Billiards to Astral Flight: The Awakening of the Transgender Soul

By Lynnea Urania Stuart

Author’s note:  this article is related to a previous article here in TransMusePlanet Magazine.  See “A Message in an E-Mail: The Heart of the Struggle for the Transgender Soul” by Lynnea Urania Stuart, posted September 16, 2017.  Click here to access it.

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He probably never thought about what billiard balls might eventually set into motion.  David Hume (1711-1776) didn’t care about religion and his probable exposure to anything transgender may have been restricted to socially accepted performances in Scottish theater and talk about molly houses in the local pub.  Ironically, his atheism would spark a re-evaluation of spiritual experience as explored today in laboratories and temples alike.  Just as ironically, the current reassertion of trans spiritualities cannot help but contribute to this exploratory milieu.  This current of re-evaluation represents yet another theater of the struggle for the transgender soul apart from dogmatism:  the crisis within when faced with spiritual awakening.

 

SCIENCE ALMOST DERAILED

Hume came along during a heady time in science.  Isaac Newton (1642-1727) and Gottfried Leibnitz (1646-1716) had introduced Calculus.  Newton had proposed his Laws of Gravitation in the Principia (1687).  The sciences were beginning to blossom.  But Hume made an important observation, illustrating it through the collision of billiard balls, and this observation nearly turned science completely on its head.

Observe carefully the collision of those billiard balls.  Do we see the cause of the collision?  Look closely.  Newton might have spoken of forces, but did we see those forces in play?

No we didn’t.  Those forces were surmised as a result of theory, even if they may have had predictive results.  Could those actions observed correlate to any knowledge about them before the fact (called “a priori”)?  Do we have the right to call laws of motion “universal laws”?  Or might those observations be skewed at another time?  Hume denied we could know these events for certain a priori.  All we might claim to know must be after the fact, after each time of observation (called “a posteriori”, an idea without sexual implications).  Of course, Hume didn’t have anything spiritual in mind.  He wasn’t even concerned with metaphysics.  His argument was a purely epistemological one as an empiricist.  But it was an argument with far reaching implications.1

Hume’s idea, called Hume’s Fork, divided possible knowledge claims into relations of ideas and matters of fact.  Relations of ideas can be known independently of what’s observed.  Matters of fact can only be known from what’s observed and only in the context of what was observed for that time and could not be relied upon in any other.2

So if we can’t be certain about universal laws, how can we claim to have a science?  That would be answered by Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) when he proposed the Transcendental Aesthetic in Critique of Pure Reason after being awakened by Hume’s writings about causation.  He revisited what happens on the side of the human mind past the veil of perception.

The veil of perception, a fundamental concept in philosophy, might be described in terms of a person stuck in an office with an errand runner between him and another office.  The person stuck in his office cannot know what’s happening in the other office except through what that errand runner tells him.  By analogy, the man stuck in his office is like the individual locked inside the confines of his brain with his senses acting like the errand runner.  The office about which the errand runner reports is by analogy, the outside world.  We can’t accept with absolute certainty that we can take those sense impressions at face value.

Kant’s Transcendental Aesthetic addressed what we can know a priori, building upon Hume’s relations of ideas, being himself very interested in universality.  He described general affection of the mind (Gemüth – see the diagram in the featured image) that exercises a receptivity of the mind through the senses (Vorstellungen) which in turn supplies intuitions for the mind (Anschauungen), and forms a seed of thought through understanding (Verstand).  These empiric impressions of the world occur a posteriori.  This process also produces forms or conceptions (Begriffe) from thought.  These thoughts are returned to Gemüth a priori.3 As a result Kant claimed that we can reliably know a priori that if we knock the supporting pillars away from a house the whole structure will catastrophically crash.4

Upon this, Kant continued to examine various areas of thought to which this a priori knowledge may be applied.  From this came Categories of Understanding in Judgments5 and the closely related Categories of Pure Concepts of Understanding.6 Through these ideas, science moved onwards and quit feeling the hot breath of logical deconstruction due to extreme empiricism.

 

A GLARING PHENOMENOLOGICAL DIFFERENCE

Kant’s Transcendental Aesthetic also provided the grist for the later phenomenological theories of Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) and his student Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), particularly regarding intentionality (Husserl) and temporality (Heidegger).  But Husserl would understand something subtle but significant about those forms to which Kant referred.  The forms don’t match observation 100%.  He took extra steps to articulate it.

