by Tantra Bensko
Night Publishing, 2011
180 pages / $24.99 Buy from Amazon
The Cabinet of What You Don’t See
by Tantra Bensko
ISMs Press, 2011
40 pages / $5.00 Buy from ISMs Press
“Awake from dream, the truth is known: —awake from waking, the Truth is—The Unknown.” – Aleister Crowley, The Book of Lies
In the delicate balance of dream and reality lies the annihilation of illusion. Tantra Bensko’s sensual unveiling relates to the intelligence of crystals. She is adept at the unknown: dreams, twilight language where thought relates to the imaginal, emblematic of the seer’s paranoid awareness and lucid view. The lucid aesthetic is kaleidoscopic and freewheeling in its engagement with metaphysical realities that extend far beyond the realm of fiction and delve into the heart of energy, and the imagination itself. Cosmic and personal, the molecular weight of the hermetic text manifests itself through capricious and fanciful dreams through Bensko’s steady and remarkable vision. These stories are inextricably tied to alternate dimensions and mental travel, skirting at the edges of the astral plane, and Bensko desires the astral form here—in life, so that great fruits may come. Bensko writes, “I wish the people I’m living with, on my own invisible frequency, could understand that I am weaving myself through their cells, through their dreams, their breath, their love.” It is with sweetness and an alien lucidity that these stories exist. Like the labyrinthine explorations of Borges—echoes from the invisible drift into the unaware oceans with mysterious interpretations of shape and tone, stained with colored language. In Bensko’s stories ethereal waves skim over the astral surface between the world’s heart and all that bleeds. Emanations of some imperceptible astral dust covers all things, in the shimmering shadows of formless force – giving it shape, with lucidity and spirit. Like shadows – like a mirror – space, sound and color interact and create a dynamic that denies any nostalgia for conventional structures through a manifestation of the unseen.
The stories of Lucid Membrane dazzle with a sense of renewal, rebirth and rejuvenation. These stories deal with sensation and perception, with color, form and elements. Indeed, the book is even structurally unique in that it offers colored text – red, yellow, and blue – creating an alternate narrative, a deeply poetic hermetic text coded within the book’s meat. This makes for fascinating reading – these layers upon layers have the cumulative effect of an occult text gathered by a frequency that annihilates the inessential through the ascension of spirit.
Bensko’s ephemeral vision relates to modes of reality and ways of seeing radically different from “the accepted format of a continuous human.” Her metaphysical flow deals with integration and expansion, contraction of the inessential, and the dissolution of that which is known. The stories recall “everything beyond thought,” and an adjustment of the known order. Her reality is mediated by paranoid awareness, spiritual awakening and the fantastic, creating “music, forbidden and elegant” through her lucid vision. Bensko stands apart from the myopic veneer of unimaginative thinking, and introduces deep metaphysical longing into her fantastic stories: “I hope you can align all the levels of yourself, from your subconscious below, all the way up above your head to the most divine self. And I hope you spread out to include your aura, one level after another, out to the farthest edges, in which you know there are no edges.”
There is a rare speculative quality to The Cabinet of What You Don’t See that is incredibly fertile. Bensko blends paranoia with ways of seeing, modes of reality that enact her forbidden music, and her knowledge of “the invisible layers of vision.” There is a deep engagement with extraterrestrials and cryptic energy forms that “pull her imagination into them, use it to mix with the memories of those they steal away for some time outside of time, in a realm outside this realm.” Most fiction that deals explicitly in extraterrestrial life does so in familiar alien invasion scenarios, or as space opera. Bensko does neither, and her work owes more to the speculative paranoia of David Icke and other fringe thinkers, such as Whitley Strieber and Jim Marrs. Bensko boldly engages with the idea that the ‘global elite’ are in fact shape shifting inter-dimensional Reptilians that interfere with our emotions and siphon our energy. She wonders, “how they get into dreams, how they influence relationships, how they eat fear, how they run the government, how they possess people who have more of their hybrid blood, how they say they supposedly modified the human population to begin with.” Bensko fearlessly delves deeply into paranoia and the speculative nature of the supernatural in ways that totally thrilled me.
“We remember the screen memory stories imposed on us in our astralness. The grey and Draco and Reptilians, the military, the hybrid families, the illusions, the secret societies, the corporations, the mind control programs that compartmentalize our minds. They secretly manipulate our love and make it end, swoop down like owls and eat our pain. They make us desperate for the love they destroy. They come into our dreams.”
Bensko’s brave and penetrating words call to mind the ‘inorganic beings’ of Carlos Castaneda’s later books, and David Bowie’s frantic cameo in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, where he cryptically likens reality to a dream state in a deranged yet impassioned rant about how immaterial entities are controlling and devouring us at an energetic level. These multi-dimensional predators come from outside the space-time continuum in search of sustenance. The sustenance is us. Our love, our pain. Bensko uses the limitless power of the imagination and the warmth of her singular vision to break free – to lucidly go higher and higher.
Chris Moran is the author of Poison Vapors (Solar Luxuriance, 2011). He lives in Columbus, Ohio and blogs at http://subtlefields.blogspot.com/