Red, Black, & White Paths

Red Door

Red, Black, & White Paths

Dare Carrasquillo (Sohei)


“An Ode to ming/ Charles, my teacher.”


1.Red path talk: the red path is ruthless. It demands honesty beyond human preferences. The red path teaches by taking away, it is a path of conflict, of friction, of constant pressures. Most of us only have some red path leaning, some have more than others, and the ones with mostly or all red path are rarely socially acceptable figures. Yet all systems were founded by red path people who survived and managed to create some students and those students refined and remixed the red path into a doctrine and an organizational model. There is always some sliver of the true intensity of the red path at the center of these systems, even if it is obscured by diplomatic mechanisms and allegorical frames. The red path takes until you realize the loss of loss. There are many doors on the red path, many of them teach through immense pain, fear, madness, hunger, and violence. Eventually, through death and dream and renewal, opportunities for redemption may appear as the red path practitioner reveals the wisdom of the red path, beyond morality and ethics, yet including them. There is no transcendence or ascension or salvation in the red path, and the confrontation of that is the red path.


2. Black path talk: the black path is the path of the flock. It is group mind, hive mind, pack mind. It is the mob and it is the cult and it is the family. It is the tribe, the clan and the community. It is the beginning of culture and the stagnation of culture. It is the joy of play and the corruption of government. It is the fear of the new and the violent addiction to novelty, distraction and pleasure. The black path softens the edges of the real, makes a nest in the chaos of the world, turns a cave from a dragons home into a portal of dream and time. The black path ritualizes the impossible truth. The black path teaches the young through deception and misdirection, through care and fear, story and song. The black path attempts survivance at any cost. The black path is not the only path, but seeks to connect all paths. There are more than two paths.


3.White path talk: The white path is the mirror path, the crystal path, the rainbow path, the clear light path. If red is wolf and black is raven, white path is mirror – synthesis and beyond. White path is reflection, wholeness. White path is what we all are, even unrealized. It is intrinsic nature pre eminent. No end and no beginning, boundless potential and binary forces coentwined with no competition or comparative valuation. In a human life and embodiment of awareness, this is a very brief and rare state. In reality, this is the most common state, it is commonality itself connecting everything because it is everything. The white path is the snake eating itself forever without narrative.


4.Red, Black & White paths talk: like all things, the paths speak to a braided interactive whole. The compound nature of reality. The white path requires the black and red paths to be cooperative within the practitioner. You cannot practice the white path without practicing the red and black paths honestly. You likely cannot get to the white path through only the black or red paths, but must engage with both. The red and black paths require each other to exist, and they both require the possibility of the white path to be realized, even as the option for narcissism and self aggrandizement is high in both red and black. The room of wisdom has many doors, yet all doorways enter into the same space. Likely almost all people reading this are primarily black path, so the advice is that you must embrace more of the red path in your life through sacrifice, fasting, engagement with pain, fear and hunger, and the qualities of ruthless honesty and clear perception, moving beyond worshipping at the altar of emotions and preferences, and coming to terms with violence and death without retreating into black path ideologies. There are many well-meaning black path people that want “more”, and that is why the black path is filled with dishonest addicts, control freaks and politicians. You must ask yourself: is it better to be honestly murdered by someone on the red path, or dishonestly controlled by someone on the black path? I do not need to give advice to red path people because one, they aren’t reading this, and two, they don’t take advice, the red path is their teacher.

For those who can see a glimpse of the white path, i can say that you must still do everything i said about black path people, as well as give yourself opportunities for complete refuge and surrender from the ideological pit trap of culture. You must begin to perceive all reality, both the material and the virtual, as a coentwined dreaming. You must be able to become more flexible and be able to change your state at will. You must recognize that there is no one coming to save you and there is no one going to make you continue on this path. It is completely open ended and based in personal desire and intimacy. You will never be kicked out, but you will never be pushed in either. It is ultimate liberation, including liberation from liberation.

When you connect to the other white path people, you will understand ancestry in a way that is beyond cultural limitations, you will become another agent, a worker among workers who have all accepted the job purposefully and without compromise.

The mother appears as three. Red, Black & White Medicine Goddesses. There is nothing else.


