“For each person there is a sentence—a series of words—which has the power to destroy him…another sentence exists, another series of words, which will heal the person. If you’re lucky you will get the second; but you can be certain of getting the first: that is the way it works. On their own, without training, individuals know how to deal out the lethal sentence, but training is required to deal out the second.”
–Philip K. Dick, “VALIS”
Welcome to the latest installment of my take on the world outside and inside my head.
On this day in 1244, around 210 Cathars surrendered and were burned alive following the conclusion of the nine-month Siege of Montségur. They voluntarily threw themselves on pyre set by the French Royal Forces.
I had a friend once who was into a lot of psychic-type mystical stuff. One day she spontaneously told me she had an intuitive “flash” that in a previous life I was a Cathar who had been burned alive following the Siege of Montségur.
It seems generally resonant with my current personality/interests/nature that I might have been a Cathar. Not a big stretch. I used to play around with “past-life” type regression things like 20 years ago. Many of these insights were not the result of actual meditative “regressions” but straight-up dream material. And actually…as a little kid I would suddenly say shit like I was an overweight hard-drinking charlatan from the late 1800s who was eventually lynched. You know…normal things that children say.
That’s one of the intriguing things about considering so-called past lives. What if you were an asshole in a past life? What to do?
In one dream I had, I was straight-up told I was going to pass away at age 58 and was then given details of my “next” life. But that was just a dream. My mom has recently assured me that I am actually going to live to be 99, so that’s good.
My father passed away from, at least in part, a genetic defect in his blood where most of the cholesterol doesn’t get filtered out. I’ve unfortunately inherited this…but the thing that ironically “protects” me, at least for the near future, is the estrogen in my body. So if I did something like…I don’t know, shot myself up with testosterone…that would fucking kill me. Because then I would have a similar enough cardiovascular profile as my dad, sans estrogen. And when my dad was my age, he was already dead for three years.
This inherited blood disorder was first flagged by our neighborhood doctor when I was 16. He helpfully told me that I would most likely die when I was 32. Later cardiovascular medical professionals bumped up that expected lifespan, but it was a horrible thing to hear as a teenager that you were going to die in your 30s. I carried around that info for years like a curse, like a death sentence.
But the “guesstimate” from my dream that I was going to pass away at 58 is, realistically, not extremely out of the question based on my medical profile. It sounds about right.
Now certainly, in order to extend my life post-menopause I could take…what?
Estrogen. I could shoot myself up with more estrogen.
I have sometimes believed that I had incarnated into this current life as a female in order to punish me for being an asshole in one or more previous lives. I realize this is a fucked up thing to say, much less occasionally actually believe.
Robert Anton Wilson believed that talking about past lives was an interesting distraction, but one shouldn’t put much stake in it. Philip K. Dick believed in not so much “straightforward” reincarnation, as the idea that all time is happening now & that we’re living all our multiple lives simultaneously.
Then there’s the esoteric belief that “all is one” anyhow…so we haven’t so much had past lives as we have literally been every other person who ever lived. Which, I don’t know about you, feels kind of overwhelming to me.
At the risk of sounding like a complete nut—and I know we’ve all come this far through these journals and my articles, so perhaps you already have a tolerance for the far-out—I think I really do know who I was in a previous life in the last century. And I think…I was partially (partially) an asshole…and I did fuck up. I massively fucked up.
And sometimes it feels, when I review the bulk of my dream journals & personal writings, that my life has been this steady “unfolding” of the core of what that lifetime was about, and what I did to fuck things up. And that this current lifetime…is like the “coda” to that particular past lifetime. It’s where I sort through all the rubble to place what has happened into context.
Further: that I was incarnated into this era, in part, to utilize the vast research opportunities afforded me by the Internet in order to achieve the goal of complete and proper context.
But this is all assuming that dabbling into the idea of past lives is anything more than a “creative exercise”…a writer’s exercise, an overly-precocious kid’s fancy.
The image that heads today’s post is taken from art I used to make for my journals. And I guess I’ll put “art” in quotation marks, because it was more like…collages and “intuitive” painting. Like the creative exercise I’ve just indulged in concerning my so-called previous lives, it was just one more way to play with my subconscious.
So I’d fill these sketchbooks with all this art…and the book itself would feel “powerful” to me. I was doing “religious” art. I was making “sigils.” I was doing what I am doing now with this site.
And these art books would end up feeling so bursting with a type of energy that inevitably, I’d destroy them in a fit of…fear. I was “afraid” of these books. I would just every once in a while sit down with one or two of them & destroy them by systematically tearing each page into countless stamp-sized pieces.
Now, the only reason I still have a small digital archive of these works is because over 15 years ago I had a sudden yen to just scan a bunch of them.
But the vast majority of the works are gone, along with a lot of poetry I wrote during the same time period. On one hand, I feel sort of bad about that…but on the other, there was only so much time I had to sort through everything, and what I chose to prioritize to keep were mainly my dream journals (a HUGE archive). Collating and transcribing the dream archives took years.
Anyway. Now I do most of that collage/art stuff digitally. Maybe there’s something lost by no longer dealing with the actual paper and paint.
Some people have asked me how I’m doing. I’m fine. My husband has backtracked somewhat from his initial position about fully moving out, but simply the fact that he mentioned it at all is…
I feel I have to fully go back to my esoteric and magickal roots, and that’s really it. I can’t emotionally invest in any one person; not fair to the other person, and usually turns out to be a mixed bag for me.
When I’m fully “plugged in” spiritually—when I really have my mind focused on it—I’m a pretty strong person. I think I’ve just given away my own power, and that was my own goddamn dumb fault.
Esoterically, I guess my question is this: in order to attain full spiritual self-realization, do I need to go back to the masculinity of my previous male lifetimes & “reclaim” that, or just work with the present feminine energy/female body as a way of balancing the polarities of all my lifetimes as a whole?
Thanks for reading, and have a good Saturday.