“‘North’ is an incredibly imprecise direction. You’re standing on a planet that’s speeding at 30km/sec around a star that’s going eight times that fast through the galaxy which is itself moving through the cosmic frame at a speed and direction that more or less renders the concepts of speed and direction simultaneously irrelevant and interchangeable. Welcome to the cosmos, where the power of the pyramid is born. The very idea of an fixed, planetary “North” must be one of many absolutes that you must shed from your mind to begin your journey. In space, there are no straight lines pointing north or any other direction. Gravity is the wind that sweeps the cosmos in majestic curves, eddies, and hyperbolae. Your pyramid is not a cage, for it cannot hold the wind, and arbitrary lines of the Earth should not hold your spirit. Slip in and out of the boundaries, dance as one with the spheres, and when you understand that everything moves as one, then you will find your direction.”
Since last we trespassed upon the scene of unknown ecstasy that lies beneath suburban Church attendance, Ulfer was preparing ceremony space for the arrival of the shaman—and not just any shaman, but Dee Shaman. In the meantime the other gnomes debated the merits of dark wave versus synth trap over cactus hashish blend and under which drug state the superiority of a music’s genre ought to be decided.
The timing was right, for Ulfer was in desparate need of downloading cosmic knowledge, for only in a matter of days he and the other gnomes would face judgment before the spiritual tribunal of the Gnomsen. It was only upon the arrival of the Gnomsen at the aligning of the planets, predicted with 100% accuracy by the pyramid, that the Gnomes were allowed to induct new members. What the criteria were that this unknown council of carved silent beings used remained unknown. All that WAS known was that a great punishment befell any gnome who was deemed straight-edge and a blessing gifted upon the gnome most practiced in plant medicine, whereby (s)he was granted a vision that would enable her/him to release one of the captive children from the basement, transformed into a shaman and the child, in turn, transformed into a gnome with all the memories of priestly violation wiped from the memory. With one swift stroke of lightning, the exact correct sequence of events leading to a captive child’s liberation would be impressed on the mind of the chosen like an emblazoned signet and his/her will would be bent with monomaniacal intent upon nothing but the completion of those said actions. No knowledge on the next child chosen to become a Gnome could ever be based on the events of the previous year, for each year the plan of escape resembled in no manner the last, to the endless frustration of those holy men who were the children’s keepers and who hoped to anticipate the actions of the gnomes.
The CHOOSING, as it was called, took place in an unpredictable location, for the Gnomsen manifested themselves according to no law but their own will and so could appear upon the premises in any axis or plane of existence. It was, therefore, the task of the Gnomes to sense the arrival of the Gnomsen through inner sight alone and to seek out the manifestation location according to the knowledge they obtained through spiritual journey. Those most successful in discerning the location of the Gnomsen were those most practiced in the seeing that belongs only to the inner eye.
Thus, Ulfer, in hopes of reaching the Gnomsen first and being selected as a child liberator, had been carefully tracking possible manifestation locations according to the triangle, which he purchased off Amazon.com on a monthly installment plan of §29.99 and which he diligently slept under each night after having ensured that the device was pointed at Sagittarius. The efficacy of the Triangle was ensured by the vibrational frequency of a Himalayan ionic lamp, which Ulfer placed parallel to the axis of transcendence.
Now finally, after months of having slept under the triangle, Ulfer was ready for spiritual journey. Yet, to ensure that the journey was spiritually productive, he made sure to verse himself in plant medicine before he would appear before the Gnomsen for judgment. After having greeted the Shaman, Ulfer welcomed him into the vestibule of cosmic knowledge where they sat and shared a preparatory hookah draw.
“OH man, I just can’t, I just have to say, that, like, oh god, oh man, it’s like…”
“what? what man?”
“It’s like YOU! I can’t believe it man. I can’t believe I’m sitting with Dee Shaman.”
“That’s cool that you’re excited to see me man, but why did it take you like three hours to get to the door?” said Dee Shaman.
“Uhh…because I was preparing ceremony space,” replied Ulfer.
