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..and I feel fine.

Today, September 23rd, 2017, is the end of the world. I saw it on the internet, so it's true. Never mind that it wasn't true 2 years ago the last time it was predicted. Never mind that every doomsday date is wrong since ever. Never mind that the Bible itself says don't bother setting dates because it doesn't work. It's a pity the doomslingers don't read that bit. Bad for business.

Somebody is selling the doomsday du jour for clicks or attention, citing the return of Planet X, or spooky shapes in the stars predicted by astrology they don't normally believe in, or the internet becoming self aware and turning all the butt-scanning toilets into laser guns or whatever. I've heard the boy cry wolf before, and paranoia is becoming passé as my hair and patience thin. I know I'm getting old because even the apocalypse is in reruns. Yawn.

Here's my 2 cents on the matter, as an MP3.

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We aren't crazy and we aren't doomed.

Our rising cultural anxiety and depression isn't just random or as simple as biological defect. There's a dimension beyond what self-care prevents and relieves. We are more separated than ever as individuals in a technological hive that promises connectivity but delivers mostly tracking. Yet we remain connected beneath the surface, and empathy is rising so we are beginning to share the pain of other beings. Information continues to double and technology makes transmission instant.

 We are watching world after world end, or threaten to do so. Doomsayers besiege us from every corner of the media maze as we're herded into boxes for the benefit of the panopticon. Thus we are all afflicted to various degrees with "apocalypse fatigue," some more than others. We are aware of industrialized suffering and destruction, and we see the veils that dress it up as "how things were and are and need to be." We yearn for change.

The good news is that we can choose to embrace the eschaton, not with the death-urge that underpins current culture, but with a zeal for creating new worlds from the bones and ash of the one we're shedding. We already know how to make worlds, for we've always done it internally as a coping mechanism. We've been incubating in survival mode, waiting our turn. The call has come.

In the split seconds where we can see the whole picture, each of us will catch glimpses of how and where to displace horror with humor and abuse with compassion. No one is coming to save the world, but if we each take our corner, the whole thing gets done. Do not give way to despair, however great the load. There is always some space in which to move, some light to add. Go now in peace, and do the work your heart commands.

Release and Regenesis

Eighteen years ago, I was walking down the street after a day of classes, distracted with idle conversation, when I heard the sound of a car coming to a stop. Before I looked, I knew it was for me.

I turned and looked to see who it was, and the identity of the occupant told me exactly what would happen. An old friend of the family was looking at me with a deep sadness, and then she nodded at the passenger door.

"It's happened?"

"It's time."

That was all, but that was all that the moment needed. Silence and my whirring thoughts filled the car. I played over the timeline in my mind. My mother had not been the same since the heart surgery. Pneumonia crept in, and in time renal failure took her kidneys. She went yellow for a time, jaundiced as I had been when I was born.

She went on a sort of hospital tour, but in the end it had been too late for some time. The pain medicine went unfiltered by her failing organs and took her mind for wild  rides through time. When I visited, she thought I was someone else. She requested imaginary objects and got upset when I humored her.

My father was steadfast, there every day after work for months. I was there less than I might have been due to school.

She continued to decline. The hallucinations became immersive trips backward in time akin to Alzheimer's. She was going. She lost the use of her legs, and gangrene began to appear. 

Eventually, she let go. When she passed it felt like the fulfillment of a sort of curse, as her father had died the same age after going blind from diabetes. Yet it was a blessing at the same time, a release for almost all involved.

It took me until tonight to fully release her. I realized that my guilt at not being as there as I could have been for her, and her poor mother (to see your own child die before you is no doubt a pain unmatched in this world), and her infinitely patient husband. It occurred to me that the pain had turned 18. It was time to kick it out.

So tonight, on the eve of the eclipse, I played a set of ritual ambient noise music, remixing a song I wrote in her honor while she was nearing the end of her journey. Tonight I combined it with my own voice, homemade instruments and a recording of the Tibetan Book of the Dead in a kind of prayer that her soul has found its way home. I feel her with me from time to time, and after tonight, I am choosing to feel the love without the guilt.

