1. A Perfect Day to Die
In 1994 I decided to die. There was an eclipse of the Sun on May 10th, and that was the optimum
moment. I knew that the Sun is a stargate to higher worlds, from experiences in the past when I stared
at its disk and saw it turn into a window. Also, from studying the secret knowledge of ancient times, I
knew that your soul has to first pass through the Moon. So the ideal situation is when the Sun and
Moon are aligned in a solar eclipse; I figured that if I could launch myself with enough OOMPH I could
shoot up through the spheres like a ball of fire and take my place as a star in the firmament, or at
least in one of the higher layers of the metasphere.
When I told my girlfriend Beatrice about this she was understandably upset, especially when she
heard my plan to drop the body right at the climax of our making love. I admitted that it would be a little
insensitive of me to just leave her with the carcass all sprawled out and flaccid, but I was sure I could
make it up to her when her time arrived to split the physical scene. If I succeeded in carving out a
lofty place for myself in the celestial regions, then the bond of love between us would draw her to me
when she died, and there we would be, stellar luminaries forever and for aye, as they used to say in
To make a long story short, I talked her into it. One thing that made it easier was that she didn’t really
believe that I had mastered the yogic power to permanently stop my heart at will, and thus take off on
a one-way trip to the undiscovered country. So I didn’t mention as we set off that morning that I had
my athame, or ritual dagger, tucked away in a handy pocket of my backpack -- just in case the high
magic failed to summon the Angel of Death on cue.
Now, dear reader, if you have any sensitivity yourself, you are probably wondering why I was so
determined to shuffle off this mortal coil on that fateful day. So I’ll have to admit that, despite all my
spiritual study and work on myself, I had never succeeded in resolving the mysteries revealed on my
highest acid trip.
It happened about ten years before, when I was in my early twenties. I had some wonderful trips
when I was hanging out with the Deadhead and Rainbow crowd. We’d all dance around to the music,
the astral light would appear overhead, and we’d merge up into it, right while dancing. It was glorious
and ecstatic. Then we’d ooze back down to the dance floor just filled with the love of knowing that in
the great white light we’re all one. And of course actually making love on acid was the most cosmic
merger of all! With the right dose at the right moment, every girl you slept with would be a match made
Then one day I met a dude in Berkeley who was an initiate of one of the magical orders they have
there. He thought the whole lovey-dovey Deadhead trip was pretty passé. “Oh, it’s all real and true
phenomena,” he assured me, “but it’s only from the heart chakra.” He told me that it’s possible to go
higher than that and open the third eye. This kind of caught my interest, so I hung out with this
magical order for awhile, and finally one night the magus dude guided me on a higher-dose trip than I’
d ever had before. I wound up all alone and terrified in an infinite black void outside space and time,
before the universe had even been created. I thought I must’ve been God, because I held life and
death in my hands, literally. They were tangible archetypal objects: a bright spark that was the Star of
Life, and a skull that was death itself. The skull morphed into a dagger, which I wanted to plunge into
my heart to escape from the horror of being stuck in the void all alone forever. But I held back from
doing that because I thought it would cause the total and final end of everything.
When I came back down the magus assured me that I had “crossed the Abyss” and was now a
“Master of the Temple”. But I didn’t feel very masterful -- I felt really weird. In a nutshell, I went crazy.
I lost my girlfriend and source of income, and became a street bum on Telegraph Avenue. Luckily
there were still some people who cared about me; they steered me into the nuthouse, and with the
help of an acid-wise shrink I gradually pieced myself back together enough to live in the world.
It was still touch-and-go, though, because down in the deepest part of me I was still trapped as a mad
God in that lonely black hole which I took to calling the “Ultrasphere”. I was still convinced that this was
the ultimate reality: that the entire world and all creation is a shadow-show enacted by the Godself to
make him forget the awful truth of his solitary existence. He split himself up into the illusion of billions
of separate humans, and who knows how many zillions of sentient beings on the planets of all the
stars. And behind it all is that God-awful me-creature in agony in the void.
No matter what I did to distract myself in the world, I could never escape the inner certainty that this
was the dark reality lurking behind the innocent smile of every child, the simple joys of daily life, even
the kiss and caress of my lover.
Well, that last one actually helped a lot, and when I met Beatrice I was sure I had found the fast track
to getting cured. When we made love it brought back the beautiful open-hearted unification of my
early acid trips, even though of course I had completely sworn off drugs as part of my recovery. She
inspired me to start practicing all the spiritual disciplines -- besides just tantra, which I was already
pretty good at -- and to study the esoteric sources to get a broader conceptual matrix for my Ultra-
experience. Beatrice was an initiate herself in many ways, and she guided me through a lot of positive
It was really hard to find intelligible references to the Ultrasphere in even the deepest sources, but
eventually I found some clues that gave me hope that maybe it wasn’t the highest state and final
endgame after all. I learned that usually the experience only comes as the consequence of many
years, or even many lifetimes, of rigorous spiritual development, when the soul is mature enough to
deal with it, and knows the methods to pass beyond it into the still higher spheres, notably those that
are accessed through the crown chakra at the top of the head. Whereas in my case, my third eye
had gotten artificially pried open at an early age via the chemical administered by an irresponsible
magus. This is why I got screwed up, but there was still hope that I could work my way back and
retroactively stabilize my enlightenment.
This was the plan, at least, and it looked like I could hang in there while my chakras ripened and make
it to a wise old age, especially with Beatrice’s loving support. But it was not to be. The void caught up
with me. I found myself in the Ultrasphere in dreams. It was always completely, horrifically real, and
seemed to last for a long time. Then when I woke up after what felt like a billion years in that lonely
hell, I was convinced to the rock-bottom cockles of my heart that this waking reality was the actual
dream, the short-lived illusion I had contrived to give me a brief respite from the eternal agony of the
When I told Beatrice my intention to drop the body during the eclipse, she tried all the sensible
arguments against it; then finally, reluctantly, she pulled out the bombshell: what if suicide just
delivered me up to the Ultrasphere for keeps, with no way out? That shook me up. It was such an
obvious possibility that I was amazed I hadn’t thought of it. “You were repressing it,” she said, and I
knew she was right. Nevertheless, I was so desperate for some chance of escape that I concocted a
theory that I was just belatedly exercising the option that had been presented to me in the Ultrasphere,
that of choosing death. Now I understood that it was a sheer ego-trip to imagine that the universe and
all its works would perish with me. Surely at worst the result would be merely my own negation, a
winking-out, an annihilation. And at best, maybe I really could land in some of those groovy heaven-
worlds in between the physical cosmos and the Ultrasphere. Mystical lore is full of them; surely I had
advanced enough to merit a few centuries in a pleasant bardo.
At the very end of the argument Beatrice just shook her head and cried a little, and agreed to come
with me. I knew what she was thinking: at least that way she’d have a chance to change my mind and
haul me in right up until the last instant. But I was determined not to let that happen. I had to die. My
will was set. My soul had decided.
2. The Adversary
The eclipse was in the morning, so we set off early. This was in the town of San Rafael, California,
where I now lived with Beatrice, across the bay from Berkeley. We stopped at the Royal Ground
coffee house en route, and found it full of the breakfast crowd. Most of the people were on their way
to work -- and so were we, in a way. The weather was sunny and beautiful. We sat at an outside
table and discussed the plan of action. Beatrice was still very distressed by it all, but I was downright
enthusiastic. I had a sense of fulfilling my destiny.
I said that we should go to the top of the hill in Boyd Park, which was right nearby. There was a big
white cross on the summit, visible from the whole town. It seemed appropriate, since Christ attained
the Ultrasphere while on the cross. Jesus hanging spread-eagled in agony is a perfect image of the
soul in the Ultrasphere, and the proof is his last words: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken
me?” Up until that moment he still thought that God was a mighty, omnipotent being outside himself;
but on the cross he discovered that he himself was all the God there ever was or ever would be, just
as everyone does who enters the Ultrasphere.
“So what’s your idea?” said Beatrice. “Do you expect me to nail you to the cross?”
“Dang, I forgot my hammer,” I said. I was only joking, but Beatrice looked so damned grim; I guess I
couldn’t blame her. So I told her seriously that I just wanted to do our usual tantric lovemaking, timed
so that we’d reach climax during the peak of the eclipse, and then I would go into the Sun. That was
“Oh, that’s ALL!” she said. “And then you actually expect me to bury you?”
“Piece of cake,” I said; “I’ll scoop out the dirt beforehand.” I reached into my backpack and pulled
out an army entrenching tool, which is a little spade with a collapsable blade. They use it for digging
foxholes. “All you’ll have to do is roll me in and cover me up.” Now she was getting really upset, so I
said, “Don’t worry, it’ll be beautiful. It’s exactly the way I’ve always envisioned it -- just my naked
body in the natural earth.” I had already written elaborate letters of explanation and farewell to my
relatives (none of whom lived in the area), plus one very straightforward suicide note with my
thumbprint on it, to be sure that Beatrice could never be held accountable for my deed. And I was
still a certified loony living on government money for it, so that should settle any lingering questions
which any outside agnecies might have. Crazy people kill themselves every day, often in strange
ways, so it wasn’t all that weird or incriminating.
Even so, I knew that the only reason she was allowing herself to be a party to this was to try to stop
me. That’s why I also had the athame in the backpack right next to the entrenching tool. I knew I’d
make it into the Sun today one way or the other.
We finished our coffee and got up to go to the park, but no sooner had we turned the corner than
there was my nemesis, a big surly kid with a shaved head and black leather jacket, sitting on a
bench. His name was Eric, and he was my one and only enemy in all the world. I was annoyed at
myself for not noticing that he had been so close by -- he may even have been in earshot of our
conversation. But he didn’t challenge me or anything -- he just gave me the usual evil eye and then
looked away, as if he couldn’t lower himself to take any interest in my affairs. That was fine with me,
and soon I would no longer be sharing the same planet with him.
I first crossed paths with Eric one day when I rode my bicycle through an alleyway, one of my
regular shortcuts, and saw him beating up on a street bum. Having lived on the street myself, I don’t
have the liberal knee-jerk sympathy for every homeless person I see, because I know from
experience that some of them are real scumbags. Furthermore, the correct survival perspective on
seeing a fight is to assume that it’s a private affair which is none of your business, and proceed on
your way. It so happened, though, that this particular bum was one whom I saw frequently while he
was panhandling; he had a pleasant vibe, and occasionally I’d give him a few coins or a buck, for
which he would always thank me politely. Thus I knew he was an innocuous person, and probably
didn’t deserve to get the shit kicked out of him by this skinhead-looking character who clearly had a
bad attitude. And so I intervened.
I said, “What’s the problem?” in a loud voice. Eric told me to butt out, and when I wouldn’t he turned
on me. I can usually handle myself okay in a fight even though I’m kind of skinny; and when we went
at it, Eric was pretty surprised to find that he was getting as well as he gave. When I managed to
land a karate kick to his slightly paunchy stomach, it looked like the fight was over. But when he got
his wind back, he came at me with a knife. I fended off a couple of slashes, but the only thing that
saved me was that the bum had the presence of mind to dash out to the street and flag a cop.
Eric got booked. I didn’t want to press charges, because I’m not a vindictive person; I would’ve
settled for an apology. As for the bum, he disappeared while the arrest was in progress, since bums
and cops aren’t exactly compatible either. But it turned out that the cops had had some run-ins with
Eric previously, which had never been serious enough for an arrest. So now they took this
opportunity to visit his house, where his mother poured out all the anguish she had dealing with him,
his father having split the scene long ago. She invited them to look around, and they found three
firearms, one of which proved to be illegal. It was a first offense and he only did a couple of months
in the creampuff county jail, but as you might imagine, he really had it in for me ever since.
All kinds of people shave their heads these days, but it turned out that Eric really was a skinhead in
the literal sense, meaning that he was a neo-nazi. I was surprised to find anybody of that persuasion
here in the ultra-liberal Bay Area, but I learned that there had evidently been a fairly large movement
in that ouvre in San Francisco, right during the time when Eric was growing up there. He got in with
that crowd, to the dismay of his old-hippie parents, and did a lot of mischief; but then it seems that
the leader of this white rightist cult resettled in Idaho or somewhere, and most of the skins went with
him. Thus Eric had been left at loose ends, and became even more so when he moved with his
mother to San Rafael. He was now 22 years old.
