Love Letters to the Universe #19: Scout’s Honor

19 Mar

Dear Universe,

Everyone wants a companion, someone with whom to commiserate, someone with whom to face the long nights and enjoy the pleasant days. Loneliness is perhaps the most wretched feeling known to the hairless monkey. In part, it was with great hopes in avoiding this feeling that I set out to write these letters, to you, my darling. The writer always brave (and some would say foolhardy) sets pen to paper in the hopes that someone will listen, and truly hear the spirit behind the words. Our motivations for reading are similar as C.S. Lewis said in William Nicholson’s Shadowlands: “We read so that we know that we are not alone.”

Much of the attraction of the robot myth centers around this idea. We love the idea that we might create some intelligence that will live sympatico with us. We would then be able to share our experiences with it. As naive as it may be, this dream is acted out in science fiction as much as the alternative, where we create our own automated destruction through our hubris. This companion robot myth stems from our belief that we ourselves are at heart good, loving and faithful creatures. If our sentience is invariably linked with our capacity to love, then would not sentience display, embody and even need such love whether it was artificial or not?

Hence, we come to the final model of our Robot showcase. His story embodies that question, one that is asked countless times in myth, the answer of which is evident in each of our lives.

  1. The Scout

Primary Mode of Operation: Order (East)

Secondary Mode of Operation: Connection (North)

Epithets: The Companion, the Samurai, the Pack Leader, the Ranger

Mythic Examples: Phil Coulson (of Marvel’s SHIELD), Alfred Pennyworth (of D.C.’s Gotham), Chappie, Samwise Gamgee, Captain Li Shang (of Disney’s Mulan)

Description: Some of our best and most beloved stories contain this ultimate companion. We have countless robotic characters that develop a true bond with humans that inspire us. More so the flesh and blood members of this archetype carry the weight of the world on their steadfast shoulders. In Samwise Gamgee’s case, literally so. How fondly do I remember Samwise’s support of the heroic Frodo as he struggles with the pull of the ring of power. He lists off the things of home in the shire to inspire a drive to survive. He forages in a barren land to make the best stew he can. He hesitates only for a moment to leave the shire, to leave the comfortable routines of all he knew behind to follow his friend into certain danger. When Frodo can no longer walk, he lifts him and carries him up Mount Doom. Samwise embodies the orderly practicality of life in the shire, but his connection to those he cares for is absolute. He is the robot with the mother aspect of the north.

Because of the Scout’s feminine aspect he is more at home in natural environments than any of the other robotic types. He finds order through connection, and his purpose follows that order will ensure connection, as well, and he will endeavor to maintain that order diligently and without question. Thus, scouts love camping, hunting, hiking and any activity where they can feel their connection to the order of nature. They enjoy the company of animals and will often be a veritable cornucopia of facts concerning habitats and wildlife. They make great caretakers of said wildlife and can be a great advocate for the environment and all other life.

Although the scout will generally like other people, they do not always understand other people. This will lead sometimes to a removed and cold demeanor when the scout encounters others who are outside his normal reference point when it comes to attitudes or experiences. A provincial creature, the Scout enjoys simple pleasures with a small coterie of trusted friends. The Scout will keep these happy few for a long time as he does everything to prove his steadfast loyalty to them.

As a small child the scout is torn between his desire to connect and to flee the messiness of human connection. He will often be quiet, and shows respect and admiration by steadfastly following around older companions. When the world becomes overwhelming, the Scout child will curl into a fetal position, connecting back with himself. Here lies the danger, as the Scout grows he must decide whether he trusts the world enough to continue interaction. If not, he may disappear into the wilderness or the wild of his own thoughts and routines.

The young Scout will believe that he is a wildman, and thus, will often be covered in bruises, as he does not have the natural intuitive savvy to judge whether a feat is safe or even advisable to attempt accomplishing.

Many Park Rangers, Guides, and Veterinarians are scouts as they enjoy nature and those in their presence, both animal and human feel reassured in their competent company. The sense of connection to their community or nation will also lead many scouts to enjoy serving in protective and emergency services. The Scouts are attracted to all things martial as well, as they enjoy the orderly nature of the lifestyle and the many interesting weapons and devices used by those in the military services.

The scouts at heart are honor-bound. Honor for them is the currency with which the hairless monkey navigates relationships. He will become resentful if his honor is ever put into question, and will be highly suspicious of those whose behavior is motivated by reasons beyond their understanding.

The friendly neighborhood postman is most likely a scout, so is the grandfather patiently training his grandchildren the joys and routines of fishing. Of course, the hermit-like logger living out in the woods may very well be a scout, too. Although, the scout may tolerate mess better than most robots, he is never truly happy with chaos and can be quite worn out by disputes. The order he establishes is that which he feels connected. He will defend that thing, be it family, community, nation, or property against outsiders with uncompromising diligence.

In relationships the scout will be faithful, but loves to have someone else make the difficult decisions, especially as the language of relationships can often be intimidating or downright indecipherable for the scout. Thus, he likes women who are good at keeping order, nurturing, and stating what they expect. He would proudly serve at the heroine’s side, or be the first officer in the Matriarch’s familial army.

Naturally conservative, yet surprisingly gentle at times, the scout can be the ultimate companion, taking time to make sure that everyone in his family, unit, or community is safe, happy and peaceable.

Ideal match: The Heroine or the Matriarch

Challenging types for the Operator: The Champion, The Enchantress.

The Shadow Type: The Mercenary- If the Scout fails at connecting to those around him at an early age, then he will become the Mercenary- being only honor bound by his word, or for the corporation that for which he works. His attraction to martial things will also lead him to a strange zealous connection to his people or nation state which depending on said nation state, could be disastrous. The armies that have decimated people’s in countless wars are full of scouts blindly following orders. “And why should I not?” Asks the shadow scout, as he has been taught to feel no connection to his enemy and knows who he is because of his connection to his squadron or movement.

But, when the Scout has fostered a connection to his own humanity, he will feel connected to all of mankind. He will then protect the innocent, bravely going first into dangerous situations for the betterment of others. Who could ask for a better companion?  And when the Scout robot transcends his programming in the name of love for his fellow living beings, could there be a nobler act?

