My average days are becoming thick with the Wyrd.
While cooking, he showed me his hand. A line of paler, still tender flesh ran vertically across the palm, not so unlike the Fate Line in palmistry. This is the mark he received several nights prior after wrapping his hand around a handle of a hot cast-iron skillet. One that I had unintentionally heated while preparing for baking. I heard him talk about the pans, and I saw him approach the counter. My mind shouted “Don’t touch!” while my mouth lagged behind the message. He burned himself due to my lack of intervention. He forgives graciously, but forgetting is not an option.
“That mark will probably be permanent,” he says.
I furrow my brow in disappointment in myself and in beseechment of forgiveness from him once again.
He shrugged and smiled. “Now I get to say that this mark is from the Witch I live with that scarred me for life.”
Silent laughter erupted as we both nodded and exchanged knowing looks. “It’s true,” we both agreed.
And then I said: “Witches tend to do that, y’know…”
We ascended the majestic staircase side-by-side; it was important for our ascendance to be just that way. Neither could attempt to lead or follow. When one rushed forward or fell back, the staircase flattened and stretched, becoming a conveyor belt that sent us backward.
So we walked together, talking and enjoying each other’s company. The air grew thin and the visuals danced like stop-motion oil paintings. Agape we pressed onward: Up, Up and Away.
First, your soundtrack:
My brothers and I arrived at the park about two hours before sunset. The vehicle that delivered us was a strange mix of a hippie van and a school bus. It felt like we were returning from a field trip or sporting event, yet we were dressed in suits and professional duds. We were all itching to get in some exercise at the park before sunset, maybe run a couple trails and do the circuit work-outs. All of us changed as quickly as possible at different ends of the van/bus. Some little fleshy dragons that could be mistaken for insects if one didn’t look closely enough kept flying in the window near me. They were cute and distracting, but they quickly became annoying as they insisted on buzzing around my head or landing on me. Some of them would bite or spit fire so I shooed them out the window several times. Once they were all out, I closed and locked the back window. Peering out, I saw our driver for the first time.
He was a small, thin, pale man, dressed in grays and blacks. A baseball cap covered his bald head, and the chains hanging from his wallet jangled as he walked. He looked at me through the smoke escaping his mouth with other-worldly, luminescent, steel-gray eyes. Storm clouds rolled in him and imps sought to escape his skin. Before becoming too transfixed, my brothers called for me to finish getting ready. I nodded and put on my sneakers. As I was tying them, the driver walked over to the front of the van/bus, a fresh cigarette hanging from his mouth. He began to bullshit with my brothers. As he talked with them, the sky changed rapidly. The sun quickly dropped closer to the horizon. The driver made eye contact with me before walking outside again. The numbers on the clock had jumped 30 minutes in their three-minute conversation.
My brothers shook their heads, as if they had water in their ears that they were trying to dislodge. I made my way to the front of the bus. A Brief History of Time, constellation maps and the Beastie Boys’ album Intergalactic were sprawled out on the floor of the van/bus by his seat. I rose my head to see the driver outside smiling as he crushed his cigarette under his foot. As quick as he was to light another, he seemed to jump out of my view.
The weirdness was apparent to me, but I filed the feelings away for now, deciding not to act. I still didn’t know what this encounter meant really.
“Are we doing this or what?” I called to my brothers. “It’s getting late fast.”
They stopped fiddling with their ears, and we all emptied out of the bus to run among the trees and ponds, toward the setting sun.
I’m in a house. But who am I in this house? Am I the cyberpunk woman with white hair and blue lips, dressed in a black and purple gown? Am I the little girl standing in the upstairs hall in a party dress, with my black hair done up in ribbons and barrettes? Or am I the hired help, somewhere in between these two females, that is supposed to be getting everything in order for the wedding? I think I’m the hired help: the 20/30-something woman in the crisp, white, button-down; the simple, black pencil skirt; and brown hair pulled so tight in a ponytail that my eyes always look like they’re slightly watering.