Dee Shaman turned his pot head to Ulfer and stared with non-existent eyes, drew a long draw on the hookah and said “ok.”
A silence passed while both stared forward in vacancy.
“You ready to go to Arizona tonight?” drawled Dee Shaman, a cloud of choking pot smoke expelling from the opening at the top of his pot head.
“Arizona? Why are we gonna go all the way there?” replied Ulfer.
“No, go to Arizona as in get ready for some out of the world shit.”
“But Arizona is on earth.”
“Ugh, no dude, cause that’s where people see UFOs. Oh forget it, never mind, it didn’t make sense.”
“Oh no no it makes sense. I just didn’t see it. No, it was good. It’s all good.”
“Of course I know it makes sense. I meant it doesn’t make sense to you. I know you don’t get it man. It’s the plants—they make you understand shit. You’re not gonna’ get my humor now, the way you are.”
“What do you mean? I’m the weed gardener. Like literally all this grass here is mine man. I am like the Farmer’s Almanac of grass.”
Dee Shaman threw his head back and laughed. “Weed is the Playskool of drugs. Your little grass patch here man in this corner of the dome, it’s like the day care center that the shamans drop their kids off at before they take a real trip.”
Ulfer flared up with rage-shame, but remained quiet, knowing that if he blew his opportunity to go on spiritual journey, he would not fare well at the tribunal of the Gnomsen.
Dee Shaman continued to preach before rising from his seat to hermetically arrange meditation stones for internal balance, light a lotus candle for mystical insight, and then sit, legs crossed in mental openness preparation.
Once Dee had assumed the meditation posture, all the other gnomes in the dome immediately began yoga in anticipation of the words of cosmic wisdom that would assuredly resound from a Shaman in meditation.
“You’re not gonna’ understand real humor until you go on spiritual journey,” continued Dee Shaman, “You’ve gotta’ get shaken out of the basic mindset that you’ve been living in. Until then you just don’t get it. You don’t know what it’s really like to laugh. To see how comical it is–the Walmart-samsara-BedBathandBeyond-cateredwedding-wage-slave-business-casual cycle that people take for reality. People don’t get it. It’s like fucking plastic, except it decays. Basic humor teaches you to laugh at jokes about nosy mother-in-laws on late night T.V. so you can learn to take lightly your own enslavement, to accept what you can’t change. Because the thing that’s really funny, that we should really be laughing at is that we think there even is anything like a mother-in-law at all. That we think anything changes by digging up a piece of carbon condensed under the earth and dug up by a political prisoner and having it rehashed into a slogan for the corporate wedding market so it can be administered in a gender-performance piece as a prequel to a legal contract that will turn a rando into a mother-in-law and legitimate a matrix of prescribed social behaviors and tax benefits. What is a mall? Have you ever seen the Chernobyl site? Every thing we built will decay. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen a fox shitting in the rubble of a school house. I’ve seen deer eating libraries. The plants have let me feel 10,000 years go by in 10 minutes. It all decays man. That’s why the biggest joke is how seriously the basic world takes itself. For even as it’s laughing, that laugh is already ringing out into silence. What the plant medicine shows you is that what you should really be laughing at is the performance of it. Of all this bullshit. The closest thing to a hit that a normie ever gets is the rush of a bulk discount. Which is why you didn’t understand my comment about Arizona. Because you’re basic.”
Basic. The word came as devastating and sudden to Ulfer’s soul as a pigeon slamming against the front window of a city bus.
HAHAHAHAHAH blasted Thoriatober from the middle of a loving-kindness yoga session, laughing at Ulfer, “BASIC AS FUCK!”
“I am NOT freaking basic!” screeched Ulfer, “if I were basic why would I be going on spiritual journey?! You guys are freaking basic! Doing coke and thinking you’re out there! Every investment banker on Wall Street does coke! It’s like going to Harvard and bragging about doing adderall! It’s so hilarious how you think you’re a special snowflake. The only thing you have in common with a snowflake is that you’re vanilla.”