As you read this, I hope you too will release some burden unto the symbolic event presented by a blocked sun. In times so long ago they seem impossible to us in the modern, hyper-jaded world, the sky was wonder itself. The stars were our guides through time and the inspiration of our legends. Most important, they were constant reminders of the mystery. We would be wise to regain our sense of awe.

See you when the sun comes out. May we all be a little lighter despite dark days.

"A blindness that touches perfection"

Back in school, on the edge of the internet, I heard a publisher was compiling a book of interviews on the topic of isolation. I felt qualified to contribute and apply by email. I received no response. The above anecdote is not a Steven Wright joke, though it is a bit funny in the way of which he is the master.

I never did find out if that book made it into physical reality, but I was neither surprised or especially worried that I didn't secure a spot therein. By this time in my life, I had already wandered through the fog of isolation for some years. I am an only child, so time alone was just natural, and in childhood, I had filled it with nature and books and creativity. A series of deaths in the family and the endocrine clusterbomb/social pressure combo hit delivered by puberty put me squarely in the role of a teenage hermit.  

I found solace and magic among the bins in the squalid used book and record stores my little Army town had grown around its edges. I was discovering evidence all the time that this involuntary monastic life was not an experience reserved for me. Those books and tapes felt like messages from some realm beyond or mystery cult of benevolent survivors, and they shored me up like an esoteric exoskeleton. I can remember the paradoxical moment when I knew I was alone in my experience but not in my condition. I was 3 or 4 hours into a sleepless night, with the radio on for company. I was brought out of my haze when the music stopped, and I heard three words ring out as clear as a peal of thunder:

"I know you."

As the monologue continued, the introduction proved itself to be accurate. I sat up as if snapping out of a dream, wondering what was happening. I always kept a blank tape in the stereo deck at the ready, and I scrambled to capture what I found out was a piece by Henry Rollins. I heard the voice of a stranger describing the feeling in my spirit to me, and in such excruciating detail that I could have written it myself. The shock of realization gave way to the comfort of resonance and the excitement that there were others after all. If you have never heard it, I suggest you take a moment to dig it up now. I won't mind, and I believe it would do you good. I'll wait here.

We're all born into a situation that not even our parents can fully illuminate, for there are parts of the human experience that defy classification despite age or experience, and parts of it we may. It understand until the brink of death pushes away all our familiar veils. Civilization has built up defenses and detours for navigating the space between entry and exit in a way that keeps the show on the road. Most folks ride generational waves of momentum right into the social currents, but some get swept in the undertow of the unconscious world and its dark gravity. Wherever we come from or feel compelled to go, we each touch isolation in some way. It gets baked into the cake of human experience, particularly in our days of a delusional division.

Isolation is not solitude, for we often choose it and it can be restorative if employed with mindful intent. It is not loneliness, for loneliness is the desire for company, specific or general. Descend a few layers down from this, not goosebumps but chilled bone, and you find isolation. Isolation is a voice, never completely silenced, that asks "who am I really, and why am I here, and what is the point, and why hasn't anybody got the answers I need?"

The human being takes a wide variety of forms. We are different from each other and different from ourselves at other points along our individual timelines. I'll tell you a secret. Isolation is a shape-shifter. It is different things to different people and at different times. It's when you make plans you know won't gel. It's saying goodbye in your heart when you meet a new friend because nobody stays in this town but you. It's feeling like the last person alive amid throngs of other people. Isolation is hearing a hearty laugh down the hall and accepting that you can't pull that song out of the bird get face to face. It is the muscle memory of intimacy, forgotten over years of neglect. It makes a ghost of you, and a hole in you.

Isolation is feeling your mortality and the weight of the human predicament in a world where almost no one feels free to speak of it. It's screaming "Memento mori!" and "Carpe diem!" into a crowd of the deaf, and most of all yourself, the one who needs to hear it most of all. Isolation is stumbling onto the uncomfortable truth, accepting its inevitability and having no quarter offered when you knock on the doors of other people's paradigms. It's when you start to believe in the boxes other people may put you in as part of their defenses. It's a wall you help the world build around your heart.

