Heroes of 2012
In 1996 George dreamed:
Billy Bean is the darkest kid in the world. His body can withstand incredible radiation. He's a mystic. His neighborhood is very poor. He lives in a small house at the end of a dead end. He points to a spot on the ground where he says he sees a demon. This scares me a little and I back away. His whole life is one long hallucination, all of it amazing and true.
The dead end of Billy Bean’s street is a boundary between spirit & matter. It is where the body is a portal to spirit; where the light of consciousness is brightest and radiates unobstructed by ego; where metaphor becomes fact.
Being “the darkest kid in the world,” Billy Bean is hidden from ordinary consciousness. He is repressed, concealed in the umbra of the Shadow.
Billy Bean is also an undervalued and overlooked aspect of the Child; an archetypal child who has been too sensitive to participate in consensus realities. Billy Bean’s extreme receptivity is the feminine attribute at the core of mysticism. As such, he is the dynamo in both the schizophrenic and the mystic. He is so far removed from ordinary ego consciousness that people sometimes manage him by assigning him an alternate personality, for example, Jung & Philemon, Rose Mary Pillowwater and myself, and the legions of mystics who refer to themselves as ‘me & my spirit guide(s).’
In modern times, people in whom Billy Bean was active were seldom collectively relevant. The Internet has changed that, subverting collective demons to bring Billy Bean to center stage before a global audience. But there are still demons all around him, like the one in the dream that prompts George to back off from Billy Bean. The demon symbolizes a complex that was stifling George’s mystical nature. This article, “The Heroes of 2012,” is an exposé of such complexes, complexes that deny mystical truth.
One such complex is socio-genetic. Consider the following group of male peers known to a friend of mine. She relates that their primary means of social interaction with each other is intellectual argument. Since they talk over or around women, she assumed they are chauvinists. But in time, she came to appreciate that their actual intention is not to exclude women, but to dominate other men – dominate them in argument like rams butting heads in the spring.
In males & females alike, Billy Bean may be shadowed by the need to appear to be in the right; to have godlike authority over reality and/or another person.  Also alienating Billy Bean is the attitude bespoken by, “They said I couldn’t do it, but I proved ‘em wrong,” evidencing that not appearing inferior is a great motivator. Underlying such motivation is the stigma of being a fool. Like all children, Billy Bean is closely related the Fool. 
Billy Bean is exiled by a range of attitudes and behaviors that defy the Fool (and so are doubly foolish): egoism, elitism, resentment (even of evil), arrogance, didacticism, flaunting drug use, using mystical experience as social currency, and being pretentious about occult knowledge. As an example of the last, a friend related this sincere quote overheard from a young man: “We used to brew kombucha in our apartment – it was very shamanic.”
Obsession with living in divine Light precludes the subtle and incredible beauty that comes from Billy Bean’s darkness. Billy Bean is invisible where there is more interest in putting forth an agenda than in sincere dialogue. He is alien to those who are hyper-intellectual, hyper-critical or overly poetic. Predictions and expectations repel him. Consider this dream, which remarks on the worth of predictions:
11/28/09: A guy is telling a story, building it up to a dramatic conclusion, reaching a fever pitch just before disclosing the big revelation: the groundbreaking, apocalyptic news of 2010: WE ARE GOING TO STOP USING VOWELS! It is sort of true because, slowly, we all begin to notice that we are all pushing air out of our butts, in a continuous stream, louder and louder – speaking anally instead of vocally, with bowels instead of vowels. We are able to do this by directing the air flow properly. The room is humming with sound, as if we are hummingbirds. Wow.
My aunt comes and everyone but me stops farting. She asks, “What’s that sound?” Everyone laughs. I go up close to her, still farting.
In waking-life as in the dream, I don’t always know when to stop being silly. Indeed, sometimes fear and loathing cannot stop laughing, which is another obstacle to Billy Bean. Still another is engaging in apophenic babble, for example:
“The positioning of the passengers in this subway car spells ‘Capricorn’ – my starsign - in semaphore, which, when arranged backwards at Machu Picchu on the solstice, produces a shadow with the shape of the teeth on a key that opened a door to a secret chamber in a Russian basilica that was named after a dancing monk of whom Jerry Garcia got a tattoo on my birthday.”
The man who wrote that was George - the same George who had the opening dream about Billy Bean. George also had the following dream, in 1998, shortly after a series of life-changing mystical experiences:
There is a film a crazy man made aboard an alien ship. He is pretty into the fact that the alien-conspiracy was true and he is the one bringing it to us. About him, a female nurse says into my ear, “He has the hyper movements of someone who wasn't allowed to say the penis word.”
The film aboard the alien ship is a metaphor for the story of George’s mystical experiences; for his communion with God. Having communed firsthand with the living object of monotheism confirmed for George, beyond all doubt, the dubiousness of overculture, especially religious culture. Despite his instinct to use this confirmation to undermine religion, he lacked the expressive power to follow through on it with any grace, evidenced in his craziness and “hyper movements.”
“The penis word” is expressive power – power which George possessed neither before nor after his mystical experience. But feeling personally validated by God gave George so much confidence in himself that his latent power would surge suddenly, symbolized in the “hyper movements” of the dream. The nurse personifies the healing that would bring balance to George’s power, and return him to Billy Bean.
