Tagshamanism

On GOTHAM and Always Being Batman

A good deal of our remit, over here, is to talk about many of the themes of the fringes of things through the lens of pop culture. To that end, I’ve been having some thoughts about what they’re doing with the idea of the Joker in the show GOTHAM. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen this, already, or maybe sometimes your eyes just glaze over when I go on the long rants, but anyway… Spoilers. Also, one image of violence and blood.

Throughout all of season one of GOTHAM, they teased over and over again that this or that villain of the week was going to end up becoming the entity that we know as The Joker. They did this all the way until the end of the first season, when we were introduced to Jerome Valeska, who worked with the circus and killed his mother and had just the most Infectious laugh.

They brought this character into season 2, as well, and in every ep we saw more and more of the Joker’s trademarks: constant killing for no reason, jokes and storytelling while putting himself in potentially deadly situations, desire for the spotlight, and the laughs and laughs and laughs. His father, the circus psychic, even prophesies to Jerome that his legacy will be madness and chaos and death and blood and laughter, and that children will wake screaming at the very thought of him. Jerome dies at the end of episode 3 of season two, at the culmination of a televised hostage situation, during which the whole city sees that face and hears that laugh.

Jerome is stabbed in the neck and he dies with a rictus grin on his face, and his own bright red blood around his lips and pooling in the corners. In the wake of the hostage situation and Jerome’s death, the TV news predictably plays the footage over and over. Showing that smile, that face, and letting everybody hear that laugh. A laugh that spreads through the city, to men in bars and children in wealthy homes and homeless people on the streets and two thugs who kill a homeless guy, laughing the whole time, one of whom then turns on and kills the other. Who dies laughing. All while Jerome’s father’s prophecy plays, again, as voice over.

In this way, The Joker is not a person. It’s not even People. The Joker is a demon, a virus, a possessing spirit and a disease that looks for the optimal structure, the precise right moment to enter you and make you into one of its limbs.

So I’ve gotta say, unless GOTHAM‘s long-term plan is that there will never be a singular Batman, never any Individual Rogues, i am really divided on the Jerome thing. I love the literal take on Grant Morrison’s ‘The Joker Is A Virus of Super Sanity, and thus is any- and everyone who is able to be that “free,”‘ but that idea really only works if the show also goes Batman, Inc., from the BEGINNING.

That is, if the animating spirit of justice/vengeance rests on or emanates from Bruce Wayne, first (though its origins, if any, would have to go back to at least Thomas Wayne, as things stand in the show), but ultimately is such that Everyone With A Mind To Becomes some form of Batman. In this, Bruce doesn’t “train” Dick, Jason, Tim, Barbara, Stephanie, Cassandra, Terry, he resonates with them and simply shows them what they are. What they all always have been, together.

I say that  this has to be the way of things because, now, anyone other than Jerome Valeska being possessed by that spirit of Jokerness and becoming the nemesis of a Bruce Wayne Batman, in the GOTHAM universe, will just ring far less mythic than it could. It would be a single human fighting an idea, a spirit, a legend, a myth, an evil god whose source that human has SEEN and TOUCHED. When what we could have is two Archetypes battling each other, forever.

In fact, my thesis is that, in Gotham’s universe, Wayne CANNOT be the only Batman. Ultimately, he can’t even be the first one in a line of Succession. Wayne has to be Gotham’s Shaman. He has to be its instructor and instrument of combat magick, its Medicine Man (which also gives greater mythic weight to the role Dr Thompkins plays and will play). He’s a guide to this realm where we are all caught between these miasmas of despair and longings for justice and the constant desperate madness underneath it all.

Unused Rian Hughes Batman, Inc. Logo

In this shamanic take there’d be no “order” or “chaos” to battle. At least not as we usually define them. There’s a Batman who recognizes a dark kind of balance and harmony and knowing that the struggle is eternal because the struggle is all of reality pulling against and defining itself. In this version, Batman’s purpose is rendered not as dichotomy of Good Vs Evil, Law Vs Crime, Justice Vs Injustice, but as a dialectic where all these things, all of these elements of Gotham, generate each other. Wayne’s purpose is to strive for the better, but always knowing that there will be forces that seek utter imbalance and destruction. THAT’S Jerome’s Legacy. That is what the essence of the Joker IS.

