This series of posts starts with Talking Heads.
Instant Karma confronts Death in the first line of Lennon's song. The choruses sing "we all shine on ..." etc.
The image Leary created in the final moments of the documentary Timothy Leary's Dead, ie the removal and close-up of his head immediately after death, vividly communicates a similar picture with Qabalah. Both suggest a great release of light and energy upon death. This appears cognate with the revelation, 'Every man and every woman is a star', as well as the Tibetan Buddhist observation that the first stop on the bardo express is the Clear Light.
What follows are experimental postulates and speculations, about the Unknown. As much as possible the intention here is to indicate how these temporary conclusions get arrived at. I urge anyone interested in Space Migration, Intelligence Increase and Life Extension to carry out their own research. It has never been more vital or necessary.
Let's accept the premise: 'Every man and every woman is a star' as literal.
What is a star?
A star is a massive, luminous ball of plasma held together by gravity.
For at least a portion of its life, a star shines due to thermonuclear fusion of hydrogen in its core releasing energy that traverses the star's interior and then radiates into outer space. Almost all naturally occurring elements heavier than helium were created by stars, either via stellar nucleosynthesis during their lifetimes or by supernova nucleosynthesis when stars explode.
Nuclear fusion is what defines a star.
Normally, I don't feel anything like these definitions of a star. However, it's suggested by Leary, Wilson, Gurdjieff, and a host of other mystics that higher modalities of consciousness exist hidden or unknown to our ordinary awareness. Leary and Wilson write about activating higher neurological circuits or activating higher aspects of neurological circuits already existing and functioning. Gurdjieff talks about "waking up" as if there is something there dormant or sleeping. Something like a star. . . , maybe.
Crowley told Frank Bennett something to the effect that the Holy Guardian Angel is equivalent to the subconscious mind when Bennett went for a spiritual retreat to the Abbey of Thelema in Cefalu, Sicily.
in a few short sentences he (Crowley) explained the whole thing in such a way that my consciousness seemed to expand there and then... Bennett suddenly saw how he had been cutting himself off from himself. The sun, sea, and sand, and Crowley's illuminating presence, did the rest of the trick, and after a terrific struggle overnight as his conscious thinking began to give way, he saw the light. His diary records that on 20 August, he received his first conscious experience of his Holy Guardian Angel: 'For at that moment all became radiant and beautiful; my consciousness expanded to touch the inner world of realities - my mind had come in contact with some inner world of being which was God' He awoke the next day ' a new being.'
Quoted from Aleister Crowley, The Biography by Tobias Churton.
Notice the association with Tiphareth in Bennett's description of contact with his HGA. Also note the resemblance to a death/rebirth experience.
If our deepest nature is a star, then when all the things that mask and obscure the Deep Self (ego, personality, emotional armoring, headbrain chatter, the physical body, our concerns and worries etc, etc. ) completely drop off at death, you might expect a great release of light and energy. For the voyager transiting through this experience it could seem extremely intense going from ordinary, filtered, consensual reality to being at the center of a "massive, luminous ball of plasma held together by gravity." Tibetan Buddhists call this: bouncing into the Clear Light of Reality. It's said to be so intense that the unprepared voyager can only take it for a few seconds before blacking out.
... But thou hast all in the clear light, and some, though not all, in the dark.
Book of the Law ch I v. 56
This release of light and energy upon death can be sensed and felt, particularly by someone very close to the person who died. This was my experience with my father's death in 1994. I also experienced the energetic effect of Robert Anton Wilson's death in 2007 in the form of a very moving synchronicity several hours before receiving the news he had moved on.
This notion of energy getting released at death appears in Wilson's Illuminatus! Trilogy, Gurdjieff's Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson, and in The Western Lands by Burroughs.
If our starry nature surfaces so dramatically at death as the filters, barriers, and buffers to it break down, then it follows that anything we do to incur a "little death" - any kind of meditative or contemplative activity, yoga, ritual, playing music etc. etc. will gradually wear down the obstructions to our Deep Self and make it more apparent to our awareness. Perhaps this somewhat motivates the Sufi statement to 'die before you die.'
The truth to the statement, 'Every man and every woman is a star' seems a process of unveiling or unfoldment. As we become more aware of the luminous plasma at the core of our being, we get sensitized to feeling that strata of energy from others. When strongly felt it's known as 'being contact.' I've observed that people playing music together experience this contact frequently especially when the music is really cooking.
On another note, until looking up the definition of a star, I didn't realize that its light was a result of the thermonuclear fusion of hydrogen. This caused me to wonder if a relation exists between Gurdjieff's Table of Hydrogens and all the theory behind that given in Ouspenky's In Search of the Miraculous and Crowley's starcentric cosmology? Hydrogen, of course, carries the distinction of existing as the lightest element.