Earthrites

Wherever you are is the entry point – Kabir

January 13, 2006
by gwyllm
0 comments

AfterBurn… Lee Gilmore

For Our Lee Gilmore Fans out there, a message from her:

Ahoy all burners! Unless there is a major and heretofore unpredicted news event in the next few days, Lee Gilmore and Mark Van Proyen will be guests on the KQED radio (88.5 & 89.5 FM) program “Forum with Michael Krasny” on Monday January 16 from 10 to 11 AM.
We will be discussing the new anthology of essays titled AfterBurn: Reflections on Burning Man, which we edited for the University Of New Mexico Press. Please tune in, and please pass this announcement on to any and all relevant lists, etc. And, even though it is already well underway, have a great New Year!
For more info on the book, see:
http://www.unmpress.com/Book.php?id=10472379989452
And for those outside the bay area KQED’s stream live internet stream is at:
http://www.kqed.org/radio/
—–
If you get a chance to listen in… I am sure you will enjoy it!
G
____________

January 13, 2006
by gwyllm
0 comments

Into the Twilight – Lascaux

Finished our long job yesterday. Place that we worked on has been transformed. The wood looks very beautiful, all the paint is gone, the plaster, the nicks and damage repaired…
Putting up new music this weekend, so please stay tuned.
This is a catch all in a way, with little elements that have drifted into view over the last couple of days. Dig around, you might find some gems amongst the dross.
I found out today that I have had whooping cough for 2 months! Nice to find out what has been going down with my health. A doctor friend informed me, as he has had it as long as I have…
So… I am going to rest up this weekend, and do some fun things. Working on 2 websites, one for a Winery in Silverton, and a new one for yours truly. I will let ya know when they are done.
I want to wish you all a good Friday. I can feel spring murmuring deep in the earth at this point… As you may know or have guessed, I follow the old calendar. Spring starts in 2 or so weeks. Take some time to get out and about, we plan on a walk or two this weekend.
Blessings,
Gwyllm
_________
Links:
Basel Pod Cast of Albert’s Birthday Celebration…
Indonesians make ATM sacrifices
Hunters Find Calf Buried Up to Its Nose
Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2006
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Into the Twilight – William Butler Yeats
Out-worn heart, in a time out-worn,
Come clear of the nets of wrong and right;
Laugh, heart, again in the grey twilight;
Sigh, heart, again in the dew of the morn.
Your mother Eire is always young,
Dew ever shining and twilight grey;
Though hope fall from you and love decay,
Burning in fires of a slanderous tongue.
Come, heart, where hill is heaped upon hill:
For there the mystical brotherhood
Of sun and moon and hollow and wood
And river and stream work out their will;
And God stands winding His lonely horn,
And time and the world are ever in flight;
And love is less kind than the grey twilight,
And hope is less dear than the dew of the morn.
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Lascaux – Hakim Bey

Every culture (or anyway every major urban/agricultural culture) cherishes two myths which apparently contradict each other: the myth of Degeneration & the myth of Progress. Rene Guenon & the neo-traditionalists like to pretend that no ancient culture ever believed in Progress, but of course they all did.
One version of the myth of Degeneration in Indo-European culture centers around the image of metals: gold, silver, bronze, iron. But what of the myth wherein Kronos & the Titans are destroyed to make way for Zeus & the Olympians?– a story which parallels that of Tiamat & Marduk, or Leviathan & Jah. In these “Progress” myths, an earlier chthonic chaotic earthbound (or watery) “feminine” pantheon is replaced (overthrown) by a later spiritualized orderly heavenly “male” pantheon. Is this not a step forward in Time? And have not Buddhism, Christianity, & Islam all claimed to be better than paganism?
In truth of course both myths–Degeneration as well as Progress– serve the purpose of Control & the Society of Control. Both admit that before the present state of affairs something else existed, a different form of the Social. In both cases we appear to be seeing a “race-memory” vision of the Paleolithic, the great long unchanging pre-history of the human. In one case that era is seen as a nastily brutish vast disorder; the 18th century did not discover this viewpoint, but found it already expressed in Classical & Christian culture. In the other case, the primordial is viewed as precious, innocent, happier, & easier than the present, more numinous than the present–but irrevocably vanished, impossible to recover except through death.
Thus for all loyal & enthusiastic devotees of Order, Order presents itself as immeasurably more perfect than any original Chaos; while for the disaffected potential enemies of Order, Order presents itself as cruel & oppressive ( “iron”) but utterly & fatally unavoidable–in fact, omnipotent.
In neither case will the mythopoets of Order admit that “Chaos” or “the Golden Age” could still exist in the present, or that they do exist in the present, here & now in fact– but repressed by the illusory totality of the Society of Order. We however believe that “the paleolithic” (which is neither more nor less a myth than “chaos” or “golden age” ) does exist even now as a kind of unconscious within the social. We also believe that as the Industrial Age comes to an end, & with it the last of the Neolithic “agricultural revolution,” & with it the decay of the last religions of Order, that this “repressed material” will once again be uncovered. What else could we mean when we speak of “psychic nomadism” or “ the disappearance of the Social”?
The end of the Modern does not mean a return TO the Paleolithic, but a return OF the Paleolithic.
Post-classical (or post-academic) anthropology has prepared us for this return of the repressed, for only very recently have we come to understand & sympathize with hunter/gatherer societies. The caves of Lascaux were rediscovered precisely when they neede d to be rediscovered, for no ancient Roman nor medieval Christian nor 18th century rationalist could have ever have found them beautiful or significant. In these caves (symbols of an archaeolo gy of consciousness) we found the artists who created them; we discovered them as ancestors, & also as ourselves, alive & present.
Paul Goodman once defined anarchism as “neolithic conservatism.” Witty, but no longer accurate. Anarchism (or Ontological Anarchism, at least) no longer sympathizes with peasant agriculturalists, but with the non-authoritarian social structures & pre-surpl us-value economics of the hunter/gatherers. Moreover we cannot describe this sympathy as “conservative.” A better term would be “radical,” since we have found our roots in the Old Stone Age, a kind of eternal present. We do not wish to return to a material technology of the past (we have no desire to bomb ourselves back to the Stone Age), but rather for the return of a psychic technology which we forgot we possessed.
The fact that we find Lascaux beautiful means that Babylon has at last begun to fall. Anarchism is probably more a symptom than a cause of this melting away. Despite our utopian imaginations we do not know what to ex pect. But we, at least, are prepared for the drift into the unknown. For us it is an adventure, not the End of the World. We have welcomed the return of Chaos, for along with the danger comes–at last–a chance to create.
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Kiss The Earth – Thich Nhat Hanh
Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Bring the Earth your love and happiness.
The Earth will be safe
when we feel safe in ourselves.
_________
Have a Weekend of Beauty, and come back to visit!
Gwyllm

January 12, 2006
by gwyllm
0 comments

On The Beach

Death and life are looked on
As but transformations;
The myriad creation is all of a kind,
There is a kinship through all.
– Huai Nan Tzu (2nd century B.C.)
__________
On The Music Box: Sigur Ros/ Taak (lovely stuff for a made up language and all that)
It must be Thursday… Nice feedback yesterday regarding the Albert Hoffman piece that I did. I really appreciate the feedback!
What we have for today…
The Links…
The Article: On the Beach
The Poetry: Taoist Texts…
Misc Stupidity: Bad Drug Humour
The Misc Stupidity is kinda interesting. From a contest in the UK on “What Happens When All Drugs Are Legalized?”
Assorted takes…
Talk Later,
G
________
The Links…
Albanian Hemp Cock-Up…
Jesusland is doomed…
Henan Man Impossible to Photograph
LSD Chemist Wants Drug Ban Eased
___________________
On this beach, 700,000 years ago …

One wintry day, two keen fossil collectors found a flint beneath these cliffs. It didn’t look like much, but it turned out to be evidence for the earliest humans in Britain. Mike Pitts on the amateur archaeologists who rewrote history
Friday January 6, 2006
The Guardian
Given the choice, the bottom of a cliff with the tide coming in fast is not a place you’d work. For Paul Durbidge and Bob Mutch, however, the foreshore at Pakefield, south of Lowestoft, Suffolk, is precisely where they want to be. Especially in winter, and even more so when the storms are up. Because it’s then that the fossils are exposed.
Durbidge and Mutch have been collecting on this beach for years; they have assembled a huge and academically valuable collection of animal bones. In 2000, though, they heard that along the coast in Norfolk, someone had found a flint handaxe that was 500,000 years old. It would have been made by a distant ancestor of Neanderthals, and as far as Britain was concerned, was as old as early humans got. This gave Durbidge and Mutch an idea. They knew their animal fossils from Pakefield were older than that. What if we have flints here too, they thought? “We had a gut feeling about Pakefield,” says Durbidge.
Late in 2001, they hit the jackpot: during an excavation, they found a small flint flake. To the uninitiated, it’s just a chip of stone, the sort of thing you might prise out of your sandal. But the two friends saw it for what it was: a diamond amid dross. That little chip of flint had been shaped by the hand of one of the very first Europeans.
Late last month, the journal Nature announced the discovery of 700,000-year-old stone tools in Suffolk – pushing back the date of arrival of early humans in northern Europe by 200,000 years. Buried in the list of 19 authors were the names of Mutch and Durbidge.
While their address was given as Lowestoft Museum, they are not on the staff: in a great British tradition of “amateur” scientists and explorers, Mutch and Durbidge are unpaid and answerable to no one. Without them, the flints might never have been found. In our regulated, budget-driven world, it turns out that it’s still possible for the independent visionary to rewrite history.
There is a dark layer of clay that can be seen intermittently along the coastal cliffs of Norfolk and Suffolk, and it’s known as the Cromer Forest-bed Formation. It got its name from ancient tree stumps, and for over 200 years has been popular with collectors for its copious fossils – mammoth, sabretooth cat, bison and other exotic creatures. Pakefield was famous for fossils a century ago, but until recently the shore was covered with debris and little more could be found.
The coast south of Lowestoft is Bob Mutch’s patch. He began collecting fossils, he says, as a youngster in the Southwold area. He knew the history of Pakefield and kept an eye on it. Then in 1994, there was a big storm. “Then the proverbial hit the fan,” he says in his soft accent. “There was tons of material everywhere.”
During a big winter storm, the beach can disappear for a period – suddenly the ground drops by several metres. On those rare occasions when everything goes right, ancient gravel-filled river channels are exposed, packed with animal bones. Mutch describes running about, picking up fossils in a frenzy while the tide rolls around and cliffs slump into the waves.
In 2000, a group of scientists found a worked flint at Pakefield – but it was not in situ; it was loose, rather than embedded in the clay, and therefore couldn’t be dated. Mutch and Durbidge, already buoyed up by news of the Norfolk handaxe, knew they’d need to do better.

