This is A WORLD OUT OF MIND, my Online Journal where I explore Consciousness and the Ultimate Nature of Reality by the intentional alteration of my own belief structures, using Salvia Divinorum and additional self-altering meditational techniques drawn from Western Ceremonial Magic.

I always attempt to adhere to the scientific method as much as possible in my explorations, and while I often speak of these experiences as if I knew they were Truth, I always consider the alternative, that it is merely self-deception on my part, and think accordingly. Thus I maintain two parallel world views at once, one aspirational and one a safe fallback into standard materialism.

The more I journey into salviaspace, the more I think the former worldview is the correct one, but there is no objective way to prove that to the world, so I'll let you, the reader, decide for yourselves.

-Saint Brian the Godless

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Fly And I

This entry is not as much about Salvia Divinorum as it is about my life as a shaman, or whatever the hell I am. Sure, I experiment with Salvia Divinorum in an attempt to understand more about reality and my mind and how the two interact, but I had a history before that of let's say, an unusual life.

As a young boy of seven I woke up in the middle of the night one evening and the entire room was alive with large, detailed translucent to semitransparent insects of all kinds, crawling, jumping, creeping and flying all over the room, on every surface, and hovering or zipping around in the air. A row of ten-inch aphids walked up one side of the dresser, across the top, and down the other side like ducks in a shooting gallery, while my head was repeatedly getting buzzed by a Meganeura monyii, the extinct dragonfly with the three-foot wingspan. And they never went away, at least not completely. It was the beginning of a lifetime of hypnagogic hallucinations, always present in the background. (I also had some epileptiform seizures at this time of my life, attributed to a cat allergy.) I remember as a kid I used to look at a "scene," and if I liked it I had to try not to blink, because every time I blinked the "channel" would change, as it were, and it would be a different scene. Everything from bugs or animals to geometrics or cityscapes or hovering piles of what looked like chains, against a spinning star field.

Eventually the fine details disappeared, so that today at 52 years of age all I get are the spinning starfields (at all times) (I've learned long ago to ignore them) and also, sometimes when I'm looking at a bright light, I see something that looks for the life of me like rapidly moving tiny spermatozoa, only without tails, showing up against the light, each leaving a tiny wake or trail after them that quickly disappears. Like thousands of them, independent paths, moving about and interlacing paths very rapidly, seemingly resembling what you might see under a microscope in Biology class. They look very much alive. And I mean that. They seem realistically, actualy alive, like some highly motile bacteria in an aqueous solution seen under a brightfield microscope speeded up in time, only they are not bacteria. I have no idea what they are, if anything.

I've realized that my SD visions in recent times resemble (but far surpass) these old childhood hallucinations whose remnants persist in my eyes to this day, especially in general color scheme, the light bluish green and the muted blood red with black and some other tones present as well. I was a "bug nerd" even as a little boy, so it's natural that insects dominated my "visions" back then; I've loved science all my life, even before I was seven. I also had a lifelong burning curiosity about the nature of reality; even when I was very young, every night as I fell asleep I'd visualize the stars so very far away, beyond the roof above my head, and I'd wonder what all of this thing called "life" really is, and what it means. I would say that it rose to the level of an obsession.

In my thirties one day I day had a lucid dream experience, my very first, as I lay dozing on my couch. In it I immediately thought to experiment with myself, since I could not awaken and yet I could crack my eyes open and see the actual room around me *as well as* the 'dream room' around me when my eyes were closed. So with my eyes closed I raised my left hand up from where it rested on my chest and held it in front of my face. Then I opened my eyes. No hand. It's still on my chest. But I can *feel* it still there in front of my face! Then again with my eyes closed, I slid my "hands" down my own legs, past my knees, all the way down to my ankles. I could clearly feel my legs with my hands and my hands with my legs. Then I realized that I had not *sat up.* How did my hands reach my legs without me sitting up? So again, I opened my eyes. No hands, no arms, they're still folded across my chest; apparently my "dream arms" had simply lengthened enough to feel my ankles. So then, being REALLY intrigued, I held up my left hand again, this time with my eyes cracked open. I could *feel* it hanging right there in front of my face, but I could at the same time *see* that it had not moved from my chest, for I could not *actually* move at all. Then I concentrated on my invisible "dream" hand in front of my face, and I could actually see it, but so very faintly that it was almost not visible at all; it was just a dark shadow with no details able to be seen. Hmm. What to do with a ghost hand that you can feel as if it were your actual one? I had an idea. I had of course heard the usual spiel that our psychic powers as humans (when we have them) come from an area between the eyes situated just above them, the "Third Eye" area. Poppycock. However, being bored and in an unusual situation, what I did then with my "ghost hand" was to extend my "ghost" index finger, and while affirming to myself that I indeed wanted to open my Third Eye, I pressed down with my invisible finger on the spot where I thought that it might be located. Now, here's the kicker: Much to my surprise, my "ghost" finger (which I could clearly feel) sank into my forehead up to the second knuckle. I remember that my skull felt as if it were the consistency of somewhat stiff modeling clay.