What am I doing? …besides not being productive and holding things up currently. My boss, a domineering matriarch with permanent frown lines and etched, sinister eyebrows, barks orders at me from the bottom of the staircase. What am I doing up here? Isn’t everyone dressed already?
Oh… OK, now I know what to do.
The little girl is not ready. She has no tights and no shoes, and she is starting to pick the rhinestone barrettes out of her hair. I take her hands.
“You mustn’t play with them right now.”
“But they hurt.”
“Oh,” I make a frowny face as I kneel down to talk to her. “I know it hurts. Barrettes suck. But you only need to wear them for a little while. After the ceremony, you can take them out. OK?”
She rubs her eyes and nods. “If it makes you fell any better, my ponytail hurts like a bitch.” She looks at me. “Uh… don’t tell the other adults I said that. OK?” She nods. “Great. Now, we need to get you in tights and shoes.” We go into her room.
As this is going on, the cyberpunk bride is arranging her “veil:” a silver headdress that extends over her head like horns and below her chin like tusks. Blinking lights frame her face. For some reason, she stays on the stairs while others prep her and workers try to squeeze by her to move from the top levels to the bottom ones. She seems cold and distant, almost dead underneath her impatient and dissatisfied exterior. She looks at her pointy, black nails or the glass, spherical chandeliers above her. A young man, who I soon identify as the groom, comes into view at the bottom of the stairs. His attire matches hers: black and purple with silver accents. His hair is wind-whipped; the black and white colors make it look like an electrified skunk has latched onto his head. He is shouting to the bride about something. I’m not sure what the argument is about, but he is certainly less than pleasant to her and she is certainly less than happy about or attentive to what is going on.
As his voice escalates, the girl, now sitting on the bed in her white tights and patent leather shoes, begins to cry. I don’t ask, but she answers.
“He always so mean to her. I hate him.”
I am guessing that the bride is probably her sister or half-sister. The bride is too young to be this girl’s mother, and the relationship seems too intense for it to be niece-aunt or cousins. As I am doing my assuming, the girl becomes very still, as if she is listening to me.
She changes. As she dries her eyes, I see that they have grown older and changed color. The muscles in her face tighten and she assumes a new persona. Her voice is that of a grown woman… or rather, female cyborg.
“I am Out of Time,” she says to me, plainly. We both pause. She flickers back into the little girl. “I don’t want to be here, like this.” She begins to cry again.
I try to handle the situation. So I start the only place I really can.
“OK. OK.” I lay my hands in the air. She flickers back to the lady cyborg; her mannerisms and demeanor show me who she is moment to moment. I ask her: “What Time are you in?”
“Many. I live several lives simultaneously.”
“Some I don’t know. Sometimes I cannot control where I go; I just pop in. I don’t know how many lives I am living exactly, right ‘now,’ but I do know that she’s me and she’s trapped.” She flickers and cries. Instantly, another young girl that looks almost exactly like her, except with blonde hair, appears behind her.
“Who’s trapped? Who’s ‘she?'”
Two, three, four more girls, all very similar, but slightly different, pop into existence.
Flicker. The voice is now a blend between the adult cyborg and the little girl. “The bride. Out there. She’s me. I’m her. She just doesn’t remember. He made her forget.” The crying of the girl with black hair begins to reverberate all around in the room. The other young girls look around with dry eyes. Many look focused on a task, or at least, are driven by strong feelings. They begin to talk in unison about numbers and counting and manifestation. I cannot make sense of it all.
I hear glass break outside. The chandeliers, they fell from the ceiling. Broken glass is strewn all over the upstairs hallways and down the staircase. The bride is nowhere to be found.
The young girls rise together and exit their bedroom. These mirror images begin to oscillate between one and many incarnations. When the girls come together as one, the image is of a young adult woman with black hair and violet eyes. She wears an oversized men’s button-down shirt. Her legs are bare and milky white. She wears no shoes and rolls her feet slowly from heel to toe.
