Drugs That Shape Men’s Minds…

The Radio… The Radio….

So, I worked on Mp3′s all day long Sunday…. Cleaning, Converting their speeds, listing them, arranging them, and uploading them. Then, I upload the new show list. Wonderful, all set. Well, then I found that the radio was down, after some 7 hours of work. Yikes! Now that was the day that was…

And This Just In! Congratulations to Chris and Vanessa!

Chris And Vanessa Elope!

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The Links…

Drugs That Shape Men’s Minds – Aldous Huxley

Poetry: Aldous Huxley

Art: Huxley “Door of Perception” Gwyllm Llwydd/Jealousy, Sporting Life, Blind Love all by Dodie…

This issue is dedicated to Aldous Huxley, with all of his myriad talents and insights. Maybe it is indeed time for an “Island”.

Bright Blessings,



The Links…

Fossil frogs yield ‘soft tissues’

Michael Moore says gets lots of Republican hugs

Tomato Face…!

Anger in the Arab World

Australian ‘Nessie’ fossils found

November Is Coming: Bush Bids for Sweeping Detention Power


Drugs That Shape Men’s Minds – by Aldous Huxley

Essayist, satirist, critic, literary journalist and prolific novelist (Antic Hay, Point Counter Point, Brave New World, The Genius and the Goddess, and so on), Aldous Huxley had familial roots in the sciences. His grandfather was T.H. Huxley, famed English zoologist, and his brother is Sir Julian Huxley, contemporary biologist. Aldous Huxley’s interest in mind-changing drugs led him, some years ago, to become an experimental subject for research on the effects of mescaline and similar drugs. He wrote two books on this experience and its implications.

Saturday Evening Post, 18 October 1958

Copyright © 1958 by Aldous Huxley

In the course of history many more people have died for their drink and their dope than have died for their religion or their country. The craving for ethyl alcohol and the opiates has been stronger, in these millions, than the love of God, of home, of children; even of life. Their cry was not for liberty or death; it was for death preceded by enslavement. There is a paradox here, and a mystery. Why should such multitudes of men and women be so ready to sacrifice themselves for a cause so utterly hopeless and in ways so painful and so profoundly humiliating?

To this riddle there is, of course, no simple or single answer. Human beings are immensely complicated creatures, living simultaneously in a half dozen different worlds. Each individual is unique and, in a number of respects, unlike all the other members of the species. None of our motives is unmixed, none of our actions can be traced back to a single source and, in any group we care to study, behavior patterns that are observably similar may be the result of many constellations of dissimilar causes.

Thus, there are some alcoholics who seem to have been biochemically predestined to alcoholism (Among rats, as Prof. Roger Williams, of the University of Texas, has shown, some are born drunkards; some are born teetotalers and will never touch the stuff.) Other alcoholics have been foredoomed not by some inherited defect in their biochemical make-up, but by their neurotic reactions to distressing events in their childhood or adolescence. Again, others embark upon their course of slow suicide as a result of mere imitation and good fellowship because they have made such an “excellent adjustment to their group” – a process which, if the group happens to be criminal, idiotic or merely ignorant, can bring only disaster to the well-adjusted individual. Nor must we forget that large class of addicts who have taken to drugs or drink in order to escape from physical pain. Aspirin, let us remember, is a very recent invention. Until late in the Victorian era, “poppy and mandragora,” along with henbane and ethyl alcohol, were the only pain relievers available to civilized man. Toothache, arthritis and neuralgia could, and frequently did, drive men and women to become opium addicts.

De Quincey, for example, first resorted to opium in order to relieve “excruciating rheumatic pains of the head.” He swallowed his poppy and, an hour later, “What a resurrection from the lowest depths of the inner spirit! What an apocalypse!” And it was not merely that he felt no more pain. “This negative effect was swallowed up in the immensity of those positive effects which had opened up before me, in the abyss of divine enjoyment thus suddenly revealed…. Here was the secret of happiness. about which the philosophers had disputed for so many ages, at once discovered.”

“Resurrection. apocalypse, divine enjoyment. happiness. . . .” De Quincey’s words lead us to the very heart of our paradoxical mystery. The problem of drug addiction and excessive drinking is not merely a matter of chemistry and psychopathology, of relief from pain and conformity with a bad society. It is also a problem in metaphysics – a problem, one might almost say, in theology. In The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James has touched on these metaphysical aspects of addiction:

The sway of alcohol over mankind is unquestionably due to its power to stimulate the mystical faculties in human nature, usually crushed to earth by the cold facts and dry criticisms of the sober hour. Sobriety diminishes, discriminates and says no. Drunkenness expands, unites and says yes. It is in fact the great exciter of the Yes function in man. It brings its votary from the chill periphery of things into the radiant core. It makes him for the moment one with truth. Not through mere perversity do men run after it. To the poor and the unlettered it stands in the place of symphony concerts and literature; and it is part of the deeper mystery and tragedy of life that whiffs and gleams of something that we immediately recognize as excellent should be vouchsafed to so many of us only through the fleeting earlier phases of what, in its totality, is so degrading a poison. The drunken consciousness is one bit of the mystic consciousness, and our total opinion of it must find its place in Our opinion of that larger whole.

William James was not the first to detect a likeness between drunkenness and the mystical and premystical states. On the day of Pentecost there were people who explained the strange behavior of the disciples by saying, “These men are full of new wine.

Peter soon undeceived them: “These are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel. And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh.”

And it is not only by “the dry critics of the sober hour” that the state of God-intoxication has been likened to drunkenness. In their efforts to express the inexpressible, the great mystics themselves have done the same. Thus, St. Theresa of Avila tells us that she “regards the centre of our soul as a cellar, into which God admits us as and when it pleases Him, so as to intoxicate us with the delicious wine of His grace.”

Every fully developed religion exists simultaneously on several different levels. It exists as a set of abstract concepts about the world and its governance. It exists as a set of rites and sacraments, as a traditional method for manipulating the symbols, by means of which beliefs about the cosmic order are expressed. It exists as the feelings of love, fear and devotion evoked by this manipulation of symbols.

And finally it exists as a special kind of feeling or intuition – a sense of the oneness of all things in their divine principle, a realization (to use the language of Hindu theology) that “thou art That,” a mystical experience of what seems self-evidently to be union with God.

The ordinary waking consciousness is a very useful and, on most occasions, an indispensable state of mind; but it is by no means the only form of consciousness, nor in all circumstances the best. Insofar as he transcends his ordinary self and his ordinary mode of awareness, the mystic is able to enlarge his vision, to look more deeply into the unfathomable miracle of existence.

The mystical experience is doubly valuable, it is valuable because it gives the experiencer a better understanding of himself and the world and because it may help him to lead a less self-centered and more creative life.

In hell, a great religious poet has written, the punishment of the lost is to be “their sweating selves, but worse.” On earth we are not worse than we are: we are merely our sweating selves, period.

Alas, that is quite bad enough. We love ourselves to the point of idolatry, but we also intensely dislike ourselves – we find ourselves unutterably boring. Correlated with this distaste for the idolatrously worshiped self, there is in all of us a desire, sometimes latent, sometimes conscious and passionately expressed, to escape from the prison of our individuality, an urge to self-transcendence. It is to this urge that we owe mystical theology, spiritual exercises and yoga – to this, too, that we owe alcoholism and drug addiction.

Modern pharmacology has given us a host of new synthetics, but in the field of the naturally occurring mind changers it has made psychological methods of self-control preferable from every point of view to complacency imposed from without by the methods of chemical control.

And now let us consider the case – not, alas, a hypothetical case – of two societies competing with each other. In Society A, tranquilizers are available by prescription and at a rather stiff price which means, in practice, that their use is confined to that rich and influential minority which provides the society with its leadership. This minority of leading citizens consumes several billions of the complacency – producing pills every year. In Society B, on the other hand, the tranquilizers are not so freely available, and the members of the influential minority do not resort, on the slightest provocation, to the chemical control of what may be necessary and productive tension. Which of these two competing societies is likely to win the race? A society whose leaders make an excessive use of soothing syrups is in danger of failing behind a society whose leaders are not over-tranquilized.

Now let us consider another kind of drug – still undiscovered, but probably just around the corner – a drug capable of making people feel happy in situations where they would normally feel miserable. Such a drug would be a blessing, but a blessing fraught with grave political dangers. By making harmless chemical euphoria freely available, a dictator could reconcile an entire population to a state of affairs to which self-respecting human beings ought not to be reconciled. Despots have always found it necessary to supplement force by political or religious propaganda. In this sense the pen is mightier than the sword. But mightier than either the pen or the sword is the pill. In mental hospitals it has been found that chemical restraint is far more effective than strait jackets or psychiatry. The dictatorships of tomorrow will deprive men of their freedom, but will give them in exchange a happiness none the less real, as a subjective experience, for being chemically induced. The pursuit of happiness is one of the traditional rights of man; unfortunately, the achievement of happiness may turn out to be incompatible with another of man’s rights – liberty.

It is quite possible, however, that pharmacology will restore with one hand what it takes away with the other. Chemically induced euphoria could easily become a threat to individual liberty:, but chemically induced vigor and chemically heightened intelligence could easily be liberty’s strongest bulwark. Most of us function at about 15 per cent of capacity. How can we step up our lamentably low efficiency?

Two methods are available – the educational and the biochemical. We can take adults and children as they are and give them a much better training than we are giving them now. Or, by appropriate biochemical methods, we can transform them into superior individuals. If these superior individuals are given a superior education, the results will be revolutionary. They will be startling even if we continue to subject them to the rather poor educational methods at present in vogue.

Will it in fact be possible to produce superior individuals by biochemical means? The Russians certainly believe it. They are now halfway through a Five Year Plan to produce “pharmacological substances that normalize higher nervous activity and heighten human capacity for work.” Precursors of these future mind improvers are already being experimented with. It has been found, for example, that when given in massive doses some of the vitamins – nicotinic acid and ascorbic acid for example – sometimes produce a certain heightening of psychic energy. A combination of two enzymes – ethylene disulphonate and adenosine triphosphate, which, when injected together, improve carbohydrate metabolism in nervous tissue – may also turn out to be effective.

Meanwhile good results are being claimed for various new synthetic, nearly harmless stimulants. There is iproniazid, which, according to some authorities, “appears to increase the total amount of psychic energy.” Unfortunately, iproniazid in large doses has side effects which in some cases may be extremely serious! Another psychic energizer is an amino alcohol which is thought to increase the body’s production of acetylcholine, a substance of prime importance in the functioning of the nervous system. In view of what has already been achieved, it seems quite possible that, within a few years, we may be able to lift ourselves up by our own biochemical bootstraps.

in the meantime let us all fervently wish the Russians every success in their current pharmacological venture. The discovery of a drug capable of increasing the average individual’s psychic energy, and its wide distribution throughout the U.S.S.R., would probably mean the end of Russia’s present form of government. Generalized intelligence and mental alertness are the most powerful enemies of dictatorship and at the same time the basic conditions of effective democracy. Even in the democratic West we could do with a bit of psychic energizing. Between them, education and pharmacology may do something to offset the effects of that deterioration of our biological material to which geneticists have frequently called attention.

From these political and ethical considerations let us now pass to the strictly religious problems that will be posed by some of the new mind changers. We can foresee the nature of these future problems by studying the effects of a natural mind changer, which has been used for centuries past in religious worship; I refer to the peyote cactus of Northern Mexico and the Southwestern United States. Peyote contains mescaline – which can now be produced synthetically – and mescaline in William James’ phrase, “stimulates the mystical faculties in human nature” far more powerfully and in a far more enlightening way than alcohol and, what is more, it does so at a physiological and social cost that is negligibly low. Peyote produces self-transcendence in two ways – it introduces the taker into the Other World of visionary experience, and it gives him a sense of solidarity with his fellow worshipers, with human beings at large and with the divine nature of things.

The effects of peyote can be duplicated by synthetic mescaline and by LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), a derivative of ergot. Effective in incredibly small doses, LSD is now being used experimentally by psychotherapists in Europe, in South America, in Canada and the United States. It lowers the barrier between conscious and subconscious and permits the patient to look more deeply and understandingly into the recesses of his own mind. The deepening of self-knowledge takes place against a background of visionary and even mystical experience.

When administered in the right kind of psychological environment, these chemical mind changers make possible a genuine religious experience. Thus a person who takes LSD or mescaline may suddenly understand not only intellectually but organically, experientially the meaning of such tremendous religious affirmations as “God is love,” or “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”

It goes without saying that this kind of temporary self-transcendence is no guarantee of permanent enlightenment or a lasting improvement of conduct. It is a “gratuitous grace,” which is neither necessary nor sufficient for salvation, but which if properly used, can be enormously helpful to those who have received it. And this is true of all such experiences, whether occurring spontaneously, or as the result of swallowing the right kind of chemical mind changer, or after undertaking a course of “spiritual exercises” or bodily mortification.

Those who are offended by the idea that the swallowing of a pill may contribute to a genuinely religious experience should remember that all the standard mortifications – fasting, voluntary sleeplessness and self-torture – inflicted upon themselves by the ascetics of every religion for the purpose of acquiring merit, are also, like the mind-changing drugs, powerful devices for altering the chemistry of the body in general and the nervous system in particular. Or consider the procedures generally known as spiritual exercises. The breathing techniques taught by the yogi of India result in prolonged suspensions of respiration. These in turn result in an increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood; and the psychological consequence of this is a change in the quality of consciousness. Again, meditations involving long, intense concentration upon it single idea or image may also result – for neurological reasons which I do not profess to understand – in a slowing down of respiration and even in prolonged suspensions of breathing.

Many ascetics and mystics have practiced their chemistry-changing mortifications and spiritual exercises while living, for longer or shorter periods, as hermits. Now, the life of a hermit, such as Saint Anthony, is a life in which there are very few external stimuli. But as Hebb, John Lilly and other experimental psychologists have recently shown in the laboratory, a person in a limited environment, which provides very few external stimuli, soon undergoes a change in the quality of his consciousness and may transcend his normal self to the point of hearing voices or seeing visions, often extremely unpleasant, like so many of Saint Anthony’s visions, but sometimes beatific.

That men and women can, by physical and chemical means, transcend themselves in a genuinely spiritual way is something which, to the squeamish idealist, seems rather shocking. But, after all, the drug or the physical exercise is not the cause of the spiritual experience; it is only its occasion.

Writing of William James’ experiments with nitrous oxide, Bergson has summed up the whole matter in a few lucid sentences. “The psychic disposition was there, potentially, only waiting a signal to express itself in action. It might have been evoked spiritually by an effort made on its own spiritual level. But it could just as well be brought about materially, by an inhibition of what inhibited it, by the removing of an obstacle; and this effect was the wholly negative one produced by the drug.” Where, for any reason, physical or moral, the psychological dispositions are unsatisfactory, the removal of obstacles by a drug or by ascetic practices will result in a negative rather than a positive spiritual experience. Such an infernal experience is extremely distressing, but may also be extremely salutary. There are plenty of people to whom a few hours in hell – the hell that they themselves have done so much to create – could do a world of good.

Physiologically costless, or nearly costless, stimulators of the mystical faculties are now making their appearance, and many kinds of them will soon be on the market. We can be quite sure that, as and when they become available, they will be extensively used. The urge to self-transcendence is so strong and so general that it cannot be otherwise. In the past, very few people have had spontaneous experiences of a premystical or fully mystical nature; still fewer have been willing to undergo the psychophysical disciplines which prepare an insulated individual for this kind of self-transcendence. The powerful but nearly costless mind changers of the future will change all this completely. Instead of being rare, premystical and mystical experiences will become common. What was once the spiritual privilege of the few will be made available to the many. For the ministers of the world’s organized religions, this will raise a number of unprecedented problems. For most people, religion has always been a matter of traditional symbols and of their own emotional, intellectual and ethical response to those symbols. To men and women who have had direct experience of self-trascendence into the mind’s Other World of vision and union with the nature of things, a religion of mere symbols is not likely to be very staisfying. The perusal of a page from even the most beautifully written cookbook is no substitute for the eating of dinner. We are exhorted to “taste and see that the Lord is good.”

In one way or another, the world’s ecclesiastical authorities will have to come to terms with the new mind changers. They may come to terms with them negatively, by refusing to have anything to do with them. In that case, a psychological phenomenon, potentially of great spiritual value, will manifest itself outside the pale of organized religion. On the other hand, they may choose to come to terms with the mind changers in some positive way – exactly how, I am not prepared to guess.

My own belief is that, though they may start by being something of an embarrassment, these new mind changers will tend in the long run to deepen the spiritual life of the communities in which they are available. That famous “revival of religion,” about which so many people have been talking for so long, will not come about as the result of evangelistic mass meetings or the television appearances of photogenic clergymen. It will come about as the result of biochemical discoveries that will make it possible for large numbers of men and women to achieve a radical self-transcendence and a deeper understanding of the nature of things. And this revival of religion will be at the same time a revolution. From being an activity mainly concerned with symbols, religion will be transformed into an activity concerned mainly with experience and intuition – an everyday mysticism underlying and giving significance to everyday rationality, everyday tasks and duties, everyday human relationships.


Poetry: Aldous Huxley…


Blood of the world, time stanchless flows;

The wound is mortal and is mine.

I act, but not to my design,

Choose, but ’twas ever fate that chose,

Would flee, but there are doors that close.

Winter has set its muddy sign

Without me and within. The rose

Dies also in my heart and no stars shine.

But nightingales call back the sun;

The doors are down and I can run,

Can laugh, for destiny is dead.

All springs are hoarded in the flowers;

Quick flow the intoxicating hours,

For wine as well as blood is red.

Excerpt from “Soles Occidere Et Redire Possunt”

Oh, how remote he walked along the street,

Jostling with other lumps of human meat!

He was so tired. The café doors invite.

Caverned within them, still lingers the night

In shadowy coolness, soothing the seared sight.

He sat there smoking, soulless and wholly crass,

Sunk to the eyes in the warm sodden morass

Of his own guts, wearily, wearily

Ruminating visions of mortality –

Perils of the Small Hours

When life burns low as the fire in the grate

And all the evening’s books are read,

I sit alone, save for the dead

And the lovers I have grown to hate.

But all at once the narrow gloom

Of hatred and despair expands

In tenderness: thought stretches hands

To welcome to the midnight room

Another presence: – a memory

Of how last year in the sunlit field,

Laughing, you suddenly revealed

Beauty in immortality.

For so it is; a gesture strips

Life bare of all its make-believe.

All unprepared we may receive

Our casual apocalypse.

Sheer beauty, then you seemed to stir

Unbodied soul; soul sleeps to-night,

And love comes, dimming spirit’s sight,

When body plays interpreter.

Complaint Of A Poet Manqué

We judge by appearance merely:

If I can’t think strangely, I can at least look queerly.

So I grew the hair so long on my head

That my mother wouldn’t know me,

Till a woman in a night-club said,

As I was passing by,

“Hullo, here comes Salome…”

I looked in the dirty gilt-edged glass,

And, oh Salome! there I was –

Positively jewelled, half a vampire,

With the soul in my eyes hanging dizzily

Like the gatherer of proverbial samphire

Over the brink of the crag of sense,

Looking down from perilous eminence

Into a gulf of window night.

And there’s straw in my tempestuous hair,

And I’m not a poet: but never despair!

I’ll madly live the poems I shall never write.

The Sun Horse….

Beautiful cool cloudy day here in Portland…

Working on the Turf, A new website as well, and a radio show for this afternoon.8o)

We are continuing on the theme from yesterday… Folk Tales from Eastern Europe, and the lyrical poetry of Tim Buckley… The artwork is from the great Russian Illustrator, Ivan Bilibin…

Our day here is moving at a slow, but beautiful pace.