 In the beginning Husserl considered what’s given to consciousness in terms of Kant’s impressions supplied by as a “manifold of appearances” developed from the “thing-in-itself” as received by the affection of the mind.  The “manifold of appearances” for Husserl consisted of objects of consciousness separate from its total reality.7

This difference between a priori forms developed in the mind and a posteriori impressions from empiric observations could be dramatized in an exercise commonly taught in preparation for astral projection from either REM or trance states:

 

Stand in front of a full length mirror, naked, with a strong light behind you (most who do astral projection do so unclothed or “skyclad”).  The image you see will be shadowy.  Use that image to form an image of your body in your mind.  Do this repeatedly for a long while.  Notice the shift between your mental image and the image you see in the mirror.  Notice also shifts in your awareness between the 2 images.8

 

The effect may seem a bit disorienting, and in fact other exercises for these practices get even more disorienting than that.  The important thing in this regard is to recognize the difference between the fact observed a posteriori (the actual view of one’s body in a mirror) and the form returned a priori (the mental image of one’s body).  These differences have been addressed variously by different authors on dreaming practices including Carlos Castaneda who spoke of the synchronizing these disparate images in terms of “completing the energy body.”9 The same disparities also arise when comparing images recalled during episodes of astral travel as a dreaming phenomenon and examination of a target area thereafter.  Few astral experiences resemble fact in beginning attempts.  Even experienced practitioners encounter differences.  Comparable disparities have also been noted for remote viewers who form mental images of a target without any sensation of separation from the physical body, judging by comparisons of sketches with photos of targets.10

For transpeople, the preceding exercise has raised an extra issue specific to gender identity when engaged during early transition.  A transwoman may see a predominantly male body in that mirror, but the initial mental image thereof may be completely female, coming across in a flash till the mind reworks that image (vice versa in the case of a transman).  It could also happen that since that flash of a mental image is perceived as female, the participant may prefer for that mental image to remain so.  That feminine image may become accepted as regular projected image of the astral body before a transwoman experiences any sensation of her consciousness being transferred from her physical body to that energy body.

Episodes like these can accompany a more general spiritual awakening.  The internal image of an astral body, described by various authors as a kind of “soul” impacts that experience of awakening.  It reaches beyond epistemology, entering the realm of philosophical psychology.

 

NOESIS AND LUCIDITY

In Husserl’s Theory of Intentionality, noema consists of content types as ideal and timeless components. Noesis, is an act of thinking and ruminating.  A noematic moment will correspond to a noetic moment.  The 2 always happen in relation to one another.11

But a noematic-noetic moment may or may not happen when you expect it.  Noematic structures develop out of the body of forms derived from impressions.  But noesis pertains to what someone consciously does with noemata. Without such a corresponding moment, intentionality doesn’t happen.

Perhaps a delay in a noematic-noetic moment may be best illustrated in terms of dreams and dreaming, the former as passive experiences, and the latter as an intentional art.  A mundane dream represents a purely noematic action because it goes no farther than the preconscious while the dreamer remains asleep.  The noetic response to that action doesn’t happen till the dreamer wakes up and recalls the dream.  Noesis demands conscious interaction and that doesn’t happen in a mundane dream.

But this changes entirely when a dreamer gains lucidity.  Only through lucidity does the noematic-noetic moment happen within the dream.  When that takes place, the effect can become literally life-changing, generating deep personal inspiration and awakening to natural innocence while forcing a crisis in which the dreamer must think through new modal realities when others may condemn them.

Here’s a description of the lucid dream experience to readers who either haven’t encountered the phenomenon or haven’t known that sleep labs have studied it.  In fact it has become a subject for serious scientific inquiry since the 1980’s:

 

“I run away from a charging dinosaur then realize an incongruity.  Dinosaurs are extinct.  Therefore I must be dreaming.  I declare this realization, saying, “I’m dreaming!”  As I repeat the entire character of the dream changes.  The dream becomes incredibly lifelike and clear.  The dreamscape becomes strangely luminous.  I have greater interest to explore the dreamscape.  I step aside and watch the dinosaur charge past me, knowing I’m no longer bound by the dream.  I do so, freely and rationally examining various components of the dream.  The lifelike clarity of the dream is so intense that it’s as if I had stepped into a 2-dimensional flat screen television and actually live what’s on the other side in 3 dimensions. 12

 

Though many Conservative religious circles condemn lucid dreaming as “demonic”, as they do dream phenomena generally, the vast majority who experience lucid dreaming have no occult ties.  Lucid dreaming occurs with people of all religions, typically by accident, though some prefer to suppress lucid dreams because of learned dogmatic fears of what they don’t understand.  But the perceptions of changes endemic to lucid dreams are really tied to a physiological event in which portions of the brain that had been off line while sleeping switch on during REM sleep.  “REM” refers to the stage of sleep characterized by rapid eye movements and dreams have been most commonly noted at this stage, though dreams do occur at other times.

