It is from the secret pages of the ‘Book of Nature’ that the original meaning of the ‘occult’ was first drawn. As lovely as one finds the careful curve of a daimonic sigil, the cunning craft of a cautiously cut wand, or the potent poesis evoked by a proper turn of mantric phrase, these are but aesthetic adornments lavished on deeper essential elements. Music remains one of the most powerful ways to return our attention to the secret root at the heart of occultism.
The distinction between dissociation and transcendence is not always easy to make. At Harvard in the early 1960s, we experimented with DMT. While most of us found the experience to be chaotic and dissociative, one of our visitors assumed a yoga posture and sat in deep meditative absorption for 40 minutes, thanked us and left. The ability to make sense of the experience would certainly be a function of having had some prior experiences of transcendent consciousness…
To the extent that these experiences are convincing, detailed, explorable, real, they make fluid the line between the visionary and the everyday worlds. Perhaps they teach us to de-reify the world, to personify, to mythologize — to obliterate the boundaries, construct a visionary world from the detritus of the everyday, let us see through, turn the world into metaphor, into magic.
She realized now that the attraction had begun the moment she’d first set eyes on him weeks before when he lay gaunt and wasted in the royal hospital, on the edge of death. She’d wanted to cut his throat but had ended up saving his life. Read the last of four selections from the new novel War God.