Sunday, 28 October 2018

St J00d's Feast Day...

Today was my patron saint's annual feast day.  I went to the cathedral I regularly attend with some flowers to lay beneath his statue - a friend came with me to the mass.  I texted to him, as I waited for his arrival: "Yo - I'm the only one who brought flowers for St Jude!  This sure as hell ain't Mexico!"  It surprised me... even outside of Mexico he's kind of a big deal as far as saints go, and during mass he wasn't even mentioned!  Shame!

The liturgy was lovely, but then the priest had to suddenly drop some anti-abortion message into the sermon, to which my friend and I exchanged glances like "ugh... awkward!" because we're definitely both pro-choice... ahhhh, Catholics.

(The Panty Dropper was not the presiding priest today... glad I didn't have to hear his glorious voice utter such diatribe... that would be a major letdown, I'm sure.  T_T)

Later, we met his friends for some yummy burgers and went to the United Church for an organ recital, which was lovelier than it might sound to some people, but I started to fade because of too much wine from last night at a Hallowe'en party so I left during intermission.

(BTW, apparently Catholics pay more attention to the feast days of their saints on the Mondays that follow Sunday mass should a saint's feast day fall on a Sunday, I was told.  Bummer, man!)

-Saraƒin


Cobra stuff...

I know a lot of honkeys are in love with the idea of having a spirit/power animal or totem, so on the surface, talking about this seems irrelevant to legitimate spirituality, considering I'm a honkey myself, but it seems like I am one of the few who actually has a real one, because of the kind of path I am on.  I sought what animal it could be for many years, had some Eagle and Coyote symbolism come up here and there in visions and experiences where I felt like my energy body was perhaps "shapeshifting" (the body of course did not, but it felt like another layer of me was taking on the form of various animals).  So for the longest time, I really thought I was an Eagle, because of some crystal clear visions I had of a bald eagle while smoking ceremonial tobacco.  I later found out that according to medicine wheel spirituality, tobacco is associated with Eagle, so that's probably why - plus I get the sense I saw the eagle because it was Spirit's way of presenting itself.

It was only around Christmas time of 2017 that Cobra presented itself to me, while I was having a spiritual flare up.  It was jarring at first - my spine would arch like an erect cobra, and I felt the sensation of the hood of the animal growing from my shoulders, plus a vision of the cobra came to mind, but in such a way that it felt like I was the snake, not just seeing one in my mind's eye.  This happened several times until I began to worry it was a negative sign, then it seemed to back down.  Once things levelled out again, it returned, this time I was calm enough to take it in, and I began to realize it was my animal.  The channel described it as such as well.  I later bought a wooden cobra statue to place on my shrine to represent it.

I don't know enough about my relationship with Cobra just yet, only that it has strong ties to both Shiva and Vishnu - Nataraja (the dancing Shiva of consciousness) and Vishnu both being gods who sit on my shrine, as those whom I work with.  Also, snakes are related to the presence of active kundalini, something I suspect plays a part in some way with my growth, and how I was able to mature.  Here's what else the web says about cobra people, take it or leave it, because this may be some silly plastic shaman shit for all I know:

•Cobras are associated with deadliness, danger and threat, magic and protection, royalty and power, and strength.  I hear cobras are actually relatively gentle unless provoked, and then they're among the most venomous creatures in the world, able to kill a full grown elephant with one bite.  I consider myself a gentle person, but once enraged, the legendary Taurean temper comes out, and then I am a bit like a Bond villain or something, but that's incredibly rare.  I have learned to tame my anger.

•Cobra people are proud, self-reliant, persistent, determined, intelligent, and mysterious.  They do not give up easily.  I would say that a lot of that is true for me.

•They have strong personalities, are committed to their goals, are charismatic but controlling and not necessarily easy to deal with.  They should not be provoked or could retaliate to protect themselves and those they care about.  That also makes sense!

There's also some stuff that comes up about being artistic, magical, knowledgeable and wise.  There's talk about both craving solitude but also being social, which is true for me, being an ambivert.  It also mentions a strong and strict personality, which is true as well, a quality I grew into as I began to discipline myself spiritually - I have no patience for cowards who make excuses, for one thing.  I may be a clown in many ways but I do not tolerate bullshit very well.

I am still trying to figure out what this animal means to me personally, but that's what the web had to say about it.  I have to admit I was kind of thrilled to learn I had an affiliation with such a strong, magnificent creature - I was expecting some bird or something.  Again, this seems legit - it's not like I found this out from some guided visualization CD or anything... this was an extremely powerful experience.

-Saraƒin

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Some Hallowe'en costumes...

Just in time for Hallowe'en 2018 - thought I'd do a rundown of some of my costumes from previous years that are somewhat relevant to this blog's themes.  I have already shown the Nataraja costume elsewhere, so here are some others of mine:

I believe this one was my 2014 costume - the god Mercury!  The bodysuit was some silver spandex thing I got at a sex shop, the toga made of more silver spandex, with some metal shoulder brooches and a silver cord around my waist.  The shoes were platform Vivienne Westwood Melissa sandals with wings on them, which inspired the entire costume.  The caduceus was made of a wooden dowel, the snakes on the staff made of old coat hangers with silver spandex covering them.  The ball on top was a foam ball, the wings made of cardboard - all painted silver with breakdown work in black.  The helmet was a Roman style plastic thing I added the cardboard wings to later.  I painted my exposed skin with silver body paint and wore silver gloves.  I went to a Wiccan Samhain event with some friends in this, then we hit up Church St for the annual Hallowe'en street party.

This was 2015 - I went as the Flying Nun.  (I certainly like dressing up like nuns - I swear it's NOT A FETISH... I just think it's cool!)  Only the older crowd seemed to get the reference.  That cornette was such a bitch to construct - I think I fiddled with it three times over in a major way until I got it to take the right shape.  The shirt was an off-white linen blouse, the habit portion made of off-white bedsheets I hand stitched into a kind of tunic.  The rosary hung from the belt, just a find at Value Village, along with most of the things that contributed to this costume.  I wore black leotard and some little brown shoes with it.  We took pics of me holding a bottle of alcohol and posing outside of a strip club in this.

Here's some Neil Gaiman fandom - a group of us went as some of the Endless from comic series "The Sandman" in 2016.  I wanted to be Destiny.  We also had a Delerium, Dream, Death, and were going to have a Desire but she had to bail for health reasons, sadly.  The tome was made out of cardboard with two blank canvases from Dollarama pressed together for volume, paint, and duct tape, and the chain was a big plastic thing, also from Dollarama, the cuff made of cardboard, foil tape with black paint for breakdown work.  I got the robe from a Hallowe'en costume shop (a monk's robe) and sewed decorative trim to it, for some more detail.  Only one person figured out I was dressed as Destiny - not the most popular member of the Endless!

And now - for the grandest costume I have ever worn - Queen Elizabeth I!  This was last year's costume.  I did not make this - I am not skilled enough a costumier to craft such a thing... a friend of mine who is a drag queen made this, and he uses it for his drag and burlesque performances.  I dreamed of one day dressing as this monarch (one of my favourites from history), told him, and he mentioned he had this and loaned it to me, free of charge.  It was pretty crazy, the reactions I got while wearing this - I could barely move through the crowds.  Though I don't know all of the materials that went into it, I can say a lot of it was stuff from thrift stores and Dollarama, according to my friend.  I could not sit down or easily go through doorways with this on, I needed a friend to help me along through entrances, and down the street.  I lasted through 2 and a half hours of paparazzi madness on Church St before calling it a night.  It was a blast, but exhausting!

And this year I'm Sister Penance, the latex nun... so there will be pics going up later of that as well.  Stay tuned!

-Saraƒin


Blasphemy and devotion...

I often joke with spiritual friends that I am simultaneously the most devout, and yet the most blasphemous person I know.  I am devout in that I spend a substantial amount of time dedicated to my soul - I meditate up to 5 hours a day, utter prayers under my breath even when I'm at work or walking down the street, I try to go to the cathedral daily if I can help it, the Divine occupies my thoughts at all hours... I live it.  But, at least according to the average religious person, I would assume, I am going about things the "wrong" way.