So, starting in late 2001, Durbidge and Mutch excavated small sections at the bottom of the cliff. They were thorough. “We have to map it all, take the photographs, systematically scrape the surface, sieve, wash and sort,” says Mutch. He’s not as fit as he was, and an assistant, Adrian Charlton, does the spadework. “He stands up to his knees in cold water,” says Mutch. “Works his backside off. He loves sieving.”
Then came the flint. “It was pure luck,” says Durbidge. “We’d done three small sections, and we found our first flint flake.”
“I knew what it was,” says Mutch. “It was crisp … stood out a mile.”
They sent it to the Natural History Museum, and got an excited letter back: “You appear to have hit the jackpot.”
In 2003, a small team that included members of the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain (Ahob), a project involving scientists from institutions across the UK, came to Pakefield to excavate. They were helped – and watched closely – by Mutch and co, keen to have their discoveries vindicated.
Ahob found three more flints, perfectly sealed in the clay alongside animal fossils.
Simon Parfitt, small-mammals expert at the Natural History Museum and University College London, had also been looking for signs of early humans on the East Anglian coast. In 1998, he’d found the very first, ironically on a bison bone that had been in the museum’s collection since 1897. The bone had microscopic cuts on it, that could only have been made by a flint butchery knife: unfortunately, it was not sealed in the clay layer.
His quest, like that of Durbidge and Mutch, had brought him and Ahob to Pakefield. Not only was he hoping for flints, but also the supportive evidence that large mammals had been defleshed with stone tools. He wanted the bones of a butchered mammoth.

Parfitt and colleagues sieved everything they dug up, some of it in the lab in London, and over the next few months sorted the thousands of tiny fragments under a microscope. “There was a huge quantity of small mammals,” he says, including such exotics as “a very rare extinct aquatic shrew”, bats, squirrels, hamsters and, most significantly, the vole species known to have died out some 700,000 years ago. No butchered beasts yet, but they were now confident of the great age, the association with flint tools and the nature of the landscape and fauna at that remote date.
For these flints – they total 32 now – prove humans to have been there, but it’s the animal bones, plant remains, beetles and sediment studies that allow us to picture what it was like. What would it be like, then? Tony Stuart, a leading specialist in ice-age mammals at the University of Durham and UCL, says that at first you would think you were in modern Britain as it might be if it was still wilderness, with broadleaved woodland opening on to marsh around a meandering river rich with pike, tench and rudd – though you might feel a little warm.
However, he says, “in a short while, familiarity would have given way to astonishment.” As a lion roared and hyenas whooped, a mammoth would crash through the undergrowth on its way to the river, upsetting the hippos sunning themselves on the bank. The roster of creatures would make a theme park drawl with envy: an extinct giant beaver, wild boar, three different extinct giant deer, a giant moose, an extinct bison, two species of horse, an extinct rhino, the enormous straight-tusked elephant (larger than any elephant alive today) and the mammoth itself, an ancestor of the (smaller) woolly mammoth of the later ice ages.
There were humans out there, but so few as to be almost unnoticed. The animals’ chief concerns were the more vicious carnivores: lion, spotted hyena (Durbidge and Mutch have found not just bones, but droppings too), wolf, bear and the spectacular sabretooth cat.
In fact, humans were so rare, it’s normal in such work to find a huge range of animals but no fossil hominins.
And what were these early humans like? Well, they predate Neanderthals by hundreds of thousands of years, but still would have been much more like us than our closest living relatives today, the chimpanzees. At Boxgrove in West Sussex a few fossils have been found of Homo heidelbergensis, dating from 500,000 years ago. Pakefield hominins may be their ancestors, and ultimately the Neanderthals’ too – it’s thought that, some 15,000 years ago, the lineage died out.
Durbidge and Mutch have mixed feelings about publicity, little surprise given the history of occasional mistrust, not just between professional and amateur archaeologists, but professional and professional too. Media coverage of the 700,000-year-old humans last month inevitably focused on the sponsoring institutions – 15 alone listed in Nature – rather than the Suffolk men. Although they spoke to me for this article, Mutch and Durbidge later decided they did not want to be photographed. Their work at the cliff face is not yet over, and they fear attracting undue attention to it.
“It’s the science that’s important”, says Mutch, “not us.”
The fact is, though, that it’s men and women like them who have helped to write our early history and will continue to do so.
The Suffolk flints may not look like much, yet their context launches them on to the stage of British history. The implications are huge. If evidence for hominins 700,000 years ago could be missed for 200 years in a part of the world with probably the highest density of collectors and scientists, what might we yet find, in older deposits here and elsewhere?
_____________________
Poetry: Taoist Text…..

Pleasure in Front of the Hall”, Two Songs
1
Be a loafer —
Wash off the dust of fame and gain in the vast waves,
Turn my head away from distant Ch’ang-an.
Content with my lot and my poverty.
If I do not wear a turban and socks,
Who will blame me?
Nothing disturbs my heart;
I keep company with mists and clouds
And have wind and moon for neighbours.
2
Wine in the cup is heavy. A calabash of spring colour inebriates this old man of the mountain,
A calabash of wine presses heavily on the flower stems.
Following me, boy,
Even when the calabash is dry, my merriment does not end.
But who is with me
To accompany me to the dark mountains?
It is Lieh Tzu who rode the wind.
Lieh Tzu rode the wind.
Lu Chih
(1246?-1309? A.D)
___________
“Greeting the Immortal Guest”, Three Songs
1
No tricks
Nothing doing
the sun and moon endure their rush
and don’t grow old
sail backwards?
paddle against the flow?
to hell with that
you’d better be known
as being
quiet.
2
Light wind in bamboo
deep flower shadows, drinking
a cup of strong brew, striking
a couple of lute chords
reveal world’s dark contrivance
hoard marvels I may use
dream an empire of ant
wake to know the world is vapour
is a dream.
3
My home’s in the flowering mountain
my joy is purest idleness
in a rush hut by a blue grotto
at the end of a crazy winding path
at noon I take a simple meal
and when I’m full
I take my staff
and wander to the mountaintop
and gaze.
Yun-K’an Tzu
(Date unknown A.D)
His name is a religious pseudonym of an otherwise anonymous Taoist recluse
_________________

Bad Drug Humour…

and this….

more of this another time….. 80)
_________________

January 11, 2006
by gwyllm
0 comments

Alberts' Birthday!

A short note on Albert’s Birthday
Applicable Links
Indigenous Poetry from Ancient Mexico
Artwork by yours truly
Have a good one!
G
________
“A drink I took of the magic mead,
Taken out of Othrorir.
Then I began to know and to be wise,
To grow and to weave poems.”
Wishing You A Joyous 100th Birthday Albert! May you have a 100 more! I was going to be in Basel to wish you happy birthday, but life kinda got in the way. Mr. McCloud told me to come, and Doug offered to help get me there. Yet, here I am in that paradise known as the Great North West writing about how your little discovery opened up my life like a flower.
Your discovery came at the same time the US had obtained the power of the atom. A strange balance of sorts, but your gift has proved to be the the greater. It truly is the defining miracle of the 20th century. A million, 10 million eyes were opened, and many more will open due to your little serendipitous discovery.
Without your gift, my road would have been far different. I may have arrived at the same place, but without the joys or griefs that I have known since stepping into the stream of consciousness that you helped open up.
Through your works, I met the Goddess. I met my ancestors in the oceans of my blood, and the seas of my tears. I discovered the thou, losing the other. I gained my shade, my soul, my self. (You discovered the catalyst, I obviously did the typing… 80] ) Anyway, how many people get to attend Mysticism 101: do the big rush, visit heaven, maybe visit hell, become one with the white light, learn the secrets of the cosmos, find out they are immortal and come home safe and sound in 12 hours? Hmmmm?
I gained the question yet to be answered, that I ponder daily. How was this (the world/consciousness) all wrought? We truly live in miracles and wonders, great gifts strewn like pearls and diamonds that we wander through, blindly on a daily journey. With your invention, we get the first peek.
Before I met your gift, I lived time in the linear. I experience it in the spiral now, and I have found comfort and challenge in the moments of eternity that opened up through your molecular wonder.
When you are greeted by that crowd in Basel, with each individuation wishing you a Happy 100th Birthday, let me share a secret with you; something of you attended each of their rebirths. Let the Love Shine on and through you Albert, thanks for the Eastern Gift.
Much Love and Appreciation,
Gwyllm
‘I have fasted; I have drunk from the kykeon; I have taken the sacred object from the basket; the act accomplished, I have placed it in the the casket; the transfered it again from the casket to the basket.’
________________
The Links:
A little trippy something or other…
A cache of goodies…
Symbol 24:12
Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth…
______________
Poetry: Indigenous Poetry of Ancient Mexico

From within the Heavens
Ayocuan Cuetzpaltzin
(translated by Miguel León-Portilla)
From within the heavens they come,
the beautiful flowers, the beautiful songs,
but our yearning spoils them,
our inventiveness makes them lose their fragrance,
although not those of the Chichimec prince Tecayehuatzin.
With his, rejoice!
Friendship is a shower of precious flowers
White tufts of heron feathers
are woven with precious red flowers,
among the branches of the trees
under which stroll and sip
the lords and nobles
Your beautiful song
is a golden wood thrush
most beautiful, you raise it up.
You are in a field of flowers.
Among the flowery bushes you sing.
Are you perchance a precious bird of the Giver of Life?
Perchance you have spoken with God?
As soon as you saw the dawn,
you began to sing.
Would that I exert myself, that my heart desire,
the flowers of the shield,
the flowers of the Giver of Life.
What can my heart do?
In vain we have come,
we have blossomed forth on earth.
Will I have to go alone
like the flowers that perish?
Will nothing remain of my name?
Nothing of my fame here on earth?
At least my flowers, at least my songs!
What can my heart do?
In vain we have come,
we have blossomed forth on earth.
Let us enjoy, O friends,
here we can embrace.
We stroll over the flowery earth.
No one here can do away
with the flowers and the songs,
they will endure in the house of the Giver of Life
Earth is the region of the fleeting moment.
Is it also thus in the Place
Where in Some Way One Lives?
Is one happy there?
Is there friendship?
Or is it only here on earth
we come to know our faces?
—–
THE FLOWER TREE
Nezahualcoyotl
Begin the song in pleasure, singer, enjoy, give pleasure to all, even to Life Giver. Yyeo ayahui ohuaya.
Delight, for Life Giver adorns us. All the flower bracelets, your flowers, are dancing. Our songs are strewn in this jewel house, this golden house. The Flower Tree grow and shakes, already it scatters. The quetzal breathes honey, the golden quéchol breathes honey. Ohuaya ohuaya.
You have transformed into a Flower Tree, you have emerged, you bend and scatter. You have appeared before God’s face as multi-colored flowers. Ohuaya ohuaya.
Live here on earth, blossom! As you move and shake, flowers fall. My flowers are eternal, my songs are forever: I raise them: I, a singer. I scatter them, I spill them, the flowers become gold: they are carried inside the golden place. Ohuaya ohuyaya.
Flowers of raven, flowers you scatter, you let them fall in the house of flowers. Ohuaya ohuyaya.
Ah, yes: I am happy, I prince NezahualCóyotl, gathering jewels, wide plumes of quetzal, I contemplate the faces of jades: they are the princes! I gaze into the faces of Eagles and Jaguars, and behold the faces of jades and jewels! Ohuaya ohuyaya.
We will pass away. I, NezahualCóyotl, say, Enjoy! Do we really live on earth? Ohuaya ohuaya!
Not forever on earth, only a brief time here! Even jades fracture; even gold ruptures, even quetzal plumes tear: Not forever on earth: only a brief time here! Ohuaya ohuaya!