Have a brilliant one… Gwyllm

Links: Oddities

From The Hungarian-Slovenish:The Sun-Horse

Poetry: The Lyrical Works of Tim Buckley Part 2

Art Work:Ivan Bilibin (Work is from Vassilisa the Beautiful)

Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin (Иван Яковлевич Билибин) (August 16, 1876-February 7, 1942) was one of the most influential 20th-century illustrators and stage designers who took part in the Mir iskusstva and contributed to the Ballets Russes. Throughout his career, he was strongly inspired by Slavic folklore.

Ivan Bilibin was born in a suburb of St. Petersburg. He studied under Ilya Repin and furthered his education in Munich. In 1902-1904 Bilibin travelled in the Russian North, where he became fascinated with old wooden architecture and Russian folklore. He published his findings in the monograph Folk Arts of the Russian North in 1904. Another major influence on his art was traditional Japanese prints.

Bilibin gained renown in 1899, when he released his innovative illustrations of Russian fairy tales. During the Russian Revolution of 1905, he executed revolutionary cartoons. The October Revolution, however, proved alien to him. After brief stints in Cairo and Alexandria, he settled in Paris in 1925. There he took to decorating private mansions and Orthodox churches. He still longed for his homeland and, after decorating the Soviet Embassy in 1936, he returned to Soviet Russia. He delivered lectures in the Soviet Academy of Arts until 1941. Bilibin died during the Siege of Leningrad.


Links: Oddities

Bighouse Barbie…

Chillin’ Gumballs…!

Weird Children Recreational Parks

Girls Gone Border Patrol!


From The Hungarian-Slovenish:The Sun-Horse

THERE was once upon a time a country, sad and gloomy as the grave, on which God’s sun never shone. But there was a king there, and this king possessed a horse with a sun on his forehead; and this sun-horse of his the king caused to be led up and down the dark country, from one end to the other, that the people might be able to exist there; and light came from him on all sides wherever he was led, just as in the most beautiful day.

All at once the sun-horse disappeared. A darkness worse than that of night prevailed over the whole country, and nothing could disperse it. Unheard-of terror spread among the subjects; frightful misery began to afflict them, for they could neither manufacture anything nor earn anything, and such confusion arose among them that everything was turned topsy-turvy. The king, therefore, in order to liberate his realm and prevent universal destruction, made ready to seek the sun-horse with his whole army.

Through thick darkness he made his way as best he could to the frontier of his realm. Over dense mountains thousands of ages old God’s light began now to break from another country, as if the sun were rising in the morning out of thick fogs. On such a mountain the king came with his army to a poor lonely cottage. He went in to inquire where he was, what it was, and how to get further. At a table sat a peasant, diligently reading in an open book. When the king bowed to him he raised his eyes, thanked him, and stood up. His whole person announced that he was not a man like another man, but a seer.

‘I was just reading about you,’ said he to the king, ‘how that you are going to seek the sun-horse. Journey no further, for you will not obtain him; but rely on me: I will find him for you.’ ‘I promise you, good man, I will recompense you royally,’ replied the king, ‘if you bring him here to me.’ ‘I require no recompense; return home with your army–you’re wanted there; only leave me one servant.’

The next day the seer set out with the servant. The way was far and long, for they passed through six countries, and had still further to go, till in the seventh country they stopped at the royal palace. In this seventh country ruled three own brothers, who had to wife three own sisters, whose mother was a witch. When they stopped in front of the palace, the seer said to his servant: ‘Do you hear? you stay here, and I will go in to ascertain whether the kings are at home; for the horse with the sun is in their possession–the youngest rides upon him.’ Therewith he transformed himself into a green bird, and, flying on the gable of the eldest queen’s roof, flew up and down and pecked at it until she opened the window and let him into her chamber. And when she let him in he perched on her white hand, and the queen was as delighted with him as a little child. ‘Ah, what a dear creature you are!’ said she, as she played with him; ‘if my husband were at home he would indeed be delighted with you; but he won’t come till evening; he has gone to visit the third part of his country.’

All at once the old witch came into the room, and, seeing the bird, screamed to her daughter, ‘Wring the accursed bird’s neck, for it’s making you bleed!’ ‘Well, what if it should make me bleed? it’s such a dear; it’s such an innocent dear!’ answered the daughter. But the witch said: ‘Dear innocent mischief! here with him! let me wring his neck!’ and dashed at it. But the bird cunningly transformed itself into a man, and, pop! out through the door, and they didn’t know whither he had betaken himself.

Afterwards he again transformed himself into a green bird, flew on the gable of the middle sister, and pecked at it till she opened the window for him. And when she let him in he flew on to her white hand, and fluttered from one hand to the other. ‘Oh, what a dear creature you are!’ cried the queen, smiling; ‘my husband would indeed be delighted with you if he were at home; but he won’t come till to-morrow evening; he has gone to visit two thirds of his kingdom.’

Thereupon the witch burst into the room. ‘Wring the accursed bird’s neck! wring its neck, for it’s making you bleed!’ cried she as soon as she espied it. ‘Well, what if it should make me bleed? it’s such a dear, such an innocent dear!’ replied the daughter. But the witch said: ‘Dear innocent mischief! here with it! let me wring its neck!’ and was already trying to seize it. But at that moment the green bird changed itself into a man, ran out through the door, and disappeared, as it were, in the clap of a hand, so that they didn’t know whither he had gone.

A little while afterwards he changed himself again into a green bird and flew on the gable of the youngest queen’s roof, and flew up and down, and pecked at it until she opened the window to him. And when she had let him in he flew straight on to her white hand, and made himself so agreeable to her that she played with him with the delight of a child. ‘Ah, what a dear creature you are!’ said the queen; ‘if my husband were at home he would certainly be delighted with you, but he won’t come till the day after to-morrow at even; he has gone to visit all three parts of his kingdom.’

At that moment the old witch came into the room. ‘Wring, wring the accursed bird’s neck!’ screamed she in the doorway, ‘for it is making you bleed.’ ‘Well, what if it should make me bleed, mother? it is so beautiful, so innocent,’ answered the daughter. The witch said, ‘Beautiful innocent mischief! here with him! let me wring his neck!’ But at that moment the bird changed itself into a man, and pop! out through the door, so that none of them saw him more.

Now the seer knew where the kings were, and when they would arrive. He went to his servant and ordered him to follow him out of the town. On they went with rapid step till they came to a bridge, over which the kings were obliged to pass.

Under this bridge they stayed waiting till the evening. When at even the sun was sinking behind the mountains, the clatter of a horse was heard near the bridge. It was the eldest king returning home. Close to the bridge his horse stumbled over a log of wood, which the seer had thrown across the bridge. ‘Ha! what scoundrel was that who threw this log across the road?’ exclaimed the king in anger. Thereat the seer sprang out from under the bridge and rushed upon the king for ‘daring to call him a scoundrel,’ and, drawing his sword, attacked him. The king, too, drew his sword to defend himself, but after a short combat fell dead from his horse. The seer bound the dead king on the horse, and gave the horse a lash with the whip to make him carry his dead master home. He then withdrew under the bridge, and they waited there till the next evening.

When day a second time declined towards evening, the middle king came to the bridge, and, seeing the ground sprinkled with blood, cried out, ‘Somebody’s been killed here! Who has dared to perpetrate such a crime in my kingdom?’ At these words the seer sprang out from under the bridge and rushed upon the king with drawn sword, exclaiming, ‘How dare you insult me? Defend yourself as best you can!’ The king did defend himself, but after a brief struggle yielded up his life under the sword of the seer. The seer again fastened his corpse upon the horse, and gave the horse a lash with the whip to make him carry his dead master home. They then withdrew under the bridge and waited till the third evening came.

The third evening, at the very setting of the sun, up darted the youngest king on the sun-horse, darted up with speed, for he was somewhat late; but when he saw the red blood in front of the bridge, he stopped, and gazing at it exclaimed, ‘It is an unheard-of villain who has dared to murder a man in my kingdom!’ Scarcely had these words issued from his mouth when the seer placed himself before him with drawn sword, sternly bidding him defend himself, ‘for he had wounded his honour.’ ‘I don’t know how,’ answered the king, ‘unless it is you that are the villain.’ But as his adversary attacked him with a sword, he, too, drew his, and defended himself manfully.

It had been mere play to the seer to overcome the first two kings, but it was not so with this one. Long time they fought, and broke their swords, yet victory didn’t show itself either on the one side or on the other. ‘We shall effect nothing with swords,’ said the seer, ‘but do you know what? Let us turn ourselves into wheels and start down from the hill; the wheel which breaks shall be the conquered.’ ‘Good!’ said the king; ‘I’ll be a cart-wheel, and you shall be a lighter wheel.’ ‘Not so,’ cunningly said the seer; ‘you shall be the lighter wheel, and I will be the cart-wheel;’ and the king agreed to it. Then they went up the hill, turned themselves into wheels, and started downwards. The cart-wheel flew to pieces, and bang! right into the lighter wheel, so that it all smashed up. Immediately the seer arose out of the cart-wheel and joyfully exclaimed, ‘There you are, the victory is mine!’ ‘Not a bit of it, sir brother!’ cried the king, placing himself in front of the seer; ‘you have only broken my fingers. But do you know what? Let us make ourselves into flames, and the flame which burns up the other shall be the victor. I will make myself into a red flame, and do you make yourself into a bluish one.’ ‘Not so!’ interrupted the seer; ‘you make yourself into a bluish flame, and I will make myself into a red one.’ The king agreed to this also. They went into the road to the bridge, and, changing themselves into flames, began to burn each other unmercifully. Long did they burn each other, but nothing came of it. Thereupon, by coincidence, up came an old beggar with a long gray beard, a bald head, a large scrip at his side, leaning upon a thick staff. ‘Old father!’ said the bluish flame, ‘bring some water and quench this red flame; I’ll give you a penny for it.’ The red flame cunningly exclaimed, ‘Old father! I’ll give you a shilling if you’ll pour the water on this bluish flame.’ The old beggar liked the shilling better than the penny, brought water and quenched the bluish flame. Then it was all over with the king. The red flame turned itself into a man, took the sun-horse by the bridle, mounted on his back, called the servant, thanked the beggar for the service he had rendered, and went off.

In the royal palaces there was deep grief at the murder of the two kings; the entire palaces were draped with black cloth, and the people crowded into them from all quarters to gaze at the cut and slashed bodies of the two elder brothers, whose horses had brought them home. The old witch, exasperated at the death of her sons-in-law, devised a plan of vengeance on their murderer, the seer. She seated herself with speed on an iron rake, took her three daughters under her arms, and pop! off with them into the air.

The seer and his servant had already got through a good part of their journey, and were then crossing desert mountains, a treeless waste. Here a terrible hunger seized the servant, and there wasn’t even a wild plum to assuage it. All of a sudden they came to an apple-tree. Apples were hanging on it; the branches were all but breaking under their weight; their scent was beautiful; they were delightfully ruddy, so that they almost offered themselves to be eaten. ‘Praise be to God!’ cried the delighted servant; ‘I shall eat one of those apples with an excellent appetite.’ ‘Don’t attempt to gather one of them!’ cried the seer to him; ‘wait, I’ll gather some for you myself.’ But instead of plucking an apple, he drew his sword and thrust it mightily into the apple-tree; red blood spouted out of it. ‘There,’ said he, ‘you would have come to harm if you had eaten any of those apples, for the apple-tree was the eldest queen, whose mother placed her there to put us out of this world.’

After a time they came to a spring; water clear as crystal bubbled up in it, all but running over the brim and thus attracting wayfarers. ‘Ah!’ said the servant, ‘if we can’t get anything better, let us at any rate have a drink of this good water.’ ‘Don’t venture to drink of it!’ shouted the seer; ‘but stay, I’ll get you some of it.’ Yet he didn’t get him any water, but thrust his drawn sword into the midst of it; it was immediately discoloured with blood, which began to flow from it in mighty waves. ‘That is the middle queen, whose mother placed her here to put us out of this world,’ said the seer, and the servant thanked him for his warning, and went on, would he, nould he, in hunger and thirst, whithersoever the seer led him.

After a time they came to a rose-bush, which was red with delightful roses, and filled the air round about with their scent. ‘Oh, what beautiful roses!’ said the servant; ‘I never saw such beauties in all my life. I’ll go and gather a few of them; I will at any rate comfort myself with them if I can’t assuage my hunger and thirst.’ ‘Don’t venture to gather one of them!’ cried the seer; ‘I will gather them for you.’ With that he cut into the bush with his sword; red blood spurted out, as if he had cut the vein of a human being. ‘That is the youngest queen,’ said the seer to his servant, ‘whom her mother, the witch, placed here with the intention of taking vengeance upon us for the death of her sons-in-law.’ They then went on.

When they crossed the frontier of the dark realm, flashes flew in all directions from the horse’s forehead, and everything came to life again, beautiful regions rejoiced and blossomed with the flowers of spring. The king didn’t know how to thank the seer sufficiently, and offered him the half of his kingdom as a reward, but he declined it. You are king,’ said he; ‘rule over the whole realm, and I will return to my cottage in peace.’ He took leave and departed.


Poetry: The Lyrical Works of Tim Buckley Part 2

I Woke Up

Now the sun sits on my hand

O where are you ?

Walking the wind I fly above the shore of the town

To the hills where I can hear

The harbor bells ring slavery

Where the fortune teller sighs to me

O I see your woman in the raw

Ride a mare of stone and howl

I woke up

While morning built

The world with light,

Crossing their hearts,

Twelve sailor boys all stood in a ring

Round our bed,

And from the grass a dancer rose,


Oh the sailors pointing

Out to sea

And the dancer diving

Up the sky

‘Til we forgot the day


Sometimes I think about Saturday’s child

And all about the times when we were running wild

I’ve been out searching for the dolphins in the sea

Ah, but sometimes I wonder, do you ever think of me

This old world will never change the way it’s been

And all the ways of war won’t change it back again

I’ve been out searchin’ for the dolphin in the sea

Ah, but sometimes I wonder, do you ever think of me

This old world will never change

Song of the Magician

When I sing I can’t bring everything on the wing

Flying down from dizzy air

To the ground because I care

You will be love and your love will live

When I smile I beguile all the while every mile

As I walk across the sky

Of the clockwork of your eye

You will be love and your love will live

Casting spells from the well I can tell you the bells

listen to my magic voice

Learn the tune of children’s toys

You will be love and your love will live

When I die do not cry hear my sigh passing by

After I have turned to win

I will try to help you then

You will be love and your love will live


Gifts from Friends…

Gifts from Friends, early mornings, late afternoons… Went to visit our friend Glen last night, having a delightful meal out side on his deck, drinking most excellent wine. (Glen is a Vintner!) Good music, nice conversation with Glen and his friend Sarah, Janice and Ed, and Glen’s daughter Keilly. The Sun crashed into the Pacific, the Stars shook off their covers, the fire roared and we had a wonderful time. A moment suspended in beauty.

Hope this finds you in a good place…

On the Menu:

Links-Prezzies from Friends


Poetry: The Lyrical Works of Tim Buckley Part 1




Prezzies in the form of Links:

An interesting site located by Victoria: We Feel Fine

A homage for an Artist: shared by Cymon who met Serges’ partner in Brazil…

<a href="


“>A gift from Mike at PlantConsciousness.com: A youtube.com tribute to Syd Barrett…

From Mike Crowley: The Lair of Great Cthulhu


From The Moravian: GODMOTHER DEATH

THERE was a man, very poor in this world’s goods, whose wife presented him with a baby boy. No one was willing to stand sponsor, because he was so very poor. The father said to himself: ‘Dear Lord, I am so poor that no one is willing to be at my service in this matter; I’ll take the baby, I’ll go, and I’ll ask the first person I meet to act as sponsor, and if I don’t meet anybody, perhaps the sexton will help me.’ He went and met Death, but didn’t know what manner of person she was; she was a handsome woman, like any other woman. He asked her to be godmother. She didn’t make any excuse, and immediately saluted him as parent of her godchild, took the baby in her arms, and carried him to church. The little lad was properly christened. When they came out of church, the child’s father took the godmother to an inn, and wanted to give her a little treat as godmother. But she said to him, ‘Gossip, * leave this alone, and come with me to my abode.’ She took him with her to her apartment, which was very handsomely furnished. Afterwards she conducted him into great vaults, and through these vaults they went right into the underworld in the dark. There tapers were burning of three sizes–small, large, and middle-sized; and those which were not yet alight were very large. The godmother said to the godchild’s father: ‘Look, Gossip, here I have the duration of everybody’s life.’ The child’s father gazed thereat, found there a tiny taper close to the very ground, and asked her: ‘But, Gossip, I pray you, whose is this little taper close to the ground?’ She said to him: ‘That is yours! When any taper whatsoever burns down, I must go for that man.’ He said to her: ‘Gossip, I pray you, give me somewhat additional.’ She said to him: ‘Gossip, I cannot do that!’ Afterwards she went and lighted a large new taper for the baby boy whom they had had christened. Meanwhile, while the godmother was not looking, the child’s father took for himself a large new taper, lit it, and placed it where his tiny taper was burning down.

The godmother looked round at him and said: ‘Gossip, you ought not to have done that to me; but if you have given yourself additional lifetime, you have done so and possess it. Let us go hence, and we’ll go to your wife.’

She took a present, and went with the child’s father and the child to the mother. She arrived, and placed the boy on his mother’s bed, and asked her how she was, and whether she had any pain anywhere. The mother confided her griefs to her, and the father sent for some beer, and wanted to entertain her in his cottage, as godmother, in order to gratify her and show his gratitude. They drank and feasted together. Afterwards the godmother said to her godchild’s father: ‘Gossip, you are so poor that no one but myself would be at your service in this matter; but never mind, you shall bear me in memory! I will go to the houses of various respectable people and make them ill, and you shall physic and cure them. I will tell you all the remedies. I possess them all, and everybody will be glad to recompense you well, only observe this: When I stand at anyone’s feet, you can be of assistance to every such person; but if I stand at anybody’s head, don’t attempt to aid him.’ It came to pass. The child’s father went from patient to patient, where the god-mother caused illness, and benefited every one. All at once he became a distinguished physician. A prince was dying–nay, he had breathed his last–nevertheless, they sent for the physician. He came, he began to anoint him with salves and give him his powders, and did him good. When he had restored him to health, they paid him well, without asking how much they were indebted. Again, a count was dying. They sent for the physician again. The physician came. Death was standing behind the bed at his head. The physician cried: ‘It’s a bad case, but we’ll have a try.’ He summoned the servants, and ordered them to turn the bed round with the patient’s feet towards Death, and began to anoint him with salves and administer powders into his mouth, and did him good. The count paid him in return as much as he could carry away, without ever asking how much he was indebted; he was only too glad that he had restored him to health. When Death met the physician, she said to him: ‘Gossip, if this occurs to you again, don’t play me that trick any more. True, you have done him good, but only for a while; I must, none the less, take him off whither he is due.’ The child’s father went on in this way for some years; he was now very old. But at last he was wearied out, and asked Death herself to take him. Death was unable to take him, because he had given himself a long additional taper; she was obliged to wait till it burned out. One day he drove to a certain patient to restore him to health, and did so. Afterwards Death revealed herself to him, and rode with him in his carriage. She began to tickle and play with him, and tap him with a green twig under the throat; he threw himself into her lap, and went off into the last sleep. Death laid him in the carriage, and took herself off. They found the physician lying dead in his carriage, and conveyed him home. The whole town and all the villages lamented: ‘That physician is much to be regretted. What a good doctor he was! He was of great assistance; there will never be his like again!’ His son remained after him, but had not the same skill.

