The Dream is Real
The Spirits of Christmas
It had been three years since COVID first deprived the world and its people of all manner of social life. Kat and Bob sat in front of a blazing fire, and in spite of the alcohol shortage, held their favourite Christmas cheer. They couldn’t help but wonder if there was a resolution to COVID’s odious grip.
As happens when things are traditionally meant to be festive, they reflected on happier times, reminiscing about the parties they had attended this time of year and the people with whom they’d shared lives and laughs; until their eyes grew heavy and, with the heat of the fire and minds full of times past, their eyes soon closed.
Kat was transported to the magic land of a dream state. She was part of a scene with a revolving door of characters. She walked through the crowd. They presented themselves in a sort of Japanese Noh drama, each wearing a mask and costumes of archetypical heroes that varied from monks to mullahs. Snippets of conversations created a pulse in the room. A supernatural life force passed from the genius of individuals of her past. The invisible spirit asked, “How can mankind redeem itself?”
Jamie boomed, “My friends, you look splendid in your fancy dress. This Solstice, an invisible elastic band stretches from our hearts and draws us together. Settle yourselves. Prepare to celebrate the end of the dark and beginning of the new cycle of light. Top up your drinks! Enjoy this year’s presentations on the theme, ‘The Spirits of Christmas’.”
Jamie’s training as a town crier served him well among these friends. They had been housemates as students, and, despite the dissimilarity of their disciplines, they were connected by their love of acting and drama. They lived for improvisation, where the first rule is to always agree as you create a story. Using their clever wit to twist what is defined in words and actions, so it could bring joy by making others look good, felt like the reason they were put on this earth.
Jamie approached Kat.”How are you?”
Kat accepted the variety of forms that humanity can take. Over the years, Kat had gained knowledge from literature and science and Jamie sought to be an instant expert. She was prepared to offer him what he wanted. Jamie rekindled a child-like openness in her. She reset her emotional compass and then let loose.
“I am good, thank you. Your speech was lovely. You captured a sentiment of Christmas as a time to connect through the darkness and see the light."
With a flourish, Jamie bowed to her, accepting the compliment.”Why, thank you, Kat.”
She set the bait. "This time of year always offers hope of the classic redemption story.”
Jamie’s crooked smile appeared. "Do tell.”
“In the ninth transmigration of her soul, the cat Mahitabel, a friend of the writer Archie the cockroach, learned to assume a positive attitude, and generate a light by being ‘toujours gai"."
Jamie was quick to respond. "Being positive is like any light, it can blind you.”
“Or the enemy,” parried Kat.”Light has different resolution depending on wavelengths and the aperture. Short blue light waves give the best resolution of details, but long red waves can resolve a wider picture over time and space. Often time provides a greater aperture, with better resolution that creates the rosy glow of memories.”
“What about resolution in relationships gone bad?” questioned Jamie.
Kat said, ” Wisdom teachers say it is not that crimes deserve to be forgiven, but that each individual deserves to be released from the pain incurred by crimes of the past. Resolution is a way to accept changes.”
“So is resolution the path to redemption?” Jamie queried.
“Perhaps,” Kat replied.”In 300 BC, the Emperor Ashoka from the Mauryan Empire in India, converted to the relatively new Buddhist religion. After a tragic love story, Ashoka became a tyrant who senselessly and inhumanely killed and tortured victims. After one killing spree, Ashoka finally felt remorse and, as a result, became a pacifist. Buddhists forgave him his sins as he promoted their new faith. The edicts of Ashoka are engraved on pillars found throughout India. The wheel of Ashoka depicts life in motion. Ashoka is redeemed as a hero.”
“Do tell more.” Jamie was clearly intrigued.
“In the 1st century,” Kat continued, “ Constantine was proclaimed Caesar. He commanded the western region of the Roman Empire where Christianity was gaining prominence. Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, that tolerated Christianity and was baptized Christian on his death bed, transforming Roman losses to winning with Christian support.”
“Mr. Scrooge,” Kat noted, “changed his ways when confronted with the spirits of Christmas past, present and future. So did Alfred Nobel, who discovered an obituary meant for his brother that had been written about him. He was pronounced the ‘merchant of death’ because much of his wealth was gained by making military grade explosive devices. Nobel arranged to provide financial prizes at the annual award ceremonies in Stockholm. Their actions led to redemption.”
