“Asher” A new piece. I haven’t come up another name as of yet.
Magick is Afoot! “Art finds her own perfection within, and not outside of, herself. She is not to be judged by any external standard of resemblance.” – Oscar Wilde
Hello Dear Friends, off to the start of another Gregorian Calendar Event…
In General: The last year 2022, (as if you need reminding) was a wild ride for all and sundry. On the main, enjoyable, but gone, poof, just like that. I am okay with letting it go though. It seemed on the main to be a point of stasis on multiple levels. I am not going to wax on about politics. Sick of it, at this point. Just let me say I think we live in a failed system. House cleaning, is needed.
2022 might be the year that social media began to wane, and crawl back under the rock it emerged from. Seeing the slow cascading of Twitter into oblivion, FB looking dire, Instagram being cited for toxicity for young women, and Tiktok being a tool of the Chinese Government and disinfo central… Good riddance. It may take a few years, but we can pray for it to go away. I found this article to be quite enlighteningBring Back Personal Blogging
“The Garden” Invisible College Review #11
I will be putting out my art book soon. Re-editing of course. Almost there. Stressing about the minutiae re page design as I am given to do.
You are now reading the beginning of my re-imagining of “The Hare’s Tale”. which deals more with mythology, poetry, music, politics etc. There is some 20 years of personal writing, etc. scattered throughout the entries here.
I will continue to post art here, and at Instagram, Mastodon, Ello…
Top of the New Year!
Gwyllm Art Calendar! https://py.pl/7BMiMsCHJao
Available Now! (US sales only at this time)
My Art Calendar for 2023! 14 illustrations.
So, AI generated illustration has been tearing through the Interwebs as of late. People are claiming to be artist because their phrases/prompts are “creating” pieces. I have heard everything from, “Who has the time to learn?”, “Who wants to put in the years of discipline to produce “Art”?. Well I would suggest the term “Phrasers or Prompters” as opposed to artist.
AI “illustration” is based on software scavenging image from artist pieces that are resident on the web, yet, there is no recompense for said artist. See the article above… Is it outright theft?
Question: If you prompt a text generator AI to write a poem, does that make you a poet?
These are legitimate questions IMO. Thoughts? Do we end 40k years of human expression for convenience/speed?
Starting Off The New Year Spoken Word Events!
Spoken Word: Ancient Celtic Anarchy & Music Tuesday 1/3 8:00PM Pacific Coast Time & Friday 1/6 8:00PM Pacific Coast Time
More Spoken Word Coming. We are aiming to have an event every or every other day if possible. Request are appreciated!
On The Menu:
The Trooping Fairies – Changelings
Whit Griffin Poems
Martyn Bennett & Sorley MacLean/Poetry-Music
_____________________________________ Alan Stivell – I was lucky enough to see him perform this piece and others, twice. Once in Freiburg, Germany the late 1970’s, and then at McCabes’ in Santa Monica late 1980’s. He is the real deal.
————————————————– The Trooping Fairies Changelings…
Sometimes the fairies fancy mortals, and carry them away into their own country, leaving instead some sickly fairy child, or a log of wood so bewitched that it seems to be a mortal pining away, and dying, and being buried. Most commonly they steal children. If you “over look a child”, that is look on it with envy, the fairies have it in their power. Many things can be done to find out if a child’s a changeling, but there is one infallible thing–lay it on the fire with this formula, “Burn, burn, burn–if of the devil, bum; but if of God and the saints, be safe from harm” (given by Lady Wilde). Then if it be a changeling it will rush up the chimney with a cry, for, according to Giraldus Cambrensis, “fire is the greatest of enemies to every sort of phantom, in so much that those who have seen apparitions fall into a swoon as soon as they are sensible of the brightness of fire”.
Sometimes the creature is got rid of in a more gentle way. It is on record that once when a mother was leaning over a wizened changeling the latch lifted and a fairy came in, carrying home again the wholesome stolen baby. “It was the others,” she said, “who stole it.” As for her, she wanted her own child.
Those who are carried away are happy, according to some accounts, having plenty of good living and music and mirth. Others say, however, that they are continually longing for their earthly friends. Lady Wilde gives a gloomy tradition that there are two kinds of fairies–one kind merry and gentle, the other evil, and sacrificing every year a life to Satan, for which purpose they steal mortals. No other Irish writer gives this tradition–if such fairies there be, they must be among the solitary spirits–Pookas, Fir Darrigs, and the like.
– Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry
Edited and Selected by W. B. Yeats 
_____________________________________ Poetry: Whit Griffin “The Ones Who Listen”
(Extract:)At dawn a man with a golden beard
comes down to the brook A morning
of many-colored light Alphabets of
color The Cosmic Colour Fellowship
Friendhood A self-imposed envelope
of colorI think of some old monk or sage who
grew up in a traditional family in some
far-off place and has lived a very full
life of inner exploration And they reflect
back on the life they were born into and
“how far they have come,” and they ask,
“what have I done to deserve such a gift?”The Red Ray, the Life Ray Pass a laser
light through ruby and apply it to the
heart meridian Seeking the Land of
Immortality, the young prince finds himself
in the capital of the Blue Kingdom Cherenkov
radiation The blue men of the MinchYour heart is in the system of the Shewolf
Wrapped in a veil of shining silver mist
A cock crows and a golden star appears
on Lizina’s forehead Sandra’s holding
the leopardWe will cherish the past while not limiting
our perception of reality to the mindset of the pastThe beggar boy becomes Count Piro
Dick Grayson becomes Robin Trading
crow feathers for soy candles The dagger
which was to act as a passport Kosovo,
Field of BlackbirdsLeo Martello’s Witch-In in Central Park,
Halloween, 1970 Alberto Aguas giving
readings at the Metaphysical Bookshop
on Sutter Street, SFCA The anonymous
conversations in Quest Antonio Ricardo
of Turin emigrates to Peru, and in Lima
in 1584 prints a leaflet on corrections to
the calendarI do think that certain texts are almost
invisible to us until we are ready for them
They may sit patiently on a shelf for years,
and when our vibration meets the vibration
emanating from the book, it suddenly becomes
visible to us / materializes / manifests itself
in a tangible way It takes on a psychic shine
that catches our eyeCalvinism is the theology of slavery When
you put your mind in a cage you can put
human beings in cages Enough with the
death cult that invaded the Western hemisphere
The stone age didn’t end because we ran
out of stone. The force that formed the
stone can also dissolve it. Bacchus turned
the amethyst red. No god, but the translator,
turned Andromeda into a dromedary.
Tamberlane’s tent turned from white to red.
Red stones do not appeal to idealists. Roman
widows wore white. Rosicrucians believe iron
is the product of dark powers. The sly fox in
sympathy with the wily god. The lame god
is the provider of all good things.
___ A Welter of Cormorants
If you’re not too busy, my
house is on fire. No close-ups
please, I’m too old. Everything
can be mitigated with the proper
use of scented candles. The
Supreme Court turned the tomato
into a vegetable. Let’s not tussle
on this sandy shore; share the shell.
Around here we say carapace.
You’ve a penchant for the superfluous.
Outfitting a bass boat with an
astrolabe. A moped with no petrol
is just a bike. Help yourself to as
many samosas as you think you
deserve, then go back for seconds.
If animals could talk there’d be
more vegetarians. The moon
shines enough light for the muskrats
to find their ramble. We found
a didgeridoo in Saskatchewan.
The most heavily-scored eleven
minutes of my life.
—————— Martyn Bennett & Sorley MacLean
Of course, this brought up memories.
I dedicate this to those who await us on that far, far shore.
The weight of me in your arms.
A photo of the two of us in Fitzgerald’s Park.
Three years of age I was.
The weight of the pair of us.
Our weight together.
The weight of your hat shading your laughter.
My weight as you bore me for nine months.
The weight of sitting, getting up, lying down.
Your weight that I never lifted from the
Ground – before burying you in the ground.
Your living weight.
Your dead weight.
The weight of words rising and
Falling between us, the wingbeat of swans.
The heavy weight of prayers.
The feather weight of lilting.
The middle weight of memory, ancient spiral.
The weight of the music of your country voice in the city.
The weight of the lipstick on your lips airing vowels.
The weight of your fragrance in the bedroom after giving birth.
The weight of your maternal weariness asking me kindly to go outside.
The weight of your relations.
The weight of intimacy.
The weight of ancestry.
The weight of neighbours.
The weight of tribal lore.
The weight of the great world.
The weight of priests.
The weight of brothers.
The weight of drink.
The weight of history.
The weight of humour.
The weight of those who got away.
The weight of the otherworld.
The weight of your faith.
The sorrowful weight of your fear.
The weight of your shame.
The weight of the two of us as we met for lunch in the city.
The weight of my patience waiting for you at the chapel door.
The weight of your patience waiting for me to enter.
The weight of your praying.
The weight of the crosses of the world.
The weight of your appetite.
The weight of your lingering over food.
The airy weight of a girl stepping it out at a dance.
The weight of the accordion on your shoulders.
The weight of your two knees keeping time with dances.
The weight of your corpse as we waked you three nights and three days.
The weight of the terror in your eyes
As they called to you from the other side.
The weight of your refusal to go.
The weight of the anchor from yonder as it took a firm hold of you.
The weight of secrets that had nowhere now to hide.
The weight of unspoken love that death’s call freed in you.
The weight of confusion that had your head in a merry-go-round.
The weight of life draining away.
The weight of my last visit.
The weight of country folk making their way to the city.
The weight of their murmurings.
The weight of your conversation with us from beyond.
The weight of things you said when
Alive and continued to say in death.
The weight of your language, still.
The weight of the shower that didn’t allow us
To stand very long at the mouth of the grave.
The lightness of your soul that covered us like
The silk sheet on your bed after we buried you.
After we buried you.
(Thanks to Morgan Miller for sharing this to me yesterday.)
On The Menu:
Radio EarthRites Fund Raiser: Save The Music!
Cult | 09-04-22 | by [A]LCrego_
Dead Can Dance: Opium
Greek Fairy Tales: Fairy Hunting
Brendan Perry: The Voyage Of Bran
Dropping back into Blog Land for an entry. Not as much as I would like, but I have found myself with way too many irons in the fire, which does happen with me as I take on too many projects.
At the present, I am working on a talk that I will be giving online in June. I will keep you posted. Quite excited to get back into the ring again, I do wish that things would open up a bit to allow for a speaking tour, no matter how localized in the Northwest/Northern California. Hopefully Covid will burn itself out soon.
Working on Publishing, Radio EarthRites, and of course the SubStack. In my ADHD ways I spin my wheels way too frequently, trying to prioritize what is needed. Spring finally is asserting itself, here in the first weeks of old summer (Which traditionally started on the 1st of May. The back garden is a riot of colour, always amazing to experience.
I hope this finds you well, and not overwhelmed by the world. Hard at times, oh yes.
___________________ Radio EarthRites Fund Raiser: Save The Music!
Every so often we hold a fundraiser for Radio EarthRites.
This year it is more important than ever as our main storage hard drive has crashed, and some 800 GB of music & related files have been lost. (but recoverable!
We have gotten an estimate of $150 to around $600 for recovery of the information and files on the drive.
So, we are asking for a one-time donation or for folks to subscribe to the station to help us recover the music files and attending information we had stored on the drive.
If you can make a donation or sign up for a subscription it would be greatly appreciated.
We have a bunch of new music on the station, and now, a bunch of spoken word shows as well coming up.
e also have a new Radio EarthRites Program & Notes Page, which is also the Radio Page. Please check it out! Info on the music, spoken word, updates, etc.
Our Fund Raiser is being featured on the new page along with this coming week’s new schedule. Stay Tuned! More Music, Spoken Word!
I took my lyre and said:
Come now, my heavenly
tortoise shell: become
a speaking instrument
Leto and Niobe
Before they were mothers
Leto and Niobe
had been the most
devoted of friends
eternal daughter of God,
snare-knitter! Don’t, I beg you,
cow my heart with grief! Come,
as once when you heard my far-
off cry and, listening, stepped
from your father’s house to your
gold car, to yoke the pair whose
beautiful thick-feathered wings
oaring down mid-air from heaven
carried you to light swiftly
on dark earth; then, blissful one,
smiling your immortal smile
you asked, What ailed me now that
me me call you again? What
was it that my distracted
heart most wanted? “Whom has
Persuasion to bring round now
“to your love? Who, Sappho, is
unfair to you? For, let her
run, she will soon run after;
“if she won’t accept gifts, she
will one day give them; and if
she won’t love you — she soon will
“love, although unwillingly…”
If ever — come now! Relieve
this intolerable pain!
What my heart most hopes will
happen, make happen; you your-
self join forces on my side!
Hesperus The Bringer
O Hesperus, thou bringest all good things–
Home to the weary, to the hungry cheer,
To the young bird the parent’s brooding wings,
The welcome stall to the o’erlabored steer;
Whate’er our household gods protect of dear,
Are gathered round us by thy look of rest;
Thou bring’st the child too to its mother’s breast.
Ode To Aphrodite
Deathless Aphrodite, throned in flowers,
Daughter of Zeus, O terrible enchantress,
With this sorrow, with this anguish, break my spirit
Lady, not longer!
Hear anew the voice! O hear and listen!
Come, as in that island dawn thou camest,
Billowing in thy yoked car to Sappho
Forth from thy father’s
Golden house in pity! … I remember:
Fleet and fair thy sparrows drew thee, beating
Fast their wings above the dusky harvests,
Down the pale heavens,
Lightning anon! And thou, O blest and brightest,
Smiling with immortal eyelids, asked me:
‘Maiden, what betideth thee? Or wherefore
Callest upon me?
‘What is here the longing more than other,
Here in this mad heart? And who the lovely
One beloved that wouldst lure to loving?
Sappho, who wrongs thee?
‘See, if now she flies, she soon must follow;
Yes, if spurning gifts, she soon must offer;
Yes, if loving not, she soon must love thee,
Come again to me! O now! Release me!
End the great pang! And all my heart desireth
Now of fulfillment, fulfill! O Aphrodite,
Fight by my shoulder!
Sappho To Her Girlfriends
This is my song of maidens dear to me.
Eranna, a slight girl I counted thee,
When first I looked upon thy form and face,
Slim as a reed, and all devoid of grace.
But stately stature, grace and beauty came
Unto thee with the years — O, dost not shame
For this, Eranna, that thy pride hath grown
Therewith? Alas for thee ! I have not known
One beauty ever of more scornful mien,
As though thou wert of all earth’s daughters queen!
Mnasidica is comelier, perchance,
Than my Gyrinna — ah, but sweetly rings
Gyrinna’s matchless voice ! In rapture-trance
I listen, listen, while Gyrinna sings.
Hero of Gyara is fleet of foot
As fawns, and as light-footed in the dance,
The dance taught by the measures of my lute.
Ever-impassioned Gorgo! — is it strange
That I grow weary of the change on change
Of thine adored ones? — of thy rhapsodies
O’er each new girlfriend, while the old love dies?
Joy to thee, daughter of a princely race,
For thy last dear one! Lie in her embrace —
Till shines a new star on thy raptured eyes!
Fonder of maids thou art, I trow, than she.
The ghost who nightly steal young girls, to be
In Hades of her woeful company.
This is my fair girl-garden: sweet they grow —
Rose, violet, asphodel and lily’s snow;
And which the sweetest is, I do not know;
For rosy arms and starry eyes are there.
Honey-sweet voices and cheeks passing fair.
And these shall men, I ween, remember long;
For these shall bloom for ever in my song.
Greek Fairy Tales: Hunting Fairies
I had never heard of fairies until one autumn evening in our summer home on the highlands of Petsà, which, eagle-like, watches over olive groves, raisin fields and the blue Corinthian Gulf. Laughter and voices raised in greeting woke me from my early sleep and told me that my Grandmother Adamis was being welcomed to the group of neighbor women who had gathered in our garden to tell stories in the moonlight.
“Is it about the Fairy Wife you are going to tell us tonight, Grandmother Adamis?” I heard someone ask.
“Or the Fairy Ring? I thought it was the Fairy Ring!” cried another voice.
“Oh, the fairies’ palace, Grandmother! You promised to tell us about their palace!”
Grandmother Adamis laughed. Rising on my elbow, I could see the younger women hurrying to make a place for her and pass her wine, nuts and cheese. In the center of the group a fire glowed red, in contrast to the clear, silver light of the full moon above. During the autumn months, after the corn is gathered, the grapes crushed and the barrels filled with wine, the villagers spend the evenings out of doors. The older women talk while the girls knit and sing. Now, on Grandmother’s arrival, the girls dropped their work and all grew silent to listen. Grandmother knew more paramythia, myths, than any woman in Eurostena, and she was a born story-teller.
In wonder and a breathless, ecstatic fear, I strained my ears to catch what snatches I could. As the strange stories followed one another, forms, pentamorphes, five times beautiful, seemed to glide before me: maidens in white with flowing, golden hair, handsome youths on horseback, chariots of cloud, seas shimmering with jewels, palaces light as foam and lovely as dew in sunshine. Oh, if I could see these things which Grandmother Adamis described! If I could hear the flute-like voices and silvery music which she said rang through the Fairy Hills!
But the fairies, it seemed, had some terrible, mysterious power. One must beware. One must not venture alone too high among the mountain tops. The fairies might—Grandmother’s voice would sink to a whisper and the circle of heads draw closer about her. I could learn only that all places are safe for him who carries a loaded gun, the highest hills and even the palaces of the fairies. With this thought, as the moon paled and the dawn came and the group in the garden dispersed, I slept.
A gun! That was my first idea on waking. I must have a gun. I intended to see fairies and visit fairy palaces, but where to find the gun? Then I remembered. As soon as I had learned to write at school, an old lady who lived in the neighborhood asked me to write letters for her to her son in America, because she could not write. The first time I went to her house, I noticed a huge, old-fashioned gun hanging on the wall. It had been used, she told me, by her grandfather in the War of 1821, and was called a Karabena. It was very clumsy and had grown rusty, but now as I pictured it, it seemed the most priceless of treasures. There remained only the question of how to make it mine.
For months, whenever I was in the old lady’s house, I gazed longingly at the Karabena every moment that I was not writing, and wondered how I could approach the subject. Then one day the following spring, the lady told me that I had been very good and that she wished to give me something in return for what I had done.
“Will you give me that gun?” I burst out.
“Oh, not that,” she said. “You don’t know how to use it. You would hurt yourself.”
I replied that I knew a great deal about guns from having read about them ever since the autumn. Besides, I said, I would accept nothing else from her, so at last she consented. The Karabena was mine.
It remained hidden for days among the barrels in our cellar, while I cleaned and polished it a little at a time, and collected powder and shot. Finally the gun was loaded and ready, and very proudly did I set out with it across my shoulder. From the stories of Grandmother Adamis, I understood that the fairies often appeared just at noon, but I started early since it was some distance to the top of the Neraidorahe, Fairy Hill, where the entrances to fairy palaces were said to be found. I was congratulating myself on getting away unseen, when my mother’s voice called from the doorway.
“Theodorake I, come back. Where did you get that gun?”
When I told her, she asked what I was about to do with it. My answer was sufficiently evasive.
“Well,” she said, “don’t try to shoot and whatever you do, don’t go up to the Neraidorahe! Evil will come to you!”
After waiting till she had returned to her work, I hurried through the village and started up the mountain.