 

A NEUROLOGY OF SPIRITUALITIES

Of special interest concerning those brain structures coming online during lucid dream episodes is the frontal lobe of the brain.  This area is normally off during REM but springs into activity during Lucid REM episodes.  Elisa Filevich of the Center for Lifespan Psychology at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development announced in a January 2015 press release that their MRI scans demonstrated how participants in a study who reported highly lucid during dreams had larger anterior prefrontal cortexes.  This area of the brain also controls conscious cognitive processes and plays an important role in self-reflection.13

Another researcher who noted this action of the anterior prefrontal cortexes is Dr. Andrew Newberg, author of The Metaphysical Mind:  Probing the Biology of Philosophical Thought.  He cited that practices of concentration either through prayer or mantra based meditation tend to activate this part of the brain.  It also has a role in directing attention, modulating behavior, and expression of language.  Conversely, when one surrenders the will as in mediumistic trance or speaking in tongues, activity decreases in the frontal lobes and increases in the thalamus where flow of sensory information to much of the brain is regulated.14

Dr. Newberg noted in a study of Buddhist monks an experiment in which during experiences of high ecstasy in meditative trance they would pull a kite string, triggering injection of a tracer dye for brain scan.  He told the BBC in 2002:

 

“There was an increase in activity in the front part of the brain, the area that is activated when anyone focuses attention on a particular task…  In addition, a notable decrease in activity in the back part of the brain, or parietal lobe, recognised [sic] as the area responsible for orientation, reinforced the general suggestion that meditation leads to a lack of spatial awareness…  During meditation, people have a loss of the sense of self and frequently experience a sense of no space and time and that was exactly what we saw.”15

 

Brick Johnstone, Professor of Health Psychology at the School of Health Professions at the University of Missouri, declared in 2012 that many parts of the brain are involved in spirituality.  He noted concerning impairment of the right side of the brain:

 

Since our research shows that people with this impairment are more spiritual, this suggests spiritual experiences are associated with a decreased focus on the self.  This is consistent with many religious texts that suggest people should concentrate on the well-being of others rather than on themselves.”16

 

This stands as a warning for many transgender people whose construction of the self can swallow them up in self-obsession.  Reasonably, anyone who transitions also needs to balance the experience of reconstruction of life consistent with construction of the self through charitable service to others.

It’s more than just an issue of spirituality.  It’s an issue of health and well being.  It also can build communities.  It would also be a reasonable conjecture based upon that warrant for service to others that those transpeople engaged in such activities should be less prone to suicide.  Future surveys including those on the order of the U.S. Transgender Survey should examine this, and if confirmed, should be made an integral part of regimens designed to sustain mental health.

 

ANCIENT INSIGHT

The link of the anterior frontal lobes to spirituality, lucid dreaming, and higher thinking comparable to the action of noesis upon noemata seems to be more than just a modern consideration.  Consider the work of a genius from long ago.

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonorotti Simoni (1475-1564), Renaissance sculptor, painter, and one of the most brilliant artists of all time, painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in The Vatican.  His work, the subject of many books, articles, and television programs, even the motion picture The Agony and the Ecstasy, features numerous scenes from the Bible.  Perhaps the most inspiring of all is a central depiction of the Creation of Adam (see featured image, upper left hand corner).

In this image, an anthropomorphic depiction of God the Creator, reaches outward to touch the hand of Adam to deliver a spark of life.  But that touch seems to represent much more.  Not a few people have commented about the God figure, wrapped in his shadowy cloak and accompanied by other spirits to witness this crowning act of creation.  To some the cloak and entourage represents a womb.  But to most it vividly takes the form of a brain viewed from the side, the pituitary gland and brainstem clearly visible.  God reaches out through the frontal lobe of a brain to give life to Adam.

He painted this scene centuries before the invention of MRI and PET scans.  How did Michelangelo connect the frontal lobe of the brain with the making of Adam as a living soul?  Or did he connect them?

He may not need to have consciously done so.  Artists often experience very close connections with their faculties of dreaming and meditation.  The detail of Michelangelo’s work suggests that his degree of exact representation of conceived impressions gave him a higher level of technical insight than most artists.  The dynamism of his work suggests enhanced noematic-noetic moments leading to thematic insight, even extending to the underlying geometry that governed his compositions.  But the genius of the Creation of Adam suggests more than technicalities in art, extending to archetypes like those described through the work of Carl Jung (1875-1961).17

Might Michelangelo’s dreaming proclivities have led him, even unconsciously to the dynamism of his composition?  The similarity of God’s cloak to the brain in the Creation of Adam may have emerged through Michelangelo’s dream mechanisms as a structural archetype, the mind unveiling an insight of itself to the world as the inner genius with whom every artist craves to connect.

 

Some of us who are transgender and with Abrahamic connections to our spiritualities may see this creation of Adam with a bit of a twist, following a Kabbalistic belief centuries old.  Kabbalah relies as much upon dreaming proclivities and lore as upon persnickety logic and commentary upon sacred texts.  One of the Kabbalistic texts, The Zohar, makes a claim incredible to many not accustomed to it, but advancing a Rabbinic view concerning Adam:

 

Rabbi Yirmeyah son of El’azar said, ‘When the blessed Holy One created Adam, He created him androgynous, as it said: Male and female He created them (Genesis 1:27).’  Rabbi Shemu’el son of Naḥmani said, ‘When the blessed Holy One created Adam, He created him with two faces.  Then He sawed him and gave him two backs, one on this side and one on that.’”18

 

These aspects of mind pertaining to the interactions of noema and noesis have the capacity to awaken us to life issues including those relating to gender with mechanisms far above those described.  They also have the capacity to interface with the various spiritualities throughout the world and to warn us when we lose balance through obsession as the enemy of innocence.  As such they play a pivotal role in our health, quality of life, and understanding as harbingers and awakeners of insight.

