Friday, April 12, 2013

Ichtheology: Fins

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Beating Time


Philip K. Dick's question of  "why me?" in regard to his experiences of 2-3-74 is huge, and is a question that might have direct bearing on what is happening right now. Before exploring that, though, it's vital to examine the nature and purpose of Pike's return. Dick is very clear about the reason for this.

Jim returned from the dead, out of compassion for "those he loved"—which is what I had wanted to write from the very beginning but did not know how, nor did I dare to! Inasmuch as Jim's (Tim's) return from the dead is identified with the presence of Christ in the Dead Sea Desert, it is expressed—like Christ's own resurrection—as a sign that the Parousia is here! 

The return of Jim Pike was, in a sense is, the Parousia. He is the personalized embodiment of VALIS or Zebra. He is the homoplasmate -- that being which is the symbiosis of living information and the human. As the homoplasmate, Jim Pike's mission is to transubstantiate the world, is to shatter the illusory control of the Black Iron Prison, is to wake up humanity from the nightmare of history. And he is doing so out of compassion.

The most important realization of the Exegesis, perhaps its entire purpose, is that the message of The Transmigration of Timothy Archer is needed to complete the prior two books of the VALIS trilogy. The revelation of VALIS is not complete without this third book. And the purpose of this book is to tell of the bodhisattva -- that spiritually advanced individual who, out of compassion, forgoes his or her own entry into nirvana in order to first liberate all beings.






































Tim comes back deliberately because he has learned that it all has to do with compassion: he is a bodhisattva and this concept—the bodhisattva—has to do with the Buddha. So the resolution of BTA is: Christ/the Buddha homologized as the bodhisattva... Thus the VALIS trilogy is ultimately resolved on this note: compassion.

Dick realized first Pike's compassion for himself. PKD's entire karmic debt was paid off by grace. He became entirely free of it. The sins of his past were totally forgiven. This is the ultimate act of compassion from either a Buddhist or a Christian perspective. In this, these two religions are in agreement. Dick states that his being forgiven can be looked at in two ways:

(1) My IOU was bought up, my debt paid for me (justification through grace).

(2) The huge stone gates of the fortress or prison— Klingsor's Castle—opened—parted—and in fact vanished; the maze was solved
by the pure fool—me.

Either the debt is paid off by an external source, the bodhisattva, or the illusion of indebtedness is ended. These are merely two facets of one truth. In Buddhism, the two are called karuā, or compassion, and prajñā, or wisdom. Of these, Dick seems to place more importance on the former. Only the pure fool is truly wise, and the pure fool already has compassion in his heart. In the Exegesis, Dick also calls the Black Iron Prison, the maze, and explains that compassion "is the only power capable of solving the maze."

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This is the wisdom of the greatest spiritual teachers, the avatars, the homoplasmates. For Christianity, Buddhism, and other spiritual traditions,   

...the ultimate paradox of the maze, its quintessential ingenuity of construction, is that the only real way out is a voluntary way back in (into it and its power), which is the path of the bodhisattva. The maze, then, is one colossal and absolute Chinese finger trap.

Dick further explains this paradox:

...when you think you are out of the maze—i.e., saved—you are in fact still in it. You only actually get out when you seem to be out, think you are out, and voluntarily decide to return!

The paradox becomes even more baffling when we consider our present lives. Why are we here? Is it possible that we voluntarily decided to reenter the maze in order to assist in the liberation of others? Are we, in other words, bodhisattvas without knowing it? Dick suggests that anamnesis, the absence of forgetting, can be equated here with nirvana. By remembering our true purpose, total compassion, we do not really escape the maze, but the maze itself is transformed into nirvana. This is very close to Blake's image of "wheels within wheels."

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We who are here —or at least, some of us—were once in it before (in my case as Thomas), but we—or I—came back in and am here now. Thus my voluntary return to the maze has already happened, and 2-3-74 was true release. And hence for these reasons came in the form of restored memory—the loss of forgetfulness. Then I did not solve the maze this time; I had already solved the maze by voluntarily coming back in as PKD—and I remembered in 2-74. Thus my salvation was assured not by what I did in this lifetime but by this lifetime as such.

Dick's experiences of 2-3-74 were essentially an act of remembering. By anamnesis we solve the maze by remembering that we have already solved it, and by knowing that the maze has never really existed in the first place. PKD writes that there are then two ways to view the maze: 

(1) it leads out (to Paradiso/nirvana)
(2) it leads in (to the Grail)

In the first case, the seeker attains nirvana, or heaven, but returns, like Dante, as a bodhisattva to help others. In the second case, perhaps even more compelling, the seeker ventures deep into the maze to find the Grail and the blood that it contains. On attaining this holy cup the whole nature of reality, of the maze, is instantly transformed. On finding the Grail, as in Parsifal, "time turns into space." Time is made visible and past, present and future appear at once. History becomes eternity.

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This insistence that time itself is transformed, even transcended, in the experience recalls the "Ondt and the Gracehoper" episode of Finnegans Wake. It is only the playful, carefree grasshopper character who is able to "beat time." The thrifty and cautious ant, or ondt, is successful within the confines of the Black Iron Prison, but he is unaware that he is irredeemably trapped. The gracehoper is marginal and impoverished, but he is free. He hopes for, and does receive, grace.

Loop De Loop


A really intriguing take on the question of escaping from the maze is presented in the writings of Mark LeClair in the Wrong Way Wizard blog. LeClair is known in certain quarters for his idea of the "VALIS Loop." What he considers to be the actual mechanics of this Loop can be read about here and here, but I'd like to focus on how his concept apparently differs from PKD. LeClair explains Dick's perspective of the Loop:

In the Watergate era, sci-fi author Phillip K. Dick reported a vision.  What he learned from this vision was that sometime around 70 or 80 A.D. a group of "Jewish Alchemists" had instituted a method of looping time back into itself on a sort of infinite historical playlist.  The reason for this action was to forestall the return of Christ after the destruction of Solomon's Temple by the Romans.  According to Dick, the Return of Christ is the promised end to a system of Sacrificial Agriculture originating with Cain, from the Book of Genesis, who is the Father of Agriculture, and ratified by Enoch, son of Cain, who is the Father of Satanic Alchemical Magick.  These two systems (Agriculture and Magick) are the basis for the entirety of human social commerce and all the woe, inequality and royalty that comes with it.  The return of Christ threatens to shatter this system which is so prosperous to an elite class of dignitaries.

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LeClair, at the risk of misreading or simplifying him, goes on to say that Dick was only partly right. The would-be return of Christ is yet another turn in the Loop. It is fully accounted for in the Loop's program. Such an event, or at least the anticipation of it, would offer only a simulacrum of liberation to be closely followed by renewed suppression and control.

The duration of one loop is about 2000 years, but there is an overlap period of approximately 200 years between tape loops. In the course of this transitional phase "the intensity of feedback creates large scale pattern recognition among those imprisoned in the Loop."

This meshes very well with what Jung explained happens between astrological ages, and it dovetails with the concept of the 108-year cycle discussed in this blog.

During this time of "pattern recognition," presumably including synchronicity, paranormal occurrences, glitches in the Matrix, etc., things begin to become a little worrisome for the reigning "alchemists." The danger for them, if I get LeClair right, is that during this overlap period individuals are also able, in potential, to remember that they are immortal. They are able to break through the "illusion of death."

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As within the Loop the number of souls/personalities are finite, death does not really take place, only a type of recycling or reincarnation occurs. Of course, a population which does not fear death is a population which is uncontrollable. To prevent this loss of fear and delusion, preemption and distraction are required.

The key preemptive event in the present transitional period was 9/11. It deeply shocked those members of the population most capable of fully waking up. It provoked a mass quest to find answers, and ultimately it fostered a turn or return to mysticism.

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For LeClair, mysticism is anything that directs our attention towards future salvation. It is the emphasis on the future which is most important for the wardens of the BIP. By focusing on things to come we lose our chance to become fully aware, to awaken to the truth of our immortality, in the overlap period. Dick's anamnesis, therefore, is incomplete and illusory. The Loop goes on.