Billy Bean made George’s mystical experience possible. Claiming spiritual authority, as George did after the mystical experience, blotted out Billy Bean. In a word, George’s mystical experiences made him zealous.
Though zeal feels empowering and emboldening, it is an expression of powerlessness and fear. Zeal is aggressive. Zeal turns spiritual truth into a weapon. As such, zeal elicits satire, sarcasm and irony. Zeal can’t take a joke.
Zeal may see the gratuitous & be blind to subtlety. Zeal may be both too positive & too negative. Zeal may be flippant. Zeal may ape reverence. Zeal may be regimenting, rigid and self-referential. It may be exclusionary. Zeal may speak of ascension more than descent – of spirit more than soul. Zeal may speak too loudly and testify incessantly. Zeal may be a front for reservoirs of depression prone to spill, like oil.
Zeal may refuse mystery and ambiguity, and does insidiously when it says, “Now is the time: either you are coming with us to the New World or you are going to wither in your attachments to the old one.” Zeal may put its foot down, oblivious to flux, and make statements that begin, “From now on…” Zeal may say, “Oh, really?! You think you know what is going on, but you don’t know squat!”
Enthusiasm may express zeal, even if it is for liberation, alternative realities or entheogens.
In the Marian National Shrine in Washington DC, there is a chapel with a black statue of a hooded monk with bowed head, and an inscription that reads: “Your zeal will be destroyed.” Hallelujah!
Zeal is the Hero’s bane. The Hero archetype informs all spiritual warriors and evolutionaries to some extent. The Evolver Movement is in as heroic a position as any, being what may be the vastest collective of evolutionary acuity on the planet. Any degree of heroism the movement carries is bound to meet its match in the Trickster.
At any step, the Trickster may make a Fool of the Hero, or anyone who thinks reality should be nailed down (like Christ). Through the Trickster, destruction becomes creation. The Trickster is a boundary breaker.  The Trickster is that which makes Paradise possible out of seemingly insoluble chaos. S/he is amoral – set apart from good & evil, which belies his/her association with Paradise.
The Trickster is a face of God. The Hero is a face of man. When God is in the role of Hero, he is crucified. Such is the fate of the Hero. Godspeed, spiritual warrior.
In the zeal-spawning world, the sacred is profane, happiness is sad, people are disposable, overculture enslaves, and the feminine conspires in the masculine’s war with itself. Few mystics have historically had any place in such a world. Often, they abandoned it to live with God on the metaphorical mountaintop. Today, however - through global interconnectivity - mystical sensibilities are bringing the mountaintop to the collective. On this theme, George had this dream in 1998:
At night, an Indian holy man comes down from a mountain to join a caravan that moves across the desert at night. He goes there to die. Dead bodies are dragged along. He lies down in his place among them, and lets himself be dragged with the others.
The corpse-laden caravan crossing the desert at night was a procession of collective change – albeit less conscious in 1998 - which began readmitting holy men & holy women back into society, as healers, shamans, thinkers, dreamers, psychonauts, artists, sages, teachers, yogis, dancers, singers, soul-workers, spirit-workers, sex workers, alchemists, empaths, occultists, psychotherapists, et al; leading Billy Bean out of poverty to the banks of the mainstream. These holy women & men are digging graves for ignorance; they are making the limitless blue noosphere accessible to all; they are undermining patriarchy as effortlessly as water finding its level; they are tending the fire by which cosmic transformation tells its story. They are the end of an old world & the beginning of a new one. Nothing could be more heroic than what they do, yet the moment a person self-identifies with heroism, it perpetuates more heroism, which can never get past the Trickster.
Jung said that the Trickster, as an intercessor between the human & divine, “is a forerunner to the savior.” This was as true in ancient history as it is when contemporary people ‘look for God’ as it will be in the future when people look for Paradise. They are as guided by the Trickster as they are by their intentions.
Heroism is a vehicle to Paradise, but is denied entry. Heroism’s fate is Moses dying in sight of the Promised Land after wandering in the desert for 40 years. Heroism is a barrier between humanity & Paradise because Paradise is heroless. The final crossing there is in the amoral tracks of the Trickster. Paradise is steeped in the amorality of music, dance, art, beauty, eros, wisdom, nature, sensuality, and so forth.
Jesus’s death was the death knell of the antagonism between Hero and Trickster. With his resurrection into a heroless Paradise, the Trickster becomes something new, and has new names: Billy Bean, Rose Mary Pillowwater, Philemon, et al, eternal personalities who have forever awaited awakening.
 In Gnosticism, using authority egocentrically is a supreme wickedness.
 Speaking for myself, I love being the Fool. I love being stupid. In my view, the receptivity, sweetness, and femininity of stupidity need not only to be educated and appreciated, but honored. I hate that stupidity is stigmatized. Only the ignorant stigmatize stupidity. Billy Bean is an ultimate measure of stupidity. He is so ‘stupid’ that he simultaneously sees the spiritual & material.
 Some of the ideas about the Trickster are colored by Lewis Hyde’s Trickster Makes This World.
Image by Vilseskogen, courtesy of Creative Commons license.Tweet