For most of us, unless hampered from antagonistic sources imposed by the dogmatic seeds of noemata sown by others, we can find them worth cultivating, knowing also that by cultivation we also must face social and psychological currents designed to destroy us.  The struggle for the transgender soul is more than a struggle for domination by religious and political parties.  The struggle is internal, one of which we often find ourselves at a loss to grasp.

Our philosophies touch upon them but the bulk remains a deep mystery.  But we can admit one thing:  we’ve come a very long way since Hume’s colliding billiard balls.

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REFERENCES:

Featured Image:  Superimposed glyph of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life with the sephirah of Binah superimposed upon the part of a diagram expressing Kant’s Transcendental Aesthetic at the circle pertaining to Verstand (Understanding, also the meaning of Binah).  The spheres representing the sephirot are themselves reminiscent of Hume’s billiard balls.  A graphic limitation exists here because while in Kabbalah, understanding pertains to Binah, the development of forms is deemed to be more a function of Chokhmah.  Beyond is a detail of Michelangelo’s Creation of Man from the Sistine Chapel, Vatican in which not a few have observed the uncanny appearance of the Godhead figure and cloak to a brain.  The Divine appears to reach through what appears to be the frontal lobe at the Ajña Chakra, to give life to Adam (Flickr).  The diagram concerning Kant’s Transcendental Aesthetic is by the author.

  1. M. Lorkowski. “David Hume- Causation” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (n.d., accessed September 20, 2017) http://www.iep.utm.edu/hume-cau/.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Kant, Immanuel. “Critique of Pure Reason” The Basic Writings of Kant (Allen W. Wood, ed, transl.,2001) Modern Library, Random House Publishing Group, NY, ISBN: 0-375-75733-3, pp. 42,43.
  4. 25, ibid.
  5. 57, Ibid.
  6. 59, ibid.
  7. Zack, Naomi, PhD. “The Handy Philosophy Answer Book” (Visible Ink Press, Canton MI 2010) ISBN: 978-1-57859-226-5, p. 275.
  8. An exercise known by the author since the 1990’s as a teacher in various classes on the subject. In settings where the participant does not act alone, clothing is loose-fitting or with the wearing of a ritual robe.
  9. (n.a.) “The Art of Dreaming” Biblioteca Pleyades (Quotations and comments from Carlos Castaneda, accessed September 21, 2017) https://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/cienciareal/esp_donjuan9.htm.
  10. Observed by the author.
  11. Rassi, Fatemeh and Shahabi, Zeiae. “Husserl’s Phenomenology and two terms of Noema and Noesis” International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, ISSN: 2300-2697, Vol. 53, pp29-34 (2015, Sci Press LTD, Switzerland), pp. 29, 30; referencing Husserl, Edmund. Ideas:  General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology (2003, W. R. Boyce Gibson, translator, George Allen & Unwinm LTD, London).  Available through https://www.scipress.com/ILSHS.53.29.
  12. A commonly reported example of awakening within a dream. Scientific inquiry began with Stephen LeBerge of Stanford University when he proved the existence of lucid dreams in the Stanford Sleep Lab.  Much material is available on his work from The Lucidity Institute. http://www.lucidity.com/
  13. Fiona Macdonald. “Scientists May Have Found The Part of The Brain That Enables Lucid Dreaming” Science Alert (January 26, 2015, accessed September 21, 2017) https://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-may-have-found-the-part-of-the-brain-that-enables-lucid-dreaming .
  14. Lynne Blumberg. “What Happens to Brains During Spiritual Experiences” The Atlantic (June 5, 2014, accessed September 21, 2017). https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/06/what-happens-to-brains-during-spiritual-experiences/361882/
  15. BBC Staff. “Meditation mapped in monks” BBC (March 1, 2002, accessed September 21, 2017) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/1847442.stm
  16. Brad Fischer. “Distinct ‘God Spot’ in the Brain does not exist, MU Researcher Says” University of Missouri News (April 18, 2012, accessed September 21, 2017) http://munews.missouri.edu/news-releases/2012/0418-distinct-%E2%80%9Cgod-spot%E2%80%9D-in-the-brain-does-not-exist-mu-researcher-says/
  17. Jung, C. G. Man and His Symbols (1968, Laurel Books, Dell Publishing, NY) ISBN: 0-440-35183-9, p. 32.
  18. Zohar 1:13b, from Matt, Daniel C. The Zohar: Pritzker Edition, Volume 1 (2004) Stanford University Press. ISBN: 0-8047-4747-4, p. 94, footnote708.
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A Message in an E-Mail: The Heart of the Struggle for the Transgender Soul

By Lynnea Urania Stuart

 

How did I survive all this?  When I look back on all the times I could have died in obscurity, I can’t help but think that some uncanny intelligence intervened.  Is it God?  Is it the universe?  Or does this intelligence even cater to individual understanding?  I don’t think so.