Isolation is the gnosis of the void, the dull embrace of freezing space. Isolation is whispering "Is anybody here?" in a soundproof room. It is an illusion that in times of strife and weakness can feel more real than your awareness. Isolation is a room made of black rice paper that feels like an obsidian tomb. It is a place of waste, and waste away it does. Within its mercurial tesseract of illusions, there are no windows and no doors, but there are locks.

Hope springs eternal, even when obscured by dark mirage. Dimensions of novelty and connection wait for us to scratch through the barriers. The sands cascade through the hourglass for us all. The spirit of a nation threatens to collapse as surely as its neglected roads and bridges have begun to do already. Divide and conquer is the oldest, best trick the war lords and profiteers have, and it is working like a charm. We are taking the hate bait. We are trading the power of our hearts for the false security desired by the metastasized ego and offered on a hook by the powe structures of this world.

We're renting what the poet Hafiz called "the cheapest room in the house." After years of living under a strategy of tension, our zeitgeist has a death-urge which is encouraged by those who live on and profit from an air of constant fear. In the big picture, the sabers are rattling, and the economy is trembling. In our private lives, we wage personal wars against the ones we ought to cherish or at least respect.

Isolation is a natural thing to feel in such times as these. The oversoul of Western Civilization seems to beg for dystopia and an end. This victim script leads to a coward's end. These war games are contrary to who we are, in the bedrock of being. The trauma continues, but the patient is still hanging on. To heal these great rifts we will need to cut out some memetic cancer, but we don't need a civil war. We need civility back.

As the radicals and psychonauts have urged us, find the others. Put out the signal. Tell the world, "You are not as alone as you feel, and your sense that you are keeps your life small and your spirit missing its part to play on the world stage." The state in which we live in ignorance and do the dances of caged animals is what the parasite class prefers. Defy it. Call up the specter of teenage rebellion and marry it to the power of your enlightening heart. Reach across the aisles, go into "enemy" territory, and bring your awareness and compassion with you.

New bridges need building. New roads wait for us to pave them. In a world pushing hate, compassion is punk rock. In a world divided, unity is a sacred subversion. In a culture that breeds isolation, liberating each other is sacred work, whatever you believe. So now it's time. Tell your story, that it may relieve those who hear it. Unlock the gate, and let your fear out as you let love fill the cathedral in your heart. Speak truth to power and resist evil where you find it, but also, speak to each other as equals without gnashed teeth and gnawed tongues. Do not become what you fight.

Isolation is an acute form of spiritual amnesia. Remember how to touch and honor the ones you love and recognize the need for it in all. Learn again how to listen to the wordless wisdom of intuition and the still small voice that tells the truth. Bring your light out of its prison and see anew the treasure that darkness hides. Come together again. Take the shapes that are necessary to get us out of the saucepan as the water rolls toward a boil. Set fear down and pick up love, while you still can.

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Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

It's summertime in Tucson, and while I love it here the dry heat shrivels the patience, and the shoreline sings its siren song. My family and I go San Diego as often as we can. It's a day's drive for an entirely different world from the desert. Years ago, though we'd just seen Blackfish and skipped Sea World, we took our daughter to the San Diego Zoo. It's enormous, it's beautiful, it's rightfully world famous for its presentation, and it's still captivity.

What got me was the Silverback gorilla behind the plexiglass. While technically safer in a plastic box than at home with poachers sizing him up, I felt for him. He was meant to be a monarch. He had the build but displayed a strained face with tired eyes. How did he get here? Does he suffer in this endless performance? Why do we do this to our neighbors?

It's too easy to dismiss animals as less than we are. Here's another creature capable of language and I had no idea how to reach the Silverback's mind. I felt compelled to put my palm against the glass, to meet those eyes and in some way apologize for the absurdity of it all. So we don't go there now. The best zoo in the world, with the best keepers and enclosures, is still a hostage situation.

That may rattle you, and I understand why. I loved the zoo as a kid, and it remains the only way to see the animals we've mostly pushed off the world. The topic of conservation is too nuanced for a layman like myself to make a call on where to draw the line between salvation and show business. The spectacle is undeniably magnetic, for we all yearn for connection with the web of life. Intention aside, there is such an apparent disconnect in our behavior.