But I didn’t think about Eric any more as I climbed the hill with Beatrice. We skirted around the little
homeless encampments, most of which were still occupied at this hour, it being well before the time
of the daily free meal at the St. Vincent de Paul Society down below. Then we clambered up onto the
dirt road which made it an easy walk the rest of the way to the top. We sat down for a moment at the
foot of the cross, which had some graffiti on it; some of it was wittily sarcastic, but none of it was
really offensive, this being San Rafael after all.
The hill was pretty big, but there wasn’t much private space around the summit here, what with
hikers, joggers, and dog-walkers traipsing occasionally along the dirt road. Also, the slopes were
steep, so even the few secluded spots in the bushes tended to not be flat enough for things like
making love; if you got carried away in orgasm, you might find yourself rolling in the hay a lot farther
than you wanted to. But I knew of one nearly perfect spot, and we hied ourselves hither. The ground
was still soft and moist from the late rains, so it was easy for me to dig a shallow hole for my grave
with the entrenching tool. And finally we laid out our blanket, with plenty of time still left before the
“Okay, Honey Bea,” I said, helping her slip out of her jeans and halter top, “let’s be together forever
right now. Then when we’re apart for awhile, you’ll remember that it’s only an illusion, and before
you know it we’ll be back in each other’s embrace in still another eternal Now.”
“Oh, Victor,” she said, stroking my body all over, “I must be crazy to let you talk me into all this weird
stuff. It’s just that when we merge I forget everything else, and then afterwards, in the in-between
time, my highest goal in life is to merge with you again. I never had that with any other man. Oh
please, sweetheart, don’t leave me alone here! If you love me at all, just stay with me and we’ll have
kids and get old together and die at the right time, when God wants us to.”
So here was the big pitch, just like I knew she’d do it, hitting me in my softest spot -- ’cause I really
did love her more than anything. I hesitated a long time before answering, while we got into the
double lotus position with her sitting in my lap and wrapping her legs around me, and my rapidly
turgidifying penis snaking its way up inside of her. Finally, though, I said: “You forget one thing: I’m
God. I live as I like, and die when I want to die.”
“Oh, you fucker!” she said, already getting carried away in passion, slipping into our private love-
talk. It was delectably sweet, because she was a person who wouldn’t even say “damn” in public,
she was so esthetically decorous. But here in my clutches she cried out: “Veni, Vidi, Victor-y! You
are the most conceited, megalomaniacal motherfucker I ever met. And that’s why I love you! Oh,
fuck me, fuck me! And don’t you dare die, or I’ll kill you, you bastard!”
I couldn’t help laughing, even though I was slipping quickly into the Tantra trance myself. In that
position I was Shiva, the motionless ground of being; despite her entreaties, I couldn’t do much in
the way of thrusting with my ass planted firmly on the turf and her own fulsome derriere perched on
my lap. Whereas she was Shakti, the action principle, bouncing up and down on my lingam, and
doing most of the work; yet I was the one in total manly control of the process. Those missionaries
had just got it all ass-backwards with their typical Christian lack of subtlety.
My kundalini spiraled way up my spine till it hit my third eye; and then as if on cue I happened to
glance over the top of Bea’s head and saw that the Moon had taken her first little bite out of the disk
of the Sun. The eclipse had begun.
3. Passage Denied
The timing was truly perfect. Beatrice and I had reached the advanced stage of our mutual trance
where our bodies were outwardly motionless, but the subtle fibrillation of my lingam in her yoni
radiated continuous waves of rapture which held us steady in a state of ecstatic oneness as we
gazed unblinking into each other’s eyes. It was a long, drawn-out “soft” orgasm of the total body and
soul, and could sometimes go on for hours -- as long as we didn’t have a “hard” genital orgasm with
Now I had broken eye contact to look at the Sun. I stared at it for a fairly long time, a skill I’d
developed in past practice. Contrary to the popular bugaboo, you don’t go blind from doing it, at
least not right away. You had to be careful, of course, for the long term; but today I could afford to
throw caution to the winds.
I looked back at Bea, and when my eyes recovered enough to see her face, the afterimage of the
Sun appeared right on her third eye. I could even see the bite of the Moon in it; the image was a fat
It was not going to be a total eclipse, but only 68%. That meant we wouldn’t get the great
pyrotechnics of the corona, the sky turning dark, and the stars coming out; but I figured it would still
work for magical purposes. And now it looked like I was right, because as I settled back into the eye-
meld with Beatrice, I felt like I was being lifted out of my body. This was a phenomenon I had gotten
before, but only very rarely, in our intensest tantra sessions. And I had never made it past the ceiling
of the room.
Today there was no ceiling. Suddenly it seemed like I could see the Sun, not the afterimage but the
disk of the Sun himself, superimposed on Bea’s face. “How can this be?” I wondered. After a
moment I realized that I was seeing a double image. My physical eyes were still locked into the gaze
with Beatrice, but evidently the eyes of my subtle body had unanchored themselves from the
physical, and were looking at the Sun.
To test this theory, I tried refocusing my “astral” view back down to reconverge with the physical,
looking at Beatrice’s face. Instead I saw the top of her head -- and the top of my own head. I was
outside my body, floating just above it. It was still clasped in the double lotus with Beatrice, and I was
still aware of the double image of her face, superimposed on whatever I wanted to look at with my
I chose to look back at the Sun. The eclipse had advanced to about 50%. The peak moment was
approaching -- it was do or die. . . or do AND die.
I decided to go for it. I wondered how far up I could fly in my subtle body. No sooner had I formed
the thought than I shot up like an astral cannonball. I was actually being drawn up by the potent
metaphysical energy of the eclipse, which I had laid myself open to by means of the tantric death
ritual. So it looked like my plan, as far-fetched as it seemed, was actually going to work: I could
transit through the Moon and Sun to a higher world, and not have to go back to my body.
Or so I thought. Suddenly I hit a barrier, and my flight came to an abrupt halt. There flashed into my
mind the concept of the “sublunary sphere”, from the medieval model of the Universe in which the
Earth was enclosed by the concentric spheres of all the planets, of which the Moon was the first; so
the sphere proper to incarnate humans was everything BELOW the sphere of the Moon. Now I had
come up against this invisible shield; I had to figure out what was binding me to the Earth, and how
to transcend it.
The dark side of the Moon appeared huge, right in front of me, as if it were just out of reach.
Furthermore, even though I “knew” intellectually that there was a vast physical distance separating
the Sun and Moon, here in the metasphere they appeared to be actually embracing each other in
the eclipse. It wasn’t just a lifeless ball of rock occluding a fiery mass of gases, but rather a mated
pair of gargantuan living beings who were kissing, fondling each other, making love. It was exactly
like. . . like Beatrice and me, in our physical bodies down below.
Now I knew why I couldn’t crack the barrier and break out of the sublunary sphere: my love for
Beatrice held me fast to Earth -- in fact, SHE held me to Earth. Her face before me filled the whole
disk of the Moon -- she WAS the Moon, and she wouldn’t let me pass on to the Sun or the worlds
Then she spoke to me. Never before had Beatrice spoken aloud when we were in our tantric trance.
But now it was like the Moon herself speaking. She said: “Who do you think you are, man, to want to
take your own life?”
This jogged the memory of my spiritual studies: each planet is a mighty ethereal being who stands
as the guardian or gatekeeper of its particular sphere, and the Moon is the first of these “Archons”
whom the soul meets on his ascent from Earth. She will challenge him with a question, and he has to
give the right answer in order to get past, a sort of magical password. I didn’t think it would work to
just spout off any of the ancient magical formulas verbatim, so I said: “I’m the One Soul who stands
forever in the Ultrasphere, the one and only God. I’m on my way to the Sun, and my destiny! Now let
me pass!” I said it in my most self-confident, assertive voice.
The Beatrice-Moon replied: “What a crock of baloney! You’re Victor, and I love you!” And then she
gave me a big, wet tongue-kiss, something else she had never done in the trance situation. When
our lips parted I blinked and looked around. I was back on Earth, in my body.
“Where did you say you were going?” asked Beatrice with a giggle.
I let out a big sigh and hugged her. “You wonderful, lovable, devious bitch! I didn’t think you could
stop me, but you did. It looks like I’m not going anywhere.”
It was true. I thought of the athame, whose hilt I had left strategically sticking out of the backpack;
but it was utterly moot. The magic had carried me to the Moon, and the Moon as Beatrice had
popped my magic bubble and plopped me back down here on the solid ground. There was no way to
reverse it; the knife now would only make a bloody mess. The ritual was over.
Once again, however, I was mistaken. A shadow fell over us -- something was blocking the light of
the eclipsed crescent of the Sun. I looked up into the malevolent face of Eric. In his hand was a
wicked-looking revolver, aimed straight between my eyes. “It’s bad luck to change your mind,” he
Instinctively I shoved Beatrice backwards to get her out of the line of fire. In the next instant I looked
again at Eric, and saw a man whose mind was ineluctably made up. He said: “Die, motherfucker!”
And he pulled the trigger. I saw the explosion and the flash from the barrel. It was point-blank range.
It hit me right in the third eye.
4. Swallowed by the Goddess
The last thing I heard was Beatrice’s scream. Then it seemed like I exploded out the top of my head
and went hurtling straight up toward the Sun again. It was almost like an instant replay, except that I
felt completely different. After the first WHOOSH of amazement, my thoughts immediately went back
to Beatrice. Oh my God, what kind of horrible things would Eric do to her? And surely it would end
with a second bullet, since he wouldn’t want to leave a living witness.
Yet as overwhelming as such a thought would normally be, I found to my surprise a curious
detachment underlying the horror and outrage. I knew conclusively that I was gone from that body,
dead, severed, a bullet through my brain. And with that vital connection broken, my perspective had
dramatically altered. The immensity of the metasphere was opening out above me -- infinite space
and endless layers of time. Our lives in physical bodies suddenly started to look very tiny and
temporary, and part of a grander pattern.
There was still that love-link to Beatrice in my deepest soul; but now, as I looked up again at the Sun
and the Moon in the passionate throes of the eclipse, I was seized by a conviction that the way to
save my lover lay straight on through the sky. I had to keep going -- it really was my destiny now,
and somehow, in some way I couldn’t possibly imagine, it would lead to an eventual redemption in
the larger unfoldings of fate.
With this realization, the last shard of ambivalence dropped away. I had arrived again at the Moon,
and this time I faced her with a totally unified will.
She wasn’t Beatrice now -- she was Artemis, Diana, Selena, the great Goddess of the night. She
seemed lost in a dreamy rapture as she was embraced by her lover the Sun. Then she noticed me
approaching, and the huge, beautiful face became aloof and cold, as if to say to me: how dare you
intrude? I was like an insect to her, in size and probably in substance. I thought she would ask the
question again like in the ritual, but instead the face seemed to glaze over with a dull white mask, which
resolved itself into a skull.
Occasionally, when looking at the Moon from Earth in a dark mood, I had seen this skull. But now the
behemoth death’s head opened its gaping maw, and I felt myself being drawn into it. It was a whirlpool,
the actual Charybdis of Greek myth, sucking me down into Hades, which seemed to lie beneath the
surface of the Moon. I struggled against the pull, but it was powerful, and I found myself roiling around
in the uppermost rim of the funnel. Now I could see that there were many other souls caught in it,
spinning around and around, and inevitably down and down. What was going on? What would happen
to us? What was at the bottom of the pit?
I saw that as the souls went down they were gradually stripped of their memories, attachments,
personalities, and egos. These seemed to have an actual substance, which was ingested into the
bowels of the Moon. By the time each being reached the bottom, there was nothing left except a
pristine spark of pure self-identity; and by peering intently with my subtle vision, I saw that the bottom
of the vast downward spiral opened back out into empty space, where a thin band of plasm connected
it with the Earth. Hither the soul-motes went, helplessly drawn through the karmic recycle, each and
every one headed back to another lifetime as an incarnate human being.
But this must not be my fate! I marshalled my wits and drew upon all the spiritual power I had
accumulated in my years of practice for this, the moment of truth. I detached myself from the terror of
getting sucked down the gyre, and instantly, as soon as my mind was calm, I floated free of the
whirlpool. I was still inside the Moon, however, and would again be subject to the downward pull the
instant my state of detached lucidity faltered. I had to get out; but how?
I looked up into outer space. It was pitch black, but suddenly I noticed the sparkle of a single star. It
was just a flash, and then was gone. What did it mean?