Parents, relatives, the bridal party and guests all tell her to stay put, not to move. “There’s broken glass everywhere; you’ll slice up your feet.”
“I am aware,” she says as she walks forward without flinching or avoiding the glass. “You seem not to appreciate how much I do not want this. I will show you that I’d rather walk through broken glass (this broken Reality) than be a part of it.”
And she walks slowly and purposefully, never wincing or crying. In the windows and mirrors she passes by, all can see images of a thousand incarnations that she is, including the little girls and the cyberpunk bride, including tribal warriors and circus performers, including war machines and hummingbirds. The hallways are long, but she continues. Though glass embeds itself in her skin, she does not bleed on the forest-green carpet.
I am a love of that I am a reflection and emanation. Kisses under the stars. Tall grass reaching for our bodies. This figurative heart is also the lips of Nuit.
I am suspended in Time and Space. Hanging from my foot, I feel the rush of blood to my head. I am Red at every extremity.
I offer up my heart as a torn entity. In my struggle between the binaries, I express both forms simultaneously.
I am captured by Life. Celestial forces pull at my chest and wrap me in electromagnetic fields. These forces are hands in my flow, attempting to redirect. When my eyes close, stars explode behind my eyelids and the fire rises within me.
Caught in a sea of darkness, I see my monsters and the spoils of war float by. Temptations to which I submitted mimic the color of the bleeding sun. The rope is within reach. I seek to extract myself from this Ocean of bruise-blue and this Sky of blood tears.
One foot on a black hole, another on the sun that is slowly being sucked in, I stand, a knife in one hand, with broken skin and bruised body to face the shooting stars and Windows of opportunities floating in Outer Space.
Masked I am: all Blue and smirking.
Fires and serpents at my feet that I cannot fight: my hands are tied and my arms spread wide. There will be no yelling through this duct tape. There will be nowhere to move when the archers take aim at the bulls eye marked on my chest. A phantom heart resides in the background, with the rainbows peeking from the storm clouds and the incentive on which I am to focus.
Tied up in electricity, I cannot help my fascination with the fire butterfly in front of me.
A hand emerges in the heavenly light. Inside its palm is an eye that cries for a reason that I do not know. The walls of this room have no beginning and no end. The doorway is through the flesh, and the night sky can be seen out my window.
I am bound in the colors of Fire, though I don the colors of Water. I reach through my element to the one that binds me, never allowing the physical abomination I face to shake me. I even ignore the easy way out.
I stand in front of an explosion. It is not for others to know if I initiated it or not.
Locked in a space I can reach through, I peer into the Unknown. Perhaps I care little to use the key I know is there to unlock myself at the present moment, despite the water slowly rising in my cell.
An angel stands in a stream of Water and Light. All that she emits conspires to spell out your name.
Perhaps I look much like a leprechaun among the flora. Yet I sit within the constructs of this world, laughing all the time in the face of Death.
My strength keeps me hanging on and glaring into the face of my opponents.
I am both the malformed entity with dragon wings and the one that loves such creatures.
The epiphanies I come to are etched in my skin. I write my Truth on my body for all to see.
The saga presented in the beginning continues… lovers on the beach, hand in hand and skin to skin. There are two fish I know so well that keep us adhered.
He looks like a nazi, with anger and coldness to match. I am naked before him, coming out of the Water to face whatever may be waiting for me in the blood of the setting sun.
Within me thrive beauty, music, life, fantasy, destruction, innocence, enchantment and growth.
Beyond Time and these cities of Men, we reside in the clouds together, as forms of what we can conceive.
Possessed by something else entirely, my eyes are now in reverse.
I will break through that which holds the key in order to get it.
These images and forms are cast in beauty and pale pink and live within alien landscapes.
I see. I listen. My mouth is shut.
All incarnations were called to join in one room. I was lying on the floor. The first to arrive included the Angelic, the Demonic, the Primal, the Sullen and the Fantastic.
One of the stories: The hunter holds his fallen love.
