by Joseph Rex Kerrick
After a lifetime of trying, I’ve finally attained some spiritual stability, and enough sanity to grasp the madness of where I was at in the past. But I can still use some help in sorting out fantasy from reality ~ and that’s where you come in, if you get into my story enough to offer feedback.
Part I: Deific Experiences
1. The Man Who Would Be God
I was born right on the front lines of the baby boom, exactly eight months and twenty-nine days after the end of World War II. Anybody who still remembers when that was can work out the math for my birthday; otherwise you can look it up in an ancient history book or Wikipedia.
I started out as a bright, happy, self-affirming kid, who found schoolwork fun and easy. But then around puberty everything went wrong: inner and outer changes caused me to withdraw into a fearful, alienated, pathological private world. This was in a boondocks area in the 1950s in an uncultured working-class family; there was no such thing as therapy nor any help whatsoever from the adults around me.
We were Catholic, but I got no spiritual edification from my faith; instead, the fear of hell put me through obsessive-compulsive tortures. My only source of joy was science fiction, which provided a blessed transcendence of my painful planetbound life. It actually had a religious component, as revealed when I read Isaac Asimov’s The Last Question, in which a supercomputer evolves through billions of years of cosmic history and compiles all the knowledge of the universe. The title question is how to reverse entropy, and it doesn’t figure this out in time to prevent the death of the universe. But the computer survives in hyperspace, works out the answer, and applies it in a final dramatic postulation: “Let there be light.” I was flabbergasted and awestricken ~ in science fiction fan language, I was croggled. Thus my first religious experience was triggered by the giddy image of God as a great computer.
I joined the Army at age 18 in a situation where there seemed to be no alternative. After several nightmarish months I finally made some friends and went through an inner rite of passage: I researched world religions, discovered that some of them did not have eternal hells, and immediately declared myself an ex-Catholic. Then in 1967, right around the time I turned 21, Time Magazine announced that God Is Dead. It was right on the cover, with a painting of people meandering around like lost souls in the darkness under an empty sky. It looked like a bad situation, and I felt that something had to be done about it. I wrote a science-fiction story about the rebirth of God, and decided that my goal in life was to start a new religion.
My Army experience resulted in a rudimentary personality integration, but it quickly blew out as I faced new challenges in adult civilian life. I soon found myself totally isolated, living in an apartment in a big city, surviving at a technical job I hated, unable to communicate with anyone beyond the bare essentials. I worked up some nerve and quit my job, and spent the next two months holed up like a hermit, writing a science fiction novel. The title was First Cause, the story of a man who invented a time machine, went back to the first day of creation, and found nothing there ~ neither God nor the Big Bang. It looked like the only way the universe would get created was for him to do it himself ~ and via some very improbable adventures, he found a way to do it. Naturally I identified with the hero, so now it was me, a human being, who had the subliminal but immensely gratifying experience of stretching out my hand to the void and saying “Let there be light!”
When I reread the story I couldn’t avoid the harsh reality that the writing was awful, so I had to go out and get another job. It was a little better than the previous one, but I didn’t get saved from my lonely inner hell until 1970, when I met up with some hippies who gave me LSD.
2. Intrepid Trips
On my first acid trip I was able to let go of my pathologically impacted ego, and underwent an ecstatic experience of dissolving in white light and discovering the divine love and oneness that underlies all creation, a classic opening of the heart chakra. The drug was specifically administered in a nurturing, guided situation, a rite of passage which ushered me into the counterculture. There I found non-judgemental acceptance and participation in a community with a sense of collective, loving kinship; it was a deeply healing experience.
A few trips later I ascended to a headier peak with the help of a guide who had been there before. He disappeared at the penultimate summit, and I found myself all alone and terrified in an infinite black void outside space and time, before the universe had even been created. I thought I must‘ve been God, because I held life and death in my hands, literally. They were tangible archetypal objects: a bright spark that was the Star of Life, and a skull that was death itself. The skull morphed into a dagger, which I wanted to plunge into my heart to escape from the horror of being stuck in the void all alone forever. But I held back from doing that because I thought it would cause the total and final end of everything.
I was pretty crazy for a month or so after that trip to what I later named the Ultrasphere, regressing to pathological patterns from which I thought I had escaped on the first trip. But gradually I recovered with a little help from my friends, and in the next couple of years I made further progress: my personality and talents blossomed, I developed new skills and abilities, and I got into the very first all-the-way sexual relationship of my life. This proved that it was a genuine illumination and individuation, not just a nutty acid dream. Yet precisely because it was real, it became the source of a subtler madness, as we’ll see.
3. The Jesus Peak
As the Seventies progressed, I gravitated from the fading hippie scene into radical politics. I joined a Marxist study group and got a job in a factory to try to organize the workers. After awhile I moved up to an office job, and also to membership in a national organization called the New American Movement, which was known to its detractors as the “left wing jet set”. This, too, hit the skids, but I connected with a group that seemed alive with the fire of revolution: a collective of women who had split off from the far left end of the feminist movement. They called themselves the Second Column, and I was one of the first men to join their party. It turned out to be a disaster for me ~ in fact I got castrated, psychologically but literally: I totally lost the sexual power I had so recently attained on the acid trip.
So everything blew out again, and I was left high and dry. This time, though, I still retained the core of my self-integration. I had given up drugs, but fortunately I had learned to meditate as a pothead ~ a sure-fire shortcut to a skill that carried over to unstoned practice. In January 1975 it carried me all the way to the Ultrasphere. It wasn’t as intense as it had been on acid, and didn’t last as long, but there I was again: all alone in the void with my arms stretched out as on a cross, suffering for all humanity, like Jesus. Except this time it wasn’t just LIKE Jesus, it was more like I WAS Jesus. When I got up from the meditation I came to myself again ~ but when I looked in the mirror I saw Jesus Christ looking back. I decided not to tell anybody because they might think I was crazy.
