WALTER MITTY AT THE GATES OF HELL

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WHO is Walter Mitty?

This question was first asked of me in a high school textbook where we read Thurber’s classic tale.

Is he a Victor over his humdrum life through the power of Imagination-or a wretched sap whose daydreams are always bound to be brought back to ground by a browbeating wife?

Since this is Thurber we’re talking about, we really DO have to go with the latter option.

Never the less, this short story always stayed with me and after college, I began my own Walter Mitty tale. It picked up where Thurber left off. Mitty died, a loser, and his wife prattled on about this and that at the funeral. It was as dull an event as the outer life he lived as guests mulled about, fumbled for sympathetic words and his widow kept talking about whether or not he’d look better in a different suit.

Meanwhile, Mitty had entered the Bardos and the welcoming committee was a giant Crab-Demon at the Gates of Hell. I may have been thinking of the Crab-Aliens Burroughs had written about in his Cutups-or the Egyptian Demons he described in “The Western Lands” (I’d been reading a bit of Burroughs at the time). Either way, the idea was pretty basic. Mitty is dead and now malevolent monstrosities were about to recycle his sorry ass. And what easier pickings could one ask for? Here comes the spineless one, the man who could never stick up for himself on earth, he who never enlisted let alone flew a plane into enemy territory for a smashing victory.

And at this moment, the REAL Walter Mitty stands up, a Soul who spent his human life secretly honing his battle skills, ready to move when every other person he knew would be destined for a metaphysical meat grinder.

A sword appears in Walter’s hand and he rushes the creature, slashing shimmering shell into shards and lopping off both stalked eyes with a single swing.

Behind the crumpled bits of beast, howlings rise and ripple from a stone stairwell spiraling God (or Satan) knows where.

“Bring it on,” says Mitty, now resembling Clint Eastwood. “Otherwise I will.”

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I don’t think I ever finished the story but perhaps I had brought it where I needed it to go. Thurber’s humor aside, we DO live in several worlds at once. And we also DIE. What we carry with us is a form which will continue to erode and dissolve. Eventually, the Mind Itself goes and what can possibly carry the Being through at THAT point?

The Body of Habits-which is deeper than the mind.

We’ve got this life to work on the Body of Habits and then it’s the Shuttlebus. Ready or not, we’re burning up, the Etheric Body sizzling and popping away from the Astral. The Astral being blasted apart like tissue in a Thunderstorm.

Perhaps the Center of Mitty’s Bardo would be the Projection of his Wife, her sharp and overbearing voice demanding that he put away the groceries after he’s chopped every tentacle off of Cthulhu.

Yes, I think a great way to end the tale is with Mitty loading cans of green beans and peas into a cupboard-and then stopping. He turns toward his wife with a jar of pickled beets in his right hand and then HURLS THEM AT HER as a sardonic smile tightens across his face. She explodes into a Field of Light billowing into the Luminous Void and Mitty walks on through.

Final scene is a toddler playing with a plastic military jet. His Father approaches and tousles his hair.

“You know, Walt,” says the Dad (offscreen) “I think you’re going to make a fine Hero someday.”

A note from the A.F. Price and Wong Mou-Lam translation of The Diamond Sutra tells us:

“A Bodhisattva is an advancing devotee of Enlightenment. A vast and complex doctrine surrounds this difficult Sanskrit Buddhist term. It is most commonly considered to be derived from Bodhi-Enlightenment, and Sattva-a being; but we prefer the view that Sattva is related to sakta or satvan, implying a spiritual hero.”

Walter Mitty: The unassuming Rosicrucian, the Bodhisattva in disguise, a Man with a Plan to harm none, serve all and come back ready for more. I think many of us are not unlike him. Our childhood dreams of heroics, stardom, wealth or a fairy tale ending all turned into a dilapidated shack on the outskirts of town. “How did I get HERE?” I’ve heard many bemoan. How, indeed? It couldn’t have been just one wrong turn. One thing leads to another and the world is not our oyster. Not even its shell.

That is, unless we see beyond this brief moving picture show and realize there are other movies to watch, other films in which we might actively play a part and other worlds toward which our adventures on all levels are taking us.

(above illustration “Walter Mitty at the Gates of Hell,” Handpainted Artflip w/ 1947 S American Wheat Cent by Kyle Fite, 2013)

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Coinological Contagion

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40 Years of Karma.

The coin pictured here is a 1974 D Lincoln Cent. I recently exchanged a one dollar bill at my local gas station for two rolls of Pennies (which ALWAYS baffles the clerk) and cracked both of them this afternoon. I suspect the Karmas connected to these two rolls must have some underlying themes. Almost ALL of the 100 Pennies were severely worn and damaged. We’re talking housefires, floods, gunfights and explosions. But THIS particular coin was the most damaged of them all.

