Wherever you are is the entry point – Kabir

July 30, 2005
by gwyllm

Focus on the Isle II

Dear Friends…
So in conclusion, here is the second part of Irish Soma by Peter Lamborn Wilson, and some additional Irish Poems both Ancient and Modern.
Hope you Enjoy!

Irish Soma, Part II
Peter Lamborn Wilson

The Fena or Finnians or followers of Finn are Milesians, the last Iron Age Celts to arrive in Ireland. The Tuatha De Danaan are an earlier people, perhaps also Celtic but Bronze Age. The De Danaan have magical power, and after their final defeat by the Milesians they will retire into the megalithic mounds, such as the Brugh na Boine at Newgrange (which in this tale is the Castle of Angus, the god of love, patron of Dermat and Grania). They are in fact the fairies. The land of Promise or Land of Youth or Tirnanog, etc., is the mundus imaginalis or fairyland, Isles of the Blessed, Hy Brasil, etc. — the spirit land where the De Danaan are also “at home”. This is the origin of the various “crimson nuts and arbutus apples and scarlet quicken berries,” which are not native to Ireland but to the “other world,” the place where shamans go in trance. The quicken tree is the “quicken beam or mountain ash, or roan-tree; Gaelic Caerthainn,” a tree holy to the druids. The tree with its red fruit guarded by a giant recalls the Golden Fleece and the Golden Apples of the Hesperides; it is thus the world-axis, the shamanic ladder, and also the tree beneath which one finds fly agaric; it is the beanstalk, Alice’s tunnel to Wonderland, and all other liminal structures or gateways between levels. The fruit of the tree, like that of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil in Genesis, is the principle of transformation and realization; it is the sacrifice; and it is soma. This will become more clear as the tale unfolds.

Dermat makes a peace-pact with Sharvan the Surly: refuge in the Forest, so long as Dermat keeps his hands off the quicken berries. For a while all goes well. Meanwhile, Finn receives an offer of fealty from two former enemies, the sons of Morna. Before he forgives them, however, he demands an erc, or blood-price: either “the head of a warrior, or the full of my hand of the berries of a quicken tree.”
Finn’s son Oisin takes pity on the sons of Morna and explains the situation to them; nevertheless they undertake the quest and set out for the Forest of Dooros. Dermat easily overcomes them. Meanwhile Grania has developed an overwhelming obsession with the berries: she must taste them, or perish. Reluctantly Dermat sets out to find Sharvan, taking the sons of Morna along as witnesses. The giant is asleep; Dermat whacks him on the head and rouses him. The hero asks for berries, the Fomor refuses. They fight a ferocious duel, and Sharvan is slain by three blows of his own club (just as the soma was sacrificed by pressing or “wounding” the plant). Dermat orders the sons of Morna to bury the corpse while he goes to fetch Grania. Dermat then satisfies Grania’s desire, and also gives berries to the sons of Morna, who thank him profusely for sparing their lives, and set off to return to Finn. Dermat and Grania take over Sharvan’s tree-house high in the branches of the fairy-quicken, and settle down in bliss again.
Finn explodes with fury, rouses his loyal and not-so-loyal followers, and sets out to capture Dermat and Grania in their lair. They arrive at the Forest and find the tree, but no sign of the lovers. They gorge on fruit, and then settle down to wait. Finn and Oisin play chess beneath the tree. Time passes. Finn tells Oisin that he can win in one move, but Oisin can’t see the move. He ponders endlessly. Suddenly a quicken-fruit falls ripely onto the chessboard, as if to show Oisin the correct move; he makes it and wins. They play again, and the same thing happens: wisdom falls from the tree as fruit: Oisin wins. And a third time!
Finn finally realizes what’s up. He calls up into the tree, and Dermat answers from the treehouse. In a fury, Finn orders his men to surround the tree — then offers a huge reward for the head of Dermat O’Dyna. At this point nine men, all called Garva (and all hailing from various mountains around Ireland) attempt the coup against Dermat, but they all fail. The love-god Angus — deus ex megalitha — has flown invisibly from Newgrange to save his worshippers, Dermat and Grania. As each Garva climbs the tree, Angus casts a spell over him so that he appears to be Dermat. Each Garva is then pushed from the tree by the real Dermat, falls to the ground, is mistaken for the enemy, and at once beheaded. The Garvas might be related to the Ghandarvas, who appropriated soma from the gods and became its guardians. [12]
Angus then wraps Grania in his cloak of invisibility and flies off with her to Bruga of the Boyne. Dermat decides to stay behind, do the honorable thing and fight his way out. He makes a speech in in self-defense, and the great hero Oscar is converted to sympathy with him. Oscar offers his life as surety for Dermat’s, but to one dares to fight him. Dermat leaps lightly out of the tree, lands on his two spear shafts, pole-vaults over the heads of Finn’s circle, and escapes with Oscar. He and Grania wll live to flee Finn again and again — and eventually die at his hands.
On the assumption that the fairy-fruit of the quicken-tree is indeed soma, and that as soma it must be associated with a ritual, with a sacrifice (of itself), and with transcendence (either ritual or pharmacological), this charming tale would appear to function as a “mask” for just such a ritual. The berry is constantly equated with the head. The Celts were head-hunters, very much like the Dyaks of Borneo, the Guarani of Paraguay, etc. All wisdom and power are in the head. Because Dermat has taken on (or stolen) the wisdom of Sharvan by “dashing out his brains” (no doubt beheading him), Dermat acquires insight. In this heightened state, he plays the near-magic trick with the fruit and the chess-board, thrice-repeated. This foreshadows the thrice three heads of the Garvas, which will also (in a sense) fall ripely from the tree.
The one-legged one-eyed Fomor loses his head like a berry. Dermat should be the next sacrifice (like Gawain after the Green knight) but a substitution is made “at the last moment” (as usual). Nine mountain-men’s heads are sacrificed — nine more berries, as it were — in Dermat’s place. In the original tale, Dermat (like Grania) would no doubt have ascended the tree and escaped into the “other world”; instead another substitution (or “rationalization”) is made, the acrobatic spear-leap. The point is, Dermat flies. He goes above. He transcends. He has shamanic powers, gained (or reinforced) by his overcoming and absorption of Fomorian/Fairy magic.

The tale of Sharvan the Surly is just that, a tale, not the text of a ritual. Nevertheless folktales have been known to “mask” myths, which in turn may serve as aetiological legends for certain rites, which in turn may derive in part from earlier myth, ritual, or lore. This particular tale seems to contain such ritual elements. The structure of the tale and many of its details might well pre-date its inclusion in the Finnian Cycle; any hero might experience such an adventure. And the Finnian Cycle itself seems to have roots in a past so distant that agriculture has not yet appeared, a world of pastoralism and hunting/gathering. Finn and his “merrymen” are anachronisms, free forest guerrillas held by only a slender link of reciprocity with settled society, and perilously close to that taboo realm of sorcery and alien otherness, the Forest. The world of Sharvan the Surly seems an archaic one indeed, ancient enough to contain traces of the soma ritual once common to all Indo-European people, as well as to the Semites, the Siberians and the New World Indians, etc.
That’s my hypothesis. I wouldn’t even begin to argue that we have “detected” an Irish soma. What we have here is a mere suspicion, not a case. I’m looking for support and/or refutation. A number of queries must be directed to specialists. From philologists we need exhaustive comparisons of mushroom and soma/haoma vocabulary from all the relevant languages, such as that which Allegro carried out for the Semitic languages in The Mushroom and the Cross. Celtic, Persian, and Sanskrit should be the main candidates for word-sleuthing. The Vedic soma ritual needs to be compared in detail with all texts and fragments from Celtic sources relevant to magic substances.
Ethnomycologists should investigate Irish (and insular Celtic) mushroom lore. Does Amanita muscaria grow in Ireland, and might it have grown in Ireland in ancient times? I’ve never come across any written material on this, but during my last trip to Ireland (May, 1993) I made a few discoveries. At least one magic mushroom grows in Ireland, the “Liberty Cap,” a type of psilocybe; I saw it grown at a mushroom farm in County Cork, but it is also found wild. Subsequently, in a village on the coast of the province of Munster, I interviewed a certain well-known shanachie or traditional story-teller, who must remain anonymous here due to his involvement in gun-running and pot-farming (neither very successful). “Mick” is said to speak the purest Irish in the southern Gaeltecht–and (somewhat magically) is reputed to live on nothing but pigsfeet and Guinness. In response to my query, he stated that magic mushrooms were known in Ireland in the time of the druids, and he agreed with me that “this explains a lot” about the druids! Since I’d been introduced to Mick by an old friend of his, I doubt he was trying to pull my leg; certainly he failed to elaborate on his statement, which he appeared to think was rather unexceptional.
Yes, it would explain a lot–but itself needs to be explained! Therefore, I ask for collaboration. The answer (however tenuous) seems genuinely worth knowing.

cast every stone to the ground,
let the weeds grow wild –
there’s a breath remains in the earth
still the tongue with force,
keep the mind oppressed –
the body will not be a corpse
every current
will carry a vessel
put a seed, like memory,
into the vessel
like the breath of a people
in the vessel
carrying a home
in the vessel
from high derry
of tenacious oaks
a seed-candle came
in the slender coracle
a dove was vessel
for the seed
that came across
the bald-browed sea
that seed burst out
on slope and lawn,
its green green leaves
like a dancer, bold
that was the stream
spread through the land
a people’s words
went through the land
the power of knowledge
went through the land
the leaves of knowledge
through every land
and though the light
had lost its peak,
in the grey mist trail
of the black black flame
of empire states,
the seed’s cargo
flowed underground
the smallest threads
of flowing veins
kept the fluid voice
through a cave of pain,
the unquenchable voice
sang a nursing sun
for the bloom of light
and did you count,
bold dove,
in your slender ship of skin,
the leanest days
that fell on us
since you sailed out
across the moil, with
your great embroidered book
wrapped in your language,
impenetrable shield
against devastation
and though the shepherd went,
though the ploughman left,
this ruin remained, like a husk
awaiting its seed
and see, over here, between
birch wood and salmon sea,
all the glass and stone
rising like new blossoms,
the golden light of next year,
fort of hopes, fort of promise

Man who makes poems,
Keep back their true import,
Conceal by three
Be as a tree,
Gather in all that’s known,
Man who makes poems,
Don’t stir, don’t bend
Before this present tempest.
Stay steady,
Watching the weather
Until the right day.
Let the wind disarray,
Maker of lays,
All your outer foliage;
Your trunk don’t budge.
A tree is alone
In the wood’s midst,
Among people a poet
Above all is loneliest.
A tree is steadfast
In its portion of land,
Poet, set yourself, man,
Take a stand!
Save your frame,
Gather your knowing,
Focus in every way
Prepared for the poem.
Maker of poems,
You are half womanly,
Be male, be whole,
Be as a tree.

My hand is weary with writing,
My sharp quill is not steady,
My slender-beaked pen jets forth
A black draught of shining dark-blue ink.
A stream of wisdom of blessèd God
Springs from my fair-brown shapely hand:
On the page it squirts its draught
Of ink of the green-skinned holly.
My little dripping pen travels
Across the plain of shining books,
Without ceasing for the wealth of the great―
Whence my hand is weary with writing.

The ceremonial rites
the bowed head
the heavy heart
Let the soul cultivate
the arid desert
Eligible at last
for a prudent respectably
nice little semi
till a furtive little sin steals in
like a thief in the night
Then stones blossom
the land about ignites
the soul treads a fine line
between ‘yes’ and ‘no’.
May the weekend be bright for You!

July 29, 2005
by gwyllm

The Friday Hold-em 'til Later

Small one now. We were down last night sad to say.
2 articles, 1 link, and a return of William Butler Yeats to the poetry section.
More of Irish Soma later on.
More coming later, I will inform ya….
wonderful pics!

Tarot Gizmo…
Night Train to Marrakech

The clash of monotheisms as seen from the cramped quarters of a sleeper car.
by Reza Aslan

I have always had trouble sleeping on trains. There is something about the unrelenting rhythm and hum of the wheels as they roll over the tracks that always keeps me awake. It is like a distant melody that’s too loud to ignore. Not even the darkness that inundates the compartments at night seems to help. It is worse at night, when the stars are the only lights visible in the vast, muted desert whizzing by my window.
This is an unfortunate quirk, because the best way to travel by train through Morocco is asleep. The trains are flooded with illegal faux guides, who shift from cabin to cabin searching for tourists with whom to share their recommendations for the best restaurants, the cheapest hotels, the cleanest women. The faux guides in Morocco speak a half dozen languages, which makes them difficult to ignore. Usually, my olive skin, thick brows, and black hair keep them at bay. But the only way to avoid them completely is to be asleep, so that they have no choice but to move on to the next beleagured traveler.
That is precisely what I thought was taking place in the compartment next to mine when I heard raised voices. It was an argument between what I assumed was a faux guide and a reluctant tourist. I could hear an inexorable cackle of Arabic spoken too quickly for me to understand, interrupted by the occasionally piqued responses of an American.
I had witnessed this type of exchange before: in grands-taxis, at the bazaar, too often on the trains. In my few months in Morocco, I’d become accustomed to the abrupt fury of the locals, which can burst into a conversation like a clap of thunder, then – as you brace for the storm – dissolve just as quickly into a grumble and a friendly pat on the back.
The voices next door grew louder, and now I thought I grasped the matter. It wasn’t a faux guide at all. Someone was being chastised. It was difficult to tell, but I recognized the garbled Berber dialect the authorities sometimes use when they want to intimidate foreigners. The American kept saying,”Wait a minute,” then, “parlez-vous anglais? Parlez-vous francais?” The Moroccan, I could tell, was demanding their passports.
Curious, I stood and stepped quietly over the knees of the snoring businessman slumped next to me. I slid open the door just enough to squeeze through and walked into the corridor. As my eyes adjusted to the light, I glimpsed the familiar red-and-black conductor’s uniform flashing across the glass door of the adjoining compartment. I knocked lightly and entered without waiting for a response.
“Salaam aly-kum,” I said. Peace be with you.
The conductor halted his diatribe and turned to me with the customary “Walay-kum salaam.” And to you, peace. His face was flushed and his eyes red, though not, it seemed, from anger. His uncombed hair and the heavy creases in his uniform indicated he had only just awakened. There was an indolent quality to his speech that made him difficult to understand. He was emboldened by my presence.
“Dear sir,” he said in clear and comprehensible Arabic, “this is not a nightclub. There are children here. This is not a nightclub.”
I had no idea what he meant.
The American gripped my shoulders and turned me toward him. “Will you please tell this man we were sleeping?” He was young and remarkably tall, with large green eyes and a shock of blond hair that hung down over his face and that he kept combing back with his fingers. “We were only sleeping,” he repeated, mouthing the words as though I were reading his lips. “Comprendez-vous?”
I turned back to the conductor and translated: “He says he was sleeping.”
The conductor was livid and, in his excitement, dropped once more into an incomprehensible Berber dialect. He began gesticulating wildly, his movements meant to indicate his sincerity. I was to understand that he would not be in such a fit over a sleeping couple. He had children, he kept saying. He was a father; he was a Muslim. There was more, but I stopped listening. My attention had fallen completely on the other person in the cabin.
She was sitting directly behind the man, purposely obscured by him: legs crossed casually, hand folded on her lap. Her hair was disheveled and her cheeks radiated heat. She wasn’t looking directly at us, but rather observing the scene through the bowed reflection we cast on the window.
“Did you tell him we were sleeping?” the American asked me.
“I don’t think he believes you,” I replied.
Though taken aback by my English, he was too shocked by the accusation to pursue it. “He doesn’t believe me? Great. What’s he going to do, stone us to death?”
“Malcolm!” the woman cried out, louder than it seemed she’d meant to. She reached up and pulled him down next to her.
“Fine,” Malcolm said with a sigh. “Just ask him how much he wants to go away.” He fumbled in his shirt pockets and took out a wad of tattered multicolored bills. Before he could fan them out, I stepped in front of him and put my arms out to the conductor.
“The American says he is sorry,” I said. “He is very, very sorry.”
Taking the conductor’s arm, I led him gently to the door, but he would not accept the apology. He again demanded their passports. I pretended not to understand. It all seemed a bit histrionic to me. Perhaps he had caught the couple acting inappropriately, but that would have warranted little more than a sharp rebuke. They were young; they were foreigners; they did not understand the complexities of social decorum in the Muslim world. Surely the conductor understood that. And yet he seemed genuinely disturbed and personally offended by this seemingly inoffensive couple. Again he insisted he was a father and a Muslim and a virtuous man. I agreed, and promised I would stay with the couple until we reached Marrakech.
“May God increase your kindness,” I said, and slid open the door.
The conductor touched his chest reluctantly and thanked me. Then, just as he was about to step into the corridor, he turned back into the compartment and pointed a trembling finger at the seated couple. “Christian!” he spat in English, his voice brimming with contempt. He slid the doors closed and we heard him make his way noisily down the corridor.
For a moment, no one spoke. I remained standing by the door, gripping the luggage rack as the train tilted through a wide turn. “That was an odd thing to say,” I said with a laugh.
“I’m Jennifer,” the girl said. “This is my husband, Malcolm. Thanks for helping us. Things could have gotten out of hand.”
“I don’t think so,” I said. “I’m sure he’s already forgotten all about it.”
“Well, there was nothing to forget,” Malcolm said.
“Of course.”
Suddenly, Malcolm was furious. “The truth is that man has been hovering over us ever since we boarded this train.”
“Malcolm,” Jennifer whispered, squeezing his hand. I tried to catch her eye but she would not look at me. Malcolm was shaking with anger.
“Why would he do that?” I asked.
“You heard him,” Malcolm said, his voice rising. “Because we’re Christians.”
I flinched. It was an involuntary reaction – a mere twitch of the eyebrows – but Jennifer caught it and said, almost in apology, “We’re missionaries. We’re on our way to the Western Sahara to preach the gospel.”
All at once, I understood why the conductor had been shadowing the couple; why he was so rancorous and unforgiving about having caught them in a compromising position. For the first time since entering the compartment I noticed a small, open cardboard box perched between two knapsacks on the luggage rack. The box was filled with green, pocket-sized New Testaments in Arabic translation. There were three or four missing.
“Would you like one?” Jennifer asked. “We’re passing them out.”
Roman legion founded Chinese city
urvivors of Crassus’s routed army said to have built town (ANSA) – Florence, July 25 – Roman soldiers who disappeared after a famous defeat founded a city in eastern China, archaeologists say .
The phantom legion was part of the defeated forces of Marcus Licinius Crassus, according to the current edition of the Italian magazine Archeologia Viva .
The famously wealthy Crassus needed glory to rival the exploits of the two men with whom he ruled Rome as the First Triumvirate, Pompey the Great and Julius Caesar .
Crassus decided to bring down the Parthian Empire – a fatal choice .
His forces were routed in 53 BC outside the Mesopotamian city of Carre – today’s Harran – and he was beheaded .
According to the Roman historian Pliny, the Romans who survived were taken to a prison camp in what is now northern Afghanistan .
When Rome and Parthia sued for peace in 20 BC – 33 years after Crassus’s last battle – all trace of the prisoners had disappeared .
The survivors of Crassus’s legion became a mystery, walking ghosts in Roman legends. A Chinese historian in the Han Empire, China’s second dynasty, provided an answer to the riddle in the early 3rd century AD .
The historian, Bau Gau, wrote that a Chinese war leader defeated a group of soldiers drawn up in typical Roman formation .
Crassus’s old troops must now have been in their fifties and sixties .
Bau Gau said the foreigners were moved to China to defend the strategically important eastern region of Gansu, near today’s city of Yongchang .
This is where the survivors founded the city of Liquian, the only site in China where the mark of Ancient Rome can be seen. ‘Liquian’ is said to mean ‘Roman’ .
The city has been virtually unknown outside China although hundreds of people visit it each year, admiring traces of defensive wallworks and pieces of broken pottery .
The number of visitors is certain to rise. Crassus, celebrated as the richest Roman of them all in pre-Imperial days, was never satisfied with his wealth and had an undying lust for glory .
Eighteen years before his doomed expedition to Parthia he put down a slave revolt led by the Thracian slave Spartacus. In Stanley Kubrick’s epic film he was played by Laurence Olivier.

