Saturday, 24 June 2017

Through Enemy's Eye




What defines an enemy?  How might we conceptualize an enemy of life and love?  To understand is, hopefully, to be wise.  I cannot say I am wise or that I understand, but I know of enemies.  I met the devil once.  He came to me not as an angel but as a man.  He said his name was Thomas Mary.  He said he played rag-time back when the twentieth century was born. Theft as Art. Indeed he was beguiling, unsettlingly so.  One form among many, I suppose.  But he breathed Milton, looking back at me through the stolen eyes of passers by.  I even saw him in the sky once, skinless and shining.  Perhaps he thinks me naïve, with a dull, earnest sort of intelligence.  Perhaps he just likes to flirt.  I imagine he respects me in his way.  If not respect, then at least intrigue.  I fancy he wouldn't have shown himself to me so overtly otherwise. Thomas is a cad, a sentient knife.  Even his smile can open flesh.  He wants to swallow creation with his eye.  We spoke of circles, stories, the unseen embrace.  We spoke of Moon and Sun, and lion-headed serpents.  He said he is the disguise, not the thing beneath.  It's how he moves among many.  I almost understand him.  Tom is an engineer.  Come Josephine in My Flying Machine.  

Tom is very frightening.  He told me I look like someone he knew once, but only a little.  It's an intimate sort of contempt, a kisscut.  But I tell him I have already been cut to ribbons by Love, of a warmer sort than his icy hands.  He has heard this from the tongues of men before.  Thomas wants to eat us, forever.  He tells me he's read everything I've ever written. It's nonsense, he says, but he likes it.  Really, Tom, I'm flattered.  People don't realize the devil has walked among men as man.  He tells me truth is recursive, that there is no escaping him or what he intends to bring upon the earth.  And yet, he allows himself to entertain the possibility. Tom is a curious thing.  Make a choice then, he says.  Any choice.  Let's see what happens. Thomas Mary is walking fury, the ultimate humorist.  He's made a true art of violation, but he leaned forward one night and whispered to me that he would love to be surprised.  My dull intelligence – my meat-tethered star – doesn’t stop me from choosing.  I will never choose him, but he already knows that.  I saw him walking among us, as the sighted sometimes do.  I once kissed the surface of his eye, reached right through, and still dared for something greater.  I search instead for something warmer, something kinder.  I search for prodigal suns returning from the wilderness.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Londinium



London is the jewel of my imagination.  I was born and have lived my entire life in this city.  This ancient, haunted place often makes me muse on the nature of Revelation.  What it means to see, and to be given sight.  I've lived in a lot of places in this city.  Most recently I moved from Streatham; an area in the borough of Lambeth south of the river.  Streatham was, among other things, the place where a teenage Aleister Crowley lived for a time.  But now I find myself once again in Brixton, still south of the river.  And London still speaks to me of revelation.  At the end of my road there is a grand church, and I am rather fond of churches.  It is St John the Divine, with the tallest spire in south London.  It is a huge thing framed at the end of my road and towering above the street.  This particular church is unique in all of London.  It is adorned with caricatures of the British royal family depicted as gargoyles.  Just behind the church is Patmos Road, a road I often walk to reach a beautiful Victorian public park, one of the few surviving Victorian urban parks in London.  But this little road I walk – Patmos Road – is named for the Greek island where John the Apostle is said to have received his Revelation in the Cave of the Apocalypse.  The church itself – St John the Divine – also features a life-sized statue of a crucified Christ upon the outside of the building.  I often glance upon this statue as I make my way home at night.  The whole area seems to speak of visions and revealings.  But then, so much of London does for those with eyes to see.

These musings recently inspired me to visit St Paul's Cathedral.  I love walking around this city, drinking in its sights, sounds and energies.  I hadn't done it to my own satisfaction in a while.  Before arriving at the cathedral I sat for a while in St Peter Cheap; a little square just off Wood Street, only a stone's throw from St Paul's.  The little square was the site of a medieval church dedicated to St Peter that was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666.  It now houses a surviving eighteenth century plane tree remarked upon by William Wordsworth in his poem 'Reverie of Poor Susan', in which he speaks evocatively of mountains ascending and a vision of trees.   As I sat on one of the benches in the square and thought about the poet's words I noticed a graffiti on the centre of the wall behind me, faint but still legible.  The graffiti felt rather Gnostic, and rather sobering: They Live. We are the harvest.

