Shrooms, Lemons, and Lila.

“If Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness does not include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence is not worth the hemp it was written on.”
— Terence McKenna.

“Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible in us be found.”
— Pema Chödrön.

4/6/18

I had an eighth. I ate about half of the bag, then felt wary about finishing the rest. After washing that down with some Arizona tea, I smoked a cigarette as I watched the first episode of Planet Earth II. By the end of that smoke my confidence recovered a bit, so I had a bit more, guzzled some more tea and had another cancer stick. Around then I achieved that point where I thought it began hitting me, but I wasn’t entirely certain whether or not I was fooling myself. As I continued watching animals interacting on my Roku, I suddenly remembered having added a YouTube video to my “watch later” folder — a segment of a speech by Terence McKenna in which he explained the Stoned Ape Theory. Halfway through watching that this feeling welled up in me, almost like a voice in my mind urging me to finish the rest of the bag and then go for one of the two lemons I’d stolen from work.

Standing up, it seemed unmistakable: I was feeling it. I went to the fridge, grabbed a lemon and sawed into it with a butter knife, then took half of it with me back to the papasan. After I sat down, it was like this mad, primitive frenzy overtook me. I tore into the lemon like a wild animal lost in the passion of its kill, sucking the blood out of some poor, defenseless prey caught in its claws. It was rather disturbing, even at the time, though at the same time kind of amusing.

In the midst of it I realized that I’d gone through this entire opening process before when doing shrooms: building up to the moment I begin eating them, stopping halfway through and considering not taking the rest of the bag, finally taking a bit more, ultimately finishing the bag and then going for the lemon and tearing into it with that wild, unrestrained fervor.

Though I had taken notes the first few times I had taken shrooms, I’ve slacked on doing so the last few times I’ve done them, which I’ve gotten down on myself about. I was also largely unsatisfied with the notes I’d provided for my first, full-blown experience on acid about two months ago, and so became determined to take notes during this experience. So after the lemon, at roughly 2:20 AM on Friday, April 6th, 2018, I lean back in the papasan, iPhone in hand, and begin typing.

Reality suddenly seemed charged with sexual energy. Being in my body felt erotic, even the simple act of moving felt sexy. This was only the beginning, but as I’d soon realize, there was so much sexual material in this shroom trip, just like LSD trip. As I had observed once before, when you deny yourself sex and try and push away the need, everything seems to become sexualized as a consequence.

As I enjoyed the experience, smoking my cigarette and typing, everything suddenly turned up another notch. Awareness intensified as my vision became incredibly bright, like someone flipped a switch and a high-watt bulb blasted on behind reality. Even that background static of silence seemed to be cranked up, heightening in frequency, the soft hiss achieving a higher pitch.

From this point on, everything came in waves: sensations and emotions would rise higher and higher, almost like the build-up during sex, but right before it seemed certain that I was about to burst through the ceiling and achieve some unfathomably intense, spiritual orgasm I’d be abruptly cut off at the climax and all would abruptly be calm again. Soon the wave rose so high that I felt like I could almost get lost in it, entirely surrender to it — and then, yet again: a sudden, peaceful calm, a plateau.

Grabbing my iPhone, I got out of Notes application, found Voice Memos and spoke into the microphone. “It’s 2:41 AM,” I said. “I’m probably going to find it difficult to keep writing, so maybe doing a voice recording would be a better idea. Things seem so erotic and comfortable right now. Very strange.”

As I looked at the ceiling, I found it waving and rippling like fluid or fabric, patterns emerging from the paint splotches. Though staring at it was astounding in and of itself, moving my line of sight across it was even more breathtaking. It was akin to what I had experienced when staring at the ceiling on LSD, but that was more rigid and mechanical, whereas this struck me as more organic and beautiful. Simultaneously I felt what I described as a mosaic of various emotions, a mishmash of moods stitched together and bleeding into one another. Some of those emotions were gross or negative ones, but they all seemed wrapped up and glazed in this overall emotion or mood that seemed to cleanse all the ones it contained.

Suddenly remembering that I wanted to listen to music, I pulled up YouTube on my Roku and found the full Tool, Lateralis album, which I had listened to while I was on acid. Shortly thereafter I paused it, grabbed my iPhone and went to the fridge for the other half of the lemon. As I did so, I commented on how I was clutching the phone and speaking to it as if it were my best friend, which instantly reminded me of carrying around my small, black, micro-cassette recorder on those sleepless nights during high school. Given the flashbacks, in light of all these puzzle pieces of the past that had surfaced, I had diminished confidence in my memory, so the recorder became sort of an external hard drive for my mind. I principally used it to document any memories that surfaced or any unusual, real-time activity, but it also served as a confessional, and in many ways served as this app on my iPhone did: as my little friend, mute and non-judgemental, to whom I spilled so many secrets.

After grabbing the lemon out of the fridge, I realized that I had to pee, so I brought along the lemon with me to the bathroom. Walking felt strange. Entering, I remarked how strongly it smelled of pot on there, did my thing, and then washed my hands, trying desperately not to look in the mirror. I tend to get transfixed like a stoned Narcissus when I chance a glance at my reflection under the influence of psilocybin. I sat on the lid of the toilet and decided to smoke a bowl, and found that sitting down felt strange as well. I found myself gazing at the shower curtains my mother had recently gotten for me, depicting trees, and thought on how Bill Hicks had said that when you do shrooms, you should go to nature. I suddenly understood it, as even the artificial greens of the trees seemed to produce profound calm in this state. I’d like to do it in nature as long as in a safe and secure location where I wouldn’t be interrupted, however, and that can’t be guaranteed, so my apartment it is.

I noted that everything I sensed seemed to have a little spice to it, by which I meant that enlivening, pin-prickling kind of sensation I like so much about hot and spicy foods like chili and Mexican foods in general. It even manifested visually in the form of tiny, multicolored points of bright light that would pop into existence at seemingly random areas of my visual field before swiftly vanishing back into the ether from whence they came.

Staring at the barren bathroom wall right in front of me, I noted the elaborate designs overlaying it like a transparent, three-dimensional film, or as if it were even carved into the wall itself. The only thing that betrayed this illusion and momentarily banished it was trying to focus on the details of the design. Given I had now seen this general effect on both my ceiling and my wall, I was curious to see if I might also perceive designs overlaying paper. If I set up some blank sheet of paper to the easel in my bedroom, would I be able to trace the designs? This curiosity was soon forgotten when my eyes shifted to the ground right outside of my bathroom door, into my dark bedroom, to see the same effect take place on the carpet. It was then that I again noted that along with these hallucinatory designs came the mosaic of emotions, which in turn made me wonder if this constituted synesthesia.