The Two Trees

W.B. Yeats
BELOVED, gaze in thine own heart,
The holy tree is growing there;
From joy the holy branches start,
And all the trembling flowers they bear.
The changing colours of its fruit
Have dowered the stars with metry light;
The surety of its hidden root
Has planted quiet in the night;
The shaking of its leafy head
Has given the waves their melody,
And made my lips and music wed,
Murmuring a wizard song for thee.
There the Joves a circle go,
The flaming circle of our days,
Gyring, spiring to and fro
In those great ignorant leafy ways;
Remembering all that shaken hair
And how the winged sandals dart,
Thine eyes grow full of tender care:
Beloved, gaze in thine own heart.
Gaze no more in the bitter glass
The demons, with their subtle guile.
Lift up before us when they pass,
Or only gaze a little while;
For there a fatal image grows
That the stormy night receives,
Roots half hidden under snows,
Broken boughs and blackened leaves.
For ill things turn to barrenness
In the dim glass the demons hold,
The glass of outer weariness,
Made when God slept in times of old.
There, through the broken branches, go
The ravens of unresting thought;
Flying, crying, to and fro,
Cruel claw and hungry throat,
Or else they stand and sniff the wind,
And shake their ragged wings; alas!
Thy tender eyes grow all unkind:
Gaze no more in the bitter glass.
The Wheel
W.B. Yeats
THROUGH winter-time we call on spring,
And through the spring on summer call,
And when abounding hedges ring
Declare that winter’s best of all;
And after that there s nothing good
Because the spring-time has not come –
Nor know that what disturbs our blood
Is but its longing for the tomb.
More later on today good people!

July 27, 2005
by gwyllm

Focus On The Isle….

Some nice links Today…
Sounds of Saturn
Nancys’ New Age Emporium
Wake Up?
A nod to Terence
Our Main Article is Part 1 of the Original Peter Lamborn Wilson article, ” Irish Soma” This is really a treat!
Collected Irish Poems, some 1000 years in scope…
Artwork is by Jim Fitzpatrick, my favourite contemporary Irish Artist.
I hope you like these.
All my thanks to those who sent feedback on the recent articles. Much appreciated!
Saturn Plays the Theramin, Poorly….
Nancy’s New Age Emporium
Red Pill Blue Pill?
Arriving at the Singularity?
Irish Soma Part 1
By Peter Lamborn Wilson

Many scholars believe that the Indo-Europeans used an entheogenic or psychedelic drug in their rituals — called soma amongst the Vedic people of India, and haoma in Iran. The ancient Greeks also used an ergot-based preparation in wine as the entheogenic trigger of the Eleusinian Mysteries. Soma has been identified as amanita muscaria or the fly agaric mushroom; haoma may have been the same, or it might be “wild rue,” a harmaline-containing shrub (see Bibliography under Flattery and Schwartz). If there’s any truth to these theories, we would expect to find that other Indo-European peoples also used such drugs shamanically or ritually. Terrence McKenna believes that psilocybe was once even more widely distributed than it is now, and therefore must also be considered in the soma context. Certainly entheogenic religions are far more thoroughly attested today than when Wasson launched ethnomycology with his “wild” speculations, which now seem rather conservative. Even if we cannot accept the “psychedelic experience” as the origin of religion, I believe that we must certainly see it as one of a complex of “origins”, a complexity which might best be expressed in a palimpsest of theories about those origins; in short, I would maintain that the failure to consider entheogenesis (“birth of the god within” by ingestion of psychotropic substances) must be considered a serious flaw in any integral History of Religion.
I consider it strange that in all the writing I’ve read about psychedelics, and about Ireland, not one text has connected the two subjects. My reading is of course far from complete, and my first query concerns this point. I can scarcely believe that I’m the first to consider the question of a soma cult amongst the Celts, those old-fashioned Indo-Europeans so loyal to ancient ways — and so fond of intoxication. An immediate presumption would be that the Celts lost soma, if they ever had it, when they migrated West from the Indo-European heartland; at best, they may have developed mead as a substitute. I know of no reference to intoxicants other than alcohol in use among the Celts, who in fact quickly became major importers of Mediterranean wines. We know, however, that a vast amount of orally-transmitted Druid lore is lost beyond recall, and we als/o know how entheogenic cults can thrive under the very nose of “civilization” and not be noticed (as in Latin America). Wasson and his school have demonstrated how mushroom language tends to be euphemized, masked, coded, buried in etymologies and even “false” etymologies. If we are to speculate about the possible existence of a Celtic — specifically Irish — soma, we must exercise a bit of detective work. Using some of their findings as possible structures for our exegesis, we can go back and read our texts over again and hope for a few glimmerings or clues.
Irish myths and legends were not written down till the Christian era, and then only by monks who might well have misunderstood or even censored any references to a soma-type substance or cult. By that time, any entheogenic knowledge or ritual once possessed by druids might well have already vanished (or retreated into folklore), and the memory of soma distorted beyond recognition. Any mushroom lore that survived till the ninth to twelfth centuries A.D. would be the province of illiterate peasant wise-women and wizards — not of literate monks. For this reason we can expect that the myths and legends of the monkish manuscripts will be hard to read from our special perspective. But Irish folklore, as distinct from myths and legends, may prove a much clearer source. For reasons known to folklorists, Ireland is a special case of the survival of Indo-European lore, comparable perhaps only to India. In fact, Indian material should be used to throw light on Irish material where areas of darkness exist. From this point of view I think we can take for granted that whatever we may find in Ireland that looks like soma, and smells like soma, so to speak, might very well be soma, although we may never be able to prove the identity. But the well-known affinity between Celtic and Vedic cultures should pre-dispose us to at least a certain open-mindedness.
The Irish material abounds in references to magical substances which bestow knowledge and/or pleasure when ingested. Perhaps the best-known are the hazelnuts of wisdom, eaten by the Salmon, fished up by the Druid, and cooked by young Finn–who, as “sorcerer’s apprentice”, burns his thumb on the Salmon’s skin, sticks thumb in mouth, and attains all the wisdom in his master’s stead. The “shamanic” overtones of this story are quite obvious. Turning to the older manuscripts, we have the enigmatic “Geste of Fraoch” [1], concerning the hero Fraoch who is half-fairy (Sidh) in origin. His sister is the nymph of the River Boyne. He seeks to marry Find-abair, daughter of Aillil and Maeve, the witch-queen. He arrives at their kingdom with his retinue and impresses everyone with his beauty, and his skill at music and chess. Find-abair falls in love with him. They meet secretly and she gives him her gold thumb-ring. Aillil and Maeve agree to the wedding, but secretly plot the hero’s destruction. Maeve invites Fraoch to bathe in her magic spring. Growing on its bank is the rowan tree.
Every fourth and every month
Ripe fruit the rowan bore:
Fruit more sweet than honey-comb;
Its clusters’ virtues strong,
Its berries red could one but taste
Hunger they staved off long.
Rowan Berry juice could preserve life and cure dread disease. Maeve, sitting on the shore, begs Fraoch to swim over and pluck some berries for her. As she well knows, the rowan-berries are guarded by a dragon (or water-serpent), who attacks Fraoch. In one version, the beast kills him. In another version, as Maeve, her daughter, and the court ladies enjoy the sight of Fraoch sporting naked in the pool, Aillil steals the gold thumb-ring from Fraoch’s purse, shows it to Maeve, and throws it into the water. Fraoch notices this, and also notices that a salmon gulps down the ring. Without anyone seeing him, he catches the fish barehanded, and hides it “a hidden spot by the brink” of the water. Thereupon Maeve demands the rowan-berries; Fraoch complies; the monster appears. Find-abair strips to the buff and leaps into the water with a sword, which she tosses to her lover. He slays the beast. Aillil and Maeve now plot the death of their own daughter. A ritual bath is prepared for Fraoch, “of fresh-bacon broth and heifer-flesh minced in it,” a sign that he will be raised to royal status. Afterwards a feast is organized. During the feast Aillil orders that all his treasures be brought out and displayed. In order to complete this vulgar show, he demands that Find-abair produce her gold thumb-ring; when she fails to do so he threatens her with death. But Fraoch has meanwhile retrieved the salmon from its hiding-place and given it to Find-abair’s maid to cook. The girl brings in the fish, “broiled…, well prepared with honey dressing.” The ring is of course discovered. Aillil and Maeve are foiled.
In this version the tale ends happily. Ignoring the temptation to unpack too many clues from this story, we should confine ourselves to asking whether or not it can be read for possible ritual content. The sacred pool, the sacred tree, the combat (which can be seen as a sacrifice, either of Fraoch or of a substitute, the salmon, or of the monster), the beef-and-bacon bath — during which a chorus of fairy women (Fraoch’s sister Boyne and her maidens) appear and sing. All these motifs suggest that our legend is (at least in part) a masked ritual. In that case, the berries may also have a ritual significance. The salmon (with honey) and the thumb ring remind us of the shamanic complex again. The old manuscripts also preserve a number of imrama, or sea-going voyage-tales: the voyages of St. Brendan, of Bran, of Maeldun, and of the O’Corra brothers. The sailors in these romances find many marvelous islands, and on some of these islands they find marvelous fruits — some poisonous, some euphoriant, and some which stave off hunger. In “the voyage of the sons of O’Corra,” for example, they visit an island whose trees are “laden with fruit, and the leaves dropped honey to the ground. In the midst of the island was a pretty lake, whose waters tasted like sweet wine. But after a week of rest by its shores, a “monstrous reptile rose up from the lake, and looked at them.” The monster, however, disappears without harming them. [2]
Maeldun and his crew also experience an “Isle of Intoxicating Wine Fruits:”
They were now a long time tossed about on the great billows, when at length they came in view of an island with many trees on it. These trees were somewhat like hazels, and they were laden with a kind of fruit which the voyagers had not seen before, extremely large, and not very different in appearance from apples, except that they had a rough, berry-like rind. After the crew had plucked all the fruit off one small tree, they cast lots who should try them, and the lot fell on Maildun. So he took some of them, and, squeezing the juice into a vessel, drank it. It threw him into a sleep of intoxication so deep that he seemed to be in a trance rather than in a natural slumber, without breath or motion, and with the red foam on his lips. And from that hour till the same hour next day, no one could tell whether he was living or dead. When he awoke next day, he bade his people to gather as much of the fruit as they could bring away with them; for the world, as he told them, never produced anything of such surpassing goodness. They pressed out the juice of the fruit till they had filled all their vessels; and so powerful was it to produce intoxication and sleep, that, before drinking it, they had to mix a large quantity of water with it to moderate its strength.
St. Brendan seems to have visited the same island but, being a saint, he failed to experience the deep trance and euphoria of the more worldly Maeldun. [3] Note that the color of the magic substance is usually red. Even hazelnuts are “reddened” by association with salmon-flesh. Maeldun sees red apple-like or nut-like fruit with a rough rind — which could be an accurate description of a fly-agaric “toadstool” or its dried cap. Maeldun’s squeezing of the juice reminds us directly of Vedic soma-ritual, and the warning to cut the juice with water reminds us of the Greek injunction to mix certain “wines” twenty-to-one with water, lest they be too powerful — obviously not wine as we now know it, as C. Ruck points out in Persephone’s Quest. [4]

Persephone’s Quest is the book which sparked my intention to draft this query. The specific impetus rose from Ruck’s brilliant essay on “The Offerings from the Hyperboreans,” i.e., the votive offerings sent from the semi-mythical land of Hyperborea to Apollo’s shrine oracle at Delos. In this text, Ruck makes no mention of the often-repeated but not very convincing identification of Hyperborea as Ireland, or the insular-Celtic lands in general. The route taken by the offering (a sheaf of wheat hiding some other plant, apparently), is traced by three ancient authors, who all place Hyperborea beyond the Danube and beyond Scythia, near the Altai Mountains. This might locate Hyperborea somewhere near the vague (and controversial) origin-point of the Indo-Europeans and hence of the Celts. A Siberian origin for the Indo-Europeans is strengthened by Vedic references and a mass of other material which must not detain us here; suffice to say that the “Hyperboreans” are very close to the area in which A. muscaria still provides the entheogenic juice for shamanic practice. Ruck marshals a great deal of circumstantial evidence to identify the offerings as fly agaric, dried and wrapped in straw.
A possible historical connection between Hyperborea and the Celts, however fascinating, will not serve our purpose so well, however, as Ruck’s discussion of a certain tribe living along the route of the offerings and involved with their delivery, the Arimaspeans. Their name, in the Scythian language, supposedly describes them as a one-eyed people, akin to gorgons and griffins. A number of other one-eyed and/or one-legged races appear in the story of Apollo and the Hyperboreans–for example, the Telchines, magic metallurgists “with a reputation for sorcery and drugs” [5], masters of herbalism and the “evil eye”. Ruck explains:
“The fungus of the Hyperborean homeland would have come … from the wooded slopes of the Altai Mountains, where conifers and birch abound, an environment, therefore, where Amanita muscaria is commonly found. Presumably, it would have fruited in the autumn and been preserved by drying so that it could be conveyed over the long journey, wrapped in straw, to arrive on Delos in late spring along with the other offerings of first fruits. Is there anything, we must now ask, in the Apolline traditions that might suggest that this was the identity of the secret plant?
The one-eyed Arimaspeans, who, as we have seen, were either just another name for the Hyperboreans or, as a separate people, were the first intermediaries in the transmission of the subterranean gold that was mined by the griffins. [They] are a personification of one of the attributes of soma as the “single eye.” So, therefore, are the Cyclopes, whose murder as primitive surrogate occasioned Apollo’s expiatory sojourn amongst the people of his northern homeland. There were two versions of these Cyclopes, and the Anatolian ones probably arose from a separate dissemination of the metaphor through Asia Minor, where the later discredited Lycian Telchines display the same attribute as their evil eye. These one-eyed creatures are a variant of another attribute of soma as the figure with a single foot, a characteristic of a supposed race of people called the Shade-foots, who came from the Indus valley and were fancifully implicated, according to Aristophanes6 in a profane celebration of the Lesser Eleusinian Mystery. It appears that the Arimaspeans may have come from the same general region, for Herodotus’s supposed Scythian etymology of their name is probably not correct, but they were really an Iranian tribe, called the Argempaioi or Argimpasoi. All these fabulous creatures can be traced to fungal manifestations and testify strongly that it was some kind of mushroom, if not actually Amanita, that was originally the Hyperborean plant. In its Hesperidean version, the plant bears still another attribute of soma as the ‘mainstay of the sky’, which is the role that Atlas plays as ‘pillar of heaven’ in the west [7], just as his Titanic brother in the east, Prometheus, when presented as a Shade-foot, impersonates the sacred plant as a “parasol,” which is the same Sanskrit word as mushroom. The single-footed trait can also be seen in certain Greek heroes who, like Oedipus, have mythical roles as Apolline surrogates.”
The Shade-foots were also known as Monocoli or “One-legs”. [8] This latter name is particularly interesting because when we find these people in modern times, they will be a particular plant involved in Asiatic shamanism. Monocoli in Greek was an epithet of plants9. In modern times, the prodigious strength of their single leg will also be remembered from ancient traditions.

In his own essay, “Persephone’s Quest,” Wasson also discusses a number of one-eyed, one-footed beings from various folkloric and iconographic sources, including the Cyclopes, and soma itself, which is described in Vedic Sanskrit as Aja Ekapad, “Not-born Single-foot.” Mushrooms are “not born” because they have no seed; they are caused by lightning bolts. And mushrooms are single-footed, of course. The penis is the “one-eyed serpent,” and the mushroom is a penis. Folklore can be scoured endlessly to rake up further examples; Wasson’s point is that one-eyed one-legged beings are to be decoded as mushrooms, at least in certain contexts.
The Irish also have a one-legged one-eyed race in their past: the Fomoire or Fomorians. In some legendary histories they seem to be the very oldest inhabitants of the island, but still they come from elsewhere, either “from the sea” (but “sea” is probably a false etymology for their name, fomorian); or else they invaded Ireland from Africa. In some tales the Fomorians live under the sea (like Chinese dragons) or else more prosaically on Tory Island. Sometimes they are giants, and moreover they can appear as one-eyed one-footed giants. Sometimes they appear to be a race of wizards, “human” enough to inter-marry with the Tuatha de Danaan (who, however, aren’t all that human themselves). In fact the half-breed King Bres, who causes war between the two races10 is described as the most beautiful youth in Ireland — even though the Fomoire are usually depicted as ugly, low, hideous, deformed, etc. One gets the impression that the Fomorians represent a pre-Celtic Irish race, and that we are seeing them through the texts of the Celts, who invaded their land and subdued them, and now wish to present them as villains, boors, snake-worshippers, or even nonhuman monsters. This is a universal theme in folklore, which often seems to harbor memories of an archaic “us/them” situation. Ultimately it may lead us back to the emergence of agricultural peoples and their “conquest” and enslavement of hunter/gatherer tribes — i.e., back to the very beginnings of civilization and history. The Fomorians, who are connected with the megaliths by folklore, and who survive to play roles as ogres and giants in Irish fairy tales, may have been remnants of the great Atlantic Megalithic peoples, who created the culture of New Grange and Stonehenge long before the Celts arrived in Europe. The marginalized “race” or “caste” survives as tinkers (primitive metallurgists, perennial outsiders), minstrels, vagabonds, fortune-tellers, herbalists, servants, grooms, prostitutes, wizards. Much later in history the Celts will undergo the same marginalization by new “invading races”–the Fomorization of the Celts, as it were.
What interests us here, however, is not the fate of the Fomorians but their special role as one-eyed shade-foots — i.e., their role in folklore. Whatever their other qualities in history, myth, or legend, they are clearly “Arimaspeans”, and hence are to be suspected of kinship with mushrooms. And if hazelnuts, or red berries, are used to “mask” the mushroom in Irish tradition, we should look for Fomorians lurking somewhere in the underbrush near the sacred tree.
Just such a conjunction occurs in the saga of Dermat and Grania, which in turn forms part of the Finnian Cycle. [11] The hero and heroine are fleeing from the jealous wrath of Finn himself. Their flight takes them all over Scotland and Ireland, where many dolmens are still called “beds” of Dermat and Grania. At one point they come to the Forest of Dooros (a name containing the Celtic word for “oak” and thus identifiable as a druid grove) in the district of HyFicra of the Moy (later known as the barony of Tireagh, in Sligo). At this time the forest was guarded by Sharvan the Surly, a giant of Lochlann.
“Now this is the history of Sharvan the Surly, of Lochlann. On a certain occasion, a game of hurley was played by the Dedannans against the Fena, on the plain beside the Lake of Lein of the Crooked Teeth. They played for three days and three nights, neither side being able to win a single goal from the other during the whole time. And when Dedannans found that they could not overcome the Fena, they suddenly withdrew from the contest, and departed from the lake, journeying in a body northwards.