Thinking about those chilling words and the possible impetus of the person who had scrawled them there I took the very brief walk to St Paul's.  I even wondered if I would come upon any other Gnosticism-resonant graffiti on my journey.  And then, as these things often happen, I noticed words in faded black marker on a set of ground-level doors at the left-hand side of the cathedral.  Again the words were faint but still legible.  On the doors of this basilica to Paul the Apostle was written the Goddess is here, no more lies.  Also was written Ishtar is here, and Sophia.  And beside it the eight-pointed star of the Babylonian goddess of Love and War.  I wondered at how long the graffiti had been there.  It seemed it had been there for a while at least.  I made my way up the front steps of the great cathedral and sat before its main entrance on the top step.  I smoked a few cigarettes, drank from a bottle of mineral water, and thought about how important this cathedral was to me.  It occupies a powerful place in my own internal dreamscape.  My mother Diana had always intended to call me Paul until my father forbid it, claiming that his son should have a Hindu name rather than a Christian one.  But even as a child I often thought of Paul as my 'secret name'.  And so you can imagine that the history and mythology of St Paul's Cathedral has always held a very personal allure for me.  Resurgam – I shall arise.  As I sat on those steps, looking down Ludgate Hill, I began to think of other historical and mythological resonances important to me.  My birthday is July 22, the Feast Day of Mary Magdelene, and also the date when thousands of Cathars were slaughtered by the Church during the Albigensian Crusade as they prepared to honour that same Magdelene at the town of Beziers in the Languedoc.  These connections and resonances have been with me since I first learned of them in childhood.  As I sat there I thought about Empire and its brutal pursuits.  I thought about the graffiti I'd seen in St Peter Cheap.  They Live. We are the harvest.  I thought about war, terrorism, the hardening of the human heart.  The disavowal of love and empathy.  As my thoughts turned to darker subjects I even recalled that awful Hollywood movie London Has Fallen, that sets its first terrorist atrocity upon the steps of St Paul's Cathedral.  I knew all too well that London often draws its revelations in darker shades, in senseless bloodshed and explicated power.  The very next night I learned of the terror attack at London Bridge.  This chilled me to my core, as you might imagine. 

But that was not the end of my evening.  I left the steps of St Paul's and walked down Ludgate Hill to the Thames.  I followed along the embankment of the great river as twilight began to darken the sky. I sat between the paws of one of the sphinxes at Cleopatra's Needle and smoked a final cigarette as I gazed up at the three-thousand year old monument – the oldest in the city.  Finally as night took the sky I wandered down to Westminster Bridge and listened to the rather ethereal music of a busker.  The evening was warm and a small crowd had gathered around the street musician.  People were smiling, enjoying the music and the warmth of the night.  There on Westminster Bridge I thought again of Wordsworth, as I had done at the start of my journey, and lines from a poem he had composed upon this very bridge.  Dull would he be of soul who could pass by, A sight so touching in its majesty.  It felt like a strange, haunted evening, but full of life and mysterious spirit.  So I didn't pass by.  I stayed on the bridge for a long while with my fellow Londoners, all of us smiling and engaged as the street musician showed us things and took us places.


Londinium from Raj Sisodia on Vimeo.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Orpheum




We live in an increasingly synthetic world.  A world of centralisation, staggering corruption and spectacular cognitive dissonance – for those with eyes to see.  It is a world of shattered dreams where the lifestyles of a handful of lucky minorities are presented as the standard of living for the world at large.  But this is not so, and the most observant among us realise this.  I count myself among these lucky minorities.  I'm not talking about the super-rich.  I'm not talking about the predator-class that have made themselves the elites and sinister gatekeepers of this world.  See, I have access to running water, food and shelter.  In truth the majority of the world's population does not have reliable, consistent access to such amenities.  And although I live below the poverty line in Western terms, comparatively speaking I live like a king.  I did nothing to deserve such luxury.  I was simply born in the heart of Empire, though like many of us I find myself forever on its fringes.  I would have it no other way, really.  Invisibility is one of the many gifts of the edgelands, if you know how to thread the mantle.  And for an Empire such as this one; a deranged, cannibalising black-op hiding in plain sight – seeking total information awareness and complete submission – invisibility of any kind frightens them.  And there are, as magicians and artists are well aware, many ways to cloak one's self.

How does Empire safeguard against this wild, unsanctioned creation of meaning?  Well, we all know they have an arsenal of weapons in this regard, both literal and symbolic.  But the source of such weapons, in my opinion, is the full-scale assault on mutual affection.  The taking of Love and Synergy into a very dark place.  Alienation, dehumanisation, desecration.  After all, very few of us are born as monsters.  Instead we learn, and are taught, monstrous behaviours.  And monstrous appetites. This is the ancient and well-read playbook of Empire.  I against I, me against you.  Survival rather than contemplation or creation.  Empire is built on the conceit that that there are no other ways; that inequality is unavoidable, that oppression is natural.  This lie has claimed the lives and souls of countless millions across time.  This blood-soaked icon of hierarchy, this demonic sleight of hand.  In today's world fair maidens are not simply locked in towers.  They are bound, gagged and trafficked. Make no mistake, this has always been the occupation of Empire.  There are many kinds of underworlds.  Many of them share space and time with us.  Right here, right now.  Empire is a consummate torturer, a rapist and murderer.  Genocide is not a thing that once happened.  It's happening still, both literally and figuratively.