“Well,” Jamie grinned, “Here's to change!” Kat clinked his glass and added "And to redemption!”
Bob joined them to excuse Kat who was being summoned by Frank and Joe who were warming up, as they were the first performers. Joe was saying, “Language distorts information and leads to what the Buddhists call Moha, or delusion. It is as unavoidable as sin.”
Frank did his part. "Yes, but in spite of mistakes, corrections are made and an unconscious message balances what passes through generations.”
Bob did not miss a beat, “Indeed. Words have power. They express intention and, where intention goes, energy follows."
The three friends nodded to to each other and Jamie. They were ready.
The town crier bellowed out over the din of the crowd. "Let us receive the gift of the muse. Please get comfortable.”
Frank was in fine form, a commanding presence dressed as a Monk, holding a bottle of Benedictine. He began.
“I am Anselmo of Canterbury, a Benedictine dedicated to sacred studies. As patron of the great Colleges of Anselmo in the Vatican, I believe so I can understand God. I posit that the independent mind uses reason to seek deeper knowledge and to find truth, as an action of love for God. In seeking truth, we must re-create our ideas of what is known of reality to heal the pierced hearts.
I have an optimistic faith that humanity holds goodness and wants to reconcile problems. We can create the conditions of time and place that makes redemption possible through intentional pay back, that will justify interrelationships within the whole system,” added Frank, in full-throated Anselmo character.
“Take this Benedictine, for example”, indicated Frank, brandishing the bottle.”My brothers have distilled 27 herbs and spices, sweetened with honey, for medicinal purposes. The spirits in this bottle, marked with the initials D.O.M. meaning Deo Optimo Maximo, to God the most good, can enhance connections needed to illuminate a world grown dim.”
Joe in full dress, came forward as Don Quixote. In a Spanish accent, he began, “My name is Anselmo. I am the impertinently curious man. Some say my chivalry reflects distorted perceptions of reality and is fiction. A Quixote syndrome is named after me, for individuals who attack the things in society that create an unhealthy lifestyle, despite the unlikelihood of their success. However, I must point out, San Anselmo, California is the starting point of the Golden Gate Bridge, and the hub of the North Pacific Coast Railroad from which divergences occur.”
Frank said, “A name holds power. ‘Anselmo’ means ‘Welcome’ in Latin and ‘Protection’ in Greek. ‘Ans’ is a prefix meaning upward, backward or again. ‘Ans’ is an abbreviation for answer, the end being ‘wer’, which is a dam. A dam functions to hold a given value of material. A dam is the price of a man, which compensates for his life and experiences. Acronyms employing ‘Ans’ include the Autonomic Nervous System, the American Nuclear Society and Advance Network Systems. The Elm,” Frank continued, “is known for extensive branching. The ‘O’ is used as an impassioned expression. 'O' means ‘sons of’. O represents zero, the most perfect number, a circle that holds the ancient mark of triple time with no beginning or end."
Bob, wearing the alb, stole, chasuble and mitre of a Bishop, stepped forward, speaking with an Italian accent. "I am St. Elmo, Erasmus of Formia, one of the 14 holy helpers, venerated patron saint of sailors, women in labor and stomach and liver ailments. As a mathematician, I explored the mathematical effects of conic sections. As a leader of the Christian humanism movement, I performed, and was granted miracles. Sadly I was martyred before Christianity was tolerated. Allow me to explain how a great honour became mine.”
Bob cast his gaze across the assembled throng. "Toward the end of thunderstorms, negatively-charged air causes electrons to be pulled away from each other. They move upward from the ground onto tall structures like masts and poles, forming an electrostatic phenomenon named after me."
Joe spoke waving his arms. "St. Elmo’s fire is reminiscent of the Primordial Fireball formed at an early time in the Universe, before atoms existed. St. Elmo’s fire is a conductive plasma, composed of electrons and protons that form a spark, alighting a shower of shooting stars in reverse. Shooting stars bring water to earth in ice crystals that contain elements that transform into different colours as they are heated. The elements in ice crystals have a neon or white lightening ‘glow discharge'. Magnesium burns red/orange, iron burns gold, nickel burns silver, oxygen burns green. Unstable levels of oxygen result in methane production that burns blue as does Sulphur, the element found in brimstone, that likely made the fire Prometheus provided to man."
