The Crack in The Wall….

A couple of entries today…

This being the first…

For every revolution there

comes a sacrifice…

(Dedicated to Syd)

Blessings.

Gwyllm

Magic mushrooms can induce mystical effects, study finds

By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor

Published: 11 July 2006

A universal mystical experience with life-changing effects can be produced by the hallucinogen contained in magic mushrooms, scientists claim today.

Forty years after Timothy Leary, the apostle of drug-induced mysticism, urged his hippie followers to “tune in, turn on, and drop out”, researchers at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, Maryland, have for the first time demonstrated that mystical experiences can be produced safely in the laboratory. They say that there is no difference between drug-induced mystical experiences and the spontaneous religious ones that believers have reported for centuries. They are “descriptively identical”.

And they argue that the potential of the hallucinogenic drugs, ignored for decades because of their links with illicit drug use in the 1960s, must be explored to develop new treatments for depression, drug addiction and the treatment of intolerable pain.

Anticipating criticism from church leaders, they say they are not interested in the “Does God exist?” debate. “This work can’t and won’t go there.”

Interest in the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs is growing around the world. In the UK, the Royal College of Psychiatrists debated their use at a conference in March for the first time in 30 years. A conference held in Basel, Switzerland, last January reviewed the growing psychedelic psychiatry movement.

The drug psilocybin is the active ingredient of magic mushrooms which grow wild in Wales and were openly sold in London markets until a change in the law last year.

For the US study, 30 middle-aged volunteers who had religious or spiritual interests attended two eight-hour drug sessions, two months apart, receiving psilocybin in one session and a non-hallucinogenic stimulant, Ritalin, in the other. They were not told which drug was which.

One third described the experience with psilocybin as the single most spiritually significant of their lifetimes and two thirds rated it among their five most meaningful experiences.

In more than 60 per cent of cases the experience qualified as a “full mystical experience” based on established psychological scales, the researchers say. Some likened it to the importance of the birth of their first child or the death of a parent.

The effects persisted for at least two months. Eighty per cent of the volunteers reported moderately or greatly increased well-being or life satisfaction. Relatives, friends and colleagues confirmed the changes.

The study is one of the first in the new discipline of “neurotheology” – the neurology of religious experience. The researchers, who report their findings in the online journal Psychopharmacology, say that their aim is to explore the possible benefits drugs like psilocybin can bring. Professor Roland Griffiths of the department of neuroscience and psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, said: “As a reaction to the excesses of the 1960s, human research with hallucinogens has been basically frozen in time.

“I had a healthy scepticism going into this. [But] under defined conditions, with careful preparation, you can safely and fairly reliably occasion what’s called a primary mystical experience that may lead to positive changes in a person. It is an early step in what we hope will be a large body of scientific work that will ultimately help people.”

A third of the volunteers became frightened during the drug sessions with some reporting feelings of paranoia. The researchers say psilocybin is not toxic or addictive, unlike alcohol and cocaine, but that volunteers must be accompanied throughout the experience by people who can help them through it.

A universal mystical experience with life-changing effects can be produced by the hallucinogen contained in magic mushrooms, scientists claim today.

Forty years after Timothy Leary, the apostle of drug-induced mysticism, urged his hippie followers to “tune in, turn on, and drop out”, researchers at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, Maryland, have for the first time demonstrated that mystical experiences can be produced safely in the laboratory. They say that there is no difference between drug-induced mystical experiences and the spontaneous religious ones that believers have reported for centuries. They are “descriptively identical”.

And they argue that the potential of the hallucinogenic drugs, ignored for decades because of their links with illicit drug use in the 1960s, must be explored to develop new treatments for depression, drug addiction and the treatment of intolerable pain.

Anticipating criticism from church leaders, they say they are not interested in the “Does God exist?” debate. “This work can’t and won’t go there.”

Interest in the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs is growing around the world. In the UK, the Royal College of Psychiatrists debated their use at a conference in March for the first time in 30 years. A conference held in Basel, Switzerland, last January reviewed the growing psychedelic psychiatry movement.

The drug psilocybin is the active ingredient of magic mushrooms which grow wild in Wales and were openly sold in London markets until a change in the law last year.

For the US study, 30 middle-aged volunteers who had religious or spiritual interests attended two eight-hour drug sessions, two months apart, receiving psilocybin in one session and a non-hallucinogenic stimulant, Ritalin, in the other. They were not told which drug was which.

One third described the experience with psilocybin as the single most spiritually significant of their lifetimes and two thirds rated it among their five most meaningful experiences.

In more than 60 per cent of cases the experience qualified as a “full mystical experience” based on established psychological scales, the researchers say. Some likened it to the importance of the birth of their first child or the death of a parent.

The effects persisted for at least two months. Eighty per cent of the volunteers reported moderately or greatly increased well-being or life satisfaction. Relatives, friends and colleagues confirmed the changes.

The study is one of the first in the new discipline of “neurotheology” – the neurology of religious experience. The researchers, who report their findings in the online journal Psychopharmacology, say that their aim is to explore the possible benefits drugs like psilocybin can bring. Professor Roland Griffiths of the department of neuroscience and psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, said: “As a reaction to the excesses of the 1960s, human research with hallucinogens has been basically frozen in time.

“I had a healthy scepticism going into this. [But] under defined conditions, with careful preparation, you can safely and fairly reliably occasion what’s called a primary mystical experience that may lead to positive changes in a person. It is an early step in what we hope will be a large body of scientific work that will ultimately help people.”

A third of the volunteers became frightened during the drug sessions with some reporting feelings of paranoia. The researchers say psilocybin is not toxic or addictive, unlike alcohol and cocaine, but that volunteers must be accompanied throughout the experience by people who can help them through it.

______________

For Syd…

Thanks for the music

the madness

the dreams

The passing came first

in my dreams

2 days you were on

my mind…

Oh how the time changes

and the wind is up

and calling in the hills

Gentle Madman

go peacefully

to the Western Isles.

(Gwyllm)

ARNOLD LAYNE

(single)

Arnold Layne had a strange hobby

Collecting clothes

Moonshine, washing line

They suit him fine

On the wall, hung a tall mirror

Distorted view, see through baby blue

Oh, Arnold Layne

It’s not the same, takes two to know

Two to know, two to know –

Why can’t you see?

Arnold Layne, Arnold Layne, Arnold Layne, Arnold Layne

Now he’s caught – a nasty sort of person.

They gave him time

Doors clang – chain gang – he hates it

Oh, Arnold Layne

It’s not the same, takes two to know

Two to know, two to know

Why can’t you see?

Arnold Layne, Arnold Layne, Arnold Layne, Arnold Layne

————-

SEE EMILY PLAY

(Single)

Emily tries but misunderstands, ah ooh

She often inclined to borrow somebody’s dreams till tomorrow

There is no other day

Let’s try it another way

You’ll lose your mind at play

Free games till may

See Emily play

Soon after dark Emily cries, ah ooh

Gazing through trees in sorrow hardly a sound till tomorrow

There is no other day

Let’s try it another way

You’ll lose your mind and play

Free games for may

See Emily play

Put on a gown that touches the ground, ah ooh

Float on a river forever and ever, Emily

There is no other day

Let’s try it another way

You’ll lose your mind and play

Free games for may

See Emily play

———

DOMINOES

It’s an idea, someday

in my tears, my dreams

don’t you want to see her proof?

Life that comes of no harm

you and I, you and I and dominoes, the day goes by…

You and I in place

wasting time on dominoes

a day so dark, so warm

life that comes of no harm

you and I and dominoes, time goes by…

Fireworks and heat, someday

hold a shell, a stick or play

overheard a lark today

losing when my mind’s astray

don’t you want to know with your pretty hair

stretch out your hand, glad feel,

in an echo for your way.

It’s an idea, someday

in my tears, my dreams

don’t you want to see her proof?

Life that comes of no harm

you and I, you and I and dominoes, the day goes by…

—–

ASTRONOMY DOMINE

Lime and limpid green, a second scene

A fight between the blue you once knew.

Floating down, the sound resounds

Around the icy waters underground.

Jupiter and Saturn, Oberon, Miranda and Titania.

Neptune, Titan, Stars can frighten.

Blinding signs flap

Flicker, flicker, flicker blam. Pow, pow.

Stairway scare, Dan Dare who’s there?

Lime and limpid green, the sounds around the icy waters under

Lime and limpid green, the sounds around the icy waters underground.

—–

LUCIFER SAM

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 simba 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 Monday Moment…

Tomas and his Daughter Leah arrived yesterday afternoon. PK and Mike Hoffmann showed up, and we all got to have some quality time hanging out and conversing. Mary fixed a lovely meal, we sat outside and enjoyed the evening together… Tomas and Leah are here until Tuesday morning, and then they will fly back home to the East Coast.