People know in some distant way that zoos are full of slaves. We won't leave a dog in a car, but a polar bear in a swimming pool is judged acceptable. Thousands of human beings with loving hearts and functioning minds somehow spend all day admiring animals and stop to eat a few on the way out without a second thought. The way we treat animals is just one of those enormous problems we pretend isn't happening. We've turned the elephant in the room into tacky end tables and scrimshawed ivory knick-knacks.

Sanctuaries, on the other hand, represent a different road for disenfranchised animals, and we were thrilled to discover one not far from San Diego in Alpine. Lions, Tigers, and Bears is an excellent operation that aims to provide a haven for big cats and others rescued from the horrors of the exotic animal trade. We got an eye-opening education about cut-rate breeding farms in squalid trailer parks, rich kids abandoning their pets (like the old alligator myths but real and shocking), and sickening practices like fur and "predator urine" farms. The reality was not sugar coated.

What we saw, by contrast, were not haggard, suffering beasts lumbering through concrete mirages. These cats and bears are healthy, happy and simply loved. Our guide hand-fed each one with a long tool that kept both parties secure. Not a one was without shelter, shade, and above all, room to roam. Their stories all had happy endings because of the tireless work of the site's proprietor and her dedicated staff. The tour ran long for the parents of toddlers, but the experience was worth every penny once we saw exactly where the money was going.

Lions, Tigers, and Bears have stated their mission as follows:

"Lions Tigers & Bears is dedicated to providing a safe haven to abused and abandoned exotic animals while inspiring an educational forum to end the exotic animal trade."

They deliver this and more. I heartily recommend and encourage anyone interested in the welfare of animals and the witnessing of redemption for these long-suffering animals who deserve our compassion and stewardship to visit this sanctuary. For more information, visit their website: https://lionstigersandbears.org/

I am excited to announce that the proprietor of this fine establishment will be my next podcast interview. Details soon.

 

Insurrection as Resurrection

First, they came for the elections, but we grew up hearing that "voting doesn't matter." A slow boil of district manipulation and a thinning pool of viable candidates bore that out, but turnout was dismal, and symbols are important. Every election since the turn of the century has revealed more systemic corruption. We have lost a little more hope and a little more will to command our "leaders" with our voices with each lap around the ballot box.  Long gone are the days when we could trust the word spoken from a podium. We had a glimpse of another way, but he showed up with a mysterious bruise and got quiet pretty fast after that.

The cabals, cartels, and corporations that put most candidates on the stage are not interested in our will. This time we would have been screwed either way, but with this administration has dissolved the facade of eligibility. Now the idea is out there that any asshole can hold an office, and it seems that any useful bastard will.  A certain pall fell over the world on Election Night. It felt like a tectonic shift, or something happening in an invisible dimension. It was as if some significant changing of the guard had taken place at a level that even silenced Congress. Half the nation reeled with disgust and anxiety and the other shot off fireworks and felt empowered to out themselves as demons. Everybody got duped. Some got evil.

Next, they yanked the reigns of the media. The big networks danced to the tune of their sponsors and partner agencies. The internet gave us grassroots reporting, but the corporate bullhorn blasted from all sides the idea that dissent and conversation about corruption are "fake news" now. The division is everywhere because it is the priority and the agenda. Now is the moment where we are just about ready to tear down the last shreds of the veil, thus the efforts to keep us apart and at each other's throats are mounting. The TV, radio, and print that used to deliver at least a degree of truth sold out to shareholders years ago. This legacy media (for with alt-this and post-that on every corner there is no actual main stream anymore) are purging the web of independent voices along with the snake oil, psychological operations, and doom dealers. Hijacking online conversations is a growth industry, employing perhaps thousands of human trolls and perhaps millions of tireless "bots" to control the narrative.

Weaving spiders are busy indeed. The alphabet agencies, be they spies or corporate mouthpieces or Google itself, tell us who to trust and who to scoff at, and we let them. We haven't had to do real research since these little portals arrived in our pockets. Taking blue pills was easier than looking for ourselves. After generations of learning to look to Big Daddy for answers, it was child's play to pull the wool over our eyes. Then the tools of research became the means of censorship. The big bang of available data that happened when the Internet went live is slowing down, and attempts are being made to reverse its flow so that it can be contained and controlled for good. Leaks continue. We can hope that stubborn defenders of truth will continue to burn holes in the dragnet and allow the flow of uncollared information.

