Friday, October 19, 2018

Le Portail des Papillons

Le Portail des Papillons (The Portal of Butterflies) - digital - 2018, DS.
(Click to enlarge.)

(Note: Sorry for the delay; this post is now complete.)

"Part of me likes the idea that I somehow persist after biological death; it might even be possible, albeit in ways currently antithetical to materialistic science. Empirical science (as currently practiced) may be missing something crucial; if consciousness exists after the demise of its neurological substrate, then it's likely our current definition of consciousness is simply wrong-headed. Maybe brains are more akin to receivers than computers and we're all tuned to the same channel, or at least the same spectrum."

- Mac Tonnies from this September, 2004 Posthuman Blues post.

"Famed astrophysicist Stephen Hawking says black holes, the mysterious massive vortexes formed from collapsed stars, do not destroy everything they consume but instead eventually fire out matter and energy 'in a mangled form.'"

The bad part about this is that, according to Hawking, black holes can't be used as portals to parallel universes; I'd hoped that some black holes might function as "emergency exits" when the universe begins to die (whether through runaway expansion or the reverse pyrotechnics of the "Big Crunch").

I still haven't quite given up; I leave the task of migrating to other universes to posthuman ingenuity."

- Mac Tonnies from this July, 2004 Posthuman Blues post. The artist's interpretation of a black hole (inset right) was found via this article.

"The problem of “translating the untranslatable” was addressed by the 16th century alchemist Gerhard Dorn, with the notion of what he called the spiracle – in Latin, the Spiraculum Eternitatis, the window or breathing hole into eternity, which Jung writes about extensively as the conjunction of opposites in Mysterium Coniunctionis. The spiracle is described as a hole or passageway in the field of consciousness that allows the “autonomous dynamism of the collective unconscious” to break through into the realm of the personal unconscious. In this joining, it can, to some degree, be worked and translated into living, material reality, whether through word, image, other expressive means, or through lived life itself.  (von Franz, 1980)...

Dorn conceived of the spiracle as a window to eternity, a mysterious center pre-existent in us, linking us to the cosmos, while opening up and bridging the different levels of body, soul and spirit. Through the spiracle one may journey across the threshold in between the above and below, and bring traces of one world into the other and back again – a kind of conception and cross-fertilization between inconsonant realms. The spiracle links and joins these different levels, rendering it possible to reconcile incommensurable opposites through finding a third – a new space or medium which is neither one nor the other, but both."

- Excerpt from an intriguing online Arras article (.pdf): The Spiracle in Alchemy and Art by Diane Fremont (2017). Inset left is the title page from Gerhard Dorn's alchemical text Chymisticum artificium.


In a matter of days the subtitle of Post-Mac Blues will change... from an "8 Year Post-Mac Time Capsule" to a 9 year one. Yes, it's been close to a decade since Mac has been gone and this memorial was initially created. That the two anniversaries should fall mid-autumn on and around the "Day of the Dead" is one of life's little ironies.

This post was slated to appear October 18th, the anniversary of the actual day of Mac's passing... but, as things generally go, neither my muse (nor my more practical self) were quite prepared. In effect, I drew a blank. What could I possibly have to say after nine years that hasn't been said many times in the past? The only plan which came to me was to draw attention to the fact that the number 9 is, theoretically and esoterically, the number of completion...  a rite of passage and the end of a cycle. But, during the course of blogging, I probably mentioned that before, too.

As it happened, it was a dream - specifically the end of a dream - which inadvertently set my little grey cells in motion. The dream featured butterflies (like the Tiger Swallowtail inset left)... and that's about all I'm willing to divulge, but, I had reason to believe that it was, in part, a message from Mac. Okay, not a lengthy report... just a little news flash, as in "Hi again, I'm okay; just passing through..."

But, no, it doesn't really matter if anyone - including myself - believes the dream truly held a message... nor if all those presently reading these paragraphs assume I'm deluded. I often am. The bottom line is that, when I awoke, I felt quite refreshed and almost happy. As this is a rare occurrence, I must conclude that something extraordinary happened.

For those of you who have no knowledge of this sort of thing, that is: the sudden, unwarranted appearance of butterflies (or dragonflies, cicadas, hummingbirds and the like) before, at the time, or just after a loved one's death, the fact is, it's actually a commonplace occurrence in the realm of mediumistic phenomena. Formally referred to as "After Death Communications" (ADCs), it seems many bereaved people are visited by these same, small creatures (mentioned above) in odd ways... encounters which produce an unusually strong emotional response. Most often, the events reported occur in the waking state. But, regarding dreams, well, if there is any ideal "medium" for mediumistic phenomena, the lucid dream would have to be a major contender. And, why is this? Dreams, meta-communications - and even artistic endeavors - rely (heavily) upon symbols, archetypes, interpretations and enigmatic synchronistic events. Like cryptic notes from a shadowy underground, they are all ambiguous. But, then again, when dealing with loss, sometimes they're all we have...