behold a vision

The earliest lucid dream report in Western history is preserved in a letter written in 415 A.D. by St. Augustine. While arguing for the possibility of having experiences after death when the physical senses no longer function, Augustine quoted the dream of Gennadius, a physician of Carthage. Gennadius, who suffered from doubts as to whether there was an afterlife, dreamed that a youth “of remarkable appearance and commanding presence accosted him with the order: ‘Follow me!’ ” Obediently following the angelic youth, Gennadius came to a city where he heard singing “so exquisitely sweet as to surpass anything he had ever heard.” Inquiring what the music was, he was informed that “it is the hymn of the blessed and the holy.” Thereupon Gennadius awoke and thought of his experience as “only a dream.” The next night, he dreamed again of the youth, who inquired whether Gennadius recognized him. When Gennadius replied, “Certainly!” the young man questioned where he had made his acquaintance. Gennadius’s memory “failed him not as to the proper reply,” and he recounted the events of the previous dream. The youth thereupon inquired whether these events had taken place in sleep or wakefulness. To Gennadius’s reply, “In sleep,” the youth pursued what had become a Socratic interrogation, declaring, “You remember it well; it is true that you saw these things in sleep, but I would have you know that even now you are seeing in sleep.” Gennadius thus became conscious that he was dreaming. The dream—now lucid—continued with the youth asking: “Where is your body now?” To Gennadius’s proper response, “in my bed,” the dream inquisitor pursued his argument: “Do you know that the eyes in this body of yours are now bound and closed, and that with these eyes you are seeing nothing?” Gennadius replied, “I know it.” At this the dream teacher reached the conclusion of his argument, demanding, “What then are the eyes with which you see me?” Gennadius, unable to solve this puzzle, remained silent, and the dream catechist thereupon “unfolded to him what he was endeavoring to teach him by these questions,” triumphantly exclaiming, “As while you are asleep and lying on your bed these eyes of your body are now unemployed and doing nothing, and yet you have eyes with which you behold me, and enjoy this vision, so, after your death, while your bodily eyes shall be wholly inactive, there shall be in you a life by which you shall still live, and a faculty of perception by which you shall still perceive. Beware, therefore, after this of harboring doubts as to whether the life of man shall continue after death.
—  Stephen Laberge

The Vision wants to be human, and what’s more human than family? He goes to the laboratory where he was created, where Ultron molded him into a weapon, where he first rebelled against his given destiny, where he first imagined that he could be more, that he could be good, that he could be a man, a normal, ordinary man. And he builds them. A wife, Virginia. Two teenage twins, Viv and Vin. They look like him. They have his powers. They share his grandest ambition or perhaps obsession: the unrelenting need to be ordinary. Behold The Visions! They’re the family next door, and they have the power to kill us all. What could possibly go wrong?

I hope Tommy blows up their house.

“Before men can live together in harmony and understanding, ignorance must be transmuted into wisdom, superstition into an illumined faith, and fear into love. Despite statements to the contrary, Masonry is a religion seeking to unite God and man by elevating its initiates to that level of consciousness whereon they can behold with clarified vision the workings of the Great Architect of the Universe.”

Manly P. Hall - The Secret Teachings of All Ages 

Sight to Behold

Vision is, by far, our most celebrated sense. The human eye is often held up as a marvel of lovely complexity, but it’s not a claim humans uniquely hold. Above is an image of an eye from a mouse. Each color represents a different type of cell – nearly 70 types in all, including the retina’s many rings and the peach-colored muscle cells clustered at the left.

Image courtesy of Bryan William Jones and Robert E. Marc at the University of Utah and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences

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Vision (2015-) #1

The Vision wants to be human, and what’s more human than family? He goes to the laboratory where he was created, where Ultron molded him into a weapon, where he first rebelled against his given destiny, where he first imagined that he could be more, that he could be good, that he could be a man, a normal, ordinary man. And he builds them. A wife, Virginia. Two teenage twins, Viv and Vin. They look like him. They have his powers. They share his grandest ambition or perhaps obsession: the unrelenting need to be ordinary. Behold The Visions! They’re the family next door, and they have the power to kill us all. What could possibly go wrong?