Then Congress rolled back progressive laws but told us that only hurt "snowflakes." We figured hate crimes and transphobia and racism were overblown. We didn't think the Klan was even really a thing. It seemed like a joke or anachronism. How wrong we were, and how lucky we were to have such delusions as others watched their backs for lifetimes. Local governments are busy shadowboxing with political theater for the benefit of their base. Politicians treat bathroom laws and other rollbacks of LGBTQ rights as a priority to impress the evangelical voters. Nevermind what those same creeps get up to in bathrooms and hotels off the clock.

Meanwhile, real issues like infrastructure, education, safety and economic security are passed to the next official to deal with, if at all. The hollow men in expensive suits wrap themselves in the flag, drop crocodile tears paired with cherry-picked Bible fragments, and utterly ignore all requests to join the rest of the world in the 21st century. As long as they keep getting paid for their votes and avoid each other's deep-dirt blackmail schemes, the circus goes on as it always has, and we get fed to the lions when we demand bread.

Then they began to shut the gates. In a brief but ominous symbol, the Statue of Liberty was unlit for a time. Only a few noticed enough to ask why, but it had a dark resonance. Fear had trumped love, and our nation of immigrants started turning people away as if that would affect a trend toward homegrown, often white terrorism. After decades of war, thousands have nowhere to go, and years of conditioning have made us associate the wrong countries with terrorism and job stealing. Our "job creators" are the ones moving all the work offshore to their tax havens and secret banks. Our "protectors" are the ones starting fires all over the world.

However we may live as individuals, America knows in our gut that we have become everything we once opposed. But no one can handle that, and many can't even recognize it, so the masquerade goes on. A war on terror never ends, it just ramps up and creates an endless cycle of blood for money. See also the wars on drugs, crime, poverty, and so on. Like cancer, there's more money in research and feel-good branding than a cure. The institutions of these troubled times work to entrench and preserve themselves rather than solving the problems that were their reason for existing.

Meanwhile, the growing police state has started stopping people on planes and stranding them in airports. They started making lists of "bad" nationalities. Men in brown with dogs and guns are at the borders asking for papers. We know where that leads. The mask is slipping, and the face is all too familiar. How long now? Do we need to endure this again? What lesson have we ignored that demands a retread of humanity's most famous dark night of the soul?

The military is becoming the corporate police, leaving endless streams of well-meaning youth to return home as shattered shells of themselves with no structure of psyche repair in place. The beat cop is a dying breed. City police are militarizing and in some districts are goaded into procedural racism, thrill-kills and property theft which they can practice with impunity and even reward. Private mercenaries are being hired to destroy dissent to environmental and social abuse.  Every peaceful protest attracts provocateurs in anarchist drag who come to break windows for the camera and frame organizations that seek reclamation of peace and justice for the people. "See, these people are out of control!"

Then the tear gas and rubber bullets can fly.  Soon the privatized prisons will be full of stoners, activists, and people of color, as was the intention in '68. First we had "Free Speech Zones," then they started criminalizing protests, but we assumed the stories we heard about these movements were true tales of violent mob rule. We figured we had nothing to shout about until we did. So now what?

It's too late to put flowers in gun barrels, but there is another way to invert our predicament. Turn inward and to each other now. These are the times we expected. Cross the artificial divides and build bridges where you may. Resist the death grip of the old institutions as we quietly make them irrelevant. Authority was never the friend of the people, and the pretense is finally falling away. The Germans lost the war, but plenty of Nazis got new jobs and learned to take new shapes. They won, in their way, and you can see it in the way things have gone with the Allies. History repeats and mutates.