Saw the Pirate Film this weekend. Johnny Depp is truly amazing. I recommend the film just for the fun of it.

Off to work, more later when I get back in.

Cheers,

Gwyllm

On The Menu:

The Links

A Visionary – W.B. Yeats

Poetry: The Coming of Arthur (an extraction) Lord Tennyson…

Enjoy!

_______

Links:

From Oliver: The Toxicity of Recreational Drugs

Fear Factor…

Adam Carolla hangs up on Coulter

____________

A VISIONARY – William Butler Yeats

A YOUNG man came to see me at my lodgings the other night, and began to talk of the making of the earth and the heavens and much else. I questioned him about his life and his doings. He had written many poems and painted many mystical designs since we met last, but latterly had neither written nor painted, for his whole heart was set upon making his mind strong, vigorous, and calm, and the emotional life of the artist was bad for him, he feared. He recited his poems readily, however. He had them all in his memory. Some indeed had never been written down. They, with their wild music as of winds blowing in the reeds, 1 seemed to me the

very inmost voice of Celtic sadness, and of Celtic longing for infinite things the world has never seen. Suddenly it seemed to me that he was peering about him a little eagerly. ‘Do you see anything, X—–?’ I said. ‘A shining, winged woman, covered by her long hair, is standing near the doorway,’ he answered, or some such words. ‘Is it the influence of some living person who thinks of us, and whose thoughts appear to us in that symbolic form?’ I said; for I am well instructed in the ways of the visionaries and in the fashion of their speech. ‘No,’ he replied; ‘for if it were the thoughts of a person who is alive I should feel the living influence in my living body, and my heart would beat and my breath would fail. It is a spirit. It is some one who is dead or who has never lived.’

I asked what he was doing, and found he was clerk in a large shop. His pleasure, however, was to wander about upon the hills, talking to half-mad and visionary peasants, or to persuade queer and conscience-stricken persons to deliver up the keeping of their troubles into his care. Another night, when I was with him in his own lodging, more than one turned up to talk over their beliefs and disbeliefs, and sun them as it were in the subtle light of his mind. Sometimes visions come to him as he talks with them, and he is rumoured to have told divers people true matters of their past days and distant friends, and left them hushed with dread of their strange teacher, who seems scarce more than a boy, and is so much more subtle than the oldest among them.

The poetry he recited me was full of his nature and his visions. Sometimes it told of other lives he believes himself to have lived in other centuries, sometimes of people he had talked to, revealing them to their own minds. I told him I would write an article upon him and it, and was told in turn that I might do so if I did not mention his name, for he wished to be always ‘unknown, obscure, impersonal.’ Next day a bundle of his poems arrived, and with them a note in these words: ‘Here are copies of verses you said you liked. I do not think I could ever write or paint any more. I prepare myself for a cycle of other activities in some other life. I will make rigid my roots and branches. It is not now my turn to burst into leaves and flowers.’

The poems were all endeavours to capture some high, impalpable mood in a net of obscure images. There were fine passages in all, but these were often embedded in thoughts which have evidently a special value to his mind, but are to other men the counters of an unknown coinage. To them they seem merely so much brass or copper or tarnished silver at the best. At other times the beauty of the thought was obscured by careless writing as though he had suddenly doubted if writing was not a foolish labour. He had frequently illustrated his verses with drawings, in which an unperfect anatomy did not altogether hide extreme beauty of feeling. The faeries in whom he believes have given him many subjects, notably Thomas of Ercildoune sitting motionless in the twilight while a young and beautiful creature leans softly out of the shadow and whispers in his ear. He had delighted above all in strong effects of colour: spirits who have upon their heads instead of hair the feathers of peacocks; a phantom reaching from a swirl of flame towards a star; a spirit passing with a globe of iridescent crystal–symbol of the soul–half shut within his hand. But always under this largess of colour lay some tender homily addressed to man’s fragile hopes. This spiritual eagerness draws to him all those who, like himself, seek for illumination or else mourn for a joy that has gone. One of these especially comes to mind. A winter or two ago he spent much of the night walking up and down upon the mountain talking to an old peasant who, dumb to most men, poured out his cares for him. Both were unhappy: X—– because he had then first decided that art and poetry were not for him, and the old peasant because his life was ebbing out with no achievement remaining and no hope left him. Both how Celtic! how full of striving after a something never to be completely expressed in word or deed. The peasant was wandering in his mind with prolonged sorrow. Once he burst out with ‘God possesses the heavens–God possesses the heavens–but He covets the world’; and once he lamented that his old neighbours were gone, and that all had forgotten him: they used to draw a chair to the fire for him in every cabin, and now they said, ‘Who is that old fellow there?’ ‘The fret’ [Irish for doom] ‘is over me,’ he repeated, and then went on to talk once more of God and heaven. More than once also he said, waving his arm towards the mountain, ‘Only myself knows what happened under the thorn-tree forty years ago’; and as he said it the tears upon his face glistened in the moonlight.

This old man always rises before me when I think of X—–. Both seek–one in wandering sentences, the other in symbolic pictures and subtle allegoric poetry–to express a something that lies beyond the range of expression; and both, if X—– will forgive me, have within them the vast and vague extravagance that lies at the bottom of the Celtic heart. The peasant visionaries that are, the landlord duelists that were, and the whole hurly-burly of legends–Cuchulain fighting the sea for two days until the waves pass over him and he dies, Caolte storming the palace of the gods, Oisin seeking in vain for three hundred years to appease his insatiable heart with all the pleasures of faeryland, these two mystics walking up and down upon the mountains uttering the central dreams of their souls in no less dream-laden sentences, and this mind that finds them so interesting–all are a portion of that great Celtic phantasmagoria whose meaning no man has discovered, nor any angel revealed.

___________________

The Coming of Arthur (extraction)

ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON

“But let me tell thee now another tale:

For Bleys, our Merlin’s master, as they say,

Died but of late, and sent his cry to me,

To hear him speak before he left his life.

Shrunk like a fairy changeling lay the mage;

And when I entered told me that himself

And Merlin ever served about the King,

Uther, before he died; and on the night

When Uther in Tintagil past away

Moaning and wailing for an heir, the two

Left the still King, and passing forth to breathe,

Then from the castle gateway by the chasm

Descending through the dismal night–a night

In which the bounds of heaven and earth were lost–

Beheld, so high upon the dreary deeps

It seemed in heaven, a ship, the shape thereof

A dragon winged, and all from stem to stern

Bright with a shining people on the decks,

And gone as soon as seen. And then the two

Dropt to the cove, and watched the great sea fall,

Wave after wave, each mightier than the last,

Till last, a ninth one, gathering half the deep

And full of voices, slowly rose and plunged

Roaring, and all the wave was in a flame:

And down the wave and in the flame was borne

A naked babe, and rode to Merlin’s feet,

Who stoopt and caught the babe, and cried, ‘The King!

Here is an heir for Uther!’ And the fringe

Of that great breaker, sweeping up the strand,

Lashed at the wizard as he spake the word,

And all at once all round him rose in fire,

So that the child and he were clothed in fire.

And presently thereafter followed calm,

Free sky and stars: ‘And this same child,’ he said,

‘Is he who reigns; nor could I part in peace

Till this were told.’ And saying this the seer

Went through the strait and dreadful pass of death,

Not ever to be questioned any more

Save on the further side; but when I met

Merlin, and asked him if these things were truth–

The shining dragon and the naked child

Descending in the glory of the seas–

He laughed as is his wont, and answered me

In riddling triplets of old time, and said:

“‘Rain, rain, and sun! a rainbow in the sky!

A young man will be wiser by and by;

An old man’s wit may wander ere he die.

Rain, rain, and sun! a rainbow on the lea!

And truth is this to me, and that to thee;

And truth or clothed or naked let it be.

Rain, sun, and rain! and the free blossom blows:

Sun, rain, and sun! and where is he who knows?

From the great deep to the great deep he goes.’

GUENEVERE

GUENEVERE – by – SARA TEASDALE

I was a queen, and I have lost my crown;

A wife, and I have broken all my vows;

A lover, and I ruined him I loved:–

There is no other havoc left to do.

A little month ago I was a queen,

And mothers held their babies up to see

When I came riding out of Camelot.

The women smiled, and all the world smiled too.

And now, what woman’s eyes would smile on me?

I am still beautiful, and yet what child

Would think of me as some high, heaven-sent thing,

An angel, clad in gold and miniver?

The world would run from me, and yet I am

No different from the queen they used to love.

If water, flowing silver over stones,

Is forded, and beneath the horses’ feet

Grows turbid suddenly, it clears again,

And men will drink it with no thought of harm.

