Friday, July 24, 2020

Hologram warps, cosmic initiations, resurrection and immortality (revisited)


Sha'Tara (a Canadian shaman) wrote on 15 January 2003:

Have you noticed, privately, how truly "STRANGE" these days seem to be for us? Nothing really seems to make sense, and as far as "normal" activities, say what? Stuff in this reality seems to be fading like a dream from which we are awakening. Once in a while, I get hooked into something, work or some creative activity with the hands for example, only to feel little or nothing after it's done.

Not sure if what you're describing is the same "sense of utter futility" that plagues me occasionally (even in recent years, after a series of initiations and peak experiences which served to anchor me more firmly in my heart chakra). If it is, then it's probably an occupational hazard of human incarnations.

This phenomenon applies to just about EVERYTHING humans commonly experience - whether love and romance, or delight over something our minds have produced like a poem or a drawing or piece of music. I attribute the emotional flux to "low" and "high" energy states, e.g., everything invariably appears more attractive, more promising when I'm well rested and energetically stable; but even a magnificent rainbow doesn't move us when we're exhausted or mildly depressed (which could be the same thing, really). Went through extended periods when I felt like hibernating. I usually allow myself as much sleep as I need to regenerate my vitality and joie de vivre.

Like I'm waiting for something to happen... and not sure if I'm supposed to make it happen, or supposed to wait, or just forget about it all and go through the motions of life in 3-D physical form.

Well, if you're not sure what exactly it is that's about to happen, how can you "make it happen"? I'm pretty sure heaven is about to happen on earth - most times! - but evidence to the contrary (as reported through other perspectives, people I meet who don't share my metaphysical standpoint or belief system, the mass media, etc) sometimes makes me pause and reassess my own private expectations.

And since we're repeatedly advised to let go of expectations lest we suffer perpetual disappointment, I take such moments as a cue to return to Emotional Zero - a neutral zone of High Indifference favored by rinpoches or folks who have, cosmically speaking, "binder dundat." Not always easy or possible, but all feedback - positive, negative, or neutral - is invariably useful to the scientific-gnostic quest.

Strangely freeing with a touch of apprehension, sadness and wonder. I think, if we could remember, that is likely how we felt when approaching the time of our physical birth... So... does this mean we have one more very real, if short, painful process to undergo... one more "test"?


Tests, tests, tests! We've all had enough of tests! Trials and bloody tribulations, my foot! I'm not even in goddamn SCHOOL!!! Nope, I refuse to view obstacles in my path or temporary setbacks as "tests." I accept these moments of danger or crisis as part of the overall adventure of the earthly 3D adventure. As a kayaker, you must know the exhilaration of successfully negotiating a particularly hazardous stretch of river or finding your way out of a proper tangle. Good to keep our navigational and acrobatic skills free of rust.

Question: What about that titillating "resurrection" or rejuvenation of the physical body? Any thoughts on that, O Ancient One?

Hey, I'm not THAT old!!! Yes, I have had vague glimpses into the Resurrection and Rejuvenation scenarios - and they invariably involved Elohim technology. Seems to me there are technically advanced beings that have mastered highly esoteric arts like preserving an individual's memory banks in some species of organic computer (say, a crystal chamber) while a new physical vehicle is cloned or repaired. Indeed, I chanced upon some excerpts from Al Bielek's report that revealed some interesting stuff going on under wraps at secret laboratories with access to Grey technology: seems the Greys have long acquired the technical knowhow to perform a low-grade version of resurrection, including the construction of quasi-human personalities for the metaprogramming of androids. These days it gets harder and harder to tell who's really steering which ship of state!

I have had occasion to inform my 86-year-old dad that his physical vehicle may have to undergo the traditional death process because his belief system does not allow for in-body rejuvenation or outright ascension via sub-cellular transmutation. But, I also reassured him that he'd like his new Resurrection Body - which would retain its 35-year-old appeal indefinitely.

