The Modern Myth

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My journey into the modern mythology would take me into the city of my birth, New York, where I would regularly take the train in from my Long Island home to discover the much larger world of the urban expanse.

My relationship with comic books runs deep.  While I will go into it in exquisite detail over the course of this tale, the most basic aspect is this – In the comics were beings who possessed powers and talents which defined the shape of their reality.  I possessed powers and talents which defined the shape of my reality.  To my eyes the characters in the comics were the closest thing I had to understanding the nature of my self.  Through the comics, I was able to forge a context for what was happening to me, to give myself some kind of a structure with which to organize the overwhelm of sensations that defined my existence.  They were a place of solace, teachers of ethics and the right use of power, and an ongoing source of vitality to keep me going on the many years of the Quest, where over the course of time and space I would find my way to places of power, speciality shoppes where the energy of the comic book universe was gathered, instinctively drawing upon the prana moving through their pages to maintain my coherence in the madness and majesty of the worlds.

One of the titles that I found deeply fascinating was the Uncanny X-Men, about a team of superheroes who were mutants, that is, they were born with their powers, set apart from the world through the very nature of their nature.

It’s worth it here to explain what I mean by ‘superpowers’.  Most beings are at least vaguely familiar with the idea of enlightenment, the progression through the various layers and shapes of consciousness to the realization of one’s innate Divinity.  Within that progression across the spaces and places of being there are certain talents, certain qualities of excellence which are known as siddhi, the powers of myth and legend which lay buried within each and every one of us.  They are the basis for all psychic and physical talents, for the mysticism of the occult and the ‘miracles’ performed by saints and yogi’s across the ages.

Most people do not have access to the siddhi.  Their grasp of the subtle world is shallow, their potential buried beneath a dirge of incoherence and unnatural  behaviors that deny them access to that which lay within.  For them, the ideas of ‘magic’ and ‘superhuman’ capability are fancies of fiction, with no place in the so-called ‘real’ world.  Yet they are very very real, forming the basis reality itself., and it was in the comics that I learned to understand them.

There is a great significance in this.  While nowadays we live in a world full of superhero movies and television programs, such is a by-product of the current Age of humanity – where we are at in terms of our cosmic evolution.  Now the idea of ‘quantum healing’, ‘manifestation’, psychic powers and the djedi arts are more common, while then, in the 1980’s, such things were merely seeds, held in sacred parchment and inked to life by the artists and writers of the time, many of whom had little conscious knowledge of what they were actually channeling into the world.

In 1990, I discovered a comic which changed my view of the Universe.  A title by Rick Veitch called ‘The Nazz’.  It was a story about a man who becomes an avatar of consciousness itself, drawing a group of followers to him whom he imbues with siddhic powers.  Over the course of the four issues, he runs afoul of the so-called ‘superheroes’ of a corrupt government agency, essentially  military personnel in colorful suits and media packaging with no real powers of their own.  It was for me a tale of the right use of power, of the Divine force of the masculine and the feminine playing out through the themes of the Age, and was the beginning of a shift in the comic book world, a maturation of the fistcuffs of classic comic tropes to the representation of the real mysticism and attainments of excellence that lay within our human nature.

 

While I did not recognize it at the time, eventually I would come to see that this comic touched on the idea of Shiva, the formless embodiment of God in manifest form, the Source of all things in the Universe.

Every week I would head into the Forbidden Planet to gather my comics, buying title after title of the heroes and heroines that felt so much more real to me than the “real” world.  I would spend many happy hours there, wandering up and down the shelves, discovering new flights of the imagination with every footstep.

It was an electric place.  A wonderland where I felt received and accepted, awash in the colours and textures of what felt like a multitude of portals into other worlds.  Like the Squire theatre, it was a place of sanctuary, where the flushness and freedom of Stories was held in bright revere.  

The Promise of Promethea

It was around then that I first encountered the publishing of the comic Promethea by Alan Moore, J.H. Williams III and Mick Gray, where the medium of the comic book had taken on a new evolution, moving beyond the fistcuffs and schoolboy heroics (to quote Alan Moore’s “Watchmen”) to reveal the nature of magic itself told through the modern hieroglyph.