The Dedannans had for food during the game, and for their journey afterwards, crimson nuts and arbutus apples and scarlet quicken berries, which they had brought from the Land of Promise. These fruits were gifted with many secret virtues; and the Dedannans were careful that neither apple nor nut nor berry should touch the soil of Erin. But as they passed through the Wood of Dooros, in Hy Ficra of the Moy, one of the scarlet quicken berries dropped on the earth; and the Dedannans passed on, not heeding. From this berry a great quicken tree sprang up, which had the virtues of the quicken trees that grow in Fairyland. For its berries had the taste of honey, and those who ate of them felt a cheerful flow of spirits, as if they had drunk of wine or old mead; and if a man were even a hundred years old, he returned to the age of thirty, as soon as he had eaten three of them.
Now when the Dedannans heard of this tree, and knew of its many virtues, they would not that any one should eat of the berries but themselves; and they sent a Fomor of their own people to guard it, namely Sharvan the Surly, of Lochlann; so that no man dared even to approach it. For this Sharvan was a giant of the race of the wicked Cain, burly and strong; with heavy bones, large thick nose, crooked teeth, and one broad, red, fiery eye in the middle of his black forehead. And he had a great club tied by a chain to an iron girdle which was round his body. He was, moreover, so skilled in magic that fire could not burn him, water could not drown him, and weapons could not wound him; and there was no way to kill him but by giving him three blows of his own club. By day he sat at the foot of the tree, watching; and at night he slept in a hut he had made for himself, high up among the branches”

I am getting ready to become a tree,
not because some god is after me,
bearing down with his aerial authority,
my heart bolting from the thrust of his need.
My figure will be transfigured, in one go;
my human shell turned to the trunk of an oak,
my skin twisted to gnarled bark, my blood-flow
to sap. Out of my branch-bones leaves will grow.
Already, my fingers and toes are stretching out,
elongating into sinewy roots,
tucking themselves tightly into the ground;
and when a breeze blows my branches round,
I feel as if I’m going nuts, or out
of my tree. Today I stand tall and straight,
not breathing but rustling; birds congregate
in me, warbling airs while I create
chlorophyll, inspired by unfathomable light
to fulfil my destiny, synthesise my fate.

I parted from my life last night,
A woman’s body sunk in clay:
The tender bosom that I loved
Wrapped in a sheet they took away.
The heavy blossom that had lit
The ancient boughs is tossed and blown;
Hers was the burden of delight
That long had weighed the old tree down.
And I am left alone tonight
And desolate is the world I see,
For lovely was that woman’s weight
That even last night had lain on me.
Weeping I look upon the place
Where she used to rest her head,
For yesterday her body’s length
Reposed upon you too, my bed.
Yesterday that smiling face
Upon one side of you was laid
That could match the hazel bloom
In its dark delicate sweet shade.
Maelva of the shadowy brows
Was the mead-cask at my side;
Fairest of all flowers that grow
Was the beauty that has died.
My body’s self deserts me now,
The half of me that was her own,
Since all I knew of brightness died
Half of me lingers, half is gone.
The face that was like hawthorn bloom
Was my right foot and my right side;
And my right hand and right eye
Were no more than hers who died.
Poor is the share of me that’s left
Since half of me died with my wife;
I shudder at the words I speak;
Dear God, that girl was half my life.
And our first look was her first love;
No man had fondled ere I came
The little breasts so small and firm
And the long body like a flame.
For twenty years we shared a home,
Our converse milder with each year;
Eleven children in its time
Did that tall stately body bear.
It was the King of hosts and roads
Who snatched her from me in her prime:
Little she wished to leave alone
The man she loved before her time.
Now King of churches and of bells,
Though never raised to pledge a lie
That woman’s hand – can it be true? –
No more beneath my head will lie.

you are a bright island
hilly and wide
reserved and open
as clouds drift over you
across the sky
plains and ravines are revealed
swelling and slender together
as shadow follows shadow
around about your white body
when you stretched
naked on the bed
in the dark chamber
above the sea
the veil on your face
concealing your features
even your eyes
when seen
seemed hazed
your proud peaks
rising and falling
the fierce splendour of your skin
an island in the midst of dark
toward you I swam
my manliness trembling
with longing and fear
your arms around me as I reached your land
a pilgrim come to your temple
to learn warrior feats
where a hundred fell before me
a hundred times bolder than me
all I heard was the pipes wailing
as I vaulted your bridge
and breached your haven
the pipes eternal chant
grounding my heart
you are a bright island
settings wings to my desire
your proud peaks rise and fall
beneath my every feat one and all
almost a part of me
though I never saw your eyes
I felt your heart beat
in the fearful whine of the war-pipes
in the calls of the warriors who fell before me
beneath the fierce bright strokes of your skin
in the dark chamber above the ocean
a wide open island
in my reserved heart

I and white Pangur
practise each of us his special art:
his mind is set on hunting,
my mind on my special craft.
I love (it is better than all fame)
to be quiet beside my book, diligently pursuing knowledge.
White Pangur does not envy me:
he loves his childish craft.
When the two of us (this tale never wearies us)
are alone together in our house,
we have something to which we may apply our skill,
an endless sport.
It is usual, at times, for a mouse to stick in his net,
as a result of warlike battlings.
For my part, into my net falls
some difficult rule of hard meaning.
He directs his bright perfect eye
against an enclosing wall.
Though my clear eye is very weak
I direct it against keenness of knowledge.
He is joyful with swift movement
when a mouse sticks in his sharp paw.
I too am joyful when I understand
a dearly loved difficult problem.
Though we be thus at any time,
neither of us hinders the other:
each of us likes his craft,
severally rejoicing in them.
He it is who is master for himself
of the work which he does every day.
I can perform my own work
directed at understanding clearly what is difficult.

Have a Beautiful Day, a Thousand Blessings!

July 27, 2005
by gwyllm

Dolphin Days ~ Coyote Nights…

So Today we have close encounters of the ER and EE kind. Two groups merge from the cyber-frontiers of consciousness quest and questioning….
Some Good Links,
The War on (some) Drugs
The Beaker People and their incursion into Britain
A Dine Story about our favourite Trickster…

Poetry from Tobacco Indian….
So Tuesday night, PK comes by bearing gifts of Chinese Medicine (He is in his last year of training for a degree in traditional Chinese Herbal Studies). PK hangs with Mary and I for awhile in the heat of the evening and then he and I head to the Barley Mill.
We are on a mission to finally meet with Scott Taylor and his companion Amanda from Australia. Scott and Amanda have been on a whirlwind world tour doing the “Dolphin Embassy” Starting from Australia, then to India, Belgium, Maya country, Colorado and many, many points between. Scott has family here so they will be hanging for a couple of weeks. (More chances to meet up!)
When we settle in we find Walker, Linda Rightmire, and Steve Fenwick have arrived as well! With all of these fine people, conversation takes off at a great pace….
Scott & Amanda

We had a free ranging conversation, from Dolphins, to Process Therapy, Chinese Medicine, Education, Curtis LeMay, and a host of other topics….
Linda & Amanda

To the trajectory of the soul with air travel (does the soul catch up and is jet lag a metaphysical state of soul loss and recovery?), carrying your home along with you with your vehicle, is a car or truck an extension of your dwelling? We talked as well about Walking the Sacred Paths and singing the world in to existence. We talked about Community, and how it is established, and how we find it in our corners of the world.
Time does fly, and it goes oh so quickly. Many conversations started, and more to continue. Finally meeting Scott made my day. I have to leave, and there are hugs all around. Nice to meet Walker, see PK, and Steve, and to have Linda for awhile here in Portland. She heads back to the north today….
Scott, PK & Steve

I hope that we can have another gathering soon like this. Nothing like good conversation, good company and laughter to make an evening!
The War on some Drugs
Closer to finding Atlantis?
Bones examined in settler mystery… (the Beaker Peoples)
The lives of what are thought to be the first prehistoric settlers in north-east Scotland are to be examined in a Europe-wide research programme.
Aberdeen University is sending 23 skeletons from its collection to Sheffield University where they will be analysed with the latest technology.
The research will concentrate on a little-known race of Bronze Age settlers called the Beaker People.

It is thought they may have introduced metalwork to Britain 4,000 years ago.
They may also have built many of the country’s stone circles, including Stonehenge.
The race got its name from the clay pots or beakers they buried with their dead, suggesting an early belief in the afterlife.
Researchers believe they sailed into Scotland across the North Sea from Scandinavia.
Scientists want to know if they were a peaceful tribe who shared their knowledge or warmongers who fought their way across Britain and the continent.
Sheffield University scientist Dr Andrew Chamberlain, who is leading research into the settlers, said: “We do see evidence for conflict, warfare if you like, at this time.
“A real question is that there were farmers there already when the Beaker People arrived, so if they did arrive as immigrants, what was the reception?
“Were they welcomed, were they viewed with suspicion or hostility?”
The Beakers are thought to have erected stone circles at sites like Cullerlie, near Aberdeen, but where the people came from has never been answered.
Dr Chamberlain said his study would examine small differences in the material in the bones and teeth of relics.
He explained: “A skeleton is made up of the food that you eat and the water that you drink.
Significant collection
“This has a distinctive chemical signature which can be used to track down where people were born and where they lived the majority of their lives.”
Aberdeen University Marischal Museum has gathered one of the finest collection of Beaker People remains in the world over the past 100 years.
Senior curator Neil Curtis said he hoped to find out a lot of detail about individual lives.
He said: “The people who were alive then were buried in graves a bit like the one we have in Marischal Museum, in which the body was laid curled up, as if asleep, with a beaker next to it.
“Often in the past we’ve looked at the pots and tried to work out what they’re like, what styles they are, how they compare with other ones, but this time we’re actually going to find out more about the people.”
A Dine Navajo Tale
Coyote Kills a Giant

Coyote was walking one day when he met Old Woman. She greeted him and asked where he was headed.
“Just roaming around,” said Coyote.
“You better stop going that way, or you’ll meet a giant who kills everybody.”
“Oh, giants don’t frighten me,” said Coyote (who had never met one). “I always kill them. I’ll fight this one too, and make an end of him.”
“He’s bigger and closer than you think,” said Old Woman.
“I don’t care,” said Coyote, deciding that a giant would be about as big as a bull moose and calculating that he could kill one easily.
So Coyote said good-bye to Old Woman and went ahead, whistling a tune. On his way he saw a large fallen branch that looked like a club. Picking it up, he said to himself, “I’ll hit the giant over the head with this. It’s big enough and heavy enough to kill him.” He walked on and came to a huge cave right in the middle of the path. Whistling merrily, he went in.
Suddenly Coyote met a woman who was crawling along on the ground.
“What’s the matter?” he asked.
“I’m starving,” she said, “and too weak to walk. What are you doing with that stick?”
“I’m going to kill the giant with it,” said Coyote, and he asked if she knew where he was hiding.
Feeble as she was, the woman laughed. “You’re already in the giant’s belly.”
“How can I be in his belly?” asked Coyote. “I haven’t even met him.”
“You probably thought it was a cave when you walked into his mouth,” the woman said, and sighed. “It’s easy to walk in, but nobody ever walks out. This giant is so big you can’t take him in with your eyes. His belly fills a whole valley.”
Coyote threw his stick away and kept on walking. What else could he do?
Soon he came across some more people lying around half dead. “Are you sick?” he asked.
“No,” they said, “just starving to death. We’re trapped inside the giant.”
“You’re foolish,” said Coyote. “If we’re really inside this giant, then the cave walls must be the inside of his stomach. We can just cut some meat and fat from him.”
“We never thought of that,” they said.
“You’re not as smart as I am,” said Coyote.
Coyote took his hunting knife and started cutting chunks out of the cave walls. As he had guessed, they were indeed the giant’s fat and meat, and he used it to feed the starving people. He even went back and gave some meat to the woman he had met first. Then all the people imprisoned in the giant’s belly started to feel stronger and happier, but not completely happy. “You’ve fed us,” they said, “and thanks. But how are we going to get out of here?”
“Don’t worry,” said Coyote. “I’ll kill the giant by stabbing him in the heart. Where is his heart? It must be around here someplace.”
“Look at the volcano puffing and beating over there,” someone said.
“Maybe it’s the heart.”
“So it is, friend,” said Coyote, and began to cut at this mountain.

Then the giant spoke up. “Is that you, Coyote? I’ve heard of you. Stop this stabbing and cutting and let me alone. You can leave through my mouth; I’ll open it for you.”
“I’ll leave, but not quite yet,” said Coyote, hacking at the heart. He told the others to get ready. “As soon as I have him in his death throes, there will be an earthquake. He’ll open his jaw to take a last breath, and then his mouth will close forever. So be ready to run out fast!”
Coyote cut a deep hole in the giant’s heart, and lava started to flow out. It was the giant’s blood. The giant groaned, and the ground under the people’s feet trembled.
“Quick, now!” shouted Coyote. The giant’s mouth opened and they all ran out. The last one was the wood tick. The giant’s teeth were closing on him, but Coyote managed to pull him through at the last moment.
“Look at me,” cried the wood tick, “I’m all flat!”
“It happened when I pulled you through,” said Coyote. “You’ll always be flat from now on. Be glad you’re alive.”
“I guess I’ll get used to it,” said the wood tick, and he did.

Poetry By Tobacco Indian….

Tobacco Dance
fly from my feet
as I went whirring into the winds
as I went dancing upon the stones
as I sang to my toes
my belly was hot
and the sun touched the golden brown earth
of the desert
where my heart beats
and offers the rhythms I need
to remember
my dreaming
dancing in an old place
dancing in an old way
inside my skin
I have gone all around myself
Body is a Spirit
I have carried
my life from the shadows
my body is a spirit
i was carried down from the trees
i was a bird
a brttle bird at that time
you might have heard me singing
i have changed my looks
i have seen thunder
thunder carried by the bear
and it has all hit my body
and gone inside my skin
so now I am going around
in a circle
here inside the mountain
Tobacco Store Indian
I lie in the rain
my face in the mud
the mud on my belly
the moon on my moon
outside The Corn Covered Elder’s Tobacco Emporium!
(open 24 hours)
So long have I stood unmoving
As the dry season wore on
keeping sacred vigil
beside the door
of The Corn Covered Elder’s Tobacco Emporium!
Blessed every day by the coyote’s morning water
As he rises from the ground on his one leg
and delivers the water where it will do the most good!
Till at last the rains came
and the sacred mushrooms grew around my feet
and the Tbirds remembered me
spoke to me
knocked me on my you-know-what!
I liiiiiiiiiie inna raaaaaaaaain!

How well I remember the day I got this job —
Great, so great, are the sin taxes imposed
by the government which Always Knows What Is Best For Us
that my corn-covered elder
(great, so great, in his wisdom
in the art of How To Make A Buck)
opened a tax-free tobacco store on his sacred land!
And little, so little can I do
now that the Tbirds got my number —
I am grateful that he gave me a way to earn my keep
standing in front of
The Corn Covered Elder’s Tobacco Emporium
holding a handful of cigars
offering thi to the pilgrims who come
seeking day and night
seeking always!
The pilgrims come for hundreds of miles around
buy many cartons of cigarettes
and are gone
to their private shrines they go
to burn tobacco unceasingly to their familiar spirits
the Tobacco Joneses!
Day and night unceasingly they come
laden with frogskins,
as their familiar spirits the Tobacco Joneses urge them onward
like one-legged coyotes nipping at their heels!
The offerings of frogskins they bring to my corn-covered elder!
Nevermind that they can eat neither frogskins nor cigarettes —
For the Government Which Always Knows What Is Best For Us
has seen to it that there is always food
(if you don’t mind eating straw and glue)
but frogskins and cigarettes are harder and harder to come by!
Great, so great, is his wisdom
he always knows what they need before they speak even a word!
He accepts their frogskins
gives thrm something far more valuable —
to offer to their familiar spirits
the Tobacco Joneses!
And in the back of the Corn Covered Elder’s Tobacco Emporium
Video Poker Games!
Slot Machines!
Even Bingo on Wednesday Nights!
Wise, so wise, is my Corn Covered Elder
He knows always what they need …….
Except one man
stupid whiteboy wannabe
came in looking for BULL DURHAM!
came in looking for OUR PRIDE!
My Corn Covered Elder told him off good!
We don’t sell that crap in here!
And I see them day and night
As I stand in front of
The Corn Covered Elder’s Tobacco Emporium (open 24 hours)
Except when the rains come
And I fall on my face before the Tbirds
and I liiiiiiiiiiiiie inna raaaaaaaaaain!
Water’s Heart
Stretched like long legs
dancing in the sun’s light
but so quietly
her face is hidden
by the shadows of what we have forgotten
Crickets sing
in a cave filled with crystals
like silver in the moonlight
like the red coal in a small hot fire
the path between them
has an opening
a message is there where you dream
in the place where you are dreaming
when you are there

More Tomorrow,
A great day to You all!

July 26, 2005
by gwyllm

The Story Finally Told (39 years ago)

The Story Finally Told
A Tool from Ancient Times
Richard Brautigan Poems.
Well, here is the final installment of the Acid story. Enjoy.

39 years ago….

So we rest up in Berkeley… I connect with friends/acquaintances I had met in Denver who had been passing through from New York City. (They had given us the address of the commune we were staying at) Franz and Stephanie. Nice couple, he, a gay hair dresser from the Village, and Stephanie was a designer. They had hitched through Denver a month before I ventured west. They stayed with me in one of the many places I crashed that summer. (in their case, the Speed House – kinda explanatory!) We had some great times and good conversations.
Well we were in Berkeley, in a commune with very nice people. 4 blocks to the west of Telegraph or so. It has been a long time, I wouldn’t be able to find it now. Berkeley was buzzing in that summer. The Peace Movement, SDS, Telegraph of course, and Sproul Plaza. I wandered everywhere. Fog at night. Hungry, always hungry. How come a 14 year old is always so hungry? I couldn’t busk fast enough or panhandle fast enough for food. We ate the crackers, ate the candy, and every bowl of brown rice pushed in our faces at the commune. The main room in the house had a pool table. I really wasn’t very good at it, and felt a fool everytime I picked up a cue. It was fun though. Music was always playing. Bob Dylan – Sad Eyed Lady Of The Low Lands. I had listened to Dylan for a couple of years at that point, but I fell head over heels for Blond on Blond. Evenings drifting with cannabis smoke in the air, and Dylans’ voice floating through the rooms and the back yard.

