I’m listening to the great LSD-licking, pot-eating podcasting bard, Duncan Trussell, talk about existence being like a train station, and Death is the train coming to pick us up. It is podcast 181 and his guest is Emil Amos. His poetic, self-described “raspy lesbian voice” paints pictures and I resonate with the metaphor he uses about what it means to die;
“Well, not everybody wants to pay the ticket, man. You know what I mean? (Amos laughs.) Like, not everybody wants to pay for that ticket. This is the classic archetype—the gate between You and Heaven, isn’t it? It’s the gate of Paradise. And standing at the gate of paradise is a guy selling tickets. And the price of the ticket is everything. He just says,
“Well, you gotta pay everything.”
“Well, what’s in there?”
”Well, I can’t say until you pay everything.”
”Well, what is everything?”
“Your money…Money, security, identity, your thought process…”
I get goosebumps. Here, Duncan appears to just be winging a conversation, but he’s touching on a deep ancient human contemplation. This reminded me of one of my favorite parables. I read it last in Robert Anton Wilson’s Cosmic Trigger. If my writing and perspective resonates with you, RAW and this book have a lot to do with it. He writes;
“It was the sad time after the death of the fair young god of spring, Tammuz. The beautiful goddess, Ishtar, who loved Tammuz dearly, followed him to the halls of Eternity, defying the demons who guard the Gates of Time.
But at the first Gate, the guardian demon forced Ishtar to surrender her sandals, which the wise men say symbolized giving up the Will. And at the second Gate, Ishtar had to surrender her jeweled anklets, which the wise men say means giving up Ego. And at the third Gate, she surrendered her robe, which is the hardest of all because it is giving up the Mind itself. And at the fourth Gate, she surrendered her golden breast-cups, which is giving up Sex Role. And at the fifth Gate, she surrendered her necklace, which is giving up the rapture of Illumination. And at the sixth gate, she surrendered her earrings, which is giving up Magick. And finally, at the seventh Gate, Ishtar surrendered her thousand-pedaled crown, which is giving up Godhood.
It was only thus, naked, that Ishtar could enter Eternity.”
This myth is thousands of years old. Duncan is remixing it into language modern minds can process. And I’m getting goosebumps again. After finishing the first draft of this post, that night I started reading Joseph Campbell’s Pathways to Bliss. Still in the preface, I come across a passage where he is describing the function myths play in culture;
When you have an oral mythic tradition, it’s right up to date. In the folktales of the American Indians, you have bicycles, you have the form of the Capitol dome in Washington. Everything gets incorporated into the mythology immediately. In our society of fixed texts and printed words, it is the function of the poet to see the life value of the facts round about, and to deify them, as it were, to provide images of the everyday that relate to the eternal.”
Podcasts are our new oral tradition. Duncan is taking the everyday image of the trainstation and breathing the essence of the eternal into it. And the eternal here is that we all are going to arrive at the gate. We all will be made to give up everything.
Personally, I think the key to enjoying your wait is to create. Unabashedly create. Listen to your bliss, your daimon, your intuition. I’m convinced, and Campbell is too, that if you chase your bliss, you will swell with light, and your light can become a beautiful distraction to those around you in the station. And maybe, your light may help someone discover their light, and then we can get whimsical.
Follow your bliss. Listen to intuition.