Paparuda – Manifestations Of The Imaginal

Paparuda – Manifestations Of The Imaginal

Customs House. Part of Vivid Sydney 2013.

Customs House. Part of Vivid Sydney 2013.

We are sitting in the best restaurant in Merlin’s home town.

It stretches over two floors and looks over the main square. We are the only ones in there.

On the advice of the understandably over-attentive waitress, we order a pinot noir… a Romanian pinot noir.

(Best restaurant in the town, you say?)

My reservations aren’t really to do with the location -I already like Hungarian wine and besides, the Romans managed to grow vines in Northumberland.

It’s that the Romanian was the second-cheapest wine on the menu, which invariably is the one with the highest margin because customers order it the most.

The wine arrives. It’s called Paparuda.


On the drive into town the day before, after a visit to Glastonbury, I had been attempting to explain my drought entangling story to my partner. Then, after realising the wine is good, I read the bottle.

The Paparuda is an ancient Romanian rain ritual performed either in the Spring or in times of severe drought. Wearing a grass of knitted vines, a dancing girl is accompanied through the village by singing, shouting locals intent on securing fertility for the season ahead.

You always know a sentence is going to be amazing when it includes “according to wikipedia”, but according to wikipedia, the Paparuda derives from the name of a Thracian deity.

In the comments on the previous post, there is some discussion about whether there is any predictive utility to the conflation of symbols around Marble Arch. But the same discussion could be posed here. To which my response would be:

What is the predictive utility of a footprint?

All we can tell from a footprint is that something left its mark here. Not where it was going or why. If you’re a tracker wizard, you may be able to get a bead on the species. Something and definitely not nothing left its mark.

You are, of course, welcome to go round in circles trying to unpack the significance or ‘meaning’ of your own syncs, but as far as I am concerned, it’s a fool’s errand. (It may literally be THE Fool’s errand, in a tarot sense.) Falling down this rabbit hole, you will reach opinions of what your invisible friends ‘like’ and how they ‘sound’. You may end up with your own neat little 777.

pap 4

Customs House again. The ‘entry point’ into Old Sydney.

But we live in a world where the invisible manifests in new and unpredictable ways. Apollo is in your comic books. Egyptian Gods pilot the Enterprise. Thracian harvest goddesses appear on tables in Wales. Fuck knows what organised a statue of a mass murderer on land soaked in centuries of criminal ghosts. Newer manifestations present considerable challenges if one wishes to work backwards through them toward contact, to be sure. But it’s also not the point. It’s misreading the footprint. If you use a cell phone, why not your gods? Would we really prefer they stand in the corner holding that bushel of wheat?

The predictive utility of the footprint lies in the irrevocable realisation that there are other beings playing the MMORPG at the same time as us… and for very different reasons and in very different ways. It relativises (some might say “shatters”) your belief in what’s really going on. I’m reminded of this quote from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas:

Jesus said, “Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All.”

It is a magnificently concise depiction of the… shall we say… “spiritual nausea” that precedes gnosis.

This year's non-physical summit was held in NYC.

This year’s non-physical summit was held in NYC.

But it also describes a ‘best case’ journey of the weird:

  1. We notice something isn’t quite right with what we’re told about reality. It jars with our experience.
  2. We investigate… or at least notice these things.
  3. We pile up these ‘things’ until they collapse first the materialist world we are sold by people and things who definitely do not have our best interest at heart.
  4. Then secondly, the ‘nicey nicey’ spiritual one we replace it with, where everything is joy and you can just wish for things.
  5. Then we get to that ‘astonished’ bit. The terrible revelation. The irrevocable dissociation between you and your meatsuit.
  6. After that, you can just play in the mud with your newfound superpower or carry with your spiritual exploration because it all means nothing. (Recall that Crowley said “the Buddha should have known better.”)

This would be what the Marquis de Sade meant when he told King Mob, “there is only ever one revolution”.

So that’s the utility of the footprint, slapped down bare and wet in the soaking Romanian soil. It’s not predictive.

It’s something much better.



Add yours
  1. 1

    As a young man I occasionally had delusions that I’d figured it all out. Now, decades later, although I know a lot more than I did back then, I realize I haven’t figured out shit. But I’m much better at improvising successfully.

    With all this high-speed, high-volume instantaneous and continuous flow of information going on, things have just gotten too… postmodern… for lack of a better term, to expect manifestations of the unseen intelligences to conform to our expectations. Don’t even be the least bit surprised when Hermes — by whatever nome de guerre he’s sporting in the moment — shows up with an iPad.
    Scribbler´s last blog post ..Having my Miss Gradenko moments

  2. 2
    Andrew B. Watt

    I’m reminded of your columns, now several years old and deep in the back catalogue, about years like 146 BC, when the walls fell between cultures, and things that might never have touched, suddenly touched. When Druids and Dravidians, Egyptians and Etruscans mingled on the streets of Rome, put their esoterica on the table and said, “this is our stuff… what you got??”

    It’s imperialism, to be sure. I’d no more lay out a veve than I would build a nganga — at least in part because of another of your columns, about not trespassing — but it doesn’t mean that others wouldn’t, or that others wouldn’t teach them. As one of those Enterprise commanders reminds us, “Shaka, when the walls fell.” Walls are falling all over the place… but when walls fall, the defenders of those walls usually respond with tear gas and rubber bullets and worse.

    A footprint is a kind of proof, isn’t it? Or a clue. As the story of Hermes reminds us, sometimes the cows’ feet have been magicked to point backwards, leading us away from the cave rather than towards it, so we fail to find Apollo’s herd… but there’s sweet music for those who find the treasure! And joy in being the listener to the lyre, and the lyre’s maker, and in being the man who buys the lyre.

    One person in his life plays many parts, and has his entrances and exits… and a footprint here and there may matter to them that come this way next…
    Andrew B. Watt´s last blog post ..Tai chi Y2D85: slowed down

  3. 4

    “If you use a cell phone, why not your gods?”
    Hey, could I use this quote in some future short story and novel? With proper credit to you, of course.

    BTW there is something wrong with your site, at least for me. The first post that appears is that Genghis Khan post, and I noticed that it doesn’t sync with your twitter feed or comments. It seems that it shows front page as it was a week ago, not updating it.

  4. 5
    Cory Panshin

    I’m having the same problem as Johnny. After a week of clicking on your site and seeing nothing but Genghis’s smiling face, I suddenly find three new posts at once. Very odd.

    That aside, I believe it’s the case that none of the standard “fortune-telling” systems are actually predictive. Not the Tarot or the I Ching or any of them. At best, they illuminate the workings and interconnections of What Is — which is a far subtler and more difficult matter than most people take it to be.

    I’m also reminded of one year when I was living on a farm and five pairs of Canada geese came along and divided up the territory for their nests — including one that staked a claim to a patch of grass directly outside the barn door and wouldn’t let anyone by. We human are so used to thinking we control the landscape that it is very odd to suddenly realize there are other beings for whom we are simply a part of that landscape, to be either used, ignored, or warded off as suits their purposes.
    Cory Panshin´s last blog post ..Fire Hackers and Cosmic Dreamers

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