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Oculus divinorum (2004-2015)

There’s a reason I haven’t posted here in a long time. After everything that has come to pass, my focus has irrevocably shifted. It’s a shift that has been well documented on this blog, the O.div, the Diviner’s Eye, which I began with Greymatter over a decade ago.

It’s been a 180 since then; I don’t have an interest in seeing into the future. In fact, I don’t believe there is this entity called “the unconscious” as described by Freud or Jung, and in particular, some kind of universal collective unconscious, or the Self archetype. These models have their usefulness of course, but it is funny reading how I wrote about such things in the past. There are many ways something can be “real.” I suppose I don’t much care whether something is real or not, I’m more concerned with how such concepts are applied.

I still read tarot, still look to the skies, still do my LBRPs, still record my dreams, still do yoga, still meditate. But these rituals serve a very different function for me than they have in the past.

I dreamed last night that I was being introduced to a new meditation exercise in which my sangha and I all laid ourselves into open, porcelain coffins and acted as if we were dead. One of our teachers walked from the foot of each coffin to the next, making a throwing gesture with his arms. This motion was meant to mime the tossing of earth that would bury us. And the earth was solely comprised of all the decisions and actions we had taken in life. And I lay there as he threw my life back at me, this imaginary earth, and I was moved to tears.

From dust, to dust.

When I began this blog, I dedicated it to the god Dionysus. It was a call to rupture. In 2007, following a technical disruption that took the O.div offline for a month, it returned online and I wrote the following:

“Modernity’s song is the endless wail of the alarm call, of the siren. At least, I wish it could be. A song that pierces the dreamlike, unconscious grooves and rhythms of everyday life, a song that warns us of danger or that signals the occurance of an accident, of damage, of trauma. But most of all, it is sometimes a song that promises hope for anonymous aid, aid that rushes towards a scene of an equally anonymous violence…”

I’ve sounded my alarm call here for over 10 years. And now, I believe it is time for me to listen.

Thank you for your presence and attention.

~Isthmus

hyperballad

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I thought I’d take a quick time out to write a meta post about my blog given all the hits that have been coming in. Also, because the focus of this blog has changed for the past year or so.

To date, I am not interested in promoting any particular practice and I never have been. But I have set a goal for myself: to become an ethical person. And I’m not very picky about what gets me there. I don’t give a shit about becoming enlightened or whatever – it’s just that spiritual practices are very handy tools when it comes to developing ethical ground so that’s why I happen to be spending more and more time with them.

Anyways, I don’t think that life is just about submitting to ethical ground but in my eyes, if I don’t improve in that one regard, everything else loses a measure of its meaning for me. What is the point of being loved, if I cannot be ethical with those who love me? What is the point of attaining success in my career if I cannot navigate my work ethically? So on and so forth. This is more or less the direction I’ve been headed since I was a kid. Maybe this will change one day. Who knows.

I know that the tone I take on this blog is not the most palatable. The reality of the situation is that most of these posts of mine are extensions of little pep talks I have in my head that help me keep my eyes on the prize and that force me to make sense of things as they arise. I post them in the hopes that at least some of you readers will find them beneficial in some way. If not, well, it’s a big world wide web out there. Cheers.

I thought I would share some stats about who has visited the O.div blog (under the “cut”). Unsurprizingly, the lion’s share of the blog’s visitors come from nations where English is an official language, but I was surprized to see some S.Asian countries ranking so highly on the list. A major chunk of international visitors have probably clicked into the site via image searches, or other ways that have nothing to do with the content of this blog. Still, it’s kind of neat to see.

For everyone who has dropped by and has bothered to read my ridiculously long posts, thank you. It is truly a privilege to be able to experience the here and now, and then to share my funny dispatches with my friends and with you, whoever you may be, from my little corner of reality.

When I was a teenager, my primary goal was to have a progressive day, a day in which I would brush against the boundaries of what I could handle, or be plunged into the thick of it. Day after day, I would pray to be brought to my knees, to be rent to pieces. In this way, I hoped to alleviate myself of my fears, my ignorance, my arrogance, my self deceptions. As an adult, I eventually found gentler, subtler methods to pursue my teenaged dreams. But a progressive day can still make my lips curl back into a grin, baring my teeth to the whole world.