Let's ride PKD's Valis Loop once more. According to Phil, prior to Watergate, the Alchemists had total control. Through the practice of eldritch rituals not at all to the taste of Joe Six-Pack, these Mages forestall the second coming of Christ forever. The New Age never arrives. Instead, the old age is repackaged, renamed and vigorously remarketed and the Land of the Dead lives on. On Watergate, the levee sprung a leak. This fizzle in the dyke was the source of Phil's revelation of anamnesia, but not much else. PKD's vision didn't change anything. We hover in a bubble of time, just as always. A flashing swath of plasma in the arc of a diver. Going, going, gone. Christ will never come. We are truly lost.

This all sounds very dire. Admittedly, I've only dipped a toe into the deep, dark waters of the Wizard, and I have no idea where discussions of these ideas have led to previously. I'm compelled by what LeClair writes, but I can't say that I fully understand it. It seems to me, though, that he does suggest a way out of the Loop, out of the maze, and it is a way that is not really that dissimilar to what Dick was writing about. There is a genuine anamnesis for LeClair as well. It consists of remembering that there is no real death.

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Whether or not this can only be fully remembered during the overlap period is another question, but it seems to show a way out of the maze. Perhaps a mass realization like this would not end the Loop, but it would totally transform it in a Blakean manner. An Empire would have no control over such a population. LeClair writes that in a world of self-realized immortals "everyone is equally powerless." Obviously this means that everyone would be equally powerful as well. This takes us to the same place as Dick.

LeClair's warnings against future-based mysticism (and we must ask if all mysticism is really this) should be well heeded. Such systems of thought are used as devices for further control and distraction, but they can also liberate as well. Even disinformation necessarily contains grains of the truth. Dick's conviction that a bodhisattva-like being, or beings, has arrived out of compassion to free us from the maze, within the maze, is not so different than LeClair's suggestion of the possibility of realizing our own immortality.

To do this, though, LeClair is absolutely right. The end of history does not come in the future, but right now. The paradox is, while having this realization, that neither past nor future exist at all. Time is beaten.

Lines of Flight


Dick's later emphasis on wisdom, compassion, the bodhisattva, and nirvana sounds like straightforward Mahayana Buddhism. It's my belief, though, that Dick is presenting something quite different, something far closer to the Gnosticism of the Dead Sea and Nag Hamadi scrolls, but with a modern or postmodern overlay.

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Buddhism is almost entirely non-dualistic (although it is built on a system of Two Truths -- one relative and one absolute), and while this is beneficial for personal liberation it is inadequate to deal with the injustices of history and the ongoing oppression by the ruling class. This requires opposition, a temporary dualism -- a dualism that would lead to eventual non-dualism. Of course this is again paradoxical and would seem to take us to the same bullshit, future-based mysticism that LeClair warned us against.

Blake also recognized this paradox within his Orc cycle, but it is a paradox that is necessary to overcome. Individually we might become awakened, following a Buddhist or similar spiritual path, but we would still dwell within the Empire. It is not enough to say that the Empire is also a necessary part of the universe. The Empire is a key source of suffering and to be truly compassionate we must try to end the suffering it creates.

The Gnosticism which Dick shares is historically unique. It really did not exist fully until after the various texts were rediscovered in the Forties. Gnosticism was known before this but it was always presented in the terms and biases of its foes, which were later inverted by the proponents of this counter-tradition.

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Only in the last century, and really only after translations were extensively published in the Seventies, could we study Gnosticism in depth and in its own words. Dick's primary insight that living information had been revealed is profound and necessary. As Dick states several times in the Exegesis,

And everything is there, but only when all 3 volumes [of the VALIS trilogy] are read.

What this means, though, is that it really takes the Exegesis, a word meaning interpretation or explanation, to present this connection to the reader. The Exegesis itself is the missing link between the three books, and it was not substantially published until 2011.



This nearly completes the line of transmission: from the Gnostics and Essenes of the ancient Middle East, to the rediscoverers of the scrolls in the 1940s, to John Allegro, to James Pike, to Philip K. Dick, and finally through his Exegesis published in 2011, to fans of a pop culture now saturated in Dick. Perhaps it is only now that Zebra is fully stepping out of the grass.

Dick's ideas of a collective transformation, a physical transubstantiation, a divine invasion are only becoming widely understood, and experienced, at the present moment. The upwelling fascination and exploration in synchronicity, particularly since the widespread advent of Web 2.0, is certainly a part of this. Dick predicted that the invasion would happen in a time of "information slates" and off-world colonies. We now have tablets and roving probes on Mars, but this would seem to be the time he foresaw.

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Highbrow Darth Vaders


It is likely, though, that Dick would be the first to admit that this is not the only line of transmission. As in Ubik, the invasion would be ubiquitous, appearing everywhere. It is worthwhile, then, to search for other possible manifestations of the unfolding parousia.

Carl Jung's Red Book was similarly only published in 2009. Before that only a couple dozen people had seen it. This book reveals Jung's explorations of the "active imagination" and significantly, an extensive article printed in the New York Times after the book was published was entitled, "The Holy Grail of the Unconscious." Another manifestation of the Grail.

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I've mentioned before in this blog that in 2012 the books of James Joyce went into the public domain. Once carefully protected by tweedy scholars and Joyce's uncooperative and aloof grandson, Stephen, we can finally say, as Joyce surely wanted, "here comes everybody."

The New Yorker posted an article in January of 2012 called, "Has James Joyce Been Set Free?" It compares the entry of Joyce into the public domain with the climax of Star Wars.

The passage into public domain of Joyce’s major works has been talked up in certain quarters as though it were a bookish version of the destruction of the Death Star, with Stephen Joyce cast as a highbrow Darth Vader suddenly no longer in a position to breathe heavily down the necks of rebel Joyceans.

It's interesting to consider that Joyce's idea of the monomyth, through Joseph Campbell, was explicitly used by George Lucas in his construction of the Star Wars stories. Is this journalist aware of this connection and, if so, is he they aware how deeply appropriate this metaphor really is? But is it hyperbole to suggest that Joyce's writing could bring down the Empire? Perhaps not.

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Qwaking the Middle Kingdom


On Christmas Day, 2012, just four days after the apparent non-apocalypse of Dec. 21st, a major blow against tyranny was struck in China. This was brought to my attention by the highly recommended "Finnegans, Wake!" blog. On Dec. 25th the first ever Chinese translation of the first book of Finnegans Wake was published in China. Due likely in a large part to a massive publicity campaign (16 large billboards in Shanghai alone!), it became a bestseller over the next month. The initial 8000 book print run quickly sold out and new prints are expected soon.

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The translator, Joycean scholar Congrong Dai, has a fascinating story of her own -- a story that makes me conclude that this translation is certainly part of the revelation of Zebra. In an interview she explains her motivation for the translation:

I realized that Finnegans Wake was a really great book, and that this book can change the idea of Chinese reader. ... For me, Finnegans Wake is a book of freedom. I do not only mean political freedom. For example, Joyce will create new words to transcend social constraints. So the making of a new word shows Joyce’s disobedience and refusal of society. 

For Dai it is the creation of new words that leads to freedom -- both political and social. She clearly understands the revolutionary nature of the text, and she is well aware of the ability of puns in Chinese to subvert the official party line and to bypass censorship. The Wake will obviously only facilitate this. Later in the interview, though, she admits something far more profound. She suggests that the Wake is alive and conscious, and that it somehow was even aware of her.

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My name, Congrong, will be written as [the letters] C O N G and R O N G. This is two Chinese characters. On page 167 you can find the C O N G and after several lines you can find the R O N G on the same page. Ah! It's amazing. I think Joyce is saying that he can foretell something in his book. I think, wow, he knew some day that I will translate this.

Sure enough, on page 167 one can read on line 16:

...and wannot psing his psalmen with a cong in our gregational... 

And this is followed on line 32 by:

...as young as your grandmother! The ring man in the rong shop...

In an article submitted to the James Joyce Quarterly, Congrong Dai confesses that "Wakean serendipitous coincidences" made it possible for her to continue the difficult translation. Wow! She was led by synchronicity. Her work was foretold by Joyce. Obviously she is meant to sing her psalm. Is she the vessel by which Zebra invades and transforms China?

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For me, the fact that the first book of the Wake was translated into the language of the most populous country on Earth, where it became a run away bestseller, by a woman who is convinced of its ability to free her compatriots, a woman who feels called by the Wake itself, is enough evidence to be convinced that the 2012 singularity really did take place! Four days after the deadline is close enough.

