December 29, 2011

Relax and Open Your Hellmouth Wide

Hellmouth.  Sounds like what you get after a night of hard drinking and smoking cigars.  As in "My mouth tastes like Hellmouth".  Apparently that is not the real definition.  Hellmouth is literally the mouth of hell.  Visions of Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern run into my head.  The whale-monster Leviathan is also associated with this description.  Recently a song of mine was pronounced "Leviathan with soul".  
In The Whale, an Old English poem from the Exeter Book, the mouth of Hell is compared to a whale's mouth, though somewhat indirectly:

The whale has another trick: when he is hungry, he opens his mouth and a sweet smell comes out. The fish are tricked by the smell and they enter into his mouth. Suddenly the whale’s jaws close. Likewise, any man who lets himself be tricked by a sweet smell and led to sin will go into hell, opened by the devil — if he has followed the pleasures of the body and not those of the spirit. When the devil has brought them to hell, he clashes together the jaws, the gates of hell. No one can get out from them, just as no fish can escape from the mouth of the whale.[8]

Satan himself is often shown sitting in Hell eating the damned, but Hellmouth should not be considered to be the mouth of Satan, as the Hellmouth never bites the damned, remaining wide open, ready for more.'

So now we have a Hellmouth wide open and ready for more damned, presumably.  That gnawing hunger or thirst that displaces reason and civility.  What I have colloquially called at times "The God Shaped Hole."  I suppose God has no exclusivity clause on "Shaped Holes". Apparently Satan gets to have one too.
Please note the picture to the left ,which Wikipedia calls Simplified Last Judgement.  
Simplified Last Judgement sounds like something you would find in The Rapture for Dummies, a book I recommend, if you can find it.  Given the state of politics in the USA, this book may be out of print. 

Note in the picture Jesus is sitting on what looks like either a puff ball or perhaps an egg.  An egg ready to burst, releasing forth a plague of spiders, snakes, vermin, and pestilence. 
To his left and right, the supplicants.  On the left is the Virgin Mother, and on the right we have  either Joseph, or John the Baptist, or for all I know, it could be another Occupy protester, hackeysack hidden beneath his robes.  

In the bottom left hand corner, we have the naked multitudes.  As my father and mother always told me when I said I wanted to run away from home, well son, you can go, but you will have to go the same way you came.  The threat of public nudity has kept me docile for almost 18 years.  

In the right hand corner, we have Hellmouth.  Finally you say, we've been wading through this whole blog post just to get to Hellmouth, or the heart of the matter.  In this picture, Hellmouth is represented as the head of the Leviathan, but looks more like an inner city rat's head than a giant fish. Inside the mouth are the damned, but we must ask why are the damned so nappy,  looking like an album cover from the soundtrack of a 70's blaxploitation film.

Much smoke is coming from from the open wide Hellmouth. Perhaps an allusion to drugs or  all night revelery. According to Wikipedia, "the body of the Leviathan, especially his eyes, possesses great illuminating power. This was the opinion of R. Eliezer, who, in the course of a voyage in company with R. Joshua, explained to the latter, when frightened by the sudden appearance of a brilliant light, that it probably proceeded from the eyes of the Leviathan. He referred his companion to the words of Job:  "By his neesings a light doth shine, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning".  
Neesings is defined as sneezings or snorts, but more accurately from the old Hebrew, is breathing with difficulty.  Sort of like when my wife sleeps in another room because the sound of my neesings keep up awake all night.  
It is revealing that in spite of his supernatural strength,the Leviathan is afraid of a small worm called "kilbit", which clings to the gills of large fish and kills them.  

Excuse me, but one of the Seven Princes of Satan is afraid of a worm? And we shall call the worm 'kilbit'???  The irony is rife.

Let us review what we have just learned here. 
1. God can't control Satan
2. The Hellmouth must be open wide 
3. The whole shooting match can be brought to it's knees by a small worm.  

Legends and myths were often stand-ins for unvoiced fears.  Discretion, public decency, bad translations, take your pick.  Allow me to shine a light into the origins of the Hellmouth.    

Could it be that the myth of Hellmouth is simply a metaphor for the oldest  male nightmare of the vagina dentata?!?  Can the roots of our religious fundament be boiled down to our primal fear of the "other"?  To our primal need and fear of the Mother?

