Here in Montana we are in the midst of one of the coldest, snowiest winters on record. I’m itching to get into the mountains, but that’s not practical right now. So I’ve been sitting around the house, growing pale and flabby, and reading lots of books. Two of the books I’ve read this winter are American Gods by Neil Gaiman and Three Men Seeking Monsters by Nick Redfern. Both of these books explore the concept of the thoughtform.
I was introduced to thoughtforms, or specifically “tulpa,” in an Into the Fray podcast episode last summer, which you can find at this link. The tulpa is a Tibetan concept. It is an entity created entirely from thoughts — if you concentrate long and hard enough, according to the concept, from your brain can spring the fully-formed embodiment of your thoughts. Essentially a tulpa is a being which crosses over from the realm of imagination to that of reality. Sometimes these beings are benevolent; other times, they can “go rogue” and terrorize or even destroy their creators.
In Three Men Seeking Monsters, author Redfern and two friends go on a quest throughout Great Britain following up reports of monster sightings. Along the way they run into an improbable-sounding “witch” called Mother Sarah who cautions them that what they seek is not necessarily what they expect. Sarah discusses the tulpa but then launches into a epic tale about the “Cormons.”
The Cormons, as I understand Redfern’s retelling, are ill-intentioned beings from another dimension who were summoned into our world by a shadowy group of occultists at some time in the dim and distant past. For weeks, these dark practitioners concentrated on “opening the door” to the Cormons. They eventually succeeded. This original group was found murdered, their bodies mutilated. The Cormons had escaped.
The Cormons, according to Redfern, are entities that feed on emotion and as such, are adept at assuming forms meant to terrify the unsuspecting human race. In this interpretation, bigfoot, other cryptids, and even extraterrestrials are actually hellish spirits whose modus operandi is to scare the bejesus out of us, slaking their evil appetites on our psychic energy. Redfern hypothesizes that some of these beings have become extinct while others have become strong enough to exist as independent entities on the earth, but still require regular emotional feedings to survive.
In Gaiman’s novel American Gods, the gods and other mythologized beings are the thoughtforms. These differ from the tulpa or the Cormons in that it is the collective consciousness of a given society that forms them. Conjured by belief and given strength through the devotion of their worshipers, the gods emerge as sentient, separate entities. But the gods thus created are effectively orphaned when these beliefs die or change, abandoned to make their own ways in the world. As one god puts it, “One day they forget about you, and they don’t believe in you, and they don’t sacrifice, and they don’t care, and the next thing you know you’re running a three-card monte game on the corner of Broadway and Forty-third.”
As society changes, the gods change with it. What are the current gods in Gaiman’s twenty-first century USA? Technology (characterized as an obnoxious, chubby kid who has a nervous breakdown when wifi’s not available) and Media (a pretty, upbeat, platitude-spouting female news anchor), to name a couple.
This is a fun concept. Hmmm. I wonder what “capitalism” would look like?
Tulpa, Cormons, thoughtforms — fascinating concepts all, and alternative explanations for alternative happenings. You don’t have to believe that bigfoot is the embodiment of a fear-devouring evil spirit to concede that our thoughts do have power. The question is, to what extent, and how do we control it? What do you think?