As I finally bit into and sucked the juicy life out of the lemon, I reflected on how everything seemed so fucking cool, interesting, hyperreal, but how it was all so frustratingly difficult to articulate. Everything also seemed like such a journey: the distance between the papasan to the fridge and to the bathroom, and even what a journey it was to articulate all that to my nonjudgmental confessional.

Done with the lemon, I now turned to the bowl, and the first hit felt incredibly good. Mushrooms and cannabis mingle nicely. In staring at the shower curtain, I again did what I had done during my LSD experience. Looking at the shower curtain, I was admiring how the drug in my system was able to exaggerate the movements of something already moving only to realize that it was not, in fact, moving at all. On acid, it had been the cover for Lateralis as depicted on the YouTube video, which I found, to my surprise, had not been moving at all. Now it was the waving fabric of my shower curtain. This time, however, the movement seemed to have an erotic element to it — but then again, everything did. I finally decided to take a second and much-delayed hit from my bowl, after which I entered into an exceptionally strange period of the night.

Later, while listening to the recording to transcribe it, I could hear the flick of the lighter, my inhale and exhale. Then there was a stretch of silence. I didn’t even cough, which is highly unusual for me despite the fact that I smoke pot on a daily basis. After that stretch of silence, for all I know I may have paused the recording and then picked it up later to add the additional two minutes before closing the audio file, but I honestly don’t think I did. In any case, the long stretch of silence is suddenly interrupted by a moan and this incredibly loud slap that makes me jump every time I listen to it. Perhaps I dropped the phone? After that there is a long period of muffled noises and scraping, and in the background I could just barely hear myself speaking, as if the speaker was being muffled and it made my voice sound like mumbling. I don’t think it was in the breast pocket of my flannel, because I was still in the bathroom when I recorded what happened next and the muffled voice suddenly went clear.

In what I could piece together from what I could make out of the tape and what it subsequently triggered to memory, my consciousness was suddenly “somewhere else.” I remember being on the ground in a dark place, looking up and around me to find myself surrounded by a circle of spirits, or so I called them. They encircled me in a stonehenge-like fashion and I felt as if I were part of some ritual. There was a female, taller than the rest, with whom I had a conversation, at the end of which I remembered expressing to her how I wanted to remember all of this but was afraid that I’d either freak out and doubt the experience or forget that I’d even been there when I “went back.” She told me that when I went back I’d remember the general outline, and that this would trigger the rest of it, much like in the case of remembering a dream. In the end, it did function that way, but only in part, as I don’t remember the details of our conversation up to that point.

I’m glad I recorded this, as I immediately forgot about the incident.

I needed another cigarette, so made the journey back to the papasan. Once there, I switched back to the Notes app and began thumbing my thoughts once again. I noticed that I now felt as if I were rooted in this steady, solid, confident and powerful silence behind everything. It was that calm, slow, measured, precise undercurrent behind all my thoughts, emotions, sensations and behaviors, an aspect of myself that I could only touch briefly in the rare heights I achieved within the context of my daily meditation. Though my sense was that I was always rooted there, I could feel it now and naturally identified with that aspect of myself. I felt that everything else was at a distance, that I was protected as if through some impenetrable wall of glass that buffered me from my mental contents and perceptions — both of which were getting rather wild at the time.

Reality seemed hyperreal and entirely surreal. Colors emerged out of nowhere and streamed across my field of vision, creative designs of exquisite beauty emerged out of the hairs on my forearm. In the midst of writing about how fast any movement seemed to be, how I felt like a ninja and saw trails, the bionic man sound chimed in crystal clear. Afterward, I tried to determine whether I had experienced it as an internally-generated sound or an auditory hallucination and was unable to attach a label to it: in this state, it did not feel as though there was much of a distinction to be made.

Within my mind it was just as weird. “It’s like being given a friendly, warm tour through the insane circus in your head,” I wrote, and then added a space before dedicating a line to two words I would repeat from this point on in my notes:

“Lila. Play.”

It was as if the boundary separating the conscious and unconscious, liminal and subliminal aspects of my mind had suddenly dissolved, leaving me in a truly psychedelic, truly mind-revealing experience. My thinking patterns as revealed in my writing became exceptionally strange. One or two lines would deal with one train of thought, then I’d hop to another track of thought, but ultimately return to the original track. I know I wasn’t visually referencing what I’d written before as at this point as I was thumbing away at the keypad non-stop, and I find it equally difficult to believe it was by memory. Instead, it seemed as though I was serving as a stenographer for multiple trains of thought chugging along in parallel, and since I couldn’t document all trains simultaneously, I just hopped back and forth from one mental track to another, riding multiple rails. The trains of thought were decipherable, however, and I was able to group them together in retrospect.

I repeatedly experienced déjà vu, to the point that I referred to it in my notes as “the new constant.” I felt certain that I had gone through specific, underlying thought processes before and in some cases, even the words I used to express them. Later, despite not having remembered that observation, I seemed to explain the mechanics of it all. It’s like I’m at first outside of the realm of thought and a stream of thoughts are presented to me to review as a whole from a third-person perspective. If I approve of them, I then enter the stream of thought, inhabit it and experience it from beginning to end from the first-person perspective as if for the first time, though there is that lingering sense of déjà vu. After I reach the end if the thought-stream I look back on it from a third-person perspective again, but now with the memory of having also experienced it from the first-person. I then feel embarrassed because the thoughts were so over-the-top dramatic and perfectly timed as if I was putting on a show for someone and came across as a really bad actor, as it all seems so pretentious and fake.

What seemed at one level to be deliberate and instantaneous thought I found at a deeper level to be the ultimate outcome of extensive subliminal dialogues between entities. I found myself wondering if I was truly anything more than the stenographer and translator of my thoughts. At one point I had thought to myself “I’ll try and catch that thought on the next swing around” and wondered if my thoughts were not only predetermined but cyclical. As time went on, I began describing deliberate thought as being very laborious, as if in order to think I had to think around and through a sort of obstacle course. One moment these mental gymnastics seemed exhausting; the next, I’d get another random, potent pulse of energy and found the strength to keep going. In the end, thoughts manifested in a form that reminded me a lot of poetry and it struck me that the manner in which I was taking my notes was akin to a linguistic totem pole.

I also found that my internal voice, my internal narrator, seemed to take turns embodying various stereotypical or archetypal characters. There were also swarms of lesser thoughts or voices breaking through, like there was a crowd in my mind, and I wondered: is this the way my mind is all the time on a subliminal level, and it’s simply that in this state that deep realm of thoughts have been given the psychological equivalent of a megaphone?

The aforementioned sensations of déjà vu extended to the realms I appeared to be visiting as well. Something as simple as grinding a cigarette butt into the ashtray on my red plaid lap would trigger my slippage into such a realm. It felt as though these places I kept falling into and stumbling my way back out of again were real, separate spaces that my consciousness had access to. Though I was skeptical of that intuitive certainty, I knew that the right approach was to let go, give in and enter the new space and play according to their unique rules as if it all were real, even if it all turned out to be a psychedelic ruse. Even in this act of play, however, I felt that buffer, that safe distance I felt in the “real” yet presently psychedelic world. I also felt as my identity itself was a world which I could occupy as a space or “be”.