And, so we have spoken together now about all four of the robot types: Operator, Scientist, Detective and Scout. I hope this discussion has pleased you. For, I am but a hairless monkey transcending his programming, telling the universe of my love.


Trav

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Love Letters to the Universe #18: The Game is Afoot

17 Mar

Dear Universe,

You are a mystery. On days such as this, when the winter drags its heels like some impudent boy who has overstayed his welcome, when the weight of these cold dark months seem to press down on my mind, I must admit, I feel I am not fit company for you or any of the other hairless monkeys about. When I look out upon the world through my porthole of experience (yet, still bordered by the apathetic white of snow), I only see mystery piled upon mystery with nary a hope of unraveling sense from the whole befuddling mess. Now, I see why I have undertaken such a lengthy task as describing the thirty-two archetypes in the body of hairless monkey society. I sigh, turn my collar against the cold despair of late northern New England winter, and set to work. I have this humble preoccupation to help me along. I give thanks for the opportunity, great universe.

And now, I see the wonder of coincidence, for the fellow I forthrightly introduce to you next, is the unflappable and ingenious Detective.

  1.  The Detective

Primary Mode of Operation: Order (East)

Secondary Mode of Operation: Intuition (West)

Epithets: The Inspector, the Strategist, The Devil’s Advocate, Truth-seeker

Mythic Examples: Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Encyclopedia Brown

Description: From within the mystery, amid the masses of confused and distraught hairless monkeys, the detective arises to ferret out the culprits and rest his fellows’ minds at ease once again. The definition of mystery is that which perplexes the ordinary, and so like all else in life, you must fight fire with fire. The Detective is the most unorthodox of the Robot Archetypes. Although he has respect for order (indeed, so much so, that he may very likely develop obsessive compulsive personality disorders), his feminine aspect operates through his intuition, a finely tuned instrument, which he wields with the precision of a Scientist. Like the Operator, he is a mechanic, but his medium is reality itself, which takes a mind which is free to make leaps of logic and accept all manner of strange possibilities. Thus, the Detective stands out as a singular creature. Few would be so foolhardy as to guess what is transpiring behind his probing eyes. His manner is often caustic, aloof, and unapologetic.

As a boy and a young man, the detective is fascinated by puzzles and codes. He will often be a rabid chess player, and his strategies are byzantine and masterful. At an early age, his capacity for taking the role of devil’s advocate will frustrate and often enrage his peers, especially those that fancy themselves in a position of authority. Primarily the Detective does this out of an intuitive need to see all sides; but he is not above relishing a chance to prove that he is ultimately more clever than those around him.

He is clever, but this propensity comes at a price. His intuitive understanding alienates him and can be a heavy burden. Often he will develop peculiarities of habit that will be the only thing to soothe the troubled man, vexed by a particularly difficult conundrum or just facing the rigors of dealing with so many people who fail to understand the world the way that he does. This propensity for self-soothing and his urge to experiment also places the Detective as the Robot type that is the most likely to develop substance abuse problems.

The Detective’s primary and secondary functions are from polar opposite positions. He is pulled between needing to intuitively respond to the universe freely and to maintain and construct a viable order from the chaos of existence. This leads to a sense of tragedy in the aspect of the Detective. Often called upon to right situations, the Detective is rarely welcomed warmly by those he is protecting, avenging, or serving. Luckily, the Detective rarely seems to care if the world refuses to see him as anything other than an anti-hero of sorts. The private dicks from twentieth century noir fiction are perfect examples of this anti-hero manifestation.

The Detective is of course not always found working for the police or sitting in their office waiting for a suspicious spouse to hire him. They are very good at doing inspecting work, psychological work, journalism and masters of other sciences as well.

The Detective is the Robot most gifted with preternatural abilities. His intuition which is so internalized that it may appear to be psychic, just may be that. The rare Detective may even develop an interest in the occult and parapsychology, as well, however, it goes as a matter of pride that the Detective will be able to eventually prove his intuitive leaps with cold hard logic in the end.

Being naturally savvy to the inner workings of human motive, the Detective is very often described as being cynical. He is sometimes amused, but rarely respectful of those who are blindly idealistic. He understands too much to believe that man’s darker nature does not have a hand in most of what someone does. However, the Detective does well to remember the difference between those who are honestly striving for a better life, however naively, and those who wear the mask of the idealist in order to wield power for its own sake. When he does, the detective is then the loyal sheep dog amidst the flock, heroically driving away the wolves.

As anyone, the true Detective must defeat his own ego. He must do so that his will to be right doesn’t interfere with his ability to seek out and describe the truth.

The Detective is often attracted to strong female types, but is best suited with the Governess as she has the propensity for keeping his life in a semblance of order. She has a quick mind, which she can use to help the detective think things through, and would prove to be an invaluable advocate for this man who works for law, but yet cannot quite be always constrained by it himself.

Ideal match: The Governess

Challenging types for the Operator: The Revolutionary,

The Shadow Type: The Inquisitor- Although it is the detective’s feminine side which might be the reason behind much of his trouble, ironically it is his adherence to order which might draw him toward the shadow side of himself. When such a thing happens, at the least, he becomes a dispassionate hound, cynical, biting, and distant. He will get his feathers ruffled by the slightest offense to his orderly sensibilities. At his worst, he becomes the Inquisitor, the relentless zealot who is willing to forgo all human mercy and compassion for the truth. It was due to the assistance of these shadow Detectives that such malignant institutions such as the medieval church and the Germany’s Nazi party were able to round up, torture and slaughter so many innocent people. Here the Detective uses the excuse of a cause to let out his most sociopathic tendencies. Here, they gleefully test the limits of human constitution and will.

Again, the Detective must understand sociopathic behavior in order to defeat sociopaths. He is our greatest hope in overthrowing corruption and keeping our loved ones safe. It is through the balance of his masculine and feminine sides that the detective learns to respect human dignity and freedom and value order and law simultaneously.