Throughout the ages, many other words have described this intelligence: Spirit, Being, Noumenon, Superconsciousness… but more accurately these terms probably speak of aspects, not the fullness of an essence.  None of us fully grasp that essence.  We barely grasp our own, provided we had a chance to allow ourselves that essence to unfold in the first place, an unfolding that might be compared to a plant that unfolds from darkness to light, like the sunflower that springs up from a seed.

It might be described as a soul, more than just the union of flesh and breath: that which discovers its capacity to commune with that which is greater than one’s self, yet realizing in that communion how it’s as it were the ripple in a pond.  Its rings fan outward from a mere drop as a seed and fades into the greater vibratory milieu.  Scarcely more than analogy can speak of it.  Parables continue to elude those who haven’t tasted.  But that something in the transgender heart desires desperately to dance like that exquisite ripple and, if obstructed, will find a way to rebuild that vibration.  The struggle for the transgender soul is like that.  It’s verily the struggle for liberty.

 

AWAKENING TO INNOCENCE

I didn’t realize what I had encountered when it knocked on the windows of my soul.  It took the form of an e-mail from a friend back in 2001, a dean of Religious Studies at an east coast university.  He sought to encourage me, signing his communiqués, “With thoughts of metta.”  “Metta”, of course, is a term for “compassion” in Japanese Buddhist terms.  He said in his e-mail, “You are beautiful, smart, and also innocent.”

I demurred, remembering how in the year following being victimized by rape I had engaged so many and had never forgiven myself for my promiscuity.  I said, “I am not innocent.”

He said, “You may not see yourself as innocent because of your past.  But no matter where you may have been or what you may have done, you are innocent because you never lost your capacity to wonder, even as a little child.”

None of this made sense to me so I dismissed his words as flattery, setting the matter aside while pursuing my assessment for transition.  I wouldn’t revisit the matter for another 3 years when I faced another crisis.  For I had to choose between a life partner and the manipulations of a corporate cult that had sought to swallow up a large swath of the Southern California trans community.  This threatened me enough that I could have lost my home and even my life.  At that time I had begun to write a journal that should be found with my body perchance law enforcement would find it and needed information about me beyond just a statistic.

What I had begun to write became much more.  I revisited the issues of dreams and relationships, seeking what they all meant.  For while I might have resigned from my order of Magians only months before meeting my online friend, the issues generated by my own gnostic experiences resonate to this day.  I had to account for them and their continued relevance.

In most cases I speak of more than just having a dream.  I speak of dreaming as an intentional art.  I catalogued 40 dreaming mechanisms in 5 genera:

  • Hypnagogia: dreams occurring at the onset of sleep before Stage I.
  • REM: dreams during sleep characterized by rapid eye movements.
  • Trance: dreams during waking but with eyes closed.
  • Eidetics: dream phenomena during waking and with eyes open.
  • Coma: a loosely defined genus centered around comatose episodes and others not fitting the above categories.1

That’s when I remembered my friend’s words and for a moment it struck me how much of a gift he had unwittingly given me.  He regarded me as “innocent” in a different way from the vernacular.  I had been locked into the view in which innocence follows a legal declaration.  But suddenly I began to realize it was not so.

It eventually became a foundation for my philosophy.  I introduced the idea thus:

“There’s one trait specifically, the true innocence manifest in children, which is precious beyond all price; for by it we owe the continuance of the world.  It’s the capacity to wonder, to dream, to be in awe.  From such things we invent all that mankind has made: the affairs of state and education, the assemblies of worship, and the arts of love; for there’s nothing in our world that did not begin somewhere in a dream, including you who are also dreamers.”2

That realization set the theme of the first book I ever wrote: The Téssara.  I took the name from the Greek word for “4” (τέσσαρα), applying it to 4 sections.  That book would mean little to most people.  But that book began my philosophic journey through which I would begin to understand the stigma that had dogged me from childhood, into the university, a Bible college, and in every shop in which I would work over the decades.  It also enabled me to come to terms with my life’s meaning.  Instead of providing final information to police it affirmed my life’s purpose.  My living situation stabilized.  I built a career.

 

FACING THE IMPENETRABLE STIGMA

The stigma which so readily becomes attached to those of us who may eventually transition from male to female arises out of the judgments of others who say, “he isn’t a proper boy,” or “he’s queer,” or “he’s weird.”  Nothing I could say or do changed these perceptions.  Nothing I could imagine would be allowed any other interpreted than psychopathology.  Many religious people demand regimentation of action, speech, and even thought.  To do anything creative often invites some form of rejection or even violence.