In an effort to regenerate my sexual potency, I went into an ill-advised marriage in which I fathered a son who seemed to reproduce my exact karma in many ways, and even extended it in that he had developmental disabilities. Meanwhile, the second Ultra experience crystallized my disillusioned view of life. I wrote a book titled Is There a Way Out? It expressed a Gnostic and Manichean version of Christianity, meaning that it was totally world-rejecting. My argument was that the material world was hopelessly evil and corrupt, and my alternative was a speculative plan by which a small, self-elected group could transcend the physical realm and find a higher life in a heavenly sphere. I was not content to take things on faith, but wanted to learn exactly HOW Jesus had become the Son of God and accomplished his miracles, and especially how he had pulled off the resurrection. I believed it had to do with secret esoteric knowledge and actual magic, and I speculated about this in the book.
Writing the book was a big emotional catharsis for me, and as soon as I sent it off to the printer I discovered that I was no longer so bitter about life in the material world ~ I had gotten it all off my chest, and felt much better! When the book circulated, it brought me into contact with some people who were interested in real magic, and who in fact practiced it. This set up up a series of events in which I left my wife and son and moved from Philadelphia to Berkeley, California.
4. The Heart in Darkness
My best friends in the hippie counterculture were a married couple named Pete & Kathy; Pete had been my guide on the Ultratrip. I stopped and visited them in Columbus, Ohio when I made my cross-country move ten years later, and met their little son Brendan. Unlike me, they were still hippies, and in fact were planning to carry the hippie quest to the next plateau: moving to the wilderness. I agreed to help them haul their belongings to a homestead they had bought in a rural area in West Virginia.
Also unlike them, I had gotten back into psychedelics, and dropped a high dose of acid at their house in Columbus after they had gone to bed. An amazing space opened up as I stared at a candle in the darkness: the flame became the heart of all, the primordial atom burning forever in the void, the core of life and love. Somehow it was picking right up from the Ultratrip so long ago, yet as if no time had passed at all ~ for indeed I was now in a timeless realm.
Back then I had been amazed to see Pete turn into my father as he gave me sage advice and guided me along; but now I myself turned into my father, who was also the father of all humanity. My heart was breaking at the pathos of the plight of all my children through the eons, and I wailed a refrain in self-reproach: “I can’t believe I did it again!” By this I meant having fathered another child ~ namely me! My first take was that I was psychically remembering my father expressing regret for begetting me, but later I realized it was my own subliminal plaint for my son in turn.
On a deeper level, it was the question I had grappled with in my book, quoting the aim of Buddha that there should be no fresh birth, so that the souls of all sentient beings could meld back forever into the void of Nirvana. Perhaps in a past life I had taken this vow, and now confessed my weakness at having broken it: “I can’t believe I did it again!”
Somehow the burden of meaning reversed: I embraced life, and saw the ineluctable need to bear my fair share of it, or even more, like Atlas shouldering the weight of the world. Now I saw the karma of leaving my son, yet at the same time I was enmeshed in a westward warp that could only be undone by following it through.
The night flew past in ecstatic slowness, and just before dawn I looked at a big Krishna poster on the kitchen wall, a scene that I later learned is called the Universal Form: when Krishna transfigured himself before the eyes of Arjuna on the battlefield, revealing himself as All and Everything, with legions of peaceful and wrathful deities mirroring off from him into the distance on either side. I stared at it in astonishment, as a mirror of my own state at this very moment ~ such is the inflation that drugs can bring, even if the vistas they reveal are true in a subtler sense. With Godlike irony I could only ask: “Where’s Arjuna now that I need him?” I.e., so that I would no longer be the One, the All, and the Only.
As if in answer, Kathy came downstairs; it was 6 AM, the family’s usual arising time. Then I remembered that she was the Mother of God, and that in an earlier time she had filled that role for me. I tried to tell her about the prodigious realities I had learned on the trip, and of course she already knew. Then Pete came down and we all chatted, three masks of God with eternity on our hands, passing a small portion of our endless time.
There followed the move to West (by God!) Virginia, a harrowing expedition indeed. We rendezvoused with Kathy’s brother Joe at the last outpost of civilization, then our caravan wove its way along dirt roads through thickly-forested “hollers”, until finally we arrived at a little house in the midst of what used to be a tobacco farm in a forgotten past. Everything was run down and overgrown, and it took a lot of work to get the family settled in. Then Joe took us to a meeting of a local food co-op; I wondered what kind of outback folk would comprise the members, but it was a huge déjà vu when we walked in the door of the host homestead: they were all hippies. We got a tour of their incredibly self-sufficient and utterly isolated community, a world unto itself. Many of them, including Pete, were awaiting the imminent collapse of civilization, and possibly a third world war. So it was that I discovered the existence of hippiebillies, the hardcore remnant of the Sixties counterculture, flourishing covertly in the wilderness.
After I got to California I wrote an account of these events in a letter to all of my friends back East; I called it the Epistle to the Humans. Later I embellished the phenomenon of the hippiebillies into a fictional tale titled The Aliens of Mayday. Though it gets pretty far out with flying saucers & such, the early chapters feature a realistic, down-to-earth rendering of what life is like in the hollers.
Part II: (Un)Godly Assumptions
1. Secret Kings
Not long after arriving in Berkeley in 1980 I got involved in a group on the cutting edge of psychiatric practice; they ran a treatment center in which they applied Jungian methods and esoteric knowledge to the healing of severely psychotic young people. It was called St. George Homes.
St. George began in the great awakening of the Sixties, and performed many cures that seemed miraculous by mainstream psych standards ~ but now in the Eighties it fell victim to the establishment backlash, and was forced to disband. Before that happened, though, I learned many astonishing things about the true nature of so-called mental illness, and its relationship to the underlying numenal structure of life in the real world as well as the Matrix.