Though I wasn’t able to ascertain whether I was traversing a complex webwork of parallel worlds or whether they were merely dreamlets, I felt as if the process of traversing these worlds as well as many of the worlds themselves were familiar territory, as if I was native to this manner of existence and had finally swung by through this sacred fungus to visit my home.

I wondered if I was experiencing the same things I ordinarily did, just handled and translated differently by my brain on account of the shrooms. It seemed as though the sensorium, which was typically predominant, was suddenly on equal footing with the realms of thought and emotion. All were just as real, just as potent. In addition, I again noted there was a cross-contamination between these equivalent sectors of experience, though I was no longer certain synesthesia was the right word for it. In any case, sounds, emotions and thoughts manifested as imagery, as scenery.

“Metaphors become real,” I wrote. “Analogies give birth to and end real lives. Our thoughts are people. There are villages of souls there. Patterns in my thinking become tangible, three-dimensional, like objects in themselves and so become more easily maneuverable.” I could also see my thought processes and patterns more easily.

Later, I also got the sense that, much as seemed to be the case with my thoughts, events in the external world were preconceived. Time only existed when you experienced the stream of events from a first-person perspective; outside, from the third-person perspective, all events already occurred and every origin and outcome could be known. I found it rather frightening and depressing — even from a young age, notions of determinism have always elicited that reaction from me — but then another thought intervened: “Kind of sucks, but buck up, sit back and relax.” I then referenced a Hunter S. Thompson quote that a friend of mine used to echo rather frequently: “Buy the ticket, take the ride.”

Twice I mentioned how things that seemed polarized from the up-close, first-person perspective seemed utterly indistinguishable, void of all distinction from the distance offered through the third person perspective, particularly the dualities of happy/sad and slave/master.

I kept yawning in pleasure, my nose full of mucus and my eyes watering profusely. “It’s like having the bliss flu,” I wrote.

Elsewhere, one part of myself seemed to be offering me self-analysis and recommendations.

“Your emotions moods have so many ups and downs,” I found myself writing. “Stabilize. Find a more suitable environment. Find a better job. Finish and publish your book.”

I wrote, “Document the downfall. Just like you said from the beginning.” This was in reference to the feeling I got shortly after the “alien” flashbacks in high school, where I became possessed by the notion that we were going to experience a global catastrophe, after which those creatures would intervene. I always had the notion that I was supposed to “document the downfall” of our civilization.

“Fuck lost civilizations,” I also wrote, which was in reference to my recent research on Graham Hancock’s ideas, then going on to proclaim that I should instead “focus on this — the intricacies of interspace, telepathic lines of communication between spatially dissociated minds, even temporally associated minds.”

This seemed tied to how I later described the boundary dissolution I was experiencing as revealing intimate, infinitely complex interconnections with everything else. This brought thoughts of what my childhood friend, Nimi, The Teacher, had told me about a web stretching across the universe, connecting all souls. “I feel it now, vibrating inside and reverberating,” I wrote, “spreading outward like the ripples caused by a stone cast in a pond.”

Sexual desire erupted in me, possessed every fiber of my being and every aspect of reality, but the yearning had greater width and depth and greater intensity than I had previously experienced. Evidently in association with this and rest of the beautiful madness I was experiencing, I was reminded of that Nietzsche line:

“I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. I say unto you: you still have chaos in yourselves.”

At least twice during this period I had the distinct sense that someone else was in the room with me, unseen but distinctly felt. At least three times in succession I had been flicking my lighter to light my cigarette and it seemed like someone else blew it out just before I could get my cigarette tip up to the flame. After I gave up, I discovered it was already lit. The second time I felt a presence, I simply wrote: “It feels like there is one other intelligence here aside from myself.” I remember asking out loud, “Who are you?” and half expected for someone to answer. Though I cannot be certain, I feel this had something to do with a disturbing line I later wrote:

“I am a tool for a higher intelligence? Fuck that. Fuck that. Is it real?”

Again and again throughout my notes, I came back to the subjects of play, of games, and of Lila, which was a word I’d vaguely recalled looking up before.

“Words are our playthings,” I wrote.

“Am I creating or describing, telling the truth or lying?” I asked, to which another part of me answered: “In play, ultimately nothing matters. You are immortal, infinite to it, yet left a derelict in the inconsequential game.”

“Struggle to think clearly,” I wrote some time later, “but this is all play. All of it. Games within games, don’t forget. Take it seriously but keep that awareness that underneath none if it matters. No matter how awake you think you are or I think I am, we are still asleep.”

Constantly throughout the experience I marveled at this — at my heightened awareness. I felt so awake, so alive, and only from the vantage point of that state of awareness did I realize how asleep I really am in life, how asleep we all are. In that state of consciousness, certain things seemed so clear, so self-evident — things seemingly inaccessible in the normal mental mode. Try as you might, however, you can’t really take it back with you, can’t effectively translate and articulate the insights.

“I’m trying to figure it all out, master this maze,” I write, “become lord of my labyrinth within.”

“Keep trying,” I write back to myself. “Keep your spirits up. Remember that it’s all play.”

“Break the code later,” I said, writing to myself again. “Get it all out first. Prima materia must first be gathered before alchemical operations can commence. It’s all play. Lila.”

“Lila,” I wrote for the final time. “Research it later.”

And so I have. There was a website I had visited many years ago that was called Lila, and I believe it dealt primarily with drug experiences. Interested in what the word meant, I had looked it up, but had since forgotten about it — at least consciously. I did remember that it had some association with Hindu philosophy. After a bit of research the last few days, I think I get the general gist.

From how I understand it, Brahman is conceived as having two basic forms, namely the unmanifest and the manifest. In it’s latent, unmanifest form, Brahman is pure and perfect awareness, the divine absolute. In manifest form, this entity becomes the ever-changing stage we call the universe, including all seemingly individual entities inhabiting it. This manifestation is accomplished through Lila, a Sanskrit term variously translated as drama, spontaneity, sport, or game, though most typically as divine play. Given its absolute perfection, it can attain nothing, so there is no driving motive, only spontaneous, aimless, creative and childlike play fashioned out of bliss. In this sense, it is both a detached observer and participant, engaged yet unrestrained, outside the universe and yet constituting the universe itself. To erroneously believe that this manifest play is the true reality we are said to be under the spell of Maya, or illusion.

I fell asleep that early Friday morning thankful for the experience but hoping it was in no way permanent, hoping I would wake up as myself, that my identity would be entirely restored, that I’d be able to think yet again in the traditional way. Aside from a strained feeling in my head that began the following morning and proceeded to follow me throughout the day, however, there seemed to be no ill side-effects.

