trees was but a branch of a single tree – the Asgardian life-tree – winding through all the minds of all the realms in the multiverse.

He did not see it, but he knew his silver chord was there, connecting him to the tree, which in turn connected him to his physical form back in his the recroom. Perhaps an extension of his Kundalini, he had hypothesized.

Every being has a silver cord that connects to a touchstone on the astral plane – part base of operations on the quiet realm – part gateway back to the physical body. It was impossible to truly come to harm on the astral plane. One’s silver cord would always pull them back to their body in their native realm should the astral body be sufficiently shocked or wounded.

It was time. He reached into his purple velvet dice bag… and finding nothing like the gem he remembered Guskar’s Earthstone to be caused his heart sank.

But wait!

The six-sided die: the red cube was heavier than it should have been. And the moment he grasped it, it spoke on his mind.

“I am life. I am Gaea. Daughter of The All. You are less than, but also, me!” The voice was the voice of one’s mother — or, if not a mother one cared for, then instead, the voice of the mother one wished they had.

Andy felt strong. Not merely football-linebacker strong but tank battalion strong — grounded and solid. But at the same time limber and full of energy and vitality. He saw his body sheathed in a tight, bright emerald light. Gaea’s aether?

His theory had been correct. The Earthstone corresponded with the red chakra, the sacral chakra: one’s foundation. The cube of Plato’s forms was representative of the element of Earth in The Timaeus. He had not expected to encounter the mind of the demiurge Gaia. But it made sense that he had.

“Thank-you,” he said to Gaia. And his voice seemed to him then as gravel and gale.

“This armour will protect you.” She was referring to the thin bright green light that surrounded him. Gaia’s matronly, melodic voice whispered in his head. “Sorcerers call it brainmail. It is a construct of the aether of a demiurge and the confidence of its wearer. You are ready, Andy Crowley! Alexandria awaits!”

He felt Gaia’s mind depart from him then. He suspected a profound privilege had been granted him in experiencing her presence. In the brainmail, her aetheric energy remained and mingled with his.

Andy looked at the six-sided die in his hand. It appeared to be the old, worn plastic cube, but now it was heavy and he felt its charge in his hand. He knew it was, in essence Guskar’s Earthstone. Clutched it in his fist, he walked to the edge of the ridge.

He looked down upon the tall grass of pale gold. The earth at his feet was the colour of wine. Bending his knees slightly, he pushed gently off from the edge of the ridge the way one departs from the side of a swimming pool.

In the peach coloured sky of the quiet realm, Andy Crowley soared toward the island before him. And he somehow already knew he would find Akashic Library of Alexandria there.

 

Cerberus should not have been in the astral realm. But, in the closing hours of the Siege of Hades Prime, he had been sent to hide there by the Admiral of the Stygian fleet of Olympus. The three-headed hound, infamous sentinel of Hades, had been told that one day an Earther would seek to enter Akashic Alexandria, and that when that happened, he was to tear the Earther to shreds. This order from the admiral had come, in-turn, from Hades himself. The Lord of the Olympian soul-trading house knew his enemy Lucifer desired the young would-be Earth wizard’s soul. The lord of the Olympian underworld, assured of his coming fall, would do all he could to see that Lucifer, even in victory over him, would at least be denied this prize.

Cerberus, sat back on his haunches. Front legs stiff, his middle head was tall and proud. And it stared hard into Andy Crowley’s soul as it spoke.

“So a pretentious child of the magicless realm seeks the wisdom of the Library then.”

“Library?, I see nought but a misshapen whelp with shrill words that make me long for a return to a place I once knew as the quiet realm.”

Indeed, where Andy now stood there was nought but a flat rolling plain atop the massive inverted mountain he had landed upon. As he approached he had seen all manner of architecture from all manner of cultures veining the roots of the island like precious metals in the wall of a cave. Greek, Egyptian, Persian, North American First Nations, African, and Asian. Some of the styles he did not know at all and had a completely alien flavour.

The left head of the Cerberus, a pup’s, wore a puzzled expression. It was tilted. Its eyes looked up and to the side. The centre head’s eyes, wickedly smart, were locked onto Andy’s eyes — onto his soul. The head to his right, aged even beyond death and rotten, was mad and wild with ravenous hunger. Foam sprayed from its fetid, flailing maw.

