Planetary Survey Team 11
Survey team members returned on day 6 in state of disorientation accompanied by intense euphoria. They claimed to have found evidence (in the form of intricate recurring patterns) of a planet-wide non-material intelligence. Observations from space failed to locate the patterns described by team members anywhere on the planets surface. Treatment with anti-psychotics was found to be helpful for most team members, except for one (Stravinsky, Haridwar CRN 235-678-0756) who slipped into a catatonic state from which he has yet to recover
Excerpts from the report to the Commission on Exo-planetary Resources 11/9/2346
Landing on planet surface without notable incident. 200 K south of polar ice cap edge.
Zone 1: Ambient Music Text
Excursion by Low Altitude Gliders.
Approaching polar ice cap, sudden extreme decrease in temperature. Edges of polar Ice cap approx 500 m high glacial cliffs rising from alpine scrub terrain. Climbing to height of ice cap.
Intense winds. Strange sounds. Cannot preclude organic in origin. Or perhaps just wind. Glacial surface cut into sharp maze like patterns 20 m deep. Recurrent patterns of geometric shapes with sharp edges.
200 k north. High monument shaped ice projections. Wind and sounds very intense. Still proceeding northward.
Down below, patches of intense color shining up through ice. Descend to investigate.
Find deep round pits in the ice descending into ice caves. Park and lock down gliders, descend with climbing modules. Brilliant colors shining the deeper down we go. Placing homing beacons every 100 m to avoid getting lost in the labyrinth.
Exit on to shore of immense sub-glacial lake. Est. 20 k wide, 50 K long. Light and color generated by bioluminescence of creatures under the water. What appear like immense worms, trilobites move about in the crystal clear water. Vast fields of anemones wave too and fro. Water temperature suggests presence of volcanic fissures in the deeper areas of the lake. No vertebrates noted. The narrow shore is barren except for a few fungi.
The shifting colors generated by the creatures as they move underwater are incredible beyond description!
Zone 2: Ambient Music Text
Excursion by gliders and hovercraft.
Temperate regions of the planets continent are a single continent are wide flat plains of stiff brown grass dotted with trees, which occasionally grow together in forests, but are mostly spaced far apart from each other. Initial assessment that area is suffering from drought is disproved by sighting of plentiful rainfall. Also plentiful are lakes and rivers.
Large herds of herbivores consume the brown grass. Not vertebrates, despite the size. Seem to be just shell-less gastropods, but capable of great speeds. Herbivore’s undersides not moist but scaly. They bounce on their undersides, and roll themselves into balls for protection. When approached the herds bolt in all directions, or roll into balls, gather in a circle and lie still. Herbivores present in wide array of sizes and colors.
Insect predators, some hopping on two back legs or running full gallop of four. Front to legs serve for grasping prey, like praying matis. Vast array of colors. Largest insect predators over 2 m in height.
Prey and predator meet at the lakes for drinking. No attempt is made by insects to attack prey at water side. When the sun is directly overhead, all the creatures at the waterside begin to sway rhythmically from side to side, gaining momentum constantly. Deep sounds rise from the tumult. After about 40 minutes everything stops and the creatures scatter.
Towards evening each kind of species prey or predator, collects with its own kind and goes into a kind of stationary stasis. Creatures line up side by side in intricate patterns which can only be appreciated by viewing from the air. Patters resemble the other patterns noted in the ice of the polar ice cap. This is worthy of farther investigation.
Zone 3: Ambient Music Text
Set out onto the ocean from the continents southernmost point. Excursion in sea cruiser and hovercraft.
Water is thicker that Terran oceans, containing greater concentration of minerals. Little wind, ocean surface very calm and in many places glass like. Waves seldom crest but rise up and down in an undulating motion.
Under the surface vast array of sea life surges. Life seems invertebrate. Shrimps, worms and trilobites. Bioluminescence. Anywhere from microscopic to half a meter in length.
Something tangling the propellers of the cruiser and banging rhythmically on the hull. Cannot see what, since everything is obscured by the cloud of living creatures.
Heading out to deeper water. Water about 20-50 meters deep (at 400 k south of land mass.) Bottom covered with luminous multi-colored anemones of prodigious size. Tentacles reach up easily to the cruiser, and get tangled in the propellers. Rhythmic banging on the hull unnerving.
