Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Higher Ground

The conditions were finally right for a nice round of solo batplay this past weekend--my first truly fulfilling one in months. Through much practice, I learned that I have to be...
•wide awake
•in good health
•completely relaxed
•not up against some kind of real-world time restraints
and, last but not least, I need to do something to jostle me out of my rational brain a bit. If all the other conditions have met, this one may not be necessary, but I've found that it helps to ingest one of several mind-altering substances (often even a candy placebo will do--I just set up a scenario in which Batman is drugged, and take it from there). Tried a little codeine this time (very little since I'm kind of scared of this sort of thing, though the recipe on the site I've just given you looks intriguing). The response was very mild, but that's all it takes--my imagination can do the rest.

I like to set the scene with different kinds of music or other sound in different rooms of the house--perhaps some electronic dance stuff in one room, industrial noise in another, and a radio station in a third. (I vary the lighting in each space, too.) One of my favorite radio broadcasts to use during these middle-of-the-night sessions is the latest incarnation of conspiracy theorist/black ops tracker Art Bell's long-running show, currently called Coast to Coast. (Art is only a guest host these days.)

On this particular night, the guest was Daniel Pinchback, author of a new book called Breaking Open the Head, a study of the role of psychedelics in the shamanistic traditions of various religions around the world. While many of Bell's guests strike me as wacky if not outright scary cases, Pinchback made an awful lot of sense--I suspect he's investigating some of the same things I am, only via drugs instead of costumed play. It's clear that he's not just trying to get high or escape reality; he wants to reach an alternate reality. I know, I know: very 60s. But everything that goes around comes around, and maybe it's time to revisit that impossible dream for a new day and time. I haven't tracked down the book yet, but I plan to. (I'd also like to spend more time checking out a site he recommends, "The Vaults of Erowid," a remarkably detailed guide to psychoactive drugs of all sorts.)

For the last two or three years, the line between the sexual dimensions of my nocturnal activities and the spiritual dimensions has been very thin indeed. I'm interested in hearing from other batmen (and women) out there who are exploring similar territory in their own way, so drop me a line or comment below if you have stories or techniques to share.

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