The two-word cypher signal KING FELIX was not intended for human beings but for the descendents of Ikhna-ton, the three-eyed race which, in secret, exists with us. 2

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And at any time it can flash forth-not with healing in its wings but with poison, with that which wounds.

But we had started out wounded. And VALIS had fired healing information at us, medical information. VALIS approached us in the form of the physician, and the age of the injury, the Age of Iron, the toxic iron splinter, had been abolished.

And yet. . . the risk is, potentially, always there.

It is a kind of terrible game. Which can go either way.

Libera me, Domine, I said to myself. In die illa. Save me, protect me, God, in this day of wrath. There is a streak of the irrational in the universe, and we, the little hopeful trusting Rhipidon Society, may have been drawn into it, to perish.

As many have perished before.

I remembered something which the great physician of the Renaissance had discovered. Poisons, in measured doses, are remedies; Paracelsus was the first to use metals such as mercury as medication. For this discovery-the measured use of poisonous metals as medications-Paracelsus has entered our history books. There is, however, an unfortunate ending to the great physician's life.

He died of metal poisoning.

So put another way, medications can be poisonous, can kill. And it can happen at any time.

"Time is a child at play, playing draughts; a child's is the

kingdom. "As Heraclitus wrote twenty-five hundred years ago. In many ways this is a terrible thought. The most terrible of all. A child playing a game... with all life, everywhere.

I would have preferred an alternative. I saw now the bind-ing importance of our motto, the motto of our little Society, binding upon all occasions as the essence of Christianity, from which we could never depart:


If we abandoned that, we entered the paradoxes, and, finally, death. Stupid as our motto sounded, we had fabricated in it the insight we needed. There was nothing more to know.

In Fat's quaint little dream about dropping the M-16 rifle, the Divine had spoken to us. Nihil Obstat. We had entered love, and found ourselves a land.

But the divine and the terrible are so close to each other. Nommo and Yurugu are partners; both are necessary. Osiris and Seth, too. In the Book of Job, Yahweh and Satan form a partnership. For us to live, however, these partners must be split. The behind-the-scenes partnership must end as soon as time and space and all the creatures come into being.

It is not God nor the gods which must prevail; it is wisdom, Holy Wisdom. I hoped that the fifth Savior would be that: splitting the bipolarities and emerging as a unitary thing. Not of three persons or two but one. Not Brahma the creator, Vishnu the sustainer and Shiva the destroyer, but what Zoroaster called the Wise Mind.

God can be good and terrible-not in succession-but at the same time. This is why we seek a mediator between us and him; we approach him through the mediating priest and attenuate and enclose him through the sacraments. It is for our own safety: to trap him with confines which render him safe. But now, as Fat had seen, God had escaped the confines and was transubstantiating the world; God had become free.

The gentle sounds of the choir singing "Amen, amen" are not to calm the congregation but to pacify the god.

When you know this you have penetrated to the innermost core of religion. And the worst part is that the god can thrust

himself outward and into the congregation until he becomes them. You worship a god and then he pays you back by taking you over. This is called "Enthousiasmos" in Greek, literally "to be possessed by the god." Of all the Greek gods the one most likely to do this was Dionysos. And, unfortunately, Dionysos was insane.

Put another way-stated backward-if your god takes you over, it is likely that no matter what name he goes by he is actually a form of the mad god Dionysos. He was also the god of intoxication, which may mean, literally, to take in toxins; that is to say, to take a poison. The danger is there.

If you sense this, you try to run. But if you run he has you anyhow, for the demigod Pan was the basis of panic which is the uncontrollable urge to flee, and Pan is a subform of Dionysos. So in trying to flee from Dionysos you are taken over anyhow.

I write this literally with a heavy hand; I am so weary I am dropping as I sit here. What happened at Jonestown was the mass running of panic, inspired by the mad god-panic leading into death, the logical outcome of the mad god's thrust.

For them no way out existed. You must be taken over by the mad god to understand this, that once it happens there is no way out, because the mad god is everywhere.

