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Slippages


I've decided to commit to a record a series of events that have occurred over the years, that I think of as an order of experience that cannot be explained. I've put off making the record for over two decades. This for several reasons, but primarily because I am inadequate to highlighting, putting into relief, giving full body to each moment, and it has always been a single, stand alone moment, having transpired. In the last, it seems all I can do is make a document, having finally decided to do so, since, no one else can make the report.

I tried to tell a friend about these slippages once. He was a dragon wizard and nature mystic. He quickly made it understood there was nothing remarkable about it all. That these things happened to him with frequency. So this is my starting point, albeit a negative one. I am clearly not a mystic. For guidance I've gone to the record, ancient and modern, with little such to be found. Perhaps there is St Theresa in her moment of ecstatic longing, what produced in her a physical seizure that shook her down to the earth. The ancients perhaps have been of some help, the nature pagans especially, or what also involved the Eleusinean and Orphic Mysteries. But being a modern, and a tourist to the religious orientations of the ancients, I cannot have trade in such religious intimacies. Not authentically. Not in their terms of the reverence for regeneration and renewal they would turn from fertility to transformation. Nor am I prepared to say I am a religious man. As for the numinous order of experience, that involving the other worldly, or underworldly, while my intution may be willing to affirm such an order I cannot prove it. So I am a man caught in the slippage somewhere between the phenomenal and the numinous. Somewhere between the physical and the mystical. Then again it is not impossible to conceive of the mystic whose seizures of ecstasy are produced not by nature but inside nature herself. This is what the ancients have pointed me to. And the moment one of awe.

My last and, if not best, most accessible guide has been Wordsworth. From his The Preludes:

There are in our existence spots of time,
That with distinct pre-eminence retain
A renovating virtue, whence–depressed
By false opinion and contentious thought,
Or aught of heavier or more deadly weight,
In trivial occupations, and the round
Of ordinary intercourse–our minds
Are nourished and invisibly repaired;
A virtue, by which pleasure is enhanced,
That penetrates, enables us to mount,
When high, more high, and lifts us up when fallen.

Mostly I take from Wordsworth the phrase itself, spots of time. That is how my moments of slippage stand out in my memory and how I could caption them when inside such a moment. A spot of time. That is how they've bodied themselves out. How they've stood larger, overwhelming everything in my immediate surroundings. How they've cut me out of past, present and future. It's always been spontaneous. Always ineluctable and with no accounting. Poetically, with some justice, I could call my slippages ceremonial. But that would be a lie. Nothing ceremonial going on. Just a slippage. Just a bodied out spot of time over which I've never stood and once or twice have fallen under like a child caught out in a thunderstorm.

But here I demure. I am not inclined to say these slippages have given my life meaning. I am not inclined to require of fleshed out moments standing out in relief against the petty tableau of a man's life something as pedestrian, as beggardly, and as apologetic as meaning. Meaning is a moral concept I've never understood, not in my body. Can a woman give my life meaning? Can a child? Can a work of art? Again, the question knocks on the door begging. It is one of those questions which, if you have to ask about, says you stand a little apart, in contradistinction to nature. Still, Wordsworth may be right and I may be perverse.

To start again. There is an order of experience that cannot be explained. This is not literature, only a document.

~ August, '70 (age 20). Albemarle Co., Virginia. Living in a cottage attached to an old, delapidated estate manor. Down from the ridge ran a man made lake, long and narrow. I often rowed the course of the lake, back and forth. One day stopping in the middle and pulling in the oars. Perfectly blue sky, water green-blue, and reflecting the surrounding treeline. Sun high overhead. Suddenly the sun burst open, just burst open. No spill of light, light not gone to liquid. A sun burst that overwhelmed me and overwhelmed my sense of things. In retrospect it seems to me the lake itself upended, filled only with yellow light.

~ November, '74 (age 23). Fribourg, Switzerland. A cold, gray day, fog or clouds thick over the city. I am sitting in a Patisierre with a big pane window overlooking an adjacent park. In the park was a lone tree, a large old tree and leafless. I was watching the fog rifting between the branches. Suddenly there was a man hanging from the tree. He looked to be a dead man. I watched him for a long while, maybe minutes. I couldn't take my eyes off of him. He had me seized.

Years later, in Spain in '82, I read something Robert Graves said, citing the ancient Welsh. The poet never knows he is a poet until he has had a vision of the Oak King.