Anemones are eaten by immense grazing gastropods (slugs) that plow along the ocean floor, clearing paths through the anemones as they feed on them. Surprisingly the slugs breathe air and must rise to the surface, like whales.
Slug overturns cruiser, which has already been rendered inoperative by the anemones. Degradation of hull integrity severe. Fortunately anemones had no interest in survey team members. All were lifted to safety by hovercraft.
Zone 4: Ambient Music Text
Excursion in high and low altitude flying craft
Thick Amazonian jungles broken by rivers or canals. Some immense creatures dig these canals. They have not seen but their voices have been heard.
Clouds of flying insects. Strong rhythmic patters heard in the from under the jungle canopy. When Low flying glider got close it was attacked by what appears to be along sticky tongue. Severed by accompanying craft with laser cannon
Once again, pattern of canals through the dense jungle resemble patterns noted elsewhere, leading one to think that life on this planet shares a common intelligence of some kind.
Approaching the lofty mountains to the east of the jungle basin.
Jungle gives way to hardwood and pine forests, then to alpine scrub. Temp lowers dramatically, and the peaks are covered with snow. Tallest peaks easily 9000 meters
As we rise to the peaks we see lights, apparently some kind of life, but not registering any mass on our sensors. Lights encircle us and pulse very slowly rising and falling in what can only be called a “dance”. No one on the team is afraid. There seems to be an aspect of peacefulness and serenity. But we all know it is time to go.
Departure: Ambient Music Text
Rendezvous with landing module on shores high altitude lake, swarming with trilobites shining with colors. Vehicles are compartmentalized and stowed.
PST 11 lifts off to Mother Ship. Lights escort us till alt 10,000 M Click to add text, images, and other content
Coffee at Abby's Windowsill 5:45 AM
Nathan, after a cramped flight from Tel Aviv, by way of Madrid, finally arrived at Kennedy. From there he took a train to his daughter Abby's home. Abby and her husband Eff were gracious hosts. Their apartment was comfortable and homey. Nathan soon found himself blissfully asleep.
But dreams arose full of the jagged feelings of incessant travel, railway rumblings, bus brakes screeching, monotone airport announcements, jets of cold air wafting through an overcrowded economy section redolent with the smell of too many people. Nathan found himself awake at 5 am. Not surprising, he thought glumly to himself.
He fumbled about in the kitchen, and made himself a cup of coffee. Nathan loves coffee with a passion, and drinks it like a sacrament, or at least with the reverence of a shaman ingesting a holy hallucinogen. Indeed, suddenly the gates of perception were opened. It was not that he saw something out of the ordinary. Rather he saw simply what was there. A shelf placed in front of the windowsill, with a few bottles of spices, an assortment of small cacti, and a view of Brooklyn merging with the Manhattan skyline.
Nathan placed his mug on the windowsill, and looking out over the massed shapes of buildings and electric lights, felt the presence of the sleeping giant, dreaming hopeful dreams. He felt the old volcanic granite softened by years and laced with living electric currents. As light came, he felt the underground travelers, off to early work, waiting for shafts of sunlight to beam into myriad tunnels. Slowly dawn came to the skyscrapers, glistening yellow on panes of glass, and Nathan felt the old wasting and crumbling and the new arising in construction. For this behemoth, huge and barely self aware, like any living thing, is endless becoming and waning.
"Daddy!" said a sweet voice from behind. Nathan turned to see Abby and Eff, still looking sleepy and somewhat concerned. "Don't worry, kids, I couldn't sleep. That is all." He said. "Yeah, those international flights can be hard on you!" said Eff. Abby looked at Eff and there was no hiding the love in her eyes. Nathan knew then that he too had been blessed.
The Well of Souls: A Lurianic Ambient Meditation
The following verse from Psalms (31:6) appears as part of the bedtime recitation of the Shema.
"In to your hands I will entrust my spirit; You have redeemed me, Hashem, the true G-d!"
The Ari, based upon earlier traditions, explicated the secret hints and Divine Names which are encoded in this verse. The resulting letter sequences are the basis of the Kavvanah-meditation. The music presented here translates those letter sequences into tone constructions. For understanding this meditation we need only look at the first part of the verse "In to your hands I will entrust my spirit…" In Hebrew (which is typified by terse expressions utilizing morphological variation to encode meaning) this phrase consists of only three words: Beyadecha afkid ruhi.
