Saturday, March 27, 2010

Architects of the Imaginal: Movie Star Tulpas

Continuing this old discussion from last year at the inner forum:

Mountainsong commented:

I have noticed that my unconscious uses "stars" to represent certain archetypes in my dreams. One notable one for me is Gene Hackman. The first time I ever saw him was in Bite the Bullet where he protected a horse that was being beaten. He made the bully stop beating the horse and gave him a good thrashing in return...if I remember the movie right. Ever since then he occasionally appears in my dreams as a figure of protection. One time I dreamed that I was standing in front of a wall that was oozing blood because it had murdered people hidden behind it (a pretty good metaphor for repressed memories) and he was protecting me from the murderer who wanted to add me to the people behind the wall.
This seems a good example of something I’ve been trying to get at: the way movies create narratives—with characters embodied by stars—to colonize our unconscious. When we see a good movie, or at least one that affects us personally, we may continue to run through the images, dialogue, characters and situations in our mind for hours or even days afterwards. In a way, we continue to narrate—to live—the story, in and through our consciousness. Think of those people we know—or at least have seen in movies!—who are obsessed with a particular movie and who recite lines of dialogue compulsively. We may only be aware of this happening with certain movies, ones we see more than once and that we choose to make our own, movies that we internalize to such an extent that we feel a personal connection to them, to the actors and filmmakers, and perhaps most of all, to the characters within the story.

When a person dreams—literally or otherwise—of meeting a movie star, aren’t they really fantasizing about meeting the characters the star has played on the screen? Since we have little or no experience of the actor’s actual personality—except through bogus TV publicity, magazine interviews, and suchlike—it’s an inescapable but little remarked on fact that fans are primarily connecting to the characters an actor plays, and not to the actor who embodies them. These characters exist in ways imaginal not actual: first of all, they exist in the mind of the writer who creates them; secondly they exist through the methodology, the emotional, psychological and physical identification, of the actors; and finally, they come into being in the consciousness of the audience itself. Since these characters have no actual existence—save that embodied by an actor, who then sheds the character as a snake sheds a skin—whatever reality they possess pertains to the Imaginal realms, i.e., that of consciousness. In which case, these characters are every bit as real, and maybe potentially even far more so, in our thoughts, memories, and fantasies than they can ever be on the screen. This is the realm from which they emerged and to which they really belong: the realm of the imagination.

Movie characters are drawn from the imaginal pool of the collective consciousness, and to this pool they return. But there is a steady growth or replication process that is occurring. Any given character—let’s say Harry Potter, to use an obvious example—is apparently the product of a single imagination (in this case, J.K. Rowling). Circumstances ensure that said character enters into the collective imagination, through the standard (though rare) process of publication, movie deal, and so forth, until the character is known to just about every teenager on the planet, and even most adults too. What we have seen here is the process by which a single imagination has tapped into the collective and then, echoing this process, the collective taps into the imagination of a single individual. Harry Potter began his existence as a thought-form belonging to one person; he now “belongs” to—has access to—billions of people’s consciousness. All of these people’s imagination is now working with, on, and through the idea of Harry Potter, and through their own personal relationship to “him”—their investment in him (i.e., whatever he represents to them). The influence of Harry Potter on the minds and hearts of children and teenagers (and by extension adults also), then, is immeasurable—it far transcends the influence of a single writer/creator. It is not J.K Rowling, or even her books, that are influencing kids; it is kids’ own imaginative interaction with the narratives and characters that belong to the imaginal world of the Harry Potter books.

This is often described as fanaticism or obsession, a cult phenomenon, and suchlike. Think of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and the degree to which fans have immersed themselves in the “culture”—the mythology—of these books, treating them not merely as if real, but as real. Such fanatical devotion to a set of narratives is like a game of make-believe that becomes as real as ordinary reality, and so ceases to be (merely) a game. When Walt Disney (perhaps the greatest single Tulpa-creator of the 20th century) coined the term “Imagineering”—in 1952—he was decades ahead of his time. The word is only now coming into its own, or rather, we are only now beginning to understand the necessity of such a word to account for the way in which our world, our reality, is created, or shaped, by the imagination, as directed and shaped by mass media. Architects of the Imaginal.

The inevitable question is: what are the effects of allowing these imagineered characters and narratives into our psyches? What is the result of our willing collaboration with the process by which these pop archetypes become active forces in our psyches, and ascend to mythic status? What happens when popular characters of fiction become icons to be observed, admired, emulated, and finally, worshipped—as gods?

