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Reelin’ in the Years – 1995

Image – discogs

1995 was a wonderful year for music. So many classic albums and even the singles charts are looking more promising. I’m 33 years old and buying more pop than I have for decades. And I am feeling a bit of a rebirth – finding my groove again – after going deep into Gregorian chants and Renaissance choral music.

Hey, The Rebirth of Cool Phive came out that year, and I was the youngest of 5 kids. Okay, that’s not quite a synchronicity, I admit. But it did strike a chord for that and other reasons. I would love to see her jump out of a sewer grate as I’m walking down to the library on the mean streets of Toronto!

That image (top right) actually has a subtle, spiritual meaning for me too. After moving past the Hindu guru-disciple ideal, which I came to find limiting and obscuring, I thought I’d found all the answers in the Catholic church. Well, yes and no. Yes in that the spirituality there is second to none. But no in that the worldliness of some priests and parishioners also impacted my sensitive soul.

Image – Wikipedia

Spiritually speaking, it felt around that time as if I was being sucked down a rabbit hole, not unlike the image in Alice in Wonderland. It was a strange time of change. All the while I’m doing my doctorate, getting excellent grades and coming to realize that this transformation is an integral part of my journey.

Like any kind of hero’s quest, one needs helpers. And I did meet others along the way – inside and outside of the university – who could relate to what I was experiencing. They’d been through something similar themselves so offered a few words of support, just to let me know I was not alone.

Don’t worry if this is starting to sound obscure and not making sense. It is different. And I don’t expect everyone to relate. The real point I’m trying to emphasize is that you can’t really make it alone in the spiritual life, unless you want to end up a street person giggling at ghosts or talking to invisible extraterrestrials (I met some people like that… more later).

That’s fine if that is what you want or perhaps feel called to become, but it certainly was not something I aspired to be.

After listening to some of my favs from the pop world of ’95, I had to choose the guru. Ironic because I was getting past a former guru relationship, getting that fuzzy vibe out of my system and spiritually speaking, sobering up.

The guru (Keith Edward Elam) died in 2010. I’m not into rap much but he’s different. Instead of glorifying the gangsta life, he’s urging kids to be calm and sensible.

It takes a more intelligent man to squash a fight
Than to set one off

~ Lifesaver

I still like the guru very much, especially “Living In This World.”

Around this time I was also getting into trance. The University of Ottawa college radio DJs played trance and hip-hop all night long. I wasn’t a DJ anymore, as I had been at other universities. But I still had a four-way stereo reaching over two floors of my slightly run-down split-level apartment, and I listened. I liked 90s dance and techno, which was pretty new for me. The French Canadian hip-hop from Montreal was also really good. Much subtler than the Anglo stuff.

Hallo Spaceboy

Hallo Spaceboy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

David Bowie, one of my favorite artists of all time, was coming back into form. “The Heart’s Filthy Lesson” and “Hallo Spaceboy” were important songs for me that year. Although the guru still comes out on top for ’95.

In the tech world, the internet had come to the university. We had a large computer room in the basement which was way less crowded at night. So I’d often walk over to the school and start surfing, playing around with Paint, and generally learning a whole new landscape. It was Netscape back then. I’m more or less a night person so working in the wee hours was no big deal. I actually enjoyed it. Lots of cute women to meet when I wasn’t studying. 🙂

So that’s it for 1995. A year of change and new discoveries.

What’s happening.. check it out
It’s critical, the situation is pitiful
Bear in mind, you gotta find somethin spiritual
We never gain, cause we blame it on the system
You oughta listen whether Muslim or Christian…

~ Living In This World

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

 A male escort sent a 1,200 page dossier calling 40 priests ‘actively gay’ to the Vatican (pinknews.co.uk)

 Vatican revives pope’s sexual abuse panel (rappler.com)

 Australian Cardinal George Pell Appears in Court on Sex Abuse Charges (time.com)

 Catholic Church fearful priests and nuns will have to register as Vatican spies under new laws in Australia (telegraph.co.uk)


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Review – The Initiation of Alice in Wonderland: The Looking Glass of Lewis Carroll (DVD)

Reality Films

This review also appears at Earthpages.org

I bought my very first copy of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland while doing graduate work in India. Renowned for its mysticism and unusual happenings, India seemed like an appropriate place to enter into the intriguing world of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, best known by the pseudonym Lewis Carroll.

Funnily enough, I never read the entire book. I tried several times but for some reason it just didn’t work. Perhaps Caroll was a bit too intellectual for my tastes. Although the book is often regarded as a nonsense tale, author and director Philip Gardiner and co-writer Brian Allan rightly point out in The Initiation of Alice in Wonderland: The Looking Glass of Lewis Carroll that it’s anything but nonsense.

We all know the basic story. Alice’s adventures have become a part of pop culture. The rock group Jefferson Airplane released a hit single “White Rabbit” on their 1967 record Surrealistic Pillow, and the Quantum Physics / New Age movie What the Bleep Do We Know?! (2004) was enhanced and expanded in a 2006 version called What the Bleep!?: Down the Rabbit Hole.

Although I’m reviewing this DVD without having read Alice In Wonderland in its entirety, that doesn’t really matter. If I can enjoy a documentary about a book I haven’t finished, if I can get what the film is saying and learn from it, then that’s a testament to the skillfulness of its creators. And this surely is the case with The Initiation of Alice in Wonderland.

The DVD offers some provocative biographical material on Carroll’s childhood, struggles with his family’s Anglican religion, Oxford days as a respected mathematician, and possible links with the esoterica of Theosophy and the Rosicrucians. It also delves into his controversial pursuits as a photographer, a hobby that seemed to reflect an interest in girls.

The commentary on the considerable controversy around Carroll’s photos of nude or semi-nude girls is noteworthy. Essentially, The Initiation of Alice asks us to bracket our 21st century Western notions of normality and try to imagine things as they might have been in the genteel Victorian circles in which Carroll moved.

This segment should spark heated dialogue around notions of absolute versus cultural morality and I’ll leave it to God to find the right answer to this potentially divisive issue.

After working through Carroll’s biography, the film moves, quite competently, into the imaginary world of Alice. The novel Alice in Wonderland is mostly interpreted from the perspective of contemporary Gnosticism, where several belief systems are said to point to a common inner truth.

On the whole, the analysis of Alice’s underground adventures conforms to the Jungian idea of a collective unconscious where the conventional rules of space and time no longer apply. And like Jung’s work, the concepts of magical, mystical and The Holy are not as clearly delineated as some might hope for.

When exploring the symbolism of Alice’s eating and drinking of unusual substances in Wonderland, for instance, The Initiation of Alice sets up an analogy between the reception of the Holy Eucharist and the imbibing of psychedelic mushrooms.

Gardiner and Allan’s extensive analogical theorizing leaves much room for interpretation and debate. As with C. G. Jung’s work, some would applaud the far-reaching use of analogy while others might not. Regardless of one’s take on this, it would be hard to come away from this film not feeling a little bit closer to Carroll and his amazing imaginary realm.

Just a day before watching this video, I saw the movie The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy for the first time, having made a few unsuccessful attempts to read the Douglas Adams novel on which it was based, and for much the same reasons as Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

Its seems these two great stories – the one set in Victorian England and the other in modern society – have something in common. Both seem silly and nonsensical but at the same time point to political and especially quantum realities that humanity will eventually have to come to grips with.

Altogether, The Initiation of Alice in Wonderland: The Looking Glass of Lewis Carroll is a probing, wide-ranging film that Carroll enthusiasts and interested browsers should learn much from.