Wherever you are is the entry point – Kabir

January 13, 2006
by gwyllm

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:

And for those outside the bay area KQED’s stream live internet stream is at:


If you get a chance to listen in… I am sure you will enjoy it!



January 13, 2006
by gwyllm

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.





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


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.


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.


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!


January 12, 2006
by gwyllm

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,



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


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.


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


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



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.


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

Alberts' Birthday!

A short note on Albert’s Birthday

Applicable Links

Indigenous Poetry from Ancient Mexico

Artwork by yours truly

Have a good one!



“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,


‘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?




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

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…





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


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.


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.


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!


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!


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.”


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.


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–


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

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.





putting bunny into trance…

rsstroom reader…



Poetry: D.A. Levy

2 love poems


she left in a whisper

without a trace

yet i remember

a last hungry kiss

her golden face


for a rainy day


we tried to save

pressed in books

like flowers from

a sun warmed day


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)


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


i open the searchlights


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


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

[. . . ]


when leaving the body

one goes to the

Lotus of a Thousand Petals

getting there one must cross

his own mountains

everyone gets there


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


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




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



(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)


is beyond inquisition


it illuminates the would be executioner


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



AFTER the first police putsch

on the cities

information sources


& 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 &


(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




/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)


(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


it is when the

ink starts spurting from

the pen like sperm

& the ecstasy

moves upward

between the eyes


i am beyond

physical matter


i am beyond myself NOW

who is this speaking from

beyond the strings of this


i hiding?

(something from Cleveland)

look there first i say to




& unlike the city


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-


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.





sitting on a bench near TSQuare

by d.a.levy

(for David Meltzer)


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


& something

tells me

he isnt coming


im a levy of the levites

yet in cleveland

i have painted myself


& 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

Nearly 100 years old…

Nearly 100, LSD’s Father Ponders His ‘Problem Child’


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, 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

Earth Rites Radio in Test Mode…!

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:

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…





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



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



a trail of bells

soft/y ringing

deep in the mind

& if one listens

perhaps this sound

will guide

the young rider through the



Gary Snyder

4.V I 11.40071

(Reckoning roughly from

the earliest cave paintings)


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


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.


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,



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)


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,


January 5, 2006
by gwyllm

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.