In MS’s dream she describes how she created a tulpa, not of the actor Gene Hackman, but of a character played by Hackman (more or less), in some otherwise forgettable movie she saw years ago. We can assume that this thought-form is made up mostly of MS’s own psychic energy, that is, the emotional content, associations, fears, wishes, etc, which were originally invoked by the movie and/or which have built up (around this character and the actor who played him) ever since. So, although the thought-form is her own, having emerged from her unconscious to dialogue with her conscious mind, it has drawn in part its appearance, its flavor—even perhaps it’s intent—from a semi-fictional construct made actual through an actor’s performance. The Hackman (apropos name, since he has “hacked” into MS’s psyche!) tulpa potentially both informs her unconscious (providing symbolic content for it to play with) and draws energy off it. This last idea is key: archetypes (and tulpas are like small-fry archetypes) both feed our consciousness and feed off of it.

This is a difficult concept. There are very few existing models by which to understand these processes. We do not have a science of archetypes, much less of tulpa creation or of psycho-social engineering through mass-media! But it stands to reason that there must remain some connection, however subtle or discreet, between the thought-form visiting MS in her dreams and the original creation of the actor, writer and filmmakers, sourced in a movie MS saw years before. To go back to our first example: Harry Potter is the creation of J.K. Rowling’s imagination, and as such, he can never be entirely independent of it, any more than a human child can be fully separated from its genealogy, no matter how grown up and “independent” it may be.

Quantum mechanics has observed how atoms that interact become “entangled” forever after, creating a constant, instantaneous line of “sympathy” between them, meaning that whatever is done to one affects the other. So how much more so of two atoms that were once a single atom, as is the case with a mother and child, or a creator and thought-form? The basic understanding of quantum physics—and particularly of David Bohm’s holographic universe model—is more or less equivalent to the atavistic notion of sympathetic magik and of an animistic universe. From this view, all things are in relationship to one another and form part of a single web of consciousness. Likewise movies create little mini-realities within realities that are all interconnected, first of all by the actors and filmmakers, but then, of course, in the collective consciousness of the movie-going audience. The culture of movies and mass media forms an Imaginal (but also energetic) web of interconnectivity, an energetic grid which is laid on top of the primary “matrix” of human consciousness. Yet while all the strands of this web lead to the same center, they are not equal in and of themselves. As with any ordinary structure, the interweaving play of sound and light that is the “mass media consciousness grid” requires many key joints, pillars, hinges, and so forth—anything but a random unfolding, it is rather an elaborate, hierarchical infrastructure of power.

Tulpas are designed as archetypal resonators to communicate universal meanings. This is their primary function. But they have a secondary, equally vital (though somewhat more concealed) function, as “hunter-gatherers” and distributors of energy. They are sort of like psychic-magnetic fields hooked into the collective unconscious that siphon off the energy of individual consciousness in order, like vampires feeing on the blood of virgins, to energize and “immortalize” themselves. True archetypes return this vital energy to the Source (the Imaginal realm), for the creation of new forms of life, new expressions of consciousness. Manufactured archetypes—those that come from human agents and agencies, such as Harry Potter—are naturally loyal to their creators. They also return the energy to heir source, only in this case it is a localized, and even personal, source. If you are having difficulty with this concept, think about it in simple, material terms and you can observe a coarser version of this same process. Every time someone “invests” in the Harry Potter narrative by buying a book, audio book, DVD of the movies, or any of the countless items of merchandise connected to the whole franchise, a small percentage of that investment goes to the author, J.K Rowling. A larger slice then goes to the corporations—and the corporate employees—who have “handled” the material: the publishers, film companies, and suchlike. Following the money allows us to visualize the more discreet or refined process by which a tulpa draws off energy from the collective, and distributes it among the various agencies responsible for its creation.

This isn’t simply a matter of tulpas giving a little and taking a little in return. The taking—though generally parasitic—may not necessary be “bad,” any more than our paying money for a book or a movie in itself constitutes a loss or compromise on our part. (It depends whether we get our money’s worth, or most of all, whether we feel like we did.) Nor is the receiving of an imagineered a narrative into our consciousness necessarily advantageous to us. The two processes work hand in hand, as positive and negative poles in a magnetic flow: our investing in a narrative, and our consent to treat it as real and valid in our lives, allows the thought-forms to take hold of our consciousness, and there to transform them, for good or ill.