~ Spring, '78. (age 26). Somewhere on the Piedmont of rural Virginia, maybe close to Appomatax. A crossroads of old two lane highways and a long since abandoned, boarded up gas station. A beautiful, early spring day. Temperature on the skin tingling between cool and warm. Across the road there was a tree starting to greeen out. New tender, silver green leaves. There was a tremble in those leaves and I could not feel a breeze.

~ Spring '80. (age 28). An older neighborhood in Charlottesville, Virginia, heavily treed in oak, sycamore, and maple. It had rained heavily the night before. I was walking between yards and streets. I stopped, stooped over to retie a shoe lace. I looked up into the canopy and the sunlight had turned liquid. It was liquid, yellow sunlight pouring through the leaves. I heard myself gasp.

~ Spring '80. (age 28). Driving down a street in Charlottesville, Virginia. The night became a blue-black ocean and I was lifted out of the car and set in it. There was an accompanying sense of vertigo.

~ Fall '84 (age 33). St Augustine, Florida. Because dreams can lie, but for this once, dreams have no place in my document. Mother Night. She lifted me up to her, folded me up in her arms. She then rose up into the universe. No planets were in sight, only stars. She was cloaked and her face was hidden beneath a cowl. I could not see her face but I sensed a smile. I was about to ask her the one important question, will I live again, when she shook her cloak and a thousand stars spangled in a night breeze.

~ Fall '85 (age 34). St Augustine, Florida. Crossing San Marcos Boulevard, a boulevard busy with tourist traffic, fronting the river wall from which inlet and ocean are visible. I've almost made it across the street and through the heavy traffic. Then this woman's face, face to face to mine. So close I cannot move around her. High forehead, thin nose, face a little long, smiling as I recall, her eyes wide and she is staring me down. I have no choice but to stop in my steps.

~ Summer '86 (age 34). St Augustine, Florida. The last time I made magic. The drought was bad and long. I was good at successfully making rain magic. That late night, from my rooftop, I invoked the powers. Within a half hour a storm came over. Dark, black, violent. The rain fell. High over the town and as wide as the town, there rose a face, dark, foreboding, and cruel. Making magic is easy. Controlling conjurations not so easy.

~ May '88 (age 36). Olympia, Wshington. Living on the western shore of Budd Inlet, south Puget Sound, just up from the port and city of Olympia itself. Home late in the night from work, about to descend the 86 steps down the slope to my cottage on the water. Cloud cover hung low in the sky. I looked out, a little to the south, and the sight of a giant woman stopped me. She was made of clouds and she stretched over the sky, over the port and city, north to south. She was easy to recognize. She was arched like an ancient Egyptian Goddess. From her toes, up her legs, along her thighs, to her breasts, to her head, and then down along her stretched out arms ending in her fingertips almost touching to the south of town. She was there all right in city back light against the cloud cover. She was a giantess arching over the city from toe to fingertip.

~ Fall '88 (age 37). Cottage on Puget Sound, Olympia Washington. They say every living thing has a dema which, I suppose, is a kind of earth spirit. I don't know. One late afternoon sitting outside the cottage situated at the bottom of its slope, there seemed to be a whole lot of commotion in the salmonberry, blackberry, oregon grape, thinbleberry, fir, alder, and maple. I don't know.

~ September '94 (age 43). Park Rd., Chuckanut Mountains, Whatcom County, Washington. Living on the side of Mt Haner. The cottage was situate well inside the forest extending up the mountainsides from the road. The land had not been cut over in fifty, maybe seventy-five years. The last of the maples and alders getting shaded out by Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, and Hemlock. Near one large window was a cedar about five feet in diameter at its base. Maybe it stood at a hundred feet. In the three years I lived there I saw him only once. It was the Green Man, his likeness unmistakable. Set circular, in round cut, like a medallion. His eyes were lid heavy, his nose was large, he had a beard. I looked at him that afternoon. I looked at him again and again. I turned away, looked back and he was still there. But only that one late afternoon, after which I never saw him again.

~ Winter of '94 & '95. On the side of Haner Mountain, Whatcom County, Washington. This is something else I don't know about. I would walk the mountain. I would leave a logging road and either climb up or climb down into the forest. Forest was deep enough so that often I could not find its floor. Often, if not always, I heard a chorus. It was a high pitched chorus of girlie voices. It always made me think of the Chorus Mysticus that is supposed to have accompanied Faust into heaven.