Frank continued. "Molybdenite burns yellow/green. It forms the Ghost lights that are emitted from the phosphine swamp gases of the Mekong River, called the giant Naga serpent. The flying fireballs release the Will-o-the-wisp that has an auditory hiss or buzz during the full moon of October."
Bob added, "'Goodness gracious, great balls of fire', thought to be due to nuclear fallout, were reported over Los Alamos around Roswell in the 1950s. During World War II, Allied aircraft pilots of a night squadron in Western Europe described unidentified flying objects of bright light or green fireballs in the skies. They were the original Foo-Fighters, now remembered and commemorated in our popular culture by the band of the same name. By chance, a random green fireball appear during one of their concerts in 2018."
Joe continued, “In Chinese, ‘Foo’ means a blessing. Foo dogs are guardians. Foo, a term used by MIT hackers who were members of a model train builder club, is the first of a sequence of metasyntactic variables in a metalanguage, used as placeholder that has no meaning. Foo is a slang word, representing FuBar meaning, as we all here know, fucked up beyond all recognition.”
It fell to Frank to pick up the tale. "A reasoning man can determine the root-origins of St. Elmo’s fire go deep. In 1952, Stanley Miller and Harold Urey hypothesized the components of life were brought from comets and shocked into existence because of atmospheric conditions."
Gesticulating with his hands Joe said, “In 2014, the Rosetta space probe landed on a comet finding it contained formic acid and the pyrimidines, cytosine and uracil. Formic acid can convert minerals, including calcium, available on or below the Earth’s surface, to simple sugars that join the pyrimidines and can be transformed to purines. These form ribonucleic acid (RNA) the prebiotic route for generating genetic information that makes the proteins needed for life.”
Bob added, “Information controlled by highly-evolved genetic systems in RNA connects super-organisms such as ants and bees. The independent units work within the colony, governed by an hierarchy of rules of chemical forces. Ants and bees produce an alarm pheromone, with Formic acid as the potent active ingredient of toxins that have been used in human military warfare since the dawn of civilization.”
Frank continued, obviously revelling in his rapt audience.”Benedictine is made by the company Platinum Wines and Spirits. Platinum can oxidize Formic acid and change it to Anthracene, a glue comprising three fused aromatic benzene rings that can insert into human RNA and become activated when conditions are suitable."
Joe said, “Bacterial genes produce Formic acid, that combines easily with Benzene which has a phosphorescence spectrum that creates bioluminescence - a phosphorescent glowing phenomenon - found in 76% of aquatic animals, as well as fireflies and mushrooms.”
Bob said, “Bacterial microbes have chemical mechanisms that can control collective action through quorum sensing, communicating to cause interference that silences and alters genetic messages. The human being is a vessel for a greater spirit. We are host to a microbial super-organism that can simultaneously fluoresce during daily cycles.”
Joe’s arms were waving. "The wheels of time were understood with knowledge of cyclic astrological events. Stars and planets that brightened these darkest days were celebrated in religious ceremonies and festivities. Now we have the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree, the white-silver lights around the front window, and the blue lights on the porch to brighten the spirits residing within. Light influences annual seasonal periods of bacterial overgrowth. Bacteria and the viruses they carry, can affect the memories and behaviours of their hosts.”
“So now,” Frank invited, “raise your glass, and remember to adhere to the rule of Benedict that states ‘all must be given its due, but only its due’. Unleash the dreams of the spirit of your choice and ignite a glow that rivals even St. Elmo’s fire.”
A rush of emotion permeated the crowd. The cast bowed. The town crier bellowed, “Our next performer is Marcella." With an inviting smile and sparkling eyes, Marcella made her way to the centre of the crowd. She wore a headdress and dazzled in a beautiful African print dress. In her hand was a bottle of dark spiced rum. The timbre of her voice immediately engaged her audience.