I loved the colorful crowd that hung out on Telegraph Avenue. It included poets and pranksters, street people and hedonists, and many other freewheeling folks who did their best to live up to the reputation of “Berzerkeley”. The congeries included a large contingent of genuinely crazy people, who lived or spent most of their time on the street. Some of them were simply dysfunctional drug addicts and alcoholics, but a few were very special: they were highly charged with numenal energy, which gave them psychic abilities of various types and degrees. The problem was that hardly any of them could control their prodigious gifts, and this is what made them crazy. I felt that their prognosis would dramatically shift from “mental illness” to literal superpowers, if only they could gain mastery of the occult forces which afflicted them. My inklings were confirmed when eventually I met some individuals who had done exactly that, and it led me into an adventure of apocalyptic proportions.
In a nutshell, some of the most unlikely people may be psychic powerhouses who make an impact on the destiny of everyone through invisible channels. A certain magical text has a relevant line: “There are masked ones, my servants: it may be that yonder beggar is a king.” This proved literally true for certain street people on Telegraph Avenue. Not long after making this discovery, I joined their ranks.
2. Mickey Messiah
Verily it came to pass that on Telegraph Avenue I met Jesus Christ in the flesh ~ or rather a man who made that claim, and seemed to have some credentials to back it up. He was a street sorcerer, and I was so impressed with his powers that I petitioned to become his apprentice. His terms were strict: I had to sell all my possessions, give up my source of income, jilt my girlfriend, and move out onto the street with him. It was exactly what he had said in his earlier incarnation, as quoted in the Gospel: “Leave all, and come follow me”. And I took him up on it.
The sorcerer’s real name was Sydney, and his impersonation of Jesus had a strong demonic edge to it. He also claimed to be the Magical Child of Aleister Crowley, the most infamous magician of the 20th century, who had identified himself as the Beast 666. My apprenticeship was like a primal boot camp, as I acquired street survival skills and learned to do without most of the things I had always taken for granted. It was also a great adventure, as we gadded about in costumes festooned with shamanic power objects. Using some elegant items purchased at the flea market, Syd crafted a costume for himself in the image of another one of his magical heroes, none other than Mickey Mouse. It wasn‘t a cute, kiddie version; rather, a long black cape and similar accoutrements made it definitely more Draculous than Disneyesque.
There was method to the madness: it was all part of a magical operation called Assumption of the Godform, in which you invoke the presence and power of metaphysical entities by assuming their appearance. Syd explained that there was a certain archetypal identity between Mickey Mouse and Jesus Christ. Clearly he was more interested in the shadow of Christ than the substance, and was wiley enough to realize that in the collective unconscious of postmodern times, media stars and fantasy figures are as powerful as the Gods of old. And sure enough, this power manifested as we began to attract the attention and interest of lots of people in the environs of Telegraph Avenue; after a few months our “club” was booming.
Many of the individuals who flocked around Sydney J. Christ (as I later denominated him) were edified by his high energy or fascinated by his neverending spiels on magical lore and related foofarrah; some even claimed that he guided them to a unique kind of enlightenment. But in the hardscrabble intimacy of the several months of my street apprenticeship, I had experienced his darkside all too lucidly. He didn’t make any secret of his diabolic inclinations ~ for instance, he openly bragged that he had eaten my soul and that I’d never escape his clutches. He often played sadistic tricks on me under the guise of spiritual discipline, a proclivity that manifested more cruelly in other relationships. He had a predatory attitude to women, and left a trail of used, abused, and abandoned lovers. Ultimately I concluded that in his basic nature he was a psychic vampire.
I decided in my own mind that I would split with Syd and leave the scene. Then, before I had a chance to do anything about it or even to tell him, a strange thing happened: I got taken over body and soul by the numenal entity we called the Magical Child. His actual name was Ra Hoor Khuit, the most demonic of three deities who speak in The Book of the Law, a darkly poetic work channeled by Crowley in 1903 and held sacred by his followers, who are called “Thelemites”. And though they might deny it, in Christian terms Ra Hoor Khuit is surely the Devil.
As soon as I got possessed by this Devil, I discovered that he (and hence I) was very angry at Jesus Christ. I figured that he must have become resentful about sharing Syd’s body with his ancient nemesis, and so had come over to me at this golden moment. As a matter of fact, the Devil wanted me to KILL Jesus Christ ~ who was conveniently incarnating as Syd at this very moment. Even though I had never killed nor even seriously harmed anyone before in my life, I was up for it. If you’re just a spectator, you can of course write it off as insanity, but from the inside it’s easy to understand. It was ecstatic to surrender myself unto this supraterrestrial being, very dark but very powerful. Years later I read a poignant quote about idealistic seekers of God who find the Devil instead, and are happy to settle for this flipside fulfillment of their quest.
Another mythico-symbolic element was that in the Magical Mouse Club I had always been Donald Duck. And as Syd had often pointed out, in a universe where Mickey Mouse is Jesus Christ, Donald Duck is the Devil.
The result was that I acted out the Judas bit on Syd, upstaging him at a big event before a large crowd of his admirers. Since I was so unskilled in martial arts, the best I could do was try to kill him with magic, which fortunately failed. But it was a magical triumph nevertheless, and I felt that the people were acclaiming me as King of the World, or at least of Berkeley. But alas, my victory was short-lived because, true to the archetypal scenario, Jesus returned three days later and got revenge by physically kicking my butt.
Even this ignominy, though, was a spiritual breakthrough. Many Christians find redemption in surrendering to Jesus, but in my case the opposite response was what I needed for the next stage of the unfoldment of the Self. I knew that Jesus wanted me to surrender to him, because he had me on the ground in a choke hold, and was shouting at me: “Surrender! Surrender!” In this moment of truth, with the life being choked out of me by a homicidal soul-eating maniac, I refused to surrender ~ I was willing to die instead. He backed off and let me go, and the outcome of my death-defying choice was that I permanently consolidated my individuation. When life on Earth ends and the Sun goes nova, when the universe as a whole is sucked back into the Night of Brahman, when the last spark of light is extinguished in the void, I will still be here, and will endure as myself, forever.