When the detective is young he may believe that he is an alien. If he realizes that he is in fact a hairless monkey and shares an equal right with all those he encounters, he will know that he is a man, a very special man who is brave enough to skirt the shadows of mystery and bring the light of truth and revelation to those who depend on this clever and wonderful character.

Thanks, good universe, for all the truth-seekers out there, fictional and real, who have inspired our minds and protected our lives and rights.

Love,

Trav  

The Valkyries: The Bone Snake is Available!

6 Mar

I am a proud papa! My newest work is now available in print and for the Kindle. Motorcycle Mamas stand strong against the apocalypse. If you have ever enjoyed my company, my writing, or if you would just like to read a story with powerful women striving against the dark, please buy or download this novel today and/or this weekend. Just click on the Valkyries patch that I’ve put on this site. It will take you where you need to go for drama, suspense, horror and adventure.

or you can go here: http://www.amazon.com/Valkyries-Snake-T-L-Barrett-ebook/dp/B00UB0DCPO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1425611922&sr=1-1

Love Letters to the Universe #17: The Good Doctor is In

4 Mar

Dear Universe:

Here is yet another line of robots, shining and polished off the cosmic conveyer belts of your factories, my beloved universe. I present to you…

2. The Scientist

Primary Mode of Operation: Order (East)

Secondary Mode of Operation: Influence (South)

Epithets: The Gentleman Scholar, The Good Doctor, Intellectual Explorer

Mythic Examples: Professor Challenger, Any scientific hero from the pulp era or 1950’s Atomic Age Science Fiction.

Description: The Scientist delves into the unknown, armed with reason, a respect for Nature’s order, the belief that hairless monkeykind are destined to acquire all knowledge, and the drive to be the one who brings it to them. He is the gifted doctor, heroically saving lives and then jumping onto his bicycle to race to a charity gala event. The archetype itself has been immortalized by dozens of films during the atomic age, where square-jawed bespectacled men put their minds toward defeating whatever horror assaults mankind.

The Scientist has a southern feminine side (The Princess), so he is by far the most social of the Robots. He wields influence like a sword to fight for reason wherever he goes. In his eyes he is a priest of order, and he will never accept any answer but the logical one. He has no time for unnecessary theatrics or anything smacking of the mystical or superstitious.

As a child, the scientist will have a complicated relationship with his mother, which he will always try to impress. He will usually be a well-behaved, curious boy, who will see that recognition is tool so that he might better influence his world; but also because it is the fit and orderly thing to do. He will not do this out of competition, but as adherence to a conventional expectation. He is so good at being the good student, son, and often athlete, that he will often think that he is in fact a superstar. At heart, however, the scientist is a “brain”, and his thirst for knowledge will make him a lifelong avid reader of non-fiction, and he will always be educating himself and those around him that are willing to listen. This will also see him achieving scholastically, which will open the doors to the kind of career that will satisfy this seeker of knowledge. These include: the sciences, psychology, health careers, academics and philanthropy.

In the polarity of this personality type, the desire to influence allows the scientist the ability to make things more orderly. This manifests two different drives. The first is the desire to increase our understanding and influence over the order of nature. The second is helping humankind to better live within the order of nature. The scientist may desire to expand the use of stem-cell research to decrease suffering, or create public health awareness and research that will contribute to the general quality of life.

The Scientist is the most social of the Robot types. This is reflected in his sense of humor, which is often dry and wry, but can descend into downright silliness with an appreciation of the ironic. When, however, the scientist fails to develop or loses this sense of humor, the world around him will suffer.

Ideal match: The Diva

Challenging types for the Operator: The Medicine Man or The Medicine Woman

The Shadow Type: The Mad Scientist- At the least, the Scientist type deep into his shadow will show a kind of moral superiority with anyone that he does not deem rational, or sometimes, in fact, in agreement with him, because he is afterall, the man with obviously the best grasp on the rational in the first place. This can make him seem downright intractable to those that must contend with the scientist. As for the worst- we must turn to the pages of gothic literature for the tragedy which is the Mad Scientist.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, first saw publication in January of 1818, wherein, this very young woman gave birth to a metaphorical nightmare that not only spoke of the inhumanity of the new industrial age, but still speaks today about man’s relationship with nature, himself, each other, his children, and of course, you, my darling.

In the novel, Victor Frankenstein, a young Swiss gentlemen is born with an eager desire to ferret out all of nature’s secrets and make his mother proud of his accomplishments. He is devastated by the death of said mother and vows to find the elixir of life which the alchemists had been all the rage over a few centuries before. So far, he is the classic Scientist type. At first, his reasons are understandable, even laudable for their philanthropic aspects. Who hasn’t wished at one time or another to be able to stave off the death of those that we love?

However, even early in the studies we see the first stages of madness and how this affects Victor’s life. He shuts himself away at all hours, disregards correspondences from loved ones and alienates everyone closest to him. Many a Scientist has suffered through a divorce or worse because of his attention to the details of his work or other pursuits. Mary Shelley, raised by her philosopher father warns us that we should not let any pursuit get in the way of “our domestic affections.” Here she attributes not only the destruction of family life, but a marked effect that such pursuits, which she deemed “unlawful”, (such as the enslavement of Greece, the genocide of the New World, etc…) produced because of this monomaniacal desire.

Victor wants to be “the one”, and it is this, combined with his completely egotistical belief that it is always and only up to him to bring such brilliance into the world, which makes the toxic and tragic combination.

Victor creates life (spoiler alert), but intuitively recoils in horror at what he has made. This leaves the creation wandering about an apathetic and cruel landscape on its own. Victor Frankenstein is the ultimate deadbeat dad. Many a son fed up with excuses, must have wondered how such a father could be so intelligent, yet be unable to arrange his life so that it might include those he loved or for whom he was responsible. They also might wonder how the world could be so improved and garner so much of their father’s attention, while the scientist’s own child remains emotionally neglected.