“Ho, Theodorake!” rang out above me. The old shepherd known to everyone as Uncle Kostas was making his way down the slope toward me. Since I was in no mood for further interruption, I pressed on as if I had not heard.
“Ho there!” came the call again. “I know you, son of Perikles. Where are you going with that Karabena?”
“To the Neraidorahe to hunt fairies,” I replied casually.
“Stop!” He was directly above me now and he planted himself in my way. The picture of him, in his great, loose shepherd’s cloak, with its pointed hood thrown back, his short, full skirt and his brown shoes with a fluffy red ball on each pointed tip, is still vivid in my mind. “See those hills yonder,” he cried, his right hand extended in a dramatic gesture, his white hair blowing in the wind. “On one of those hills the fairies overpowered me. You do not know what they can do. Listen to me. I was older than you are and I had a better gun than your Karabena. A gun cannot save you. The fairies carried me away and kept me for a year and a day, and it was only by a miracle that I escaped from them. They can take you as they took me, but you may never get away. Listen to one who has lived in their palace and learned their ways and been their prisoner!”
Old Uncle Kostas with the help of his staff settled himself heavily on a stone in order to relate his adventure. This was my chance.
“The fairies will not scare me,” I told him. “I will fire at them and chase them back into their caves.”
I darted past him and went on up the mountain side. When I glanced back and saw him plodding slowly downward shaking his head, I laughed to myself. I would show them all.
In the steep, rocky slope above me were several great, black holes like yawning cavern mouths. Perhaps, I thought, these opened on moonlight-flooded gardens and shining palaces and all the beautiful things Grandmother had described. If I could frighten the fairies, I could enter unharmed and see for myself. Carefully I approached the holes, lay down behind a pine tree and made my Karabena ready to shoot at the first fairy that should appear.
Soon I heard the whistle of the noon train and I watched it far below as it hurried along the southern shore of the Gulf. The time had come. For a moment everything was still. Then the gently stirring air brought me a soft, whirring sound that grew louder and louder. The air itself, moving faster and faster, became a wind from the north, and at the same time in front of one opening something white went whirling around and around just above the ground.
A wild fear rushed upon me. The unknown terrors that were whispered of in the garden and the weird power that had seized Uncle Kostas, seemed to grip my heart. Clutching my gun I turned and tore down the mountain side like one mad. I slipped and stumbled, struck my feet against stones and scratched my arms on tree trunks, but nothing stopped me until I reached home and fell into the kitchen in front of my mother. I accepted her scolding humbly and never again did I go fairy-hunting.
________________________________________________ Brendan Perry: The Voyage Of Bran
“What I love is always being born. What I love is beginning always.” — Odysseus Elytis, from “Sun the First,” Selected Poems, transl. Edmund Keeley (Anvil Poetry Press, 1981)
The Old Ways, The New Ways
So much to unpack on the events of the past week. It has been a stressful time for the children of Gaia, as of late. Something, just over the event horizon, is coming, I swear. This entry was begun a few days back. Ukraine/The Russian Incursion was the focus, but I feel it has deeper roots. There is something larger emerging.
I hope that you can take the time to wade through another massive entry. I really should have learned a bit of brevity over the years, but here we are.
Be Safe, Work for Change, Work for Peace
________________________ On The Menu:
Projects as of Late
DakhaBrakha – Khyma
The Old Ways, The New Ways
DakhaBrakha – Vesna
Poetry: Ukrainian Voices
Ukrainian Folk Tales: The Story Of The Wind
DakhaBrakha – Khyma
Projects as of Late:
A week ago, just after my second cataract surgery I decided to stay off social media as much as possible. This has been a real boon to my creative output, and I am happy to say that on the main I have stuck with it.
I checked my phone now three times a day for messages and leave it off unless I’m expecting a call or text or using it to dictate into…
It’s not that I find social media as a bad thing but that it really does interfere with my thought processes and truthfully no one is to blame but myself.
So here are some of the projects I have been up to during my social media fast: The Substack: Roberto Apodaca
Part 1 of the story of my friend Roberto from Maya Country, who helped me on the Poison Path with his creative use of language, symbology and language. A Two-part story, starting in 1966 ending in 1969. Second part coming this weekend…
The Golden Dawn Mix on Radio EarthRites
Lots going on with this mix, Ukrainian Folk, Russian, Terry Riley and many different artists not featured before on Radio EarthRites.
Looking to have more shows soon, returning to having spoken word. as well.
The new show running now, music added to it daily at this point! This show was made in conjunction to re-releasing this print:
In 1966 late in the fall I started attending lectures at a Fourth Way School’s Symposium led by Kenneth Walker (who had been a student of Gurdjieff.)
I was a student of that school for several years until I branched out into Sufism and Gaiian studies. I have though kept in touch with students and teachers at that school ever since, lots of good people, gentle souls. Some I have known from 1967 on.
One of the very interesting things that I heard in a lecture early on, and then later in conversations with a couple of the teachers in the school was that: During the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 there was an international effort by various spiritual, metaphysical and occult schools in conjunction with each other to prevent Nuclear War through meditation, prayer, magical acts as well as organizing, speaking to people, letter writing to newspapers and politicians.
This had me considering over time and in my meditations, what were the possibilities of combined work across the spectrum of the various movements in existence today? I know that within that school now, there is an active group working through the use of their various spiritual tools to help change the current situation.
So here are some thoughts. We have horrible situations unfolding, and ongoing in Yemen, Myanmar, Syria, and now the Ukraine to name but a few of the conflict/war zones. We have famine rolling through Africa, Southwest Asia. The world is still in grip of the Covid Pandemic. We have an ongoing worldwide climate crisis. It seems overwhelming, yet here we are at a juncture where we have tools to actively organize via social media, email, web pages, talking to family, friends, neighbors the same united spiritual front that in my mind, turned the tide in 1962. We know through studies now via Sheldrake and others that consciousness extends to all existence. By working in our homes, community, and online, we can and will make a difference.
What I Suggest:
Form Affinity Groups. Contact your friends, family, community. DO IT.
Develop a Schedule for Group Meditations on Specific Topics, i.e., Ukraine, Afghanistan, Covid, etc.
Make it a Weekly Practice, at least, nightly or daily if you can.
Broadcast your actions on Social Media. Invite others to join in. Organize!!!
Become Active Locally. This is deeply important.
Take Care of Your Loved Ones. Spend Time in Nature, Pray, Meditate, get your hands into the soil. Give thanks for what you have.
I have been publishing this monthly sometimes more often on various Social Media Platforms. I think it is worth getting out there. We have work to do. I will not belabor the point, but our time is Now, and we have much to address.
Poetry: Ukrainian Voices
Lord, the way Tychyna writes:
“And Bely, and Blok, and Yesenin”
the way they surrounded us
on all four sides
give us strength and power
a hastily packed suitcase and bread
naturally their sly foxes lie
that we have neither shields nor centuries
Ihor leads us somewhere
over the Don with his regiments
today with the February snow
and tomorrow with a bloody shield
and their dark forces come from Tmutarakan
and Mokshas and Chud
shoot at our location
hit at the positions we take
so what is there in The Tale of Ihor’s Campaign
and what is there in ancient sounds
you — jumping barefoot as a wolf
spreading the spit of the devil
reached the rivers and borders
reached my clenched heart
your blackened icons
can’t even be cleansed with milk
Lord, the way Tychyna writes
about Kyiv — the Messiah — about the country
why didn’t we learn these poems by heart?
Bleed — my heart — bleed
Vasyl Makhno Translated from the Ukrainian by Olena Jennings
____ The Year of Ukraine
See here we got what we wanted
now Serhiy Nigoyan’s graffiti on the wall
in the square across the way kids play at war
in Donbas the adults are also at play
a square looms on Google Maps another square
it’s a house it’s a boy with a rifle in his hands
if they tell him to shoot he surely will shoot
eff your mother our common motherland
at the store folks load whole sacks with macaroni
and afterwards bury the boxes somewhere
what’s that what crawls down that distant slope
it’s your coffin carried by security troops
we were here you’ll say no we haven’t been here
someone else was killed by sniper fire here
and snow nailed those who came after to earth
the lord’s summer has gone it wasn’t enough
Boris Khersonsky Translated from the Russian by Katherine E. Young
Missa in tempore belli
Lord, have mercy on us,
if You are for us, who can be against us?
Christ, have mercy on us,
especially if our hours are numbered.
Lord, have mercy on us,
especially in days of war
Gloria in excelsis Deo
et in terra pax
hominibus bonae voluntatis.
Glory to God in the highest — wondrous are Your works!
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth — more war.
Glory to God in the highest — be not troubled, soldier, nightingales!
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth — bodies flail,
arms flung wide. People’s will is evil.
Thus it has been and always will.
We praise you, soldier, slender of neck, sharp of throat.
We bless you, soldier, who on bayonet raise up the foe,
We lift on high your long dying groan.
God is cruel at times, but still better than earthly thrones.
We bless you, mister General,
we glorify you, mister President,
you who have robbed us blind,
did the Lord trample down death with death for your kind?
“Yes, sir!” says the General, hand to visor.
He’s taken an oath to submit to his own dear tsar.
But his own dear tsar has flown up on a branch and cries, “Cocka-doodle-doo!”
He has a comb of gold, and a log in each eye, too.
Be glorified in the highest, God, behold not what’s going on down here.
The bullet’s a fool, the bayonet a good boy, one hit — and no more boy to fear.
With the Holy Spirit, to the glory of God the Father.
Cum Sancto Spiritu in gloria Dei Patris.
I believe that God is God alone,
He is Lord of his own.
He is the peace created by Him,
He is the light by whom the world is illumined,
And when battle flags fly, He is their Wind.
Out of black concrete holes the rockets fly.
The unseen world attacks the world in sight.
I believe that in Christ this God was made flesh,
and was crucified on the cross in sculpture and on canvas,
outside of time and yet within time, outside of space and yet on a hill,
between two thieves, a kind of earth-to-earth.
But if life is a sea, Christ stands at the helm
and steers the ship of the universe.
A ship with hundreds of thousands of cannons on board.
I doubt it can dock in the heavenly port.
Christ said, “I bring not peace, but the sword,
and with it, the chance to lie dead in the earth,
but when the reveille plays on the archangel’s trump,
the graves will open right up.
And the skeletons will arise and before our eyes
they’ll grow muscle and then a cover of skin,
and they’ll tread the battlefield in delirium
always, forever and ever, for weather of weathers,
for trenches of trenches, for tranches of tranches,
where once they lay side by side, feeding the lice.
And the lice grew as big as typhoidal cows on the kolhoz,
and the tanks rumbled as good as armored tractors down the rows.”
Holy, holy, holy, the Lord, God of might!
In other words — God of the heavenly hosts, or of the heavenly lights!
You went out with us to war, you seized the foe by the throat!
You filled earth and heaven with Your glory like a jug with wine.
You let the earth turn upside down.
Hosannah in the highest! We’ll see you around in the next world.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord in a glorious
and frightening time, a time of troubles, a time of war,
blessed are those who walk row by row, each one shall be a hero,
salvos three and into the ground they go.
And once again — Hosannah in the highest! Hosannah on high!
The further into battle, the fewer heroes left behind.
Lamb of God, who has freed all people from deadly snares,
Lamb of God, who has borne the immeasurable weight of our sins,
Lamb of God, who has counted and pardoned every fall,
Lamb of God, have mercy on us all.
Lamb of God, Son of the Father, Light from true Light,
Lamb of God, Savior of constellations, planets and stars in the sky,
Lamb of God, who crown your iconostasis,
Lamb of God, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, little lamb lain on the altar,
a time of war has come. Cinders rise from the earth.
Grant us peace, we are sated with eternal fire.
They say, “We’re starting a war again.”
Dona nobis pacem. Amen.
Boris Khersonsky-Translated from the Russian by Martha M. F. Kelly
_____ problematic cycle – trench after trench. The truth is, the weapon is never clean, once it’s fired.
“When You Clean Your Weapon” by Borys Humenyuk
When you clean your weapon
When time and again, you clean your weapon
When you rub strong-smelling oils into your weapon
And shield it from the rain with your own body
When you swaddle it like a baby
Even though you’ve never swaddled a baby before —
You’re only nineteen, no baby, no wife —
The weapon becomes your only kin
You and the weapon are one.
When you dig trench after trench
When you dig this precious this hateful earth by handfuls
Every other handful reaches your soul
You grind this earth between your teeth
You don’t, you never will have another
You climb into the earth like into your mother’s womb
You are warm and snug
You’ve never felt this close to anyone before
You and earth are one.
When you shoot
Even when it’s at night and you don’t see the enemy’s face
Even when night hides the enemy from you and you from the enemy
And embraces each of you as her own
You smell like gunpowder
Your hands, face, hair, clothing, shoes —
No matter how much you wash them — smell of gunpowder
They smell of war
You smell of war
You and war are one.
__________________ Ukrainian Folk Tales: The Story Of The Wind
Once upon a time there dwelt two brethren in one village, and one brother was very, very rich, and the other brother was very, very poor. The rich man had wealth of all sorts, but all that the poor man had was a heap of children.
One day, at harvest-time, the poor man left his wife and went to reap and thresh out his little plot of wheat, but the Wind came and swept all his corn away down to the very last grain. The poor man was exceeding wrath thereat, and said, “Come what will, I’ll go seek the Wind, and I’ll tell him with what pains and trouble I had got my corn to grow and ripen, and then he, forsooth! must needs come and blow it all away.”
So the man went home and made ready to go, and as he was making ready his wife said to him, “Whither away, husband?”––“I am going to seek the Wind,” said he; “what dost thou say to that?”––“I should say, do no such thing,” replied his wife. “Thou knowest the saying, ‘If thou dost want to find the Wind, seek him on the open steppe. He can go ten different ways to thy one.’ Think of that, dear husband, and go not at all.”––“I mean to go,” replied the man, “though I never return home again.” Then he took leave of his wife and children and went straight out into the wide world to seek the Wind on the open steppe.
He went on farther and farther till he saw before him a forest, and on the borders of that forest stood a hut on hens’ legs. The man went into this hut and was filled with astonishment, for there lay on the floor a huge, huge old man, as grey as milk. He lay there stretched at full length, his head on the seat of honour, with an arm and leg in each of the four corners, and all his hair standing on end. It was no other than the Wind himself. The man stared at this awful Ancient with terror, for never in his life had he seen anything like it. “God help thee, old father!” cried he.––“Good health to thee, good man!” said the ancient giant, as he lay on the floor of the hut. Then he asked him in the most friendly manner, “Whence hath God brought thee hither, good man?”––“I am wandering through the wide world in search of the Wind,” said the man. “If I find him, I will turn back; if I don’t find him, I shall go on and on till I do.”––“What dost thou want with the Wind?” asked the old giant lying on the floor. “Or what wrong hath he done thee, that thou shouldst seek him out so doggedly?”––“What wrong hath he done me?” replied the wayfarer. “Hearken now, O Ancient, and I will tell thee! I went straight from my wife into the field and reaped my little plot of corn; but when I began to thresh it out, the Wind came and caught and scattered every bit of it in a twinkling, so that there was not a single little grain of it left. So now thou dost see, old man, what I have to thank him for. Tell me, in God’s name, why such things be? My little plot of corn was my all-in-all, and in the sweat of my brow did I reap and thresh it; but the Wind came and blew it all away, so that not a trace of it is to be found in the wide world. Then I thought to myself, ‘Why should he do this?’ And I said to my wife, ‘I’ll go seek the Wind, and say to him, “Another time, visit not the poor man who hath but a little corn, and blow it not away, for bitterly doth he rue it!”’”––“Good, my son!” said the giant who lay on the floor. “I shall know better in future; in future I will not blow away the poor man’s corn. But, good man, there is no need for thee to seek the Wind in the open steppe, for I myself am the Wind.”––“Then if thou art the Wind,” said the man, “give me back my corn.”––“Nay,” said the giant; “thou canst not make the dead come back from the grave. Yet, inasmuch as I have done thee a mischief, I will now give thee this sack, good man, and do thou take it home with thee. And whenever thou wantest a meal say, ‘Sack, sack, give me to eat and drink!’ and immediately thou shalt have thy fill both of meat and drink, so now thou wilt have wherewithal to comfort thy wife and children.”
Then the man was full of gratitude. “I thank thee, O Wind!” said he, “for thy courtesy in giving me such a sack as will give me my fill of meat and drink without the trouble of working for it.”––“For a lazy loon, ’twere a double boon,” said the Wind. “Go home, then, but look now, enter no tavern by the way; I shall know it if thou dost.”––“No,” said the man, “I will not.” And then he took leave of the Wind and went his way.
He had not gone very far when he passed by a tavern, and he felt a burning desire to find out whether the Wind had spoken the truth in the matter of the sack. “How can a man pass a tavern without going into it?” thought he; “I’ll go in, come what may. The Wind won’t know, because he can’t see.” So he went into the tavern and hung up his sack upon a peg. The Jew who kept the tavern immediately said to him, “What dost thou want, good man?”––“What is that to thee, thou dog?” said the man.––“You are all alike,” sneered the Jew, “take what you can, and pay for nothing.”––“Dost think I want to buy anything from thee?” shrieked the man; then, turning angrily to the sack, he cried, “Sack, sack, give me to eat and drink!” Immediately the table was covered with all sorts of meats and liquors. Then all the Jews in the tavern crowded round full of amazement, and asked all manner of questions. “Why, what is this, good man?” said they; “never have we seen anything like this before!”––“Ask no questions, ye accursed Jews!” cried the man, “but sit down to eat, for there is enough for all.” So the Jews and the Jewesses set to and ate until they were full up to the ears; and they drank the man’s health in pitchers of wine of every sort, and said, “Drink, good man, and spare not, and when thou hast drunk thy fill thou shalt lodge with us this night. We’ll make ready a bed for thee. None shall vex thee. Come now, eat and drink whatever thy soul desires.” So the Jews flattered him with devilish cunning, and almost forced the wine-jars to his lips.
The simple fellow did not perceive their malice and cunning, and he got so drunk that he could not move from the place, but went to sleep where he was. Then the Jews changed his sack for another, which they hung up on a peg, and then they woke him. “Dost hear, fellow!” cried they; “get up, it is time to go home. Dost thou not see the morning light?” The man sat up and scratched the back of his head, for he was loath to go. But what was he to do? So he shouldered the sack that was hanging on the peg, and went off home.
When he got to his house, he cried, “Open the door, wife!” Then his wife opened the door, and he went in and hung his sack on the peg and said, “Sit down at the table, dear wife, and you children sit down there too. Now, thank God! we shall have enough to eat and drink, and to spare.” The wife looked at her husband and smiled. She thought he was mad, but down she sat, and her children sat down all round her, and she waited to see what her husband would do next. Then the man said, “Sack, sack, give to us meat and drink!” But the sack was silent. Then he said again, “Sack, sack, give my children something to eat!” And still the sack was silent. Then the man fell into a violent rage. “Thou didst give me something at the tavern,” cried he; “and now I may call in vain. Thou givest nothing, and thou hearest nothing”––and, leaping from his seat, he took up a club and began beating the sack till he had knocked a hole in the wall, and beaten the sack to bits. Then he set off to seek the Wind again. But his wife stayed at home and put everything to rights again, railing and scolding at her husband as a madman.
