Everything is Keep Changing

chaos, change, covid-19, 2020

Why do we fight the idea of change so hard? We know it’s inevitable. We know it happens. Just in the process of reading this short missive, imperceptible changes are taking place in both you (the reader) and me, having written this however many hours, days, weeks, months, years ago.

Everything changes.

We should know that by now. We should have embraced it. But, if one thing this COVID-19 pandemic has shown us is just how much we HATE change and how EASILY we can adjust to a different level of “normal” and function in a way similar to how we did before.

While we think we want a static, predictable environment, I think the human machine is really an instrument of change both internally and externally. We adapt.

Our ancestors adapted–first to the cold of the ice age and then to the rewarming as the ice melted. Did we like it? Probably not. Imagine the communal grunts of complaint at the extra foot of snow one year to the next, or the wetter than normal annual thaw (assuming those that disliked living on the walls of ice moved to warmer climates).

And that’s the thing. We adapt. We move on to the next sustaining thing that moves us back into a zone of comfort and security. We find a “new normal” which is a phrase I hate. Really, our environment is just changing. There are no real peaks, plateaus, or valleys of “normal.” It’s not new. It’s just normal.

The title for this missive came out a new story where a reporter had asked a homeless person what they thought about the adjustments because of the coronavirus. Their response was broader than that. Their response, in my hearing, had everything to do with their life in general. “Everything is keep changing.”

And so do we. This is just a moment in time that will become an end or a start of a chapter for many, but not for all. Bad will come of it for some (which I wish wasn’t that case) and good (measured on a relative scale) for others.

Such is the lightning bolt of change–in a flash, what was, isn’t anymore. It’s something else.

Everything is Keep Changing.

Featured image: Chaos transmutes into chaos. Change changes everything, even time itself.

Murmuration

ambiguity, birds,

How do you deal with not knowing?

I don’t know if I mean the unknown, but more the not knowing despite having the pieces of something in front of you but without a clear understanding of how (or even if) the pieces fit together.

It may just be a personal picadillo, for ambiguity, in situations where the overall control is out of my hands, makes me feel anxious.

Not my favorite mode of being. Maybe it comes with wanting everything to fit into a nice neat box. Or that all the variables are accounted for and thought through. Some of my favorite ways to work are puzzling through a problem, solving for the nuance. But not knowing something (or someone) can stomp through like a bull in a China shop…annoying.

I’m not even sure how to depict something like that, visually. Ambiguous, unformed. Even a cloud has form, it’s a cloud, a visually plastic thing that is at once a bunny, a car, and or a loved one’s face. And then, it’s nothing as it evaporates in the sun.

Maybe the perfect visual representation of ambiguity is a murmuration of starlings. Random, chaotic, twisting, wheeling. It’s ambiguous in its shape, where it’s going or in what direction.

Perfect chaos.

That kind of ambiguity feels beautiful. Random. It feels like a murmuration.

I think I love that idea of ambiguity.

Memento Mori

skull, black and white, memento mori, symbol, death

What does it mean to think about death? I’m guessing as long as we upright monkeys have been able to articulate sorrow and loss over something we love, we’ve contemplated this question. Our own, of those around us, of the things we love (or of the thing we hate).

Death. It’s that grand unspoken thing that, deep down, we’re terrified of and seethingly wish upon others. Having experienced so much of it in the last couple of years, I think I started to come to grips with and begin to understand at a cellular level what it meant to face the inevitable.

And, it changed me.

I can’t say if it was changed for the better or the worse. To be honest, I don’t think it’s a better or worse thing. From a high level, the only way I’ve been able to process it is in understanding the change through the mental lens of Memento Mori.

I’ve always had a fascination with the imagery of a Memento Mori: skulls, hourglasses, guttering candles, more so when combined with alchemical elements of change and the necessity to capture one’s thoughts surrounded by the imagery. But I don’t think it ever impressed the ideas into my head until undergoing the loss of so many around me.

Remember Death. Remember Your Death. All Will Die. You will die. I will one day die.

It doesn’t evoke fear or terror at what fate awaits us all. No, it’s more a melancholy over what the life misspent and an unyielding drive to not squander the time I have left. Remember death. To forget or block out the inevitable is crime perpetrated towards ourselves that once gone is lost forever. None of us can go back and recapture the lost time of our youth, the misspent idylls of our existence.