It was a good time.
I needed work, and things were tight. So, I found out that you could do day labor on farms in the valley. With one of the guys at the Commune, I went to Oakland at 4:00AM to catch a bus. The whole bus was full of Mexican migrant farm workers. We were the only 2 gringos’ aboard.
I swear, there is nothing harder than picking crops or clearing weeds from 6 in the morning to 6 at night on an empty stomach. I actually ended up in the hole owing the bus and the crew chief. The Mexicans were blazingly fast, and kind, very kind. Everytime one sped past me, he stuffed my basket with veg. I was humbled. They knew me from Adam, and yet they helped me as they could. I sit here typing, and I am smiling at the memories of them.
Finally (cutting to the chase) after much discussion about LSD, one of the commune members mentioned that I could partake if I wanted. Being the weekend, the whole house was geared up for this. I had sat and watched 2 or so earlier sessions, demuring. I was curious though, very curious. The fact was I had said to my friends from NY (“Of course I have!”) when I first met them. Of course, I also said I was 16 which we all know was not the truth….
So, the story goes like this…
around 6:00 in the evening, I am offered the Host. Supposedly it is something called “Sandoz” said with much gravity and smiling. I accept it, swallow and out the door we go, wandering up to Telegraph, where we eventually wander into the Jabberwock Cafe. We sit back, have a espresso, and Country Joe and the Fish wander on to the stage and start playing. The music is wonderful, and as it goes on, “it” becomes wider and wider. The Farfisa Organ takes on a calling sound, that I soon find irresistible, and soon I find myself crawling under the organ to sit and soak it all in, to the bemusement of the band and my friends. At the end of the set, we head out. I hear the music reverberating throughout my being.
The night is slowly coming on, and we head down the streets to the commune, and it seems like eternity…
I notice that there is an inner dialogue going on, and it is like nothing I have ever experienced. I am looking at myself, and “someone” is commenting on my actions and thoughts. It seems to be painful, and it unfolds deeper and deeper. I see motivations, and the “accidents” and paths chosen that have led me to this place. I am soon being stripped bare in a light that is to some point alien, but not unfamilar. I can see that my life is not a good one. I have started to cover up my being with coatings of un-truth. And each coating is re-enforced by each action regardless. I am smothering. I am uncomfortable, and I have to walk, and get away and…

“Oh, the ragman draws circles
Up and down the block.
I’d ask him what the matter was
But i know that he don’t talk.
And the ladies treat me kindly
And furnish me with tape,
But deep inside my heart
I know i can’t escape.
Oh, mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of mobile
With the memphis blues again.
Well, shakespeare, he’s in the alley
With his pointed shoes and his bells,
Speaking to some french girl,
Who says she knows me well.
And i would send a message
To find out if she’s talked,
But the post office has been stolen
And the mailbox is locked.
Oh, mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of mobile
With the memphis blues again.”

reverberates through my head. I wander out of my revelry, and find myself in the living room watching a pool game. I realize I know where every ball will go before it happens, because there are lines radiating out from each ball with the path it will take. They also leave the lines behind them, glowing and whispering…

“Mona tried to tell me
To stay away from the train line.
She said that all the railroad men
Just drink up your blood like wine.
An’ i said, “oh, i didn’t know that,
But then again, there’s only one i’ve met
An’ he just smoked my eyelids
An’ punched my cigarette.”
Oh, mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of mobile
With the memphis blues again.
Grandpa died last week
And now he’s buried in the rocks,
But everybody still talks about
How badly they were shocked.
But me, i expected it to happen,
I knew he’d lost control
When he built a fire on main street
And shot it full of holes.
Oh, mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of mobile
With the memphis blues again..”

I am totally enraptured by what is occuring. I am also afraid. I am of two minds. I am of many minds. I certainly am confused.
My friends from New York (Franz and Stephanie) sit down next to me on the couch. Gentle probing questions come. “How are you doing”? “What are you seeing”? “Do you have something you need to share”? So I pour my heart out, about seeing the Truth of my young self. I painfully confess my age. “Oh, we knew, we were waiting for you to tell us though” came the reply.

So we sit and talk about being truthful to your self, and learning to love the truth even when it hurts. On one hand this seems like a great idea, on the other hand, this is killing me. I feel the waves going back and forth inside.

“Now the senator came down here
Showing ev’ryone his gun,
Handing out free tickets
To the wedding of his son.
An’ me, i nearly got busted
An’ wouldn’t it be my luck
To get caught without a ticket
And be discovered beneath a truck.
Oh, mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of mobile
With the memphis blues again.
Now the preacher looked so baffled
When i asked him why he dressed
With twenty pounds of headlines
Stapled to his chest.
But he cursed me when i proved it to him,
Then i whispered, “not even you can hide.
You see, you’re just like me,
I hope you’re satisfied.”
Oh, mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of mobile
With the memphis blues again.”

The night wears on. I am standing in a hallway, staring at a light bulb above me. I walk then outside into the garden. It is heavy with presence and beauty. I sit beneath a eucalyptus tree. I feel odd. I feel cleansed. I feel like myself. I go deeper and deeper. People wander out to check on me. I realize that they care. This seems to be first in my life.

The night breathes in and out of me. I examine the story of my life further. I see that there is a path, and I have to find it. My mind boggles at the whole idea. Confusion is like a river and it carries us all along. I see the world as a river. I see time stretching out behind and before me. I am skewered in the now.

“Now the rainman gave me two cures,
Then he said, “jump right in.”
The one was texas medicine,
The other was just railroad gin.
An’ like a fool i mixed them
An’ it strangled up my mind,
An’ now people just get uglier
An’ i have no sense of time.
Oh, mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of mobile
With the memphis blues again.
When ruthie says come see her
In her honky-tonk lagoon,
Where i can watch her waltz for free
‘neath her panamanian moon.
An’ i say, “aw come on now,
You must know about my debutante.”
An’ she says, “your debutante just knows what you need
But i know what you want.”
Oh, mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of mobile
With the memphis blues again.”

The hours keep rolling past. People sit, and talk. For the first time, I feel no separation between them and myself. I find a place like peace. Everything looks like a giant fisheye lense photo. Everything is like a giant calliope! It is a celebration! Everyone knows the great secret! The world swirls ever so fast. < I hear an echoing laugh going on and on and on. I realize it is coming out of me. Faces look like plastic. I find myself staring in a mirror. I loathe what I see, I see something else, what am I doing in the Bathroom? I find myself in the hall staring at light bulb again. My head truly hurts with all that is inside. Will this ever end? I have to get outside, I have to walk! "Now the bricks lay on grand street Where the neon madmen climb. They all fall there so perfectly, It all seems so well timed. An' here i sit so patiently Waiting to find out what price You have to pay to get out of Going through all these things twice. Oh, mama, can this really be the end, To be stuck inside of mobile With the memphis blues again." The sun is rising, and we are walking in the morning mist, up into the hills. I watch the sun come up. Everthing is suffused with beauty. I hear the world waking up. I think I must be a madman. This passes. I feel happy. I want to do this again. No, it was much to painful. We walk down the hill back to the commune and I finally fall asleep out in the yard in the chair. My life would never be the same again. Things that I did not do on that visit to California: I did not make it to San Francisco. I did not see the Jefferson Airplane. I missed the Beatles last show I missed the last Acid Test I realize in writing all this out, that my date for my first LSD experience was in August. August 30th to be exact. I went and researched play dates of Country Joe and the Fish. They played the Matrix during July. I seem to have arrived in Berkeley at the mid to end of July. I also realize that as I wandered down Telegraph that I was there when the Beatles Revolver Album came out. (August 15th to be exact for the US release) Yellow Submarine made much more sense on August 31st. The window display at a record store changed when I was there from the Byrds' Fifth Dimension to The Revolver Album. I have a mind for trivia. I still get Bob Dylan fixations 39 years later. I still like watching pool balls. I know longer know where they are going though. And that is alright. On this trip, I did not see colours, or visions. What I saw was my young life, and how it was unfolding. LSD saved my life, or at least my soul. I am sure that it is not that different than many other experiences that month in Berkeley. I got to meet my shadow, and a new possible self. LSD is a powerful tool. Use it wisely. If LSD can begin to turn someones life around in one go, then it must be a blessing. I have spent much time pondering that night and morning. It is the dividing line in my life, then and now. Still in the now. The watershed so to speak. I want to thank the gentle souls who guided me that night, and protected me as my soul came forth. Many thanks to Franz for his probing questions and gentle guidance, and Stephanies' caring and constant cups of tea. I never saw them again after I left Berkeley. I don't know where they are, but my gratitude goes out to them still all these years on. A Bright Blessing on you all. G ________________ and now for something completely different! Ancient Tool Found…

A sculpted and polished phallus found in a German cave is among the earliest representations of male sexuality ever uncovered, researchers say.
The 20cm-long, 3cm-wide stone object, which is dated to be about 28,000 years old, was buried in the famous Hohle Fels Cave near Ulm in the Swabian Jura.
The prehistoric “tool” was reassembled from 14 fragments of siltstone.
Its life size suggests it may well have been used as a sex aid by its Ice Age makers, scientists report.
“In addition to being a symbolic representation of male genitalia, it was also at times used for knapping flints,” explained Professor Nicholas Conard, from the department of Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology, at Tübingen University.
“There are some areas where it has some very typical scars from that,” he told the BBC News website.
Researchers believe the object’s distinctive form and etched rings around one end mean there can be little doubt as to its symbolic nature.
“It’s highly polished; it’s clearly recognisable,” said Professor Conard.

The Tübingen team working Hohle Fels already had 13 fractured parts of the phallus in storage, but it was only with the discovery of a 14th fragment last year that the team was able finally to put the “jigsaw” together.
The different stone sections were all recovered from a well-dated ash layer in the cave complex associated with the activities of modern humans (not their pre-historic “cousins”, the Neanderthals).
The dig site is one of the most remarkable in central Europe. Hohle Fels stands more than 500m above sea level in the Ach River Valley and has produced thousands of Upper Palaeolithic items.
Some have been truly exquisite in their sophistication and detail, such as a 30,000-year-old avian figurine crafted from mammoth ivory. It is believed to be one of the earliest representations of a bird in the archaeological record.
There are other stone objects known to science that are obviously phallic symbols and are slightly older – from France and Morocco, of particular note. But to have any representation of male genitalia from this time period is highly unusual.
“Female representations with highly accentuated sexual attributes are very well documented at many sites, but male representations are very, very rare,” explained Professor Conard.
Current evidence indicates that the Swabian Jura of southwestern Germany was one of the central regions of cultural innovation after the arrival of modern humans in Europe some 40,000 years ago.
The Hohle Fels phallus will go on show at Blaubeuren prehistoric museum in an exhibition called Ice Art – Clearly Male.

Richard Brautigan….

Loading Mercury With A Pitchfork
I wonder if eighty-four-year-old Colonel Sanders
ever gets tired of traveling all around America
talking about fried chicken.

Loading mercury with a pitchfork< your truck is almost full. The neighbors take a certain pride in you. They stand around watching. IT’S TIME TO TRAIN YOURSELF
It’s time to train yourself
to sleep alone again
and it’s so fucking hard.

The act of: death-defying affection
insures the constancy of the stars
and their place at the beginning of

Starring a beautiful young girl and twenty-
three crows. She has blonde hair. The crows are
intelligent. The director is obsessed with the
budget (too low). The photographer has fallen
in love with the girl. She can’t stand him. The
crows are patient. The director is a homosexual.
The girl loves him. The photographer
daydreams murder. “One hundred and seventy-
five thousand. I was a fool!” the director says
to himself. The girl has taken to crying a lot at
night. The crows wait for their big scene.
And you will go where crows go
and you will know what the crows know.
After you have learned all their secrets
and think the way they do and your love
caresses their feathers like the walls
of a midnight clock, they will fly away
and take you with them.
And you will go where crows go
and you will know what the crows know.

Any thought that I have right now
isn’t worth a shit because I’m totally
fucked up.

We meet. We try. Nothing happens, but
afterwards we are always embarrassed
when we see each other. We look away.


I talked a good hello
but she talked an even
better good-bye.


There are days when that is the last place
in the world where you want to be but you
have to be there, like a movie, because it
features you.


For fear you will be alone
you do so many things
that aren’t you at all


The thought of her hands
touching his hair
makes me want to vomit.


I’ll affect you slowly
as if you were having
a picnic in a dream.
There will be no ants.
It won’t rain.


At the guess of a simple hello
it can all begin
toward crying yourself to sleep,
wondering where the fuck
she is.


The sexual accident
that turned out to be your wife,
the mother of your children
and the end of our life, is home
cooking dinner for all your friends.


Fuck me like fried potatoes
on the most beautifully hungry
morning of my God-damn life.


Things slowly curve out of sightUntil they are gone. Afterwards
Only the curve


A face concocted from leftovers of other faces
needs a mirror put together from pieces of
broken mirrors.


I was dive-bombing the lower
emotions on a typical yesterday
I had sworn never to do it again.
I guess never’s too long a time to stay
out of the cockpit
with the wind screaming down the wings
and the target almost praying itself into your
August 30


That’s how I
October 5


Nobody knows what the Portfolio is worth
but it’s better than sitting on your hands,
I keep telling myself.


I like to think (and the sooner the better!)
of a cybernetic meadow
where mammals and computers
live together in mutually
programming harmony
like pure water
touching clear sky.
I like to think
(right now, please!)
of a cybernetic forest
filled with pines and electronics
where deer stroll peacefully
past computers
as if they were flowers
with spinning blossoms.
I like to think
(it has to be!)
of a cybernetic ecology
where we are free of our labors
and joined back to nature,
returned to our mammal
brothers and sisters,
and all watched over
by machines of loving grace.


Horse child breakfast
what are you doing to me?
with your long blonde legs?
with your long blonde face?
with your long blonde hair?
with your perfect blonde ass?
I swear I’ll never be the
same again!
Horse child breakfast,
what you’re doing to me,
I want done forever.


I go to bed in Los Angeles thinking
about you.
Pissing a few moments ago
I looked down at my penis
Knowing it has been inside
you twice today makes me
feel beautiful.
3 A.M.
January 15, 1967

For Marcia

Because you always have a clock
strapped to your body, it’s natural
that I should think of you as the
correct time:
with your long blonde hair at 8:03,
and your pulse-lightning breasts at
11:17, and your rose-meow smile at 5:30,
I know I’m right.


1. Get enough food to eat,
And eat it.
2. Find a place to sleep where it is quiet,
and sleep there.
3. Reduce intellectual and emotional noise
until you arrive at the silence of yourself,
and listen to it.

This poem was found written on a paper bag
by Richard Brautigan in a laundromat in San Francisco. The author is unknown.

By accident, you put
Your money in my
Machine (#4)
By accident, I put
My money in another
Machine (#6)
On purpose, I put
Your clothes in the
Empty machine full
Of water and no
It was lonely.


you’re just a copy
of all the candy bars
I’ve ever eaten.

Thanks for reading, and may your day be a blessing.

July 25, 2005
by gwyllm

Moon Dance…

A nice weekend here in Portland. Saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Hmmmmm Amanitas made of Candy! Great images, good story, and Johnny Depp is a wizard. See it.
Wonderful weather up here in Cascadia. Not to hot, not to cool. Nice clouds when we need them. Moving into the dog days though, I expect it to heat up a bit.
Some nice stuff this time, some excellent links, a take on Pan from various sources, and hopefully some ooohs and ahhhs along the way.
Talk Later,
Why Do DMT Users See Insects From A Parallel Universe?
I am excited by this article, If you can read it!

Here are some new links worth checking out…
Old but funny: “Police Hunt Hallucinogenic Toad Thief”
Golems of Light…
Tricks of the Camera Submergia…
If WW2 was an RTS Game… (Real Ttime Strategy)
Bit Torrent “Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti”
Tong Aesthetics
Hakim Bey
“The lodge was symbolically named ‘The City of Willows’ (mu-yang ch’eng). (It) contained an inner sanctum called ‘The Red Flower Pavilion’ (Hung Hua T’ing), in which the essential part of the initiation took place, and where the secrets of the society were revealed to the recruit . . . “
“In a full-scale ceremony, the ritual appears to be divided into three main stages. The first stage consisted of the recitation and dramatization of the Myth of Origin in the main hall of the lodge. This was called ‘performing the play (tso-hsi) and ‘watching the play’ (k’an-hsi) depending on whether one was an active or passive participant; or ‘releasing the horses’ (fang-ma), (‘Horses” = recruits, or new recruits; hsin-ting, ‘new tops’, was another name for new recruits.) The second part of the ritual consisted of the oath-taking ceremony in the Red Flower Pavilion, the issuing of the certificates of membership, and the exhibition of secret documents, furniture and objects of the lodge to the members. The feast and theatricals of celebration which followed after a few days formed the third and final part of the initiation.”
“All brethren who are brought hither are faithful and loyal: they all are iron-galled and copper-livered. From the inexhaustible metamorphoses are born millions of men, who are all of one mind and one will. All these of one affection in the two capitals and thirteen provinces have now come together to petition Father Heaven and Mother Earth; the three lights, sun, moon (and stars); all the Gods, Saints, Spirits and Buddhas, and all the Star Princes, to help all present to enlightenment. This night we pledge ourselves, and vow this before Heaven, that the brethren in the whole universe shall be as from one womb; as if born of one father, as if nourished by one mother; as if of one root and origin; that we will obey heaven and act according to its ways; that our loyal hearts shall not change, and never alter. If the august Heaven will protect and assist in the restoration of the Ming, then happiness will have a place to which to return.”
[NOTE: Fei-Ling Davis, Primitive Revolutionaries of China: A Study of Secret Societies of the Late Nineteenth Century (Honolulu 1971), pp., 129, 135. see index under “City of Willows”]
The City of Willows is the imaginal space of the traditional Chinese Tong or secret society, (especially the Hung Triads), its “Temple of Initiation”.
[NOTE: see Henry Corbin, Temple and Contemplation (London 1986)]
The space itself, visionary or oneiric, contains within it (like a hermetic “memory palace”) the details of the political myth of the Triads, based on conspiracy to overthrow the Manchu dynasty and achieve the “restoration of the Ming”, i.e., of Chinese rule. G. Sorel would have understood this mythopoesis, this passionate reading of a set of symbols which is like a place but not a place, like a text but not a text; which prescribes a “general strike” or uprising in the language of legend; which points to the future by pointing to the past, and to the “Sea of Images.”