But the man went to the Wind and said, “Hail to thee, O Wind!”––“Good health to thee, O man!” replied the Wind. Then the Wind asked, “Wherefore hast thou come hither, O man? Did I not give thee a sack? What more dost thou want?”––“A pretty sack indeed!” replied the man; “that sack of thine has been the cause of much mischief to me and mine.”––“What mischief has it done thee?”––“Why, look now, old father, I’ll tell thee what it has done. It wouldn’t give me anything to eat and drink, so I began beating it, and beat the wall in. Now what shall I do to repair my crazy hut? Give me something, old father.”––But the Wind replied, “Nay, O man, thou must do without. Fools are neither sown nor reaped, but grow of their own accord––hast thou not been into a tavern?”––“I have not,” said the man.––“Thou hast not? Why wilt thou lie?”––“Well, and suppose I did lie?” said the man; “if thou suffer harm through thine own fault, hold thy tongue about it, that’s what I say. Yet it is all the fault of thy sack that this evil has come upon me. If it had only given me to eat and to drink, I should not have come to thee again.” At this the Wind scratched his head a bit, but then he said, “Well then, thou man! there’s a little ram for thee, and whenever thou dost want money say to it, ‘Little ram, little ram, scatter money!’ and it will scatter money as much as thou wilt. Only bear this in mind: go not into a tavern, for if thou dost, I shall know all about it; and if thou comest to me a third time, thou shalt have cause to remember it for ever.”––“Good,” said the man, “I won’t go.”––Then he took the little ram, thanked the Wind, and went on his way.
So the man went along leading the little ram by a string, and they came to a tavern, that very same tavern where he had been before, and again a strong desire came upon the man to go in. So he stood by the door and began thinking whether he should go in or not, and whether he had any need to find out the truth about the little ram. “Well, well,” said he at last, “I’ll go in, only this time I won’t get drunk. I’ll drink just a glass or so, and then I’ll go home.” So into the tavern he went, dragging the little ram after him, for he was afraid to let it go.
Now, when the Jews who were inside there saw the little ram, they began shrieking and said, “What art thou thinking of, O man! that thou bringest that little ram into the room? Are there no barns outside where thou mayst put it up?”––“Hold your tongues, ye accursed wretches!” replied the man; “what has it got to do with you? It is not the sort of ram that fellows like you deal in. And if you don’t believe me, spread a cloth on the floor and you shall see something, I warrant you.”––Then he said, “Little ram, little ram, scatter money!” and the little ram scattered so much money that it seemed to grow, and the Jews screeched like demons.––“O man, man!” cried they, “such a ram as that we have never seen in all our days. Sell it to us! We will give thee such a lot of money for it.”––“You may pick up all that money, ye accursed ones,” cried the man, “but I don’t mean to sell my ram.”
Then the Jews picked up the money, but they laid before him a table covered with all the dishes that a man’s heart may desire, and they begged him to sit down and make merry, and said with true Jewish cunning, “Though thou mayst get a little lively, don’t get drunk, for thou knowest how drink plays the fool with a man’s wits.”––The man marvelled at the straightforwardness of the Jews in warning him against the drink, and, forgetting everything else, sat down at table and began drinking pot after pot of mead, and talking with the Jews, and his little ram went clean out of his head. But the Jews made him drunk, and laid him in the bed, and changed rams with him; his they took away, and put in its place one of their own exactly like it.
When the man had slept off his carouse, he arose and went away, taking the ram with him, after bidding the Jews farewell. When he got to his hut he found his wife in the doorway, and the moment she saw him coming, she went into the hut and cried to her children, “Come, children! make haste, make haste! for daddy is coming, and brings a little ram along with him; get up, and look sharp about it! An evil year of waiting has been the lot of wretched me, but he has come home at last.”
The husband arrived at the door and said, “Open the door, little wife; open, I say!”––The wife replied, “Thou art not a great nobleman, so open the door thyself. Why dost thou get so drunk that thou dost not know how to open a door? It’s an evil time that I spend with thee. Here we are with all these little children, and yet thou dost go away and drink.”––Then the wife opened the door, and the husband walked into the hut and said, “Good health to thee, dear wife!”––But the wife cried, “Why dost thou bring that ram inside the hut, can’t it stay outside the walls?”––“Wife, wife!” said the man, “speak, but don’t screech. Now we shall have all manner of good things, and the children will have a fine time of it.”––“What!” said the wife, “what good can we get from that wretched ram? Where shall we get the money to find food for it? Why, we’ve nothing to eat ourselves, and thou dost saddle us with a ram besides. Stuff and nonsense! I say.”––“Silence, wife,” replied the husband; “that ram is not like other rams, I tell thee.”––“What sort is it, then?” asked his wife.––“Don’t ask questions, but spread a cloth on the floor and keep thine eyes open.”––“Why spread a cloth?” asked the wife.––“Why?” shrieked the man in a rage; “do what I tell thee, and hold thy tongue.”––But the wife said, “Alas, alas! I have an evil time of it. Thou dost nothing at all but go away and drink, and then thou comest home and dost talk nonsense, and bringest sacks and rams with thee, and knockest down our little hut.”––At this the husband could control his rage no longer, but shrieked at the ram, “Little ram, little ram, scatter money!”––But the ram only stood there and stared at him. Then he cried again, “Little ram, little ram, scatter money!”––But the ram stood there stock-still and did nothing. Then the man in his anger caught up a piece of wood and struck the ram on the head, but the poor ram only uttered a feeble baa! and fell to the earth dead.
The man was now very much offended and said, “I’ll go to the Wind again, and I’ll tell him what a fool he has made of me.” Then he took up his hat and went, leaving everything behind him. And the poor wife put everything to rights, and reproached and railed at her husband.
So the man came to the Wind for the third time and said, “Wilt thou tell me, please, if thou art really the Wind or no?”––“What’s the matter with thee?” asked the Wind.––“I’ll tell thee what’s the matter,” said the man; “why hast thou laughed at and mocked me and made such a fool of me?”––“I laugh at thee!” thundered the old father as he lay there on the floor and turned round on the other ear; “why didst thou not hold fast what I gave thee? Why didst thou not listen to me when I told thee not to go into the tavern, eh?”––“What tavern dost thou mean?” asked the man proudly; “as for the sack and the ram thou didst give me, they only did me a mischief; give me something else.”––“What’s the use of giving thee anything?” said the Wind; “thou wilt only take it to the tavern. Out of the drum, my twelve henchmen!” cried the Wind, “and just give this accursed drunkard a good lesson that he may keep his throat dry and listen a little more to old people!”––Immediately twelve henchmen leaped out of his drum and began giving the man a sound thrashing. Then the man saw that it was no joke and begged for mercy. “Dear old father Wind,” cried he, “be merciful, and let me get off alive. I’ll not come to thee again though I should have to wait till the Judgment Day, and I’ll do all thy behests.”––“Into the drum, my henchmen!” cried the Wind.––“And now, O man!” said the Wind, “thou mayst have this drum with the twelve henchmen, and go to those accursed Jews, and if they will not give thee back thy sack and thy ram, thou wilt know what to say.”
So the man thanked the Wind for his good advice, and went on his way. He came to the inn, and when the Jews saw that he brought nothing with him they said, “Hearken, O man! don’t come here, for we have no brandy.”––“What do I want with your brandy?” cried the man in a rage.––“Then for what hast thou come hither?”––“I have come for my own.”––“Thy own,” said the Jews; “what dost thou mean?”––“What do I mean?” roared the man; “why, my sack and my ram, which you must give up to me.”––“What ram? What sack?” said the Jews; “why, thou didst take them away from here thyself.”––“Yes, but you changed them,” said the man.––“What dost thou mean by changed?” whined the Jews; “we will go before the magistrate, and thou shalt hear from us about this.”––“You will have an evil time of it if you go before the magistrate,” said the man; “but at any rate, give me back my own.” And he sat down upon a bench. Then the Jews caught him by the shoulders to cast him out and cried, “Be off, thou rascal! Does any one know where this man comes from? No doubt he is an evil-doer.” The man could not stand this, so he cried, “Out of the drum, my henchmen! and give the accursed Jews a sound drubbing, that they may know better than to take in honest folk!” and immediately the twelve henchmen leaped out of the drum and began thwacking the Jews finely.––“Oh, oh!” roared the Jews; “oh, dear, darling, good man, we’ll give thee whatever thou dost want, only leave off beating us! Let us live a bit longer in the world, and we will give thee back everything.”––“Good!” said the man, “and another time you’ll know better than to deceive people.” Then he cried, “Into the drum, my henchmen!” and the henchmen disappeared, leaving the Jews more dead than alive. Then they gave the man his sack and his ram, and he went home, but it was a long, long time before the Jews forgot those henchmen.
So the man went home, and his wife and children saw him coming from afar. “Daddy is coming home now with a sack and a ram!” said she; “what shall we do? We shall have a bad time of it, we shall have nothing left at all. God defend us poor wretches! Go and hide everything, children.” So the children hastened away, but the husband came to the door and said, “Open the door!”––“Open the door thyself,” replied the wife.––Again the husband bade her open the door, but she paid no heed to him. The man was astonished. This was carrying a joke too far, so he cried to his henchmen, “Henchmen, henchmen! out of the drum, and teach my wife to respect her husband!” Then the henchmen leaped out of the drum, laid the good wife by the heels, and began to give her a sound drubbing. “Oh, my dear, darling husband!” shrieked the wife, “never to the end of my days will I be sulky with thee again. I’ll do whatever thou tellest me, only leave off beating me.”––“Then I have taught thee sense, eh?” said the man.––“Oh, yes, yes, good husband!” cried she. Then the man said: “Henchmen, henchmen! into the drum!” and the henchmen leaped into it again, leaving the poor wife more dead than alive.
Then the husband said to her, “Wife, spread a cloth upon the floor.” The wife scudded about as nimbly as a fly, and spread a cloth out on the floor without a word. Then the husband said, “Little ram, little ram, scatter money!” And the little ram scattered money till there were piles and piles of it. “Pick it up, my children,” said the man, “and thou too, wife, take what thou wilt!”––And they didn’t wait to be asked twice. Then the man hung up his sack on a peg and said, “Sack, sack, meat and drink!” Then he caught hold of it and shook it, and immediately the table was as full as it could hold with all manner of victuals and drink. “Sit down, my children, and thou too, dear wife, and eat thy fill. Thank God, we shall now have no lack of food, and shall not have to work for it either.”
So the man and his wife were very happy together, and were never tired of thanking the Wind. They had not had the sack and the ram very long when they grew very rich, and then the husband said to the wife, “I tell thee what, wife!”––“What?” said she.––“Let us invite my brother to come and see us.”––“Very good,” she replied; “invite him, but dost thou think he’ll come?”––“Why shouldn’t he?” asked her husband. “Now, thank God, we have everything we want. He wouldn’t come to us when we were poor and he was rich, because then he was ashamed to say that I was his brother, but now even he hasn’t got so much as we have.”
So they made ready, and the man went to invite his brother. The poor man came to his rich brother and said, “Hail to thee, brother; God help thee!”––Now the rich brother was threshing wheat on his threshing-floor, and, raising his head, was surprised to see his brother there, and said to him haughtily, “I thank thee. Hail to thee also! Sit down, my brother, and tell us why thou hast come hither.”––“Thanks, my brother, I do not want to sit down. I have come hither to invite thee to us, thee and thy wife.”––“Wherefore?” asked the rich brother.––The poor man said, “My wife prays thee, and I pray thee also, to come and dine with us of thy courtesy.”––“Good!” replied the rich brother, smiling secretly. “I will come whatever thy dinner may be.”
So the rich man went with his wife to the poor man, and already from afar they perceived that the poor man had grown rich. And the poor man rejoiced greatly when he saw his rich brother in his house. And his tongue was loosened, and he began to show him everything, whatsoever he possessed. The rich man was amazed that things were going so well with his brother, and asked him how he had managed to get on so. But the poor man answered, “Don’t ask me, brother. I have more to show thee yet.” Then he took him to his copper money, and said, “There are my oats, brother!” Then he took and showed him his silver money, and said, “That’s the sort of barley I thresh on my threshing-floor!” And, last of all, he took him to his gold money, and said, “There, my dear brother, is the best wheat I’ve got.”––Then the rich brother shook his head, not once nor twice, and marvelled at the sight of so many good things, and he said, “Wherever didst thou pick up all this, my brother?”––“Oh! I’ve more than that to show thee yet. Just be so good as to sit down on that chair, and I’ll show and tell thee everything.”
Then they sat them down, and the poor man hung up his sack upon a peg. “Sack, sack, meat and drink!” he cried, and immediately the table was covered with all manner of dishes. So they ate and ate, till they were full up to the ears. When they had eaten and drunken their fill, the poor man called to his son to bring the little ram into the hut. So the lad brought in the ram, and the rich brother wondered what they were going to do with it. Then the poor man said, “Little ram, scatter money!” And the little ram scattered money, till there were piles and piles of it on the floor. “Pick it up!” said the poor man to the rich man and his wife. So they picked it up, and the rich brother and his wife marvelled, and the brother said, “Thou hast a very nice piece of goods there, brother. If I had only something like that I should lack nothing;” then, after thinking a long time, he said, “Sell it to me, my brother.”––“No,” said the poor man, “I will not sell it.”––After a little time, however, the rich brother said again, “Come now! I’ll give thee for it six yoke of oxen, and a plough, and a harrow, and a hay-fork, and I’ll give thee besides, lots of corn to sow, thus thou wilt have plenty, but give me the ram and the sack.” So at last they exchanged. The rich man took the sack and the ram, and the poor man took the oxen and went out to the plough.
Then the poor brother went out ploughing all day, but he neither watered his oxen nor gave them anything to eat. And next day the poor brother again went out to his oxen, but found them rolling on their sides on the ground. He began to pull and tug at them, but they didn’t get up. Then he began to beat them with a stick, but they uttered not a sound. The man was surprised to find them fit for nothing, and off he ran to his brother, not forgetting to take with him his drum with the henchmen.
When the poor brother came to the rich brother’s, he lost no time in crossing his threshold, and said, “Hail, my brother!”––“Good health to thee also!” replied the rich man, “why hast thou come hither? Has thy plough broken, or thy oxen failed thee? Perchance thou hast watered them with foul water, so that their blood is stagnant, and their flesh inflamed?”––“The murrain take ’em if I know thy meaning!” cried the poor brother. “All that I know is that I thwacked ’em till my arms ached, and they wouldn’t stir, and not a single grunt did they give; till I was so angry that I spat at them, and came to tell thee. Give me back my sack and my ram, I say, and take back thy oxen, for they won’t listen to me!”––“What! take them back!” roared the rich brother. “Dost think I only made the exchange for a single day? No, I gave them to thee once and for all, and now thou wouldst rip the whole thing up like a goat at the fair. I have no doubt thou hast neither watered them nor fed them, and that is why they won’t stand up.”––“I didn’t know,” said the poor man, “that oxen needed water and food.”––“Didn’t know!” screeched the rich man, in a mighty rage, and taking the poor brother by the hand, he led him away from the hut. “Go away,” said he, “and never come back here again, or I’ll have thee hanged on a gallows!”––“Ah! what a big gentleman we are!” said the poor brother; “just thou give me back my own, and then I will go away.”––“Thou hadst better not stop here,” said the rich brother; “come, stir thy stumps, thou pagan! Go home ere I beat thee!”––“Don’t say that,” replied the poor man, “but give me back my ram and my sack, and then I will go.”––At this the rich brother quite lost his temper, and cried to his wife and children, “Why do you stand staring like that? Can’t you come and help me to pitch this insolent rogue out of the house?” This, however, was something beyond a joke, so the poor brother called to his henchmen, “Henchmen, henchmen! out of the drum, and give this brother of mine and his wife a sound drubbing, that they may think twice about it another time before they pitch a poor brother out of their hut!” Then the henchmen leaped out of the drum, and laid hold of the rich brother and his wife, and trounced them soundly, until the rich brother yelled with all his might, “Oh, oh! my own true brother, take what thou wilt, only let me off alive!” whereupon the poor brother cried to his henchmen, “Henchmen, henchmen! into the drum!” and the henchmen disappeared immediately.
Then the poor brother took his ram and his sack, and set off home with them. And they lived happily ever after, and grew richer and richer. They sowed neither wheat nor barley, and yet they had lots and lots to eat. And I was there, and drank mead and beer. What my mouth couldn’t hold ran down my beard. For you, there’s a kazka, but there be fat hearth-cakes for me the asker. And if I have aught to eat, thou shalt share the treat.
DakhaBrakha – Alambari
“The soul is healed by being with children.” — Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Russian novelist and philosopher
I know nothing, except the fact of my ignorance. – Diogenes
On The Menu:
Kristi Stassinopoulou – Beehives
Prometheus & Pandora
Kristi Stassinopoulou -The Joy Of Life
My latest project. I put together this collage over the last few weeks. While working on it I realized that the process had opened up a new way to express my thoughts around arts and creativity.
You will find below the picture links to the other parts of this concept.
I like finding novel approaches that gets my mind working and I’m very excited to present Promethean to you and I hope you like the expanse of this project
The Print of “Promethean” is available here: “Promethean”
____________________________ The Poetry Of Anacreon There is a theme, ancient as it is that flows through all. When I read Anacreon, I hear it’s echoes through the chambers of time..
The Thracian Filly
Ah tell me why you turn and fly,
My little Thracian filly shy?
Why turn askance
That cruel glance,
And think that such a dunce am I?
O I am blest with ample wit
To fix the bridle and the bit,
And make thee bend
In harness all the course of it.
But now ’tis yet the meadow free
And frisking it with merry glee;
The master yet
Has not been met
To mount the car and manage thee.
HORNS to bulls wise Nature lends;
Horses she with hoofs defends;
Hares with nimble feet relieves;
Dreadful teeth to lions gives;
Fishes learn through streams to slide;
Birds through yielding air to glide;
Men to courage she supplies;
But to women these denies.
What then give she? Beauty, this
Both their arms and armor is:
She, that can this weapon use,
Fire and sword with ease subdues.
_____ A Lover’s Sigh
The Phrygian rock that braves the storm
Was once a weeping matron’s form;
And Procne, hapless, frantic maid,
Is now a swallow in the shade.
Oh that a mirror’s form were mine,
To sparkle with that smile divine;
And like my heart I then should be,
Reflecting thee, and only thee!
Or could I be the robe which holds
That graceful form within its folds;
Or, turned into a fountain, lave
Thy beauties in my circling wave;
Or, better still, the zone that lies
Warm to thy breast, and feels its sighs!
Or like those envious pearls that show
So faintly round that neck of snow!
Yes, I would be a happy gem,
Like them to hang, to fade like them.
What more would thy Anacreon be?
Oh, anything that touches thee,
Nay, sandals for those airy feet–
Thus to be pressed by thee were sweet!
The thirsty earth soaks up the rain,
And drinks, and gapes for drink again,
The plants suck in the earth, and are
With constant drinking fresh and fair;
The sea itself (which one would think
Should have but little need of drink)
Drinks twice ten thousand rivers up,
So filled that they o’erflow the cup.
The busy Sun (and one would guess
By ‘s drunken fiery face no less)
Drinks up the sea, and, when he’s done,
The Moon and Stars drink up the Sun:
They drink and dance by their own light;
They drink and revel all the night.
Nothing in nature’s sober found,
But an eternal health goes round.
Fill up the bowl then, fill it high,
Fill all the glasses there; for why
Should every creature drink but I?
Why, man of morals, tell me why?