Avalokiteśvara's Cat


One other golden Joyce nugget was unearthed in 2012. For the first time his children's book, The Cats of Copenhagen, was published by Ithys Press. The name of this publisher will take on deep relevance later, but it's also crucial to look at the content of the book. It has been called irreverent and anti-authoritarian. Joyce's anarchist sympathies are well known to his fans. Does the release of this book last year also signify a strike against the Black Iron Prison?

On top of this, the apparent Joycean nod to Schrödinger's cat and the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics takes the themes of ambiguity and uncertainty to the most foundational, physical level.

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In just under a five-year period, then, The Red Book and The Exegesis have been published for the first time, and Joyce has been released into the public domain coinciding with the Chinese translation of the Wake and the publishing of The Cats of Copenhagen. Could all of this be the plasmate, alien living information, attempting to communicate and transform the world?

In the years from 2009 to 2013, the unleashing of new material by these three authors will eventually catalyze a massive expansion of the collective imagination. If this is not VALIS then, perhaps coincidentally, it will have much the same effect on humanity as if it was.

And yet these are only three authors, although three of the greatest, of hundreds to publish in the last half decade. And this includes only books. What discoveries, art works, movies, technologies and on and on have also appeared for the first time during this period? How have they altered the imagination of humanity? Are they, too, VALIS?

Let's assume for the moment that VALIS is here, and nearly everything is "in the invisible process of turning into the Lord." Would this mean that this is the only process occurring? As in many of Dick's books (The Divine Invasion, Ubik, etc.) could there be two completely opposite and opposing processes happening simultaneously? Or, more sinisterly, could these two be identical? Is VALIS the Black Iron Prison, or alternatively is the BIP interchangeable with VALIS?




Throughout this study the themes of inversion and ambiguity have come up again and again. Sirius seems to represent this -- both VALIS and Belial are said to have come from this same star. This raises the possibility of the two being one entity -- again, Christ and Lucifer both as the Morning Star. In The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, this ambiguity again arises.

At one point in the book Timothy Archer proposes a new theory that Satan's main sin was that he loved God too much: 

I see the legend of Satan in a new way. Satan desired to know God as fully as possible. The fullest knowledge would come if he became God, was himself God. He strove for this and achieved it, knowing that the punishment would be permanent exile from God. But he did it anyhow, because the memory of knowing God, really knowing him as no one else ever had or would, justified to him his eternal punishment. Now, who would you say truly loved God out of everyone who ever existed? Satan willingly accepted eternal punishment and exile just to know God-by becoming God-for an instant. 

Satan is punished for eternity because he loved God so much that his desire to know God caused him to become God. We might ask, though, after once becoming God does one ever really cease from being God? And this leads to to the ultimate heresy -- is Satan God?



Such a heresy is addressed towards the end of the book. Angel (and the name is no coincidence) accuses Bishop Archer, in his mad drive to discover the true origin of Christ, of becoming like his own idea of Satan.

"I need that wisdom, Angel. Nothing less will do."
"You are like Satan," I said, and then realized that the gin had hit me in a rush; I had not meant to say that.
"No," Tim said, and then he nodded. "Yes, I am. You're right."

In this short passage a lot is revealed. Bishop Timothy Archer is Bishop James Pike is VALIS. If he is also Satan then, by extension, is the whole process that Pike initiates including Dick, including the Exegesis, including his interpretation of the Wake, including sync, even including this post right now, Satanic? We can't be sure that it is not, but we also can't be sure of the nature of Satan.

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Another inversion or ambiguity within Dick's writing may help us with these questions, or they may add to our confusion. In Dick's experiences of 1974 and onward, the entity which speaks to and/or through him is sometimes viewed as being male, like King Felix, Jim Pike, Thomas, etc., and sometimes as a female, like the Sibyl, Sofia, the Shekhinah, and so on. Is this entity actually several individuals? Or does this being alternate between genders? Or does it transcend gender altogether?

Certainly, gender transformation of advanced beings occurs often in various traditions. The bodhisattva, Avalokiteśvara, is generally portrayed as being male in India, and yet she is Kannon in Japan. Male and female exist at once. Dick's visions are really not that strange in this regard. But do these figures also combine and/or transcend our notions of good and evil? Are they both and neither at the same instant? Maybe the Wake can provide us with some lucid obscurity yet again.

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HCE and ALP dream together, but only ever-flowing ALP is truly whole. HCE is always divided in conflict between his two sons, Shaun, or Christ, and Shem, or Satan. Only by first integrating these two can HCE ever hope to successfully unite with ALP. All of these forces are at dance and play. All have returned.

Ichtheology: Body

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Well into his meandering and brilliant Exegesis, Dick writes of his realization that the message of the parousia, the transformative presence of the divine -- the Second Coming, was not fully revealed until all three books of the VALIS trilogy were published.

There is no doubt: if the 3 books are read (VALIS, Divine Invasion and Bishop Timothy Archer) it is clear that the Parousia is here. Not a theophany is involved but resurrection, of a given man (not of Christ which after all took place 2,000 years ago). This ... is the beginning and it comes trailing clouds of collateral verification, like spinoffs: These in all constitute vast plural indices of the Parousia. Each novel in turn verifies and amplifies and explains the previous one.

Dick adds that the "full and true story [of the parousia] is divided up over the 3 books," and explains that "what I have done in and by these 3 books is penetrate to the heart of the Christian mystery." The three books must be read together as one whole. Only then can the message be fully conveyed, and perhaps only with the aid of the Exegesis can the three be accurately tied together. The Exegesis is the key to unlock and rightfully combine the three.

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If the first novel, VALIS, is based on the biography of PKD, his actual spiritual awakening, then his next book, The Divine Invasion, takes us back to the familiar Dick terrain of futuristic sci-fi. Even in this novel, however, the underlying themes are religious, apocalyptic. If the Empire, represented by Nixon, was in the process of falling in VALIS due to the intervention of Zebra/Sophia, The Divine Invasion is an imagined or alternate future where the Black Iron Prison is more firmly in control than ever.

Adversarial


The Earth is united under one rule which, however, has two heads -- a secular head in the Stalinist "Scientific Legate" and an ecclesiastical head in the "Christian-Islamic Church." The parallels of this global power structure with the Emperor and Pope of the medieval Holy Roman Empire is clear.

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Interestingly, a very similar power structure is portrayed in the final short story, A Short Tale of the Antichrist, of Russian philosopher, Vladimir Soloviev. Soloviev's 1900 story predicts the rise of a "United States of Europe" ruled over by a new Roman Emperor who expands his dominion over the whole world. The Emperor is in fact the Antichrist and the Pope, who co-rules as chief advisor to the Emperor, is Apollonius the False Prophet.

Soloviev's personal story would be very interesting for Dick fans. The idea of "syzygy" is very important in his work, as it was for Dick, and Soloviev had several mystical encounters with the divine Sophia. He was certainly no fundamentalist.

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The coming of a new pope who many consider to be the last, Peter the Roman (and it's a fascinating inversion that in Soloviev's story the deposed good pope is Peter II), and possibly the  False Prophet also meshes well with the visions of both Soloviev and Dick. There are multiple indications that both authors are referring to the present day.

In The Divine Invasion, both heads of government are secretly controlled by the demonic Belial, described in the Dead Sea Scrolls as the leader of the Sons of Darkness, who asserts his will through the "Big Noodle," a centralized artificial intelligence system. Yah or Yahweh has been exiled onto a remote planet and here he impregnates a human woman in order to accomplish his "divine invasion."

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The Chief Prelate, the pope equivalent, is tipped off by the "Big Noodle" that this invasion will take place and is himself convinced that is Satanic in origin:

We are being spiritually tested, he prayed. I know that is the case. We must prove our worth by casting out this satanic presence. Make us worthy, Lord; lend us thy sword of might. Give us thy saddle of righteousness to mount the steed of... He could not finish the thought; it was too intense. Hasten to our aid, he finished, and raised his head. A sense of triumph filled him; as if, he thought, we have trapped something to be killed. We have hunted it down. And it will die. Praise be to God!

