The Lovely Bones: The Art of Seeing (II)


By means of the shadow’s crack, the demons cast their evil gaze.
Netra Tantra 19.45-46
(aka "Tantra of the Eye")


Broken Barriers

Susie’s liberation began
once her father flew into a grief-filled rage

Until then
mighty ships were encased
looking pretty but trapped
robbed of the purpose for which they were built

Painful was the shattering
but it was necessary:
An untapped potential was finally released

Ship in a Bottle

It was a cherished ideal, barely understood
grasped tightly ’til the very end:
a ship and a lighthouse
perched upon a scanty bed of blue

While the ship symbolizes mobility
the lighthouse signals its opposite: fixity
A beacon of hope for the weary
lost at sea

But the lighthouse is also a warning
of dangers lurking in shallow waters
unseen but treacherous (for navigation)

like the hard edge of a coral reef

Lighthouse of the Father

This lighthouse (of the father)
guides the beginning of Susie’s journey
as the sun sinks into the ocean
and turns the sky into an orange-blue

The lighthouse (of the father)
guides Susie where earth meets water:
On one side, broken glass
On the other, the jagged beach

The lighthouse (of the father)
prepares Susie for another 
— belonging to her murderer —
swallowed by the dark of night

Human Sundial

The sundial (like the lighthouse)
works by way of shadow and light:

The Sun in the heavens
casts a shadow on earth
that traces the Sun’s movement
as its opposite

The shadow lengthens
when the Sun hugs the horizon
but disappears
when the Sun’s perfectly aligned

This explains
the phenomenon of grasping
and how its power is brought to an end

Vedic Sundial

The Vedic sundial illustrates this
and it’s very easy to make

In the heart of a circle, a rod is erected
It should be twelve Angulas in height
(or approximately 6 to 8 inches in length)

The rod is called Shanku
The name also means shaft or pillar
or a weapon like a spear or arrow
It’s also the name for a bell’s clapper

Sometimes it’s equated with Vishnu:
the principle of consciousness


This was the lesson Susie learned
while she sought refuge in her gazebo:
the shadow is made (along with its grasping)
when the Sun falls on Shanku’s shaft

But there was more:
Demons use the shadow
to feed their hunger
and vent their anger and hate

They invade though chinks in Shanku’s aura
(a sign of moral weakness or lapse in spiritual practice)
using the shadow as a conduit
to target the unprotected


Of course
the lighthouse is but a symbol
In the human energy-system
its equivalent is the organ of the eye

Desire follows the line of sight:
if not controlled or understood
the organs of action will follow suit
thereby creating more harm than good (karma)

Taking refuge
and the practice of sadhana
protects against invading spirits
and the danger of being used as their conduit

Facing the Lighthouse

Susie had no choice but to subdue her yearnings
for the life that might have been

She then had to confront the man
who flaunted this idea of control and
the very rules of human decency

That was the legacy bequeathed to her
the awful karma he left behind:
she was condemned to a non-existence
and banished to the In-Between

To extract herself from that place 
— in her struggle to reach Heaven —
she had to "see" him first

Watching and Hiding

Susie’s "sisters" 
— her other capacities —
helped in that task

The first was Lindsey
who was constantly being watched
(like Susie was plagued by the lighthouse)
The two faces of their haunting

Every time she went out
she felt his eyes on her
from behind curtained windows
and the seat of a darkened car

Her paranoia was a truth unspoken:
For she was being stalked

That Nagging Feeling

Lindsey had become a runner
Boys were her athletic companions

Maybe it was her competitive spirit
or the rush of physical activity
but the nagging feeling refused to dissipate

After she broke away from the pack 
— when she decided enough was enough —
she committed herself to an investigation
and discovered the truth hidden beneath his bed:

a diary of his frightening fixation
the memento that kept his memory alive
and the blueprint for his concealed playhouse
where he fed his appetite (and Susie died)

The Murderer's Vault

While this was happening
Susie found the courage
to enter the murderer’s house as well

But she wasn’t interested in his bedroom (like Lindsey)
or what was secreted beneath his bed
Neither was she was interested in his stalking
What she sought was hidden in the basement, instead

To understand her murder, she needed to witness
his ritual in the darkened room 
his worship of the body locked in his Vault

Only then would the memories come back:
how she screamed bloody murder, her fear turned to hate
how she valiantly tried to make a run for it
and the iron grip that refused her escape

Unseen Burden

This was the terror Ruth carried with her:
the knowledge of what it meant to become a ghost

Usually, it’s not a memory encoded
but a body-feeling, vague and undefined
(like an aversion to physical touch)
in the absence of words, it’s mimed

So, while Lindsey was immersed in athletic activity
and Susie longed for reunion with her dad
Ruth was transformed into the "strange" girl
who preferred her own solitude and
ruminated over the fate of the dead

Trying to remember, she gave up drawing
and took up poetry and writing memoirs, instead

Piss Off

But after Lindsey revealed the murderer’s obsession and
Susie found the Vault in which her body was trapped
Ruth saw the murderer with her own eyes
and the haunted feeling finally made sense:

Desperate to maintain the facade of normality
he discarded all evidence of his crime
dumping the vault containing Susie’s body
into a hole of emptiness, beyond the reach of time

Later, he tried to pick-up where he left off
chatting up a young woman by a secluded diner
But Ruth’s double would have none of it
so she told him to piss off


These three — Lindsey, Ruth and Susie —
are human analogues of the Trika

Their iconography is intricate
(and one of them looks quite terrifying)
but their colors are what’s most important:
Red, Black and White

The elevated goddess is Sarasvati
who once languished between two rivers
She’s the origin of the other two
but also their resolution …

The path of a young girl
triumphant against demons she’s fought


By comparison, Susie’s father had it easier
He wasn’t murdered, and neither was he dead
He had a family to care for and
other obligations kept him tied to earth

Still, his loss was terrible
His marriage almost came to an end
For the death of a child is unthinkable
ushering in an endless pain

He couldn’t be a "hero" and attack his suffering
but neither could it be ignored.
The truth was: there was nothing
that would bring his child back to life

The only path available to him was learning
how to grieve his daughter’s death

Unprocessed Memories

If he wanted to know
the identity of Susie’s murderer 
— or how she was killed —
she left crucial evidence behind for him

Her camera captured the important moments:
the source of her joy and
the cause of her sorrow

One roll in particular predicted her fate:
the murderer was chatting idly
and presented his wife with a flower
while Susie protested her invisibility

For him, these moments remained unprocessed
trumped by the magnitude of a father’s grief
He only returned to them later
at a snail’s pace, one month at a time


But he could honor Susie’s memory
by consciously identifying
what he loved about her

For the father-daughter relationship is unique
as girls teach their fathers about feeling 
— and different ways of being —
rarely seen between men and their sons

Social media is filled with examples of this
of grown men singing and dancing with their girls
developing other sides of their masculinity
thereby, becoming more complete

Which is what he can bring to the table
after his wife is done grieving:
the woman who once left him
returned to his side
once again


*       *       *


For the awakened,
holy incantations charged with the power
of the sacred tremor
work through the senses.
When their power dissolves into the mind,
the tantrika and Shiva/Shakti
become one.
(Spanda Karika 2.1-2)


~ by mistified on October 22, 2014.

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