The Cerberus, reared on its glistening black haunches to strike. Each head was the size of an African elephant. Andy knew his silver chord was assurance he could not die here — but Cerberus could certainly prevent him from entering the library.

“You have smart mouth.” The center head’s cool voice had a smile in it. “I’ve been told I have a mouth that smarts.”

Andy groaned and rolled his eyes. He almost heard the words in Schwarzenegger’s accent. Then his eyes were wide and he began to regret his arrogance completely. Where had it come from?

In the instant before Cerberus was upon him, by no will of his own, the green aether of his brainmail flowed into the form of an ornate trident in his left hand. But this mattered not a whit. The sight of it bewildered him. Then the worst pain he had ever known consumed his mind utterly.

Through his own screams, he heard a howl from the pup tear into the astral sky. It was so loud, Andy — had he been able, would put his hands to he ears to check for blood. He knew the howl was an alarm — a klaxon to signal his presence. The hound of Hades was a sentinel after all. But who? Who would now know he was here?

Through the explosion of pain, he lost all desire to answer his own questions. He heard his bones crunching in the fetid maw of the rotting wolf’s head. Teeth tore into his flesh as it shook him violently. Its foaming acidic saliva hissed as it ate its way into his eyes and open wounds. He knew his spine was twisting, snapping, and grinding in all manner of grotesque life-ending ways.

Then his pain was gone. A curiosity, strange and yet also somehow familiar had appeared and suddenly presented a fascinating matter, more compelling even than mere imminence of death.

A black monolith of glass had appeared in his right hand.

Where have I seen this before? No! he did not just hold the black glass, it was a part of him. No! They were one and the same! Where a moment before it was new to him, 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’s 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 pointless names.

“No!” The ego of Andy Crowley exclaimed as it began appropriating the vast 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 now 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 crawling with specks of meat: meaningless, pointless, temporary.”

Then the stars sped away too. Then the galaxies. Then the entire universe. All receding beyond reckoning.

And then, for the last of the shrinking particle of mind that remained Andy Crowley, something surprising occurred.

The remnants of Andy Crowley’s egoic faculties ascertained that he was growing in size upward beyond one universe, which alas was something of the subatomic fabric of the next, larger, universe.

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 sputtered and slowed. Then the expansion ceased altogether before it started to reverse.

In relation to the whole, that fragment which was Andy Crowley was growing.

“I love you,” Deb’s voice joined the now-shrinking malignancy, causing the reversal of its expansion 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 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 synthesizer riff of Subdivisions by RUSH.

He could not tear his attention from the bite out of 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 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; and murderer of souls beyond count.

The pain of the thought was but a blip in the arrow of time known to his consciousness for it was impossible for him to carry any concrete memory of an experience of this magnitude into the everyday fabrication of consciousness and 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 insights he had come here to discover.

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 into his hand, the sleek, black monolith was gone.

GONE!

Panic overtook him.

The sense of loss transcended 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. He had altogether forgotten the torturous maw of Cerberus that had shredded his astral form.

And by way of one of the great mysteries even the most esteemed sorcerers in existence have yet to explain, the silver chord, which somehow, defying the arrow of thought and time, always seemed to know what is best, manifested to yank him home.

His trembling hands reached for the recroom floor to stop him from falling over. His hair was damp with sweat. Tears were in his eyes.

Mom! NO! Ruby! His mind roared. She is at the airbase.

He breathed deeply to calm himself. Reason was returning. The Earthstone was in his hand. He could not recall Gaea’s voice but he had a feeling she was with him, even here in the material realm. Andy heard the pup’s howl again. The alarm that had gone out. maybe even a summons. By now, as it usually did, all memory of the glass monolith had left him, but it had imparted something in his thoughts before it had departed.

A robot dressed like a pirate! A minstrel with purple eyes and a moustache! They had heard Cerberus’s alarm. They were coming.

Terror came over him. I have gone to far!

I want to be with my friends. The urge was powerful — and it was tinged with peculiar urgency.

They are in danger!

Jesus! His calm was returning. He would need a level head. I have to get my shit together!

I have to go to the goddamn mall!

