If you were walking across a plain, had an honest intention of walking on, and yet kept regressing, then it would be a desperate matter; but since you are scrambling up a cliff, about as steep as you yourself are if seen from below, the regression can only be caused by the nature of the ground, and you must not despair.
During the embalming process the brain was normally removed. Usually a pointed instrument would be pushed up a nostril to break into the cranial cavity. A rod with a hook on the end would then be used to slice up the brain and discard it in a piecemeal fashion. 3-D reconstruction of cavity confirming that the brain had been removed via the nose. Damage to the nasal septumand ethemoid bone was clearly visible.
The cemetary occupies four blocks of land between the house and the little downtown, sloped down into a hollow then rising to a ridge, the newest graves at the bottom of the hollow. Most of the new gravestones of a uniform size, granite, shiny-faced, in stark contrast to the markers from the turn of the century: crypts, statuary, crumbling, age-blackened, lichen-covered testimonies to an age when the figure of death still had a shadowy figure. The new graves almost had the look of military cemeteries with their white, uniform regularities, as if they couldn’t escape the general in death even, the greatest generalizable and generic event of all. But now it was if the whole population of the dead was being enscripted into the great army of the beyond. Reflective, no doubt, of the mass culture of the late twentieth century, he mused, as they moved off the narrow macadam road through the deepening gloom of twilight, past the occasional cedar and in amongst the palely reflective signposts of once-lives.
Across the road from the cemetery were two small houses, weathered white paint glowing wanly in the light of the newly risen half-moon. Given the context, they almost seemed like crypts themselves. A shadow passed over the curtains in one window momentarily obscuring its yellowish light. He turned and walked up the hill to the ridge among the tombstones. He supposed they were called ‘markers’ now for the newer ones. He preferred the tombstones, redolent of gothic tales and untold, untellable intimacies now, individual stories. How could the new markers have any stories to tell? Flat, featureless, uniform . . . like, he thought unfairly, the population they were designed to mark. Some new cemeteries in large cities, he knew, were simple vast expanses of manicured grassland, with small name markers set flush into the ground. Made them easier to maintain, mow right over them. As a kid, walking through the cemetery at night he always observed the rule never to step on the graves. It had nothing to do with respect but rather the fear of eliciting the ghost in the grave. On the other hand, maybe that was a form of respect. If so, the fear of raising the dead did not seem particularly acute these days. Perhaps several generations of horror and zombie films had put the dead in their place. Which didn’t seem to be exactly in the ground.
Using the principles of IMHOTEP, we have created a mortuary science that perpetuates the Vital Life Force, utilizable by the soul/spirit, for a much longer time and in a more viable form. Lacking the knowledge of IMHOTEP’S embalming techniques, we opted to use cyrogenic freezing. But not of the entire body, and not of “dead” tissue. Our technique is both scientific and religious. It provides a client (believer) with kit containing a vial (with appropriate preservatives) and applicator probe. The applicator is used to collect living somatic cells (semen or buccal tissue cells) and transport them to the Sanctuary, preferrably during life. The cells are collected and concentrated, placed in a small transparent vessel partially coatedwith electrum, hermetically sealed and then cryogenically frozen.
These LIFE TUBES are sequestered in a temple environment and maintained in a frozen state by prearranged contract with the client. The base of the container of the LIFE TUBES is transparent. Below the base, and projecting upward and through the LIFE TUBES is a pulsed light or laser with its beam directed toward Sirius. The laser beam functions as a carrier wave for the MYSTAR frequencies and the Vital Life Force of the specimen which will accompany and perpetuate the transmission.
A car turned onto the road, its headlights slithering from marker to marker, briefly illuminating each one, almost like an awakening. As they neared the top of the ridge, clouds began to obscure the moonlight. A soft breeze ruffled the bleached red petals, now pink, of a bunch of artificial roses in a vase set in front of a nearby stone.
…the second fundamental aspect of the mentality of the ancient Egyptians was precisely the principle of free substitution, of interchangeability, of the ability to swap every element for another one. The world was viewed as a vast combinatory system in which high and low, male and female, light and dark, life and death, organic and inorganic never cease to trade places and to merge. Enigmas: The Egyptian Moment in Society and Art, Mario Perniola
Although The tyranny of thing-ness was finally complete here, flesh becoming grass, stone, strangely enough communication had not ceased he felt, the most possible distant having become the closest. The collapse of time was complete here, a final Now which was never and always. No wonder cemetaries and death were gradually being banished from the world. The last refuge of a certain infinite was too uncomfortable for a civilization which increasingly only recognized some variant of a Hegelian BAD infinite, a boundlessness constrained and made comfortable. Even the stars were made invisible in the great cities, strained for most through video screens. And yet here…he looked up from peering at an eroded inscription. The bowl of grass, once-flesh, and granite teeth glimmered under a half-canopy of stars, clouds beginning to rumble up from the west on the horizon. Shards of light illuminated the clouds from within as lightning flashed beneath the horizon. Eerily, he heard no rumble. The juxtaposition of the stars, the storm and the dead was almost too much for him to bear, perhaps too much infinity.
His face is turned towards the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.
And still the dead are buried facing east, the better to rise to meet their Savior on the Final Day of Reckoning which will also be the great day of Awakening, no longer chased by the great storm of History (which ironically enough, arose in the west, in myth always the Land of the Dead). Flesh, stone and stars meeting in the Great Collapsing beyond the little collapse of earthly death.
Here, in this place, am earthly which merges with all the other places of its kind throughout human time, all the fables of desire disappear into the demands of history and then the fable of history itself succumbs to a far greater demand. Here, in this place, the ancient stony lineaments of a face without a visage begins to appear, the face of thingness, ridged with the planet itself, a fierce pagan thing more akin to the storm on the horizon as it encounters the stars. The gap toothed grin of the graveyard only served as mute testimony to its immutable power, silent witness to the inexorable fate of life’s final crap shoot.
There, in that place, across a divide which doesn’t or does exist, begins a new elemental combinatoric. There, the great line of flesh extending ‘backward’ meets its chiasmatic match, disappearing into the vortex of matter made mute, stripped even of its ability to sign, replaced with phone lines, cut and frayed where they enter that gathering storm. But even the machine perhaps must fall silent before such forces–or at the very least continually defer their confrontation. Or even, at the maximum, embody the catastrophe itself, to ‘write the dis-aster’ (meaning literally ‘away from the stars’). That mute stumbling at the end of every individual particular becoming becomes, or is becoming, or has become a slide into the mechanical. The machine stoops to cradle us long before we reach that final dis-aster, easing the transition, as it were, into the final universal interface of ‘death’ (always placed in quotes now). Was it ever so, even when the first proto-human picked up the first flaked stone? Probably. The infinite distance within slowly beginning to round on itself with that bad infinity (hand ‘speaking’ to stone — the better version may be vice versa –, stone colliding to head, then finally headstone: it’s the most ancient story there is, the primal human contract.) Then, matter mutters, matter speaks, mind matters.
to be continued