The son went one day into church, and his godmother met him. She asked him: ‘My dear son, how are you?’ He said to her: ‘Not all alike; so long as I have what my dad saved up for me, it is well with me, but after that the Lord God knows how it will be with me.’ His godmother said: ‘Well, my son, fear nought. I am your christening mamma; I helped your father to what he had, and will give you, too, a livelihood. You shall go to a physician as a pupil, and you shall be more skilful than he, only behave nicely.’ After this she anointed him with salve over the ears, and conducted him to a physician. The physician didn’t know what manner of lady it was, and what sort of son she brought him for instruction. The lady enjoined her son to behave nicely, and requested the physician to instruct him well, and bring him into a good position. Then she took leave of him and departed. The physician and the lad went together to gather herbs, and each herb cried out to the pupil what remedial virtue it had, and the pupil gathered it. The physician also gathered herbs, but knew not, with regard to any herb, what remedial virtue it possessed. The pupil’s herbs were beneficial in every disease. The physician said to the pupil: ‘You are cleverer than I, for I diagnose no one that comes to me; but you know herbs counter to every disease. Do you know what? Let us join partnership. I will give my doctor’s diploma up to you, and will be your assistant, and am willing to be with you till death.’ The lad was successful in doctoring and curing till his taper burned out in limbo.


Poetry: The Lyrical Works of Tim Buckley Part 1

I first heard Tim Buckley in the Fall of 1966. An amazing voice. I found his music entrancing, and for a young person, the lyrics were quite moving, though strange.

I saw him in passing in Los Angeles over the years, Santa Monica, Hollywood at cafes, music stores, on the street. I had lost interest, but my friend Michael was an avid collector and pushed me to pay attention to the changes that Buckley was going through…

I saw him perform finally at the Troubadour, opening up for Colin Bluntstone (Singer for the Zombies). The engagement ran for 3 nights. I came back every night. I was captivated and moved by his works. Each show was completely different even when doing the same song.

I fell deep into the spell of his works, and then like that, he was gone. He died of 28 through mis-adventure with Heroin, and mixing other drugs.


Let the sun sing in your smile

Let the wind hold your desire

Let your womans voice run through your veins

Let her be your blood don’t feel ashamed

She’s your home when no one wants you

She’ll give you life when you’re so tired

She’ll ease your fears ah when you’re a stranger

She’s born to give faith to you

Oh, just to you

You’re just a man on death’s highways

It’s life you owe you’re here to praise it

If love flows your way then be a river

And when it dries just stand there and shiver

Oh, let the sun sing in your smile

Let the wind hold your desire

And let your womans voice run through your veins

Let her be your blood don’t feel ashamed

It’s her life you owe

I owe you love



I am a bee out in the fields of winter

And though I memorized the slope of water,

Oblivion carries me on his shoulder:

Beyond the suns I speak and circuits shiver,

But though I shout the wisdom of the maps,

I am a salmon in the ring shape river.


Carnival Song

The singer cries for people’s lies

He will sing for the day to bring him night

The circus burns in carnival flame

And for a while you won’t know my name at all

But sing and dance and love for pennies and gold

The juggling clown smiles to me

And every frown we agree is glad

The nighttime comes to bring the bums

From Bowery heat to crimson streets of wine

But magic lands will never touch our sands

Your children smile in single file

They learn mistakes that others make

They see although they cannot know

The needs they’ll need to have their greed grow wild

But dance and sing, for others bring the shame

And for a while you won’t know my name


Once I Was

Once I was a soldier

And I fought on foreign sands for you

Once I was a hunter

And I brought home fresh meat for you

Once I was a lover

And I searched behind your eyes for you

And soon there’ll be another

To tell you I was just a lie

And sometimes I wonder

Just for a while

Will you remember me

And though you have forgotten

All of our rubbish dreams

I find myself searching

Through the ashes of our ruins

For the days when we smiled

And the hours that ran wild

With the magic of our eyes

And the silence of our words

And sometimes I wonder

Just for a while

Will you remember me


I Must Have Been Blind

Here I am believin’ words again

Here I am tryin’ to find your love again

Here I am down on my knees again

Prayin’ for a love

That we used to know

Both of us know

How hard it is to love

And let it go

Both of us know

How hard it is to go on living that way

When so few understand what it means

To fall in love

And so few know how hard it is to live without it

I must have been blind

I must have been blind

Lord, I must have been blind

To hold something real

And not believe it

To live in her life

And never trustin’

To give all you know and never feel it

To hold back each day

Until it dies away

Both of us know

How hard it is to love

And let it go

Both of us know

How hard it is to go on

Living that way

When so few undersand what it means

To fall in love

And so few know how hard it is to live without it

I must have been blind

I must have been blind

Lord, I must have been blind


The River

I live by the river

And I hide my house away

Then just like the river

I can change my ways

Oh, if you come to love me

You would stay forever

Inside my heart

Inside my dreams

And time will fade

In time we’ll love

In the street we walk as beggars

In the alley faithless kings

Ah, but it’s the truth of life

That chains us in between

Those lost moments we steal

To keep our love alive

And our prize so tired after all the pain

And time will fade

In time we’ll love

The Invasion Of The Drop Bears…

A Family Phenomena (from the Mary side)…that Rowan has inherited a trait that his Mother has long exhibited:

The ability to put out street lights when they walk under one…

I first discovered this trait with Mary in Los Angeles, during the first year we were married. Walking home one night from the cinema, we were laughing and talking and I noticed that as we moved along, the street lights would go off when we came up to them, and flash back on when we moved away. It was somewhat unnerving, yet humourous…

For fun over the years, I would invite friends along for a walk, and watch them weird out… Once explained they would enjoy it, but I think it spooked a few.

One of the ‘other’ side effects, or co-travelling phenomena is that Mary melts the interior of watches when she wears them for any length of time; I tried several types over the years, the ones that went quickest were of two varieties;

1. battery powered. Dead in less than a day, the interior a complete melted mess.

2. Antique watches, especially ones from the Art Deco period (20′s &amp; 30′s), these were an expensive lesson.

This phenomena has continued up to the present, as we walked Sophie the wonder dog last night, it happened again. Yikes!

So Rowan has reported that lights are starting to go off at his approach. The mystery deepens I am tempted to have kirlian photos taken to see if their is a plume of energy flying above their heads…

Andrew (my nephew) dropped by for a chat yesterday. He brought good news about his life, and about his young lady, Catherine. Details will follow…

Well, the weekend is here… I hope you have a good time, and take some time for a quiet reflection…

Talk to your friends, strangers, neighbors. Get the ball moving for changing the mess that the planet is in. One light at a time.



What Is On The Menu:

The Links

Drop Bears – The Truth

The Lyrical Poetry of Jacques Brel

Wild Life Photos – Bloggerhead.com


The Links

Killer Kangeroos… Oh My!

Thylacine Search Fund


Drop Bears – The Truth

For those of you who do not know the history of Drop Bears in Australia, I will tell it, so much as I know, as a warning to you and your family.


In the beginning, there were koalas. Cuddly, furry, slow-moving and sleepy, koalas eat gum leaves for 90% of their waking lives, but prefer to spend most of their time asleep. They live in trees, venturing down to the ground only when it is necessary to move from tree to tree. Koalas are no threat to humans, unless you are foolish enough to climb up a tree and attempt to catch one, under which circumstances the koala may give you a bit of a scratch with its ample claws.

You will be aware that Australia is home to many species that simply don’t exist anywhere else in the world. Echidnas, wombats, koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, bandicoots and potoroos are unique to Australia, just to name a few. Another unique animal is the Drop Bear.


The Drop Bear is described as an arboreal, (tree dwelling) carnivorous mammal of Australia, Phascolarctus Hodgsonii, growing to around 4 feet in height. This description is not far wrong. Believed to have evolved from a similar line to koalas, Drop Bears vary from 3 to 5 feet in hight, but are extremely strong. They are covered in a dense fur, which can range from almost black to the Alpine Drop Bear’s snowy white coat. They have broad shoulders and razor sharp claws on all four limbs. They are able to walk for short distances on two legs, but are much faster on all four, being capable of bursts of speed approaching 60 km/h at full gallop. Their heads are similar to those of koalas, but with enlarged canine teeth, not unlike those of bears or other carnivorous animals. There are no reported photographs of them, and only a select and very lucky few have laid eyes on them and lived to tell the tale.

As you can imagine, admitting their existence would cause some degree of panic, and destroy parts of Australia’s ecotourism industry overnight. It is for this reason that all government departments will, and have denied any knowledge of the existence of the Drop Bear, and are likely to continue to do so in the future. Being an avid outdoor enthusiast, and having contact with people who spend a large proportion of their time outdoors, I have gathered together scraps of information from sources all around the country, linking Drop Bear involvement to such events as the disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain, the death of Captain James Cook in Hawaii, several war-time incidents in northern Australia, the disappearance of a group of cross-country skiers in the Victorian Alps, and the deaths of a number of hikers, canoeists, 4WDrivers, campers, sunbathers and swimmers throughout the country. These ‘accidents’ are often reported as crocodile attacks, falls from cliffs, exposure, and in the Chamberlain case, dingoes were blamed. I have it on good authority in all of these cases, however, that a government cover-up was at work to dispel rumours of Drop Bear attacks and hide the truth from the public.

Dangers associated with Drop Bears

Drop Bears are not cuddly and friendly, like their cousin the koala. They are vicious, calculating, cold-blooded killers. Their usual method of attack is to select animals which stray from their group, including humans, dropping down onto them from above. They then proceed to wrap themselves around the body of their prey, squeezing them to death, often crushing the rib cage and breaking the neck. Occasionally when hunting, and when threatened, the Bears will drop down in front of, and then challenge their prey, snarling and flashing their sharp claws and teeth, before ripping their prey to shreds with their powerful arms and legs. Of all the ways to die in the bush, this would have to be the most horrible. Arms and Legs are torn from the body, along with huge slabs of flesh, which are greedily consumed while the victim still lives. If seen, Drop Bears should NOT be approached, as they are easily frightened and likely to attack. Vehicles are known to have been attacked, and being in one is no defence. An adult Drop Bear is able to easily break windows and enter vehicles to extrude would-be meals.


The Common Drop Bear is found in wooded areas all over the Australian continent, including Tasmania, and is thought to in fact venture as far north as Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. It lives in trees, dropping down to feed on kangaroos, wombats, and anything else that walks beneath it.

The Burrowing Drop Bear is slightly smaller in stature than the common variety, though just as ferocious. It is known to inhabit the drier arid regions of the country, including the deserts of central Australia. It is also fairly common amongst wooded areas, and burrows have been found everywhere from beaches to desert plains. The burrows vary in size according to the individual animal, but the entry hole may be considerably smaller than the actual living space. Holes 30cm in diameter have been known to house Drop Bears 5 feet tall. The animal’s extraordinary contorting ability means it is able to crawl through extremely small spaces in search of wombats and rabbits.

The Alpine Drop Bear grows a special winter coat of almost pure white for camouflage in snowy areas. They have been spotted at lower elevations when the food supply is short, but unlike Common and Burrowing varieties, are able to hibernate for sustained periods. They live in larger burrows than Burrowing Drop Bears, being less able to contort through small openings. During the summer months, they remain in their mountain environment, shedding their white coats and adopting darker furs for camouflage in the lightly treed and grassy plains of the high country.

The Aquatic Drop Bear, as its name suggests, feeds in and around bodies of water. Lakes, rivers, dams and the Australian coastal waters are home to this variety of Drop Bear. With webbed feet and an water-resistant coat similar to a seal, they are ideally suited to marine life, though still retain the unmistakable Drop Bear physique of four legs, broad shoulders and sharp claws and teeth. Aquatic Drop Bears have attacked canoeists, rafters, fisherman on the bank and in boats, sunbathers and swimmers. Cases such as these are often falsely reported by the media as crocodile or shark attacks, in an effort to avoid the mass hysteria which would almost definitely result from an admission that we have a Drop Bear problem.


I have endeavoured to provide you, the reader, with as much information as I can at this time. I have been hounded and ridiculed for sharing such information as this with the public, but I am reconciled to do my best to warn as many people as I can of this potential danger in the Australian Bush.

You have been warned.

Further Info:

Beware of Dropbears

Some Disinfo on the Drop Bears…


Jacques Brel

Jacques Brel Sings – Amsterdam


Dans le port d’Amsterdam

Y a des marins qui chantent

Les rêves qui les hantent

Au large d’Amsterdam

Dans le port d’Amsterdam

Y a des marins qui dorment

Comme des oriflammes

Le long des berges mornes

Dans le port d’Amsterdam

Y a des marins qui meurent

Pleins de bière et de drames

Aux premières lueurs

Mais dans le port d’Amsterdam

Y a des marins qui naissent

Dans la chaleur épaisse

Des langueurs océanes

Dans le port d’Amsterdam

Y a des marins qui mangent

Sur des nappes trop blanches

Des poissons ruisselants

Ils vous montrent des dents

A croquer la fortune

A décroisser la lune

A bouffer des haubans

Et ça sent la morue

Jusque dans le coeur des frites

Que leurs grosses mains invitent

A revenir en plus

Puis se lèvent en riant

Dans un bruit de tempête

Referment leur braguette

Et sortent en rotant

Dans le port d’Amsterdam

Y a des marins qui dansent

En se frottant la panse

Sur la panse des femmes

Et ils tournent et ils dansent

Comme des soleils crachés

Dans le son déchiré

D’un accordéon rance

Ils se tordent le cou

Pour mieux s’entendre rire

Jusqu’à ce que tout à coup

L’accordéon expire

Alors le geste grave

Alors le regard fier

Ils ramènent leur batave

Jusqu’en pleine lumière

Dans le port d’Amsterdam

Y a des marins qui boivent

Et qui boivent et reboivent

Et qui reboivent encore

Ils boivent à la santé

Des putains d’Amsterdarn

De Hambourg ou d’ailleurs

Enfin ils boivent aux dames

Qui leur donnent leur joli corps

Qui leur donnent leur vertu

Pour une pièce en or

Et quand ils ont bien bu

Se plantent le nez au ciel

Se mouchent dans les étoiles

Et ils pissent comme je pleure

Sur les femmes infidèles

Dans le port d’Amsterdam

Dans le port d’Amsterdam.

In English:



In the harbor of Amsterdam

there are sailors who sing

about the dreams that haunt them

away from Amsterdam.

In the harbor of Amsterdam

there are sailors who sleep

stretched out like pennants

along the dead waters.

In the harbor of Amsterdam

there are sailors who die

full of beer and tragedy

at the first light of dawn

In the harbor of Amsterdam

there are sailors being born

in the thick heat

of oceanic languors.

In the harbor of Amsterdam

there are sailors who eat

on bright white table cloths

shimmering fish,

and they show you their teeth

made to bite into fate,

to unhook the moon,

to eat up the mast-ropes.

And there is a smell of cod

even to the heart of the French fries

which their thick hands invite

to come back for more;

then they get up laughing

they holler like a storm,

they close up their fly

and get out belching.

In the harbor of Amsterdam

there are sailors who dance

rubbing their bellies

against the bellies of women,

and they turn and they dance,

like spit suns

in the torn-up sound

of a rancid accordion.

They twist up their necks

to hear themselves laugh

until all of a sudden

the accordion gives out…

Then with a grave gesture,

then with a proud glance,

they bring out their Dutchman

into the bright light…

In the harbor of Amsterdam

there are sailors who drink

and drink and drink again

and again drink.

They drink to the health

of the whores of Amsterdam

of Hamburg and others places,

in short, they drink to the ladies

Who give them their pretty bodies

who give them their virtue

for a piece of gold,

and when they have drunk enough,

they stand firmly, their noses to the sky

they blow their noses in the stars

and they piss hot tears

over unfaithful women..

In the harbor of Amsterdam,

In the harbor of Amsterdam…



Jacques Brel Sings – Quand On A Que L’amour

Quand on n’a que l’amour

A s’offrir en partage

Au jour du grand voyage

Qu’est notre grand amour

Quand on n’a que l’amour

Mon amour toi et moi

Pour qu’éclatent de joie

Chaque heure et chaque jour

Quand on n’a que l’amour

Pour vivre nos promesses

Sans nulle autre richesse

Que d’y croire toujours

Quand on n’a que l’amour

Pour meubler de merveilles

Et couvrir de soleil

La laideur des faubourgs

Quand on n’a que l’amour

Pour unique raison

Pour unique chanson

Et unique secours

Quand on n’a que l’amour

Pour habiller matin

Pauvres et malandrins

De manteaux de velours

Quand on n’a que l’amour

A offrir en prière

Pour les maux de la terre

En simple troubadour

Quand on n’a que l’amour

A offrir à ceux-là

Dont l’unique combat

Est de chercher le jour

Quand on n’a que l’amour

Pour tracer un chemin

Et forcer le destin

A chaque carrefour

Quand on n’a que l’amour

Pour parler aux canons

Et rien qu’une chanson

Pour convaincre un tambour

Alors sans avoir rien

Que la force d’aimer

Nous aurons dans nos mains

Amis le monde entier.

In English:

When one only has love – Quand on n’a que l’amour

When one only has love

as a give and take

at the dawn of the great journey

of this our great love;

when one only has love,

my love, you and I,

to make burst with joy

every hour of every day;

when one only has love

to live up to our promises

without any other riches

then to believe in it always;

when one only has love

to furnish with wonder

and cover with light

the blight of the suburbs;

when one only has love

as a sole purpose,

as a sole song

and sole recourse;

when one only has love

to clothe at dawn

the poor and the criminal

in mantles of velvet;

when one only has love

to offer in prayer

for the suffering world

as a modest minstrel;

when one only has love

to give to those

whose only fight

is to search for daylight;

when one only has love

to trace a path

and force fate

at every crossroads;

when one only has love

to speak to cannons

and only a song

to change the mind of a drum,

then without having nothing

but the strength to love

we shall hold in our hands

my friend, the entire world!



Jacques Brel Sings – Ne Me Quitte Pas

Ne me quitte pas

Il faut oublier

Tout peut s’oublier

Qui s’enfuit déjà

Oublier le temps

Des malentendus

Et le temps perdu

A savoir comment

Oublier ces heures

Qui tuaient parfois

A coups de pourquoi

Le coeur du bonheur

Ne me quitte pas

Ne me quitte pas

Ne me quitte pas

Ne me quitte pas

Moi je t’offrirai

Des perles de pluie

Venues de pays

Où il ne pleut pas

Je creuserai la terre

Jusqu’après ma mort

Pour couvrir ton corps

D’or et de lumière

Je ferai un domaine

Où l’amour sera roi

Où l’amour sera loi

Où tu seras reine

Ne me quitte pas

Ne me quitte pas

Ne me quitte pas

Ne me quitte pas

Ne me quitte pas

Je t’inventerai

Des mots insensés

Que tu comprendras

Je te parlerai

De ces amants là

Qui ont vu deux fois

Leurs coeurs s’embraser

Je te raconterai

L’histoire de ce roi

Mort de n’avoir pas

Pu te rencontrer

Ne me quitte pas

Ne me quitte pas

Ne me quitte pas

Ne me quitte pas

On a vu souvent

Rejaillir le feu

D’un ancien volcan

Qu’on croyait trop vieux

Il est paraît-il

Des terres brûlées

Donnant plus de blé

Qu’un meilleur avril

Et quand vient le soir

Pour qu’un ciel flamboie

Le rouge et le noir

Ne s’épousent-ils pas

Ne me quitte pas

Ne me quitte pas

Ne me quitte pas

Ne me quitte pas

Ne me quitte pas

Je ne vais plus pleurer

Je ne vais plus parler

Je me cacherai là

A te regarder

Danser et sourire

Et à t’écouter

Chanter et puis rire

Laisse-moi devenir

L’ombre de ton ombre

L’ombre de ta main

L’ombre de ton chien

Ne me quitte pas

Ne me quitte pas

Ne me quitte pas

Ne me quitte pas

In English:

Don’t leave me! -Ne me quitte pas!

Don’t leave me!

Let’s forget –

for all can be forgotten

which is gone by already!

Forget the time

of misunderstandings and

the time


finding out how

to forget those hours

which sometimes killed

by blows of “why?”

the heart

of happiness.

Don’t leave me!

Don’t leave me!

Don’t leave me!

Don’t leave me!

I will give you

pearls of rain

come from countries

where it never rains.

