Secrets

I am having trouble writing more posts because of several reasons. One of them, and the biggest one, is that I don’t want anyone I know to read this blog and know that I am writing it. So, that limits the extent of what I can write so that my life doesn’t filter into here. Second, I am so tired of keeping secrets, I’ve always kept secrets from everyone I love, and this blog is just another secret if I don’t want to let people I know read it.

The reason I don’t want people I know to read this is because I’ve kept many secrets over the years. I don’t want them to ever find out, and much less through a blog. I’ve kept secrets of sexual experiences as a child, secrets of suicide plans (I’ve never really had the intention of carrying them out, but the plan was there, just in case), secrets of fantasies, secrets of…. I’ve kept some secrets from other secrets, I’ve kept secrets from myself. I’ve even forgotten some of the secrets I’ve kept.

Even this I feel is more than I can say. Writing is such a release though, I feel like I need it. However, I don’t know whether I’ll continue to post here since I don’t want to start something big and have it be yet another secret I keep from the people in my life.

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Luna’s Stories 2: Facing the Screamer

Aias grew increasingly worried as he observed the transformation in Luna. He knew she was seeking awareness of herself before stepping into the water, he  saw the red haze around her pulsing as if it were a heart,  pumping slower and slower each time. From the stories he had heard about the wild people he suspected that it meant her consciousness was slipping from this layer into another one with a lower vibration.  It meant she was seeking the demon inside her, for the heart of demons resided in lower layers of existence, and could only be killed in their own plane. Depending on how powerful the demon was he would exist on a deeper level than others. Aias was concerned because he felt Luna slip into lower and lower layers, until he didn’t dare to follow with his awareness for fear of not being able to return. And yet he saw how the red haze he had seen around her before slowly turned darker until Luna was shrouded by a black mist that came and went in slow pulses. He had watched several of his fellow warriors go into the waterfall, but he had never seen or felt anything extraordinary. He was as startled by the situation as by what he was sensing. Aias knew that he alone among the warriors could sense all this, he had always known he was different, but he heeded his dead father’s advice and kept what he saw of other planes to himself. If other’s knew he would not only be expelled from the warriors, he would be marked on the face with a hot iron, and he would be cast out of the Eivn to fend for himself in the wild. It was a death sentence; no other Eivn would take him in.  Dzhik wielders like Luna had to learn their craft from childhood, and an untrained un-dzhiked person who could sense the planes was a danger to everyone. Or so people said, Aias had always been able to lead a normal life.

Entering the water felt like staring directly at the sun without being able to close her eyes,  only the sun was in her mind and it violently took up all her thoughts until she felt she was being smitten by the brightness.  Luna was in a lower plane than she had hoped she would be, entering the water this low might be her demise, never mind the demon. As she steeled herself against the mental onslaught, she couldn’t help to draw on the dark energy that was now at her disposal. A black river of power rose in her only to clash violently against the bright sun that was the waterfall in her mind. The struggle of the two forces made her feel as though she would burst out of her skin. Enough, she thought, she must let the brightness consume her and the demon, she had to stop fighting it. This was time to shift things under control,  she had to face the demon sooner or later and she might as well do it sooner and in her terms.  She opened her mind to the brightness, and felt it burn a path inside her, until the demon was expelled from her and into this lower plane of existence. It was the demon’s home plane. When she looked around all the warriors were gone, still standing in their proper plane she supposed. The place was the same, except the waterfall was dark tar instead of clear water. In front of her she saw what had to be the demon wearing it’s true form. Right away she knew she was even in more trouble than she thought, for what stood in front of her was a Screamer. She had never actually seen one, even if she had heard their screams in the lower dimensions, blood curling screams that inspired the deepest fear in the listener, hoping their prey would run and get tangled in the web of screams. Luna should have suspected that a screamer had to be an arachnid demon, since it wove webs of screams, but she had never stopped to contemplate it. The Screamer stood about two heads taller than she was, as it was standing on its two hind legs. It was humanoid in appearance, all eight legs looked like emaciated human legs, except the ends weren’t feet, they were hands, it’s face was wrinkled and as emaciated as all it’s legs. The thing’s mouth was grotesquely held open by some sort of rope made out of her own tangled hair, clamping the sides of her lips in a perpetual scream.  As if hearing her thoughts the screamer let out a wild shriek that seemed to pierce Luna’s core. In this lower realm Luna could actually see the cords of energy that would create the screamer’s web if she allowed this to go on. Enough, Luna thought, and with that she gathered what power she could and forced both her dzhik to pool into her hands and form blades and started hacking at the screamer’s web. All the time the screamer kept on shrieking and moving about weaving death with each step. Luna couldn’t allow it to build a proper web or it would be her end. So she kept hacking methodically making a circle around around herself  to prevent the tendrils of red darkness from ensnaring her. But the screamer was faster at screaming than she was at hacking the tendrils, and where one of them touched her it would pool its numbing poison into her. Luna was inching forward, trying to approach the screamer, each time with more difficulty. But she kept swinging her dark knives in front and behind her, and with each hack the screamer grew more desperate, as if the web were a part of herself. Luna noticed this and was encouraged to keep hacking, but for each tendril she caught 10 more sprung to life. Despair started trickling into her mind,  she didn’t think she could even get to the screamer much less subdue and bind it. She already felt the numbness of the screamer’s poison grabbing at the edges of her consciousness, trying to bring her down and plunge her into the abyss. The ground split in front of her and for the first -and yet not the last- time in her life Luna stared into the abyss, a never-ending  funnel of darkness. The darkness was calling her, telling her to surrender to the numbness, all the pain and grief would be over then.  She knew the abyss was in her mind, but then in the lower dimensions the mind was powerful.