Within my eyes, his image is never really gone. The fires and finely sculpted body, complete with the Mythical implications, still burn my eyes.
I am leaving. I am taking this key and locking the door behind me. I know not what the Path holds for me, but I see vague images of Lovers, Guides, Demons and the cloak of Night.
This Djinn is too sultry to not become captivated.
A target for some unknown archers, I sit with a crown on my head and scepter in my hand. My throne is stone and these blues and violets are so heavy this time.
Where Ocean, Sky and Moon meet, the Goddess emerges. She absentmindedly creates whirlpools with her fingers as she is so lost in her own head.
Another of the stories: This time she cries out among fallen trees as she holds her lifeless Lover in her arms.
Incomplete: A fire dancer and a woman meet.
He enters from the back door. He is cast among shadows and holds clenched fists. The bare light bulb swings above my head, and all I can do is look at the ground.
In the green-blue haze, a new creature emerges in the face of dragons and clown-faced skeletons.
Laughing ‘til tears spill down my face, a rainbow wash of entities spring forth from the subconscious. She touches my head while this one dances by my shoulders. I see the ones I know from dreams and the One we shall all know on our last day.
Incomplete: Her eyes are new and fashioned by the magic he weaves. Faces, jewels, symbols, and gifts float from his spirit to dress her as he wishes.
The Witch spins and weaves, playing with Infinity. Her tools are represented. Their fear is evident.
Fangs materialize over her. She is blue and black with Death entering her eyes, spiders crawling up her body and serpents reaching for her. A hand from below reaches through her chest to pull her down.
The Rogue Alchemist meets the Eye in the Sky. He masks himself in the presence of the Eye. The flow of Power is both ways, from him to the Eye and from the Eye to him. The water is blood and the sky is fire. His totem, the Raven, responds to his calls.
Incomplete: This Devil has maces fastened to his wrists. The poison plant people and fire woman appeal to him.
A boot squashes the sun. This man with the hammer hand falls under rain while snakes turn to flowers.
I ran and exploded into pure energy. On the other side, I emerged as a beautiful Faery from a red flower.
My totem speaks; he brings some Faery friends.
The Bull King comes to greet us. We become possessed: everything tainted red and blue.
Her gown eats the floor and her throne eats the sky. She sits with a cat on her lap. Her eyes have no pupils.
Abstract: Colors! A tree hand reaches for a pear. A sinister goatee is the stem to the pear. Eyes cry or protect. Hearts are flowers that birth spirals. Violet fire burns in the corner.
A portrait with a loving glow.
A boy sits in the corner. The shadow he casts creates a hungry woman.
Close-up of fascination.
The primordial Beach and Creation.
Elven couple by Water.
Abstract: Green man covered in occult symbols with a snake arm is distracted by the tongue of a half-face woman. She is hanging in the air by a neon eye as her face also emerges from a psychedelic tree. From the tree hangs a man in a noose and flowers grow. A butterfly with eyes flies by. A night Faery dances on spirals of Love next to the Raven of the Night.
A figure in a purple cloak approaches the light at the end of a maroon hallway of mirrors and torches.
A redhead by a brick wall.
Abstract: Happy, neon fish-face swims under the cartoon dog with a genie lamp for ears. A pink and purple Faery Steed is vaguely recognizable.
Abstract: A blue eye has eyelashes of feathers from which hearts trail. The hearts flow into cotton-candy clouds that pass over the full moon. These same colors spiral into fires in the corner, over which, “RED MEAT” is written. RED MEAT is at the foot of the bed, which remains unmade. Zzzzs trail off to the door, beyond which, the cat explores a tunnel. Dreamers’ thought-bubbles contain “X,” which runs into a path leading back to the blue eye. Clovers and clubs hang in the background, along with dancing plant people.
The Cosmic Jester peers into the ring of Existence, where pregnancies, births, deaths, reincarnation occurs. The lotus flower sits within the heart, that ends in Infinity. “ZERO” creates its own trails in the sphere. The Eye sees “SOUL.” The Jester smiles as the Dice at the end of his hat reflect in his eyes. Sun, Moon and Stars are all contained in his silly hat. Behind him, the Goddess stands among spirals of Creation.