January 10, 2006
by gwyllm
0 comments

Absinthe and Crowley…

And Crowley said: “What is there in absinthe that makes it a separate cult? The
effects of its abuse are totally distinct from those of other stimulants. Even in ruin and in degradation it remains a thing apart: its victims wear a ghastly aureole all their own, and in
their peculiar hell yet gloat with a sinister perversion of pride that they are not as other men.”
Always going over the deep end our Mr. Crowley. A very longish poem to the joys of Absinthe by the master himself.
On the Menu:
The Quotes
The Links
The Pledge (turn up your speakers)
Absinthe, the Green Goddess by Aleister Crowley
Luminos ~ By Kirk Jones…
Enjoy,
Gwyllm
__________

____________

The Quotes:
My husband gave me a necklace. It’s fake. I requested fake. Maybe I’m paranoid, but in this day and age, I don’t want something around my neck that’s worth more than my head.”
“It’s not true that life is one damn thing after another; it is one damn thing over and over.”
“If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure.”
“Electricity is actually made up of extremely tiny particles called electrons, that you cannot see with the naked eye unless you have been drinking.”
“The future is here. It’s just not widely distributed yet.”
“I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly.”
“Last night I stayed up late playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died.”
“Education is a state-controlled manufactory of echoes.”
_____________
The Links:
Cyberfetus Rising
Amazing, really. Flexible, flexible!
The Greatest Show in the Quadrant: Humanity’s Impending Flame-out
Did Einstein Praise the Church?
Buy your own Snail Herd…
The Global Spread of GMO Crops
Media’s War Images Delude Instead of Inform
____________
The Pledge – Turn Your Speakers On!
____________
Absinthe: The Green Goddess
by Aleister Crowley

I.
Keep always this dim corner for me, that I may sit while the
Green Hour glides, a proud pavine of Time. For I am no longer in
the city accursed, where Time is horsed on the white gelding
Death, his spurs rusted with blood.
There is a corner of the United States which he has overlooked.
It lies in New Orleans, between Canal Street and Esplanade
Avenue; the Mississippi for its base. Thence it reaches northward
to a most curious desert land, where is a cemetery lovely beyond
dreams. Its walls low and whitewashed, within which straggles a
wilderness of strange and fantastic tombs; and hard by is that
great city of brothels which is so cynically mirthful a neighbor.
As Felicien Rops wrote,–or was it Edmond d’Haraucourt?–“la
Prostitution et la Mort sont frere et soeur–les fils de Dieu!”
At least the poet of Le Legende des Sexes was right, and the
psycho-analysts after him, in identifying the Mother with the
Tomb. This, then, is only the beginning and end of things, this
“quartier macabre” beyond the North Rampart with the Mississippi
on the other side. It is like the space between, our life which
flows, and fertilizes as it flows, muddy and malarious as it may
be, to empty itself into the warm bosom of the Gulf Stream, which
(in our allegory) we may call the Life of God.

But our business is with the heart of things; we must go beyond
the crude phenomena of nature if we are to dwell in the spirit.
Art is the soul of life and the Old Absinthe House is heart and
soul of the old quarter of New Orleans.
For here was the headquarters of no common man–no less than a
real pirate–of Captain Lafitte, who not only robbed his
neighbors, but defended them against invasion. Here, too, sat
Henry Clay, who lived and died to give his name to a cigar.
Outside this house no man remembers much more of him than that;
but here, authentic and, as I imagine, indignant, his ghost stalks grimly.

Here, too are marble basins hollowed–and hallowed!–by the
drippings of the water which creates by baptism the new spirit of absinthe.

I am only sipping the second glass of that “fascinating, but
subtle poison, whose ravages eat men’s heart and brain” that I
have ever tasted in my life; and as I am not an American anxious
for quick action, I am not surprised and disappointed that I do
not drop dead upon the spot. But I can taste souls without the
aid of absinthe; and besides, this is magic of absinthe! The
spirit of the house has entered into it; it is an elixir, the
masterpiece of an old alchemist, no common wine.

And so, as I talk with the patron concerning the vanity of
things, I perceive the secret of the heart of God himself; this,
that everything, even the vilest thing, is so unutterably lovely
that it is worthy of the devotion of a God for all eternity.

What other excuse could He give man for making him? In substance,
that is my answer to King Solomon.

II.

The barrier between divine and human things is frail but
inviolable; the artist and the bourgeois are only divided by a
point of view–“A hair divided the false and true.”

I am watching the opalescence of my absinthe, and it leads me to
ponder upon a certain very curious mystery, persistent in legend.
We may call it the mystery of the rainbow.

Originally in the fantastic but significant legend of the
Hebrews, the rainbow is mentioned as the sign of salvation. The
world has been purified by water, and was ready for the
revelation of Wine. God would never again destroy His work, but
ultimately seal its perfection by a baptism of fire.

Now, in this analogue also falls the coat of many colors which
was made for Joseph, a legend which was regarded as so important
that it was subsequently borrowed for the romance of Jesus. The
veil of the Temple, too, was of many colors. We find, further
east, that the Manipura Cakkra–the Lotus of the City of
Jewels–which is an important centre in Hindu anatomy, and
apparently identical with the solar plexus, is the central point
of the nervous system of the human body, dividing the sacred from
the profane, or the lower from the higher.

In western Mysticism, once more we learn that the middle grade
initiation is called Hodos Camelioniis, the Path of the
Chameleon. There is here evidently an illusion to this same
mystery. We also learn that the middle stage in Alchemy is when
the liquor becomes opalescent.

Finally, we note among the visions of the Saints one called the
Universal Peacock, in which the totality is perceived thus
royally appareled.

Would it were possible to assemble in this place the cohorts of
quotation; for indeed they are beautiful with banners, flashing
their myriad rays from cothurn and habergeon, gay and gallant in
the light of that Sun which knows no fall from Zenith of high noon!

Yet I must needs already have written so much to make clear one
pitiful conceit: can it be that in the opalescence of absinthe is
some occult link with this mystery of the Rainbow? For
undoubtedly one does indefinably and subtly insinuate the drinker
in the secret chamber of Beauty, does kindle his thoughts to
rapture, adjust his point of view to that of the artists, at
least to that degree of which he is originally capable, weave for
his fancy a gala dress of stuff as many-colored as the mind of Aphrodite.

Oh Beauty! Long did I love thee, long did I pursue thee, thee
elusive, thee intangible! And lo! thou enfoldest me by night and
day in the arms of gracious, of luxurious, of shimmering silence.

III.
The Prohibitionist must always be a person of no moral character;
for he cannot even conceive of the possibility of a man capable
of resisting temptation. Still more, he is so obsessed, like the
savage, by the fear of the unknown, that he regards alcohol as a
fetish, necessarily alluring and tyrannical.

With this ignorance of human nature goes an ever grosser
ignorance of the divine nature. He does not understand that the
universe has only one possible purpose; that, the business of
life being happily completed by the production of the necessities
and luxuries incidental to comfort, the residuum of human energy
needs an outlet. The surplus of Will must find issue in the
elevation of the individual towards the Godhead; and the method
of such elevation is by religion, love, and art. These three
things are indissolubly bound up with wine, for they are species of intoxication.

Yet against all these things we find the prohibitionist,
logically enough. It is true that he usually pretends to admit
religion as a proper pursuit for humanity; but what a religion!
He has removed from it every element of ecstasy or even of
devotion; in his hands it has become cold, fanatical, cruel, and
stupid, a thing merciless and formal, without sympathy or
humanity. Love and art he rejects altogether; for him the only
meaning of love is a mechanical–hardly even
physiological!–process necessary for the perpetuation of the
human race. (But why perpetuate it?) Art is for him the parasite
and pimp of love. He cannot distinguish between the Apollo
Belvedere and the crude bestialities of certain Pompeian
frescoes, or between Rabelais and Elenor Glyn.

What then is his ideal of human life? one cannot say. So crass a
creature can have no true ideal. There have been ascetic
philosophers; but the prohibitionist would be as offended by
their doctrine as by ours, which, indeed, are not so dissimilar as appears.
Wage-slavery and boredom seem to complete his outlook on the world.

There are species which survive because of the feeling of disgust
inspired by them: one is reluctant to set the heel firmly upon
them, however thick may be one’s boots. But when they are
recognized as utterly noxious to humanity–the more so that they
ape its form–then courage must be found, or, rather, nausea must
be swallowed. May God send us a Saint George!

IV.

It is notorious that all genius is accompanied by vice. Almost
always this takes the form of sexual extravagance. It is to be
observed that deficiency, as in the cases of Carlyle and Ruskin,
is to be reckoned as extravagance. At least the word abnormalcy
will fit all cases. Farther, we see that in a very large number
of great men there has also been indulgence in drink or drugs.
There are whole periods when practically every great man has been
thus marked, and these periods are those during which the heroic
spirit has died out of their nation, and the bourgeois is apparently triumphant.

In this case the cause is evidently the horror of life induced in
the artist by the contemplation of his surroundings. He must find
another world, no matter at what cost.
Consider the end of the eighteenth century. In France the men of
genius are made, so to speak, possible, by the Revolution. In
England, under Castlereagh, we find Blake lost to humanity in
mysticism, Shelley and Byron exiles, Coleridge taking refuge in
opium, Keats sinking under the weight of circumstance, Wordsworth
forced to sell his soul, while the enemy, in the persons of
Southey and Moore, triumphantly holds sway.

The poetically similar period in France is 1850 to 1870. Hugo is
in exile, and all his brethren are given to absinthe or to
hashish or to opium.

There is however another consideration more important. There are
some men who possess the understanding of the City of God, and
know not the keys; or, if they possess them, have not force to
turn them in the wards. Such men often seek to win heaven by
forged credentials. Just so a youth who desires love is too often
deceived by simulacra, embraces Lydia thinking her to be Lalage.

But the greatest men of all suffer neither the limitations of the
former class nor the illusions of the latter. Yet we find them
equally given to what is apparently indulgence. Lombroso has
foolishly sought to find the source of this in madness–as if
insanity could scale the peaks of Progress while Reason recoiled
from the bergschrund. The explanation is far otherwise. Imagine
to yourself the mental state of him who inherits or attains the
full consciousness of the artist, that is to say, the divine consciousness.

He finds himself unutterably lonely, and he must steel himself to
endure it. All his peers are dead long since! Even if he find an
equal upon earth, there can scarcely be companionship, hardly
more than the far courtesy of king to king.
There are no twin souls in genius.

Good–he can reconcile himself to the scorn of the world. But yet
he feels with anguish his duty towards it. It is therefore
essential to him to be human.

Now the divine consciousness is not full flowered in youth. The
newness of the objective world preoccupies the soul for many
years. It is only as each illusion vanishes before the magic of
the master that he gains more and more the power to dwell in the
world of Reality. And with this comes the terrible
temptation–the desire to enter and enjoy rather than remain
among men and suffer their illusions. Yet, since the sole purpose
of the incarnation of such a Master was to help humanity, they
must make the supreme renunciation. It is the problem of the
dreadful bridge of Islam, Al Sirak–the razor-edge will cut the
unwary foot, yet it must be trodden firmly, or the traveler will
fall to the abyss. I dare not sit in the Old Absinthe House
forever, wrapped in the ineffable delight of the Beatific Vision.
I must write this essay, that men may thereby come at last to
understand true things. But the operation of the creative godhead
is not enough. Art is itself too near the reality which must be
renounced for a season.