Here we all are, and it is up to us to awaken and stop the historical cycles of abuse. This time of fear porn and hate bait is the moment for vigilance and courage, self-empowerment and cooperative subversion. The human race is on the table, about to have its organs harvested. The anesthesia needle floats just above the skin. We have excused our complacency for too long. We kept our noses in the arsenic lace of the virtual world when our duty was always to direct experience and action. Now is the time to RISE: resist, inquire, subvert, and engage. I leave it to you to choose your path.

 

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Be Not Afraid. We need all of you.

Once upon a time, the wealthy would-be elite hired alchemists to toil in their basements in the hopes of free gold. Now, the seekers of truth toil in their own kind of solitude, uncovering their own depths and facets as they discover and explore the occult and ignored worlds within the meme-mesh of linguistic spells and behavioral conditioning that passes for consensus reality. What slithers just outside our peripheral vision is a world of injustice, horror and depravity that sickens the soul and begs the question, what can we actually do? Fight, yes, of course, but how?

Before we play at being knights we have to understand the quest that calls us. First, one notices The Program of the Outer Game and feels its slowly-acting poison, then one rebels and lashes out with fire and lightning. Galleries, libraries, and record stores are filled with the often beautiful and empowering results of this urge. Yet after its initial thrill, rage only exhausts us and creates ripples of new harm that amuse The Adversary. Some never leave this Dantean cycle, but some begin the dance of initiation and realization. In time it is these who seek to change the code of the Outer Game itself.

We can all choose to go from played, to player, to programmer. The seasoned Hermetic axiom "as above, so below; so within, so without" served the alchemists of old and it can serve us today. The journey from slave of circumstance to sovereign co-author of the universe is a life-long walk uphill, but when the fog of mesmerism parts, we find it is the only path there is to walk if we take freedom seriously. The Inner Game must be mastered to shift the variables of its worldly counterpart.

The mantle of the Great Work we have taken up and dusted off unfolds through the various works that we all do, unsung though they may be. It is the doing that matters, the persistence that pays. The dark gnosis oscillating beneath the veneer of the Verbal Hologram can be exhausting, even consumptive to behold and accept. There many are trapped and dissolved by the carnivorous vortices of despair.

As angels told us when we were on speaking terms, "be not afraid." Apocalypse has come to mean sure doom, but its true meaning is a time of unveiling and change. Revelation is terrifying and wonderful. As we dig and expose and bring to light, it's good to be reminded to serve and heal self in order to serve others and combat Our Situation, The Con, The Adversary. We each recognize the Hydra differently from our own perspective and we each feel called to sever the head nearest to us in the hope of more freedom for all. We must, however, take the wise old advice of Nietzsche and avoid becoming monsters ourselves as we fight the Beast, through sins of omission that make us less than who we are.

The first thing to do is to honor your body. In a time when we are being tugged at by the gravity of immersive technology it is ever more easy to forget the actual feeling and needs of physical life. It is therefore a radical act indeed to resist the cultural siren song and take damn good care of yourself. The flesh is the interface of all our work and we are often quick to take it for granted. The service we are called to requires us to be our best. The sound mind requires the healthy brain, and the brain requires certain things of the body to work at its true potential. Your human vehicle may seem common or flawed to you but it is very special and very demanding. Do not get mired in guilt and regret. You already know where you have slipped and where you can strive, but let us visit a few suggestions to remind you.

Drink water. It sounds simple, but many of you may be drinking lots of coffee to dig and lots of booze to forget. Both will rob you of water. Hydrate sufficiently and be sure to replenish your electrolytes.  A good rule of thumb goal for daily water intake is to take half your weight in pounds and use that number of ounces. It will seem like a lot, but as you pass on soft and hard drinks in favor of water more and more, you'll feel the difference. Filter it as you're able, for Lord knows the tap is a gamble. Take magnesium in water if you can, as it calms the nervous system.

You are what you eat, so eat as well as you're able. Whole foods (meaning fruit/veg/grain/nuts etc rather than processed, not the chain store) will deliver the purest and most sustaining energy. There's a combination that will work for you and you owe it to yourself to find it. The less processed, the closer to vitality and the further from the well of toxicity and addictions which beget illness and dependence on drugs.