A choice persists for all who face this stigma that hangs like a thick cloud through which light doesn’t penetrate:

  1. Does one escape violence and go with the herd?
  2. Does one embrace her/his/eir uniqueness though none would tolerate it?

The former leads into a world of games and gangs in which others always become the “king of the hill” and the religious typically sanction this.  The latter leads into a world of science and art that demands questioning through which one forever confronts dissatisfaction with dogmas and the inevitable human hypocrisies that arise concerning them.

That also confronts those phenomena that come naturally, like dreams.  My dreams awakened me at an early age to my gender identity:

“Growing up I preferred dolls to sports.  As boys attacked me I developed friendships with girls.  One night I had a dream where I looked in the bathroom mirror and a pretty girl looked back.  I felt my hair, my skin.  I was certain I had turned into a girl.  I was happier than I had ever known.  Then I awoke and saw it was a dream and wept bitterly.  I began 2 things: a lifelong study of dreams and cross-dressing.  In both cases I was desperate to bring back the girl in the mirror.”3

Many other transwomen to whom I have spoken had dreamed such a dream at an early age.  Dreams have a way of signaling life issues, often more loudly than any other activity.  Virtually all of us can recall having been zapped by a dream.  There’s a reason that happens.  The numinosity thereof screams at us through the limbic system’s emotional tags.  The hippocampus arranges and rearranges these memory traces in the dreams of the night, and if the issues represented thereby become important enough, they’re amplified even more in a surge of emotional energy that can jolt us awake with trembling.4

Though a dream may be forgotten, and in fact most are, traces may infect the course of our day or even our lives.  Knowing this, I’ve long believed that transpeople are a people of dreams, though most of them remain largely e asleep and unaware of their potency.  Many transpeople have shut out their dreams, dismissing them as entirely unreliable for any purpose.  But those dreams reveal their most basic desires, unconsciously amplified as the playback of tapes they might not understand, but are the stuff that impacts our thoughts and actions.5

 But if those dreams have been pondered and understood in terms of their emotive language, the same open to higher vistas.  Certain aspects of meditation address these things through its own lucidity as a vehicle of mindfulness.  Together they work to promote self awareness, and consequently, an awakening to a higher intelligence.

Of all spiritualities, none represent anything more fundamental or more primal than those formed about an oneiric muein.

 

ONEIRITY AND AWAKENING

Oneirity, or one’s propensity to dream, is more potent than we think.  Picture the mind as a field (agros).  Even a field at rest grows plants after the rain.  Thoughts develop much the same way, forming as they were, living networks.  Edmund Husserl described such networks of thought as noemata.  They’re more than amalgamations of sense perceptions.  Sometimes these networks touch what an individual cannot account for by any physical means and so must turn to the higher noesis whose conceptions are somewhat different, comparable to the actions of a bee as it carries pollen from one to the next.6

But if one questions thoughts to their sources, one must find them hidden in an early fixation or resonance.  It may begin with the joys of a family.  It may begin with recitation of verse.  It may begin with an insight through mathematics.  It may even begin with the imposition of a creed.  It may even begin with a dream.  These initial resonances I call a muein.  In the aforementioned list a muein may be familial, lyrical, mathematical, dogmatic, or oneiric respectively.  Others exist besides these.  But a muein (plural, muousi) acts with noemata much the same way as an executable file gives life to a program and is set in motion by some intelligence, human or otherwise.  Some may think of a muein as angelic or demonic.  But it’s neither.  It’s a resonance, a source of enchantment reflecting a mystery, in fact “muein” (μυεῖ = “he initiates” + moveable nu) comes from the same root as “mystērion” (μυστήριον = “mystery”) in Greek.

These construct through noemata the tapes, the stories we live by as narrative creatures.  Muousi are the seeds of those life-giving narratives of personal myth.  Nobody explores one’s own soul without also exploring those narratives.

Every muein carries with it inherent benefits and dangers.  Where a dogmatic muein may set forth a wild growth of noemata that stimulates a form of scholarship, but also judgmentalism, lack of tolerance, and reliance upon things preconceived.  This, more often than not, develops the form of spirituality most desired in and imposed by religious cults.  An oneiric muein stimulates a plethora of ideas, even philosophies, but also an ethereal and elusive quality that requires a lot of grounding.  This, more often than not, develops the kind of spirituality one may encounter in sage and sorcerer.  Both need the discipline of philosophy.

More than one muein may take hold upon a person.  But once planted they cannot be uprooted.  All that can happen is a decision to cultivate certain noemata over others or implantation of a new muein.  But the suppression of a muein can also be a dangerous thing.  If suppressed it could burst forth at a future time with a vengeance building new thought networks at a dizzying rate.  Those who transition late in life often experience this.