Therefore his work is also part of his temptation; the genius
feels himself slipping constantly heavenward. The gravitation of
eternity draws him. He is like a ship torn by the tempest from
the harbor where the master must needs take on new passengers to
the Happy Isles. So he must throw out anchors and the only
holding is the mire! Thus in order to maintain the equilibrium of
sanity, the artist is obliged to seek fellowship with the
grossest of mankind. Like Lord Dunsany or Augustus John, today,
or like Teniers or old, he may love to sit in taverns where
sailors frequent; or he may wander the country with Gypsies, or
he may form liaisons with the vilest men and women. Edward
Fitzgerald would see an illiterate fisherman and spend weeks in
his company. Verlaine made associates of Rimbaud and Bibi la
Puree. Shakespeare consorted with the Earls of Pembroke and
Southampton. Marlowe was actually killed during a brawl in a low
tavern. And when we consider the sex-relation, it is hard to
mention a genius who had a wife or mistress of even tolerable
good character. If he had one, he would be sure to neglect her
for a Vampire or a Shrew. A good woman is too near that heaven of
Reality which he is sworn to renounce!

And this, I suppose, is why I am interested in the woman who has
come to sit at the nearest table. Let us find out her story; let
us try to see with the eyes of her soul!

V.
She is a woman of no more than thirty years of age, though she
looks older. She comes here at irregular intervals, once a week
or once a month, but when she comes she sits down to get solidly
drunk on that alternation of beer and gin which the best
authorities in England deem so efficacious.

As to her story, it is simplicity itself. She was kept in luxury
for some years by a wealthy cotton broker, crossed to Europe with
him, and lived in London and Paris like a Queen. Then she got the
idea of “respectability” and “settling down in life”; so she
married a man who could keep her in mere comfort. Result:
repentance, and a periodical need to forget her sorrows. She is
still “respectable”; she never tires of repeating that she is not
one of “those girls” but “a married woman living far uptown,” and
that she “never runs about with men.”

It is not the failure of marriage; it is the failure of men to
recognize what marriage was ordained to be. By a singular paradox
it is the triumph of the bourgeois. Only the hero is capable of
marriage as the church understands it; for the marriage oath is a
compact of appalling solemnity, an alliance of two souls against
the world and against fate, with invocation of the great blessing
of the Most High. Death is not the most beautiful of adventures,
as Frohman said, for death is unavoidable; marriage is a
voluntary heroism. That marriage has today become a matter of
convenience is the last word of the commercial spirit. It is as
if one should take a vow of knighthood to combat dragons-
-until the dragons appeared.

So this poor woman, because she did not understand that
respectability is a lie, that it is love that makes marriage
sacred and not the sanction of church or state, because she took
marriage as an asylum instead of as a crusade, has failed in
life, and now seeks alcohol under the same fatal error.

Wine is the ripe gladness which accompanies valor and rewards
toil; it is the plume on a man’s lancehead, a fluttering
gallantry–not good to lean upon. Therefore her eyes are glassed
with horror as she gazes uncomprehending upon her fate. That
which she did all to avoid confronts her: she does not realize
that, had she faced it, it would have fled with all the other
phantoms. For the sole reality of this universe is God.

The Old Absinthe House is not a place. It is not bounded by four
walls. It is headquarters to an army of philosophies. From this
dim corner let me range, wafting thought through every air,
salient against every problem of mankind: for it will always
return like Noah’s dove to this ark, this strange little
sanctuary of the Green Goddess which has been set down not upon
Ararat, but by the banks of the “Father of Waters.”

VI.
Ah! the Green Goddess! What is the fascination that makes her so
adorable and so terrible? Do you know that French sonnet “La
legende de l’absinthe?” He must have loved it well, that poet.
Here are his witnesses.

Apollon, qui pleurait le trepas d’Hyacinthe,
Ne voulait pas ceder la victoire a la mort.
Il fallait que son ame, adepte de l’essor,
Trouvat pour la beaute une alchemie plus sainte.
Donc de sa main celeste il epuise, il ereinte
Les dons les plus subtils de la divine Flore.
Leurs corps brises souspirent une exhalaison d’or
Dont il nous recueillait la goutte de–l’Absinthe!

Aux cavernes blotties, aux palis petillants,
Par un, par deux, buvez ce breuvage d’aimant!
Car c’est un sortilege, un propos de dictame,
Ce vin d’opale pale avortit la misere,
Ouvre de la beaute l’intime sanctuaire
–Ensorcelle mon coeur, extasie mort ame!

What is there in absinthe that makes it a separate cult? The
effects of its abuse are totally distinct from those of other
stimulants. Even in ruin and in degradation it remains a thing
apart: its victims wear a ghastly aureole all their own, and in
their peculiar hell yet gloat with a sinister perversion of pride
that they are not as other men.

But we are not to reckon up the uses of a thing by contemplating
the wreckage of its abuse. We do not curse the sea because of
occasional disasters to our marines, or refuse axes to our
woodsmen because we sympathize with Charles the First or Louis
the Sixteenth. So therefore as special vices and dangers
pertinent to absinthe, so also do graces and virtues that adorn
no other liquor.

The word is from the Greek apsinthion. It means “undrinkable” or,
according to some authorities, “undelightful.” In either case,
strange paradox! No: for the wormwood draught itself were bitter
beyond human endurance; it must be aromatized and mellowed with other herbs.

Chief among these is the gracious Melissa, of which the great
Paracelsus thought so highly that he incorporated it as the
preparation of his Ens Melissa Vitae, which he expected to be an
elixir of life and a cure for all diseases, but which in his
hands never came to perfection.

Then also there are added mint, anise, fennel and hyssop, all
holy herbs familiar to all from the Treasury of Hebrew Scripture.
And there is even the sacred marjoram which renders man both
chaste and passionate; the tender green angelica stalks also
infused in this most mystic of concoctions; for like the
artemisia absinthium itself it is a plant of Diana, and gives the
purity and lucidity, with a touch of the madness, of the Moon;
and above all there is the Dittany of Crete of which the eastern
Sages say that one flower hath more puissance in high magic than
all the other gifts of all the gardens of the world. It is as if
the first diviner of absinthe had been indeed a magician intent
upon a combination of sacred drugs which should cleanse, fortify
and perfume the human soul.

And it is no doubt that in the due employment of this liquor such
effects are easy to obtain. A single glass seems to render the
breathing freer, the spirit lighter, the heart more ardent, soul
and mind alike more capable of executing the great task of doing
that particular work in the world which the Father may have sent
them to perform. Food itself loses its gross qualities in the
presence of absinthe and becomes even as manna, operating the
sacrament of nutrition without bodily disturbance.

Let then the pilgrim enter reverently the shrine, and drink his
absinthe as a stirrup-cup; for in the right conception of this
life as an ordeal of chivalry lies the foundation of every
perfection of philosophy. “Whatsoever ye do, whether ye eat or
drink, do all to the glory of God!” applies with singular force
to the absintheur. So may he come victorious from the battle of
life to be received with tender kisses by some green-robed
archangel, and crowned with mystic vervain in the Emerald Gateway
of the Golden City of God.
VII.
And now the cafe is beginning to fill up. This little room with
its dark green woodwork, its boarded ceiling, its sanded floor,
its old pictures, its whole air of sympathy with time, is
beginning to exert its magic spell. Here comes a curious child,
short and sturdy, with a long blonde pigtail, with a jolly little
old man who looks as if he had stepped straight out of the pages of Balzac.

Handsome and diminutive, with a fierce mustache almost as big as
the rest of him, like a regular little Spanish fighting
cock–Frank, the waiter, in his long white apron, struts to them
with the glasses of ice-cold pleasure, green as the glaciers
themselves. He will stand up bravely with the musicians bye and
bye, and sing us a jolly song of old Catalonia.

The door swings open again. A tall dark girl, exquisitely slim
and snaky, with masses of black hair knotted about her head,
comes in. On her arm is a plump woman with hungry eyes, and a
mass of Titian red hair. They seem distracted from the outer
world, absorbed in some subject of enthralling interest and they
drink their aperitif as if in a dream. I ask the mulatto boy who
waits at my table (the sleek and lithe black panther!) who they
are; but he knows only that one is a cabaret dancer, the other
the owner of a cotton plantation up river. At a round table in
the middle of the room sits one of the proprietors with a group
of friends; he is burly, rubicund, and jolly, the very type of
the Shakespearean “Mine host.” Now a party of a dozen merry boys
and girls comes in. The old pianist begins to play a dance, and
in a moment the whole cafe is caught up in the music of
harmonious motion. Yet still the invisible line is drawn about
each soul; the dance does not conflict with the absorption of the
two strange women, or with my own mood of detachment.
Then there is a “little laughing lewd gamine” dressed all in
black save for a square white collar. Her smile is broad and free
as the sun and her gaze as clean and wholesome and inspiring.
There is the big jolly blonde Irish girl in the black velvet
beret and coat, and the white boots, chatting with two boys in
khaki from the border. There is the Creole girl in pure white
cap-a-pie, with her small piquant face and its round button of a
nose, and its curious deep rose flush, and its red little mouth,
impudently smiling. Around these islands seems to flow as a
general tide the more stable life of the quarter. Here are honest
good-wives seriously discussing their affairs, and heaven only
knows if it be love or the price of sugar which engages them so
wholly. There are but a few commonplace and uninteresting
elements in the cafe; and these are without exception men. The
giant Big Business is a great tyrant! He seizes all the men for
slaves, and leaves the women to make shift as best they can
for–all that makes life worth living. Candies and American
Beauty Roses are of no use in an emergency. So, even in this most
favored corner, there is dearth of the kind of men that women need.

At the table next to me sits an old, old man. He has done great
things in his day, they tell me, an engineer, who first found it
possible to dig Artesian wells in the Sahara desert. The Legion
of Honor glows red in his shabby surtout. He comes here, one of
the many wrecks of the Panama Canal, a piece of jetsam cast up by
that tidal wave of speculation and corruption. He is of the old
type, the thrifty peasantry; and he has his little income from
the Rente. He says that he is too old to cross the ocean–and why
should he, with the atmosphere of old France to be had a stone’s
throw from his little apartment in Bourbon Street? It is a
curious type of house that one finds in this quarter in New
Orleans; meagre without, but within one comes unexpectedly upon
great spaces, carved wooden balconies on which the rooms open. So
he dreams away his honored days in the Old Absinthe House. His
rusty black, with its worn red button, is a noble wear.

Black, by the way, seems almost universal among the women: is it
instinctive good taste? At least, it serves to bring up the
general level of good looks. Most American women spoil what
little beauty they may have by overdressing. Here there is
nothing extravagant, nothing vulgar, none of the near-Paris-gown
and the lust-off-Bond-Street hat. Nor is there a single dress to
which a Quaker could object. There is neither the mediocrity nor
the immodesty of the New York woman, who is tailored or
millinered on a garish pattern, with the Eternal Chorus Girl as
the Ideal–an ideal which she always attains, though (Heaven
knows!) in “society” there are few “front row” types.