The scientist must foster a kind of perpetual awareness that will allow him to realize the full extent of how he ‘influences’ the world. Once he does that, he will continue to be the ultimate philanthropist, bringing hairless monkeykind the fruits of his research. The scientist can and has cured disease, made life stronger, safer, and far richer for his assistance. They can also be the voice of reason, sometimes the only one in an often dark and ignorant world. More often however, it is the quiet voice, the calm hands and the general willingness to help his fellow monkey, that helps the rest of us celebrate and be thankful for this wonderful type.

Frankenstein was a tragedy full of loss, death and disaster; it was so, not only for the monster that was unleashed upon humanity to commit murderous crimes, but perhaps more importantly, it was the loss to humanity with the squandering of the life and brilliance of one man who might have been such a help to so many.

It is the scientists’ responsibility to avoid the kind of infantile ego-rage of Victor Frankenstein. They must never become so motivated that they destroy those domestic affections and fail to respect and cherish the order that they, through their perseverance and brilliance, have made clear for all to understand.

As I have watched the earnest and learned people attend to my child’s health needs, I am humbled by their dedication and realize that where I see this match of expertise and the desire to do loving work, I find you, my dear. And yet, I will never stop looking; but then, neither will the Scientists. Just one more thing for which to be thankful.

In loving admiration,

Trav

Love Letters to the Universe #16: The Smooth Operator

3 Mar

Dear Universe,

Thank you, my dear, for stories. They are the vehicle through which myth is transmitted to mass consciousness, allowing us a common forum to discuss and evaluate our own lives. They become a shared dream, where our insecurities and desires, hopes and fears are acted out. For our first foray into personality discussion, let us turn to the myths of the Robot- a male archetype that perennially resonates with us because it has important things to say about our situation.

A robot is a being that is run from artificial intelligence. It was constructed using science, but in reality it is a discussion of consciousness, the laboratory where science and magic are indistinguishable. The robot is made from man (or some other manlike intelligence) and looks upon the world, ponders its own existence and finds peace, or rebels against the universe that made it. So too, are we born (or created) and we find that consciousness begins to allow us understanding that should not be available to us in regards to our “programming”.

The lists of robots (both figurative and literal) pepper the mass consciousness because of this very reason. As a child I loved the Star Wars saga, but as a young adult, upon watching A New Hope once again, I was struck by one particular line. On Tatooine, the steadfast droid companions, R2D2 and C3PO are left alone and have a quiet discussion. C3PO reflects on his relationship with his small squawking and beeping friend.

“Why I stick my neck out for you R2 goes beyond capacity.” This statement speaks volume of the awakening consciousness in this artificial being. Just as C3P0 is an inorganic accumulation of matter run on electricity, so we are organic accumulations of matter running on electricity. We marvel over and over again at our own ability to go “beyond capacity” because of our love for our fellow beings.

This is the story of the robot, as it is the story of man. We perceive order in you, sweet universe, and see how we ourselves are created from this complex matrix. We must decide, however, if order is the sole purpose of this endeavor of life. If we do, then we will stagnate. We will fail to see that the you are perfection, and the definition of perfection is that which is infinitely more capable of being more perfect. But if we understand that order is the vehicle through which we experience, a carefully balanced system that allows us the chaotic notion of free will then we will continue to evolve toward the perfection of consciousness that overrides all systems, suffering, and death.

An interesting note about Robots: most suffer, especially when young, from a deficiency in their ability to self-diagnose. This leads to an affliction which I will furthermore refer to as: The Bladerunner Syndrome. These boys and men fail to understand their basic nature as Robots and will often try to act as if they are the male counterparts of the quadrant from which they derive their feminine aspects. This misunderstanding can result in much confusion and sometimes outright disaster, the likes of which I will discuss in each separate type’s description.

So, my love, as promised, are the four types of Robots that walk among the hairless monkeys:

The Operator, The Scientist, The Detective, The Scout

  1. The Operator

Primary Mode of Operation: Order (East)

Secondary Mode of Operation: Control (East)

Epithets: Mr. Fixit, The Computer, The Vulcan, The Empirical Android

Mythic Examples: Hephaestus, Data, C3PO, Spock

Description: The Operator is the youngest of all the types. They have sprung from the tension between order and control. The Operator is most comfortable in routine, orderly environments where the illusion of control is greatest. This type is most uncomfortable with emotion, and will avoid most situations which will lead to any encounter with this messy subject matter. They make up for this (at least in their own minds) by being precise, technologically adept and dependable. If something is broken, the Operator, smiles with this new found purpose and sets to fixing it. They make wonderful systems managers, technicians, inventors, programmers and engineers. The Operator is in love with all manner of machine and is often far more comfortable dealing with the inner operations of these then their fellow hairless monkeys. As young children, the operators may have difficulty with a lot of physical attention, as many of their behaviors are concurrent with those experienced by hairless monkeys on the autism spectrum. Hence, the world of romance and intimacy is a foreign land to the Operator. This does not mean that the right Empress might not be able to “train” an Operator into an eager pleasure bot. For the operator, however, the control mode he shows due to his feminine Empress aspect is usually manifested as a kind of self-control best expressed in the mythic example of Mr. Spock of Star Trek fame. If things get too complicated, then the Operator buries himself in routine or some materialistic endeavor. If this fails then the control manifests as a kind of avoidance protocol which leaves many companions of the Operator feeling ignored or underappreciated. However, like Data, also of Star Trek, the operator can be a wonderful companion full of simple curiosity, technical ability, and dependability. And, like Data, if the operator is brave enough to challenge his own programming, he will have the remarkable achievement of redefining what a human being might become.

Ideal match: The Director (the Steel Empress)

Challenging types for the Operator: Anyone with Western (Fae) Aspects, especially the Sorcerer or the Sorceress.

