NOW IS THE MONTH OF MAYING
Now is the month of Maying,
When merry lads are playing,
Fal la Ia la Ia.
Each with his bonny lass
A-dancing on the grass,
Fal Ia la Ia Ia.
The spring, clad all in gladness,
Doth laugh at Winter’s madness,
Fal Ia Ia Ia Ia.
And to the bagpipes’ sound,
The nymphs tread out the ground.
Fal Ia Ia Ia Ia.
Source: IN PRAISE OF ALE or Songs, Ballads, Epigrams, & Anecdotes Relating to Beer, Malt, and Hops by W. T. Marchant. London, 1888.
This Edition is dedicated to all the Earth Rites Clan who are gathering in Northern California this weekend. My heart is with ya, but my body is staying here in Oregon. It was one of those crazy things…
On The Menu:
Article – Personal Daimons
The Poetry – Li Bai
The Art – Gustave Dore
Have a Good Weekend, and A Brilliant Beltane if we don’t talk soon…
by Patrick Harpur
Guardian angels derived from Neoplatonism and, along with the other classes of angels, became part of Christian dogma at the Council of Nicaea (AD 325). But, long before this, the ancient Greeks believed that individuals were attached at birth to a daimon who determined, wholly or in part, their destiny. Philemon was clearly such a daimon for Jung, who emphasized the crucial part this strange Gnostic figure played in his life and work. Plato’s mentor, Socrates, had a daimon who was famous for always saying “No.” It did not enter into rational discourse with Socrates; it merely warned him when he was about to do something wrong (especially something displeasing to the gods), like the prompting of conscience…
However, Plato in Timaeus identified the individual daimon with the element of pure reason in man and so it became “a sort of lofty spirit-guide, or Freudian super-ego.” This may be true of certain, perhaps exceptional individuals, but is is also trueas we shall seethat daimons are as likely to represent unreason or at least to be equivocal. But meanwhile it is instructive to consider the case of Napoleon. He had a familiar spirit “which protected him. which guided him, as a daemon, and which he called his star, or which visited him in the figure of a dwarf clothed in red that warned him.”
This reminds us that personal daimons favor two forms by which to manifest: the abstract light, globe, oval and (as here) shining sphere, or the personificationangelic, manikin-like or whatever. It confirms, in other words, my speculation … that the two forms are different manifestations of each other, with (in Napoleon’s case) different functions: the star guides, the dwarf warns. Both are images of the soul, which is another way of understanding the daimon.
Indeed, it seems that, next to personification, daimons prefer luminous appearances or “phasmata,” as the Syrian Neoplatonist Iamblichus (d. 326) called them. He was a real expert on daimons, and ufologists could do worse than study the distinctions he makes between phasmata. For instance, while phasmata of archangels are both “terrible and mild,” their images “full of supernatural light,” the phasmata of daimons are “various” and “dreadful.” They appear “at different times … in a different form, and appear at one time great, but at another small, yet are still recognized to be the phasmata of daemons.” As we have seen, this could equally well describe their personifications. Their “operations,” interestingly, “appear to be more rapid than they are in reality” (an observation which might be borne in mind by ufologists). Their images are “obscure,” presenting themselves within a “turbid fire” which is “unstable.”
The first of the great Neoplatonists, Plotinus (AD 204-70), maintained that the individual daimon was “not an anthropomorphic daemon, but an inner psychological principle,” viz:the level above that on which we consciously live, and so is both within and yet transcendent… Like Jung, he takes it as read that daimons are objective phenomena and thinks to emphasize only that, paradoxically, they manifest both inwardly (dreams, inspirations, thoughts, fantasies) and outwardly or transcendently (visions and apparitions). Plotinus does not, we noticelike the early Jungspeak of daimons as primarily “inner” and as seen outwardly only in “projection.” He seems to agree with the later Jungthat there is a psyche “outside the body.” However, his use of the word “transcendent” also suggests that the real distinction to be made is not between inner and outer, but between personal and impersonal. There is a sense, he seems to be saying, in which daimons can be both at once.
Personal daimons are not fixed but can develop or unfold according to our own spiritual development. Jung might say: in the course of individuation, we move beyond the personal unconscious to the impersonal, collective unconscious, through the daimonic to the divine. Acording to Iamblichus, we are assigned a daimon at birth to govern and direct our lives but our task is to obtain a god in its place.
Daoist Poetry: Li Bai
Endless Yearning (I)
I am endlessly yearning
To be in Changan,
Insects hum of autumn by the gold brim of the well
A thin frost glistens like little mirrors on my cold mat,
The high lantern flickers, and deeper grows my longing
I lift the shade and, with many a sigh, gaze upon the moon,
Single as a flower, centered from the clouds
Above, I see the blueness and deepness of the sky
Below, I see the greenness and the restlessness of water
Heaven is high, Earth wide, bitter between them flies my sorrows
Can I dream through the gateway, over the mountain?
