I had to start. It is just too much of October to me and though it’s fine and reasonable to do it whenever, I needed to start now, while it was still October. I don’t know how that’s going to work, how I’m going to work nine nights in a row, but once you’re in, you’re in, so I’ll just make it happen.
Talking about religious things is difficult and yet, if we don’t, how will the people who come after us know the landscape?
So, it’s like this, for me. I believe there is this world and the other world and that they sit, nestled in each other, and we will all pass over one day, but sometimes you can press against the curtain and make out the faint shapes of folks on the other side. Sometimes, you can feel them press back.
For me, it is a sensation of leaning forward, more than anything. I don’t know how else to explain it. There’s here and you lean forward a little and there’s there. Usually, I’m not leaning forward with my body, though there are times when I come back and my body is leaning forward.
I think of it like learning to be intoxicated without the intoxicants. It’s nothing to hallucinate after dropping acid. But to learn to hallucinate without it is the trick. If you think of it like a piano, you know, someone hits the key and the note is made. But, in this case, you are the piano and you are trying to pull down that key in order to strike that note. It’s tricky, but you know the key depresses. It’s just a matter of figuring out how to make it come down without a finger’s weight on it.
So, yeah, you totally could use drugs. I don’t because I have a job and I need the health insurance. But you could.
Otherwise, you just have to practice.
I worry this sounds crazy. And yet, when folks talk about the power of prayer or whatever, that’s okay. And really, it’s all equally crazy or not.
So, this is what I do. I mark off a space, usually with lit candles surrounding me. I set something to smoldering–usually herbs from my garden–so that it even smells different. Tonight it was sage, rosemary, and lavender. And then, I sit there quietly and wait for the shift. For my brain to let go enough that I can lean in. And sometimes, it’s like a fairy tale. And sometimes, it’s like a dream. And sometimes, you can’t quite connect.
And sometimes, it’s really wild and strange and wonderful.
This is the most important thing I do for myself all year, to reconnect and recommit to a world wild and ultimately fundamentally unknowable, to learn and practice the signs and skills folks before me have figured out.
I suppose it’s possible that it’s all in my head. But I have to say, even if it is, it’s a part of me I can’t otherwise get to, that lets me work through things I otherwise can’t figure out. And it for sure causes my brain to produce some chemical that makes me feel good, which seems to me to be a sign that my brain would like me to continue to do it.
In other words, I’m not sure a dismissive, logical explanation would really change its importance for me.