This is another very interesting inversion, one that should be well known to readers familiar with the Orc cycle of Blake. For the authorities of this already fallen world any genuine or even "divine" resistance to their power is sincerely looked upon as being demonic. In other words, the authorities are convinced of their own goodness. This is crucial to keep in mind.

Dick seems to celebrate this ambiguity. In The Divine Invasion, Belial is described as being a goat-like creature from Sirius. In VALIS, however, VALIS itself is speculated to be from Sirius. Is Sirius, then, a good or bad star? Is it both? Is it neither? Are Belial and VALIS perhaps the same? I will delve more into these questions, and into Sirius, a bit later. The point now is to make note of the ambiguity and inversion at the heart of Dick.

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When the child incarnation of Yah, Emmanuel, is finally able to settle on Earth he meets a very enigmatic, young girl named Zina. Zina has many names. She is Pallas -- which identifies her with the constellation of Athena, Saraswati, Benten and Brigid of previous posts, and she is also Diana. She is the fairy queen and she is Sofia. She is the Shekinah, the dwelling of God's presence, and the Torah which existed long before God. Strangely, though, she also identifies herself as being the "Adversary," a term usually reserved for Satan.

He said, "You are the Adversary."
"Yes," Zina said. "I am." ...

"You are the Adversary," he said, puzzled, "but you are not Belial."

The Adversary but not Belial. Zina is of a different order that transcends the duality of demonic and divine. She overturns and undermines this dichotomy altogether, and in this way becomes more adversarial than anything described as evil. If Emmanuel is the Holy Blood, and it is within this blood that his battle with Belial takes place, then Zina is the Grail that contains it. But it is also her that flows in the blood. She is flow. Another one of her names is ALP.

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Hitherandthithering


In both The Divine Invasion and Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said, Dick quotes directly from Chapter 8 of Finnegans Wake, usually called "Anna Livia Plurabelle." From Flow My Tears:

Observing her youth, her automatic radiance, he said," 'I feel as old as yonder elm.'
"From Finnegans Wake," Kathy said happily. "When the old washerwomen at dusk are merging into trees and rocks."
"You've read Finnegans Wake?"he asked, surprised.
"I saw the film. Four times. I like Hazeltine; I think he's the best director alive."
 

It's notable that in the globalized police state of Flow My Tears, Joyce's Finnegans Wake has been made into a popular movie. Does it, like the film in Valis or like The Man Who Fell to Earth for Dick, contain signals from a divinely invading source? The "Anna Livia Plurabelle" section of the Wake is also pertinent in that it is the only section which Joyce himself read and recorded. Why should he have chosen this passage in particular? If there is one thing we know about Joyce it's that he would not pick such a piece simply because he happened to like it.


Certainly it is a very lyrical passage. Two washerwomen are spreading out their laundry and gossiping together on opposite banks of the Liffey as it flows through Dublin. As dusk falls the river widens and the two turn into a tree and a stone. As in all parts of the Wake a multitude of things are happening at once. The stone and the tree are the twin brothers Shaun and Shem respectively. The river is both their mother, ALP, and their sister, Isabel. One aspect of this passage is, however, most salient to Dick and his work.

Oronoko! What's your trouble?  Is that the great Finnleader himself in his joakimono on his statue riding the high horse there forehengist? Father of Otters, it is himself! Yonne there! Isset that? On Fallareen Common?

One of the washerwomen has, on two occasions, a vision of the Irish mythical hero, Finn MacCool. The other washerwoman accuses her counterpart of having had too much to drink. In this appearance of Finn is also a glimpse of the Second Coming of Christ. This is the parousia. This is Zebra momentarily revealing itself. Could this be why this particular passage was given special attention by both Joyce and Dick?

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The connection of this chapter of the Wake, and particularly the last part which Joyce narrated, 
seems especially related to Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said. Dick named his book after a lute song, or ayre, by English Renaissance composer and lutenist, John Dowland. Dick quotes Dowland's melancholic lyrics to the ayre throughout the book.

Flow, my tears, fall from your springs!
Exiled for ever, let me mourn;
Where night's black bird her sad infamy sings,
There let me live forlorn.

It's easy to compare this to Poe's similarly dark set of verses in The Raven. The flowing of tears in this lute song are both the tears of the police chief in the novel and the tears of Dick himself. The name for the instrumental version of this song is Lachrimae pavane. In the novel General Buckman listens to Lachrimae Antiquae Pavan, a variation of the same piece.

The first man [Dowland], Buckman mused, to write a piece of abstract music. He removed the tape, put in the lute one, and stood listening to the "Lachrimae Antiquae Pavan." From this, he said to himself, came, at last, the Beethoven final quartets. And everything else. Except for Wagner.


The initials of this piece are LAP. This is, of course, an alteration of ALP and it is an alteration that Joyce also plays with in the Wake. The melancholic tears that are flowing through Dick's first published work after his experiences of 2-3-74, and a book full of synchronistic parallels to these experiences, are the chittering, hitherandthithering waters of ALP. The hundreds of rivers that flow through Chapter 8 of Finnegans Wake also flow through Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said.

It is salient that the lute songs of John Dowland are also played throughout The Divine Invasion. One of the characters, Linda Fox, is a singer who becomes famous for her renditions of Dowland's songs. The same tears of the River flow through this novel. Appropriately it also quotes from "Anna Livia Plurabelle."

"What is this?" the autochthon said, listening to the translation into his own tongue. Grinning, Herb Asher said, "A famous Terran book. 'Look, look, the dusk is growing. My branches lofty are taking root. And my cold cher's gone ashley. Fieluhr? Filou! What age is at? It saon is late. 'Tis endless now senne- "The man is mad," the autochthon said, and turned toward the hatch, to leave. "It's Finnegans Wake," Herb Asher said. "I hope the translating computer got it for you. 'Can't hear with the waters of. The chittering waters of. Flittering bats, fieldmice bawk talk. Ho! Are you not gone ahome? What Thom Malone? Can't hear-'

The autochthon had left, convinced of Herb Asher's insanity.

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Previously in this blog I have quoted from this episode in The Divine Invasion. Herb Asher speculates that Joyce's ability in the Wake to seemingly predict the technology of the future, like "talktapes" and television, indicates that Joyce was somehow tapped into a type of "cosmic consciousness." Researchers William Klaus and Will Morgan have pointed out that later on in the novel Dick does exactly the same thing.

At school, Emmanuel is given an "information slate" by Zina. Emmanuel is assured that this is not the usual slate containing "common microcircuitry," owned by "every young person," and linked up to Big Noodle. His particular information slate is in direct connection to VALIS. These information slates are clearly the tablets and iPads of today. Was the cosmic consciousness that both Joyce and Dick evidently plugged into also VALIS? Or could it more suitably be called ALP? Or are these two the same?

Anna was, Livia is, Plurabelle's to be.

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The Other Side


The last book of the VALIS trilogy, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, takes us back, more or less, to a recognizable location in time and space. The book begins on Dec. 8th, 1980, the day John Lennon was shot and killed. Already this connects the story to a gaping pit with no apparent bottom. We later find out that this is also the day that the main character, Angel Archer, discovers that her friend and father-in-law, Bishop Timothy Archer, has returned from the dead as a spirit reincarnated within the mind and body of the schizophrenic, Bill Lundborg.

Timothy Archer is a fictionalized version of James Pike, the Episcopal Bishop of California and Dick's close friend. Pike died in Sept. 1969 in the middle of the Judean Desert while on an expedition to find historical proof of Jesus Christ. For Dick the death of the liberal, antiwar Bishop was just as tragic as the deaths of JFK, MLK and RFK. And, as with these assassinations, he felt that Pike's untimely end was highly suspicious. Dick writes in the Exegesis:

They saw revolution; they saw the anti-establishment counterculture articulations (voices) and plotted correctly a synchronization, but could not account for it, despite the efforts of the police. Who were the leaders
of this revolution? They had killed all the leaders, and it made no difference: the psyche or psychoi of the leaders lived on—literally. Impossible!

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Dick speculated that the current form of the Black Iron Prison, Nixon's America, had killed these countercultural leaders in an attempt to extinguish the flames of revolution, but that this attempt had ultimately failed because the spirits of these great men literally lived on. The assassination of John Lennon may have, on one level, hammered the last nail in the coffin of the counterculture, but Dick imagined that on this very day a new spirit was rising.