Read Andy Crowley, Sole Sorcerer of Sanctuary

Intelligence vs. Wisdom; Physicist vs. Philosopher; Shiny Bicycle vs. Quantum Foam


It occurred to me once that, if monks in a Buddhist monastery were creating Dungeons & Dragons characters, is it possible they would NOT have to ask the Dungeon Master what Wisdom is? God knows that nerds getting down to same in our Western, indentured-servitude, conspicuous-consumption drone matrix ALWAYS ask! They, however, never need to ask what Intelligence is. What follows are my thoughts as to why this is the case.

Check this out and come back.

free-will-and-quantum-foam.html

For those who don’t want to click off — it talks about quantum foam and how — the further down you go (size-wise) the more crazy shit gets.

Many have had the experience or feeling of oscillating between large and small: the sensation that you are suddenly enormous and planet or universe sized — then atom or quark sized, a kind of disorienting weaoh-weaoh-weaoh-weaoh, big-small-big-small.

Having experienced this in meditation, I have decided to investigate it. Here is what I have found.  Once you acclimatize to the sensation, you realize it is not oscillation between big and small, it is actually oscillation between small and nothingness!

Or rather, more accurately, between chaos and void (I say void because, in my estimation, there is no such thing as order — only absence of chaos).

In our lives, there is only the imposition of perceived order (delusion really) upon chaos by a consciousness, which is generally unwilling to embrace the inherently chaotic nature of reality. And so, suffering (as the word is used in Buddhist terms, or in any other terms really) is just the inability or unwillingness of consciousness to accept the true nature of reality. Put another way, it is the pain incurred by wanting things to impossibly be some way other than the way they are or the only way they can possibly be!

“What has this to do with intelligence and wisdom?” the Dungeon Masters asks. I’m getting there.

We must begin with the understanding that we live in a society that values intelligence over wisdom: engineering over poetry for example (catastrophically so, in fact — but this is another discussion). The mathematician/scientist/physicist is held in much higher esteem than the philosopher/poet/priest. This because the first facilitates the twin delusions of quantification as control and egoic alienation from other that fuel consumption driven economic growth, and the latter undermines that paradigm. But this too is another discussion.

Suffice it to say — that, at least in systemic terms, the physicist is revered and the philosopher is diminished. Intelligence is king. Wisdom is sandal-wearing hippy clown.

Enough context then, here we go…

Intelligence is the faculty by which one OUTWARDLY (exoterically) measures, labels, and correlates arbitrarily designated variables in a reality demarcated by consciousness.

Wisdom is the faculty by which one INWARDLY (esoterically) directly experiences a reality un-demarcated by consciousness.

Having defined the terms, let’s put them in context using the experience of meditating and directly experiencing the fundamental chaos characterized by the quantum foam situation we discussed previously.

The scientist — who is intelligent — using measurement, (mathematics) theoretically observes the quantum foam as he constantly pushes to further the edge of how far OUT he can go in the quest to understand the nature of reality.

The philosopher — who is wise — using meditation (the obliteration of constructs such as mathematics), experiences the quantum foam (if you must call it something, sheesh!), as he pushes to further the edge of how far IN he can go.

Certainly, there is a longer conversation to be had here, but this is a start.

And one last point to ponder.

Intelligence has not risen to primacy as our modality of choice merely because it facilitates our ability to manipulate our environment (and certainly, to be manipulated as well). It has allure in that it empowers one to more readily share experiences using mechanisms such as words and numbers with another person or with all other people. Intelligence can be KNOWN, and so recorded and easily conveyed from one conscious entity to another.

The means of sharing the fruits of wisdom are not readily shareable. Approximations of direct inner experience rendered through art, literature, poetry, music are the best one can do. The fruits of wisdom can only, ever be FELT.

In a nutshell then, the spoils of our outer (exoteric) expeditions (endeavours of intelligence) can be more easily conveyed from one person to another. The spoils of our inner (esoteric) expeditions (endeaovours of wisdom), not so much.

Read Andy Crowley, Sole Sorcerer of Sanctuary. (I dare say it is an attempt to render the fruits of endeavours of wisdom)

Rock n’ scroll!

Gaea, Cerberus, and An Astral Thrashing!