The cellular realization of this was the ignition of a fuse that burns in my veins to not lose any more time. On anything. On doing, on loving, on producing, on learning, on being.

I’m terrified now of losing each unproductive moment of life. Because once it’s gone. It’s gone.

Memento Mori. Remember death. It’s coming. It’s inevitable. Don’t let the time slip away.

I’m not. Or at least I’m trying not to. There’s too much to do before it’s over.

False-positive

I’ve come to realize something that hit like a ton of bricks disguised as chicken feathers.

I realized that I’ve been invisibly fighting my shadow. Fighting an image of a false self, projected into the world through the lens and carapace with “should’s” and “ought to’s.” Both my own and from what I “think” is being projected to me. At the same time, I have been consciously struggling with a version of the real self, telling this in-between me to wake up and get going.

Three iterations in the unity of one. A man, a projection and a ghost.

It has almost a holy symbolism to it, and perhaps it is a bit holy.

The fighting is constant. Silently occurring under the surface, hidden away from my risen self. I’m awake, see, and I can’t remember what my dreams are dreaming about.

When it dawned on me, I was taken aback.

The notion had come to me at a point earlier in the day: me, finally able to articulate the feeling I had as akin to being a soldier itching to jump out of an airplane to enter the theater of war, but not quite over the jump site.

I’m itchy, irritable, and need to molt out of this hard skin like a lobster who’s outgrown himself.

That was then that I caught a glimpse of him, that trickster false shadow. Holding me at bayonet point, that treacherous bastard was egging me hurry up and jump and join the war. Only, the moment I caught his eye, the real projection and I were in union with one another.

I’m not jumping yet. I want to, but I’m not. I’m not over the battlefield I need to be over. I have a little more room in my carapace to grow into.

What’s important is that I caught that saboteur. For a moment I could see the false-positive he projects and be conscious of it. I caught that false bastard seeing him for what he is.

What may be the most profound part of the exchange was the realization of just how important it was to link myth and reality. It put into context the WHY of feeling something and understanding the aspiration of what it suggests. Rather than desiring a thought to mean what you want it to mean.

The illusion of the false positive, when looked at as the feeling or emotion is that it takes on the appearance of the REAL, when in fact it’s illusion. That’s not to say we need to destroy our self-thoughts. To the contrary, we need those to exist. But what we need to avoid is the illusion of the projected self. That false self.

I do, anyways. I saw him and put him in his place for now.

Once More Around the Sun

I’m a few days late on this, but no one is really holding my feet to the fire for it, so it is what it is. This month marks another trip around the sun for me.

I’m two trips shy of a half-century flying around Sol, my fiery old buddy who’s gaze casts my shadow upon the landscape.

I have to admit, this isn’t what or where I expected to be on this trip. But, to be honest, I don’t think I had any real expectation of what or where I might have been.

This year marks a new landmark of sorts. I’ve taken up gardening turning the yard into a yargen—one part yard, one part garden. None of the plants are very mature yet, but when they are, I think it’ll look amazing. I blame the Brit Monty Don for my recent love of putting things in the ground and nurturing them to grow.

I say blame, but his infectious passion for plants was what I needed at the time I needed it.

Another thing, on this trip around the sun, is the relinquishment of an old vice. I can now find the answer to Adam Ant’s question of what to do when you don’t drink or don’t smoke. I was never much of a drinker, but the burning bush, that was another story. But that’s old hat now.

I think with this last trip around the sun, and the places I’ve gone and people I’ve lost has given me some perspective. What exactly that translates into will remain to be seen. For now, I plan to get my hands dirty putting some native species in the soil to do my part in rebuilding the eco system.

In some ways, I feel like I’m painting the foundation colors for a new body of work. Creating the undertones on the canvas for me to make something new. It’s primitive, and it feels organic like celebrating the rites of spring.

It feels like a primitive rite of passage.

Coyote Shows the Way

sketch, coyote, symbolism, Synchronicity

I was on my way into the job a few days back when I was gifted a messenger from the spirit world. The coyote came on a day after some heavy news in the office that provoked a lot of soul searching.