A comic strip of a night of drunkenness.
Portraits of my friends and a coffee house conversation.
1st panel: I’m wearing a t-shirt that says “RAGE” as I crush cars, destroy buildings and burn people. 2nd panel: My face contorted in anger, I am fantasizing about throwing punches at some choice people.
A green-eyed man.
Fishies kissing my toes as I stand with a flower in hand, balancing against a tree and a toe in the pond.
Goddess(/I) emerges from a water lily. The full moon and a water snake are behind her.
Abstract: A cat hangs out in the clouds as a message in a bottle travels through the water below. Flowers spontaneously spring from the water, which gets kissed by a fish. Balloons soar upwards from the road with a cartoon car. A strawberry in the sun is dipped in a chocolate well.
Abstract: A woman’s face covers the page. There is the sun in her eyes. A fire butterfly passes over an unmade bed. Ice cream cones and cherries are directly above the bed, being licked. The moon makes music from the clouds. A cat is made from the letters in “MEOW.”
Realism: Tree Frog
Realism: Snowy Mountain Lion
Faery sitting on a pentacle. Lizard face eating a flaming ball on a fork.
Man emerges from a flower. A snake wraps around his waist. The sun is in the sky and a heart-shaped woman’s face with puckered lips is in the background.
A woman (me) from the waist down, in a mini skirt and heels. Young, hot man’s face in the corner reacting.
Infinity symbol wrapped around a crescent moon.
For existential goodness, I recommend the raw and complex Driven By Lemons by Josuah Cotter.
Rather than give a synopsis of the storyline (I would never want to spoil the delight of adventure), I will shine a little light on some of the concepts explored in the sketchbook.
Where are your comfort zones?
What are your constructs?
Are you ready to let go?
Do you know who you are?
Can you deal with your Shadow?
What about the constructs of Society, can you deal with that?
What are you looking for? And what do you expect to find?
Are there answers?
Which ‘reality’ is the True Reality? Is there one?
Are you real?
What is this strange, new world?
Everyone has the same dream at some time (all the time?). Over and over again…
Before you mount arguments, I refer you to this anime: Paprika.
The art, the progression of the story and the presentation places you fluidly in the dream state. You are primed for reception of the messages and for the acceptance of the dreamscapes presented. Trust me, you will find reflections of your own dreams in one or many of the tunneling realities.
The movie explores many concepts: the nature of dreams, control of the psyche, alter egos/dopplegangers, memories, trauma, sanctuary, and the splitting and merging of realities. When does one world end and another begin? Will we (can we) secure our portals and gateways? At what point does the veil become so thin that we can no longer tell which reality we are navigating? And is that a real concern if we can navigate each one effectively?
We may assume that our dream life is our own private quarters, secure and wholly solitary in experience. However, as humans, we share many primal landscapes and common scenarios. What themes keep occurring in your psychic spaces? We have all fallen through frightening depths. We have seen heavens and wastelands, history and revolution, alien planets and faery realms. We have been the pursuer and the pursued. (Ever meet the entity on the other end?) We are the warden and the prisoner, the student and the master, the defendant and the judge, the slayer and the slain, the champion and the monster… the list goes on.
What do the overlapping collective subconscious dreamscapes imply? Does it imply that the deepest closets of our psyches can be hacked, manipulated and modified by either ourselves or others regardless of our conscious awareness of what is happening? Does it imply that our evolutionary memories are similar despite region and culture of origin; that there is something about being human that ties us together regardless of race, religion or any other association/affiliation? Or take it another step… that there is something about being an animal, being of the Earth that we will always carry with us?
And what of those who hold memories and lives of the non-human: of the Faery, of the Stars, of the Angels, of the Darkness, of the Hungry, of the Shifters, of the Robots, of the Alien? With what dreams do they impregnate us?