First off, there's the latex nun habit - this is not a fetish thing for me, it's not my kink - it's a joke, it's my schtick, I joke that I'm one vow short of being a real nun, so I dress like the naughty, disobedient "Sister Penance" and have fun with that.  Poverty and chastity wouldn't be that hard for me to follow - I am very fond of the concept of non-attachment (it's good for the planet, for one thing), and hell - I am used to being poor anyway.  Chastity is easy because I'm Ace.  It's obedience that trips me up.  Going to the convent, I found out I couldn't even wear my zany cat's eye lenses if I was to become a nun, they're too "sexy" for nunswear.  That killed the deal for me, having to dress down... I'm an artist, I kind of need to express myself in various ways.

Also, I curse and swear like a sailor... I say "Oh, Jesus CHRIST" a lot, too.  I just get the sense no loving God would ever care about such things.  Basically, it boils down to me making light of all things humanity regards as being "sacred" that don't even seem ultimately relevant to true Divinity.  I snicker in church, I call the priest with the sexy seraphic voice "The Panty Dropper"... I drew Ganesha on a toilet one time.  But I keep going back to these things, not like some atheist who collects religious kitsch for the sake of novelty, but because there's a genuine draw there, and I can't stop paying attention to it.

I know religion seems absurd to many people, and much of it is, but at this point I feel such a strong connection to a higher source that I need some kind of model to follow to make sense of it, and the sciences are not going to provide me with that.  When people deem religion and spirituality obsolete due to the sciences, I remind them that religion and spirituality serve an entirely different purpose than science.  Certainly, religion sucks at describing the creation of the natural world, science is superior in that regard.  But religion gives people hope, purpose, and community, among other things, when done right.  Saying we don't need religion because we have science, to me, might as well be like saying we don't need the arts because we have science.  Different things altogether.  Also, I see religions as being like languages - depending on the goal of the seeker, and the way they go about their spirituality, one path might suit them better than another.  I do not see any religion as the "one true religion", however, some do seem better than others to me.

So yeah... I would say at this point I have gone from identifying as being merely spiritual to flat out religious, although my way of being religious isn't rigid, or even that traditional.  I follow models of things, rituals of Catholicism and ideas of Hinduism, but as a mystic I am constantly questioning everything, including my path itself.  I am willing to change my views on things as I grow.

-Saraƒin

Friday, 26 October 2018

My convent experience...

The stay at the convent was one of the more refreshing experiences I have had in recent times.  I was a bit wary of the idea at first, worried it would not go over well, that I'd be too much of a weirdo for that kind of environment - but the channeling insisted it would be a good idea for me, and I even drew a kite symbol through automatic handwriting, indicating metaphoric flight in some way... a lovely sign.  I thought I'd do a post about it - I am not going to name the convent on here, for fear that if one of the Sisters were to find this blog, I would not be welcomed back, because of my latex nun habit, and my tendency to drop F bombs... not very proper.

The convent itself is quite postmodern looking, so it wasn't like the old world kind you typically see in a Hollywood film, but it was still very lovely, and extremely clean.  Upon walking in, there's a very strong sense of Spirit, and the whole place radiates this.  There are religious books and items the nuns have made on sale in the hall that leads to the guest house.  You have to check in at the front desk, and then again in the guest house, where you pay your fees - there's a fee for each day you stay on a retreat.  (My retreat was private - I just wanted to get away from the city for a bit, and reflect on my own terms.) 

There's a main library (and a smaller one in the guest house), a chapel, a cafeteria for meals (and the food was actually quite good!), some gardens, various rooms for activities, also - a stone labyrinth to walk for meditations, and the stations of the cross are in the woods, nailed to trees, which I found very unique.  All the guest house rooms are named after various saints, which is both cute and an easy way of remembering which room you're staying in (I was in St Lucy, the patron saint of people with eye problems).

At meal time, we had to stand for prayer beforehand, and then eat in silence, except on Sundays, where it was open for discussion.  The Sisters have their own section where they reside, and guests are not permitted to enter that part, obviously.  There are various prayer services in the chapel throughout the day... I only went once, as mostly I was in contemplation and private prayer.  There's a spiritual direction service, of which I had one session.

I stayed for three nights.  It was a really lovely experience, and I hope to return when I get the call to do so again, perhaps it will be an annual thing.  I don't recommend this kind of retreat for people who are not serious seekers - it's a very quiet place, if you want to listen to music it must be through headphones in your room, for example.  It's a place of reflection.  But a lot of Anglicans are pretty chill these days, they even had Harry Potter books in the library, and they are welcoming to people of all paths, from what I hear.

-Saraƒin

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Dealing with skeptics (and other assholes)...

Skeptics of my experiences are some of the most insensitive people I have come across since this began.  Not just psychiatrists (but mostly psychiatrists) have tried to explain away my phenomena as a product of my mind, and only my mind, and have done great harm to my recovery in the process.  Because of the influence of skepticism, I ceased to believe my spiritual attacker was real, and as a result, I gave up on trying to get rid of it, believed myself to be a broken human being, and strongly considered suicide a viable option when medications, therapy, and just hoping it would go away didn't work on their own, for MANY years.  I was told that I would NEVER leave the asylum, that my life would be bleak, that perhaps I could be moved into a nice care home somewhere... this was the hope and prognosis that psychiatry offered me.  I refused to accept it, I worked with the Spirit, I got better.

I have been both physically raped and spiritually raped, and let me tell you, I would gladly take the physical rape again, on any day, over the spirit rape I endured, hands down.  The physical rape only harmed me on a physical level (because my mind is so tough, I brushed it off as something that was unpleasant, and after tests were run, proving I was clean of disease, I didn't give it much more thought - nor did I take it to court, knowing the losing battle women often face when sexually assaulted) - the spiritual rape harmed me on all levels... mental, spiritual, and physical, and lasted 12+ years.  Also, there was the "lovely" fact that people in western society refused to acknowledge that it was something that had actually happened to me.  Everyone believed the physical rape was real... only seekers believed in the spiritual rape.  Imagine the loneliness and pain I suffered, knowing that everyone dismissed what I had endured, save the odd kind and respecting soul who actually got what I was talking about.

To all skeptical assholes who think I am just one who suffered something of my own mind's creation: do you also go around telling trans women they are not really women?  Do you tell indigenous societies that they are all savages for their cultural beliefs, because they don't seem "rational" enough to suit your ideology?  Do you have any idea how much of a prick you sound to me, telling me what I lived was not real, when you do not have the wisdom of the experience to know what on earth you are talking about?

A scholar I am not... a mystic I am.  I speak from experience, I speak from having lived something so uncommon and yet a subject of so many horror films... the lore comes from somewhere.   Prayer works when it is meant to, when the correct sources are invoked and worked with properly.  "Thoughts and prayers" bullshit is not what I speak of here... this is the real deal.  I am so tired of so-called "rational" minds trying to explain away these experiences, as we learn more and more that the universe we live in is in and of itself an irrational entity.

Skeptics don't sound "rational" to me, even... they just sound blind.  I am done going around in person and talking about this with just anyone at this point... it became evident that this wretched city of mine doesn't comprehend experiences like what I have lived.  However, I felt like making this post just to vent my frustrations over typical western thinkers and their ways of perceiving this.  Sometimes, the pain of skepticism was almost as bad as the spiritual problem itself, knowing how misunderstood I was, and how it harmed my recovery.

Thank God I now seem to have found my tribe.

-Saraƒin

Visions...

Visions are mostly toned down for me these days, thanks to medication.  But sometimes, like recently with the Eye of Providence that followed after the sweetgrass smudge, a strong one will still come through - when this happens, I take it as a serious sign that I should pay attention to.

Witnessing a vision within the window of the psyche is a bit like envisioning something in your imagination, only that the "volume" of the image is at full blast, so it's just like watching a movie in your mind.  Active imagination probably played a major part in many visions I had, which is something else I talked a bit about in a previous post.  Active imagination is something Dr. Carl G Jung discusses in his writings, and is an experience that influenced 'The Red Book', which is a fascinating (if a little challenging) read.  Basically, the unconscious becomes conscious, and the imagination becomes interactive, allowing the perceiver to play with it at will.  Normally, this is safe for a rational mind to engage in, but because of the asshole spirit inside of me, my active imagination became very dark, and I was swamped with horrifying shit.  I would try engaging with it in a whimsical way, but then something nasty would happen to it, at full volume, often causing me to writhe and cower, at its worst.  So, unfortunately, the "video game of the mind" I was playing with had to be toned down with antipsychotics, to get any chance of functioning in this society again.  Now that the spirit seems to be gone (here's hoping this sense of peace continues) I may try weening down off the pills in the months to come, little by little.  Psych meds take a very long time to come off of properly... withdrawal is a bitch.