~ August '10. Government St., mid-city, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Old Baton Rouge High School is cordoned off behind a chain link fence. Inside the fence are many very old Live Oak trees. The Green Man again set inside his famous disk. This time he is looking off into the distance. Then I see her. She is bending into him and looking over his shoulder. I turn away to shake my head, turn back, and he has turned to look at her. She looked like a young girl. And behind her there was a boy's face.

There it is. Slippages. A document reporting on an order of experience that cannot be explained. All these years since that sun burst over a lake overwhelmed me, 40, I am as stuck between two worlds as was the case then. The scientific/emperical world can either ascribe my experiences to some sort of bio-chemical imbalance in the brain, or they can do, as they often do, set aside my findings as scientifically unverifiable. Fair enough on the last point. Intellectually honest at least. Then the other world. The so-called soft science world, that of Jung and company and their ilk who must set all experience into one pattern or another, one archetype or another, one mystico-religious story or another. Their need for interpretation and patterning can be as reductive as that of the scientist's. In both cases what gets lost is the moment itself. The moment of St Theresa's ecstatic longing for her Christ lover captioned can tell us nothing about the inside of her moment.

The moment itself. My account is deliberately dry and clipped. No poetry. No amplification. Every moment has found its way into my poetry and writing. Here they stand on their own just how I experienced them. I want to say how I found them but that would be poetic. I've left much out. Over the years I've kept notes. Once, for example, I thought I saw a woman with large hips riding high on the top of a white wave. But, in retrospect, I cannot always be certain if what I've noted I've experienced, is of the moment, or has been the product of my imagination. Of the slippages documented here I am certain. My report is clean.

Terreson

Last edited by Terreson, Jan/13/2012, 4:22 pm
Jan/11/2012, 11:51 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Christine98 Profile
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Re: Slippages


Tere,

Thank you for starting this field note. Thank you also, for not providing a moral to the story. Why obscure such "spots of time" behind a filter of meaning? I look forward to your further posts,

Chris
Jan/12/2012, 9:06 am Link to this post Send Email to Christine98   Send PM to Christine98
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Slippages


Hi Tere,

I am glad you decided to tackle this topic now and am looking forward to following this thread.
Jan/12/2012, 9:46 am Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Slippages


Thanks for the encouragement, Chris and Kat. Once again I have almost shied away from the note. But the time has come.

One thing please. I am going to break from usual procedure. Each addition to the thread will show in the original post itself. That the post shows has having been revised will signal the added notes. Thread is not long. I'll indicate when and as it gets revised, added to.

Tere
Jan/12/2012, 5:18 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Slippages


The report is made. There is nothing more to add.

Tere
Jan/13/2012, 4:18 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Christine98 Profile
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Re: Slippages


Thanks Tere,

Chris
Jan/13/2012, 5:55 pm Link to this post Send Email to Christine98   Send PM to Christine98
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Slippages


Tere,

If one takes into account the billions of people in the world, then I think your friend is right that these things happen all the time. Your friend's experience not withstanding, however, I don't think these things happen frequently to most people. Perhaps in the past these types of experience were common occurences, but most people in Western civilization are too divorced from nature for that to be the case these days. Or so it seems to me.
Jan/14/2012, 9:38 am Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Slippages


Thanks for commenting, Kat. Not sure how I feel about the man's comment, or if I feel anything at all. Just know what I know.

Tere
Jan/14/2012, 1:29 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
vkp Profile
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Two things. I disagree that your account lacks poetry. I don't think you can help the way you write, even accounts like this. Second, I believe that children, most children, experience these slippages on a regular basis. For them, it is normal. It is what they experience, so why wouldn't it be? They talk to the green man and the magical women of the universe, angels perhaps, all the time, though we adults cannot see them. We call them their "imaginary friends." Babies, I believe, have access to the angels, the numinous, the spirit world in all its forms and for some that channel stays open for years, for others not so long. What is remarkable to me is that you remained open to the experiences throughout your life.
Jan/29/2012, 8:34 am Link to this post Send Email to vkp   Send PM to vkp Blog
 
Terreson Profile
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I can go there. A Jungian, Nora Hall, said that what women, children, and dreamers have in common is that they are musers. Until maybe, of course, certain stuff sets in and too many of us get vectored.
Jan/29/2012, 3:10 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 


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