You can’t lose your shit. You can’t lose your shit. Andy Crowly’s Northstar high-tops slid across the mall’s tile floor with a squeak that belied the severity of his immediate circumstances. His mind, which had been forced to process its fair share of peculiarities of late was not ready for this.

At the far end of the entrance to the Tudor Arms, there stood a robot. It was about seven-feet tall and had a tall cylinder of a head tapered subtly down to its chin. Its movements were disarmingly un-robotic: fluid and gracefully athletic. And its manner of dress was unlike anything Andy had ever imagined he might see on a robot: leather breaches tucked into high boots, and a blousy pirate’s shirt. A broad-brimmed hat with a massive black plume trailing from the band perfectly complemented a pencil-thin, swashbuckler moustache painted over its mouth. There were silver-buckled pouches around a wide belt, upon which hung a disturbingly large two-handed broadsword.

Andy followed the robot’s glowing amber slits for eyes to the object of their attention. Surprises upon surprises!

No, not now, Banjoman.” Andy heard the robot’s voice in his head. What a strange accent — right propa British, yet Alabama-somethin’ er’ other.

A powerfully built man in worn jeans and a hooded sweater of a thick, grey, heather fabric under a denim jacket glared at the robot. Amethyst eldritch fire blazed from his eyes. He wore a bowler had and had a spectacular crimson gunslinger moustache. Across his back on a strap of orange leather, there was a banjo.

“Andy!’ Deb screamed. Not the scream of terror he expected under these circumstances, but rather an expression of glee. Does she not see this? He thought.

Then everything changed.

Where the robot had stood, now stood Scott St. Pierre.

The Banjoman, likewise, was instantly gone. O’Finnegan, a bewildered expression on his freckled face, stood in his place.

And not a soul in the Tudor Arms seemed disturbed in the least. It was Saturday afternoon as usual — as though no extra-planar entities had been there at all.

Andy saw Deb coming for him waving papers. Over her shoulder, toward the back of the bar, his eyes met Nick’s.

Three Hours Ago

Andy’s eidetic memory allowed him to remember — simply by glancing at their tables of contents — all the books he had ever read about astral projection  The Eidetic Vault Trigger had been the first spell he had learned.

He had dipped his toe in the astral realm before, but he had been hesitant to explore it. Now, however, trepidation slipped away by the moment. He would go beyond his boundaries today. He had read enough to confirm his suspicions about Guskar’s Earthsotone.  It would help him unlock the secret to operating safely in the astral plane.

In the basement recroom, Andy pulled back the worn, chorded, oval area rug that hid a protective magic circle he had etched there with a pocket knife. Settling into the full lotus position with a hand on each knee, he contorted his fingers into the necessary neuro-trigger formations. As he breached the inner barrier to the null-point, standard gravitation collapsed around his body. It was the telltale sign he had accessed the probability vortices where he could re-define reality itself.

Elaborate vocalizations, physical postures and gestures, and circles and mandalas weren’t the means by which the sorcerer altered probability. They were merely sensory stimuli, which, in various combinations, generated specific electrical patterns of impulses in the nervous system, and vibrations in the body’s aetheric field. These phenomenon and their associated quantum field variations opened access by the consciousness to the deepest inner mind where the conceived world and the perceived world became one and the same: where probability could be altered by the dictates of one’s will.

As above. So below.

When Andy could no longer feel his body, he opened his eyes.

He found himself nestled between roots of a tree that felt as though their sole purpose was to help him relax. He looked out upon a golden field of tall grass beneath a glowing, peach-coloured sky. Conical islands, like inverted mountains, hung like clouds therein.

The tree at his back felt as if it were part of him. My “splinter of Yggdrasil” he liked to think. He had often imagined that every mind had a tree at its center; and that in-turn, every one of those trees was but a branch of a single tree – the Asgardian life-tree – winding through all the minds of all the realms in the multiverse.

He did not see it, but he knew his silver chord was there, connecting him to the tree, which in turn connected him to his physical form back in his the recroom. Perhaps an extension of his Kundalini, he had hypothesized.

Every being has a silver cord that connects to a touchstone on the astral plane – part base of operations on the quiet realm – part gateway back to the physical body. It was impossible to truly come to harm on the astral plane. One’s silver cord would always pull them back to their body in their native realm should the astral body be sufficiently shocked or wounded. Andy’s touchstone was this tree, with its branches, mostly unseen, stretching out across the planes and throughout the cosmos.