I remembered how on my first attempted passage I had tried to invoke the Ultrasphere and cloak
myself in the identity of the One Soul, also known as God. Now I began to actually re-experience the
Ultrasphere and to remember that I AM that One Soul. I wondered where was the Star of Life, which I
had held in my hand in the Ultrasphere. I looked up again into the darkness outside the pit, beyond the
Moon -- and there it was, shining big and bright and beautiful. I reached up my left hand toward it, and
WHOOMPH! I flew right out of the whirlpool and found myself free in empty space. Now I really was
the Godself, with the Star of Life on one side of me, and the Moon-skull on the other.
After a breathless interval which seemed very long, I redescended a notch to my persona as Victor, or
the discarnate spirit of same. I looked at the Moon, and she was the Goddess again, not the skull. She
still looked annoyed, and somewhat perplexed, perhaps wondering how this puny human had escaped
her clutches. And son of a gun, she asked the question again. Well, she rephrased it slightly -- this
time she simply said: “Who ARE you, o manchild?”
I knew I had to come up with a better answer than last time around, or I’d be her lunch again and get
sprinkled back to Earth with the morning dew. I glanced back at the surrounding space, and this time
saw it spangled with a million stars. This jogged the memory of one of those ancient formulas which I
had been loathe to recite that first time, but now I got a gut feeling that it might be right. And so I
looked defiantly into the demanding eyes of the Moon, and I said:
“I am a child of Earth and starry heaven, but my race is of heaven alone.”
This is the one and only item of the inner doctrine of the Eleusian Mysteries that has survived the deep
secrecy that surrounded those rites. That was because this spell was found inscribed on an amulet on
the body of an initiate. He had taken it to his grave in this fashion so that his soul would remember that
this was the formula he had to recite to the first Archon in exactly the situation where I now found
myself. In the instant after I spoke it I wondered if it had worked for him; and even if it had, would it
work once again for me?
Artemis looked surprised. Then she broke into a smile of what I took to be admiration. And then the
face of the Moon transfigured into the most beautiful female image I’ve ever seen, a resplendent blend
of mother-sister-lover, the essence of celestial yin, beaming with love and radiating glory -- and all
directed ecstatically at me.
Suddenly the beatific Goddess-face disappeared. For an instant there was just the great black sphere
of the Moon’s dark side; but then a little disk of light seemed to appear in the very center of it. This
grew and burgeoned out, and as I watched with astonishment, the whole Moon irised open revealing
the blazing glory of the Sun immediately beyond it. Halleluyah! This time I had been granted passage.
“Good day, sunshine!” I sang as I flew through the portal to the Sun.
5. Trial by Sunfire
The Sun was an entirely different kind of presence. The sheer force of his hot yang struck me like the
fire of a billion hydrogen bombs -- which it literally was, in the physical sense! I was in my subtle body
now, but even so, the metaphysical underbelly of the Sun’s light and fire was intense. Again I was
being drawn into the body of the maelstrom -- and it looked like this would be an even more drastic
purgation than what I saw the souls being subjected to in the Moon. I thought: OH MY GOD, I’M
GONNA GET INCINERATED HERE!
I tried desperately to backpedal, but it was futile. I was in the grip of the immense gravity of the Sun,
and all I could do was prepare to meet my fate. I attempted to empty my mind of all thoughts and
attachments, and to face as impassively as I could the great wall of fire that seemed to be hurtling
toward me. But I knew I wasn’t pure yet when the wall hit me full force.
It was like having all the skin instantly ripped from my body. It hurt terribly, but only for a minute. The
next part wasn’t as excrutiating, but it lasted longer, and so it was worse. I felt like I was on fire. I still
had some kind of body, whatever was left after the spirit-carcass (or chrysalid?) had been stripped
away when I passed through the surface of the Sun. And now this even subtler body was burning up
here in the Sun’s interior. I was going crazy trying to make it stop, but I didn’t know how. It looked like
I had come this far only to be burned to a cinder and lose my last spark of self-awareness to the all-
consuming fire of the Sun.
I reached the point where I didn’t care if that happened -- I even wanted it to happen, anything to
make the pain and burning stop. I abandoned myself to oblivion.
I was surprised when I didn’t shrivel up and wink out; instead, the pain lessened. But then as I noticed
this and reflected on it, it began to grow worse again. After going through several fluctuations like this,
I finally pinned down the essence of the process: what was burning was my ‘I’. My habitual sense,
acquired on Earth, of myself as a certain person, as Victor, with all Victor’s accoutrements of thought
and personae -- this is what was intolerable here as a creature of light inside the Sun.
Now, as alien as the surroundings seemed, I was on familiar turf. This was the crux of my daily
spiritual practice: I used to constantly remind myself to transcend the self-identified ego-sense and
strive to do all the routine stuff in a state of detached no-thought. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it
didn’t; often I would forget. But now, with daily life gone forever, I knew what to do because I had
acquired the habit down there. And now it was easy to remember, because every time I forgot and
slipped into the ego-state, I would start to burn. The conditioning process was instant and almost
behavioristic, as ironic as that seemed in this situation.
So it wasn’t long before I learned to exist in the Sun without an ego. Now I was no longer Victor, but
rather. . . something else, something that exceeded my wildest dreams on Earth. I began to
understand the reality of the magic password I had spoken by rote to the Moon: I really was a child of
starry heaven who had been inhabiting an earthen body. But where was the heavenly race of which I
was a member?
This was evidently another magical mantra, because as soon as the thought formed in my mind, the
Sun with a rumble opened up just as the Moon had done. At last I experienced the fulfillment of what I
had seen from afar on Earth, as the fiery body of the Sun turned into a portal, and now I passed
through it into the unknown world of which I had gotten those little flickering glimpses while down below.
6. The Land Beyond the Sun
The light of this world was to the Sun as the Sun was to the dark side of the Moon. It’s not exactly that
the light was so much brighter, but rather purer and more ethereal; it was pellucid. I felt that this light
was so clear that it would cast away all the shadowy illusions that we take for reality in the lesser
realms, notably on Earth.
I saw people coming -- or I should say, beings like myself. I was still humanoid in form, even though
my spirit-body had been burned down to its essence; and the beings who now came and gathered
around me were made of the same essence. Though shape and form were more fluid here than in
physical existence, they each had clearly-defined features. They looked MORE human than incarnate
humans -- they manifested the essential core of humanity, and it shone through them clearly, because
their skin, if such it was, seemed as lucid as the atmosphere in this amazing place. They even had
hair, as strange as that might seem for spirits, and it was so silvery-radiant that I realized it expressed
an immortal archetype underlying the subjective impression of “blond”.
Now one of these beings greeted me. I did a double-take, because I thought he was my father -- and
then I remembered that my father is still alive on Earth. Another one spoke to me, a female being who
was much like my mother. She WAS my mother, but not the incarnate woman who was Victor’s
mother; she was my mother before my mother was born.
The “speech” here in this realm was actually a kind of controlled mind-meld, which I quickly became
fluent in. And now the other beings all spoke to me in this fashion, and I sensed that they were my
brothers, sisters, lovers, kindred. How could this be? I asked them if they were the spirits of people
who had been my ancestors on Earth. Some of them said that they were, but the being who was my
real, eternal father said that the sense of ancestry I was feeling was a subtler and more primary thing
than that concept conveys on Earth.
I asked them their names and what this place was. My impression so far of the surroundings was of a
sun-dappled Arcadian paradise -- the actual reality of which a Maxfield Parrish painting is a pale
reflection. Everything was redolent with life. The sky overhead, the land to the horizon, and even an
oceanic space which I could somehow see below the surface of the ground -- all appeared to be filled
with living beings, some of them the fabulous creatures of myth. There were dragons and centaurs and
sea-serpents, and larger-than-life human figures in the guise of various archetypes.
“I am the Sun,” said the father-being. “You may call me Helios.” This was spoken in the mind-language
of that realm, with its multiple telepathic layers, none of which translate perfectly into physical speech.
However, in my efforts to convey it here, all words like “Helios” have a definite reference to the
specific mythology they’re derived from.
Helios beckoned to a radiantly beautiful female being, who came and put her arm around him. “This is
my consort,” he said. “Since none of the Western systems were astute enough to recognize her, you
will have to use her Hindu name of Savitri.” I bowed to the Sun Goddess, basking in her delightful fire.
Then the mother-being approached and put an arm around Helios from the other side. “This is my
wife,” he said, “your mother. As you may remember, her name is Erte.” Her look generated such
unconditional love that I felt like a baby again. I felt ashamed that I did not in fact recognize the name
“Erte”, but I was instantly telepathically forgiven by her. The name that came to my mind was “Gaia”,
which has become popular among postmoderns, who forget that the word “Earth” itself derives from
the name of the Norse Goddess.
I got introduced to all the beings -- or rather re-introduced, for I was beginning to remember that I, too,
was a native of this realm. It was obviously the “heaven” that I was a “child” of -- and these beings
were my brethren, my rediscovered countrymen.
And women. When I was presented to Venus I practically melted into the ground, she was so ravishing
-- the honest-to-Goddess incarnation and essence of beauty, of which all beautiful women, things, and
beings are the imperfect imitations. In like manner, Mars -- the God Ares -- was the primordial
prototype of yang: the noble warrior, the charsimatic leader of men and ravisher of women’s hearts.
Hermes went beyond the identity I might’ve expected from associations with Mercury as the
messenger-god and as the planet -- he was also Hermes Trismegistus, who from my studies I knew as
a great magus and the initiator of the Hermetic tradition. Others among the beings were not identified
at all with any of the planets, but were the immortal forms of humans who had attained the highest
stages of spiritual development. Some of them had had one or more ventures upon Earth as avatars,
divine incarnations. Others were the actual gods of various pantheons, besides the planetary gods I’ve
I was so filled with joy at being reunited with my heavenly kindred that I spent what seemed like a long
time just melding into their company and stimulating the further recovery of my lost memories. Thus I
came to realize that this place we were in was the metasphere of the solar system. It interpenetrated
the physical bodies of the planets and all other objects and space. They told me its name, which was a
mantra totally ineffable by incarnate standards, so I can’t simply write it down here. But upon hearing
the name, I was overwhelmed by the memory that this was my true home. And this local solar world
was an outpost of an ultimate homeworld which lay in a region even closer to the heart of reality, and
which could only be reached by travelling even further into deep space.
7. Deep Space Launch
My kindred spirits in the meta-world now presented me with a choice: I could stay here and live with
them for an indeterminate period, or I could continue on my trajectory to the higher regions and still
greater spheres. The choice had to be made immediately, because I was still operating on the burgeon
of energy produced by the death of my physical body. It was possible to go all the way to the top of
the cosmic trip and attain ultimate transcendence, but it had to be done directly after death. Already
my dalliance here was costing me precious quanta of momentum, which could turn out to be crucial if
I elected to go all the way.
At first it seemed like an easy choice. This wonderful place was exactly the kind of intermediate
heaven-world I had been hoping for when I decided to die and go into the eclipse. I explained to the
spirits how I had gotten hung up in the Ultrasphere while incarnate on Earth, and that I had no wish to
keep going in a direction that would take me there again. But they told me that this was a wrong
attitude and a self-deception. Every ascending soul must face the Ultrasphere because it’s always
there, the fate that awaits us all; it can’t be evaded but only postponed. They said that if I tried to
remain in this meta-world while harboring a fear of Ultra, it would cut short my stay, and I would have
to return to a body and live the same situation all over again. The only way I could get liberated from
this vicious circle was to return to the Ultrasphere and master it once and for all.
They affirmed that there is in fact a higher realm than the Ultrasphere, and even some benevolent
aspects of the Ultrasphere itself which I hadn’t experienced in my trips and dreams as Victor. They
gave me some tips on how to access these, but said that the final transcendence is necessarily a self-
initiation -- whatever the secret was, I would just have to work it out for myself on the spot.
I decided to do it -- to carry this ultimate trip all the way to the end. The spirits cheered my decision,
and set up a ritual to speed me on my way.
The central chamber of our meta-world was the Sun experienced as a hollow sphere. Here we
gathered now in a tight circle, a big collective hug which turned into a total mind-meld. We knew
ourselves fully as a single being, who was Helios, the Sun. Then slowly, rhythmically, some spirits
began to separate and circle around those who remained in the center. The planetary deities gradually
spun out and took their places within the spheres of their separate planets, ritually re-enacting the
process by which they had all originally condensed from the proto-solar nebula.
All the spirits were weaving a spell by means of their circling, dancing movements, their exquisitely
subtle chants, and their graceful mudras, or magical gestures. Soon I saw that they were creating a
sphere of highly-charged energy around me, and that it was an actual psychic starship that would
carry me beyond the solar system.