Some of my visions were so damn hilarious I was constantly snickering - for example, if I was with a person at a restaurant and I concentrated just a little bit too much on the imagination, I would get a still image of that person in my psyche, often with a bewildered expression on their face, as if from an unflattering Polaroid picture, and then some scrolling computer text would comment on them in the third person in some way.  Floating icons and graphics would appear, as if from a software interface... it was like some strange computer game.  Other times, if I imagined someone, I would get this crazy animation of them, as if only 2 or 3 frames of animation of their face (again, often very unflattering stills, making it funnier) paired with some hilarity coming through in the form of scratchy voices, cheeky disjointed poetry, unwritten musical symphonies set to techno, or bizarre cartoon animations.  So if I wasn't screaming in pain because of uncomfortable sensations, or crying out of fear, I was laughing my head off... hence the idea that I had mania.  No, it was never mania... it was the funniest Adult Swim cartoon show of all time running through my mind at all hours of the day.  Idiot psychiatrists never bothered to ask what was going on in there... they just drew their own dull, biased conclusions.  Boring people with boring minds making boring decisions about me.

Though I miss the good stuff that came of this, I am not sure if I could cope with this crazy shit constantly in my head again, even without the bad influence in me, so I am reluctant to leap off of the meds at this point.  If only I could just get it once in a while, say, when smoking a joint or something.  That would be enough, because it could inspire some amazing art, that's for sure.  It probably is just a phase in growth, anyway... a phase I will move past as the soul makes progress towards Sahasrara.

-Saraƒin


Tuesday, 23 October 2018

There Is No White Jesus...

Another good one!  Americanized "White Jesus" drives me nuts!

-Saraƒin

Gandhi Takes Yoga!

This made me laugh, and sums up how I feel about "spirituality" in the west.  Enjoy!

-Saraƒin

Intimacy and Spirit...

One of the aspects of my experiences with all of this that kept me from suicide was the loving presence of Spirit, who would comfort me as though a loved one at my bedside.  Spirit would present at times by stroking my face using my own hand, would embrace me with a kind of hug this way, would channel through my voice, to comfort me when I was under the assault, to prevent self sabotage.  The love of the presence of Divinity would come through, literally feeling like the hand of another, not my own.  Once Christ was invoked, this strengthened, to the point where if I had a belt around my neck because of feelings of self destruction, Christ would loosen the belt using my arms, as if automatic, and comfort me.  This was a level of loving compassion and intimacy that kept me from dying, at my worst.

Intimacy is a subject matter I have always been frustrated by when it comes to relating to others.  I identify as an asexual woman, not understanding the desire for physical intimacy with anyone, beyond perhaps a loving embrace, or maybe a peck or something.  I have only ever fallen in love with the opposite sex as friends... nothing more.  This may sound rather Hallmark card to say, but to me, laughter with a loved one is the highest form of intimacy, to double over with the object of my admiration... nothing is greater than that.  But men who take an interest in me never have understood what I desire... they only seem to crave my body, they crave things I can't willingly provide.

I cannot view any act that is sexual with any man, or woman, as anything other than a complete violation.  Unfortunately, most people do not comprehend what I find intimate and joyful, and so, as you can imagine, it is a challenge to find a loving companion in this sex crazed world.  I really only like men as platonic pals, so the minute the blood rushes to their junk at the thought of me, it's game over... they might as well whip out a crack pipe.  I am not having it.

I take a mild interest in other people's obsessions with sexual activity, rather like Jane Goodall studying her chimps: I find it hilarious and fascinating, ultimately it's a complete waste of time to me, but I seek to understand what the big deal is.  I have grown a tad more aromantic, as well as asexual, than in the past, due to disappointment with love in my life, and this is in part why I considered becoming a nun, because the only one who truly understood the kind of love I crave is, well... God.

There's still a side of me that wants to fall in love with someone as a friend again... but I just don't believe it will happen now.  Oh well... at least I have learned to love myself, which was a major challenge for me, for many years.

-Saraƒin


Monday, 22 October 2018

"VooDoo Hand Puppetry"...

Here's a fun one I did a while back, summing up how I felt about my situation.  Kind of reminds me of Spumco art a little bit.  I gave this away as a gift to a television director I am working with on an Asylum Squad short film.  (I announced that years ago - we're still trying to figure out how to work the budget and edit scripts... film takes a while to get moving sometimes.)

The background is acrylics on canvas, the foreground a collage layer with pen and water soluble wax pastels.

-Saraƒin

"Problem Patient... Against All Odds"

I made this at a Workman Arts collage class one time.  Kind of a fun montage of stuff based on the feelings that arose from my spiritual experiences.  This was made back when I thought that the root of my problem was some kind of third eye issue - certainly, Ajna had opened up (at least, Lower Aja did), but it was merely perceiving the nastiness, not generating it.

My "devil" is pictured here, the way he often appeared in visions - he looks a bit more androgynous here than he did for me at the time.  (BTW, there may have been a shift with all of that yesterday, but I will get to that in another post, when things are confirmed, if that is true.)

Acrylics, collage pieces, water soluble wax pastels, and marker, on canvas.

-Saraƒin

Sunday, 21 October 2018

That time I made a video game...

A couple years back, I downloaded 'RPG Maker' and had some fun with that, making a little RPG based on the first act of my comic.  I would have continued with it, however, the amount I would have had to learn about the software, and the amount I would have to do to pull it off properly probably would have exhausted me, and generally I like to avoid using computers as much as possible (they frustrate me a lot).  So, the game became a free downloadable teaser for the plot of the comic, and is available here.  (Also, I borrowed music from sources online that would likely require me paying up if I were actually making money off of this thing, so making it a free game meant I didn't have to worry too much about any repercussions.)

The experience was fun though, and people who played it really seemed to enjoy it.  It's like a classic 16 bit RPG game in many ways - basically, you play Liz Madder, she gets committed to St Dymphna's, and the plot of the comic plays out in it as she explores the premises.  There are hidden items in the game, skeleton keys you can use to unlock chests and rooms, special objects... I even got as far as to have a boss fight.  I believe the file up there required further tweaking - the boss, I think, was a bit too easy, and in one environment there's a wall you can go through - plus, one item was a bit too powerful, but other than that, it plays pretty well.  The PC version I hear works fine, though people have had trouble with the Mac file (even though it was made on a Mac - weird).

I had Liz and the party fight vermin in the hospital - fighting other patients would be too ableist, fighting orderlies would be a losing battle systematically, and made no sense.  So basically you go around and knock the shit out of rats, centipedes, squirrels, and a rabid raccoon boss.  It's kind of hilarious, and there's medical lingo and terminology in the interface to add to the feel of things.  You're trying to stay out of locked seclusion, or avoid flatlining in battle, so it's game over if either of those things happens.

I was tempted to go back to school to study video game design while making this, but changed my mind.  I don't even like video games that much - making one was fun, but opening the third eye kind of ruined any kind of screen gazing for me, even movie watching (though I do enjoy films here and there).  So it didn't make sense to subject myself to an education where I would be behind a screen all the time, coding.  Also, some German knob on a game making forum criticized my coding, and I got frustrated with the whole thing.  I don't think I have the patience to deal with the dude bro culture of making video games - the dude bro culture of comics is bad enough, in the big leagues at least.  In indie comics, I don't see that much of it, not in Toronto, anyway.  (Also - I hate the idea of going back to school at all - it is such a punishing experience for me, I hate institutional learning... it's probably a lame Foucault reference to say so, but college and university remind me too much of mental institutions, and I certainly have had enough of those.)

Anyway, I guess I will be sticking with more "organic" forms of art from now on - they're more tactile, or something.  But this was a fun little experience.

-Saraƒin

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Losing control...

