While the starship Snipe rests in dry dock, getting it’s superstructure and engine stress points repaired, I’m on some much needed psychic shore leave.  Still lots to do, in a generic survival kind of way.  K and I are moved  in to the new honeycomb hideout, and have physical object issues to work out with all of our stuff.  But the new place is welcoming us in and it’s as if we never left our beloved neighborhood before the haunted house jackup.

My mental brain calibrations return to a less terrified “all guns-blazing” mode.  And I go through the task of setting up my creative work center all over again.  I know I have chip-lights going off on projects all over the place.  The panic is part of the process, so it’s cool.  This is a good energy to have bugging me.  K and I go to a bookstore and buy some reading material.  At the end of the day, we just need to sit on the Puff Couch and read, with cats all together at peace loafing on the slack vibe.

Picked up this awesome huge volcano picture book for ten bucks.  I’ve been on a volcano kick for the last few weeks, imagining the explosive power and brilliant glow of molten earth.  I swear, bargain books have some of the best overlooked books ever.

I decide a good search on the internets would be to find out what happens when a person falls into lava.  I mean, what really happens?  As I type in “What happens when a” into the gooble-gobbler search box, it suggests “volcano erupts”, followed by “girl loses her virginity”.  Whoa, the things on people’s minds and the free form associations with nature shows.  What is going on in the collective unconscious that I’m picking up?

Turns out finding an answer to this person-in-lava question is harder than it looks.  I really have to search with the sensors to find a second hand story about a geologist who fell up to his waist in lava accidentally, and was pulled out quickly by a friend.  He suffered third degree burns and lived to walk again (with a hint that he’d lost the ability to have children, ouch).

Mind you, he was wearing one of those heat protection suits.  If I understand correctly, the difference in temperatures caused a thin layer of lava to cool around the body, absorbing heat from the outer layer of lava preventing the flesh from burning immediately.

I see a lot of speculation that a person would die almost immediately from the heat, probably float on top of the lava (density issues, like swimming in a salt-saturated body of water), and combust into huge amounts of smoke.  The flesh would shrivel up (the body’s liquids blasting out as steam) and probably explode (because of the fat), the bones charring straight to ash.

I learn about convection.  That’s when hot liquids or gases make currents that spread their heat into the environment.  Lava is so unbearably hot convection would burn you up before you reached it.  Never mind the poison gases and crippling ash emanating from it.  Wow, the force of nature contained within the molten earth is unbelievably sublime.

I’ve always been fond of volcanoes.  Part of me finds the vein of clues within Pele compelling.  But my current interest is spurred along the lines of some of the things my friends have been talking about.  Much as horses was a theme that was roaming the fields a few months ago, now it appears that volcanoes are the new symbol.

There’s the aspect of psychological force building up in the deep depths and erupting forth (violently, with tremendous force).  There’s also the part that relates to creative process, with the ejected contents providing new land to live upon and plants to grow in.  And there’s also the facet to personality, having a charisma that is intense and awesome in scope, much as a fountain of magma can draw attention.

In the external world it can stand for events that overwhelm us with their gigantic power.  The popular image of human sacrifice to volcanoes comes into play.  Human being marries deity in the literal sense, ka-fwoosh.  Taken down a notch it can be any personal tragedy or self-sacrifice that traumatizes the soul.

What happens when a person falls into lava psychologically?  Destruction of the ego, of the self-image.  The raw truth of one’s innermost interior being burns the consciousness to the crisp.  You might recover from a brief contact, but with a deep scar.  Total psychic immolation would mean you descend into darkness and only a greater, living spirit power can draw you back from the depths.  But this is getting into scary stuff, where the real possibility exists your pieces of the psyche (ashes) will remain at an elemental level.

Elemental as in, if you reduce all the biological processes to chemical processes, what you are left with at the foundation of all life is dirt.  That is, matter.

Out of matter come shapes, and one of the most fundamental is the stone.  When the lava has cooled you are left with rock, which chips, breaks and is worn into shapes.  The stone has been a symbol of the deepest self for a long time.  But we’re talking geologic time here when it comes to natural processes (even though lava itself can cool within a human being’s lifetime).  A person might have to endure a time of unconscious cooling and shaping before assuming a proper psychological shape.

Which is an emerging from the unknown.  Then, one day, a person finds you and goes, “Wow, what a cool stone.” and puts you in a pocket to take you home.  It’s as if the human image of ourselves is something that happens to us, appears to come from the outside, when that body has been formed from dirt itself in a much longer and mysterious process, moving up the chain from matter to chemical to biological to psychological once more.

I’m staring at the volcanoes and listening for the clues, just for the Hek of it.  Past the awesome force and cyclic transmutation, at the emptiness of nothing from which all that heat-matter and liquid-matter is spilling forth from.

What happens when a person falls into lava?  The unnecessary stuff burns away and you’re left with you.