בידך אפקיד רוחי
According to the Ari this phrase encodes concepts and divine names. The first letters of the three words are BET ALEF RESH.
This spells Be-er which means "Well", a hollow space in the earth where water collects. The last letters of the three words are KAF DALET YOD.
This spells "kadi" which means "My pitcher" and contains a certain reference to the number 24 (as in the hours in a day) and to the number 10 (as in the ten Divine names mentioned in the Torah)
Furthermore, the word kadi also adds up in Gematria to 34.
The number 34 relates to one of the secret Divine Names BET VAV KAF VAV which also equals 34.
This letter sequence derives from the verse in which Moses asks to know the Divine Name. G-d replies; "I will be what I will be!"
א-ה-י-ה אשר א-ה-י-ה
The statement "I will be" or ALEF HE YOD HE is understood by the tradition as being itself a Divine Name, and it must be written in holiness in order for the Torah scroll to be acceptable for reading. If one begins with the name ALEF HE YOD HE and substitutes the next letter in the alphabet for each of the four letters, one arrives at the sequence BET VAV KAF VAV.
The letter sequences: BET ALEF RESH > KAF DALET YOD> BET VAV KAF VAV and then ALEF HE YOD HE chart the course of a soul's nightly journey to G-d. The journey begins in the unconscious, the space where souls collect when they are not interacting actively with objective reality. A soul begins rising towards the Divine when it internalizes the structure of time as part of itself, and thus finds release from the constriction of time and space. Needless to say, this best happens during sleep, when the soul is not directly involved with the world and its forms. At this point one might say that the soul rises in its pitcher towards the Divine realm.
The Divine name "I will be!" (ALEF HE YOD HE) refers to the soul's ultimate attainment of its original unconstrained nature. Hence this Divine name is also called "Returning" or "Repentance" The encoded version of that name (BET VAV KAF VAV) is the energy that drives the soul towards its own ultimate nature.
The music construction presented here consists of three parts:
1. "The Hollow". This refers to the empty space where the unconscious dwells. The music was composed by using the "Tonal Aleph-bet" to translate the sequence BET ALEF RESH into tones. Additional harmonics was added to expand the composition.
2. "The Pitcher" was similarly composed by translating the sequence KAF DALET YOD into tones, and adding additional harmonics.
3. "The Return" is based upon the letter sequences BET VAV KAF VAV and ALEF HE YOD HE. It also includes the sound of a shofar which is the essential sound for awakening and returning in the Jewish Tradition.
According to the Talmud, The miracle working sage Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai (also known by the acronym Rashbi) fled the Romans who had sentenced him to death for speaking out against them. Accompanied by his son Rabbi Eliezer, he found refuge in a cave. There Rabbi Shimon and Rabbi Eliezer hid for thirteen years, studying Torah and subsisting on the fruit of a carob tree and water from a clear spring that wondrously appeared.
This 13 year period is given great significance in the Kabbalistic traditions, since Rashbi is identified as the originator of a spiritual system which eventually found expression in the Zohar texts, and it is widely assumed that this system was the result, at least in part, of deep meditations performed in the cave.
Over the years, several liturgical poems were composed in Rashbi’s honor. These are usually sung on Lag be-Omer, the assumed anniversary of his death. The most commonly used of these poems is the well known “Bar Yohai Nimshachta Ashrecha” (Bar Yohai, you were anointed. How fortunate for you!) The melody to which the poem is sung is also well known.
In this musical construction I attempted to follow Rabbi Shimon and Rabbi Eliezer into their hidden cave, a cramped dark space that opens into a universe of faith, bliss and wisdom. The emergence of Rabbi Shimon and Rabbi Eliezer from the came, was according to the Talmud, difficult and traumatic, for they were no longer able to interact effectively with the ordinary world. They returned to the cave, until they found the balance between blazing spiritual truth and the conditions of earthly life. The music is based in part on the traditional melody and some of the original words of the poem. There are four tracks:
1 Entrance to the Cave
2 Recesses of the Cave
3 Ascents of the Cave
4 Departures out of the Cave
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