3. Magic Wars
The magic war between me and Syd (the Magical Child or Devil vs. Jesus Christ) lasted for a whole year. Now here’s the question: were we just a couple of Berkeley crazies playing out our games on a small parochial stage, or did our magicks actually tap in to some kind of larger reality?
The event where I launched my first strike against Syd took place on May 18, 1984 ~ and strange as it may seem, something eerily similar was going on in the grand arena of world politics. The country had undertaken a massive military build-up under Ronald Reagan, and the born-again Christian President was rattling the sabres against what he characterized as the diabolic evil empire of the Soviet Union. The inside scoop is that it was a hardcore conflict of interest over Mideast oil and Israel, and Reagan and his top brass were willing to use nukes to resolve it. It all came to a head right at this time, and in mid-June the President of the United States went on the radio and said (and this is an exact quote): “My fellow Americans, I have just passed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We start bombing in five minutes.”
The cover story was that it was only a joke ~ Reagan didn’t know the microphone was turned on, and was having a little fun. The truth is that this was the actual declaration of war, and the Russians knew it. Publicly they were outraged and demanded an apology, which the White House gave; but they were painfully aware that the American military build-up had attained its goal: the U.S. now had the clear-cut ability to kick the Soviets’ ass. So behind the scenes the Russians surrendered ~ they agreed to withdraw their military backing of OPEC, the Arab oil cartel. Only this unexpected capitulation averted a nuclear war which could have fulfilled the bloodiest Biblical prophecies of Armageddon. And in fact this event was the watershed that began the unraveling of Soviet Communism which climaxed a few years later.
Furthermore, it was no accident that George Orwell picked *1984* as the title of his famous novel; this caused the year to become etched into the public mind as a looming apocalyptic crossroads. In the years leading up to it, thousands of psychics and legions of otherwise ordinary people had visions and dreams of doomsday in 1984. When the year finally ended, there was a collective sense of relief that: “Hey, it didn’t happen!” But very few people are aware of the fact that IT ALMOST DID.
In the meantime, though, I did my best as the Magical Child to promote the end of the world. I did this via actual magical rituals, and also proclaimed it in street spiels and in a booklet I produced titled This Is the Magical Child Speaking by Robin Hoor Khuit, the name I had adopted as the avatar of the entity. I wasn’t afraid of the looming nuclear blowout ~ in fact I welcomed it with open arms and did my best to call it down from a vengeful heaven. In a conscious parody of Christian doctrine, I prophesied that all the Magical Children ~ i.e., my own followers ~ would survive and flourish, but all the worshippers of my adversary Jesus and the other old Gods would perish in the conflagration.
Using various aspects of occult symbolism, I saw the ages of human history passing under the dominion of a series of deities of alternating gender, in the general pattern of God the Father, God the Mother, God the Son, and God the Daughter. The first two are given in the Book of the Law under their Egyptian names, Osiris and Isis. I had become the incarnation of their son Horus, a.k.a. Ra Hoor Khuit ~ and following the archetypal pattern and my own holy will, I decided that as the divine Prince my mission was to find the Princess and give her my fiat to preside over the world in the New Aeon. In Thelemic theology this female being is named after the Egyptian Goddess Maat.
Thelema (Crowleyanism) is a doctrine of free will, hedonism, and sexual indulgence. My hope was that when I found a beautiful, scintillating incarnation of the Princess, we would perform a momentous act of sex magic, perhaps right out in the open on the world stage. This Great Working would instantly transform the planet into Arcadia, and everyone would live happily and heedlessly ever after in the erotic paradise. This scenario was not seamlessly intercalated with my prophecy of nuclear apocalypse, but, as any shrink can tell you, magical thinking is not always rationally consistent. It all made perfect sense to me, as I did my best to think with the mind of the mighty Magical Child who was overshadowing my mere mortal self.
4. The Berkeley Public Lunatic
The whole adventure reached a peak in 1985. More and more it seemed that my magic was interfacing in curious ways with large-scale events and the actions of public figures. The costumes I wore on Telegraph Avenue became gradually more elaborate, and occasionally I did stand-up performances at local clubs. Here follows a little piece that I recited dramatically on one such occasion. The latter stanzas contain topical references which I’ll explain afterwards:
Hey, my friend, you’ve been possessed!
But you’re far away from the cuckoo’s nest;
They’ve emptied out the loony bins ~
Randle McMurphy died for your sins.
And psychiatry is now a science:
It teaches us about drug reliance.
Don’t ask questions about your ills,
Just watch TV and take your pills.
We interrupt this poem for a news bulletin:
Today the President of the United States forgot to take his medication and accidentally bombed Switzerland back to the stone age. The President later expressed extreme regret. “Gee, my Swiss watch always kept perfect time,” he was heard to say.
All across this junky nation
People take their medication;
The Chelsey Drugstore, state-supplied,
Uncle Sam is on your side!
He’s very glad to make you numb
And bring you down and make you dumb;
Just imagine the terrible stink
If cannon fodder learned to think.
(Two other characters come along, both played by me using different voices.)
(Little girl:) “Hey, Daddy-Daddy, what’s the name of that man?
He looks like he’s from Afghanistan.”
(Father:) “Don’t pay him no mind, he makes me sick.
He’s just a Berkeley Public Lunatic.”
(Me again in my own voice:)
But if you ever get off your feed
There are different ways to fill that need
There’s lots of cults outsiders shun
Rajneeshpuram is ruled by guns;
And if you don’t wear orange or red,
Why gee, they’re liable to shoot you dead.
Krishna devotees dressed in robes
They’ve sacrificed their frontal lobes.
Zombies for Jesus stalk the land
Mickey’s Moony Mouseclub band.
As for me, I’m on my own
I only live in the Twilight Zone
I can’t escape, I’m stuck with the shtick
Of a Berkeley Public Lunatic.