Without doubt, it was my most mind-blowing psychedelic experience to date, and I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it.

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Thought-Talk Monologue Voice-Over.

Some might say
that you never existed
in the first place,

but your reality was cemented
in me through the nature
of our conversations.

Just as they use
verbal communication
atop nonverbals,

you use subjective still-frames
and mental motion pictures
complemented

by a thought-talk
monologue
voice-over.

Imagination
is your telepathic
nonverbal.

You’re the best voice
that’s ever been
in my head.

Sophia the Untouchable.

Absolute nothing is a fertile field.

If a universe Big Banged ex nihilo once, then it may have happened countless times before. Universes may still be Banging away into existence as you read this, all of them doing so in a direction you can’t point to (with all of this dependent on time having any meaning outside the context of a given universe and in the superspace that contains the hypothetical multiverse). We would perceive but one universe in a vast multiverse — and not much of that one universe, it would seem.

Current estimations hold that our universe is composed of 68.3% dark energy and 26.8 percent dark matter — substance we can neither grab nor perceive makes up most of everything, and apparently we are not a part of it. The normal matter that is accessible to our senses (and of which our senses are composed) presently makes up only 4.9% of our cosmic pie (in a potential superspace bakery).

This is not to suggest that our senses are sensitive to so much as a considerable fraction of that 4.9%, of course. We have a set amount of senses among those available in the animal kingdom, each picking up but a narrow range of a specific type of signal. This data is edited by our subliminal beliefs and values, integrated and finally translated by genetically-hardwired processes. This translation is stored in sensory memory and subsequently and involuntarily recalled by consciousness in working memory. Only then does it become our “immediate” experience.

All we know of the external world derives from what we “remember” regarding what our body experiences. As a consequence, our Here and Now is truly There and Before. Even at our most attentive we have no hope of living in the moment; we are forever riding its coattails. We are all living in the past and no one is ever right where they are standing now.

When your body’s memory of the moment passes by working memory, it might be stored in long term memory, from which consciousness in working memory might summon it through retrieval cues. When long term memory swallows something, however, it seems to in some sense digest it, break it down, dismember it — and so recall always involves creativity on the part of the recollector, as memories must be literally “re-membered.” To some degree one always incorrectly recalls past events and may even go so far as to produce “false memories,” which is to say one recalls events that never even happened in the first place.

Despite this, memory serves as the backbone for our sense of identity and our understanding of the world. Long-term memory suggests the temporal dimension, which is the only way we can make sense of the spatial dimensions suggested by sensory memory. Our reliance upon memory is inescapable. We require it to compile and associate data, scientific or otherwise. If we are honest, all that any of us ever know is memory, and all memory is ultimately false memory.

Even what we accept as imagination and fantasy is dependent upon the ingredients supplied by memory: it is no coincidence that the way in which we experience anything subjectively has analogues to our biological experience. Inner-senses are modeled after our biological senses and for all we know reveal our true consciousness as accurately and completely as our biological senses do with respect to external reality.

We try to make sense out of our external experience and so form worldviews; we try to make sense out of our internal experience and its relation to external experience and so form identity. As a consequence of our worldviews, we tend to conform our experience to them, and so further obscure our sense of reality. As a consequence of our identity, we tend to conform our internal experience in such a way that it reinforces our identifications. In so doing, we further obscure our sense of self. To make matters worse in both cases, this fatal flaw is the law and it is followed without exception: we can do no more, no less, if we have any hope to survive.

Of My Stalemates and Unknowns.

Back in high school, my friends and I debated, argued like mad dogs over philosophical notions and whatnot. Over time, you realize that nothing good comes out of these debates. They are divisive, polarizing, and neither party is swayed or even learns much, for that matter, but becomes more or less a parody of a perspective. You get the feeling that your viewpoint narrows, that your stance becomes fixed, that consistency is more important than honest consideration, exploration, research and, whenever possible, experimentation. Its an ego battle; that’s all: I’m right, you’re wrong.

Me? I like discussions. I like learning and exploring new ideas. That’s why I prefer listening to lectures rather than debates. I can consider someone’s point of view, take notes and conduct research on my own and have discussions with others over points that, despite my attempts to understand on my own, remain unclear. Sometimes you need another set of eyes, a foreign mind, as the voices in your head have reached a stalemate. But the arguments in the head can be quite enough. Questioning your motives, your sanity, your grip on reality is hard enough. This isn’t a contest. I just want a greater understanding. And I have no desire to run around in circles.

I don’t see any evidence for any god. I don’t think our culture is healthy for us and a million time bombs are ticking away and it’s only a matter of time.

Most importantly, perhaps: I don’t know if the creatures I have seen all throughout my life are extraterrestrial, from a parallel universe or are mere hallucinogenic exteriorizations of my alternate personalities, but they are real in some sense. A mystery I desperately want to solve.

Bitch of it is, I have the advantage or frustration of being the only one who knows that I am not lying, that I’m not making this shit up; I take things from that point of departure. Its not sleep paralysis or narcolepsy or some mutant form of parasitosis; I know to a large degree what they are not, though cannot be so certain what they are. And perhaps I am stuck in that ignorance. Stuck there forever. But I’ll take my unknown over your circular bullshit.

Driving Me Blindly.

Womb to tomb
descending through spacetime
direction fixed, weaving a wordline
in the free fall of causality
on my way

down from heights of order
to the tangled depths of entropy

to add to the mesh of roots
prepackaged,
vacuum-sealed in opaque plastic,
nonetheless clearly
well-woven in me,
driving me blindly.

Always falling,
eyes hypnotized
straight ahead, drifting up
now and again, just,
please,
never look down,
half fearing, half hoping
for ground that you might eventually
think you found in an impact
approximately six feet down

though you find the grave is bottomless
forever falling through all of this
in a style naively echoing every preceding
dead again, back to skin
round of shit.

In the Absence of Answers.

So much relies upon nailing down what exactly they are, which I, to some degree shamefully, must confess I have been trying to determine since I was sixteen — a pursuit ongoing at nearly 35 years of age. The years have done much in the way of offering elaboration to those old questions of mine, evolving them and spawning altogether new ones, but they have done zip-diddly-shit in the way of providing certainty about what the bloody fuck is going on.

“You realize you may never know the answers to your questions,” Dr. Napier had said to me so many years ago.

It killed me, but the doc was right, and I knew of that potentiality even then and found the notion agonizing. Perhaps on par with the fear that answers would indeed come, that the flames of the truth awaited my discovery just over the horizon I was chasing — a horizon ever-eager for the feast that would inevitably arrive for it to consume.