Allow me to shine a light into the metaphor:

Similar to the Hellmouth, the place from which all life emerges lures the unsuspecting "Rapture for Dummies" with it's sweet smell, drawing us in, tempting us to the pleasures of the flesh, Original Sin, and just when the Devil has you down on your knees, in your most vulnerable moment of weakness, the jaws clamp shut.  You have entered the Hellmouth.

Remember that the whole enchilada can be shut down by a small worm, known as the 'kilbit'.  How's that for a buzz kill?  All things considered, I'll take my risks.  

So relax, and open up the Hellmouth wide.   Softly, wipe the sleep from my eyelids of the morning, and call me Leviathan. With soul.

December 22, 2011

A Shaggy Dog Story

This story does not have a happy ending.  It does not end well.
In the search for truth, he explored his mind and memories like a traveler- how far back could he go? 

He remembers that musical boundaries were pushed, sexual boundaries were stretched, psycho-pharmaceutical boundaries were expanded upon. 

He stretched farther and father, the smother of mother, stretching the lie, retching the truth from the tongues of salesmen and bloggers and artists and charlatans. 

His father said "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story".   That is the official story.  How he remembers it. 

Or at least, that is the official truth he tells the world. No one is left who can remember the actual truth. 

And that is the truth about truth.  It belongs to the survivors.  And the official truth belongs not to the survivors, but to the highest bidder.
The truth is auctioned off like slaves of old, the truth is bought and paid for like the oldest profession.  In times of financial shortage, the truth can be bartered, traded for beans or a cow or the oldest unmarried daughter.   The truth begs the question, what is truth?

He remembers a time of great instability.   Mind, music, identity in flux.   We reinvented ourselves.   He remembers a certain notoriety, a respect, "the nod", the tip of the hat.  It was not imaginary.  It was real.

But as time went on, his notoriety faded, the respect dimmed, the nod became more of the shaking of tremors.  Yes, the hat was still tipped - it was a tipping point, a point of contention for a man who still wore hats.  

At one point, thirty years on, a film was made that attempted to define his generation.  He was moved by the film.  He was moved out of the time of his generation.  He was written out of the time of his generation.  He was officially erased.  He was disappeared.   His story was revised; history was revised.  A new truth was born and he was left alone with his memories.  Did he imagine all this?   What was the truth?

Perhaps he was becoming a man out of time. 

If so, what is the ticking sound that he hears in his head?

This story does not have a happy ending. 


November 27, 2011

Memory-an excerpt

From Memory by HP Lovecraft:
The Genie that haunts the moonbeams spake to the Daemon of the Valley, saying, “I am old, and forget much. Tell me the deeds and aspect and name of them who built these things of stone.” And the Daemon replied, “I am Memory, and am wise in lore of the past, but I too am old. These beings were like the waters of the river Than, not to be understood. Their deeds I recall not, for they were but of the moment. Their aspect I recall dimly, for it was like to that of the little apes in the trees. Their name I recall clearly, for it rhymed with that of the river. These beings of yesterday were called Man.”
"I can't remember a thing.  That's why I'm here."

That is what I tell them, the fans who come to see me.  One came by today.  She looked so much like my wife.  Where is that one anyway?  Always out with her friends.  When is she coming home?  Galivanting falluting galvanizing van van van Vancouver.

The afternoon light is dim.   I look out the window but I see no birds in the trees.

It is actually very dark and everything is quiet.

Except for that bitch in the next room, who just keeps crying.  Something about her  Danny or Daddy.   Make up your mind bitch which is it?   Your Danny?

"Daddy!  Daddy! Please. I'll be good this time.....Please.  Daddy!" Her pathetic wail starts low, sounding like a scared child; she is no child.  She is probably my age.  I get so fed up hearing her I shout, Shut up you stupid bitch!

It is quiet for a brief moment.   Then the whole thing starts again.

Daddy!  Daddy!  I'll be good this time.

Christ, where are they?  Security?  Didn't they hear me call?  Security!  Escort this one to my room.

Someone is at the door.  Another fan.  She's young enough to be my daughter.  I don't think so, but I don't know.  I can't remember shit.  That's why I'm here you know.