It is not reasonable for nine hundred people to collude in their own deaths and the deaths of little children, but the mad god is not logical, not as we understand the term.

When we reached the Lamptons 'house we found it to be a stately old farm mansion, set in the middle of grape vines; after all, this is wine country.

I thought, Dionysos is the god of wine.

"The air smells good here," Kevin said as we got out of the VW Rabbit.

"We sometimes get pollution," Eric said. "Even here."

Entering the house, we found it warm and attractive; huge posters of Eric and Linda, framed behind non-reflecting glass, covered all the walls. This gave the old wooden house a modern look, which linked us back to the Southland.

Linda said, smiling, "We make our own wine, here. From our own grapes."

I imagine you do, I said to myself.

A huge complex of stereo equipment rose up along one wall like the fortress in VALIS which was Nicholas Brady's sound-mixer. I could see where the visual idea had originated.

"I'll put on a tape we made," Eric said, going over to the audio fortress and clicking switches to on. "Mini's music but my words. I'm singing but we're not going to release it; it's just an experiment."

As we seated ourselves, music at enormous DBs filled the living room, rebounding off all the walls.

"I want to see you, man.

As quickly as I can.

Let me hold your hand

I've got no hand to hold

And I'm old, old; very old.

Why will not you look at me?

Afraid of what you see?

I'll find you anyhow,

Later or now; later or now. "

Jesus, I thought, listening to the lyrics. Well, we came to the right place. No doubt about that. We wanted this and we got this. Kevin could amuse himself by deconstructing the song lyrics, which did not need to be deconstructed. Well, he could turn his attention to Mini's electronic noises, then.

Linda, bending down and putting her lips to my ears, shouted over the music, "Those resonances open the higher chakras."

I nodded.

When the song ended, we all said how terrific it was, David included. David had passed into a trance-state; his eyes were glazed over. David did this when he was faced by what he could not endure; the church had taught him how to phase himself out mentally for a time, until the stress situation was over.

"Would you like to meet Mini?" Linda Lampton said.

"Yes!" Kevin said.

"He's probably upstairs sleeping," Eric Lampton said. He

started out of the living room. "Linda, you bring some cabernet sauvignon, the 1972, up from the cellar."

"Okay," she said, starting out of the room in the other direction. "Make yourselves comfortable," she said over her shoulder to us. "I'll be right back."

Over at the stereo, Kevin gazed down in rapture.

David walked up to me, his hands stuck deep in his pockets, a complex expression on his face. "They're-"

"They're crazy," I said.

"But in the car you seemed-"

"Crazy," I said.

"Good crazy?" David said; he stood close beside me, as if for protection. "Or-the other thing."

"I do not know," I said, truthfully.

Fat stood with us now; he listened, but did not speak. He looked deeply sobered. Meanwhile, Kevin, by himself, continued to analyze the audio system.

"I think we should-" David began, but at that moment Linda Lampton returned from the wine cellar, carrying a silver tray on which stood six wine glasses and a bottle still corked.

"Would one of you open the wine?" Linda said. "I usually get cork in it; I do not know why." Without Eric she seemed shy with us, and completely unlike the woman she had played in Valis.

Rousing himself, Kevin took the wine bottle from her.

"The opener is somewhere in the kitchen," Linda said.

From above our heads thumping and scraping noises could be heard, as if something awfully heavy were being dragged across the upper-story floor.

Linda said, "Mini-I should tell you this-has multiple myeloma. It's very painful and he's in a wheelchair."

Horrified, Kevin said, "Plasma cell myeloma is always fatal."

"Two years is the life span," Linda said. "His has just been diagnosed. He'll be hospitalized in another week. I'm sorry."

Fat said, "Can not VALIS heal him?"

"That which is to be healed will be healed," Linda Lamp-ton said. "That which will be destroyed will be destroyed. But time is not real; nothing is destroyed. It is an illusion."

David and I glanced at each other.

