By Charles Faris, Cosmic Trigger online reading group guest blogger
Welcome to week 17 of the RAWIllumination Cosmic Trigger Reading Group. This week, we cover 4 short chapters, beginning with Appearances and Disappearances (131 Hilaritas, And/Or 130) and finishing with Nikola Tesla, secular shaman. Wilson covers a lot of territory here, from the continuing travails of Timothy Leary to the lessons we can learn from our children, from the shamanic technique of near-death/rebirth to the question, once again, of extra-terrestrial communication. And so without further ado…
“It gets even spookier now.” And so begins Appearances and Disappearances, which begins with the appearance of a variety of messengers from God, the extraterrestrials etc., most of whom were nuts, in Bob’s estimation, and one of whom spent $380 (in 2016 dollars) taking Bob and Arlen out to dinner and then slipped him a grand (again, 2016 dollars) before leaving, never to be heard from again.
Quick cut back to Vacaville, where Bob and Tim discuss Giordano Bruno’s practice of Tantric Yoga. Bob assumes that Tim learned of this by reading Francis Yates—Tim counters that it was obvious from Bruno’s own writings—“Sex magic is always the first of the Secrets.” Tim tells Bob that he will be getting out of Prison soon, and then he disappears into the void of Terminal Island.
The Great Silence begins and great paranoia ensues as the rumor spreads that Leary is turning states evidence. Lot’s of wild rumors and speculations follow, and with Watergate thrown into the mix and soon pretty much everyone is beginning to believe that sombunall people in “the Government [are] Capable of Anything.”
A lesson in Karma introduces us once again to the special relationship between Bob and his children, in particular his youngest daughter Luna. Bob opens by noting that “Lao-Tse says (at least in Leary’s translation) that the Great Tao is most often found with parents who are willing to learn from their children.” I have always loved this chapter, and here are a few of my favorite bits from it.
After detailing how he finally learned to actually hear his children and learn “a great deal from them,” Bob notes that his children went on to listen to him, and that their “mutual respect for each other grew by leaps and bounds.” Wilson goes on to claim that this is “the greatest result I have obtained from all of my occult explorations.”
He then goes on to recount how Luna taught him “the hardest lesson of all,” by refusing to take on any of the bad energy from a gang of black kids who had beaten and robbed her on her way home from school. “I stopped the wheel of Karma,” she tells him.
The only way to “stop the wheel,” Bob notes, “is to stop it inside yourself, by giving up bad energy and concentrating on the positive.” He references Gurdjieff and “the horror of the situation,” and notes that 13 year old Luna understood this better than he did, at 43, “with all my erudition and philosophy.”
Witchcraft recounts another parent/child story, this time involving Bob’s son Graham, roaming the wilds of Arizona with friends in April of 1974. While I have to wonder what RAW would think of the current generation of Helicopter Parents, the Author wisely uses this story of interstate “astral travel” as a stepping stone for a discussion of his “concerted effort to gain admission into as many shamanic schools as possible” which grew out of his effort to follow the edict of Aleister Crowley to engage with multiple gods and goddesses “so as not to fall into the error of monotheism.”
He notes that Uncle Aleister had love affairs with “Allah, Nuit, Pan, Kali, the Virgin Mary, and quite a few others,” and then drops that other lovely AC nugget — “Thank God I’m an atheist.”
All the while, the Skeptic continues to work with the notion that any experience with a “luminous being is probably subjective, barring any objective evidence, and possibly extraterrestrial when he finds himself seeing things that are happening hundred of miles away at the same time.
In Nikola Tesla, secular shaman, Bob recounts the parallels between the “wild talents” (and their acquisition) of Nikola Tesla, Gopi Krishna, and certain tribal shamans. None of this sounds particularly fun, and here we are reading the account of someone who is undertaking this sort of thing on purpose!
The Author also distills for us a formula — “near death plus ‘rebirth’ on a higher level” — which he finds in occult initiations of all types. He also notes the use of bringing the initiate into a “state of terror.”
Curiously, in a chapter ostensibly about Contact and Contactees, the Author then states that “Obviously, the first shamans had no teachers; they simply went through the illness-rebirth transition accidentally, as it were.” Whatever happened to extra-terrestrials? — Aha! One sentence later…”entities of superhuman nature,” assisting an initiation that may never end!
The Prognosticator then finishes the chapter with this nugget—“Obviously, the whole show shamanic process of near-death and rebirth on a higher level will become commonplace by the 1990s, if Leary is right and we have then both a Simulated Death pill and an Immortality pill.” I love his use of the word “obviously.” And the focus on a pill makes sense if we consider that statement from Cosmic Trigger 2 that Bob was taking a lot more acid in 1973 than he let on in Cosmic Trigger. Although I’m not so sure the average human would choose to go down that road regardless of the ease provided by a pill.
Okay — that’s it from me. Hopefully you can find a bit of controversy in these chapters and my commentary thereupon. And regardless — please comment, that what brings this old text to life!
Next week we begin on page 141 (Hilaritas!) with Other starry signals and finish with Dope and divinity. Until then, remember the Dog Star, rising and setting with our Sun.