Why is my daughter wearing white?  Is today her wedding?  Why wasn't I told about this?  Or did they tell me, and I forgot?  She wipes my mouth.

                  "You can't shout that like.  Please calm down.  Miss Brook is just upset again.  I'm sorry if she woke you up."

What does she mean 'woke me up?'  Christ, it's not like I'm a child here.  It's the middle of the afternoon.  Am I supposed to sleep in the day time now too?   They have funny rules here.

                   "Here.  Did you need some water?  Take a little. That's a good man.  Now get some rest. I'll be by later to check up on you."

                    NmGggnnhh.  Rbbdu.  Christ!
                  "I'm sorry.  Did you need something?  "
                    Nmmmggnh. Rbbdu. Christ!!!
                   "That's good.  You'll be ok.  Your daughter is coming by tomorrow she said."

What the hell is she talking about. She is coming by tomorrow?  Today and tomorrow?  What does she do all day?   Doesn't the poor girl have a job?   Oh,  right today is her wedding day.  No?  Then why is she here now wearing a goddam wedding dress?  Weddings.  Wife.  Walls.  Walking.  Walking.  Waaaaaa!  Daddy!  Daddy!   I promise I'll be a good girl.

Am I walking?  My legs aren't moving so fast. If I had a candle in my head you could say I was a little light headed.  

I used to be in a band you know.  You probably heard of us.  One day I jumped off a stage and they caught me and I screamed but that was before I jumped, but they caught me.  They don't catch you anymore. They left you drop.
BANG. Fuck that hurt.  The bastards didn't catch me this time.
"Oh my god, he's out of bed again.  I think he fell.  Code blue in room 403.  Code blue.  "

Oh, my daughter is here again, and she is wearing white.  She looks like an angel.  Why is she looking at me like that? Is it lunch time?
Nmmmmggh.  Rbbdu. Chrrr.  Sss.  t.

I can do it  myself you ignorant foods.  Fools I meant today.  To say.  I meant to say Foo on  you. We don't care what you say, Fucky you.  You heard me shitbirds.   Shithead birds turds n-n-n-nnerds.  I can't do everything here.  I'm pulling my load, you pull yours.  Lift my what?  My head?

                  "I think you had a bad dream.  We'll get you cleaned up.  That's a good little man."

If your going downtown miss, you might as well say hello to my friend Mr. Happy.  See?  He's happy to see you too.

"Daddy! Daddy!  I promised I'll be a good girl....Daddy!"

My dog is coming tomorrow to visit me. Maybe he will play some cards!  Hah!  That's a good one.  I used to be in a band you know?   We used to jump off the stage and young girls would....they would...
I forget what did they do?
I can't remember so good these days.  That's why I'm here.

November 25, 2011

Buy Nothing Day

From the folks who brought us Occupy Walmart, comes the most terrifying thought America never had.  
Buy Nothing Day.   
Want to send a real message?
Stop buying crap you don't need.  

November 23, 2011


Red eyes at dawn, seek something to hold onto
a familiar breaking through veils 
in the dark our eyes slow to adapt 
Behold the Dazzle!
- you must pay attention now- 
From midnight porn to morning pouring 
Watch out for the poor on the road
the Specular reflects spectacular holes
then genuflects in the middle of nowhere
Speed on 
Tempo of light 
the Waves of night still
Imposed on daybreaking
Still/life creeping into Light- the coyotes must find their holes
Did you see the raccoons strewn with their
wet black Davy Crockets red glare- 
stripes stripped to the status of roadkill

Pull the veil of light striations
Revealing coruscating glare on glass- the grooves burrow into a morning frown
A heavy load of Rain lights on shiny pavement
Backscatter! Backscatter!

Do you see that there is a s
himmery glimmer on the road?

You reach for coffee and eat the cake of Soft tremulous distortion 

The light adjusts and suddenly Luminescence

Guiding us from the nether radiance 

thru the angry fog and angry god
and hungry dogs to the possible

At night they howled at the moon,
but the dawn is gone

For now the night departs for tomorrow

while I forgot to say that the sky is falling

November 21, 2011



November 20, 2011

Why I Vote

This weekend local elections were held and I voted.  My candidate for Mayor did not win; three out of 6 of my councillors won and three did not.  Was I satisfied with the outcome?  To be frank, I did not know the candidates well enough to know if it was the best decision.   But I still voted.

