I don’t know about you, dearest Filthy Dreams readers, but I’ve been feeling a bit woo-woo recently. If I had to pinpoint the source, I’d date it to the last Democratic presidential debate in June, when a shining star soared across my screen like a beacon of New Age psychobabble and half-baked, half-lit ramblings.
Yes, of course, I’m talking about author, presidential candidate and not-cult leader Marianne Williamson who earned herself the much-coveted title of a Filthy Dreams role model quicker than anyone else in recent memory. I just wanted to call her up and say, “Girlfriend, you are so on!”
Watching the debate in June, Marion and I furiously texted each other in a gleeful panic after Marianne appeared. “Who is THIS Filthy Dreams reader?” we wondered. It was as if she was a stand-in for us in the debate: spouting nonsense, but doing so with complete (but a bit addled) conviction. I’m with HER!
Through her grand performance (and yes, these debates are performances), Marianne emerged as a true loon and a verified kook, of which there are not nearly enough. She’s like your zany drunk aunt that becomes a spiritual medium or tries to get you into crystals over Thanksgiving dinner. You know, the one you both love and want to become. I was waiting for Marianne to pull her vodka on the rocks out from behind the podium. I’ll have what she’s having!
Now, my interest is partially derived from the post-debate Twitter storm as the Internets furiously asserted that Marianne was the first presidential candidate to emerge from the Twin Peaks universe. And they weren’t wrong. All she needed was an eye patch, a passion for drape runners, a golden shovel and maybe a log. When she speaks, I seem to hear Julee Cruise’s haunting vocals softly in the background. Forget cheesy campaign songs–Marianne should go with “Questions in a World of Blue.”
Inspired by Williamson’s phoenix-like rise, I dug deep into her history. No, not her admirable founding of Project Angel Food. Did you know she used to be roommates with Laura Dern, before Dern made her debut in Blue Velvet? Is it a coincidence that the most Lynchian of presidential candidates exists adjacent to his constructed world? I think not.
I also learned that she has a particular talent for unintelligible memes. She’s basically Grimes in 30 years:
Do you understand? Because I’m at a loss.
Not satisfied to just search the Internet for my new New Age guru, I returned to Marianne’s seminal Oprah-approved (!) bestselling 1992 book A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course In Miracles. Not to be confused with Invitation to Love, the soap opera everyone on Twin Peaks watches, A Return to Love is based on Helen Schucman’s 1976 A Course in Miracles, which was apparently written through “inner dictation” from Jesus (Coincidentally all Filthy Dreams essays are written the same way). Marianne apparently fell headfirst into this text after an inspiring nervous breakdown, and began lecturing on The Course.
A Return to Love is frankly, well, confusing. I’m not sure I know what she’s talking half the time, but does it matter? I’m invested nonetheless. For example, do you know what this means? “As temples of healing, relationships are like a trip to the divine physician’s office.” Me neither. Or how about: “Darkness is merely the absence of light, fear is merely the absence of love. We can’t get rid of darkness by hitting it with a baseball bat, because there’s nothing to hit. If we want to be rid of darkness, we must turn on a light.” No clue. And I won’t even begin to try to understand the most mind-boggling of all: her approach to AIDS or “Angels In Darth Vader Suits.” But we’ll get to that.
After reading, I’ve become convinced of two things: Marianne is out of her mind, and she should probably be president. She’s the exact antithesis of Trump. While they’re both entrenched in the American public consciousness, existing in a sort of unreality reserved for media figures in our TV-soaked culture, she represents love, energy and miracles, whereas Trump is a stand-in for pure greed. Plus, after Trump, the White House is going to need a thorough smudging, and I bet you won’t even have to tell Marianne to bring the sage. She’s also the only Democratic candidate that rivals Trump in her sheer camp charisma. Finally, the left is bringing the camp!
Tomorrow, Marianne will return to the debate stage again (it is happening again…it is happening again), joining the likes of Bernie, Elizabeth Warren, that bore Mayor Pete (live a little), hombre Beto O’Rourke, and the inventor of the salad comb Amy Klobuchar. To prepare you for this month’s political battle, I’ve picked out my favorite passages from A Return To Love with some Twin Peaks GIFs for good measure, so grab some spiked green juice or maybe a damn fine cup of coffee, fire up your crystals, and get ready to shout these at the screen as if you are at a participatory midnight screening:
1. I can’t wait to have a nervous breakdown
“Nervous breakdowns can be highly underrated methods of spiritual transformation. They certainly get your attention. I have seen people have little breakdowns year after year, each time stopping just short of getting the point. I think I was lucky to get mine over with in one fell swoop. The things I learned here, I will not forget. As painful as this experience was, I now see it as an important, perhaps necessary step in my breakthrough to a happier life.
…Once you’ve had enough and you can’t do it anymore, you consider the possibility that there might be a better way. That’s when your head cracks open and God comes in”
2. We live inside a dream
“When we think with love, we are literally co-creating with God. And when we’re not thinking with love, since only love is real, then we’re actually not thinking at all. We’re hallucinating. And that’s what this world is: a mass hallucination, where fear seems more real than love. Fear is an illusion.”
