Rev., Aug 6, 2018.
This is another “deep summer” piece, deep summer ends midnight, Aug 13-14. The essay makes use of a model of hypnagogy featuring five stages–entoptic, glass onion (symbolic), the lattice, whoosh/wormhole and REM deep dream state. With encircling by further out Ambient hauntings, and, then, even further out, Sentient hauntings, at the level of tinnitus
I am going to declare the discovery of yet another new state of light sleep hypnagogy, which I will call, to emphasize the rhyming nature of the relationship between the two sides of the musing, toad-road formations. This occurs–and I experienced it last night, from about one to three in the morning–after a period of insomnia , when one “falls asleep,” but only lightly, and then without plot or story, there is a visual element, but it consists simply of, in a bookkeeping double-column way, from up front here to back behind there, a kind of mirror image, the eye and mind appraising the image from one spot and then from the other spot, and that keeps up for hours, then one wakes up. As with other forms of light sleep this comes with presque vu as one does keep at it under the conviction that it means something very important to figure out the difference between the front image and the back image, and that is that. Since the internal dynamic of this fugue state is binary, I will place it at the level of the glass onion, with one image placed in one part of the zigzag of adjunct space, and the other in the other.
the circular arrow means that the spacing of it does not swing round, but like an accordion or the twist of a camera lens, it just focuses on the foreground, and then the background, trying, I suppose, to discern difference between the two.
At present, I do not know how much this shows up in the visuality of horror movies. But, there was a moment in Rattlers (1980), where a woman is terrified by what she sees in her bedroom, snakes all over, and then she runs out, and when she does, it is past a picture of horses, a panoramic picture which speaks to the poltergeisting power of the snakes to chase her from the house, but also a power to screw back at them and remove them with horse power. In fact, in the toad road situation last night, I was looking at a large horizontal brown painting of just this sort, looking at it from far off, then looking at it from close up, and hoping that it would reveal a secret
The idea for calling this the toad-road formation came to me because in the movie, Toad Road (2012). In it, Sara both describes what she has learned of the gates to hell on the internet, as she approaches them; but, then, as they go through them, she describes them again, in more detail, fleshing out what is really happening. That simple before-after reflective structure, also typical of votives of a certain sort, and of all art’s grasp of life in terms of its agency, is what one gets in this sort of light dream state. Therefore, I name them toad-road formations.
But, now, having set up the Toad road phenomenon as happening in a light-dream adjunct space
this raises the question of where the actual toad road, said to consist of the seven gates of hell, is, hypnagogically (for, their passage is shown in a very dreamy way), and if toad road formations are, in fact, the entry to these gates.
First of all, there is in the movie what I call the “toad road” state of hypnagogy, a simple shuttle back and forth between a sight of a thing, and then a sight of its working out in a more intense way, that is, between Sara’s description, before they head in, of what happens at the first gate
and, then, later, what she actually narrates as it is happening, when they go in
which seems kind of the opposite
except, in the second case, there is a pulling at you
(this pulling at you rings of the H.P Lovecraft story, The Thing on the Doorstep, when the hero complains of some outside force pulling on him). The toad road dynamic is a moving back and forth, between the one and the other, for hours, like you are examining two copies of the same picture, with changes (see The Ninth Gate), THAT, for hours, is the Toad Road light dream state
but, in both cases, before and after, she describes two sensations which parallel the way that Ambient forces interact with you. They watch you, that is, you are paranoid that there are forces out there circling around you, paying special attention to you (a common trope); but, then, also, they are pulling at you. So, in addition to the basic shuttle formation of reagency in the toad road dream state, this has to be tethered to a watching-pulling mechanism, coming in on you and taking out of you, at the Ambient stage, with the watching being the upper or closer level sensation, and the pulling being the lower or farther off sensation
in describing the actual feeling of walking through the first gate, profiled her by classic entoptic forest effects, she mentions as well that this pulling at you will tear you to pieces. That is, THIS is a further dimensional pull, and I have located the source of this level or degree of paranoia, to the extent that you think you are being pulled apart, as coming in from the Sentient zone, so, this toad road state is not only pulled at by Ambient forces, but likely attacked by Sentient psalliction (tearing apart) forces too
and the graph
So, that, overall, is the full “toad road” dream state formation, it is a double layer, three ring set up, with the outer rings pulling at, then tearing at the inner structure, as such
and it might be that it is by the pulling, and the tearing, that one’s lightly dreaming mind experience is part of the psychological momentum that makes the road feel like a road, or a series of gates, the passage through the gates then being the point where it passes from hypnagogy to transhypnagogic. Ambient and Sentient states, outlying it.