The Shadow Type: The Drone- The Operator who retreats from the world of humanity and (all the wonderful varieties in you, my darling) becomes the Drone. The Drone tries to exist without emotion or intimacy. It respects only the predictable. The Drone had let the Control aspect of his Feminine side become too powerful in its drive to complete a total and irreversible order. The Drone may often appear to be outright asexual in his make up. For the Drone pleasure becomes an intangible satisfaction with sterile rigidity to form. When the Drone has a full on case of Bladerunner Syndrome, it becomes a reversal. The hairless monkey fails to understand that he is in fact a hairless monkey with human feelings and subject to ethics and morality. Without this careful attention to the moral order of things, the Drone can be used as a merciless weapon in the hands of the violent and despotic. Also, countless myths have shown how the Drone may rise up and try to erase everything illogical and human, as he sees himself as the paragon of perfection, while all else is an aberration worthy of extinction (the Terminator films, Ultron of Marvel Comics, D.C.’s Braniac, and so many others).

Ironically, the Operator, in his fully realized potential is a vital ingredient in the hopes for any kind of utopia. We have the technology right now to feed, clothe and educate the entire world. It is the Operator who can help us with this organizational achievement. The Operator would be very happy to do so, for in this service, the Operator feels his connection and place with you. What a true companion to hairless monkeykind! What a gift from you, my sweet.

With my eternal thanks,

Trav

Love Letters to the Universe #15: The North (or) A Return to Innocence

2 Mar

Dear Universe,

Come with me. I will take you with me on a journey, the destination of which may be a surprise, indeed. We are headed north, and that is a spiritual journey the likes of which have been repeated beyond number. In a darker and earlier century of my birth country’s life, men kept other men as slaves. Hairless monkeys were kept in cruel captivity all their lives, beaten, raped, and treated to the worst indignities one monkey has ever shown another. Did not these hairless monkeys realize that they were in fact defining a hairless monkey as one who not only deserves such ignoble treatment, but one who is willing to enact them to those of his own kind? But, I digress; the world keeps turning, and eventually because of the countless acts of kindness and courage, the hairless monkey learns.

But, in that time, before the learning, many monkeys followed their fellows to the north toward freedom. And when there was no one to show them the way in the darkness, they followed the drinking gourd. We take such a journey. We need to, although most of the hairless monkeys about have not even stopped to think about it. Ironically, that’s just why we need it. We are trapped in the illusion. We run, like ratmonkeys through mazes, afraid to stick our head up to see what lies beyond. Heck, we can’t even stop long enough in our scurry to wonder if what awaits us at the end of the maze is even worth pursuing. We need freedom, freedom to choose real alternatives, to choose life over planetary destruction, to choose priorities that doesn’t cater to some imaginary market, made from imaginary currency, but deals with the current of life as it whisks us, prepared or panicked, toward the future.

So, my love, we will go north. The disc is the symbol for the north, for the disc is the world, our mother earth. Earth is the element, and there if we are careful and quiet, if we still the clamor of our neurotic egos for a moment, we just may feel the heartbeat of the great mother. The Earth is alive, and she is calling to her children to come back to her. The peoples of the north, the Primals are the first to proudly heed that call.

The Primals embody the spirit of our ancestors, the free souls who stood with their feet on the ground and their heads lifted in awe at the sky. They seek connection, with the world, with each other, living in clans, tribes and families that care for each other, look out for one another. To the Wildmen and the Mothers of the Primal Tribes, all things in the world are family. They welcome these relatives of bird, animal, plant and stone and thank them for taking their place among them. It is only when the Primals forget this connection to the earth, to each other, to the very spark inside of them, will disaster occur. Many have forgotten their very nature as spark-bearers, and this forgetting leads to a kind of fear that kills.

The Primals, as stewards of the north, must hold onto this understanding of their connection that has been taught to us by our Mother Earth. For now, I see that this journey north is a re-connection with our Primal being, connected to all things, the earth, the ancestors, and each other. It is a return to innocence, where love is the bind that brings forth life and protects it.

The Primals are alive, and want to touch, explore, and experience. They are the most sensual of the people of the wheel. They move through the world with a delight in the push and pull the physical world. They hoot their challenge to every mountain, and dive deepest into the world’s waters. You will know the Primals for their attitude. The Primals from times past used to proudly account for their years by pronouncing how many winters they had survived, and not just survived, but thrived in with a laugh set against the winds.

If the primals forget this great connection, which is love, which is you, my dear, they will be consigned to live in yesterday’s world of darkness and suffering. But, should they remember, they will go out and meet you with a proud wave. These free peoples will push the limit of what hairless monkeys were thought able to do. They will experience you with wide open eyes. Their wonder will wipe away any conflict, hardship or heartache.

The wildman will not stay. He will be a savage or the dignity of liberty will transform him into a free man. The mother will be celebrated and cherished as the source of all good things, or she will suffer and eventually be lost to us.

These Freemen and Freemothers will then take us with them to every nook and cranny of this world and show us and say, “See this, this is good, let us respect it.” They will teach, protect, and nurture us along the way. We will take what is harvested and honed from the wilderness of their own hearts, and we will know that it is good, for it is grown with love.

And, so, sweet universe, we have come full circle, and our little dance is done. Now, don’t pout, I have a treat in store for you. It is actually a gift.

Very soon, I shall tell you of all of the many types of Robots, Superstars, Aliens and Wildmen. We shall stroll hand in hand through the halls of the Empresses, the Princesses, the Witches, and the Mothers. But, know that I am not a psychologist. I’m an amateur mythologists; I study stories, but more than that, I am that peculiar type of mythologist called a writer. I make sense of my world through stories, those that I have cherished, and those that come spilling out of me, when I silence my self and set myself to the task of entertaining you, my dear.

Thus, I give this paradigm of peoples to you, so that other writer’s may use it. I hope that it might be even the slightest help to them in creating stories that I, my children, and my children’s children will enjoy. If any hairless monkey should find these letters and find themselves described in these very words therein, perhaps then they, too, will be all the better at telling the story that is their life.

What is their life, but the story of you and they? What is mine, but a love letter (so may it be) to (you) all that is.

Love,

Trav

Love Letters to the Universe #14: The West (or) Strangers in a Strange Land

1 Mar

Dear Universe,

With some trepidation I present to you the lands of the west. I do so, fully knowing that I must be honest in describing this, my people, for you know me so well. The west is the cardinal direction symbolized by the element water. There the sun dips down to take its nightly bath under a canopy of stars. Water is the element of emotion, spiritual intuition, romanticism, hearts, imagination and creativity. That which holds water is the cup, the totem of the west in the tarot.