But none of this breaks my spirit.  None of this can remove our Innermost.  Because every single day I witness acts of the most staggering bravery and compassion.  I see men and women fighting for the physical and spiritual health of their brethren.  Every day I see people sacrificing what they have for the well-being of others.  I see kindness and tenderness among friends, thoughtfulness among strangers – and I know that life and breath and divine fire is still present in this world, still seeking to rise.  And sometimes in order to rise you must first descend, into the dark places of Empire where your beloved dwells against his or her will.  And this descent is often terrifying.  It is terrifying to contemplate your beloved in torment, crying out to you across the chasm.  And that is why we journey to these places below the world.  That's why we don the mantle, or break bread in secret, or craft stories that Empire claims we are forbidden to tell.  We do it to honour and embody the spirit.  We do it for Love.  Personally speaking, I can't think of a better reason for doing anything.


Monday, 24 April 2017

The Buried Alexandria



But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

1 Corinthians 2:7–9 


The Buried Alexandria from Raj Sisodia on Vimeo.

Monday, 17 April 2017

The Wickedest Game


"There are no characters in this story and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters."

                                                             - Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five


Hello, friends.  Welcome back to Amid Night Suns.  I hope you all managed to shut out the sound of drums off in the distance for a while and were able to have an enjoyable Easter – or at the very least I hope you managed to steal a few essential bright hours with your families and friends.  I’ve been thinking a lot recently about death and resurrection, as it’s just that time of year.  I recently lost my job and my flat within the same week, so things have been rather chaotic for me.  But, I feel like these personal changes are the micro-expressions of larger macro-cyclical shifts.  Timing, coincidence and synchronicity have always been a rather stunning feature of my life.  I’ve found that the best course of action is usually to surf the wave of such interconnection to the best of my ability.

As anyone who pays close attention to the kinds of themes and topics I explore with this blog will be well aware, I have an interest in all things Gothic, hidden or suppressed.  It’s not merely an aesthetic preference for darker forms of art, because away from this blog my tastes are wide and varied.  But Amid Night Suns has a very particular purpose.  I have a mission statement that I have never wavered from since I started this blog seven years ago.  Part of this mission is to uplift and engage my peers and any passers-by who stumble upon this virtual space – this little corner of radiant darkness illuminated by an ageless star.  Nobody has to agree with or even like the words I write here, or the video-editing projects I present.  This blog is a personal art project, a creative expression space.  But it is intended as far more than that.  If I could encapsulate the purpose of Amid Night Suns into one word, that word would be service.  For me, trying to be of service to your friends and loved ones and people in general – without expectation of reward or acknowledgement – is one of the highest callings that a human being can undertake.  I fail at this service far too often, but I suppose that’s because my sights are set so high and like many artists I am my own worst critic.  This blog doesn’t really have much going for it in the obvious sense.  I have less than a hundred people who follow my work at Amid Night Suns, and probably only a handful of those follow with any regularity.  So why bother?  Because I believe service isn’t just about the number of people that can be reached.  It’s also about the strength and quality of that service for the people who are within your sphere of influence.  To engage or inspire or entertain someone with thoughtful prose or a piece of art is nothing to be belittled or ignored.  In my own life there have been many instances where the modest work of others –shared in a spirit of sincerity and hope – has literally saved my life, or else lifted me up out of my lowest points.  These small victories of the human soul and spirit are nothing to be sniffed at.  Because it’s these small flickering lights across lives and times that collectively shine as bright as the sun.  No man or woman is an island, and no god or spirit either.  Context is inescapable, and as such the seeking of nuance is filled with liberating potential.