I will dig up the earth

even in death

to cover your body

with gold and with light.

I will make a kingdom

where love shall be king

where love shall be law

where you shall be queen.

Don’t leave me!

Don’t leave me!

Don’t leave me!

Don’t leave me!

Don’t leave me!

I shall invent

senseless words

which you will understand.

I shall tell you about

those lovers who

saw twice

their hearts

go up in flames.

I shall tell you

the story of this king


for not having succeeded

in finding you.

Don’t leave me!

Don’t leave me!

Don’t leave me!

Don’t leave me!

One has often seen

burst anew the fire

of an old volcano

believed to be spent.

There are, it is said,

scorched lands

yielding more wheat

than the best of April.

And when evening comes,

to make the sky flare up,

don’t the black and the red


Don’t leave me!

Don’t leave me!

Don’t leave me!

Don’t leave me!

Don’t leave me!

I’ll weep no more,

I’ll speak no more,

I’ll hide right here,

to look at you

dance and smile, to

listen to you


and then laugh…

Let me become

the shadow

of your shadow,

the shadow of your hand,

the shadow of your dog, but

don’t leave me!

Don’t leave me!

Don’t leave me!

Don’t leave me!



Jacques Brel sings – au Suivant

Au suivant au suivant

Tout nu dans ma serviette qui me servait de pagne

J’avais le rouge au front et le savon à la main

Au suivant au suivant

J’avais juste vingt ans et nous étions cent vingt

A être le suivant de celui qu’on suivait

Au suivant au suivant

J’avais juste vingt ans et je me déniaisais

Au bordel ambulant d’une armée en campagne

Au suivant au suivant

Moi j’aurais bien aimé un peu plus de tendresse

Ou alors un sourire ou bien avoir le temps

Mais au suivant au suivant

Ce ne fut pas Waterloo non non mais ce ne fut pas Arcole

Ce fut l’heure où l’on regrette d’avoir manqué l’école

Au suivant au suivant

Mais je jure que d’entendre cet adjudant de mes fesses

C’est des coups à vous faire des armées d’impuissants

Au suivant et au suivant

Je jure sur la tête de ma première vérole

Que cette voix depuis je l’entends tout le temps

Au suivant au suivant

Cette voix qui sentait l’ail et le mauvais alcool

C’est la voix des nations et c’est la voix du sang

Au suivant au suivant

Et depuis chaque femme à l’heure de succomber

Entre mes bras trop maigres semble me murmurer

Au suivant au suivant

Tous les suivants du monde devraient se donner la main

Voilà ce que la nuit je crie dans mon délire

Au suivant au suivant

Et quand je ne délire pas j’en arrive à me dire

Qu’il est plus humiliant d’être suivi que suivant

Au suivant au suivant

Un jour je me ferai cul-de-jatte ou bonne soeur ou pendu

Enfin un de ces machins où je ne serai jamais plus

Le suivant le suivant.


Sorry, no English Translation…

But here is one of my favourites..

If We Only Have Love

If we only have love

Then tomorrow will dawn

And the days of our years

Will rise on that morn

If we only have love

To embrace without fears

We will kiss with our eyes

We will sleep without tears

If we only have love

With our arms open wide

Then the young and the old

Will stand at our side

If we only have love

Love that’s falling like rain

Then the parched desert earth

Will grow green again

If we only have love

For the hymn that we shout

For the song that we sing

Then we’ll have a way out

If we only have love

We can reach those in pain

We can heal all our wounds

We can use our own names

If we only have love

We can melt all the guns

And then give the new world

To our daughters and sons

If we only have love

Then Jerusalem stands

And then death has no shadow

There are no foreign lands

If we only have love

We will never bow down

We’ll be tall as the pines

Neither heroes nor clowns

If we only have love

Then we’ll only be men

And we’ll drink from the Grail

To be born once again

Then with nothing at all

But the little we are

We’ll have conquered all time

All space, the sun, and the stars.


Brel Bio

Although it is often thought that Brel is French, his roots are in Belgium. Or, as Arno (who definitely has inherited a lot out of the legacy of Brel) once said in Humo “One thing we mustn’t forget : Brel is the biggest singer-songwriter of all times. A wonderful human being : a loner, a brilliant storyteller, an excellent singer, a very good actor. And the energy on stage, and the things he was telling there … that’s pure rock’n’roll. And he was from Belgium, you know. The brightest songwriter of the whole world. We tend to forget that.”

Born in the year 1929 in a well-off family in Schaarbeek, Brussels. In between his studies (Saint-Louis), his military service (in Limburg), a marriage, kids and work in a cardboard factory he confines his poetry to paper. Brel feels locked in.

In 1953 he finally takes the gamble : he records a 78-tour with two songs (“La foire” and “Il y a”). The record is discovered in Paris by Jacques Cannetti (the writer and future winner of the Nobel Prize). After a session at the studios of BRT-radio Limburg, he decides to take another gamble : he goes to Paris by train. He performs in cabarets and music-halls, records some music, but stays mostly unnoticed (his aspirations were not so much to become a performer himself, but to write songs for others to perform) until 1957 when the song “Quand on a que l’amour” is discovered.

The themes in his work include friendship (Jef), goes from idolized love to hatred for women (Les Biches), from the belief in God to anticlericalism (� mon dernier repas) and from a certain sweetness to a manifest anti-conformism and a horror of hypocrisy (Les Bourgeouis, Le Moribond).

For Brel, the words to the music were more important than the music itself : “He wanted to get a message across. Not paying attention to the lyrics, you lose Brel. His heroes and anti-heroes come from life itself. Above all, he uses his personal experience, he projects his dreams. He is haunted by the effect of time on the body, the disgrace and the physical degradation. For the women in his songs, the breasts are often portrayed as lowering. For the men and for himself, Brel fears aging more than death itself.”

Let the French intellectuals speak about him : “Son oeuvre, qui ne se distingue pas particuli�rement par la recherche m�lodique, brille surtout par une science du texte et du jeu de mots qui fonctionne essentiellement sur le principe des oppositions binaires (le noir et le blanc, les paires minimales approximatives) et sur une certaine pr�dilection pour le n�ologisme. Mais c’est sur sc�ne que Brel frappe surtout, apportant � ses chansons une nouvelle dimension, gestuelle, gr�ce � un travail d’expression tr�s minutieusement pr�par�”. A poor translation would be : “His works excel, not so much because of the study of the melody, but because of a science of text and wordplay that functions essentially on the principle of binary opposition (black and white, approximate minimal pairs) and for a certain predestination for neologism. But it is on stage that Brel makes the biggest impression. He gives his songs a new dimension, in gestures, by a very carefully prepared expressionism.” Although a bit bombastic : well said Gaston!

Or, as France Brel (his daughter) once said : “The French relate to my father intellectually, they analyze him. But the Belgians feel him. Brel is somebody who ate mussels and fries and drank beer. He belongs to them, he’s one of them. It’s a certain look. a way of being.”

Brel has never denied his Belgian roots. A number of songs were recorded both in Dutch and in French (Mijn vlakke land – Le plat pays. De Burgerij – Les bourgeois). Others carry bits in Dutch (e.g. Marieke). He also often sings of the time of his youth and the country of his origin (Bruxelles, Le Plat Pays, Jacky …). The song “Les F…” causes quite a stir in 1977 : Flemish nationalists and the clergy felt attacked.

But, says France Brel: “He also made fun of the clergy, the bourgeoisie, of everything. He loved to provoke, to demystify. In fact, he was very Flemish. He believed in discipline, hard work, he was always punctual. Our family is Flemish in character in many ways, Jacques was proud of his Flemish blood.”

“If I were king,” Brel himself once said, “I would send all the Flemings to Wallonia and all the Walloons to Flanders for six months. Like military service. They would live with a family and that would solve all our ethnic and linguistic problems very fast. Because everybody’s tooth aches in the same way, everybody loves their mother, everybody loves or hates spinach. And those are the things that really count.”

Some simple analogies also could give you an impression of the power of Brel : “as poetic as Bob Dylan, as introspective as John Lennon, as virile as Bruce Springsteen; his intense stage presence, and the killing involvement it reflected, was reminiscent of Edith Piaf.”

In 1967, he says farewell to the stage after the musical “L’homme de La Mancha” and dedicates most of his time to cinema. The reason : “he felt like a trained monkey unpacking his bag of tricks and singing the same songs every night”. In “Vieillir”, he ridicules himself : “thundering old men … spitting out their last tooth singing Amsterdam”. However, he continues to record songs.

In 1973, he had enough of the cinema as well and “retreats” to the Iles Marquises. After four years in that lonely paradise (the islands where Gauguin painted), he comes back to Paris and records another album.

To give an idea of the impact Brel has had during his lifetime this anecdote from “Big in Belgium” by Jan Delvaux : “In 1977, after a number of years of silence, he announces the release of an album. Eddie Barclay of his record company frees up all available means : the record goes into a box with a lock to all the French radio stations. On the official release date he announces them the secret code of the lock. The record sells 650.000 copies on the first day ! The total well surpasses 2 million.” The album “Brel” contains all the themes of his oeuvre : friendship (Jojo), hatred of women (Les remparts de Varsovie, Le Lion), death (Vieillir) and generosity (Jaur�s).

At the end of his life, lung cancer is discovered. In 1974 he has an operation in Brussels. He continues to sing with one lung, one song at a time. The disease gets the upperhand in October 1978. He is buried on the cemetery of Atuone on the island of Hiva-Oa on Tahiti.

The legacy of Brel : some 100 songs, the appearances in his films, the International Brel foundation, films of his live-performances at the Olympia in Paris and the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels that send shivers down your spine.

Brel surely is one of the most covered artists around. Among the interprets of his music are the likes of Scott Walker, Alex Harvey, Neil Diamond, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Petula Clark, Shirley Bassey, David Bowie, Nina Simone, Mark Almond, Arno, Leonard Cohen …

His talent also widely surpasses the areas of the world where French is spoken : In America for example, Terry Jacks scores a n�1 hit with an adaptation of Le Moribond (Seasons in the sun) and even to this day a “libretto-less” musical tours the country : “Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris”.

As jazz-performer Mike Zwerin recalls : “my friend … called me and asked if I wanted to go to Carnegie Hall with him that night to hear ‘some Frenchman named Brel’ sing. Neither one of us had ever heard of him or understood one word of French, but free tickets are free tickets. We were surprised to find the hall packed. We were even more astonished when we heard Mr. Brel. Though jazz musicians are known for their hostility to singers in general – considering them a commercial necessity taking away time from more talented instrumentalists – we were overwhelmed. Transfixed. Brel’s language was universal and the intensity of the performance overflowed the boundary of such a limiting definition as ‘singer’.”

Now 20 years after his death, almost nothing of that impact of Jacques Brel has been lost.


(The Red Light District of Hamsterdam…)

The Chanting of a Thousand Years…

Time is short today, I have to run. I am scrambling around my mind on how to bring change about through my actions regarding the crisis in our lives, and in all the lands… I feel completely divorced from the process that the US Gov’t is involved in. We are being pushed into a great conflict, and I do not agree or give my consent to these actions.

It may be spitting in the wind, but we need to make our presence known to the “Reps” in Washington, Whitehall, and elsewhere… These actions are not actions that are condoned by any majority.

Time to organize, and make a visible presence Here, and Now.

On the Menu:

Portland Event Update

The Links

All Nations Cafe…

Varieties of Conscious Perception – Ralph Metzner

Indigenous Poetry: Running Elk Woman




See Tuesday Turf For More Details On This Event…

Update on Portland Event:

Because of the enthusiastic response to the invitation, the concert has been moved to


(For directions see below or go to villageballoom.com)

The original invitation neglected to include the time:

THURSDAY, August 3 at 7 PM


“Annihilation into the Infinite”

(The Village Ballroom is on NE Dekum, two blocks east of NE ML King Blvd. Dekum is 1 block north of Portland Blvd, or about 8 blocks north of Killingsworth.)

(The Cedars of Lebanon)


The Links:

Peoples Working Together

Wage Peace

Veterans For Peace

Lebanon Relief

Yogic flyers build ‘shield of invincibility’ around Israel


All Nations Cafe – The Future…


Varieties of Conscious Perception – Ralph Metzner

If you believe and experience, as I do, what the Buddhists say, then even a hermit in a cave in the Himalayas or a monk in a monastery could be doing activism, working at other levels of consciousness to bring about a change from within.

I’m very involved in, and drawn to, the Buddhist perspective. When I teach my classes about the states of consciousness and the comparison of the philosophies of the East and the West, I show that the Eastern conception of consciousness is profoundly different from ours. In the West we say we have consciousness, and then we have a personal unconscious, of course. We try to analyze the unconscious in order to become more conscious.

In the East the language is completely different. They say the default mode of being in life is unconscious, literally unknowing, blindness, symbolized by a blind person. Consciousness is possible but only if you practice meditation or yoga. In the Buddhist Wheel of Life, Wheel of Samsara, at the hub of the wheel are the three animals. They symbolize craving, aversion, and unconsciousness. What they are saying is that the wheel of life keeps turning because of these three factors.

Interestingly enough it’s like Freud: you have unconscious craving and aggression as the core dynamics of the psyche. So you practice disciplines of consciousness and those have the effect of liberating us from the wheel. Then we’re less tightly gripped by the unfolding processes that keep churning along.

The Soul’s Vision

A distinction one can make is between practices that bring about certain expanded states, temporarily, and more lasting transformation. In traditions like Buddhism there are those that emphasize doing the practices and not paying so much attention to unusual experiences – like visions or feelings of bliss and merging that may come up – because they can be distractions. What you’re after is a more permanent transformation of your total way of being, not just a state of oneness every now and again.

There are other traditions, such as Tibetan Buddhism and also mystical practices, as well as shamanic traditions where the seeking of visionary states for the non-ordinary knowledge or understanding that they can provide is definitely cultivated. Then there is always the question of yes, okay, you have a visionary state, you have a vision, but then you have to apply it, otherwise you’re just diddling around.

If you want your life to have passion, traditional people would say you’re seeking a vision, but a vision of what? The answer is: a vision of your life. What is my life really about? What am I doing here? So I would say, yes, seek a vision for yourself, then for yourself in relationship with others. Not only because society needs visions, also because each individual needs a vision. Actually I would go even further than that. Each individual has a vision. The soul has a vision. You choose to come into form. You, the soul, the spirit, chooses to incarnate. So what is the vision of your soul? Why did you come here? Was it to be a teacher, a healer, an artist, a builder?

The vision of the oneness, the diversity and the magnificence of life is a similar core experience for many people, and much of its beauty comes from the incredible diversity, the complexity and the differentiation. Thomas Berry says there are three principles in the universe: one is the unity, the communion; another is the subjectivity, the consciousness aspect; the third is differentiation, the multiplicity and diversity.

The Intention of Expanded States

We are all vulnerable to being thrown off center, and yet there is the possibility of recovering and coming back to center, of remembering who we are, remembering intention. So intention and centering are key concepts, in a strategic sense, of trying to maintain a particular consciousness and, by extension, conscious activism.

We’re referring not just to an altered state, but an expanded state. There are also contracted states, or disassociated states – addictions, compulsions, psychosis, and so forth. The altered state in itself is not necessarily related to a positive transformation unless the proper intention is there. For example, a ritual can encourage positive social change, but this is not necessarily so. It depends on the intention behind the ritual, the purpose. The Nazis were masters of rituals of destruction, rituals of domination; and so is the Pentagon. What is the intention of the ritual? That’s what I want to know before I consider it to be of benefit to greater awareness.

I would characterize the positive aspect of all these possibilities as expanding your perspective beyond that of the egocentric self. We know people can expand, and we also know that some become very spacey. They may be expanded into an awareness of spacey things, but not integrated – not related to something in particular.

Mapping Consciousness

Conceptually, one distinction that I make is between states of consciousness, levels of consciousness, and stages of consciousness development. These are actually three different notions. The idea of an ordinary state of consciousness and an altered state can be followed as a kind of paradigm. Familiar states, like sleeping and dreaming and waking, as well as meditative states, ecstatic states, drug induced states, psychic states, pathological states, mystical states, religious experiences or visionary states of consciousness all last for a particular limited time, which might be short or long.

In each you’re functioning in a different way. Your perception is different. Your feelings, your thinking is different, possibly expanded. It lasts a specific time period, which might be only two minutes, but that two minutes might be life changing. Such experiences can have a profound impact on a person’s life in terms of changing their set of priorities and values. Or they can have an impact that is more subtle and interior and not necessarily externally visible.

Levels of consciousness refer more to what are said to be permanent structural features of consciousness for human beings. Of course we live in a context of many other beings besides humans but I am referring to humans with those levels.

Then there are other aspects that all the traditional teachings call higher levels, not in terms of higher value but higher in frequency. Like the subtle bodies, or the levels of soul, or of spirit that we may have access to in, say, meditative states and that we also go into when we die. Shamanism calls it the spirit world and, of course, that world is inhabited by other beings as well. But we are human and come to all of it through human consciousness.

My professional work and personal experience have confirmed that the whole planet has an astral level or dimension. The astral body, or emotional body as some call it, is the body in which we function in the astral world, just like the physical body is the body in which we function in the physical world. That concept refers to the whole world, landscapes, creatures, beings, non-humans and every other being.

Unity and Diversity

The notion of unity is tricky to work with because relatedness and Eros and connectedness always imply an “other.” Sometimes people say, “There is really no separation between you and me,” and so forth. That kind of language can be confusing. You can recognize differences and still feel connected. In fact to perceive a connection, a relation, implies the perception of an “other,” different from self, doesn’t it?

There can be states of consciousness, temporary states, where you dip into that unity of consciousness, nirvana, or whatever name you’d like to use, where there is no differentiation, no form, no nothing. But as soon as you have one single thought, much less say something or do something, you’re in the realm of multiplicity, not just duality but also actual multiplicity. In terms of personal development I lean more towards saying, “Well yes, there are mystical states of oneness. I value them and love them, but they are not states where you can stay. As soon as you start to do something you come down and you’re in the world of multiplicity.”

Jung had a notion of “wholeness,” or “undividedness,” as he called it. I like wholeness because it means that all the different parts of oneself are included as a goal of personal development. It is also open-ended because it allows for you to know parts of yourself that you don’t yet know.

For example, if I’m in a state of oneness at the moment, then I don’t feel anger; in fact it’s hard for me to even imagine feeling angry with anyone. But I know that in my ordinary life I’m going to get angry again if I’m confronted with something that is outrageous and that is a threat. I’m going to mobilize rage to defend myself or my family. In this way I would be able to understand myself as a being that has different kinds of reactions according to the circumstances. I want to become as conscious of those potential reactions as possible.

Personal Perception Creates One’s Worldview

You have ways of understanding, of thinking, ways of behaving and perceiving reality that you learn as you grow up in society. You have a worldview. You have perceptions, social skills, and professional skills. That’s all part of your equipment. You learn those. In psychotherapy we work a lot with helping people free themselves from entanglement of these conditioned patterns of reaction and interaction that may have been appropriate at an earlier stage of life, or perhaps in another level of evolution – personal or collective – but have become counterproductive and inappropriate.

When threatened, it is appropriate to mobilize a tremendous amount of energy to either attack or flee. When not threatened, that same energy is wildly inappropriate and destructive. Consider righteous indignation. I might be righteously indignant about something that is being done to somebody else, although I’m not actually threatened. Is that an appropriate reaction? Expanded consciousness allows me to understand that if it’s happening to them, it’s also happening to me. If I see somebody beating up a defenseless person in the street, I would want to intervene but, hopefully, I would be able to intervene without rage.

People will often say in therapy things like “love is letting go of fear,” or “you just have to get over your fear” and that kind of thing. Then people feel badly because they can’t let go of their fear. I no longer say that. I no longer say you can get rid of all of your fears or your capacity for fear.