Why vote?  I posted on my facebook the thought to Occupy the Voting Booth or shut the F. up.   Apparently many people thought this was of interest, as it drew many comments.

The same day I wrote a blog post on Screaming Growling Art which attracted two people to comment.  I should have titled it Occupy Screaming Growing Art if I wanted people to read it.

I digress.  Why do I vote when in some cases I'm not totally sure who the right person is to vote for?   Because like many immigrants to Canada, I went through a process to be able to vote, making the right to vote more important to me.

I was born in Canada in 1958, and moved to the US in 1963. My father and mother moved us to the US, and as a child I had no say in the matter.  I enjoyed my childhood there, making many friends.   One friend from grade 8 just called me the other day.  He is a lawyer in San Diego.  We had great laughs remembering our grade 8 Social Studies class, where we played an educational role playing game called Disunia- where we replicated some of the decisions by the original colonists to try to create a republic.  It was great fun, but I reminded my friend of the time our teacher brought us into his room, and reprimanded us for messing up the game for the other kids.  We were having our intellectual fun times, and because of some actions, threatened to mess up the role playing so that we would have a similar outcome.  At least that is how I remember it.

My parents wanted to become US citizens so they wrote the tests and we went to ceremony and some of us were naturalized as US citizens along with our parents.   In 1973 we moved back to Canada, entering the country as landed immigrants.   How could this be?  We were born in Canada.
Well at the time my parents gave up their citizenship to become citizens of the US, they also conveniently gave up my Canadian citizenship.  So as a Canadian by birth, I was a landed immigrant.
Flash forward many years, and the names changed and I was a Permanent Resident.  This always caused much discussion as I crossed the border, as I would have to explain the whole thing.

So in 2003, some thirty years after moving back to Canada, I decided to apply to regain my Canadian citizenship.  In 2005, I attended a ceremony in Canada along with all the many immigrants from about 50 different countries who were also becoming a Canadian.  They even made a joke about it; look at all the people from all over the world wanting to become a Canadian. Why, we even have a Canadian who wants to be a Canadian!

Since that day, I have voted in every possible election.  I had some years to make up.  I always try to inform myself and make the best decision possible.  People are fighting all over the world for the right to have a say; yet in most communities in North America, voter turnout is around 30 something %- in the town of my birth, Burnaby, only 15% of the eligible voters voted.

I know many of my friends believe that the old saying, If elections changed anything, they would be outlawed.  The same old crooks get in no matter.  They are all devils of a similar color no matter what the labels say.   Even the labels are confusing.  In BC, we have a provincial party called the Liberals, who are not affiliated with the Federal Liberal party.  They are not even "liberal".  

So why vote?   Because I can.   Because I still believe that if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.  

Does civic responsibility end at voting?  No, it is the bare minimum involvement.

Do the people who do not vote deserve to even have an opinion?   Unfortunately, yes.  But also unfortunately there are many who do vote that still deserve to have an opinion.

Does your vote matter?  Ask Ellen Woodsworth if a single vote matters?  How about 100 votes?   If the 60+% who didn't vote voted for Ellen and Tim and RJ and Sandy and all the other candidates that worked hard to represent their city, then the results may have been different.  Elections are decided all over the place by the smallest of margins.  Margins smaller than the margin of error.

Meanwhile in Syria, people are killed by their own government for trying to stand up for a right to vote.

November 19, 2011

Growling Screaming Art

32 years ago, I wrote an article about a local band called Tunnel Canary.  It was called, Tunnel Canary Hates You.  Besides being the first article written about the band, it was probably the only article written about the band for 30 years.
Tunnel Canary was and is the creation of Nathan Holiday, who at the time went by the name Aleh Fitzgerald.  He has had a few names in his lifetime, but safe was not one of them.  Never would anyone call Tunnel Canary safe.  Hated by the punks, they were the ultimate punk band.
Their best performances were live on the street with Aleh playing his wall of noise guitar- loud, transgressive, yet to my ears beautiful and almost symphonic in nature.  Judy or Ebra as she was called then, was the "singer".  As you can hear on the link on YouTube, she took the screaming vocals of Mars, and Lydia Lunch and pushed the envelope.  It was a direct action aural attack on the consumers who passed by on the street.  Time has not dulled the power of this music.