My Own Fear

I’m getting a headache just writing about fear, so I must be on to something. I think I need to pause here and relate my story to this (read my last two posts related to fear, On Fear and Learned Fear). The first time I consciously met fear of the soul, was late at night alone in my bedroom. I was around 17 when this first happened, I woke up in the middle of the night and felt ‘a presence’ next to my bed. I don’t think I was fully awake, it was that moment between sleep and wakefulness, my mind was completely alert but my body was asleep and I couldn’t move at all. This ‘presence’ felt evil in nature, like it had bad intentions of hurting me, and not just my body, I felt like it had the power to take or wound my soul. I wanted to scream for help, but couldn’t, I wanted to run but couldn’t, I just wanted to get away from it but I couldn’t. What is peculiar about the situation was that when I came to alertness I was asleep on my back with my arms by my side, in a corpse pose. I never sleep like that, I’m usually on my side or laying on my tummy. The paralysis was also a horrible thing, not being able to flee at a critical moment caused even more fear. I wasn’t just paralysis, all my senses were shut, I couldn’t hear, I couldn’t see, I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t even think a prayer. The presence got closer and closer to me, I could feel him staring into my soul and breaking it, I could feel him very close to my face, almost touching it.  Now, this is fear like I’ve never known in my waking life (or so I thought until recently, but that’s another story), fear without words, fear that takes over. If in that moment I could have had the option of dying or continuing in that state of fear I believe I would have chosen to die. This is why, I’m afraid to let go and just face the fear, I’m afraid that in a moment of insanity I will do something irreversible. That was the night when I learned to be afraid of sleeping.

That night my mind changed forever, and I started a quest to find out more about that visit from the night walker.  For years I thought that the ‘presence’ was the devil itself that came to visit me, wanting to possess me and steal my soul,  this idea obviously comes from my religious upraising. Now, I’m starting to see that it is an element inside my own self that split apart a long time ago and has grown gnarled, ignored and afraid. I was not ready to face it then, nor throughout the years when it has come to visit me again and again. What visits me at night isn’t a demon it is FEAR itself, my own fear. Even now, I write about fear in an attempt to rationalize it so I can finally face it. I was looking for the answer outside, when it has always been inside. It is time to look into the abyss.

Learned Fears

‘Learned’ Fears

What I qualify as the physical set of fears has an instinctual basis that can be observed in humans and in animals. It is a basic response to create caution or react –either fight or flight- to a dangerous situation. What I really mean to understand is the psychological fears that do not arise due to an immediate danger. This I will call ‘learned’ fears, for they are learned by the psyche and then recreated by the body as a physical fear. So,  I will explore places and situations where fear is learned.

The first opportunity to learn a fear comes from watching other people be fearful of something. As toddlers that is how we first learn to identify dangers, however this goes beyond the physical realm. Take religion, for example, generations and generations of people instill in their toddlers fear of an esoteric retribution (hell, karma, etc…) if they do not behave in accordance to a set of rules. This fear mixes the basic threat of physical fears (pain and torment to come) with an unknown element, and is further settled by group think.

Phobias, terror and horror are amplified fears that have somehow been reinforced in a person’s mind. Traumatic events, like a fall from a high place, an accident, neglet or abuse could lead to irrational fears. When these events occur beyond a person’s control, as is the case for children, then they cannot be processed and turn into unexplained phobias. Similarly, fear that is formed in the mind before there is a coherent rational understanding of situations is set deeply into the psyche. Somehow, we absorb so much more before we learn how to put everything into words. For example a toddler learns about a concept without filtering it through words first the way we do later on in life. Hence, a fear set in a mind before there is conscious filtering and awareness, is learned first hand without a mechanism to rationalize it.