Yet I am branded for a single fault.

I was the flower amid a toiling world,

Where people smiled to see one happy thing,

And they were proud and glad to raise me high;

They only asked that I should be right fair,

A little kind, and gownèd wondrously,

And surely it were little praise to me

If I had pleased them well throughout my life.

I was a queen, the daughter of a king.

The crown was never heavy on my head,

It was my right, and was a part of me.

The women thought me proud, the men were kind,

And bowed down gallantly to kiss my hand,

And watched me as I passed them calmly by,

Along the halls I shall not tread again.

What if, to-night, I should revisit them?

The warders at the gates, the kitchen-maids,

The very beggars would stand off from me,

And I, their queen, would climb the stairs alone,

Pass through the banquet-hall, a hated thing,

And seek my chambers for a hiding-place,

And I should find them but a sepulchre,

The very rushes rotted on the floors,

The fire in ashes on the freezing hearth.

I was a queen, and he who loved me best

Made me a woman for a night and day,

And now I go unqueened forevermore.

A queen should never dream on summer nights,

When hovering spells are heavy in the dusk:–

I think no night was ever quite so still,

So smoothly lit with red along the west,

So deeply hushed with quiet through and through.

And strangely clear, and sharply dyed with light,

The trees stood straight against a paling sky,

With Venus burning lamp-like in the west.

I walked alone among a thousand flowers,

That drooped their heads and drowsed beneath the dew,

And all my thoughts were quieted to sleep.

Behind me, on the walk, I heard a step–

I did not know my heart could tell his tread,

I did not know I loved him till that hour.

The garden reeled a little, I was weak,

And in my breast I felt a wild, sick pain.

Quickly he came behind me, caught my arms,

That ached beneath his touch; and then I swayed,

My head fell backward and I saw his face.

All this grows bitter that was once so sweet,

And many mouths must drain the dregs of it,

But none will pity me, nor pity him

Whom Love so lashed, and with such cruel thongs.

Earth the Healer, Earth the Keeper

(Best viewed on Mozilla with 90% Text Zoom/Explorer Text Size Smaller)

On The Music Box: Canned Heat & John Lee Hooker (Thanks to that mystery guy down in Tejas!) Good music for the end of a hard days work… Now drifting into Fahrenheit Project Volume 5…

A short note: My friend Tomas Brawley is coming this weekend. Very excited. We have communicated by internet and phone for several years, but never in person. Much like the 19th century, when people would correspond for years without ever meeting. He is bringing his daughter along, who lives in San Francisco. They are visiting family in central Oregon.

I am running off to work, so this must be brief. Lots of stuff in this edition. Great Art, wonderful poetry, and a special article from Erik Davis…

Hope you enjoy,

Gwyllm

——–

What is on the Grill for today:

On This Day: July 7th

The Links: Exploration into the Odd, The Strange and Today, The Bizarre…

Article: Spiritual Chaos? A wee bit of Erik Davis at what he does best…

The Poetry: William Morris

The Art: William Waterhouse (some rare ones, and some better known)

John William Waterhouse (April 6, 1849 – February 10, 1917) was a British neo-classical painter most famous for his paintings of female characters from mythology and literature. He is frequently compared with the Pre-Raphaelites.

He was born in Rome to the painters William and Isabela Waterhouse, but when he was five the family moved to South Kensington, near the newly founded Victoria and Albert Museum. He studied painting under his father before entering the Royal Academy schools in 1870. His early works were of classical themes in the spirit of Alma-Tadema and Frederic Leighton, and were exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Society of British Artists and the Dudley Gallery.

In 1874, at the age of twenty-five, Waterhouse submitted the classical allegory Sleep and His Half-Brother Death to the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition. The painting was very well received and he exhibited at the RA almost every year afterwards until his death in 1917. In 1883 he married Esther Kenworthy, the daughter of an art schoolmaster from Ealing who had exhibited her own flower-paintings at the Royal Academy and elsewhere. They had two children, but both died in childhood.

In 1895 Waterhouse was elected to the status of full Academician. He taught at the St. John’s Wood Art School, joined the St John’s Wood Arts Club, and served on the Royal Academy Council.

One of Waterhouse’s most famous paintings is The Lady of Shalott, a study of Elaine of Astolat, who dies of grief when Lancelot will not love her. He actually painted three different versions of this character, in 1888, 1896, and 1916.

Another of Waterhouse’s favorite subjects was Ophelia; the most famous of his paintings of Ophelia depicts her just before her death, putting flowers in her hair as she sits on a tree branch leaning over a lake. Like The Lady of Shalott and other Waterhouse paintings, it deals with a woman dying in or near water. He also may have been inspired by paintings of Ophelia by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Millais. He submitted his Ophelia painting of 1888 in order to receive his diploma from the Royal Academy. (He had originally wanted to submit a painting titled “A Mermaid”, but it was not completed in time.) After this, the painting was lost until the 20th century, and is now displayed in the collection of Lord Lloyd-Webber. Waterhouse would paint Ophelia again in 1894 and 1909 or 1910, and planned another painting in the series, called “Ophelia in the Churchyard.”

Waterhouse could not finish the series of Ophelia paintings because he was gravely ill with cancer by 1915. He died two years later, and his grave can be found at Kensal Green Cemetery in London.

____________

On This Day 7 July. Consualia, the ancient pagan festival of Consus, god of Harvests, and Feast Day of St Cronaprava, the apocryphal patron saint of dwarves. Murile Melkis and her family were watching a film about the sinking of the Titanic on their TV in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, in 1975. Recalled Mrs Melkis: ‘Just as the Titanic was about to hit the iceberg we heard a terrific crash. We rushed outside and found tiles from our roof scattered everywhere.’ A big lump of ice had chosen that moment to fall from the sky and smash a two-foot-square hole in their roof.

_____________

The Links

Regrowing?

Take A Tour: Spinxty will be taking Gwyllm along for the ride!

Blonde Bimbo Pilfers Prose…

Excrement In the News

______________

Spiritual Chaos?

The introduction to a 1996 issue of Fringeware Review devoted to “Chaos Spirituality,” co-edited by Erik Davis and Spiros Antonopoulos

Chaos stirs. Its fragment signs, millinery filigrees, and guttural moans are everywhere — in the collapsing nation-state, in the ferocious world market, in the damaged matrix of the biosphere, in your communications devices, and even in the plain old ordinary sense that nothing is plain, old, or ordinary any more.

Paradoxically, it was science, that last bastion of reason and order, that planted chaos anew in our heads. The new field (actually, a set of related and overlapping interdisciplinary fields) arrived with revolutionary fervor. Chaos science glimpsed the shadow of an abstract dance within apparently random turbulence, a movement in virtual phase space which sketched the flux of dripping faucets, heartbeats, and smoke. Suggesting the infinitely nested grooves of nature, fractals like the Mandelbrot set revealed a realm of mathematical objects that were both holistic and perpetually fractured. Kinda like us. Indeed, some of us recognized these Paisley arabesques from our most intimate forays into psychedelic chaos, and brazenly claimed them as sigils of the endlessly exfoliating plateaus of chemical wisdom. The florid rainbow colors that the PhDs used to represent the widely disparate behaviors of numbers in computer-generated fractal sets were just a tie-dyed bonus.

As the engines of postmodern perception, computers not only helped birth the new science, but produced a fundamental mutation in scientific style: away from reductionist and strictly causal explanations toward global modeling, experimental mathematics, and large-scale simulations of complex systems. Chaos thus allowed a careful reintroduction of the intuitions that had guided vitalists and other entelechy geeks for centuries as they waged a losing battle against mechanism and tight-assed reductionism. Everything became a complex system, a dissipative structure, manifesting the subtle magic of emergence: population dynamics, planetary orbits, the beloved marketplace, your brain. A digital whiff of spirit.

Many of us outside the labs fell in love with emergent behavior as well, and found our lover everywhere. A small publishing industry was born in the wake of James Gleick’s Chaos, and chaos threatened to usurp quantum physics as the science of choice for speculative acid ramblers and mystical pseudo-scientists everywhere. Rationalists rightly cringed, but those of us who spelunk the spongy clefts between the brain’s left and right hemispheres just smiled and drank it in.

A few dullards insisted that all this pop cult hoopla would have been nipped in the bud if James Yorke had followed the advise of more sober colleagues in 1975 and not named the curious mathematical behavior he had discovered after Hesiod’s Goddess of the watery void. After all, chaos means disorder, and chaos science concerned itself with determinist disorder — that is, disorder according to plan. This is science after all, which for all its visions and and machines and mathematical monsters, still boils down to control.