“In Caribbean, African and Montserratian communities,” she began, “Obeah and Myal are wizards and witches whose skills in herbalism and healing come from respect for the Jombees - dee ghosts of dead ancestors - not only kin - but the chosen ancestral spirits of the past, that possess an eternal soul. Jombees can be sensed by smell and touch. They can possess a body, perhaps in a trance or dance, that is often inspired by rum.
"Jombees offer advice and protection, in the spirit of friendship. They call me to address a meme…you know, a cultural analogue to a gene. A meme passes information through memories that are imbedded as redundant algorithms and affect decision tree models.
"The Jombee wants me to address a single dank meme that sometimes speaks of the Sacred Feminine, with bad associations that alter operations in the brain. It is time to be grateful to Magna mater who holds the milk of humanity. It be the rum speaking. Remember, we are all chimeras - each and every one of us holds the feminine aspect in the female mitochondria that come from the seven daughters of Eve and the X chromosome.
"Furthermore, in hunter gatherer societies it was the females who harvested and fermented honey and fruit and grains. Mary the Jewess, thought to be Mirium the sister of Moses, was an alchemist who invented the tribikos, a distilling machine. Baltic, Finnish, Norse and Europeans worship the beer goddesses who heal with ale and hops. Women still brew throughout the world in Peru, Taiwan, Japan, Africa and China.
“Raise your glasses my friends” exhorted Marcella. "We are connected to each other and the spirit of the sacred feminine that is more than the sum of its parts.”
Against the audible background of murmured good wishes, the group happily clinked glasses.
Once more the town crier held forth. “And now for our final performance.”
To the strains of a quadrille, a Scottish reel featuring Kat, as a Green Fairy and Bob dressed as a Wizard commenced. At completion, they bowed to their audience then, lifting a small bottle of Underberg, the Fairy explained, “This bottle holds the essentials of Influence.”
Bob continued, “The cocktail Influence uses the natural bitters to calm bacterial flora. Bacteria react with the genes in the gut and mitochondria and relieve queasy uneasiness from propionic acid that curdles milk. This elixir makes one bright and alert, warranting the 'Okay sign' of the Underberg.”
In the interim, Kat had put on a black cloak, and witch's hat. She held a smoking cauldron. "How life unfolds depends on details that give an individual life meaning.” She spoke softly at first, her volume then increasing. "The witches’ brew holds the force of stardust that can be used to expel stomach worms and parasites. It reveals what has and can happen in the silence of the future.”
Bob said, "Moly causes wakefulness, strength, courage and powers of divination."
Removing the cloak, the Green Fairy giddily added, "My name is Moly and I am a symbol of the prized enchanted end product of the kingly realm that is translated as wisdom. The Greek Philostratus calls ‘Moly’ the symbol of fellowship with the Logos and spiritual strivings. Eustathius writes ‘Moly’ comes from God and is a gracious gift. Holy Moly is the Philosophers Stone that can catapult thought as an object of mass through civilizations."
Bob reclaimed his speaker’s turn, appearing in a white cloak. "I am the Greek physician, Asclepius, honoured in the constellation Ophiuchus. I use Moly to heal the sick, renew vitality and health and bring the spirits of the dead back to life. By slowly turning my staff, I can capture the fiery serpent, the dragon of Medina, a nematode known as the Guinea worm that infects humans and grows up to 31 centimetres before it erupts in pustules.
Kat had put on a white cloak and a pointed crown. Raising a bottle of absinthe she said, “I am known as the old woman, the Queen of Sheeba, and Artemis, the Moon goddess of the wilderness and the hunt. It is I who gave the power of the wormwood plant Artemisia to Chiron the Centaur. Odysseus used Moly as an antidote to poisons of the nightshade family that the goddess Circes used to transformed the crew of Hercules into swine. The white flower of Moly comes from fairy plants of Asteracea flowers, shaped like the stars. Moly is the soul-healing plant of spiritual immortality."
Asclepius spoke. "The spirits of Artemisia are found in absinthe, vermouth, wine, beer and Soma mead. Other fairy plants form Soma. Soma is found in the sour juice of milkweed, sacred mushrooms, Cannabis, the Persian Haoma or Ephedra, Opiate poppies and seeds of Morning Glory. It is the Greek Kykeon, brewed using grains of barley and rye infected with the ergot fungus LSD."