In my experience the learning of a phobia requires the mind to be in that space of consciousness that goes beyond words. Again, toddlers automatically live like that before they learn language, but we can reach that state of mind as adults through a number of ways. It is actually a very interesting state of mind where great things can happen, but as the filtering is gone, it is also a very sensitive space of mind. Even as meditation, studying, music or intense physical activity can bring on that state of mind, so can a traumatic event. So, when if in a ‘heightened’ or pure state of mind we experience fear, but do not have the chance to also process that fear in the same state of mind, the fear is engraved in the unconscious self. It won’t fully manifest itself in waking life, it will simply lurk in the background being triggered by apparently unrelated things, or everyday things that do not pose physical danger. The fight or flight response is a very strong physical response meant to help us get out of a dangerous situation but it is meant to be a temporary response, not a permanent state of being. It takes too much energy out of the body and mind, so falling into it too often and without real need leads to feeling worn and permanently tired.

Fear within the mind and brain also reinforces itself, once a fear is learned and visited and revisited it will become stronger. I’ll look for the quote later, but I read a study that says that the brain is like any other muscle, the parts that you use the most are the parts that are most developed. So, whatever you devote your attention to, forms pathways between neurons in your brain; when you repeat activities those pathways are reinforced and grow stronger. This is a physical fact that has been observed in science, the study showed that taxi drivers in London have overly developed the area of the brain related to spatial knowledge since they are required to memorize all the streets and possible routes in the city to obtain a taxi driver’s permit. Once a fear is learned, even the threat of repeating the situation causes the area of the brain that responds to fear to light up the same way as if the situation were actually happening again.

Next time I sit down to write, I’ll explore the relationship between different types of fear, since I have an inkling that fear feeds on fear…

On Fear

Fear has been my greatest motivation to start looking into myself, I ´ll talk more about that in another post, but for now let´s just say I have trouble sleeping though the night. As the intellectual that I am, I start writing about fear and I feel the need to go to the internet and see what the formal definition of fear is. However, this time I´ll try a different approach, I will write out what fear means for me before I look at the scholarly views on it. The way I see it, there are several layers of fear.

The first and foremost is the fear of physical danger, that is, the fear that something or someone will compromise the physical integrity of the body. Here I´ll include fear of heights, fear of speeding vehicles, fear of sharp objects, fear of dangerous animals… Some physical fear is actually healthy as it prevents us from getting into potentially dangerous situations. This type of fear is instinctual and leads to self-preservation. For example, a healthy fear of heights will keep you from getting too close to the edge of a cliff where a mistake could cost your life. The same thing applies to fear of snakes, as it is known that some snakes could kill a person. Now, physical fear becomes a problem when it morphs into a phobia, something irrationally strong, but this is no longer the physical fear that I´m talking about in this category so I´ll discuss it later.

The second kind of fear I see is also physical in nature, but it is fear that someone you care about will have a physical accident. This fear speaks of attachment to others, you are afraid you´ll lose someone important in your life or that something bad will happen to them. It is different from loving others as love holds no attachment, but fear and attachment definitely go together.

The third kind of fear is the fear of rejection, be it by co-workers, a partner or spouse, or even yourself. This is the type of fear that causes group cohesion, meaning you adapt to the group so that the rest of the members will not reject you. I think in our instinctual selves this fear used to be physical in nature. In the time of the caveman, few could really accomplish by themselves all the hunting, gathering, nesting and defense needed to survive. For centuries, before transport and communication existed, being cast out of a family, dwelling or village meant death on most occasions.  Nowadays there is still a physical factor in that we need at least some acceptance to be able to hold a job, rent a house, etc… For children it´s more important as they are completely dependent on their caretakers, so acceptance by them is key for survival.  Fear of rejection is of a physical nature at any rate that a dependency on another person or institution determines survival or upkeep of certain comforts. On the other hand, this fear of rejection has evolved into the constant, unnecessary, need for approval by others, even others who have nothing to do with our survival.

Now the more complicated types of fear are the ones that are psychological in nature. The first of the psychological fears is the fear of the unknown, it is more abstract, but it can still be related to the above mentioned physical fears. Some examples are, a new situation that might cause you to be rejected, fear of failure (rejection), fear of change, or fear of death. That which we do not know causes fear. We do not know for certain what happens after death, so we fear it. So far, this is still a ‘healthy’ fear as it instills caution that should be directed at maintaining the individual´s and the group´s physical integrity.

A note here to point out that all fear starts out in the psyche, the mind, however the physical fears mentioned before are instinctual responses born out of the drive for survival. These types of fear either inspire caution in order to avoid dangerous situations or they cause a physical discharge of adrenaline to help us deal with a present dangerous situation. In short, fear is an instinctual response that is healthy when maintained within it´s natural range.