Breaks my heart.
Endless Yearning (II)
The sun has set, and a mist is in the flowers
And the moon grows very white and people sad and sleepless,
A Zhao harp has just been laid mute on its phoenix holder
And a Shu lute begins to sound its mandarin-duck strings
Since nobody can bear to you the burden of my song
Would that it might follow the spirit wind to Yanran Mountain,
I think of you far away, beyond the blue sky
And my eyes that once were sparkling, are now a well of tears,
Oh, if ever you should doubt this aching of my heart
Here in my bright mirror come back and look at me!
A Visit to Sky-Mother Mountain in a Dream
So, longing in my dreams for Wu and Yue
One night I flew over Mirror Lake under the moon,
The moon cast my shadow on the water
And traveled with me all the way to Shanxi,
The lodge of Lord Xie still remained
Where green waters swirled and the cry of apes was shrill,
Donning the shoes of Xie
I climbed the dark ladder of clouds,
Midway, I saw the sun rise from the sea
Heard the Cock of Heaven crow,
And my path twisted through a thousand crags
Enchanted by flowers I leaned against a rock
And suddenly all was dark,
Growls of bears and snarls of dragons echoed
Among the rocks and streams,
The deep forest appalled me, I shrank from the lowering cliffs,
Dark were the clouds, heavy with rain
Waters boiled into misty spray,
Lightening flashed, thunder roared
Peaks tottered, boulders crashed,
And the stone gate of a great cavern
Below me, a bottomless void of blue
Sun and moon gleaming on terraces of silver and gold,
With rainbows for garments, and winds for horses
The lords of the clouds descended, a mighty host,
Phoenixes circled the chariots, tigers played zithers
As the immortals went by, rank upon rank.
On the Way Back to the Old Residence
Traveling to Heaven in dreams
There is another space and dimension in the kettle
Overlook the human Earth,
That is easily withered and rotten.
Ling Xu Mountain
Leaving the human world
Going toward the path to Heaven;
Upon Consummation through cultivation,
Then follow the clouds to Heaven,
Caves hidden under pine trees,
Deep and unseen among the peach blossoms;
Drinking Alone under the Moon (月下獨酌, pinyin Yuè Xià Dú Zhuó)
Amongst the flowers is a pot of wine
I pour alone but with no friend at hand
So I lift the cup to invite the shining moon,
Along with my shadow we become party of three
The moon although understands none of drinking, and
The shadow just follows my body vainly
Still I make the moon and the shadow my company
To enjoy the springtime before too late
The moon lingers while I am singing
The shadow scatters while I am dancing
We cheer in delight when being awake
We separate apart after getting drunk
Forever will we keep this unfettered friendship
Till we meet again far in the Milky Way
Li Bai was the son of a rich merchant; his birthplace is uncertain, but one candidate is Suiye in Central Asia (near modern day Tokmok, Kyrgyzstan). His family moved to Jiangyou, near modern Chengdu in Sichuan province, when he was five years old. He was influenced by Confucian and Taoist thought, but ultimately his family heritage did not provide him with much opportunity in the aristocratic Tang Dynasty. Though he expressed the wish to become an official, he did not sit for the Chinese civil service examination. Instead, beginning at age twenty-five, he travelled around China, enjoying wine and leading a carefree life -very much contrary to the prevailing ideas of a proper Confucian gentleman. His personality fascinated the aristocrats and common people alike and he was introduced to the Emperor Xuanzong around 742.
He was given a post at the Hanlin Academy, which served to provide a source of scholarly expertise and poetry for the Emperor. Li Bai remained less than two years as a poet in the Emperor’s service before he was dismissed for an unknown indiscretion. Thereafter he wandered throughout China for the rest of his life. He met Du Fu in the autumn of 744, and again the following year. These were the only occasions on which they met, but the friendship remained particularly important for the starstruck Du Fu (a dozen of his poems to or about Li Bai survive, compared to only one by Li Bai to Du Fu). At the time of the An Lushan Rebellion he became involved in a subsidiary revolt against the Emperor, although the extent to which this was voluntary is unclear. The failure of the rebellion resulted in his being exiled a second time, to Yelang. He was pardoned before the exile journey was complete.
Li Bai died in Dangtu, or modern day Anhui. Traditionally he was said to have drowned attempting to catch the moon’s reflection in a river; some scholars believe his death was the result of mercury poisoning due to a long history of imbibing Taoist longevity elixirs while others believe that he died of alcohol poisoning. (From Wikipedia)