Primal fear and primal rage are basic evolutionary reactions that we share with all animal life. They are designed for protection. You can’t, you don’t want to get rid of them. There is no way that you can, nor would it be desirable. You wouldn’t survive if you didn’t have the capacity to mobilize rage-energy when attacked. It’s something that just happens and it’s over as soon as it’s over.

There are other reactions that are secondary reactions, overlays, and neurotic fears that are not appropriate anymore. Rage or blame that is based on judgments and delusion-created cravings. Those we definitely want to get rid of. So we don’t, we can’t, free ourselves from the evolutionary part of our being. That comes from having a biological body that has evolved on this planet. It is survival instinct. Wholeness would imply that you maintain that physical-mammal body in an integrated way so it doesn’t dominate you and it doesn’t spill over into your interpersonal relations. Then you don’t function as a predator in your everyday life.

Eros and the Web of Life

We need a relational worldview in which the systemic interrelatedness of everything, which this theory of conscious activism calls Eros, is the prime mythic image. The web of life would be another image of it. I often recall a woman I know who is a conscious activist, Claire Cummings. She does a lot of work with Native American issues, and she said that what Native Americans would like from people are three things, all beginning with the letter “r”: relatedness, respect and reciprocity. And in a way that is a good model for anyone, human beings, animals or spirits. All three of those “r” words are Eros concepts.

We could call that a communion of subjects. As Thomas Berry says, we’re moving from a world in which we have a collection of objects to a world in which we have a communion of subjects. These ideas fit with the notion of the web of life, which I work with a lot. It’s the web of interconnectedness, which is a kind of a systems view. It’s also the most ancient view of indigenous and shamanic people and similar to the Anglo Saxons’ concepts of “Wyrd.” It’s a web in which the basic principle is connection, the same as Eros and relatedness. It’s impossible to ever really be outside of this web.

There are also levels of consciousness involved. I had a dream once when I was starting to work with the notion of the web of life. The dream indicated that this web exists on many levels. It became clear to me that you can think of the web of life at a biological or genetic level where all life has the same DNA coding process, at least for life on this planet. So single cells, trees, animals, plants, everything shares this code. All of these things come from original single-celled organisms. This creates a very direct biological interconnectedness.

But the web of life also exists at the emotional level, and that would be the dimension we call love, and it would also be O. E. Wilson’s notion of “biophilia,” an instinct. He says all life has an instinct to love other biological living forms –biophilia. That’s the feeling that we have when we love trees, love the ocean, or love the rainforest. It’s not sexual love but it’s love in an embracing sense.

You could say that even beyond the mental there is a level of unity or oneness that goes beyond “web,” because “web” is still a concept, after all, a metaphor, a form. If you think of something like essence, or soul, or spirit, then you’re talking about formless consciousness. There are formless qualities of consciousness where there is a sense of union that can be felt, experienced, known and understood. Yet it is unable to be represented in any kind of conceptual form.

Our ancestors had a much closer connection to the natural world. That’s the issue that fascinates me. Historically, how has it come about that we live in a world where we get so disconnected as a culture? The current interest in shamanism, working with herbal medicine, psychoactive herbs and other substances, as well as the current focus on organic approaches to farming and nutrition all have the quality of bringing about a more direct experiential connection with nature—not rejecting technology, necessarily, being conscious of how technology can be useful, but also aware of how it can separate us in our thinking.

Some people say the hunter-gatherer cultures have something to teach us. They do not mean that we have to go back to hunting to get our food; however, there are some attitudes and perceptions that hunter-gatherer societies have developed that would be of great value to recapture. Among other things, I’m referring to a sense of respect, sometimes bordering on reverence, from humans toward non-humans, especially the animals that these people hunt and kill for food or to provide clothing. That way of being is more in context with consciousness of the web of interrelatedness.

If you’re in a web, you have to respect the others who are in the web, even for your own self-interest. It doesn’t make any sense otherwise. You can only really get into these toxic postures of domination and superiority if you think of yourself as an individual who has to struggle for survival against other individuals.


Indigenous Poetry: Running Elk Woman


To hear with your

heart and not

your ears.

To feel with your

heart and not

your hands.

To see with your

heart and not

your eyes.

To speak with your

heart and not

your mouth.

To think with your

heart and not

your mind.

To be one with

all in the heart.



Sacred tree of life

teach us to root ourself

and walk in balance.

Teach us to share our

shelter, food, our breath.

Teach us to bend, and to have

compassion and love

for our brothers and sisters.

Teach us to be grateful

for all gifts we recieve

and, remind us to pray.

Teach us to stand tall and

reach for grandfather sun.

Teach us to share and live as one.

Sacred tree of life

thank you for all your

wisdom and for all

life in which you




You think you’ve broken our spirit

but now you must know.

The clouds were dark but the

sacred winds will always blow.

We love and care for our

mother’s land.

See you’ve forgotten you

not but a grain of sand.

As the tree sprouts and

knows when to grow

hidden from the winters snow.

We will rise and shine

these sacred things

you’ll never know.

Like the rivers we have moved

through time fast and slow.

You see we have kept that sacred flow.

Things I speak about are things I see

seeking peace and living free.


More of Running Elk Womans’ Poetry here…

On The Subject Of Healing…

Spent time with my friend Morgan last night. We sat with Mary in our atrium, drinking wine, listening to Manu Chao and trying to sort the mess the world has found itself in. Let me put that another way, we were trying to sort out our views, thoughts, fears.

Darkness descended on us, the winds came up. The earth exuded life, movement, and then stillness. Morgan and I walked Sophie the wonder dog, up past his childhood home (4 blocks from here, I didn’t know he had lived so close!) Down the hill and around. It was very pleasant.

We talked about the changes that were happening and how we could do what was possible through us.

It ended with us sitting on the lawn, stars overhead in the great stillness.

Time by the human scale may be short. I think we need to concern ourselves with the generations coming, and what legacy of our lives we will leave them.

Will we be a message of hope and healing to the future, and will we be the ancestors that cared for all that came after?

Today’s entry is concerned with healing.

On The Menu:

The Links

Portland Event: “Annihilation into the Infinite”

San Pedro, Peyote, and Mescaline: A Visionary Catalyst for Healing

Thich Nhat Hanh: Poetry for these Times….

Art: Huichol Sacred Art of The Peyote Way

Walk in Peace,



The Links

Be of helping hand…. Chandler Sky Foundation

Zoo elephants mourn matriarch

1200-year-old prayer book discovered in bog

Meenakshi Blesses the Internet


Portland Event:

“Annihilation into the Infinite”

Please come dive in with us with the ancients in ceremony, in dance, in devotion, in trance

at Koru House

Join us for a traditional concert of classical qawwali music. This ancient practice of India

&amp; Pakistan is used to express the fire of divine love through the verses of sufi poets, sung in: Urdu, Farsi, Hindi &amp; Punjabi. Each song embodies the mood of the poetry through sophisticated ragas combined with passionate spontaneity.

The youthful mastery of Fanna-Fi-Allah has been granted through their study with the legendary family of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan in Faislabad Pakistan.


Come let your heart be moved and dance to the booming Pakistani tablas, six voices, tampura &amp; harmoniums of Fanna-Fi-Allah.

Fanna-fi-Allah is asking for an $8 to $10 donation but no one will be turned away. We have heard that the heart opens and gifts (dollar bills, jewels, and even clothing) are showered on the musicians, but only as you are moved.

Because there will be 6 musicians and dancing, we will need to limit the number present, so if you wish to come, please call Art at 503-348-7922 or Sharon at 503-235-5799 to make a reservation. Those with reservations will be guaranteed admission. Others will be on a space available basis.

– —

Art Andrews and Sharon Flegal

Koru House

1704 SE 22nd Ave

Portland, OR 97214

503-235-5799, 503-348-7922

We intend to be a community of inclusion, conscious relationships, possibilities, service and fun. We understand this as committing ourselves to growth in practicing awareness, voluntary simplicity and sustainability while working from a space that can be used for celebrations and growth enhancing events for the larger community.


San Pedro, Peyote, and Mescaline: A Visionary Catalyst for Healing

(An informative article on mescaline-containing cacti, including history and anthropology of San Pedro (Huachuma) and Peyote cultural practices. – Gordon Kelley – Who just happens to be a friend!)

Western society has a negative view of hallucinogenic drugs and the psychedelic experiences that they produce. Hallucinogenic drugs are seen as inherently worthless and inherently dangerous, producing negative societal changes. In contrast to this view is the fact that hallucinogenic plants have been used as religious sacrament, healing medicine, and spiritual guides for thousands of years. As an example of beneficial use of a plant hallucinogen, I will use the ancient traditional healing ceremonies, ceremonies still functioning today, which use the San Pedro cactus (Trichocereus pachanoi). The key factor in the use of the cactus is the mescaline that it contains. The hallucinogenic effects of the mescaline is necessary for the healing ceremony to function properly. The beneficial use of psychedelic effects in the San Pedro cactus healing ritual contrasts with the negative associations society has about hallucinogens.

The legal statutes and the societal taboo against researching the effects of plant hallucinogens is an example of the general attitude toward plants with psychoactive effects. These laws and opinions are crippling mostly to those who want to preserve traditional knowledge about beneficial plants. These laws and attitudes have come about because of misinformation about the psychedelics as well as widespread misuse of them. The consciousness expanding abilities of psychedelic drugs is stated well in this quote from Terence McKenna, in Whole Earth Review (Fall, 1989). He says that, “Re-establishing direct channels of communication with the planetary other, the mind behind Nature, through the use of hallucinogenic plants is the last, best hope for dissolving the steep walls of cultural inflexibility that appear to be channeling us toward true ruin. Careful exploration of the plant hallucinogens will probe the most archaic and sensitive levels of the drama of the emergence of consciousness.”

Thus McKenna notes that, “The pro-psychedelic plant position is clearly an anti-drug position. Drug dependencies are the result of habitual, unexamined and obsessive behavior; these are precisely the tendencies that the psychedelics mitigate.” McKenna is clearly advocating responsible psychedelic plant use, and not advocating drug abuse.

Shamans all over the world and in different cultures have traditionally used psychoactive plants, especially psychedelics, for guidance, decision making, healing, spirituality enhancing experiences and remaining in balance with the natural world. It is very important to keep in mind that, “a plant using shaman is far more than a witch-doctor who gets wigged out on drugs; he or she is a healer, experimentalist, and psycho pomp. Anyone who seeks to understand the dimensions of the shaman’s healing system without understanding the place of psychoactive plants is going to miss a vital factor” (Rheingold, 27).

It is interesting to note that the shamans who use the plants claim that much of the knowledge is gained directly from the plants. One example is that psychedelic plants are claimed to have taught melodies to those who ingest them. This is found with San Pedro using shamans, Ayahuasca drinkers in the Amazon, the Mazatec who use hallucinogenic mushrooms, and the Huichols who use Peyote (McKenna, 30).

The key hallucinogenic alkaloid in the San Pedro cactus is mescaline. Mescaline is unique among drugs in that its main action is a stimulant of the visual and visuo-psychic areas of the cortex (Kluver, 65). This lets the brain experience an altered state of consciousness. Mescaline is also found in many other cacti and succulents, including the well known Peyote cactus.

The largest part of the mescaline experience is experienced visually, through hallucinations. Most hallucinatory phenomena are usually variations of certain forms. These form constants are:

1. a) grating, lattice, fretwork, filigree, honeycomb, or chessboard;

2. b) cobweb;

3. c) tunnel, funnel, alley, cone or vessel;

4. d) spiral.

The fineness of the lines is often stressed. They are so thin that it is hard to say whether they are black or white. These form constants are also seen in other altered states. One observer has seen the same hallucinatory constants during four different childhood sicknesses. This has led him to conclude, “All the geometric forms and designs characteristic of mescaline-induced phenomena can, under proper conditions, be entopically observed” (Kluver, 65). Some of the form constants are also found in, “the visual phenomena of insulin hypoglycemia, and in phenomena induced by simply looking at disks with black, white, or colored sectors rotating at certain speeds” (Kluver, 65). These hallucinatory forms have also been reported from migraine attacks.

One author tries to account for the different form constants by referring to the various structures in the eye. He concludes from anatomical and observed data that,”the rods and foveal cones can look backwards and that the retinal pigment and the choriocapillary circulation can, therefore, be seen under certain conditions” (Kluver, 65). In essence, our hallucinations are views of looking backward at the retina, according to this theory. This would explain the prevalence of lines in mescaline hallucinations. Mescaline intoxication is a complicated and somewhat incomprehensible thing. These accounts are taken from experiments done with Peyote in the 1920′s. I am using these accounts on the assumption that the psychedelic mescaline experience will be fairly uniform, regardless of the plant used. It is important to understand that no written account can adequately describe the experience. The form constants experienced with mescaline intoxication overlap into the sensory sphere of experience.

A Professor Forster felt a net-like “cobweb” on his tongue. Another subject felt that his legs were spirals. For him, the spiral of his leg blended with another spiral that was rotating in the visual field. “One has the sensation of somatic and optic unity” (Kluver, 71). Lines are one of the most prevalent things seen while under the influence of mescaline. This is often seen as a “lattice” or “fretwork. A physician, Dr. Beringer was conducting an experiment involving mescaline. One of his subjects stated that:

He saw fretwork before his eyes, his arms, hands, and fingers turned into fretwork and that he became identical with the fretwork. There was no difference between the fretwork and himself, between inside and outside. All objects in the room and the walls changed into fretwork and thus became identical with him. While writing, the words turned into fretwork and there was, therefore, an identity of fretwork and handwriting. ‘The fretwork is I.’ In other people the “lattice”, or “fretwork” became so dominant that it appeared to dominate the whole personality. All ideas turned into glass fretwork, which he saw, thought ,and felt. He also felt, saw, tasted, and smelled tones that became fretwork. He himself was the tone (Kluver, 72).

Weir Mitchell took an extract of one and one half Peyote buttons and he eventually saw: A white spear of grey stone grew up to huge height, and became a tall, richly furnished Gothic tower of very elaborate and definite design, with many rather worn statues standing in the doorways or on stone brackets. As I gazed every projecting angle, cornice, and even the face of the stones at their joinings were by degrees covered or hung with clusters of what seemed to be huge precious stones, but uncut. These were green, purple, red, and orange; never clear yellow and never blue. All seemed to possess interior light, and to give the faintest idea of the perfectly satisfying intensity and purity of these gorgeous colors is quite beyond my power. As I looked, and it lasted long, the tower became of a fine mouse hue, and everywhere the vast pendant masses of emerald green, ruby red, and orange began to drip a slow rain of colors. Here were miles of rippled purple, half transparent and of ineffable beauty. Now and then soft golden clouds floated from these folds (Kluver, 16). This quote is from someone who had been injected with .2 gm of the sulfate of mescaline by physicians: A steel veil the meshes of which are constantly changing in size and form…beads in different colors…red, brownish, and violet threads running together in center…gold rain falling vertically… regular and irregular forms in iridescent colors resembling shells and sea urchins… transparent oriental rugs, but infinitely small…wallpaper designs…countless rugs with such magnificent hues and such singular brilliancy that I cannot even imagine them now…cobweb like figures or concentric circles and squares…the pyramid of the tower of a Gothic dome… architectural forms, buttresses, rosettes, leafwork, fretwork, and circular patterns…modern cubistic patterns…gammadia forms from the points of which radiate innumerable lines in the forms of screws and spirals, in flashes and calm curves, a kaleidoscopic play of ornaments, patterns, crystals and prisms which creates the impression of a never-ending uniformity…hexagonal small honeycombs hung down from the ceiling…incessant play of filigreed colors… in the face of B I saw a lattice of yellow-greenish horizontal stripes (Kluver, 17).

The power of mescaline to completely change reality temporarily can be seen in the following experience of Henri Michaux. He mistakenly took a dose of the sulfate of mescaline that was about six times his normal dose.

It was where one is nothing but oneself, it was there that, with mad speed, hundreds of lines of force combed my being which could never re-integrate itself quickly enough, for, before it could come together again, another line of rakes began raking it, and then again, and then again. Intense beyond intensity, the struggle, and I, active as never before in my life, miraculously surpassing myself, but surpassed out of all proportion by the dislocating phenomenon.

Enormous Z’s are passing through me (stripes- vibrations-zig-zags?). Then, either broken S’s, or what may be their halves, incomplete O’s, a little like giant eggshells.

I have once more become a passage, a passage in time. This then was the furrow with the fluid in it, absolutely devoid of viscosity, and that is how I pass from second 51 to second 52, to second 53, then to second 54 and so on. It is my passage forward (Michaux, 65).

I found one account of the effects of San Pedro in particular. This account is short, and obviously this is only a fraction of the total mescaline experience, but it does agree with the experience of the mescaline in Peyote.

The effects of San Pedro are:

…first a slight dizziness that one hardly notices. And then a great vision, a clearing of all the faculties of the individual. It produces a light numbness in the body and afterward a tranquillity. And then comes a detachment, a type of visual force in the individual inclusive of all the senses: seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, etc-all the senses, including the sixth sense, the telepathic sense of transmitting oneself across time and matter…. It develops the power of perception…in the sense that when one wants to see something far away…he can distinguish powers or problems or disturbances at a great distance, so as to deal with them (Furst, 130).

The San Pedro cactus (aka Huachuma), Trichocereus pachanoi, is native to several places in South America. It is found in Southern Ecuador at the Chanchan valley ranging from 6,600-9,000 feet. In Peru, in the Huancabamba valley and in Quebrada Santa Cruz at 10,800 ft. It grows naturally in these locales, but is cultivated all over Peru and in other places in South America. T. pachanoi has a tree like body, 10-20 ft high, up to 4″ in diameter and several branches starting from the base. It is bluish green, and frosted at first. It has 4-7 ribs, which are broad and rounded, with slight transverse depressions over the small areoles. There are 1-4 spines per areole, very small or completely absent, and dark yellow to brown. The flower is funnel shaped, to 9.8″ long and 7.9″ in diameter. It is white with a light green tinge. The alkaloid, mescaline, is contained in the top 1/2 inch of skin. Alkaloids in other cacti serve as seedling inhibitors and parasite repellents. This is probably true of San Pedro as well. The mescaline comprises .12% of the whole fresh plant material. This is approximately 1.2 grams of mescaline per kilo. Mescaline is also found in 10 other Trichocereus species, some of which are used in the way that T. pachanoi is (Ostolaza, 102).

Awareness of the psycho-spiritual nature of the San Pedro cactus has been documented for a minimum of around 3000 years. Engraved stone carvings, at Chavin, date to 1300 B.C. They portray a figure holding sections of the cactus. Representations of San Pedro also show up on Moche ceramics, Nazca urns and Chimu ceramics. It has been suggested that cacti were under cultivation in Peru as early as 200 B.C. (Davis, 368). Establishing continuity between pre-Columbian use of this cactus and present day use is challenging. When the European explorers first landed in South America, their religion, Christianity, dramatically changed the indigenous cultures. European Christianity literally invaded the original region where the use of San Pedro indigenously evolved. “Under such pressures, the indigenous religious practices, including the utilization of Trichocereus pachanoi, undoubtedly were transformed” (Davis, 372). In Peru, in Huancabamba, the post-colonial culture has replaced indigenous cultures. The San Pedro healing cult has survived, but is quite different than it was. In fact, the name “San Pedro” refers to Saint Peter of the Roman Catholic Church who is considered to be the keeper of the gates to Heaven.

Early observers saw that the San Pedro cult was so Christian that they erroneously concluded that it represented a strictly post-contact, colonial phenomenon (Davis, 372). However, the archaeological evidence points to elements of the original ceremonies in the ceremonies I am reporting on.

