Cover art: Fleurine Rétoré
The shaman's flight into the netherworld retrieves a 'lost' soul. All binges are psychoenergetic chaos. Systems emerge from and dissolve into chaos. With binge reading, systems of storyflow emerge: Repeated themes, dramatic cadences, fateful situations achieve in the binge reader’s mind unity in diversity. Story becomes more evident than text.
The ‘lost’ soul retrieved during the shamanic flight of binge reading is Story.
One of the Story stories I found by chance at Wattpad is Night of the Aurora by J. A. Marlow. It’s well-written, with characters who display lively uniqueness. There’s the soul we’ve come to retrieve! We’re among real people — and a dog who tries to grin like people!
An even bigger portal to nonordinary states of consciousness is the public library. There I recently toured the science fiction worlds of Robert Charles Wilson: His prehensile imagination gets a firm grip on the shape-shifting universes of string theory, and his aliens are alien beyond any human reckoning!
I read three of his novels simultaneously (Darwinia, The Chronoliths, Spin), and the direct transpersonal experience of multiple realities condensed awareness to a logognostic state. Words vanished. Text opened into neurodynamic immersion in narrative, a lot like an out-of-body displacement.
Within that polyphasic consciousness, I confronted my own work, The Conjure Book. That’s an antic novel I wrote for younger readers and published in 2007. I’d been putting off the ebook edition, because the revision daunted me: I had trouble ‘getting into’ the puerile tone of the story. A talking cat — really?
The fluid cross-phasing of text and story induced by binge reading solved that problem! Words, sentences and paragraphs appeared as sensory metaphor, not external hindrance. And the intentional range of my concentration connected with the larger unity of story. I completed revisions in two days!
My flux reading continued with Rhys Hughes. Dauphin of the surreal, Hughes writes with the lyric intensity and literary élan of Borges and Calvino. The core happiness of his fiction radiates from our common soul, the mystery of existence. He then gleefully uses soul to seduce mind with a prosperous mix of wonder and humor. Link Arms with Toads! — a collection of dream-foraging and dream-forging — is a shamanic penetration into worlds that don’t exist, though they are very real.
The science fantasy most compelling for me this season of the binge has got to be Remo Roth’s Return of the World Soul: Wolgang Pauli, C.G. Jung and the Challenge of Psychophysical Reality. A Nobel Laureate physicist together with one of the founding fathers of modern psychology hammer out the intersecting implications of quantum theory and depth psychology! A shamanic shakedown by two of the most robust minds of the 20th century!