But if we let ourselves fall backwards through that watery void of myth, a bungie jump into the ravenous dark, we find that the question of whether chaos is order or disorder, an amorphous horror or a secret informing structure, lies at the very beginnings of culture. When humans first found themselves encased inside a fabricated world-view somehow set apart from the buzzing matrix of nature, they took a number of very different mythic snapshots of the bountiful chaos they were leaving behind.

Ancient Mesopotamia provides our first polaroid. In the Enuma elish, Marduk, the patron hero of the ascendent city-state of Babylon, kills Tiamat, the old goddess of primal chaos. With her corpse he arranges the heavens, fixing the stars and constellations. Then he proclaims himself king and creates humans so the gods don’t have to work anymore. Marduk represents the phallic thrust of the emergent State, with its grid-works and scripts, monarch worship and freshly-chiselled tablets of divine Law. From this point on, the State would demonize the ancient matrix from which it emerged, and which always threatens to engulf it again in waves of atavism and anarchy.

Babylonians, Egyptians, and Greeks all acknowledged the primal dragon of Chaos even as the gods of their civilizations felt compelled to kill the beast. Christianity tried to erase the goddess altogether. That’s why the Church decided that God created the world ex nihilo, from nothing at all. But you can still smell the briny spew of the primal goddess in the formless, watery void that opens Genesis and distinctly echoes the older Babylonian myth.

From that point on, all those forces fueled by Chaos — useless inertia, frenzied turbulence, feminine magic, the primal body-without-organs — could be found only in the demonic shadows of Church and State. For today’s chaos magicians, who continue the work of the great Austin Osman Spare in stripping away the barnacles of booklearning from the raw, atavistic heart of primal magic, the Paleolithic path lies through the outer dark. Don’t be fooled by peaceful Pagan eco-feminists: Tiamat fought Marduk with venomous serpents, mad dogs, and scorpion-men, and our reborn Goddess is as much Cthulhu as Earth Mom.

The dragon of Chaos wore a far more honorable face in the East, where it was known as the Tao. For ancient sages like Chuang-Tzu, the subtle order of natural chaos was rich and bountiful compared to the bankrupt legalism and moralistic strictures of Confucian civilization — which paradoxically produced the very disorder it wanted to suppress. The Taoists felt that only by tearing down the State of things — including ordinary consciousness — could we return to the golden age, the mixed-up harmony symbolized by the wonton (which derives from Mr. Hun-tun, Chuang-Tzu’s lord of chaos). If these anarchic dreams could not be realized in society — as Lao Tzu hoped to do — than at least they could be realized in the body, through spiritual and physical practices that would open up the spontaneous chaos within.

Taoism’s this-worldly embrace of natural chaos fed into the buddha-killing antics and instant samadhi of Zen Buddhism, the first nondualistic Eastern path to be embraced by Western hipsters. In Beat Zen and the later “holy madness” strains of yogic nondualism, mental and moral distinctions were suspect, and the total range of mind and life were open to the tantric embrace. But while crazy gurus like Chogyam Trungpa and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh wrote mind-blasting works of chaos wisdom, the communities that grew around them often degenerated into manipulative and authoritarian hippie bummers.

Around the same time, the avant-garde freaks of the psychedelic counterculture scoured through the world’s wisdom traditions while making mince-meat of all received truths. Rather than disguise the half-baked absurdity of trying to discover spiritual truths in the age of Saran-Wrap, space flights, and macrame, a few freaks began to proclaim that the whole glorious postmodern mess was itself the goofball revelation. The Principia Discordia, the Illuminatus! trilogy, and Dr. Tim’s inspired starseed technovisions all laid down this eclectic, hilarious, and skeptical anti-doctrine of bohemian chaos. This anarchic spiritual style went on to influence the Church of the Subgenius, the Pagan hardwiring of fringe computer culture, and today’s more focussed and informed shamanic revival.

Chaos has many faces, but they are all masks, and it is we who have fashioned them — as Chuang Tzu reminds us with his famous tale. The emperors Shu (Brief) and Hu (Sudden) wanted to repay the kindness of Mr. Hun-tun (Chaos), and they realized that while everyone else has openings in order to see, hear, eat (and presumably shit), Hun-tun had none. So they bored holes into him, organized his face — his body-without-organs — and so he died. The rants, jokes, revelations, and critiques you’re about to read don’t want to believe that ending. Instead, they dance around Mr. Hun-tun’s scatter-shot holes, or map them, or just dive right in, where they just might find the dragon alive and well and ready to return.

—-

Chaos Quotes:

“Chaos is inherent in all compounded things. Strive on with diligence.”

Buddha

“We live in a rainbow of chaos.”

Paul Cezanne

“In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.”

Carl G. Jung

“Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of the void, but out of chaos; the materials must, in the first place, be afforded: it can give form to dark, shapeless substances, but cannot bring into being the substance itself.”

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

__________

Poetry: William Morris

Near But Far Away

She wavered, stopped and turned, methought her eyes,

The deep grey windows of her heart, were wet,

Methought they softened with a new regret

To note in mine unspoken miseries,

And as a prayer from out my heart did rise

And struggled on my lips in shame’s strong net,

She stayed me, and cried “Brother!” our lips met,

Her deawr hands drew me into Paradise.

Sweet seemed that kiss till thence her feet were gone,

Sweet seemed the word she spake, while it might be

As wordless music–But truth fell on me,

And kiss and word I knew, and, left alone,

Face to face seemed I to a wall of stone,

While at my back there beat a boundless sea.

——-

Summer Dawn

Pray but one prayer for me ‘twixt thy closed lips,

Think but one thought of me up in the stars.

The summer night waneth, the morning light slips,

Faint and grey ‘twixt the leaves of the aspen, betwixt the cloud-bars

That are patiently waiting there for the dawn:

Patient and colourless, though Heaven’s gold

Waits to float through them along with the sun.

Far out in the meadows, above the young corn,

The heavy elms wait, and restless and cold

The uneasy wind rises; the roses are dun;

Through the long twilight they pray for the dawn,

Round the lone house in the midst of the corn,

Speak but one word to me over the corn,

Over the tender, bow’d locks of the corn.

——–

The Nymph’s Song to Hylas

I KNOW a little garden-close

Set thick with lily and red rose,

Where I would wander if I might

From dewy dawn to dewy night,

And have one with me wandering.

And though within it no birds sing,

And though no pillar’d house is there,

And though the apple boughs are bare

Of fruit and blossom, would to God,

Her feet upon the green grass trod,

And I beheld them as before!

There comes a murmur from the shore,

And in the place two fair streams are,

Drawn from the purple hills afar,

Drawn down unto the restless sea;

The hills whose flowers ne’er fed the bee,

The shore no ship has ever seen,

Still beaten by the billows green,

Whose murmur comes unceasingly

Unto the place for which I cry.

For which I cry both day and night,

For which I let slip all delight,

That maketh me both deaf and blind,

Careless to win, unskill’d to find,

And quick to lose what all men seek.

Yet tottering as I am, and weak,

Still have I left a little breath

To seek within the jaws of death

An entrance to that happy place;

To seek the unforgotten face

Once seen, once kiss’d, once reft from me

Anigh the murmuring of the sea.

——-

Earth the Healer, Earth the Keeper

So swift the hours are moving

Unto the time unproved:

Farewell my love unloving,

Farewell my love beloved!

What! are we not glad-hearted?

Is there no deed to do?

Is not all fear departed

And Spring-tide blossomed new?

The sails swell out above us,

The sea-ridge lifts the keel;

For They have called who love us,

Who bear the gifts that heal:

A crown for him that winneth,

A bed for him that fails,

A glory that beginneth

In never-dying tales.

Yet now the pain is ended

And the glad hand grips the sword,

Look on thy life amended

And deal out due award.

Think of the thankless morning,

The gifts of noon unused;

Think of the eve of scorning,

The night of prayer refused.

And yet. The life before it,

Dost thou remember aught,

What terrors shivered o’er it

Born from the hell of thought?

And this that cometh after:

How dost thou live, and dare

To meet its empty laughter,

To face its friendless care?

In fear didst thou desire,

At peace dost thou regret,

The wasting of the fire,

The tangling of the net.

Love came and gat fair greeting;

Love went; and left no shame.

Shall both the twilights meeting

The summer sunlight blame?

What! cometh love and goeth

Like the dark night’s empty wind,

Because thy folly soweth

The harvest of the blind?

Hast thou slain love with sorrow?

Have thy tears quenched the sun?

Nay even yet tomorrow

Shall many a deed be done.

This twilight sea thou sailest,

Has it grown dim and black

For that wherein thou failest,

And the story of thy lack?

Peace then! for thine old grieving

Was born of Earth the kind,

And the sad tale thou art leaving

Earth shall not leave behind.

