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A Tale of Masks and Mobile Consciousness - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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August 14th, 2009

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02:29 am - A Tale of Masks and Mobile Consciousness
Since I'm planning on using a mask in the main ritual at Crossing the Thresholds, I had my first lesson with using masks with Aaron today. We went to a nearby park, and spent several truly wonderful hours. He a brilliant teacher and started me off with some basic neck and shoulder stretches, then he did some exercises that blew my mind. I'm told they are basic theater exercises, where you look at the world from the PoV of various body parts, your right shoulder, navel, left knee… The process is an excellent way to understand movement, but it also rapidly became clear that it was also a first step in a mediation procedure that I've heard of and tried, but have always utterly failed at. The technique is brining your consciousness and awareness (your sense of where you are located in your body) from behind your eyes to other body parts. All of the instructions I've seen for this involved lying down and meditating and none were remotely useful. I got far closer looking at a grove of trees with my right shoulder for 2 minutes than I have in several hours of fruitless mediation. This is definitely something that I will pursue. Aaron also mentioned that he knows other more direct techniques for accomplishing this shift of consciousness that he learned while working as a puppeteer (which he did for 2 years). After we had finished the mask work, we talked for a while about how remarkably anti-physical so much magical and mediation instruction is.

In any case, then he set out a range of masks and asked me to pick the first one that called to me. I was (rather unsurprisingly in retrospect) selected the oddest – one made by a student of his that had inch long tubes in the eye holes, which made it look very strange. Having read the chapter on masks in Impro by Steven Johnstone, I knew the basics – I put the mask on, and Aaron held up a mirror for me to look in. The experience was vaguely similar to manifesting a deity, but significantly more physical. The first mask was proud – standing tall and preferring to stand on top of things.

Aaron then asked me to pick out the mask that scared me most. I selected a very distorted and angry looking half-mask with a twisted lip. In the mask, I moved like a cruel thug, and afterwards Aaron mentioned that I was reacting to things that I didn't consciously notice, like moving in a particularly scary manner when a small child walking by – I did not consciously notice the child.

Aaron said that he hadn't seen many people use either of these masks, but that I definitely "got" them (although I did slip in and out of character several times). Feeling a bit odd after the 2nd mask, I picked out a mask that looked a bit like a cheerful elf. In it, I jumped and capered quite happily until I had to call a halt due to feeling quite tired.

It's very interesting to realize both how similar and how foreign mask work is to various metaphysical work I have done. It's definitely something that I'm interested in including in my magical practice. Aaron then informed me that I'll be the one making the mask for the psychopomp I'll be performing at the upcoming ritual. Thankfully, he assured me that he'll provide all the help that I require. However, before that, he wants me to work with someone else in mask with Aaron directing and keeping track of us. In any case, I was previously worried that I wouldn't be able to do mask work, but (at least with an excellent teacher like Aaron) it's remarkably easy, which admittedly is at least in part because I've been doing various sorts of metaphysical work for the last 20 years.
Current Mood: jubilantjubilant

(2 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:August 14th, 2009 02:35 pm (UTC)
oh wow. I would love to pick your brain about this at CTT if we get the time. For background:

Years ago on a nagging compulsion I made a leaf mask for rialian and I'm just now getting back into them and other sorts of masks for both mystical and artistic purposes (I am so bad at disconnecting the two and don't much try). I had already tentatively planned to do some photo stuff related to them at CTT just because it is one of few opportunities I get a year to see some of the people I'd asked to help with the project. Now it fits in with a theme. Eeeenteresting.
[User Picture]
Date:August 14th, 2009 03:39 pm (UTC)
I would also like to pester you about this! It sounds absolutely amazing, and definitely something I'd like to explore...

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