One primary agenda of paratainment narratives—Harry Potter is a good example here—is that they hijack energy that would potentially be used for our own empowerment or gnosis, redirecting it into surrogate forms of experience, namely, fantasies and wish-fulfillment. People pay to see life-affirming, “feel-good” movies and enjoy seeing “the triumph of the individual spirit against impossible odds.” Although we suspend our disbelief during such movies, and although the ostensible message of is that we, as individuals, can also triumph, that “we can accomplish anything we set out minds to if our hearts are pure,” what we are left with is an infantilized version of the heroic journey that has little or no bearing in our actual, daily lives. For two hours, we get lost in a wish-fulfillment dream-fantasy, at the end of which we must return to our regular lives, and face the fact that such fantasies cannot be applied to reality. So the time and energy that we might otherwise have invested—through our own “imagineering”—into self-transformation (and even good deeds)—has been “spent” on childish narratives that cannot in any way be acted out in the real world. In fact, the closest real-world equivalent of “lone individual triumphing against impossible odds through persistence and determination” is probably for us to become rich, successful, and adored by millions—in a word, movie stars! But this, we also know in our bones, can never be.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Actors as Mediums

Moving on:

Louis Proud posted at the forum:

Given the fact that channeling is extremely draining for the medium, might this explain why some actors frequently have breakdowns, and need long periods of time to recuperate? (Or, as Elvis suggested, require maintenance of a metaphysical nature. In Scientology, one is believed to be influenced by “thetans” (spirits), which cling to one’s body, but are able to be removed using various visualization techniques.)

Mountainsong wrote:

The mediumship of actors does make sense. A lot of them talk about "getting into" their character, but maybe it is their character getting into them! I read how Marilyn Monroe used to walk down the street totally unrecognized if she wanted to be (being just plain Norma Jeane?). But if she wanted to be recognized something would "come over her" and all of a sudden everybody on the street could "see" her. And that the same thing used to happen in the makeup room. She would sit there like a lump, but at camera call she would suddenly light up and beautiful, scintillating "Marilyn" would be there.

This does sound like someone shifting personalities—or even someone who is able to control the movement of “the assemblage point”—Carlos Castaneda’s definition of a sorcerer. Actors are natural sorcerers, yet we rarely hear about the magic of screen-acting so much as we hear of the magic of movies (SFX, historical recreations, etc). I suspect most actors aren’t even aware themselves how they do it. Of course, all actors are trained in specific acting techniques, most famously “the method.” Method acting entails a deliberate manipulation of consciousness in order to summon memories and feelings from the past, to bring them into the present and temporarily transform the persona. Simply put, if an actor needs to cry, he or she will summon a memory of a specific past grief, channeling that experience and the relevant emotions into the scene. Another way of putting this is to say that actors send their consciousness back in time, to a relevant experience, and thereby relive it; from that recondite corner of the past, as it were, they act out the scene, as if projecting it into the present moment, while they (their conscious ego selves) remain in the past. A third way of describing this would be to say that actors allows their past selves to take over their consciousness. This would be more or less like someone suffering from MPD—or someone psychologically reconfigured by mind control techniques—who allows a sub-personality or “alter” to take them over. All of these are ways of describing, in more or less familiar terms, the movement of the assemblage point, i.e., the point where reality (or perception) is assembled. The assemblage point gives us both our sense of reality and our sense of self. If it shifts or moves, both of these change accordingly.

In the sorcery terms of Castaneda, actors stalk both themselves and others; they practice “controlled folly,” in order to direct and alter their perception and cause subtle or profound changes in their reality. Like children who play make-believe and get lost in fantasy worlds, actors conspire—with other actors, directors, and writers, and most of all with their audience—to assemble a new perception of reality that will temporarily replace the old one. Naturally, a good actor would be one who has a flexible assemblage point, a natural propensity for entering into altered states of perception and experiencing parallel realities—in other words, one whose grip on reality is somewhat tenuous.

Actors—especially accomplished method actors such as Robert De Niro—are often described as being ciphers, empty vessels who only come to life (as in the above description of Marilyn) when they hear “Action,” at which point they allow their “character” to animate or “possess” them. The similarity to programmed killers—or more mundanely, to victims of extreme psychological and/or physical abuse—people who remain passive and zombie-like until they receive a trigger command and snap “into character,” is apparent.