But, now, she pauses, and while in both cases here, both in the prelude, and in the experience of it, the second gate is about hearing things.
this places the second gate lying outside the grounding source of the first gate, in the adjunct spaces of the glass onion; but grounded a further zig zag on, and since this places the action of its reagency entirely out in the Ambient zone, it transforms it into sound. I think the myth of Echo and Pan and Pan hearing Echo in all things takes place out here, where there is Ambient noise. But, then, too, it pulls, as the sentient intrudes as a sound force that takes a wind noise and makes it sound not like the wind, that is, one reads auditory hallucinations into it, arriving at the tinnitus point
especially important for me is that she says the ground begins to give off voices. I have seen this trope, this summer, in Cthulu Mansion (1999), the plants thrown to the floor, but then screaming; and explored it as yet without determination in myths where so many nymphs are rescued from Zeus’s rapes by being dragged under the ground, and in the case of Pan’s pursuit of Echo in particular, Earth saved her, then covered up the spot where he did that with reeds, which Pan then tore up the reeds and then her voice plaintively echoed in them, for them to become Pan’s flutes. This can only be the line-base of the glass onion zone, on top of the lattice, sound begins to open it up
this also apparently involves a dive deep into REM dream state where one meets one’s mother and father and what they say about you, and you hear that in this loosening of the soundscape
then, the third gate is when you start to seeing things, and the voices become faces. Where is this? I think this marks a stage where one steps a bit further out into the Ambient, but since faces are involved, and noises converted into seeing things, this means that one has stepped down to a heavier level, centered on the lattice, which I guess is your face, so everything flows from that, and thus an agency develops in adjunct ambient space outside of the lattice where it reaches up to take back in sound to convert that into the heavier currency of face
and especially true detail here as to the entirely visual ambient nature of this cirling, or opening up, is that even if you close your eyes, they are still there, which characterizes them as hypnagogic.
then, importantly, as we are introduced to the fourth gate, we see the ground, the forest floor, and this is the level at which everything begins to die
the leaves die, the trees blacken, things cave in.
and in my system, nothing can get to the deathlike, without going through the whoosh (vertigo spiral, fourth stage), and then being pulled wide in a sentient way, like this, this is where I locate the fourth gate, whoosh adjunct sentient space, pulling all that out
she might even predict a far out trans-sentient space where things freeze
and her comment
but the interesting part is, in spite of the cold, one still feels warm, and with power, so you can keep going. What THIS means is that whatever this stage does to one’s surroundings, in terms of one’s perception of them, one’s ground in this gate is still connected with the whoosh one is experiencing within
but, most importantly, the movie, in fact, at this point tries to visualize this split. At first, we see an effacement of the usual effects of the hypnagogic trees, now it has all frozen
and then she looks IN from out in the freeze, to where it comes from, and it “breaks,” as if breaking ice, in an affect I have only elsewhere seen in one other movie, it is a disturbing dysmetropsia, in the form of her face looking over him, and over the trees, and the freeze
and this is where they are, vis a vis that moment of break. He is out in the sentient zone, where it freezes (J), and he feels that; she is still in control, warm within herself, and therefore grounded in the spiral of the whoosh (S), but by having to see her and look at her for her to as it were ambiently spin over the freeze he has to look through the spins of getting there and upon the return view this is what cracks and splits and causes that effect
now comes the fifth gate, both before and here, she says no one has ever got past the fifth gate. He, in fact, at this point, drops out, and is bounced back out into reality
while she goes on, but here
time begins to change, memory falls by the wayside, with every step
you get lost, you don’t know where you want to be, there is no present, past, or future
but, again, he drops out, and comes out of the woods at this point, she continues on, This, of course, in my thinking, is where you slide into deep REM dream state, and it is at that threshold, as clarified here, that time and space, which are the coordinates of all stages above and inside that prior to this, now drop away, so you are in an “underworld” where all that is gone
now, when he comes back in, and up to consciousness, he experiences that “hell,” as times has passed, but not in the way he has imagined it, it’s been months, moreover, the forces of stage five have come in against life and torn the scene he was part of all up, everyone has moved on, then, too, he is circled ambiently by threat, some people think he killed her, and on it goes. Interestingly, there is no sixth gate in this version, that must be the consequences of the fifth gate, total confusion.
