The Obsidian Dream
Art-Life Rituals for Radical Tenderness (10/12)

The Obsidian Dream

The voices of the ghosts that are trapped in this soil blow through my ears as vibrations. Little by little, I prepare myself to be other matter by colliding with other bodies.

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Obsidian is a complex volcanic glass that moves energy from the fire element, and is able to bring to consciousness traumatic aspects, ancestral wounds, and unseen memories. As we relate to it, we are able to work on our clairvoyance and suture deep wounds. It is a stone used by many cultures, like the Aztecs for example, as an oracle of time. It is a stone formed when lava comes in contact with air.

To think about this invitation and action, I wrote down dreams that I experienced in      my relationship with the obsidian stone, sleeping with it. Perhaps it was the beginning of a journey to rethink time itself, with its linear limits and its dilation, suggesting another way to align myself with life and death, a way that allows existence in transmutation. When I began to relate to obsidian, I was another person, other matter. I had just returned from Mexico, and right there, on the path between the two pyramids, the Sun and the Moon, which they call Calle de los Muertos, near an obsidian mine, because it is very close to volcanoes, I heard a person offering me a black mirror. I had no money to buy the mirror, even though I felt an immense force when I touched it. The person called after me again, offering the mirror for a lower price, and I gave him all the pesos I had to buy it. When I returned home, I cleaned the mirror and positioned it as the person who sold it to me instructed: place the mirror on my eyes and look at the sun or moon. Seeing the sun through the volcanic glass was like entering a space-time fissure. The sun did not burn my eyes. I intuitively got closer to the mirror as if we couldn’t stay away but I also understood that if I got too close, it would irreversibly transform me.

One moonless night I slept with the obsidian mirror beside me. I physically felt in my lower abdomen a pain that burned me. It was as if I had a sun inside me, it was a portal. That’s when I began to feel the vibration of events, the sound of invisible beings. That was when I understood that time did not exist.


I walk on the edge of a volcano. 
I don’t know when I am.
My legs are shaking from the warmth of the mouth of the earth,
I try to walk faster to escape the heat. 
There are kilometers in diameter, 
that lava swallowed entire cities. 

I walk along the edge of a volcano 
and look into the fire: 
My eyes are consumed by lava. 
I open my eyes and 
I am holding an obsidian stone 
in my lower abdomen. 
My hands are burned.

Imagine that there is no maximum speed that can be measured. In this case, any visual phenomenon could act with infinite speed and, as a consequence, a body could suddenly disappear or be replaced by another. In transition, my body takes other forms, through the chemical injections of testosterone but also through the possibility of mutation related to the experience of trauma.


My ear blows the voices of the ghosts that are trapped in this soil, in the form of vibrations. Little by little, I prepare myself to be other matter, by colliding with other bodies.

This writing and sound process experiments with vibrations as language, and also as matter. As an attempt to translate a spiritual and also temporal experience, a communication with the invisible, oracles are brought in the text as tarot cards, dream encounters, time-space travels, and mainly as an intimate process of listening that goes from the intuition itself as a guide, to the observation of the stars and telluric matter, such as the obsidian stone. An invitation to read from a non-linear temporality, as quantum physics proposes, or as Leda Maria Martins proposes in her book Performances in Spiral Time,[1] or as our dreams manifest themselves. Thus, without the information that time exists, we are infinite because we are the earth, the fire, the water, the air. We are transmutation.

Points in space-time are called events 

and are defined by four numbers, for example, (x, y, z, c), 

where c is the speed of light 

and can be thought of as the speed an observer moves in time. 

That is, events separated in time by only 1 second 

are 300,000 km from each other in space-time. 

The very aspect that changed my body was the trauma.
Experiencing a traumatic event or multiple events 

modifies our body’s electrical capacity for reading time.