“VANILLA? Whoa whoa, who installed the bungee cords in the orgy room? I’m as vanilla as the clod of coffee crumbs that slide down your throat when you realize you left the filter out of the coffee machine. I’m as pure as the roach’s leg that you find floating in your glass of milk knowing that you just swallowed the body. I’m not a special snowflake. I’m the black snow that encrusts in a deep mound, living in the crack untouched by light far below the subway system, accumulated through the filth droplets that have fallen through the grate above, persisting all the way until April.”
“Oh please, i’m at third series in Ashtanga and all you do is smoke a ton of pot and lie in savasana position for six hours.”
“Savasana is a real position. You’re just so caught up in samsara that you think everything needs to be moving.”
“Will you guys just shut up?! I’m not really sure you’re ready for special knowledge right now,” yelled Dee Shaman, “I thought this was supposed to be an anarcho-syndicalist-love commune.”
“IT IS!!!!!!” screamed all the gnomes at once.
“Well then I strongly suggest you download my loving-kindness app because right now it’s starting to feel like invidious distinctions are being made. Hierarchy is the first step to class division, you know. By the way, my app is in the iTunes store next to my walk-through of the Kama Sutra.”
“§0.99!!!??? God damn it!” yelled Thermal Mountain checking her phone, “Why does it cost money? Don’t you afford to live from dealing?”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Shamans don’t deal the plants. We gift them as spiritual teachers. Whoever tries to sell plant medicine isn’t a shaman… That’s why I have to charge for the app.”
“Hey, did your head just transform into a bong?” said Ulfer.
“Yeah,” replied Dee Shaman, “how else could I burn the leaves?”
“But I thought I was going to drink ayahuasca.”
“You are. But I dilute it from the leaves that I burn in my head. How else do you think spiritual knowledge gets transferred?”
Ulfer sat down on the carpeting across from the shaman and watched him breathe deeply in and out while bubbles eructed from his bong stick.
“Soooo… am I going on spiritual journey now?”
“Are you mentally prepared for it?”
“Uh, are you kidding me? You are just asking to see demons on this trip. Everyone knows that you only get a bad trip when you aren’t in the right space. You know, the right space man. Get fucking prepared. It’s not about how much money you have, how many fucking tea party real estate function formal wear vendettas against the cosmos times you fall asleep at the opera for a lacquered burnished patron plaque. The most monstrous demons are seen by the rich, the randos chosen for royalty by the latitude and longitude of a birth location and a ticket with the right name written by a doctor at an overpriced hospital when the queen turns out the addicts and the homeless, the late night street shriekers, to rent out the floor for herself. The vibrations can be felt in Kansas, in the dark alleys of cheap fucks and endless neon balls, in the train cars cleaned out because of the stench of a homeless and the heat turned on in May. The cosmos clear and light and loud coming on to the saints, the seers, the madmen, the Blakean freaks, the bastards of crack-whore love affairs in the urban sprawl. It’s seen by the best minds of the generation, starving, hysterical, hanging around Bethesda fountain in the backgrounds of tourist selfies traveling through the astral plane while people spend more time looking at the facsimile replicas of reality their phone captures than on the reality they captured. It’s because it’s about the inner seeing, happiness, the glowing ball of light that grows in the mental image of your chest. The key, the means to the mental openness lies within like a small nut uncracked, more valuable than the palace of Versailles replicated in n+1 mirrors. You can’t crack that nut with your money, with power. Only with mind and soul. If you want to see the kaleidoscopic face of God, all you need to do is come humble and naked and expecting nothing.”
As the shaman spoke, every gnome in the room resembled her wooden counterpart in the garden above, standing in reverent silence, bathed by words of the shaman. Each unaware of the creaking strain of muscle fatigue that came from a yoga position held in rigidity while the mind was in rapt attention to the eternal wisdom of the incomprehensible.
Ulfer did not comprehend a word, so he stared wide-eyed nodding before the shaman saying, “so I should play electronic remixes of didgeridoo music.”
The shaman was silent for exactly five minutes, “yeah, exactly. That’s exactly what you should do.”
