Call It What It Is

I see patterns in the wind and in the sand

I see the stars, I read the clouds, I understand
"Communion"- Killing Joke

Sometime I think we'd do well to have a Vocabulary Police Force, who could keep important terms from being degraded from mis- or overuse. The New Age in all its permutations are particularly egegrious offenders when it comes to vocabulary abuse, as were the Religious Right before them. 

Politicians of course are career recidivists, though academics might be the Ted Bundys of word murder; their inhouse jargon so tortured and twisted it's a miracle they can communicate with one another. Perhaps they just pretend to understand each other, throwing out an arcane blizzard of inexplicable buzzwords that would leave the most esoteric Kabbalist breathless with envy, hoping no one notices they just said absolutely nothing at all.

The entheogenic community and its fellow travelers aren't exactly innocent in the abduction and torture of the English language either. We hear the word "consciousness" thrown around with such abandon and used to describe so many wildly different psycho-physiological states, that it's no wonder that some rationalists are driven to deny that such a thing even exists. Maybe they do so because consciousness happy-talk can be so damn irritating.

But it occurred to me the other night that those would-be gurus who try to sell consciousness like its a consumer product are in fact selling themselves short.

It was a hazy, sultry night and the Moon loomed overhead rather ominously. I was walking the dog and soaking it all in. For a very brief moment the "c" word crept into my mind, but was chased out by a more potent term, one that I felt more aptly captured the state I was in at the moment: communion.

It occurred to me that I was in communion with spirits, ones I couldn't name or quantify. As soon as that simple yet powerful idea slipped into my mind I went with it and it made sense to me. It felt real and true. 

I realized that such a simple notion was time-tested and amazingly untainted by people who talk a lot but say very little. 

I also began to think about how this communion wasn't necessarily a fully-conscious process, but a kind of wireless download that my unconscious underwent while my workaday brain took in the sights and sounds. I realized that this was nothing new but something that people unlearn through socialization. That it's a process that comes natural to children before school and television programs it out of them. 

Anyone with kids has seen this when they were young and at play, how they seemed to be tuned into channels you were blocked from, hearing music you or I cannot. Maybe restoring those connections is the meaning of it all.

I probably wouldn't have noticed all this had I not prepared myself over the years with my trance work. I've noticed that I've really chipped away at that wall between the conscious and unconscious mind, and probably also between the mundane and spiritual worlds.

I also realized how much more compelling "communion" felt than the usual talk about states of consciousness. It was direct, palpable, numinous. It didn't feel tainted by boring lectures or sales pitches. It was complete, self-contained and immensely satisfying. It was its own explanation.

Try it. Let me know how it works for you. 

UPDATE: Gordon tries it and finds it works quite well indeed.


  1. Love that the scene of the murmuration of birds in 'True Detective' (whether imaginary or not) falsifies Rust's thesis that we're all trapped inside our own minds.

  2. Such a huge fan. As a practicing magician and mystic I invite and enjoy communion.

  3. Communion is a great term to use. I've been in that state before. It's a transcendent feeling- a real human feeling. Yeah, Killing Joke, playing the anthems of light rays and dark shadows. Radio was a lot better when they were on. Solid.

  4. You've just brought out in the open something I and I'm sure many others here, have felt so many times and had forgotten what it was that was being experienced, certainly not having a name to give it. It doesn't have to be feeling like something stopped by to check me out a little before moving on, or third eye perception of some form. Not at all. Just communion. Yes. Thank you.

  5. Music has been the only sure avenue of contemplation for me. Who of us has not lost themselves to "the zone" (as my musician friends call it) at some point or another to their favorite Classical piece, or a Pink Floyd instrumental in their stereo headphones? The dissolution of ego resulting from a transcendent musical passage drops the constructs of our self and allows for communion with the greater Presence, whatever it is - and can we know what it is when we're outside it, distant from it, unable to measure it? And do we care when we are communing with it, complete?

    Some of you may have read The Cloud Of Unknowing. I encourage the rest of you to do so. That medieval essay on contemplation to shed the self and 'rise' and know God was immediately resonant with me. One wonders what its author would have thought of the right music in quadrophonic sound - but of course, that's what the cathedrals were designed to do, religious ecstasy via acoustic perfection.

    On a lighter note, didn't Douglas Adams tell us this in a veiled way, when he revealed the secret of flying? "You throw yourself at the ground, and miss!" Fail to embrace your ego and you shall rise.

  6. As always, Christopher.. insightful, thought provoking and at the very least, an idea that resonates. Thank you ! Caroline :)

  7. Academics sink deeper and deeper into jargon as they make less and less sense of their data.

  8. Have finished reading the introduction to Patrick Harpur's The Secret Tradition Of The Soul where he describes soul matters (communication?) are recognized by their authenticity. Moses' mention of The Unknowing will resonate, I'm sure because it prompted the memory of my realization, or epiphany, that everything I thought I knew was probably wrong. A cascade of what I call "downloads" began then when I often felt I was being hit on the top of my head. I flinched each time, but I had no memory of what the downloads contained. The only result was that I was more aware of and attuned to my environment in a very pleasing manner, more in touch with real and meaningful moments that I can occasionally enter into willingly. Since that epiphany, I try to remember to *not* know so much and go with the real as it presents itself, something not as easy as I'd like. Thanks to you, Chris, and the responders here for the memory and the prompt.

  9. Communion is the universe looking through you at itself.

    I think it's not to far a speculation that this is the common ground for the co-emergence of communication and consciousness.

  10. Thank you, everyone. I don't have much to add to these comments since I know they come from personal places.I'm just grateful I could facilitate something that may help some kind of reconnection in your own lives.

  11. Hi Chris... This may be a bit off-topic for this post, but I wanted to hip you and the rest of the readers to the band "Dead Sara". There is no other band out there that is more in "communion" with the spirits than these four. I've seen them live and they're absolutely incredible. No idea why they're not huge, well, actually I do. Some really good syncs and a possible connection to Scientology. Their music speaks for itself however. Maybe a good topic for a future article... and thanks for all of your great work!!!! Go for the kill...