Another woman artist who is often called a screamer is Diamanda Galas.  Galas has an eight octave range, and is closer in nature to an opera singer than punk.  Her Litanies of Satan with the wicked Wild Women with Steak Knives was an introduction for me to her art.  I think the first songs I heard from her were on a Henry Kaiser/John French record at my friend and band mate Alex Varty's.  Henry Kaiser was a good friend of Alex and John French was the original drummer Drumbo from Captain Beefheart's Magic Band. Today
I was listening to a Scandanavian interview with Diamanda Galas this morning.  It starts at about the 17 minutes mark.  She talks about her voice and how her father wanted her to play the piano, but not to sing, because singers are just a step from whores.

Before the 17 minute point,  the same interviewer speaks with Angela Grossow, the growling singer of Arch Enemy.
Angela discusses the "growling" technique favoured by the black metal/death metal singers today.  To see her sing is a beautiful thing.  I find the music, lyrics and fashion a bit comic book, but this woman is the real deal.  Angela- call me.  You need a 53 year old sax player.

Recently, I have been getting into black metal.  Clearly I have listened to extreme music for years, but this is the first time I have sought out a Metal genre.   In past, I have disdained the moronic lyrics, obsession with Satan, Dragons and medieval monsters.  Speaking of monsters, we come to Varg Vikernes, the 
Norwegian black metal musician, writer, philosopher and religious, political and nationalist activist, arsonist and convicted murderer. Yes you read that right.  Convicted murderer and arsonist.  Killed a singer from a rival band Mayhem for personal and political reasons.   Varg is Burzum, a symphonic black metal band from Norway.  I wonder what Varg thinks of the Norway shootings, where all the children were killed by a madman.  Nothing would surprise me.   What did surprise me was the beauty of the music that comes from this racist, anti-semetic murderer.
Check out Jeg Faller by Burzum from the album Fallen:

Here is the English translation:

I Am Falling
High up there I stand in time;
in the green, beautiful and warm,
strong tree crown, in white clouds,
surrounded by the beautiful and friendly few.

I am falling.
All the way down.

High up there I stand in time;
on the top of the world tree's crown.

From high up there I fall from time;
down into the bottomless, empty and timeless.

The tree's rind changes in the fall.
Branches and boughs, leaves and nuts,
rush by me in tremendous speed.
The roots and the ground comes nearer.

My time disappears to somethwere else.

Into death, from death.
Into life, from life.
Downwards and across the river
without a source.

Into darkness, from darkness;
into cold, from cold.
Through time, from time;
to where the deities smile.

I drink from the river of forgetfulness,
row dryshod across the river of hate;
sail with the wind,
to the end, beginning and meaning of the devine powers. 

Another band on my radar is Arabrot.  

Here are the lyrics to their song: 
Madonna was a whore  
We picked dirty on Mother Teresa,
... Melanie Nelson and Ofelia,
..queen Sheba!
Madonna was a whore!
Say whore!...
Marie Antoinette
Whore, Lolita!...
...Venus will never...
Madonna, Madonna was a whore!
...Venus will never...
Madonna, Madonna was a whore!
Madonna was a whore!
Madonna was a whore!
Madonna was a whore!
...Venus will never...
Bring it up Queen Marry!
Madonna, Madonna was a whore!

Their new release is called Solar Anus- how often do we hear metal bands reference Georges Bataille?

The title and part of the thematic inspiration of the album is from the french literate Georges Bataille. Like Bataille, Arabrot is fascinated by the joy and energy of unifying the high and the low, the filth and the pure, the animalistic and the divine in man. In songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Kjetil Nernes’ own words: 
Gold indicates the sun as we hail Bataille’s take on the subject of abjection. Solar Anus betokened the Golden Calf - juxtaposed between utmost evil and greater sanctity. Such as the eternal radiance of heaven or the egregious iniquities of the abyss. Or the alchemist of The Holy Mountain converting faeces into gold. 

There are many interesting links on their website too.

One of my favourite black metal bands is a Washington state band called Wolves from the Throne Room
Winter is coming... is the line from Game of Thrones.  The game here is Wolves.  Their newest release is Celestial Lineage.  Go on You Tube and listen to an interview with their drummer.  I know, drummers should never speak.  But often they demonstrate an unlikely intelligence. 