That breaking forth of the action of a suppressed muein translates into awakening.  In the case of transpeople, that awakening can translate into a twofold revolution of thought relating to gender identity as well as a spiritual revolution.  So often do questionings concerning the origin of this revolution reveal an oneiric muein taking hold, whether or not dreams are accepted as relevant, I believe that dreams are key to development of the transgender soul.

 

SPIRITUALITIES AND SEXUALITIES

Natural innocence is something much maligned by religionists.  It’s ridiculed and dismissed.  Worse yet, it isn’t even recognized as innocence.  They delegate innocence to what they declare as self-appointed judges, juries, and executioners to whatever extent they can.  By doing so, they inflict immense harm.

So pervasive is this harm scarcely anyone sees around it.  Consider this exchange at a radio station when I asked other announcers their thoughts on innocence:

 

One announcer declared that innocence is the same as ignorance because young children are innocent and don’t know anything.  A rabid Evangelical affirmed the same idea.

“Wait a minute!” I said, “If innocence is ignorance then an all-knowing god can’t be innocent.”

The Evangelical said that was true.

“Are you for real?” I said.  “God judges our innocence when He can’t be innocent Himself?  I’m astonished that an Evangelical, eager to defend the character of God should make such a pronouncement.  But it has been suggested, children are innocent.  Does everyone agree?”

Everyone did.

“And do we all agree that innocence is something to be preserved?”

Everyone agreed.

“Then innocence can’t possibly be ignorance.  Why have schools?  Why be concerned with moral development?  By teaching we would lead children away from ignorance and therefore destroy innocence forever.”

Another said, “We know that innocence means one has done no wrong.”

“As in ‘sinlessness’?”

“Yes.”

“Then if children are our example of innocence, I couldn’t agree less.  If ever a human demonstrated wrongdoing, it’s a child.  That’s why a child needs instruction.  But since we all agreed that children are innocent, innocence can’t be sinlessness by a longshot.”

“But children aren’t accountable because they don’t know any better,” the Evangelical interrupted.

“Then we’re back to an issue of ignorance rather than wrongdoing and we already saw how ignorance isn’t innocence.  Wrongdoing likewise isn’t the issue of innocence.  Innocence is necessarily something else.”

“But what about the courts?” another said.  “They declare innocence and guilt every day.”

“The courts,” I said,” are a subterfuge.  Don’t take their words about innocence and guilt at face value.  Here’s a similar example regarding legal words, “several,” which though we commonly speak of many, in the courts refer to the responsibility of only one entity.  Courts can’t judge a heart. They only judge actions through what is evidence they can see.  But what other terms can we offer them by which to judge?  They make do with the language we offer and at times redefine words so as to estrange them from their deeper meaning so they could execute the duty assigned to them.  They work around natural limitations.  When a court declares innocence or guilt, it does so to establish and preserve a milieu where true innocence can flourish.  In so doing, a court is a blessing so long as it’s circumspect.”7

 

When questioning further to religious ideas about innocence as a declarative judgment, one sooner or later encounters the idea that the innocence of children amounts to ignorance concerning sex.8 If a child sees someone naked, accusations fly like, “He took away my child’s innocence!”  In recent cases in which a child encounters a transperson, similar claims fly, presuming, of course, that the claimant stigmatizes all transpeople as “sex perverts” much the same way as we were typically treated under Hitler and post-war American society before Stonewall.

This treatment of sex and innocence is nonsense, of course.  It has worked its way into a problematic intergenerational ethic built upon malapropism.  If the lover finds within the other the fulfillment of a dream and will even die to preserve the other, such is innocent whether or not a religionist chooses to accept it as such, tolerate it as a provision of religious dictum, or refuses to accept the innocence thereof, opposing like the stereotypical in-law.

Likewise, our own gender issues demand that we face and explore what these issues mean.  While religionists may summarily condemn such exploration, the only thing that detracts from the possibility of them being innocent is an issue of dogma concerning interpretations of religious tests as a matter of Divine Command.  But whether a presumed “command” may be accepted or not has little relevance to whether the exploration is innocent.  After all, if we should accept the religious idea that “every command is also a promise,”9 then the appropriation of that promise of negating gender issues should destroy them outright as a miracle.

But we typically don’t find this, despite the claims of certain “ex-transsexuals”.10 Once in a while a dream may awaken one who isn’t genuinely transgender to that person’s internal truth.11 Detransition is warranted for such an individual but this cannot be applied to all.  What typically happens in these cases is the acceptance of subjugation as a condition for desired cult acceptance.  Nobody who does not form his/her/eir own conclusions should be considered a proper candidate for transition in the first place.

The charge that a transperson “takes away a child’s innocence” also presumes that innocence, once lost, is irretrievable.  But not only is innocence recoverable, it’s something to be cultivated, a virtue between the vices of gullibility and gross cynicism.