40 years from the time of its minting, it has been traveling the Country from pocket to pocket, puddle to puddle and God knows what else.

40 Years of movement and it ends up in my hands. From a Numismatic standpoint, this is the epitome of worthlessness. No value whatsoever. However, this singular coin was the “hidden treasure” in my search.

Why?

Because of its Karma.

Sure, I have a 10X magnification loupe and my trusty book by Ken Potter to sort through my acquisitions- but this always comes second to my spiritual interest in the coin. When I sort a roll, I first go through the pile and look for the coin which “glows” and says there is something here to be worked with. EVERY coin carries Karma but certain copper discs seem possessed of a much higher concentration of energy. So I set aside those with that greater degree of intensity.

Now, a word about the Karmas of Coins:

There is, in occult thought, what is called the “Law of Contagion.” This antiquated term simply means that when two things have come into contact, they somehow remain in contact, even at a distance, until that bond is consciously and effectively broken. There are a lot of items on the magical marketplace these days which have been “prayed over, “consecrated” and somehow impressed with intentionality. These are offered as special objects, “charged” with the impress thus named. However, EVERY object is already loaded with “unintentional intentionality.” Go through someone’s silverware drawer and you’ll find the “Law of Contagion” at work in every knife, fork and spoon. It’s as if we move in a Universe rippling with connections beyond our comprehension. Yes, most of us are not so psychically sensitive that we get flashbacks every time we touch the toilet handle in a public restroom. We’d go insane if we psychometrized every object in our daily life. Furthermore, this would require great effort, even for the skilled. You see, as Karmas pile into an object, they can create a type of mass which overrides a specific Karmic tendency during our neutral interaction. What remains is a bundle of energy. This can be pictured as a sphere of condensed force drawn out through thousands of lines to thousands of contact points (and these points may be envisioned as the same). It’s along the same lines as the thinking which says all matter on earth gets reduced to its basic elements and traverses the globe. We’ve breathed in particles that once belonged to the bodies of the Notorious and Noble.

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Obviously, the atomic substance of Hitler making passage through my nasal cavities doesn’t make me any more “evil” than the speck of Mother Teresa in the mucous membranes of my left eye makes me “good.” The Butterfly Effect reveals that the world is just one big Butterfly. While a flutter in Asia causes a typhoon, my eyelash does the same thing. And then there are everyone ELSE’S eyelashes!!! Maybe the wingflap DIDN’T cause a tornado-but drove Justin Bieber to egg a house! Trust me, I tried to stop this by blinking rapidly for 30 seconds but to no avail. Too many other blinks in favor of delinquency.

Getting back on track, Cause and Effect are thus seen to be very complex and one impress on an object gets all meshed with so many millions of others. It’s impossible to sort through it all.

That is, unless one Intention takes “ownership” of the energies present, feeding upon-and directing-them.

Every roll of coins I get has its share of horror stories. We live in a nasty, violent world. These Pennies, which my son and I can sort through and place in our collection books, have been witness to things we don’t even want to think about.

What’s in a Roll?

Murder, rape, accident, argument, duplicity, terror and abuse. All the awful things to which a Penny in a drawer bears silent witness.

Of course, the same Penny finds its way into pockets and purses where humans have been kind, compassionate, giving, making creative breakthroughs, cultivating life and beauty.

ALL of this gets connected to the Penny via the Law of Contagion.

What I experience are varying degrees of energy in the coins. Some “bundle” all of this more effectively than others. It doesn’t matter to me if the Karmas are “good” or “bad” because the copper of the Lincoln Cent somehow abstracts them into BASE ENERGY. I think this is due to the ongoing overload of Karma into the coin. I have several rolls of uncirculated Lincolns and I believe these can be used to leave a more definite Karmic directive due to their limited contact with Karmas.

If Karmas become somewhat undifferentiated in their maddening multiplicity, how do we utilize a coin magically (which is to say, quoting Crowley, to “cause change to occur in conformity with Will”)?

First, the energy present needs to be tightened. It is already bundled and we squeeze this together until it becomes a pure packet of power. From this point, we operate on the coin. This can be done in a number of ways. For myself, I prefer the artflip. I get it into a flip and create a miniature painting on the surface of this protective device. This creates a new form for the energy in the coin (which is radioactive) to emit itself.

I credit my son with the creation of the first artflip. I was just learning about Coinology and was showing him how to staple a Penny into a flip and how to label it properly.