On the other side of me a splendid stalwart maid, modern in
muscle, old only in the subtle and modest fascination of her
manner, her face proud, cruel and amorous, shakes her wild
tresses of gold in pagan laughter. Her mood is universal as the
wind. What can her cavalier be doing to keep her waiting? It is a
little mystery which I will not solve for the reader; on the contrary–

VIII.
Yes, it was my own sweetheart (no! not all the magazines can
vulgarize that loveliest of words) who was waiting for me to be
done with my musings. She comes in silently and stealthily,
preening and purring like a great cat, and sits down, and begins
to Enjoy. She know I must never be disturbed until I close my
pen. We shall go together to dine at a little Italian restaurant
kept by an old navy man, who makes the best ravioli this side of
Genoa; then we shall walk the wet and windy streets, rejoicing to
feel the warm sub-tropical rain upon our faces. We shall go down
to the Mississippi, and watch the lights of the ships, and listen
to the tales of travel and adventure of the mariners. There is
one tale that moves me greatly; it is like the story of the
sentinel of Herculaneum. A cruiser of the U.S. Navy was detailed
to Rio de Janeiro. (This was before the days of wireless
telegraphy.) The port was in quarantine; the ship had to stand
ten miles out to sea. Nevertheless, Yellow Jack managed to come
aboard. The men died one by one. There was no way of getting word
to Washington; and, as it turned out later, the Navy Department
had completely forgotten the existence of the ship. No orders
came; the captain stuck to his post for three months. Three
months of solitude and death! At last a passing ship was
signaled, and the cruiser was moved to happier waters. No doubt
the story is a lie; but did that make it less splendid in the
telling, as the old scoundrel sat and spat and chewed tobacco?
No, we will certainly go down, and ruffle it on the wharves.
There is really better fun in life than going to the movies, when
you know how to sense Reality.

There is beauty in every incident of life; the true and the
alse, the wise and the foolish, are all one in the eye that
beholds all without passion or prejudice: and the secret appears
to lie not in the retirement from the world, but in keeping a
part of oneself Vestal, sacred, intact, aloof from that self
which makes contact with the external universe. In other words,
in a separation of that which is and perceives from that which
acts and suffers. And the art of doing this is really the art of
being an artist. As a rule, it is a birthright; it may perhaps be
attained by prayer and fasting; most surely, it can never be bought.
But if you have it not. This will be the best way to get it–or
something like it. Give up your life completely to the task; sit
daily for six hours in the Old Absinthe House, and sip the icy
opal; endure till all things change insensibly before your eyes,
you changing with them; till you become as gods, knowing good and
evil, and that they are not two but one.
It may be a long time before the veil lifts; but a moment’s
experience of the point of view of the artist is worth a myriad
martyrdoms. It solves every problem of life and death-
-which two also are one.
It translates this universe into intelligible terms, relating
truly the ego with the non-ego, and recasting the prose of reason
in the poetry of soul. Even as the eye of the sculptor beholds
his masterpiece already existing in the shapeless mass of marble,
needing only the loving kindness of the chisel to cut away the
veils of Isis, so you may (perhaps) learn to behold the sum and
summit of all grace and glory from this great observatory, the
Old Absinthe House of New Orleans.
__________________
Kirk Jones ~ Luminos

January 8, 2006
by gwyllm
0 comments

For d.a.levy

For D.A. Levy…
Speaking in tongues
rattling in lungs
spilling into light,
out of darkness…

Watched Under Milk Wood tonight (Sunday Night) Delightful. Good memories. Nice to go back and think of Dylan Thomas again. ( I have resisted putting his poems up, such an obvious choice.)
I remember sitting with my friend Mike Conners, late, late, late into the night playing Dylan Thomas records in the old flat. We would of course would of been drinking for several hours before Dylan would appear on the record player. Our girl friends would be elsewhere, up to mischief but there we would sit, for hours, mouthing Dylan’s words as they sprang forth from the cheap speakers.
Tonight we tried to get Rowan to sit through it, but he fled, all verse, no prose. Someday soon, I am sure it will be a different story if I am lucky.
Today’s Log is dedicated to D.A. Levy. Wild poet, zine writer, explorer. Zen Buddhist, friends with many poets, writers. Denounced by the powers as a purveyor of obscenity; busted, tried, convicted. Hammered by the state, for his making 89 cents a day…
A couple of links, and finally, his poems.
Enjoy.
Gwyllm
________
Links:
putting bunny into trance…
rsstroom reader…
_________
_________
Poetry: D.A. Levy

2 love poems

himeros
she left in a whisper
without a trace
yet i remember
a last hungry kiss
her golden face
——
for a rainy day
kisses
we tried to save
pressed in books
like flowers from
a sun warmed day
only
years later to
open yellowing pages
to find those same
kisses – wilted and dry.
——
Selections From
The Burial Grounds of the Cat Nation
(portrait of a Young Man Trying to Eat the Sun)
I.
A wreath of angels around the eye to OM
opens to no light
no light and the eye opens
to a quiet place of clouds
sun moon mountains water wind
the quiet place is no thought
the quiet place is a wreath of
angels around the eye to AUM opens to ecstasy
i live in the world noise
behind all the world noise is the quiet place
when i look for the quiet place
i sometimes find a pale horse
and ride to the clouds
sun moon mountains water wind
the pale horse disappears
when i am there
i look for the dry atmosphere
and the world ocean
(AM I THERE)
i open the searchlights
(AM I THERE)
when i open the searchlights do i
bring the quiet place here
in the quiet place
roars the ocean water
the ocean is silent
a child calling is answered
with laughter is absolute silence
in the quiet place
are clouds moving
the sound of the sun
the sound of the moon
is absolute silence
in the quiet place
are clouds moving
on the mountains
is the roar of waterfalls
is the snap of a snow covered branch breaking
the explosion of the mountain not moving
is absolute silence
in the quiet place
is the wind whistling
the wind picking me up
is absolute silence
i stop here/not knowing where i can not go – YET
but go into Now
HERE I AM
the quiet place is a doorway
that opens to nothing
the return is thought
to stop is HERE I AM
the quiet place is a doorway
that opens to no time
all directions in no time
are like motions of light
[. . . ]
4.
when leaving the body
one goes to the
Lotus of a Thousand Petals
getting there one must cross
his own mountains
everyone gets there
EVENTUALLY
one leaves the body
one may leave the body by leaving
the body he writes ‘EXIT’ on his toe
he writes ‘EXIT’ on his navel
i leave by the crown of thorns
(this is the aperture of Brahma)
this is the Brahmarandhra
this is the way of the Tibetan monk
leaving the body
before
i tried to leave my body
by breaking down the walls
for seven years
i tried to leave my body
by breaking down the walls
when i found the door
i stuck one foot Out
YAAAAAAAAAHH
WHAT IS THIS
NOISE NOISE NOISE
thousands of birds singing
thousands of teakettles ringing
thousands of radio signals JAMMED on one channel
NOW i know where the door is
i struggle with my fear
each day i throw a spoonful
out the window
when leaving the body
one dies
but how many kinds of death are there?
when leaving the body
one does not look back
when leaving the body
one goes to the
Lotus of a Thousand Petals
getting there one must cross
his own mountains
Everyone gets there
EVENTUALLY
5.
(this is the time of the great light)
if there is a dark time
i will hide the body
in a world place
if waves of darkness sweep the beaches
of the world place seeking to carry
THE LIGHT away like sand
i will carry the light
to the Quiet Place
(this is the time of the great light)
THE LIGHT
is beyond inquisition
INVISIBLE
it illuminates the would be executioner
THE LIGHT moves
like the wind
moves clouds sun moon mountains water
moves like birds to an internal island
that is found with the eye
one can reach the island by going there
(this is the time of the great light)
the great light carries everything
one finds the great light in dreams
if one carries the great light
from the deep sleep
into the waking dream
one becomes a man
no one sees men
men are hidden by lies
the great men enter the dreams
of others
with the great light
others become great men
the great men move on like
the wind moves
clouds sun moon mountains water
(this is the time of the great light)
the great light is everywhere
one finds the great light
by opening the eye
one opens the eye with love
——
FUNNY THING
AFTER the first police putsch
on the cities
information sources
sorcerers
& magician s
UNI*Corpsed from psycho
logical operations
similar to those musically
performed at well known
rest resorts like Dachau &
San Diego/
strange figures.
rose from beneath the
streets of medina marble &
UNIFIED
(gave me the first
christmas ive had in years)
new family
of the sun
i feel—-
funny thing
a dark winter night
5 years & finally
the moon is setting on the
whore
eye
zone
/chicago poets
do not understand
my pottery/
after 8 yrs writing
& 4 yrs printing
& being very poor
& being romantic (only enuf to
fill in the nothingness of
being a poet in america)
A PIONEER!
(spelled peon)
the years disapated
& i havent anything
except sum unbelievable
beautiful friends with
tears in their eyes & i havent anything
to say
my name is myself
the pencil dead in my hand again
how is this connection made?
ink – pencil suddenly sucking
my brain cells dry –
is it that i become
in tune with the
consciousness of the
WRITING Tool?’
it is when the
ink starts spurting from
the pen like sperm
& the ecstasy
moves upward
between the eyes
ORGASM
i am beyond
physical matter
SENSATION
i am beyond myself NOW
who is this speaking from
beyond the strings of this
world?
i hiding?
(something from Cleveland)
look there first i say to
myself
& LOOK
& PUKE
& unlike the city
administration
i cannot sweep it under the carpet
& ask the federal govt. for help
i cannot even drive to hunting valley
& watch the policemen deliver news-
papers
next week tho,
when the zipper on my levi’s is fixed
i’ll put on my numbered dungaree shirt
& go to Collinwood
burn incense at Five Points
& buy Kumara’s brother at Norms
that is, if im not arrested
for some serious violation
like enticing a minor
to jaywalk.

1967
—————
THE BUDDHIST 3rd CLASS JUNKMAIL ORACLE

————–
sitting on a bench near TSQuare
by d.a.levy
(for David Meltzer)
1.
through the branches of
the thin trees of tenth street
the blue sky waits
with me &
im waiting for god
(on a white horse)
to ride thru the
branches of
the lower east side
before returning to
cleveland
& something
tells me
he isnt coming
2.
im a levy of the levites
yet in cleveland
i have painted myself
celtic-blue
& am feeling
something like an outlaw
the druids give me soup
& think im a lama
its been close to 7 years
ive been looking for god
& the trails wearing as
thin as the trees on tenth street
i am a levy of the levites
& last week
a fanatic jew in the heights
called me a halfbreed
because my mother was a christian
i am a levy of the levites
& last week a rabbi
thought i was kidding
when i told him
i was interested in judaism
god i think yr sense
of humor is sad
& perhaps you are also
feeling something
like an outlaw
god i am wondering
for how many years
have the jews
exiled you
while they busied themselves
with survival
__________
d.a levy (from Wikipedia)
d.a. levy (1942-1968) was a Cleveland, Ohio-based artist, poet and alternative publisher active during the 1960s. d.a. levy was born Darryl Allan Levy on October 29, 1942 to Joseph J. and Carolyn Levy living on Cleveland’s near West side. Toward the end of his high school years and later, during a short stint in the Navy, levy became frustrated with his perceived lack of respect from authority figures and turned to poetry as an outlet for his frustrations. He later found creative outlet in publishing on a small printing press. During this time he also discovered spiritual outlet in Buddhism. levy published his own and other’s works, printed on his hand press or a mimeograph through his Renegade Press and Seven Flowers Press. His poetry and political activities kept him in trouble with the law. In 1966 he was indicted for distributing obscene poetry to minors. He was arrested again in 1967, prompting a benefit reading on May 14, 1967 on the Case Institute of Technology campus which drew such figures as Allen Ginsberg, Tuli Kupferberg and the Fugs. levy committed suicide on November 24, 1968 at the age of 26.

