Beware the Wild Tulpa

Tulpa is a concept in mysticism of a being or object which is created through sheer spiritual or mental discipline alone. Indian Buddhist texts call it an unreal, illusory, or mind-created apparition.

A thoughtform is the equivalent concept to a tulpa but within the Western occult tradition; here it is a combination of presuppositions, imagery, and vocabulary current at a particular time or place and forming the context for thinking on a subject.

Words are things. You must be careful, careful about calling people out of their names, using racial pejoratives and sexual pejoratives and all that ignorance. Don’t do that. Some day we’ll be able to measure the power of words. I think they are things. They get on the walls. They get in your wallpaper. They get in your rugs, in your upholstery, and your clothes, and finally in to you.
—Maya Angelou (1928-2014), poet, artist, civil rights activist, inspiration.

People have been memorizing your opponent’s name since May. You need yard signs. Barbara Stoner, unsolicited advice to a friend running for office.

Anyone following me on Facebook recently knows that I have become increasingly worried about the effect that the media’s love affair with Hillary Clinton’s opponent is having on this year’s election. I keep going back to the first and best advice I ever got about writing a news release for a candidate I support: no matter how negatively you portray your opponent, never mention the name. But this year, not mentioning Hillary Clinton’s opponent is not an option--not even for people, from editors to newscasters to comedians, who all seem to agree that her opponent would be the worst choice ever to lead this nation and, indeed, the free world. And the rest of the free world is nervous. Even the fantasy world is sitting on pins and needles, since the next season of The Walking Dead begins with a grinning autocrat wielding a nail-studded bat—a metaphor for our times if there ever was one.

There are even times when I’m tempted to vote for him, just to see if my dystopian nightmares actually come true. Sometimes I have to remind myself that wishing can make it so. And reminding myself of that reminded me of Thought-Forms.

Several years ago, I wandered into the headquarters of our local chapter of the Theosophical Society, and fell in love with these intelligent, kind and funny people. I didn’t fall in love with Theosophy, per se, but I learned a few things that made sense to me in a very grounded, material way. One of these was the concept of Thought-Forms. Which, as is related above, grew out of the concept of Tulpa. Which, if I read it right, can call forth almost anything, even a demon.

Thought forms, as I came to understand them, is somewhat similar to Maya Angelou’s definition of the power of words – very often the way in which we picture something in our minds has a way of becoming reality. We’ve all heard of the power of positive thinking – i.e., picture yourself successful, beautiful, winning, healthy, whatever you choose, and you are far more likely to reach or at least work to reach that goal than if you picture yourself otherwise. Like the self-help mantra introduced in the 1920’s that went, “Everyday in every way I’m getting better and better.” Belief through repetition. An attempt to create a thought form of the self. It doesn’t always work, of course. Take Hillary Clinton’s opponent for example. He can do nothing but talk about himself as if he is all of those things, when it is apparent to most people that he is nothing of the kind. And yet so many people in the media talk about him as if he were. It makes us doubt our own perceptions. Hillary Clinton’s opponent has taken on a life of his own, a thought-form, a Tulpa – created not through spiritual or mental discipline, but through the sheer act of repetition. .

Today we listen to daily repetitions of Hillary Clinton’s opponent’s latest statements and increasing awe at his poll numbers, at his seeming unstoppability. This is juxtaposed with the media coverage of Hillary Clinton herself, much of which repeats a reference to her perceived lack of trustworthiness, e-mails, illness. None of which hold a thimbleful of real content as opposed to the buckets of slop that can be gleaned from even a cursory look at the claims of her opponent, but I guess they sell newspapers.

I worry that these images are becoming almost indelible. That between the media and the public, we are creating two thought-forms: a Tulpa of an ogre that we can’t look away from and a Tulpa of an invisible woman.

Hillary Clinton is an angel when compared to the demon she faces in this election. But just as in Paradise Lost, we are in danger of falling in love with the demon in spite of ourselves. But any horror movie will tell you: Don’t walk through that graveyard. Whistling ain’t gonna help. Someone’s head will be bashed in. We can see it coming months in advance. What makes you think it won’t be yours?

Of course, I’m not going to vote for Hillary Clinton’s opponent, and I long for the day when he is old news, stale news, no news at all. My problem right now is that I have trouble imagining that that day will really come. Can you?