The lines about “Rajneeshpuram” refer to the group led by Baghwan Shri Rajneesh, which was at the peak of its popularity at the time. Rajneesh had a large following among high-end New Agers who showered him with largesse. He flaunted it in outrageous style, maintaining a fleet of Rolls Royces strictly for his personal use. Rajneeshpuram was a large, well-appointed ashram in Oregon. I had seen a news photo taken there, showing Rajneesh on his throne surrounded by devotees and guarded by a man with an upraised rifle; in my rhyme, I exaggerated the implications for dramatic effect.
The magical intent behind my performance was that I was the upstart God of the dawning New Aeon, pugnaciously challenging all the old deities and their followers. I actually held little animosity for the Hare Krishnas, and had friends among the local members; but the main intended target of my attack was Mickey J. Christ, a.k.a. Sydney.
So I was astonished by a magical counterattack the very next day, not from Syd on the street but from Rajneesh on the tube. Of course he had plenty of other adversaries, but the timing was incredible: there he was on a nationally-televised news conference, rebutting his critics and making boastful proclamations, notably the shameless admission that he was indeed “the rich man’s guru”. This performance galvanized public sentiment against him, and in the coming months he found himself in jail on immigration charges, and was then deported back to India. But after seeing the event on TV that day, I concluded that I had tapped into some sort of global telepathy network. Ronald Reagan’s magic war had happened in sync with my own, and now this! I took it as a powerful confirmation that my acts of magic could influence world events.
5. Victory of the Princess
The revelation that I was now a secret player behind the scenes of the world stage was very heady, but I tried to keep things in perspective. I realized that I was still a novice, and that obviously there must be people who were much better at this game than I. For instance, I had known since the Sixties that rock stars, or some of them at least, were members of an inner circle of adepts who shaped the metaphysical currents that determined the fate of humanity. So what were these characters up to now? Were they performing world-shaking magical operations on a grand scale?
My questions were answered in July when the god-kings of rock used electronic media magic to pull off the coup, the Great Working. It was sound and vision on the tube around the planet, as a billion people gaped and gave their energy to the stars who performed at Live Aid, vying with each other to incarnate the imagery and the power of the Magical Child and the Princess. Clearly it was Mick Jagger and Tina Turner who took the fiat, turning in the best rendition of fucking-while-not-fucking ever performed on the small screen. Further, in exact fulfillment of the magical formula as I divined it, Mick had acknowledged that the Magical Child concedes supremacy to the Princess when earlier that year he released an album titled *She’s the Boss*.
Though I was disappointed that I had failed to fill the Godform as the top incarnation of the Magical Child, it was remarkable to see the portents so exactly fulfilled. Here was the Great Working; now where was the sexual utopia? As a witness privy to the inner twinings of the events, I was aghast to observe that not only did the magical masterstroke not bring about the expected result, it apparently triggered an opposite reaction. The big scoop on the media, beginning immediately after Live Aid and continuing for the rest of the year, was the AIDS plague. Live AIDS. No coincidence.
What was going on? Other magical events showed me conclusively that the Princess had indeed taken over the world as the supreme deity, even if her rulership was hidden from the eyes of the profane citizens. I already knew that the Magical Child was the Devil, but if the first act of the Princess in the supposed Aeon of Maat was to afflict the human species with AIDS, then I had to wonder if perhaps her true identity was the Whore of Babylon.
Furthermore, it triggered a vast psychic backlash, very evident in Berkeley which is one of the world capitals of magic: many of my friends got blown out in sudden reverses of fortune or loss of magical powers; at least one notable magician died and a vibrant young priestess went insane. As for me, I quickly wised up to my foolishness in making a deal with the Devil, and I cast off the Magical Child.
As soon as I ritually renounced Ra Hoor Khuit, I lost everything I had: my living space, my source of income, and my girlfriend, who was a priestess of the Princess (and also a severely afflicted mental health client, constraining her demons with a huge daily cocktail of psych meds). It all happened very quickly, and was not suprising, since all my gains had come through the power of the darkling deity that had overshadowed my soul.
Having become homeless, I scouted out a campsite in the Berkeley Hills, and holed up there in a state of grief. My personal despair was magnified by my certainty that the AIDS virus was mutating and would soon bring the end of the world in a global pandemic.
6. The Matrix Unveiled
As a hippie I became immersed in the radical new worldview that had emerged ~ it was a mass awakening from the nightmare of techno-materialist civilization. This is why so many people fled the dehumanized, alienated mainstream society and went back to nature, setting up rural communes and farms. Living a natural life takes a lot of hard work, so most of them later flocked back to the unnatural tech-enhanced sheepfold, what the hippiebillies scornfully call Electrotopia.
Now on my lonely hilltop in Berkeley, the deeper layers of the nightmare were unveiled in what became an ongoing visionary experience and permanent change of being. I had a great view of the Bay and the cities on its shores, with various scales of human activity visible from the near to the far distance. I saw how it all concatenated into a metaphysical overlay: a giant robotic creature straddling the landscape. The cars moving along the streets and highways were metal corpuscles flowing in its asphalt veins. Industrial installations were organs in its mechanical body, as it exhaled poisons into the air and extended its tentacles into the woods and wilderness. I called it the Macrobot.
I realized that what I was seeing was merely the local manifestation of a global reality: the Macrobot was a Geist inhabiting the technostructure that girdles the planet, a diabolic Deus ex Machina. All the vital energy of the people unwittingly trapped inside this monstrosity was getting sucked up into the mechanism and consumed. It was steadily draining their numenal fluids as they moved through their lives, and I grasped the horrible fact that after death it would finish the job and eat their souls.
The veil also lifted on the avant-garde circles of people I had been hanging out with, the media stars whom we all admired, the hedonistic lifestyle followed by all such people, and the vision of a global paradise. I now saw this as a degenerate mass delusion ~ and furthermore, I saw that the reality perceived by the mass of people is literally a collective hallucination, a planetary fantasyland generated by the media and the artificial technologized lifestyle.
