Doctor Strange, the movie: serious Asura-bait

by Daniel Ingram

If you haven't seen the movie Doctor Strange and you like cartoonish action adventure movies, I highly recommend it. Not only are the graphics off the charts good, but the themes are perennially arising in spiritual practice.

What was so strangely compelling for me specifically about the movie was the numerous curious parallels, which I list in no particular order:

  • Many of the visuals were very much like those I experienced during my retreat in 2012 at the Tower of Hallbar (see The glowing amber fire-like energy that they drew the circles and energetic shields was just like one of the more common colors that I used to draw similar shapes, one of which Duncan saw.  The time-bending wheel that projected off his hand in green with sacred geometric patterns was uncannily similar to the spinning patterns I was conjuring off my hand towards the end of the retreat.
  • That raises questions of temporal magick, which I have been thinking about a lot recently. One small insight from that recent cogitation: patience is skillful fourth-dimensional logistics.
  • The battle scenes were uncannily similar to many of the standard battle scenes I have in my dreams, including the possibility of launching into a travel from them, the flying, some of the modes of combat, the energy blazing off their hands, the shifts between places and realms through self-created gates, the phase issues that they got into when traveling in which they had partial but not complete ability to move through various physical objects without interacting with them, the ability to warp space and circumstances around them, and the final reluctant standoff and truce achieved the the end between Dr Strange and Dormammu: all the stock themes of my frequent wizard combat dreams.
  • These wizard combat aspects and the temptations of power in general play right to my more Asuric tendencies and inclinations, for better or worse, and the karmic implications of that realm's  aspects are currently a hot topic in my life.
  • The theme of Steven Strange and Christine Palmer oscillating back and forth between the world of emergency medicine and the world of meditation and magick, with the odd paradigmatic tensions that can create, as well as the theme of progress, as they both learn to adapt and grow in paradigmatic flexibility to various degrees and learn to roll with the strangeness, as it were.
  • The themes of innovation, exploration, and feeling out of one's depth and yet somehow achieving things that one never thought one possibly could when it comes to meditation, astral travel, energetics, and magick.
  • The movie explored the perennial tensions between medicine and meditation regarding which is most needed in this world, realizing that they both complement each other and yet at times cause conflicts with each other, particularly in terms of money, time, renunciation, responsibility, personal healing vs healing the world, and social acceptance vs rejection in the two worlds. These are themes I wrestle with every single day, and working to craft some dynamic balance between them that does both well and honors the paradigms and limitations of both defines a large part of what I think of as the cutting edge of my practice.
  • I hope that my February retreat will help me find a bit more wisdom regarding some of these curious aspects of this life.