To understand the roots of San Pedro healing cult we need to understand the assumptions of South American shamanism in general. The elements are:

1. The belief in spirit guardians.

2. The notion of particular places animistically endowed with supernatural power.

3. The concept of physical combat with disease demons or spirits.

4. The close association of certain magical plants with spiritual power.

5. The belief in spiritual or supernatural forces as the causal agents of illness (Davis 371).

The healing role is performed by the shaman, or curandero. The shaman’s world view is central to the meaning and function of the healing ritual. To the curandero, the existence of opposite forces does not mean splitting the world in two (the ‘Sacred’ and ‘Profane’) or establishing a rigid dichotomy between ‘this’ world of matter and the ‘other’ world of spirit. On the contrary, the curandero seeks to perceive unity in the dynamic interaction between the forces of good and evil through the attainment of ‘vision’. Such a view of the world is very flexible and adaptable; it leaves room for the acceptance of new symbols and ideas and allows competing elements to enter into one’s structuring of reality and the behavior determined by such structuring (Furst, 123).

For example, this view allows the shaman to see no contradiction between modern medicine and traditional curing. Nor does he see modern medicine as a threat to his vocation. He is seeking to assimilate scientific knowledge and techniques into practice by taking correspondence courses and reading medical literature. Basically, if he knows more about modern medicine, he will be more adept at healing people with San Pedro. The reasons that people wish a shaman to perform the ritual are diverse. They can be physical illness, or simply bad luck. In any case, the assumption is that there are spiritual forces which are causing these problems. In a ritual performed in Peru, on the night of February 15, 1981, the patients had these problems:

— A girl who has been paralyzed, who also had back pain, stomach pain, and great depression.

–A family’s cattle herd had got diseased and been reduced from 58 to 6.

–An aunt recently gone mad.

–A businessman who wanted to know who had embezzled from his business.

–Insanity caused by seeing a wife in the arms of another man (Davis, 372).

Briefly, the ritual consists of the shaman healing the patients with the conjunction of his own spiritual power, the mescaline which activates his power, and an altar, called a mesa. The mesa is covered with power objects, which are seen as having spiritual energy. The layout of the objects on the mesa is a key structure of the ritual.

There are three fields on the mesa. The left is associated with death taking, and the right with life giving. The middle is either a separate field or a neutral zone. In either case, the middle is linked to the concept of balance, of mediating between good and evil. Only some of the shamans consider the two opposite sides good and bad. They are usually considered complementary halves of a whole, neither good or bad. This is a characteristic that is common to many indigenous symbolic systems (Furst, 127). It is important to have the left field, which represents negativity. This is because this is the realm responsible for illness and bad luck, and consequently capable of revealing their sources (Furst, 125). Objects on the left side are sometimes associated with animals such as snakes, deer, monkeys, frogs, foxes, cats, and birds of prey. These power objects usually include things of “Ancestors” (ie: artifacts from archaeological sites), poisonous herbs in bottles, and stones (from places of the dead (cemeteries or archaeological sites) The middle field, or neutral zone is dedicated to finding balance between the two opposite energies. Good luck herbs are placed here and a good luck charm is made during the ritual using these herbs. Balancing fields always have sun images. There are also magnetic or reflective stones. The right field often uses extensive Catholic imagery such as saints, and purificatory waters. Indigenous positive power objects always include medicinal plants, shells (fertility symbols), and the containers of the San Pedro infusion.

In front of the fields there are meditation symbols as well as a representation of the shaman (Joralemon, 22). The symbols on the right side are used to guide the creation of a proper herbal healing mixture. At the back of the mesa are six to twelve upright staffs. These are associated with the respective areas of the mesa they are standing in back of. Each shaman’s layout of power objects on the mesa is quite diverse. Some of the various objects I found listed for the three fields are as follows; Right field: stones, shells, bowls, and a rattle. Neutral or balancing field: a bronze sunburst, a stone symbolizing the Sea, and a crystal “mirror”. Left field: A deer foot, knives and cane alcohol. Other objects that shamans have used on their mesas include wooden staffs of tropical hardwoods, whale bones, quartz crystals, colonial knives, plastic toy soldiers, pre-columbian ceramics, brass lions and deer, antlers, wild boar tusks, silver plates, murex and helmet shells, dice, statues of the Virgin Mary, and many photos and paintings of Roman Catholic saints. Also, each patient places one personal offering on the altar (Davis, 373). These personal offerings can be things like bottles of alcohol, bottles of scented water and red perfume, or objects to represent other patients who could not come. One man brought coins and hex stones for the proxy of a sick aunt who could not travel (Davis, 372).

The San Pedro healing ritual has always had the certain standard elements that I have been discussing. However, this ritual is also capable of adapting to different times’ religious ideas, which is how the original ritual was transformed by Christianity (specifically, Roman Catholicism). The left field became associated with Satan, and the right field with Jesus and Mary. In one mesa structure, the neutral zone was governed by San Ciprio, a saint who was a powerful sorcerer before he converted to Christianity.

All shamans have many power objects they use on the mesa. Despite often being Christian symbols,they function very much like the negative and positive forces and symbols do in native shamanism. The shaman does not consider these objects lifeless. Each is a focus of a particular force. Collectively, they are a projection of his own spiritual power, which becomes activated whenever the mesa is used in the conjunction with the drinking of the hallucinogenic San Pedro infusion.

The ritual is always done at night. It consists of a lengthy preliminary purification ceremony and then the ritual itself. The ceremonial acts consist of prayers, invocations, and chants (accompanied by the beat of the shamanic rattle), addressed to all the supernaturals of the indigenous and Roman Catholic faiths. At midnight, when the purifying ceremonial acts are complete, there is some preliminary chanting, then all present must drink one to three cups of the ceremonial potion. The shaman takes the first cupful, and then the patients. Usually nothing is added to the San Pedro infusion. However, in cases of illness believed to be caused by sorcery some things may be added. These additional ingredients are usually powdered bones, certain plants, and cemetery dust or dust from archaeological ruins. Also, a purgative potion may be made from another plant which is to be taken after taking the San Pedro drink. Some shamans add strongly psychoactive plants like Brugmansia sp. (angel trumpet; tree datura), but this is considered by most to be drastic shock therapy (Furst, 119).

In the beginning phase of the ritual each patient stands before the left side of the altar. As the mescaline begins to take effect, the shaman chants the patients name and visualizes the forms of animals that represent the poisons/problems of the patients. While each patient stands before the mesa and the shaman chants his name, everyone else stares at the staffs behind the mesa. Consensus among the hallucinating patients will be reached as to which staff is vibrating. The shaman then chants with the staff in his hand and this focuses his vision and activates the power of the staff and associated objects on the mesa. This focusing of vision helps the curandero “see” the cause of the patient’s problem. This first part of the ritual is essentially to gain control of the negative forces that have been called into play (Furst, 128).

During this first part of the ritual, the shaman may pause to massage or suck on parts of patients bodies to extract the supernatural source of the affliction. In certain very serious cases, the forces which cause the illness are believed to be powerful enough to attack the patient during the curing session. This is dangerous and requires immediate emergency action. The shaman seizes a sword or staff and charges out beyond the mesa and the patients. He then conducts a ferocious battle with the attacking forces, which only he can see in his San Pedro visions. In one ceremony the shaman performs seven somersaults in the form of a cross,while grasping the sword in both hands with the sharp edge held forward. This is intended to drive off the attacking forces and shock the sorcerer who is directing them (Furst, 130).

The second part of the ritual is considered the most important part. The central field of the mesa is associated with balance and luck, and there are herbs of good fortune placed in it. Patients appear before the mesa and the shaman identifies which herbs are going to be used for that patient’s good luck charm.

The third phase is for identifying the particular herbs that will cure the patients’ ailments. These herbs have been placed on the right side. After identification through hallucinations,the shaman tosses some shells as a form of divination to confirm if he made the right choices of herbs (Joralemon, 26). This divination is a basic part of any San Pedro healing ritual. It shows an association between hallucinations, mesa objects, and the element of control that the shaman has over the ritual.

Mesa artifacts are closely linked to mescaline-induced hallucinations in that they serve to anchor visualizations in such a way as to permit their application to the achievement of specific ends. By so controlling the drug experience, the shaman is able to direct the ritual toward healing objectives. In other words, this control allows the shaman to structure the course of a visionary episode so that it leads to the goal of curing (Joralemon, 24).

At the end, some shamans blow perfume, water, sugar, and facial powder over everyone. Then there is a final benediction or prayer. Each participant is presented with the bottle of sacred healing herbs (Davis, 373). The patients are sent on their way.

The San Pedro cactus has a long history of being used for its psychedelic effects. It has often been used for healing in a ritual which evolved in Peru. This ancient ritual represents a journey from life-taking to life-giving forces. This is inherently a positive event. The use of the mescaline in the ritual to achieve this positive result is a welcome contrast to many current negative attitudes towards psychedelic experiences


Literature Cited

Davis, E. Wade. 1983. Sacred Plants of the San Pedro Cult. Harvard University: Botanical Museum leaflets.

Furst, Peter T., 1972. Flesh of the Gods (The ritual use of Hallucinogens). New York: Praeger Publishers.

Anonymous. 1991. “Hallucinogens-A trip to nowhere.” Current Health 2 January 1991: 14-16.

Joralemon, Donald. 1984. Symbolic Space and Ritual Time in a Peruvian Healing Ceremony. San Diego: San Diego Museum of Man; Ethnic Technology Notes #19, 1984.

Kluver, Heinrich. 1966. Mescal and Mechanisms of Hallucinations. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

McKenna, Terence. 1989. “Plan, Plant, Planet.” Whole Earth Review Fall 1989: 5-11.

Michaux, Henri. 1956. Miserable Miracle. Monaco: Editions du Rocher.

Rheingold, Howard. 1989. “Ethnobotany and The Search for Vanishing Knowledge.” Whole Earth Review Fall 1989: 16-23.

Anonymous. 1984. “Trichocereus Pachanoi BR &amp; R.” Cactus and Succulent Journal, Vol. 56 1984: 103-104.


Thich Nhat Hanh: Poetry for these Times….


They woke me this morning

to tell me my brother had been killed in battle.

Yet in the garden, uncurling moist petals,

a new rose blooms on the bush.

And I am alive, can still breathe the fragrance of roses and dung,

eat, pray, and sleep.

But when can I break my long silence?

When can I speak the unuttered words that are choking me?



Take my hand.

We will walk.

We will only walk.

We will enjoy our walk

without thinking of arriving anywhere.

Walk peacefully.

Walk happily.

Our walk is a peace walk.

Our walk is a happiness walk.

Then we learn

that there is no peace walk;

that peace is the walk;

that there is no happiness walk;

that happiness is the walk.

We walk for ourselves.

We walk for everyone

always hand in hand.

Walk and touch peace every moment.

Walk and touch happiness every moment.

Each step brings a fresh breeze.

Each step makes a flower bloom under our feet.

Kiss the Earth with your feet.

Print on Earth your love and happiness.

Earth will be safe

when we feel in us enough safety.


Please Call Me by My True Names

I have a poem for you. This poem is about three of us.

The first is a twelve-year-old girl, one of the boat

people crossing the Gulf of Siam. She was raped by a

sea pirate, and after that she threw herself into the

sea. The second person is the sea pirate, who was born

in a remote village in Thailand. And the third person

is me. I was very angry, of course. But I could not take

sides against the sea pirate. If I could have, it would

have been easier, but I couldn’t. I realized that if I

had been born in his village and had lived a similar life

– economic, educational, and so on – it is likely that I

would now be that sea pirate. So it is not easy to take

sides. Out of suffering, I wrote this poem. It is called

“Please Call Me by My True Names,” because I have many names,

and when you call me by any of them, I have to say, “Yes.”

Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow —

even today I am still arriving.

Look deeply: every second I am arriving

to be a bud on a Spring branch,

to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,

learning to sing in my new nest,

to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,

to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,

to fear and to hope.

The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death

of all that is alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing

on the surface of the river.

And I am the bird

that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily

in the clear water of a pond.

And I am the grass-snake

that silently feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,

my legs as thin as bamboo sticks.

And I am the arms merchant,

selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl,

refugee on a small boat,

who throws herself into the ocean

after being raped by a sea pirate.

And I am the pirate,

my heart not yet capable

of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the politburo,

with plenty of power in my hands.

And I am the man who has to pay

his “debt of blood” to my people

dying slowly in a forced-labor camp.

My joy is like Spring, so warm

it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.

My pain is like a river of tears,

so vast it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,

so I can hear all my cries and my laughter at once,

so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,

so I can wake up,

and so the door of my heart

can be left open,

the door of compassion.


The Syd Show…! Part 1

Tonight, Tuesday, July 25th 6:00PM Pacific Coast Time…

A Celebration of Syd Barrett, and Early Pink Floyd.

Please Join Us!

Lucifer Sam (Barrett)

Lucifer Sam, siam cat.

Always sitting by your side

Always by your side.

That cat’s something I can’t explain.

Jennifer Gentle you’re a witch.

You’re the left side

He’s the right side.

Oh, no

That cat’s something I can’t explain.

Lucifer go to sea.

Be a hip cat, be a ship’s cat.

Somewhere, anywhere.

That cat’s something I can’t explain.

At night prowling sifting sand.

Hiding around on the ground.

He’ll be found when you’re around.

That cat’s something I can’t explain.

A Change In The Weather…

Well, the heat has subsided. My brain goes on holiday when it is toooo hot. I can barely move, and I find that stillness is its own just reward. I have avoided the computer as much as possible, as it generates its own little Heat Well… When the temps went up, I noticed less people were coming to visit Earth Rites as well, and I can only hope that you all found a cool spot, a cool pool to stay by. I used to go to the Upper Sacramento River in Mt. Shasta during the heat spells, or up to high mountain lakes. That first shock of cold.. cold.. cool pristine water. I do miss that.

Take care, keep yourselves in health…


On the Grill…

The Links: oddities abound!

Calling Cthulhu Part 2 Erik Davis continues…

Poetry: Walt Whitman…




The Links:

Paradise Found on Earth…

In his words: Outlandish theories: Kings of the (hollow) world

Outer-space sex carries complications

A message for you from Chris in Australia


Calling Cthulhu Part 2 – Erik Davis

H.P. Lovecraft’s Magick Realism

Proof in the Pudding

In a message cross-posted to the Internet newsgroups alt.necromicon [sic] and alt.satanism, Parker Ryan listed a wide variety of magical techniques described by Lovecraft, including entheogens, glossalalia, and shamanic drumming. Insisting that his post was “not a satirical article,” Ryan then described specific Lovecraftian rites he had developed, including this “Rite of Cthulhu”:

A) Chanting. The use of the “Cthulhu chant” to create a concentrative or meditative state of consciousness that forms the basis of much later magickal work.

B) Dream work. Specific techniques of controlled dreaming that are used to establish contact with Cthulhu.

C) Abandonment. Specific techniques to free oneself from culturally conditioned reality tunnels.

Ryan goes on to say that he’s experimented with most of his rites “with fairly good success.”

In coming to terms with the “real magic” embedded in Lovecraft, one quickly encounters a fundamental irony: the cold skepticism of Lovecraft himself. In his letters, Lovecraft poked fun at his own tales, claiming he wrote them for cash and playfully naming his friends after his monsters. While such attitudes in no way diminish the imaginative power of Lovecraft’s tales—which, as always, lie outside the control and intention of their author—they do pose a problem for the working occultist seeking to establish Lovecraft’s magical authority.

The most obvious, and least interesting, answer is to find authentic magic in Lovecraft’s biography. Lovecraft’s father was a traveling salesman who died in a madhouse when Lovecraft was eight, and vague rumors that he was an initiate in some Masonic order or other were exploited in the Necronomicon cobbled together by George Hay, Colin Wilson, and Robert Turner. Others have tried to track Lovecraft’s occult know-how, especially his familiarity with Aleister Crowley and the Golden Dawn. In an Internet document relating the history of the “real” Necronomicon, Colin Low argues that Crowley befriended Sonia Greene in New York a few years before the woman married Lovecraft. As proof of Crowley’s indirect influence on Lovecraft, Low sites this intriguing passage from “The Call of Cthulhu”:

That cult would never die until the stars came right again and the secret priests would take Cthulhu from His tomb to revive His subjects and resume His rule of earth. The time would be easy to know, for then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild, and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom.

Low claims this passage is a mangled reflection of Crowley’s teachings on the new Aeon and the The Book of the Law. In an article in Societé, Robert North also states that Lovecraft referred to “A.C.” in a letter, and that Crowley was mentioned in Leonard Cline’s The Dark Chamber, a novel Lovecraft discussed in his Supernatural Horror in Literature.

But so what? Lovecraft was a fanatical and imaginative reader, and many such folks are drawn to the semiotic exotica of esoteric lore regardless of any beliefs in or experiences of the paranormal. From The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and elsewhere, it’s clear that Lovecraft knew the basic outlines of the occult. But these influences pale next to Vathek, Poe, or Lord Dunsany.

Desperate to assimilate Lovecraft into a “tradition”, some occultists enter into dubious explanations of mystical influence by disincarnate beings. North gives this Invisible College idea a shamanic twist, asserting that prehistoric Atlantian tribes who survived the flood exercised telepathic influence on people like John Dee, Blavatsky, and Lovecraft. But none of these Lovecraft hierophants can match the delirious splendor of Kenneth Grant. In The Magical Revival, Grant points out more curious similarities between Lovecraft and Crowley: both refer to “Great Old Ones” and “Cold Wastes” (of Kadath and Hadith, respectively); the entity “Yog-Sothoth” rhymes with “Set-Thoth,” and Al Azif: The Book of the Arab resembles Crowley’s Al vel Legis: The Book of the Law. In Nightside of Eden, Grant maps Lovecraft’s pantheon onto a darkside Tree of Life, comparing the mangled “iridescent globes” that occasionally pop up in Lovecraft’s tales with the shattered sefirot known as the Qlipoth. Grant concludes that Lovecraft had “direct and conscious experience of the inner planes,” the same zones Crowley prowled, and that Lovecraft “disguised” his occult experiences as fiction.

Like many latter-day Lovecraftians, Grant commits the error of literalizing a purposefully nebulous myth. A subtler and more satisfying version of this argument is the notion that Lovecraft had direct unconscious experiences of the inner planes, experiences which his quotidian mind rejected but which found their way into his writings nonetheless. For Lovecraft was blessed with a vivid and nightmarish dream life, and drew the substance of a number of his tales from beyond the wall of sleep.

In this sense Lovecraft’s magickal authority is nothing more or less than the authority of dream. But what kind of dream tales are these? A Freudian could have a field day with Lovecraft’s fecund, squishy sea monsters, and a Jungian analyst might recognize the liniments of the proverbial shadow. But Lovecraft’s Shadow is so inky it swallows the standard archetypes of the collective unconscious like a black hole. If we see the archetypal world not as a static storehouse of timeless godforms but as a constantly mutating carnival of figures, then the seething extraterrestrial monsters that Lovecraft glimpsed in the chaos of hyperspace are not so much archaic figures of heredity than the avatars of a new psychological and mythic aeon. At the very least, it would seem that things are getting mighty out of hand beyond the magic circle of the ordered daylight mind.

In an intriguing Internet document devoted to the Necronomicon, Tyagi Nagasiva places Lovecraft’s potent dreamtales within the terma tradition found in the Nyingma branch of Tibetan Buddhism. Termas were “pre-mature” writings hidden by Buddhist sages for centuries until the time was ripe, at which point religious visionaries would divine their physical hiding places through omens or dreams. But some termas were revealed entirely in dreams, often couched in otherworldly Dakini scripts. An old Indian revisionary tactic (the second-century Nagarjuna was said to have discovered his Mahayana masterpieces in the serpent realm of the nagas), the terma game resolves the religious problem of how to alter a tradition without disrupting traditional authority. The famous Tibetan Book of the Dead is a terma, and so, perhaps, is the Necronomicon.

Of course, for Chaos magicians, reality can coherently present itself through any number of self-sustaining but mutually contradictory symbolic paradigms (or “reality tunnels,” in Robert Anton Wilson’s memorable phrase). Nothing is true and everything is permitted. By emphasizing the self-fulfilling nature of all reality claims, this postmodern perspective creatively erodes the distinction between legitimate esoteric transmission and total fiction.