Speaking of rejuvenation, my friend Katharina Bless recently told me about the Himalayan Crystal Salt she's distributing. Apparently, this crystalline salt is millions or even billions of years old, and is mined manually in the Himalayas. A wee bit added to our daily diet will allegedly work wonders on our transmutation into 5th dimensional entities, as the salt promotes the functioning of our 12-strand DNA. But that's about all I know about it. Have ordered a pound of the stuff to try.

Now I can't say why I feel physical rejuvenation, resurrection, and light-body ascension to be true or even achievable - I mean, our potential for regaining a species of immortality. However, I'm not overly concerned about outcomes, as I don't have a big issue with physical or ego death. It's just that I feel death may become unnecessary as the Soul regains a clear sense of cosmic continuity and releases itself from the mundane effects of karma - birth, death & rebirth on the wheel of repeated incarnations - and accepts total responsibility for its own experiential states.

Does this resonate with you, Sha', or anyone else?

Antares
aka "The Ancient of Days"


[First posted 20 June 2012, reposted 18 April 2014 & 22 April 2019]

BIRTHPLACE RECLAIMED! (reprise)




Freestyle dance music commissioned by Chandrabhanu (Bharatam Dance Company, Melbourne) in late 1992; world premiere in January 1993 @ PJ Civic Center. 

Composed, performed & produced by Antares & Friends 

Minah Angong (vocals); Sunetra Fernando (vocals, rebab & percussion); Rafique Rashid (sequencing, percussion, vocal effects, engineering & mixing); Tim Bremser (12-string guitar, drum programming, percussion, vocal effects & mixing); Antares (shepherd's flute, Balinese flutes, synthesizer, didgeridoo, percussion & vocal effects) 

Digitally remastered in September 2012 by Thomas Smorek

As the title suggests, this choreographic work attempts to chronicle the loss of innocence every individual and every community experiences when the spurious concept of "progress" encroaches and transforms the land into an eco-systemic and psycho-emotional hell. From Dreamtime to Machinetime; thence a period of spiritual confusion and intense questing, followed at last by not so much a return to an imaginary pristine past - but a reconciliation with present reality, wherein ancient and modern realities begin to ecstatically fuse, thereby generating a fresh creation.

Sometime towards the end of 1992 I was contacted by celebrated dancer-choreographer Ramli Ibrahim (founder & artistic director of Sutra Foundation) who asked if I was keen to take on a commission to produce 30 minutes of music for Chandrabhanu, a Melbourne-based master of the Bharatanatyam.

Of course I said yes and soon a meeting with Chandrabhanu was set up. He had in mind a freestyle contemporary choreographic work titled Birthplace Reclaimed which he wished to premiere at a dance festival hosted by Sutra at the PJ Civic Center in early 1993.

I immediately got to work on the music, visualizing a circle and 4 cardinal points - an ancient symbol for Mother Earth. 

As Chandrabhanu had only a limited budget, I was unable to rent a professional studio for the task. So I recruited Rafique Rashid as a musical conspirator and sound engineer. He was living in Kuala Kubu Bharu at the time in a shophouse and had a workable 4-track home studio. He called it Batorvilla Studio (inspired by Ulan Bator, the Mongolian capital after which he had named his comic-book alter ego).

At the time we had Tim Bremser - an Enochian magickian, visual artist & musician from Winnipeg, Canada - living at Magick River. Tim owned a 12-string guitar & a TEAC 4-track mixer-recorder which could be tandemed with Rafique's Akai 4-track. Sunetra Fernando, taking a break from her ethnomusicological research in gamelan, showed up one day & was promptly recruited.

Perlis-born Chandrabhanu arrived in Melbourne in 1971 to study social anthropology.

Minah Angong at the Sarawak Rainforest World Music 
Festival in August 1998
To explain what I had in mind, I drew a chart dividing the music into four movements: the first movement (Dreamtime) would depict an idyllic, edenic way of life, interrupted by the advent of industrialization (Machinetime, second movement). 

The third movement (Spacetime) would represent a period of confusion born of the conflict between inner and outer realities. Finally, a reconciliation of past and future, a fusion of tradition and innovation, paving the way for us to reclaim our birthplace.