The coyote is a common animal in the hills here, so it wasn’t a surprise to see. I’ve caught a few on my way into work in the early morning hours just past the dawn twilight. But this one was different.

Symbolic tradition says the coyote is a trickster. A dog bringing bad news or scavenging away your good fortune. But another aspect of its symbolism says the coyote is a messenger. A guide or a harbinger of a spiritual awakening or revelation. I suppose it’s all in the context of how it shows itself.

My interaction with this coyote was, for me, unique.

In a usually busy road, full of cars and traffic, was unusually empty. Quiet, almost.  It crossed from the right into the middle median, walking in front of me. It turned to land a glance back at my car, and proceeded to trot languidly forward for a distance before crossing and the rest of the way and melting into the brush.

At that moment, the quiet and calm of the universe descended. Time stood still for a few moments, and the spiritual guide led the way forward for a short spell. It wasn’t the trickster, it didn’t come to steal or pilfer from me. It was there to lead the way. It was there to tell me that some spiritual transformation is coming—whether I’m ready for it or not.

I’m ready for it.

Thanks, coyote for showing me what’s ahead.

Four

four,death,life,living

Four is the number of deaths I’ve experienced in the last 12 months, almost to the day.

I know I’m not unique. I know I’m not the only one on the planet to have experienced this. Despite those diminishments to the experience, I feel affected.

One was the passage of time. Another the failing of health. Fate and circumstance took another and the last the victim of the nature of divine cruelty for the created.

I am affected in the way that these passings remind me, 4 times over, of the fleetingness of this physical existence. No matter our wealth; no matter our status. Which makes what we do and when we do it that much more important.

A symbolism guru I study relates the number 4 to the human situation, “…the external and natural limits of the totality.” It feels like that here—four examples of how and why to live.

What do you do with this kind of knowledge? What do you do after the grief, sorrow and melancholy have moved through their phases?

What’s the question I’m asking myself (again) in the wake of the latest news. In some respects, I’m feeling angry with the actions of the world, but resigned to the notion that it happens. Of all the takeaways, I think the one that makes the starkest contrast is the drive to do more. To create and make art. To make sure I can get out what it is I need to get out before my time comes.

Is that a little morbid? Maybe. A little selfish? No, I don’t think it is. I think it’s making the best out of the worst. I want each one of these losses to be a lesson to me to not lose track and forget what it is I’m doing here.

I’ve had enough of death. I get it. I get the message, universe. One day I’ll be the reminder for someone else to get on with their lives and get moving. Hopefully, I will have gotten out everything I needed to get out.

What’s Old is New

Here we are, the Primitive Rite. Why settle back on the Primitive Rite as a personal essay blog and portfolio of past work?

For close to the past 15 years (beginning in 2005), I’ve written and worked extensively in posting and behind the scenes on Freemason Information. While a passion project, it wasn’t too far into the work that I realized the edges of what one could do (both with the site and with the institution).

So, like any property owner who finds themselves at the edge of their patch wanting more, I spent the time (and still do) working on the interior. New posts, new art, videos, social, the works. That work evolved into an eBook and then 4 print books published under the FmI imprint. In that process, it occurred to me that I had again run into the creative wall of what was possible.

Mulling the situation, it occurred to me that I had options. One idea was doing work under the banner of the Hermetic Circle. That that quickly fizzled as I have other plans for that still…one day.

Another property was out given the bagged that came with it was more than I wanted to try and work around.

Stuck again.

Then I remembered this forlorn site, the Primitive Rite, that I’ve revived and abandoned more times than I can count. The thought struck me that it was the right name for the subject. So too was it the right time to make use of it to catalog the work that I’ve done.

What’s old is new again.

Everything Vibrates

I feel, of late, as though I am in a spiritual black hole.

It is neither terrifying nor is it exhilarating, it just feels as though it is. To use another metaphor, this state of being feels as though I have been wrapped like a spindle in a bolt of cloth by the thickest black material that lets absolutely no light or sound through its weave.

I dont know what to make of it.

In some respects, from a Hermetic point of view, perhaps I am at the middle point between two vibrating poles caught somewhere in the transition. That take brings me some comfort.

Not being in that transit and just stuck in the void… horrifies me.

Howdy

Welcome to my home away from home, my little slice of the universe where I plan to concentrate micro devotions under the banner of the Hermetic path.