[NOTE: The myth is made in a language of symbols — a word which originally meant the two halves of a token which must be fitted together in order to provide identification or meaning — like two spies with halves of a dollar bill, recognizing each other by the exact fit of the torn edges. Every myth, we might say, has at least two symbols, which are in effect halves or opposites of each other. Hence the total ambiguity of myth: — depending on which half is “up”, so to speak, a myth’s meaning can be seen to “turn into” its opposite. Sorel’s myth is no exception (indeed it seems odd that no one appears to have thoughtof analyzing it according to the techniques of the history of spirituality) — it appealed as much to fascism as to anarchism. Consider for example the Myth of Progress, propagated by all the major ideologies of the 19th century, from monarchism to anarchism: all idolized Progress, a myth which would make the 20th century hell for millions. And the Sorelian Myths of the General Strike, and of Social Violence, were appropriated by Marinetti (the ambiguous pivot between anarchism and fascism) and eventually by Mussolini. Myth-mongering has its dangers. Unfortunately, myth remains one of the few effective ways of talking about “reality”, which is itself far more ambiguous than any myth.]
Elsewhere we have proposed the Tong as a possible model of organization for realizing immediatist goals, including the TAZ itself; now belatedly we should consider the importance of style or aesthetics in the emergence of a successful contemporary occidental Tong. In building a Tong, style may not be “everything”, but it certainly cannot be considered merely secondary or inessential. The Tong must be “a work of art” in itself, like all Immediatist game-structures. A legend such as the City of Willows provides this essential aesthetic shape.
We might think of the “Bee” as a temporary immediatist group organized for one project (like a quilt). But even the Bee must both be and produce a “work of art”. The Tong by comparison can be defined as a more long-lasting group, theoretically “permanent”, devoted not to one project but to an on-going “cause”. But what makes a Tong different from an open group, like a sect or political party? The members of an Immediatist Tong or TAZ core-group may not be held together by strong class, ethnic, geographical, or economic motives; moreover, the collaborative production of non-commodifiable art cannot be considered by itself a sufficient cause for the formation of a secret society. “Illegalism” per se may add cohesiveness to the group structure, but still cannot serve as the only raison d’etre of a real Tong. Insurrectionary action or “social sabotage” provide even stronger motivation for a clandestine “order” — but not yet enough, perhaps, for a full-scale “invisible collage”. Without “Tong aesthetics” — no Tong.
The two essential aesthetic elements of a Tong are: — (1) a cause; and (2) a legend. Both cause and legend can be classed as aesthetic or “mythic” systems, rather than as ideologies — since they are based on symbols, which are real but ambiguous, rather than on “ideals”, which are much more clear, but relatively un-real. When Sorel proposed a “social myth” (specifically the syndicat and the General Strike) he did not mean “myth” in the modern sense of the word — as an empty story, a palliative and illusory narration. “Myth” in the Sorelian sense can be called a story which is not only about “real life” but also wants to manifest as real life. A cause, one may argue, is not a “real thing” because it has not yet appeared. It is an aesthetic construct — but it is also an Image-complex which intends to impose its pattern on “reality”, like the hermetic spells of Renaissance magi or the ceremonies of tribal shamans. It expresses this intention in the the form of a legend about a cause, a symbolic narrative of highly-charged images arranged to augment a dynamic potential (“conversion”, “initiation”, “enlightenment”, “action”), in the group which adopts and adapts it. The cause, therefore, is the public Sorelian myth, the legend, its private propaganda within the Tong.
The “poesis” of the City of Willows, for example, reveals its workings in the imagery of the visionary journey of the “Vanguard”, who sees: — The Tong initiates like taoist sages or spiritual nomads, “far off at the horizon (yet) near before my eyes. They roam about the world without a fixed residence “white herons flying past a fan, a pear-shaped censer, a sword, a flute, two jade castanets, a scepter, a floating bridge the daughter of the Dragon King “gathering mulberry flowers” (a password) caves of drizzle, summer showers, hoarfrost a volcano and so on (Davis, op. cit., 132-134). These images may seem merely decorative or arbitrary to us, but they were charged with cultural memes for the Hung adepts, and were built into a system which cohered not only as a “poem” but also as a multiplexed evocation of their cause. This poem of potential action becomes even more vital in our immediatist Tong, since the text must serve to provide some of the cohesion lacking in such a variegated group as ours may be. A mere political program will not suffice, nor will a mere poem. Cause and legend must point beyond (or even away from) ideology and abstraction; the “Utopian Imagination” and “Utopian Poetics” must be used to construct something more than a mere daydream. [NOTE: Not that I share the usual disdain for “reverie” as opposed to “imagination”. Like Guston Bachelard I believe that poesis begins with daydreaming, and that “idle fancy” is as sacred as “genuine vision”. Nevertheless, in order to inspire action, the daydream must first become a “poem”, then a “legend”, finally a cause”.]
“Poetic language” here serves as a guarantee of the genuineness of the experience which is evoked, for in matters concerning desire only the “language of the birds” can attain some degree of accuracy. “Revolution” has certainly served as a poetic image strong enough to provide the cause for numerous secret societies, from Marx’s flirtation with the Carbonari to Proudhon’s anarchist “Holy Vehm”, Bakunin’s “Brotherhood”, Durutti’s “Wanderers”, etc. “Insurrection” is a term which might be better suited to the post-existentialist requirements of an Immediatist Tong, however. The uprising possesses the spiritual prestige of both apocalypse and millenium, and yet remains a genuine historical possibility — remote but verifiable.
[NOTE: Consider, for example, Dublin 1916, Munich 1919, Tijuana 1911, Paris 1871 and 1968, the Ukraine 1920’s Barcelona 1930’s. None of these gave rise to “the Revolution”, but all were noble and well worth the risk — at least in retrospect!]
The TAZ, however, presents itself as an immediate possibility: — both as a tactic on behalf of the Cause, and as a taste or foretaste of the cause itself. We cannot say that the TAZ “is” the Cause, because the TAZ remains spontaneous, evanescent, impossible to pin down. The Insurrection is the Cause; the TAZ is a tactic for the cause, but also an “inner” raison d’etre of the Tong. Thus when the Hung triad repeated the ritual of the City of Willows it not only validated its eternal attachment to the cause (the anti-Manchu uprising), but also virtually created the “paradisal space” of the anti-Manchu world within the Temple of the society. This ritual Time/Space might be experienced and valued as a TAZ; and when combined with a banquet (the necessary “material bodily principle” of the TAZ) no doubt the adepts did experience and value it as such. The immediatist Tong therefore would not be “founded” in order to create TAZ’s but rather to potentiate their manifestations as prefigurations or evocations of the Uprising and the “anti-Consensus” reality it envisions. Ritual and conviviality do not necessarily combine to produce the TAZ — spontaneous orderings of fractal complexities must fall into place to produce such a “magic Moment”. One can maximize the conditions for such “luck”, but one cannot force the Muses. As in archery, one shoots at a point above the target in order to hit it. Here that lofty point at which we aim must be the Insurrection, but by shooting at its distance we may yet strike the proximity of the TAZ — (like those adepts who are seen both far on the horizon and yet near to the gaze).
The legend is the story the secret society tells itself about the cause. In some cases, such as Freemasonry, the legend is remembered even when the cause is forgotten, so that the legend can be re-interpreted or re-deciphered or re-read — and the Cause re-invented — again and again. The legend, in effect, becomes the Cause: the two texts are conflated into an illegible but powerful palimpsest. A good legend may come to act more potently even than a good cause, since it taps the archetypes more directly, and owes less to time than to Eternity.
Therefore the poesis of a legend for our Tong is no petty business. It concerns the surface but is far from being “superficial”. Taste here assumes a “life-or-death” seriousness, as when one speaks of the “style” of a martial artist. Our legend cannot simply consist of a text about the cause; rather, it must arise from our passionate reading of the cause, our psychic experience of its inner structure. It must have an “objective” aspect, in other words, like that possessed by “scripture” or “spirit writing” in the eyes of religious believers.

Moreover, while the cause of the uprising is one which can be served in many ways, our legend must be specific to our Tong; it must contain a special message in a special language meant to form a cognitive bond amongst precisely our own group. In other words the legend serves as the exact act of poesis without which our Tong simply will not come into focus. Where are we rootless cosmopolitans to find a language in which such a text could be composed, much less the text itself? The Surrealists experimented with automatic writing, a technique also used by Taoists and other spirit mediums. In fact, “religion” provides a possible language for the Tong legend — provided that one speaks the tongue in heretical sentences. The City of Willows combines millennarian Buddhism and the imaginal aesthetics of Taoism with its revolutionary politics. In our occidental world the image-complexes of many religious phenomena retain great power — and are thus susceptible to refiguration, or “subversion”, as heretical revolutionary texts. Imagine, for example, a secret society devoted to the “sabotage” of reactionary Christian dogma and policy, based on an “Anabaptist” legend espousing the cause of radical millenialism, or even inspired by some syncretive brand of neo-paganism. Does this sound serious and risky enough, in today’s climate of shit-kicking moralism and recrudescent “religious conservatism”, to justify both the passion and the clandestinity of our hypothetical secret society?
A viable legend might be manifested by one person, or it might arise, so to speak, out of “group-dreaming” — but in any case it will not be produced by the rational lineal process of fictional narrative. One does not write scripture; scripture is written. Or better: the legend pre-exists its realization as text, so that the “writer” acts rather as a “treasure finder” than an “author” — oneiric and visionary texts partake in their extreme subjectivity of the “objectivity” of that “subconscious” wherein (according to Taoism) the Gods reside, and which hypostatizes in the most gripping and inspiring ritual art. Such art may not meet the aesthetic criteria of the academic critic, for whom it will appear either as mumbojumbo or as agitprop. But it will light fire in the minds of certain hearers, precisely those for whom the legend crystallized out of the noosphere in the first place. The Tong will be nothing without the actions which it will carry out. But before the actions come the intentions. The link between the intentions and the actions is the text, the legend and the cause it represents. The text draws out the actions from the sea of potential energy and gives them their specific shape, their “style” — just as the Moon was once thought to shape, color, and draw up pearls from the ocean by its attractive rays.
These legends will be the greatest poems of the most unknown poets of our age. Like magic incantations they will sing new realities into being, as the shaman sings rain, or health, or abundant game from potentiality to actuality. These poems will be meaningless without the actions they invoke, and will therefore achieve either the highest goal of poetry, or else nothing at all. The City of Willows is not merely an “imaginary city” but an Imaginal City, a dream-space which will be manifested more and more clearly until finally the Ming is restored — and yet the City of Willows is also a poem. The legend of our Tong is nothing but a text, true — but it will call a world into being — even if only for a few moments — in which our desires are not only articulated but satisfied.

The Initiations of Orpheus

I Call strong Pan, the substance of the whole,
Etherial, marine, earthly, general soul,
Immortal fire; for all the world is thine,
And all are parts of thee, O pow’r divine.
Come, blessed Pan, whom rural haunts delight,
Come, leaping, agile, wand’ring, starry light;
The Hours and Seasons, wait thy high command,
And round thy throne in graceful order stand.
Goat-footed, horned, Bacchanalian Pan,
Fanatic pow’r, from whom the world began,
Whose various parts by thee inspir’d, combine
In endless dance and melody divine.
In thee a refuge from our fears we find,
Those fears peculiar to the human kind.
Thee shepherds, streams of water, goats rejoice,
Thou. lov’st the chace, and Echo’s secret voice:
The sportive nymphs, thy ev’ry step attend,
And all thy works fulfill their destin’d end.
O all-producing pow’r, much-fam’d, divine,
The world’s great ruler, rich increase is thine.
All-fertile Pæan, heav’nly splendor pure,
In fruits rejoicing, and in caves obscure.
True serpent-horned Jove, whose dreadful rage
When rous’d, ’tis hard for mortals to asswage.
By thee the earth wide-bosom’d deep and long,
Stands on a basis permanent and strong.
Th’ unwearied waters of the rolling sea,
Profoundly spreading, yield to thy decree.
Old Ocean too reveres thy high command,
Whose liquid arms begirt the solid land.
The spacious air, whose nutrimental fire,
And vivid blasts, the heat of life inspire
The lighter frame of fire, whose sparkling eye
Shines on the summit of the azure sky,
Submit alike to thee, whole general sway
All parts of matter, various form’d obey.
All nature’s change thro’ thy protecting care,
And all mankind thy lib’ral bounties share:
For these where’er dispers’d thro’ boundless space,
Still find thy providence support their race.
Come, Bacchanalian, blessed power draw near,
Fanatic Pan, thy humble suppliant hear,
Propitious to these holy rites attend,
And grant my life may meet a prosp’rous end;
Drive panic Fury too, wherever found,
From human kind, to earth’s remotest bound.
The Old Shepherd
Macedonius: 6th century A.D.
The Old Shepherd
Daphnis, I that piped so rarely,
I that guarded well the fold,
‘Tis my trembling hand that fails me;
I am weary, I am old.
Here my well-worn crook I offer
unto Pan the shepherd’s friend;
Know ye, I am old and weary;
of my toil I make an end!
Yet I still can pipe it rarely,
still my voice is clear and strong;
Very tremulous in body,
nothing tremulous in song.
Only let no envious goatherd
tell the wolves upon the hill
That my ancient strength is wasted,
lest they do me grievous ill.
Hymn of Pan
Percy Bysshe Shelley
FROM the forests and highlands
We come, we come;
From the river-girt islands,
Where loud waves are dumb,
Listening to my sweet pipings.
The wind in the reeds and the rushes,
The bees on the bells of thyme,
The birds on the myrtle bushes,
The cicale above in the lime,
And the lizards below in the grass,
Were as silent as ever old Tmolus was,
Listening to my sweet pipings.

Liquid Peneus was flowing,
And all dark Tempe lay
In Pelion’s shadow, outgrowing
The light of the dying day,
Speeded by my sweet pipings.
The Sileni and Sylvans and Fauns,
And the Nymphs of the woods and waves,
To the edge of the moist river-lawns,
And the brink of the dewy caves,
And all that did then attend and follow,
Were silent with love, as you now, Apollo,
With envy of my sweet pipings.

I sang of the dancing stars,
I sang of the dædal earth,
And of heaven, and the giant wars,
And love, and death, and birth.
And then I changed my pipings—
Singing how down the vale of Mænalus
I pursued a maiden, and clasp’d a reed:
Gods and men, we are all deluded thus!
It breaks in our bosom, and then we bleed.
All wept—as I think both ye now would,
If envy or age had not frozen your blood—
At the sorrow of my sweet pipings.
This for thee, O pipe-player, minstrel, gracious god, holy lord of the Naiads who pour their urns, Hyginus made as a gift, whom thou, O king, didst draw nigh and make whole of his hard sickness; for among all my children thou didst stand by me visibly, not in a dream of night, but about the mid-circle of the day.

More Later, Stay Tuned, Stay Awake!

July 22, 2005
by gwyllm

If it is Friday… it must be Swinburne…

Friday Catch all… Still working on the 39 year story, and it will be done soon. This is a bit of this and that today, with Links, our man Hakim Bey, ending with Poems by Algernon Swinburne…(Swoon-Beloved of the Muse!)
Anyway… I will be putting some more stuff together over the week-end. We will go in some new directions, which should be fun.
If you enjoy the Web-Logs at, please let your friends know about us. The more the merrier, and as always, we enjoy feedback.
Here is to your weekend, whereever you be.

careful who your talking to….
Two come about because of One,
but don’t cling to the One either!
So long as the mind does not stir,
the ten thousand things stay blameless;
no blame, no phenomena,
no stirring, no mind.
The viewer disappears along with the scene,
the scene follows the viewer into oblivion,
for scene becomes scene only through the viewer,
viewer becomes viewer because of the scene.

– Seng-ts’an, 600

Tom Cruise, Sirhan Sirhan, and Paul Krassner???
Excellent Resource!
By Hakim Bey

As a writer, I am distressed and depressed by the suspicion that “dissident media” has become a contradiction in terms – an impossibility. Not because of any triumph of censorship however, but the reverse. There is no real censorship in our society, as Chomsky points out. Suppression of dissent is instead paradoxically achieved by allowing media to absorb (or “co-opt”) all dissent as image.
Once processed as commodity, all rebellion is reduced to the image of rebellion, first as spectacle, and last as simulation. (See Debord, Baudrillard, etc.) The more powerful the dissent as art (or “discourse”) the more powerless it becomes as commodity. In a world of Global Capital, where all media function collectively as the perfect mirror of Capital, we can recognize a global Image or universal imaginaire, universally mediated, lacking any outside or margin. All Image has undergone Enclosure, and as a result it seems that all art is rendered powerless in the sphere of the social. In fact, we can no longer even assume the existence of any “sphere of the social. All human relations can be—and are—expressed as commodity relations.
In this situation, it would seem “reform” has also become an impossibility, since all partial ameliorizations of society will be transformed (by the same paradox that determines the global Image) into means of sustaining and enhancing the power of the commodity. For example, “reform” and “democracy” have now become code-words for the forcible imposition of commodity relations on the former Second and Third Worlds. “Freedom” means freedom of corporations, not of human societies.
From this point of view, I have grave reservations about the reform program of the anti-Drug-Warriors and legalizationists. I would even go so far as to say that I am “against legalization.”
Needless to add that I consider the Drug War an abomination, and that I would demand immediate unconditional amnesty for all “prisoners of consciousness”—assuming that I had any power to make demands! But in a world where all reform can be instantaneously turned into new means of control, according to the “paradox” sketched in the above paragraphs, it makes no sense to go on demanding legalization simply because it seems rational and humane.
For example, consider what might result from the legalization of “medical marijuana”—clearly the will of the people in at least six states. The herb would instantly fall under drastic new regulations from “Above” (the AMA, the courts, insurance companies, etc.). Monsanto would probably acquire the DNA patents and “intellectual ownership” of the plant’s genetic structure. Laws would probably be tightened against illegal marijuana for “recreational uses.” Smokers would be defined (by law) as “sick.” As a commodity, Cannabis would soon be denatured like other legal psychotropics such as coffee, tobacco, or chocolate.
Terence McKenna once pointed out that virtually all useful research on psychotropics is carried out illegally and is often largely funded from underground. Legalization would make possible a much tighter control from above over all drug research. The valuable contributions of the entheogenic underground would probably diminish or cease altogether. Terence suggested that we stop wasting time and energy petitioning the authorities for permission to do what we’re doing, and simply get on with it.
Yes, the Drug War is evil and irrational. Let us not forget, however, that as an economic activity, the War makes quite good sense. I’m not even going to mention the booming “corrections industry,” the bloated police and intelligence budgets, or the interests of the pharmaceutical cartels. Economists estimate that some ten percent of circulating capital in the world is “gray money” derived from illegal activity (largely drug and weapon sales). This gray area is actually a kind of free-floating frontier for Global Capital itself, a small wave that precedes the big wave and provides its “sense of direction.” (For example gray money or “offshore” capital is always the first to migrate from depressed markets to thriving markets.) “War is the health of the State” as Randolph Bourne once said—but war is no longer so profitable as in the old days of booty, tribute and chattel slavery. Economic war increasingly takes its place, and the Drug War is an almost “pure” form of economic war. And since the Neo-liberal State has given up so much power to corporations and “markets” since 1989, it might justly be said that the War on Drugs constitutes the “health” of Capital itself.
From this perspective, reform and legalization would clearly be doomed to failure for deep “infrastructural” reasons, and therefore all agitation for reform would constitute wasted effort—a tragedy of misdirected idealism. Global Capital cannot be “reformed” because all reformation is deformed when the form itself is distorted in its very essence. Agitation for reform is allowed so that an image of free speech and permitted dissidence can be maintained, but reform itself is never permitted. Anarchists and Marxists were right to maintain that the structure itself must be changed, not merely its secondary characteristics. Unfortunately the “movement of the social” itself seems to have failed, and even its deep underlying structures must now be “re-invented” almost from scratch. The War on Drugs is going to go on. Perhaps we should consider how to act as warriors rather than reformers. Nietzsche says somewhere that he has no interest in overthrowing the stupidity of the law, since such reform would leave nothing for the “free spirit” to accomplish—nothing to “overcome.” I wouldn’t go so far as to recommend such an “immoral” and starkly existentialist position. But I do think we could do with a dose of stoicism.
Beyond (or aside from) economic considerations, the ban on (some) psychotropics can also be considered from a “shamanic” perspective. Global Capital and universal Image seem able to absorb almost any “outside” and transform it into an area of commodification and control. But somehow, for some strange reason, Capital appears unable or unwilling to absorb the entheogenic dimension. It persists in making war on mind-altering or transformative substance, rather than attempting to “co-opt” and hegemonize their power.
In other words it would seem that some sort of authentic power is at stake here. Global Capital reacts to this power with the same basic strategy as the Inquisition—by attempting to suppress it from the outside rather than control it from within. (“Project MKULTRA” was the government’s secret attempt to penetrate the occult interior of psychotropism-–it appears to have failed miserably.) In a world that has abolished the Outside by the triumph of the Image, it seems that at least one “outside” nevertheless persists. Power can deal with this outside only as a form of the unconscious, i.e., by suppression rather than realization. But this leaves open the possibility that those who manage to attain “direct awareness” of this power might actually be able to wield it and implement it. If “entheogenic neo-shamanism” (or whatever you want to call it) cannot be betrayed and absorbed into the power-structure of the Image, then we may hypothesize that it represents a genuine Other, a viable alternative to the “one world” of triumphant Capital. It is (or could be) our source of power.
The “Magic of the State” (as M. Taussig calls it), which is also the magic of Capital itself, consists of social control through the manipulation of symbols. This is attained through mediation, including the ultimate medium, money as hieroglyphic text, money as pure Imagination as “social fiction” or mass hallucination. This real illusion has taken the place of both religion and ideology as delusionary sources of social power. This power therefore possesses (or is possessed by) a secret goal; that all human relations be defined according to this hieroglyphic mediation, this “magic.” But neo-shamanism proposes with all seriousness that another magic may exist, an effective mode of consciousness that cannot be hexed by the sign of the commodity. If this were so, it would help explain why the Image appears unable or unwilling to deal “rationally” with the “issue of drugs.” In fact, a magical analysis of power might emerge from the observed fact of this radical incompatibility of the Global Imaginaire and shamanic consciousness.
In such a case, what could our power consist of in actual empirical terms? I am far from proposing that “winning” the War on Drugs would somehow constitute The Revolution—or even that “shamanic power” could contest the magic of the State in any strategic manner. Clearly however the very existence of entheogenism as a true difference—in a world where true difference is denied—marks the historic validity of an Other, of an authentic Outside. In the (unlikely) event of legalization, this Outside would be breached, entered, colonized, betrayed, and turned into sheer simulation. A major source of initiation, still accessible in a world apparently devoid of mystery and of will, would be dissolved into empty representation, a pseudo-rite of passage into the timeless/spaceless enclosure of the Image. In short, we would have sacrificed our potential power to the ersatz reform of legalization, and we would win nothing thereby but the simulacrum of tolerance at the expense of the triumph of Control.
Again: I have no idea what our strategy shall be. I believe however that the time has come to admit that a tactics of mere contingency can no longer sustain us. “Permitted dissent” has become an empty category, and reform merely a mask for recuperation. The more we struggle on “their” terms the more we lose. The drug legalization movement has never won a single battle. Not in America anyway—and America is the “sole superpower” of Global Capital. We boast of our outlaw status as outsiders or marginals, as guerilla ontologists; why then, do we continually beg for authenticity and validation (either as “reward” or as “punishment”) from authority? What good would it do us if we were to be granted this status, this “legality”?
The Reform movement has upheld true rationality and it has championed real human values. Honor where honor is due. Given the profound failure of the movement however, might it not be timely to say a few words for the irrational, for the irreducible wildness of shamanism, and even a single word for the values of the warrior? “Not peace, but a sword.”