Rafique and I had already experimented with dropping Minah Angong's cold voice on top of an instrumental work-in-progress. The result exceeded all expectations and augured the beginning of a rewarding musical collaboration called Akar Umbi.

A ceremonial singer from the indigenous Temuan tribe, Minah Angong had been taught the song "Burung Meniyun" by her late husband, the headman of Gerachi Village. It felt so right that we should incorporate the indigenous soul into Birthplace Reclaimed.

We had to record at night because Batorvilla Studio wasn't soundproofed. The traffic noise was too intrusive during the daylight hours. Sunetra was learning to play the rebab, a two-stringed violin introduced to Southeast Asia by the Arabs. It sounded great passed through a guitar effects box. Getting the mix right was crazy work, with both Rafique and Tim handling the crossfades and controlling levels with both hands on two different 4-track decks.

When Chandrabhanu heard the fruits of our nocturnal labors, he instantly liked it. Then he asked if Minah Angong would be able to sing "Burung Meniyun" live on stage. She had never performed on any stage, as far as I knew, but we decided to give it a go. Rafique would produce two versions of the music - one with Minah's voice mixed in; the other without, so it could be used as a minus-one for her live vocal. We took Minah to the technical rehearsal and put her to the test. She passed with flying colors (after a false start owing to nervousness) and wowed the packed hall on opening night.

Minah Angong with Antares & Chandrabanu (costumed as a shaman).


[First posted 18 December 2014, reposted 8 July 2018 & 11 April 2019]


Thursday, July 23, 2020

Horace Tan’s Horrible Skin Condition (& how Mrs Tan cured it) ~ a bizarre short story by Antares

This story began its life in 1967 as a high school creative writing assignment. It was originally titled Herbert von Schenke’s Rare & Disconcerting Problem – And How Dutiful Delilah Solved It. I dusted it off in 1987 and fleshed it out for a short-story writing competition. It was awarded a consolation prize. I subsequently sold it to Men’s Review, a trendy monthly magazine, in 1995, along with a couple of new illustrations. And now, here it is again in its latest incarnation as a blogpost (first uploaded 26 May 2007), which only goes to show that there's a future in recycling one’s past...


HUMMING WITH above-average self-confidence, Mr Horace H.L. Tan would flounce down the street each day, despite his rare and disconcerting Skin Condition.

And an uncommonly horrible problem his was at that: poor Mr Tan was burdened at birth with the distressing misfortune of Loose Skin.

When Horace was but a day old everyone had tried to dismiss the issue with humor, saying how charmingly like a plump little prune he looked. The doctors had conducted a series of expensive tests and, after serious conference, had diagnosed the child’s condition as “a most unusual case of acutely uncoordinated cuticular cellulation.”

“Probably a passing phase,” the doctors had declared in reassuring unison, fondly tickling the gurgling bundle of joyful wrinkles that glistened in its cot.

“Don’t worry, dear, he’ll grow into it,” Horace’s father had said, with sensible optimism.

“’Tis God’s Will,” Horace’s mother had responded, carefully powdering her infant and arranging his skin in neat folds, with stoic affection.

As to be expected, young Horace encountered traumatic difficulties in trying to gain the acceptance of society. At school the other children mercilessly mocked his pleated skin: “Jellyfish, smellyfish,” they chanted, “just go away, that’s all we wish!”

Before long Horace had acquired an aura of grand isolation arising from his dermatological uniqueness. Some called it freakishness, but never to his face, for his features had by now become very much enshrouded in the spotty skin of adolescence. Nobody could think of anything meaningful to say to him, and he remained enveloped within himself. For Horace Tan it was one of life’s poignant ironies that he should suffer a total deprivation of the sense of kinship, while enjoying a superabundance of skin.

But he comforted himself by recalling his father’s last words: “A great man, Horace my boy, must have the courage to be different. The ugliest insults to one’s dignity are, at their worst, only skin-deep.” At one time Horace Tan’s father had been the owner of a famous reptile farm (featured on all the tourist maps).