I had come to realize that the strange living creatures I had seen in the sky and under the ground on
my arrival were the entities formed by the constellations; the dragon was Draco, the centaurs were
Sagittarius and Centaurus, the sea serpents were Hydra and Cetus. Every constellation was there,
represented by this remarkable bestiary. I had only partially recovered the memory of how this sphere
of organic entities served as a receptacle and expression for the incoming energies and signals from
the stars themselves; what was clear was that the mythic forms were real, and functioned as a vital
aspect of the communication grid between Earth’s metasphere and that of the larger galaxy.
And now I was about to be launched into that vaster sphere of galactic space. The target was very
precise: it was a point slightly below the plane of the ecliptic, on the cusp of Sagittarius and Scorpio.
The ritual action focused a beam of energy at this point, so that it was highlighted as a bright golden
glow, outshining the stars in the surrounding constellations. The archer’s arrow and the scorpion’s
sting were both pointed almost directly at it. There was something special about this point, which I had
learned in my life on Earth; but although I scanned through my memories of astrological lore with near-
perfect recall, I couldn’t quite place it.
The planets were arrayed in the positions they physically occupied that day in the solar system. It
looked as if everything were cosmically aligned to give me a well-balanced, clear line of fire from the
Sun to that spot in Sagittarius. Mars and Venus stood on either side, equidistant from the Sun in
neighboring signs. Saturn and Jupiter were likewise on opposite sides; they were at a less balanced
distance, but this was atoned for by the fact that they were in trine. And finally, at the far end of the
shooting gallery, the outer planets were arranged almost perfectly: Uranus and Neptune in near-
conjunction on one side and Pluto an almost equal distance away on the other.
The climactic peak of the ritual was almost like a countdown, though lots more esthetically complex and
less linear. The upshot was nevertheless the same, and I do mean a shot -- for at the dharmically-
destined millisecond I was fired like a missile from the Sun toward that target-aperture on the Zodiacal
horizon. I passed through it exactly, right on the mark; and as I left the boundary of the solar system
behind and flew on in my little bubble through interstellar space, I finally remembered the significance
of that spot in the sky. It wasn’t from astrology at all, but from modern astronomy -- which had pinned
down that point as the precise coordinate leading to the center of the galaxy.
8. Galatic Encounter
As a discarnate being travelling in my spirit-body, I was able to apperceive the whole metaphysical
overlay of outer space. It certainly added a dimension that no telescope could see. Living beings filled
the abyss, and also vast protean forms that hadn’t quite coagulated into life. Some of them were
dangerous, but my little etheric vessel protected me -- it kept out the bad vibes and radiated a signal
that I was on a special mission, one that was evidently respected, or feared, by every life-form I
Also, I was travelling very fast, and this was a factor -- the hostile creatures just couldn’t catch me.
Evidently I was flying right up at the top end of the bandwidth of “warp speed”. It was scary and
exhilarating, like a thrill-park ride on the grandest scale.
Just when I thought I had mastered the fearsomeness, and was feeling pretty cool about myself, it
turned out that all of it until now was just the slow pull up the first peak of the roller coaster, and now I
was about to go down the REAL slide. I had arrived at the galactic center, and was confronted by the
black hole that exists there, a nightmare void of gargantuan proportions -- and it was sucking me in.
My dip into the whirlpool of the Moon came screaming back into memory as I plunged into the black
hole. This looked like it could be a lot worse, and lots more fatal. Could even a spirit survive inside a
black hole? I didn’t know, and didn’t have the remotest idea of how to save myself. The only thing
saving me now was my metaphysical space vehicle -- and I saw to my horror that it was starting to
Moments later the vessel was gone, and my naked soul was being ravaged by the catabolic energies
of the hole. My spirit-body was stretched like a bungee cord until my head was about a thousand miles
beyond my feet. I knew that at any moment I might snap, or simply be squashed out of existence by
the crushing pressure here in the singularity.
*My God,* I thought, *if this is another rite of passage, and the galaxy itself is a guardian, what could
possibly be the magic word or secret mantra that will get me through this one?* As soon as I
conceived the problem in this way, I had an answer. It wasn’t a secret to me -- I knew the mantra. At
least I knew *a* mantra; would it turn out to be the right one?
With an enormous effort, I pulled together all the last shards of my substance, focused my whole will,
and chanted as loudly as I could the mantric name of my homeworld in the metasphere which had
been told to me by my kindred there. There was a heart-sinking pause of a split second when nothing
happened; but then I was struck by a blast of light which seemed to come from deep inside the black
hole. Instantly I was surrounded by a sphere of the same crystal radiance that had prevailed in the
solar metasphere. It delivered me from the black hell -- inside the sphere all was beatifically calm.
The sphere’s clear light spread out from around me in the shape of a disk and rapidly expanded.
Somehow I could see the galaxy now, or apperceive it with some new sense that had awakened in me.
The disk of light now encompassed the entire spiral of the galaxy, and seemed to be inhabited by living
beings who now communicated with me. Their essence was similar or even identical to that of the
spirits of the solar system, but these beings were vastly larger, greater, and wiser -- that is, even more
advanced toward a totally enlightened omniscience. They seemed to have transcended the humanoid
form, though they were still human in their essential nature. There was a sense of immense power,
tempered by an all-pervading love.
They recognized me as a member of their mystical body, albeit a much less evolved one. I was from
that tiny outpost in one of the spiral arms, a being who was merely at the stellar-system level rather
than galactic; but still I was of the same substance as them. They asked me where I was going, though
to convey the actual sense which I felt of a godlike voice causing the very stars to resonate, I’d have to
quote them as saying: “Whither goest thou, O spirit?” I said that I was headed to the furthermost
realm, the one beyond even the Ultrasphere. They replied: “You are on course, but there is yet a great
peril to traverse. Do you wish us to assist you, O kindred being?’ I said yes, by all means; and I couldn’
t help but signal that I didn’t have an inkling of where to go from here.
They explained to me that the black holes at the cores of galaxies all connect into a common vortex at
the other end of the wormhole, leading to the central nexus of the whole universe. This was the way I
had to go, they said, to reach the ultimate realm. They asked if I was really certain that I wished to go
there, and I replied: “Absolutely.”
“We see that your will is unified,” they said; “that is essential. Had you betrayed the smallest sliver of
doubt or hesitation, we must needs have cast you back from whence you came. But since you are
ready inwardly, we shall provide the outer instrument you will need for our journey.”
With that, the sphere of light I was in condensed and solidified into another vessel for me. This one
was a living plasm, and it configured itself so snugly to my spirit-form that it became another layer of
my subtle body. As soon as I had mentally accomodated myself to this body of light, the galactic
beings took hold of me psychically and hurled me headlong back into the black hole.
9. The Big Crunch
I had the giddy sensation of travelling down, or up, or through, an endlessly long tube at a terrific clip.
It was also like a glass-walled elevator, because via some kind of preternatural sense I was aware of
the larger universe around me. And it was _very_ large. At first I could see only the Milky Way and a
few other galaxies around it, but my perception steadily and rapidly expanded to the point where I
could make out an enormous cluster of galaxies of which our local group was a part. Then I saw other
clusters, which turned out to be merely parts of superclusters as the scale kept magnifying. Finally I
could apperceive a vast patchwork of supergalactic clusters, and I knew that I was seeing the entire
This mind-blowing vision held steady for only a moment or two, until I noticed that the pattern had
begun to shift: after expanding so enormously, the cosmic collage now began to shrink. It wasn’t just
getting smaller; rather, the superclusters actually seemed to be moving together, dovetailing into one
another, condensing. Dredging up memories of pop physics books which I’d read in my life as Victor,
I figured that I was travelling so fast that I had passed the point at which the universe rounds the curve
in space, and thus stops expanding and starts to reconverge. If the physicists’ assumptions held true, I
must now be headed helter-skelter toward the Big Crunch.
Again, however, the metaphysical overlay showed me that the physical process was driven by a
greater dynamic in which the evolving souls of all the worlds were consciously exerting force to bring
about the reconvergence, because the collective minds of sentient beings had progressed to a stage
where they wished to combine and merge on a supergalactic scale. Most of these beings had attained
the ability to survive without recourse to incarnation as tiny little organic creatures on the planets of
stars; thus the destruction of all those trillions of planets in the reconvergence did not affect their
survival or mitigate their state of being. I saw that there was indeed a godlike superintelligence on this
greatest of scales, that I was part of it, and that it was now on the verge of reaching its apotheosis.
At the very moment that I realized this, I popped out the end of the cosmic umbilical tube. I found
myself surrounded by other beings in bodies of light very similar to mine, at least in essence. The
atmosphere was electric with the intensity of all matter, energy, and spirit in the universe drawing
together into one supercondensed sphere. As soon as I overcame the shock and managed to
acclimate myself, I was taken up in an incredible collective ecstasy that pervaded the entire scene. It
was like the peak of every orgasm I’d ever had in the flesh, crosstranslated to a profounder layer and
multiplied by an exponent with a million zeros after the one. When two become one in sex, it’s nothing
at all compared with the union of every sentient being who ever lived into that total plasmic-orgasmic
glory of the final and absolute One.
Let’s call it the YLEM, that ball of hypercondensed everything. This is the word from ancient Greek
metaphysics which the modern non-meta-physicists dredged up as a label for one of their early
theories of the ultimate state of the universe. I saw now, confronted with the vibrant reality, that it was
true as far as it went. On the merely physical layer, the atoms had all broken down into their
constituent particles. Our light-bodies swam about in a veritable soup of electrons, protons, neutrinos,
and quarks. It was all bristling with energy and ecstasy, and was alive in every nuance. It was the
physical body of God at this penultimate stage of God’s nearly perfect unification.
I was very glad to be here. The network of energy-beings was becoming more and more like a fully
integrated neural network at every moment, a living cosmic brain. As I meshed in with it, the entities
welcomed me and congratulated me on passing all the trials and rites which had brought me here to be
with them. They were likewise all graduates of the myriad states of fragmented existence on the many
worlds that had formerly existed. And they conveyed to me via outrageously intimate telegnosis their
plan for the climactic salvation of the cosmos.
10. The End of Time
The beings explained to me that the natural course of events would be for the sphere of Ylem to
continue compacting itself under the pressure of nearly infinite gravity and billions of years of
momentum, until at last it reached the point of critical mass. Then it would explode and recreate the
universe, in a repetition of the Big Bang. The universe, it seems, is cyclic, and there is an almost
eternal series of Big Bangs, each followed by expansion, contraction, return to the Ylem state, and
then exploding all over again. The entities said, however, that they had now undertaken a plan to
intervene in this natural process. They were pooling their prodigious metaphysical powers in an atempt
to stabilize the ball of Ylem when it attained critical mass, and prevent it from exploding. I asked why
they wished to do this, and they replied: “So that we can be happy here forever at the end of time, and
bask in the unity of our collective Godhead.”
Though there was a sense of great haste to complete this project before time ran out, I spent a
considerable period gathering information about it. I learned that some of the spirits had misgivings,
either from skepticism about whether it could succeed, or else fear of unforeseen consequences if it
did. This was a problem, because absolute unity of will was necessary; if even one sentient being held
out, the mass would be unbalanced and the Ylem would explode.
The collective mind of these end-time spirits was apparently just a hairsbreadth from complete
omniscience; yet I was nagged by a line from an ancient poem: “A hair, perhaps, divideth false from
true.” One of the strongest objections from the camp of the undecided spirits was their claim that the
dark side of existence had never been fully reconciled nor accounted for. This was a troubling idea.
In most cases (I was one of the exceptions) each of these beings who functioned as nearly perfected
entities here in the Ylem-world was an integrated composite or amalgam of any number of souls who
had existed as individual creatures during the course of the evolution of the universe. For example,
imagine all the billions of people who through the ages found salvation in Jesus Christ. Every one of
them was now here in ecstatic Ylem-sphere, but not as the separate individuals they were on Earth;
rather, each one was a part of the mystical body of Christ, who lived and moved and had his being
here as one of the company of transcendent spirits.
