Art for gods’ sake, or I don’t like the drugs…

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There’s been some ideas floating around in my tiny mind for a little while now, images for more artwork.

Last night I popped a couple of painkillers and stayed up late listening to Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie and Nine Inch Nails working on this. It’s in progress… The thought of including reference to a couple of runes, like Sig and Berkana came to mind, but one hears horror stories of newbies playing with rune magic and getting their fingers, if not their whole arms, incinerated. So I intend to play it safe with that stuff. Alluring though it is! Are they moth wings I feel growing on my back?

I’m one of these people who goes fast on downers. It’s not unknown, though probably not common. Something about the drug clears my mind and enables some sort of focus on the creative process. It short circuits the emotionally conditioned restraints and repression. Though insightful readers might also observe that it would take pain killers of some sort to have one want to stay up till 2am painting and listening to metal… ;-) Heh. There’s that twitch again.

A friend of mine who’s a well qualified psychologist has commented to me regarding the numbers of people with PTSD symptoms who use opiate pain killers. She feels it’s something to do with a physical, muscular memory of a traumatic event. Training of various kinds, martial arts drilling, sports practise and even music, can create muscle memories. Apparently there’s a more sinister form we’re predisposed to. The fact that the body’s own endorphin receptors closely match the opiates might have something to do with the preference. My friend tells me that she knows of many people who, regardless of any other anti-depressants or prescription medications they might be taking, seem to end up back with the pain killers from time to time.

Not that the similarity in function between the body’s receptors and the drug is any accident. No miracles here. More like thousands of years of co-evolution. For how long have humans cultivated and taken drugs? For how much longer before that were they used (and still used) from the wild for inducing altered states? You wonder how much of the modern human brain is a result of systematic experimentation over generations during our evolution. It’s certainly not a new thing. Criminalising it, however, is. While there would no doubt have been cultural frameworks for such use, the demonisation and criminalisation of drug users in the global kleptocracy seems to be out of all proportion. Apart from creating folk demons to vilify in order to further enforce social control, what’s the point of being so nasty to people who are simply trying to anesthetise themselves? The good old limited news knee jerk in operation. And generations of politicians get themselves re-elected by enacting laws against people they define as “other”, with little or no thought to the social ramifications or the reality of life and community.

And this becomes relevant yet again, as the Victorian Government (no pun intended ;-)) has recently begun demonising biker gangs (again) so as to attempt to validate another push for law and order. No effective point in it at all. You can’t fix a problem with the same thinking that created it. Law and order in this instance is simply smoke and mirrors for a Government that’s on thin ice come the next election, regardless of any better alternative.

Note also that some atypical opiates are recognised as being effective anti-depressants… But when the patents expire, they aren’t nearly so sexy.

There’s also a pretty well established connection between creative types and altered mind states. From Victorian poets getting stoned off their nuts on Opium to contemporary Heroin use among muso’s… Not that I’d advocate unrestrained usage… There’s potential for damage and addiction to consider. We probably need that cultural framework for drug use to set the stage, so to speak. In this as in so many other situations the person taking responsibility for their own experimentation needs to have a basis of self-control and development in order to use an altered state constructively.

Now this is a bit of a tangent, but one that would do well to address. A lot of religious and spiritual teaching seems to take a template of behaviours or virtues and attempt to apply them to a person from the outside. The Greco-Roman purity codes in christendom being a prime example. In puritan religion they’re completely off the chart. The current tendency for Governments to try to legislate morality is another case. The controls are operating externally so that the standards of behaviour or thought are being forced onto a person from the outside, like a stamp into concrete. It’s an external impression, rather than one that develops from within. And it’s generally effected with the aid of a truck load of emotional manipulation and what boils down to psychological abuse.

It’s a vastly different approach to cast off all that expectation and follow one’s own nose. Think of every prophet or spiritual journeyman who’s reconsidered the church’s teachings and decided to wander off in search of their own meaningful spiritual experience, their own relationship with and understanding of god. There’s a whole history of people run out of town on the end of pitch forks or brutally murdered, an effective lesson to anyone else who gets ideas about freedom. One needs to be very, very brave indeed to travel paths not approved of by controlling interests.