Prometheus Brings Fire to Mankind -Heinrich Friedrich Fuger
PROMETHEUS AND PANDORA
THE creation of the world is a problem naturally fitted to excite the liveliest interest of man, its inhabitant. The ancient pagans, not having the information on the subject which we derive from the pages of Scripture, had their own way of telling the story, which is as follows:
Before earth and sea and heaven were created, all things were one aspect, to which we give the name of Chaos- a confused and shapeless mass, nothing but dead weight, in which, however, slumbered the seeds of things. Earth, sea, and air were all mixed up together; so the earth was not solid, the sea was not fluid, and the air was not transparent. God and Nature at last interposed, and put an end to this discord, separating earth from sea, and heaven from both. The fiery part, being the lightest, sprang up, and formed the skies; the air was next in weight and place. The earth, being heavier, sank below; and the water took the lowest place, and buoyed up the earth.
Here some god- it is not known which- gave his good offices in arranging and disposing the earth. He appointed rivers and bays their places, raised mountains, scooped out valleys, distributed woods, fountains, fertile fields. and stony plains. The air being cleared, the stars began to appear, fishes took possession of the sea, birds of the air, and four-footed beasts of the land.
But a nobler animal was wanted, and Man was made. It is not known whether the creator made him of divine materials, or whether in the earth, so lately separated from heaven, there lurked still some heavenly seeds. Prometheus took some of this earth, and kneading it up with water, made man in the image of the gods. He gave him an upright stature, so that while all other animals turn their faces downward, and look to the earth, he raises his to heaven, and gazes on the stars.
Prometheus was one of the Titans, a gigantic race, who inhabited the earth before the creation of man. To him and his brother Epimetheus was committed the office of making man, and providing him and all other animals with the faculties necessary for their preservation. Epimetheus undertook to do this, and Prometheus was to overlook his work, when it was done. Epimetheus accordingly proceeded to bestow upon the different animals the various gifts of courage, strength, swiftness, sagacity; wings to one, claws to another, a shelly covering to a third, etc. But when man came to be provided for, who was to be superior to all other animals, Epimetheus had been so prodigal of his resources that he had nothing left to bestow upon him. In his perplexity he resorted to his brother Prometheus, who, with the aid of Minerva, went up to heaven, and lighted his torch at the chariot of the sun. and brought down fire to man. With this gift man was more than a match for all other animals. It enabled him to make weapons wherewith to subdue them; tools with which to cultivate the earth; to warm his dwelling, so as to be comparatively independent of climate; and finally, to introduce the arts and to coin money, the means of trade and commerce.
Woman was not yet made. The story (absurd enough!) is that Jupiter made her, and sent her to Prometheus and his brother, to punish them for their presumption in stealing fire from heaven; and man, for accepting the gift. The first woman was named Pandora. She was made in heaven, every god contributing something to perfect her. Venus gave her beauty, Mercury persuasion, Apollo music, etc. Thus equipped, she was conveyed to earth, and presented to Epimetheus, who gladly accepted her, though cautioned by his brother to beware of Jupiter and his gifts. Epimetheus had in his house a jar, in which were kept certain noxious articles for which, in fitting man for his new abode, he had had no occasion. Pandora was seized with an eager curiosity to know what this jar contained; and one day she slipped off the cover and looked in. Forthwith there escaped a multitude of plagues for hapless man,- such as gout, rheumatism, and colic for his body, and envy, spite, and revenge for his mind,- and scattered themselves far and wide. Pandora hastened to replace the lid! but, alas! the whole contents of the jar had escaped, one thing only excepted, which lay at the bottom, and that was hope. So we see at this day, whatever evils are abroad, hope never entirely leaves us; and while we have that, no amount of other ills can make us completely wretched.
Another story is that Pandora was sent in good faith, by Jupiter, to bless man; that she was furnished with a box containing her marriage presents, into which every god had put some blessing, She opened the box incautiously, and the blessings all escaped, hope only excepted. This story seems more probable than the former; for how could hope, so precious a jewel as it is, have been kept in a jar full of all manner of evils, as in the former statement?
The world being thus furnished with inhabitants, the first age was an age of innocence and happiness, called the Golden Age. Truth and right prevailed, though not enforced by law, nor was there any magistrate to threaten or punish. The forest had not yet been robbed of its trees to furnish timbers for vessels, nor had men built fortifications round their towns. There were no such things as swords, spears, or helmets. The earth brought forth all things necessary for man, without his labour in ploughing or sowing, Perpetual spring reigned, flowers sprang up without seed, the rivers flowed with milk and wine, and yellow honey distilled from the oaks.
Then succeeded the Silver Age, inferior to the golden, but better than that of brass. Jupiter shortened the spring,and divided the year into seasons. Then, first, men had to endure the extremes of heat and cold, and houses became necessary. Caves were the first dwellings, and leafy coverts of the woods, and huts woven of twigs. Crops would no longer grow without planting. The farmer was obliged to sow the seed, and the toiling ox to draw the plough.
Next came the Brazen Age, more savage of temper, and readier to the strife of arms, yet not altogether wicked. The hardest and worst was the Iron Age. Crime burst in like a flood; modesty, truth, and honour fled. In their places came fraud and cunning, violence, and the wicked love of gain. Then seamen spread sails to the wind, and the trees were torn from the mountains to serve for keels to ships, and vex the face of the ocean. The earth, which till now had been cultivated in common, began to be divided off into possessions. Men were not satisfied with what the surface produced, but must dig into its bowels, and draw forth from thence the ores of metals. Mischievous iron, and more mischievous gold, were produced. War sprang up, using both as weapons; the guest was not safe in his friend’s house; and sons-in-law and fathers-in-law, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, could not trust one another. Sons wished their fathers dead, that they might come to the inheritance; family love lay prostrate. The earth was wet with slaughter, and the gods abandoned it, one by one, till Astraea* alone was left, and finally she also took her departure.
* The goddess of innocence and purity. After leaving earth, she was placed among the stars, where she became the constellation Virgo- the Virgin. Themis (Justice) was the mother of Astraea. She is represented as holding aloft a pair of scales, in which she weighs the claims of opposing parties.
It was a favourite idea of the old poets that these goddesses would one day return, and bring back the Golden Age. Even in a Christian hymn, the “Messiah” of Pope, this idea occurs:
“All crimes shall cease, and ancient fraud shall fail,
Returning Justice lift aloft her scale,
Peace o’er the world her olive wand extend,
And white-robed Innocence from heaven descend.”
See, also, Milton’s “Hymn on the Nativity,” stanzas xiv. and xv.
Jupiter, seeing this state of things, burned with anger. He summoned the gods to council. They obeyed the call, and took the road to the palace of heaven. The road, which any one may see in a clear night, stretches across the face of the sky, and is called the Milky Way. Along the road stand the palaces of the illustrious gods; the common people of the skies live apart, on either side. Jupiter addressed the assembly. He set forth the frightful condition of things on the earth, and closed by announcing his intention to destroy the whole of its inhabitants, and provide a new race, unlike the first, who would be more worthy of life, and much better worshippers of the gods. So saying he took a thunderbolt, and was about to launch it at the world, and destroy it by burning; but recollecting the danger that such a conflagration might set heaven itself on fire, he changed his plan, and resolved to drown it. The north wind, which scatters the clouds, was chained up; the south was sent out, and soon covered all the face of heaven with a cloak of pitchy darkness. The clouds, driven together, resound with a crash; torrents of rain fall; the crops are laid low; the year’s labour of the husbandman perishes in an hour. Jupiter, not satisfied with his own waters, calls on his brother Neptune to aid him with his. He lets loose the rivers, and pours them over the land. At the same time, he heaves the land with an earthquake, and brings in the reflux of the ocean over the shores. Flocks, herds, men, and houses are swept away, and temples, with their sacred enclosures, profaned. If any edifice remained standing, it was overwhelmed, and its turrets lay hid beneath the waves. Now all was sea, sea without shore. Here and there an individual remained on a projecting hilltop, and a few, in boats, pulled the oar where they had lately driven the plough. The fishes swim among the tree-tops; the anchor is let down into a garden. Where the graceful lambs played but now. unwieldy sea calves gambol. The wolf swims among the sheep, the yellow lions and tigers struggle in the water. The strength of the wild boar serves him not, nor his swiftness the stag. The birds fall with weary win, into the water, having found no land for a resting-place. Those living beings whom the water spared fell a prey to hunger.
Parnassus alone, of all the mountains, overtopped the waves; and there Deucalion, and his wife Pyrrha, of the race of Prometheus, found refuge- he a just man, and she a faithful worshipper of the gods. Jupiter, when he saw none left alive but this pair, and remembered their harmless lives and pious demeanour, ordered the north winds to drive away the clouds, and disclose the skies to earth, and earth to the skies. Neptune also directed Triton to blow on his shell, and sound a retreat to the waters. The waters obeyed, and the sea returned to its shores, and the rivers to their channels. Then Deucalion thus addressed Pyrrha: “O wife, only surviving woman, joined to me first by the ties of kindred and marriage, and now by a common danger, would that we possessed the power of our ancestor Prometheus, and could renew the race as he at first made it! But as we cannot, let us seek yonder temple, and inquire of the gods what remains for us to do.” They entered the temple, deformed as it was with slime, and approached the altar, where no fire burned. There they fell prostrate on the earth, and prayed the goddess to inform them how they might retrieve their miserable affairs. The oracle answered, “Depart from the temple with head veiled and garments unbound, and cast behind you the bones of your mother.” They heard the words with astonishment. Pyrrha first broke silence: “We cannot obey; we dare not profane the remains of our parents.” They sought the thickest shades of the wood, and revolved the oracle in their minds. At length Deucalion spoke: “Either my sagacity deceives me, or the command is one we may obey without impiety. The earth is the great parent of all; the stones are her bones; these we may cast behind us; and I think this is what the oracle means. At least, it will do no harm to try.” They veiled their faces, unbound their garments, and picked up stones, and cast them behind them. The stones (wonderful to relate) began to grow soft, and assume shape. By degrees, they put on a rude resemblance to the human form, like a block half finished in the hands of the sculptor. The moisture and slime that were about them became flesh; the stony part became bones; the veins remained veins, retaining their name, only changing their use. Those thrown by the hand of the man became men, and those by the woman became women. It was a hard race, and well adapted to labour, as we find ourselves to be at this day, giving plain indications of our origin.
The comparison of Eve to Pandora is too obvious to have escaped Milton, who introduces it in Book IV. of “Paradise Lost”:
“More lovely than Pandora, whom the gods
Endowed with all their gifts; and O, too like
In sad event, when to the unwiser son
Of Japhet brought by Hermes, she insnared
Mankind with her fair looks, to be avenged
On him who had stole Jove’s authentic fire.”
Prometheus and Epimetheus were sons of Iapetus, which Milton changes to Japhet.
Prometheus has been a favourite subject with the poets. He is represented as the friend of mankind, who interposed in their behalf when Jove was incensed against them, and who taught them civilization and the arts. But as, in so doing, he transgressed the will of Jupiter, he drew down on himself the anger of the ruler of gods and men. Jupiter had him chained to a rock on Mount Caucasus, where a vulture preyed on his liver, which was renewed as fast as devoured. This state of torment might have been brought to an end at any time by Prometheus, if he had been willing, to submit to his oppressor; for he possessed a secret which involved the stability of Jove’s throne, and if he would have revealed it, he might have been at once taken into favour. But that he disdained to do. He has therefore become the symbol of magnanimous endurance of unmerited suffering, and strength of will resisting oppression.
Byron and Shelley have both treated this theme. The following are Byron’s lines:
“Titan! to whose immortal eyes
The sufferings of mortality,
Seen in their sad reality,
Were not as things that gods despise;
What was thy pity’s recompense?
A silent suffering, and intense;
The rock, the vulture, and the chain;
All that the proud can feel of pain;
The agony they do not show;
The suffocating sense of woe.
“Thy godlike crime was to be kind;
To render with thy precepts less
The sum of human wretchedness,
And strengthen man with his own mind.
And, baffled as thou wert from high,
Still, in thy patient energy
In the endurance and repulse
Of thine impenetrable spirit,
Which earth and heaven could not convulse,
A mighty lesson we inherit.”
Byron also employs the same allusion, in his “Ode to Napoleon Bonaparte”:
“Or, like the thief of fire from heaven,
Wilt thou withstand the shock?
And share with him- the unforgiven-
His vulture and his rock?”
“Against stupidity we have no defense. Neither protests nor force can touch it. Reasoning is of no use. Facts that contradict personal prejudices can simply be disbelieved — indeed, the fool can counter by criticizing them, and if they are undeniable, they can just be pushed aside as trivial exceptions. So the fool, as distinct from the scoundrel, is completely self-satisfied. In fact, they can easily become dangerous, as it does not take much to make them aggressive. For that reason, greater caution is called for than with a malicious one. Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reasons, for it is senseless and dangerous.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer
________________ Kristi Stassinopoulou -The Joy Of Life
“What is beautiful is good, and who is good will soon be beautiful.”
The Great Round… Leaving The Year on a high note.
So here we are at the turning of the Julian calendar year… what a blur the last 12 months has been. I was going to hash over the doings of the world, but frankly, that serves no one, and it has been done to death. I would rather contemplate more of the esoteric features, and what seems to be hints of the future winding its way towards us all.
I spent a lot of time meditating this last year, especially in the summer months, where we sat out in the back garden in all of its glory (and trauma from the heat this past summer.) During those sittings I had a remarkable moment of gnosis. We were sitting under the Dogwood Tree, just out the back door. It was early evening, perhaps 6:00pm. We (Mary and I) were sharing the evening glass together. I was slowly breathing in and out, and then I stepped through what I call a mental membrane. Life became extremely vibrant. All of my concentration centered on my breathing. I realized that I was breathing in billions of lifeforms, each expressing consciousness in its own way. All that I perceived inwardly and outwardly was life in all of its exuberant abundance and variation. The air, land, trees, water were teaming with awareness – consciousness. I cannot put it into words properly it seems… Yet there was a glory in the recognition of what was eternally present. Time, stopped. I became unaware of breathing. The world brightened. I sat in what is best described as that infinite moment in between.
After a bit, I realized I was breathing again, and all was returning to normal. I gave thanks. It was one of those events that reassures, even in the midst of such turmoil.
I am at the Optometrist, early November, late October. “Well, it looks like you have cataracts”. The understatement of the year. Sitting in the back garden this summer everything in the distance was double vision, driving at night a nightmare. Yet, with that simple statement, I realized (partially) what was dragging down my time working on the Invisible College, and other projects. It started with losing focus when looking at screens. Blur. Combined with the Covid Shuffle, it was a potent mix of dithering, drifting, lack of focus. I have been near sighted for years, but this is something else. Yet, there is hope on the horizon, with projected surgery.
After wrestling with Barnes & Noble Interface for 3 weeks, I finally get a reply to my query. Somehow, The Invisible Colelge #11 “Alchemy” had gone down the rabbit hole. This was most disheartening. I was looking for relief from publishing with Amazon. Amazon, who doesn’t actually send money for issues sold. Amazon, whose lack of transparency borders on the Machiavellian… Moving to a publisher who has actual physical stores, bookstores to sell at. In that the Invisible College Review/Magazine doesn’t fit in any readymade category has made landing a traditional publishing deal almost impossible. This has been the territory that we seem to always inhabit: Just over the “Horizon Line”. The undefined, the outer territories, the scary place.
Finally, Relief. An actual human reaches out. Publication goes forward.
_____________ Current Projects Launched:
Contributors: Gwyllm Llwydd Publisher, Editor & Illustrator of The Invisible College.
Perhaps one of the oldest arts that could be considered Alchemical would-be ceramics. We are featuring the ceramics of Andrea O’Reilly: “Art Of The Four Elements”… in this ancient field, which is a first for The Invisible College. P.D Newman returns to the Invisible College with an excerpt from his new book, “Angels in Vermillion”, The Philosophers Stone from Dee to DMT. It makes for a great read.
We are very pleased to present the poetry of Whit Griffin, an excerpt from his new book, “Uncanny Resonance”. Whit’s poetry is some of the very best of our current poets in the US.
We are happy to present “Psychognosis” along with the beautiful art of the author Daniel Mirante. His art work, his teaching and his understanding of the Alchemical process is nicely laid out in his article.
We are pleased to present the art of Madeline von Foerster in “Alchemy Expressed Through Surrealism” . Amazing artwork, beautifully surreal; executed in the oil and egg tempera mische technique developed by the Flemish Masters.
We have an interview with Sasha Chaitow whose new book “Atalanta Unveiled” is causing quite a stir in alchemical circles in Europe and the USA. This is quite a wide ranging interview in only the way that Ronnie Pontiac can conduct an interview. Laurence Caruana shares both his art and his journey through alchemy with us in his article “Speculum Alchemae”. The details of his Alchemical journey from the 1990’s in Montreal, to his life now in Europe. Laurence’s art is a bonus to this article, he is well known in the Visionary School, and in fact one of the founders of The Academy of Visionary Art in Vienna, now residing in France. Holly Van Fleet returns to this edition with more of her concise writings and “Alchemical Musings”.
You can purchase the new edition either at InvisibleCollegePublishing, or at our new publisher, Barne’s & Noble. Here is a Sweetener for purchasing from us: For a Limited Time, when you purchase a copy of #11 “Alchemy”You also get a signed print of“Her Alchemical Dream”: Invisible College 11# With Print
Or, you can purchase it from: Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Advantage: Earlier Delivery
You can still get your Gwyllm Art Caledar 2022 at Lulu.Com! Gwyllm Art Calendar 2022
Enough. on to Music, some Linkage, Sufism,,,
_____________ On The Menu:
Man Kunto Maula
It’s Beginning To Happen Everywhere
Shams of Tabriz: The 40 Rules of Love
________________ Shams of Tabriz: The 40 Rules of Love
(Excerpts from the book: The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak)
How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. If God brings to mind mostly fear and blame, it means there is too much fear and blame welled inside us. If we see God as full of love and compassion, so are we.
The path to the Truth is a labour of the heart, not of the head. Make your heart your primary guide! Not your mind. Meet, challenge and ultimately prevail over your nafs with your heart. Knowing your ego will lead you to the knowledge of God.
You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe, because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue or church. But if you are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for him: in the heart of a true lover.
Intellect and love are made of different materials. Intellect ties people in knots and risks nothing, but love dissolves all tangles and risks everything. Intellect is always cautious and advices, ‘Beware too much ecstasy’, whereas love says, ‘Oh, never mind! Take the plunge!’ Intellect does not easily break down, whereas love can effortlessly reduce itself to rubble. But treasures are hidden among ruins. A broken heart hides treasures.
Most of problems of the world stem from linguistic mistakes and simple misunderstanding. Don’t ever take words at face value. When you step into the zone of love, language, as we know it becomes obsolete. That which cannot be put into words can only be grasped through silence.
Loneliness and solitude are two different things. When you are lonely, it is easy to delude yourself into believing that you are on the right path. Solitude is better for us, as it means being alone without feeling lonely. But eventually it is the best to find a person who will be your mirror. Remember only in another person’s heart can you truly see yourself and the presence of God within you.
Whatever happens in your life, no matter how troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighbourhood of despair. Even when all doors remain closed, God will open up a new path only for you. Be thankful! It is easy to be thankful when all is well. A Sufi is thankful not only for what he has been given but also for all that he has been denied.