The prevailing theory about the darkside was that all of these spirits had mastered their negative
halves, and kept them bound and inert inside themselves. Thus in our exampole that old Devil, Satan,
could never trouble the world again, because Satan was actually the darkside of Christ. This open
secret was reflected in the term “Antichrist”, which was one of the names of Satan on Earth, thinly
concealing the fact that Christ and Antichrist are merely two masks of the same divinity. But the dark
face of the Devil had now been totally internalized, integrated, and controlled within the being of Jesus,
and could never show itself again in the brilliant light of the Ylem. This, at least, was the theory among
the dominant faction of spirits, who said that they had all conquered their evil twins in the same way.
On the material level, it was the question of what physicists today call “anti-matter”. Despite the
advance of science to a nearly omnipoent art among the Ylem-beings, this mystery had never been
conclusively resolved. 20th-century physics discovered that the universe could only have been created
by separating all matter from an equal amount of anti-matter. Yet the only anti-matter they could find in
the cosmos were the miniscule traces they made artificially in their cyclotrons. Thus the unsolved
riddle was: what became of the missing anti-matter? Did it xist in an anti-universe which was totally
undetectable by science at that primitive stage? Or did it somehow simply disappear? No one had the
remotest clue to the answer.
Many clues had been assembled in the billions of years since then, and some of the beings claimed to
know the answer, though it was still disputed. Again, it was simply the material aspect of the same
theory of the conquest of the darkside: the hypothesis was that anti-matter pervaded the entire
universe and was interwoven into the very essence of it, usch that it was hard to recognize for what it
was. Those who doubted this theory pointed out that the consequence of matter and anti-matter
coming into contact was instant and total annihilation. The rebuttal was that this physical-level anomaly
had been overcome by the spiritual action of the beings in subduing the dark aspects of their souls. In
effect, the anti-matter/anti-spirit had been thoroughly integrated into the Ylem, and its destructive
I was finally swayed b this argument, as were most of the previously undecided beings. There was a
hardcore faction who could not be convinced, but in the end a compromise was reached. It was
agreed that the stabilization of the Ylem would be carried out in such a way that the process could be
reversed and undone if it turned out that there was a flaw in the theory, and some sort of karmic
backlash developed. In this way, unanimity was attained, and the final stage of the project was begun.
It was now conceived in an experimental vein -- and it was certainly the greatest experiment ever
undertaken in the history of the universe.
After what would have been tens of thousands of years, if there had been any planets left to measure
the years by their revolutions, the Ylem finally approached the point of critical mass. In spite of the
optimistic expectations, there was no guarantee at all that the experiment would even succeed; if it
failed, the Ylem would simply explode on schedule, and any further attempts would have to be
postponed through all the long ages of expansion and contraction, until the participants and the
Godmind re-evolved back to their present stage.
The plan was to create a mantle of energy around the sphere of Ylem, which in physical terms had
now shrunk to a ball only eight miles in diameter -- which, as astounding as it might seem, contained
all the matter and energy of what had once been such a vast universe. It would be impossible for any
force or vessel to restrain the cataclysmic power of the explosion once it had started; but by exerting
precisely the right amount of pressure on the sphere at the exact microsecond in which it hit critical
mass, it was hypothetically possible to alter the balance of forces in a way that could delay the
explosion for a brief moment. Then the pressure would have to be brought to bear again in exactly the
same manner, and there would be another delay. Then this process could be repeated indefinitely,
with the result that the Ylem would pulse forever like a giant heart, but never suffer the fatal stroke of
the explosion. After the intense exertion and careful monitoring during theearly stages, the mante could
be converted into a mechanism that worked automatically, thus freeing the spirits to enjoy their eternal
As the great moment approached, however, the operation required the elegant coordination of the
actions, the movements, and even the very thoughts of every single one of the spirits. We all began to
realize that this was leading to the fabled goal of the final and total unity of all things in God, and of God’
s fully-awakened omniscient awareness of him/her/itself as the All-in-All. Now God had a job to do: he
had to prevent the destruction of his body and soul, which would mean the shattering of his spirit once
again into the myriad shards of a new universe. Only the great effort and synchronization required for
this job could work the miracle of the full flowering of the Godmind.
The construction of the mantle was finished at three-tenths of a millisecond before the moment of
critical mass. In the next fraction of an instant, all of us spirits attained complete fusion. We were God
-- one Being with one Mind and one Will. Our Ylem-body hit critical mass, and with our Will we took
hold of it as with a single mighty hand, and squeezed it in this fist, gently but firmly. Our Will was that it
should _not_ explode, but remain intact. It pulsed, and contracted. . . and did not explode. And thus
there was the first beat of God’s heart at the end of time, which thereby promised to imminently turn
11. The End of Everything
In the short interval before the Ylem condensed again into critical mass, we all exulted wildly at our
success. It was the equivalent in physical terms of shouting and hugging and kissing and even making
love. Then suddenly we realized: whoa -- we’re not God any more.
It was true: the moment we relaxed our grip on the Ylem, we spiraled down from unity into our separate
selves. If we had still been seamlessly melded into God, we could not have hugged, kissed, or made
love -- for there would have been only One of us. But now the next flex was approaching, and we had
to marshal ourselves into One again. We did, and we squeezed the Ylem like a surgeon doing open-
heart surgery -- and the mighty organ made its second beat.
An instant later we fissioned again into the myriad beings, and began to see that we may have
succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. It was perfect: on every heartbeat we would experience the
sublime union of the Godhead and be One; yet as profound and luminous as this experience was, it
would be deadly if it went on unmitigated -- for God as the One and Only Being would become lonely,
bored, and heartbroken. In a word, he would find himself in the Ultrasphere. But now in the miraculous
situation we had created, God’s lonely Allness was relieved during the brief interval between every
heartbeat. He would temporarily become many again, namely us, and we could spend this timeless
moment in the utterly optimum condition of existence: being unified enough to dwell in the loving
ecstasy of it, but not enough to be tormented by the loneliness of it.
Furthermore, after the heartbeat became autonomic, we could dwell in the joy of the “in between” state
as long as we mutually wanted, and still have the ability to re-experience the unity of the Godmind at
will. By the time God experienced the third beat of his heart, he -- and we -- had begun to think that a
true, eternal heaven had finally been attained.
By the fourth beat, the process was already self-sustaining. It was finished, we had done it, we had
passed the final rite. Every soul had been saved, all sentient beings had been liberated. Now we could
all settle down and dwell in ecstatic nirvana forever.
On the fifth beat, God discovered that he was not alone. This was a shock, an impossibility, a
conundrum, an oxymoron. Yet there it was, a speck of something in the distance, an external object in
an outer reality that shouldn’t even exist.
Whatever it was, it was getting closer. It was just a dot at first, but now it grew to become a sphere.
And it was a very _dark_ sphere. The jet-black inky darkness of the approaching globe was so intense
that it was actually painful to look at. There was something uncanny and terrifying about it. The mere
sight of it turned our joyful exuberance into fear and dread. It was ugly, it was frightful -- and it was
It was our worst nightmare come true. This Darksphere was an oppositely-charged mirror-image of the
Ylem, and was comprised of souls in an opposite spiritual condition from our own. We had all risen
through the graded layers of existence to our final condition of loving union with one another, and had
thereby melded into the ecstasy of the Godmind. But it was clear that the spirits of the Darksphere had
been drawn downward and sucked into it by the opposite process of dissolution, self-indulgence, and
the never-ending arrogance of ego. For spirits of this nature to be forced into the intimate proximity of
the Ylem-state was unmitigated hellish agony. We could see them writhing about in ceaseless conflict
-- tearing, clawing, striking, gnawing at each other, every one trying futilely to consume all the others.
Yet now that they had become aware of us, just as we had suddenly gotten sight of them, they had
amalgamated their pain and rage, and directed it all outwardly at us.
The Darksphere was flying at a high speed straight toward us; but in the fleeting moments before the
imminent collision, our Godmind worked swiftly to access the situation. We determined that the sphere
of malevolently antithetical spirits was indeed composed of anti-matter on the physical level. So our
theory that all darkness had been internally mastered was false, as well as the notion that anti-matter
had been integrated into our own universe -- for in fact we confirmed that the Darksphere was actually
a mass of anti-Ylem. This implied that there had been an entire anti-universe which had exactly
mirrored the development of our own, in an antipodal way. Why hadn’t we been able to detect its
presence until now?
We saw that there literally was something like a mirror built right into the structure of reality, and that it
was the device by which existence had orginally come into being from non-existence. As earthly
physicists had discovered to their puzzlement, particles and anti-particles seemed to spring forth from
nothingness by the very act of splitting apart. Unless elaborate artificial measures were taken to keep
them separated, particle and anti-particle were quickly drawn back together, at which point they would
annihilate each other, and then there would be nothingness once again.
So it was with the macrocosm. The universe itself materialized by somehow splitting apart from an anti-
universe; and it could only remain in existence as one half of this pair of opposite entities, and only as
long as they managed to stay apart. In a certain sense, the existence of cosmos and anti-cosmos was
an illusion, of which the underlying reality was non-existence. Thus the maintenance of the illusion was
a prerequisite for keeping the two apart; and thus sentient beings in the universe could never
apperceive their counterparts in the anti-universe. They were indeed our mirror-image, but it was as if
the mirror were affixed behind our head, so that whichever way we turned we could never catch a
glimpse of our own reflection.
Now it became horrifically clear to us that our action in stabilizing the Ylem had breached the illusion,
lifted the veil, and brought us face to face with the mirror. And the ineluctable result would be that the
two halves of the dyad would reunite and be mutually annihilated. The greatest experiment in the
history of the universe would result in the extinction of the universe.
Unless we could find a way to stop it. Our hopes of heaven were dashed; we had no choice but to try
to undo everything, and let nature take her course. If we could release the mantle in time, the Ylem
would explode. We would all die, and our heaven would end, but at least there would still be a universe.
Then, after the appointed eons of time had elapsed, we would recondense back to the Ylem stage; and
if we managed to retain any memory of our present folly, we could possibly act more wisely in that
If, on the other hand, the Darksphere collided with us before the Ylem exploded, it could well bring
about the absolute and final cessation of life and being. We would pass through the looking glass, not
into a Wonderland but into the Void.
With the Darksphere barrelling down on us, we worked feverishly to dismantle the mechanism we had
labored so long and hard to create. How glad we were now that the faction of holdouts had insisted on
making the process reversible. The heart of God had taken only one more beat since the Darksphere
was sighted, and now we had to prevent it from taking the next one -- we had to induce a cosmic heart
attack, and make the Ylem explode.
The operation reached the point where it was almost complete. We quickly estimated the time
remaining until the Darksphere would impact the Ylem, and found that we would be too late by a
margin of one millisecond. Truly a hair divided doom from deliverance.
We instantly reconfigured our approach in order to speed up the work. We estimated the time again,
and discovered that now the Darksphere would hit us exactly a microsecond before we had finished.
We tried again, with all the spirits accelerating their movements to the maximum degree. Now we found
that we would still fall short by a micro-millisecond -- the billionth part of a second.
We realized that there was a grim asymptotic effect at work, by which we could get closer and closer
but never make it to the mark. This showed us that we were up against a fate that could not be
overriden but only accepted. Since events had proven that even our Godmind was not omniscient, we
could still hope for some sort of positive outcome in a manner that was beyond our comprehension as
things stood now.
We ceased our efforts and relaxed into our natural state of lucid non-attachment. In the next moment
God’s heart took its seventh and final beat, and we were all One as the mind and spirit of God.
In order to convey what happened next in a manner remotely close to the way I experienced it, I have
to resort to the singular and speak of “I” as God. Please forgive the presumption, for I write these
words as merely one human being among the multitude; but in my memory of the great climactic
experience, I was God, and my body was the radiant ball of Ylem, blazing with the light of the trillion
trillion suns that had poured their substance into it.
So yes, I was God, the supreme spirit. And for the length of that long heartbeat, I was in a tete-a-tete
with the hideous Darksphere of anti-spirit. I saw that it was a God too in its own right, though it was as
dark as I was light, as hateful as I was loving, as evil as I was good. We looked at each other, and
understood at the same instant that we really were staring at a mirror. I was seeing my own face
reflected in this dark glass; I was looking at my own shadow.
It was a humbling and terrifying moment. Now I knew that I could never, ever be the God I had thought
I could be, perfect and pristine and compassionate -- for no matter how far I evolved in that direction,
my other self was eroding and contorting into a spiteful parody of every virtue I attained. No matter
how luminous I became, my light could never extinguish this shadow, for the shadow was the
underside of the light. This filthy, loathesome creature was me, and always would be. Its
loathesomeness was an exactly inverse product of my own glory.