It was time. He reached into his purple velvet dice bag. He felt nothing like a gem in there and his heart sank. But wait!

The six-sided: the red cube was heavy! And the moment he grasped it, it spoke on his mind.

“I am life. I am Gaea. Daughter of The All. You are less than, but also, me.” The voice was the voice of one’s mother — or, if not a mother one cared for, then instead, the voice of the mother one wished they could have.

Andy felt strong. Not merely football-linebacker strong but tank battalion strong — grounded and solid. But at the same time limber and full of energy and vitality. He saw his body sheathed in a tight, bright emerald light.

“Thank-you,” he said to Gaia. And his voice seemed to him then as gravel and gale.

“This armour will protect you.” Gaia’s matronly, melodic voice whispered in his head. “Sorcerers call it brainmail. It is made from the aether of a demiurge and the confidence of its wearer. You are ready, Andy Crowley! Alexandria awaits!”

He felt Gaia’s mind depart from him, but in the brain mail, he felt her aetheric energy mingling with his.

Andy looked at the six-sided die in his hand. It appeared to be the same, old, worn plastic cube but now it was heavy and he felt its charge in his hand. He knew it was, in essence Guskar’s Earthstone.

Boldly donning his new brainmail, with the Earthstone clutched in his fist, he stood and walked to the edge of the ridge by his tree. He always enjoyed the springy surface of the astral realm. It was a hallmark of this particular plane that all the surfaces had a kind of spongy give to them. The grass was pale gold. The earth was the colour of wine. In all his travels so far, this was his favorite place beyond the threshold of the everyday plane of waking, material existence.

And then, with a push from the edge of the ridge the way one pushes from the side of a swimming pool, Andy Crowley soared toward the island in the astral sky he somehow already knew was Akashic Library of Alexandria.

 

Cerberus should not have been in the astral realm. But, in the closing hours of the Siege of Hades Prime, he had been sent to hide there by the Admiral of Sygia. Cerberus had been told that one day an Earther would seek to enter Akashic Alexandria, and that when that happened, he was to tear the Earther to shreds. The order to the admiral had come from Hades himself. Hades knew the fiend Lucifer desired the Earth wizard’s soul. The lord of the Olympian underworld about to fall would see Lucifer denied his prize.

Cerberus reared on his haunches. His three heads lathered and foamed as he spoke.

“A pretentious child of the magicless realm seeks the wisdom of the Library then.”

“Library?, I see nought but a misshapen whelp with shrill words that make me long for a return to what I once knew as a quiet realm.”

Indeed, where Andy now stood there was was nought but a flat rolling plain atop the massive inverted mountain he had landed upon. As he approached he had seen all manner of architecture from all manner of cultures veining the roots of the island like precious metals in the wall of a cave. Greek, Egyptian, Gothic, Renaissance, Persian, North American First Nations, African, Asian — some of the styles he did not know at all and had completely alien alien (an hence, beguiling) flavour.

The left head of the Cerberus, a pup’s, puzzled, tilted, and looked up and to the side. The centre head stared hard and smart into Andy’s eyes — into his soul. The head to his right, aged even beyond death, was mad and wild with ravenous hunger. Foam sprayed from its fetid, flailing maw.

The Cerberus, reared on its glistening black haunches to strike. Each head was the size of an African elephant. Andy knew his silver chord was assurance he could not die here — but Cerberus could certainly prevent him from entering the library.

In the instant before Cerberus was upon him, by no will of his own, the green aether of his brainmail to on the form of an ornate trident in his left hand. But this mattered not a whit. The sight of it bewildered him — until pain consumed his mind.

From the pup a howl went up. It was so loud, Andy — had he the option, would have checked to see if his ears were bleeding.

The beast was upon him. His last thought before the pain was that the howl had been an alarm — a klaxon to signal his presence. The hound of Hades was a sentinel.

Before he could even respond he was in the fetid maw of the rotting wolf’s head. Teeth tore into his flesh as it shook him violently. Its foaming acidic saliva hissed as it ate away his eyes and open wounds. He knew his spine was twisting, snapping, and grinding in all manner of grotesque life-ending ways. His curiosity however, was transfixed on matters much grander than the mere imminence of death.