This is very different from how acting used to be, however, in the early days of Greek theater. In those days, plays were written and performed to the specific end of healing and catharsis, and the actors usually wore masks (persona being the Greek word for it). This might be seen as the exact inverse of the internalized “method” of modern screen acting, and it brings to my mind Jack Nicholson’s quip about how all he needed to get in character was his costume. Nicholson started out as an intense, brooding, method actor very much of the Brando mode; but, after the first decade of his career, he became less and less of an internal actor, and more and more of a performer, almost burlesque and buffoonish in style, and often self-parodying. Was this a conscious choice on Nicholson’s part in order to survive with his sanity intact yet remain on top of the acting game? Most of the time, Nicholson has traded on his screen persona and always played “Jack Nicholson,” even when he was Satan or the Joker. Was this his way to ensure that he never be possessed by the demons of the unconscious—or by the hidden forces of Hollywood—that might turn him into an unwilling sacrifice?

Marlon Brando, an actor who was close friends and neighbors with Nicholson (and who achieved a similar degree of legendary status), also turned himself into a parody during a key period of his career (the 1960s, when he did so many poor movies and gave several such clownish performances that, by the time of The Godfather, he was considered washed up). After he returned to acting in the 70s, Brando made The Last Tango in Paris and swore never to go that deeply inward for a performance again, stating that it was too painful, that it took too much out of him. After that, he became a sporadic and often laughable presence on the Hollywood screen, and when he did perform, he tended to give extravagant, superficial performances or lazy, cynical cameos (such as in Superman). Brando spent most of his time on his private island in Tahiti, remaining vocally bitter and cynical not only about Hollywood, but about the acting craft in general. His last few years leading to his death were overrun with personal tragedies (his son was accused of murder and his daughter allegedly committed suicide soon after), a real-life gothic narrative that played like the most sensational kind of murder/mystery melodrama.

That was a digression, however. I was trying to entertain how becoming deeply involved in the art of acting—most especially within the ultra-competitive world of Hollywood—might well be recognized (by those in the know) as a dangerous game indeed, and not something to be messed with. Rather like getting mixed up in the world of the occult, for example? Or the sex and drug underworld. Or that of espionage? The risks appear to be scaled precisely in proportion to the potential rewards. If you are willing to offer up one’s entire being, not just one’s body, as a sex object, but also one’s soul, as a vessel for the collective unconscious to express and indulge itself through, then you may have a shot at becoming a living legend, like Brando or Nicholson, to be worshiped as one of the “immortals”— human gods. But, in a strange twist on the old religious traditions, the modern deities that are our screen idols do not receive sacrifice from their worshipers, but rather run the risk of being sacrificed to them.

This fact may relate - in an obscure but meaningful way - to why the casualty rate in the entertainment industry is so disproportionately high.

(Note: This subject was discussed a while back on Shooting the Ghost podcast, here, and here.)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Synchromysticism, Masonic Sorcery Theater, & The Three Narrative Levels

Is it possible, then, that Hollywood—and before even that, the world of modern theater—was conceived and created as a kind of proving ground (and breeding ground), for the recruitment and training of mediums or vessels—fractured personalities—by which the process of thought-form creation and entity possession could be developed and expanded on literally a global scale—and onto a world stage?

Certainly, in the writing of this present work, we should be prepared to entertain this possibility, however far outside the normal view of things it may be.

If this were the case, then the kind of “innocent” mapping of star trajectories and synchronicities between movie roles and plots and themes, etc, so beloved of the synchromystics, would take on a whole new dimension. It would need to be seen as part of a subtler, far-reaching, but somewhat less than “cosmic,” agenda, driven in part by human agencies, towards the end of what Levenda called “induced synchronicity.” In a word, mythic engineering, or Masonic Sorcery Theater.

From such a perspective, the death of Heath Ledger, to cite a handy example, would reveal several, separate but overlapping and intertwined, narrative levels. First of all, there would be Ledger’s personal history, his career path, and whatever process of training (or “entrainment”), grooming, initiation, compromise, and psychological “readjustments” he had to go through, not only to become an accomplished actor but above all to become a star—namely, to be allowed access to the inner realms of celebrity, to act as a chosen conduit for the hormone-fueled adoration of the masses. This aspect of things—Ledger’s progress from little-known Australian TV personality to world famous sex symbol, screen idol, and sacred cash cow for the Hollywood industry—is, to some extent at least, within the public domain of autobiographical fact and factoids. It is the first layer of the narrative, visible to all, at least in part. This narrative would show how Ledger’s own personal struggles for success and for excellence as an actor, led him finally to choose the role of the Joker, a role which offered Ledger a new level of fame, fortune, and recognition, but which presumably played a key factor in his “meltdown” and premature death, and which also won him an Oscar, albeit posthumously. Although there would be many clues, and even strong evidence, for direct connections between Ledger’s career choices, his engagement in the Joker role, and his death, such evidence remains inconclusive, within the realms of “coincidence,” or ironic tragedy, to the average observer.

