I guess I should describe what a shaman actually does out there in the desert, which I wish I had when I went through mine. They suddenly see everything in really dualistic terms, God Devil Life Death Man Woman Hate Love Pain Pleasure Hot Cold etc etc. It’s a natural growth process. It looks really fucked because suddenly the world becomes divided into simplistic terms. But it’s a release, you have to get it out. When you aren’t frozen into this state by medication, you can move beyond it to a transcendent wholeness, where everything becomes the same thing, it’s this amazing feeling. I didn’t get there for four years after I started my process. A shamanic episode on it’s own usually resolves itself in about six weeks. That’s six weeks of needing community care though, and in various cultures world wide there are specific spiritual retreats for people to safely undergo this process with people who have been there.
I didn’t get to be cared for by people who have been there. I went through it in the company of ritual abuse survivors who took it WAY more seriously than I did. I always knew it was going to pass, but I had to throw myself into it to get it out. And part of that was doing rituals over and over and over so it could work it’s way out of my body. And that freaked out the R.A. survivors more because they didn’t honestly know you could do a ritual without killing something or hurting someone. And I tried to get them to go away, I kept telling them to leave me alone because I knew it was triggering them and I knew they were going to fuck it up because they were trained to fuck it up. And sure enough they did, I was already worrying people because I made all these long distance calls, but now I had people around me who started saying all the stuff I said like I meant it, although mostly I said things that were almost immediately left behind after I got them out. And I was just remembering how Venice looked in the morning and what kind of scary things lurk in ruins of great civilizations when I stopped. I didn’t get to remember my past life. And I was told I was disturbed for even remembering a past life, or for going there.
And I was cared for in the hospital by people trained to find pathology in just about ANY behaviour.
But I always remembered that past life, even when I was a little kid. I didn’t want to know much about Sarain because I was worried I would just be him again and I didn’t want to get stuck in an old life. So I kind of half listened to stories about him. And I kind of always assumed my parents knew I was Sarain, I think they did but it seemed kind of silly or something, because it meant he picked them for a reason. And I don’t think any of us really wanted to think too much about what that reason was. I know I used to talk funny when I was a kid, I would say stuff like “Do you remember when . . .” and then I would mention something from the late 60’s – early 70’s, and people would be like “You don’t remember that, you weren’t there.” And I’d remember I had to keep a cover story going.
My father went to Venice and made work about Sarain Stump’s life the same year I became a video artist.
I think I thought I would be cheating if I owned up to remembering at least two past lives right off the bat. And maybe I should have owned up, because as time passed I watched people lose faith in anything. And it just got worse and worse over the years until today, of course, when spirituality by definition connotes sickness. I keep seeing people lurk around whispering “I think I’m God” and it’s like well duh! That’s the fucking point. It doesn’t mean you go sit in a bloody cloud or wave around a nuke calling yourself Shiva. It just means accepting that there is no spoon!
The book of revelations isn’t a prophecy about what’s really going to happen. It’s a story of one person’s shamanic episode, and how they came to terms with themselves. You don’t follow it like some stupid manual. And that’s not even your shamanic episode, yours might have totally different symbols. This why they warn about the dream becoming real. The apocalypse is SUPPOSED to be all in your head, I mean look at what happens when it isn’t! And the reason you go through that crisis is so that you can come back with an idea of how to deal with the real world.
I mean come on, would you rather people work it out on their own in their head with some inanimate objects, or do you actually like watching it work out in the real world with George W. Bush at the helm?