excerpts from Priest/ess 4 – lyric essay by j/j hastain

Eternal-trans-temporal - photo by j/j hastain
Eternal-trans-temporal – photo by j/j hastain

Priest/ess is an ongoing work on gender by j/j hastain, and as usual with j/j’s writing, it’s magical & illuminating & mystifying (in the best possible way). Three excerpts from Priest/ess have previously been published at aglimpseof.net as part of their Narrative in Progress titled “A Thing Like You and Me,” and we were honored to include a 4th excerpt of this one-of-a-kind work in our Spring 2016 issue.

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IT IS POSSIBLE TO BE POSSESSED BY THE ENTITY to which you have devoted your life.

That possession is not necessarily like they show it in horror movies; sometimes possessions are sacred offerings of synonymous identity, felt due to synonymous embodiment. The cave often calls through me, comes to me, begging for attending. I consider attending the cave a form of self-love.

As I was walking up the hill, after spinning and drowning in what I could only describe as the cave’s primal grief regarding any time it has ever been overlooked by the women that it serves, I began losing it. I was not yet up the hill in such a way that I could lean on Quan Yin (her statue was still hundreds of feet ahead of me) but I was also hundreds of feet away from the cave-proper. Would I remain alone in this moment: the practical and ephemeral moirologist for a complex, cosmic grief which, even in its need to express its depressions, its sadness at being overlooked by the populations in which it serves, it is also desperately in love with every woman who might or might not overlook it?

The cave’s love of and for women is both physical and mythic.

My sisters must have heard my cry just like I hear the cry of the cave.

In a manner of moments they had run over to me, were surrounding me, touching me on all sides. “Present and essential, your roots, your worms, your cave-holding that surges underneath all of these workings with light in the above…” Their touch, their words as touch, begin to bring me back to life.

“Yes, essential but not always celebrated as such.”

I am choking on the feeling. Cave synonym needs cave union.

Whenever I am not appreciated or acknowledged as cave I can feel the result is my slowly dissipating from behind my human woman eyes. This sensation is like slipping; it terrifies me. It is as if any moment in which I am not being touched, I am being overlooked. Kept out of the light. In these I can’t feel Sophia so obviously anymore.

“I feel so isolated from the circle when those who are in the circle are looking only into the circle and not into me (the Below).”

My sisters understand me. They are humming, rocking me, putting pressure on my body. I am crooning with the dark crown as it moves from the cave, below ground, up and through the blood in my veins in its manner of making its way to the top of my head.

The more pressure they physically put on me, the more they puja me as the cave, the more I am able to slowly return to the seat behind my eyes. They don’t let go of me until they know for sure that I am all the way back inside of myself.


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Trans(S)ophia is the gender I am building. A never-ending gender, an eternal gender would necessarily be being built in and out of time: beyond time. Eternal-trans-temporal.

I am more as an in-between than as an either-or. In between-ness as a cosmic spot, is relief, is ease: the birthing and procreant zone of tran(s)quility. It is my responsibility to not allow the between-ness re identity to be conflated with dysphoria in the context of what I have experienced due to my queerness. I am who can keep the between a relief rather than laden.

Note: I was willing to be only the Masculine in me; I was willing to sacrifice the Feminine of me for the sake of protecting women and women’s space, women’s circles. The dynamic of my relation to woman is as much my protecting them as it is my being one. By demanding from me that I go into the circle of women to stand as one among them the mother was saying “I will protect women’s space so it is vast enough that variant beings can be a part of it: you can be a part of it.” Knowing what would best benefit women’s space it was demanded of me that I move from outside of the circle, protector of it, to being vibrantly and vitally in it.

You bless it by being a part of it, not apart from it.

This is the truth of Priest/ess attunement to Gaia and God/dess as well: not apart, but a part.