Again it’s a painful, awful experience, but hugely valuable, to focus on the internal self, and develop to the point where limits and behaviours are an expression of the inner self and desire for balance and creativity, rather than simply toeing someone else’s line. Naturally not everyone wants to devote the time and suffering to such development. Equally as naturally those benefitting from global culture would probably be horrified if too many people desired to become conscious of the manipulation and control that goes on and attempt to develop their own inner compass. Not only is it highly valuable for the individual concerned, but what they are then able to contribute back into the community is vastly superior in terms of it’s creative contribution. If said community is willing to move forward. ;-)

That’s the curiosity I have with the Nine Noble Virtues in Asatru. Yes, some people are going to want that kind of guidance and a source of centring for their moral code, an agreed upon series of objectives for the sake of security. But why, if one has access to the freedom and tools for magic and development, would one cast off one set of chains in exchange for another? If you’re going to go to the trouble of changing so much of what you’ve been brought up to believe, surely it’s worth the trouble to go another mile and sort your core values from the inside out? It does, however, take an awful lot of emotional energy to maintain the kind of effort it requires to filter, even semi-consciously, the influences operating on people these days. Every ad will try to push a button somewhere in you. And they’re hugely sophisticated. All of which is not to say that the Virtues are not a good thing in themselves. It helps to have a frame of reference for any group interested in spiritual practise and development. I am simply clarifying my own approach of “do as you will shall be the whole of the law.” Not one that goes over well in convict culture. ;-)

And while I’m jumping around all over the place on wild tangents I thought I’d wonder out loud about a thought that came to me this morning some time. I had a bit of a moment with the Hebrew god, basically a parting of the ways. Thanks, seeya and all that. In some way I feel there was a connection there with something, however manipulated and inappropriate it may have been. Spiritual connections are always powerful for me and perhaps we both got something from my journey of questioning and discovery… Certainly the Hebrew god as I came to understand him had way too much in common with Odin to be coincidence. I’ve been on the hook for a long, long time. Someone, I think it may have been Jordsvin, made the comment that “It wasn’t my own faith, it was someone else’s that I’d picked up along the way.” That makes a lot of sense. My expression would be that it wasn’t my faith, it was someone else’s that was given to me when I didn’t know any better.

After all, Odin’s claimed me now. I had this amazing vision whereby the Hebrew god sort of pulled my soul away from himself and released me on the breeze like a spider borne on a thread of silk… Odin reached out his hand and caught the thread, which he passed to Frigga who, smiling, wove me into the work on her loom. Now that’s magic.

Makes you wonder exactly who is underneath all the weird and not so wonderful stuff people have done with the spirit that inspired christendom… I mean, these days I’m not so sure about the whole Jesus thing at all. Street corner prophets were a dime a dozen in Roman occupied Palestine. There is so little original material of anything in the New Testament as well. It seems to me possible that the sayings and stories might well be sourced from more than one person or tradition. In addition the idea of the last supper and the crucifixion and resurrection are not part of the earliest writings. They do follow the practises of the Mithraic cult and were introduced later. Much later still came the idea of Jesus as the Christ, hundreds of years after the fact. Crucifixion didn’t make Jesus the Christ, a meeting of Roman bishops and powermongers did, 400 years later.*

So now if the man or men were not as they’re popularly described today, which is very likely, who exactly is the spirit behind the whole deal as we see it in operation today? Given some of the teachings around, some of them seem to be pretty vicious deceptive spirits. Somewhere in there also is something like a Buddha consciousness and somewhere buried under all the social conditioning, Imperial politics and self-interested dogma is elohim. And you can go look up that word in some progressive source before you jump to conclusions :D

Anyways. Just a thought. ;-)

*Which doesn’t derail the metaphor, similar to Odin hanging on the world tree, that we become more than we are through these journies.

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