So, if they can still surprise everyone and pull THAT off—Bruce-Wayne-As-Shamanic-Guide, initiating Tim, Dick, Babs, &c into Batman’s/Gotham’s Mysteries—then I’ll be satisfied.

Just some thoughts, now that I’m caught up with GOTHAM.

Earliest Known Shaman Grave Site Found: Study

“An ancient grave unearthed in modern-day Israel containing 50 tortoise shells, a human foot and body parts from numerous animals is likely one of the earliest known shaman burial sites, researchers said on Monday. The 12,000-year-old grave dates back to the Natufian people who were the first society to adopt a sedentary lifestyle, Hebrew University of Jerusalem researcher Leore Grosman and colleagues said.

“The interment rituals and the method used to construct and seal the grave suggest this is the burial of an ancient shaman, one of the earliest known from the archaeological record,” they wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Shamans play an important role in many cultures, mediating between the human and spiritual worlds and acting as messengers, healers, magicians to serve the community, the researchers said.

The Israeli team found the bones in a small cave in the lower Galilee region of present-day Israel that was a Natufian burial ground for a least 28 people. At the time of burial, more than 10 large stones were placed directly on the head, pelvis, and arms of the elderly woman whose body was laid on its side. The legs were spread apart and folded inward at the knee. The special treatment of the body and use of stones to keep it in a certain position suggests the woman held a unique position in the community, likely some sort of a shaman, the researchers said.”

(via News Daily. Thanks DJ!)

Get Into Trance: Felicitas Goodman

Among the current onslaught of info on the web about scientific studies on meditation, I found this interesting post by Greg Downey about the late anthropologist Felicitas Goodman and her studies on altered states:

“Some readers may have thought I was doing my little anthropologist’s quibble with the research on gene expression in meditation in Relax your genes, when I wrote, ?I’d be surprised if variations in these techniques (such as those that use chanting or movement, for example) had no effect at all on the resulting neural, cellular, and perhaps even genetic processes.’ Some of you might have thought to yourselves, ?Sure, Greg, you always say stuff like that – you’re paid to say stuff like that as an anthropologist.’ But one of the things I was thinking about was the work of the late anthropologist, Felicitas Goodman, which I hadn’t really discussed at all on Neuroanthorpology.

I stumbled across the webpages for the Felicitas Goodman Institut (the page is in German), and the English discussion of her work, Ritual Body Postures and Ecstatic Trance, by Nana Nauwald, and the webpage for The Cuyamungue Institute, which Goodman founded, this morning. A bit of searching turned up an interview with Prof. Goodman at Conversations for Exploration.

Goodman’s own biography is pretty fascinating; she didn’t do her PhD in anthropology until she was in her 50s, already a veteran German professor at Ohio State where she emigrated after leaving Germany with an American husband (Glenn). She went on to teach anthropology at Denison University (Ohio), and is best known for her contributions to the study of ecstatic states, including trance and glossalalia (speaking in tongues). She wrote a number of works, including Where the Spirits Ride the Wind: Trance Journeys and Other Ecstatic Experiences and Speaking in Tongues: A Cross-Cultural Study of Glossolalia (now out in a new edition, according to Amazon). After falling in love with the area around Santa Fe, Goodman helped to found The Cuyamungue Institute in New Mexico, which, according to the institute’s website, ?continues her research into altered states of consciousness and holds workshops about the postures which she admits are but one door to alternate reality.'”

(via Neuroanthropology)

New issue of Key 64 is up

Featuring:

Vin Al Ken – Driving through Dulce
CHAOLION – KAOS MAGICKS FOR DUMMIES!!11!!!
Stephen Grasso – Live and Let Die
Nick Pell – What Kind of World Do We Live in?
Lupa – My First Experiment With Totemic Chemognosis
James M. Kilmury – Storyscape
Taylor Ellwood – Alternate Approaches for Making Sigils
Brian Shaughnessy – An Obituary For Madeline L’Engle
Reverend Ivan Stang – SubGenius Kooks
Thirty Seven – Ten Ways YOU Can Fight Fascist America!
Nick Pell – Donald Tyson’s Necronomicon Tarot Kit
Nick Pell – Raven Digitalis’ Goth Craft
Nick Pell – Peter H. Gilmore’ The Satanic Scriptures
Nick Pell – Roger Walsh MD, Ph.D.’s The World of Shamanism

Key 64.