or, she might be the sixth gate, the one who had more stuff than he thought, who lead him in, and who stayed the course, but then to disappear; so that might be it, Sara, in silhouette
there is, later, in this telling, a memory he has, possibly indicating that the sixth gate is when the world at last does in fact entirely tear you apart, and you as you disappear, it is a bloody image of, apparently, her, it is unclear
in which case, sixth gate would be trans-sentient, and have to whirl in with violent force, to make her disappear in a bloody way
and then the seventh gate is like death itself, beyond even REM, death as becomes a reality, in the manner of the Romans, ostensive REM, fallling out through it, into absolute nothingness
and this is, as I have described before (see treatment of Argento’s The Stendhal Syndrome (1996)), the gate that is guarded by Mercury, in Roman sarcophagi
And after you go through that gate, you leave all sense of time and space, and presence and sense, and self and other, and just dissolve into absolute nothingness
and floating in the great black void of the ultimate solitude
So, as I have walked through it here, the Seven Gates of Hell, lying outside Toad Road in back of a mental isntitution outside of York, Pennsylvania, is simply another reiteration of the passage of the mind, though by a more south-southeasterly direction, that is, diagonially, through afjunct space into adjacent space, then slowly sinking out into Ambient and Sentient space and beyond.
It is also the same process, mapping as it does over Roman ideas of death, as the experience of other altered states, which could include my own dizzy spells. That is, I have this month, in deep summer, at last mapped out the Eldritch formation, which is a double-loop of dysmetropsic whooshing through the central spin, resulting in the ability to see into dream (ophthchthony). I, at present, understand the Eldritch formation to be related to an early symptom I had in my 20s, involving late at night my body freezing, as I was reading, then the whole visual plane flipped, like a turned-around telescope, so that the book I was holding looked like it was very tiny, very far away, but then I could look through that distance and read the whole page of a book in one second, and with total comprehension, and it went on like that for a while, then it broke. I now also think this syndrome, which stopped when I was about 29, still set up and indicated that I would have restricted upward gaze-peripheral vision problem and wobbly dizziness in my 60s. That is, I see my dizziness modeled in stages, as a reflection of that. That is, when I go into Stage Two, I experience a complete break in my vergence skills, and fall as if pulled by a hook violently right or left. But, then, in Stage Three, which is, admittedly, in my life as now lived, all but sedentary, extremely rare, I do in fact float in a black void (this also happens in the dark), and feel entirely detached from all connection to earth and time and anyone else and so entirely disoriented in an existential state of the ultimate solitude that I completely fall to pieces in, and have to sleep it off. So, there is a strange parallel between this model above, and my experience of the dizzies vis a vis the Eldrtich formation in the core space.
which is most curious.
That, then, is my working out of the Seven Gates of Hell, in York, PA, as described in Toad Road (2012), it is, in my view, a standard psychogeographical perception of a place, but, it parallels a process of the dreaming mind emptying out to death, from a hypnagogic state, through Ambient and Sentient space, sinking toward a far out slide into all but the Roman land of the dead.
And, of course, THIS is why the coda to this movie is so horrible, it all but MANIFESTS as stepping out of the fiction into real life, in the life of the actress who was Sara, and is named Sara, it all but makes of her the goddess, that is, Persephone, who goes to death, she dies, making it all real, she passed, for real, through the seventh gate (no other movie can get this seventh gate in this ostensive recoil because it is unlikely a movie will cause them to die, though there is the issue of snuff film). (ie Sara Ann Jones died of a drug overdose between the filming and the release of the movie).
for this reason, in devising motives, and not simply that she died by accidental overdose, I have to canonize SAJ as a kind of psychopomp, or at least one of Diana’s nymphs, in my mythology.
To sum up. According to this model, if read literally, you can only get through the seven gates of hell, then out, if you enter in by way of the oscillation of the toad road effect in gate one and two, in the glass onion stage; then drop down to the lattice for the third, then the whoosh for the fourth gate; and then you must brave Ambient and Sentient space, only at the bottom or most outermost part of that, to slide into stage seven, then, pop out. My guess is that he could only get to gate five, and most people only get there, because, without drugs, human resistance to that state, as we seem to require space and time to maintain our coordinates (this also posits the something that happened in nymph caves, not all benign, which experiencers then wanted to distance themselves from in votive models) was too great, so he popped out. She was likely able to tolerate movement into it, by way of drugs. But, then, it might be that dropping into that, SHE, on drugs, became the sixth gate, trapped, confused, in hell, and it is there that she disappeared, leaving him beached back short of gate five, but to suffer the ultimate solitude of gate seven, that is, missing her, and being with her, grief at loss of her. At present, I argue that THIS SEQUENCE is therefore required, as a lead in, to actually experiencing real death, as experienced, moreover, this could be, that is, hypnagogics plus, could be the model for all intitiation ceremonies and levels, leading to the same. It might also be a model that is reflected when people say they died for a few minutes, and saw heaven–or hell.