Algernon Charles Swinburne

from Atalanta in Calydon
(by Algernon Charles Swinburne)

When the hounds of spring are on winter’s traces,
The mother of months in meadow or plain
Fills the shadows and windy places
With lisp of leaves and ripple of rain;
And the brown bright nigthingale amorous
Is half assuaged for Itylus,
For the Thracian ships and the foreign faces,
The tongueless vigil, and all the pain.
Come with bows bent and emptying of quivers,
Maiden most perfect, lady of light,
With a noise of winds and many rivers,
With a clamour of waters, and with might;
Bind on thy sandals, O thou most fleet,
Over the splendour and speed of thy feet;
For the faint east quickens, the wan west shivers,
Round the feet of the day and the feet of the night.
Where shall we find her, how shall we sing to her,
Fold our hands round her knees, and cling?
O that man’s heart were as fire and could spring to her,
Fire, or the strength of the streams that spring!
For the stars and the winds are unto her
As raiment, as songs of the harp-player;
For the risen stars and the fallen cling to her,
And the southwest-wind and the west-wind sing.
For winter’s rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins;
The days dividing lover and lover,
The light that loses, the night that wins;
And time remembered is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.
The full streams feed on flower of rushes,
Ripe grasses trammel a travelling foot,
The faint fresh flame of the young year flushes
From leaf to flower and flower to fruit;
And fruit and leaf are as gold and fire,
And the oat is heard above the lyre,
And the hoofed heel of a satyr crushes
The chestnut-husk at the chestnut-root.
And Pan by noon and Bacchus by night,
Fleeter of foot than the fleet-foot kid,
Follows with dancing and fills with delight
The Maenad and the Bassarid;
And soft as lips that laugh and hide
The laughing leaves of the trees divide,
And screen from seeing and leave in sight
The god pursuing, the maiden hid.
The ivy falls with the Bacchanal’s hair
Over her eyebrows hiding her eyes;
The wild vine slipping down leaves bare
Her bright breast shortening with sighs;
The wild vine slips with the weight of its leaves,
But the berried ivy catches and cleaves
To the limbs that glitter, the feet that scare
The wolf that follows, the fawn that flies.
The Garden of Prosperine
(by Algernon Charles Swinburne)

Here, where the world is quiet,
Here, where all trouble seems
Dead winds’ and spent waves’ riot
In doubtful dreams of dreams;
I watch the green field growing
For reaping folk and sowing,
For harvest-time and mowing,
A sleepy world of streams.
I am tired of tears and laughter,
And men that laugh and weep;
Of what may come hereafter
For men that sow to reap:
I am weary of days and hours,
Blown buds of barren flowers,
Desires and dreams and powers
And everything but sleep.
Here life has death for neighbour,
And far from eye or ear
Wan waves and wet winds labour,
Weak ships and spirits steer;
They drive adrift, and whither
They wot not who make thither;
But no such winds blow hither,
And no such things grow here.
No growth of moor or coppice,
No heather-flower or vine,
But bloomless buds of poppies,
Green grapes of Proserpine,
Pale beds of blowing rushes,
Where no leaf blooms or blushes
Save this whereout she crushes
For dead men deadly wine.
Pale, without name or number,
In fruitless fields of corn,
They bow themselves and slumber
All night till light is born;
And like a soul belated,
In hell and heaven unmated,
By cloud and mist abated
Comes out of darkness morn.
Though one were strong as seven,
He too with death shall dwell,
Nor wake with wings in heaven,
Nor weep for pains in hell;
Though one were fair as roses,
His beauty clouds and closes;
And well though love reposes,
In the end it is not well.
Pale, beyond porch and portal,
Crowned with calm leaves, she stands
Who gathers all things mortal
With cold immortal hands;
Her languid lips are sweeter
Than love’s who fears to greet her
To men that mix and meet her
From many times and lands.
She waits for each and other,
She waits for all men born;
Forgets the earth her mother,
The life of fruits and corn;
And spring and seed and swallow
Take wing for her and follow
Where summer song rings hollow
And flowers are put to scorn.
There go the loves that wither,
The old loves with wearier wings;
And all dead years draw thither,
And all disastrous things;
Dead dreams of days forsaken,
Blind buds that snows have shaken,
Wild leaves that winds have taken,
Red strays of ruined springs.
We are not sure of sorrow,
And joy was never sure;
Today will die tomorrow;
Time stoops to no man’s lure;
And love, grown faint and fretful,
With lips but half regretful
Sighs, and with eyes forgetful
Weeps that no loves endure.
From too much love of living,
From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no life lives for ever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea.
Then star nor sun shall waken,
Nor any change of light:
Nor sound of waters shaken,
Nor any sound or sight:
Nor wintry leaves nor vernal,
Nor days nor things diurnal;
Only the sleep eternal
In an eternal night.
Ave atque Vale (In memory of Charles Baudelaire)
(by Algernon Charles Swinburne)

SHALL I strew on thee rose or rue or laurel,
Brother, on this that was the veil of thee?
Or quiet sea-flower moulded by the sea,
Or simplest growth of meadow-sweet or sorrel,
Such as the summer-sleepy Dryads weave,
Waked up by snow-soft sudden rains at eve?
Or wilt thou rather, as on earth before,
Half-faded fiery blossoms, pale with heat
And full of bitter summer, but more sweet
To thee than gleanings of a northern shore
Trod by no tropic feet?
For always thee the fervid languid glories
Allured of heavier suns in mightier skies;
Thine ears knew all the wandering watery sighs
Where the sea sobs round Lesbian promontories,
The barren kiss of piteous wave to wave
That knows not where is that Leucadian grave
Which hides too deep the supreme head of song.
Ah, salt and sterile as her kisses were,
The wild sea winds her and the green gulfs bear
Hither and thither, and vex and work her wrong,
Blind gods that cannot spare.
Thou sawest, in thine old singing season, brother,
Secrets and sorrows unbeheld of us:
Fierce loves, and lovely leaf-buds poisonous,
Bare to thy subtler eye, but for none other
Blowing by night in some unbreathed-in clime;
The hidden harvest of luxurious time,
Sin without shape, and pleasure without speech;
And where strange dreams in a tumultuous sleep
Make the shut eyes of stricken spirits weep;
And with each face thou sawest the shadow on each,
Seeing as men sow men reap.
O sleepless heart and sombre soul unsleeping,
That were athirst for sleep and no more life
And no more love, for peace and no more strife!
Now the dim gods of death have in their keeping
Spirit and body and all the springs of song,
Is it well now where love can do no wrong,
Where stingless pleasure has no foam or fang
Behind the unopening closure of her lips?
Is it not well where soul from body slips
And flesh from bone divides without a pang
As dew from flower-bell drips?
It is enough; the end and the beginning
Are one thing to thee, who art past the end.
O hand unclasp’d of unbeholden friend,
For thee no fruits to pluck, no palms for winning,
No triumph and no labour and no lust,
Only dead yew-leaves and a little dust.
O quiet eyes wherein the light saith naught,
Whereto the day is dumb, nor any night
With obscure finger silences your sight,
Nor in your speech the sudden soul speaks thought,
Sleep, and have sleep for light.
Now all strange hours and all strange loves are over,
Dreams and desires and sombre songs and sweet,
Hast thou found place at the great knees and feet
Of some pale Titan-woman like a lover,
Such as thy vision here solicited,
Under the shadow of her fair vast head,
The deep division of prodigious breasts,
The solemn slope of mighty limbs asleep,
The weight of awful tresses that still keep
The savour and shade of old-world pine-forests
Where the wet hill-winds weep?
Hast thou found any likeness for thy vision?
O gardener of strange flowers, what bud, what bloom,
Hast thou found sown, what gather’d in the gloom?
What of despair, of rapture, of derision,
What of life is there, what of ill or good?
Are the fruits gray like dust or bright like blood?
Does the dim ground grow any seed of ours,
The faint fields quicken any terrene root,
In low lands where the sun and moon are mute
And all the stars keep silence? Are there flowers
At all, or any fruit?
Alas, but though my flying song flies after,
O sweet strange elder singer, thy more fleet
Singing, and footprints of thy fleeter feet,
Some dim derision of mysterious laughter
From the blind tongueless warders of the dead,
Some gainless glimpse of Proserpine’s veil’d head,
Some little sound of unregarded tears
Wept by effaced unprofitable eyes,
And from pale mouths some cadence of dead sighs–
These only, these the hearkening spirit hears,
Sees only such things rise.
Thou art far too far for wings of words to follow,
Far too far off for thought or any prayer.
What ails us with thee, who art wind and air?
What ails us gazing where all seen is hollow?
Yet with some fancy, yet with some desire,
Dreams pursue death as winds a flying fire,
Our dreams pursue our dead and do not find.
Still, and more swift than they, the thin flame flies,
The low light fails us in elusive skies,
Still the foil’d earnest ear is deaf, and blind
Are still the eluded eyes.
Not thee, O never thee, in all time’s changes,
Not thee, but this the sound of thy sad soul,
The shadow of thy swift spirit, this shut scroll
I lay my hand on, and not death estranges
My spirit from communion of thy song–
These memories and these melodies that throng
Veil’d porches of a Muse funereal–
These I salute, these touch, these clasp and fold
As though a hand were in my hand to hold,
Or through mine ears a mourning musical
Of many mourners roll’d.
I among these, I also, in such station
As when the pyre was charr’d, and piled the sods.
And offering to the dead made, and their gods,
The old mourners had, standing to make libation,
I stand, and to the Gods and to the dead
Do reverence without prayer or praise, and shed
Offering to these unknown, the gods of gloom,
And what of honey and spice my seed-lands bear,
And what I may of fruits in this chill’d air,
And lay, Orestes-like, across the tomb
A curl of sever’d hair.
But by no hand nor any treason stricken,
Not like the low-lying head of Him, the King,
The flame that made of Troy a ruinous thing,
Thou liest and on this dust no tears could quicken.
There fall no tears like theirs that all men hear
Fall tear by sweet imperishable tear
Down the opening leaves of holy poets’ pages.
Thee not Orestes, not Electra mourns;
But bending us-ward with memorial urns
The most high Muses that fulfil all ages
Weep, and our God’s heart yearns.
For, sparing of his sacred strength, not often
Among us darkling here the lord of light
Makes manifest his music and his might
In hearts that open and in lips that soften
With the soft flame and heat of songs that shine.
Thy lips indeed he touch’d with bitter wine,
And nourish’d them indeed with bitter bread;
Yet surely from his hand thy soul’s food came,
The fire that scarr’d thy spirit at his flame
Was lighted, and thine hungering heart he fed
Who feeds our hearts with fame.
Therefore he too now at thy soul’s sunsetting,
God of all suns and songs, he too bends down
To mix his laurel with thy cypress crown,
And save thy dust from blame and from forgetting.
Therefore he too, seeing all thou wert and art,
Compassionate, with sad and sacred heart,
Mourns thee of many his children the last dead,
And hollows with strange tears and alien sighs
Thine unmelodious mouth and sunless eyes,
And over thine irrevocable head
Sheds light from the under skies.
And one weeps with him in the ways Lethean,
And stains with tears her changing bosom chill;
That obscure Venus of the hollow hill,
That thing transform’d which was the Cytherean,
With lips that lost their Grecian laugh divine
Long since, and face no more call’d Erycine–
A ghost, a bitter and luxurious god.
Thee also with fair flesh and singing spell
Did she, a sad and second prey, compel
Into the footless places once more trod,
And shadows hot from hell.
And now no sacred staff shall break in blossom,
No choral salutation lure to light
A spirit sick with perfume and sweet night
And love’s tired eyes and hands and barren bosom.
There is no help for these things; none to mend,
And none to mar; not all our songs, O friend,
Will make death clear or make life durable.
Howbeit with rose and ivy and wild vine
And with wild notes about this dust of thine
At least I fill the place where white dreams dwell
And wreathe an unseen shrine.
Sleep; and if life was bitter to thee, pardon,
If sweet, give thanks; thou hast no more to live;
And to give thanks is good, and to forgive.
Out of the mystic and the mournful garden
Where all day through thine hands in barren braid
Wove the sick flowers of secrecy and shade,
Green buds of sorrow and sin, and remnants gray,
Sweet-smelling, pale with poison, sanguine-hearted,
Passions that sprang from sleep and thoughts that started,
Shall death not bring us all as thee one day
Among the days departed?
For thee, O now a silent soul, my brother,
Take at my hands this garland, and farewell.
Thin is the leaf, and chill the wintry smell,
And chill the solemn earth, a fatal mother,
With sadder than the Niobean womb,
And in the hollow of her breasts a tomb.
Content thee, howsoe’er, whose days are done;
There lies not any troublous thing before,
Nor sight nor sound to war against thee more,
For whom all winds are quiet as the sun,
All waters as the shore.

Be seeing you soon. Remember the cardinal points, and the centering!

July 21, 2005
by gwyllm

Transforming Consciousness…

The Links and Innuendos..
Alan Clements
Paul Verlaine
Links and Innuendos…
Mind May Affect Machines
Wilson Interviews Leary and makes Krassner happy…
Ah, Humanity…
Virgins Wanted!
A Q-and-A With Alan Clements on transforming personal and world consciousness.

ALAN CLEMENTS WAS THE FIRST AMERICAN to have pioneered the ancient Buddhist dharma teaching’s from the remote Southeast Asian Buddhist country of Burma, where he lived in a monastery in Rangoon during the 1970s and ’80s for nearly eight years, five of which were spent as a monk. During those years Alan trained in classical Buddhist psychology (Abhidhamma) and Sunnyata Vipassana Bhavana, the unified awareness method of insight meditation, with two of the most accomplished dharma teachers of our era, the late Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw, and his successor, Venerable Sayadaw U Pandita.
Since 1983, Clements, as one of the West’s senior-most dharma teachers, has been an evocative spokesperson for the transformation of consciousness as the basis of freedom and dignity, lecturing and teaching retreats worldwide. His understanding of “Essence Buddhism” and its expression through spiritual-political activism, along with an uncompromising questioning of dogma and authority, have brought him international recognition.
A NUMBER OF YEARS AGO, Clements decided to take an extended sabbatical, opting instead to live in some highly volatile areas of the world — first, in the jungles of Burma to witness and document a genocide of the ethnic minorities by the military dictatorship, which he wrote about in his first book in 1991, “Burma: The Next Killing Fields?” Then, he went to Croatia and Bosnia for nearly a year where he wrote the screenplay “Burning,” then back to Burma where he managed to co-author “The Voice of Hope,” a rare book of conversations with Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace laureate and leader of her country’s nonviolent struggle for freedom. Clements is also co-author, with Leslie Kean, of “Revolution of the Spirit,” with a foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
In addition, Clements was the script revisionist and advisor for “Beyond Rangoon,” a feature film depicting Burma’s struggle for democracy, directed by John Boorman. He has been interviewed on Nightline, CBS Evening News, Talk to America, Time and Newsweek and scores of other media worldwide.
Currently, Clements is at work upon an effort known as “WorldDharma,” a non-sectarian, spiritually-edgy community of seekers, artists, writers, intellectuals and activists, dedicated to exploring the dynamic link between one’s inner journey and engagement with the outer world through love, creativity and activism. (See His latest book is titled “Natural Freedom — The Dharma Beyond Buddhism: Seven Essential Principles for Liberation Through Living.” A tape set by the same title, produced by Sounds True Recordings, Boulder, Colorado, is also available.

Marcia Jacobs: Alan, what led you to stop teaching and travel to such dramatic situations?
Alan Clements: It just felt right. Back in late 1990 or so, I had just ended a meditation retreat and picked up a copy of Time magazine with the cover story ‘Bullets in Alms Bowls’. The military authorities in Burma had raided hundreds of monasteries, arresting many monks and killing others, based on the maniacal fantasy that the Sangha (the order of Buddhist monks and nuns) were attempting to over-throw the dictatorship. Since Burma was my spiritual home – the place where I spent a good part of my adult life as a monk – I responded, I think, as any loyal son or daughter would to their own family. The monks and nuns were my dharma parents, they nurtured me in a way I had never known. So I traveled to Burma in an attempt to support my spiritual family in one of its darkest hours.
MJ: And what would you say that you’ve learned the most from your time in war-zones and refugee camps?
AC: One of the first things that I learned living in conditions of tyranny was to simply feel, listen and love, in order to potentially support those who were suffering, without being so arrogant as to try to heal or fix them. In the process, serve with as little ego as possible – the less focus on yourself the better. It reminds me of the Aboriginal woman approached by a white social worker who said rather presumptuously “I’m here to help you. What can I do?” And the Aboriginal woman replied, “If you are here to help me, please go. But if you see that my freedom and yours are linked, then please stay and we can serve each other.”
MJ: Spirit-in-action is an essential point that I’ve found missing for the most part within many Buddhist traditions, and other spiritualities too. Or perhaps it’s just not emphasized enough?
AC: Well, some people seem to think that sitting meditation and watching your breath or sending metta (the practice of developing loving-kindness and compassion) is action enough. But I wonder whether it’s a self-indulgent excuse for dharma inaction. I think that real metta – real loving-kindness – is a behavior not just a feeling. It must be expressed through action. In fact, it was this very issue that prompted me to stop teaching and reevaluate my dharma understanding, to refocus it.
MJ: Why did you feel the need to re-evaluate your understanding?
AC: Well, after my journey to the jungles of Burma, witnessing a genocide, seeing people having been tortured and traumatized beyond belief, the local masses being herded up and murdered, women having been gang-raped, I came back to the West really shaken. It made me question, deeply.
MJ: But why would that motivate you to stop teaching retreats?
AC: It might seem obvious, but it took me some time to realize that it’s one thing to speak about spiritual qualities, such a freedom and wisdom, in the safe and sanctified context of a dharma retreat, with an audience of silent and good-hearted people, while it’s another thing altogether to manifest those qualities in more complex circumstances. When you teach all the time, as I was doing, you can become rather insulated in your so-called depth – your own insights and realizations. You speak about love, compassion and freedom, but have limited parameters to express them in any dimensional way that could expand one’s heart, say, to include a dear friend who has disappointed you, or a starving refugee, or a screaming child who has just lost his parents to sniper fire. It’s plain easier to love calm and kind people, especially when they are silent. Essentially, I needed more life experience to discover the authenticity and the compassion missing in my dharma understanding.
MJ: So you questioned your own integrity?
AC: It was more like responding to a natural instinct. I think everyone has quiet inner voices that at some point can no longer be denied and must find genuine expression. It was the same reason why I decided to leave the monastery, back in 1983: I wanted to see whether what I had discovered there was real, and had any relevance to life and people. The same questions resurfaced years later with regard to teaching. See, I’m a slow learner, really. However, through it, I did find the next expression of my dharma journey. That’s been the real gift.
MJ: And what was that expression?
AC: It was inspired by a concept attributed to the Buddha, when he explained his basic dharma attitude as a Bodhisattva. He said that he made each person he met his ultimate object of reverence. What that means to me is that as human beings, we are in relationship all the time. And to make each person we encounter our ultimate object of reverence is to empower our relationships as the most sacred space for our dharma awakening. In other words, without people my spiritual growth would not be possible. We cannot become free in isolation. That would be denying interrelatedness. It was just a recognition of the obvious.
MJ: Are you speaking of the difference between renunciation based dharma and engaged dharma that prioritizes people as a path for freedom?