Patience does not mean to passively endure. It means to look at the end of a process. What does patience mean? It means to look at the thorn and see the rose, to look at the night and see the dawn. Impatience means to be shortsighted as to not be able to see the outcome. The lovers of God never run out of patience, for they know that time is needed for the crescent moon to become full.
East, west, south, or north makes little difference. No matter what your destination, just be sure to make every journey a journey within. If you travel within, you’ll travel the whole wide world and beyond.
The midwife knows that when there is no pain, the way for the baby cannot be opened and the mother cannot give birth. Likewise, for a new self to be born, hardship is necessary. Just as clay needs to go through intense heat to become strong, Love can only be perfected in pain.
The quest for love changes user. There is no seeker among those who search for love who has not matured on the way. The moment you start looking for love, you start to change within and without.
There are more fake gurus and false teachers in this world than the number of stars in the visible universe. Don’t confuse power-driven, self-centered people with true mentors. A genuine spiritual master will not direct your attention to himself or herself and will not expect absolute obedience or utter admiration from you, but instead will help you to appreciate and admire your inner self. True mentors are as transparent as glass. They let the light of God pass through them.
Try not to resist the changes, which come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?
God is busy with the completion of your work, both outwardly and inwardly. He is fully occupied with you. Every human being is a work in progress that is slowly but inexorably moving toward perfection. We are each an unfinished work of art both waiting and striving to be completed. God deals with each of us separately because humanity is fine art of skilled penmanship where every single dot is equally important for the entire picture.
It’s easy to love a perfect God, unblemished and infallible that He is. What is far more difficult is to love fellow human being with all their imperfections and defects. Remember, one can only know what one is capable of loving. There is no wisdom without love. Unless we learn to love God’s creation, we can neither truly love nor truly know God.
Real faith is the one inside. The rest simply washes off. There is only one type of dirt that cannot be cleansed with pure water, and that is the stain of hatred and bigotry contaminating the soul. You can purify your body through abstinence and fasting, but only love will purify your heart.
The whole universe is contained within a single human being-you. Everything that you see around, including the things that you might not be fond of and even the people you despise or abhor, is present within you in varying degrees. Therefore, do not look for Sheitan outside yourself either. The devil is not an extraordinary force that attacks from without. It is an ordinary voice within. If you set to know yourself fully, facing with honesty and hardness.
If you want to change the ways others treat you, you should first change the way you treat yourself, fully and sincerely, there is no way you can be loved. Once you achieve that stage, however, be thankful for every thorn that others might throw at you. It is a sign that you will soon be showered in roses.
Fret not where the road will take you. Instead concentrate on the first step. That is the hardest part and that is what you are responsible for. Once you take that step let everything do what it naturally does and the rest will follow. Don’t go with the flow. Be the flow.
We were all created in His image, and yet we were each created different and unique. No two people are alike. No hearts beat to the same rhythm. If God had wanted everyone to be the same, He would have made it so. Therefore, disrespecting differences and imposing your thoughts on others is an amount to disrespecting God’s holy scheme.
When a true lover of God goes into a tavern, the tavern becomes his chamber of prayer, but when a wine bibber goes into the same chamber, it becomes his tavern. In everything we do, it is our hearts that make the difference, not our outer appearance. Sufis do not judge other people on how they look or who they are. When a Sufi stares at someone, he keeps both eyes closed instead opens a third eye – the eye that sees the inner realm.
Life is a temporary loan and this world is nothing but a sketchy imitation of Reality. Only children would mistake a toy for the real thing. And yet human beings either become infatuated with the toy or disrespectfully break it and throw it aside. In this life stay away from all kinds of extremities, for they will destroy your inner balance. Sufis do not go to extremes. A Sufi always remains mild and moderate.
The human being has a unique place among God’s creation. “I breathed into him of My Spirit,” God says. Each and every one of us without exception is designed to be God’s delegate on earth. Ask yourself, just how often do you behave like a delegate, if you ever do so? Remember, it fells upon each of us to discover the divine spirit inside and live by it.
Hell is in the here and now. So is heaven. Quit worrying about hell or dreaming about heaven, as they are both present inside this very moment. Every time we fall in love, we ascend to heaven. Every time we hate, envy or fight someone we tumble straight into the fires of hell.
Each and every reader comprehends the Holy Qur’an on a different level of tandem with the depth of his understanding. There are four levels of insight. The first level is the outer meaning and it is the one that the majority of the people are content with. Next is the Batin – the inner level. Third, there is the inner of the inner. And the fourth level is so deep it cannot be put into words and is therefore bound to remain indescribable.
The universe is one being. Everything and everyone is interconnected through an invisible web of stories. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all in a silent conversation. Do no harm. Practice compassion. And do not gossip behind anyone’s back – not even a seemingly innocent remark! The words that come out of our mouths do not vanish but are perpetually stored in infinite space and they will come back to us in due time. One man’s pain will hurt us all. One man’s joy will make everyone smile.
Whatever you speak, good or evil, will somehow come back to you. Therefore, if there is someone who harbours ill thoughts about you, saying similarly bad things about him will only make matters worse. You will be locked in a vicious circle of malevolent energy. Instead for forty days and nights say and think nice things about that person. Everything will be different at the end of 40 days, because you will be different inside.
The past is an interpretation. The future is on illusion. The world does not more through time as if it were a straight line, proceeding from the past to the future. Instead time moves through and within us, in endless spirals. Eternity does not mean infinite time, but simply timelessness. If you want to experience eternal illumination, put the past and the future out of your mind and remain within the present moment.
Destiny doesn’t mean that your life has been strictly predetermined. Therefore, to live everything to the fate and to not actively contribute to the music of the universe is a sign of sheer ignorance. The music of the universe is all pervading and it is composed on 40 different levels. Your destiny is the level where you play your tune. You might not change your instrument but how well to play is entirely in your hands.
The true Sufi is such that even when he is unjustly accused, attacked and condemned from all sides, he patiently endures, uttering not a sing bad word about any of his critics. A Sufi never apportions blame. How can there be opponents or rivals or even “others” when there is no “self” in the first place? How can there be anyone to blame when there is only One?
If you want to strengthen your faith, you will need to soften inside. For your faith to be rock solid, your heart needs to be as soft as a feather. Through an illness, accident, loss or fright, one way or another, we are all faced with incidents that teach us how to become less selfish and judgmental and more compassionate and generous. Yet some of us learn the lesson and manage to become milder, while some others end up becoming even harsher than before…
Nothing should stand between you and God. No imams, priests, rabbits or any other custodians of moral or religious leadership. Not spiritual masters and not even your faith. Believe in your values and your rules, but never lord them over others. If you keep breaking other people’s hearts, whatever religious duty you perform is no good. Stay away from all sorts of idolatry, for they will blur your vision. Let God and only God be your guide. Learn the Truth, my friend, but be careful not to make a fetish out of your truths.
While everyone in this world strives to get somewhere and become someone, only to leave it all behind after death, you aim for the supreme stage of nothingness. Live this life as light and empty as the number zero. We are no different from a pot. It is not the decorations outside but the emptiness inside that holds us straight. Just like that, it is not what we aspire to achieve but the consciousness of nothingness that keeps us going.
Submission does not mean being weak or passive. It leads to neither fatalism nor capitulation. Just the opposite. True power resides in submission a power that comes within. Those who submit to the divine essence of life will live in unperturbed tranquillity and peace even the whole wide world goes through turbulence after turbulence.
In this world, it is not similarities or regularities that take us a step forward, but blunt opposites. And all the opposites in the universe are present within each and every one of us. Therefore the believer needs to meet the unbeliever residing within. And the nonbeliever should get to know the silent faithful in him. Until the day one reaches the stage of Insane-I Kamil, the perfect human being, faith is a gradual process and one that necessitates its seeming opposite: disbelief.
This world is erected upon the principle of reciprocity. Neither a drop of kindness nor a speck of evil will remain unreciprocated. For not the plots, deceptions, or tricks of other people. If somebody is setting a trap, remember, so is God. He is the biggest plotter. Not even a leaf stirs outside God’s knowledge. Simply and fully believe in that. Whatever God does, He does it beautifully.
God is a meticulous dock maker. So precise is His order that everything on earth happens in its own time. Neither a minute late nor a minute early. And for everyone without exception, the clock works accurately. For each there is a time to love and a time to die.
It is never too late to ask yourself, “Am I ready to change the life I am living? Am I ready to change within?” Even if a single day in your life is the same as the day before, it surely is a pity. At every moment and with each new breath, one should be renewed and renewed again. There is only one-way to be born into a new life: to die before death.
While the part change, the whole always remains the same. For every thief who departs this world, a new one is born. And every descent person who passes away is replaced by a new one. In this way not only does nothing remain the same but also nothing ever really changes. For every Sufi who dies, another is born somewhere.
A life without love is of no account. Don’t ask yourself what kind of love you should seek, spiritual or material, divine or mundane, Eastern or Western. Divisions only lead to more divisions. Love has no labels, no definitions. It is what it is, pure and simple. Love is the water of life. And a lover is a soul of fire! The universe turns differently when fire loves water.
Let us celebrate the past year, with all of its challenges, and look forward with love to the New Year, for all of the possibilities ahead.
Be Strong, Love Fiercely, Practice Compassion. We will do this, properly.
“You will learn by reading, but you will understand with love.” ― Shams Tabrizi
It has been a month here at Caer Llwydd. I have been dealing with putting the Invisible College #11 to bed, working on the Substacks, and a new Gwyllm Art Calendar for 2022. There has been a frenzy of programming on Radio EarthRites, especially on the Spoken Word side of things. More on the way, as usual.
The Invisible College #11 “Alchemy” Should be out this week. I will post here, and elsewhere when that occurs.
Weather certainly has taken a turn, almost to normal, but for how long? Lots of rain in Oregon, which is the norm, perhaps the drought will be lessened with all of the downpours.
I pray this finds you well, and happy.
Thanks all for their support of the projects,
____________________________________________ On The Menu:
Gwyllm Substack “Mantis Tale”
Art Calendar 2022!
Michael McClure & Ray Manzarek: The Cup We Drink From
William Butler Yeats: In The Seven Woods
Michael McClure & Ray Manzarek: Antechamber of the Night
____________________________________________ Gwyllm Substack “Mantis Tale”
_____________________________________ Michael McClure & Ray Manzarek: The Cup We Drink From
William Butler Yeats: In The Seven Woods
IN THE SEVEN WOODS.
I have heard the pigeons of the Seven Woods Make their faint thunder, and the garden bees Hum in the lime tree flowers; and put away The unavailing outcries and the old bitterness That empty the heart. I have forgot awhile Tara uprooted, and new commonness Upon the throne and crying about the streets And hanging its paper flowers from post to post, Because it is alone of all things happy. I am contented for I know that Quiet Wanders laughing and eating her wild heart Among pigeons and bees, while that Great Archer, Who but awaits His hour to shoot, still hangs A cloudy quiver over Parc-na-Lee.
THE WITHERING OF THE BOUGHS.
I cried when the moon was murmuring to the birds, ‘Let peewit call and curlew cry where they will, I long for your merry and tender and pitiful words, For the roads are unending and there is no place to my mind.’ The honey-pale Moon lay low on the sleepy hill And I fell asleep upon lonely Echtge of streams; No boughs have withered because of the wintry wind, The boughs have withered because I have told them my dreams.
I know of the leafy paths that the witches take, Who come with their crowns of pearl and their spindles of wool, And their secret smile, out of the depths of the lake; And of apple islands where the Danaan kind Wind and unwind their dances when the light grows cool On the island lawns, their feet where the pale foam gleams; No boughs have withered because of the wintry wind, The boughs have withered because I have told them my dreams.
I know of the sleepy country, where swans fly round Coupled with golden chains and sing as they fly, A king and a queen are wandering there, and the sound Has made them so happy and hopeless, so deaf and so blind With wisdom, they wander till all the years have gone by; I know, and the curlew and peewit on Echtge of streams; No boughs have withered because of the wintry wind, The boughs have withered because I have told them my dreams.
UNDER THE MOON.
I have no happiness in dreaming of Brycelinde; Nor Avalon the grass green hollow, nor Joyous Isle, Where one found Lancelot crazed and hid him for a while, Nor Ulad when Naoise had thrown a sail upon the wind, Nor lands that seem too dim to be burdens on the heart, Land-under-Wave, where out of the moon’s light and the sun’s Seven old sisters wind the threads of the long lived ones, Land-of-the-Tower, where Aengus has thrown the gates apart, p. 28 And Wood-of-Wonders, where one kills an ox at dawn To find it when night falls laid on a golden bier: Therein are many queens like Branwen, and Guinivere; And Niam, and Laban, and Fand, who could change to an otter or fawn And the wood-woman whose love was changed to a blue-eyed hawk; And whether I go in my dreams by woodland, or dun, or shore, Or on the unpeopled waves with kings to pull at the oar, I hear the harp string praise them or hear their mournful talk. Because of a story I heard under the thin horn Of the third moon, that hung between the night and the day, To dream of women whose beauty was folded in dismay, Even in an old story, is a burden not to be borne.
THE RIDER FROM THE NORTH.
From the play of The Country of the Young.
There’s many a strong farmer Whose heart would break in two If he could see the townland That we are riding to; Boughs have their fruit and blossom, At all times of the year, Rivers are running over With red beer and brown beer. An old man plays the bagpipes In a golden and silver wood, Queens, their eyes blue like the ice, Are dancing in a crowd. The little fox he murmured, ‘O what is the world’s bane?’ The sun was laughing sweetly, The moon plucked at my rein; But the little red fox murmured, ‘O do not pluck at his rein, He is riding to the townland That is the world’s bane.’
When their hearts are so high, That they would come to blows, They unhook their heavy swords From golden and silver boughs; But all that are killed in battle Awaken to life again; It is lucky that their story Is not known among men. For O the strong farmers That would let the spade lie, For their hearts would be like a cup That somebody had drunk dry. The little fox he: murmured, ‘O what is the world’s bane?’ The sun was laughing sweetly, The moon plucked at my rein; But the little red fox murmured, ‘O do not pluck at his rein, He is riding to the townland That is the world’s bane.’
Michael will unhook his trumpet
From a bough overhead,
And blow a little noise
When the supper has been spread.
Gabriel will come from the water
With a fish tail, and talk
Of wonders that have happened
On wet roads where men walk,
And lift up an old horn
Of hammered silver, and drink
Till he has fallen asleep
Upon the starry brink
The little fox he murmured,
‘O what is the world’s bane?
The sun was laughing sweetly,
The moon plucked at my rein;
But the little red fox murmured,
‘O do not pluck at his rein,
He is riding to the townland,
That is the world’s bane.’
_________________________________ Michael McClure & Ray Manzarek: Antechamber of the Night
_________________________________ “It is pointless trying to know where the way leads. Think only about your first step, the rest will come.” ― Shams Tabrizi
I hope this finds you well and enjoying the Beauty of October wherever you are.
So if you’re not aware of it I have been setting up schedules for
Radio Earth-Rites more or less on a weekly basis (as I can) with both music and spoken word. Give it a listen you might enjoy what I’ve been putting up for your listening pleasure.
I’ve been working with a new project onSubstack. What I’m doing is gathering writings that I’ve done previously and that I’m doing concurrently and slowly working towards a book to be published this coming year. This project is more or less a memoir but probably more of a charting of the times and adventures that I and others live through. At this point I am not putting anything up in a linear fashion but will be balancing back and forth through Time from the mid-60s up to the 2000s… I do hope you’ll read these entries and I would really appreciate any feedback that you would Care to share.
So far, there are 5 entries, beginning with 55 Years Ago which details my early years on the road… Lime Kiln, Big Sur 1968 a story after I left the Haight in January 1968… Red Hair Rick is a ghost story from late 1968-69 set in deep Northern California… Gate Keepers is a tale about high end tryptamine experiments, from experiences in the late 1990’s, early 2000’s.
The latest entry 1976-1977 “Snippets” is an overview of experiences at a time of great personal and social upheaval.
Stay tuned for more entries!
This Edition of Hare’s Tales…
I first started putting this entry together a year ago and I finally had decided to let it be published. I’ve been updating it for the last couple of weeks with links etc a little more music…
I think that you might enjoy the poetry of Eramus Darwin and Peter Lamborn Wilson’s “The Disciples at Sais” which was originally going to be a part of the Invisible College Alchemy Edition but decided to move it to here.
As I said about the sub stack entries feedback is appreciated.
____________________________ Poetry: Eramus Darwin
Erasmus Darwin was an English physician. One of the key thinkers of the Midlands Enlightenment, he was also a natural philosopher, physiologist, slave-trade abolitionist, inventor and poet. His poems included much natural history, including a statement of evolution and the relatedness of all forms of life. Great Grandfather of Charles Darwin…
His great poem, The Botanic Garden is not included here, but perhaps in the future in extracts.
To The Stars
Roll on, ye starts! exult in youthful prime,
Mark with bright curves the printless steps of time;
Near and more near your beamy cars approach,
And lessening orbs on lessening orbs encroach;
Flowers of the sky! ye, too, to age must yield.
Frail as your silken sisters of the field!
Star after star from heaven’s high arch shall rush,
Suns sink on suns, and systems systems crush,
Headlong, extinct, to one dark centre fall,
And death, and night, and chaos mingle all!
Till o’er the wreck, emerging from the storm,
Immortal nature lifts her changeful form,
Mounts from her funeral pyre on wings of flame,
And soars and shines, another and the same!
The Linnet’s Nest
The busy birds, with nice selection, cull
Soft thistle-down, gray moss, and scatter’d wool;
Far from each prying eye the nest prepare,
Form’d of warm moss, and lined with softest hair.
Week after week, regardless of her food,
Th’ incumbent linnet warms her future brood;
Each spotted egg with ivory bill she turns,
Day after day with fond impatience burns;
Hears the young prisoner chirping in his cell,
And breaks in hemispheres the fragile shell.
Now stood Eliza on the wood-crowned height,
O’er Minden’s plain, spectatress of the fight;
Sought, with bold eye, amid the bloody strife,
Her dearer self, the partner of her life;
From hill to hill the rushing host pursued,
And viewed his banner, or believed she viewed.
Pleased with the distant roar, with quicker tread,
Fast by the hand, one lisping boy she led;
And one fair girl, amid the loud alarm,
Slept on her kerchief, cradled on her arm:
While round her brows bright beams of honour dart,
And love’s warm eddies circle round her heart.
Near and more near the intrepid beauty pressed,
Saw, through the driving smoke, his dancing crest,
Heard the exulting shout, ‘they run! – they run!’
‘He’s safe!’ she cried, ‘he’s safe! – the battle’s won!’
A ball now hisses through the airy tides,
(Some Fury wings it, and some Demon guides,)
Parts the fine locks, her graceful head that deck,
Wounds her fair ear, and sinks into her neck;
The red stream, issuing from her azure veins,
Dyes her white veil, her ivory bosom stains –
‘Ah me!’ she cried, and sinking on the ground,
Kissed her dear babes, regardless of the wound;
‘Oh, cease not yet to beat, thou vital urn!
Wait, gushing life – oh, wait my love’s return!’
Hoarse barks the wolf, the vulture screams from far,
The angel Pity shuns the walks of war ;-
‘Oh spare, ye war-hounds, spare their tender age!
On me, on me,’ she cried, ‘exhaust your rage!’
Then, with weak arms, her weeping babes caressed,
And, sighing, hid them in her blood-stained vest.