In that moment I accepted it. It was inevitable once I understood, for my nature was love and
acceptance. I welcomed the terrible wedding by which I would unite in annihilating closure with my
The dark God in the mirror, however, had the opposite reaction. It knew that it was me, and recoiled in
shock and horror from the knowledge. But of course it couldn’t evade the vice-jaws of the fate that now
closed on us and brought us inescapably together.
There was impact. The spheres collided. There was a discharge like a million thunderbolts. Rays of
black lightning spackled out from the point of contact, as the mirror cracked and began to shatter.
There was a deafening hiss of fusion as the two spheres consumed each other. I was lost in a God-
sized tide of ecstasy, for this was surely the ultimate orgasm. But alas, my heart went out to my
partner, who struggled and screamed and writhed in agony.
The spheres continued to vanish into the sizzling disk of their interface, until at length there was only a
mote the size of a pinpoint, half bright and half dark. The instant before it winked out, I thought: _Wow,
it’s the end of everything.
12. The Ultrasphere
I was wrong again. I only remember one blank moment, as brief as the blink of an eye. Then my third
eye reopened after the blink. I still existed. I was all alone in a void. My heart was pounding like a trip-
hammer. I held life in one hand and death in the other. I was in the Ultrasphere.
I recoiled with God’s own horror. I would have raged and bellowed and screamed, but there is no
sound in the void, and no one to hear. My most abominated fate had rebounded on me. How could it
be that I had landed back here again in this empty hell? And where was there now to escape to, since
I had used up the whole universe? All of time and space, uncountable sentient beings, God himself and
Anti-God -- and once again I had discovered: it’s really only me.
My worst fear was realized: the entire extravanganza of manifest existence was nothing but an
hallucination, a dream I had induced, an all-too-temporary trance I had put myself into, to distract me
for as long as possible from this, the awful truth, the unbearable reality of my solitude as the One and
Now I beheld my twin implements. I looked at the skull, or blade, or cosmic shadow; these are merely
relative images for what I actualy saw in my hand there in the Ultrasphere, which was Death-in-Itself,
the absolute entity, the real thing. But, having recently survived the extinction of a universe, I now knew
that even absolute death is not permanent, that even the ultimate end is followed instantly by a new
beginning. So there was no death for me as the One Soul; at best it would give me a fleeting respite
before I was ineluctably born again.
Then what of Life? I looked at its Star. Now I knew how to re-create the universe, if I really wanted to.
But I couldn’t think of a single reason to do it. What was the point? I’d just wind up back here in the
Ultrasphere again after the show was over.
I endured in great anguish. There was nothing else to do. At length, however, I remembered the
lessons I had learned in manifestation, including the incarnation as Victor, and likewise the advice I
had gotten from my spirit-kindred in the solar system. Somehow I had to master the God-awful horror
of the Ultrasphere.
I attempted to detach myself from the situation -- to hold myself aloof from every nuance of feeling,
and to stop thinking completely. This was a very challenging project, but I literally had forever to
practice at it, and after a very long time I succeeded well enough to numb the pain. If there was no ‘I’,
there was no one to suffer; and just as I had done in the Sun, I now learned to subsist in the
Ultrasphere without an ego.
Suddenly I noticed a flash of light from overhead. I looked up, but it was gone. I got into a deeper,
longer state of non-‘I’ detachment, and soon the gentle light came back. All my sorrow vanished in its
glow; I felt released. The light got brighter, and now I was positively filled with joy. Was I _not_ alone
after all? Was I no longer trapped between the poles of hope and fear? Alas, it wasn’t true -- I _was_
still alone, and I still had Life and Death, Star and Shadow, on either side. But now, somehow. . . it
didn’t matter. I cared not a fig whether I lived or died, was damned or saved, would go on forever or
wink out at once. It was all the same, because. . . well, because now I was suffused with this exquisite
radiance, turning the void into boundless light and giving me the greatest pleasure I had ever known.
Everything was different, yet I knew that nothing had changed except my point of view. For the mind is
its own place, and if emptied of content, desire, and identification, can make a heaven out of every hell.
I was happy like this for a long time -- though of course there’s no time in the Ultrasphere. That was a
problem, because when you have eternity on your hands, even ecstasy eventually gets boring. I finally
slipped back into thought and feeling, and began to suffer again. It was gratifying at first because it
relieved the boredom, but naturally the gratification didn’t last, and I wanted the ecstasy back. I found
that I couldn’t recapture it, and was plunged into great sobbing throes of regret at having forsaken the
heavenly bliss. But before too long I managed to detach myself from all of that again, and I was once
again in ecstasy. Until I got bored again. And I thought: what now? Will I go back and forth like this
There had to be a way out, a way to cause some kind of total, dramatic, qualitative change. It seemed
that no matter how detached I became from the realities of life and death, light and dark, positive and
negative, I couldn’t ultimately escape them; the duality was always still here, waiting for me to lose the
subtle thread of transcendence, or to get bored with it, and to sink back into either-or, the
unbreachable dichotomy between the poles.
Thinking about it like this, I wondered: is it really unbreachable? I reflected on the cataclysmic end of
the late universe, in which the opposing spheres had come together. And then an incredible,
impossibly obvious thought occurred to me: what if I could bring together Life and Death, just as the
Lightsphere and Darksphere had conjoined in exquisite annihilation? Surely the two primordial objects
I held in my hands were the same two archetypes, manifested in a different form in this greater world.
What if I could re-create here in the Ultrasphere that incredible wedding of Star and Shadow?
13. The Wedding
I didn’t even know if it was possible to move my arms and bring them together. Was I really nailed to
the cross up here? I tried it. My hands moved. I began to slowly bring the Star of Life and Shadow-
As they came to within a hand’s breadth of each other, strange things began to happen. They
morphed. The Star turned into the face of Beatrice, as if I were seeing her in a crystal ball. That’s the
first one I remember, though there may have been others that I’ve forgotten because they were alien to
my present frame of reference as Victor. Even Beatrice may have been a later memory pasted on to
what I actually saw in the Star, which was love incarnate, the essence of heavenly grace. As if to
underscore this, she transfigured into Jesus, who was the vivid image of the merciful savior that I got
imprinted with as a kid. His face was so radiant that he reminded me of the Sun, and the next moment
he morphed into Helios the Sun God, whom I had met in the metasphere. Then Helios turned into his
beautiful consort Savitri. And it went on. I watched enthralled as the face of the Star in my left hand
reconfigured itself into the visages of all the gods, heroes, and avatars I had ever known of, alternating
with their lovers, sisters, and mothers -- including Mother Teresa.
When I looked at the Skull, I was shocked to see the hideously grinning face of Eric, just as it had
looked when he said, “Die, Motherfucker!”, and pulled the trigger. This was surely my personal devil;
but then I saw him change into a literal Satan-face scarier than anything I’ve ever seen in a horror
movie, book, or nightmare. It gives me the shivers just to think of it -- it was the distilled essence of
living evil, the thing that cackles in glee at others’ suffering, the face of a hatred so foul that it was
driven to kill, and hurt, and torture, and destroy, for its own perverse gratification. In the past I laughed
at the idea of a real Devil, and said he didn’t exist; but I’ll never say that again! Here he was in front of
me; and now he, too, transformed into a series of images: all the mythic and historical figures who had
embodied the various aspects of this diabolical Shadowself.
I saw Kali, the horrid dark mother of the Hindus with her fanged demon-face and necklace of skulls. I
saw Moloch, the god who ate babies, and Iaoldebaoth, the eater of souls. Then I saw a long
succession of infamous mortals -- like Caligula, who inflicted tortures on a whole empire for mere
sport, and beheaded his best friend. There was Vlad the Impaler, and, at the very end, Adolf Hitler.
I was transfixed by this flux of images for some time. Finally, though, I recalled my intent, and began to
move the two objects closer together. Now I discovered another effect: they repelled each other, like
the opposing poles of a magnet -- when they neared to within a finger’s breadth, they pushed each
I flexed my metaphysical muscles and forced them together. The instant they touched there was a
bright flash of light and a loud discharge. The shock caused me to ease my grip, and the two
spheroids pushed slightly apart.
I saw that it was going to take a firm effort, and could involve a great risk. I had no idea what might
happen when Star and Shadow met -- if it turned out to be even possible to bring them decisively
together. But of course, I didn’t have anything at all to lose. At least I hoped not.
I steeled myself and made up my mind to use full force -- to not back off nor hesitate no matter what.
Only with such a drastic resolution could I unify my will into an all-out attempt. I emptied my mind of
everything else, concentrated for a long moment, and then went for it. I slammed the spheres together
with every bit of power I had.
There was a massive display of electroid plasm and an explosive roar. It blinded and deafened me,
and I thought that surely this must be the real and final annihilation and end of everything. But a
moment later my vision cleared, and I saw that the facing edges of the two spheres now overlapped --
they weren’t annihilating each other, but conjoining. I decided to see how far I could take the process.
The discharge continued as I kept forcing them together, using all my strength. Suddenly it began to
get easier -- evidently some kind of failsafe barrier had been breached. Now I was able to relax a little
and watch the process as the images in the spheres started to intermingle and unite.
The one that sticks first in my memory is the sight of the merciful and beatific Christ beginning to
merge with the horrific face of Satan. There was something revolting and terrifying about the prospect
-- as if it were blasphemy, anathema, an abomination. These feelings were compounded as the faces
morphed, and now it was Beatrice and Eric coming together, with all the sexual implications. I felt like I
was about to watch her get raped by him.
Suddenly I realized that my feeings about it were influencing the process. My rage and fear
accelerated the rape and caused it to become more heinous; but when I managed to detach myself
enough from the negative sensations, it slowed it down.
I took it further: I entered into the process looking through the eyes of Beatrice. Experiencing it as her,
I turned my natural, instinctive outrage around, and somehow summoned up feelings of acquiescence,
warmth, and unconditional love, and projected these forth onto Eric. The effect was incredible: he
started to turn from a diabolical monster into a real human being. Then I, as Beatrice, got the upper
hand in the amalgamation: he was still penetrating her, but now she was consuming him, devouring
him. I realized that if it continued this way, he would disappear. Or would he? I let the process run
ahead mentally, sort of viewing it in fast forward with my godmind to see what would happen. The last
mote of Eric disappeared inside Beatrice, and an instant later her face contorted and began to morph.
She turned into Eric, and there he was grinning at me in triumph -- he was once again his totally rotten
So now I knew that I couldn’t allow the positive pole to obliterate the negative. It had to be a real
wedding, and a permanent marriage. In response to my thought, there appeared in the fusing spheres
an image of Mother Teresa and Hitler standing at an altar as bride and groom. As startled as I was by
this, it occurred to me that they had actually been close enough contemporaries for this to have been
possible just from a logistical standpoint; and then I started to wonder what the world would have been
like if it had actually happened? Would there still have been a World War II and all that suffering and
inhumanity? And even if she could influence him to the good, what effect might he have on her to
toward the bad? But if they had a child, would it turn out to be the inconceivably perfect being: one
who was an exactly balanced fusion of light and dark?
Such a potentiality was totally beyond my experience and knowledge, so I couldn’t do a preview
simulation of it. The only way to find out was to make it happen.
I decided that the best tactic was maintain a perfectly detached state while I completed the
consolidation of the spheres. I remembered that it’s all really me -- all these polarized entities were in
actual fact the divided halves of my own soul, because I was the One and Only Soul in all the universe.
If there was anything in existence that I could not reconcile with any other, it only meant that this was a
division within my own self. If I wanted to be at one and at peace with myself, I had to make the
marriage of the halves.
It only took a steady pressure now with both my hands to keep up the fusion process. I strained to
maintain detachment as I watched all the glorious, beautiful, noble, virtuous, angelic beings of light
consummating an act of ultimate union with the wickedest, ugliest, vilest, evilest, demonic creatures
who had ever fouled the deepest cesspool of hell.
This was not how I had ever imagined the grand culmination of the cosmos. The selfish, hellbound
evildoers were supposed to repent and turn toward the light. The liberation of all sentient beings and
salvation of every soul meant that they would all eventually find the upward path and cast off the
darkness. The dark, the bad, and the ugly were to be saved by transformation into the light, the true,
and the beautiful. But now I found that this was a delusion, a lie, a fantasy -- the ultimate self-deception.
This was the hardest thing to understand and acknowledge. I had to accept that all the dark parts of
myself, including the nastiest beasties in all creation, would retain their negative essence forever. As
long as there was existence instead of annihilation, these things would be a part of it. There would
never, ever be light without darkness, good without evil, pleasure without pain, love without hatred.