AC: Absolutely. For example, what is the value of compassion when it remains confined to just a thought or a feeling? Obviously, for anyone who has ever been in need, compassion is real to the extent that somebody else is moved to assist, and doesn’t just think about assisting. Thus, we become devoted to life, and not to dogmatic theories that insidiously separate us from it.
MJ: Do you still practice and teach intensive insight meditation?
AC: I see meditation, the infusing of space with awareness, as an ‘always now’ dynamic. So yes, in the sense that there can never be enough awareness, and yet awareness isn’t the end all of spiritual life. I think awareness must be actively associated with self-inquiry and wise discernment. I see awareness as the waking up from a dream – the eyes are opened, you are no longer asleep. Self-inquiry is the process of discovering what you can do with your wakefulness. And wise discernment is actually getting out of bed and doing something special with your time. Perhaps something that enhances and safe-guards freedom, while elevating human dignity. So, in my retreats I emphasize awareness as a way of life, as well as the use of conscientious self-inquiry, coupled with inspired conversation, that is ultimately in service of liberation of oneself and others.
MJ: I’ve attended several of your evening groups called The WorldDharma Forum. I’ve been quite impressed by the quality of interaction with participants. You give people a lot of room to be themselves, without any noticeable need to set their views right. Which prompts the question, what is the purpose of the WorldDharma Forum?
AC: I’ve created the WorldDharma Forum as a meeting place for open inquiry and wise discernment, exploring the most compelling issues we face in daily life. In this milieu participants are respected in their fundamental right to free thought and speech. It’s my belief, when encouraged to speak from their depth, people have the innate wisdom to learn from hearing themselves. Also, for me the questioning mind is an essential quality that one should constantly develop. See, I found in exploring the mind of totalitarian regimes, like in Burma, is how they try to shape citizens into a faceless, dull sameness, where creativity, critical analysis, and even the slightest whisper of dissent are fiercely repressed. In a much more subtle level, the same repression occurs in some spiritual scenes, Buddhist included. In these cases dogma is mistaken for dharma and self-deception is considered realization. As a result, the cult of sheep are born, and the indoctrination of a mind occurs. It seems that a lot of people feel that it’s better to ‘believe and belong’ than to authentically quest at one’s edge. As mortals we are constantly struggling towards truth and are never in full possession of it.
MJ: How does the questioning mind apply to your edge?
AC: Before I went to the jungles of Burma or to the former-Yugoslavia during the war, I thought that I had some real relationship to freedom, until I realized how contextual and myopic my freedom was. Take away my comfort, my security, my clothes, my home, set aside other things like witnessing ‘ethnic cleansing’, I realized that my freedom was relative indeed. Also, I thought that I had a reasonable understanding of generosity, until I saw people sacrifice their lives to save others. I thought I understood compassion until I had a stranger shield my body with his to protect me from the shrapnel of a rocket attack. All I’m saying is that in our spiritual quest, the most important thing I’ve learned is to keep questioning.
MJ: A final question; you spent many months with Aung San Suu Kyi, the most famous political dissident in the world, and together you did a book of conversations – The Voice of Hope. In short, what did you learn from her?
AC: Many things. But two values remain strong, courage and dignity. The courage to stand alone in your truth if need be, and the dignity to speak out and act on behalf of one’s own freedom, as well as the freedom of others.
Marcia Jacobs, MSW, has been a psychotherapist and a student of Buddhist psychology for 20 years. She lives in Vancouver, B.C., having resumed her private practice after 4 years in Bosnia, providing services for the war- traumatized population.
Paul Verlaine Poetry…
Verlaine with his Lover, Rimbaud…

A Une Femme
To you these lines for the consoling grace
Of your great eyes wherein a soft dream shines,
For your pure soul, all-kind!–to you these lines
From the black deeps of mine unmatched distress.
‘Tis that the hideous dream that doth oppress
My soul, alas! its sad prey ne’er resigns,
But like a pack of wolves down mad inclines
Goes gathering heat upon my reddened trace!
I suffer, oh, I suffer cruelly!
So that the first man’s cry at Eden lost
Was but an eclogue surely to my cry!
And that the sorrows, Dear, that may have crossed
Your life, are but as swallows light that fly
–Dear!–in a golden warm September sky.
Before Your Light Quite Fail
Before your light quite fail,
Already paling star,
(The quail
Sings in the thyme afar!)
Turn on the poet’s eyes
That love makes overrun–
(See rise
The lark to meet the sun!)
Your glance, that presently
Must drown in the blue morn;
(What glee
Amid the rustling corn!)
Then flash my message true
Down yonder,–far away!–
(The dew
Lies sparkling on the hay.)
Across what visions seek
The Dear One slumbering still.
(Quick, quick!
The sun has reached the hill!)
The Young Fools (Les Ingénus)

High-heels were struggling with a full-length dress
So that, between the wind and the terrain,
At times a shining stocking would be seen,
And gone too soon. We liked that foolishness.
Also, at times a jealous insect’s dart
Bothered out beauties. Suddenly a white
Nape flashed beneath the branches, and this sight
Was a delicate feast for a young fool’s heart.
Evening fell, equivocal, dissembling,
The women who hung dreaming on our arms
Spoke in low voices, words that had such charms
That ever since our stunned soul has been trembling.

More on the way!
A bright blessing on You All.

July 20, 2005
by gwyllm

Wednesday Linkage 23 23 23 23

Happy Wednesday…
A bit of linkage 23
A small video 23
A bit of Anton Colin Wilson 23
A poem or 23 by The Great Beast 23…..
The Future of Programming?
Google tracks Hitler to San Diego
Bendable Electronic Paper
writing on the wall….
Old city ‘labyrinth’ discovered by dog
23 23 23 23

23 Questions with Robert Anton Wilson
A New Interview

by jody franklin
Robert Anton Wilson “is” one who is not “is.” Perhaps we may describe him as a psychedelic philosopher, a postmodern trickster, an intellectual comedian, a twister ripping through the psyche. He first came to prominence as an editor of Playboy in the 1960s. During that time of magick he got involved with the Discordians, a “new religion disguised as a complicated joke,” or “a complicated joke disguised as a new religion.” Along with Robert Shea, he co-authored the Illuminatus! trilogy of novels, a work of mind-bending (fiction?) that weaved together multiple conspiracy theories and elevated Discordianism to true cult status. A close friend of Timothy Leary, he shared Dr. Leary’s passions for radical psychology and futurism. His book Prometheus Rising melded model agnosticism to Leary’s 8-circuit model of the brain to create a system that taught people how to deconstruct dogmatic personal belief systems. His numerous other books explored topics such as quantum mechanics, alternate universes, non-Aristotelian logic systems, sex magick, Wilhelm Reich, James Joyce and Orson Welles. His model agnostic approach to inquiry makes him a unique writer, one of few who can slip seamlessly from rationalist scientific thinking to non-materialist metaphysical speculation.
While he has struggled with post-polio syndrome in recent years, he remains active in propagating his various passions. Lance Bauscher, Cody McClintock and Robert Dofflemyer’s 2003 film Maybe Logic explored and presented Wilsonian concepts wrapped in subtle yet explosive color and rhythm, a fitting tribute to his ideas. This project spun off into the Maybe Logic Academy, a learning institute that is
“grounded in the philosophy and perspective of maybe logic, an approach which emphasizes the fallibility and relativity of perception and tends to approach information and observations with questions, probabilities and multiple perspectives rather than absolute truths.” New Falcon Publications will soon be releasing his new book Email To The Universe.
(Editor’s note: This interview was conducted in two parts, in August 2004 and March 2005.)

You have a new book coming out called “Tale of the Tribe.” What’s that all about?
[RAW] I changed the title to EMAIL TO THE UNIVERSE. It’s about James Joyce, Daoism, Internet and Aleister Crowley, plus my usual craziness.
[MB] It seems a lot of your writings have really connected with people, and perhaps even influenced their thinking and activities. Because of this effect on your fan base, some have suggested you to be a “cult figure.” To make a clever little RAW-like slide here, this seems appropriate, given your early participation in the Discordian Society and your many writings on the Illuminati (a secret cult that may or may not exist.) Surfing the web one may find Discordian groups and references to Eris, golden apples, the Law of the Fives, the number 23, as well as other related ideas. Memes you sent out into the world twenty, thirty years ago continue to thrive and flourish. How do you feel about this legacy of having seeded such a diversity of eclectic memes?
[RAW] It’s both pleasing and flattering, of course, but I’ll feel much happier when Maybe Logic, the Snafu Law and the Cosmic Schmuck Law get seeded just as widely, or even more widely.
[MB] Let’s seed them more widely right here! Can you explain to our readers what (Maybe Logic, the Snafu Law and the Cosmic Schmuck Law) are?
[RAW] Maybe Logic is a label that got stuck on my ideas by filmmaker Lance Bauscher. I decided it fits. I certainly recognize the central importance in my thinking — or in my stumbling and fumbling efforts to think — of non-Aristotelian systems. That includes von Neumann’s three-valued logic [true, false, maybe], Rappoport’s four-valued logic [true, false, indeterminate, meaningless], Korzybski’s multi-valued logic [degrees of probability.] and also Mahayana Buddhist paradoxical logic [it “is” A. it “is” not A, it “is” both A and not A, it “is” neither A nor not A]. But, as an extraordinarily stupid fellow, I can’t use such systems until I reduce them to terms a simple mind like mine can handle, so I just preach that we’d all think and act more sanely if we had to use “maybe” a lot more often. Can you imagine a world with Jerry Falwell hollering “Maybe Jesus ‘was’ the son of God and maybe he hates Gay people as much as I do” — or every tower in Islam resounding with “There ‘is’ no God except maybe Allah and maybe Mohammed is his prophet”?
The Snafu law holds that, the greater your power to punish, the less factual feedback you will receive. If you can fire people for telling you what you don’t want to hear, you will only hear what you want. This law seems to apply to all authoritarian contraptions, especially governments and corporations. Concretely, I suspect Bozo knows factually less about the world than any dogcatcher in Biloxi. The Cosmic Schmuck law holds that [1] the more often you suspect you may be thinking or acting like a Cosmic Schmuck, the less of a Cosmic Schmuck you will become, year by year, and [2] if you never suspect you might think or act like a Cosmic Schmuck, you will remain a Cosmic Schmuck for life.
[MB] Can E-prime revolutionize the English language?
[RAW] I sure hope so, but it needs help, like more computers online and more pot. LOTS more pot.
[MB] What is the purpose of your Maybe Logic Academy, and who else is involved? Just what the heck is going on there?
[RAW]I want to use Internet to accelerate human evolution by replacing faith-based decisions with research-based decisions. The others have similar or compatible goals. Our class leaders include R.U. Sirius, cyber-philosopher; Patricia Monaghan, goddess researcher; Alan Clements, activist and former Buddhist monk; Peter Caroll, mathematician and inventor of Chaos magick; Douglas Rushkoff, media maven; and others will join up soon.
[MB] You’ve written extensively on (and found new applications for) various scientific theories, particularly in the field of quantum mechanics. Yet you’ve maintained a critical distance from the scientific establishment, a kind of heretical voice and a sceptic of scepticism. You often cite Dr. Wilhelm Reich’s story as an example of authority run amok. The US government destroyed much of Dr. Reich’s controversial work, and nobody, particularly fellow scientists, stepped forward in protest or defence. Science is supposed to be about innovation, yet few scientists seem able to revise their pet theories once they’ve been accepted. I think this is why many found it shocking when Stephen Hawking recently stepped out and said, “I was wrong about black holes.” Nobody is used to respected figures revising or chucking out their strongly-held beliefs. What is the importance of heresy, scepticism and unorthodox ideation to the advancement of science?
[RAW] Let me differentiate between scientific method and the neurology of the individual scientist. Scientific method has always depended on feedback [or flip-flopping as the Tsarists call it]; I therefore consider it the highest form of group intelligence thus far evolved on this backward planet. The individual scientist seems a different animal entirely. The ones I’ve met seem as passionate, and hence as egotistic and prejudiced, as painters, ballerinas or even, God save the mark, novelists. My hope lies in the feedback system itself, not in any alleged saintliness of the individuals in the system.
[MB] You’re a self-described model agnostic, and you’ve deconstructed all manner of belief systems (BS) in your books. In Prometheus Rising, you encouraged people to consciously enter as many different reality tunnels as possible, to examine their beliefs from multiple viewpoints. Human culture is filled with people zealously attached to various orthodoxies and ideologies. The clash of fundamental belief systems has often proven destructive to humankind. What will it take to shake people from their dogmas?
[RAW] In a word, Internet. Ever since I read Wiener’s Cybernetics: Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine back in 1948 I’ve thought of “intelligence” as a function of feedback. The more feedback, the higher the measurable “intelligence,” and the less feedback, the less “intelligence.” As the computer gave birth to the Net and the Web, feedback has increased exponentially. As R.U. Sirius wrote recently, “The rise of the Net and the Web represents a victory for the counterculture and the subculture. The next generation, raised on the Net as their primary medium, won’t even know what consensus reality is.” In other words, feedback and Maybe Logic form a circle that spins faster and faster. The Tsarists fear and hate it — they call it “flip-flopping” — but it characterizes all high intelligence systems, electronic or protoplasmic.
[MB] I agree that the internet seems to be a product of such an accelerated feedback system. This is something we can witness with every single online interaction. Now, there has been a lot of talk post-9.11 of an ominous totalitarian spectre looming over us, that Orwell’s Big Brother is finally here. There are conspiriologists who believe that the internet, having risen from the Pentagon, has never been anything more than a Big Brotherist plot, and that folks like RU Sirius, John Perry Barlow and other Information Age philosophers are dupes (un)knowingly(?) providing a libertarian façade for this vast conspiracy. What if the internet is nothing more than the latest Tsarist method of control and information gathering?
[RAW] Well, then we’re sunk, ain’t we? Fortunately, there exists no logical or factual reason to believe that paranoid fantasy, and it is directly contradicted by the hard mathematics of Wiener and Shannon on “redundance of control” in feedback systems. What Juang Jou said of the universe 2400 years ago is even more true of the 4,285,199,774 computer URLs online today – [21 August 2004] -“there is no governor anywhere.”
[MB] Speaking of 9.11 and the Pentagon, the day after the airplane split a hole in the side of the building, I immediately thought of yours and Robert Shea’s Illuminatus! novel. In it, the five-sided Pentagon imprisons a supernatural beast called Yog Sothoth. If this ghoul were to escape, humankind would witness the immanentization of eschaton. This seems to be as apt a metaphor for the current millenarian cultural climate as I’ve ever seen. So, in a sense, did Yog Sothoth bust out on that day?
[RAW] Let’s not take metaphors too literally. I’ll admit Bozo has a lot in common with Yog Sothoth, and that he even has the same initials as GWB666 in Schrödinger’s Cat, but I regard those as accidental hits. I don’t think of myself as a sleeping prophet.
[MB] How close are we to immanentizing eschaton?
[RAW] It got immanentized 5 years ago when the Supremes called off the election and appointed GWB –the Great Wild Beast– to the white house.
[MB] You wrote a compelling piece following the 2000 US presidential election, in which you pointed out one of those obvious things that most people missed: while 50% of eligible voters split their votes between Bush and Gore, the other 50% consciously chose to vote for Nobody. (I’ve actually been arguing that, since children, prisoners, aliens and other disenfranchised people were unable to vote, Bush only really got a mandate from about 14% of the American people. So much for “half the country” supporting him, as the media played it.) You’ve also theorized that a nefarious, neo-autocratic “Tsarist Occupation Government” (TSOG) controls the apparatus of the State. Screw the old Democrat versus Republican debate. Tell me, how do you think both Nobody and the TSOG will fare in the upcoming presidential election?
[RAW] I assume most intelligent people will continue to vote for Nobody, and the moron majority will split their votes about evenly, depending on which of the two multi-millionaire Skull-and-Bones-men has the most sex appeal. It doesn’t really seem to matter: if the people marginally prefer the “wrong” candidate, the Supreme Court will assuredly “correct” them again. The TSOG seems a comfortable disease, like death by sleeping sickness. After 7000 years of Authoritarian Patriarchy, most people accept Tsarism and, in America, resent that pesky constitution imposed on them by a few intellectual freemasons.
[MB] This statement recalls Reich’s Mass Psychology of Fascism. It seems that there is massive, widespread public mistrust and disgust in politics and government, not only in the USA but in many parts of the world. Why are citizens so loyal to systems and leaders they admittedly have no respect for?
[RAW] Raymond Chandler, who served as a lieutenant of infantry in World War I, pointed out the same paradox on a smaller scale: in charging an enemy, troops are statistically safer if scattered broadly, but they all show a tendency to bunch together near the lieutenant, thereby increasing their risk. This seems a hardwired [even premammalian] vertebrate program. On top of that we’ve got the 7000+ years of authoritarian conditioning documented by Reich. Seems rather bleak, doesn’t it? My optimism rests on the fact that, historically, in emergency, people often mutate in unpredictable and creative ways. As John Adams said, the American Revolution took place “in the minds of the people in the 15 years before the first shot was fired.” I suspect a similar revolution is occurring in the minds of educated people worldwide.
[MB] Across the post-election landscape, there has been much talk of a “divided America,” with pundits drawing a hard line between “blue states” and “red states.” Is this line illusory?
[RAW] I suspect all lines exist only in our minds — especially political lines. Universe seems more like waltzing chaos than like an account book.
[MB] Are we living in Phillip K. Dick’s Rome?
[RAW] Well, Phil certainly lived there. I feel more like I live in Tsarist Russia. Sometimes I think of myself as the last Decembrist – and if that seems obscure or too kooky, just set your search engine for “Decembrists + Illuminati” and grok in their fullness the URLs that come up. Anyway, we certainly don’t live in a constitutional democracy. I feel almost 99.999999999999999999999999999999% sure about that.
[MB] When I’ve been severely depressed, or severely stoned, I’ve been able to actually feel Dick’s Rome, not just grok it as an intellectual concept. For me this reality tunnel is filled with emotion, paranoia, delusion, synchronicity, symbology, metaphor, heightened awareness. Does it ever go beyond theory for you? Do you feel Tsarist Russia?
[RAW] Frequently— especially when I test my Buddhist detachment by trying to listen to “our” leaders without growling or cussing under my breath. I feel like the Decembrists, very poignantly. But I also identify a lot the founders of this moribund Republic. They knew the Constitution alone could not restrain the power lusts of Certain Types and warned that we needed eternal vigilance – – but they could only give us the Constitution, not the vigilance. Alas!
[MB] It would seem, then, that democracy is a cloak for autocracy. Has that all it’s ever been? Or is history cycling backwards, have we collectively betrayed the Enlightenment?
[RAW] First, my passion turns toward CONSTITUTIONAL democracy, not just “democracy” in general, which I fear as much as our founders did. I want LIMITS on government, clearly defined and virtually “graven in stone.” As John Adams wrote “My credo is that despotism or absolute power is the same in a majority of a popular assembly, an aristocratic council, an oligarchical junta or a single emperor –equally arbitrary, bloody and in every respect diabolical.” I agree totally. Yeah, I think we have lost a lot of light lately – and by “we” I mean both the suidaen politicos and the masses.
[MB] You’ve had to fight for your right to use marijuana medicinally. How did you become an activist?
[RAW] I’ve “activized” for various causes since 1959, because I have that sort of temperament. I got involved actively in the medicinal marijuana cause long before my post-polio symptoms made medical pot necessary in my own case. Now, stuck in a wheelchair most of the day, I feel not just activated but super-activated. I supported a wife and four kids most of my life. I have 35 books in print. NEW SCIENTIST called my CAT trilogy “the most scientific of all science-fiction novels.” Now, at 73, I’m treated like a child by the TSOG — and so is my doctor, a fully qualified M.D. Only the Tsar knows what’s best for me, medically, and he knows without doing a medical examination even, just by consulting some faith-based organizations… To quote George Carlin “stunningly, STUNNINGLY, full of shit.” If you’d like the view of research-based organizations see
[MB] You recently founded the Guns &amp; Dope Party to combat the excesses of Tsarism. What are some of the central tenets of your party’s platform?
[RAW] Guns for those who want them; no guns forced on those who don’t want them [Quakers, Amish, pacifists in general etc.]
Drugs for those who want them; no drugs forced on those who don’t want them [Christian Scientists, herbalists, homeopaths etc]
Bipedal unity — equal rights for ostriches
Voluntary taxation: you pay for government programs you want; you don’t pay a penny for any programs you don’t want.
[MB] Do you feel that Temporary Autonomous Zones or Pirate Utopias have the potential to be free havens from the TSOG?
[RAW] Temporarily. Only Internet creates the real possibility of a Global Autonomous Zone. I think all problems have gotten solved and will get solved by [a] more information and [b] more rapid and ubiquitous transmission of information
[MB] The concept of Conspiracy has loomed large in your writings for decades. What fascinates you most about the concept of conspiracy theory?
[RAW] My major interest remains, as I said, in the area of non-Aristotelian logics, and around 1969 Bob Shea and I got the idea of writing a funny novel applying Maybe Logic to the arena of conspiriology. The result, ILLUMINATUS. went so far outside consensus reality-tunnels that it took us five years to get it published, and now, for 30 years, I keep receiving feedback from two groups who cannot handle the concept of “maybe” at all, at all. The first group believes fervently, beyond all doubt, that I endorsed the craziest ideas I’ve discussed and hence regards me as a dangerous nut. The second group has an equally ardent belief that I work for the CIA’s disinformation bureau and want to make all conspiracy theories look equally crazy. I’ve written dozens of books on other subjects, but those two gangs continually provoke my stoned-out sense of humor, so I continually surrender to the temptation to have a little more fun with them……
[MB] Conspiriology is really big these days. Why do you feel people are so drawn to leftfield speculative ideas?
[RAW] As an admitted Cosmic Schmuck, I don’t claim to “know” the answer to that — or anything else — but I do have certain persistent suspicions. I suspect, for instance, that “the Establishment” — i.e. the TSOG and the corporate media — have told so many outrageous lies that nobody really fully trusts them anymore. The weapons of mass destruction in Iraq still remain hidden from human perception. After that lie collapsed, the TSOG did not merely appear full of shit; it appeared, to quote Carlin again, that seems STUNNINGLY full of shit. So naturally a market has grown for explanations of what the hell really motivates Bozo and his gang. I regard my job as applying the same scathing criticism to all models that try to imply the model-maker really knows more than me and doesn’t just guess, and speculate, and grope in the dark, like I admit I do.
[MB] You are well known for your work exploring speculative theories and esoterica. In books like Sex and Drugs and the Cosmic Trigger series, you wrote of experimentation with occult magick. Reflecting upon your numerous forays into these strange worlds where Science fears to tread, what are the most interesting “secrets” you discovered?
[RAW] The same that I simultaneously discovered in Buddhism and quantum physics: namely, the alleged “wall” between “me” and “the world” does not exist at all. Clearing thought and language of that fictitious split adds immeasurably to clarity. Oh, yes, and it improves your sense of humor, too!
[MB] Let’s wrap it up with a little humor. Can you tell me a good joke?
[RAW] Three guys are drinking and arguing in a bar. “I tell you it should be spelled W-O-O-O-M,” the first says dogmatically. “And I still say W-H-O-O-M sounds right,” the second counters. “No, no, no,” says the third. ‘It’s definitely W-H-O-M-B-B.” “You’ve all got it wrong,” offers a gynecologist at the next table. “It’s W-O-M-B.” They stare at her coldly. “Madam,” the first says, “it’s obvious that you’ve never heard an elephant fart.”
All the Quotes
“The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work.”
“The Constitution gives every American the inalienable right to make a damn fool of himself.”
“To err is human; to forgive, infrequent.”
“I have a rock garden. Last week three of them died.”
“Statistician: A man who believes figures don’t lie, but admits that under analysis some of them won’t stand up either.”
“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.”
“Organized crime in America takes in over forty billion dollars a year and spends very little on office supplies.”
“Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.”
“I have only one superstition. I touch all the bases when I hit a home run.”
“When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.”
Aleister Crowley