Bump-bump. Something awkward and enormous dragged

its way down a flight of stairs. Then, as we stood unmoving, a wheel chair entered the living room. In it a crushed little heap smiled at us in humor, love and the warmth of recognition. From both ears ran cords: double hearing aids. Mini, the composer of Synchronicity Music, was partially deaf.

Going up to Mini one by one we shook his faltering hand and identified ourselves, not as a society but as persons.

"Your music is very important," Kevin said.

"Yes it is," Mini said.

We could see his pain and we could see that he would not live long. But in spite of the suffering he held no malice toward the world; he did not resemble Sherri. Glancing at Fat, I could see that he was remembering Sherri, now, as he gazed at the stricken man in the wheelchair. To come this far, I thought, and to find this again-this, which Fat had fled from. Well, as I already said, no matter which direction you take, when you run the god runs with you because he is everywhere, inside you and out.

"Did VALIS make contact with you?" Mini said. "The four of you? Is that why you're here?"

"With me," Fat said. "These others are my friends."

"Tell me what you saw," Mini said.

"Like St. Elmo's Fire," Fat said "And information- ''

"There is always information when VALIS is present," Mini said, nodding and smiling. "He is information. Living information."

"He healed my son," Fat said. "Or anyhow fired the medical information necessary to heal him at me. And VALIS told me that St. Sophia and the Buddha and what he or it called the 'Head Apollo' is about to be born soon and that the-"

"-the Time you have waited for," Mini murmured.

"Yes," Fat said.

"How did you know the cypher?" Eric Lampton asked Fat.

"I saw a set to ground doorway," Fat said.

"He saw it," Linda said rapidly. "What was the ratio of the doorway? The sides?"

Fat said, "The Fibonacci Constant."

"That's our other code," Linda said. "We have ads running all over the world. One to point six one eight zero three four. What we do is say, 'Complete this sequence: One to point six.'

If they recognize it as the Fibonacci constant they can finish the sequence. "

"Or we use Fibonacci numbers," Eric said. "1,2,3,5,8,13 and so on. That doorway is to the Different Realm."

"Higher?" Fat asked

"We just call it" Different, ' "Eric said.

"Through the doorway I saw luminous writing," Fat said.

"No you did not," Mini said, smiling. "Through the doorway is Crete."

After a pause, Fat said, "Lemnos."

"Sometimes Lemnos. Sometimes Crete. That general area." In a spasm of pain, Mini drew himself up in his wheel chair.

"I saw Hebrew letters on the wall," Fat said.

"Yes," Mini said, still smiling. "Cabala. And the Hebrew letters permutated until they factored out into words you could read."

"Into KING FELIX," Fat said.

"Why did you lie about the doorway?" Linda said, without animosity; she seemed merely curious.

Fat said, "I did not think you'd believe me."

"Then you're not normally familiar with the Cabala," Mini said. "It's the encoding system which VALIS uses; all its verbal information is stored as Cabala, because that's the most economical way, since the vowels are indicated by mere vowel-points. You were given a set-ground discriminating un-scrambler, you realize . We normally can not distinguish set from ground; VALIS has to fire the unscrambler at you. It's a grid. You saw set as color, of course. "

"Yes." Fat nodded. "And ground as black and white."

"So you could see the false work."

"Pardon?" Fat said.

"The false work that's blended with the real world."

"Oh," Fat said. "Yes, I understand. It seeemed as if some tilings had been taken away-"

"And other things added," Mini said.

Fat nodded.

"You have a voice inside your head now?" Mini said. "The AI ??voice?"

After a long pause, and a glance at me, Kevin and David, Fat said, "It's a neutral voice. Neither male nor female. Yes, it does sound as if it's an artificial intelligence."

"That's the inter-system communications network," Mini

said. "It stretches between stars, connecting all the star systems with Albemuth."

Staring at him, Fat said, " 'Albemuth'? It's a star?"