Peace! for that joy abiding

Whereon thou layest hold

Earth keepeth for a tiding

For the day when this is old.

Thy soul and life shall perish,

And thy name as last night’s wind;

But Earth the deed shall cherish

That thou today shalt find.

And all thy joy and sorrow

So great but yesterday,

So light a thing tomorrow,

Shall never pass away.

Lo! lo! the dawn-blink yonder,

The sunrise draweth nigh,

And men forget to wonder

That they were born to die.

Then praise the deed that wendeth

Through the daylight and the mirth!

The tale that never endeth

Whoso may dwell on earth.

——

Have A Lovely Weekend….

G

Fairy Ointment

So we went to the Kekele Concert up at the Oregon Zoo… Nice music, great crowd. Smaller crowd than Amadou et Mariam, but great music, good vibes… I will publish pics tomorrow, toooooo tired now.

Rowan, Mary, and yours truly met up with our friend John, my Brother-In-Law Peter down from Olympia on his way to the Oregon Country Fair, with his friend Corky from Portland. (4th generation!)

We all hung out, drank, ate food listened to the sound check as Peter and Corky wandered the Zoo, as did Rowan on his own…

<img width='170' height='170' border='0' hspace='5' align='left' src='http://www.earthrites.org/turfing2/uploads/kekele.jpg' alt='' /The Band started up, and it just built a very wonderful momentum. There is such sunshine in the music. Really lovely. If you get a chance…

The evening ended on such a high note with a lovely mist coming down over the town. Sheer Heaven. Back to the house, letting the Doglet in with her dancing in joy at having us back…

More tomorrow. (Next Weeks Show: The Refugee All Stars Of Sierra Leone!)

Tonights entry is a varied one, that you might enjoy. From varied Links, through English Fairy Tale, to the Austrian Poet Georg Takl, who we touched on lightly yesterday.

Pax,

Gwyllm

On The Menu

The Links…

Fairy Ointment

Poetry:Georg Takl

___________

The Links:

New Invention…

Bamboo Railroad…

The Great Discourse on Steadfast Mindfulness

Pineal Traffic in the Homeland

Gas… with a Superstar Surprise…

____________

Fairy Ointment

DAME Goody was a nurse that looked after sick people, and minded babies. One night she was woke up at midnight, and when she went downstairs, she saw a strange squinny-eyed, little ugly old fellow, who asked her to come to his wife who was too ill to mind her baby. Dame Goody didn’t like the look of the old fellow, but business is business; so she popped on her things, and went down to him. And when she got down to him, he whisked her up on to a large coal-black horse with fiery eyes, that stood at the door; and soon they were going at a rare pace, Dame Goody holding on to the old fellow like grim death.

They rode, and they rode, till at last they stopped before a cottage door. So they got down and went in and found the good woman abed with the children playing about; and the babe, a fine bouncing boy, beside her.

Dame Goody took the babe, which was as fine a baby boy as you’d wish to see. The mother, when she handed the baby to Dame Goody to mind, gave her a box of ointment, and told her to stroke the baby’s eyes with it as soon as it opened them. After a while it began to open its eyes. Dame Goody saw that it had squinny eyes just like its father. So she took the box of ointment and stroked its two eyelids with it. But she couldn’t help wondering what it was for, as she had never seen such a thing done before. So she looked to see if the others were looking, and, when they were not noticing, she stroked her own right eyelid with the ointment.

No sooner had she done so, than everything seemed changed about her. The cottage became elegantly furnished. The mother in the bed was a beautiful lady, dressed up in white silk. The little baby was still more beautiful then before, and its clothes were made of a sort of silvery gauze. Its little brothers and sisters around the bed were flat-nosed imps with pointed ears, who made faces at one another, and scratched their polls. Sometimes they would pull the sick lady’s ears with their long and hairy paws. In fact, they were up to all kinds of mischief; and Dame Goody knew that she had got into a house of pixies. But she said nothing to nobody, and as soon as the lady was well enough to mind the baby, she asked the old fellow to take her back home. So he came round to the door with the coal-black horse with eyes of fire, and off they went as fast as before, or perhaps a little faster, till they came to Dame Goody’s cottage, where the squinny-eyed old fellow lifted her down and left her, thanking her civilly enough, and paying her more than she had ever been paid before for such service.

Now next day happened to be market-day, and as Dame Goody had been away from home, she wanted many things in the house, and trudged off to get them at the market. As she was buying the things she wanted, who should she see but the squinny-eyed old fellow who had taken her on the coal-black horse. And what do you think he was doing? Why he went about from stall to stall taking things from each, here some fruit, and there some eggs, and so on; and no one seemed to take any notice.

Now Dame Goody did not think it her business to interfere, but she thought she ought not to let so good a customer pass without speaking. So she ups to him and bobs a curtsey and said: ‘Gooden, sir, I hopes as how your good lady and the little one are as well as –’

But she couldn’t finish what she was a-saying, for the funny old fellow started back in surprise, and he says to her, says he:

‘What! do you see me today?’

‘See you,’ says she, ‘why, of course I do, as plain as the sun in the skies, and what’s more,’ says she, ‘I see you are busy, too, into the bargain.’

‘Ah, you see too much,’ said he; ‘now, pray, with which eye do you see all this?’

‘With the right eye to be sure,’ said she, as proud as can be to find him out.

‘The ointment! The ointment!’ cried the old pixy thief. ‘Take that for meddling with what don’t concern you: you shall see me no more.’ And with that he struck her on the right eye, and she couldn’t see him any more; and, what was worse, she was blind on the right side from that hour till the day of her death.

_____________

Poetry: Georg Takl

De Profundis

There is a stubble field on which a black rain falls.

There is a tree which, brown, stands lonely here.

There is a hissing wind which haunts deserted huts—

How sad this evening.

Past the village pond

The gentle orphan still gathers scanty ears of corn.

Golden and round her eyes are gazing in the dusk

And her lap awaits the heavenly bridegroom.

Returning home

Shepherds found the sweet body

Decayed in the bramble bush.

A shade I am remote from sombre hamlets.

The silence of God

I drank from the woodland well.

On my forehead cold metal forms.

Spiders look for my heart.

There is a light that fails in my mouth.

At night I found myself upon a heath,

Thick with garbage and the dust of stars.

In the hazel copse

Crystal angels have sounded once more.

Translated by Jurek Kirakowski

—-

Kaspar Hauser’s Song

He truly loved the purple sun, descending from the hills,

The ways through the woods, the singing blackbird

And the joys of green.

Sombre was his dwelling in the shadows of the tree

And his face undefiled.

God, a tender flame, spoke to his heart:

Oh son of man!

Silently his step turned to the city in the evening;

A mysterious complaint fell from his lips:

“I shall become a horseman.”

But bush and beast did follow his ways

To the pale people’s house and garden at dusk,

And his murderer sought after him.

Spring and summer and – oh so beautiful – the fall

Of the righteous. His silent steps

Passed by the dark rooms of the dreamers.

At night he and his star dwelled alone.

He saw the snow fall on bare branches

And in the murky doorway the assassin’s shadow.

Silvern sank the unborne’s head.

—–

Whispered Into Afternoon

Sun of autumn, thin and shy

And fruit drops off the trees,

Blue silence fills the peace

Of a tardy afternoon’s sky.

Death knells forged of metal,

And a white beast hits the mire.

Brown lasses uncouth choir

Dies in leaves’ drifting prattle.

Brow of God dreams of hues,

Senses madness’ gentle wings.

Round the hill wield in rings

Black decay and shaded views.

Rest and wine in sunset’s gleam,

Sad guitars drizzle into night,

And to the mellow lamp inside

You turn in as in a dream.

Rondeau

Gone and passed is the gold of day,

And the evening’s brown and blue:

Silenced the shepherd’s tender flute

And the evening’s brown and blue

Gone and passed as is the gold of day.

——–

Biography: Georg Takl

.Trakl was born and lived the first 18 years of his life in Salzburg. His father, Tobias, was a dealer in hardware, while his mother, Maria, was a housewife with strong interests in art and music.

Trakl attended a Catholic elementary school, although his parents were Protestants. He matriculated in 1897 at the Salzburg Staatsgymnasium, where he studied Latin, Greek, and mathematics. Around 1904, Trakl began to write poetry.

After dropping out of high school in 1905, Trakl worked for a pharmacist for three years and decided to pursue pharmacy as a career. It was at this time that he experimented with playwriting, but his two short plays, All Souls’ Day and Fata Morgana, failed onstage.