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Last night I was prepared to be ridden by my spirit husband in the dream space. I was looking for an animal by which my husband would present to me. Then, after waking and gauging the many sensations during dream time I felt how my current husband who rides me in dream is the archetype of weddings themselves. The archetype/ architecture of wedding coming in from dream and spirit realms resonates in me as a Masculine Divine activation. The Masculine passes through figures as a way to compliment Sophia in waking life.

Inner and inter the Masculine Divine of dream weddings adorns Sophia’s waking light.

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Riding the lace wave.

For sanity’s sake in incarnation I need to balance sex and meditation: the sex, the physical component of the lace, the part that materially holds everything together—and the meditation, the non-physical component of the lace, the part that holds space within being held together. Balance of these is harder for me than it may seem to simply say this.

As a being for whom my particles are all protuberant, erection shaped—the thing I immediately want the moment I get into a body is sex: little dicks pulling me toward the future by way of sex, sex being what makes time meaningful. Yet, the moment that other beings get into form they might not want sex. T, for example, upon getting into her body, wants a full spectrum of life: seasons, ups and downs, quiet times and sexual times and cooking, the lighting of a fire and letting the fire burn out to warm coals, etc. When I met her this difference required a lot of adjustment for me.

Suddenly made contextually aware that I am different than her, than another, in that for me, everything is sex. What I mean by that ceremonial imprint on my incarnation is that to attune as Shaman of Merge, to feel myself in many Priest/ess facets, to become T’s woman and wife, is all for the sense of sexual chi inducing evolutionary amalgamations.

My model/s for relationship came from living the Beloved as a star.

When she first hears this imprint on me she gets scared. She is wondering if I won’t be able to practice monogamy with her in this life because of the quality of merge on which I draw my desire to relate. I assure her—everything is sex is not a threat to monogamy. It is the lens of my attunement regarding how I can keep my commitments—all of them (including monogamy): what enables me to succeed at what it is that I put my energy toward. Everything is sex is the myopic mission, the way I can tune myself to living the life I envision, evolve into. I want to live in tune with what I incarnated for even if the threads and strands for which I incarnated are somewhat mysterious to me until they reveal themselves by way of presence and experience in human life.

I get that this is confusing for her. And it will take time for me to completely understand her. I can commit to the time needed with her. I commit to her. “You mean, even with your attunement to embodying the Beloved in form with me, you don’t need and want sex all the time?” She is shaking her head no. I am baffled. This truth of her orientation is confusing to me.

Are we two sides of a spectrum? How do we cosmically fit?

In order to experience stability I would have to allow all of the in-breaths (sex) to be balanced, tempered, evened out by a register as bodily, but not as sexual. To even say these words feels to the imprint on my cells, like I might be losing something, but the more I relax into mediation—the sacred state whereby there is no cell-dicks at all, but more of a resting surety, the more I can feel that meditation is what is going to root the path of co in something capable of providing T and I (me and others) longevity.

Sex is the physical body and psychic bodies. Meditation is the subtle body. The goal is for them to always be touching even as they balance each other out, so that they too can be each other’s Beloveds: capable of expressing as an arc that is connected alchemically at its middle. Parts not polarized but union-incarnate.

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Bio 56j/j hastain is a collaborator, writer and maker of things. j/j performs ceremonial gore. Chasing and courting the animate and potentially enlivening decay that exists between seer and singer, j/j simply hopes to make the god/dess of stone moan and nod deeply through the waxing and waning seasons of the moon.

j/j hastain is the inventor of The Mystical Sentence Projects and is author of several cross-genre books including the trans-genre book libertine monk (Scrambler Press)Apophallation Sketches (MadHat Press, forthcoming), Luci: a Forbidden Soteriology (Black Radish Books), The Non-Novels (forthcoming, Spuyten Duyvil) and The Xyr Trilogy: a Metaphysical Romance of Experimental Realisms. j/j’s writing has most recently appeared in Caketrain, Trickhouse, The Collagist, Housefire, Bombay Gin, Aufgabe, and Tarpaulin Sky.

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