For in the hand that did not clutch to the trident, a small monolith of black glass had appeared.  Where have I seen this before? No! he did not just hold the black glass, it was a part of him. No! They were one and the same! Where a moment before it was new to him, 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’s whispered curiosity infuriated the monolith mind. This nonsense of distinguishing onefrom 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 appropriating the vast 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 now 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 sped away too. Then the galaxies. Then the entire universe. All receding beyond reckoning.

And then, for the last of the shrinking particle of mind that remained Andy Crowley, something surprising occurred.

The remnants of Andy Crowley’s egoic faculties ascertained that he was growing in size upward beyond one universe, which alas was something of the subatomic fabric of the next, larger, universe.

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 sputtered and slowed. Then the expansion ceased altogether before it started to reverse.

In relation to the whole, that fragment which was Andy Crowley was growing.

“I love you,” Deb’s voice joined the now-shrinking malignancy, causing the reversal of its expansion 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 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 synthesizer riff of Subdivisions by RUSH.

He could not tear his attention from the bite out of 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 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; and murderer of souls beyond count.

The pain of the thought was but a blip in the arrow of time known to his consciousness for it was impossible for him to carry any concrete memory of an experience of this magnitude into the everyday fabrication of consciousness and 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 insights he had come here to discover.

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 into his hand, the sleek, black monolith was gone.

GONE!

Panic overtook him.

The sense of loss transcended 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. He had altogether forgotten the torturous maw of Cerberus that had shredded his astral form.

And by way of one of the great mysteries even the greatest sorcerers in existence have yet to explain, the silver chord, which somehow, defying the arrow of time, always seemed to know what is best, manifested to yank him home.

His shaking hands went to the recroom floor to stop him from falling over. His hair was damp with sweat. Tears were in his eyes.

Mom — NO! Ruby! His mind roared. She is at the airbase.

He calmed himself. He breathed deeply. The Earthstone was in his hand. He could not even recall Gaea’s voice but he had a feeling. Andy heard the pup’s howl again. The alarm that had gone out. maybe even a summons. Fear came over him then. I have gone to far!

I want to be with my friends. The urge was powerful — and it was tinged with fear and peculiar urgency.

My friends are in danger!

Jesus! His calm was returning. He would need a level head. I have to get my shit together!

I have to go to the goddamn mall!

Read Andy Crowley. Sole Sorcerer of Sanctuary

Hubris Begets a Humbling: The Ten-Thousand Eyes of Mars


Painting by Rodney Matthews

Parting the neatly combed moustaches of his dark silver mutton chops, Admiral Cavendish Farlore strode for the high deck to aft of the Martian dreamship. And not just any dreamship either: the Ramses IX, flagship of the First Martian Solar Dynastic Navy. Overhead an escort of thousands of Martian Ra-ships hung in the sky. With their elongated saucer shapes that came to a point at each wing, and their keel turret bubbles of dark tinted plasteel, they looked like unblinking eyes in the indigo of the inter-dimensional sky.

On a ribbon of the Sea of Tears that meandered outside sidereal spacetime to terminate in a massive secret chamber beneath the Pyramid at Giza, the Ramses IX had sat at anchor for half a celestial day.

“You are relieved, boatswain,” Farlore gave a curt nod.

“Aye-aye, Admiral,” In the Martian fashion, the young sailor saluted by touching the serpent arched to strike from the golden brow of his nemes helmet. “Thank you, sir,” he added over his shoulder as he left. The grass-green cloth that hung to his bare shoulders from his helmet fluttered in the breeze. The admiral smiled in his head to note the youth’s surprise at having been relieved.

“Your are most welcome, son. The mess is not yet as lively as it is likely to get tonight. Tell Kator-La, I said to give you the admiral’s special and don’t make any plans before celestial noon.” The Admiral glowed to see the pride come into the boy’s face. “And if you don’t mind, I need you to pass along that everyone is on leave tomorrow until we make port at Memphis Nova I.”

“With all haste due, Admiral!”

Farlore turned his back to the sailor. Memories of his early days in the navy came upon him then and he didn’t want to risk the lad seeing him smile. It made him happy to give his crew some time off. Heavy matters weighed on the First Martian Solar Dynasty. And though he did not know all the factors involved, the admiral was worried that his Pharaoh was over-reaching on this mission.

