As a child, like most children, I was not much interested in designating the differences between ‘real’ and ‘not real’, (not to mention that much of what was considered ‘real’ by the adults around me seemed positively distasteful). I longed to know, to validate and discover, to make real and to follow the beauty, mystery, and luminosity that emerged unexpectedly in glimpses, at moments when the motivation to avoid punishment receded or the teacher looked away. This longing did not loosen its grip on me.
I stumbled upon traditions that kept alive an honored relationship with the luminous, ephemeral and dream-like states I pined for, that illuminated pathways into ways of being, seeing, and thinking that felt eternal and radical and mysterious.
I found my way into Bon Buddhist practices, (Bon is the indigenous, shamanic tradition of Tibet) contemporary shamanic practices, Jungian dream-work and trans-personal psychology. Time spent on a Sioux reservation in South Dakota validated my conviction that the conventional Western idea of ‘reality’ is not only arbitrary, but actually spiritually anemic and soul-impoverished.
The mind’s eye, the ‘imagination’ is a primary lens or filter through which we see and participate in the world. It drives our decisions, what we notice or turn away from, the stories we tell ourselves, (and yes, we are telling ourselves stories all the day long, however we label the stream of reactive thoughts and mental wanderings). How do these stories impress themselves upon our perception? How often do we notice the subtle choice-points that lie behind habit and convention?
Divinatory Poetics describes a method I use to listen to what is beneath consensus reality, to recover the latent wisdom and power of vision that was buried beneath my childhood need to conform. Using light trance states to duck under or bypass the rational mind, the absurd and non-rational reign. Words, objects, colors, sounds, find their way to each-other, magnetized, compelled by unseen forces. These forces reveal relationships and patterns, that I would otherwise not recognize. These ‘absurd’ juxtapositions sing with conviction; and the fact that I don’t know why, yet feel the current behind them, makes them all the more compelling.
To enlist a Divinatory Poetic:
Notice what you like. And what you don’t like. What are you subtly drawn too? A particular hue, an intriguing angle, a specific texture? Allow this edge of curiosity to grow and explore it. Allow yourself to not know what it is or why. You might try free-writing/associating about this phenomenal experience, or you might simply feel it arise and ebb again, singing the echo of some distant origin or destination in the reservoir of your mind.
The practice of Divinatory Poetics is about learning to recognize a different and more subtle kind of calling; a quiet voice that murmurs in the stream, a tug like a small fish at your toe, a sudden chill or a double-take; the eyes unexpectedly magnetized. To recognize these nuances is to begin to find the bread-crumb trail of your own sublime poem.