Beneath this first layer, however, there would be what we might term the “Heath Ledger psy-op,” the sorcery narrative. This would show how Ledger was chosen and groomed from the start, how each and every one of his roles was selected for him as part of a larger, “occult” trajectory of which his life and death consisted. Naturally it could be argued that Ledger’s roles were chosen by him also, to some extent at least; but this would be only so far as he was allowed the illusion of choice. Even when actual human “handlers” weren’t subtly (or not-so-subtly) coercing or corralling him down preselected career paths, there would be subtler forces at work, in and through his psyche, ensuring that he go down these already prepared channels. Although as far as we know, Ledger was not a Scientologist, it’s possible, even likely, that he had some sort of “spiritual” or psychological counseling during this time, and psychiatrists are notoriously used to "handle" a star (as in Marilyn Monroe). Possibly Ledger was even subjected to hypnosis or some other form of covert mind control as part of his "therapy." We cannot know this without doing the research, and so all of this is hypothetical—I am citing Ledger as a possible case study, without having done enough digging to know if he fits the pattern or not. But whatever the case, all of these factors and possibilities would become clear in analyzing the second layer of the narrative.

In the hypothetical case of Ledger, the overall intent of such a series of carefully directed events would presumably be to create a ritual sacrifice, leaving various clues and symbols—archetypal content, as “triggers” for the unconscious—by which the public would be fed a mythic narrative, a blueprint. Such a narrative, just like the movies Ledger acted in but on a much larger (though also more discreet) scale, would be aimed at invoking certain mental and emotional responses in the public, in a word, their psychic investment in the narrative—suspension of disbelief—by which the fake reality being created would become substantially more “solid” and persuasive. In this case, the narrative is of young, beautiful, talented movie star who has “everything going for him” but who flirts with the dark side—both as an actor (admirable) and as a drug-abused (foolish)—and who, consumed by his own darkness, takes his own life. As is so often the case, however, the “suicide” (whether accidental or not, there seemed to be plenty of room for doubt) is shrouded in sufficient mystery to create ambiguity, thereby ensuring that the more discerning (and paranoid) among us suspect “foul play,” and so look deeper into the matter and discover the second layer of narrative. Masonic Sorcery Theater, business as usual.

The final layer is that which the synchromystics are happily propagating, which is how the myth plays out at a higher, transpersonal or fully archetypal level: striking certain notes and melodies that pertain to—reflect back at—the collective consciousness of the species. This aspect of the narrative, the deeper and wider aspect, requires no conspiracy or human/demonic element, either at work or at play—except that, of course it does require it. The puppet needs strings to dance, not just a Master. Jake Kotze and others in the synchromystic movement are so fascinated by the realization that there is a Master pulling the strings that they have come to the premature conclusion that the strings don’t matter at all, or even that they don’t exist, making the puppet and the Master one and the same. There is a level at which this may well be true, but if so, then that is not the level we are at collectively at this time. If you don’t believe me, ask Heath Ledger.

The Heath Ledger “psy-op” is a kind of bridge, then, an area of overlap between ordinary consensus reality—in which everything happens by accident—and that of divinely ordained reality or synchronicity, where everything happens by design. The handlers and sorcerers behind the Ledger/Joker narrative—his rise and fall and everything in between—employ specific symbols and blueprints and advanced psychological/alchemical knowledge in order to imbue the narrative with as much substance and depth, and power and “punch,” as possible. Naturally, they are transmitting powerful universal symbols, even universal truths, via their sorcery and subterfuge. They have no choice but to do so. The thing about symbols and archetypal blueprints is that, in order to be effective, they have to be authentic. They can’t be contrived or invented for the purpose. There are only so many archetypes and narratives which can be employed for false reality creation. So, however much the narrative is being shaped and directed towards socio-political ends of mass control, the elements of the narrative still pertain to the realm of the archetypes and of the divine. In other words, even when false narratives are being created to blind us to what’s behind them, they cannot help but echo and reflect the same deeper reality they are trying to hide.