Processing these events allows your cognition 

to rehearse towards the transmutation of the trauma: 

Time dilation

C: I dreamed again that I was at the mouth of the volcano
H: I slept again with the obsidian
C: You were at the mouth of the volcano, but I couldn't see you
H: If a body moved at the speed of light, it would be infinite. Time as we know it in its Western form exists only because we are at a certain speed. If the speed reaches its extreme point, that is, the speed of light, we disappear.
C: That was you at the mouth of the volcano
H: If time is dilated, linearity deforms to the spiral point, which means that events happen at the same time, we just can't see beyond the speed of our own body. 
H: I’m everywhere, I’m a traveler.



After the first shot of hormones,

a bit of my flesh aimed to be part of something.

Because of the unpredictability of the data
already inscribed in my body and fluids, 

my flesh turned into a cover to enable the others to access my materiality.

But I saw the other beings in transition, 

humans and non humans 

and like the stars, we could recognize each other 

by the colors of our frequencies 



I was moving towards them

At the speed of light. 

When the body reaches the speed of light, it functions like a magnet.

The fundamental attraction of this speed
provokes other bodies to collide into mine.

At that time I started to feel the vibration of the events


As if I was with my ear glued in a seashell,

as if I was underwater

or inside the soil.

C: Each body is a portal. We are time itself and the earth. 
C: Obsidian stone is a black glass formed from cooling incandescent lava from the center of the earth. Fire is the ethereal state of memory.


Our bodies collided. 

We have never been individuals.

I was moving toward us

My body is an active coral reef

A shoal of flying fishes

A submarine cable encased in plastic

with countless small crystals

A communion of braided trees

The 178 animals embedded in the whale's skin

The proliferation of fungi on the soil

and their inevitable explosion

I move at the most extreme speed.

Dragging other beings

Transfiguring my face

My sex


My body is shaped like a noise
With a thousand ghost voices

And the ghost that I will be

I move at the most extreme speed

Moving towards you

Moving towards us

C: I long to see you 
To touch you 
To love you 

Ritual Invitation

Between a waning and a new moon, 
Let an obsidian stone sleep under the moon 
(For a few hours, without letting the sunlight come in contact with it) 
On the same night, light a candle 
Hold the obsidian stone 
Look at it with open eyes
Observe its details
Until you are able to visualize it with closed eyes 
Let the thoughts come 
From today's day 
To the day you were born 
A small black obsidian disk lays on the author's lower abdomen. Above the disk a tattoo reads "melancolia."
Lie down to sleep 
Place the obsidian stone 
on a part of your body 
Sleep with it

After spending the night with the stone 
Write your dreams
Burn a leaf of sage to clean your thoughts 
Cook yourself some green vegetables
Or a green juice
And go to the sun. 

Taking a sunbath after eating green,
Or drinking green
Makes our body enter in photosynthesis process
Transmuting the wounds that could submerge 
After sleeping with the obsidian

Store the obsidian in a dark place 

This text and ritual actions were created in response to the following sentences of the text Co-sensing with Radical Tenderness:



[2] Tarot cards and their aspects: Fortune wheel: The inside and outside, the eternal whirl of life and its events. Inside is the essence and outside the happening. Change, birth, and death. Instinct. | The Death: Transmutation | The Sun: Consciousness | The Moon: An unconscious desert; mediunity.

[3] In physics, a redshift is an increase in the wavelength, and corresponding decrease in the frequency and photon energy, of electromagnetic radiation (such as light). The opposite change, a decrease in wavelength and simultaneous increase in frequency and energy, is known as a negative redshift, or blueshift. The terms derive from the colors red and blue which form the extremes of the visible light spectrum.

Filed Under: Articles & Essays, Multimedia & Performance


Jonas Van (Ceará, Brazil, 1989) is a transnordestino artist, researcher, and cook. His practice is inscripted between gender disobediences, languages, science fiction, and spirituality using sound-video, ephemeral installations, and poetry. His work proposes theoretical and intimate narratives, linguistic and temporal fractures from an anti-colonial perspective.

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