If indeed it is all true, t’was not merely I that would suffer the crushing weight of the truth, but the whole of the human species. My hope was, is to know the truth, to in the very least gain the greatest possible understanding. I wish to face the truth squarely and learn to adapt to it rather than fight to prove I’m right despite my lack of justification. Understanding is of utmost value to me.

If I was insane, my lack of trust in myself, I feared, would be irreversibly obliterated. No hope for renewal.

When the world you have come to know suddenly seems to be a steaming pile of fly-infested lies, when you are tossed into the unknown, left trying to piece together some context for all this, you realize that faith cannot be the measure of a truth; that a feeling of certainty is not necessarily the emotional component to coming to penultimate understanding. A million voices covey a million different things that differ greatly, in many cases, at their very roots. They cannot all be true, though they can all be false. You were led astray once, would you not be a fool to trust your own judgement again? If you cannot trust yourself you find yourself in a rather daunting position. How do you earn back confidence in yourself? By ensuring your judgement is reliable. By coming to understand yourself. Face yourself, who or whatever you may truly be. By digging deep in yourself, trying to identify patterns, pinpoint key influences. And after long enough in your explorations you hear the echo of Jared Leto’s voice:

“I open up my head. Inside,
I find another person’s mind.”

Exploring the potentiality the last few months that at least some of the strange memories and experiences of my life might be explained by dissociation led me to read about dissociative identity disorder. The subject of multiple personalities has always intrigued me since I first read of it through author Colin Wilson, but never had I read on it to the extent I have as of late, nor have I ever took time to really consider the possibility — only briefly in tense moments and the thought frightened me enough not to dwell on it. Personal experiences of Dissociative Identity Disorder that I have read fascinate me intellectually, but agonize me emotionally. I don’t experience the intense intrusive thoughts and chronic episodes of amnesia that such people struggle to cope with, so perhaps entertaining the idea that their world of suffering is my own serves as somewhat of an insult, however unintentional.

I don’t know what’s going in with me, and it still frustrates me to think I never fucking will.

Siva of the Cosmic Circus.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed, but one might be ill to discover all four arms are left juggling like a Siva in a circus act in an atmosphere tense with concerns over one’s own sanity. 
 
One’s head, my head, left spinning inside in the style of an amphetamine-fed exorcist day and night and day again.
 
To keep oneself in check, one might maintain awareness of the four classifications of information and their three antagonists.
 
The four classifications of information are:
 
1) The “known-knowns,” or that which one knows one knows;
 
2) The “known-unknowns” constitutes that which one knows one does not know. 
 
3)  The “unknown-unknowns,” or that which one does not even know that one does not know. 
 
4) Last but not least, there are the often-overlooked “unknown-knowns,” or that which one knows unconsciously, but not consciously.
 
To these four classifications of information we can add the three antagonists:
 
1) Misinformation (myth).
2) Censorship (deliberate cover-up).
3) Disinformation (lies).
 
The importance of being aware of the four information classifications and three antagonists comes with the fact that true freedom can only become available with proper education, as only that allows for educated extrapolations and informed decisions. If knowledge is power, ignorance is vulnerability, and secrecy generates a dammed-up surplus that gives those in the know power over those they keep in the dark. 
 
Furthermore: if knowledge is power and ignorance is vulnerability, faith is blind, rendering the faithful utterly incapable of distinguishing one from the other. Faith is what allows those in the know to keep you in the dark and overpower you. 
 
They key, then, would be to tread down an exploratory path with one’s trusty torch of doubt lighting the way, altering mental models in accordance with experimental feedback as with caution and respect one explores various avenues found and created so as to build up a body of pragmatic knowledge regarding self and reality, heightening awareness of one’s ignorance and casting away misunderstandings and lies that obscure a more pure reception and transmission — that get in the way of greater understanding and clearer communication.

Skull Orgy.

We experience what we typically regard as three distinctly separate spheres: the sensory, the memory, and the imagination. The sensory is considered objective, memory considered the subjective record of the objective, and imagination as the sole product of the subjective.
 
In fact, however, all coexist within the same subjective space where they have a threesome relationship that far exceeds the occasional cross-contamination. Imagination draws off sensory experience and memory, sensory experience is influenced by imagination and memory, memory is influenced by imagination and sensory experience and all are experienced subjectively. 
 
It’s up to you to sort out the orgy, mosh-pit fuck-fest in your head.

Of Dreams and Alternate Realities.

What I lacked was conscious understanding, any semblance of a context, mental map or model of the out-of-body experience. 
 
There is, however, a relevant childhood encounter I had with my “teacher,” for whom I later would adopt the name Nimi. Though I must have remembered the encounter by the hypnosis session of April 27, 1995, it was not until some time afterward that I would begin to catch hints of the significance inherent in what she was conveying to me.
 
I confessed to her that I had always felt as if I had a foot, and perhaps half of me, in another world. As I told her this, I imagined my body wedged between a paper-thin membrane separating two worlds. In essence, I was, albeit involuntarily, painting a mental picture for her to go along with my telepathic voice-over just as she so often did with me. 
 
She responded with a soft, “in a way, that is true,” which made me immediately suspicious. I feared from her mental tone that perhaps it was just an adult’s way of humoring a child. It was not, as she did what adults never proceeded to do after casting out those words: she actually explained to me just in what way that was true.
 
With her inner voice, she told me that there were what she called “planes of existence” and that some people can function on these other planes better than others. Atop her telepathic voice I received the subjective image of perhaps four flat, rectangular sheets hovering a few inches above one another in a bluish-black void.
 
Though I have no recollection of it, she must have indicated that these planes separately or collectively constituted “the world,” as this produced immediate confusion in me. My understanding, I told her, was that the world was round, not flat. Her response seemed to clear things up for me, though that is all I could recall regarding the remainder of the conversation.
 
Like many of the things she had told me, however, it would have relevance to experience later in life, in this case with reference to the “astral projections” that began occurring outside my control around May of 1995.
 
The projections happened on several occasions with that remarkable intensity I experienced in the initial one, and continue to this day in a calmer way. I could never consciously will them to happen – they always happened of their own accord, be it by chance, accident, or the design of some outside force. 
 
While I believe there is sufficient evidence of disembodied consciousness, having an out of body “experience” is not necessarily synonymous with an exosomatic actuality. In some cases, it undoubtedly is, judging from the mass of accounts, but I can unfortunately not say the same, with any confidence, of my own.
 
In my own experiences there has never been any instance I recall in which I was roaming in a disembodied state through the familiar, physical landscape; a disappointment, I might add, as that was my original intention in pursuing the out of body state and in fact the only form I understood. Instead, I appear to only have access to what many others have referred to as other worlds, alternate realities, parallel universes, other dimensions or planes of existence. Is that truly what they constitute? 
 