While it had pleased him to relieve the boatswain, he had done so with an ulterior motive. One he took no pleasure in executing. Indeed, he felt that the moment in cosmic history fast approaching — an event he had been appointed by the Pharaoh of Mars to facilitate — was going to have catastrophic implications for all reality. He scowled. He wanted no part in this.

He looked at a pocket watch he kept tucked behind the holster holding the alchemical sun pistol at his hip. The uniform of the Martian soldier was nought but a skirt to the knees held at the waist by a belt upon which hung a single holster and single scabbard. Feet were sandalled and fastened by wraps, which were intricately woven up to the knees in a morning meditation. Typically there was also a nemes helm of gold from which hung a coloured lappet denoting rank. But admirals, as was the custom, wore no such helmet and shaved their heads completely.

Snapping the watch shut and replacing it, Farlore stepped to the aft railing. Save for the crows nest, it was the highest vantage point on the ship. The world he looked upon, was slightly out of phase from the ship’s position on the Sea of Tears. The effect of the phase variance was such that the world appeared all blue. But Admiral Farlore, who had seen it on occasion from a perspective in sidereal spacetime, knew it to be blue and green and heartbreakingly beautiful.

Pure.

Innocent.

The world was held in esteem as the sacred jewel of all reality. And it was Mars’s responsibility to protect it at any cost.

For this little world was the sole place of refuge from the sorcerous bedlam of the wider, wilder multiverse. It was the one place in all existence where consciousness could not penetrate inward to the probability vortices.

Sanctuary.

The one place in reality where magic did not work.

The Eden Edict of the Binary Proclamation forbade meddling in its affairs. This was decreed by no less than the authority of Pentarchy. But Mars, as its celestial steward, had special rights of access and trade. The unique and remarkable effects of its alcohol and the magic-repellant properties of the fabric called denim were much sought after beyond Sanctuary Rim and the unique privilege of trading these Sanctuarian treasures had filled the treasury pyramids to bursting.

Despite its value to his Pharaoh’s Dynasty, Admiral Farlore was never comfortable being this close. It felt unnatural somehow to be here: like a violation of some timeless, sacred truth.

“Metatron k-reysus,” His voice was stern and purposeful. The sky of eyes — the Martian Ra-ships, each with a single pilot in the dorsal bubble and another in the keel — peeled from formation in long curving arcs that brought them into the space below the celestial horizon of the Ramses IX and the blue ribbon of this tributary of the inter-dimensional sea.

None, save him, could bear witness to what was to now transpire.

The admiral did not know how long he waited before he felt the hairs on his arms stand on end. It is time then.

His hand quickly polished his bald head, and he straightened the gold and teal wrap about his waist. After checking to ensure the snap on his holster was fastened, he clasped his hands behind his back an assumed the disciplined posture of an emissary of the high court of Heliopolitan Mars.

Below him, on the pale blue ambient light of dreamship’s main deck a Coriolis of emerald green nimbus twirled from nothingness into an opaque swirling vortex. In the same neon green hue, the thin lies of a dodecahedron faded into his visual range. Admiral Farlore felt the gentle zephyr of displaced air rustle through his perfectly groomed mutton chops.

When the emerald swirl cleared, and the lines of the dodecahedron faded, a perfect physical specimen of middle-aged man was revealed. The subtle, golden aura of Olympian physiology issued from him. He wore the highly technologically advanced running shoes of the natives of Sanctuary and the orange-trimmed sky-blue toga of the Olympian Empire. At his feet, unconscious and dripping wet, lay a boy — he looked to be no more than fifteen roundings of Ra by Sanctuary reckoning.

The arrogant fools have really done it! Farlore pressed the horror deep down into himself, forced a smile and bowed.

“Lord Cronos! Welcome to the Ramses IX, flagship of the Martian Navy of Pharaoh Gatunkhamen IV,” were the words from Admiral Cavendish (Crash) Farlore’s lips. But in his mind, beneath fealty to the lord whom he loved, there was a whisper…

Hubris begets a humbling.

Read Andy Crowley Sole Sorcerer of Sanctuary