It’s for this very reason that the wickedest among us want the human race as contextually illiterate as possible.  It’s why the predator-elites that seek dominion of our realm wish to make nuance and subtlety a kind of anathema.  Critical-thinking becomes fake news, warmongering and hunting-parties become ‘liberations’.  This kind of Orwellian manipulation of language is new to none of us, but its impact is far greater than we usually consider – especially in a reality that seems at least partially to operate in linguistic terms.  In large part we speak and think and write and imagine the world into existence, at least at a cultural level.  The wicked know this.  At the very highest levels of power there is only ever one war raging.  The War of Imagination.  In this fluidic realm where fiction meets fact and perception has more than just one dimension the wickedest among us seek to sanitise and normalise this endless, hideous war.  But war, especially in its heaviest and most physical expression, is never sane.  It is trauma and horror and restless dead.  Because any fool can blithely say they don’t believe in monsters – until they arrive.  There are legions of restless dead who know first-hand of these darker truths. It’s for this reason that spiritual Light is so important, so essential to the psychological health of the human race.

War is horror. It’s nothing to be cheered, or taken lightly.  The wicked know this, which is why they count on us to not understand, or to turn away in shell-shocked bewilderment.  War is ugly, brutal and inhumane.  Most people don’t have the stomach to stare it in the eye, which is why they would rather couch it in euphemism.  Don’t let these predator elites use their psychological and social avatars to ghost-write the most intimate moments of your lives.  Don’t unwittingly build a dark throne for killers, rapists and warlords within the innermost sanctum of your mind.  Reach for love, always.  Reach for nuance, subtlety, mutual affection…and never be afraid to speak the truth in sea of lies.  The game is wicked, but we as a collective of sane and loving individuals are not.  We all seek the light, whether we call it that or not.  But I’m all too aware just how painful and terrifying such seeking can be, especially when darkness and chaos threatens to erupt around us at any moment.  But we are at a point in the year now where we collectively observe and honour the resurrection of the light.  It never truly dies.  We carry it with us, bittersweet at times but always there.  It’s the very thing that allows life, and the appreciation of that life.   It’s this appreciation and contextual agility that makes us real, makes us characters in the stories of our lives.  Revel in that appreciation and agility, and share it with your kith and kin.  Now more than ever.

The Wickedest Game from Raj Sisodia on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Omreya


Sometimes, when all you see is violence, predation and psychosis all around you, it’s difficult to think of spiritual light as little more than a metaphor; a worn out fairytale.  It’s very easy to sink into all the lies and filth, the claims and counter claims being slung like boulders in this war between the cruel giants and merciless demigods of our world.  For those who think the veil isn’t thinning or lifting, I’d ask you to take another considered look at everything happening in our world.  It’s not merely that the oligarchs and predator-elites are past the point of caring and have virtually dispensed with disguises altogether.  It’s far more than that.  What was once unseen is becoming seen, at a gathering pace.  I believe spiritual light – however one wishes to conceptualise it – is the insight and wisdom born of gnosis that can help us remain focused and balanced in a realm of shifting sands. 

Speaking personally, the last few years have been extremely difficult for me.  But I remain in constant communion with my Innermost; that ember of divine fire that dwells in the heart of all sentience.  This secret, imperishable fire has saved my life on many occasions.  Furthermore, it has lifted me out of intellectual and emotional darkness, and inspires me to kindness, empathy and a sense of play among my brethren.  I carry a lot of internal scars, but who doesn’t?  The War of Imagination has been raging for many thousands of years, at least through my own eyes.  This light, this divine fire, can be viewed as a purely artistic conceit to those of a rigidly materialist mindset.  But to others – those who have walked in realms beyond this one – it is an axiomatic principle of all Creation.  But I’ll be the first to admit that this Holy Spirit, this Pneuma, can seem a mere figment when skies darken and monsters seem to cast their pall across the earth.  But peering into the smiling eyes of your children, your friends or your lovers, such knowledge eventually returns; that we cannot truly be separated from that vital breath of life, that Love is indeed real.  The earth is not merely a kingdom of bones, an endless holocaust of blood and pain and weeping.  The monsters would have it this way, to convince us that human life and human creativity is worth absolutely nothing.  But such entities are not as powerful or all-seeing as they would have us believe.  They cannot sustain themselves on a severed root, a broken circuit or poisoned well, which is why like all vampires of legend they must sustain themselves with the lifeforce of others – this divine fire and breath and spirit that they claim does not exist.  But all form has a core.  All structure has a centre.  That centre is, I believe, infinite.

There are many names for the Light, many unique perspectives and subtleties through the cultures and eyes of those who witness it.  For me this light is Omreya; an ancient name in a secret tongue spoken by magicians and seers long ago.  Joy, Hope, Kindness, Empathy, Passion, Adventure, Friendship and Love – all these things are of the true light.  All these things are Omreya. There are those warriors and healers who work ceaselessly to usher this vital flame, in both the seen and unseen.  I pray now that such light may illuminate your path, dear one, and fortify you for the times ahead.  Love is not lost.  

Omreya from Raj Sisodia on Vimeo.