"Who cannot live with honor must die with honor." 

As I have said a few times in this post, there is almost a classical aspect to much of the black metal sounds.  The guttural growling may be the polar opposite of opera, but their tragic songs and emotions share similar roots.  
This is how we go from Galas to Callas.   If you have been drawn to this post because you love black metal, check out Tunnel Canary, Diamanda Galas, and also Maria Callas.   

If you have not heard Maria Callas, that is a tragedy.  Below we have her singing Madame Butterfly.

Maria Callas - Madame Butterfly

Madame Butterfly is the opera based on a story of love, deception, honor and death.  
Could be the theme of a death metal song.   

Angela?  Are you listening?  
Do I have the write the Death Metal opera of Madame Butterfly?  

I think I will call it Motherfucken Assault and Buttery.  Better start growling.  

November 11, 2011

I'll Walk Alone

I posted my mother and father's song on Facebook today. It was I'll Walk Alone by Dinah Shore. Both of my parents served during WW2.  They were married and dad went overseas. When he came back, my mother didn't recognize him at first.  When they had their 50th wedding anniversary, I made them a compilation tape of music of their generation.  What amazed me was just how sad all the songs were.  To be alone, and waiting for the one you love to return.  My mother was fortunate in that my dad came back in one piece.  He was not physically scarred or emotionally shattered as so many others were.  And he was alive, unlike other war time brides who waited and waited and found themselves widows.  Remember all these "soldiers" are usually 18 -20 years old, except for the the one's like Michelle's grandfather who enlisted at 16, lying about his age to serve his country.
On Remembrance Day it is important to remember that most wars are fought by children.  Wars are declared and set in motion by old men, but they are always fought by youth.  Usually soldiers are young, many are poor, and most are scarred by their involvement.

It is also important to remember the other victims of war- the women and children who are caught in crossfire, collateral damage, rape trophies for a sick army mentality.
It is important to remember the difference between wars then and now.  There has been an evolution of how we kill, now we can kill by drone, by proxy, war is like a video game with real consequences.

Game over. Remember war sucks.

November 5, 2011

time xplaynd by bill bissett

time is reelee abt how evreething is fleeting n how we deel with that
n how deeplee we undrstand that awareness th jewels shine as our
undrstandings th layrs n openings apertures n iris lens in or not
n how manee narrativs reveel our paradoxikul n continualee shifting
minds n all th dimensyuns byond narrativ as well astoree is what
time is it what time is it 4 ourselvs n our specees n how timeless
th breth uv th galaxee n oftn ourselvs tho agen fleeting lyrik song
chant philosophikal theologikul prsonal propheseez vizual n tanguld
tangos our dances thru ths dimensyun lerning th binaree n wanting
n hoping 2 b unlerning th binaree with th invisibul dansrs in th ancient
n now glistning ball room n th 4tune tellrs shuffuling theyr decks how
we yern 4 n letting go uv our games finding love n th chancs 4
savin th environment n our selvs
—bill bissett

The Night Ocean

H.P. Lovecraft "The Night Ocean" 
Now that I am trying to tell what I saw I am conscious of a thousand maddening limitations. Things seen by the inward sight, like those flashing visions which come as we drift into the blankness of sleep, are more vivid and meaningful to us in that form than when we have sought to weld them with reality. Set a pen to a dream, and the colour drains from it. The ink with which we write seems diluted with something holding too much of reality, and we find that after all we cannot delineate the incredible memory. It is as if our inward selves, released from the bonds of daytime and objectivity, revelled in prisoned emotions which are hastily stifled when we translate them. In dreams and visions lie the greatest creations of man, for on them rests no yoke of line or hue. Forgotten scenes, and lands more obscure than the golden world of childhood, spring into the sleeping mind to reign until awakening puts them to rout. Amid these may be attained something of the glory and contentment for which we yearn; some image of sharp beauties suspected but not before revealed, which are to us as the Grail to holy spirits of the medieval world. To shape these things on the wheel of art, to seek to bring some faded trophy from that intangible realm of shadow and gossamer, requires equal skill and memory. For although dreams are in all of us, few hands may grasp their moth-wings without tearing them.    
Did you know:
Yawning is an unacceptable behavior for Muslims, especially in public places. If yawning occurs, the yawner is instructed to cover his mouth with his hand. The Prophet said, "Yawning is from Satan. If you are about to yawn, you should try to stop it as much as possible. If you yawn, Satan will laugh

Does Reason Sleep Tonight?