January 7, 2006
by gwyllm
0 comments

Nearly 100 years old…


Nearly 100, LSD’s Father Ponders His ‘Problem Child’
By CRAIG SMITH
Published: January 7, 2006
BURG, Switzerland
Skip to next paragraph
Marc Latzel/Lookat
“LSD spoke to me. He came to me and said, ‘You must find me.’ He told me, ‘Don’t give me to the pharmacologist.'”
– ALBERT HOFMANN
ALBERT Hofmann, the father of LSD, walked slowly across the small corner office of his modernist home on a grassy Alpine hilltop here, hoping to show a visitor the vista that sweeps before him on clear days. But outside there was only a white blanket of fog hanging just beyond the crest of the hill. He picked up a photograph of the view on his desk instead, left there perhaps to convince visitors of what really lies beyond the windowpane.
Mr. Hofmann will turn 100 on Wednesday, a milestone to be marked by a symposium in nearby Basel on the chemical compound that he discovered and that famously unlocked the Blakean doors of perception, altering consciousnesses around the world. As the years accumulate behind him, Mr. Hofmann’s conversation turns ever more insistently around one theme: man’s oneness with nature and the dangers of an increasing inattention to that fact.
“It’s very, very dangerous to lose contact with living nature,” he said, listing to the right in a green armchair that looked out over frost-dusted fields and snow-laced trees. A glass pitcher held a bouquet of roses on the coffee table before him. “In the big cities, there are people who have never seen living nature, all things are products of humans,” he said. “The bigger the town, the less they see and understand nature.” And, yes, he said, LSD, which he calls his “problem child,” could help reconnect people to the universe.
Rounding a century, Mr. Hofmann is physically reduced but mentally clear. He is prone to digressions, ambling with pleasure through memories of his boyhood, but his bright eyes flash with the recollection of a mystical experience he had on a forest path more than 90 years ago in the hills above Baden, Switzerland. The experience left him longing for a similar glimpse of what he calls “a miraculous, powerful, unfathomable reality.”
“I was completely astonished by the beauty of nature,” he said, laying a slightly gnarled finger alongside his nose, his longish white hair swept back from his temples and the crown of his head. He said any natural scientist who was not a mystic was not a real natural scientist. “Outside is pure energy and colorless substance,” he said. “All of the rest happens through the mechanism of our senses. Our eyes see just a small fraction of the light in the world. It is a trick to make a colored world, which does not exist outside of human beings.”
He became particularly fascinated by the mechanisms through which plants turn sunlight into the building blocks for our own bodies. “Everything comes from the sun via the plant kingdom,” he said.
MR. HOFMANN studied chemistry and took a job with the Swiss pharmaceutical company Sandoz Laboratories, because it had started a program to identify and synthesize the active compounds of medically important plants. He soon began work on the poisonous ergot fungus that grows in grains of rye. Midwives had used it for centuries to precipitate childbirths, but chemists had never succeeded in isolating the chemical that produced the pharmacological effect. Finally, chemists in the United States identified the active component as lysergic acid, and Mr. Hofmann began combining other molecules with the unstable chemical in search of pharmacologically useful compounds.
His work on ergot produced several important drugs, including a compound still in use to prevent hemorrhaging after childbirth. But it was the 25th compound that he synthesized, lysergic acid diethylamide, that was to have the greatest impact. When he first created it in 1938, the drug yielded no significant pharmacological results. But when his work on ergot was completed, he decided to go back to LSD-25, hoping that improved tests could detect the stimulating effect on the body’s circulatory system that he had expected from it. It was as he was synthesizing the drug on a Friday afternoon in April 1943 that he first experienced the altered state of consciousness for which it became famous. “Immediately, I recognized it as the same experience I had had as a child,” he said. “I didn’t know what caused it, but I knew that it was important.”
When he returned to his lab the next Monday, he tried to identify the source of his experience, believing first that it had come from the fumes of a chloroform-like solvent he had been using. Inhaling the fumes produced no effect, though, and he realized he must have somehow ingested a trace of LSD. “LSD spoke to me,” Mr. Hofmann said with an amused, animated smile. “He came to me and said, ‘You must find me.’ He told me, ‘Don’t give me to the pharmacologist, he won’t find anything.’ “
HE experimented with the drug, taking a dose so small that even the most active toxin known at that time would have had little or no effect. The result with LSD, however, was a powerful experience, during which he rode his bicycle home, accompanied by an assistant. That day, April 19, later became memorialized by LSD enthusiasts as “bicycle day.”
Mr. Hofmann participated in tests in a Sandoz laboratory, but found the experience frightening and realized that the drug should be used only under carefully controlled circumstances. In 1951, he wrote to the German novelist Ernst Junger, who had experimented with mescaline, and proposed that they take LSD together. They each took 0.05 milligrams of pure LSD at Mr. Hofmann’s home accompanied by roses, music by Mozart and burning Japanese incense. “That was the first planned psychedelic test,” Mr. Hofmann said.
He took the drug dozens of times after that, he said, and once experienced what he called a “horror trip” when he was tired and Mr. Junger gave him amphetamines first. But his hallucinogenic days are long behind him.
“I know LSD; I don’t need to take it anymore,” Mr. Hofmann said. “Maybe when I die, like Aldous Huxley,” who asked his wife for an injection of LSD to help him through the final painful throes of his fatal throat cancer.
But Mr. Hofmann calls LSD “medicine for the soul” and is frustrated by the worldwide prohibition that has pushed it underground. “It was used very successfully for 10 years in psychoanalysis,” he said, adding that the drug was hijacked by the youth movement of the 1960’s and then demonized by the establishment that the movement opposed. He said LSD could be dangerous and called its distribution by Timothy Leary and others “a crime.”
“It should be a controlled substance with the same status as morphine,” he said.
Mr. Hofmann lives with his wife in the house they built 38 years ago. He raised four children and watched one son struggle with alcoholism before dying at 53. He has eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. As far as he knows, no one in his family besides his wife has tried LSD.
Mr. Hofmann rose, slightly stooped and now barely reaching five feet, and walked through his house with his arm-support cane. When asked if the drug had deepened his understanding of death, he appeared mildly startled and said no. “I go back to where I came from, to where I was before I was born, that’s all,” he said.

January 6, 2006
by gwyllm
0 comments

Earth Rites Radio in Test Mode…!

http://www.earthrites.org:8000/ices
Paste The Above Address in to your Media Player! you can also click on this url, and then click on the mount point to load the program: http://www.earthrites.org:8000/

Yep. In the heavy testing mode. A few hours of Chill Programming up there now. A big thanks to Doug over in the UK for his assistance!
Give it a go, and send some feedback if you would. It is a 128k feed, so will work on Broadband/Cable Connections… Full Stereo btw.
We will have more stuff coming soon if the plan goes right, A Spoken Word Channel, and a Dial-Up Channel for those who are using slower connections.
We hope to have programming on a regular basis, of Chill, Trance, Acid Rock, Dub, Indian, Iranian and other musics… The Spoken Word Channel will carry Lectures, Poetry and Interviews. The first Interview if we can get it launched will be next month…
If you have any request for music, or spoken word programming let me know, kay?
On Menu:
Most Excellent Linkage!
Remake? Wicker Man
Gary Snyder on D.A. Levy
Poetry: Li Po
Have a good weekend, I will alert ya when the radio program changes out…
Thanks,
Gwyllm
_________
Links:
Mysteries of the Melon…
Army Gollum
It’s Weird, It’s Wonderful, It’s Chicken Suit!
An article about Sasha!

__________
Wicker Man Remake…
I have a bit of trepidation about this… but I must admit I am looking forward to it. I think it would be hard to top Christopher Lee’s portrayal though, as well as Lindsey Kemp’s performance, let alone Britt Ekland… Well, I have fond memories of it. If you find the original, get the US release, as it has almost 20 more minutes of very pertinent material in it. I always thought the writer had raided “The Golden Bough”, yet I am happy with the result. I hope I can say the same about the new one, and for some reason they have set it in Maine, and you have to contend with Nicolas Cage as well….. Script Review…

______________
The Dhrma Eye of d.a.levy
by Gary Snyder
______
d.a.levy – Darryl Levy – I try out his names, reaching to know the man; his poems, his polemics. I feel brother to Levy not only as poet but as fellow-worker in the Buddha-fields. Levy had a remarkable karma: he saw who he was, where he was, what his field of activity was, and what his tools were to be.
______
“if in the past
i was of the black
and sat at night
in cemeteries
& silence
even that
was transient”
In Indian thought the truth/law/absolute is called the Dharma. The Buddhadharma (“Buddhism”) is the Dharma as transmitted by a line of enlightened men and women. Gods exist, but even the Gods are subject to the laws of karma; and because of their tiresomely long omnipotent lives they are somewhat handicapped in the achievement of liberation. Gods have been known to gain insight by attending little talks given by poor wretched mendicant human wise men. There are religious-minded people who strive for purity and solitary illumination, to be “God” like-but the Dharma is without dualism. Great Buddhist yogins of the past often sat through the night in graveyards, meditating while seated on corpses. Some of these yogins in their exhaustive search through all the components of mind and transformations of thought-energy became “of the black” – showing no dualistic distaste for “impurity” – and hoping to reach the depths where there is the basest lead, the raw material for the alchemical transformation into “gold.”
“it was feb. 63 when i had enough money to buy a 6X9 letterhead hand press & type. Spent al most a year at my aunt and uncles printing sometimes 8 to 16 hours a day for days and days. . .”
The “right-handed” yogins and mystics have been an integral part of the conspiracy of civilization to degrade women and mis-use nature. They have become “established religion” living off of money provided by the state, or the pious gifts of workers and peasants.
The yogins of the left-hand, both women and men, have lived in the world doing their work and supporting themselves by crafts or labor. The Tantric siddha (“powerman”) Saraha was an arrow-maker. Naropa’s teacher Tilopa was a pounder of til seeds. Many were poets. Long apprentice ships were spent, in the mastery of a craft.
_______

“i have a city to cover with lines”
His hometown, Cleveland, that he wouldn’t move from. Like the Sioux warriors who tied themselves to a spear and stuck it in the ground, never to retreat. Why? An almost irrational act of love–to give a measure of self-awareness to the people of Cleveland through poesy.
_______