In the Exegesis, Dick finally arrived at a comprehensive theory which completed and combined the three books of the final trilogy and could fully account for what happened to him on 2-3-74. To put it briefly -- Jim Pike was/is VALIS. In analysing the personality of the individual that Dick called "Thomas," who had entered his thoughts and altered his actions, Dick concluded that this individual could certainly be the spirit of Jim Pike.

It's highly systemized, sort of like the left hemisphere of the Greek-speaking Roman citizen. It seemed to me that the preoccupations of this individual were indeed those of Jim Pike, and thus if you allow all prior steps in this chain of inferential thought to stand, you arrive logically at the final step that Jim Pike broke through to me "from the other side."

Jim Pike, like Timothy Archer in the novel, had written a controversial book about spiritualist communications with his dead son. It was entitled, The Other Side. Dick came to believe that Pike was communicating with him in a similar manner. Pike's vast knowledge of ancient languages would seem to account for Dick's ability to speak and understand Greek and Latin.

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But why had Pike come back? An unfortunate event that happened to Dick in 1971 perhaps offers a clue. On November 17th, 1971 (a date that will take on increased importance as this story progresses), PKD returned from errands to his California home to discover that it had been broken into. His stereo was gone and his locked filing cabinet was blown apart with some of its documents missing.

As with other pivotal occurrences in his life, Dick had many theories as to who committed the break-in. He postulated at various times that it could have been neo-Nazis, or black militants, or junkies, or a secret government agency, or even himself during a psychotic episode. The theory he seemed to settle upon in the Exegesis, though, was that the purpose for the break-in was to steal certain theological and perhaps heretical papers left to Dick by Bishop James Pike.

In April of this year when I was in the hospital for high blood pressure
(caused really by these "dreams") I met a lawyer and told him at length about the hits on my house. His theory after careful thought was that it was most likely that they were after papers concerning Jim Pike, religious material Jim had given me or told me before his death.
  

If this was the case, if the agents of the Black Iron Prison forcibly attempted to prevent Dick from possessing and perhaps writing about Pike's papers they were ultimately unsuccessful. In 1974, Pike seemingly appeared to Dick in spirit form, co-existing in his mind as with Bill Lundborg in Timothy Archer, and imparting to Dick far greater secrets and powers than Pike would have been able to convey through written articles.

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Cumaean Justice


One of the most astounding incidents within Dick's whole 2-3-74 experiences directly concerns Richard Nixon and, if true, has huge historical ramifications. In a 1975, multi-page article in Rolling Stone magazine about Dick, his books and the break-in, which brought much needed exposure of PKD to a wider American readership, this story is partially told.

Phil's congressman is Charles Wiggins, the articulate, charming ex-Nixon defender on the House Judiciary Committee. Phil corresponded with Wiggins during the impeachment hearings. Wiggins listened to him, answering his letters personally and in detail, at one point saying that he'd reconsidered and reversed himself on a constitutional issue subsequent to reading one of Dick's letters. Phil and I agreed that Wiggin's radio interview recantation the Monday they found the smoking pistol was one of the most moving moments in the whole Watergate drama. 

The "smoking pistol" that journalist Paul Williams refers to was also called the "smoking gun" tape. This tape was one of many White House conversation tapes subpoenaed by the House Judiciary Committee. This tape definitively proved that Nixon willfully attempted to obstruct justice during the Watergate investigation. After Wiggin's, who had been Nixon's most loyal defender, public recantation Nixon lost all support and he resigned shortly after.


In a 1979 interview (starting at about 1:36:00 in the video), Dick reveals an entirely new and amazing dimension to this story. He explains that the presence that had possessed his mind was also female. At one point it had identified itself as the Cumaean Sibyl. The Sibyl warned him that the US republic under Nixon was about to turn into an outright empire, but she assured Dick that they would be destroyed because they were murderers.

She then dictated a series of letters to Charles Wiggins. Charles Wiggins was on the House Judiciary Committee sitting in on the decision as to whether to impeach President Nixon....They dealt with constitutional law... I know nothing about constitutional law. Later I found out that Congressman Wiggins is such an authority on constitutional law that he was suggested as a possibility for the Supreme Court.

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Dick explains that Wiggins came from Fullerton, California and it was his practice to reply in detail to every letter sent to him by a Fullerton resident. The Sibyl later revealed that she had directed Dick to move to Fullerton from Canada so that he could send the congressman these letters dictated by her. These letters, sent to Wiggins while he was sitting on the committee, informed him that he should have no loyalty to Nixon as the president had violated his Oath of Office to uphold and protect the US Constitution.

And then she sent the final letter. The letter contained the information that the Nixon transcripts were forgeries. They did not correspond to the Nixon tapes. That if the tapes were released it would show that the transcripts were forgeries. That letter she sent to the Wall Street Journal...

Did the Cumaen Sibyl/VALIS/Zebra/Jim Pike provide the information that led to the "smoking gun" tape and Nixon's subsequent resignation? Did VALIS prevent Nixon and his co-conspirators from transforming the US into an unbridled totalitarian empire in 1974? The novel VALIS certainly also suggests this, but it warns that the Empire would attempt to solidify in the future yet again. Did Jim Pike possess Dick in order to temporarily bring down the cabal that had killed him, along with the Kennedys and MLK earlier, in the desert? This could also be the case.

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God's Own Spermatozoa


Dick's theory does not stop at mere spiritualist possession, however. It goes much deeper. Dick retained his theory of a plasmate of living information which had laid dormant in the Essene and Gnostic scriptures, and that had only in the 20th century been reawakened with the discovery and translation of these texts. One of the original scholars commissioned to decipher the Dead Sea Scrolls was a friend of James Pike. This was the controversial author of The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, John Allegro.

Allegro's book presented the theory that early Christianity was essentially a fertility cult and a mystery religion that was quite similar to other sects of this sort in the Middle East of that period. Most controversially, Allegro argued that based on textual evidence Jesus was actually a code for the intoxicating Amanita muscaria mushroom. From Allegro's introduction:

Every aspect of the mushroom's existence was fraught with sexual allusions, and in its phallic form the ancients saw a replica of the fertility god himself. It was the "Son of God", its drug was a purer form of the god's own spermatozoa than that discoverable in any other form of living matter. It was, in fact, God himself, manifest on earth. To the mystic it was the divinely given means of entering heaven; God had come down in the flesh to show the way to himself, by himself.

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In The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, Bishop Archer travels to the desert in order to find these mushrooms. In the novel Dick does not mention Allegro, but it is clear that his ideas are being discussed. In the Exegesis, however, the true importance of Allegro to Dick is revealed. Allegro is the conduit by which, through Pike, VALIS enters into Dick's life.

A very eerie idea just came to me. Suppose it's been dormant for many
centuries—maybe dormant between the time of "Acts" and recently. Suppose, like an anthrax virus, it was literally buried, sealed up in a scroll or codex, in a jar, in a cave—it is, after all, a life form. In "Thomas" there was no memory between 1914 and "Acts"—a hiatus. Suppose it returned recently? And began to replicate, thus bringing about the end of the age of iron (the BIP). It's possible. Robert Bly says Jesus was an Essene. Suppose it "rode" or was info in the Qumran Cave V Scrolls, went from John Allegro to Jim Pike to me?

This is incredible. From its living expression in the community of Essenes, and its open opposition to the Empire of that time, VALIS was carefully concealed within the sacred texts, sealed in jars and stored deep within caves. Here it rested for nearly two millennia until it was rediscovered and deciphered in the 20th century. Allegro was one the few who truly understood its message and he passed on his understanding to James Pike.

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This made Pike very dangerous to the Empire. They had him killed in the desert, but not before he had passed on some of his valuable and subversive theological writings to PKD. These were stolen from Dick in the break-in of 1971, but just three years later Pike returned to Dick in a series of uncanny experiences beginning with the dark-haired girl and her fish necklace.