It wasn’t until 1999 that this vision got a mind-blowing validation when the Matrix movie came out. I was astounded and gratified to find that other people had glimpsed the dark reality underlying Electrotopia, and were expressing it in remarkably similar imagery. For example, the villain in the flick is a global computer mind called simply AI, a technological symbol of a metaphysical fact: the Macrobot.
7. Rescue by Pan
After witnessing the horror of the Macrobot from my camp on the hill, there came a night when I hit the pits, and felt that surely I must die right now, for I had not the heart to go on for another moment. I fell asleep in anguish, and had a dream that was realer than real: the Great God Pan came and stood before me. His presence was electrifying ~ there was not a shred of doubt that I was experiencing a miracle, a divine visitation. The old goat radiated energy and was absolutely beatific, though of course with that diabolic cast as well. It was Pan.
Pan took me to various places in time and space, where I made restitution and hammered out resolutions with people I had known in the past. Finally he took me to our old family homestead, my grandparents’ house in the Appalachians, which was redolent with primal-symbolic value. Pan took hold of me by the arms from behind and held me in front of him as he pranced along the dirt road that curves around the house. I could feel the head of his erect cock against the base of my spine, pumping new energy right up into my shushumna. This numenal experience revitalized me, saved me from death, and enabled me to come down from the hill reborn. I repented all my bad magic and karmic errors, swore off drugs, and dedicated myself to regeneration ~ my own, and humanity’s as well.
I also saw that the biggest open wound in my soul-body was that I had abandoned my son Jeffrey ~ and so now I resolved that if only I could get a second chance, I would go back to him. Sure enough, the miracle happened: the world didn‘t end after all! That was exactly how I experienced it, and when I told it all to a shrink at the Veterans’ Hospital, he adjudged that I had had a psychotic break. I began receiving a disability pension, and the first payment was enough for plane fare back to Philly.
Part III: Life on the Urban Fringe
1. Pull the Plug
I found that my experiences in California, climaxed by the redemption on the Berkeley hilltop, had transformed me in such a way that I now had enough substance and inner resources to be a real father to Jeffrey for the first time. We formed a bond and forged a great relationship. After a year or so, our relatives and Jeffrey’s teachers said that they saw a lot of favorable changes in him as a result.
Here’s a Facebook album with some photos from this period:
During this time I lived a frugal existence, a virtually ascetic lifestyle to atone for my many years of excess. Toward fulfilling the vision and escaping from the Matrix/Macrobot, I had no tech devices at all in my apartment, not even a telephone. My mission was to try to find more people who would be interested in forming a neo-primal community and living a more natural lifestyle ~ maybe even hunter-gatherer! I actually wrote and distributed literature proposing such a thing ~ I called it the Human Wildlife Preserve. This turned out to be in tune with a current in the radical ecology movement ~ e.g., the Earth First group had a slogan: “Back to the Pleistocene!” But there was a crucial difference in that they were literally anti-human ~ they had an official policy of misanthropy, wherein humanity as a whole was blamed for the destruction of the Earth, and asserting that we should masochistically sacrifice ourselves to insure the survival of the other species. This struck me as a loony but logical extension of the basic liberal guilt-trip. It’s not for me, because my aim is to SAVE the human species!
I was so disturbed by the spectacle of postmodern high-tech civilization and its corrupt power-structure that I had a strong urge to pull it down. But I also had a heartfelt horror of the massive destruction of human life this would entail. There was no easy solution to this terrible dilemma, but I worked out an approach which I called Pull the Plug. The strategy was to facilitate the collapse of the technostructure without directly inflicting harm on a single human being, by subverting the technology via the most efficient and least violent means possible. Bombs would be a foolish and unnecessary excess if you had the means to, say, jam all the television and radio signals, thus switching off the mind control that makes the masses into a vast herd of obedient sheep.
I always thought that the general mass of humanity is manipulated into its destructive and self-destructive follies by some sort of powerful, covert clique which could guide things for the good if it wanted to, but it doesn’t want to because it’s basically self-serving. At the same time, there must also be some great benevolent force operating behind the scenes, and things go well or ill for the world depending on which group has the upper hand at the moment. Given the pitiful present state of the species, it seemed clear that the dark instrumentality must have somehow become almost totally dominant. My favorite name for it was the Cryptocracy.
After a couple of years I got driven out of my apartment by yuppification and joined the local squatters’ movement out of dire necessity. For those unfamiliar with the phenomenon of urban squatting, it occurs in cities with a large acreage of decaying, abandoned buildings. The squatters are often enterprising, well-organized, and have the sympathy of certain sectors of the mainstream population. As a result, some squat-colonies survive and prosper for years at a stretch, despite the fact that they are, of course, breaking the law by their very existence.
My new housemates in the Philly squats were a familiar mix of alternative-culture folks, though with a larger dollop of anarchists than I’d encountered in the past. Their subculture was degenerate and hedonistic, the lifestyle which I had renounced, but for half a year I managed to live among them and be friends with some of them, even though I rigorously abstained from the temptations, including especially drugs. On the other hand, I found that I had one big thing in common with them: they shared my desire to pull the plug on the global monolith. They had their own name for the concept: they called it “monkeywrenching”, after the practice of eco-activists who disabled logging and deforesting machinery with monkeywrenches. I helped the anarchists to produce a newsletter which carried a feature article by me (under the byline “Peter Primal”) titled: *It’s Time to Monkeywrench World Civilization*. They loved it, and I personally helped to distribute five thousand copies of this issue throughout the international anarchist network. I’ll bet some copies of it are still floating around.
2. Hot and Cold, High and Low
I got out of the squats after six months of precarious residence, graduating into a slightly higher rung of low-end survival, viz. collective urban households of bohemians, artists, and avant-garde entrepreneurs. Jeffrey continued to live with his mother in the working-class remnant of their yuppified neighborhood, and we saw each other at least once a week.