For all my visitors, know that out there, other people are wishing for your happiness and peace, even if they don’t know you. But reality calls, and to answer it is not easy. We will all suffer, we will all fail and we will all die. Happiness and peace alone cannot make your existence complete, cannot teach you what it is to be a human. So please permit me to wish you a new year with some truly progressive days.

Love,

Isthmus

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Happy to announce that the O. div site has resurrected to host the Feral Tarot again!

Suzanne Treister's Alchemy series. Click on the image to see more.

It’s another birthday for the O. div and I think it’s high time that I resurrected this blog from its liminal archival status considering how many new posts I’ve written. In any case, O. div archival content is available on waybackmachine, the internet archive. There’s also a more specific reason why I’m prompted to continue blogging: our psychological and philosophical models of mind-body are still evolving and I’m of the mind to record my observations as these movements unfold. Below: continuing thoughts on modernity, cultural appropriation and new trends in psychology…

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I don’t know if you can consider today the O.div’s birthday but for what it’s worth, it’s survived numerous deaths and hacks, and has migrated all over the web for the past 5 years. Thanks for everyone who stuck around (and who found this new space!), and I apologize for the blog’s disappearing acts. C’est la vie.

This post described the reason for the O.div’s continued existence, but I will also comment here on its subsequent discontinuation. The O.div was a project that began to honour the Greek god, Dionysos. Over the years, that purpose became more contrived. I have since come to see that everything I did for god in the past was very childish and in a way, rather perverse, although it was undeniably real. The old ways of experiencing the gods have run their course. As such, I now have great difficulty in relating to the O.div’s old posts and the attitude in which they were written, even if I still agree with what I wrote. Of what happens now, I feel no desire to speak of. However, I will quote one of my favourite Christian mystics, San Juan de la Cruz (John of the Cross) who wrote:

In order to arrive at that which thou knowest not,
Thou must go by a way that thou knowest not.

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Original Title: the odivinorum lives again
Original Post Date: August 27, 2007 @ 6:30 pm

on this day of our full lunar eclipse.

After over a month of being inaccessible, the dns has finally been renewed. In its period of digital convalescence, the odivinorum was suddenly forced to grapple with the stark reality of its finitude: Why does this blog exist, does it really matter, etc. On its 2nd year anniversary on this domain name (over 3 years if you count ye olde livejournal days), the Odiv had a classic existential crisis. And I have to admit, the possibility of losing all this writing didn’t bother me as much as I thought it might. Because I still have all the important thoughts I’ve shared here in my head and I could write it all out again, although not verbatim; details rarely concern my Sagittarius-heavy, Mercury-weak chart.

So why continue blogging? Because maybe these words might spark ideas in someone else’s head, or maybe they could help illuminate more obscure arenas of discourse, but above all that, I like to think of the Odiv as something less cerebral, like a siren, or an alarm call. Sounds deliberately created to arouse, annoy, and awaken, forming a constant 24 hour fixture in the aural landscapes of the modern metropolis. A modified excerpt of an email I sent to a dear friend yesterday:

Modernity, it seems to me, is a society in a constant state of crisis… which is really profoundly tragic in a way b/c ppl rarely thrive on uncertainty and the unknown… What an ontological nightmare we have on our hands, and yet, what unprecedented existential opportunities… Modernity’s song is the endless wail of the alarm call, of the siren. At least, I wish it could be. A song that pierces the dreamlike, unconscious grooves and rhythms of everyday life, a song that warns us of danger or that signals the occurance of an accident, of damage, of trauma. But most of all, it is sometimes a song that promises hope for anonymous aid, aid that rushes towards a scene of an equally anonymous violence. That the state will temporarily suspend its drive for meaningless productivity and efficiency, that even the machine itself must bow down, must make space for emergency aid, is something that excites me.

Henri LeFebvre spoke of the desire to reinstate the Festival into “everyday life”, but the Festival at its heart is a violent, Dionysian celebration, and modern culture is founded upon the denial of Dionysus and the desacrilization of matter. To reconstruct the Festival today is inauthentic. But the screaming ambulance, the bellowing firetruck, these vehicles in a state of emergency, represent one of the only kinds of genuine recognitions of the material world created by the state, one of the few, true moments of disruption and humanity in modernity.

So. Let my posts be like alarm calls…