So Ulfer immediately ran over to the iPad that governed the perpetual oriental synth orgy of the dome and set the tunes to the glorious whooping and wharping of aboriginal music.
“Ah yessss, goes down like the smooth hasish of a Turkish sultan,” said Dee Shaman bopping his head slowly up and down in liquid pleasure.
“Alright. You are ready for spiritual journey,” he said, “Now, resume the mental openness posture.”
Ulfer sat before the shaman, legs crossed, mesmerized. “Dude,” said Ulfer, “that was so fucking amazing. I mean, it’s like. I get why you’re the shaman now. It’s like where is your shit coming from? This comic, mystical knowledge just flows out. Other people stare blank-eyed at society, at a page, never reacting to the shit that’s right in front of them like its a crack addict on the subway—the knowledge that’s there about society and the cosmos, just ignoring every fucking thing about reality, and you, it’s like, it just pours out of the asshole of your brain.”
“Now that you’ve done meditation, you should be ready to consume ayahuasca. Lean in and take a nice long draw on my bong stick. The distillation process from my third eye has been completed and is now ready for consumption. So drink deep and glorious from the font of the third eye, my friend.”
With that, Ulfer leaned in to drink the bong before him.
“Oh wait, wait,” he said, “I need to get the right playlist.”
“Oh my godddd, you didn’t set that up before you called a shaman?” screeched Thermal Mountain, laughing even harder, “just put on Spotify.”
“No way, Taylor Swift might come on.”
“Not on my spotify.”
“Ok, so…I’m looking at my iTunes. Should it be gettin high 1, gettin high 2, getting high 3, gettin high 4, gettin high—“
“GETTING HIGH 49!” yelled the shaman in impatience.
“OH, ok,” said Ulfer, setting up his Bluetooth and then drinking from the blue of liquid insight inside the shaman’s head. When he had finished he stepped back and gasped.
“Ahhh… I don’t feel anything.”
But before he could finish elaborating on his anti-climax, Dee Shaman was nowhere to be seen. He had transformed into a ball of light in a Peruvian minute.
Thoriatober blasted another laugh out at him, “HHAHAHAH! YOU’RE SO FUCKING BASIC THAT EVEN THE MOST PSYCHOACTIVE SUBSTANCE ON EARTH DOESN’T HAVE MORE OF AN EFFECT ON YOU THAN DECAFFEINATED SODA.”
“Fuck you!” screamed Ulfer back.
“Ok, whatever man. We’re all gonna’ take a dip in the hot tub and smoke some weed. It’s quality stuff, so I’m not gonna’ hand any to you. I didn’t spend two entire hours working just to see some paranoid worry that he’s gonna pee himself in the hot tub. I only trip with quality trippers who I can have quality conversation with. You’re definitely going to be the paranoid freak-out kind of tripper.”
“Two hours working?” Ulfer yelled back at her, “are you talking about how on Monday you sat next to the Hare Krishnas on the NYC subway system platform with a styrofoam cup?”
“Wow. That is just straight up the logic of capitalism right there. There—as in coming from your face hole—your mouth. The only thing that constitutes work is tangibly exchangeable?! So spiritual work doesn’t exist?!”
“Dude, you are not a Marxist. Marx thought religion was the opiate of the masses.”
“Dude, I never said I was a Marxist. Even more proof that you’re a fucking capitalist because you work with a two-category system of neoliberal capital and communist materialism. Ugh. Maybe I should give you a pity joint so you wake up.”
Ulfer entered the tub with his fellow gnomes who discussed how capitalism’s expectation that everyone work is bullshit and how, since capitalism was inherently theft, they were rectifying the system each time they stole from the Church gold vault when they went upstairs to liberate a child.
“Dude,” she said.
“Dude… I just realized. Time. It doesn’t exist. Like it’s literally made up.”
“I don’t think I’m high enough for that to make sense yet,” answered back one of the gnomes.
Suddenly, Ulfer felt the ayahuasca he consumed hit the pit of his stomach like a quarter tossed off the Empire State Building by a five year old child upon a tourist’s head.
