with the author of A SECOND COMING,
the opening work of
))) A Descent into Alternative Consciousness (((
A. MORRIS CODISH [priest, bishop, founder and exalted mentor of THE WOMB OF
If a critique survives, it will serve as a personal commitment to the psychic and exotic presence of the author of a memoir so intense and paranormal it must present itself as fictive, a halting narrative which descends far beneath the Jungian Guardians of the collective realm, the Unconscious, the “verboten” region of a largely uncharted territory. A Second Coming, one might append, is far more than unsettling; it is a risk one takes for a difficult but abiding bliss, the participation in a very stark progression of one man’s wholly wayward ratiocination. From a halting yogic meditation intensified by massive hashish ingestion, to experimentation with the siddhis [miraculous powers] generated at each stage of the concurrent descent to the labyrinth, to the paranormal, to a widening psychosis and to ego fragmentation—Vid’s narrative delineates a world more intense and terrifying than Tim Leary ever suggested in his Psychedelic Experience, in his cult-like paraphrase of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, its forbidding Bardo planes, in that forgotten late-Sixties manual for the peyote, mescaline, DMT, LSD initiate, and escalates to a sudden maelstrom of paranoia and abortive release, reaches toward violence and physical degradation, to an abandon among spirals, gyres, whorls, to mental Urwelt, and detonates in manic tremor, in a variety of secular ecstasy, explodes, as it were, in a space beyond spirit, the reach of religion, to an antipode of the sacral, to blasphemy, malediction, sacrilege, to a wild and boundless flouting of all taboo, to searing unqualified terror. And just who would offer this assessment? Speak, as in fact the character Andrew, the gentle troubled priest toward whom Justin reaches in the aftermath of his manic fury, toward whom he turns to piece together the scatter left of his being, toward a renewal of his very childlike Christian faith, to agape, even Eros, to the purity of a friendship which eases the reader himself in a halting fashion out of the vortex toward renewal, the first green shards of spiritual renewal and psychic health. The demonic was (is) one block down. It would be years before I myself could successfully recapitulate my calling, some decades before I could even bear the inevitable, the resumption of my interaction with D. A. Vid, with the author of this volume, these powerful Secular Fictions. The least I can reveal of the whole experience with a 30 year old schizoid affective is an attestation to the truth of his journal, his voyage, his epic, his peril. Vid lives. Codish strangely as well. The miracle of Vid’s life is the manner in which he survives. HIS marriage intact, a return to teaching, the publication of 21 books of formal poetry, of memoir, philosophy, fiction, the calm and fortitude of an individual who has been through 21 hells, only to reach a lasting inner peace, and to convey the latter in language which “yields at its best only to the prose of a Faulkner, to the psalms of his Biblical namesake, to verse of a Dante,” here,
(David Swartz) Dante Alighieri Vid.