Losing control of your body to an unseen force is really, really terrifying, as anyone can imagine.  It wasn't a case where it was as though I was sleepwalking, or my ego consciousness was somewhere else so I wasn't witnessing what was going on - no, I was fully consciously aware as a bystander of everything, but it was like I suddenly felt more like a co-pilot in my body, rather than the chief pilot, at its worst.

The mind became so overtaken by the negative consciousness a couple of times that all logic and reason, and the ability to calm the fuck down, was taken away, and I was completely subjugated.  "Paranoid" delusions were so powerful I was their slave - looking back, some ideas were so absurd it was hard to remember or understand how I could possibly believe them, but my neurology was so complicated by things it just wasn't possible... at the very least, the fear that they could be true ruled my psyche.  (Visions and voices were less my enemy than fear was... fear could have me do anything if I was afraid enough.)

Sometimes I would have to fight to speak my word, rather than allow the dark consciousness to speak through me, so it was a struggle to override it when I fought it, and I'm sure psychiatrists saw this as a negative symptom of schizophrenia (there are positive symptoms and negative symptoms, not in the good and bad sense - that's just the names of how they categorize facets of the illness).  Often I would not leave my bed, not because of depression (which, oddly enough, I was not suffering from), but because leaving it made me feel vulnerable.  I know for a fact that my laughter at some of the pain and voices was interpreted as mania, and that being bedridden and slowed down was seen as depression, so they eventually concluded I had schizoaffective disorder, but neither of these examples was related to mood - I take no medication for mood at all.  The other reason they suggested schizoaffective disorder was because I seemed too "high functioning" for classic schizophrenia, due to my lack of negative symptoms (once I could speak properly again) and because of my ability to bounce back as well as I did, but that's just idiotic labelling, especially when one considers there was no mood component, which is kind of integral to diagnosing schizoaffective disorder.  Morons.

Psychiatric labelling is a bullshit pseudoscience because it's really just a way of making sure people get their medication.  There is no hard science to it - a doctor simply has to assess based on observation to dish one out.  From what I've been told, by law, a diagnosis must be given to prescribe (at least in Canada), so a DSM V label must be picked, and often doctors just go with one that sounds about right.  I argued that I should be categorized as having a Spiritual Problem, which is a real DSM category, but no one at the time listened - hey, what good did I know, right?  Some people take comfort in their labels, but I saw mine as a detriment to recovery, especially when doctors insisted things would never improve, at least not without medication.

Thank GOD I never got so out of it I lost continence - I could still shower, keep clean, eat somewhat, and clothe myself, as well.  But at its worst, it was pretty bleak, and there was no way I could fit in anywhere in society.  Friends dropped me like a hot potato, or at least backed away until I regained my footing.  It was one of the loneliest times of my life.  I'm glad it's ended, and I am enthusiastic about what's happening now.  (Sorry, this was another bleak post about the past - I'll try to keep things a bit more uplifting, if I can!)

(That painting was something I produced after about half a day in restraints at CAMH - when a nurse wanted it from me, I said "then pay up".  She didn't, but I made her a print of it with a photocopier, as she was one of the more decent ones.  Pen and watercolour on paper... it was featured in 'ASYLUM Magazine' one time, as their back cover.)

-Saraƒin

"Self Portrait by the Conscious and the Unconscious"...

Here's one I whipped up on a (slightly damaged) canvas someone had abandoned at work.  My Mom ended up buying it from me.  This is a kind of a "folk-pop surrealism" piece, like a Frida Kahlo meets Mark Ryden thing, only with far less technical skill involved, I would say.

The foreground was painted by my ego conscious, the background symbols in gold drawn using automatic handwriting, with the unconscious, or whatever I was channeling at the time.  Some of the symbols i drew were likely clues as to what to invoke, work with, or consider, others were just design.  I see Akasha there, the Sacred Heart, and Infinity, for example.  I hold a caduceus and a Sacred Heart here, symbols that kept coming up for me regularly through spirit gestures.

Acrylics on canvas, imitation gold leaf, and gold pen.

-Saraƒin

Friday, 19 October 2018

Words of wisdom from a Japanese cartoon...

I saw this series, 'Paranoia Agent', from the late Satoshi Kon (the anime Hitchcock), around the time things began to get dark from me in 2006.  It struck me as a powerful psychological thriller with a deep message about postmodern society and the human spirit.  This scene, in particular, resonated with me - it gets really good after the 6:25 point, right after what would be a commercial break.

Worth a watch - I need to get a new copy of this series, since my personal copy seems to have vanished.  I must have loaned it to someone who never returned it.

-Saraƒin

Phenomena...

Some pretty interesting, otherworldly experiences have happened to me since this all began in 2006.  Though I am still trying to piece together that which was of Divinity versus that which was of darkness, it is worth discussing this phenomena on here, because it's pretty wild, to say the least.

Voices and visions were, of course, a common experience, hence why psychiatry decided I had schizophrenia, the doctors not being creative or open minded enough as thinkers to consider otherwise.  (Also, I seemed distressed a lot, so there's that factor.)  Some visions were glorious and almost certainly of Divinity, like the Eye of Providence ones I had that took my breath away, or the apparition of the angel with the trumpet that I saw when I first prayed to St Jude.  Others were so dark, disturbing, and putrid I refuse to detail them on here, they're disgusting, and so were clearly of the dark one.  Voices taunted, tormented, and repulsed me - sometimes I would hear sickening poetry whispered in my ear, as an example.  It was kind of like I was bombarded by them at all times for a long while - hence, why I needed medication to shut things down.  (And yet, the good visions and voices still made it through, loud and clear, even on drugs.)

Channeling was another factor, and became an aspect of my spirituality that was refined, little by little, overtime, after the St Jude invocation.  When I first began to speak as if automatic, it was coprolalia, and I would often walk around with my hand over my mouth a lot to silence it.  But the invocation brought a sense of control, and suddenly I could turn it on and off at will.  Foolish psychiatrists decided this phenomena was a psychotic symptom and amped up my meds to try to get rid of it (causing serious cardio and weight gain side effects), but that did jack shit - it's not something of dopamine, the meds did nothing to curb it, which was my argument against their logic.  The only thing higher doses did was actually refine the channel a bit, so that less interruption from the interference came though, so in fact it strengthened the experience.  (Also, automatic handwriting, and gestures through my body, as if a form of spirit sign language, would happen as well.)

The levitating rosary incident was one of the weirdest things I have ever experienced, and I still can't figure out if that was of Divinity or evil, but my hand hurt somewhat when it happened, so I suspect negativity caused it to happen.  Touching crosses burned for a while, the same kind of feeling you get when you accidentally touch the metal spokes of an electrical plug when pulling it from a wall socket.  One time, while wearing a silver Star of David, I had the sensation of soul torture, like I was being dissolved, while a voice screamed that I was wearing "the devil's metal"... oooookay!  [EDIT: Wow - I totally just Google searched "silver devil's metal" and apparently that's a thing people have said about silver before... so eerie, as I did not know that at the time of this experience!]

Another interesting thing that happened, shortly after Christ's invocation, was a kinetic eye thing, where my right eyeball, on its own, began to trace the shape of Christ on the cross, like a laser pointer.  That might sound eerie, but I was at the point that I was so used to phenomena I actually got excited and thought it was pretty fascinating.

There was probably a lot more I could talk about, but that's what comes to mind of what I experienced.  Some good, some bad... but the bad is less of an influence now than it ever was before, and the good still finds a way to communicate with me, medication or no medication.  Spirit finds a way.

-Saraƒin

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Ecstatic states...

Now I want to discuss an aspect of my spiritual experiences that has been quite a bit more pleasant than a lot of what I have posted about before - ecstasy!

For a long time, before I really started to pray, under the influence of this nasty thing, there was always a dirty, exhausted, contaminated, putrid feeling to my energy body, like I had been rolled in pig shit, a great discomfort, a feeling like I wanted to rip off my skin sometimes.  This was coupled with disturbing sexual feelings that would rise and overwhelm me, often this and other reasons would lead me to bludgeon myself in the head to feel some sense of relief, which I guess is exactly why the dark one would have them happen to me - he couldn't make me fearful of him exactly, but got to me in other ways, mainly through discomfort and irritation.  What an asshole.