Dropping the crown and cape, the Green Fairy chimed, “Soma is the Sacra Vita used in ancient rituals, to teach sacred mysteries, the rites of mortality and rebirth, and the secrets of alchemists."
Asclepius continued."In Exodus, Moses taught the Jews who wandered through the desert in search of the Promised Land how to harvest Soma for food. Nomadic Bedouins still gather the sweet liquid that comes from trees and shrubs of the Tamarisk species in the southern Sinai."
The Green Fairy added, "Soma is a sugar-rich honey dew nectar secreted from the anus of aphids that pierce the phloem cells of plants. It can be dried, condensed and hardened into a gum exudate called Manna, that translates into the Egyptian phrase, ‘What is it?' It is the bread of the angels that drops to the ground and is harvested before the sun melts the resin onto the sand."
Bob put on his Wizard's cloak.” Soma is found on small hair-like growths called trichomes that form mushroom-like protuberances of a one-celled protist organism, which is neither animal, plant nor fungus, on the buds of plants. These contain active phytochemicals, viruses and bacteria that can alter the balance of biochemical interactions, leading to a slowed pulse, delirium, inebriation and unexpected experiences of telepathy, seeing auras and energy fields, and having lucid dreams used in divination.”
The Green Fairy said, “I hold the MOA genes, in the short arm of the X chromosome and in the mitochondrial membrane. They are altered by stress, harsh parenting, coffee and drugs. The gene is linked to happiness in women but, in men it is called the Warrior gene. At low levels it results in a disposition to aggression, alcoholism and anti-social behaviour. At high levels it is associated with depression."
Bob the Wizard concluded, “MOA-inhibitors are used in religious and spiritual practices to generate the divine within. They release the spirit molecule. The molecule of self-transcendence is dimethyltryptamine (DMT).”
Joe who entered, dressed as a Buddhist figure with his eyelids folded up, spoke.”I am Bodhidharma, known as Darum in Japan. One thousand years after Buddha, I founded the Chan school, that led to the ascetic practice of the Japanese Zen and the Indian Dharma. Buddhists say DMT is produced in the third eye, that can be found in the fetus at day 49, when the pineal develops."
Frank appeared as a shaman. "DMT can stimulate neurons and DNA, and affect the metabolism of noradrenaline and adrenaline, serotonin, dopamine and melatonin, making individuals feel the true nature of a spiritual presence and a spiritual experience. Thanks to the sacred tea from Moly from the wild mountain rue Peganum harmala, blood vessels open and relax, pain and emotions are numbed and sleep is not needed during this period of meditation. The liquid gold flows through the automaton spirit within, that becomes fresh with confidence, determination, optimism and alert to finding peace and stability."
Bob the Wizard spoke again.”DMT is the best-guess explanation of how a chemical message does more than assemble knowledge. DMT, the spirit molecule, alters consciousness and eases neural pathways into hallucinations. Sensations of light, sound and heat, and the incorruptible fragrance of an Ester, transport memories into the present moment and can create, transfer, amplify and broadcast an intelligent response.
Said the Green fairy, "Interestingly, DMT can result in a psychosis in those not able to tolerate Ego death, that occurs with the awareness of oneness of the Super-organism.”
At precisely that moment, the entire cast froze into a Superhero stance, all intoning, “Raise your glasses now. Super-organisms with superpowers, enjoy the spirits of Christmas.”
Jarred from somewhere deep within her, Kat’s eyes opened. The vision had lasted only a few minutes, yet she had experienced a spiritual journey. She looked at Bob. His eyes opened, and the first words he spoke echoed her own thoughts. “I had the strangest dream.”
At different times during the remainder of the day, Frank, and Joe called to impart similar experiences. They, too, had pleasant visions of those parties from years ago. It was enough to make them wonder what conditions might indulge the spirits of Christmas. Kat was pleased that the dreams of that super-organism that lay deep in the bowels of the gut and the recesses of the mind offered hopes of redemption instead of a continued nightmare.