In 1908, Trakl moved to Vienna to study pharmacy, and fell in with a group of local artists and bohemians who helped him to publish some of his poems. Trakl’s father died in 1910, shortly before Trakl received his pharmacy certificate; thereafter, Trakl enlisted in the army for a yearlong stint. His return to civilian life in Salzburg was a disaster, and he reenlisted, serving as a pharmacist at a hospital in Innsbruck. There he also met the local artistic community, which recognized his budding talent. Ludwig von Ficker, the editor of the journal Der Brenner, became his patron: he regularly printed Trakl’s work and endeavored to find him a publisher to produce a collection of poems. The result of these efforts was Gedichte (Poems), published by Kurt Wolff in Vienna in the summer of 1913. Ficker also brought Trakl to the attention of Ludwig Wittgenstein, who anonymously provided him with a sizable stipend so that he could concentrate on his writing.

On the outbreak of World War I, Trakl was sent as a medical official to attend to soldiers in Galicia (comprising portions modern-day Ukraine and Poland). His suffered frequent bouts of depression [citation needed], exacerbated by the horror of caring for severely wounded soldiers. During one such incident in Grodek, Trakl had to steward the recovery of some ninety soldiers wounded in the fierce campaign against the Russians. He tried to shoot himself from the strain, but his comrades prevented him. Hospitalized in Krakow and placed under close observation, Trakl lapsed into deeper depression and wrote to Ficker for advice. Ficker convinced him to contact Wittgenstein. On receiving Trakl’s note, Wittgenstein went to the hospital, but found that Trakl had committed suicide from an overdose of cocaine three days before…>

The Jester…

“The bottom line for our species is that because of population growth and the fivefold economic expansion since 1950, the environmental demands of our economic system now fill the available environmental space of the planet. This has brought us to a historic transitional point in the evolutionary development of our species from living in a world of open frontiers to living in a full world—in a mere historical instant. We now have the option of adjusting ourselves to this new reality or destroying our ecological niche and suffering the consequences.

Our problem results from acting like cowboys on a limitless frontier when in truth we inhabit a living spaceship with a finely balanced life-support system.”—David C. Korton

—–

A semi-quiet 4th, spent with family and friends. John and Irina threw their traditional Birthday Party for Andre (now 20 and a new citizen to boot). Zena, Andres’ Grandmother is recently arrived for a visit from Moscow. She is sweetness incarnate. It is always nice to see her, and I wish I could speak Russian better… beyond Toasts and the like.

My sister Suzanne and Tom and Cheryl came with us to the party. I saw Tony and Maggie, some of our dear neighbors up there as well.

Great evening.

Tonight is a concert at the Zoo with Peter my brother-in-law. Great band from the Congo and I quote from the Portland Zoo Site:

Kekele, The Congo – Wednesday, July 5, 2006

“Kékélé is a Lingala word for a fibrous vine that climbs trees in the tropical forests of the Congo River basin. This sturdy vine is often used to weave strong ropes for bridges. By calling their group Kékélé, these longtime stars may have foreseen their sustained career paths as strands woven together to make something strong, something that spans divisions – geography, generations, genres. Their strength and talent allows them to continue on their journey and return to their musical origins: Congolese Rumba. An irresistible mix of Cuban rumba and African rhythms, this music peaked in the sixties, when it reflected the optimism of the newly independent African nations. Kékélé has succeeded in bringing these sounds back to life, featuring many of the musicians from the classic orchestras of that era. Enchanting vocals, vivacious rhythms and spellbinding guitar-based dance make the Congolese Rumba uplifting and joyous.”

Be there, or be square.

Gwyllm

—-

On The Grill:

The Links

The Jester

Poetry: Edward Thomas

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The Links

Resistance through Stimulants

The Cursed Launch Pad

Who put the Benzedrine in Mrs. Murphy Ovaltine..

I sorta remember this…

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Clowns, Fools, Jesters, Tricksters

“The jester is an elusive character. The European words used to denote him can now seem as nebulous as they are numerous, reflecting the mercurial man behind them: fool, buffoon, clown, jongleur, jogleor, joculator, sot, stultor, scurra, fou, fol, truhan, mimus, histrio, morio. He can be any of these, while the German word Narr is not so much a stem as the sturdy trunk of a tree efflorescent with fool vocabulary. The jester’s quicksilver qualities are equally difficult to pin down, but nevertheless not beyond definition.

The Chinese terms used for “jester” now seem vaguer than the European, most of them having a wider meaning of “actor” or “entertainer.” In Chinese there is no direct translation of the English “jester,” no single word that to the present-day Chinese conjures an image as vividly as “court jester,” fou du roi, or Hofnarr would to a Westerner. In Chinese the jester element often has to be singled out according to context, although the key character you does seem to have referred specifically to jesters, originally meaning somebody who would use humor to mock and joke, who could speak without causing offense, and who also had the ability to sing or dance: “The you was also allowed a certain privilege, that is, his ‘words were without offence’ . . . but the you could not offer his remonstrances in earnest, he had to make use of jokes, songs and dance.” The term is often combined with other characters giving differing shades to his jesterdom, an acting or a musical slant, for example: paiyou, youren, youling, changyou, lingren, linglun. All could include musical and other talents, chang suggesting music, ling, playing or fooling, and pai a humorous element to bring delight. Several of these terms are too frequently translated as “actor” regardless of where they appear on the etymological chain of evolution and even though they were used long before the advent of Chinese drama.

Perhaps the earliest antecedents of the European court jester were the comic actors of ancient Rome. Several Latin terms used in medieval references to jesters (including numerous church condemnations of them), such as scurrae, mimi, or histriones, originally referred either to amusing hangers-on or to the comic actors and entertainers of Rome. Just as there is now no clear distinction between the terms for “actor” and “jester” in Chinese, so the Latin terms could merge the two. If there was no formal professional jester in Rome, the comic actors fulfilled his functions, sometimes even bearing a striking physical resemblance to what is usually considered a medieval and Renaissance archetype. With periodic imperial purges against actors for their outspokenness, many of them took to the road and fanned out across the empire in search of new audiences and greater freedom. Successive waves of such wandering comics may well have laid the foundations for medieval and Renaissance jesterdom, possibly contributing to the rising tide of folly worship that swept across the Continent from the late Middle Ages.

An individual court jester in Europe could emerge from a wide range of backgrounds: an erudite but nonconformist university dropout, a monk thrown out of a priory for nun frolics, a jongleur with exceptional verbal or physical dexterity, or the apprentice of a village blacksmith whose fooling amused a passing nobleman. Just as a modern-day television stand-up comedian might begin his career on the pub and club circuit, so a would-be jester could make it big time in court if he was lucky enough to be spotted. In addition, a poet, musician, or scholar could also become a court jester.

The recruiting of jesters was tremendously informal and meritocratic, perhaps indicating greater mobility and fluidity in past society than is often supposed. A man with the right qualifications might be found anywhere: in Russia “they were generally selected from among the older and uglier of the serf-servants, and the older the fool or she-fool was, the droller they were supposed and expected to be. The fool had the right to sit at table with his master, and say whatever came into his head.” Noblemen might keep an eye out for potential jesters, and a letter dated 26 January 1535/36 from Thomas Bedyll to Thomas Cromwell (ca. 1485-1540) recommends a possible replacement for the king’s old jester.

Of at least equal importance with his entertainer’s cap was the jester’s function as adviser and critic.

This is what distinguishes him from a pure entertainer who would juggle batons, swallow swords, or strum on a lute or a clown who would play the fool simply to amuse people. The jester everywhere employed the same techniques to carry out this delicate role, and it would take an obtuse king or emperor not to realize what he was driving at, since “other court functionaries cooked up the king’s facts for him before delivery; the jester delivered them raw.”

It is in the nature of jesters to speak their minds when the mood takes them, regardless of the consequences. They are neither calculating nor circumspect, and this may account for the “foolishness” often ascribed to them. Jesters are also generally of inferior social and political status and are rarely in a position (and rarely inclined) to pose a power threat. They have little to gain by caution and little to lose by candor–apart from liberty, livelihood, and occasionally even life, which hardly seems to have been a deterrent. They are peripheral to the game of politics, and this can reassure a king that their words are unlikely to be geared to their own advancement. Jesters are not noted for flattery or fawning. The ruler can be isolated from his courtiers and ministers, who might conspire against him. The jester too can be an isolated and peripheral figure somehow detached from the intrigues of the court, and this enables him to act as a kind of confidant.

The jester also had humor at his disposal. He could soften the blow of a critical comment in a way that prevented a dignified personage from losing face. Humor is the great defuser of tense situations. Among the Murngin tribe of Australia it is the duty of the clown to act outrageously, ludicrously imitating a fight if men begin to quarrel. In making them laugh at him, he distracts their attention from their own fight and dispels their aggression. Quintilian (ca. 35-100) comments on the power of jesters’ humor to carry the day.