Besides working on the redemption of the world from technology, another aspect of my rehabilitation was overcoming my residual antipathy to Jesus. I felt that I had been at war with the REAL Christos, not just Sydney ~ for in fact the magic war had pivoted on my unresolved anger from a pathologically Catholic childhood. But at length, in 1989, I found that I could psychically sense the presence of Christ in the world ~ and this time I accepted it as a positive thing, and decided to join forces with him. I wrote something called The Book of Yod, actually just a booklet, in which I made a poetic diatribe against the various degeneracies and abominations going on in the world, and predicted the return of Christ in or around the year 2000, though in a form that would not be recognized by literal-minded Christians. This booklet was the only one of my writings ever to get reviewed in a major media organ, an alt-progressive weekly called The New York Press.
In the first couple of years after giving up drugs, it had been painfully difficult for me to adjust to a substance-free condition. I felt bereft of the magnificent transcendent highs, and even the inevitable lows. Just as in my ’70s interregnum, the worst thing of all was the dead-even keel of ordinary existence, the daily dudgeon of what most people think of as normality. As Jesus said through John in the Book of Revelation: “Because you are neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth.” This was my general perspective on normal middle-class life.
Fortunately, “middle class” was not an option for me, as I pursued survival and spiritual evolution on the fringes and margins of postmodern society. And eventually I began to make progress again in my spiritual development, several years after having given up drugs. A breakthrough in meditation inspired me to devote lots of time and energy to certain esoteric practices. My aims were to stimulate the kundalini to rise up my spine by any means necessary, and to build an immortal “Solar Body” via daily concentration and visualization. It unfolded in slow but breathtaking fashion ~ I began to have ecstatic experiences rivaling the peaks of past acid trips.
Unfortunately there was a karmic price to be paid for this miracle, just as there was for the substance abuse, or overuse. In exact inverse proportion to my ascending spiritual experiences, there manifested a nasty descent into a past psychopathology: a hellaceous bane of my religious childhood, which in the ancient Catholic lexicon was called “scruples”. It corresponds to the diagnosis of “obsessive-compulsive disorder” (OCD) in the postmodern catechism, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, 4th Edition (DSM-IV).
I had overcome this scrupulous/OCD tendency decades before, or so I had thought. But evidently I had not fully purged nor purified myself of the karmic debt (or “mental illness”?), and so as I now opened the chakras in my spiritual praxis, these residual klinkers got resurrected, and impacted me like never before. I was so debilitated by a single obsession that stuck in my mind and wouldn’t go away, that I felt forced to give up all meditation, visualization, and everything else. I felt as if I were ruined, and had regressed to less than zero. As always, though, I slowly began to recover from this latest “end of the world”, and embarked on new adventures.
3. From One Extreme to the Other
A lot of the anarchists I had met were young people with unbalanced emotional sets who needed to take out their unrequited negative urges on persons and institutions wherein they could feel righteous about doing so. Among their favorite targets were the Cryptocracy, which included notably the International Bankers ~ but also its local minions, the police, who often tried to kick them out of the squats they called home. But being extreme leftists, the anarchists directed their intensest immediate hatred at the protagonists of the right ~ especially the WHITE right, whenever such people would dare to raise their heads. While I was still living in the squats, an event occurred where a local Ku Klux Klan coalition declared its intent to stage a rally at Independence Hall. My anarcho-comrades joined forces with the liberals they normally despised in order to organize what turned out to be such a massive counter-demonstration that the rightists cancelled out at the last minute. In the process, I could only wonder at the sheer venom and animosity my friends exhibited when they spoke of these evil racists; it was hard to miss the ironic note of hypocrisy when they condemned them as “haters”. Not long afterwards I happened to see a photo in the paper of a similar event where the KKK or whatever group had followed through on its march in a city in the south, protesting Martin Luther King Day. It was a mere half a dozen rightists marching under massive police protection against a huge mob of leftists and blacks who were slavering for their blood, just as I had witnessed first-hand among the local anarchists. In the photo, you couldn’t even see the marchers behind the phalanx of police, except that one of them was holding up a sign which said: “No King Over Us”. Of course it was a double entendre with Martin Luther King; but as an individualist, the overt sentiment was one I could identify with. I began to think: hmmm, maybe I’m on the wrong side. . . .
One of my mentors in the magical scene, who had high psychic powers and was an advanced soul, had often talked about his vision of regenerating humanity toward a new Golden Age. In this context, he once made an apparently casual remark, saying: “We can reconstitute a primal white race.” It was the only statement he ever made that touched on race in any way, but it stuck with me over the years. In the great magical blowout and spiritual breakthrough of 1985, I definitely saw that the white race in particular had become degenerate, along with all the other groups inhabiting the high-tech industrialized parts of the world.
Meanwhile, I was already regenerating myself, and becoming primalized. The magic war had kicked it off. Having a mortal enemy to contend with, living on the street and then in the hills, facing a life-or-death situation ~ all this had torn me out of the artificially-protected turf of the human factory farm, where it’s safe to have nice, friendly liberal beliefs because you don’t have to deal with the underlying primal reality. My great discovery was that this reality is still there ~ that it always would be, and always SHOULD be, because this is what keeps us human. The attempt to escape en masse from the harsh realities of our primal nature is what’s turning people into zombies and humatons.
I had shared those liberal beliefs, including the one that holds it to be a fine thing that people of all races and persuasions can live together amicably and go about business as usual in the melting-pot society. But when the veils began to lift, I saw that this was not a triumph of the human spirit after all, but just the opposite: people hadn’t risen above the differences, but rather sunk BELOW them. People were getting homogenized into a standard-brand, media-imprinted herd of turkeys with all the life and fire bred out of them. They had no cause to be intolerant, because they really WEREN’T very different from each other, no matter what their race, religion ~ or even their sex. And now I had awakened to the fact that this was NOT a good thing ~ that from a TRULY human point of view, the global Electrotopia is not a paradise but a nightmare.