Ave Adonai
[Dedicated to G. M. Marston]
Pale as the night that pales
In the dawn’s pearl-pure pavillion,
I wait for thee, with my dove’s breast
Shuddering, a god its bitter guest-
Have I not gilded my nails
And painted my lips with vermillion ?
Am I not wholly stript
Of the deeds and thoughts that obscure thee?
I wait for thee, my soul distraught
With aching for some nameless naught
In its most arcane crypt-
Am I not fit to endure thee?
Girded about the paps
With a golden girdle of glory,
Dost thou wait me, thy slave who am,
As a wolf lurks for a strayed white lamb?
The chain of the stars snaps,
And the deep of night is hoary!
Thou whose mouth is a flame
With its seven-edged sword proceeding,
Come ! I am writhing with despair
Like a snake taken in a snare,
Moaning thy mystical name
Till my tongue is torn and bleeding!
Have I not gilded my nails
And painted my lips with vermillion?
Yea ! thou art I; the deed awakes,
Thy lightening strikes; thy thunder breaks
Wild as the bride that wails
In the bridegroom’s plumed pavillion!
Au Bal

[Dedicated to Horace Sheridan-Bickers]
A vision of flushed faces, shining limbs,
The madness of the music that entrances
All life in its delirium of dances!
The white world glitters in the void, and swims
Through the infinite seas of transcendental trances.
Yea! all the hoarded seed of all my fancies
Bursts in a shower of suns! The wine-cup brims
And bubbles over; I drink deep hymns
Of sorceries, of spells, of necromancies;
And all my spirit shudders; dew bedims
My sight -these girls and their alluring glances!
Their eyes that burn like dawn’s lascivious lances
Walking all earth to love -to love! Life skims
The cream of joy. If God could see what man sees,
(Intoxicating Nellies, Mauds and Nances!)
I see Him leave the sapphrine expanses,
The choir serene and the celestial air
To swoon into their sacramental hair!
Hymn to Pan

Thrill with lissome lust of the light,
O man ! My man !
Come careering out of the night
Of Pan ! Io Pan .
Io Pan ! Io Pan ! Come over the sea
From Sicily and from Arcady !
Roaming as Bacchus, with fauns and pards
And nymphs and satyrs for thy guards,
On a milk-white ass, come over the sea
To me, to me,
Come with Apollo in bridal dress
(Spheperdess and pythoness)
Come with Artemis, silken shod,
And wash thy white thigh, beautiful God,
In the moon, of the woods, on the marble mount,
The dimpled dawn of of the amber fount !
Dip the purple of passionate prayer
In the crimson shrine, the scarlet snare,
The soul that startles in eyes of blue
To watch thy wantoness weeping through
The tangled grove, the gnarled bole
Of the living tree that is spirit and soul
And body and brain -come over the sea,
(Io Pan ! Io Pan !)
Devil or god, to me, to me,
My man ! my man !
Come with trumpets sounding shrill
Over the hill !
Come with drums low muttering
From the spring !
Come with flute and come with pipe !
Am I not ripe ?
I, who wait and writhe and wrestle
With air that hath no boughs to nestle
My body, weary of empty clasp,
Strong as a lion, and sharp as an asp-
Come, O come !
I am numb
With the lonely lust of devildom.
Thrust the sword through the galling fetter,
All devourer, all begetter;
Give me the sign of the Open Eye
And the token erect of thorny thigh
And the word of madness and mystery,
O pan ! Io Pan !
Io Pan ! Io Pan ! Pan Pan ! Pan,
I am a man:
Do as thou wilt, as a great god can,
O Pan ! Io Pan !
Io pan ! Io Pan Pan ! Iam awake
In the grip of the snake.
The eagle slashes with beak and claw;
The gods withdraw:
The great beasts come, Io Pan ! I am borne
To death on the horn
Of the Unicorn.
I am Pan ! Io Pan ! Io Pan Pan ! Pan !
I am thy mate, I am thy man,
Goat of thy flock, I am gold , I am god,
Flesh to thy bone, flower to thy rod.
With hoofs of steel I race on the rocks
Through solstice stubborn to equinox.
And I rave; and I rape and I rip and I rend
Everlasting, world without end.
Mannequin, maiden, maenad, man,
In the might of Pan.
Io Pan ! Io Pan Pan ! Pan ! Io Pan!

Have a 23 kinda day!

July 19, 2005
by gwyllm

Consider the Hummingbird

More of a classic format for Tuesday, with less of my thoughts and more of other peoples…
A meditation on life, hummingbirds…
Linkage Du Jour
Lewis Carroll Poetry…
Consider the Hummingbird…
Consider the hummingbird for a long moment. A hummingbird’s heart beats ten times a second. A hummingbird’s heart is the size of a pencil eraser. A hummingbird’s heart is a lot of the hummingbird. Joyas voladores, flying jewels, the first white explorers in the Americas called them, and the white men had never seen such creatures, for hummingbirds came into the world only in the Americas, nowhere else in the universe, more than three hundred species of them whirring and zooming and nectaring in hummer time zones nine times removed from ours, their hearts hammering faster than we could clearly hear if we pressed our elephantine ears to their infinitesimal chests.
Each one visits a thousand flowers a day. They can dive at sixty miles an hour. They can fly backwards. They can fly more than five hundred miles without pausing to rest. But when they rest they come close to death: on frigid nights, or when they are starving, they retreat into torpor, their metabolic rate slowing to a fifteenth of their normal sleep rate, their hearts sludging nearly to a halt, barely beating, and if they are not soon warmed, if they do not soon find that which is sweet, their hearts grow cold, and they cease to be. Consider for a moment those hummingbirds who did not open their eyes again today, this very day, in the Americas: bearded helmetcrests and booted racket-tails, violet-tailed sylphs and violet-capped woodnymphs, crimson topazes and purple-crowned fairies, red-tailed comets and amethyst woodstars, rainbow-bearded thornbills and glittering-bellied emeralds, velvet-purple coronets and golden-bellied star-frontlets, fiery-tailed awlbills and Andean hillstars, spatuletails and pufflegs, each the most amazing thing you have never seen, each thunderous wild heart the size of an infant’s fingernail, each mad heart silent, a brilliant music stilled.
Hummingbirds, like all flying birds but more so, have incredible enormous immense ferocious metabolisms. To drive those metabolisms they have race-car hearts that eat oxygen at an eye-popping rate. Their hearts are built of thinner, leaner fibers than ours. Their arteries are stiffer and more taut. They have more mitochondria in their heart muscles — anything to gulp more oxygen. Their hearts are stripped to the skin for the war against gravity and inertia, the mad search for food, the insane idea of flight. The price of their ambition is a life closer to death; they suffer heart attacks and aneurysms and ruptures more than any other living creature. It’s expensive to fly. You burn out. You fry the machine. You melt the engine. Every creature on earth has approximately two billion heartbeats to spend in a lifetime. You can spend them slowly, like a tortoise, and live to be two hundred years old, or you can spend them fast, like a hummingbird, and live to be two years old.
The biggest heart in the world is inside the blue whale. It weighs more than seven tons. It’s as big as a room. It is a room, with four chambers. A child could walk around in it, head high, bending only to step through the valves. The valves are as big as the swinging doors in a saloon. This house of a heart drives a creature a hundred feet long. When this creature is born it is twenty feet long and weighs four tons. It is waaaaay bigger than your car. It drinks a hundred gallons of milk from its mama every day and gains two hundred pounds a day and when it is seven or eight years old it endures an unimaginable puberty and then it essentially disappears from human ken, for next to nothing is known of the mating habits, travel patterns, diet, social life, language, social structure, diseases, spirituality, wars, stories, despairs, and arts of the blue whale. There are perhaps ten thousand blue whales in the world, living in every ocean on earth, and of the largest mammal who ever lived we know nearly nothing. But we know this: the animals with the largest hearts in the world generally travel in pairs, and their penetrating moaning cries, their piercing yearning tongue, can be heard underwater for miles and miles.
Mammals and birds have hearts with four chambers. Reptiles and turtles have hearts with three chambers. Fish have hearts with two chambers. Insects and mollusks have hearts with one chamber. Worms have hearts with one chamber, although they may have as many as eleven single-chambered hearts. Unicellular bacteria have no hearts at all; but even they have fluid eternally in motion, washing from one side of the cell to the other, swirling and whirling. No living being is without interior liquid motion. We all churn inside.
So much held in a heart in a lifetime. So much held in a heart in a day, an hour, a moment. We are utterly open with no one, in the end — not mother and father, not wife or husband, not lover, not child, not friend. We open windows to each but we live alone in the house of the heart. Perhaps we must. Perhaps we could not bear to be so naked, for fear of a constantly harrowed heart. When young we think there will come one person who will savor and sustain us always; when we are older we know this is the dream of a child, that all hearts finally are bruised and scarred, scored and torn, repaired by time and will, patched by force of character, yet fragile and rickety forevermore, no matter how ferocious the defense and how many bricks you bring to the wall. You can brick up your heart as stout and tight and hard and cold and impregnable as you possibly can and down it comes in an instant, felled by a woman’s second glance, a child’s apple breath, the shatter of glass in the road, the words I have something to tell you, a cat with a broken spine dragging itself into the forest to die, the brush of your mother’s papery ancient hand in a thicket of your hair, the memory of your father’s voice early in the morning echoing from the kitchen where he is making pancakes for his children.
The Link Thingie…
New Apple Store Items!
Obligatory Silly Link…
Dinner Delivered…
Watch This...

And This!
Alkemical Eye
Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

IN stature the Manlet was dwarfish–
No burly, big Blunderbore he;
And he wearily gazed on the crawfish
His Wifelet had dressed for his tea.
“Now reach me, sweet Atom, my gunlet,
And hurl the old shoelet for luck;
Let me hie to the bank of the runlet,
And shoot thee a Duck!”

She has reached him his minikin gunlet;
She has hurled the old shoelet for luck;
She is busily baking a bunlet,
To welcome him home with his Duck.
On he speeds, never wasting a wordlet,
Though thoughtlets cling, closely as wax,
To the spot where the beautiful birdlet
So quietly quacks.

Where the Lobsterlet lurks, and the Crablet
So slowly and sleepily crawls;
Where the Dolphin’s at home, and the Dablet
Pays long, ceremonious calls;
Where the Grublet is sought by the Froglet;
Where the Frog is pursued by the Duck;
Where the Ducklet is chased by the Doglet–
So runs the world’s luck!

He has loaded with bullet and powder;
His footfall is noiseless as air;
But the Voices grow louder and louder,
And bellow and bluster and blare.
They bristle before him and after,
They flutter above and below,
Shrill shriekings of lubberly laughter,
Weird wailings of woe!

They echo without him, within him;
They thrill through his whiskers and beard;
Like a teetotum seeming to spin him,
With sneers never hitherto sneered.
“Avengement,” they cry, “on our Foelet!
Let the Manikin weep for our wrongs!
Let us drench him, from toplet to toelet,
With Nursery Songs!

“He shall muse upon ‘Hey! Diddle! Diddle!’
On the Cow that surmounted the Moon;
He shall rave of the Cat and the Fiddle,
And the Dish that eloped with the Spoon;
And his soul shall be sad for the Spider,
When Miss Muffet was sipping her whey,
That so tenderly sat down beside her,
And scared her away!

“The music of Midsummer madness
Shall sting him with many a bite,
Till, in rapture of rollicking sadness,
He shall groan with a gloomy delight;
He shall swathe him, like mists of the morning,
In platitudes luscious and limp,
Such as deck, with a deathless adorning,
The Song of the Shrimp!

“When the Ducklet’s dark doom is decided,
We will trundle him home in a trice;
And the banquet, so plainly provided,
Shall round into rose-buds and rice;
In a blaze of pragmatic invention
He shall wrestle with Fate, and shall reign;
But he has not a friend fit to mention,
So hit him again!”

He has shot it, the delicate darling!
And the Voices have ceased from their strife;
Not a whisper of sneering or snarling,
As he carries it home to his wife;
Then, cheerily champing the bunlet
His spouse was so skilful to bake,
He hies him once more to the runlet
To fetch her the Drake!
A BOAT, beneath a sunny sky
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July–

Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear–

Long has paled that sunny sky;
Echoes fade and memories die;
Autumn frosts have slain July.

Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.

Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.

In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die;

Ever drifting down the stream–
Lingering in the golden gleam–
Life, what is it but a dream?

THEY told me you had been to her,
And mentioned me to him;
She gave me a good character,
But said I could not swim.

He sent them word I had not gone.
(We know it to be true.)
If she should push the matter on,
What would become of you?

I gave her one, they gave him two,
You gave us three or more;
They all returned from him to you,
Though they were mine before.

If I or she should chance to be
Involved in this affair,
He trusts to you to set them free,
Exactly as we were.

My notion was that you had been
(Before she had this fit)
An obstacle that came between
Him and ourselves and it.

Don’t let him know she liked them best,
For this must ever be
A secret, kept from all the rest,
Between yourself and me.
by: Lewis Carroll

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wade;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”
He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought —
So rested he by the Tumtum tree.
And stood awhile in thought.
And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came wiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!
One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.
“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.
‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe
See you tomorrow, have a good day!