Read Vision #1 on comiXology

Growth and coping

It’s in the gentle rain
that vast forests amass.
It’s in the morning dew
that vibrant flowers peek past.
It’s in the wet of soft tears
that deep healing occurs.
It’s in the flowering, frosted fauna
that venus wrought it’s furs.
It’s in the love of all growing
that the knowing ode sheds it’s light.
It’s in the eye of the beholder
that clear vision gives way to sight.
It’s in the om of the world
that all forces align.
The original mindset of all
blossoms to the throes of all time.

-Jerry Harris III

Salvation

This ficlet is based on a particularly morbid piece of art, which can be found here. Anna is shown about to be burned at the stake, with a caption reading, “It seems like the people of Arendelle think that the princess is a witch, the same as her sister.” Beholding this grisly vision, I longed to instill a sense of hope in it, to deliver poor Anna from anguish and death. So I wrote this and I hope you enjoy. :)

They bore her to a stake and bound her there, and about her feet they heaped the wood for the pyre. The princess of Arendelle was not garbed like royalty. She wore no richly colored gown, fit for the most majestical of balls. Instead, a ragged thing of tarnished white hung about her naked shoulders.

That was all the mob deigned to give the sister of a witch.

Princess Anna’s sister, Elsa, who had styled herself as queen, had fled into the mountains. The seething horde would have liked it to have been the queen that they dragged out and roasted. How fitting it would have been to see the sorceress’s skin scald and blacken – to see her soft flesh blaze even as the sun began blazing overhead. The sun would have only grown brighter until the witch breathed her last. Finally, its rays would have pierced the bitterness of Elsa’s unholy magic. But Elsa had evaded them… and the crowd still longed for someone to fry.

Anna would sate them. Anna would do. Was she not this demon-woman’s closest kin? Who knew what dark magics ran in her veins?

This so-called princess would make a pretty bonfire for the teeming mass to warm their hands around in the brutal cold of this new winter…

Anna shuddered in the icy air, but knew that she would have heat enough anon. Flames like crimson lizards’ tongues would lap at her feet and consume her. She could only pray that the thickness of the smoke would suffocate her. She dreaded the thought of being conscious, writhing and convulsing and screaming as the fire ate her alive.

In pale fear, she thought of Joan of Arc, whose likeness hung in the palace even now, to whom she had whispered so many soft secrets as a little girl…

She had died thus. Anna swallowed back a sob.

Grubby hands clawed at her garment, tearing it all the more.

What good is modesty in these final moments? I’m going to die anyway!

Yet, Anna could not help but feel the sickening pulse of shame.

They can’t even give me this last dignity.

A torch was raised.

But it never touched the pyre.

Its flames became as ice, its rough-faced bearer dropping it in awe and wonder. There was an outcry from the crowd – not more baying for blood, not this time. They clamored at the marvel that they saw.

Anna raised her eyes in hope and her faith was rewarded. She looked upon her sister, standing tall as an Olympian pillar. Changed she was, miraculously changed. Elsa had cast away her crown and coronation dress, cast off all ties that bound her to this herd of hypocrites and wretches. The gown she wore seemed woven of stars, luminous as a waterfall by moonlight.

The mountain slopes had taken Elsa in… and in their embrace, she had transfigured into a goddess.

The few that dared to charge her found their way blocked by walls of ice. Elsa did no harm to the mob, though she might have smote them for their gall. She swept through them without consequence and when Anna saw her sister’s eyes gazing deeply into hers, she felt she had never known anything so beautiful.

Her limbs unbound, Anna sank into Elsa’s arms. Elsa’s touch was soft and caring. Anna had not known that touch for years, making its tenderness all the more inviting and warm. She nuzzled into Elsa’s bosom, sighing exultantly, longing for peace and rest…

None dared approach them.

Anna did not know if, in her exhaustion, she slept or if her fragmented thoughts were real. Elsa’s steady stride seemed to catch the winter’s wind…. It was like they were gliding, flying…

And then Anna found herself at rest in a great palace made all of ice and her heart swelled with pride for her sister.

“Like Lancelot and Guinevere…” she mused.

Elsa was near to her, squeezing her hand. “What?”

“You saved me… like Lancelot saved Guinevere from the stake, sweeping in, fighting off opponents…” In spite of all that had transpired, Anna giggled. “You’re my knight in shining armor.”

Knight in shining armor… goddess… angel… sister…

Elsa pulled Anna close and hugged her tightly. Smiles were on both their lips.