In the Exegesis, Dick explains this in the following way:

So from Jim the plasmate-form of an Essene entered me (in the late sixties?) and lived subliminally until 2-74 when I/we saw the golden fish sign, and that triggered the plasmate Essene Christian—I experienced his memory—yes ...and then gradually my ego barrier to him crumbled until he took over in 3-74. This would be hard to believe and seem merely "exorcist-ish" or occultish except: I saw how the plasmate can "ride" or better yet be certain crucial info (words-logos). I have always said if there is an answer to "why me?" the answer is: Jim Pike, somehow.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Ichtheology: Head

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Francis. While the debate still rages on about whether the new pope is or is not Petrus Romanus, the possible False Prophet overseeing the end of the Church and the destruction of Rome, a synchronistic occurrence in my own life has prodded me to reexamine the day when Pope Benedict XVI officially stepped down.

Saints, Martyrs, Teeth


On the night of Sunday, March the 3rd I had a bit of an accident. The strange thing is that almost exactly twenty years before, on February the 28th, 1993 -- also a Sunday night, I had a very similar misfortune. Obviously I did not plan for this rather dark synchronicity and it has shaken me up quite a bit. Nothing that serious occurred (among other scrapes and bruises I chipped one of my front teeth on both occasions), but symbolically it was a loud wake up call. Probably required.

Naturally I was interested in finding out what also happened on that day in '93, and quickly discovered that the US ATF siege of the Branch Davidian ranch in Waco, Texas began on Feb. 28th. Leaving out for the moment all of the personal ramifications of this, it seems striking that Pope Benedict resigned twenty years to the day after the Waco siege began.

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The time of the Waco siege and its fiery, apocalyptic climax on April 19th seem to mark a definite turning point. Just two days prior to the start of the siege, on Feb. 26th, a truck bomb exploded killing six and injuring over a thousand in an underground garage below the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York. On April 19th, 1995, an alleged truck bomb blew up a US federal building in Oklahoma City -- at that time the most destructive terrorist attack within the US and avowedly committed in retaliation for Waco.

These incidents, beginning at the end of February 1993, directly foreshadow 9/11 and so continue to have immense relevance for a world still deeply mired in the fallout of the 2001 attacks.

But what if anything was the pope doing on Feb. 28th, 1993? A quick search through the Vatican website reveals that on that day John Paul II was giving a homily to the parish of Saint Eusebius' church in Rome. Who was Eusebius? There are a couple of saints by this name but Eusebius of Rome is a figure who can be easily connected to the present narrative.

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Eusebius died while in enforced confinement in 357 and was hailed by many as a martyr. As a Roman Catholic priest and defender of the Nicene Creed, Eusebius spoke out in public against both the pope and emperor of his day. Both were supporters of Arianism. Later outlawed as a heresy, this theological doctrine argued that Christ was created by God and was thus subordinate. Despite it then being official dogma, Eusebius' ardent opposition to Arianism and the authorities led to his death.

On Feb. 28th, 1993, therefore, Pope John Paul II gave a sermon at a church named after a man, widely considered a martyr, who preached against what he understood as the wrong beliefs of the secular and religious authorities of his time. On the same day, an assault was launched against a religious compound run by man, who some also consider to be a martyr, who also preached against the sins and wrong beliefs of the secular and religious authorities of his day.

It is perhaps extravagant to compare a Catholic saint with a man, David Koresh, who most now view as being a charlatan, madman and child abuser. One wonders, though, how Eusebius might have been portrayed by history, if at all, had Arianism remained the central creed of the Church. It seems that one man's martyr is another man's psychotic cult leader.

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Koresh may have an even clearer connection to another Eusebius of the fourth century. This is Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea, a major early Christian historian and commenter. Among his many works, Eusebius wrote a commentary on the Book of Isaiah, which was only rediscovered in 1975.

A significant part of this text contains Eusebius' remarks on the Cyrus the Great, king of Persia and founder of the Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century BC. This was the biggest empire the world had yet witnessed. King Cyrus was revered by the Jews for ending the Babylonian Captivity after he conquered this wicked city. In Isaiah chapter 45, Cyrus is explicitly mentioned and called a "righteous" king, the anointed of God.

13) I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the Lord of hosts. 

Eusebius was the first Christian commenter to write extensively about Cyrus as a precursor to Christ. Both are righteous kings and it was Cyrus who commissioned to have the Second Temple built in Jerusalem.

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The connection of Koresh to Cyrus in indisputable. In fact, Cyrus is the transliteration of the original Persian, Koresh. In 1990, Vernon Howell changed his name to David Koresh following a vision, while in Israel in 1985, that he was the modern Cyrus. This theme of the righteous king, and the ambiguity surrounding it, will be a major thread in this post.

Although occurring on the same day, the connection of Pope John Paul II's visit to the church of Saint Eusebius and the beginning of the siege at Waco is only fully drawn twenty years later with the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.  Curiously, my own accident and the later works of Philip K. Dick appear essential, at least to my own admittedly unhinged mind, to put all of these pieces into place.

Gone to Pot


In "Alembic" I wrote about how at the precise time of Benedict's official resignation on Feb. 28th the constellation Crater or Krater, which has been traditionally associated with the Grail, was rising in the east in Rome. Recently I have been rereading Philip K. Dick's VALIS trilogy and I was surprised to find krater mentioned in connection to the Grail in VALIS.

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The novel's protagonist Horselover Fat, an insane alter-ego of Dick himself, has just returned from traveling abroad after a quest to find the new messiah. He is showing a series of photos to his friends:

The photos showed a Greek vase, on it a painting of a male figure who we recognized as Hermes. Twined around the vase the double helix confronted us, done in red glaze against a black background. The DNA molecule. There could be no mistake.
"Twenty-three or -four hundred years ago," Fat said. "Not the picture but the krater, the pottery."

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Horselover Fat goes on to explain the significance of the pot and its design:

"...This form of vase, the krater, was the shape used later as the baptismal font. That was one of the Greek words that came into my head in March 1974, the word 'krater.' I heard it connected with another Greek word: 'poros.' The words 'poros krater' essentially mean 'limestone font.'" 

February and March of 1974, or 2-3-74 as PKD refers to it, was when Dick had his famous religious experience which has been briefly described before in this blog. It is important to get into the details of this experience, but before doing so it is necessary to first examine the symbolic relevance of the krater.

In Valis a ceramic pot was given to Horselover Fat by his young dope dealer and friend, Stephanie. At the time, Fat's life was in turmoil after the suicide of his friend Gloria, and Stephanie gave Fat the pot as a way to show her love for him. By doing this her pot was "the means by which Stephanie brought Horselover Fat to God."

It looked like an ordinary pot: squat and light brown, with a small amount of blue glaze as trim. Stephanie was not an expert potter. This pot was one of the first she threw, at least outside of her ceramics class in high school... The pot was unusual in one way, however. In it slumbered God. He slumbered in the pot for a long time, for almost too long. There is a theory among some religions that God intervenes at the eleventh hour. Maybe that is so; I couldn't say. 

 

Fat named the pot Oh Ho and he began to see the greater implications of Oh Ho in a Vancouver mental hospital where Fat had been placed after attempting to commit suicide by ingesting a lethal dose of prescription pills. Dick actually tried to kill himself in this way. In the hospital the head psychiatrist, Dr. Stone, as a treatment to boost Fat's self-confidence, asks his opinion on a newly translated Gnostic text, On The Origin of the World. Stone presents Fat the following passage:

"He said, 'I am god and no other one exists except me.'
But when he said these things, he sinned against all of
the immortal (imperishable) ones, and they protected
him. Moreover, when Pistis saw the impiety of the chief
ruler, she was angry. Without being seen, she said,
'You err, Samael,' i.e. the blind god.' 'An enlightened,
immortal man exists before you. This will appear with-
in your molded bodies. He will trample upon you like
potter's clay, (which) is trampled. And you will go
with those who are yours down to your mother, the
abyss.' "

The creator god, Samael, is blind and insane. He does not know that there are higher powers than himself. This is the essence of the Gnostic worldview. It holds that we live in a fallen universe made by a fallen creator. The main objective is to break through this illusion and reunite with the true God. It is easy to see how how both Dick and William Blake are Gnostics.

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Fat is amazed. Not only does this passage perfectly match with his own speculation, but it also involves pot and potter, symbols of the utmost significance to Fat and, one suspects, to Dick himself. It was Stephanie's pot that brought Fat to the True God. He begins to wonder if Dr. Stone is telepathic, marvels at Stone's ability as a healer, regains his self-confidence, and is soon released from the hospital.