From tent to tent the impatient warrior flies,
Fear in his heart, and frenzy in his eyes;
Eliza’s name along the camp he calls,
‘Eliza’ echoes the murmuring gloom his footsteps tread,
O’er groaning heaps, the dying and the dead,
Vault o’er the plain – and in the tangled wood –
Lo – dead Eliza – weltering in her blood!
Soon hears his listening son the welcome sounds;
With open arms and sparkling eyes, he bounds:
‘Speak low,’ he cries, and gives his little hand –
‘Mamma’s asleep upon the dew-cold sand;
Alas! we both with cold and hunger quake –
Why do you weep? – mamma will soon awake.’
‘She’ll wake no more!’ the hopeless mourner cried,
Upturned his eyes, and clasped his hands, and sighed;
Stretched on the ground awhile entranced he lay,
And pressed warm kisses on the lifeless clay;
He then upsprang, with wild convulsive start,
And all the father kindled in his heart;
‘O Heaven!’ he cried, ‘my first rash vow forgive!
These bind to earth – for these I pray to live!’
Round his chill babes he wrapped his crimson vest,
And clasped them sobbing to his aching breast.
_____________________________ Brian Eno – Dune Prophecy
_____________________________ The Disciples At Sais Lecture by Peter Lamborn Wilson
Nature loves to hide (Becoming is a secret process). Heraclitus (Guy Davenport Translation)
The sciences must all be made poetic. Novalis 
If God can become man, he can also become element, stone, plant, animal. Perhaps there is a continual Redemption in nature. Novalis
If the world is a tree, we are the blossoms. Novalis 
Santos-Dumont, the Parisian-Brazilian aviation pioneer and inventor of the airplane, during a sojourn in his native land in 1934, saw federalist planes dropping bombs on rebel troops. He hanged himself later that day. His last words, as reported by an elevator operator: “I never thought that my invention would cause bloodshed between brothers. What have I done?” 
For historians to say that A leads inevitably to Z for example, that German Romanticism leads inevitably to Reaction, or that Marx leads directly to Stalin is to mistake the bitter wisdom of hindsight for a principle of fatality. Such determinism also insults all revolutionary resistance with the implicit charge of stupid futility: Since the real Totality is always perfectly inevitable, its enemies are always idiots. Global Capital was inevitable and now it’s here to stay-ergo the entire movement of the Social amounts to sheer waste of time and energy. The ruination of nature was fated, hence all resistance is futile, whether by ignorant savages or perverse eco?terrorists. Nothing’s worth doing except that which is done: there can be no “different world.”
The “Ruination of Nature”
For Christianity nature is fallen, locus of sin and death, while heaven is a city of crystal and metal. For Capital nature is a resource, a pit of raw materials, a form of property. As nature begins to “disappear” in the late eighteenth century, it comes to seem more and more ruined. For some perhaps a Romantic, even a magical ruin (as in the dreams of Renaissance magi and their “love of ruins,” grottos, the broken and “grotesque”) but by others felt simply as useless waste, a wrecked place where no one lives except monsters, vagabonds, animals: the uncanny haunt of ghouls and owls. “Second Nature” meaning culture, or even “Third Nature” meaning Allah knows what precisely, have usurped and erased all wilderness.  What remains but mere representation?–a nostalgia for lost Edens, Arcadias and Golden Ages?–a ludicrous sentimentality disguised as what? as a sacred theory of earth?
The view of Nature as Ruin depends in part (or half?consciously) on the concept of a Cartesian ergo sum alone in a universe where everything else is dead matter and “animals have no soul,” mere meat machines. But if the human body remains part of nature or in nature, then even a consistent materialist would have to admit that nature is not quite yet dead.
Science, taking over the mythic task of religion, strives to “free” consciousness from all mortal taint. Soon we’ll be posthuman enough for cloning, total prosthesis, machinic immortality. But somehow a shred of nature may remain, a plague perhaps, or the great global “accident,” blind Nature’s revenge, meteors from outer space, etc. “you know the score,” as William Burroughs used to say.
Taking the long view (and allowing for noble exceptions) science does precisely what State and Capital demand of it:-make war, make money. “Pure” science is allowed only because it might lead to technologies of death and profit-and this was just as true for the old alchemists who mutated into Isaac Newton, as for the new physicists who ripped open the structure of matter itself. Even medicine (seemingly the most altruistic of sciences) advances and progresses primarily in order to increase productivity of workers and generate a world of healthy consumers.
Does Capital make death ultimately more profitable than life? No, not exactly, although it might seem so to a citizen of Bhopal/ Love Canal/Chernobyl. In effect it might be said that profit equals death, in the sense of Randolph Bourne’s quip about war as the health of the state (which incidentally means that “Green Capitalism” is an abject contradiction in terms).
Another science might have been possible. Indeed if we reject the notion of fatality, another science might yet come to be. A new paradigm is always conceivable, and theories now considered defeated, lost, wrong, and absurd, might even (someday) be reconfigured into a paradigmatic pattern, a science for life rather than death. Signs of emergence of such a science are always present–because science itself wants to deal with truth, and life is true and real. But the emergence is always-in the long run-crushed and suppressed by the “inevitable” demands of technology and Capital. It’s our tragic fate to know and yet be unable to act.
Among those who do act, the scientists and warriors, many believe (for the most part sincerely) that they’re serving progress and democracy. In their secret hearts perhaps some of them know they serve Death, but they do it anyway because they’re nihilists, cynically greedy for big budgets and Nobel prizes. A few fanatics actually hate the body, hate Earth, hate trees-and serve as shills for politicians and corporations. In general most people find all this normal. Only a few awake but are blocked from action.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries a sort of three-way scientific paradigm war was waged in England and Europe. The contenders were, first: Cartesianism which denied action at a distance and tried to explain gravity by a corpuscular theory that reduced the universe to a clock-like mechanism set in motion by “God”; second, Hermeticism, the ancient science of the micro/macrocosm, which believed firmly in action at a distance but failed to explain gravity and (even worse) failed to achieve the transmutation of lead into gold, which would at least have secured for it the enthusiastic support of State and capital; and, third, the school of Francis Bacon and Isaac Newton, culminating in the Royal Society and the Industrial Revolution.
This scheme is vastly oversimplified of course. The actual history of “the triumph of modern science” is far more complex than the usual triumphalist version. We now know for example that some of the very founders of modern science were closet hermeticists. Bacon’s New Atlantis exhibits strong Rosicrucian tendencies. Erasmus Darwin, Boyle, Priestly, Benjamin Franklin, and most notoriously, Isaac Newton, all immersed themselves in occult studies. Newton devoted millions of words to alchemy but never published a single one of them. William Blake, who skewered Newton’s dead, “Urizenic” rationalism, had no idea that Newton was an alchemist. I’ve always suspected that Newton simply stole the idea of gravity as action at a distance (an invisible force) from Hermeticism. Amazingly, the math worked. The Royal Society suppressed its own hermetic origins and (especially after 1688) adhered to the new bourgeois monarchy, emergent capitalism, and Enlightenment rationalism. The spooky nature of Newtonian gravity still bothers some scientists, who persist in looking for corpuscular “gravitons.” But the Newtonians won the paradigm war and “Newton’s Sleep” (as Blake called it) still dims the eyes with which we perceive and experience reality, despite the new spookiness of relativity and quantum paradoxes.
Admittedly this historical sketch is very rough, and offered with some trepidation. The whole story of the paradigm war remains quite murky, in part because a great deal of research is still being written from a History of Science p.o.v. deeply infected with triumphalism. True, it’s no longer fashionable to sneer at the alchemists or write as if everyone in the Past were stupid. But alchemy and hermeticism in general are still viewed in the light of modern
science as failed precursors. The central hermetic doctrine of the “ensouled universe” receives no credence or even sympathy in academia-and very little grant money goes to magicians.
Therefore I offer only a tentative hypothesis. It appears that both the Cartesians and the Newtonians happily agreed in their eagerness to discard and deride the central thesis of the hermetic paradigm, the idea of the living Earth. Descartes envisioned only “dead matter,” Newton used the concept of invisible but material forces; and their followers turned their backs on any “sacred theory of earth,” banishing not only God from their clockwork oranges but even life itself. As Novalis put it, under the hands of these scientists “friendly nature died, leaving behind only dead, quivering remnants.” These loveless scientists see nature as sick or even dead, and their search for truth leads only to “her sickroom, her charnel?house.” 
Goethe, too, attacked the kind of science that bases itself on death-the butterfly pinned under glass or dissected rather than the butterfly living and moving. In his great work on the morphology of plants he founded a new branch of botany. Or rather, perhaps not quite “new.” Brilliant as it was, it had predecessors. In some sense it was in fact based on hermeticism and especially on Paracelsus, the great sixteenth century alchemist. German adherents of Naturphilosophie, and such independent thinkers as Goethe, or indeed Novalis (who was a trained scientist and professional mining engineer), might really be seen as “neo” hermeticists, steeped in Paracelsus, Jakob Boehme, and the Rosicrucian literature. We might call this whole complex or weltanschauung, “Romantic Science.”
Erasmus Darwin (grandfather of Charles), a member of the Royal Society, doctor and inventor, comrade of Watt, Priestly and Wedgewood, wrote a strange epic poem based on the work of the Swedish botanist Linnaeus, in which the sex-life of the plants was expressed in hermetic terms deriving from Paracelsus, who wrote so beautifully of the “Elemental Spirits” of Earth, Air, Fire and Water: the gnomes, sylphs, salamanders and undines.7 Darwin’s marvelous Botanic Garden influenced P. B. Shelley (who also admired Darwin’s political radicalism); thus Dr. Darwin could be considered a precursor of English Romanticism but also of Surrealism and the ecology movement. His poem has all the marks of the complex I’ve called neo-hermeticism or Romantic Science. It was published in England almost at the very time Novalis in Germany was writing his fragmentary “novel” The Disciples at Saïs, a neglected masterpiece of hermetic-Romantic science-theory (much admired by the Surrealists). Like The Botanic Garden, it is long out of print (at least in English).
Early German Romanticism in general can be “read” as neo-hermeticism. Novalis, Tieck, Wackenroder, and Schlegel, as well as J. G. Haman, “the Magus of the North,” have been vilified as “enemies of the Enlightenment,”  but one might prefer to see them rather as nineteenth century proponents of a seventeenth century “Rosicrucian Enlightenment” (as Frances Yates called it), now stripped of its medieval clumsiness: a rectified hermeticism, refined by practical experience and dialectical precision. Hermeticism did not stop “evolving” with the failure of the Rosicrucian project. Romantic science was a direct continuation of it; and hermeticism has its scientific defenders even today (such as the well-known chaos scientist Ralph Abraham, a devotee of Dr. John Dee).
During the Second World War certain philosophers of both Capitalism and Communism decided to blame fascism on the German Romantic movement and its “final” theorist F. Nietzsche. Rationalism was defined as good and surrationalism as evil. Ecologists even today are often tarred with the brush of “irrationalism,” especially when they’re activists. A local real estate developer here in the Catskill Mountains of New York State recently called his environmentalist enemies, a group called “Save the Ridge,” “Nazis” in an interview with The New Paltz Times. Everything that Capital wants is “rational” by definition and even by decree. Capital wins all the wars; ergo, Rationalism is “true,” q.e.d.
But modern radicals such as the Frankfurt School (Benjamin, Bloch, Marcuse), the Surrealists, the Situationists, all decided to try to seize back Romanticism from the dustbin of History and to champion the surrealist and even hermetic program of left-wing anti?Enlightenment, anti-authoritarian and ecological resistance that a recent book has called Revolutionary Romanticism. 
I believe that today’s ecological resistance cannot afford to ignore its own sources in a vain attempt to reconcile itself with the Totality and scientific apotheosis of Global Capital. Romantic Science is literally a sine qua non for the resistance to ecological disintegration. I would like to argue the case (tho’ I’d be hard-put to prove it) that the “new” scientific paradigm we’re looking for to replace the dead-matter/material-force scientific world view of Enlightenment/State/Capital, can best be found in the perennial but underground tradition of hermetic-Romantic science. Something very much like a manifesto for this movement can still be gleaned from the Disciples at Saïs by Novalis, a.k.a. Count Friedrich von Hardenberg.
An archetypal Romantic like Keats and Rimbaud, Novalis was born in a haunted house and died young and handsome on March 25, 1801, aged 29. Only the last three years of his life were seriously devoted to literature. In 1794 he met a twelve-year-old girl named Sophie von Kühn and fell in love with her; she died in 1797, as did the poet’s beloved younger brother, aged fourteen. Both these ghosts haunted the rest of his life and work. In The Disciples they appear as the sophianic heroine Rosenblüte (“Rose-petal,” probably a Rosicrucian reference), and the blue?eyed boy who inspires the disciples. This child has all-blue eyes like star sapphires, with no white or iris-an image that relates him to the famous symbol of the Imagination in Novalis’s only completed novel, Heinrich von Ofterdingen: the elusive “blue flower” that became the emblem of German Romanticism.
The Disciples remained fragmentary, in part because the Romantics believed in fragments; Novalis called the text “fragments… all of them having reference to nature,” although he’d hoped to expand it some day into a “symbolic novel.” He worked on it while composing his best-known poems, Hymns to Night. The story’s setting, the Temple of Isis at Saïs in Egypt, was doubtless inspired by Plato, who claimed that Solon of Athens learned the history of Atlantis there from the Egyptian priests. This Greco-Egyptian-Atlantaean nexus already suggests a precise hermetic intentionality, and Novalis makes it quite clear that the disciples at Saïs are to experience not merely an education but an initiation into nature, symbolized by lifting the veil of Isis simultaneously an act of epistemology and of eroticism.
On the very first pages Novalis evokes hermetic science quite specifically:
“Various are the roads of man. He who follows and compares them will see strange figures emerge, figures which seem to belong to that great cipher which we discern written everywhere, in wings, eggshells, clouds and snow, in crystals and in stone formations, on ice?covered waters, on the inside and outside of mountains, of plants, beasts and men, in the lights of heaven, on scored disks of pitch or glass or in iron filings round a magnet, and in strange conjunctures of chance. In them we suspect a key to the magic writing, even a grammar, but our surmise takes on no definite forms and seems unwilling to become a higher key. It is as though an alkahest had been poured over the senses of man.” (4-5)
The “scored discs of pitch or glass” probably refer to the Chladni Diagrams, patterns formed in resin or sand by sound, much admired by the Romantics.  “Alkahest” means universal solvent; the term was coined by the alchemist Paracelsus. The alkahest dissolves our vision, blurs it, renders it dreamlike. James Hillman once proposed that it doesn’t matter much whether we remember our dreams or do anything about them, because the work that goes on in dreams happens regardless of us. Might this be true of nature as well?
The “great cipher” (in the sense of “code”) and “magic writing” suggest the occult interpretation of the Egyptian hieroglyphs, which had fascinated hermeticists since the Renaissance. The whole paragraph thus invites us to read everything that follows as up?dated Rosicrucian hermeticism.
On the subject of the hieroglyphs, Novalis later says this:
“They (the disciples) had been lured above all by that sacred language that had been the glittering bond between those kingly men and the inhabitants of the regions above the earth, and some precious words of which, according to countless legends, were known to a few fortunate sages among our ancestors. Their speech was a wondrous song, its irresistible tones penetrated deep into the inwardness of nature and split it apart. Each of their names seemed to be the key to the soul of each thing in nature. With creative power these vibrations called forth all images of the world’s phenomena, and the life of the universe can rightly be said to have been an eternal dialogue of a thousand voices; for in the language of those men all forces, all modes of action seemed miraculously united. To seek out the ruins of this language, or at least all reports concerning it, had been one of the main purposes of their journey, and the call of antiquity had drawn them also to Saïs. Here from the learned clerks of the temple archives, they hoped to obtain important reports, and perhaps even to find indications in the great collections of every kind.” (113-115)
Concerning the Veil of Isis Novalis says: “… and if, according to the inscription, no mortal can lift the veil, we must seek to become immortal; he who does not seek to lift it, is no true novice of Saïs” (17). At first this doctrine may sound promethean- the scientist “conquers” nature and ravishes her secrets–but in truth this is not the Enlightenment speaking here. The transgression, the violation of the paradox (you may not lift the veil but you must), can only be achieved by one who has already transcended the all-too-human the Nietzschean hero who is none other than the hermetic sage.
Like all Romantics, Novalis believed in an earlier or more primordial humanity that lived closer to nature and more in harmony with it, as lovers rather than ravishers. In one sense he means tribal peoples, “savages,” peoples-without-government. But this “antiquity” also includes historical periods as well, such as that of the Late Classical neo-platonic theurgists, or even the seventeenth century Rosicrucians, as the following passage suggests:
“To those earlier men, everything seemed human, familiar, and companionable, there was freshness and originality in all their perceptions, each one of their utterances was a true product of nature, their ideas could not help but accord with the world around them and express it faithfully. We can therefore regard the ideas of our forefathers concerning the things of this world as a necessary product, a self?portrait of the state of earthly nature at that time, and from these ideas, considered as the most fitting instruments for observing the universe, we can assuredly take the main relation, the relation between the world and its inhabitants. We find that the noblest questions of all first occupied their attention and that they sought the key to the wondrous edifice, sometimes in a common measure of real things, and sometimes in the fancied object of an unknown sense. This key, it is known, was generally divined in the liquid, the vaporous, the shapeless.” (21-23)
“The main relation … between the world and its inhabitants:” in other words, ecology, the science of Earth’s household oeconomie, the balance of a nature that includes the human: this is the great subject of the little book, rising directly out of Novalis’s hermetic vision of earth as a living being. This rather radical notion does not really derive from Plato and the Platonists (as many scholars carelessly maintain); the Platonists had an almost Gnostic disdain for the mere shadows of material reality. Tribal and shamanic peoples almost always adhere to some view of nature as alive, but the idea only re?enters “civilized” western thought with the Renaissance magi, especially Giordano Bruno, Marsilio Ficino, and Paracelsus. 
For Novalis the true language of science would be poetry:
“That is why poetry has been the favorite instrument of true friends of nature, and the spirit of nature has shone most radiantly in poems. When we read and hear true poems, we feel the movement of nature’s inner reason and like its celestial embodiment, we dwell in it and hover over it at once.” (25)
“To hover over and dwell in” simultaneously: the scientist like the poet cannot objectively separate self from nature in order to study it without also subjectively retaining an existential identity with the “object.” A split here would constitute an ecological disaster. In fact self and world must be experienced as reflections of each other, as microcosm and macrocosm. “As Above So Below” as The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus puts it so succinctly.
“Those who would know her spirit truly must therefore seek it in the company of poets, where she is free and pours forth her wondrous heart. But those who do not love her from the bottom of their hearts, who only admire this and that in her and wish to learn this and that about her, must visit her sickroom, her charnel?house”(27). Within us there lies a mysterious force that tends in all directions, spreading from a center hidden in infinite depths. If wondrous nature, the nature of the senses and the nature that is not of the senses, surrounds us, we believe this force to be an attraction of nature, an effect of our sympathy with her.”