"You heard the word, but-"

"I saw it in written form," Fat said, "but I did not know what it meant. I connected it with alchemy, because of the 'al.' "

"The al prefix, "Mini said," is Arabic; it simply means 'the.' It's a common prefix for stars. That was your clue. Anyhow, you did see written pages, then. "

"Yes," Fat said. "Many of them. They told me what was going to happen to me. Like-" He hesitated. "My later suicide attempt. It gave me the Greek word 'Ananke' which I did not know. And it said, 'A gradual darkening of the world; a sickling over. ' Later I realized what it meant; a bad thing, a sickness, a deed that I had to commit. But I did survive. "

"My illness," Mini said, "is from proximity to VALIS, to its energy. It's an unfortunate thing, but as you know, we are immortal, although not physically so. We will be reborn and remember."

"My animals died of cancer," Fat said.

"Yes," Mini said. "The levels of radiation can sometimes be enormous. Too much for us."

I thought, So that's why you're dying. Your god has killed you and yet you're happy. I thought, We have to get out of here. These people court death.

"What is VALIS?" Kevin said to Mini. "Which deity or demi-urge is he? Shiva? Osiris? Horus? I've read The Cosmic Trigger and Robert Anton Wilson says- "

"VALIS is a construct," Mini said. "An artifact. It's anchored here on Earth, literally anchored. But since space and time do not exist for it, VALIS can be anywhere and any time it wishes to. It's something they built to program us at birth; normally it fires extremely short bursts of information at babies, engramming instructions to them which will bleed across from their right hemispheres at clock-time intervals during their full lifetimes, at the appropriate situational contexts. "

"Does it have an antagonist?" Kevin said.

"Only the pathology of this planet," Eric said. "Due to the atmosphere. We can not readily breathe this atmosphere, here; it's toxic to our race."

" 'Our'?" I said.

"All of us," Linda said. "We're all from Albemuth. This atmosphere poisons us and makes us deranged. So they-the ones who stayed behind in the Albemuth System-built VALIS and sent it here to fire rational instructions at us, to override the pathology caused by the toxicity of the atmosphere. "

"Then VALIS is rational," I said.

"The only rationality we have," Linda said.

"And when we act rationally we're under its jurisdiction," Mini said. "I do not mean us here in the room; I mean everyone. Not everyone who lives but everyone who is rational."

"Then in essence," I said, "VALIS detoxifies people."

"That's exactly it," Mini said. "Ifs an informational antitoxin. But exposure to it can cause-illness such as I have."

Too much medication, I said to myself, remembering Paracelsus, is a poison. This man has been healed to death.

"I wanted to know VALIS as much as possible," Mini said, seeing the expression on my face. "I begged it to return and communicate with me further. It did not want to; it knew the effect its radiation would have on me if it returned. But it did what I asked. I'm not sorry. It was worth it , to experience VALIS again. " To Fat he said, "You know what I mean. The sound of bells..."

"Yes," Fat said. "The Easter bells."

"Are you talking about Christ?" David said. "Christ is an artificial construct built to fire information at us that works on us subliminally?"

"From the time we are born," Mini said. "We the lucky ones. We whom it selects. Its flock. Before I die, VALIS will return; I have its promise. VALIS will come and take me with it; I will be a part of it forever." Tears filled his eyes.

Later, we all sat around and talked more calmly.

The Eye of Shiva was of course the way the ancients represented VALIS firing information. They knew it could destroy; this is the element of harmful radiation which is necessary as a carrier for the information. Mini told us that VALIS is not actually close when it fires; it may be literally millions of miles away. Hence, in the film Valis, they represented it by a satellite, a very old satellite, not put into orbit by humans.

"So we're not dealing with religion then," I said, "but with a very advanced technology."

"Words," Mini said.

"What is the Savior?" David said.

Mini said, "You'll see him. Presently. Tomorrow, if you wish; Saturday afternoon. He's sleeping now. He still sleeps a great deal; most of the time, in fact. After all, he was completely asleep for thousands of years. "

"At Nag Hammadi?" Fat said.

"I would rather not say," Mini said.

"Why must this be kept secret?" I said.