Next I will write about the psychological distortions of fear, such as phobias, and where I believe they have their origin…

Luna’s Stories 1: The Waterfall

The junction of the Geas and running water is a powerful place, meant to cleanse mind and body so you will be prepared to face power without submitting to the panic that drives unexpectant souls to the Edge of the Abyss. However, be forewarned, inside the waterfall you will face your own mind, and you must master the First Mountain,  fear. You must also be sure of who you are, for the force of the water will drag anything that doesn’t belong along with it and plunge it into darkness, if you are not master of yourself the geas will take your soul and drag you away.’

Luna, however, seemed to take no notice of her surroundings as she stared without really looking at the waterfall now in front of her. She knew that as soon as she stepped into the water the real battle for her mind, body, magic and soul would begin. Taking that shadow into herself had been the only way to keep it from killing her, or worst, enslaving her. She didn’t want to do it but she was forced to by those stupid boy hunters who didn’t know what they were meddling with.  She distantly noticed Valac biting into her leg. She hoped the snake would be strong enough to keep it’s word if things went wrong. And things seemed to be going wrong very quickly. Enough mind chatter, she thought to herself, she knew she didn’t have much time yet she had to still her mind before entering the waterfall. Squaring her shoulders, she took a deep breath and tried to really look at the waterfall instead of at the mirage of gory scenes playing in her mind. She kept drawing deep slow breaths until her heart rhythm slowed along with her breath, and she sought awareness of all her body parts. She had to be sure to know what was hers before the battle began.  Struggling to keep her breathing even she sought connection to Valac, as she felt his reassuring pressure against her leg. Valac’s consciousness slithered up and around the edges of her thoughts, tangling himself in her consciousness, becoming one with her own awareness, and yet separate, an anchor to all things made of stone. His familiar presence felt different, stronger than any other time before.  Luna took comfort in the strength of rock,  the smell of wet rock around her, the quiet perseverance of the rocks lining the pool and the resilience of the rocks supporting the roof around the courtyard. With this Luna was satisfied that the connection was complete, so she moved on to seek awareness of the dzhik. Through her dzhik she felt the connection to the wild magic that was also a part of her, forever lurking around the corners of perception, a surge of power leaped at her as if trying to fry away the edges of her mind. The surge was immediately contained and subdued by the snakelike bracelets around her arms. Now came the hard part, she had to acknowledge the shadow as part of her consciousness as she would go in the water with him in her;  she knew that if she didn’t recognize it the water would wash him away along with her mind as he was irrevocably tangled in her thoughts now. And so, she sought awareness of the darkness in her, finally letting loose all thoughts of destruction. She reveled in thoughts of battle lust, the intense concentration required for battling and slaying, the satisfaction of cutting through flesh with her knives. Yes, even the satisfaction of seeing blood gush from wounds she inflicted. The power she could have if she would form an alliance with dark creatures. It was oddly exciting, thinking of herself as creator of fear, seeking gore for the lure of gore. And of course, then came lust so wild and dark surging at the prospect of gore, and bringing with it a promise of fulfillment, of satisfaction. She caught a glimpse of what she could have: power in darkness, power in blood, power in lust.  Luna didn’t know anymore which of these thoughts were hers initially and which were being planted by the shadow.  And yet, she acknowledged all of them as part of herself now. With that acceptance she felt an even stronger connection to energy, all the magic the shadow could channel was now hers too, darker than she had ever known before. The dzhik thrashed wildly as they slithered up and down her arms in imitation of Valac, attempting to control so much raw power. The assault on her senses was intense, she could now feel the full force of the demon coercing her to give in to his alluring promises. Yet, Luna knew if she gave in she would be his slave forever inside her own body.  ‘I will die before I become a slave’ she thought to herself, or maybe she said it out loud, she couldn’t tell.  So it was that with the dzhik still thrashing wildly and Valac tightening his grip on her leg she stepped into the waterfall.

Fickle Reality

Are you watching? Observe carefully or you’ll miss it….there, it came and went and you took it for granted. There it is again, it’s always been there and yet it’s so easy to miss. A half formed idea, an impression, a word, a color, a smell, a feeling. I think I missed it again, did you get it? What is a thought anyway but an unreal figment of imagination, an invented reality that I desperately hold on to. There, I missed it again.

This blog is a mix of real facts, hard as stone, and fickle thoughts drowning in their own fiction. Some reality is best explained through stories, lest I might miss it again. Ultimately it is all shaped by the fiction of the thoughts that thought it, and as thoughts become reality they shape the mind that thought them.