(Luke Brown – Baphomet detail)
Think of this entry as a poem of various elements… from the words, to the pictures to the flow of it all.
A very warm day again. Melting. I am challenged by the heat, being by nature happiest in spring and fall.
Took the dog out for a walk, she was panting in a block or so… Rowan was with me. A hot wind, sirens in the distance (Is it the 4th yet?) and almost pitch dark in some areas. This is the kind of heat we get in August and September, but not June. Odd how it is changing so fast. I read today that Mr. Bush is now concerned about Global Warming. What a bright spot in our world, the Glorious Leader. A bit late, eh?
On The Menu
A Meditation on our Mortality: Terence McKenna on Death
A Bit of Zen:Time to Die
Article: Tlazolteotl, the Filth Eater
Poetry: The Teachings of Hafiz…
A Final Note: Terence McKenna on The Perversion of Language…
A mashup of an entry, but I think enjoyable.
Terence McKenna on Death:
“Everything is a blessing and everything comes as a gift. And I don’t regret anything about the situation I find myself in. If psychedelics don’t ready you for the great beyond, then I don’t know what really does. And we’re all under sentence of ‘moving up’ at some point in our lives.
I have an absolute faith that the universe prefers joy and distills us with joy. That is what religion is trying to download to us, and this is what every moment of life is trying to do-if we can open to it. And we psychedelic people, if we could secure that death has no sting, we would have done the greatest service to suffering intelligence that can be done.
And I feel that death is close, and I feel strong because of this (psychedelic) community and these people and plants that it rests on, and the ancient practices that it rests on, and I am full of hope, not only for my own small problems, but for humanity in general.”
Time to Die
Ikkyu, the Zen master, was very clever even as a boy. His teacher had a precious teacup, a rare antique. Ikkyu happened to break this cup and was greatly perplexed. Hearing the footsteps of his teacher, he held the pieces of the cup behind him. When the master appeared, Ikkyu asked: “Why do people have to die?”
“This is natural,” explained the older man. “Everything has to die and has just so long to live.”
Ikkyu, producing the shattered cup, added: “It was time for your cup to die.”
The ancient Aztecs of central Mexico appear to have been extremely puritanical towards sex and, for that matter, towards women in general. Aztec (or more properly, Mexica) society was a male-dominated warrior aristocracy, and according to the no-doubt somewhat biased Roman Catholic monks who collected the sole first-person accounts of Mexica life, women played almost no role in government and civil matters.
However, recognition of the undeniable power and mystery of the female was not absent in a people who worshipped more than 1600 separate deities. Ometeotl, the supreme creator in the Mesoamerican pantheon, in fact, possessed a dual natureboth male and femaleand it was the constant tension within this dualistic concept that gave birth to all the other gods and goddesses, as well as everything and everyone in the Aztec world.
As in all primitive societies, the Aztecs also worshipped a goddess we may certainly call the Earth Mother. Terrifying yet alluring, bountiful and omni-present, the complex and contradictory ideas of birth and death, healing, romance and regeneration were encompassed by an amalgam of female deities that were all considered aspects of the eternal female. Tonantzin (“Our Holy Mother”) was literally The Earth, from which issued forth food in the form of the Aztec staple, maize. Toci (“Our Grandmother”) was the great healer who attended the infirm. Yohualticitl was the “The Midwife of the Night.” Mictecacihuatl was “The Lady of the Dead” who presided over Mictlan, the Land of the Dead, with her consort Mictlantecuhtli. Coatlicue (“She of the Serpent Skirt”) symbolized fecundity as well as death and regeneration. In spite of giving birth to both the fire god and the moon goddess and the stars as well as over 400 sons (20 times 20to the Aztec mind, innumerable), Coatlicue was considered by the Aztecs to be a virgin (a strong plea for the concept of duality) and was extremely interesting therefore to the Catholic Conquistadors, who tended to compare her to the Virgin Mary.
And then of course there is Xochiquetzal (shak i KAY tsal), the flower queen, who is most reminiscent of Venus or Eve, a beautiful creature said to be the lover of Quetzalcoatl who was also the mother of twins (remember, Aztec duality) and the patroness of pregnancy and childbirth.
But the aspect of femininity, I believe, that is most revealing of the Aztec attitude towards sexuality and the role of woman in society must be Tlazolteotl (tla sol TE otl), “the Filth Eater.”
Here is woman as hag, as harridan, as primordial witch capable of both bringing insanity (through venereal disease) and curing it (with medicine), of inspiring sexual misconduct and, not so surprisingly, absolving it. Tlazolteotl is both the earth mother and goddess of fertility, the patron of physicians and the cruel, disease-bringing goddess of insanity.
In the extant Aztec (or more properly Mexica) codices, Tlazolteotl the Filth Eater is portrayed in the squatting position Aztec women used to give birth, often defecating unceremoniously. Excrement was symbolic of sexual lust for the Aztecs, and one may imagine with what vigor the Spanish monks of the New World examined this original concept.
Perhaps mirroring Mexica amazement at the protean nature of femininity, Tlazolteotl was considered an aspect of the moon and thus had four phases of existence: first as brilliant adolescent, cruel, unreliable, and yet absolutely delightful; then as young woman, sensual and adventuresome, though of dubious morality. It was in her third phase (corresponding perhaps also to menstruation and childbirth) that the witch goddess was able to absorb the evils committed by mankind and purify the soul IF the sinner had made a proper and honest confession to a priest. The confession, however, could only be made once, so it was usually late in lifebeyond the years of sexual temptationthat a man sought redemption from the priest of Tlazolteotl. This aspect of the goddess also gave blessings to married life and apparently brought peace and fertility to the home. The third, forgiving, phase was comparatively short-lived and it was inevitably replaced by the monstrous disease-ridden creature who destroyed her lovers, stole wealth, and punished sexual excess.