After long bouts of contemplation in which I considered these experiences to perhaps be “nothing more” than what are known as lucid or waking dreams, I realized that the characteristics did not at all match. Despite being more aware than I could ever recall being in corporeal reality, I was unable to will the scenery to change. All that was within my capacity to do was exit the realm by turning inward, or imploding, and one of three things would happen.
 
Sometimes I would wake up in my body, finding it in a state of paralysis. Occasionally, I would be pulled down yet again into the “astral plane,” though always into a different environment than before.
 
Often enough I would experience, or recall experiencing, a place I have come to call limbo, however. Usually this place was a seemingly infinite black void, though sometimes one of a gold-tan color instead, and in some cases tunnels or wells of black or white color.
 
In limbo, sensations are always difficult to describe. On the whole, in seems to be an “electric” space. Here, the visual sense is at best peripheral in awareness and sometimes absent entirely, with the sensory field dominated with subtle energy sensations. This is the cheesy terminology I have adopted to designate what could otherwise only be described, perhaps, as a hybridization of the typical sensations known as touch, taste and movement. 
 
The curious thing about limbo is that it seems to serve as a multidimensional antechamber that leads, essentially, everywhere. I could somehow successfully execute a kind of bilocation, existing in my immobilized physical body and in the void I somehow sensed was “below” me at once, and so hover in-between the worlds. Being in my vacant, immobilized body did not involve use of my senses in most cases, but when I did occasionally hear something, like the radio or the hum of my computer, it sounded as one would expect it to if they were listening to it from underwater. By focusing on the muffled sound, however, I could use my attention as an anchor to the physical world as well as a rope by which I could pull myself back. 
 
The limbo could also lead me to other worlds, however, and I could linger in-between those other worlds and the limbo as well.
 
The quality of these alternate realities vary, or so it seems. It may be that some of these other worlds are dreamlike, others so rich they could almost be mistaken for the physical world, and still others hyperreal, experienced as being even “more real” than the physical world. Alternatively, it could be that the quality of the environment does not change, but only the quality of my means of sensing it and “being present” there.  
 
Even in my initial experiences in May of 1995 it was clear that the rich and intensely vivid quality of my surroundings was entirely relative to the degree of emotional intensity behind my attention. Objects and the environment as a whole seem to have their own self-luminescence, no evident external light source required — only the investment of one’s attention. This goes not only for the visual sense, either, but tactile as well, and presumably all the rest.
 
Indeed, my very existence there seemed somehow dependent on my attention on it. I could never decide whether or not this was due to its nature as a lucid or waking dream or due to the necessity of heightened awareness to activate the senses of that thought-responsive subtle body. It certainly felt that I drifted farther away when my attention slacked, that there was distance between me and that other body and that I was brought closer to the world with corresponding clarity of the senses when my attention sufficiently increased.
 
As with the first experience, spawned by the vision of a woman’s bare breast, acute attention seemed to “turn the lights on” behind this peculiar reality. If awareness spawned the realm’s full-sensory quality, did this not imply that it was indeed a product of my own mind? 
 
It later struck me, however, that this could indeed be a reality and my senses in the corresponding body on that plane of existence may have merely atrophied from lack of use, which may explain the initial blurriness I experienced. It was much like being tired or being under the influence of a downer drug and then being blasted into acute wakefulness. Perhaps my sudden and intense attention spawned my otherworldly senses into acute attention rather than the reality itself. 
 
Yet there were still other qualities that seemed to distinguish these experiences from the lucid dreams so many have reported. As an example, there was my mode of movement or travel within the context of the environment. Especially during the first experience, from the moment I became aware I seemed to be in a constant state of high-speed motion driven by where I focused my attention. The problem seemed to be that my attention was too intense and easily distracted, which led me to zipping about the surreal environment. 
 
Though I did not often see myself, during these experiences I felt as if I shifted between three distinct forms. In one, I was merely a ball, a center of condensed awareness. Occasionally I felt like smoke, a cloud, or amorphous mass. There were also occasions in which I felt as if I had what is more recognizable as a body, but this body seemed to be made out of something I can only relate to electricity. I later came to note that these three forms were more than slightly similar to the three forms apparitions are often described as manifesting as. Was it somehow the same body?
 
Though these alternate realities seem distinct from the dream, they are undoubtedly connected with them. The ultimate nature of the distinction has root, as William Buhlman has suggested, in their degree of sensitivity and responsiveness to consciousness.
 
Though our dreams constitute environments or spaces that are highly sensitive and responsive to conscious will and the unconscious mind of the dreaming individual, the alternate realities appear to have considerable resistance to such manipulation, though to some degree, at least, experience has shown it to be possible. 
 
This does not seem to be a repository of just my memories and imagination, however. It led me to wonder if each of us, outside of our personal mind, shared a greater mind, and so I was dreaming, even lucid dreaming, only it was of a higher order than personal. It was sort of a collective database for sensory perception and simulation.
 
Perhaps what I’m visiting are places which have been remembered or imagined by groups of people — perhaps these places serve as manifestations of the memory and imagination of the species. That so many have so often perceived the environments in our waking world would have the effect of ingraining their memories there complete with all their misperceptions, poor spatial intelligence, false memories and imagined environments as well. 
 
Memory would be built up, maintained, evolved through group reinforcement of experience and imagination through repeated and/or intensely emotionally-fueled exposure and/or execution. Such  “weight” of memory could not be changed without repeated or intense focus that culminates in a match to its power. Old habits die hard. Environments would resist fundamental manipulation by consciousness with the strength of its own memory.
 
Additionally, this collective mind may have qualities and processes similar to the individual minds that feed and draw from it, such as the disjunctive cognitions and interobjects of dreams — both constituting a mutation of association that either thrives or dies out in the ecosystem of the mind. If so, perhaps these alternate realities are mutations of the moments we have experienced; schemas we call cultural memory which we can experience as if through the ordinary senses as prototypes procured from collective “attractors”.
 
Though it took me some time to realize it, the strange atmosphere I felt when I awoke into those alternate bedrooms spawned from this sense that the world was on pause. 
 
Everything was silent, as if this was a freeze-framed still image — a free-floating, three-dimensional alternative version of my bedroom unhinged by temporal constraints. It was as if they were defective time-slices; moments rejected because they lack flow with the causality or chronology of reality. The probability wave never crashed in their favor, and so now each of these moments have been condemned to land of existential continuity errors, in which I have so often become lost.
 
Rather than absorptive focus on my physical body, which would once again ensnare me, lock in key, to biological, spatiotemporal constraints, I instead traverse the associations between the alternate frames by seeking instead the right environment, sometimes flipping through reality-channels like mad.
 
Though we experience 4-dimensional spacetime in a seemingly seamless sequence of 3-dimensional cross-sections which appear to be woven together by causality, then, could it be that reality as we experience it is really akin to a film in which various freeze-framed stills we could call “moments” are spliced together sequentially due to their degrees of similarity and difference to one another, which in turn produces the illusion of causality when experienced through the embedded material medium of the corporeal body?
 