Norway to host Witchcraft Experts

A small Northern European town will host three days of lectures, discussions, and film showings as the International Midnight Sun Witchcraft Conference descends on Vardo, Norway. The conference is being hosted by universities from the United States and Scandinavia, and will also feature discussions on shamanism and on the issue of cultural persecutions of witchcraft, both in a historical context and in examples from around the world in the modern day.

The original article (complete with stereotype-propagating image and obligatory Harry Potter mention) from BBC News.

Key 23 relaunches as Key 64


Key64. Vol2 #1

Featuring:

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

EXPANDED Living the Myth by James Curcio!

Nick Pell on light, life, love and liberty!

The Return of the Enigmatic Padre Engo!

Introduction to Zoetics!

PostModern Gnosis!

Plus!

Klint Finley on the not-so-secret history of Key23!

Datamancer interviewed!

Donald Tyson reviewed!

Christopher Penczak personally insulted!

ONLY in the new Key64!

The Self as Metaprogrammer

Came across this via Kris Olsvik and Nerdshit, by Chris Arkenberg:?

The human brain is not a static computing device merely receiving and processing information acquired by its sensoria but, rather, it is a dynamic and plastic network of neural centers, each specialized to handle specific tasks, coordinated with each other through a continuously changing array of associative connections between hundreds of billions of neural cells. (Readers are encouraged to look through “The Self & It’s Brain” by Karl Popper & John Eccles for exhaustive studies of neuronal plasticity in associative networks and their implications for consciousness.) While the various regions of the brain are shared by all humans, and the functions of those regions are essentially the same in each of us, the connections between them and the intangible interface which integrates experience between our senses and our mind is absolutely unique to each individual. Genetic predisposition, early imprints, and life experiences each contribute to the ever-evolving construct of the individual. And behind it all in the secret center of our mind, resides the self, absolutely intangible but undeniably real, stringing together the momentary snapshots of the sensoria, creating our sense of time and guiding the processes of mind in accord with its will. But while many may never question the way their mind and brain color their world, others seek to elevate the self to the level of meta-programmer and actively break the bonds of belief to rewire the associative network of the brain and its mind. Many tools exist for such a task, including the archaic techniques of shamanism, the use of psychedelic compounds, and the canon of western esoterica commonly known as magick. By employing these and other methods it is possible to directly modify the physiology of the brain and reprogram the mind in accord with the ideals of the self. (Please note that this paper is not intended to present a reductionist or mechanistic view of consciousness. The visionary experiences of shamanism and the phenomenology of magick are far more profound and ineffable than if they were simply side effects of metabolism.)

continued here?

EDIT ? I just found this via the writings of LVX23, which leads me to perhaps conclude that THEY MAY BE THE SAME PEOPLE! Or not. I do not know, cuz the other articles on there have no orthodox name. And the reason I was jumping around his site is cuz I need to e-mail him, but I am without a contact method. Please shoot me a msg on how to contact you.

shamanism site

Shamanism: Working with Animal Spirits

from the site:

Shamanism, the world’s oldest healing tradition, is found in all cultures on Earth.
Shamans work with their allies–the animal spirits.
Learn the wisdom of over three hundred of these spiritual teachers.

This is the largest (if somewhat haphazardly organized) site on animal energy in shamanic work that I’ve personally encountered..

(note that it is a geocities site, so it might get smushed by a lot of traffic. )

Ten Chapters on Tchkung

Adam Greenfield has posted his review of a 1994 Tchkung show. I saw them a few months ago, 8 years after this review was written, and it still holds true.

What did I want them to do with that energy? What might I have done with it myself? Alternately, what might I have done if only it was asked of me in that interval before the showbuzz wore off? Part of the problem here is that Tchkung is playing with fire, in more ways than the merely literal. The piercing, the firebreathing, the dervish-dancing, the relentless rhythms: these are all shamanic techniques for the alteration of consciousness, and there is no doubt but that they work. In their original contexts, they are all used by people undertaking specific initiatory journeys, when guided by others steeped in the traditions of their use. Of course, none of these conditions obtains at a Tchkung show. What happens when you put several hundred people into a suggestible state, in an environment filled with extraordinarily powerful signs of no fixed meaning?

v-2: Ten chapters on Tchkung

See also: Tchkung’s Post World Manifesto

Technoshamanism Archive

Just came across Hyperreal’s Technoshamanism archive, which I’ve never seen before. Very interesting.

Hyperreal: Technoshamanism – Spirit of Raving

(via Barbelith)

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