This was immediately relaxed a bit after my first prayer to St Jude, which brought the angel apparition into my room.  It was a sense of cooling down, that things were beginning to calm - the problem remained, but was toned down a notch.  Confused about how to proceed with prayer, not having the most religious of backgrounds, I didn't pray that much for many years, as I later learned I had to, but this incident was a sign that Divinity was looking out for me.

Years later, in 2015, I remembered the experience with good old St Jude and invoked Jesus through him.  The next feeling was a sense of an opening, glowing sensation in my chest, and a tingling feeling in my limbs, a lovely sense of calm.  My finger began to regularly draw a symbol of a cross in a heart, which I interpret now as a sign of peace.  That glowing sensation in my chest never left - even when the mind was in pain and afraid, it was as though the heart knew things would turn out ok.

Through Christ came Metatron, who brought various feelings of bliss through working with him.  One time I was so blissed out I rolled and laughed on my bed because I felt like I was high on some kind of drug, it was lovely, and I wanted it to last forever.  This lasted at least several hours, if not an entire day, as changes came to my psyche.

Other times I have felt similar states were when I went to the Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona (Arizona), when I finally remembered to pray to Christ to be "born again" (not in the sense that I now go around and preach all the time about him or anything - I am a devotee, not a wanker, and I think of Jesus as a wonderful avatar with seriously shitty PR ... kind of a case of "love the band, hate the fans"), and when I began to take in the energies of Divinity.  One time, at the convent, I was sitting alone in the chapel, uttered the right prayer to actually take Christ into me, and the bliss state hit me so hard I had to go back to my rented room in the guest house and lie down, because it felt so overwhelmingly lovely I thought I was going to pass out.  A similar feeling happened with Krishna, and in working with JHWH.

In general, I feel a tingly kind of glow at all times now that was not there before, but when something progresses in my soul, that intense bliss state can return in an acute way.  In my experience, religious ecstasy, though not as intense and sharp a pleasure as an orgasm (I am Ace, but I know what orgasm feels like), lasts much longer and works on the entire body and consciousness of the individual, and feels richer overall.

I take it as a sign that things are really going well for me now, considering the number of times I have felt it as of late.

-Saraƒin


"Anahata"...

Perhaps it's a bit bold and out there to post a nude self portrait, but I don't give a shit.  This piece, 'Anahata', is of course named after the heart centre chakra.  The shape of the chakra itself is in the background in green, and a bloodied heart rests in the foreground on my chest.  (Some Sacred Heart symbolism here.)  The serpent and wings was a kind of caduceus/kundalini reference at the time, long before I came to realize the animal of my soul is the Cobra, which makes it even more fitting now.  The cross indicates the protection and presence of Christ in my life. 

When I painted this, I was just trying to imply in my expression that I'm gazing downward, but in the end I painted an extremely pained look in my face, which is interesting, because I have endured a great deal of agony and heartbreak, so it works.  I threw some psychedelic lines in the background, something that has become somewhat of a signature in my art.

Acrylics on canvas, with gold pen and sharpie for details.

-Saraƒin

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

"St Dymphna"...

Here's one I did many years ago, of St Dymphna (the patron saint of the mentally ill), which was a potential cover for another variation of ideas that Asylum Squad might have gone in.  She holds here not the usual symbolism of this saint, but Tabernanthe Iboga plant roots and a DSM bible.  "Iboga" is a psychoactive plant known to cure addictions, and was going to factor into an alternative storyline I decided not to go with when I was redoing the series.  In the end, I invented the drug "Proniropol" (which is a play on the Greek word for "dream", imbedded in a word fashioned to sound like a drug that works with dreams).  The pharmaceutical company in the comic that produces Proniropol is called "Phrenopharm", and wouldn't you know, coming up with an original name for a pharmaceutical company that hasn't already been used somehow but sounds legit was next to impossible.  I wanted to go with "Pharmacon" but that was long taken!

(BTW, if anyone is trying to make sense of how to pronounce the horse demon's name, it's "ARM-ANNE-ANNE-STAN-TANOO", which was something that I channeled while under the heavy influence of my stupid little friend, and I thought it sounded like some weird paranormal creature's moniker.  Unfortunately, the spelling I went with made it a bit word salad-y.  But, being in a mental hospital as I was, I wasn't exactly thinking things through, and I certainly didn't think my comic would get as popular as it became, that is to say, a notch above modest.)

This piece was done with water soluble wax pastels on watercolour paper.  Maybe later I will post some more art that might have made it onto my last blog, but could stand to be shown again, regardless of it being related to spirituality or not.

-Saraƒin

Finding my path...

It's been quite the journey, finding the right spiritual path, and I'm not even sure if I fully understand it even now.  Here's a bit of a backstory as to how I arrived at where I am today:

Apart from some culturally Christian acts of prayer as a child, I didn't have a very religious upbringing, and didn't take it very seriously.  Then, in high school, with this ouija board shit at age 14, I got a bit into Wicca, and like many teenagers, I had a bit of a coven going on with three other girls.  Yeah, this is mondo embarrassing, but we had watched the movie 'The Craft', which had recently come out, and wanted to be witches so fucking badly.  I played around with that for a while, before deciding to move on with things, and went into a more atheistic phase, as high school ended and the strangeness that was my early 20s began.

Then I became more spiritually curious again (this was before the assault from the spirit in 2006) and was less atheistic, more agnostic.  I pondered what it could all mean, without delving too much into any concrete ideas.  As the future loomed, I began to desire enlightenment, or to find God, or something, so strongly, and the sense that an evil presence was coming back into my life was upon me.  I guess I prayed to God to reach out at one point for help, but I didn't think much of it at the time.

The first religion I considered to be the right choice for me was Buddhism, which of course is very popular among white seekers these days (I actually personally know more white Buddhists than of any other race, including a lovely Buddhist nun whom I unfortunately lost contact with).  Buddhist ideas actually helped me stay strong throughout my struggles, but the problem with most Buddhist ideas is that they do not place enough emphasis on a higher power, or "god", for what I required, so being on that path made me less prone to prayer, although Buddhists do in fact pray.  Meanwhile, despite the idea that I'd make a fine Buddhist, I was still dicking around with pseudo-Wiccan spellcraft in an attempt to stave off the evil one, which I couldn't figure out - was it real?  Imagined?  If it was real, who or what was it?  The spells made things worse, so I had to learn to stop, and later clean up any remaining backlash.

I also was taking an interest in Kabbalah, but as anyone who has actually tried studying it knows, Kabbalah is an extremely complicated system of thought.  To truly understand Kabbalah, one must be fluent in Hebrew in order to comprehend the hidden language within the Zohar, I believe it is.  I went to a Kabbalah Centre meeting one time, but it seemed superficial and like a giant money grab, so that didn't last, and, not being from a Jewish background and not a male, I was unlikely to study it under a rabbi to learn more.  I still study books on it (Toledano Kabbalah would probably be the best school of thought for me, or perhaps Golden Dawn, based on the way I think) but it's not my path.

There was a time when I got really into First Nations spirituality, and in a way, I still borrow from it, using smudge and prayer tobacco in some ritual.  But, apart from a tiny bit of Cree ancestry on my mother's side of the family, I am a honkey, and would forever present as a sad white person trying to make sense of a culture I wasn't brought up in.  I still attend the native circle in my community sometimes, and I like speaking to Elders, but without the cultural standpoint of having been raised in this tradition, I probably would only ever come across as a "plastic shaman" if I tried to get into this as a religious path.

When I thought the root of my problem was a bad kundalini rising, after psychiatry had convinced me there was no angry spirit thanks to a year of institutionalized brainwashing, I turned to studying the kundalini and taking up kundalini yoga, as a practise.  I wondered if I should become a Sikh - all the Sikhs I met were lovely people, and they seemed to sure know how to party with their bhangra music and festivals.  The yoga itself was often enjoyable, it felt good, but it got me nowhere spiritually, and ultimately I decided I was too much of a Taurus to do that much rigorous exercise, plus Breath of Fire made me feel like I was going to hyperventilate sometimes.