This bias toward the experimental is found in Anton LaVey’s Satanic Rituals, which includes the first overtly Lovecraftian rituals to see print. In presenting “Die Elektrischen Vorspiele” (which LaVey based on a Lovecraftian tale by Frank Belknap Long), the “Ceremony of the Angles,” and “The Call to Cthulhu” (the latter two penned by Michael Aquino), LaVey does claim that Lovecraft “clearly…had been influenced by very real sources.” But in holding that Satanic magic allows you to “objectively enter into a subjective state,” LaVey more emphatically emphasizes the ritual power of fantasy—a radical subjectivity which explains his irreverence towards occult source material, whether Lovecraft or Masonry. In naming his Order of the Trapezoid after the “Shining Trapezohedron” found in Lovecraft’s “The Haunter of the Dark”—a black, oddly-angled extraterrestrial crystal used to communicate with the Old Ones—LaVey emphasized that fictions can channel magical forces regardless of their historical authenticity.

In his two rituals, Michael Aquino expresses the subjective power of “meaningless” language by creating a “Yuggothic” tongue similar to that heard in Lovecraft’s “The Dunwich Horror” and “The Whisperer in the Dark.” Such guttural utterances help to shut down the rational mind (try chanting “P’garn’h v’glyzz” for a couple of hours), a notion elaborated by Kenneth Grant in his notion of the Cult of Barbarous Names. After leaving the Church of Satan to form the more serious Temple of Set in 1975, Aquino eventually reformed the Order of the Trapezoid into the practical magic wing of the Setian philosophy. For Stephen R. Flowers, current Grand Master of the order, the substance of Lovecraftian magic is precisely an overwhelming subjectivity that flies in the face of objective law. “The Old Ones are the objective manifestations…of the subjective universe which is what is trying to ‘break through’ the merely rational mind-set of modern humanity.” For Flowers, such invocations are ultimately apocalyptic, hastening a transition into a chaotic aeon in which the Old Ones reveal themselves as future reflections of the Black Magician (“There are no more Nightmares for us,” he wrote me).

This desire to rebel against the tyranny of reason and its ordered objective universe is one of the underlying goals of Chaos magic. Many would applaud the sentiment expressed by Albert Wilmarth in Lovecraft’s “The Whisperer in Darkness”: “To shake off the maddening and wearying limitations of time and space and natural law—to be linked with the vast outside—to come close to the nighted and abysmal secrets of the infinite and ultimate—surely such a things was worth the risk of one’s life, soul, and sanity!”

In his electronically circulated text “Kathulu Majik: Luvkrafting the Roles of Modern Uccultizm,” Tyagi Nagasiva writes that most Western magic is ossified and dualistic, heavily weighted towards the forces of order, hierarchy, moralizing, and structured language. “Without the destabilizing force of Kaos, we would stagnate intellectually, psychologically and otherwise…Kathulu provides a necessary instability to combat the stolid and fixed methods of the structured ‘Ordurs’…One may become balanced through exposure to Kathulu” (Tyagi’s “mis-spellings” show the influence of Genesis P. Orridge’s Temple of Psychick Youth). Haramullah criticizes black magicians who simply reverse “Ordur” with “Kaos,” rather than bringing this underlying polarity into balance (a dualistic error he also finds in Lovecraft). Showing strong Taoist and Buddhist influences, Haramullah calls instead for a “Midul Path” that magically navigates between structure and disintegration, will and void. “The idea that one may progress linearly along the MP [Midul Path] is mistaken. One becomes, one does not progress. One attunes, one does not forge. One allows, one does not make.”

In the Cincinatti Journal of Ceremonial Magic, the anonymous author of “Return of the Elder Gods” presents an evolutionary reason for Mythos magic. The author accepts the scenario of an approaching world crisis brought on by the invasion of the Elder Gods, Qlipothic transdimensional entities who ruled protohumanity until they were banished by “the agent of the Intelligence,” a Promethean figure who set humanity on its current course of evolution. We remain connected to these Elder Gods through the “Forgotten Ones,” the atavistic forces of hunger, sex ,and violence that linger in the subterranean levels of our being. Only by magically “reabsorbing” the Forgotten Ones and using the subsequent energy to bootstrap higher consciousness can we keep the portal sealed against the return of the Elder Gods. Though Lovecraft’s name is never mentioned in the article, he is ever present, a skeptical materialist dreaming the dragons awake.

Writing the Dream…

Within the Mythos tales, one finds two dimensions—the normal human world and the infested Outside—and it’s the ontological tension between them that powers Lovecraft’s magick realism. Though Cthulhu and friends have material aspects, their reality is most horrible for what it says about the way the universe is. As the Lovecraft scholar Joshi notes, Lovecraft’s narrators frequently go mad “not through any physical violence at the hands of supernatural entities but through the mere realization of the the existence of such a race of gods and beings.” Faced with “realms whose mere existence stuns the brain,” they experience severe cognitive dissonance—precisely the sorts of disorienting rupture sought by Chaos magicians.

The role-playing game Call of Cthulhu wonderfully expresses the violence of this Lovecraftian paradigm shift. In adventure games like Dungeons &amp; Dragons, one of your character’s most significant measures is its hit points—a number which determines the amount of physical punishment your character can take before it gets injured or dies. Call of Cthulhu replaces this physical characteristic with the psychic category of Sanity. Face-to-face encounters with Yog-Sothoth or the insects from Shaggai knock points off your Sanity, but so does your discovery of more information about the Mythos—the more you find out from books or starcharts, the more likely you are to wind up in the Arkham Asylum. Magic also comes with an ironic price, one that Lovecraftian magicians might well pay heed to. If you use any of the binding spells from De Vermis Mysteriis or the Pnakotic Manuscripts, you necessarily learn more about the Mythos and thereby lose more sanity.

Lovecraft’s scholarly heros also investigate the Mythos as much through reading and thinking as through movements through physical space, and this psychological exploration draws the mind of the reader directly into the loop. Usually, readers suspect the dark truth of the Mythos while the narrator still clings to a quotidian attitude—a technique that subtly forces the reader to identify with the Outside rather than with the conventional worldview of the protagonist. Magically, the blindness of Lovecraft’s heroes corresponds to a crucial element of occult theory developed by Austin Osman Spare: that magic occurs over and against the conscious mind, that ordinary thinking must be silenced, distracted, or thoroughly deranged for the chthonic will to express itself.

In order to invade our plane, Lovecraft’s entities need a portal, an interface between the worlds, and Lovecraft emphasizes two: books and dreams. In “Dreams of the Witch-House,” “The Shadow out of Time” and “The Shadow over Innsmouth,” dreams infect their hosts with a virulence that resembles the more overt psychic possessions that occur in “The Haunter in the Dark” and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. Like the monsters themselves, Lovecraft’s dreams are autonomous forces breaking through from Outside and engendering their own reality.

But these dreams also conjure up a more literal “outside”: the strange dream life of Lovecraft himself, a life that (as the informed fan knows) directly inspired some of the tales. By seeding his texts with his own nightmares, Lovecraft creates a autobiographical homology between himself and his protagonists. The stories themselves start to dream, which means that the reader too lies right in the path of the infection.

Lovecraft reproduces himself in his tales in a number of ways—the first-person protagonists reflect aspects of his own reclusive and bookish lifestyle; the epistolary form of the “The Whisperer in Darkness” echoes his own commitment to regular correspondence; character names are lifted from friends; and the New England landscape is his own. This psychic self-reflection partially explains why Lovecraft fans usually become fascinated with the man himself, a gaunt and solitary recluse who socialized through the mail, yearned for the eighteenth century, and adopted the crabby outlook and mannerisms of an old man. Lovecraft’s life, and certainly his voluminous personal correspondence, form part of his myth.

Lovecraft thus solidifies his virtual reality by adding autobiographical elements to his shared world of creatures, books and maps. He also constructs a documentary texture by thickening his tales with manuscripts, newspaper clippings, scholarly citations, diary entries, letters, and bibliographies that list fake books alongside real classics. All this produces the sense that “outside” each individual tale lies a meta-fictional world that hovers on the edge of our own, a world that, like the monsters themselves, is constantly trying to break through and actualize itself. And thanks to Mythos storytellers, role-playing games, and dark-side magicians, it has.

…and Dreaming the Book

In “The Shadow out of Time,” Lovecraft makes explicit one of the fantastic equations that drives his Magick Realism: the equivalence of dreams and books. For five years, the narrator, an economics professor named Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee, is taken over by a mysterious “secondary personality.” After recovering his original identity, Peaslee is beset by powerful dreams in which he finds himself in a strange city, inhabiting a huge tentacle-sprouting conical body, writing down the history of modern Western world in a book. In the climax of the tale, Peaslee journeys to the Australian desert to explore ancient ruins buried beneath the sands. There he discovers a book written in English, in his own handwriting: the very same volume he had produced inside his monstrous dream body.

Though we learn very little of their contents, Lovecraft’s diabolical grimoires are so infectious that even glancing at their ominous sigils proves dangerous. As with their dreams, these texts obssess Lovecraft’s bookish protagonists to the point that the volumes, in Christopher Frayling’s phrase, “vampirize the reader.” Their titles alone are magic spells, the hallucinatory incantations of an eccentric antiquarian: the Pnakotic Manuscripts, the Ilarnet Papyri, the R’lyeh Text, the Seven Cryptical Books of Hsan. Lovecraft’s friends contributed De Vermis Mysteriis and von Junzt’s Unaussprechlichen Kulten, and Lovecraft named the author of his Cultes Des Goules, the Comte d’Erlette, after his young fan August Derleth. Hovering over all these grim tomes is the “dreaded” and “forbidden” Necronomicon, a book of blasphemous invocations to speed the return of the Old Ones. Lovecraft’s supreme intertextual fetish, the Necronomicon stands as one of the few mythical books in literature that have absorbed so much imaginative attention that they’ve entered published reality.

If books owe their life not to their individual contents but to the larger intertextual webwork of reference and citation within which they are woven, than the dread Necronomicon clearly has a life of its own. Besides literary studies, the Necronomicon has generated numerous pseudo-scholarly analyses, including significant appendixes in the Encyclopedia Cthulhiana and Lovecraft’s own “History of the Necronomicon.” A number of FAQs can be found on the Internet, where a mild flame war periodically erupts between magicians, horror fans, and mythology experts over the reality of the book. The undead entity referred to in the Necronomicon’s famous couplet—”That is not dead which can eternal lie,/And with strange eons even death may die”—may be nothing more or less than the the text itself, always lurking in the margins as we read the real.

Lovecraft’s brief “History” was apparently inspired by the first Necronomicon hoax: a review of an edition of the dreaded tome submitted to Massachusetts’ Branford Review in 1934.

Decades later, index cards for the book started popping up in university library catalogs.

It’s perhaps the principle expression of Lovecraft’s Magick Realism that all these ghostly references would finally manifest the book itself. In 1973, a small-press edition of Al Azif (the Necronomicon’s Arabic name) appeared, consisting of eight pages of simulated Syrian script repeated 24 times. Four years later, the Satanists at New York’s Magickal Childe published a Necronomicon by Simon, a grab bag that contains far more Sumerian myth than Lovecraft (though portions were “purposely left out” for the “safety of the reader”). George Hay’s Necronomicon: The Book of Dead Names, also a child of the ’70s, is the most complex, intriguing, and Lovecraftian of the lot. In the spirit of the master’s pseudoscholarship, Hay nests the fabulated invocations of Yog-Sothoth and Cthulhu amongst a set of analytic, literary and historical essays.

Though magicians with strong imaginations have claimed that even the Simon book works wonders, the pseudohistories of the various Necronomicons are far more compelling than the texts themselves. Lovecraft himself provided the bare bones: the text was penned in 730 A.D by a poet, the Mad Arab Abdul Alhazred, and named after the nocturnal sounds of insects. It was subsequently translated by Theodorus Philetas into Greek, by Olaus Wormius into Latin, and by John Dee into English. Lovecraft lists various libraries and private collections where fragments of the volume reside, and gives us a knowing wink by noting that the fantasy writer R.W. Chambers is said to have derived the monstrous and suppressed book found in his novel The King in Yellow from rumors of the Necronomicon (Lovecraft himself claimed to have gotten his inspiration from Chambers).

All of the Necronomicon’s subsequent pseudohistories weave the book in and out of actual occult history, with John Dee playing a particularly conspicuous role. According to Colin Wilson, the version of the text published in the Hay Necronomicon was encrypted in Dee’s Enochian cipher-text Liber Logoaeth . Colin Low’s Necronomicon FAQ claims that Dee discovered the book at the court of King Rudolph II’s court in Prague, and that is was under its influence that Dee and his scryer Edward Kelly achieved their most powerful astral encounters. Never published, Dee’s translation became part of celebrated collection of Elias Ashmole housed at the British Library. Here Crowley read it, freely cobbling passages for The Book of the Law, and ultimately passing on some of its contents indirectly to Lovecraft through Sophia Greene. Crowley’s role in Low’s tale is appropriate, for Crowley certainly knew the magical power of hoax and history.

For the history of the occult is a confabulation, its lies wedded to its genealogies, its “timeless” truths fabricated by revisionists, madmen, and geniuses, its esoteric traditions a constantly shifting conspiracy of influences. The Necronomicon is not the first fiction to generate real magical activity within this potent twilight zone between philology and fantasy.

To take an example from an earlier era, the anonymous Rosicrucian manifestos that first appeared in the early 1600s claimed to issue from a secret brotherhood of Christian Hermeticists who finally deemed it time to come above ground. Many readers immediately wanted to join up, though it is unlikely that such a group existed at the time. But this hoax focused esoteric desire and inspired an explosion of “real” Rosicrucian groups. Though one of the two suspected authors of the manifestos, Johann Valentin Andreae, never came clean, he made veiled references to Rosicrucianism as an “ingenius game which a masked person might like to play upon the literary scene, especially in an age infatuated with everything unusual.” Like the Rosicrucian manifestos or Blavatsky’s Book of Dzyan, Lovecraft’s Necronomicon is the occult equivalent of Orson Welles’ radio broadcast of the “War of the Worlds.” As Lovecraft himself wrote, “No weird story can truly produce terror unless it is devised with all the care and verisimilitude of an actual hoax.”

In Foucault’s Pendulum, Umberto Eco suggests that esoteric truth is perhaps nothing more than a semiotic conspiracy theory born of an endlessly rehashed and self-referential literature—the intertextual fabric Lovecraft understood so well. For those who need to ground their profound states of consciousness in objective correlatives, this is a damning indictment of “tradition.” But as Chaos magicians remind us, magic is nothing more than subjective experience interacting with an internally consistent matrix of signs and affects. In the absence of orthodoxy, all we have is the dynamic tantra of text and perception, of reading and dream. These days the Great Work may be nothing more or less than this “ingenius game,” fabricating itself without closure or rest, weaving itself out of the resplendent void where Azathoth writhes on his Mandelbrot throne….


Poetry: Walt Whitman


HYMEN! O hymenee! why do you tantalize me thus?

O why sting me for a swift moment only?

Why can you not continue? O why do you now cease?

Is it because if you continued beyond the swift moment you would soon certainly kill me?



Native moments–when you come upon me–ah you are here now,

Give me now libidinous joys only,

Give me the drench of my passions, give me life coarse and rank,

To-day I go consort with Nature’s darlings, to-night too,

I am for those who believe in loose delights, I share the midnight orgies of young men,

I dance with the dancers and drink with the drinkers,

The echoes ring with our indecent calls, I pick out some low person for my dearest friend,

He shall be lawless, rude, illiterate, he shall be one condemn’d by others for deeds done,

I will play a part no longer, why should I exile myself from my companions?

O you shunn’d persons, I at least do not shun you,

I come forthwith in your midst, I will be your poet,

I will be more to you than to any of the rest.



A woman waits for me, she contains all, nothing is lacking,

Yet all were lacking if sex were lacking, or if the moisture of the right man were lacking.

Sex contains all, bodies, souls,

Meanings, proofs, purities, delicacies, results, promulgations,

Songs, commands, health, pride, the maternal mystery, the seminal milk,

All hopes, benefactions, bestowals, all the passions, loves,

beauties, delights of the earth,

All the governments, judges, gods, follow’d persons of the earth,

These are contain’d in sex as parts of itself and justifications of itself.

Without shame the man I like knows and avows the deliciousness of his sex,

Without shame the woman I like knows and avows hers.

Now I will dismiss myself from impassive women,

I will go stay with her who waits for me, and with those women that are warm-blooded and sufficient for me,

I see that they understand me and do not deny me,

I see that they are worthy of me, I will be the robust husband of those women.

They are not one jot less than I am,

They are tann’d in the face by shining suns and blowing winds,

Their flesh has the old divine suppleness and strength,

They know how to swim, row, ride, wrestle, shoot, run, strike, retreat, advance, resist, defend themselves,

They are ultimate in their own right–they are calm, clear, well-possess’d of themselves.

I draw you close to me, you women,

I cannot let you go, I would do you good,

I am for you, and you are for me, not only for our own sake, but for others’ sakes,

Envelop’d in you sleep greater heroes and bards,

They refuse to awake at the touch of any man but me.

It is I, you women, I make my way,

I am stern, acrid, large, undissuadable, but I love you,

I do not hurt you any more than is necessary for you,

I pour the stuff to start sons and daughters fit for these States, I press with slow rude muscle,

I brace myself effectually, I listen to no entreaties,

I dare not withdraw till I deposit what has so long accumulated within me.

Through you I drain the pent-up rivers of myself,

In you I wrap a thousand onward years,

On you I graft the grafts of the best-beloved of me and America,

The drops I distil upon you shall grow fierce and athletic girls, new artists, musicians, and singers,

The babes I beget upon you are to beget babes in their turn,

I shall demand perfect men and women out of my love-spendings,

I shall expect them to interpenetrate with others, as I and you inter-penetrate now,

I shall count on the fruits of the gushing showers of them, as I count on the fruits of the gushing showers I give now,

I shall look for loving crops from the birth, life, death, immortality, I plant so lovingly now.

Calling Cthulhu

Pretty Hot weekend all around… I actually slept last night, which was a miracle. Maybe we will be back on track…

Nice weekend on the social side, one of many going away parties for our friends Randy and Deda… Tom and Cheryl came by Sunday. Walking in the heat with Sophie off her lead. (she is very proud of the fact it seems) saying hello to the neighbors.

Blessed by living in Portland. Great place, wonderful community. Everyone seems to know you or someone who you know. It makes being here even better.

Well, back on track this week I hope. We start out featuring Erik Davis’s work on Cthulhu. I admire his writing abilities. A very sharp cookie.

I am trying to get permission to put up some of Jay Kinneys work as well. We’ll see.

On The Menu:

The Links

Article: Calling Cthulhu / by Erik Davis

Songs From A Room: The Lyrical Poetry of Leonard Cohen (We will always re-visit the masters…)

Have a Beautiful Day, wherever you are.




Spiders on Drugs…

Maverick medic reveals details of baby cloning experiment

The Light Pours Out Of Me…


Calling Cthulhu Part 1 – Erik Davis

H.P. Lovecraft’s Magick Realism

In this book it is spoken of…Spirits and Conjurations; of Gods, Spheres, Planes and many other things which may or may not exist. It is immaterial whether they exist or not. By doing certain things certain results follow.