“Whoa, guys, I think I’m like about to like trip seriously hard on ayahuasca right now. I think… I’m pink. I’m pink. I think I’m pink. Also, I’m in a hut. I’m descending into the basement full of aliens in psychedelic robes encircled about a hermetic symbol on the floor speaking in glossolalic tongues beckoning me to step into the kaleidoscopic face of God…”
But Ulfer’s comrades were already thoroughly engaged in a debate about whether or not bubble gum was food because you didn’t swallow it and so left Ulfer to sink into the kaleidoscopic face of God.
Ulfer sank deeper and deeper into the haze of Enlightenment, a bubbling warmth embracing him—the warmth of happiness itself, a dazzling sparkling ether of vibrant pink, the lifeblood of Gaia up-welling from the heart of Nature.
The Nature we had been killing. Everytime we rake the earth, it’s a rape, Ulfer thought. The thought came suddenly into his head with the brilliance of an immediate truth. And that’s when he knew instantly—I can only ever eat fruit that has already fallen on the ground. He felt the pain of the wrenched branch whose fruit is harvested. He felt the explosive destruction of a world each time an ant is stepped on. He saw its bulbous head in his mind—thought it a strange alien at first with gigantic eyes and minuscule hairs vibrating before he realized it was an ant in his mind’s eye. Ulfer burst out laughing. We search for aliens in space while we make our own world alien through our self-blinding ignorance! Our failure to pay the fuck attention! God, look at how fucking amazing an ant’s head is–and Ulfer had simply never paid attention to it. And then he saw the ants, suddenly, each in its individual fragility and intricacy, hundreds, thousands, millions, walking about the glistening glade and he heard the motion of their limbs like a chorus of angels, a concert of mechanical elves.
It was a cosmic concert, a symphony pulsating everywhere constantly that the ego suffocates with its own obsessions—how the human mind benumbs itself, draining the consciousness of an infinite vibrancy and replacing it with the dull humming of an endless drone of worry, of tomorrow’s plans and yesterday’s regrets, making the consciousness an abyss. Once the ego dies the world swims in! The beauty of the absolute carries the consciousness away in the all-absorbing present! And Ulfer knew for the first time that he was indistinguishable from the cosmic One. The tree was him. That tree and that rock and every tiny curling fern that digs its roots in the earth’s history: the fungal, rhyzomatic mandala of roots beneath the earth. It was a tiny, priceless, precious elf person. Each tree was not each tree. There was no each. There was no tree. Because staring back at him, in the vibrancy of its immediate and all-absorbing pinkness, was THE ONE. And then he heard, resounding from the great pink tree before him the voice of God within: I AM LINDA.
And then he felt it, the glorious tears rising forth announcing that this was not a dream. It was what came before that had been a dream. He fell on the ground and wrapped his fingers through the grass as through a lover’s hair and wept tears of orgiastic bliss. This was the AWAKENING and he felt his ego huddling, shivering, a sick, petty child, a screaming, silly thing that he left behind in the hot tub. Ulfer heaved over in laughter. All the shit he had ever made a big deal out of was a hilarious triviality! He felt it, the pain of the past, the petty hangups, decrystallized and flowing out of him like the desedimenting of a clogged artery of a McDonald’s patient. His soul was a clogged artery. The more he filled it with bullshit, the less he could feel the flow of the one Spirit through him. His ego was a tight, clogged, closed asshole. HE had been an asshole! Fuck me! All the moments he had stuck dried leaves in the joints he rolled for Acustramond without telling her so he could save more for himself, all the times he cared more about showing off a first edition Grateful Dead album than actually listening to it, the Etsy account he once created for friendship bracelets he made out of upcycled rubber bands and the phony-ass magazine smile in his filtered profile picture—all of it filled him with cringe-shame. All his ego-bullshit rushed upon him with sickness. The narcissism that had been his life before Enlightenment! Ulfer screamed to Linda, I WAS A FUCKING ASSHOLE!