Then, in 2015, I was able to invoke Jesus through St Jude... and, I have to admit, a small part of me thought "Oh no", because Christianity wasn't the path that I wanted to turn to, what with all the crimes against humanity caused by Christians throughout history, and because of just how insipid so many of them come across as.  But here Christ was, in my life, I could feel him in my heart centre, and changes were finally happening, and I wanted to honour that.  Through Jesus I was able to invoke quite a bit of aid, and now my life is like night and day, but I was struggling to understand what kind of Christian I should become.  The United Church seemed like the obvious choice based on my politics, and I am involved at least in the community sense with a local United Church cathedral, the minister there being a friend of mine now, but there's something lacking... not enough sacraments, or something.  Anglicanism, despite being the church of my upbringing, was a religious path I didn't know enough about, and I still attend service once in a while.  It's ok, Anglicanism is, despite having a sordid history in some ways, and has made great strides in LGBTQ+ rights, women's rights, and social justice issues (depending on the congregation), but I'm just not feeling it.  It's Catholicism, or something of Catholicism, that ultimately feels right, even though I have to hold my nose a bit after doing the sign of the cross, because of how I feel about the corruption affiliated with this religion.

And then there's the Hinduism connection, which is something else I am exploring, except perhaps a bit blindly.  I just have a strong sense that several Hindu gods are in my life, or have at least answered some prayers, so I wish to honour that as well.  Bhakti, being the yoga of devotion, is how I describe my practise.  I get the sense that Krishna is becoming as strong a presence in my life as Jesus, Krishna being a more recent addition, and I'm still learning of how to work with him.  I don't feel like I can trust the path of the Hare Krishnas to form a personal relationship with Krishna very well, so I just study The Bhagavad Gita on my own (Eknath Easwaran edition) and go from there.  Since trying to find religion, Indian ideas have been some of my favourites, so it's possible I am more Hindu at heart than anything else, but I can't ignore the Christian overtones to my spirituality either.

So that's where I'm at right now.  Kind of an interesting hodgepodge there.  Maybe one day I will have a better way to define myself spiritually, but for now, I guess I just have to keep updating my Facebook religious description every once in a while, as progress is made.

-Saraƒin

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Nadia Bolz-Weber...

This video has been going around the web a bit - I love Nadia!  She's this tattooed, weightlifting, LGBTQ+ championing, Lutheran "Pastrix" badass who is the founding pastor at the House For All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado.

I first heard about her when I was in a bookstore, looking in the religion and spirituality section, and came across her book "Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People", which I later purchased and enjoyed greatly.  She's not the image that comes to mind when one thinks of a pastor, she's extremely rebellious and has had a bit of a troubled history.  With so much (justly deserved) anger towards Christians these days, she is one of the good ones, the ones who get it right.

Some people commented that this video suggests letting bad people off the hook for bad things, but I see it as another way of practising non-attachment, in this case, with negativity.  Forgiveness isn't just about "letting people off the hook", it's also about freeing oneself from one's own mental prison of anger.  It was only recently that I was able to forgive myself for my own errors - that seemed harder to me for some reason than forgiving others for theirs, as I have had to live with myself and certain ideas going around in my head for a very long time now.  Prayer made it easier - for the longest time, I thought I would never get it right!

Here is a link to her website:  Nadia Bolz-Weber ... the book I read by her is worth the read, and I hear the others she's written are as well.

-Saraƒin

Monday, 15 October 2018

Psychedelic Catholic Folk music...


What do you get when someone sneaks pot brownies into the church bake sale?  Psychedelic Catholic Folk music, that's what!

I found out about this strange, unlikely musical subgenre a couple of years ago - for anyone who thinks most contemporary Christian music is hokey (I sure do), there are some awesome tracks here, regardless of what your beliefs are.  I don't know how much more of this genre is out there, but these two albums are the most famous examples.

-Saraƒin

Gabriel Faure's Requiem Op. 48...

Just some really beautiful music I like to throw on when I'm in my more Catholic-y moods... two movements from this are on the 'Novitiate' soundtrack, which is also worth a listen.  'In Paradisum', the closing movement, is my fave.  (Also really pretty are a lot of St Hildegard Von Bingen's choir compositions, which I may post later.)

-Saraƒin

Sunday, 14 October 2018

'The Story of a Soul' by St Therese of Lisieux...

I bought this one at the local Catholic book and gift shop (which I love to raid for religious kitsch, like an otaku with anime goods - I am such a weirdo).  I love reading about the saints, their mystical experiences and struggles.  St Teresa of Avila, another famous Carmelite, was one whom I had already read some of the writings of ('The Interior Castle', specifically) so I saw this on the shelf and thought to read about another beloved saint of a similar name.

I read it all within the day I bought it - it's a very easy read, and quite an interesting story.  But man, is this girl ever Catholic!  Holy shit.  "The Little Flower", as she is known, always speaks here of how flawed she is as a person, while simultaneously painting the portrait of the perfect Catholic girl, and one comes away reminiscing about everything wrong they themselves have ever done, thinking: "C'mon, hon... you're really not that bad!"

Some of the spiritual horrors she mentions remind me a bit of some of the things I went though, the details she describes I mean - though it doesn't sound like she was ravaged by evil like I was, merely haunted... she was smart enough to pray sooner, I guess!  And she describes an incredible healing encounter with the Virgin Mary that's quite interesting.

She died at 24 in her convent of tuberculosis, something she was oddly excited about when she began to fall ill (but to her, it was a time of being united with her Beloved).

Her desire for suffering was intense, almost masochistic, I personally am sick of suffering (though, in a way, I guess I can see how some suffering can strengthen the soul, provided one is eventually liberated from it).  (Also, I have actually desired the stigmata... yeah.  I know that sounds like some fucked up goth girl Judy Blume novel shit, and I would probably have to fashion fingerless gloves out of THINX period underwear so as not to get formed for "self injury", but it would be a great conversation starter with the right group of people, as well as interesting material for this blog!)

All jokes aside, I enjoyed this.  I brought it to my mystical book club at the United Church for discussion (we started one).  Now, I need to finish my copy of 'Dark Night of the Soul' by St John of the Cross.  Shit got real interesting with tarot so I have yet to pick it up again to finish it.

-Saraƒin

Saturday, 13 October 2018

My mind: What it's like now...

One would expect that, after what I have described in previous posts, the most I could hope for, as a mind, is some degree of recovery, a functioning ego, and not much else.  However, it seems as though my mind is now twice the mind it was before, if not moreso.

I have arrived at a stage of psychospiritual development where I have detached from boredom and anger, I feel very little sorrow, require little to occupy my psyche's attention for the sake of enjoyment of life, and need not much in the way of materialistic pursuits to feel satisfied.  Thanks to my good friend Metatron, this came about quite easily.  Basically I prattled off a series of prayers for concepts I had read about in Kabbalistic books, the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, as well as ideas related to mindfulness and all that mental health stuff, and then I watched the mind blossom based on those requests, as time went on.  Suddenly, mindfulness wasn't something I had to keep reminding myself to focus on, as therapists would train one in something like DBT - it became my base state at all times, save an upset during the day.  Boredom is not an emotion I generally feel anymore - I like to avoid things I find unpleasant, sure, but boredom isn't so much a part of it.  If I have an empty day, as an example, I love to simply enjoy a calm state, free of thought, where I am more involved in perceiving and the pleasures of being than I am in thinking or distraction.

Like most westerners, I was an overthinker, overanalyzer, and worrywart.  I blame this trait on many things, such as our education system, on the way we are taught that we are only worthy based on our intelligence, output, and consumption of goods (to give some examples), on materialism, and on the idea that our brains produce our consciousness, rather than the notion that they actually translate consciousness to the body from the soul.  Overthinking leads to neurosis, psychosis, and I suspect, down the line, it may even contribute to dementia.  Modern man (despite having constructed so many amazing inventions and ideas) is constantly in thought, ALL THE TIME, and the byproduct of this is an unsettled mind that does not know how to easily calm down.  (It also leads to a lot of unbridled rage on the internet.)

Anger was something that was tamed for me a bit in the past, before Metatron, because I simply felt I had to let it go, once I was hospitalized for that year from hell.  Somehow, it was just easy after a certain point.  Metatron and others I pray to have fine tuned this a bit, so that now, I may still feel the adrenaline of anger rising, and maybe a hot feeling in the head, but I no longer lose my cool.  Only rarely do I show my anger now, which is good, because I have been told I am extremely intense when I get angry, and I almost always feel awful about it later on, after the explosion.  So, generally, it's reserved for a legitimate reason now.