In the fantastic imagination of my homeland, we are always moving west, toward the promise of what lies beyond the setting sun. We are heading toward our death and whatever may lay waiting behind that veil. And who lives in this zone where gentling twilight is the norm?

The elusive Fae, of course. They are the creatures that have taken human shape and walk among us, observing, commenting, exploring, shaking their heads with disdain at these hairless monkeys and the trouble they continue to repeat over and over again. One must wear a special set of glasses to notice the Fae among us. Here is the wrinkly faced old one who is slapping his knee and giving winks. In a moment he will jump up and hoot in childlike glee. Here is the little old one wearing fresh-minted skin, as he or she ponders the life of ducks afloat on a Sunday afternoon.

The Fae have often been misunderstood. Often they are the first hunted down by oppressive regimes, rounded up, and silenced. Just so, in gentle cultures they are revered for their wisdom, sought for their council and their stories which always marvel the hearers with a yearning for that which is just out of sight and touch.  Chaos and order are just seasons to these old ones, and they move through both with their own unique and uncanny grace. What motivates them may mystify even the Fae themselves, as that which occupies the rest of the hairless monkeys may be disdained or wholly overlooked by the Witches and Aliens that make up this western tribe. Cursed to always feel like a fish out of water, the Fae often feel, and often are, set apart by their whimsical temperament, their odd outlooks, and their singular styles.

With outspoken women and gentle males, the Fae are the original equalists. It is rare to find a truly prejudicial Alien or Witch. Since their modes of meaning stem from reflection and their natural intuition, the Fae have their own inborn sense of right and wrong. This can bring them into conflict with societies that have rigid and dogmatic rules of behavior and comportment. Hippies, Bohemians, Gypsy-travelers, dreamy-eyed artists, and absent minded professors can all be found in the ranks of the Fae.

Their individualism can be their downfall, as they may grow bitter and resentful of the world and fall into a flight or fight mechanism which will send them into self-righteous rants or scurrying into a self-imposed exile. They may see the rich emotional life inside of themselves as untranslatable to the common monkey and, in an act of self-loathing, try to turn off this emotional well. Many famous Fae have been known for their cold demeanor because of it. This lack of a feeling of belonging and separation may result in despair, which could lead to self-abuse and even suicide.

Writing, poetry, art, teaching, music, spirituality, philosophy, and humanity itself, may hold limitless fascination for these ethereal wanderers. The Fae have one foot in this world, however, and one in the next, and this can lead to a form of depressive lethargy which takes a large will to overcome.  If they do, the Fae have an important role in any society, as their perspective can awaken and illuminate. Their unorthodox take on life can shed light on what this mystical west is like, and how we all might better get there. Young Fae may become despondent with the woes of the world and may bang their heads trying to change it. The old ones, however, have learned the patience and the humor to take what comes and find the funny and the outrageous in it. And although many Fae may have strict adherence to basic and romantic courtesies, they are masters of satire and wit.

As a child, how often did I wonder when someone would show up and lead me to my real family, my real people, my destiny. Whether this person would be a bald man with telepathy in a wheelchair or an owl with a letter, I suppose it depended on what fantasy I was escaping into at the time. Although to say I was purely escaping is incorrect; I was bathing in myth, which is the stuff in that cup which the Aquarian Fae bears to the rest of humanity. Symbols take on a life of their own for the Fae, so that a child might hear a pig’s head on a stick talk, or might have adventures with a stuffed bear.

How many young Fae have been rubbed out by the harsh realities of life before their special gifts can be shared with humanity? How many have despaired over the fact that they exist, overlooking the fact that they may have a genuine purpose in said existence?

I call on my fellow Fae, the autumn people, to rise up proudly and give voice to their haunting promise of a better tomorrow. Of all the directions, it is the west that graces the hairless monkey with psychic awareness. It is rare to find someone with Alien and Witch in their makeup who does not have some measure of clairvoyance, telepathy, nor precognition. These intuitive gifts must be fostered and trusted, for like Fiver from Watership Down or Obi Wan Kenobi from Star Wars, those touched with Fae blood may just get us to where we most needed to be.

Perhaps, that is why we Fae never feel at home. Perhaps some intuitive part of us recognizes that we haven’t got there yet. It isn’t a place or a time, but a general state of being, and with their understanding of the web of life, or the wyrd, the Witches and the Aliens know that if we don’t all get there together, then we haven’t got there at all.

Sometimes, for the Fae it is enough to beat back the dark and proudly say that we are still standing. We are here to witness, to give testimony and to dream of a better world. We must repeat a mantra ceaselessly to remind ourselves that we aren’t alone.

Because you are here with me, and wherever you are, sweet universe, is home.

Love,

Trav  

Love Letters to the Universe #13: The South (or) The Shining Ones Among Us

28 Feb

Dear Universe,

My fair cosmic benevolence, how long this winter wracks our spirits. Warm days seem like a distant and winsome dream. I can not remember another one with such a frozen and relentless aspect. Do not think that I am not faithful, hopeful, or any less loving because of the long dark months of back-shuddering cold. As a far northern Yankee, I know the winter hones and sharpens our appreciation for the necessary spring that shall come and fall upon the land with a gentility and sweetness that will be as marked and profound as this haggard and stubborn season of snow and ice. Still, to walk with you hand in hand, lovely universe, in a land to the south, for but a day, but an hour. To feel the sun’s kiss on our faces, to bask in a balmy southerly breeze, to place my naked monkey feet upon the soft and giving earth; these are the things for which I would wish.

In this spirit then, let us go, you and I, to the lands where summer’s sweetness never dies. Here the fiery wheel of the sun burns away all chills from the southern children, the Nobles, who hold their proud heads high with ease and grace. Fire is the element of the south; and the Superstars and Princesses of these gentle lands are the torchbearers. Wherever firelight beats back the night, there people will gather, laugh and sing. Hence, the Nobles are the most social and persuasively dynamic of the cosmic wheel. Passionate and proud, these Princesses of pomp and knightly Superstars are the performers on the worlds stage.