Each pole created the other, and was its Siamese twin, the flipside of its coin. If one vanished into the
void of non-being, then so at the same moment did the other.
Finally I accepted this as an absolute, irrefutable, and eternally unchangeable reality. And at this very
moment, the process of union was complete. There were no longer Star and Shadow, Life and Death.
I now held only a single sphere cradled in both my hands. I looked at it, and was astounded at what I
saw. Its name was a primordial mantra which now came unbidden into my mind, and I exclaimed it
aloud. I will now recount this moment by using the nearest equivalent in mere human words and
cultural accoutrements. I said: “It’s the Holy Grail!”
14. The Double Gyre
Before me I saw two vast cones, or gyres, one pointing upward and the other down, and sharing a
common base, which was hence the equator of the whole object. This double gyre was transsected by
a series of lines which formed a grid, and which seemed to be like the warp and weft of a fabric spun
out from a loom. The whole thing glowed, though the top half shone with a lucid white light, while the
bottom cast a black glow of darkness, as implausible as that may seem by normal logic. It struck me as
resembling a gem, though a giant gem; for although there was nothing by which to measure the scale
of it, I sensed it to be enormous.
I remembered the concept of the Philosopher’s Stone, which was said to be the final product of an
alchemical marriage; and also the legends in which the Holy Grail is identified as a gemstone. There
was not a shred of doubt in my mind that both were the same precious stone, and that this was it, the
living reality behind the mythos, right here before my eyes.
It was so _big_, though -- why was it so big? And what exactly _was_ this Grail? I fine-tuned my
perceptions and peered into it. At first I could make no sense of what I saw; I had to keep adjusting my
conceptual scale to a larger and larger matrix. Finally I concluded that this double gyre was the
universe itself, and that the grid lines were the warp and weft of destiny, like the pattern spun by the
Fates on their storied loom.
I saw that the white upper cone was surrounded by darkness, while the lower black cone was enclosed
by light. And all of this was encompassed by a sphere -- indeed, this was the single sphere that had
formed from the fusion of Star and Shadow in my hands. But now I was surprised to find that I no
longer seemed to have hands -- nor any recognizably anthropoidal body at all. I was a presence and
an awareness, nothing more nor less; and in this infinitely protean form I encompassed the entire
I was no longer the lonely God-being who stands forever in the void holding life and death in his hands.
I had escaped from the Ultrasphere. Those who had advised me were right: there is another realm
beyond it, and I now found myself in that realm.
So what was this region beyond the ultimate outer limits? And who, now, was I, who had gone beyond
In a way the question is irrelevant, because there wasn’t any ‘I’. I no longer had to struggle to maintain
the state of aloof detachment beyond all thought, for now it was my natural condition. Likewise, I was
no longer in that soul-wracking state of aloneness -- not because anything else existed with me here,
but because ‘I’ didn’t exist either. Well, I did, but I didn’t. I had even transcended the duality of being
and non-being, existence and nothingness.
There seemed to be no limit to the extension of my amorphous substance in this boundless space. I
felt a sudden thrill of freedom, and an exhilarating awareness of infinite potential.
I was even beyond light and dark. I was suffused with absolute light and absolute darkness perfectly
melded into one. I know this is inconceivable here in the manifest world, but this is the only way I can
approximate it. I think of it as the LUXUMBRA, which means light and shadow construed as a single
My memory is that I remained in that state of unmanifest perfection for a very long time. The reality is
that the Luxumbra and its utterly detached awareness just stays there forever, and always remains the
same. In a practical sense, though, some aspect of the Luxumbra-mind always manages to get
distracted from its seamless trance, and drawn into manifestation. The way I remember it is that I
became curious again about the Gyre, and turned my attention back to it. I think it’s likely, though, that
the Gyre -- namely the entire manifest cosmos -- simply ceased to exist during the timeless interval in
which I wasn’t thinking about it.
I saw that the sphere that enclosed the Double Gyre was in fact the Ultrasphere -- but now I was
looking at it from the outside. The bright white cone radiated from the Star of Life, and the dark cone
from the Death’s Head. I turned my angle of observation to the side, so that the points of the two Gyres
were on the left and right instead of above and below; and now I could see the figure of the Ultra-god
standing inside the sphere, holding the Star and Skull, with the Gyres superimposed sideways over his
body. Thus I discovered that at the very center of creation, where the light meets the darkness, there
beats the heart of God.
I readjusted my perspective so that the Gyre was upright again, and sought to satisfy my curiosity
about the complexities of its operation. I looked more closely at the strands of substance that formed
the grid. I found that it _was_ the warp and weft of fate, but that the Double Gyre was not merely the
universe; instead I discovered to my astonishment that _every strand_ was a universe!
It was moving -- spinning like a colossal top. I remembered that the Hindu name for the manifest
universe is “samsara”, which literally means “something turning around”. And every one of the
horizontal lines of the cone was a universe moving through time from its birth in a Big Bang to its death
in a Big Crunch. Each complete circle of latitude was a parallel universe, and I saw that each one was
just a little different from the one immediately above and below it. The strands were so thin, and the
weft so finely woven, that there was a virtually infinite number of these parallel worlds.
What then, I wondered, were the verticle warp-lines? I zoomed in closer to the Gyre, and beheld an
astonishing spectacle. I saw that at any moment in the life and times of a universe, a galaxy, a planet,
a sentient being, a microbe, or an atom, there was an almost endless string of copies of it stretching
out above it and below it on the warp-line of that moment. I focused my perception still closer until I
had located the Milky Way, and finally the solar system. And I saw a million Earths strung like pearly
marbles spiraling around a similar strand of Suns.
But the most totally mind-boggling thing was when I focused down to the human level, and found that
every single one of us has a nearly infinite string of alternate selves, stretching out behind us and
before us on the warp-line, like what you see when you stand between a pair of parallel mirrors.
And with this revelation, it entered my mind to focus in again on Victor.
15. The Shortest Way Home
The very thought in my Godmind of this single one of my infinite manifest selves caused a particular
weft-line on the Double Gyre to become highlighted. This showed me which parallel universe contained
the life of Victor as I had left it at the beginning of my long journey through all the spheres of
existence. Fortunately I would not have to retrace my steps for the return trip; all I had to do was pin
down the coordinates and slip back in. This was because in the Luxumbra I had immediate access to
any and all points on the surface of the Gyre, which is to say the space-time continuum.
I re-entered our universe, and in so doing my omniscient detached God-consciousness contracted
greatly. I had sacrificed all the other strands of my infinite potential in order to actualize myself in this
particular one. I was still the God of this whole vast universe, but compared to my state in the
Luxumbra, it was a very small kettle of cosmic fish.
My desire to be Victor again served as a homing beacon through all the superclusters, and soon I
found the Milky Way Galaxy, and finally the Sun. I whooshed back out of the eclipse, which was still in
progress after all these endless eons of time had passed in my personal frame of reference. I saw that
it was still exactly at its maximum, with 68% of the Sun’s disk covered. It was as if time had stood still,
and awaited my return.
I descended upon the hill in San Rafael like a great deific observer from the stars. Yet the instant I saw
the tableau with the three human figures, I was rivetted into a sense of vested interest and a desire to
influence the outcome in a favorable way.
I found that I still had access to the innumerable probability-options presented by the gridwork of the
Double Gyre. I could move aong the warp-line at will, and experiment with different results to the event
in progress. Unfortunately, the most common result was that Victor wound up dead after getting shot in
the head by Eric. And I was increasingly beginning to identify myself with Victor, as the remaining
vestiges of my detached Godmind frittered away in the springtime breeze.
The second-biggest series of parallel strands were those in which Eric didn’t show up on the hill at all.
There were some worlds in which he never became a skinhead, others in which he died at an early
age. In a significant number of parallel realities, I simply didn’t happen to ride my bike through the
alley that fateful day, and so had never met up with Eric. In all of those alternatives, the scenario on
the hill ended after my first out-of-body trip to the Moon and subsequent decision not to kill myself.
There was no Eric to countermand my choice by means of the heavy hardware, and so Beatrice and I
strolled happily down the hill when the eclipse was over, and that was that.
Except that it wasn’t enough. If I didn’t die on this day on the hill during the eclipse, it would mean that
my whole afterdeath odyssey would be wiped out. As far as I’d be able to remember as Victor, it would
never have happened, and I’d be cast back into my same old sorry conundrum of living in mortal fear
of the Ultrasphere. I had finally conquered that complex the hard way, and I would never sacrifice this
attainment for anything.
But I really wanted to go back and pick up my life as Victor. I saw that it held enormous potential, if
only I could return with my transcendence intact. How could this miracle be accomplished? How could
I get shot dead, go through the whole celestial experience, then come back and be alive again? Where’
s Jesus just when you need a good resurrection?
I remembered that he had gone through the Ultrasphere too, by way of the cross. He must’ve gone into
the Luxumbra after that, just like I did, and returned. Maybe the Luxumbra-return is what gives an
otherwise mortal human the power to rise from the dead. So then I found myself thinking: if he could
do it, I could do it. Maybe.
I figured that even Jesus would’ve had a hard time reanimating a corpse with half its cortex blown
away by a high-calibre slug. So there had to be another way to go about it. And then I got an idea.
It still seemed like a longshot, but it might work. The scenario needed Eric to follow us up the hill, just
as he had done in the reality I had lately lived; it needed everything to be exactly the same, right up to
as close to the fatal moment as it could possibly come. And then we’d see what could be done.
The plan hinged on my being able to exert a significant bit of psychic force while I was still a
disembodied presence viewing the scene from the ether. I didn’t even know if I could do that at all; my
godly power might be limited to omnisciently watching everything like the observer in a dream. But I
would soon find out whether or not I could actively intervene in the collective dream that was life in the
I watched as Victor came out of his tantric trance and found he was no longer in outer space taking to
the Moon, but back on Earth embracing Beatrice. I listened to their delighted repartee as Victor
announced he was not going to take his own life. And from my new vantage point, I could see the
sudden scowl on the face of Eric, hidden in a nearby bush, as he realized he would be cheated of the
spectacle he had come to see. I watched him rise and stealthily tread toward the heedless couple, saw
him withdraw the revolver from the inside pocket of his leather jacket.
This was the moment. I gathered up the plasm of my spectral form, and focused it all into a finger, a
subtle pseudopod which I exuded and pressed with all my will against a tiny piece of physical
substance. It was very hard to make the thing move, so great is the gap in frequencies between matter
and disembodied spirit. Finally I thought I felt it budge, and then shift decisively out of alignment. I
wasn’t completely sure that this would do the job, but time was running out.
Swiftly I enveloped Victor, like a little twister of wind spinning dust around an object on a gusty day. I
centered myself on the aperture of Brahman at the crown of his head, and prepared to repossess his
body. But first I focused my will again, and potentized an intention: “I’ll remember!” I swore to myself.
“No matter what happens after this moment, I’ll remember everything that happened on my trip through
the cosmos to the Luxumbra, and my return again to Earth.” Then I poured myself into Victor, and the
next instant I was him.
I was hugging Beatrice, gratified in the belief that my intended deadly ritual was over. But then a
shadow fell over us -- something was blocking the light of the eclipsed crescent of the Sun. I looked up
into the malevolent face of Eric, aiming the revolver straight between my eyes. “It’s bad luck to change
your mind,” he said.
I shoved Beatrice backwards. Eric was a man whose mind was ineluctably made up. He said, “Die,
motherfucker!”, and pulled the trigger.
There was a loud _click_.
Only a click. My ploy had worked -- his gun had jammed. I had successfully dislodged the firing pin
while in my subtle body.
Half a heartbeat after the “click”, I leaped up and slapped the gun out of Eric’s hand. It didn’t take him
long to recover his aplomb: he took a swing at me and landed a glancing blow to my cheek as I
ducked. I came back around with a karate kick that caught him in the chest and sent him sprawling.
He immediately pulled out his knife. It looked like a replay of the scene in the alley -- except that this
time I was prepared. The hilt of my athame was still sticking out of my backpack, right where I had left
it. I grabbed it and faced Eric blade to blade.
He was clearly upset; it was evident that he had no taste for a fair fight, either hand-to-hand or armed.
He swiped his knife at me, and it missed by a mile as I easily dodged. So he was not an experienced
knife-fighter; but alas, neither was I. Often you can get hurt the worst in a situation where it’s just a
couple of amateurs, so I tried to find a way to end it quickly.