Eric said, "We're not keeping it secret; we made the film and we're making lps with information in the lyrics. Subliminal information, mostly. Mini does it with his music."

" 'Sometimes Brahman sleeps,'" Kevin said, " 'and sometimes Brahman dances.' Are we talking about Brahman? Or Siddhartha the Buddha? Or Christ? Or is it all of them? "

I said to Kevin, "The great-" I had intended to say, "The great Punta," but I decided not to; it would not be wise. "It's not Dionysos, is it?" I asked Mini.

"Apollo," Linda said. "The paired opposite to Dionysos."

That filled me with relief. I believed her; it fitted with what had been revealed to Horselover Fat: "The Head Apollo."

"We are in a maze, here," Mini said, "which we built and then fell into and can not get out. In essence, VALIS selectively fires information to us which aids us in escaping from the maze, in finding the way out. It started back about two thousand years before Christ, in Mycenaean times or perhaps early Helladic. That's why the myths place the maze at Minos, on Crete. That's why you saw ancient Crete through the 1: .618034 doorway. We were great builders, but one day we decided to play a game. We did it voluntarily; were we such good builders that we could build a maze with a way out but which constantly changed so that, despite the way out, in effect there was no way out for us because the maze-this world-was alive? To make the game into something real, into something more than an intellectual exercise, we elected to lose our exceptional faculties, to reduce us an entire level. This, unfortunately, included loss of memory-loss of knowledge of our true origins. But worse than that-and here

is where we in a sense managed to defeat ourselves, to turn victory over to our servant, over to the maze we had built- "

"The third eye closed," Fat said.

"Yes," Mini said. "We relinquished the third eye, our prime evolutionary attribute. It is the third eye which VALIS re-opens."

"Then it's the third eye that gets us back out of the maze," Fat said. "That's why the third eye is identified with god-like powers or with enlightenment, in Egypt and in India."

"Which are the same thing," Mini said. "God-like, enlightened."

"Really?" I said.

"Yes," Mini said. It is man as he really is: his true state. "

Fat said, "So without memory, and without the third eye, we never had a chance to beat the maze. It was hopeless."

I thought, Another [sic] Chinese finger-trap. And built by our own selves. To trap our own selves.

What kind of minds would create a Chinese finger-trap for themselves? Some game, I thought. Well, it is not merely intellectual.

"The third eye had to be re-opened if we were to get out of the maze," Mini said, "but since we no longer remembered that we had that ajna faculty, the eye of discernment, we could not go about seeking techniques for re-opening it. Something outside had to enter, something which we ourselves would be unable to build. "

"So we did not all fall into the maze," Fat said.

"No," Mini said. "And those that stayed outside, in other star systems, reported back to Albemuth that we had done this thing to ourselves... Thus VALIS was constructed to rescue us. This is an irreal world. You realize that, I'm sure. VALIS made you realize that. We are in a living maze and not in a world at all. "

There was silence as we considered this.

"And what happens when we get outside the maze?" Kevin said.

"We're freed from space and time," Mini said. "Space and time are the binding, controlling conditions of the maze-its power."

Fat and I glanced at each other. It dovetailed with our own speculations-speculations engineered by VALIS.

"And then we never die?" David asked.

"Correct," Mini said.

"So salvation-"

" 'Salvation,'" Mini said, "is a word denoting 'Being led out of the space-time maze, where the servant has become the master."

"May I ask a question?" I said. "What is the purpose of the fifth Savior?"

"It is not 'fifth,'" Mini said. "There is only one, over and over again, at different times, in different places, with different names. The Savior is VALIS incarnated as a human being."

"Crossbonded?" Fat said.

"No." Mini shook his head no vigorously. "There is no human element in the Savior."

"Wait a minute," David said.

"I know what you've been taught," Mini said. "In a sense, it's true. But the Savior is VALIS and that is the fact of the case. He is born, however, from a human woman. He does not just generate a phantasm-body."

To that, David nodded; he could accept that.

"And he's been born?" I asked.