I was shocked enough by this development that I lost the train of thought of the dream shortly thereafter and I eventually woke up. On that day, the coincidences began. Huge, glaring coincidences, sometimes double or even triple ones. Jungian Synchronicities, to be more precise, but in droves. And I still get them, almost every single day. These drove me, a scientific realist by nature, onto a different path that led from one thing to another and eventually to an investigation of such things as would be normally termed "The Occult." I learned the Hermetic Kaballah and about the idea of Gnosis. I learned the Tarot. And I learned to do magic. And I still do from time to time. It tends to work, you see.

Alongside all of this in my life, my scientific side sought to explain it, and my conclusions led me to quantum physics and eventually to my current speculations of a universe that is a series of overlapping purely psychological realities, formed of primal consciousness, more like a consensual dream than it is like what we think of it, which is to say, "dead matter and energy and time and space."

Now to my most recent experiences. Three nights ago, a green bottle fly, Phaenicia sericata (or Lucilia sericata, depending on authority) flew into our house. I do not like to kill anything, even a fly, and I have in recent times become even more sympathetic to other life forms, but I generally will kill a fly because they spread disease. So I attempted to catch it, to feed it to my terrarium, or just to swat it. Let's just say that I tried to dispose of the fly, with absolutely no luck, and I'm pretty good at it. It was fast as lightning, and very aware of its surroundings. Now, earlier that day I was reading a book on shamanism, and it spoke of the idea of a "spirit animal." Not something that I believe in, but I'm reading a book, so okay fine... According to the author, it is likely that the shaman has already met his or her spirit animal but has never recognized it as such. Something that you perhaps once had a vision of in childhood. AHA!. It passed through my mind that my spirit animal might be an Insect. Or perhaps the whole class Insecta, considering the multiplicity of them in those early visions.

Now, this part is important: I DID NOT ACTUALLY BUY INTO THIS STUFF. Nor do I now, however it pertains to the story. So, this green bottle fly is buzzing around the house, and I tried many times to catch it and never got close. I had moved into my bedroom and was standing up to watch TV, when I saw the fly fly into the bedroom with me. It alighted upon a crumpled tissue on my dresser next to me. So, ON A WHIM, I said in my mind "so if you're my spirit animal, let's make friends." I extended my hand slowly toward the fly on the Kleenex. It didn't flit away; it moved to follow my hand's motion. I placed the hand directly in front of it, and slowly moved it toward the fly. It climbed onto my hand. So there I am, standing like a fool in the bedroom with a fly on his hand, staring at me, when my wife walks in. I show her the fly on the hand, and at that moment it flew from my right hand to my left one, and just sat there for a while. I told my wife that apparently I'd made friends with it. It flew away from me at that point and landed on the TV screen, so I went up to it, again extended my hand, and it again climbed on, so I gently closed my hand, and took it outside, where I told it to tell it's friends that I didn't kill it, and it flew away. :-)

The next night, the night before last, I was standing in the identical place in my bedroom where the fly had flown from my right hand to my left, again watching TV, and suddenly I saw very, very briefly something flying directly toward my head at high speed, just before it flew into my slightly open mouth and landed on my tongue. I immediately and forcibly exhaled, spitting it out, and of course, it was a green bottle fly, which then flew out of the room. I told my wife in amazement, and marveled at the coincidence. I hadn't seen anything yet though, because approximately an hour later my wife went to take a sip out of her bottle of soda, and immediately felt something in her mouth, vibrating against her lower teeth, trapped against them by her lips. She spat out the green bottle fly that had been sitting on the mouth of the bottle all the time. It staggered a bit on the counter and then took off, and so I caught it with the bug catcher and released it outside, and it seemed okay as it flew away.

This really happened, just as I told it, and no, my house is not constantly full of green bottle flies; quite the contrary I assure you. These sorts of highly coincidental/synchronistic things happen to me all the time, ever since that lucid dream back in my thirties. What they mean, I'm not certain, other than that they seem to be subtle clues to the fact that reality is not as it appears to be. Either that, or I guess I'm Mephistopheles.

-Saint Brian

PS: Incidentally, we both used a whole lot of mouthwash...