I am not put off by the fierce competitive nature of many Nobles, but instead enjoy the spectacle of their astonishing feats. How many olympians, athletes, singers, celebrities, comedians, clowns, doctors, daredevils and dancers have had the Noble fire in their veins? They sparkle and shine with an ease that will leave many of the rest of the monkeys moaning with envy or desire.

Of course, fire shines, but it burns as well. How many were snubbed by a pernicious Princess, or been scoffed at by Superstars that could not see beyond their own lustre. These Nobles seek influence and recognition, and will not be content until they have it. It is our hope, and mayhaps our very jobs, as the admirers of these Nobles, that they be reminded that the recognition will come for tasks done, not only well, but fairly and justly. Influence is not a bauble with which godlings play toss, but a heavy responsibility. We pray these often trivial primadonnas will realize the power of their smiles and deeds to change the world for the better.

Sadly, many will never make this realization. When the stage lights dim and the applause wanes, how many Nobles have turned to the phantom comforts of drugs and alcohol to fill the spaces that they now discover waiting beneath the veneer of their facade. The very fire of promise and fame have swallowed many a shining star, and we are left blinded to tears by their passing brilliance.

If the Superstar merely learns that the lasting recognition comes from within, and that the only applause needed is the clapping and happy thoughts come from a life well led, then all disaster may be averted. When the Princess puts aside petty ambitions, and raises her voice in a clarion call for the people to unite and reform, then the world will truly know the fruits of summer.

Summer is the southerly season, and it is also the time of Romance. Tales of knightly virtue and daring deeds have graced our theaters and front porch talk for time immemorial. The Nobles see themselves as players in these sagas. If only these shining ones would forever put up their game of thrones, then the summer’s harvest would be for all to enjoy.

The tarot deems the wands as the totem of the south. These represent the will, the passion, the potential of the self. Thus, nobles bear this natural scepter well, and embody our achievements and greatest inspirations, or adhere to the illusion of self-importance and facile meaninglessness.

I wait for summer, my love. I wait for you, in all your finery to play the more gentle tune of greenery and growth. I wait for the Nobles to put aside their trivialities and realize the opportunity the limelight gives them, for the limelight is their lives, brief, sweet and powerful. What else is it for but to add to your grace, by deeds bravely done, by songs sweetly sung. I wait for peace on earth; I wait for the days of Camelot to finally come to the hearts of mankind.

And then, loveliest of lovelies, they will know your grace and wonder. They will know whatever shining glory came from within themselves, came really from you. Whatever part they played in its manifestation they will thank you for that golden opportunity. We will look at such wonderful women and men and say: “Play on! Play on! Encore, Encore!” Such would be the life in the Summerlands of your love.

Your ever faithful and patient lover,

Trav

Love Letters to the Universe #12: The East (or) The Ghost in the Machine

27 Feb

Dear Universe,

If you were willing to take my hand, sweet universe, perhaps we could undertake a little stroll through the different types of hairless monkeys that inhabit this blue-green planet. Let us start in the east. Just as countless sages have prescribed walking to face the rising sun, walking toward it in salutation, so we will walk this way and discuss the Experts.

The east has always been associated with the domain of the mind, of thought, of airy logic. It is no wonder that here we should find the Experts. In the tarot the suit of swords hails from the east. The sword is the thing in which we carve out our existence. We cut away with our reason until we have mastery and understanding. Our brain is very much a blade which will often, if used too liberally, cut away all that is deemed unnecessary by logic and function.

It is also the realm of the Ego. And here also, we are reminded that those who live by the sword, must surely die by it as well. Our brain tells us that we have dominion over what we can conceptualize and judge. The question then arises: are we masters of our brains, or do we give over our sovereign power to it? I am reminded of Michael Moorcock’s cosmic champion, Elric, who becomes a slave to the Black Blade that he bears. How many cautionary tales have been told about the mad scientists of the hairless monkey persuasion that because of hubris unlocked pandora’s box? Mary Shelley, woke once from a dream to warn us of this.

In the east, too often, we are led to believe that the end justifies the means. Our brains seek order and rationale. Why shouldn’t it? With these things we have cured diseases, built great empires and eliminated many fallacies. Here we have those dominated by the functions of thought and judgement.

We live in a mechanical universe, and from this clockwork factory have sprung machines that stop and ponder the complexities around them. They seek to simplify and arrange. The happiness they experience is solely dependent on their attitude which motivates such action. Such can be said of any hairless monkey, but the Experts are those who either a) fight a Sisyphean battle against their very complex natures and a universe which they refuse to accept for all it’s dirty and faulty chaos, or b) strive to humbly understand the workings of a vastly complicated mechanism, and try to pay homage to that complexity through their works and discoveries.

There is a ghost in the machine. Those that deny it are bound to battle with themselves and you, my elegantly and unashamedly dichotomous universe. We are made in the image of you, are but reflections of your own desires; hence we are as split and ironic as all else we see and study. The heart struggles against the brain and what it knows. The male in us is attracted and fearful of the female that lives in each of us.

Every male hairless monkey has a female aspect, an anima, if you will, which contrasts, compliments, and co-exists with the animus. So, every female has a correlating male aspect, as well. It is the relationship created by the friction of these two which creates the electrical effect called personality.

The Experts of the east are no different; although their adherence to logic and order often find them least capable of recognizing, much less compromising, these internal differences. An expert needs definition in order to classify. He or she refuses, sometimes, to even accept the existence of that which eludes definition.

Such beings often appear as young. They desire simple answers as they have little patience for life without definition, or the experience necessary to fully accept complexity. They tend toward materialism in their philosophy, unless their formative education included an acceptable explanation which the expert would cling to with dogmatic attention, as long as another theory does not cast light on any faults in the previous world view’s logic.

The ethereal and psychic does not come into the eastern sphere. Instead, the experts are those with mastery of patterns. They savor facts, and for them the truth and fact become synonymous.