Now, though laughter may be regarded as a trivial matter, and an emotion frequently awakened by buffoons, actors or fools, it has a certain imperious force of its own which it is very hard to resist. . . . It frequently turns the scale in matters of great importance.

The foolishness of the jester, whether in his odd appearance or his levity, implies that he is not passing judgment from on high, and this may be less galling than the “holier than thou” corrective of an earnest adviser. One of the most effective techniques the jester uses to point out his master’s folly is allowing him to see it for himself. Rather than contradicting the king, the jester will agree with a harebrained scheme so wholeheartedly that the suggestion is taken to a logical extreme, highlighting its stupidity. The king can then decide for himself that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea after all.

The jester is in a sense on the side of the ruler. The relationship was often very close and amiable, and the jester was almost invariably a cherished rather than a tolerated presence. This leads to the kindliness of jesters: they could be biting in their attacks, but there is usually an undercurrent of good-heartedness and understanding to their words. If they talk the king out of slicing up some innocent, it is not only to save him from the king’s wrath but also to save the king from himself–they can be the only ones who will tell him he suffers from moral halitosis.

The jester is also perceived as being on the side of the people, the little man fighting oppression by the powerful. By fooling wisely (“en folastrant sagement”), the jester often won favor among the people (“gaigna de grace parmy le peuple”). In the folk perception of southern India a king was hardly considered a king without his jester, and the continuing appeal of the court jester in India, in stories and comic books, is perhaps equaled only in Europe. He may have disappeared from the courts and corridors of power, but he still has a powerful hold on the collective imagination. Yet he is no rebel or revolutionary. His detached stance allows him to take the side of the victim in order to curb the excesses of the system without ever trying to overthrow it–his purpose is not to replace one system with another, but to free us from the fetters of all systems.

——-

Quotes on Clowns and Tricksters:

Clowns are rarely asked what they’re up to, and seldom listened to when they’re asked.

For many Native American societies, the culture hero was often both the source of good things in life (who brought agriculture, taught hunting, etc.) and a trickster or fool who delighted in showing people that they were not as important or as smart as they thought they were.

A trickster is a teacher by his actions. He exposes human weaknesses by his own foolishness as a lesson to the listener.

A clown is sexless, ageless and classless. He always has to be open and expose his own vulnerability to the audience. He risks being accepted and applauded or being rejected each time he exposes his painted face and baggy trousers, he is openly showing what he is and not hiding behind a mask of respectability. He cannot help but be the centre of attention. A clown is like a child, innocent, accepting people and things as they are and finding simple joy in all he meets…a “holy fool” is not just entertaining, but on a mission to give something special to the world.

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Poetry: Edward Thomas

Adlestrop

Yes, I remember Adlestrop –

The name, because one afternoon

Of heat the express-train drew up there

Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.

No one left and no one came

On the bare platform. What I saw

Was Adlestrop-only the name.

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,

And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,

No whit less still or lonely fair

Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang

Close by, and round him , mistier,

Farther and farther, all the birds

Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

—–

Tall Nettles

Tall nettles cover up, as they have done

These many springs, the rusty harrow, the plough

Long worn out, and the roller made of stone :

Only the elm butt tops the nettles now.

This corner of the farmyard I like most:

As well as any bloom upon a flower

I like the dust on the nettles, never lost

Except to prove the sweetness of a shower.

——

The Gypsy

A fortnight before Christmas Gypsies were everywhere :

Vans were drawn up on wastes, women trailed to the fair.

‘My gentleman,’said one,’You’ve got a lucky face.’

‘And you’ve a luckier’, I thought,’if such a grace

And impudence in rags are lucky.’ ‘Give a penny

For the poor baby’s sake.’ ‘Indeed I have not any

Unless you can give change for a sovereign, my dear.’

‘Then just a pipeful of tobacco can you spare?’

I gave it. With that much victory she laughed content.

I should have given more, but off and away she went

With her baby and her pink sham flowers to rejoin

The rest before I could translate to its proper coin

Gratitude for her grace. And I paid nothing then,

As I pay nothing now with the dipping of my pen

For her brother’s music when he drummed the tambourine

And stamped his feet , which made the workmen passing grin,

While his mouth-organ changed to a rascally Bacchanal dance

‘Over the hills and far away’. This and his glance

Outlasted all the fair, farmer and auctioneer,

Cheap-jack, balloon-man, drover with crooked stick, and steer,

Pig, turkey, goose, and duck, Christmas Corpses to be.

Not even the kneeling ox had eyes like the Romany.

That night he peopled for me the hollow wooded land,

More dark and wild than stormiest heavens, that I searched

and scanned

Like a ghost new-arrived. The gradations of the dark

Were like an underworld of death, but for the spark

In the Gypsy boy’s black eyes as he played and stamped his tune,

‘Over the hills and far way’, and a crescent moon

—-

Beauty

What does it mean? Tired, angry, and ill at ease,

No man, woman, or child, alive could please

Me now. And yet I almost dare to laugh

Because I sit and frame an epitaph-

‘Here lies all that no one loved of him

And that loved no one.’ Then in a trice that whim

Has wearied. But, though I am like a river

At fall of evening while it seems that never

Has the sun lighted it or warmed it, while

Cross breezes cut the surface to a file,

This heart, some fraction of me, happily

Floats through the window even now to a tree

Down in the misting, dim-lit, quiet vale,

Not like a pewit that returns to wail

For something it has lost, but like a dove

That slants unswerving to its home and love.

There I find my rest, as through the dusk air

Flies what yet lives in me: Beauty is there.

—–

Like the Touch of Rain

Like the touch of rain she was

On a man’s flesh and hair and eyes

When the joy of walking thus

Has taken him by surprise:

With the love of the storm he burns,

He sings, he laughs, well I know how,

But forgets when he returns

As I shall not forget her ‘Go now’.

Those two words shut a door

Between me and the blessed rain

That was never shut before

And will not open again.

—–

Last Poem

The sorrow of true love is a great sorrow

And true love parting blackens a bright morrow:

Yet almost they equal joys, since their despair

Is but hope blinded by its tears, and clear

Above the storm the heavens wait to be seen.

But greater sorrow from less love has been

That can mistake lack of despair for hope

And knows not tempest and the perfect scope

Of summer, but a frozen drizzle perpetual

Of drops that from remorse and pity fall

And cannot ever shine in the sun or thaw,

Removed eternally from the sun’s law.

_______

Biography: Edward Thomas

Edward Thomas (March 3, 1878 – April 9, 1917) was one of the best-known English poets of World War I.

Thomas was of Welsh extraction but was born in London as Philip Edward Thomas. He was educated at Battersea Grammar School, St. Paul’s School and Lincoln College, Oxford. Unusually he married while still an undergraduate and determined to live his life by the pen. He was already a seasoned writer before the outbreak of war, and had worked as a journalist before becoming a poet, with the encouragement of Robert Frost. He initially published some poetry under the name Edward Eastaway. He also wrote a novel and some works of non-fiction.

When war broke out, Thomas joined the Artists’ Rifles, despite being a mature married man who could have avoided enlisting. In fact, few of his poems deal directly with his war experiences. His poems are noted for their attention to the English countryside. He was killed in action at Arras on April 9, 1917, soon after he arrived in France.

A short poem of Thomas’s serves as an example of how he blends war and countryside throughout his poetry:

In Memoriam

The flowers left thick at nightfall in the wood

This Eastertide call into mind the men,

Now far from home, who, with their sweethearts, should

Have gathered them and will do never again.

The Somme: Rememberance….

July 1st marked the 90th anniversary of The Battle Of The Somme. Perhaps one of the most deadliest days of WW1. It was a pretty horrible affair. (see the end of the entry for casualty reports)

It broke the spirit of the German Army, and was the beginning of the end of the conflict. It also marked a whole generation in such a way that we probably cannot get our head around it in our time… This entry has a combination of German, Austrian and British poets from WW1. The British poets section is compiled of poets who died at The Somme, including several who died on the first day.

The Great Lie that came out of the conflict was that it was the war to end all war. It was in truth, the end of the world as it had been known. A horrible end, and a beginning of something that is still being defined…

Poetry came out of this conflict, Great Art and Literature hand in hand. But, the flower of a whole generation was lost. (see the article on Tolkien below)

The Somme was as senseless as senseless could be. I believe it is our job to struggle against such madness that leads to these outcomes. We are confronted by massive stupidity at the present time that could tumble us deeply into an abyss even deeper than The Great War. The current conflict has been manufactured to benefit the few. Again kids are going off to battle, and someone elsewhere is reaping a huge financial benefit from it. Follow the money, and the smell of greed and madness.