Later in the novel Fat's friends begin to believe in his crazed ideas when they see a movie, also called "VALIS," which directly portrays on screen many of his most outlandish theories. The biggest confirmation of this comes with the film's multiple depictions of a pot that is very similar to Oh Ho.

"Did you notice the pot?" Kevin said. "On Nicholas Brady's desk. The little clay pot-like the one you have, the pot that girl-"
"Stephanie," Fat said.
"-made for you."
"No," Fat said. "I didn't notice it. There were a lot of details in the film that kept coming at me so fast, at the audience so fast, I mean."
"I didn't notice the pot the first time," Kevin said. "It shows up in different places; not just on Brady's desk but one time in President Fremount's office, way over in the corner, where only your peripheral vision picks it up. It shows up in different parts of the Lamptons' house; for example in the living room. And in that one scene where Eric Lampton is staggering around he knocks against things and-"
"The pitcher," I said.
"Yes," Kevin said. "It also appears as a pitcher. Full of water. Linda Lampton takes it out of the refrigerator."

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The pot, the krater, is a major symbol of the VALIS movie. Kevin points out that the key to this pot is its design. Initially they thought that the Christian fish sign was displayed on the pot, but Kevin explains that on viewing the film a second time he is sure that its design is the double helix of DNA. This provides the background context to Fat's photos of the Greek krater as mentioned above.

It's fascinating that this same ceramic pot with a bit of blue glaze appears in an earlier novel of Dick's, Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said. The central character, Jason Taverner, is given such a pot by Mary Anne Dominic (interesting initials!) just as his world is beginning to be retrieved. In fact, the last page of the novel ends in a comment about this pot which is again associated with love:

The blue vase made by Mary Anne Dominic and purchased by Jason Taverner as a gift for Heather Hart wound up in a private collection of modern pottery. It remains there to this day, and is much treasured. And, in fact, by a number of people who know ceramics, openly and genuinely cherished. And loved.

In his private journal, called by Dick the Exegesis and eventually consisting of over 8000 pages, PKD describes an experience where an ordinary cup becomes the Holy Grail:

When I saw the Grail this morning (5:30 A.M.) I did not see it per se; I
did not, either, see it created out of nothing. I saw an ordinary physical normal every-day cup already in world affected by God; the cup in a sort of mist of color—the space around the cup as mist-like colors; and this cup became the Grail; it changed; it was made into (?) the Grail, and it did not just seem to me to be the Grail; it was the Grail; it was what I would say converted into spirit, a spiritual thing: "Grailified," so to speak. Light did not emanate from it; it was transfigured by a sort of material light that showed—displayed or was— colors. He must have a physical cup or cup-like object in, I guess, our Lower Realm, to shape and mold and change and transform and "Grailify." The spiritual, then, is not opposed to or separate from the physical; it is as if the physical and mundane exists to be thus spiritualized.

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The idea that an ordinary cup, an ordinary piece of pottery, can become "Grailified" or spiritualized, and with it the entire mundane world, reminds me of Joyce's conviction that objects, even history itself, can be "epiphanized." The two authors are describing the same process -- a process that is central to Dick's experiences of 2-3-74.

Poisson de Février


By now the key details of these experiences are well-known. In Feb. 1974, while Dick was suffering great pain after having had a wisdom tooth extracted, a young woman arriving at his door from the pharmacy to deliver pain medication triggered an occurrence of what Dick later called anamnesis. Specifically, it was the woman's necklace of the early Christian fish symbol, or ichthys, shining in the sun which in a flash caused Dick to "remember" that he was really living in the apostolic days of the first century.

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The surrounding world only had the illusion of being California in 1974, but was actually Palestine just after the time of Christ. Anamnesis means the loss of forgetting, and in Dick's case this entailed suddenly "remembering" that both he and the girl were Christians communicating in secret and in fear of persecution from the authorities of the Roman Empire. Dick realized that the "Empire never ended." Nixon's America was in a literal sense the Empire of Rome.

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During the next month Dick was convinced that another person was in parallel possession of his own mind. Dick variously thought this individual might be Ejijah, John the Baptist or an early Christian apostle called Thomas. Thomas altered Dick's character in many ways. PKD switched drinking wine for beer, he suddenly became very shrewd in his business dealings, he forgot how to drive his car, and most inexplicably he was able to speak and understand ancient Greek and Latin.

Several other strange things happened. Dick received many vivid and prophetic dreams and visions, he was struck by a knowledge-imparting beam of pink light, he witnessed a type of St. Elmo's Fire flickering and flowing throughout his house, his pets died of sudden cancer, and in what is surely a miracle Dick was "told" that his infant son had an undiagnosed, potentially fatal birth defect. Dick had him brought to a hospital and found out that the boy did have an inguinal hernia, just as the voice told Dick, that most certainly would have caused the child's death.

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These experiences were the most meaningful events of Dick's life. He spent the next eight years, until he died of a stroke in 1982, tirelessly trying to figure out what had happened to him. The massive Exegesis, the vast bulk of which was not published until 2011, consists of a bewildering multiplicity of theories and speculation about 2-3-74.

One of his more central and persistent theories, published in the "Tractate" section of Valis, was that the recovered texts of the Essene Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gnostic Nag Hamadi writings, both unearthed in the mid-1940s, contained living information that was just in mid-1970s, as these texts were being translated and published, beginning to become reanimated. This living information, which Dick called a plasmate, has the ability to cross-bond with human individuals. These individuals would become homoplasmates -- a symbiosis of the human being and living information from an alien world.



Christ, the Buddha, Apollonius of Tyana, and other spiritual figures were all homoplasmates. The goal of these beings is to release humanity, and the world as a whole, from its bondage to the Empire, the Black Iron Prison. Until this happens the Empire will continue its rule and time will be frozen in an endless, nightmarish cycle. Again, as Stephen Dedulus puts it "History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake." Anamnesis is, for Dick, the course of awakening from history.

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Turning Into The Lord


Anamnesis is the process by which people, places, things become Grailified, epiphanized. Dick has many names for the plasmate -- God, the Logos, VALIS (Vast Active Living Intelligence System) and Zebra. This last name is most interesting for the purposes of this post. Just as a zebra camouflaged in tall grass can only be spotted by the most attentive observer, the plasmate is a higher form of mimetic yet sentient entity. Zebra only reveals itself when it wants to, to certain people, and in a way that resembles, or is taken as, religious experience. Valis asks:

What if a high form of sentient mimicry existed -- such a high form that no human (or few humans) had detected it? What if it could only be detected if it wanted to be detected? Which is to say, not truly detected at all, since under these circumstances it had advanced out of its camouflaged state to disclose itself. "Disclose" might in this case equal "theophany." The astonished human being would say, I saw God; whereas in fact he saw only a highly evolved ultra-terrestrial life form, a UTI, or an extra-terrestrial life form (an ETI) which had come here at some time in the past . . . and perhaps, as Fat conjectured, had slumbered for nearly two thousand years in dormant seed form as living information in the codices at Nag Hammadi, which explained why reports of its existence had broken off abruptly around 70 A.D.

Valis compares Horselover Fat's search for truth with the quest for the Holy Grail, especially as portrayed in Wagner's opera Parsifal. Parsifal, which Wagner wrongly derives from the Arabic for "pure fool," arrives at Montsalvat, the home of the Grail and the Fisher King.

Wagner says in his text that only those who the Grail itself calls find their way there. The blood of Christ on the cross had been caught in the same cup from which he had drunk at the Last Supper; so literally it had wound up containing his blood. In essence the blood, not the Grail, summoned the knights; the blood never died. Like Zebra, the contents of the Grail were a plasma or, as Fat termed it, plasmate. Probably Fat had it down somewhere in his exegesis that Zebra equaled plasmate equaled the sacred blood of the crucified Christ.