“A few stand calmly in this glorious abode, seeking only to embrace it in its plenitude and enchainment; no detail makes them forget the glittering thread that joins the links in rows to form the holy candelabrum, and they find beatitude in the contemplation of this living ornament hovering over the depths of night. The ways of contemplating nature are innumerable; at one extreme the sentiment of nature becomes a jocose fancy, a banquet, while at the other it develops into the most devout religion, giving to a whole life direction, principle, meaning.” (29-31)
The image of nature as “holy candelabrum,” contemplated by the rapt adept, seems to derive from a Kabbalistic source, especially the so?called “Christian Cabala” of Agrippa and the Rosicrucians such as Knorr von Rosenroth.13 The religion of nature here propounded by Novalis strikes me as the single most radical idea of hermetic Romanticism-the same idea that led Bruno to the stake in Rome in 1600. In nineteenth century America Thoreau was the great prophet of the faith, and the paintings of the Hudson River School its icons. In the twentieth century the American Indians re-emerged among the teachers of this path, giving it the sharp focus of shamanic vision. Hermeticism, like shamanism, cannot be defined exactly as a religion, nor exactly as a science. In a sense both religion and science have betrayed us; and it is precisely in this sense that hermeticism offers us something else, something different. Romantic Science is also a spiritual path. Without this primary realization science is nothing but fatality, and religion nothing but a kind of anti-science.
The scientist poet
“never wearies of contemplating nature and conversing with her, follows all her beckonings, finds no journey too arduous if it is she who calls, even should it take him into the dank bowels of the earth: surely he will find ineffable treasures, in the end his candle will come to rest and then who knows into what heavenly mysteries a charming subterranean sprite may initiate him. Surely no one strays farther from the goal than he who imagines that he already knows the strange realm, that he can explain its structure in few words and everywhere find the right path. No one who tears himself loose and makes himself an island arrives at understanding without pains.” (37)
The “subterranean sprite” refers directly to Paracelsus and the Elemental Spirits again: this is a gnome or kobold, Novalis’s tutelary (and seductive) Elemental, inhabitant of the deep mines where the poet earned his living.
“Not one of the senses must slumber, and even if not all are equally awake, all must be stimulated and not repressed or neglected.” (37-39)
Here Novalis sounds like Rimbaud; although he speaks of awakening the senses rather than deranging them, he hints at the possibility of a psychedelic path or rather an entheogenic path since the object and subject alike of the awakened senses is a goddess. “Entheogenic” means “giving birth to the divine within.” It’s a new name for the hallucinatory experience of the phantastica; the term is not liked or used by those who require no “divine hypothesis.”
“Ultimately some who deny the divinity of nature will come unconsciously to hate that which denies them meaning. “Very well,” say these scientists, let our race carry on a slow, well?conceived war of annihilation with nature! We must seek to lay her low with insidious poisons. The scientist is a noble hero, who leaps into the open abyss in order to save his fellow citizens.”
“Exploit her strife to bend her to your will, like the fire?spewing bull. She must be made to serve you.” (43?45)
To this the Elementals themselves seem to reply: 
“‘O, if only man,’ they said, ‘could understand the inner music of nature, if only he had a sense for outward harmonies. But he scarcely knows that we belong together and that none of us can exist without the others. He cannot leave anything in place, tyrannically he parts us, and plucks at our dissonances. How happy he could be if he treated us amiably and entered into our great covenant, as he did in the good old days, rightly so named. In those days he understood us, as we understood him. His desire to Become God has separated him from us, he seeks what he cannot know or divine, and since then he has ceased to be a harmonizing voice, a companion movement.
“‘Will he ever learn to feel? This divine, this most natural of all senses is little known to him: feeling would bring back the old time, the time we yearn for; the element of feeling is an inward light that breaks into stronger, more beautiful colors. Then the stars would rise within him, he would learn to feel the whole world, and his feeling would be richer and clearer than the limits and surfaces that his eye now discloses. Master of an endless dance, he would forget all his insensate strivings in joy everlasting, nourishing itself and forever growing. Thought is only a dream of feeling, a dead feeling, a pale-gray feeble life.'” (69?73)
Contemporary environmentalists, caught up in the sharpened and swirling debates of what sometimes looks like an End Time, may feel disappointed that Novalis lacks vehemence in his denunciation of “evil scientists” (as Hollywood used to call them). But in the 1790s the full implications of Enlightenment science remained largely speculative. Satanic mills were only just beginning to appear, the concept of pollution scarcely existed. Novalis deserves credit for foreseeing so much so clearly–but nobody could have predicted what actually happened. Now speaking in yet another voice, Novalis explains that the epitome of what stirs our feelings is called nature, hence nature stands in an immediate relation to the functions of our body that we call senses.
“Unknown and mysterious relations within our body cause us to surmise unknown and mysterious states in nature; nature is a community of the marvelous, into which we are initiated by our body, and which we learn to know in the measure of our body’s faculties and abilities. The question arises, whether we can learn to understand the nature of natures through this specific nature.” (77-79)
This constitutes a perfect summing up of the ancient Romantic doctrine of microcosmic humanity and macrocosmic nature or existence itself.
“‘It seems venturesome,’ said another, ‘to attempt to compose nature from its outward forces and manifestations, to represent it now as a gigantic fire, now as a wonderfully constructed waterfall, now as a duality or a triad, or as some other weird force. More conceivably, it is the product of an inscrutable harmony among infinitely various essences, a miraculous bond with the spirit world, the point at which innumerable worlds touch and are joined.'” (81)
“Everything divine has a history; can it be that nature, the one totality by which man can measure himself, should not be bound together in a history, or–and this is the same thing–that it should have no spirit? Nature would not be nature if it had no spirit, it would not be the unique counterpart to mankind, not the indispensable answer to this mysterious question, or the question to this never?ending answer.” (85)
The Disciples at Saïs is a “novel” in that it uses a variety of voices–but very few developed characters. The voices seem not to argue so much as play out variations in the author’s mind, thus allowing him a typically Romantic freedom of inconsistency and self?contradiction. For example it’s not certain that Novalis himself believed that “everything divine has a history;” but he seems to experience or feel the idea as yet another variation on his great theme, the reconciliation of matter and spirit under the sign of nature.
“So inexhaustible is nature’s fantasy, that no one will seek its company in vain. It has power to beautify, animate, confirm, and even though an unconscious, unmeaning mechanism seems to govern the part, the eye that looks deeper discerns a wonderful sympathy with the human heart in concurrences and in the sequence of isolated accidents.”  (87)
Novalis criticizes even the poets for not “exaggerating nearly enough.” The I-Thou relation between consciousness and nature should lead to magic powers, so to speak, an ability to move nature from within rather than as an alienated outsider.
“In order to understand nature, we must allow nature to be born inwardly in its full sequence. In this undertaking, we must be led entirely by the divine yearning for beings that are like us, we must seek out the conditions under which it is possible to question them, for truly, all nature is intelligible only as an instrument and medium for the communication of rational beings.” (91-3)
(These “rational beings” of course include the Elementals, the personae of nature.)
“The thinking man returns to the original function of his existence, to creative contemplation, to the point, where knowledge and creation were united in a wondrous mutual tie, to that creative moment of true enjoyment, of inward self?conception. If he immerses himself entirely in the contemplation of this primeval phenomenon, the history of the creation of nature unfolds before him in newly emerging times and spaces like a tale that never ends, and the fixed point that crystallizes in the infinite fluid becomes for him a new revelation of the genius of love, a new bond between the Thou and the I. A meticulous account of this inward universal history is the true theory of nature. The relations within his thought world and its harmony with the universe will give rise to a philosophical system that will be the faithful picture and formula of the universe.” (93)
The “art of pure contemplation” is also a creative metaphysics–that is, an art of the creation of value and meaning–and also “The Art” itself in a spagyric sense, the magical art of transmutation.
“Yes,” says another voice, “nothing is so marvelous as the great simultaneity of nature. Everywhere nature seems wholly present.” This hermetic thought leads on to a contemplation of the consciousness of nature as essentially erotic.
“What is the flame that is manifested everywhere? A fervent embrace, whose sweet fruits fall like sensuous dew. Water,
first?born child of airy fusions, cannot deny its voluptuous origin and reveals itself an element of love, and of its mixture with divine omnipotence on earth. Not without truth have ancient sages sought the origin of things in water, and indeed, they spoke of a water more exalted than sea and well water. A water in which only primal fluidity is manifested, as it is manifested in liquid metal; therefore should men revere it always as divine. How few up to now have immersed themselves in the mysteries of fluidity, and there are some in whose drunken soul this surmise of the highest enjoyment and the highest life has never wakened. In thirst this world soul is revealed, this immense longing for liquefaction. The intoxicated feel only too well the celestial delight of the liquid element, and ultimately all pleasant sensations are multiform flowings and stirrings of those primeval waters in us.”  (103?105)
“A man born blind cannot learn to see, though you may speak to him forever of colors and lights and distant shapes. No one will fathom nature, who does not, as though spontaneously, recognize and distinguish nature everywhere, who does not with an inborn creative joy, a rich and fervent kinship with all things, mingle with all of nature’s creatures through the medium of feeling, who does not feel his way into them.” (109)
“Happy I call this son, this darling of nature, whom she permits to behold her in her duality, as a power that engenders and bears, and in her unity, as an endless, everlasting marriage. His life will be a plenitude of all pleasures, a voluptuous chain, and his religion will be the real, the true naturalism.” (111)
* * *
The Disciples at Saïs is not a finished work. It ends with a passage on the figure of the “prophet of nature” that feels unfinished to me and even unrevised. Some commentators believe that it constitutes a character sketch of Professor Werner of Freyberg, his teacher of mineralogy, and apparently a true Romantic scientist. Undoubtedly Novalis meant to go on, to create a firmer narrative structure, perhaps to add more symbolic märchen like the Tale of Hyacinth and Rose?petal, perhaps to develop ideas about specific sciences such as mining. But the various and rather disorganized paragraphs of the book serve as aphorisms, complete little thoughts in themselves. Novalis gave up trying to combine his “fragments” with his narrative ideas. The latter went into his one complete novel Heinrich von Ofterdingen. The former went into his wonderful Aphorisms or Fragments, so admired by Nietzsche and indeed imitated by him in their blending of eighteenth century epigrammatic wit and nineteenth century ambiguity and Romantic fervor.
A complete exploration of Novalis as a conscious hermeticist and Romantic scientist would require a much longer work than this, in which for example a chapter would be devoted to the influence of Paracelsus, and also of the great Rosicrucian novel The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosycross. Further chapters would compare ideas in The Disciples with parallel thoughts in Novalis’s other works, his notebooks and letters, etc.–and then with the scientific ideas of his contemporaries such as Von Humbolt, Goethe, and the Naturphilosophie school.
Nevertheless The Disciples at Saïs by itself appears to provide a clear and concise summation–indeed a manifesto–for what we might now call eco?spirituality. If Novalis were writing today, two centuries later, no doubt he would have a great deal more to say about science as alienation, about the horrors of the industrial and “post?industrial” assault on nature, about pollution as the material manifestation of bad consciousness. He might be much more pessimistic now, less certain of the return of the Golden Age-that perennial goal of radical hermeticism and Rosicrucianism.
In 1968 German radicals like their French and American and Mexican counterparts re?discovered revolutionary Romanticism and seized back the blue flower of Novalis from the forces of reaction. “All power to the Imagination.” Despite all vicissitudes and set?backs since the 1960s this paradigm is still emerging. It’s exemplified in the almost?mystical ideas of certain quantum philosophers, chaos and complexity scientists and proponents of the Gaia Hypothesis: the idea that matter and consciousness are inter?connected–that the Earth is a living being–that science is an erotic relation. It persists in the ideas and actions of those few “defenders of the earth” brave enough to defy the greed/death/media-trance of the Totality and challenge the institutionalization of body-hatred, misery and boredom that constitutes our Imperium and drives our pollution of all time and space.
In the realm of science ideas can really be considered actions–and in this strange identity science retains an ancient and occult link with the magical hermetic tradition. But only a science freed from slavery to money and war (Capital and State) can ever hope to empower the ideas that would act as Novalis hoped his ideas would act: to save the world from the dark forces of Enlightenment, from “the cruel instrumentality of Reason”–not to fall into the opposite sin of irrational reaction-but to transcend all false dualities in a true “wedding,” both alchemical and erotic, between consciousness and nature. That was the goal of the disciples, the lifting of the veil of Isis, the initiation into a lost language. If that still remains our goal today, does this prove that in 200 years we have been defeated?-or that we have not yet experienced the true dream of the sacred theory of earth that points the way to victory?
1. Letter to A. W. Schiegel (IV, 229 in N’s German Complete Works).
2. The other two Novalis quotes are from the “Notebook,” translated by Thomas Frick in Frick and Richard Grossinger, eds., The Sacred Theory of the Earth (Berkeley: North Atlanic Books, 1986). Throughout this essay I will use the translation of The Novices of Saïs by Ralph Manheim (though I prefer the use of “Disciples” rather than “Novices”), in the 1949 edition published by Curt Valentin in New York, with a rather useless preface by Stephen Spender, and sixty exquisite drawings by Paul Klee. I can’t think of a more appropriate illustrator-unless perhaps Joseph Beuys. See also C. V. Becker and R. Manstetter, “Novalis’ Thought on Nature, Humankind and Economy: A New Perspective for Discussing Modern Environmental Problems,” available on line from <email@example.com>
3. Paul Hoffman, Wings of Madness: Alberto Santos?Dumont and the Invention of Flight (Hyperion, 2003); I saw the anecdote in a review.
4. In the lexicon of the US Parks Services, “wilderness” is defined as the areas most strictly controlled and regulated-a perversion of language possible only to a government bureaucracy.
5. Novalis, The Disciples at Saïs. See below.
6. A.k.a. Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, the most original thinker in alchemy since Jabir ibn Hayyan; died 1541 in Saltzberg.
7. Darwin’s direct source was undoubtedly Pope’s “Rape of the Lock,” also based on Paracelsus via a strange little book called Le Comte de Gabalis, a treatise on the Elementals.
8. My copy of Darwin’s great poem, with illustrations by Fuseli and William Blake, is a facsimile of the 1791 edition, by Scholar Press (London, 1973). Incidentally, Novalis was a reader of Darwin and refers to him as an authority in Flower Pollen (see The Disciples at Saïs and Other Fragments, translated by F.V.M.T. and U.C.B., with an introduction by Una Birch [later Pope?Henessy]; London: Methuen, 1903). Novalis’s beloved dead brother was named Erasmus. [later note: Thanks indirectly to our conference in New Paltz, a new edition of the Manheim translation of The Novices of Saïs, with the Klee illustrations, is now available from Archipelago Books of Brooklyn, NY (2005)]
9. By the Rationalist philosopher Isaiah Berlin, whose useful but polemical interpretation utterly fails to consider hermetic roots.
10. Max Blechman, ed., Revolutionary Romanticism (San Francisco: City Lights, 2000). See also Michael Lowy and Robert Sayre, Romanticism Against the Tide of Modernity (Durham: Duke University Press, 2001). Thanks to Joel Kovel for this reference.
11. E. E. F. Chladni (1756?1827) also invented a musical instrument called the euphonium.
12. The earliest version I’ve found is from Bishop Nicholas of Cusa (died 1464), who held that the Earth is a living “star,” worthy of respect and even adulation. Needless to say Cusanus was accused of pantheism, and was greatly admired by the hermeticists.
13. “So-called” but not very accurately. Cornelius Agrippa was scarcely an apologist for any Christian orthodoxy. “Hermetic Cabala” might be a more precise term.
14. This speech is attributed by Novalis to certain of the novices, but strangely they speak of “man” as of an other. Such sentiments are attributed to the Elementals by Paracelsus. Perhaps some of the disciples at Saïs are Elementals!
15. Among other things this passage could serve almost as a definition of Surrealism, especially in its hermetic phases, those that reveal it most clearly as a stage of the Romantic movement.
16. This passage reflects the seventeenth century scientific hypothesis of “Neptunism,” now discredited but very popular with the Romantics.
An earlier version of this article was presented at a conference on “Sacred Theory of Earth” held at the Old French Church in New Paltz, New York, September 21, 2003. My thanks to all participants for their critiques and comments-Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, Rachel Pollack, Lady Vervaine, Robert Kelly, Bishop Mark Aelred, and especially David Levi Strauss, who responded to my paper and later gave me more quotes and references. Thanks also to Joel Kovel, Lorraine Perlman, Raymond Foye, Kate Manheim. Julia Manheim, for permission to use Ralph Manheim’s translation of Saïs, Bruce McPherson, Jack Collom, Christopher Bamford, Jim Fleming, Zoe Matoff, and the Huguenot Historical Society of New Paltz. An earlier version of this paper appeared in the journal Capitalism Nature Socialism.
The Magnificent Magic-Shoppe… Love this band. Gives me hope.
“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” ― C.S. Lewis
I hope this finds you well and your days full of activity (or not).
The rains have finally returned to Oregon and is absolutely glorious. After the heat of summer and the struggle of keeping plants going and the fear of wildfire the rains are a blessed relief. Hopefully we’ll get much more in the season for balancing out the last several months, even though that may be overly optimistic on my part.
There is another SubStack entry for your reading enjoyment: Red Haired RickHauntings In The North Woods. This is a tale from 1969. An encounter with one of the great mysteries… The SubStack entries will probably move away from that time period for a while… I’m thinking of a new entry from the ’90s and I certainly have several coming from the 70’s & 80’s, especially stories about Europe, New York and other places where I traveled through back then.
We will have new radio shows on Radio EarthRites this week! Both music and spoken word so stay tuned for that. Your support of the radio station and my other projects are very much appreciated.
We are now very close to publishing the next edition of the Invisible College just a bit of cleanup and one or two images and we are there. This has been the forever project it seems delayed while things covered in the general craziness of the world which I turned my attention to much to my chagrin.
I will keep you all up-to-date on the current projects and thank you to all who email me or phone to talk over the last few weeks.
This entry is a bit of a mashup but I think you’ll appreciate it. Great Poesy from Alcaeus & and a snippet of such from William Ernest Henley. Great music from Leonard Cohen, and a collection of ghost stories from Lady Gregory from Ireland.
On The Menu:
You Want It Darker
Poetry: Alcaeus of Mytilene
The Unquiet Dead
By The Rivers Dark
Out of the night that covers me
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
–William Ernest Henley (August 23, 1849 – July 11, 1903) was an influential English poet, critic and editor of the late Victorian era in England. Though he wrote several books of poetry, Henley is remembered most often for his 1875 poem “Invictus”, a piece which recurs in popular awareness.
_________________ You Want It Darker
________________ Poetry: Alcaeus of Mytilene
Why wait we for the torches’ lights?
Now let us drink while day invites.
In mighty flagons hither bring
The deep-red blood of many a vine,
That we may largely quaff, and sing
The praises of the god of wine,
The son of Jove and Semele,
Who gave the jocund grape to be
A sweet oblivion to our woes.
Fill, fill the goblet–one and two:
Let every brimmer, as it flows,
In sportive chase, the last pursue.
— A Banquet Song
The rain of Zeus descends, and from high heaven
A storm is driven:
And on the running water-brooks the cold
Lays icy hold;
Then up: beat down the winter; make the fire
Blaze high and higher;
Mix wine as sweet as honey of the bee
Then drink with comfortable wool around
Your temples bound.
The worst of ills, and hardest to endure,
Past hope, past cure,
Is Penury, who, with her sister-mate
Disorder, soon brings down the loftiest state,
And makes it desolate.
This truth the sage of Sparta told,
‘Wealth makes the man.’ On him that’s poor,
Proud worth looks down, and honor shuts the door.
— The Poor Fisherman
The fisher Diotimus had, at sea
And shore, the same abode of poverty–
His trusty boat;–and when his days were spent,
Therein self-rowed to ruthless Dis he went;
For that, which did through life his woes beguile,
Supplied the old man with a funeral pile.
