The Nightshirt Sightings, Portents, Forebodings, Suspicions

Category “Art”

The Nightshirt Guide to the Twin Peaks Rebirth

Tuesday, 27 June, 2017

“We live in a world of opposites, of extreme evil and violence opposed to goodness and peace. It’s that way here for a reason but we have a hard time grasping what the reason is. In struggling to understand the reason, we learn about balance and there’s a mysterious door right at that balance point. […]

What Was Your Original Face on Mars?—Zen and the Prophetic Sublime

Saturday, 11 February, 2017

The famous “Face on Mars,” first photographed by the Viking orbiters in 1976, was the object of much speculation in the 1980s and 1990s and continues to be. After it was identified by Richard C. Hoagland, the Face became the central icon in a narrative of ancient global destruction—perhaps nuclear war—that, some suggested, may have […]

Altered States of Reading #6: Stories of Your (Future, Past) Life

Sunday, 27 November, 2016

Few films could better illustrate the workings of precognition than Denis Villeneuve’s excellent new film Arrival, based on a 1999 story “The Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang. If you’ve seen the trailers, it will give nothing away that it is about a first-contact situation, and the attempt of a linguist, played by Amy […]

Altered States of Reading (5): Kirk Allen of Barsoom

Sunday, 24 April, 2016

What could any Other know of the up-and-out? What Other could look at the biting acid beauty of the stars in open space? What could they tell of the great pain, which started quietly in the marrow, like an ache, and proceeded by the fatigue and nausea of each separate nerve cell, brain cell, touchpoint […]

Psi’s Big Guns: Sleep Paralysis and Astral Time Travel

Saturday, 16 April, 2016

A year ago I wrote at length about out-of-body experiences (OOBEs) in the context of alchemy and the hermetic tradition. I confessed that I was a fence-sitter on the question of what they are—lucid dreams that just feel more real than most (i.e., corresponding to real physical environments) or actually what they feel like, some […]

Altered States of Reading (4): Ginsberg & the End of the Bookstore

Saturday, 9 April, 2016

Ralph Waldo Emerson warned, in his essay “Self-Reliance,” about the failure of most people to notice and follow their inner light or spark: “A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he […]

Synchronicity Machines and Psychotropies of Spacetime

Tuesday, 1 March, 2016

It is because we are lost, decentered by the ego and conceptual symbolic thought, that many mystical or religious experiences involve a sudden amazement of what Ram Dass famously called “being here now,” or simply presence. What is really the most obvious fact, our simple existence somewhere, our conscious awareness, suddenly comes alive as something […]

Altered States of Reading (Part 2): Pynchon and the Psi Reflex

Thursday, 24 September, 2015

Thomas Pynchon’s sprawling unfinished 1972 novel Gravity’s Rainbow centers on an American army lieutenant, Tyrone Slothrop, whose amorous conquests around WWII London infallibly predict German V2 rocket strikes in an otherwise random distribution throughout the city. Slothrop’s weird ability puts him under the scrutiny of “Psi Section”—a division of military intelligence—who link his strange gift […]

The Great Work of Immortality: Astral Travel, Dreams, and Alchemy

Saturday, 16 May, 2015

The ceramic-and-glass sculptures shown in this article are by artist Christina Bothwell, used with her kind permission. Judging from the number of books and YouTube videos now available on the subject, out-of-body experiences (OOBEs) seem to be enjoying a contemporary revival, and there is surely no hobby more ontologically controversial. Several authors, including Robert Monroe […]

The Solaris Mind: Hypnagogia, Meditation, and Insight

Sunday, 8 March, 2015

A classic motif in science fiction is that humanity ventures to the farthest reaches of space only to find, impossibly, something of our own that we had forgotten. Stanislaw Lem’s 1961 novel Solaris, about a planet covered by a viscous ocean that manufactures simulacra from its observers’ unconscious, is probably the purest expression of this […]