It's all your choice, but the less you feed from the animal kingdom, the less suffering you send into the pain collectors that feed the demons of this world, and the less you diminish yourself with the resonance of the abattoir. Keep up with your vitamin C and zinc to stave off the ubiquitous viruses. Clean fats like MCT oil will give you more and better energy than processed carbs. To be an alpha, get your omegas. Rebuild your gut biome and watch your cognition and intuition rebuild themselves and grow. Finally, eat your greens.

Get out and get moving. Shake your heart and lungs to life with activity. Go anywhere, but go. Have a walk or a ride around the block as often as you can. Fresh air, natural light, blood flow, and stimulus unrelated to the mystery that plagues your mind will all recharge you. Tearing veils and processing what is revealed can be very taxing, and we must give ourselves a break between digs to stay fresh and useful. Whether those that eat your pain are the archons of the Gnostic lore, the demons of the Church, or the 0.01% Wendigo Class of vulture capitalism, they all depend on burnout and collapse in those who would expose them. Starve them with your grace.

This will seem hardest: get enough sleep. Insomnia haunts many an investigator and activist. Whatever dreams may come, take the hints, but keep your sense of humor. Balance the nightmare fuel with something light, even funny before bed. Laughter clears the soul of ghosts. Relaxation is as much a need as oxygen. Do as much as you can to reset the mind and prepare it for rest. White noise or calm music will help. Soma FM is full of useful material for this and runs 24/7. I recommend the "Drone Zone" station. They're worth supporting, as are all that increase the calm in this frenetic world.

The most punk rock, righteous thing you can do in a destructive culture (and ours at the moment is an empire of death cloaked in lip service to virtue, make no mistake) is to be creative. Your voice is the one that needs to be heard. Keep adding truth to the conversation in person and online, but also, create. You may make the art that saves a life, and if nothing else it may save yours. Take time to express all that is building inside you. Transmute the poison, or just drain it off. The alchemists were playing with fire for better reasons than minting gold. There are bacteria that eat radiation. Life adapts and loves to redeem its obstacles. Learn to smile at and accept your pain before burning it for light.

When you are overwhelmed, that is the moment to show yourself love immediately and do what must be done to ground yourself. Again, I urge you to explore meditation, yoga, or benign magick if you're so inclined (banishing rituals are a great idea). Also, do truly random acts of kindness. People open like flowers when they're seen and served. Explore your best and worst aspects. Write down your rambling thoughts, especially the hideous. Get the shadow out where you can see it. Learn what you can from its point of view, and dismiss it politely. Fill the space it leaves with love. You'll never run out of room.

Day must always dance with night, but out of darkness cometh light. To quote another hoping to inspire those who fight darkness, "Do not lose heart. We were made for these times." We can all feel the tremors building. The towers are tipping. The Kingdom is within us. Babylon is nervous. This is it. Don't give up. Thank you all, strangers and friends alike. Good journey, fellow travelers.

LUX E TENEBRIS

LUX E TENEBRIS

Look upward, but start inward.

Individually we can and will transform for the better, but what then? Change will need to ripple out on a mass scale and with speed if we are to avert apparent disaster. The secret to survival has always been community. What is required is for each of us to drop the victim script, change the way we play at life from survival to service, and come together to form islands of sanity. By asserting our individual power, uniting as collectives (while avoiding the trap of confrontational tribalism), and calling power to the carpet, we build a foundation for the kind of upheaval that must be sought and fought for to move into the next phase of human achievement.

In the twilight of the 60s, people began to look to the stars again, not as guides for life on earth but as destinations in themselves. It was a visionary time, and we had grand dreams of building new worlds, but we didn't follow through. The will was there, but we got distracted by various sideshows and our output didn't match our fantasies. It may be for the best. The way we have behaved as terrestrial explorers doesn't bode well for how we'd fare as space colonists.

Looking to space still feels like the next logical step for a species looking to shake off stagnation and return to its roots of adventure, but taking the current domination/victimhood game to other worlds would be a staggering tragedy. If we take seriously the very real and imminent threat to our home world and use that fire to get our asses moving toward collective maturity, we may find the world we wanted was already here underneath the one we rushed to build out of fear. Once we've grown up enough to take care of this planet, I'll feel better about making footprints elsewhere.

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