He then came back with a flipped coin labeled with…a drawing of Mario Brothers!

This very cute and fun approach turned into something much more. I began my own Flipart. Some of these “early works” were done with ballpoint pen. I played around with what I could turn a Penny (or circle) into. Sherlock Holmes, Chthulu and Others all became subjects for visual irony. But as I continued, I found I could work the surface of the Flip in better ways. I began to develop a more elaborate process of drawing in pencil, pen, adding watercolor, adding acrylic, cutting into the paint with needles and razors, painting over the texture and so on until the image “clicked” into life. I began to look for Coins which “glowed” and began painting over the plastic window with sigils, symbols and runes, thus “marking” the Coin while leaving it untouched.

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This has also been a means to offer both art and magic at a very nominal cost to those who want it. In my own case, the art and magic are one thing. So I am not “selling services” with a flip. I am offering my artwork. But I want this to be MORE than just a fun or novel image. It is an object which may be easily placed on one’s person and carried throughout the day.

I am NOT a Coinological Master. But I AM a Coinology Shaman. Whether I am good or bad at my job (and Shamanism IS a “job”) is up to others to determine. For myself, I can say I remain fascinated with what I would have previously thought to be the world’s most dull hobby. I am always a “Learner” and in the joy of being a “Noob” to what there is to know about coins. And I am always in the “Laboratory,” experimenting and manipulating the energies present. It is a joy to send an Artflip off into the mail, to squeeze that coin’s adventures into a center which might radiate outward into someone else’s life as a source of power and change (no pun intended).

In the meantime, I have a “hot coin” on my hands. Not sure how it will be directed but it WANTS to find its form. FOUR Decades need to be honored-and passed on.

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NO BRAINER ASTRAL TRAINER

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Astral Projection. Every occultist, new-ager and daytime TV viewer is familiar with the phenomenon. Or at least the IDEA. You lay down on your bed (or sit in rigid Lotus Position, if you’re really impressive). Then, your Astral Body, which looks like a glowing ghost-form of the physical, moves up and out. What happens next? You spy on your neighbors, distant view for the Government or travel into realms which make Dungeons and Dragons look like a walk through Wal-Mart.

Books on the topic can be found piled up in every used bookstore across the Country. It would seem that half the populace must be floating around with more security clearance than the NSA.

When it comes down to it, however, my conversations with others on the topic end up revealing mild interest dwindling on the end of frustration. Most accounts of such voyaging related to me seem to be fantasy headtrips, the significance of which easily crumbles before the most mundane of crisis. It would seem to me that if one had really experienced a reality outside of the physical body, the problems of physical life would be somewhat countered in the spirit of Blake’s description of death: “Going out of one room into another.” It may be frustrating when I die for the umpteenth time playing QUAKE but that’s the GAME, right? I chose to play it and I KNEW I’d be in for a repeated ass-whooping. As long as my eyelids are still open, I restart and go back in, bringing my experience and skill level with me. I don’t call it quits and slash my wrists in the bathtub.

But in this “real life,” we can get those points of despair, where our pain is all we can see. It eclipses everything else (do I need to mention our exciting daydrea…I mean “Astral Travels?”). Seems we might not be so convinced that we really touched onto anything as “real” as this mortal life with its titillations and torments.

I know occultists who feel they can only do “magic” when they are in thus and such an emotional place. Usually, this means when all ducks are in a row and one is relaxed enough to indulge in the entertainment of novelty. It’s a bit ironic. We can cast a “money spell” when there is food on the table but have a hard go of it when we are being served an eviction notice.

Now, I do not mean to come across as harsh. It’s pretty damn hard to summon up (let alone FOCUS) personal power when being threatened with homelessness or any other such dire situation. But this is where the Magician meets the Warrior. And what drives the Warrior to fight unto Valhalla when the odds are in favor of a House about to crash down on one’s head?

Sometimes we are bound to LOSE. We can rage or writhe-or we can lose in STYLE.

Once again, I am going back to the video games. Have you ever been in a situation where you know it’s “Game Over.” Seconds to go. How do you go DOWN?

With a “meep”…or a flying leap?

Here comes the issue of Teamwork in online games. My demise may yet benefit the “cause” of my Team. I could make that final jump for the sake of my fellows. To take this approach is to have a vested interest in the bigger picture.

But HOW can I have this interest if I cannot see it?

When William Blake died, he clapped his hands and began singing as the Gates of Paradise opened. How many of us would like to have this Visionary Connection in which our death is met without fear? Our ride arrives and we get in, blowing a kiss and wink to those we love.