Cathedral Door
graffiti on grace cathedral door, san francisco 2023



Afterword: notes on the teaching and practice of a path that is not controlled by your ideologies

my art practice and my soul practice are not for you. this is the number one thing you must swallow about your greed for other people’s and culture’s symbol sets. you must learn to take a symbol set at its own face value, not by your own agendas and pre-conceived standards, cultural codes and biases. you must learn the process of real research, which is not merely some dissociated conceptual projection.

this symbol set above is part of my dead teacher mings’ final gift. I take it as his interpretation and integration of the oldest, pre-human animistic intimacy. this is from a time before gods wore human face, before we turned all spirits into slaves for our own fetishes.

the words are above are how ming’s story has affected me for the past few years.

there is too much stupid drama in the human world, with everyone’s preferences and addictions wearing fake crowns and issuing royal decrees. this is the constant heartache of trying to lift people up who are drowning in the quicksand of their own ghostly reactions. what i learned was that not many who say they want help actually do. it is an immature place we are in as a “culture”, or more accurately and anti-culture. infantalized.

and yet, this is where the ball has landed and where we must play it, as ming would say.

the red path person and the artist have much in common. we are forced to “break the rules”. the rules of the so-called stable society, the rules of the black path people. we do not fit, otherwise we would just be content, and the fates would allow us to be content. but some force, red of tooth and claw, forces us out of the nest into freefall. we create and destroy because we must, just as the hurricane impersonally tears a path across the settlement. it is not a “wrathful deity” out to harm us, but in some ways, it is exactly that. we just have lost touch with the wider dream of things. we seek to place the whole of reality into our cage. but the soul cannot be caged. there is no separation, no “other”, no hell and no heaven. it is all a radical dream play.

this is not some loophole magical thinking to allow for abuse, yet it does mean that some things happen that are not predictable or controllable, not meant for humans to control. some people live this kind of life and become scapegoats, and some people wear a mask of the scapegoat to avoid accountability. these are not the same kinds of paths. the latter is a dysfunctional black path that has learned to use victimization and oppression as a race to innocence that defends them from living their real life. they use their pain as a badge of status. this is not red path. red path is honest. even honest about dishonesty! red path does not try to weasel out of the mess.

the artist also is compelled to use all mediums available for the process of artmaking, soulmaking. it is not about “crafting” at a certain originary level. it is about the recognition of being compelled by forces greater than the egoic rational mind can comprehend. it is about taking the demon to bed. about falling in love with reality as it is yet seeing how it might be. it is not a hobby nor is it “optional” unless one wants to die of insanity and repression. this does not mean we will be successful by societies standards. Van Gogh died in a horrible way and only now is celebrated. but he lived and died as a kind of half-ghost. this is red path and this is art path.

artists can also be black path, but we see them all the time. the world is filled with artists who serve the community by giving the community art to feel good, to consume, to bounce off of, and to make aesthetic environments. this is not wrong or less-than, it is merely just another way. and that way is largely supported by society because society can control it, commodify it and weaponize it. we call it “culture”.

white path artists are rarer still than red path. not just because red path artists generally get wiped out by madness, addiction or violence or just by virtue of never being given the chance to succeed, but because to be white path you have to respect and practice both red and black deliberately and also go beyond both paths’ pitfalls.

you can’t skip black or red to get to white. you have to become both red and black and then maybe you will be graced with some glimpse of the white path, the crystal path, the mirror path.

many people have enough on their plates with whatever path they are most tied into. this is not a competition; this is not yet another identity to hide behind so that you can pretend to be better or more oppressed than other people. you can only do this work if you love the actions, the process, the timeless nowness of the work.

you cannot work your way out of debt. the paths listed here are not debts, not “karma” in the McMindfulness Corporation’s continual bastardization of nondual concepts.

the work, the job here is to play the ball where it lands, period. and to do so in a celebratory, natural way. whatever path or symbol set you find yourself inside of. you cannot steal, cheat or fake your way out of the cycle that all beings are part of.

what ming gave me was a lens adjacent to my own lived experience that was swallowed into my soul the way dry earth receives liquid. the wolf the raven and the mirror is an old dream that cannot be owned by cultures and ethnicities. it is pre-daoism. in some ways it is pre-animism. it is the experience of experience itself, in the phenomenal world. sometimes we are the stage on which the ritual dream plays out. sometimes we are granted audience and that witnessing shatters our defenses.

the art is in the deliberate nature of our intimate contact with this dreaming wilderness of absence.


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