I still pop an antipsychotic, because of the spiritual problem being something I am trying to block, but also because I want to go extremely slowly when coming down off of it, because any brain used to being on these drugs for a while can go off the beaten path if the drugs are taken away too quickly.  Fortunately, Latuda is a drug I found that does not cause me any side effects - at least, none that I am aware of.  (The phenomena of voices and visions is something, if I witness at all, I mostly must "tune in" to witness at this point - it does not pervade the psyche.  If you were to enter my mind, you would find it extremely quiet, and any phenomena in there you would quickly realize is on a completely separate layer of consciousness.  As for channeling, it is not of my ego, it is a function of my soul that happens through a kinetic thing I also call "automatic speech" and, when on paper, "automatic handwriting", and it can be quite elaborate, what it has to say.)

I keep getting a gesture with my hand, about the place where Upper Ajna's Makara Point (on the forehead) lies, so I guess that is the area of the psyche that is currently under development.  'Kundalini Vidya', that book I discussed in a previous post, makes great mention of Makara Point in one section, so I should probably reread that chapter to understand what it could mean for what comes next.

In general, most of the time, I am pleased with my psyche, and optimistic that it's going to be free of all upsets from the "dark one" someday, possibly very soon.

-Saraƒin

'Widor's Toccata' is BEST Toccata!

This was my Dad's favourite piece of organ music, and I agree with him - it's my fave as well.

One time I was sitting in St Patrick's cathedral alone, thinking about him, and the organist came in and began to practise this spontaneously, which was fitting.  I guess it's a hard piece to play because he kept stopping and starting it again.  This is an organ piece for people who normally aren't too keen on organ music - even 'Toccata and Fugue in D Minor' isn't as neat as this one, I think.  I often play it when Dad's soul comes to visit.  <3

-Saraƒin

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Why a nun?

Why did I ever consider becoming a nun?

Ultimately I realized I was romanticizing something that wasn't going to be what I thought it would be.  I had dreams of spending my days in contemplation in a peaceful, beautiful environment, honouring Divinity... however, nuns work really fucking hard and the mystics I have read about and admire are few and far between in these convents.  Here's a list of the reasons I thought I should be a nun:

-Because the opposite sex has largely been a disappointment to me, I having been thrice sexually assaulted in my life, I have been stalked, my heart has been shattered on many occasions by supposedly good men, I have been misunderstood as an asexual woman time and time again.  Man has been bad to me, but God hasn't steered me wrong - so why not be done with all men and marry God instead?  (Also, being asexual meant the vow of chastity would be an absolute breeze.)

-Because, after falling so heavily from grace in society, I felt, at a time, it was the only way to morally redeem myself as a person.  There's something really hardcore about nuns and their vows that even many agnostics and atheists respect - at the very least, nuns show extreme dedication.  Nobody could ever accuse me of not trying hard enough ever again.

-Because I thought people would take my spirituality more seriously if I joined a legitimate order, and would refrain from calling me mentally ill for my religious problems.  Not having a specific path, I assumed psychiatrists would either leave me alone, or at least have better answers for me, if I ended up in a bad situation while dressed in the habit.  Thankfully, now I have a psychiatrist who actually thinks for herself and is brilliant to boot, so that is no longer a problem, but finding her was pure chance, because most of them are terrible, honestly.

-Because I somehow assumed becoming one would solve all of my religious problems themselves, which are still somewhat there (though they are thankfully much less intense at this point).  I get it now - I simply have to live like a nun (I joke that I am in a common-law, polyamorous relationship with several gods), be in near constant prayer and contemplation for at least a large chunk of the day, but I don't have to BE a nun.  I can still work my job, be a cartoonist, put money away, all of that.  But I am devoted to my soul as fuck.

-Because I got to a breaking point where I honestly could not figure out what else to do with myself but be completely devoted to the Divine.  Unfortunately, that vow of obedience is not to a personal connection with Divinity, but to the Mother Superior of one's convent - so, what if she's a lousy bitch?  Nope, I don't want to deal with that kind of crap anymore.

-Because it seemed like a perfect escape from capitalism, taking on the vow of poverty in a monastic community.  Greed is one of the most disgusting things I can think of in western society, and the idea of living the antithesis of it became very appealing for a time.  (I am trying my best to work on non-attachment these days.)

So those are some of the reasons I considered it.  It's now an idea I have laid to rest, however, I am sure I will be visiting that convent I spent my retreat in again, from time to time, perhaps as an annual thing.

-Saraƒin

Rave nuns!

Just a fun, unexpected video of some raving nuns - wonder what those communion wafers are laced with?!

-Saraƒin

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Queer Saints in Christianity...

Christianity wasn't always so heavily affiliated with homophobia.  There was a time in history when same sex couples (at least, male same sex couples) could get a kind of partnership under Christ known as "Adelphopoiesis" (or "Brother Making") - this was a thing in Catholicism up until the 14th century, and in the Eastern Orthodox Church up until the early 20th century.  A famous example of this kind of pairing was with St Sergius and St Bacchus, pictured here, who were 4th century martyrs.  Some have argued that this form of partnership was completely devoid of any sexual connotations, but there's enough evidence to suggest that these two men were very much in love - including the line, when they were being paraded around in women's clothing before execution, that they weren't bothered by this, for they were both "Brides of Christ" (which, let's face it, is a pretty queer line!)

Other saints have been suggested as in some way LGBTQ+ - St Sebastian, to some, is the unofficial patron saint of gay men.  Derek Jarman even directed a film about him which had a lot of homoerotic imagery in it.  Also, some have argued St Joan of Arc might have been a trans man - when I asked Akasha about this in a card reading, it suggested that they actually were!

Here's a great site that discusses queer /potentially queer figures in Christianity:


The Metropolitan Community Church in Toronto (which is an inclusive, progressive church, born out of the need to serve the LGBTQ+ community) once had a sermon which brilliantly shot down the arguments for every quote in the Holy Bible said to condemn homosexuality.  If I can find it again, I will post it.  (One thing I am reminded of that was in the sermon is that the word "homosexuality" once was synonymous with "pederasty", not love between two members of the same sex, and that while the definition changed over the course of history, the Bible didn't switch the connotation along with it, causing confusion.)

-Saraƒin

Sedona, Arizona...

Two years in a row, I had the opportunity to visit Arizona for a winter vacation, not expecting it to be as fun as it turned out to be.  I'm not really into the cowboy thing, it's a very Republican state, but it's also a very raw, natural state, being one of the youngest of the lower 48.  Raw, natural beauty is something I admire much more than commercialism like Las Vegas, Disneyworld, or anything like that, so I decided to go with family to check it out, and get out of the Canadian cold.  And the best part of the trip, both times, was Sedona.

Sedona is kind of like a spiritual oasis in the middle of the state - I call it "Disneyland for hippies".  It is kind of touristy and that part is rather tacky about it, but it's among the most beautiful places I have ever been.  Red rock, big blue sky, this is the Arizona you often see on brochures, and it has been featured in various wild west films.  It's also home to the only McDonald's in the world with a green arch and no white letter sign, because they have strict bylaws preventing light pollution at night, so that the starry sky remains visible.

Why is Sedona so popular with seekers?  Because of what are called the "vortex sites" - special "chakras" or energy centres that people have been able to sense, or have interesting reactions to, when nearby.  The Native Americans knew about these sites throughout history, then in the 1960s the New Age movement got obsessed with them.  Even pilots, flying overhead, have a kind of a Bermuda Triangle thing happening with their equipment, so they have to "fly blind" over Sedona - whatever is there, it mucks with the navigation technology.  So yes, even the sciences are fascinated by this place.

The only vortex site family and I went to was that of the Chapel of the Holy Cross, pictured above.  (We went two years in a row.)  To test the validity of what I would feel, I went to the site and concentrated hard on not experiencing anything, but as soon as we stepped out of our car - WHALLOP!  It was like walking into the energetic equivalent of a sauna heat wall.  Suddenly my mother and I felt extremely mindful, tingly all over, and still, like we had just smoked the fattest joint in the world, minus the head trip aspect.  (My stepfather wasn't able to detect anything - it affects some people, but not all, and everyone in different ways.)  This was not placebo at all - it was intense.  (The feeling came back the next time we went back as well.)

