Astral Projective Verse: Olson, Ophiel and Sun Ra


Astral Projective Verse

By Steve Fly Agaric 23

For Eric Wagner and John Sinclair. Thanks for inspiring these wild speculations which are really notes that shall be reshuffled into a more coherent whole at some future point.

Sounds Fly: Music Writing

by Steven James Pratt et al.


“The essay introduces his ideas of “composition by field” through projective or open verse, which is a continuation of the ideas of poets Ezra Pound, who asked poets to “compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in sequence of a metronome,” and William Carlos Williams, who proposed in 1948 that a poem be approached as a “field of action.” Olson’s projective verse focuses on “certain laws and possibilities of the breath, of the breathing of the man who writes as well as of his listenings.” –Poetry Foundation, introduction to Projective Verse.
“This book, an occult book, deals with the subject of how to enter this Astral plane, function there, and then return to the physical plane, with a great deal of memory-knowledge of the “trip” retained in the memory and available for study and research. This book is a practical Occult book in that it gives all the theory necessary to understand the subject AND THE DEFINITE DIRECTION PRACTICES AS HOW TO DO IT.–Orphiel, The Art of AstraProjection.
“Music is a plane of wisdom, because music is a universal language, it is a language of honor, it is a noble precept, a gift of the Airy Kingdom, music is air, a universal existence … common to all the living. Music is existence, the key to the universal language. Because it is the universal language.–Sun Ra, The Neglected Plane of Wisdom (1966)
Astral Planes And New Moon Beams by Sun Ra (at discogs)

Astral Source History


The system of projective verse as defined by Charles Olson and the magical occult Art of Astral Projection, here as defined by Orphiel, twist themselves together to produce astral projected verse, a new kind of magical poetics, or roughly a poetic technique to remote-view (using the astral body) the spaces and places and the time period under investigation.
I have dabbled with some of these ideas in a previous writing project called Open Source History. I created a target area based upon 48 hours of historical time set between July 31st and August 1st 1936. I picked this date due to the special intersection point that I perceived here based upon the life-span of characters from ‘the tale of the tribe,’ as defined by Robert Anton Wilson, who was 4 in 1936. William Butler Yeats and James Joyce were alive, so were Marshall McLuhan, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon, Norbert Weiner, Ezra Pound, Orson Welles and Alfred Korzybski. This group of innovative critters who exerted a special IMPACT on Dr Wilson are pulled into a fictional vortex of history spread over 48 hours.
The ideas and innovations from the individuals are projected into the historical period under observation by using another fictional tool: tribetablism. An occult system of astral projection based up utilizing the instruments and sensibility of a disc jockey, the discs in this case contain the speech of the tribe or the speech of the historical characters, together with sounds effects and embellishments more conventionally associated with the art and craft of the DJ. The tribetable method takes a lot from the Enochian Vision Magick as defined by Lon Milo Duquette, and is the tool by which the historical tale is telling itself. The novel cuts between occult astral projecting DJs in 2012, and the targets from 1936: New York, Rapallo, Berlin.


–Steve Fly

One thought on “Astral Projective Verse: Olson, Ophiel and Sun Ra

  1. Terrific piece, and thanks for the dedication. Have you read “The Truth of Masks” by Oscar Wilde? Bob Wilson loved that essay.

    When I first went to Europe in 1985 a friend gave me a card with a Sun Ra quote, “You made a mistake and did something wrong, so make a mistake and do something right.”

    Have you head the recent Lady Gaga song “Venus” which samples Sun Ra's “Rocket #9.” I enjoyed Graham Lock's book on Ellington, Sun Ra, and Anthony Braxton.

    “Space is the place, next stop Mars.”

    PS I loved Olsen's essay “Projective Verse” and read it repeatedly in the 1980's.

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