After her husband’s death, Horace Tan’s mother had sold the business and established a trust fund for her only son. She somehow knew her own days were numbered.

Solace also came to Horace in the sweet, unselfish person of Philomena P’ng, a quiet girl from the local orphanage who had been engaged as his handmaid and cosmetician. Not having really had a proper upbringing she had been spared the normal quota of prejudices that children inevitably absorb from their parents.


Now, Horace’s extraordinary hide had attained new dimensions in horniness ever since puberty – for his prodigious dermal development was accompanied by no significant loss of tactile sensitivity. Perhaps in defiance of his own physical shortcomings, he had perversely cultivated a keen interest in feminine pulchritude (which would later prove valuable in his professional life).

For the present, Horace had to make do with Philomena P’ng’s services. No doubt she struck Horace as a morsel too bland for his exotic taste, but she did seem to care for him above and beyond the call of her domestic and cosmetic duties. In fact, after the death of his parents, Horace’s only companion was Philomena – and hers the only other human skin he had touched.

At nineteen-and-a-half Horace Tan stopped growing. But not his skin. It was now at least three sizes too large for him. (To get a more graphic idea of how Horace looked at this stage, slip an old condom over your index finger and wiggle it.) However, to a sympathetic eye, Horace did not appear at all repulsive – thanks to Philomena’s conscientious and tender ministrations which kept his overall complexion clear and healthy. A ridiculous proportion of their monthly expenses, however, went towards imported skin care products.

Since his strange affliction precluded active participation in sports and other social games, Horace had naturally turned to books. (He rarely watched television, complaining that he found the “superficiality and false glamor of TV-land “ in poor taste.) During this period he chanced upon Frank Herbert’s Dune stories which profoundly altered his self-image: Horace was drawn irresistibly into a quasi-mystical identification with the Hero - whose horrendous transmogrification into a hideous heap of omniscient protoplasm earns him the status of Emperor God. The silent contempt Horace felt towards the human hordes that pride themselves on Normalcy became even more pronounced.


FOR A FEW best forgotten years, Horace Tan supplemented his dwindling trust fund income by submitting his Skin Condition to public exhibition. He was billed as “The Incredible Human Fungus.” It was disgusting and demeaning, true, but on weekends the takings were appreciable. Philomena set up a tea stall outside. Soon, a multi-cultural element (consisting of two giggly Thai women wrestling in French salad dressing) was incorporated into Horace’s Human Fungus routine. While Philomena diverted curious policemen with her excellent tea and delicious margarine rolls, Horace livened up his act with a series of other ingeniously flamboyant titillations. “Fun on Fungus” evolved into a fantastic money-spinner, and Horace H.L. Tan was well on his way to true-blue entrepreneurship. “They want skin… I sell them SKIN!” became his private credo.


And with that Horace Tan married Philomena P’ng, bought her a gleaming new chain of fast-food outlets, and installed himself as the Invisible Godfather of a proliferous network of adult video agencies. It was the perfect climate for purveyors of preserved prurience: hot, humid and hypocritical.

Working behind the scenes with transcendental vulgarity, Horace swiftly established a vast and venal empire of ‘musical’ coffeehouses, ‘massage’ salons and ‘sex-clusive’ health clubs. Meanwhile, video vice was doing very well, thank you, with the staunch support of the nation’s puritan aunts and uncles: the more they raved, the more they rented (this was before the advent of the internet made rented videos obsolete). When the Official Outcry Over Obscenity and Hedonism (OOOOH) reached a premature climax of impassioned publicity resulting in Nocturnal Omissions by the Blind Forces of Moral Erectitude (ref. Raids & Seizures Act, Amendment V, 1969), Horace gently pulled out of pornography and plunged into other, more personally gratifying pursuits.