Then a wash of calm flowed over him. Perhaps it was the jet stream of the hot tub that came on in ten-minute cycles. But even if it were, it was the material condition for a mystical insight. He smiled at his past petty bullshit with sage-like pity. How had he ever given a shit about the looks, the stares, the judgments of humanity? How had he ever dealt them out himself? Why, love was so easy. So right here. So right now. Anyone and everyone could be happy if they just embraced the love that was right here and right now. The love he felt in sparkling glade. Enlightenment wasn’t difficult. It wasn’t far off. It was the simplest most immediate fucking thing. Everything else was a falling away from its presence. We have to work so hard to drive ourselves away from it—the fundamental reality that we are all the same fucking thing. The same beautiful thing. Even pores and blackheads were fucking beautiful. Ulfer wandered about further in the astral plane until he came to a waterfall dell. He thought of the master monk Shentai and how he achieved Enlightenment when he heard the echo of his own shit dropping into a lake as it resounded out the mountains that he achieved Enlightenment.
Even the shit of a worm, the germ of the soil, contains the All Spirit, thought Ulfer. It was our petty-ass egos that make us lonely. That made everything seem discrete, different, alien. Here, in the astral plane of Life’s transcendent embrace Ulfer was a man of no ego. He smiled at existence with a truer, artless warmth than he had ever known. All of it was beautiful. He suddenly realized that those pink leaves were a summary of every movie he had ever seen. Then Ulfer heard the sound of tiny mechanical elves marching through the glade. They were blowing small white balls of light into the air of pure positive energy, each of which contained knowledge from a different astral plane. Ulfer understood immediately that he must pursue this knowledge.
Ulfer popped one. Arteeshi no womba bomba. It was a glossolalic statement but Ulfer instantly understood it to mean “Rocks are reverse volcanoes.” Ulfer paused for a moment. OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHhHHH shit yeah they kind are, he said.
Tiny sparklies danced about Ulfer’s head filling him with a surge of glossolalic revelation. Weeti ma teesha no basha la peesha. Twelling and twilling, thurl bimble a skimble. Guggleiggity gugglashmi. Ulfer wandered about for some unknown amount of time while the glossolalia continued until he arrived at a log filled with neon mushrooms that swelled and contracted at the exact frequency of a female honey bee humming. One of them opened up and inside Ulfer saw Lord Krishna with four more arms than he was supposed to have but this was okay because each arm corresponded to a different cardinal direction. Lord Krishna, seeing Ulfer, gave a great blinkless grin but said no words. He stood in mute symbol, one arm pointed up to the heavens with a single golden disc spinning about signifying eternity of the universe which closed in upon itself without beginning and end like a circle in motionless motion. Another arm pointed to the east where the axal star rises, a third held an open lotus of peace in which a lion was drawing a hermetic symbol in a micro-sized chariot of fire and the final arm pointed to the earth—to the mushrooms of archetypal knowledge. Ulfer immediately bent over and scooped them as rapidly as possible into his pockets, but no weight was added. Lord Krishna then broke his silence to utter a tremendous laugh and the flesh melted about his skull, leaving behind a skeletal elf that chittered in laughter. “I am ROT” he chirped and then disappeared into the log, sliding into it like a white worm, whereupon Ulfer watched in real time as the log decayed, melting into chunks of dark-black moist balls of clay.
Then Ulfer realized that the intense fear he would have felt was a product of his ego. That this was not death but transformation. It was not the log that decayed, but the welt on the earth-skin dissolving back into the body. Only to the ego does anything die since the ego separates itself from the whole. He watched the log melt into the ground, indistinguishable from the ground. It became a wash, everything like an ocean of color, warping and weltering in a boundary-less whole. Each color was an alien word, a jiggling alien word. Then he saw an alien. It was Dee Shaman who had been uttering the words, summoning all the gnomes of the dome about him in a yogic circle.
Dee Shaman had transformed into a glossolalic alien teacher. He breathed in deeply, in mystic concentration, centering himself in perfect cosmic balance. Also, a giant chair was spinning over his head.
And then there was this.