3. Don’t tell everyone about that miracle thing.
“To become a miracle worker means to take part in a spiritual underground that’s revitalizing the world, participating in a revolution of the world’s values at the deepest possible level. That doesn’t mean you announce this to anyone. A member of the French underground didn’t walk up to a German officer occupying Paris and say, “Hi, I’m Jacques. French Resistance.” Similarly, you don’t tell people who should have no idea what you’re talking about, “I’m changed. I’m working for God now. he sent me to heal things. The world’s about to shift big time.” Miracle workers learn to keep their own counsel. Something that’s important to know about spiritual wisdom is that, when spoken at the wrong time, in the wrong place, or to the wrong, person, the one who speaks sounds more like a fool than a wise one.”
4. Sign my peace petition, goddammit!
“Since all minds are connected, then the correction of anyone’s perception is on some level a healing of the entire racial mind. The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world. Angry people cannot create a peaceful planet. It amuses me to think how angry I used to get when people wouldn’t sign my peace petitions.”
5. The children have no future (or past)
“Our capacity for brilliance is equal to our capacity to forget the past and forget the future. That’s why little children are brilliant. They don’t remember the past, and they don’t relate to the future. Be us as little children, that the world might finally grow up.”
“The world that the Holy Spirit reveals to us is a world that lies beyond this world, a world revealed to us through a different perception. We die to one world in order to be born into another….the world of time is not the real world, and the world of eternity is our real home. We are on our way there. We are pregnant with possibilities.”
7. Brb. I’m preparing my human channel
“A glass vase is meant to hold water. If more water is poured into the vase than its volume can contain, then the vase will chatter. So it is with our personalities. The power of God, particularly at this time, is pouring into us at rapid pace and high velocity. If our vessel, our vehicle–our human channel–is not prepared properly through devotion and deep reverence for life, then the very power that is mean to save us begins to destroy us.”
“God and man are the ultimate creative team. God is like electricity. A house can be wired for it, but if there aren’t any light fixtures, what good does that do? If God is seen as electricity, then we are His lamps. It doesn’t matter the size of the lamp, or its shape, or design. All that matters is that it gets plugged in. It doesn’t matter who we are or what our gifts are. All that matters is that we are willing to be used in His service. Our willingness, our conviction, give us a miraculous power. The servants of God bear the imprint of their Master.
Lamps without electricity cast no light, and electricity without lamps casts no light either. Together, however, they cast out all darkness.”
9. Why is Sophie Ann such a bitch?
“Finally glancing across St. Mark’s Square in Venice, I looked closely at my mother and said to myself, “It’s true–God’s not looking at her and thinking ‘Sophie Ann is such a bitch.’” As long as I chose to see her that way, as long as I was not willing to give up my focus on her errors, I could not be at peace because I was not sharing God’s perception.”
“None of us are really objectively attractive or unattractive. There is no such thing. There are people who manifest the potential for sparkle that we all share and those who don’t.”
11. Jesus is pissed
“If Jesus had yelled from the cross “I hate all you guys,” it would have been a completely different story. There would have been no resurrection.”
12. A vision from above
“I got down on my knees and worked myself into a grandiose meditative state. I saw visual images of a glorious sky and a group of angels marching through the clouds to bring me His answer. A couple of cherubs held up a scroll that they then began to unfold. My heart started racing as I awaited God’s message, which I was sure would be extremely important. Slowly the letters on the scroll began to form the words: “Marianne, you’re a spoiled brat.”
13. I can’t
“AIDS, for instance, can be thought of as “Angels-in-Darth Vader-Suits…Here are some enlightened visualizations; imagine the AIDS virus as Darth Vader, and then unzip his suit to allow an angel to emerge. See the cancer cell or AIDS virus in all its wounded horror, and then see a golden light, or angel, or Jesus, enveloping the cell and transforming it from darkness into light. As we said before, a scream responds best to love. That is when it calms down. That is when it stops.”
14. Love, AIDS
This one requires some explanation, or at least as much context as I can give it, which isn’t much. Apparently Marianne encouraged her cult…I mean followers…I mean, members…I mean, readers to write letters to their illnesses, especially AIDS. This would be a fine therapeutic exercise until you realized that AIDS writes back, answering folks’ devastating letters about everyone they’ve lost and their illness.
They’re all a ride, but this one is my favorite for AIDS’s sheer brevity:
I hate the uncertainty. But I feel thankful for the kick in the butt this was in my life, and to those around me. You made me find the strength I always had, and made me see the love those around me could show. You made us all learn to appreciate every day and the strength I was capable of. I know I keep saying strength, but it’s true, AIDS gave me strength. This is because when you find out your biggest fear in life comes true and you can still move on, fear no longer has any strength. Thank you for helping me stop beating up on myself and hating what I wasn’t and making me love what I am.
15. And finally, the end of the world!
“The end of the world as we know it wouldn’t be such a horrible thing, if you think of all the ways in which the world is full of pain and suffering. In the “end days,” we will not escape the horrors of the world through vehicles that soar into outer space, but through vehicles that soar into inner space. Those vehicles are our healed minds, guided by the Holy Spirit.”