— The Palace
From roof to roof the spacious palace halls
Glitter with war’s array;
With burnished metal clad, the lofty walls
Beam like the bright noonday.
There white-plumed helmets hang from many a nail,
Above, in threatening row;
Steel-garnished tunics and broad coats of mail
Spread o’er the space below.
Chalcidian blades enow, and belts are here,
Greaves and emblazoned shields;
Well-tried protectors from the hostile spear,
On other battlefields.
With these good helps our work of war’s begun,
With these our victory must be won.
Alcaeus of Mytilene (/ælˈsiːəs/; Ancient Greek: Ἀλκαῖος ὁ Μυτιληναῖος, Alkaios ho Mutilēnaios; c. 625/620 – c. 580 BC)was a lyric poet from the Greek island of Lesbos who is credited with inventing the Alcaic stanza. He was included in the canonical list of nine lyric poets by the scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria. He was a contemporary and an alleged lover of Sappho, with whom he may have exchanged poems. He was born into the aristocratic governing class of Mytilene, the main city of Lesbos, where he was involved in political disputes and feuds.
The Unquiet Dead
As Collected By Lady Gregory…
A good many years ago when I was but beginning my study of the folk-lore of belief, I wrote somewhere that if by an impossible miracle every trace and memory of Christianity could be swept out of the world, it would not shake or destroy at all the belief of the people of Ireland in the invisible world, the cloud of witnesses, in immortality and the life to come. For them the veil between things seen and unseen has hardly thickened since those early days of the world when the sons of God mated with the daughters of men; when angels spoke with Abraham in Hebron or with Columcille in the oakwoods of Derry, or when as an old man at my own gate told me they came and visited the Fianna, the old heroes of Ireland, “because they were so nice and so respectable.” Ireland has through the centuries kept continuity of vision, the vision it is likely all nations possessed in the early days of faith. Here in Connacht there is no doubt as to the continuance of life after death. The spirit wanders for a while in that intermediate region to which mystics and theologians have given various names, and should it return and become visible those who loved it will not be afraid, but will, as I have already told, put a light in the window to guide the mother home to her child, or go out into the barley gardens in the hope of meeting a son. And if the message brought seems hardly worth the hearing, we may call to mind what Frederic Myers wrote of more instructed ghosts:
“If it was absurd to listen to Kepler because he bade the planets move in no perfect circles but in undignified ellipses, because he hastened and slackened from hour to hour what ought to be a heavenly body’s ideal and unwavering speed; is it not absurder still to refuse to listen to these voices from afar, because they come stammering and wandering as in a dream confusedly instead of with a trumpet’s call? Because spirits that bending to earth may undergo perhaps an earthly bewilderment and suffer unknown limitations, and half remember and hall forget?”
And should they give the message more clearly who knows if it would be welcome? For the old Scotch story goes that when S. Columcille’s brother Dobhran rose up from his grave and said, “Hell is not so bad as people say,” the Saint cried out, “Clay, clay on Dobhran!” before he could tell any more.
I was told by Mrs. Dennehy:
Those that mind the teaching of the clergy say the dead go to Limbo first and then to Purgatory and then to hell or to heaven. Hell is always burning and if you go there you never get out; but these that mind the old people don’t believe, and I don’t believe, that there is any hell. I don’t believe God Almighty would make Christians to put them into hell afterwards.
It is what the old people say, that after death the shadow goes wandering, and the soul is weak, and the body is taking a rest. The shadow wanders for a while and it pays the debts it had to pay, and when it is free it puts out wings and flies to Heaven.
An Aran Man:
There was an old man died, and after three days he appeared in the cradle as a baby; they knew him by an old look in his face, and his face being long and other things. An old woman that came into the house saw him, and she said, “He won’t be with you long, he had three deaths to die, and this is the second,” and sure enough he died at the end of six years.
There was a man beyond when I lived at Ballybron, and it was said of him that he was taken away-up before God Almighty. But the blessed Mother asked for grace for him for a year and a day. So he got it. I seen him myself, and many seen him, and at the end of the year and a day he died. And that man ought to be happy now anyway. When my own poor little girl was drowned in the well, I never could sleep but fretting, fretting, fretting. But one day when one of my little boys was taking his turn to serve the Mass he stopped on his knees without getting up. And Father Boyle asked him what did he see and he looking up. And he told him that he could see his little sister in the presence of God, and she shining like the sun. Sure enough that was a vision He had sent to comfort us. So from that day I never cried nor fretted any more.
Do you believe Roland Joyce was seen? Well, he was. A man I know told me he saw him the night of his death, in Esserkelly where he had a farm, and a man along with him going through the stock. And all of a sudden a train came into the field, and brought them both away like a blast of wind.
And as for old Parsons Persse of Castleboy, there’s thousands of people has seen him hunting at night with his horses and his hounds and his bugle blowing. There’s no mistake at all about him being there.
An Aran Woman:
There was a girl in the middle island had died, and when she was being washed, and a priest in the house, there flew by the window the whitest bird that ever was seen. And the priest said to the father: “Do not lament, unless what you like, your child’s happy for ever!”
Near the strand there were two little girls went out to gather cow-dung. And they sat down beside a bush to rest themselves, and there they heard a groan Corning from under the ground. So they ran home as fast as they could. And they were told when they went again to bring a man with them.
So the next time they went they brought a man with them, and they hadn’t been sitting there long when they heard the saddest groan that ever you heard. So the man bent down and asked what was it. And a voice from below said, “Let some one shave me and get me out of this, for I was never shaved after dying.” So the man went away, and the next day he brought soap and all that was needful and there he found a body lying laid out on the grass. So he shaved it, and with that wings came and carried it up to high heaven.
I don’t believe in all I hear, or I’d believe in ghosts and faeries, with all the old people telling you stories about them and the priests believing in them too. Surely the priests believe in ghosts, and tell you that they are souls that died in trouble. But I have been about the country night and day, and I remember when I used to have to put my hand out at the top of every chimney in Coole House; and I seen or felt nothing to frighten me, except one night two rats caught in a trap at Roxborough; and the old butler came down and beat me with a belt for the scream I gave at that. But if I believed in any one coming back, it would be in what you often hear, of a mother coming back to care for her child.
And there’s many would tell you that every time you see a tree shaking there’s a ghost in it
Old Lambert of Dangan was a terror for telling stories; he told me long ago how he was near the Piper’s gap on Ballybrit racecourse, and he saw one riding to meet him, and it was old Michael Lynch of Ballybrista, that was dead long before, and he never would go on the racecourse again. And he had heard the car with headless horses driving through Loughrea. From every part they are said to drive, and the place they are all going to is Benmore, near Loughrea, where there is a ruined dwelling-house and an old forth. And at Mount Mahon a herd told me the other day he often saw old Andrew Mahon riding about at night. But if I was a herd and saw that I’d hold my tongue about it.
At the graveyard of Drumacoo often spirits do he seen. Old George Fitzgerald is seen by many. And when they go up to the stone he’s sitting on, he’ll be sitting somewhere else.
There was a man walking in the wood near there, and he met a woman, a stranger, and he said “Is there anything I can do for you?” For he thought she was some countrywoman gone astray. “There is,” says she. “Then come home with me,” says he, “and tell me about it.” “I can’t do that,” says she, “but what you can do is this, go tell my friends I’m in great trouble, for twenty times in my life I missed going to church, and they must say twenty Masses for me now to deliver me, but they seem to have forgotten me. And another thing is,” says she, “there’s some small debts I left and they’re not paid, and those are helping to keep me in trouble.” Well. the man went on and he didn’t know what in the world to do, for he couldn’t know who she was, for they are not permitted to tell their name. But going about visiting at country houses he used to tell the story, and at last it came out she was one of the Shannons. For at a house he was telling it at they remembered that an old woman thev had. died a year ago, and that she used to be running un little debts unknown to them. So they made inquiry at Findlater’s and at another shop that’s done away with now, and they found tnat sure enough she had left some small debts, not more than ten shillings in each, and when she died no more had been said about it. So they paid these and said the Masses, and shortly after she appeared to the man again. “God bless you now,” she said, “for what you did for me, for now I’m at peace.”
A Tinker’s Daughter:
I heard of what happened to a family in the town. One night a thing that looked like a goose came in. And when they said nothing to it, it went away up the stairs with a noise like lead. Surely if they had questioned it, they’d have found it to be some soul in trouble.
And there was another soul came back that was in trouble because of a ha’porth of salt it owed.
And there was a priest was in trouble and appeared after death, and they had to say Masses for him, because he had done some sort of a crime on a widow.
One time myself I was at Killinan, at a house of the Clancys’ where the father and mother had died, but it was well known they often come to look after the children. I was walking with another girl through the fields there one evening and I looked up and saw a tall woman dressed all in black, with a mantle of some sort, a wide one, over her head, and the waves of the wind were blowing it off her, so that I could hear the noise of it. All her clothes were black, and had the appearance of being new. And I asked the other girl did she see her, and she said she did not. For two that are together can never see such things, but only one of them. So when I heard she saw nothing I ran as if for my life, and the woman seemed to be coming after me, till I crossed a running stream and she had no power to cross that. And one time my brother was stopping in the same house, and one night about twelve o’clock there came a smell in the house like as if all the dead people were there. And one of the girls whose father and mother had died got up out of her bed, and began to put her clothes on, and they had to lock the doors to stop her from going away out of the house.
There was a woman I knew of that after her death was kept for seven years in a tree m Kinadyfe, and for seven years after that she was kept under the arch of the little bridge beyond Kilchriest, with the water running under her. And whether there was frost or snow she had no shelter from it) not so much as the size of a leaf.
At the end of the second seven years she came to her husband, and he passing the bridge on the way home from Loughrea, and when he felt her near him he was afraid, and he didn’t stop to question her, but hurried on.
So then she came in the evening to the house of her own little girl. But she was afraid when she saw her, and fell down in a faint. And the woman’s sister’s child was in the house, and when the little girl told her what she saw, she said “You must surely question her when she comes again.” So she came again that night, but the little girl was afraid again when she saw her and said nothing. But the third night when she came the sister’s child, seeing her own little girl was afraid, said “God bless you, God bless you.” And with that the woman spoke and said “God bless you for saying that.” And then she told her all that had happened her and where she had been all the fourteen years. And she took out of her dress a black silk handkerchief and said: “I took that from my husband’s neck the day I met him on the road from Loughrea, and this very night I would have killed him, because he hurried away and would not stop to help me, but now that you have helped me I’ll not harm him. But bring with you to Kilmaeduagh, to the graveyard, three cross sticks with wool on them, and three glasses full of salt, and have three Masses said for me; and I’ll appear to you when I am at rest.” And so she did; and it was for no great thing she had done that trouble had been put upon her.
That house with no roof was made a hospital of in the famine, and many died there. And one night my father was passing by and he saw some one standing all in white, and two men beside him, and he thought he knew one of the men and spoke to him and said “Is that you, Martin?” But he never spoke nor moved. And as to the thing in white, he could not say was it man or woman, but my father never went by that place again at night.
The last person buried in a graveyard has the care of all the other souls until another is to he buried, and then the soul can go and shift for itself. It may be a week or a month or a year, but watch the place it must till another soul comes.
There was a man used to be giving short measure, not giving the full yard, and one time after his death there was a man passing the river and the horse he had would not go into it. And he heard the voice of the tailor saying from the river he had a message to send to his wife, and to tell her not to be giving short measure, or she would be sent to the same place as him-self. There was a hymn made about that.
There was a woman lived in Rathkane, alone in the house, and she told me that one night something came and lay over the bed and gave three great moans. That was all ever she heard in the house.
The shadows of the dead gather round at Samhain time to see is there any one among their friends saying a few Masses for them.
Down there near the point, on the 6th of March, 1883, there was a curragh upset and five boys were drowned. And a man from County Clare told me that he was on the coast that day, and that he saw them walking towards him on the Atlantic.
There is a house down there near the sea, and one day the woman of it was sitting by the fire, and a little girl came in at the door, and a red cloak about her, and she sat down by the fire. And the woman asked her where did she come from, and she said that she had just come from Connemara. And then she went out, and when she was going out the door she made herself known to her sister that was standing in it, and she called out to the mother. And when the mother knew it was the child she had lost near a year before, she ran out to call her, for she wouldn’t for all the world to have not known her when she was there. But she was gone and she never came agam.
There was this boy’s father took a second wife, and he was walking home one evening, and his wife behind him, and there was a great wind blowing, and he kept his head stooped down because of the seaweed coming blowing into his eyes. And she was about twenty paces behind, and she saw his first wife come and walk close beside him, and he never saw her, having his head down, but she kept with him near all the way. And when they got borne, she told the husband who was with him, and with the fright she got she was bad in her bed for two or three day–do you remember that, Martin? She died after, and he has a third wife taken now.
I believe all that die are brought among them, except maybe an odd old person.
A Kildare Woman:
There was a woman I knew sent into the Rotunda Hospital for an operation. And when she was going she cried when she was saying good-bye to her cousin that was a friend of mine, for she felt in her that she would not come back again. And she put her two arms about her going away and said, “If the dead can do any good thing for the living, I’ll do it for you.” And she never recovered, but died in the hospital. And within a few weeks something came onher cousin, my friend, and they said it was her side that was paralysed, and she died. And many said it was no common illness, but that it was the dead woman that had kept to her word.
A Connemara Man:
There was a boy in New York was killed by rowdies, they killed him standing against a lamp-post and he was frozen to it, and stood there till morning. And it is often since that time he was seen in the room and the passages of the house where he used to be living.
And in the house beyond a woman died, and some other family came to live in it; but every night she came back and stripped the clothes off them, so at last they went away.
When some one goes that owes money, the weight of the soul is more than the weight of the body, and it can’t get away and keeps wandering till some one has courage to question it.
My grandmother told my mother that in her time at Cloughhallymore, there was a woman used to appear in the churchyard of Rathkeale, and that many boys and girls and children died with the fright they got when they saw her.
So there was a gentleman living near was very sorry for all the children dying, and he went to an old woman to ask her was there any way to do away with the spirit that appeared. So she said if any one would have courage to go and to question it, he could do away with it. So the gentleman went at midnight and waited at the churchyard, and he on his horse, and had a sword with him. So presently the shape appeared and he called to it and said, “Tell me what you are?” And it came over to him, and when he saw the face he got such a fright that he turned the horse’s head and galloped away as hard as he could. But after galloping a long time he looked down and what did he see beside him but the woman running and her hand on the horse. So he took his sword and gave a slash at her, and cut through her arm, so that she gave a groan and vanished, and he went on home.
And when he got to the stable and had the lantern lighted, you may think what a start he got when he saw the hand still holding on to the horse, and no power could lift it off. So he went into the house and said his prayers to Almighty God to take it off. And all night long, he could hear moaning and crying about the house. And in the morning when he went out the hand was gone, but all the stable was splashed with blood. But the woman was never seen in those parts again.
A Seaside Man:
And many see the faeries at Knock and there was a carpenter died, and he could be heard all night in his shed making coffins and carts and all sorts of things, and the people are afraid to go near it. There were four boys from Knock drowned five years ago, and often now they are seen walking on the strand and in the fields and about the village.
There was a man used to go out fowling, and one day his sister said to him, “Whatever you do don’t go out tonight and don’t shoot any wild-duck or any birds you see flying-for tonight they are all poor souls travelling.”
An Old Man in Galway Workhouse:
Burke of Carpark’s son died, but he used often to be seen going about afterwards. And one time a herd of his father’s met with him and he said, “Come tonight and help us against the hurlers from the north, for they have us beat twice, and if they beat us a third time, it will be a bad year for Ireland.”
It was in the daytime they had the hurling match through the streets of Gaiway. No one could see them, and no one could go outside the door while it lasted, for there went such a whirl-wind through the town that you could not look through the window.
And he sent a message to his father that he would find some paper he was looking for a few days before, behind a certain desk, between it and the wall, and the father found it there. He would not have believed it was his son the herd met only for that.
A Munster Woman:
I have only seen them myself like dark shadows, but there’s many can see them as they are. Surely they bring away the dead among them.
There was a woman in County Limerick that died after her baby being born. And all the people were in the house when the funeral was to be, crying for her. And the cars and the horses were out on the road. And there was seen among them a carriage full of ladies, and with them the woman was sitting that they were crying for, and the baby with her, and it dressed.
And there was another woman I knew of died, and left a family, and often after, the people saw her in their dreams, and always in rich clothes, though all the clothes she had were given away after she died, for the good of her soul, except maybe her shawl. And her husband married a serving girl after that, and she was hard to the children, and one night the woman came back to her, and had like to throw her out of the window in her nightdress, till she gave a promise to treat the children well, and she was afraid not to treat them well after that.
There was a farmer died and he had done some man out of a saddle, and he came back after to a friend, and gave him no rest till he gave a new saddle to the man he had cheated.
There was a woman my brother told me about and she had a daughter that was red-haired. And the girl got married when she was under twenty, for the mother had no man to tend the land, so she thought best to let her go. And after her baby being born, she never got strong but stopped in the bed, and a great many doctors saw her but did her no good.
And one day the mother was at Mass at the chapel and she got a start, for she thought she saw her daughter come in to the chapel with the same shawl and clothes on her that she had be-fore she took to the bed, but when they came out from the chapel, she wasn’t there. So she went to the house, and asked was she after going out, and what they told her was as if she got a blow, for they said the girl hadn’t ten minutes to live, and she was dead before ten minutes were out And she appears now sometimes; they see her drawing water from the well at night and bringing it into the house, but they find nothing there in the morning.
A Connemara Man:
There was a man had come back from Boston, and one day he was out in the bay, going towards Aran with £3 worth of cable he was after getting from McDonagh’s store in Gaiway. And he was steering the boat, and there were two turf-boats along with him, and all in a minute they saw he was gone, swept off the boat with a wave and it a dead calm.
And they saw him come up once, straight up as if he was pushed, and then he was brought down again and rose no more.
And it was some time after that a friend of his in Boston, and that was coming home to this place, was in a crowd of people out there. And he saw him coming to him and he said, “I heard that you were drowned,” and the man said, “I am not dead, but I was brought here, and when you go home, bring these three guineas to McDonagh in Galway for it’s owned him for the cable I got from him.” And he put the three guineas in his hand and vanished away.
An Old Army Man:
I have seen hell myself. I had a sight of it one time in a vision. It had a very high wall around it, all of metal, and an archway in the wall, and a straight walk into it, just like what would be leading into a gentleman’s orchard, but the edges were not trimmed with box but with red-hot metal. And inside the wall there were cross walks, and I’m not sure what there was to the right, but to the left there was five great furnaces and they full of souls kept there with great chains. So I turned short and went away; and in turning I looked again at the wall and I could see no end to it.
And another time I saw purgatory. It seemed to be in a level place and no walls around it, but it all one bright blaze, and the souls standing in it And they suffer near as much as in hell only there are no devils with them there and they have the hope of heaven.
And I heard a call to me from there “Help me to come out of this!” And when I looked it was a man I used to know in the army, an Irishman and from this country, and I believe him to be a descendant of King O’Connor of Athenry. So I stretched out my hand first but then I called out “I’d be burned in the flames before I could get within three yards of you.” So then he said, “Well, help me with your prayers,” and so I do.
_____________________ I truly miss Leonard, but we do have his recordings, and his glorious poems By The Rivers Dark