The Aztecs evolved one of their more sinister customs in the name of Tlazolteotl: they forced girls into service as prostitutes in the barracks of young soldiers still in training. After they had been sufficiently “soiled” they were killed and their bodies were dumped unceremoniously into the marshes of Lake Texcoco where they became food for the birds, who of course aspired to the heavens.
It has been posited that Tlazolteotl represented a sort of Freudian fear of femininity in this extremely male-dominated society, as ifsomewhere in the back of their minds Aztec men dreaded the havoc their wives and sisters might wreak if they ever overcame their subservient roles in the culture. Their dualistic minds evolved a goddess both life-giving and cruel, the bringer of insanity yet provider of forgiveness.
One thing is certain: if Aztec thought can be understood only in terms of duality, an incapacity to reason in singularities, the multi-faceted aspects of Tlazolteotl stand as an important synthesis by ancient man (and woman): the collective Aztec mind related such disparate facts as birth, evolution, death, resurrection, water, plants, woman, and fertility to the moon.
And then they called it god.
The dust and the garbage
The works of the flesh
Were caused by Tlazolteotl,
She light them.
Tlazolteotl fomented them
And only she discharged.
She purified, she relieved
She washed, She bathed.
The Codex Vaticanus B, Vatican Library, Rome
Teachings of Hafiz
TEACHINGS OF HAFIZ I
ARISE, oh Cup-bearer, rise! and bring
To lips that are thirsting the bowl they praise,
For it seemed that love was an easy thing,
But my feet have fallen on difficult ways.
I have prayed the wind o’er my heart to fling
The fragrance of musk in her hair that sleeps
In the night of her hair-yet no fragrance stays
The tears of my heart’s blood my sad heart weeps.
Hear the Tavern-keeper who counsels you:
“With wine, with red wine your prayer carpet dye!”
There was never a traveller like him but knew
The ways of the road and the hostelry.
Where shall I rest, when the still night through,
Beyond thy gateway, oh Heart of my heart,
The bells of the camels lament and cry:
“Bind up thy burden again and depart!”
The waves run high, night is clouded with fears,
And eddying whirlpools clash and roar;
How shall my drowning voice strike their ears
Whose light-freighted vessels have reached the shore?
I sought mine own; the unsparing years
Have brought me mine own, a dishonoured name.
What cloak shall cover my misery o’er
When each jesting mouth has rehearsed my shame!
Oh Hafiz, seeking an end to strife,
Hold fast in thy mind what the wise have writ:
“If at last thou attain the desire of thy life,
Cast the world aside, yea, abandon it!”
TEACHINGS OF HAFIZ II
THE bird of gardens sang unto the rose,
New blown in the clear dawn: “Bow down thy head!
As fair as thou within this garden close,
Many have bloomed and died.” She laughed and said
“That I am born to fade grieves not my heart
But never was it a true lover’s part
To vex with bitter words his love’s repose.”
The tavern step shall be thy hostelry,
For Love’s diviner breath comes but to those
That suppliant on the dusty threshold lie.
And thou, if thou would’st drink the wine that flows
From Life’s bejewelled goblet, ruby red,
Upon thine eyelashes thine eyes shall thread
A thousand tears for this temerity.
Last night when Irem’s magic garden slept,
Stirring the hyacinth’s purple tresses curled,
The wind of morning through the alleys stept.
“Where is thy cup, the mirror of the world?
Ah, where is Love, thou Throne of Djem?” I cried.
The breezes knew not; but “Alas,” they sighed,
“That happiness should sleep so long!” and wept.
Not on the lips of men Love’s secret lies,
Remote and unrevealed his dwelling-place.
Oh Saki, come! the idle laughter dies
When thou the feast with heavenly wine dost grace.
Patience and wisdom, Hafiz, in a sea
Of thine own tears are drowned; thy misery
They could not still nor hide from curious eyes.
TEACHINGS OF HAFIZ III
WIND from the east, oh Lapwing of the day,
I send thee to my Lady, though the way
Is far to Saba, where I bid thee fly;
Lest in the dust thy tameless wings should lie,
Broken with grief, I send thee to thy nest,
Or far or near there is no halting-place
Upon Love’s road-absent, I see thy face,
And in thine car my wind-blown greetings sound,
North winds and east waft them where they are bound,
Each morn and eve convoys of greeting fair
I send to thee.
Unto mine eyes a stranger, thou that art
A comrade ever-present to my heart,
What whispered prayers and what full meed of praise
I send to thee.
Lest Sorrow’s army waste thy heart’s domain,
I send my life to bring thee peace again,
Dear life thy ransom! From thy singers learn
How one that longs for thee may weep and bum
Sonnets and broken words, sweet notes and songs
I send to thee.
Give me the cup! a voice rings in mine cars
Crying: “Bear patiently the bitter years!
For all thine ills, I send thee heavenly grace.
God the Creator mirrored in thy face
Thine eyes shall see, God’s image in the glass
I send to thee.
Hafiz, thy praise alone my comrades sing;
Hasten to us, thou that art sorrowing!
A robe of honour and a harnessed steed
I send to thee.”
and in passing:
Terence McKenna on the Perversion of Language
“I can’t preach Scientism cause I don’t believe it. I can’t preach Buddhism cause I can’t understand it. The only thing I can preach is the felt presence of immediate experience which for me came through the psychedelics, which are not drugs but plants. It’s a perversion of language to try to derail this thing into talk of drugs. There are spirits in the natural world that come to us in this way and so far as I can tell this is the only way that they come to us that is rapid enough for it to have an impact upon us as a global population.”