Every so often Facebook's consistently irritating time capsule reminders can turn up a forgotten gem.
I wrote this, now bereft of any context, five years ago on the much anticipated solstice: December 21st, 2012.
2012 was the new millennialism for the "New Edge" or the "consciousness culture" that I found myself in at the time (and still do, though the edges of what we call culture and counter-culture are so blurred as to be less useful a word these days). I was never one to believe in any literal spiritual ascension or world transformations happening on that specific date, especially with its dubious origins (mis)interpreting Meso-American calendrical systems, but I was open to the possibility of inner, or esoteric spiritual developments. Aeons that shifting on the level of archetypal reality.
Now that I look back at this piece of writing—which came through me like a zap of lightning!—I can't help but feel that it was an act of prescience.
There may be some tremendous and spiritual inner transformation taking place at the heart of our world, I don't know though I would like to think so, but the past five years have been more like riding a wild thunderstorm, or clutching the Earth as the grounds swell, the mountains quaking as the Titans begin to stir beneath our feet. 2017 has seen the United States backslide into ethnonationalism, fires burn—and, achingly, burn and burn—in California, and we seem all too ready to disregard the massive effort needed to prepare, or steer ourselves away from the climate change catastrophe.
So, where is the transformation?
Well, one way of looking at the turbulent years we've been dealt is to consider that transformation requires an apocalypse: literally, an overturning, before any new day can be seen. Cracks in the iron prison burst forth with new lines of flight. Hairline fractures splinter off in fractal delight with unborn seasons, glimmering potentialities.
In the tension between the past of 2012 and the 2017 of the present, consciousness exploration as boomed in popular attention through the meteoric rise in legalization of psychedelics (M.A.P.S. and the treatment of war veterans for PTSD). Pop culture and occulture seem to have merged into a new celebration of high weirdness (just see the film adaption of Annihilation coming out in February 2018). Cryptocurrencies are lighting up radically progressive and decentralized economic discussions (conversations I noticed being held a decade ago in academia, when it came to thoughts on decentralized societies, networked thinking, and the shift from the industrialized nation-state to the noetic polity of planetization). Grassroots movements are swelling for a progressive, re-organized left that speaks to the new sensibilities of the younger generations.
The tectonic shifts are not all bad. When you break the old, the new has a place to grow. It would seem the old has no problem breaking down these days. So we must be present here and "do the work", hold the important conversations, and bring the light down with us into the dark.
This brings me to the piece I wrote rather spontaneously, five years ago, which seemed to be warning my conscious mind that the years ahead would not be easy. "You tumble forwards, down, down into the world," I wrote, "not knowing what radiance you have brought with you." A message in a digital bottle, intended to be read on the other side of 2012 when the brittle New Age gloss has chipped off—"let the painted glass fall away"— and we find ourselves standing amongst all the raging fires of the world.
An apt meditation for our year of 2017. As we enter 2018, let's not forget the "radiance" we bring with us into the darkness. Tomorrow's promise is in the "the work", the alchemical present.
December 21st, 2012:
Now go, go down deep into the Earth and do the work. It is called of you in winter to brew soul-crafts and potions, tinctures and alchemies of smiles to possess the living in their forgotten state. Go down into the world and reap the good work, the work that beckons and calls and rewards little immediately, but always, always is working towards some new alchemy. This is the work you must do. All the while your heart will chip against the painted glass to beckon the light, and call down the daylight. So go down, down, deep into the Earth. And know that the sun would not abandon you, would you pierce though in a single moment and let it pale the crypt with light and let the green life grow even here. Let your trembled hands steady, and your sweat testify to the groaning that takes place in your soul. You tumble forwards, down, down into the world, not knowing what radiance you have brought with you, snagged in your coat and irreplaceable in your eyes. So go down, and let the painted glass fall away. In all these ways the soul of the world creeps into the heart and trips time into the abyss; now here and evermore before invisible light.