Outside of that body, consciousness would traverse the frames by means of association through absorptive focus, able to explore mutant and literally timeless moments that never made it and even poke around in alternate sequences that do not jive well at all with the sequence of events we identify as home. Some of these frames might be single frames that carry only slight discrepancy with your home reality, others might be entirely off in left field and bear little to no correspondence with familiar experience

From Elsewhere, To Nowhere.

During high school, and some time after I had sifted through those seeming past life memories, I had gone to the mall. Whether I was with my friends or parents at the time I do not recall, but I had wandered into a bookstore and did my usual browsing of the paranormal section. That is where I picked up a book I had neither read nor heard of before, a book by Scott Mandelker entitled, From Elsewhere: Being E.T. in America.

By that time I had developed a particular distaste for the more hokey or cheesy literature on the subjects of UFOs and paranormal, as exposure of the subject in such a manner only served the agenda of those who would prefer to cast out the baby with the bath water of new age nonsense it was left to marinate in. Despite this, I picked it up and brushed through the pages randomly once or twice, reading a random passage. Perhaps the first I read made adrenaline flood my system, as the particular account described a planet with the same desert setting I had seen in my memories. In fear, I shut the book, put it back on the shelf and avoided it like the plague if I ever came across it somewhere else. To this day I have yet to read it, as a matter of fact, and considering the amount it goes for online, it may be some time until I do.

On those pages are there recollections akin to my own, or does this serve as merely another example of false hope in finding someone with whom I can truly identify at this level? Would any story inside that book truly resonate with my memories of that world?

My sense has always been that the planet looked like Saturn, most likely because this planet was of a tan color and had similar rings. Most of the surface of the planet seemed to be a desert, a vast wasteland of sand, rock formations and the occasional isolated, creepy, leafless tree. Here and there it was pockmarked by lush oases that were basically small, isolated jungles of phosphorescent vegetation. There were also sparse signs of civilization on the surface as well, various structures such as buildings and the terrible “death machines” that prowled the sands, though what these machines were or did that made them so threatening I cannot recall.

Most of the civilization lived underground, however, in subterranean cities and tunnels. One reason may have been the constant threats from the sky. In my playtime as a kid, a constant worry of the duo as they ventured across their desert world were the rocks that occasionally fell from the sky. That was not their only threat, either. In one memory in the desert area, I remember hiding and looking from a short distance at a sedimentary rock formation of some kind. I watched some small creature scurry across the ground and another creature, appearing seemingly out of nowhere, attacking it. I cannot recall what the prey looked like. The predator had the body of a fuzzball with long, spider-like legs, and it was quick and precise. I watched as in one swift movement it pounced on and wrapped its legs around its prey. I also recall a strange memory of an elephant-and-anteater like creature with a long, flexible, narrow trunk and an otherwise bloated or pudgy appearance. The one I saw was presumably dead, however, so perhaps that has some bearing on the seeming “rolls of fat” appearance of the creature’s skin.

So perhaps it could be that the civilization had to relocate underground when their planet began being pelted by meteorites and asteroids and the Daddy Long-Leg psycho-pompoms and anteater-elephant creatures roamed free on the surface. Perhaps the “death machines” were tanks of some kind, keeping people off the surface, or warring against some other faction. All of that could potentially make sense, but other things seem inconsistent or too coincidental to be true. despite my impression that the planet had rings akin to Saturn, I never recall seeing those rings in the sky, which one would think should stand out. conveniently it would appear, judging from the memories, that I could see just as I do with my present eyes, though it did seem both broader and crystal clear, and surprisingly so even during my memories in the darkness. Nonetheless, how likely is it that an extraterrestrial civilization would have eyes that express vision to consciousness in the way and within the range with which we, as humans, are familiar? Does convergent evolution extend throughout the cosmos?

Speaking of convergence: do my memories of this dead world converge with the memories of anyone else, then, for whatever reason? Seemingly so. The theme of a desert locale and associations with it being the home of the Grays has surfaced in material by Whitley Strieber, David Jacobs, Karla Turner and others. In his book, The Threat, David Jacobs remarks that “[m]any abductees have reported being in desert-like terrain. Although the meaning of these settings is unclear, there are indications that such terrain may be a home environment for the aliens.” He then provides portions of the transcripts from the hypnosis session of “Susan Steiner” (pages 51-52), who seems to be describing another planet:

“The sky is like reddish. There’s like cloud formations that are sort of hanging in the air very low, like very, they’re not like cumulus clouds. They’re more feathery type clouds. And they’re like all different colors. Like multicolored and they’re hanging in the air, almost like cotton candy or angel’s hair. It looks sort of like angel’s hair hanging there in the air. It’s just like all over the place. There’s like three, looks like there’s three suns in the sky. One of them has like little, like smaller things sort of like … I don’t know what you would call them but like rotating around one of the suns. The other two don’t have that, the other two are just plain. We start walking out into this […] hard sand. It’s not like beach sand, it’s like harder than that.”

There is again a mention of a desert world in Karla Turner’s book Taken, where she speaks of an abductee she calls Angie:

“In February 1989, she had another abduction in which she was called a ‘Chosen One’ and was also shown a scene familiar from other abductee reports. One of the aliens touched her forehead, she said, and ‘a series of graphic images exploded’ in her mind. She saw ‘a reddish-gold desert planet with two setting suns,’ a ‘galaxy,’ a ‘blood-red moon and a fiery orange sun exploding,’ and an ‘underground city’ before she blacked out. When she regained consciousness, an alien told her their home was ‘Cassiopeia in the heavens’ but that they had made a home for themselves on Earth before humans were created. After this, Angie passed out again and was returned home.”

In his book Confirmation, Whitley Strieber provides snippets from the letters many have sent to him describing their own bizarre experiences. On page 149, he cites an experience that sounds somewhat familiar:

“I was standing in the middle of a red plain. The ground beneath my feet was dust… like what I imagine moon dust would be like. There were no rocks, no chunks of anything. I appeared to be in the middle of a street. There were large, tan buildings running up and down this street, in all sort of strange configurations. They were not elaborate at all — just very angular. On the whole, they looked like Spanish missions, if those missions had been designed by Salvador Dali. They were made of some crenulated metallic material that on first glance looked like adobe. The sky above my head was white. Not bright white or cloudy white — it was more like the sky glowed, like it had some innate property of light. On the street were dozens of ‘gray’ creatures. They appeared to be gliding back and fourth up and down the street. They gave off this feeling that I was sort of distasteful to them. I felt big and dirty and ugly.”

