Thursday, April 18, 2019

Architects of the Imaginal Realm

"You are a space architect,"one of my students declares. "You create tents of vision and bring us inside for shared adventures."
     I like the idea that I am an architect of imaginal space. I dream of scholar cities and pleasure domes, of temples and libraries in a real world that is constantly and delightfully under construction. I invite others to accompany me to the Moon Café, and the House of Time, to the Silver Airport and the Cosmic Video Store. I give them route maps and floor plans. I tell them how to deal with gatekeepers, what to offer and what to leave behind.
     I help invited visitors to frame their intentions: to meet a guide or an ancestral soul, to find a find a new song or look (if they dare) in their Book of Life, to design a home on the Other Side, to embrace a lover in an apple orchard at the edge of Faerie. I don’t lead them around like a tour guide. I open space, then turn them loose to make fresh discoveries on their own.
    The travelers add to the locations they visit. Their very presence makes the ground more solid, the structures more durable and more complex. They are composed of subtle stuff, but may endure longer than buildings of steel and concrete.
     The taste and imagination of visitors add flourishes and sometimes whole floors. In these ideoplastic environments, every visitor is a builder and decorator. A bronze mirror replaces a daguerreotype; a cello is heard in a music room that wasn't there before; a wall of books in the Magic Library rolls back to reveal a druid wood; golden carp gleam in the pool of the Garden of Memory.
    I created a huge tent, the kind used for family reunions and elegant outdoor weddings, and told my invited guests that they could come here to encounter and reclaim multiple aspects of self and soul. I showed group after group the way to this House of Gifts, and to make sure they did not get lost, I assigned the sheepdog of shamanic drumming to sort out their brainwaves. These visits produced marvels. Then I noticed that what I had raised as a tent had grown in wondrous ways. From one side, it looked like a fairytale castle; from another, like a Victorian mansion with many wings and countless rooms to open one by one.
     The act of observation, we are informed by quantum physics, makes things, even worlds. Looking brings definite events into manifestation out of a soup of possibilities, Heisenberg's "world of tendencies." Frequent explorers of the Imaginal Realm are quite familiar with the observer effect. I am constantly astonished, though rarely surprised, by how the travelers who follow my maps change what they look at. There is now a pink woman with an elephant's head at the ticket counter of the Cinema of Lost Dreams, and there is a three-headed oracle on the dark side of the Moon.

Art: René Magritte. "The House", 1947.

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