—Aleister Crowley

Consumed by cancer in 1937 at the age of 46, the last scion of a faded aristocratic New England family, the horror writer Howard Phillips Lovecraft left one of America’s most curious literary legacies. The bulk of his short stories appeared in Weird Tales, a pulp magazine devoted to the supernatural. But within these modest confines, Lovecraft brought dark fantasy screaming into the 20th century, taking the genre, almost literally, into a new dimension.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the loosely linked cycle of stories known as the Cthulhu Mythos. Named for a tentacled alien monster who waits dreaming beneath the sea in the sunken city of R’lyeh, the Mythos encompasses the cosmic career of a variety of gruesome extraterrestrial entities that include Yog-Sothoth, Nyarlathotep, and the blind idiot god Azathoth, who sprawls at the center of Ultimate Chaos, “encircled by his flopping horde of mindless and amorphous dancers, and lulled by the thin monotonous piping of a demonic flute held in nameless paws.”Lurking on the margins of our space-time continuum, this merry crew of Outer Gods and Great Old Ones are now attempting to invade our world through science and dream and horrid rites.

As a marginally popular writer working in the literary equivalent of the gutter, Lovecraft received no serious attention during his lifetime. But while most 1930s pulp fiction is nearly unreadable today, Lovecraft continues to attract attention. In France and Japan, his tales of cosmic fungi, degenerate cults and seriously bad dreams are recognized as works of bent genius, and the celebrated French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari praise his radical embrace of multiplicity in their magnum opus A Thousand Plateaus. On Anglo-American turf, a passionate cabal of critics fill journals like Lovecraft Studies and Crypt of Cthulhu with their almost talmudic research. Meanwhile both hacks and gifted disciples continue to craft stories that elaborate the Cthulhu Mythos. There’s even a Lovecraft convention—the NecronomiCon, named for the most famous of his forbidden grimoires. Like the gnostic science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, H.P. Lovecraft is the epitome of a cult author.

The word “fan” comes from fanaticus, an ancient term for a temple devotee, and Lovecraft fans exhibit the unflagging devotion, fetishism and sectarian debates that have characterized popular religious cults throughout the ages. But Lovecraft’s “cult” status has a curiously literal dimension. Many magicians and occultists have taken up his Mythos as source material for their practice. Drawn from the darker regions of the esoteric counterculture—Thelema and Satanism and Chaos magic—these Lovecraftian mages actively seek to generate the terrifying and atavistic encounters that Lovecraft’s protagonists stumble into compulsively, blindly or against their will.

Secondary occult sources for Lovecraftian magic include three different “fake” editions of the Necronomicon, a few rites included in Anton LaVey’s The Satanic Rituals, and a number of works by the loopy British Thelemite Kenneth Grant. Besides Grant’s Typhonian O.T.O. and the Temple of Set’s Order of the Trapezoid, magical sects that tap the Cthulhu current have included the Esoteric Order of Dagon, the Bate Cabal, Michael Bertiaux’s Lovecraftian Coven, and a Starry Wisdom group in Florida, named after the nineteenth-century sect featured in Lovecraft’s “Haunter of the Dark.” Solo chaos mages fill out the ranks, cobbling together Lovecraftian arcana on the Internet or freely sampling the Mythos in their chthonic, open-ended (anti-) workings.

This phenomenon is made all the more intriguing by the fact that Lovecraft himself was a “mechanistic materialist” philosophically opposed to spirituality and magic of any kind. Accounting for this discrepancy is only one of many curious problems raised by the apparent power of Lovecraftian magic. Why and how do these pulp visions “work”? What constitutes the “authentic” occult? How does magic relate to the tension between fact and fable? As I hope to show, Lovecraftian magic is not a pop hallucination but an imaginative and coherent “reading” set in motion by the dynamics of Lovecraft’s own texts, a set of thematic, stylistic, and intertextual strategies which constitute what I call Lovecraft’s Magick Realism.

Magical realism already denotes a strain of Latin American fiction—exemplified by Borges, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Isabel Allende—in which a fantastic dreamlike logic melds seamlessly and delightfully with the rhythms of the everyday. Lovecraft’s Magick Realism is far more dark and convulsive, as ancient and amoral forces violently puncture the realistic surface of his tales. Lovecraft constructs and then collapses a number of intense polarities—between realism and fantasy, book and dream, reason and its chaotic Other. By playing out these tensions in his writing, Lovecraft also reflects the transformations that darkside occultism has undergone as it confronts modernity in such forms as psychology, quantum physics, and the existential groundlessness of being. And by embedding all this in an intertextual Mythos of profound depth, he draws the reader into the chaos that lies “between the worlds” of magick and reality.

A Pulp Poe

Written mostly in the 1920s and ’30s, Lovecraft’s work builds a somewhat rickety bridge between the florid decadence of fin de si`ecle fantasy and the more “rational” demands of the new century’s science fiction. His early writing is gaudy Gothic pastiche, but in his mature Chtulhu tales, Lovecraft adopts a pseudodocumentary style that utilizes the language of journalism, scholarship, and science to construct a realistic and measured prose voice which then explodes into feverish, adjectival horror. Some find Lovecraft’s intensity atrocious—not everyone can enjoy a writer capable of comparing a strange light to “a glutted swarm of corpse-fed fireflies dancing hellish sarabands over an accursed marsh.”

But in terms of horror, Lovecraft delivers. His protagonist is usually a reclusive bookish type, a scholar or artist who is or is known to the first-person narrator. Stumbling onto odd coincidences or beset with strange dreams, his intellectual curiosity drives him to pore through forbidden books or local folklore, his empirical turn of mind blinding him to the nightmarish scenario that the reader can see slowly building up around him. When the Mythos finally breaks through, it often shatters him, even though the invasion is generally more cognitive than physical.

By endlessly playing out a shared collection of images and tropes, genres like weird fiction also generate a collective resonance that can seem both “archetypal” and cliched. Though Lovecraft broke with classic fantasy, he gave his Mythos density and depth by building a shared world to house his disparate tales. The Mythos stories all share a liminal map that weaves fictional places like Arkham, Dunwich, and Miskatonic University into the New England landscape; they also refer to a common body of entities and forbidden books. A relatively common feature in fantasy fiction, these metafictional techniques create the sense that Lovecraft’s Mythos lies beyond each individual tales, hovering in a dimension halfway between fantasy and the real.

Lovecraft did not just tell tales—he built a world. It’s no accident that one of the more successful role-playing games to follow in the heels of Dungeons &amp; Dragons takes place in “Lovecraft Country.” Most role-playing adventure games build their worlds inside highly codified “mythic” spaces of the collective imagination (heroic fantasy, cyberpunk, vampire Paris, Arthur’s Britain). The game Call of Cthulhu takes place in Lovecraft’s 1920s America, where players become “investigators” who track down dark rumors or heinous occult crimes that gradually open up the reality of the monsters. Call of Cthulhu is an unusually dark game; the best investigators can do is to retain sanity and stave off the monsters’ eventual apocalyptic triumph. In many ways Call of Cthulhu “works” because of the considerable density of Lovecraft’s original Mythos, a density which the game itself also contributes to.

Lovecraft himself “collectivized” and deepened his Mythos by encouraging his friends to write stories that take place within it. Writers like Clark Ashton Smith, Robert Howard, and a young Robert Bloch complied. After Lovecraft’s death, August Derleth carried on this tradition with great devotion, and today, dozens continue to write Lovecraftian tales.

With some notable exceptions, most of these writers mangle the Myth, often by detailing horrors the master wisely left shrouded in ambiguous gloom. The exact delineations of Lovecraft’s cosmic cast and timeline remain murky even after a great deal of close-reading and cross-referencing. But in the hands of the Catholic Derleth, the extraterrestrial Great Old Ones become elemental demons defeated by the “good” Elder Gods. Forcing Lovecraft’s cosmic and fundamentally amoral pantheon into a traditional religious framework, Derleth committed an error at once imaginative and interpretive. For despite the diabolical aura of his creatures, Lovecraft generates much of his power by stepping beyond good and evil.

The Horror of Reason

For the most part Lovecraft abandoned the supernatural and religious underpinnings of the classic supernatural tale, turning instead looked towards science to provide frameworks for horror. Calling Lovecraft the “Copernicus of the horror tale,” the fantasy writer Fritz Leiber Jr. wrote that Lovecraft was the first fantasist who “firmly attached the emotion of spectral dread to such concepts as outer space, the rim of the cosmos, alien beings, unsuspected dimensions, and the conceivable universes lying outside our own spacetime continuum.” As Lovecraft himself put it in a letter, “The time has come when the normal revolt against time, space, and matter must assume a form not overtly incompatible with what is known of reality—when it must be gratified by images forming supplements rather than contradictions of the visible and measurable universe.”

For Lovecraft, it is not the sleep of reason that breeds monsters, but reason with its eyes agog. By fusing cutting-edge science with archaic material, Lovecraft creates a twisted materialism in which scientific “progress” returns us to the atavistic abyss, and hard-nosed research revives the factual basis of forgotten and discarded myths. Hence Lovecraft’s obsession with archeology; the digs which unearth alien artifacts and bizarrely angled cities are simultaneously historical and imaginal. In 1930 story “The Whisperer in Darkness,” Lovecraft identifies the planet Yuggoth (from which the fungoid Mi-Go launch their clandestine invasions of Earth) with the newly-discovered planet called Pluto. To the 1930 reader—probably the kind of person who would thrill to popular accounts of C.W. Thompson’s discovery of the ninth planet that very year—this factual reference “opens up” Lovecraft’s fiction into a real world that is itself opening up to the limitless cosmos.

Lovecraft’s most self-conscious, if somewhat strained, fusion of occult folklore and weird science occurs in the 1932 story “The Dreams of the Witch-House.” The demonic characters that the folklorist Walter Gilman first glimpses in his nightmares are stock ghoulies: the evil witch crone Keziah Mason, her familiar spirit Brown Jenkin, and a “Black Man” who is perhaps Lovecraft’s most unambiguously Satanic figure. These figures eventually invade the real space of Gilman’s curiously angled room. But Gilman is also a student of quantum physics, Riemann spaces and non-Euclidian mathematics, and his dreams are almost psychedelic manifestations of his abstract knowledge. Within these “abysses whose material and gravitational properties…he could not even begin to explain,” an “indescribably angled” realm of “titan prisms, labyrinths, cube-and-plane clusters and quasi-buildings,” Gilman keeps encountering a small polyhedron and a mass of “prolately spheroidal bubbles.” By the end of the tale that he realizes that these are none other than Keziah and her familiar spirit, classic demonic cliches translated into the most alien dimension of speculative science: hyperspace.

These days, one finds the motif of hyperspace in science fiction, pop cosmology, computer interface design, channelled UFO prophecies, and the postmodern shamanism of today’s high-octane psychedelic travellers—all discourses that feed contemporary chaos magic. The term itself was probably coined by the science fiction writer John W. Campbell Jr.in 1931, though its origins as a concept lie in nineteenth-century mathematical explorations of the fourth dimension.

In many ways, however, Lovecraft was the concept’s first mythographer. From the perspective of hyperspace, our normal, three-dimensional spaces are exhausted and insufficient constructs. But our incapacity to vividly imagine this new dimension in humanist terms creates a crisis of representation, a crisis which for Lovecraft calls up our most ancient fears of the unknown. “All the objects…were totally beyond description or even comprehension,” Lovecraft writes of Gilman’s seething nightmare before paradoxically proceeding to describe these horrible objects. In his descriptions, Lovecraft emphasizes the incommensurability of this space through almost non-sensical juxtapositions like “obscene angles” or “wrong” geometry, a rhetorical technique that one Chaos magician calls “Semiotic Angularity.”

Lovecraft has a habit of labeling his horrors “indescribable,” “nameless, “unseen,” “unutterable,” “unknown” and “formless.” Though superficially weak, this move can also be seen a kind of macabre via negativa. Like the apophatic oppositions of negative theologians like Pseudo-Dionysus or St. John of the Cross, Lovecraft marks the limits of language, limits which paradoxically point to the Beyond. For the mystics, this ultimate is the ineffable One, Pseudo-Dionysus’ “superluminous gloom” or the Ain Soph of the Kabbalists. But there is no unity in Lovecraft’s Beyond. It is the omnivorous Outside, the screaming multiplicity of cosmic hyperspace opened up by reason.

For Lovecraft, scientific materialism is the ultimate Faustian bargain, not because it hands us Promethean technology (a man for the eighteenth century, Lovecraft had no interest in gadgetry), but because it leads us beyond the horizon of what our minds can withstand. “The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the mind to correlate all its contents,” goes the famous opening line of “Call of Cthulhu.” By correlating those contexts, empiricism opens up “terrifying vistas of reality”—what Lovecraft elsewhere calls “the blind cosmos [that] grinds aimlessly on from nothing to something and from something back to nothing again, neither heeding nor knowing the wishes or existence of the minds that flicker for a second now and then in the darkness”.

Lovecraft gave this existentialist dread an imaginative voice, what he called “cosmic alienage”. For Fritz Leiber, the “monstrous nuclear chaos” of Azathoth, Lovecraft’s supreme entity, symbolizes “the purposeless, mindless, yet all-powerful universe of materialistic belief.” But this symbolism isn’t the whole story, for, as DMT voyagers know, hyperspace is haunted. The entities that erupt from Lovecraft’s inhuman realms seem to suggest that in a blind mechanistic cosmos, the most alien thing is sentience itself. Peering outward through the cracks of domesticated “human” consciousness, a compassionless materialist like Lovecraft could only react with horror, for reason must cower before the most raw and atavistic dream-dragons of the psyche.

Modern humans usually suppress, ignore or constrain these forces lurking in our lizard brain. Mythically, these forces take the form of demons imprisoned under the angelic yokes of altruism, morality, and intellect. Yet if one does not believe in any ultimate universal purpose, then these primal forces are the most attuned with the cosmos precisely because they are amoral and inhuman. In “The Dunwich Horror”, Henry Wheeler overhears a monstrous moan from a diabolical rite and asks “from what unplumbed gulfs of extra-cosmic consciousness or obscure, long-latent heredity, were those half-articular thunder-croakings drawn?” The Outside is within.

Chaos Culture

Lovecraft’s fiction expresses a “future primitivism” that finds its most intense esoteric expression in Chaos magic, an eclectic contemporary style of darkside occultism that draws from Thelema, Satanism, Austin Osman Spare, and Eastern metaphysics to construct a thoroughly postmodern magic.

For today’s Chaos mages, there is no “tradition”. The symbols and myths of countless sects, orders, and faiths, are constructs, useful fictions, “games.” That magic works has nothing to do with its truth claims and everything to do with the will and experience of the magician. Recognizing the distinct possibility that we may be adrift in a meaningless mechanical cosmos within which human will and imagination are vaguely comic flukes (the “cosmic indifferentism” Lovecraft himself professed), the mage accepts his groundlessness, embracing the chaotic self-creating void that is himself.

As we find with Lovecraft’s fictional cults and grimoires, chaos magicians refuse the hierarchical, symbolic and monotheist biases of traditional esotericism. Like most Chaos magicians, the British occultist Peter Carroll gravitates towards the Black, not because he desires a simple Satanic inversion of Christianity but becuase he seeks the amoral and shamanic core of magical experience—a core that Lovecraft conjures up with his orgies of drums, guttural chants, and screeching horns. At the same time, Chaos mages like Carroll also plumb the weird science of quantum physics, complexity theory and electronic Prometheanism. Some darkside magicians become consumed by the atavistic forces they unleash or addicted to the dark costume of the Satanic anti-hero. But the most sophisticated adopt a balanced mode of gnostic existentialism that calls all constructs into question while refusing the cold comforts of skeptical reason or suicidal nihilism, a pragmatic and empirical shamanism that resonates as much with Lovecraft’s hard-headed materialism as with his horrors.

The first occultist to really engage these notions is Aleister Crowley, who shattered the received vessels of occult tradition while creatively extending the dark dream of magic into the twentieth century. With his outlandish image, trickster texts, and his famous Law of Thelema (“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”), Crowley called into question the esoteric certainties of “true” revelation and lineage, and was the first magus to give occult antinomionism a decidedly Nietzschean twist.

Unfettered, this occult will to power can easily degenerate into a heartless elitism, and the fascist and racist dimensions of both twentieth-century occultism and Lovecraft himself should not be forgotten. But this self-engendering will is more exuberantly expressed as a will to Art. In many ways, the fin de siecle occultism that exploded during Crowley’s time was an essentially esthetic esotericism. A good number of the nineteenth-century magicians who inspire us today are the great poets, painters, and writers of Symbolism and decadent Romanticism, many of them dabblers or adepts in Satanism, Rosicrucianism, and hermetic societies. The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was infused with artistic pretensions, and Golden Dawn member and fantasy writer Arthur Machen was one of Lovecraft’s strongest influences.

But it was Austin Osman Spare who most decisively dissolved the boundary between artistic and magical life. Though working independently of the Surrealists, Spare also based his art on the dark and autonomous eruptions of “subconscious” material, though in a more overtly theurgic context.[8] Today’s Chaos magicians are heavily influenced by Spare, and their Lovecraftian rites express this simultaneously creative and nihilistic dissolution. And as postmodern spawn of role-playing games, computers, and pop culture, they celebrate the fact that Lovecraft’s secrets are scraped from the barrel of pulp fiction.



Poetry: Leonard Cohen

Songs From A Room….

I hear there is a new documentary on Leonard. His bits are good, but the singers do tribute seem a bit overwrought from what I hear… I once met him outside of a theatre long ago, to my great delight. I am sure I must of appeared to be a blithering fool… 80)

Story of Isaac

The door it opened slowly,

my father he came in,

I was nine years old.

And he stood so tall above me,

his blue eyes they were shining

and his voice was very cold.

He said, “I’ve had a vision

and you know I’m strong and holy,

I must do what I’ve been told.”

So he started up the mountain,

I was running, he was walking,

and his axe was made of gold.

Well, the trees they got much smaller,

the lake a lady’s mirror,

we stopped to drink some wine.

Then he threw the bottle over.

Broke a minute later

and he put his hand on mine.

Thought I saw an eagle

but it might have been a vulture,

I never could decide.

Then my father built an altar,

he looked once behind his shoulder,

he knew I would not hide.

You who build these altars now

to sacrifice these children,

you must not do it anymore.

A scheme is not a vision

and you never have been tempted

by a demon or a god.

You who stand above them now,

your hatchets blunt and bloody,

you were not there before,

when I lay upon a mountain

and my father’s hand was trembling

with the beauty of the word.

And if you call me brother now,

forgive me if I inquire,

“Just according to whose plan?”

When it all comes down to dust

I will kill you if I must,

I will help you if I can.

When it all comes down to dust

I will help you if I must,

I will kill you if I can.

And mercy on our uniform,

man of peace or man of war,

the peacock spreads his fan.


Bird on the Wire

Like a bird on the wire,

like a drunk in a midnight choir

I have tried in my way to be free.

Like a worm on a hook,

like a knight from some old fashioned book

I have saved all my ribbons for thee.

If I, if I have been unkind,

I hope that you can just let it go by.

If I, if I have been untrue

I hope you know it was never to you.

Like a baby, stillborn,

like a beast with his horn

I have torn everyone who reached out for me.

But I swear by this song

and by all that I have done wrong

I will make it all up to thee.

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,

he said to me, “You must not ask for so much.”

And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,

she cried to me, “Hey, why not ask for more?”

Oh like a bird on the wire,

like a drunk in a midnight choir

I have tried in my way to be free.


Seems So Long Ago, Nancy

It seems so long ago,

Nancy was alone,

looking ate the Late Late show

through a semi-precious stone.

In the House of Honesty

her father was on trial,

in the House of Mystery

there was no one at all,

there was no one at all.

It seems so long ago,

none of us were strong;

Nancy wore green stockings

and she slept with everyone.

She never said she’d wait for us

although she was alone,

I think she fell in love for us

in nineteen sixty one,

in nineteen sixty one.

It seems so long ago,

Nancy was alone,

a forty five beside her head,

an open telephone.

We told her she was beautiful,

we told her she was free

but none of us would meet her in

the House of Mystery,

the House of Mystery.

And now you look around you,

see her everywhere,

many use her body,

many comb her hair.

In the hollow of the night

when you are cold and numb

you hear her talking freely then,

she’s happy that you’ve come,

she’s happy that you’ve come.