Granted, it’s much easier to buy into someone else’s description of the Afterlife than to get there ourselves and have some degree of familiarity. Especially if we’ve been through the paperbacks on OBE’s and gave it up as failed venture.

If you want more than this, read on.

I am an Oneironaut. I’m not saying I’m a great one. But I’ve survived up to this point and I think that says something. You see, the Dream World is not a place without risk. We’re all familiar with the comforting words: “That was just a bad dream.”

Unless it WASN’T.

Along the same lines as Astral Projection is the Goal of “Lucid Dreaming.” We get to “wake up” in the Dream and then do all kinds of fun stuff, like fly and make otherworldly friends and pretty much anything we want. If you’ve seen the film “Waking Life,” you’ll get a taste of this.

In my own explorations, I have not only “woken up” in the Dream, I’ve been trapped there. First I am dreaming, then I become aware of the dream, then awareness vivifies. A threatening element enters the scene and I decide it’s time to hightail it back to the bed.

And then I can’t.

Stuck in the Dream as much as you might feel stuck in your bodily life while reading these words.

This experience doesn’t imply some great occult ability. It was awful. Bad shit is about to go down and I’m aware that I’ve got a body somewhere I could retreat to…but I can’t.

The key word here is PANIC.

I’ve had to swim out from dreams buried in dreams. I’ve experienced the condensing of time in dreamspaces. I’ve experienced the stress of knowing that we are dreaming even as we are “awake” without reprieve. The sleeplessness of non-stop dreaming. I’ve observed the mechanics of the mind compartmentalize experience so we can stay sane and functional as seemingly 3-Dimensional Beings.

All of this awareness counts for naught when we are in the throes of what The American Book of the Dead calls “the Shocking Ambushes of the Bardos.” We can retreat to the “Sleep-State” of the Organic Automaton to catch a breath-but this will only throw us back, a well-greased baseball, into the catcher’s glove.

Sick of being batted into the outfield and thrown back, we want out of the game.

We require the Power of Volitional Mobility. Beyond this, we need a destination on this Road Trip. But, first things first. Before I can drive out of this crummy little town, I need to figure out how to operate the vehicle, yeah?

Enter E.J. Gold’s latest video game: “Astral Trainer.”

Prior to this release, Mr. Gold made use of the Second Life engine as an Astral Training Tool. In the Second Life Prosperity Virtual Ashram, one would locate two “targets” on the roof of a Temple. Using the SL cameral controls, one would “travel” from Target A to Target B and back again. This was a preliminary exercise to more elaborate Target Travel.

The Second Life engine was a precursor to the training tool developed in the G.O.D.D. engine, which is far superior.

The “game” may be described simply. You will throw a grappling hook from Target to Target and be pulled from “A” to “B” accordingly. Chances are, you will fall into the deadly lava below the first time around and start again before completing a full round. And chances are, you will complete a round and get that feeling that you’ve “beat the game.”

But there IS no “beating the game.”

The key to “Astral Trainer” is repetition. A LOT of repetition. This is like learning how to ride a bike or swim. In the past, skills of visualization needed to be mastered before one could begin working with specific visualizations. “Astral Trainer” visualizes FOR you. But it can’t Astral Project for you.

Before each grapple, you need to diffuse your vision and relax into the onscreen figure (your Avatar). You relax all through the grapple from one block to another. You inwardly acknowledge that the Avatar is actually your Astral Body. There is no intellectual debate over this. You are experiencing your Astral Body via this Tool, a “Pixel-Person” on a computer monitor. You can dispute the veracity of this when you are done but when you are playing the game, you relax into this acknowledgment. This is part of how the tool works, you learn to “know” and, through knowing, “vibe.” It is helpful to take a breath before throwing the grapple and slowly exhaling after the throw.

There is a reason each target is a cube or block. This is a “base form.” When you are Astral Traveling in other environments, the specific Targets can be imposed upon the base form (or you can target the base form behind or within them). This will be extremely helpful when operating in the highly mutable environment of the Astral Plane.

It is ideal to run “Astral Trainer” prior to sleep. This leaves the immediate impact of the visual experience in the mind as brainwaves shift into Hypngogy. The Hypnogogic experience is built into this game, especially as one makes progress from cube to cube. Hypnogogy marks a stage of exit into Astral Experience. However, increased immersion in Hypnogogy is accompanied by shut down of the conscious mind which, deeply connected to the body, is typically the only volitional tool immediately available to the human body-mind construct which is immersed in the Organic. On the deeper levels, habit prevails and thus we are battered to and fro on the Sea of Dreams.

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The “Astral Trainer” grapple passes through the increasing stages of Hypnogogy and keeps volition moving from Target to Target, Base Form to Base Form.