Monday, June 10, 2013

A View Through My Own Hand

THREE NIGHTS AGO: The green glow was suffusing the room and I decided to try to awaken my wife on purpose. (Sometimes it just happens when the glow touches her) So I concentrated on her waking up, on establishing that connection, and *felt* something happening. At that time the green glow seemed to swirl in her direction. She started to awaken, making a few small sounds and stirring in her sleep. At that point I decided to test this further by intentionally stopping, and taking my attention away from her. She dropped back off to sleep again. Waiting about thirty seconds so as to be sure she was asleep as before, I then started to concentrate on waking her up again. At that point the green glow obligingly swirled in her direction yet again, and she immediately woke up fully, and we talked about it. She's very gracious to be my lab rat like that, don't you think? LAST NIGHT: Last night was another profound experience, different from any before. In short, this is what happened: I felt the salvia taking me over, saw the greenish glow suffuse the room, then of course it caused my wife to stir in her sleep as always, but I'm used to that now so I didn't stop there to wonder about that again. The room seemed to be divided by barely-perceptible planes that I could feel going through my body and I soon felt that I was a plural consciousness (again) and the room was many rooms all superimposed. I played around with this for a while, getting a feel for it, and then it occured to me that perhaps if my body was in multiple planes of existence at once and so was the room, I might be able to perceive a difference between my physical body in one plane and the room in another one, if different planes of reality were being perceived simultaneously like it felt that they were. Reasoning that since moving my hand is something rather common for me, and so it would be likely that it might be in another position in another plane of reality, I thought that I might be able to hold my hand up and perceive both the plane where I was holding it up and another one where I was not holding it up, at the same time. So I attempted to do this. I remember that it was very difficult, something akin to tuning my brain to two "stations" at once, but I managed to accomplish it, and then something happened that was a first, something absolutely unprecidented in my life, something that I could not have ever imagined happening to me. I saw through my own hand! That's right, you read that correctly. I held my hand up in front of my face, and with some concentration and "fine tuning" of my own mind (hard to describe, that) I clearly saw the room around me through it. I focused on a square air filter about two feet on a side with a front grill in the corner of the room about four feet away from me. I closed my left eye (to eliminate unconcious "cheating" by the other eye possibly seeing around my hand) and using only my right eye, I still saw a clear image of the air filter and the corner of the room near it *through* my own hand. Not believing this was real at first (who would?!) and thinking it was perhaps just an afterimage on my retina that I was perceiving, I moved my head around while still blocking my view of the air filter with my hand, looking at various angles, all with the hand in front of the eye, and still throughout all this I could see the air filter through my hand, sitting there steady and motionless in the corner as if the hand weren't blocking my view of it. I removed the hand and it was precisely where I could *see* it before I took the hand away... I did this several times to be sure, combining it with movement of my head (and hand) to shift perspective, but no, whenever I removed the hand, no movement, no jump in position (of the *actual* air filter and room) that would have indicated that the image was solely in my mind and not reflecting an actual view of the room. The air filter was right where it appeared to be through my hand, every single time that I took it away. I noted that while I clearly *saw* the air filter through my hand, it was not *seen* in normal light. Instead I *saw* it in that familiar lambent green light that comes into my vision whenever I take SD. But I saw it clearly, very sharp, even though it was a dim vision and not bright and vivid. So basically, consider my mind blown... UPDATE 11 JUNE: I just wanted to add, for those in doubt of my sanity, that I don't *actually* know what all this means, if anything. I mean, I did see through my own hand, and that was very convincing, but all of this may still be simply hallucinations on an order that I didn't expect existed with any drug. I don't know why my wife always wakes up; I know that it isn't noise because I am very aware in these moments and conscious of being very still, and also we always have an air conditioner running in the background (white noise) and she sleeps very soundly. However, lest ye be fearful that my mind is in the slow process of snapping like a twig, rest assured that it is not. I am still very sane. I am always of two minds concerning these "experiments" of mine, literally. One half of me always holds fast to scientific realism, because if all of this is a mirage then I want to have something to fall back on when it falls apart, and also as an anchor to consensual reality so that I do not stray too far out into the hinterlands of my own delusion. However it must be said that so far, while I have sustained no harm, I can't seem to see any way in which these experiences of mine do not have some objective reality, considering how often my wife, or my dog, or even my son's cat, are apparently affected by what by all rights should be just a guy sitting silently in a room having hallucinations. I feel that a certain amount of belief is necessary in order to fully explore these experiences, so I literally have partitioned my mind, allowing a measure of belief to creep in, but always with a 'proviso' that it's a temporary condition, and always with "one foot in the waters of reality."