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Only a "pure fool" can find the Grail and the blood that it contains, and this can only happen when the Grail itself summons. It is significant that the blood of the Grail is the plasmate. Dick also equates the plasmate, the Grail and the blood with the Philosopher's Stone of the alchemists. The revelation of Zebra is an alchemical transformation. When all is revealed in a such a way, when the whole world attains anamnesis, the nightmarish illusion will literally vanish. Parsifal describes how this may happen and Valis tells the story:

The leader of the Grail knights, Amfortas, has a wound which will not heal. Klingsor has wounded him with the spear which pierced Christ's side. Later, when Klingsor hurls the spear at Parsifal, the pure fool catches the spear-which has stopped in midair-and holds it up, making the sign of the Cross with it, at which Klingsor and his entire castle vanish. They were never there in the first place; they were a delusion, what the Greeks call dokos; what the Indians call the veil of maya.
 
Several people have noted the similarities between this scene in Parsifal with the premise of the Matrix films. One such essay, referring also to the work of PKD, calls Wagner's opera proto-science fiction. Many are also convinced that Dick disclosed the true nature of the matrix back in the late seventies, and perhaps directly inspired the films. In this clip Dick describes his experiences and calls what we take to be reality a computer programmed simulation that only becomes noticed when an anomaly, such as déjà vu, is observed:


Such anomalies, which the film also discusses, are paranormal events, theophanies, glitches in the matrix. They are moments when Zebra chooses to become temporarily visible to select individuals. They are moments when we stop forgetting, moments when the bars and walls of the Black Iron Prison suddenly vanish like Klingsor's castle.

Dick often compares the revealing of Zebra to the ceremony of the Eucharist when, according to Church doctrine, the sacramental bread and wine are transubstantiated into the actual body and blood of Christ. In Valis, Dick expands this doctrine of transubstantiation.

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During the Eucharist not only the bread and wine are transformed. The priest offering the sacraments becomes Christ himself. The people receiving them are his disciples. The church setting of the mass is thus, as it is happening, transubstantiated into the time of Christ. Only the matrix-like Black Iron Prison prevents us from knowing this, from living in the physical presence of Christ, at all times. It is the purpose of Zebra to smash this prison.

After a year of analyzing his encounter with Zebra, or God, or the Logos, whatever, Fat came first to the conclusion that it had invaded our universe; and a year later he realized that it was consuming-that is, devouring-our universe. Zebra accomplished this by a process much like transubstantiation. This is the miracle of communion in which the two species, the wine and bread, invisibly become the blood and body of Christ.

Fat is unsure of the scale of this "invasion," but speculates that it could be occurring on a cosmic scale. "The entire universe, possibly, is in the invisible process of turning into the Lord." The universe of Samael, the blind and cruel Demiurge, is being invaded and transformed by what appears to be an external, alien force, but is actually the True God returning for final redemption and liberation from the Empire. The Black Iron Prison is identical to Joyce's "nightmare of history" and Blake's "mundane shell."

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Stalking The Mutants


The process of transubstantiation shows a way out of the Matrix. But how does it occur? Does it happen suddenly, like the disappearance of Klingsor's castle, or it is a more gradual transformation? Where are the signs of the plasmate to be found? Where can we stalk, or let ourselves be stalked by, the Zebra? Dick answers in the Exegesis that it can be found potentially anywhere -- even, almost especially, in the most mundane, the most banal, productions of pop culture.

...it (Zebra) can enter anything, animate or inanimate; in the
latter it takes volitional control of causal processes—mimesis, mimicry,
camouflage.


It assembles itself intact in a human brain from a collage taken from song
lyrics, ads, novels, TV, movies—any and all info media, verbal and graphic.
Once begun, it governs the person into seeking out the missing parts of the pattern (i.e., it).

On one occasion Zebra revealed itself to Dick as a cypher in one of his own books. While reading Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said, Dick noticed that two words were juxtaposed on different lines of the same page: "King Felix." This, taken in tandem with the many other uncanny synchronicities associated with this book, convinced Dick that King Felix was a type of cypher or signal sent to him by Zebra or VALIS itself.



This type of encoded textual message reminds me of the "fag ear" cypher I found "hidden" on page 131 of Finnegans Wake that, to me at least, appears to confirm Joyce's identity with the Cauldron hexagram of the I Ching. A similar phenomenon is occurring in both instances and for the same purpose. Zebra is becoming visible.

King Felix, the happy or righteous king, has obvious resonances with King Cyrus. Dick would surely agree. As King Cyrus is the precursor, or prior incarnation, to Christ, King Felix is his Second Coming -- the parousia.



In VALIS, the King Felix signal is revealed to Fat through juxtaposed TV commercials. The ultimate message is conveyed through disposable, popular culture. The fictional movie "VALIS," which has a plot coinciding with Dick's Radio Free Albemuth, is another means by which the message is conveyed. Interestingly, this movie was inspired by a very real film -- "The Man Who Fell to Earth" starring David Bowie. Dick writes in the Exegesis:

Just like we think Bowie knows something these people think I know
something.

"The Man Who Fell to Earth" is the story of an alien, Bowie, who crashes to Earth on a mission to bring back water to his family suffering on a parched desert planet. To achieve this end Bowie's character, Thomas (like Dick's alter-ego) Newton, uses his knowledge of advanced technology to patent many new (to Earth) inventions and becomes one of the richest and most powerful men on the planet. Newton's plans are eventually thwarted by the CIA, but he is able to send a message to his wife via an album which has its songs played on the radio.

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The film provokes many considerations. Are there, in Dick's terms, ETIs and/or UTIs in high positions in government and business with secret agendas very different to what we are spoonfed in the media? Are these agendas benign or harmful to humanity? Are other earthly authorities opposed to or in collaboration with these alien individuals? Do they communicate with each other through messages hidden within popular culture? Is David Bowie involved in all of this in some fashion? In Bowie's own words:

I've always felt like a vehicle for something else, but then I've never really sorted out what that was. I think everybody, at one time or another, gets that kind of feeling; that they aren’t just here for themselves and more often than not they turn to the Bible and agree that its probably Jesus and God and all of that section of religion. There's a feeling that we are here for another purpose. And in me its very strong.   

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Certainly Dick contemplated all of these questions. In the Exegesis he explains that the 1960 book by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier, The Morning of the Magicians, conjectures that hidden superhuman "mutants" among us would use popular media in order to communicate with each other. In the relevant passage, The Morning of the Magicians reads:

One of the heroes in Van Vogt's In Pursuit of the Slans discovers the existence of other mutants by reading the newspapers and deciphering apparently inoffensive articles. A similar network of communication in our own Press and literature, etc., is quite conceivable. The New York Herald Tribune published on 15th March, 1958, an analysis from its London correspondent of a series of advertisements appearing in the Personal column of The Times. These messages had attracted the attention of professional cryptographers and the police in various countries, because they obviously had a hidden meaning. But this meaning was never deciphered. There are, no doubt, other still less decipherable means of communication. Who knows but that some fourth-rate novel, or some technical textbook, or some apparently obscure philosophical work is not a secret vehicle for complex studies and messages addressed to higher intelligences, as different from our own as we are from the great apes.

Dick's novels are certainly not fourth-rate, but could these "mutants" be using Dick, like Bowie, as a vehicle to convey information? Dick's own speculation, though, went well beyond Pauwels and Bergier. There may certainly be mutants like Thomas Newton with time-bending and other superpowers who hold positions of vast power on Earth, but Dick envisioned a much grander conspiracy. God Himself, the True God, has invaded this fallen world. In this, Dick comes very close to Blake and Joyce.

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Do the synchronicities that an increasingly large number of researchers are discovering throughout popular culture really represent the unveiling of Zebra? Is the whole world, in a sense, becoming "Grailified," transubstantiated? Is this the greater message behind why the last pope stepped down just as Crater, the Grail, was rising on the horizon?

The analysis of the movie in VALIS, like Dick's own analysis of the Bowie film, is surely one of the first recorded instances of classic synchromysticism. Has this type of analysis now become so common, and synchronicities so apparently all-pervasive, that many of us are beginning to forget the novelty of all of this? Have we forgot that the Grail summons only those that it considers worthy?

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Perhaps the reason for the increasing frequency of synchronicity is because the time of full unveiling, full transubstantiation, is at hand. Are the ideas that sync is just how the universe works, is just quantum entanglement or analogous physical properties, is just the result of everything being connected really only last-ditch explanations offered by the BIP in an attempt to prevent the shattering of its illusion? Are these explanations any different than what Blake criticized as "natural religion?"

Maybe only the pure fool knows.

On with the invasion.

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