Beatrice must’ve read my mind. Neither I nor Eric had been paying any attention to her in the heat of
our struggle; so she had sneaked behind Eric, and at the perfect strategic moment she swung her
backpack at him full force by the straps. It smacked the knife right out of his hand, and knocked him
off balance for a second.
That was all I needed. I jumped on Eric and wrestled him to the ground. But the moment I got the edge,
something peculiar happened: I got mad. I know you’ll say, well, anybody would be mad in a situation
like that, and I usually would be too. But this was different from anything I had ever experienced before
in my life, even though I’ve been in a fair number of fights -- because now I wasn’t just angry or even
furious: I was in an actual murderous rage.
I slammed Eric down with such force that he was stunned -- and not just physically. He was astonished
at the sudden change in my behavior. I sat on him and pinned his arms to the ground with my legs. He
was completely helpless. I put my blade to his throat.
I thought about how I had a grave dug just a couple of yards away. I thought about how no one knew
that Eric had come here today, that no one woud miss him except his mother, and that getting rid of
him would actually be rendering her a service. I thought about how freaked out Beatrice would be, but
felt confident that I could persuade her into silence. I concuded that I could get away with killing Eric.
And then I decided to do it.
All of this fashed through my mind in less than a second. The rage was still there, but now it was all
being channeled by this higher, cooler, clear-headed layer of awareness. I was competely conscious
that I was about to kill a man for the first time in my life, and my will was fully unified behind the act on
It triggered something else in me, a memory from what seemed like ancient times, of what is the
honorable and righteous thing to do in this situation. I said to Eric: “You’re going to die. Is there
anything you’d like to say before it happens?”
He surprised me -- he summoned up some actual manly courage in the face of death. He looked me
straight in the eye and said: “Go ahead and do it, fucker! I’ll die for Thule.”
It stopped me cold. It was the word “Thule” that did it. He pronounced it like “Thuley”. It rang a bell in
my head and resonated down to the bottom of my soul. I had heard this before -- not just the word, but
the whole invisible orchestra that seemed to be playing behind it.
And suddenly, for the first time since I returned as a spirit and entered back into my body, I
remembered that all of those events had happened. I remembered that somehow, in some impossible
outtake, Eric’s gun hadn’t misfired. I had been killed, and had gone through the Moon and the Sun to. .
. to. . . .
“Thule,” I said aloud, echoing Eric’s pronunciation of the word. It was the vocal equivalent of the
mantra that had been given me by the beings in the metasphere as the name of that world which was
our true home. It was the closest possible physical approximation to the magical “mayday” I had cried
out in the black hole, which had brought the galactic beings to my rescue.
I took away the knife from Eric’s throat. I was awash in the wave of memories flooding into my mind
from my afterdeath experience. For a second there flashed in Eric’s eyes the inclination to seize the
advantage and resume the fight. But something prevented him -- it must’ve been the sheer mysterious
power that was filling up my aura and radiating outwards. In a tone of innocent bemusement, I said to
him: “I’ve _been_ to Thule.”
He looked genuinely surprised. “You have? When?”
“Just now,” I said. “In fact. . .” And there sprang into my head a little verse I’d read as a kid, by Edgar
“I have reached these shores but newly
From an ultimate, dim Thule.
A wild, weird clime
That lieth, sublime
Out of space -- out of time.”
Eric said, “Wow, that’s wild, all right.”
I felt a hand on my arm. It was Beatrice, looking very confused. She said, “What in heaven’s name is
going on?” She gave a wary glare at Eric.
I was still pretty confused myself, but I had the presence of mind to finally get up off of Eric’s stomach.
Then the three of us just sort of sat there in the grass. It was an exquisitely bizarre moment.
“Victor,” said Beatrice, shrugging toward Eric, “he tried to kill you!”
Eric was poker-faced. I said, “Well, and then I tried to kill him. So I guess we’re even.”
Beatrice gasped, remembering. “I’ve never seen you like that!” she said.
“_I’ve_ never seen me like that either,” I said. “And I’ve known me a long time.”
“Whoa,” said Eric, “I thought I was a goner, man! But it looks like I said the magic word.”
This cued me back into the miracle. I took hold of Beatrice’s hands, and said to her: “Honey Bea,
something really strange and wonderful has happened. I went to the Ultrasphere -- and this time I went
_past_ the Ultrasphere. I went all the way out to the ends of creation, and now I’ve come back. And I’m
not afraid any more.”
This thumbnail proclamation didn’t convey much detail, but Beatrice grasped intuitively that I had gone
through some kind of miracle, and that it had apparently resolved my long-standing pathology. “Oh,
Victor, that’s wonderful!” she said, and we embraced in a teary hug. Then she glanced nervously
again at Eric, and said to me, “Listen, why don’t we go home and you can tell me all about it?”
“I’d kind of like to hear about it too,” said Eric ingenuously. “You said you went to Thule.”
I couldn’t get over how bizarre the scenario was, and I wasn’t sure how to deal with it. Then a thought
struck me, and I looked up at the Sun. “The eclipse isn’t over yet,” I said. “It would be bad luck to leave
before it ends. We have to finish up the magic.”
Beatrice and I finally got a chance now to put on our clothes. Then she and I and Eric sat on the
grass, as if we were just casually hanging out. “So what is Thule?” she asked, looking pretty distressed
but trying to cope with the situation.
When Beatrice said the name like this, it evoked the scene near the end of my journey where I saw
the heart of God at the center of creation. “I’m not exactly sure what it is,” I said honestly, “or why it
has that name. But it seems to be at the heart of it all.” Then something occurred to me. “Let’s ask
Eric,” I said. “He seems to know something about it.” And I looked the question at him.
“Whoa!” he said. “Well, all right, I’ll tell you my take on it.” He seemed gratified that I had asked, as if
nobody was usually interested in his opinions about anything.
He went into a long, rambling spiel about ancient myths of the polar regions, modern myths about a
hollow Earth and flying saucers, and a race of beings who had come from the stars long ago and
established a colony on Earth. I began to see that he actually did have a spark of higher light and
humanity, and that “Thule” was the central concept and vessel of it. It was all mixed up in his mind with
neo-nazi beliefs, most of which I had never heard, and found exceeding strange. He thought it was
actually possible that Hitler was still alive in a secret high-tech base hidden in a vast cavern beneath
Antarctica. The SS had also survived, he said, and were covertly marshaling their forces for the
inevitable day of reckoning. When he talked about the “Ubermensch”, I saw that this, too, was an
idiosyncratic distortion of a valid underlying drive for real spiritual unfoldment.
So what was throttling that drive and skewering it into the detour that was Eric’s fatally pathological
personality? I looked at him intently while he was talking, and then to my surprise I found that I was
looking _into_ him. I could actually see the inner configurations of his subtle body with my third eye. I
had never been able to do that before, and this incident was my first inkling of the amazing changes
that had been caused in me by my afterdeath experience.
I saw that Eric was all filled with knots and bondages inside, but after scoping it out carefully, I found
the key piece to the pattern. It was a thick and wicked-looking crust of black plasmic matter festering
at a crucial node below his navel. This bollixed up the whole metabolism of his subtle body. I thought,
“Wow, he’s gonna have to go through about a thousand incarnations to get rid of that sucker.” Then I
got to thinking, like: if only there were some way to do it quickly, like an operation -- like psychic
surgery or something. Since I could see the problem so clearly, maybe I could actually do something
about it. Maybe I could exert some kind of healing influence.
There flashed through my mind a thought about the possible dire consequences of meddling with other
people’s karma. And anyway, who was I to play meta-physician? How did I know I wouldn’t do more
harm than good? I thought about all this very seriously, as well as humorously -- like, in Eric’s case,
any change was bound to be an improvement. And finally I decided to give it a go.
He seemed just on the verge of running out of things to say, and was looking at me with an almost
childlike yearning for some sign of approval or affirmation. I put my hand on his shoulder and said,
“Eric, I can see that I was wrong about you -- you really have some nice human qualities.” He literally
beamed, breaking into the first smile I had ever seen on his face. Then I said, “But there’s still one
thing we have to keep in mind here: you _did_ try to kill me.” I poked my finger in his gut, as if I were
just trying to emphasize my point. He became crestfallen at being reminded of this little detail; but I just
kept looking steadily into his eyes as I exerted firm but subtle pressure on his shoulder, and kept
pressing my finger against the exact spot on his abdomen that connected with his navel chakra.
I felt a big surge of energy welling up through my own chakras. With total one-pointed concentration, I
directed it up through my hands and into Eric’s body. My physical finger put forth an ectoplasmic
extension which penetrated Eric’s flesh and made contact with the massive psychic cancer girdling the
chakra. I pumped white light into the pseudopod, and it became like a white-hot iron burning away the
black mass, metastasizing the tumor. Eric went bug-eyed and struggled weakly in my grip, but I was
holding him body and soul, and he couldn’t wriggle loose; plus I was radiating love and concern for
him through my eyes, so that he would realize that this procedure would be for his own good.
I was able to cauterize or dissolve every bit of the canker that I could see. I felt elated, and took my
hands off Eric. He looked dizzy and confused. And no wonder: I could see that all the vital energy that
had been blocked and accumuating in his navel-center for his whole life was now liberated and
streaming up his spinal channel to the heart chakra. When it arrived, there was a spectacular
flowering like an explosion of fireworks. It was easy to tell from the look on his face that Eric was
feeling things he never had before.
Outwardly, of course, nothing had happened except that I had forcefully reminded him of his attempt to
kill me. And now tears were welling up in his eyes and his cheeks were puffing out as he tried to hold
back his emotional reaction to this. But finally it bubbled loose. “I’m sorry!” he said, and broke down
sobbing. I put my hands on his shoulders and allowed him to fall into what was probably his first hug in
a long, long time. He wept uncontrollably in my arms, and kept saying, “I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!”
At length this catharsis spent itself. He sat up and looked at both of us. Then he started crying again.
“Everybody hates me!” he said. “I’m nothing but a no-good son of a bitch. I’m the lowest turd in hell. I’
m a lousy, stinking bastard.” He went on like this for a good while, crying and expressing himself in the
first crude rush of self-knowledge. When he simmered down and looked at me again, I knew that the
worst thing I could do would be to deny his insights, by saying stuff like: “No you’re not -- you’re
okay.” Instead I said: “Well, maybe so -- but in case you haven’t noticed, Eric, you’ve changed.”
That really sat him back on his heels. “My God,” he said, “what made me do all that?” He was wiping
his eyes with his sleeve, then staring at the sleeve as if he couldn’t believe that he had shed real tears.
Beatrice also appeared to be pretty amazed at all of this. She looked at me and said, “_You_ did
something, didn’t you?” I made a sheepish grin, as if I had been caught with my hand in the cookie
jar. “How did you do it?” she said. “Whatever it was, it’s wonderful!”
There followed a remarkable scene in which Eric completed the classic pattern of repentance followed
by redemption, in the sense that he found out that humility and self-awareness can be rewarded by
true friendship. For indeed, both Beatrice and I found that we liked the new Eric very well. True, he
was like a baby at this stage, but we could tell he had the potential to develop belatedly into a really
cool and interesting young man -- somebody we’d be glad to have as a friend.
The eclipse was finished now -- the Sun was restored to his full glory, and there seemed to be a new
sparkle on every object. We all walked down the hill together, chatting like a trio of old chums. Eric’s
demeanor was so open and mellow that Beatrice and I invited him back to our flat for dinner and
conversation. I still hadn’t fulfilled my promise to lay out the tale of my own strange rite of passage.
But in my thoughts, the strangest thing of all was the fit I had thrown in the fight with Eric. I was glad
that after his catharsis he didn’t ask the obvious question, and demand that I now tell him why *I* had
tried to kill HIM. He would've had every right to do so, and I would’ve been hard put to produce an
answer. If Eric had finally seen the light, it looked like I had acquired a new quantum of darkness.
Did I need to repent too? Would I have to break down and weep, and confess my apologetic
rottenness to Eric? I looked inside myself and found that the answer was no. I was far from perfect
yet, but my chakras were basically clear. My one and only significant pathological blockage had been
resolved in the trip through the spheres. I was okay.
I saw that a full understanding would have to await my total remembrance and thorough processing of
all the events of my otherwordly journey, a process that would be greatly aided by telling it all to
Beatrice and Eric. But meanwhile, the bracing realization was that even in an optimum universe, the
deepest recesses of shadow were produced by the light of the brightest star.
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