Thursday, December 10, 2009

hell divers

Last week my friend told me the first spooky Brooklyn story I've heard in a long time. A student of his who'd been watching a rehearsal of the play he is currently working on made a point of speaking to him before class because he was concerned that the playwright's attitude towards some supernatural themes he included his script lacked gravitas. "You know, all that stuff is real and not to be messed with." The student went on to tell of an experience he'd had; upon entering a Catholic church in Brooklyn he'd accidentally become a witness to a young woman's exorcism. As the man watched, a group of alarmed priest and family surrounded her as she had some kind of seizure. Eventually the overwhelmed priests and horrified crowd heard the flailing girl begin speaking in a demonic voice. The man in the back watched as one priest became exhausted and wandered away. Praying quietly in the back of the church, this man made a silent pledge to the demon, leave her alone right now and you can have me when I die. At that moment, the girl stood up, looked at the man sitting in back, said OK in the demon voice, and passed out.

While I listened to my friend tell the story my heart seemed to grow three sizes like the Grinch's...who would be brave enough to sacrifice his soul for the redemption of a child? What will happen to him? Is it at all possible that certain brave individuals can actually sweeten hell with the scale of their compassion alone? Could they turn hell into heaven?

Perhaps this explains the Delok phenomenon in Tibet, in which various yoginis lay as if dead for a number of days and return to consciousness telling tales of various hells and the world of the dead, sometimes returning with messages from the departed. Jesus too descended to hell after his crucifixion, it is said. I assume this was no exotic vacation. What business did he conduct there, I wonder? When he ascended to heaven on the third day, did he bring souls with him? Did he lessen the devil's load? I can't help but think of the reportedly high burnout rates among social workers for whom the Sisyphus myth must get really personal.

On a related theme, the Black Metal Symposium, Hideous Gnosis, takes place in Williamsburg this Saturday. Herein a sampling of titles: The Light that Illuminates Itself, the Dark that Soils itself: Blackened Notes from Schelling’s Underground • The Counter-Reformation in Stone and Metal: Spiritual Substances • BAsileus philosoPHOrum METaloricum • Transcendental Black Metal • Anti-Cosmosis: Black Mahapralaya • Perpetual Rot: Obsessive Cycles of Deterioration. More darkness here. I'm wondering if you dive deep enough into hell, do you wind up in heaven?

1 comment:

Robin Morrison said...

I had my own demonic possession adventure ages ago. Well, demonic possession was the filter of interpretation through which that experience poured.

I also had an experience with divine insufflation, or such was that event's interpretation.

I gave attempting to affix any rational meaning to any of this long ago.

Merrily merrily
Scarily scarily
Life is but a dream.

supgra: the reassuring sense of reality provided by a good evening meal.