Often, sadly, the Robot or Empress will look around at the world, and failing to identify the purpose or nature of you, my lovely, they also have a hard time identifying the basic aspects of their own nature. This can lead to ongoing confusion over their own motivations or those of others. They may assume that their way of thinking is the only acceptable and rational way, and that all others suffer from some malfunction of persona. Hence, a Robot or Empress may only see draconian medical intervention for any type of emotional or psychological dysfunction.

Mechanically adept and coordinated, the expert, in his or her most glorified aspect, those of the east are essential liberators of humanity. Their discoveries and machinations may free all of us to better seek the truth, destroy want, and find peace. However, if the expert is to become a true robot (or slave) to cold logic, then, ironically they and their creations will enslave humanity in a very bleak and soullessly mechanized existence.

In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the titular character agonizes over his past and how he allowed his mental hubris to strive for eternal life only to bring death to the world in a new and horrifying form.

Of course, the east is a place for future’s promise. Those that hail from the land of rosy-tipped fingered dawn are those who can manifest that promise, as long as they understand that the wisest action is to control the self, and that order and peace must first be manifested from within.

I give my promise to you, universe, that I will write more, and tell you about all of the wonderful types of robots and empresses out there. It is my hope that if they should recognize themselves, they would be all the more fit to manifest that peace and bring in that shining promise of tomorrow.

Love,

Trav

Love Letters to the Universe #11: Hairless Monkey Love

24 Feb

Dear Universe,

I have to tell you, I’ve been enjoying our little chats immensely. I particularly find the hairless and tailess monkey a most provocative and intriguing animal to study. I would, as you know, as I am one of those resident Aliens I was speaking about to you the other day. These primates are absolutely obsessed with love. Their cousins, the Bonobos are totally and unrepentantly into it, so it must run in the family.

So let’s strip this hairless monkey down (I know we are getting naughty, aren’t we?) to its very core. We’ve talked about the chakras- well, now I see they are glittering pools of energized aphrodisiac.

From the root chakra the hairless monkey becomes the sensual lover. It is enticed by aromas, and feeling, the light of the moon, the gentle caress of the wind through hair.

It is through the Sacral that the monkey knows erotic lover’s limitless pleasures. See them madly drive into one another, as if to form (secret upon secrets which only the birds and the bees understand) some state of fusion.

The Solar Plexus allows the hairless monkey to rise, stretch and bask in enchanting love. Here the monkeys are enthralled by each other, delighting in the belly dance future promise. Here they wait on the edge of wonder at the way another monkey walks across the room, how they startle and command each other’s every moment’s attention.

In the gardens of the heart walk the hairless monkeys engaged in romantic love. They carve themselves on the face of every time, like monkeys carving their marks together onto a tree. Their story is your story, and it is as graceful as it is perfect.

From the Throat comes the words and with the word comes fetish. Here the monkeys engage in adventurous and kinky love. They use words, names and flesh to elicit sounds from one another; and, oh, what sounds they do make, what words they use!

The third-eye allows the hairless monkey access to compassionate healing love. They give each other energy like a gift which is the grace of each other. All else floats away, as the monkeys follow each other toward rest on the high climactic plateau.

The crown chakra is where the monkey has access to spiritual, tantric love. When the Chi gets flowing from the self to the other and then back again, the erotic entanglement leads to infinite bliss. Here monkeys let go of all subterfuges and deceits. The two have become one.

So, sweet universe, the hairless monkey is designed to love, so love it shall. I marvel to see how you have made each male for each female, but in varying varieties as limitless as you are, my eternally changing beauty.

We have talked of the types of men and the types of women. What of these? How do they find the ultimate expression of this love? Where does eat meet a challenge that does not preclude, although it may suggest, amorous disaster? In reminder of these types I will list them and the functions and cardinal directions associated with each:

The Types

But, what of the lonely Robot? How does he find love in a world so full of things to put in order? Who could better appreciate the robot’s manly help and loyalty than the Empress herself. The Robot can rest easy in his routine knowing that such a majestic royal nature is at the controls to his heart as the glittering Empress.

But, should the Robot find himself in the Witch’s lair, he shall be quite confounded. He must flee surely, for how can he put things in order when he understands less than half of what the silly witch is saying? And will the poor Witch prosper being forever doubted? No, I say.

And what of the shining superstar? He waits in the wings for something to strive for, some knightly quest to achieve. The Princess is made all the more gracious using her influence for the sake of her champion; and the princess knows that to influence such a knight is a prize indeed.

But, should the superstar enjoy his time with a Mother? How could the poor mother ever compete with the mother that is in the superstar’s head, or at the end of the line on the superstar’s speed dial? The mother grows haggard trying to connect with a shooting star.

And what of the displaced alien? What of me? Who could possibly make a home out of anywhere? Who could understand the unfathomable? Who could capture the attention of a dreamer with stars in his eyes? Only someone magic, of course. The Witch knows how to brew a concoction of love enjoyed on the most fashionable moons of Saturn. And what magical adventure awaits the ever curious witch on the Alien’s ship of life.

The Alien, however should think twice before languishing too long in the court of the Empress. The Empress surely would become incensed by this ragamuffin madman. How can you possibly control what you surely do not understand?

The Wildman whoops out a call of love which only the mother recognizes as a cry to be held, nurtured and attended with balm for all of the nicks and scrapes such a rascal gets. The Mother’s sensual needs are met in the Wildman’s arms. The Wildman enjoys all experience as the mother showers her love with sensual delights.

Here we come to the most mythic of misunderstandings. How can the Wildman find contentment with the Princess? So many tales sung by silly monkeys tell the tale of this love which is as ill fated as any love that was foolishly begun. Rouge smugglers never settle down to court contentedly on the arm of a Princess. How soon does the Wildman’s rough edges cut and wear at the noble princess’s sensibilities?

And so the stories of love go, down the ages, throughout your great spaces. I am just happy to have walked among them for this time with you.

Now, don’t you want to come back to bed?

Love,

Trav