Frequently I have pondered the phenomena of hypnagogia.  What is that?  This is what Wikipedia says.  

Hypnagogia (from Greek hypn "sleep" + agōgos "leading, inducing") is the transitional state between wakefulness and sleep (i.e., the onset of sleep), originally coined in adjectival form as "hypnagogic" by Alfred Maury.[1][2]

The equivalent transition to wakefulness is termed the hypnopompic state. Mental phenomena that occur during this "threshold consciousness" phase include lucid dreaming, hallucinations, out of body experiences and sleep paralysis.

Sometimes the word hypnagogia is used in a restricted sense to refer to the onset of sleep, and contrasted with hypnopompiaFrederic Myers's term for waking up.[4] However, hypnagogia is also regularly employed in a more general sense that covers both falling asleep and waking up, and Havelock Ellis questioned the need for separate terms.[5] Like I question the need for separate terms for Liberal or Conservative, or Democrat or Republican.  Indeed, it is not always possible in practice to assign a particular episode of any given phenomenon to one or the other, given that the same kinds of experience occur in both, and that people may drift in and out of sleep.  In the words of Bart Simpson, I always dreamed of becoming a drifter.

Other terms for hypnagogia, in one or both senses, that have been proposed include  "visions of half-sleep", "the borderland of sleep",  the "borderland state", "half-dream state",  and dreamlets.

Romanticism brought a renewed interest in the subjective experience of the edges of sleep.[13] And what is more romantic than the ''edges of sleep"?  

 I am reminded of the lyrics to the song Detour Ahead:
The farther you travel
The harder to unravel the web he spins around you
Turn back while there's time
Can't you see the danger sign?
Soft shoulders surround you

[edit]Tetris effect

People who have spent a long time at some repetitive activity before sleep, in particular one that is new to them, may find that it dominates their imagery as they grow drowsy, a tendency dubbed the Tetris effect.

This effect has even been observed in amnesiacs who otherwise have no memory of the original activity.[28] When the activity involves moving objects, as in the video game Tetris, the corresponding hypnagogic images tend to be perceived as moving. The Tetris effect is not confined to visual imagery, but can manifest in other modalities also. 


Hypnagogic imagery is often auditory or has an auditory component. Like the visuals, hypnagogic sounds vary in intensity from faint impressions to loud noises, such as crashes and bangs (exploding head syndrome). People may imagine their own name called or a doorbell ringing. Snatches of imagined speech are common. While typically nonsensical and fragmented, these speech events can occasionally strike the individual as apt comments on—or summations of—their thoughts at the time. They often contain word playneologisms and made-up names. Hypnagogic speech may manifest as the subject's own "inner voice", or as the voices of others: familiar people or strangers. More rarely, poetry or music is heard.[29]  

Now that is sad that poetry and music are not often heard.   Do you think a support group would be helpful?

[edit]Sleep paralysis

Humming, roaring, hissing, rushing, zapping, and buzzing noises are frequent in conjunction with sleep paralysis (SP). This happens when the REM atonia sets in sooner than usual, before the person is fully asleep, or persists longer than usual, after the person has (in other respects) fully awoken.[18] Sleep paralysis is reportedly very frequent among narcoleptics. It occurs frequently in about 6% of the rest of the population, and occurs occasionally in 60%.[30] In surveys from Canada, China, England, Japan and Nigeria, 20 to 60% of individuals reported having experienced SP at least once in their lifetime.[31][32] The paralysis itself is frequently accompanied by additional phenomena. Typical examples include a feeling of being crushed or suffocated, electric "tingles" or "vibrations", imagined speech and other noises, the imagined presence of a visible or invisible entity, and sometimes intense emotionfear or euphoria and orgasmic feelings.[31][33] SP has been proposed as an explanation for at least some alien abduction experiences and shadow people hauntings.  Shadow people hauntings?  Orgasmic feelings?