“you will not confront yourself
so you leap to the aid of others”
–Levy’s self-criticism also. But the Bodhisattva view does not imply that first, you perfect your selfrealization and second, enter the world to “cure illnesses and loosen bonds.” The waterwheel swings deep into the water and spills it off the top in the same turning.
_______
“in the background i sense
clannish emasculated
masonic mafia rites”
You’d think a hard-working young printer and poet would incur no particular wrath and blame. Or would you. The problem goes deeper than the celebrated American anti-intellectualism or guilt-filled prurient repressive over-permissive sexual attitudes or the compulsive accumulation of X
________
“Really”
the police try to protect
the banks – and everything else
is secondary”
(Luther’s outhouse a national institution.) The problem goes back to when the powers, beauties, and deep knowledges of the age-old women’s traditions were supplanted by military-caste mystiques & the accumulation of heavy metals. The poet/yogin still speaks for that other, saner, consciousness. The Occidental poet, with his “Muse.”
_______
“lady you have to be realistic
sending all your poets to the looney bin
ain’t helping the profession very much
your blue hair in the wind
& yr eyes full of diamonds.”
Not an easy row to hoe. Nature a network of de-pendent transformations and the Muse can be Maya, mistress of the ecosystem of delusion; who will perpetually keep tricking, or be the means of seeing through (herself) – a challenge, Levy’s Cleveland is not, exactly, his adversary: but his witch-Muse he needs must convert to the Path (more paying-back for spooky experiments in previous lives – that muse -)
_______
“What form of energy is used to
create the original thoughts?
Try to become THAT!”
This takes us to the heart of Levy’s strength. All manipulations of politics or magic – things, images, from inner or outer worlds; reduce down to this mustard seed that blows away when you try to look at it.
________
“Cherokee, Deleware, Huron [sic]
We will return your land to you”
It is curious how even a glimpse of the Mind-essence creates such primal respect for the land and for the dignity of men who live lovingly in the web of life – the primitives-
“it is not a Cathouse of the rising sun
or the deathwagon of the beat
generation, but a bridge of clouds
to a new culture.”
Traditional orthodox Buddhists are not concerned with building new cultures any more than they are interested in nature religion or girls. Poets must try to get them together – playing a funny kind of role, today, as pivot-man, between the upheavals of culture-change and the persistence of the Single Eye of knowledge. d. a. levy finished up his karma early – “reborn as a poet in an industrial society” but he did his job well.
_______
“the traditions we follow
make the gods look young”
Thus the name of Padma Sambhava’s line of Tibetan Buddhism, Ning-ma, means “Ancient Ones.” The sophistications of Mahayana metaphysics harmonized with archaic and primitive systems … Goddesses; sexual yoga. Too rich to manage without the bitter tea of Zen as well – and here in North America, Turtle Island, we begin now to look for the next switchback in the path: something drawing on the wisdom traditions of Asia, incorporating the profound lore of our Semitic, Celtic, African, & Germanic roots – something that walks with the land and animals of Turtle Island in “a sacred manner” as the Indians do.
Levy gone up ahead, with that tinkle of bells (which is also how you hear the dakini approaching)
“when riding the winter pony
one
leaves
a trail of bells
soft/y ringing
deep in the mind
& if one listens
perhaps this sound
will guide
the young rider through the
falling
snow”
Gary Snyder
4.V I 11.40071
(Reckoning roughly from
the earliest cave paintings)
NOTE
Books by d.a.levy – find them where you can –
ukanhavyrfukncitibak. Cleveland, Ghost Press 1970.
Suburban Monastery Death Poem. Madison, Wis., Quixote Press, Vajrayana Reprint Series #1.
The Tibetan Stroboscope. Cleveland, Ayizan Press, 1968.
and, issues of The Buddhist Third Class Junk Mail Oracle.
Previously published in The Old Ways, City Lights Books
Copyright � 1977 by Gary Snyder
__________________
Poetry: Li Po
Green Mountain

You ask me why I live on Green Mountain ?
I smile in silence and the quiet mind.
Peach petals blow on mountain streams
To earths and skies beyond Humankind.

A Mountain Revelry
To wash and rinse our souls of their age-old sorrows,
We drained a hundred jugs of wine.
A splendid night it was . . . .
In the clear moonlight we were loath to go to bed,
But at last drunkenness overtook us;
And we laid ourselves down on the empty mountain,
The earth for pillow, and the great heaven for coverlet.

Alone And Drinking Under The Moon
Amongst the flowers I
am alone with my pot of wine
drinking by myself; then lifting
my cup I asked the moon
to drink with me, its reflection
and mine in the wine cup, just
the three of us; then I sigh
for the moon cannot drink,
and my shadow goes emptily along
with me never saying a word;
with no other friends here, I can
but use these two for company;
in the time of happiness, I
too must be happy with all
around me; I sit and sing
and it is as if the moon
accompanies me; then if I
dance, it is my shadow that
dances along with me; while
still not drunk, I am glad
to make the moon and my shadow
into friends, but then when
I have drunk too much, we
all part; yet these are
friends I can always count on
these who have no emotion
whatsoever; I hope that one day
we three will meet again,
deep in the Milky Way.
Translated by: Rewi Allen

Bathed And Washed
Bathed in fragrance,
do not brush your hat;
Washed in perfume,
do not shake your coat:
“Knowing the world
fears what is too pure,
The wisest man
prizes and stores light!”
By Bluewater
an old angler sat:
You and I together,
Let us go home.
_____________

January 5, 2006
by gwyllm
0 comments

Dromena

For by means of the Mysteries,
we have been transformed
from a rough and savage
way of life
to the state of humanity,
and have been civilized.
Just as they are called Initiations,
so in actual fact
we have learned from them
the fundamentals of life
and have grasped the basis
not only for living with joy
but also dying with a better hope.
—–Cicero
Welcome to Thursday. Often when I work, my mind is doing the wander. Today the idea of what occurred during the Dromena kept welling up as I tried to finish off the first part of a very large project… (this type of thing rattles around yours truly brainbox on a regular fashion, weird to say)
It seems that I have been looking at the idea of initiation again as well in these mid-day musings. I recently watched the attempts of young ones trying to self initiate without having a firm foundation, or a guiding hand. Because of a lack of training it seems that most would miss the cue when a guiding hand is being offered. Then again, so would many of the rest of us. I have found that we pass saints and sages daily, and are blind to what is in front, or even working its way out of us…
With that said, I have gone back to the font of it all for our “Western” Civilization, Eleusis. This is timely with Albert H’s 100th Birthday Bash in Basel Switzerland looming rather quickly… Lots of speculation abounding (Thanks for the reminder Professor Pan) about what the Kykeon actually was, and if it was Ergot, or Mushrooms, or, or… a plain drink of barley water.
Today’s edition deals with Dromena, (Things Acted). Some say this was the birth of Theatre. Possibly. Where are the dramas now that open the mind to the light like these acts did? What will transform the Epopt?
Many suffer from a lack of mystery, and from the rites that mark our transitions. I hope that some might find the beginning of wisdom here. These are but excerpts, (of the Dromena) with power though to pierce the soul if juggled correctly.
As Proclus said: “In the most sacred Mysteries before the scene of the mystic visions, there is terror infused over the minds of the initiated.”
As it should be. Eyes wide open now…
Bright Blessings,
Gwyllm
_____________
Initiation: Dromena (Things Acted)
There were three degrees of initiation: the Lesser Mysteries which were a preliminary requirement, the Greater Mysteries or telete which means “to make perfect,” and the additional and highest degree, the epopteia. The telete initiation can be divided into the dromena : things acted, the legomena : things said, and the deiknymena : things shown. Theo Smyrnaios has his own particular stages of mystical initiation related to his five-step understanding of philosophy. They are 1) initial purification, 2) mystic communion or communication, 3) epopteia : revelation of the holy objects and transmission of the telete, 4) crowning with garlands as the badge of initiation into the mysteries, and 5) the happiness resulting from communion with God. According to inscriptions the crowning of initiates occurred at the beginning of the ceremonies described as the second and third stages. Their names were recorded on wooden tablets by the priests, and their myrtle wreaths were replaced by wreathes with ribbons, the emblem of their consecration to the goddesses. (Mylonas Eleusis p. 261)
The seventh day, Boedromion 21, was the second day at Eleusis and was probably spent resting and preparing for the final ceremony (orgia) in the Telesterion that night. Proclus writes:
to those entering the temenos (sacred precinct) of Eleusis the program was stated, not to advance inside the adytum.
(Ibid. p. 261)
In the dromena the initiates may have imitated in ritual fashion the actions and feelings of Demeter in the original time. These could have included the abduction of Persephone, the wanderings of Demeter, her arrival at Eleusis, her sorrow while staying with Celeus and Metaneira, the rejoicing at reunion with her daughter, and finally her divine gifts of grain and mystic knowledge. Tertullian complains of a ritual discrepancy.
Why is the priestess of Demeter carried off, unless Demeter herself had suffered the same sort of thing?
(To the Nations 30)
Lactantius says:
In the Mysteries of Demeter all night long with torches kindled they seek for Persephone and when she is found, the whole ritual closes with thanksgiving and the tossing of torches.
(Mylonas Eleusis p. 215)
Many literary sources and especially the art show us the dominant importance of the torches in the rites. Ovid gives this account of the original action of Demeter:
There the goddess kindled two pine-trees to serve her as a light; hence to this day a torch is given out at the rites of Ceres.
(Fasti IV, 492-494)
A quote from Apollodoros indicates sound effects.
The Hierophant is in the habit of sounding the so-called gong when Kore is being invoked by name. (Fragment 36)
This gong was used in the Greek theater to imitate thunder, which was believed to come from the underworld. (Kerenyi Eleusis p. 84)
Plutarch describes the serious reverence on the final night as being analogous to the deepest calm of the enlightened philosopher.
Just as persons who are being initiated into the Mysteries throng together at the outset amid tumult and shouting, and jostle against one another but when the holy rites are being performed and disclosed the people are immediately attentive in awe and silence, so too at the beginning of philosophy: about its portals also you will see great tumult and talking and boldness, as some boorishly and violently try to jostle their way towards the repute it bestows; but he who has succeeded in getting inside, and has seen a great light, as though a shrine were opened, adopts another bearing of silence and amazement, and “humble and orderly attends upon” reason as upon a god.
(Progress in Virtue 81e)
Aristeides describes the range of emotions experienced.
Within this hall, the mystics were made to experience the most bloodcurdling sensations of horror and the most enthusiastic ecstasy of joy.
He says the Eleusinian initiates were to receive “impressions, and not information,” and the aim was that they be put into a certain attitude of mind, provided they were prepared for it. (Casavis The Greek Origins of Freemasonry p. 111)
The following account by Synesius indicates that Aristotle took the same position:
But their procedure is like Bacchic frenzy – like the leap of a man mad, or possessed – the attainment of a goal without running the race, a passing beyond reason without the previous exercise of reasoning. For the sacred matter (contemplation) is not like attention belonging to knowledge, or an outlet of mind, nor is it like one thing in one place and another in another. On the contrary – to compare small and greater – it is like Aristotle’s view that men being initiated have not a lesson to learn, but an experience to undergo and a condition into which they must be brought, while they are becoming fit (for revelation).
(Synesius Dio 1133)
Themistius says of the initiate:
Entering now into the secret dome, he is filled with horror and astonishment. He is seized with loneliness and total perplexity; he is unable to move a step forward, and at a loss to find the entrance to the way that leads to where he aspires to, till the prophet or conductor lays open the anteroom of the Temple.
(Themistius Orat. in Patrem. 50)
Stobaeus speaks of:
a rude and fearful march through night and darkness.
(Casavis The Greek Origins of Freemasonry p. 111)
Proclus says:
In the most sacred Mysteries before the scene of the mystic visions, there is terror infused over the minds of the initiated.
(Ibid. p. 111)
Porphyry tell how a boy’s part in the ritual helps the relationship between god and man.
For, in your mysteries, what the boy who attends the altar accomplishes, by performing accurately what he is commanded to do, in order to render the gods propitious to all those who have been initiated, as far as to muesis, that, in nations and cities, priests are able to effect, by sacrificing for all the people, and through piety inducing the Gods to be attentive to the welfare of those that belong to them.
(On Abstinence From Animal Food )
According to Hermias, those initiates who closed the eyes, which muesis signifies, no longer received by sense those divine mysteries, but with the pure soul itself.
The following passage from Plutarch’s essay On the Soul survives today only because it was quoted by Stobaeus (Florigelium 120). So significant are its ideas and perhaps others in the same essay, that it may have been censored from his collected works by some ruthless dogmatists. It does more than describe the emotions experienced in initiation as it goes to the core of its meaning.
Thus death and initiation closely correspond; even the words (teleutan and teleisthai) correspond, and so do the things. At first there are wanderings, and toilsome running about in circles and journeys through the dark over uncertain roads and culs de sac ; then, just before the end, there are all kinds of terrors, with shivering, trembling, sweating, and utter amazement. After this, a strange and wonderful light meets the wanderer; he is admitted into clean and verdant meadows, where he discerns gentle voices, and choric dances, and the majesty of holy sounds and sacred visions. Here the now fully initiated is free, and walks at liberty like a crowned and dedicated victim, joining in the revelry; he is the companion of pure and holy men, and looks down upon the uninitiated and unpurified crowd here below in the mud and fog, trampling itself down and crowded together, though of death remaining still sunk in its evils, unable to believe in the blessings that lie beyond. That the wedding and close union of the soul with the body is a thing really contrary to nature may clearly be seen from all this.
(Grant, F. C. Hellenistic Religions p. 148)
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An applicable poem by a sympathetic heart. I love this man’s work.
Poetry: Alfred Tennyson / Demeter and Persephone

