I was walking a complex route to another part of the city when I realised I was dreaming, so I cried up at the sky: ‘I wish to scry the eleventh aethyr, ICH!’
I didn’t wake, but carried on with my journey, noticing that the route now seemed to be trending downwards. There was a series of forbidding-looking buildings, vast and ruinous, including a domed structure, like a mosque or a derelict gasometer. A spiral staircase led down into the dark. I followed it, until I began to think: ‘Well, no harm can come to me, so why don’t I just do it?’ I threw myself into the central well of blackness, but instead of falling I hung in space, consciousness suspended. I’m not sure if it was a jhanic state, or if I lost self-awareness, but after a time it became boring so I willed myself back to the stairs and climbed outside.
Alan was there, yet although I didn’t explicitly acknowledge it couldn’t really be him, nevertheless in what followed I took care not to listen too much to what he said, nor let him follow his own lines of questioning with the spirit that was about to appear. We found a grassy area between the buildings and sat chatting until a gangly young man hurried towards us and sat down.
‘What’s your name?’ I asked.
He muttered something that began with ‘H’.
‘Was that Hyperion?’ ['Hyperion' = 56 = Choronzon.]
‘If that’s what you want it to be then that’s what it is,’ he remarked grumpily.
Maybe something went wrong at this point. I recollect talking for a long time with Hyperion, but I remember hardly anything. Something tells me Hyperion himself may be responsible for this. I think we may have argued and actually come to blows. What I definitely recall is becoming thoroughly sick of him and deciding to banish.
‘I’m not leaving,’ was his response.
‘That’s not because you can refuse to,’ I pointed out, ‘but because you didn’t give me your true name. So tell me now: what is it?’
‘Hincapie,’ he admitted. ['Hincapie' = 47 = 'Man of Earth'.]
On confessing this, his appearance changed. He wasn’t quite so tall, although he retained the same basic features, hair and clothes. We continued talking, but – again – it feels as if something has been erased. The gist of Hincapie’s talk, however, was that everything humans do is incorrect or inferior. His whining diatribe quickly became tedious again.
In my dreams throughout that night I repeatedly felt hungry, and had frequently dreamt I was eating. Alan and I had some chocolate that we proceeded to share. I offered some to Hincapie, and he complained how poor it tasted. But then it struck me he was simply complaining too much. I took the flesh of his face between my thumb and forefinger and gave his cheek a tug.
‘I realise what’s happening,’ I told him. ‘You just love humans and our food so much you can’t keep away from us.’
This pierced Hincapie to his roots. No matter if he’d managed to mislead us or erase parts of the conversation, it felt like I’d discovered the truth of him. It seemed he didn’t want to part with what he told us next.
‘There are lots of spirits like that throughout the aethyrs,’ he said. ‘Many are the ghosts of shoes.’
It never occurred to me that objects intimately connected with humans might take on a spiritual dimension by association, but Hincapie had revealed that many spirits are like this. Their nature is petty, circumscribed, because it depends entirely upon human beings, and so the understanding of these spirits cannot penetrate beyond or even as far as everyday human consciousness. Or is it just a mocking pun? Are ‘the ghosts of shoes’ really just ‘lost soles’?
The vision ended at this point.
I’ve debated whether this vision is legitimate. I’m not convinced this vision isn’t an instance of false lucidity – i.e. merely dreaming, unconsciously, that one is lucid. One of the ways to spot the difference between true and false lucidity is the presence of ‘day’s residues’ in the dream. This was Sigmund Freud’s term for elements appearing in a dream that are obviously based on experiences from the preceding day. A dream from the unconscious consists of a large proportion of day’s residues (because our consciousness, during sleep, has no other material to work with). A lucid dream doesn’t, because it constructs itself instead from the idea that one is awake.
In the vision, I could indeed easily identify a lot of day’s residues. For instance, during the day my partner had remarked that if she had a lucid dream, then she would use it to eat chocolate all night; an episode of Doctor Who I had watched earlier in the evening involved a race of aliens that could erase memories of themselves from human perception; and I had also watched an episode of the drama series Afterlife, which included a scene where a psychic medium, in order to keep persecutory spirits at bay, occupied herself with re-organising her shoes.
However, I’ve come to the conclusion that a vision arises from the intention to have a vision, and that the state in which the vision is received – whether it’s the waking state, a naturally or chemically-induced trance, a lucid-dream or a false lucid-dream – doesn’t matter; it’s simply the means of manifestation.
Looking up the English Qaballah equivalents for ‘Hyperion’ (Choronzon) and ‘Hincapie’ (Man of Earth) seems to have provided further validation. The next aethyr up is No. 10, which, according to tradition, crosses the Abyss and is home to the demon Choronzon. Perhaps the influence of No. 10 is already being felt in Nos. 12 and 11!
Certainly, I ran into some further spooky overspill, talking with my mother. ‘I had such a weird dream on Saturday night,’ she mentioned. This was the same night that I scried the aethyr. My mum hadn’t been able to sleep, so she’d tried meditating in bed. ‘I found myself in something like a dream, only it was real,’ my Mum explained. ‘I got out of bed and went downstairs, and found you in the kitchen making toast. You kept saying you felt really, really hungry.’