Eventually one will be able to locate Targets while awake. The projection will be as easy as an outbreath and forward movement. You will move across a living room from one wall to another. And then you move through the walls to targets in an adjoining room. But the visit to a “distant desk” will simply be a metaphysical variant on getting up off the couch and walking to the bedroom. A novelty. No different from the remote which changes the channel on the TV which us “older folk” had to do by hand back in “the day.”

That is until the Target becomes something outside the Referential World of the Organic.

We addressed the “Astral Headtrip” above. One can actually get into the Astral and wind up anywhere. The club could be jumpin’ and still be as worthless a diversion as a night out on the town before one’s life implodes, magnetizing the Soul into a Karmic Whirlpool spinning out into Rebirth.

The “Astral Trainer” has these concerns built into its space. Prior to the Cube-Jaunt, one should travel to the lower level, activate the items and return to the chambers on the second floor which will include a full Karma Burn. This will allow the Astral Training to tend toward what we might call “Personal Destiny.”

The Astral Plane is just one level or degree of experience. To those overly polarized toward the physical experience, the Astral will seem novel and, thus, overly significant. In reality, we are always living on this plane-and several others. We are just unconscious of this fact.

Warnings of Astral Seduction will, however, be meaningless to those who have no cognizance of the Plane. Most humans exist in a state of Organic Seduction. For those who are coming into a state of sobriety, the first stage of Astral Work will be Volitional Movement, just as we came into this physical world and had to learn to crawl, stand and balance on our two legs.

This Shamanic Work is no longer the hidden work of the Sorcerer. It is a function available to any human who is thereunto drawn.

I checked in on World News this morning. CNN’s headline was Monica Lewinski’s “Tell-All.” This is our online world. We spend hours every day on input which is crafted to keep us in a stupor between external impress and internal reaction. From the moment we wake until we dissolve in exhaustion, we are victims of stimuli. And we give hour upon hour to this.

In the end, it is not significant. We die and go through a process of recycling. But don’t take my word for it. This isn’t about religious belief or worldview.

I recently spoke with someone who gave that tired old opinion: “If what you believe makes you happy, that’s great. Good for you!”

Sorry, but I take no comfort in such a view. It’s as stupid as Pascal’s “Wager” where EVERYONE loses in a world beyond two imagined options.

Why not give a shot at being more than we are?

“Astral Trainer” is a wonderful Tool for this. I know of at least two other games which open the Gates to our Dilemma and Potential here. And this is quite funny-because we are playing Games within a Game we elected to Play, Games which remind us of the GAME.

A dear friend of mine, who died over a decade ago, wrote me a letter in which he said: “Life is just a Game…but it’s a Serious Game.”

If you disagree, then WHAT is your Life?

If you can entertain the idea, climb aboard. The good ship, Bardo Bark, always needs shipmates ready to unfurl the sails and assault the waves.

The work ahead of us is fun. Yes, we are rolling over the waves of agony and ecstasy-but our Game is worth the playing. It’s interesting, cool and it extends a bridge between Souls. The contact is wonderful. And when it seems like it’s all burning down, that is part of the challenge we elected to leap into. We are, in essence, “Player Characters,” which means we have a “Control” outside of the Game. However, we are also that same “Control” within the Game by virtue of playing it. “Control” had to sacrifice a certain cognizance to enter the game space (just as we might be willing to sacrifice the ability to fly or teleport by choosing to play a game where these options are not built into the system). What happens is that the Player-Character begins to wake up and grow into a type of self-awareness, a self-remembering. This doesn’t imply getting out of the crisis zone. It just moves us to the next level. And it may just be in that level that further options and resources open to us.

Regardless of a sweeping worldview in which we can state our Origins, trace a Path of Return and imagine the Summom Bonum, we are where we are and have a next step to take. “Astral Trainer” presents an environment in which we may safely work to develop those latent abilities of perception and, most importantly, volition on the Inner Plane. We might regard each run of this Orb as time spent in the “Spiritual Gym.” Like the gym, it takes more than idle curiosity to go the long-haul. It’s easy to grow restless, distracted and go on to the “next shiny thing.” Easy to dump those popular paperbacks off at the used bookstore. But if you’ve got the urge, the deep need to operate beyond the body even as you’re in it, this is a remarkable tool to reconfigure thought-patterns and habit-tendencies on levels deeper than the Beta-brain with its routine reactivity. We have, in this run, an environment designed as a virtual meditation, a type of prayer-wheel and a means to stay awake and stretch our muscles so we can get to the next level.

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You can find Astral Trainer and over 100 other Spiritual Gaming Platforms at http://www.urthgame.com.