Psychic Physics

If you mean to undertake something vast, they say, you’ve every reason to expect that there’ll be something vast in the offing. But that doesn’t mean you’ll gain the prize, or that your dreams will come true. It just means that there’ll be a wake of sorts fanning out from your work, a web of consequence that you generate but don’t intend. It’s just a kind of psychic physics: “equal and opposite reaction”, and all that. It’s best to calculate for that, too if you’re able.

The Nights of Grief and Mystery tour/2022 is now well underway: over the last three weeks there’ve been thirteen shows in three countries (mostly sold out), and three (sold out) book readings on behalf of Reckoning. So far, the reviews include me being credited with alchemy and suspected of blasphemy, the alpha and omega of the likelihoods. There’s attraction and suspicion, invocation and provocation. In the book signing lines afterwards there are armfuls of testimonials crediting the work with enduring and life enhancing results, and pleas for continuance. And there are some accusations of neglect and negativity. Somewhere outside these extremes lies the work I’ve taken up.

The scale of the production we’ve taken out here on the road is actually pretty small. But there’s something about the undertaking itself, about refusing to lie to the people, about refusing to be a finger puppet for the current tiradal opinion fest, that encourages many and dispirits some.

The psychic woundedness that’s been distributed liberally among the people is certainly plague-driven. But you know and I know that it didn’t start there. And it won’t end there. Somewhere in the flailing and the blaming there’s tragedy, and there’s an unnecessary but seemingly inexorable broken opening in the offing. The plague granted us a full stop, a stay of momentum, a reprieve from that drastic sense of inevitability of things going wrong. It was, among other things, a kind of a God-given crisis gift, a chance to get a few things straight. That was true politically, and ecologically. And it was true mythically and spiritually. And now there’s a strong sense out here on the road that the plague was misapprehended, that this was a chance that seems to be passing us by, that the hankering after ‘normal’ has forsaken the gift. It’s a very stilling thing to witness.

Note: Upon looking up the etymology of ‘tirade’, the metrics wonks decided I needed recourse to a list of personalized ‘searches’: “top rated mattresses”, “create a logo”, “fastest internet available”, all preceded by this topper: “am I depressed quiz”.

Nights of Grief and Mystery are, I think, bringing the best of the promise of the crisis of the past thirty months forward. They are empathic, not therapeutic. They’re faithful, not dogmatic. They’re honest, not diatribal. They are allies, not comforters. And they treat those whose generosity of spirit prompts them to come with the respect due adults, due citizens of a time of deepening but conscionable trouble. I remain deeply persuaded that we are, for all our confusions these days, for all the divisions among us and incisions within us, more needed than needy.

We look forward to seeing you out on the road before the snow drifts and the shadows lengthen, before the forgetting is forgotten. There is spirit work awaiting us, and generations to come after. And surely they deserve the best of us.

Stephen Jenkinson
Founder of Orphan Wisdom