He took up a correspondence course in Amateur Dermatology and soon was acknowledged as the World’s Foremost Authority on the tragic case history of John Merrick (the original Elephant Man). Inspired by one of Alan Sherman’s doggerel ditties (“You gotta have skin/All you ever really need is skin…”), Horace next tried underwriting and producing a musical extravaganza (predictably called Skin). The critics dismissed the whole show as “a flabby and shabby flop” but its lyrical content, though accused of “unrestrained idiosyncrasy and self-vindication,” was occasionally brilliant:

Skin is a most precious commodity
Especially when it stretches to Infinity;
Although a few fools think me an oddity,
My ego-encompassing epidermal packaging
Gives me a great sense of Divinity!

Skin, luxurious skin:
Oo, it’s the nicest stuff to be in!
Come rain or shine it won’t fade with time;
Yes! skin is a substance sublime.

Skin, my glorious skin:
Where do you end, where do I begin?
Who cares! just send up an endless supply
Of skin…


But most of all Horace cherished his regular afternoon jaunts. When the sun warmed him like a chappati and the breeze billowed his cheeks like a Sultan’s birthday banners, he would pause and tuck the freehanging ends of his knobby kneeskin into his superstretched socks (so as not to trip and embarrass himself). And he would think fondly of faithful Philomena: so passionate, so patient, so practical, so resilient and resourceful. And his entire skin would quiver with a peculiar pleasure.

Having thus worked up a voluminous appetite Horace would hurry over (the best he could) to his wife’s nearest outlet, where he would drowse behind the giant microwave ovens and wait for the last patron to leave, before doing hungry justice to the day’s remnants of frankfurters, French fries and fruit pies.

And yet, Horace Tan’s marital, epidermal and gastronomical contentment was clouded by the horrid certainty that the rate of his Gross Dermal Product was obviously and undeniably proportional to his age. In other words, Mr Tan’s horrible Skin Condition was STILL getting worse (notwithstanding his remarkable psychological triumph over the cruel bathos of Fate).

"Each day the dutiful Mrs Tan would scrape off the waxy waste with a scoop and sell it by the tub to an orchid fertilizer factory."



BEFORE HE REACHED 44 the unfortunate Mr Horace Tan had become quite incapable of carrying out the simplest tasks of daily living. His devoted wife soon had to administer liquid food to him through a veterinary hypodermic (it was impossible to locate his mouth); walk him in a heavy-duty motorized wheelbarrow (his feet were hard to find); read, or rather, shout the morning and afternoon papers to him (his eyes had for years been buried beneath pachydermoid lids and he hardly had ears to speak of or into); scratch him whenever he had an itch (and he had more than a few); and hose him down thrice a day (to reduce his profuse transpiration).

Almost all his natural bodily functions had undergone a bizarre mutation. He no longer had to “go to the toilet.” Instead he exuded, at regular intervals, a resinous effluent which, although slightly unpleasant in odor, was wonderfully conducive to plant growth. Each day the dutiful Mrs Tan would scrape off the waxy waste with a scoop and sell it by the tub to an orchid fertilizer factory. Then she would turn on the electric shower system in the ceiling and spray her husband with Dettol, followed by Odorono. At night she had to tape his facial folds to the wall to prevent his suffocating in his sleep as he lay helpless on his foam-rubber floor like a retired Portuguese man-of-war. It was a truly unhappy existence, even for such a positive-thinking pair.

Despite his Herculean struggles with dermal density, heroic Horace never forgot each night to whisper hoarsely, albeit inaudibly, to his wife: “Hey, Sugar-Melon… stick around. I… I’ll show you a good time yet!” (Alas, a rarely fulfilled promise.)

Philomena Tan, with phenomenal determination and without prejudice, divided her time equally between running her fast-food chain and attending to her poor husband’s saprophytic existence. But as each day dragged saggingly by with no miracle in sight, and even the subcutaneous sound of Horace’s voice receded beyond the effective range of the electronic bugs implanted within his remote recesses, Philomena began to admit that things looked grave.


The last time she heard him speak was through a medium. He sounded deeply regretful to have imposed such a massive burden on her, and begged her over and over again to put him out of his monstrous misery. She had replied (through the medium): “But, Horace! After all we’ve been through, how can I get rid of you?” (“I’m sure you’ll think of something,” Horace had quipped via the medium. At least he still had his sense of humor.)