This maligning of innocence and sexuality results in something much worse:  internalization of condemnation due to the simple fact that one naturally has sexual feelings.  This internalization has actually resulted in not a few people turning against anything that smacks of spirituality.  It has also resulted in not a few becoming so internally conflicted they’re set up for mental illness and this complex may be reinforced by incarceration.

 

THE HEART OF THE STRUGGLE

This is the heart of the struggle for the transgender soul:  those forces arising from dogmatic muousi demand subjugation and suppression of those with oneiric muousi.  Those with noemata and spiritualities developed from other muousi are forced to choose between them, and that may be determined upon convenience instead of conscience.  Factors endemic to the characteristics of each muein also appear.  The integrity of those with oneiric muousi encounter constant challenges from those determined to force others to give up their dreaming selves.  They also face challenges unaccepting members of their own community.

The integrity of those with dogmatic muousi also faces challenge in like manner but with an additional stressor:  the need for their respective egos to see their judgments enforced.  If those judgments suffer damage as a result of non-acceptance, so do their egos.  It may end in bitterness, or may simply demand rest till such can fight another day.  It’s a conflict that ends only with the end of religious institutions and even then their adherents typically realign with new entities.

For those of us who are transgender, the issue amounts to a desire for liberty; and if not liberty, then at least tolerance.  Liberty and tolerance aren’t the same.  Tolerance presumes the right to impose judgment against another, but makes some degree of allowance.  Human consistency in judgment doesn’t exist and neither does human tolerance.  Germany was one of the most tolerant nations on Earth till after the Weimar Republic.  Then Hitler imposed his death camps.  Liberty, however, permits no presumption of a right to judge.  Wherever entities seek political power in order to enforce what they regard as Divine Command, liberty dies and tolerance runs thin.

But those of us with oneiric muousi can take comfort on other levels for the transgender soul, even in the face of the threat of extermination.  Because we dream, we can always repair to the higher, beyond the reach of the intolerant.  Our paths may be hidden and we may be driven back into the shadows as they have for centuries.  Our paths can lead us into places of repair where perchance we might also encounter that higher intelligence: in quiet abodes set apart, in temples unknown in the heart.

_______________________

REFERENCES:

Featured Image:  portions of the ‘Etz Chayim consisting of the sephirot Malkhut, Y’sod, and Netzach with their associated paths depicted in Universal Kabbalah superimposed over a path along Santiago Creek, Santa Ana CA.  Images are by the author.

  1. Stuart, Lynnea Urania. “Hiereika”, Ch. 3, The Téssara. (Unpublished, 2005) pp. 121, 122.  It’s stated in Lynnea’s will that The Téssara must not be released in its full form till her death.
  2. Stuart, Lynnea Urania. “Enthumesia”, Ch. 1, The Téssara, p. 207.  This view is followed by a discussion of concepts of truth, the nature of which distinguish innocence from selfish ambition, the latter of which also dreams and wonders but does so destructively.  Lynnea refers to ambition as the “counterfeit of innocence” and different from the essential trait of drive.
  3. Girschick, Lori B. Transgender Voices (2008, quoting Lynnea Urania Stuart from a 2002 statement) University Press of New England, Lebanon NH, ISBN-13: 978-1-58465-645-6, p. 51.
  4. James R. Phelps, M.D. Memory, Learning, and Emotion” org (updated December, 2014, accessed September 13, 2017) http://psycheducation.org/brain-tours/memory-learning-and-emotion-the-hippocampus/.
  5. Dan P. McAdams “The Stories We Live By” Kirkus Review (May 20, 2010, accessed September 13, 2017, summarizes the author’s thesis) https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/dan-p-mcadams/the-stories-we-live-by/.
  6. William Large. “The Noesis and Noema” Arasite (accessed September 13, 2017) http://www.arasite.org/noesis.html. This summary article should be read carefully and critically.
  7. Stuart, “Enthumesia”, Ch. 1, The Téssara, pp. 205, 206.
  8. Marie Winn. “The Loss of Childhood” New York Times (May 8, 1983, repost n.d. accessed September 13, 2017) http://www.nytimes.com/1983/05/08/magazine/the-loss-of-childhood.html?pagewanted=all&mcubz=3.
  9. As generally taught, all promises come with prerequisites of obedience as defined by clergy. See Graham Pockett.  “The Bible is an ‘iffy’ book” Anointed Links (accessed September 13, 2017) http://www.anointedlinks.com/iffy.html . It’s a reverse view of the classical position that no obedience can possibly take place without taking promises on faith.
  10. M. “My Turning Around” Transgender Christians (accessed September 13, 2017) http://www.transchristians.org/archive/brooke-my-turning-around.
  11. Matt Sorger. “I was Transsexual.  Then Jesus came into my life” MSM  (accessed September 13, 2017) http://www.mattsorger.com/miracles/article/i-was-transsexual-.then-jesus-came-into-my-life.
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