“What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams.” -Werner Herzog
There are few things that I fear quite like the ocean. On a truly primal level, the oceans of our planet absolutely terrify me. Thalassophobia is certainly one of the most understandable fears. It invokes a primal fear of the unknown. Just consider the ocean for a second. The sheer vastness of it, mile after mile of churning water, and the abyssal blackness below the surface. When storms rage over the atlantic, the waves tower and thrash, a weapon of Neptune’s fury. It’s a harsh, often unforgiving world of its own, one which has claimed the lives of many that have chosen to underestimate it.
That being said, the ocean demands immense respect. Respect for its sheer power and scale. Respect for the unique flora and fauna within, and the ecosystems that go along with such. The alien-like nature of the creatures that dwell in the blackest regions, where the light does not reach. Equally deserving of reverence are those throughout history with the stones to take it on. I think about the absolute chads of history that would brave these oceans for the sake of exploration. They conquered the waves in a time before sonar and life jackets. Deep sea divers risk illness, paralysis or even death diving to some of the depths that they do. All of this, for the sake of finding what might be hidden in the darkness. To see what calls to them from below to feed their pelagic hunger.
The promise of treasure in the deepest dungeon or darkest cave. Anything truly worth finding is hidden deep within where it resides. To find it, we need to often go deeper. In the esoteric sense, I see dreams as an ocean in and of themselves. Consciousness and subconscious mind are seen as separate yet intertwined. I see our body and mind as its own cosmos, with its own rules, its own crucible of formation. Dreams are glimmers into the mysteries of the psyche. Sometimes this is a fully realised experience, laid out before you by your sleeping mind. Sometimes however just fragments, pieces in a kaleidoscopic sea. The oneironaut, and the deep sea diver are one in the same. I’ve written about this in a previous work. I see the diving bell as a symbol of not just the deep ocean or of the dreaming mind, but as an idol of diving deeper into the unknown. Putting aside fears solely for the sheer fervour of pushing downward into the deepest point.
The earth’s oceans are divided into five zones regarding depth. With each zone further downward, it only gets more hostile and otherworldly . The epipelagic zone is where you find yourself when you first break the surface. For the most part, this region is relatively benign. Its serene beauty is a window into what lies deeper below. Through miles of murky water, lies the Hadopelagic zone, the deepest points known (or so they say). Only certain places within the world’s oceans even reach this level of depth. The trenches carved into the crust of the earth, like doors to the underworld itself. It’s a hostile, alien world of hydrothermal vents and sparse yet eldritch forms of life.
Is it not enticing to think what may be lurking in such a place?
What lies deep underground in caverns where daylight does not exist? Professional cavers have devoted their life entirely to illuminating what lies beneath. Crawling through tunnels and spaces tight enough to give the claustrophobic among us a heart attack. It’s terrifying, it’s dangerous, it’s foolhardy. Why would anyone do something like that?
Well, what makes you search for what you seek? What gets you out of bed and on the hunt in the morning? Those with passion will do what they do despite the risks involved, because that’s what lights their souls aflame. Driven deeper by the lust for what is shrouded in mystery. For this there are those that swim with the sharks, or crawl dozens of feet through a tunnel they can barely breathe in. The ultimate “prize” may vary, but the uncomfortable descent is the main point here. To go deep enough to where the sheer weight of wonder is enough to crush the heaviest of dread.
He who seeks Atlantis will swim past the shallows. This man takes the deepest breath and dive deep into the indigo void. Maddening whispers from R’lyeh enticing the similar journey within the minds of those that understand what they’re saying. Those who stay close to the shore may never get the chance to fuck a mermaid. Never get the thrill of weaving through a Parthenon of coral and stone, over a landscape of shipwrecks and forgotten utopias.
I may fear the ocean, but I am also not content with never seeing merely what I can see from the shore. The darkest recesses of this world, and our minds hold secrets and knowledge that many never get to touch. At the bottom of the blackest trench, dotted with plumes of smoke and sulphur could lie the overtaken marble pillars, or perhaps something more illusive and ancient. What secrets are locked within your own mind that are yet to be discovered. Memories from when you were a child, that may have never made sense to you may suddenly take on new meaning. Knowledge you never fully understood, moulding and transforming into revelation. Meditating upon times past, a lucid fever dream, or perhaps a hearty dose of psychedelics.
Regardless of the method of which you undertake this journey, just make sure you’re diving deep into parts unknown. What you find here, it will likely terrify you. It will make you question things about yourself. It’ll be shining a floodlight upon the briny depths of whatever obscures your sights.
The siren’s song sings out across the cosmic ocean within yourself. Piercing over the raging waves. She guides you closer, pleading you to throw away your shackles of safety and comfort. urging you to follow her down, to join her on a treacherous trek through the deep. I don’t know exactly what’s down there, but whatever it is, it’s calling…
…And I want it.