Multiple Personality and the Occult
Recent events inspired me to writing my first pro-multi essay rant in a while, with help and contributions from Dmitri. On a note, we are pretty much four, now: Me, Dmi, Tyb and Tahl.
Recently, me and my occultic teachers had a peaceful parting of ways, because it seemed that I finally found something they didn't get: multiple personalities, or, more accurately, more than one sense of consciousness in a shared physical space.
Multiplicity is characterised, not by insanity, but in the presence of more than one person sharing the same set of neurons. The problem is, it's never that simple for the average person on the street: raised with the Hollywood psycho and the infamous Sybil, multiple personalities are considered not only a disorder, but a dangerous threat. This has not been helped by recent celebrity publicity in the form of one Britney Spears, who claims she is taken over by one of her personalities, 'The British Girl', who dresses in a pink wig and wreaks havoc on her life. Whether or not she is actually multiple is subject to debate (the worst mine has done is to hijack for the sake of calligraphy), but she may very be - in the most dysfunctional of ways. The thing is, multiplicity (affected or otherwise), is not an excuse for insanity.
I am considered insane for sharing a space with three other rational, aware, functional 'selves', and because I appreciate their company and work with them, rather than suffering from memory lapses, debilitating disassociation and self-harming behavior, it is typically uncomfortably dismissed as a 'fixed fantasy' or as some kind of happy delusion. The actual status of the four conscious people operating here is subject to philosophical debate - are we splits of the one original child? That presumes there was 'an original child'. Considering the speed with which people change their lives, appearances, self-perceptions, outer perceptions, and inner dialogue, who can say that they were the same person they were a decade ago? Perhaps we are delusional: in that case, who is the 'real' one? The one that's been here the longest? That argument hardly functions under any serious scrutiny.
Invariably, it is rendered into some kind of alien spectacle: when Dmitri introduced himself to our ex-teachers, he was polite, rational, thoughtful, insightful and articulate. I was glad to step back to allow him to talk at the request of these people, and they had a perfectly reasonable chat over coffee. However, what followed after that was an amazing level of discomfort and doubt, increasing until we finally took our leave. Under what logic do two happy, rational people make one insane one? No wonder the general romantic relationship turnover is so high these days. I had told them, up front, that we are 4. The immediate reaction was "OH GOD SHE'S POSSESSED!" Self-possessed, yes. Demon possessed, no. (Though, I speculate that I may be regarded as a 'daemon', in the Classic Greek sense of the word - D.)
It is very, very easy to find out that many famous authors, poets, visionaries, artists, actors and intellectuals have had 'voices' - in some cases, such as the Bronte sisters (of Jane Eyre fame), they had what I call 'headspace' - a visual operating system of the mind. Conan appeared to Robert E. Howard, sat him down, and told him his story, which became published under 'Conan the Barbarian'. Socrates, who formed some of the most important foundations of Western philosophy, formed it by speaking to his 'daemon' or 'god-spirit'. The basis of Western logic, the scientific method and logical enquiry, are derived from his conversations with this 'spirit'. Also, around his time and for quite some time after, it was considered pretty normal to do so.
The perception shifted from an overall sense of being 'part of the world': connected to the world, to other humans, to spirits (good and bad) and elementals and the gods, as well as to one's own fate, to a strict 'one mind, one body' concept through the Renaissance period. Descartes, who was the clever soul that established Dualism (one rational mind per body, one soul) as a fixture. Thanks, Descartes: after that, multiplicity and 'hearing gods' became pathologised, demonised, fixed as primitive superstition and later, treated with medical sterility as something to be 'cured'. The cure, of course, is to try and cram all of the people or presences in one multiple group into 'a whole person'. Its like taking 20 people (only one of whom is permitted to talk), cramming them into a lift, and declaring them to be one person. Same principle, same outcome, and likely to drive any functioning daemon/eidolon crazy in ways they weren't before.
The question remains: why do occultists, Wiccans, and otherwise open-minded people regard this with suspicion and horror? The spiritual assumption is immediately demon possession: interestingly, when people meet Tahl or Tybalt, who are very extroverted, obviously outgoing men, the 'demon possession' thing never comes up. If a person (particularly socially) meets me after having talked to either of them, they often want to speak to Tahl again! Dmitri is the one most often accused of being negative and/or 'demonic' - mostly because of his lack of social skills combined with being somewhat opinionated and critical. People would not demonise him if he was a seperate person, of course: he'd just be a nerd. When people meet me, the only 'female', I am immediately tagged 'the original', because we happen to share a girlbody. We all know how gender indicates authenticity! Heaven forbid: I don't think of myself as a woman first, and in fact, I would be more comfortable as a transman more than anything. The fact remains...the goal of occult study, magical work, astrology and Kabbalah/Qabbala is the Magnum Opus - The Great Work. The Great Work involves a personal merger with God: that's the goal. You live your destiny with dignity and strength, you contribute to the world, then you shed your ego and go and join the collective, composite Source. Do they really think, if they achieve such a state, that they are going to be ALONE? Ha!
My arguement is that this is the direct fault of Liberal Humanism, combined with Christian and Cartesian concepts of the body/soul dynamic. In that way of thinking, there is a body, with a mind, and an impermeable, individual soul, that goes in complete form to some other place, only to return with the resurrection. Modern science isn't any better, but instead of heaven and hell, they have nothingness. They don't even bother with the soul part: we're just ghosts in machines, and when the machines expire, so do we.
What about the alternatives? What about the Collective Unconcious, Quantum entanglement ('spooky action at a distance', as Einstein called it) and cyberspace? If I had anything to 'blame' for the rise in contemporary multiplicity, it would be abstract spaces: when you interact with a telephone, the internet, even international postage, you are interacting with people who aren't really there: you communicate in the hope someone is, the commonsense knowledge that someone is, but the gap between who's 'real' and who's not are narrowing, thanks to the ability to communicate over distance.
My teachers, and most other people, can't seem to see this. In fact, they never consider that, perhaps, Dmitri is here for a reason, that we are the way we are for a purpose. Modern society makes many, many demands on a person's mind: in the way that computers are now taking dual-core processors, and will eventually have doubled up chips to increase the crunching power in a single machine, perhaps the human mind is capable of the same.
CrystalSeraphof the Seraphim Collective