Unfortunately, we could only do the Sedona part of both of our Arizona trips overnight at a Best Western before going back to the outskirts of the Phoenix area, where our home base was.  But someday, I really want to return to this amazing place, next time for at least a week.

-Saraƒin

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Why I don't identify as "Mad" anymore...

I no longer officially identify as "Mad".  It's not to say I reject the message of Mad Pride now, I still believe in it when it's spot on (though a lot of bullshit awareness-y crap has corrupted its original message in recent years), and I still consider myself at least an ally, if not a former Mad person.  Also, I plan on completing my Mad Pride comic series, Asylum Squad, which still has a strong Mad Pride message.

But - it's like this.  My Jungian analyst planted a seed a while back that I should stop calling myself Mad, because he said "it's not right - you're not actually mentally ill, why identify with that?"  My rebuttal was that it was more of a political identity because of having been psychiatrized to death, it was my way of finding empowerment after being stripped of it so badly.  Certainly I seemed Mad for a while - I see the world very differently from other people, and because of spiritual problems, I was in near constant psychic agony for a while.  Also, I have been on a medication to calm my neurology so that, while the phenomena was still happening, it was at least slightly quieter.

But the frustrations of trying to have a voice in the art world without people calling me a "schizophrenic artist" began to get to me, and I started to see his point.  No matter how many times I tried explaining things, no matter how calmly, no matter how many specialists I have cited whom I have seen, including my current psychiatrist, who have said I do not have that disorder, or schizoaffective disorder, or any true DSM V based psychosis, it seems like some people just won't listen.  Look up my comic and a bunch of shit will come up about schizophrenia along with it.

Look, I know that diagnosis was discussed a lot in "The Psychosis Diaries" (my first graphic novel, which I have since pulled from the web, ceased to print, and in a way have distanced myself from), but honestly, that came out of being trapped in a facility for a year where every day they'd basically try to brainwash me into believing that was my problem, even though deep down I knew my problem was actually in some ways much worse, so of course it would affect my art, and my confidence in my own intuition.  Hence, this is why I choose not to publish that body of work anymore - it simply does not represent me or my suffering very well at this point.  I don't disown it, I still take some pride in having made it, but at the same time... no.  That book was an interesting experiment at a troubled time, and that time has now passed, onward and upward.

Having had incredible successes through spiritual practices like prayer and meditation (but especially with prayer) in improving my consciousness, it is my firm belief now that the brain is the processor of consciousness, not the generator of it - it is to consciousness what the lungs are to oxygen.  If the brain is ill, consciousness is going to feel off, but after reading "The Brain That Changes Itself" by Norman Doidge, it's interesting that people with crippling neurological problems, stroke survivors as an example, have been able to find ways of rewiring the brain with therapy, so that even a severely damaged brain finds a way to function again, despite its damages.  How else could this be possible except without the soul's involvement?  I seriously doubt psychiatry is going to get anywhere, really, with the brain sciences, until they really begin to acknowledge the existence of the soul.

My psychiatrist (I like to call her my own personal Dr Gabor Mate) is not only a psychiatrist, she is also a neuroscientist, has worked in neurosurgery, and she teaches yoga.  She has got such a broad understanding of consciousness, she outsciences most psychiatrists at their own game, yet she believes in the soul, and knows how important it is to be spiritually healthy.  It can affect everything.  I suspect that most people who think they have this or that disorder, who think they need this or that medication, might have healthier brains than they think they do, and it may be a case of a spiritual malaise, as a root cause, or perhaps dis-ease with the structure of our society, or upset over the pains of the world.  Certainly, I have a big problem with the Cartesian idea of "I think, therefore I am", which places a conscious burden on ego, leads to things like materialism, and does not consider the other layers of consciousness beyond the egoic mind. This philosophy has lead to overthinking in many humans, the western world is riddled with neurosis, it can exhaust the brain.  Descartes... not my favourite philosopher of all time.

No matter... I will probably still have to live with a lot of people misinterpreting my work, my message, my personhood.  People romanticise the shit out of mental illness, which really bores me.  Can we move on to more interesting ideas, PLEASE?  Hopefully the final message of my comic, when it comes, will be understood.  Then I will likely never touch the subject of madness ever again.

-Saraƒin




Friday, 5 October 2018

"Vishnu"...

Vishnu is a god whom I feel has factored into my spirituality in some ways.  Certainly, avatar Krishna is involved.  I wanted to do a piece of Vishnu, so I made this.  The psychedelic gold lines in the background were added later, when I went back to do touchups - before, it was just a gradient of colours.  (Psychedelic lines seem to be factoring into a lot of my paintings as of late.)

Not so sure I like how his nose turned out (I have trouble with noses sometimes) but it's a colourful, vibrant piece, and I'm fairly pleased with how it turned out.

My next piece will likely be St. Tommy Wiseau - "Lisa, me dilacerat!"  If that doesn't get meme'd, nothing I paint ever will.

-Saraƒin

"ET" is a very religious movie...

This is a film theory I have had about "ET: The Extra Terrestrial" for a little while now - I later looked the idea up, and others have suggested this as a thesis as well: "ET" is a Jesus movie.  Here's why:

Ok, so first off he comes to earth from "on high" (in this case it's in a spaceship).  He is a gentle, wise creature, he's pretty much too good for this world, and is highly misunderstood by authorities.  He has a message of goodness, in that he says things like "Be good" a lot, as he learns English.  He is also a healer, and there is a lot of religious symbolism, such as the image to the left of this text, where he and Elliot touch fingers, which is probably lifted from the famous painting "The Creation of Adam".  (Also, his glowing heart is very symbolic of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.)  He is captured, in this case by scientists, dies in their custody, but resurrects and emerges from the cryogenic "coffin" he is placed in.  Then, at the end of the film, the spaceship from his home planet returns, and he ascends.  What could be more New Testament than THAT symbolism?!  No wonder Americans love this movie... Spielberg knew exactly what he was doing.

This interpretation kind of just came to me one day, so I decided to look it up, and there are tons of articles where people have discussed this.  Some say the look in ET's eyes was based on the eyes of Albert Einstein, the eyes of pure wisdom.  I haven't seen this movie in ages so I bet there's more I'm not considering (I am also not much of a biblical scholar to be able to quote anything that could compare the film to the New Testament).

Maybe later I will do an article about how the original Super Mario Bros mythos is basically the Rama and Sita epic!  xD

-Saraƒin

"The Last Temptation of Christ"...

My parents, both theatre hippies, had me watch this (at least most of it - not so much the sexy scenes) when I was 12 at Easter time.  At first I was groaning about being made to watch a Jesus movie, but I actually really enjoyed it.  Years later, as an adult, I bought a copy of it, and its accompanying soundtrack (by Peter Gabriel) at the Yonge st HMV before that store closed for good.

This is a movie that was rife with controversy for portraying Jesus as a man with human frailties, as much as he was portrayed as a holy man.  The Roman Catholic Church HATED it, for one.  I, personally, like the idea of a Jesus with these more human qualities, it shows his suffrage as a human, makes him more likeable as a character in a film.  In my writing classes with Ty Templeton, we learned about the four basic protagonist archetypes of writing (at least in comics) - the Hero, the Anti-Hero, the Everyman, and the Misanthrope.  Although Christ is still ultimately a Hero in this film, there are times when he presents a bit as an Anti-Hero, and in a way it makes him even more likeable.

I have a theory about the controversial scenes at the end of the film, when he appears to be "rescued" from his messianic mission by an angel, and led to a better life, which turns out to be a trap.  He's not chickening out at all - he has descended into hell, and the fear that he has failed God is his suffering while there.  If angry Christians would see it from that perspective, they might be less offended.  What could be a worse kind of hell for Christ than to feel that he has failed in his duties?  It's at the very least an interesting interpretation.

The soundtrack is Peter Gabriel gold goodness, and I highly recommend that as well.  Kind of a mix of both middle eastern sounds and slightly more pop sounding stuff. 

The movie isn't absolutely perfect - the American accents are kind of odd to behold in a movie set in the middle east, and there are a lot of caucasians playing Arabs here.  But Willem Dafoe will forever be my favourite white guy Jesus, and the Dafoe comes out here and there, especially in the scene where he has a fit in the temple.  ;)

-Saraƒin