Faint as a climate-changing bird that flies
All night across the darkness, and at dawn
Falls on the threshold of her native land,
And can no more, thou camest, O my child,
Led upward by the God of ghosts and dreams,
Who laid thee at Eleusis, dazed and dumb,
With passing thro’ at once from state to state,
Until I brought thee hither, that the day,
When here thy hands let fall the gather’d flower,
Might break thro’ clouded memories once again
On thy lost self. A sudden nightingale
Saw thee, and flash’d into a frolic of song
And welcome; and a gleam as of the moon,
When first she peers along the tremulous deep,
Fled wavering o’er thy face, and chased away
That shadow of a likeness to the king
Of shadows, thy dark mate. Persephone!
Queen of the dead no more — my child! Thine eyes
Again were human-godlike, and the Sun
Burst from a swimming fleece of winter gray,
And robed thee in his day from head to feet —
“Mother!” and I was folded in thine arms.
Child, those imperial, disimpassion’d eyes
Awed even me at first, thy mother — eyes
That oft had seen the serpent-wanded power
Draw downward into Hades with his drift
Of fickering spectres, lighted from below
By the red race of fiery Phlegethon;
But when before have Gods or men beheld
The Life that had descended re-arise,
And lighted from above him by the Sun?
So mighty was the mother’s childless cry,
A cry that ran thro’ Hades, Earth, and Heaven!
So in this pleasant vale we stand again,
The field of Enna, now once more ablaze
With flowers that brighten as thy footstep falls,
All flowers — but for one black blur of earth
Left by that closing chasm, thro’ which the car
Of dark Aidoneus rising rapt thee hence.
And here, my child, tho’ folded in thine arms,
I feel the deathless heart of motherhood
Within me shudder, lest the naked glebe
Should yawn once more into the gulf, and thence
The shrilly whinnyings of the team of Hell,
Ascending, pierce the glad and songful air,
And all at once their arch’d necks, midnight-maned,
Jet upward thro’ the mid-day blossom. No!
For, see, thy foot has touch’d it; all the space
Of blank earth-baldness clothes itself afresh,
And breaks into the crocus-purple hour
That saw thee vanish.
Child, when thou wert gone,
I envied human wives, and nested birds,
Yea, the cubb’d lioness; went in search of thee
Thro’ many a palace, many a cot, and gave
Thy breast to ailing infants in the night,
And set the mother waking in amaze
To find her sick one whole; and forth again
Among the wail of midnight winds, and cried,
“Where is my loved one? Wherefore do ye wail?”
And out from all the night an answer shrill’d,
“We know not, and we know not why we wail.”
I climb’d on all the cliffs of all the seas,
And ask’d the waves that moan about the world
“Where? do ye make your moaning for my child?”
And round from all the world the voices came
“We know not, and we know not why we moan.”
“Where?” and I stared from every eagle-peak,
I thridded the black heart of all the woods,
I peer’d thro’ tomb and cave, and in the storms
Of Autumn swept across the city, and heard
The murmur of their temples chanting me,
Me, me, the desolate Mother! “Where”? — and turn’d,
And fled by many a waste, forlorn of man,
And grieved for man thro’ all my grief for thee, —
The jungle rooted in his shatter’d hearth,
The serpent coil’d about his broken shaft,
The scorpion crawling over naked skulls; —
I saw the tiger in the ruin’d fane
Spring from his fallen God, but trace of thee
I saw not; and far on, and, following out
A league of labyrinthine darkness, came
On three gray heads beneath a gleaming rift.
“Where”? and I heard one voice from all the three
“We know not, for we spin the lives of men,
And not of Gods, and know not why we spin!
There is a Fate beyond us.” Nothing knew.
Last as the likeness of a dying man,
Without his knowledge, from him flits to warn
A far-off friendship that he comes no more,
So he, the God of dreams, who heard my cry,
Drew from thyself the likeness of thyself
Without thy knowledge, and thy shadow past
Before me, crying “The Bright one in the highest
Is brother of the Dark one in the lowest,
And Bright and Dark have sworn that I, the child
Of thee, the great Earth-Mother, thee, the Power
That lifts her buried life from loom to bloom,
Should be for ever and for evermore
The Bride of Darkness.”
So the Shadow wail’d.
Then I, Earth-Goddess, cursed the Gods of Heaven.
I would not mingle with their feasts; to me
Their nectar smack’d of hemlock on the lips,
Their rich ambrosia tasted aconite.
The man, that only lives and loves an hour,
Seem’d nobler than their hard Eternities.
My quick tears kill’d the flower, my ravings hush’d
The bird, and lost in utter grief I fail’d
To send my life thro’ olive-yard and vine
And golden grain, my gift to helpless man.
Rain-rotten died the wheat, the barley-spears
Were hollow-husk’d, the leaf fell, and the sun,
Pale at my grief, drew down before his time
Sickening, and Aetna kept her winter snow.
Then He, the brother of this Darkness, He
Who still is highest, glancing from his height
On earth a fruitless fallow, when he miss’d
The wonted steam of sacrifice, the praise
And prayer of men, decreed that thou should’st dwell
For nine white moons of each whole year with me,
Three dark ones in the shadow with thy King.
Once more the reaper in the gleam of dawn
Will see me by the landmark far away,
Blessing his field, or seated in the dusk
Of even, by the lonely threshing-floor,
Rejoicing in the harvest and the grange.
Yet I, Earth-Goddess, am but ill-content
With them, who still are highest. Those gray heads,
What meant they by their “Fate beyond the Fates”
But younger kindlier Gods to bear us down,
As we bore down the Gods before us? Gods,
To quench, not hurl the thunderbolt, to stay,
Not spread the plague, the famine; Gods indeed,
To send the noon into the night and break
The sunless halls of Hades into Heaven?
Till thy dark lord accept and love the Sun,
And all the Shadow die into the Light,
When thou shalt dwell the whole bright year with me,
And souls of men, who grew beyond their race,
And made themselves as Gods against the fear
Of Death and Hell; and thou that hast from men,
As Queen of Death, that worship which is Fear,
Henceforth, as having risen from out the dead,
Shalt ever send thy life along with mine
From buried grain thro’ springing blade, and bless
Their garner’d Autumn also, reap with me,
Earth-mother, in the harvest hymns of Earth
The worship which is Love, and see no more
The Stone, the Wheel, the dimly-glimmering lawns
Of that Elysium, all the hateful fires
Of torment, and the shadowy warrior glide
Along the silent field of Asphodel.
__________________
To the Rites remembered, and to the Rites yet to begin.
(Free ourselves so that we might assist in freeing others.)
Take Care,
G

January 5, 2006
by gwyllm
0 comments

A grave business

From The BBC…
Graveyard yields secrets of ancient world
Residents of the village of Nobber, north Meath, in the Republic of Ireland, stumbled upon archaeological treasure when they decided to clean up an old graveyard.
Now they are hoping that tombs in the shape of Celtic crosses, dating back 1100 years, will put them on the map, alongside such famous archaeological sites as Newgrange.

The old graveyard at Nobber, North Meath
Until recently, the graveyard in the village of Nobber, about two hours’ drive from Dublin, was overgrown with weeds and briars.
It is surrounded by evergreen trees and bushes, a church that has fallen into disrepair and the remains of a medieval monastery.
It took 12 men nearly two years working at night and at weekends, in all four seasons to clear up Mother Nature’s mess. She rewarded them in full.
Richard Clarke, a volunteer worker, said the graveyard was very neglected.
“We started in, basically, with our hands and clippers and spades and any little thing at all that would break down some of the old vegetation that had overgrown the place,” he said.
Celtic crosses
In the course of cleaning up the wind-swept cemetery, they found small concrete tomb stones, like Celtic crosses, some less than a foot high.
Graves, they now know, that date back to the 10th century.
Archaeologists, like Professor George Eogan, an expert on Newgrange, are excited by the discovery.
He said it proves that this north Meath townland with its own monastery, was significant in the relatively early Christian times.

Professor George Eogan is excited by the discovery
“It certainly, was an outstanding place around the 10th century. It was one of the leading sites in Ireland at that earlier period,” Professor Eogan said.
But the small weather-beaten tombs, with their fading etched marks were not all that was found in the clean-up.
Local people also discovered evidence of a church built in the 12th century and medieval tomb stones lying flat on the ground with elaborate designs and concrete carvings of kneeling men.
Tony McEntee, who helped organise the tidy up, said Nobber should be very proud of its voluntary workers.
“Were it not for all the work that these men put in, these discoveries would never have been known,” he said.
The one-street village of Nobber is a small, agricultural community on the Navan to Kingscourt Road.
People, including the Fine Gael TD Shane McEntee, now hope to capitalise on the discovery and make their village a major tourist attraction.
“To get jobs into the area is an issue but the fact is that you have something here, a home-grown industry that people are very proud of – it would be great to put the whole package together.”
A simple tidy up has paid rich dividends.