As I browsed through Albert Rosales compilation of humanoid sighting reports for 1989 on unfoino.com, I came across an interesting case that occurred in Mezhriybaza, Uzbekistan. On the fitting night of October 31, UFOFORUM in Russia reported that:

“A local bookkeeper, X. Saidov, spotted a large dazzling object descending towards the ground. After the object landed, a tall robot-like being wearing a silvery suit emerged from the object. Terrified, Saidov is unable to move and apparently loses consciousness. Waking up later, he finds himself in a desert like location standing among the sands. He could see hills and pyramids around him. He sees a man and woman exit one of the pyramids, but he remained paralyzed and felt the ground under him become soft. He soon lost consciousness again. Later he found himself standing next to his car close to the village.”

In her first book, Into the Fringe (pages 102-103) Karla Turner provides another reference to a desert world as she describes speaking with her son, David, who had experienced an apparent recollection of two scenes super-imposed over one another. One of these images depicted a sandstorm on a world that was entirely desert, and the sky seemed hardly distinguishable, for “the only way I could tell the sky from the ground was that the sky was a lighter shade of tan.” The second image depicted “an outside area at night, pitch-black. But I could see something in front of me. It looked like a fifteen-foot-tall tree trunk or irregular column, and it was covered with thick, dark brown fur” and that though he “could see some sort of appendage near the top of the column”, he was clueless as to its nature.

As Karla Turner noted in that same book, this experience bears an uncanny resemblance to an incident described in chapter 26 of Whitley Strieber’s 1989 novel, Majestic, which is a fictional account based on the Roswell story. In the novel, Nick Duke, a Baltimore reporter, investigates a lead given to him by Wilfred Stone, an ex-director of the CIA. In the chapter in question, the character of Wilfred Stone describes what to him was a strange and confusing experience in which he seemed to have found himself on a planet which appeared like Saturn in which he was “standing in a desert. It was strewn with sharp black boulders that shone dully in the weak light.” He described “the grit underfoot” and how “the air was crackling dry and the sky was brown.” He felt as if he were some unthinking animal as he ran across the world. He described two suns, one that was just setting as the scene began, leaving him in darkness, and the other, red sun rising in the midst of his encounter with what appeared to be a gigantic mantis. It was the furry tree trunk description that resonated with David’s mental image, and David seemed to be describing the insect’s legs.

The description of the planet looking like Saturn echoes my feelings; after all, my memories of a desert world is what inspired me to get that mural of Saturn on my wall when I was in junior high. The large insect theme at least resonates with my recollections to some degree. Yet is this all just coincidence?

If so, it would appear to extend beyond anecdotal reports from others considering the recently discovery concerning what are known as “land planets.”

The habitable or “Goldilocks” zone is the area around a given star that will neither be too hot nor too cold for a planet’s surface to potentially hold liquid water and therefore perhaps some form of extraterrestrial life. The habitable zone is dependent not just on the stage of the star but also on the type of planet. Aqua planets such as our earth have more surface water than land, suffering a rampant greenhouse effect if they orbit too close and going ice-9 if their orbit strays too far. Land planets are essentially the polar opposite of aqua planets, as they are composed of vast desert landscapes pot-marked here and there with oases, but void of any semblance of an ocean. One would assume that life would be primarily subterranean, as there may be relatively abundant water beneath the surface, and perhaps otherwise isolated to the oases forming from the springs that bleed through the desert skin.

Additional differences between aqua and land planets were presented in the 2011 paper “Habitable Zone Limits for Dry Planets,” written by Yutaka Abe, Ayako Abe-Ouchi, Norman H. Sleep, and Kevin J. Zahnle and published in the magazine Astrobiology. Their research suggests that if a land planet and an aqua planet orbited the same star, the habitable zone for the land planet would be roughly three times larger, enabling it to be both closer and farther away from the star and still sustain life. This would mean that life-bearing planets such as our own might be relatively rare, with land planets in all likelihood standing as the more common celestial nest for budding life in the cosmos.

Of course, this notion of land planets or desert worlds being fertile for life all really constitutes an educated guess in the end, albeit one heavy on the education. In any case, its interesting, and in no fashion do I for a moment think this means the entire alien landscape in my memory is indeed an accurate depiction of past events I was privy to in one form or another and not some unconsciously-generated fantasy I became emotionally ensnared in.

Still, it could all make sense as a fantasy. In my own case, perhaps the alter takes the form of an alien in response to constantly having to face and fight with my deeply-rooted feeling that I somehow simply did not belong anywhere. Perhaps this sense of “alienation” is also why while alone as a child I played with my hands and pretended they were two aliens meandering about their planet’s surface. Perhaps the alien personality took root in the rich history of the dead alien desert world that served as a backdrop to my private childhood playtime. Perhaps the personality sincerely believes that history is true, that this history is its own. Perhaps the purpose it serves is to give me an explanation for my sense of isolation. It has relevance, I feel, that this explanation has been regarded with tremendous fear and horror for me since I was sixteen (and if the memories are not false memories, as far back as six). If the purpose of the alter was to offer explanations that would produce psychological comfort, it undoubtedly failed.

There is no doubt that Saturn, named after the Roman god of agriculture, has a good deal of cultural associations that would make it an optimal choice for my unconscious in the creation of spontaneous fantasies. Saturn is thought to be characterized by coldness, dryness, time, constriction, law, karma, fate, judgment, structure and death. It is also associated with the father, specifically the darker issues associated with him if he is not outright tyrannical, and the Goblin Man, if not a true alien but rather a symbol, would very likely be a manifestation for (clearly unconscious) darker issues with my actual father. In any case, the symbolic usage here as a whole would seem to bear a tight cohesion in terms of meaning if one is to regard it as hallucinatory.

The issue remains, however: as a fantasy, it does not seem altogether appealing to my inner eye, as I have a general distaste for the kind of laziness that goes on in popular fiction writing. To offer a relevant example, there is the tendency for sci-fi writers to fashion entire planets composed of one specific appearance and season in contrast to, for instance, our own planet which is composed of deserts, tropics, the arctic tundra, and all varying types of environment. On occasion they show signs of differing weather patterns, but not so much in terms of seasons or varying types of climate. We imagine Yoda living in a swamp-world, we imagine waterworlds and, often enough, desert worlds. Tatooine of Star Wars, known to my young self quite well, and Arrakis of Frank Herbert’s Dune series, which I have never read, though a friend gave me the book some years ago and it still rests amongst the others on my shelves. Nor have I ever seen the movie, in my recollection. There are quite a few movies using desert worlds, in fact, and I intended to watch some of them to see if they contained elements from my memories. The idea, of course, was to come across a movie that depicted the scenes I so vividly recalled and prove to myself that I wasn’t even original in my pseudo-delusions. To the small degree in which I have actualized this intention, I have found nothing in comparison to my memories. So do my notions of a desert world not just constitute an active, unconsciously-generated fantasy, but one borne of a significant lack of creativity?