[edit]Other sensations

Gustatoryolfactory and thermal sensations in hypnagogia have all been reported, as well as tactile sensations (including those kinds classed as paresthesia or formication). Sometimes there is synesthesia; many people report seeing a flash of light or some other visual image in response to a real sound. Proprioceptive effects may be noticed, with numbness and changes in perceived body size and proportions,[35] feelings of floating or bobbing, and out-of-body experiences.[36] Perhaps the most common experience of this kind is the falling sensation, and associated hypnic jerk, encountered by many people, at least occasionally, while drifting off to sleep.[37]How is that for a slag?  You hypnic jerk!!!

[edit]Subjective interpretation

Hypnagogic phenomena may be interpreted as visionspropheciespremonitionsapparitions and inspiration (artistic or divine), depending on the experiencers' beliefs and those of their culture. Could this explain the Bible? 

[edit]Cognitive and affective phenomena

[edit]Receptivity and suggestibility

Thought processes on the edge of sleep tend to differ radically from those of ordinary wakefulness. Hypnagogia may involve a "loosening of ego boundaries ... openness, sensitivity, internalization-subjectification of the physical and mental environment (empathy) and diffuse-absorbed attention."[38] Sorry dear, its my loosening of ego boundaries.  Let me just loosen my ego boundary and slip into something more comfortable.   Hypnagogic cognition, in comparison with that of normal, alert wakefulness, is characterized by heightened suggestibility,[39] illogic and a fluid association of ideas. Such as writing a blog?  Subjects are more receptive in the hypnagogic state to suggestion from an experimenter than at other times, and readily incorporate external stimuli into hypnagogic trains of thought and subsequent dreams. This receptivity has a physiological parallel; EEG readings show elevated responsiveness to sound around the onset of sleep.[40]


Herbert Silberer described a process he called autosymbolism, whereby hypnagogic hallucinations seem to represent, without repression or censorship, whatever one is thinking at the time, turning abstract ideas into a concrete image, which may be perceived as an apt and succinct representation thereof.[41]


The hypnagogic state can provide insight into a problem, the best known example being August Kekulé’s realization that the structure of benzene was a closed ring after dozing in front of a fire and seeing molecules forming into snakes, one of which grabbed its tail in its mouth.[42]

Many other artistswritersscientists and inventors—including BeethovenRichard WagnerWalter ScottSalvador DalíThomas Edison and Isaac Newton—have credited hypnagogia and related states with enhancing their creativity.[43] 

A 2001 study by Harvard psychologist Deirdre Barrett found that, while problems can also be solved in full-blown dreams from later stages of sleep, hypnagogia was especially likely to solve problems which benefit from hallucinatory images being critically examined while still before the eyes.[44]  
Now that is what I call 'problem solving.'


A feature that hypnagogia shares with other stages of sleep is amnesia. But this is a selective forgetfulness, affecting the hippocampalmemory system, which is responsible for episodic or autobiographical memory, rather than the neocortical memory system, responsible for semantic memory.[9]   It has been suggested that hypnagogia and REM sleep help in the consolidation of semantic memory,[45] but the evidence for this has been disputed.[46] For example, suppression of REM sleep due to antidepressants and lesions to the brainstem has not been found to produce detrimental effects on cognition.[47]  Could this be the real reason behind the REM breakup?   Lesions to the brainstem?  Enquiring minds need to know!

[edit]Daydreaming and waking reveries

Microsleep (short episodes of immediate sleep onset) may intrude into wakefulness at any time in the wakefulness-sleep cycle, due to sleep deprivation and other conditions,[57] resulting in impaired cognition, amnesia.[17] Why waste hours 'sleeping' when you could be microsleeping?  How much more work could we get done, if we were only allowed to microsleep?   I often wonder that after working a typical 14 hour day.
Gurstelle and Oliveira distinguish a state which they call daytime parahypnagogia (DPH), the spontaneous intrusion of a flash image or dreamlike thought or insight into one's waking consciousness. DPH is typically encountered when one is "tiredbored, suffering from attention fatigue, and/or engaged in a passive activity." Such as driving, or operating heavy machinery??? The exact nature of the episode may be forgotten even though the individual remembers having had such an experience.8] 

I remember getting married, and having children, and then....well it all is a big blur.