What with the bourgeoisie rabidly bourgeoning and its insatiable demand for junk food, Mrs Tan was kept too busy to indulge in self-pity. Not till the weekend did she find time to ponder a possible cure for her husband’s horrible Skin Condition. Every known medical approach had been attempted to no avail: Allopathic, Ayurvedic, Homeopathic, Dianetic, even Acupuncture, Ch’i Qong, Hypnotism, Mind Control, Reiki, Aloe Vera, Aromatherapy, Aurasoma, Past Life Regression, Royal Jelly, Lourdes Water, Mystic Ash, Prayer and Tiger Balm.

Then she remembered having seen, among some ancient books collecting dust in the basement, a frayed edition of Dr J.S. Petit’s quaint classic, 101 Ways To Cure Skin (published in 1903). The book had probably belonged to Horace’s paternal grandfather. In a thrice Philomena was rummaging through the musty accumulations of three generations of Tans until, at last, she retrieved the slim volume. Hands trembling, she began her desperate research, struggling over Dr Petit’s worm-eaten archaisms.

The following week, having secured “a good supply of tannin and gambier,” she mixed the recommended ingredients into a concentrated solution and added this regularly to her spongoid spouse’s nutrient injections. There was no way of knowing if the treatment would work. Now that hope and faith seemed useless, only luck remained.

One evening some weeks later she arrived with her husband’s food syringe to find his discolored and deflated blimp-like bulk even more devoid of human semblance than usual. Missing were the familiar rumbling undulations of inexpressible yearning that preceded every meal. “Horace!” she cried distractedly. “Horace, wake up! Your dinner’s getting cold!”

There was no response. Not a single heave, nor the subtlest quiver. “HORACE??” She began poking all over the unmoving mammoth mound of flaccid cuticle, looking for traces of her erstwhile matrimonial partner, but found absolutely nothing: nothing vaguely suggesting an arm or a leg or a protuberance of any description. Horace H.L. Tan had apparently dissolved into the labyrinthine folds of his own skin.

Perhaps for the first time in her life Philomena P’ng broke down and wept. But not for very long. Within a year, the phenomenal Philomena had gathered her resources and opened a classy boutique in Star Hill Plaza selling a chic selection of designer Belts, Boots, Handbags, Shoes, Wallets, Vests, Cigarette Cases, Pipe Pouches, Money Belts, and so on. The turnover was simply sensational. A massive promotional campaign was launched in Hong Kong, Taipeh, London, Paris, New York and Los Angeles, and exports began in earnest. Soon, the House of Horace could boast the rare distinction of being the “World Leader in Quality Leather.” Well, at least till the supply fizzled out… and, horror of horrors, it eventually did, poor Horace.

© Antares 1967, 1987, 1995, 2001, 2007, 2009, 2013, 2019 [Last reposted 6 November 2013 & 20 August 2019]




Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Zeitgeist ~ The Movie (Remastered & Updated Edition)



This hardworking documentary by percussionist Peter Joseph speaks for itself. A lot of thought and feeling went into its making. Part Three is especially important. You may also view it at the original site.

Originally released in 2007, this version contains a few updates from 2010.

[First posted 8 July 2007, reposted in 2010]

3 Short Poems (repost)

MEMO TO MO

God sat in His Office
a little worn out.
The Day wasn’t done
and the Night Before
cluttered His desk.

Maureen, He said, picking up
the phone: cancel
Everything!
I want to be Alone
with You.



SIR OILY

Sir Oily and his goily
Went swimming in the sea
And were eaten by a big fat slick
The same that got Moby Dick




A POEM ABOUT THE SEA


I sat on a dead tree
watching the mighty rollers
break upon the shore

And I said to myself,
“I shall write a poem about the sea!”

Whereupon wave after wave
of appropriate phrases
flooded into my brain
and drowned me.


[From MOTH BALLS, Magick River, 1994. First posted 19 February 2007]