Furthermore, I had started to feel an affinity for my own race. Of course the hippie-acid revelation is true: everybody’s all one. So are amoebas, but if you want to evolve into a higher form of life, the oneness has to differentiate itself. And not only was this true biologically, but also spiritually. I saw that there were reasons why the traditional religions tended to get divided up along racial, national, and geographic lines, even if this was not a part of their expressed doctrines. The physical differences between groups of people actually correspond to spiritual differences. In the multi-layered planes and spheres of the cosmos, there are collective souls of which each individual soul is an organic part. . . at least there used to be. Today these collective souls are breaking down, dissolving into the morass of the homogenized global culture. Billions of fragmented individuals swarm across the planet, massed together in the uniform milieu, yet each one naked and alone, stripped of their heritage, their spiritual identity, and their rights of kinship.
My first post-drug spiritual breakthrough, mentioned in the preceding chapter, came when I was still with the anarchists. Right there in the squat, surrounded by leftists and black people, I had a meditational experience of the white collective soul, and realized that this was fundamental to my identity.
During the next couple of years I began to look into the white racial right, at first mostly just getting literature in the mail. I found that there was a wide gamut. The low-Q groups like the KKK and the Aryan Nations didn’t appeal to me, but there were higher-Q organizations, at the far end of which were the historical revisionists, consisting of well-educated people trying to alter (or correct) the record on World War II and its aftermath.
After awhile I made contact with a local group that was somewhere in between these two ends of the spectrum. I found them to be kind of a strange bunch, interested in guns and military stuff, though most of them were not high-calibre individuals. I became friends with the leader, and one day he and I were walking along in downtown Philly when we passed a girl with purple hair and other motley accoutrements of the anarchist “uniform”. My companion visibly bristled at her ~ in fact he actually snarled. I didn’t say anything, but I reflected that not too long ago I could have found myself living in a squat with her. I was struck by the curious fact of how I had been able to relate to people in both of these hostile camps, a feat which evidently none of them were capable of. If they had been able to get away with it, their fondest wish would be to wreak bloody murder on those in the enemy camp.
An event occurred where my Aryanist friend got smeared in a suburban newspaper as a nasty hatemonger. I thought that this was terrible, but he seemed to relish it. He loved the negative publicity ~ it was like, anything to make a splash and get known. He was clearly reveling in the role of “evil nazi racist”. This was way too perverse for my tastes, and I broke off contact with him and his group.
4. Death, Disaster, Depression
My main productive activity during all these years since surviving the end of the world (a.k.a. the psychotic episode) in 1985 was writing and self-publishing, of which I’ve mentioned a few instances. Most of the items were booklets (“zines”) illustrated with collages. The alternative press was a very lively place in that era of photocopy & snail-mail, before the World Wide Web took over; my zines always got stimulating reviews, and I developed a small but enthusiastic fan-base. I also wrote a 100,000-word autobiographical exegesis focusing on the ‘Sixties-era counterculture, and sought commercial publication for it. The only positive response was from a mid-size publisher who really liked it but declined to publish it because he felt it deserved to be done by a big publisher. The title was Imago Babies, a neologistic usage indicating that the baby boomers were the first generation to inhabit a collective fantasy-world.
All these efforts were formally factual writing, though some of them ventured into fantastical areas. Then in 1992 I wrote for the first time a fictional story that I felt was good enough to publish: The Metamorph, a tale of how a star-crossed romance carried over into life after death. Writing it was a big part of my recovery from the psycho-emotional setback described in chapter 2. I was thrilled when it got a lot of positive response from readers, plus of course the usual brickbat or two.
At the same time I was trying to deal with challenges that had developed with my son Jeffrey. Our positive relationship had continued through these years, but he had serious problems at school and in relations with his mother Donna. He was sixteen, but acted out behaviors and emotional patterns of a much earlier stage of development, including hitting Donna. In response to her appeals for help, I tried to discipline Jeffrey using methods I had learned at St. George Homes, the residential treatment center for seriously disturbed young people. They were generally very effective there, but with Jeffrey it all did more harm than good, and he became alienated from me. I found him a new psychiatrist who seemed to be caring and competent, but I felt I had reached the limit of what I could personally do. I decided it was time to go back to California.
In the spring of 1993 I made the trek back to the San Francisco Bay Area by train. This time I found an affordable niche in Marin County, a tricky proposition because overall it’s a very high-end area; it was feasible at the time, though, because the economy was still recovering from a recession. I was sort of backsliding from my redemptive experience in 1985: I was hoping to pick up where I had left off and get back into an exciting, hedonistic, magical life ~ except without the drugs, because I had sworn off. I explored the turf, attended events, and searched for kindred spirits, but somehow it turned up fallow. It looked like the magic was gone.
Then I got a phone call from Philadelphia telling me that Donna had died. It was a classic, gut-wrenching, traumatic disaster. I flew back East, took care of the funeral, and brought Jeffrey home with me to Marin. Both of us were clinically depressed together for quite awhile. There were some compensations: Jeffrey found the special ed program in the local high school lots more congenial than the Philly schools, and actually made some friends.
As for me, I found myself in a spiritual no-man’s land: I had come to see the flaws in the liberal worldview, and discovered that I had certain affinities with what is usually considered a far-right perspective, including consciousness of my racial identity ~ but at the same time I also saw the pitfalls at that end of the spectrum. I didn’t seem to fit in anywhere. It all looked pretty hopeless ~ until I met a man who bridged the gap.
Note: The man was named Jost, and I later reworked the text so that it was a brief biography of him, and only secondarily about me. But if you’re interested, just click on the link.
One thought on “Autobiodyssey”
Heavy duty tests of the boundaries of the matterium