This is why Hollywood, despite everything, and despite being nothing more nor less than a vast psychological control system, still produces worthwhile movies. It simply can’t help itself.

Friday, March 05, 2010

The Hollywood Entity Smorgasbord

After Heath Ledger’s death, Jack Nicholson made the cryptic remark: “I warned him.”

What exactly did Nicholson warn Ledger about? It seems likely, given the context, that Nicholson was referring to the potentially deranging effects of playing a psychopath with such extreme qualities as the Joker. The Joker is not merely a psychopath but an archetypal psychopath: in the ranks of popular cultural thought-forms or 20th century tulpas, he is practically a god. (Research for the first Batman movie claimed that the bat insignia was the second most recognizable symbol to kids, after the smiley face.)

If I am right in presenting the idea that fictional creations become semi-autonomous, even semi-conscious, entities within the Imaginal realms, via the psychic energy we give to them (an idea Neil Gaiman plays with in Sandman, and Alan Moore with Promethea), then presumably, the more popular a character becomes—the more narratives are spun around it—the “stronger,” the more powerful and autonomous, the tulpa would become? Think of Father Christmas or Jesus Christ. Whatever odd mix of myth, legend, and historical fact lies behind these characters, they are profoundly real in their effects, and not just in our psyches but through our actions. Parents even pretend to be Santa to maintain the illusion.

In The Manson Secret, Peter Levenda touches on the parallels between method acting (the Stanislavsky method) and the creation of “alters” via mind control programming—in other words, between the assumption of roles as a performer, and the fragmentation of the psyche as seen in multiple personality disorder, etc. In the old days, however—and even today in more shamanic cultures—what we term schizophrenia and “MPD” would more likely be understood as a kind of entity-possession. When trauma—either induced via abuse or other forms of “handling” or self-induced via drugs, magikal rituals, or acting techniques—creates an opening or fracture in the psyche, external forces can enter in and assume control of that psyche. One could also say that, by tapping into the unconscious mind, suppressed and disowned aspects of the psyche—both daimonic and demonic—emerge and take over consciousness. The shamanic view sees the forces as external and demonic, the psychological view sees them as internal, pertaining to the psyche. But the basic description is the same, as is the end result: loss of control, madness, despair, or, in rare cases, initiation and illumination, and maybe an Oscar-winning performance!

I already described how actors might be chosen as vessels or conduits—“strange attractors”—by which psychic energy could be drawn off and redirected toward the creation of thought-forms. These thought-forms would not be under the control of the actor, much less the audience (whose psychic energy they are made up of), but rather that of a third, unseen element: a power, let’s say, hidden behind the scenes. Thus these thought-forms would seem to be autonomous, since they are being directed by an outside intelligence independent of their apparent source. Something similar may occur in the cases of MPD and indeed, of actors submersing themselves in a role. It almost indubitably does occur in the case of mind control victims.

When an “alter”—a fragmented aspect of the psyche that has been compartmentalized and become independent—is created, it is effectively cut off from the controlling intelligence of the psyche. Since nature abhors a vacuum, something is inevitably drawn to fill the space, to take hold of the disowned fragment, and to steer and direct it, perhaps even to inhabit it. So in behavioral modification, a subject’s fragment “alter” is programmed and trained as a spy, assassin or sex slave, and this becomes its whole identity and function. Essentially it is then acting upon—as an embodiment of—the will of another, external agency. The same can be said, in religious terms, when demons possess a body and “oust” its soul: a person becomes split into two or more personalities, one of which remains unconscious of the other, and so they begin to act out their “Shadow” in aberrational ways. We say of such a person that they are “possessed,” or are “not themselves,” or simply that they are “out to lunch.” Shamanically speaking, entities (which may themselves be thought-forms created by the person, or by others connected to them, such as “ghosts,” “ancestors,” and suchlike) await such an opportunity to assume control of a person’s psyche and inhabit their body. This can occur in dramatic ways—crimes of passion, mental breakdown, etc—or in subtler but far more prevalent ways, such as compulsive behavior, substance addiction, sexual abuse, and suchlike.

Of all the feeding grounds we might imagine for entities, it’s hard to conceive of a richer, more abundant and varied one than that of Hollywood—where compulsive and extreme behavior is the norm, and where the creation and assumption of alternate personalities and the weaving and pursuing of fake narratives—the deliberate disassociation from reality—is the nature of the business.