Sophia :: The Beginning and The End

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From as early as she could remember, Sophia knew the universe was inside her.

Unlike most, she never forgot.

As a girl, she discovered that if she pressed her eyes into the crook of her arm, exerting a controlled but constant pressure, that an optical explosion, or nebulous burst of rainbow sparks, would fill the space behind her eyes. This only lasted a few seconds, and couldn’t be repeated straight away afterwards, because eventually her head began to throb and her eyeballs ached from overstraining. When the pain came, the prickles of light would take on a hammer-dull pulse, then she’d blink or shift her focus, making the whole hypnotic whorl shrink back into black. But the headaches were nothing compared to the wonders she beheld, so the game became to see how long she could bear it, whilst observing the dance of the pin-prick prisms. Like any good scientist, or enthusiastic child, she repeated her experiments diligently, and from here she witnessed the deaths and births of galaxies: a thousand mini-big-bangs inside the deep space of her mind.

As she grew it seemed impossible to fathom a separation between herself and the cosmos.

When womanhood came, Sophia discovered new ways to summon these temporary phenomena by exploring the soft inner sanctums of her body. Alone in the dark, she learnt the language of friction and folds; of heat and sweat and ecstatic breath. Sophia became an expert conjurer of these sensual stellar currents as electricity leapt from her crotch and into her heart, firing lightening around her veins and her entire nervous system. She reasoned this must be the language of the universe, all pressure and motion expressed in synesthetic light. Without a teacher she found herself fluent, and was delighted that these marvels could be willingly and precisely enticed. So she rubbed, and she tugged, and she roughly invoked, until the energy ricocheted up and down her spine, forcing a pillar of brilliance out of the top of her head and from the tip of every pointed toe. The harder she worked, the brighter the colours and more complex their configurations and, once married with sensation, they detonated shockwaves; rippling light-tremors that blew her wide open to the void.

From this vista, she witnessed Eternity, no longer a girl-child but a thrust of purest energy: a bright sphere of matter, self-replenishing, and infused with the splendour of new-born stars.

Now, she didn’t just observe the rainbow clusters, she was their celestial rebirth.

Sophia discovered that with the right kind of friction and flexibility, the right physical gravity and compatibility, that the explosions might be amplified with, or even gifted to her, by others. This was a revelation, and with the zeal of an ardent pioneer she found new physical landscapes to conquer and explore. These, she’d meet in secret, and they’d rub their bodies vigorously together: all ravenous innocence and volatile lust. Afterwards, they’d bask in a glaze of giddy wonderment, amazed and in awe of fusion’s afterglow.

It wasn’t difficult to find others to experiment with, and Sophia was eager to test every variable at her disposal. New subjects flocked to her, all equally inquisitive, and drawn by her innate magnetic pull. These bodies, she bashed and crashed against, and her lovers were many, and frequent, and increasingly insignificant. The more she discovered, the more she craved, and after a time their cumulative gravity took its toll.

Now a woman, Sophia indulged her lust-frenzy freely, demanding ever more intense chemical stimuli as the subjects blurred into one. Now, Sophia was pure hungry body – no longer a careful scientist – addicted entirely to an all-consuming pursuit. The visions weren’t a gift she gave herself anymore, they were her access to oblivion and an itch to be scratched, an impulse she no longer controlled.

The balance shifted. Something was forgotten. Sophia’s core cooled into a tight, hard knot. Inside, a stiff kind of indifference was formed, like a lump of heavy iron. It happened so gradually that Sophia barely even noticed the weight, until a crack, a sudden rupture, caused unprecedented implosions.

Without warning her world turned colourless, all vitality bled dry through some unseen  black hole. Now, her couplings were exhausting, no longer quests for any inner holy light. No matter how hard she pushed, or pulled, or how ardently she worked, the visions wouldn’t be bidden. In desperation she sought more extreme and unfamiliar subjects and found only similar, sprawling voids. Sophia was lost, distraught and directionless – for surely her life’s work had been to exalt the mysteries of her own skin? There were no answers, no formulas for this hollowness. Try as she might she could not reason herself whole.

Time slowed, though all around her, seemed to pick up speed. She was alone. She floundered. Disconnected.

What could she do but let herself drift?

Sophia grieved for this terrible wounding, this gross injustice that had stolen her gift.

And in her compulsive, empty rituals, she moved ever closer to some inevitable yet unknown horizon.

Confusion chewed her,

consumed her and

broke her down,

until all she was, was

aching truth.

The body was no tool,

no vehicle to be thus abused;

it was a

temple;

the universe incarnate,

experiencing itself in

one

swift

blink

of

life.

                                                And if this shrine was a house of visceral divinity,

why seek the Light outside of herself?

Sophia surrendered. She let the abyss swallow her. It sucked her back into its cyclical womb. Here, it digested, re-energised and un-birthed her, until she was nothing but hydrogen and dust.

And in these final shudderings of sentience, as an indiscriminate stellar matter, Sophia beheld the reversed wonder of her body with an awe and a love like never before. The void embraced her, soothed her and dissolved all woes. She was swaddled in an aeon of black. The profusion of this chaos was unending. Her Universe inverted, then began its journey back.

 

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‘If it calls you, you should come’ – The Art of Crossing Over

Back in February 2014, at the ‘Visions of Enchantment: Occultism, Spirituality & Visual Culture’ conference in Cambridge, I first met Cavan McLaughlin. Despite the fact that we’d been sat through two days of talks exploring esoteric traditions in art and literature our conversational starter was our shared love of tattoos (it’s always the way!). Cavan spotted my Dark Crystal ‘Great Conjunction’ back piece and ended up showing Loren and I his ink, a meditating man sat amidst a psychedelic serpentine landscape. From that moment on we knew he was our kind of guy!

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Two years down the line and not only has Cavan’s younger brother Michéal come to Loren for a DNA Tree of Life tattoo but I’ll also be speaking at a conference Cavan has put together in Sept – ‘Trans-States – The Art of Crossing Over‘. I love how the Fates conspire to weave their sticky webs around us.

I’ve got a lot of respect for Cavan, he’s an artist, social activist and academic all rolled into one and has assembled an International Team of Esoteric Bad-Asses in one place (no mean feat!). He is also a visual artist and makes music videos for metal bands like this one for Denigrata.

Trans-States is all about transformation, trans-humanism, trans-mutation, body modification, altered states and the blurring of boundaries. I’ll be presenting ‘Written in Skin – Flesh As A Language Frontier’ for the third time but for the first in front of a magickally minded audience. As the conference is taking place in Northampton, even the elusive Alan Moore is jumping on board (he’s one of the keynote speakers!!) and meeting him is one of my lifetime ambitions. Needless to say I’m treating the whole shebang as a highly synchronous (and nerve-rackingly terrifying) event. I’ve got symbols from Mr Moore’s Promethea comic tattooed on both my thighs for God’s Sake! Fingers crossed I can form an orderly sentence when the time comes….

Marco Pasi, a brilliant scholar who we met at the ESSWE magic conference in Latvia (yes, these are our holidays – FULL ON geeks…) is another keynote speaker and Patricia MacCormack, whom I’ve never read or met but specialises in “posthuman theory, teratology, animal rights, European horror films, chaos magick, Lovecraft” – SWUUUURWOOOOON, will also be stirring the cauldron. With so many practitioners, scholars, artists and performers in one great melting pot of energy I’m too excited to get it in my system!

If it calls you, you should come.  You can register here.

‘Trans-States – The Art of Crossing Over’

9th – 10th Sept – 2016 – Northampton University.