"Yes," Mini said.

"My daughter," Linda Lampton said. "Not Eric's, however. Just mine and VALIS'S."

"Daughter?" several of us said in unison.

"This time," Mini said, "for the first time, the Savior takes female form."

Eric Lampton said, "She's very pretty. You'll like her. She talks a blue streak, though; she'll talk your ear off."

"Sophia is two," Linda said. "She was born in 1976. We tape what she says."

"Everything is taped," Mini said. "Sophia is surrounded by audio and video recording equipment that automatically monitors her constantly. Not for her protection, of course; VALIS protects her-VALIS, her father."

"And we can talk with her?" I said.

"She'll dispute with you for hours," Linda said, and then she added, "in every language there is or ever was."

Wisdom had been born, not a deity: a deity which slew with one hand while healing with another. . . that deity was not the Savior, and I said to myself, Thank God.

We were taken the next morning to a small farm area, with animals everywhere. I saw no signs of video or audio recording equipment, but I saw-we all saw-a black-haired child seated with goats and chickens, and, in a hutch beside her, rabbits.

What I had expected was tranquility, the peace of God which passes all understanding. However, the child, upon seeing us, rose to her feet and came toward us with indignation blazing in her face; her eyes, huge, dilated with anger, fixed intently on me-she lifted her right hand and pointed at me.

'Your suicide attempt was a violent cruelty against yourself, "she said in a clear voice. And yet she was, as Linda had said, no more than two years old: a baby, really, and yet with the eyes of an infinitely old person.

"It was Horselover Fat," I said.

Sophia said, "Phil, Kevin and David. Three of you. There are no more."

Turning to speak to Fat-I saw no one. I saw only Eric Lampton and his wife, the dying man in the wheel chair, Kevin and David. Fat was gone. Nothing remained of him.

Horselover Fat was gone forever. As if he had never existed.

"I do not understand," I said. "You destroyed him."

"Yes," the child said.

I said, "Why?"

"To make you whole."

"Then he's inme? Alive in me?"

"Yes," Sophia said. By degrees, the anger left her face. The great dark eyes ceased to smolder.

"He was me all the time," I said.

"That is right," Sophia said.

"Sit down," Eric Lampton said. "She prefers it if we sit; then she does not have to talk up to us. We're so much taller than she is."

Obediently, we all seated ourselves on the rough parched brown ground-which I now recognized as the opening shot in the film Valis; they had filmed part of it here.

Sophia said, "Thank you."

"Are you Christ?" David said, tugging his knees up against his chin, his arms wrapped around them; he, too, looked like a child: one child addressing another in equal conversation.

"I am that which I am," Sophia said.

"I'm glad to-" I could not think what to say.

"Unless your past perishes," Sophia said to me, "you are doomed. Do you know that?"

"Yes," I said.

Sophia said, "Your future must differ from your past. The future must always differ from the past."

David said, "Are you God?"

"I am that which I am." Sophia said.

I said, "Then Horselover Fat was part of me projected outward so I would not have to face Gloria's death."

Sophia said, "That is so."

From loss and grief the Mind has become deranged. Therefore we, as parts of the universe, the Brain, are partly deranged. | The phenomenal world does not exist; it is a hypostasis of the information processed by the Mind. | Matter is plastic in the face of Mind. | Ex Deo nascimur, in Jesu mortimur, per spiritum sanctum reviviscimus. | The Mind lets in the light, then the dark; in interaction; so time is generated. At the end Mind awards victory to the light; time ceases and the Mind is complete. | This loneliness, this anguish of the bereaved Mind, is felt by every constituent of the universe. All its constituents are alive. Thus the ancient Greek thinkers were hylozoists. | TWO SOURCE COSMOGONY | The Godhead is impaired; some primordial crisis occurred in it which we do not understand. | Thou givest him breath therein to preserve him alive. | Entry # 41. The Empire is the institution, the codification, of derangement; it is insane and imposes its insanity on us by violence, since its nature is a violent one. |

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