Bright Blessings,

Gwyllm

On The Menu

Somme Links

Patriot Links

Third stanza…

German &amp; Austrian War Poets

The British Poets Who Fell The First Day of Battle at The Somme

A British Poet who died as well at Somme, but later

Counting the cost of the Battle and more…

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Somme Links:

The Great War: All Photos of WWI come from this most excellent site. Very moving, and well put together. A big thanks to Rob Ruggenberg in Holland

Wikipedia on The Somme

The Somme and Tolkien

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Patriot Links:

Yay! USA! Number One!

I spent time in some of these, oh Wasted Youth…

Dick Cheney, The Movie…

Our Flag Is An Awesome Flag

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Third stanza of the Hymn of Hate (1914), by Ernst Lissauer:

What do we care for the Russians or French?

Shot against shot, and thrust for thrust!

We fight the foe with bronze and sheath,

And some day or other we make our peace.

You we shall hate with enduring hate;

We shall not forbear from our hate;

Hate on water and hate on land,

Hate of the head and hate of the hand,

Hate of the hammer and hate of the crown,

Hate of seventy millions pressing down.

We love as one; we hate as one;

We have one foe, and one alone – ENGLAND !

(The hymn was distributed in the German army, taught to German school children, set to music and sung in concerts. Lissauer was decorated for it by the Kaiser. He died in 1937. Hitler eradicated the Jewish poet from German memory, but continued to use his work for propaganda.)

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From Peace Matters: remembrance and poetry

I couldn’t locate poets from Germany who had participated in The Somme. It in fact was difficult in finding works that were translated into English…

German &amp; Austrian War Poets:

Alfred Lichtenstein

Alfred Lichtenstein was born in Berlin in 1889, the son of a Prussian Jewish factory-owner. After he left school he studied law, but made sure he had time for his first interest: writing. He wrote stories, including a book of tales for children. He linked even his university law thesis to literature, concentrating on laws concerned with theatrical productions.

But it was his poems that drew most attention. He wrote about the industrialised world he knew, and about city life and its darker aspects. The realistic gloom his poems invoked was often salted with irony and a grim wit. In 1913, one notable literary magazine dedicated a whole issue to Alfred Lichtenstein’s work, with a pen and ink portrait of him on the front cover.

The war began before he had completed his year of compulsory military service, and his regiment was sent to the western front line immediately. Alfred Lichtenstein died from wounds in September 1914. He was only 25 years old.

His poem ‘Gebet vor dem Schlacht’ is a fine example of his dark humour.

Prayer before Battle

The troops sing with fervour, every man for himself:

O God, save me from rotten luck.

O Father, Son and Holy Spirit, please

Don’t let any shells hit me,

Or our enemies, those bastards,

Take me prisoner or shoot me.

Let me not kick the bucket like a dog

For my dear country.

Look, I’d really like to go on living,

Milking cows, having sex with girls

Beating up that low-life, Sepp,

Getting pissed a lot more times

Before I meet my blessed end.

Look, I’ll say my prayers well and willingly,

I’ll say the rosary seven times a day

If you, O God, in your mercy

Make my friend Huber, or maybe Meier,

Die, and let me live.

But if I’ve got to take it,

Don’t let me be badly wounded.

Send me a minor leg wound

A little injury to an arm,

So I can come back home a hero

And with a story to tell.

___

Peter Baum

Peter Baum was a Rhinelander, born in Eberfeld in 1869 to parents who were religious and strict. Against this background his imagination flowered, and he became a writer of strange and fantastical stories and poems.

He has been described as ‘a naturally trusting, naive and peaceable man’. Some people took advantage of his good nature, and his early attempts to make a living as a publisher came to nothing. But in 1898, through his portrait painter sister, he was introduced to well-known writers who took a sincere interest in him. His work was even accepted by a ground-breaking literary magazine.

When he found himself, at the age of 45, caught up in the real, not imaginary, terrors of war, his poetry changed. Now he worked at a more subtle use of poetic language, exploring the way in which poetic images can convey a process or sequence of events. ‘Am Beginn des Krieges’ (below) is a moving example of this. It moves from the beginning of the war to its peak, playing on the contrast between images of hope and peace (the arch of a rainbow, doves) and images of the over-arching power and destructiveness of war.

A gentle, peace-loving man like Peter Baum was naturally deeply distressed by his time on the western front. He served as a stretcher-bearer, which meant that he saw, many times, the terrible sufferings of wounded and dying soldiers. His experiences prevented him from sleeping, an additional stress. His tasks included grave-digging, and this is what he was doing on June 5 1916 when a stray piece of shrapnel hit him. He died the next day.

At the Beginning of the War

At the beginning of the war there was a rainbow.

Black birds against grey clouds cut circles.

Doves gleamed silver as, on their wheeling flight

They twisted through a slender shaft of light.

Battle follows hard on battle. They were superb liars.

Rank on rank of gaping heads rouse horrors.

Shells continually explode as, whistling softly,

The arc of their trajectory bows down from its climb.

The pain-bow of the shells is waxing all the time.

Stalled between Death and the rainbow arch of peace,

To protect their land men grip their rifles tighter,

Spit at the enemy, lean on each other as they totter.

Toppling like billows over hillocks in their course,

They waver on, drawn by Death’s magnetic force.

—–

Georg Trakl

Georg Trakl was born in Salzburg, Austria, son of a thriving ironmonger. He was always interested in literature, French and Russian as well as German, and went on to write plays and poems himself. His training, though, was in medicine: he studied pharmacy in Salzburg and at Vienna University, which meant that his compulsory year of military service in 1911 was spent working as a dispensing chemist with the Austrian army’s Medical Corps.

Georg Trakl was a troubled man, who turned to both drink and drugs for support. He found it difficult to live in cities, or to stay in the jobs he was offered. His writing, however, caught people’s interest. A magazine editor became his friend and patron, and when the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein gave away his inheritance in 1914 some of it was distributed to Georg Trakl. Wittgenstein said of Trakl’s poetry: ‘I don’t understand it but its tone delights me’.

Soon after the start of the war, Georg Trakl saw active service with the Medical Corps, and he was at the battle of Grodek on the eastern front. Here he found that he, a pharmacist, was in charge of many seriously wounded men with no doctors, nurses or medical supplies to speak of. One man shot himself to escape. Outside Trakl’s ‘hospital’ several deserters were hanged.

He collapsed as a result of these dreadful experiences of war, and was sent to Cracow for treatment – for schizophrenia. ‘Treatment’ meant being locked in a cell. At the beginning of November 1914, Georg Trakl died of an overdose of cocaine at the age of 27. His batman remained convinced that he had not intended to take his life.

One of the last poems he wrote was about the battle at Grodek.

Grodek

At evening the autumn woodlands ring

With deadly weapons. Over the golden plains

And lakes of blue, the sun

More darkly rolls. The night surrounds

Warriors dying and the wild lament

Of their fragmented mouths.

Yet silently there gather in the willow combe

Red clouds inhabited by an angry god,

Shed blood, and the chill of the moon.

All roads lead to black decay.

Under golden branching of the night and stars

A sister’s shadow sways through the still grove

To greet the heroes’ spirits, the bloodied heads.

And softly in the reeds Autumn’s dark flutes resound.

O prouder mourning! – You brazen altars,

The spirit’s hot flame is fed now by a tremendous pain:

The grandsons, unborn.

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The British Poets Who Fell The First Day of Battle at The Somme:

2nd Lt. Glbert Waterhouse: Served with the 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment, which partook in the bitter hand-to-hand fighting south of the village of Serre. At the end of the day, Waterhouse was counted among the missing, presumed dead. Buried at Serre Road Cemetery No.2, Beaumont Hamel &amp; Hebuterne.

… But the minnewerfers fell,

And the blackbird ceased his song,

And the place became a hell,

Rang with curses loud and long ~

Blackbird, chaffinch, bumble-bee

Fled away upon the wing ~

Where they sang so merrily

Other messengers now sing ~

Bumble bee is busy still,

Blackbird and the chaffinch sing

In another faery dell,

By the village on the hill;

But a devil out of hell

Tossing high explosive shell,

Gambols in the flowery dell

Where the minnewerfers fell.

—–

Sergeant John William Streets: Served in the 12th. York &amp; Lancaster Regiment. Known as “The Miner Poet”. Killed on the first day of the Somme, during the fighting for Serre. He was wounded early in the day and was returning to a dressing station when he heard that another soldier of his platoon was too badly wounded to return on his own, so Streets went back to find him. He was never seen again. He was 31. Buried Euston Road Cemetery, Colincamps.

Back to their Mother Earth this night return

Unnumbered youth along the far-flung line;

But ’tis for these my eyes with feeling burn,

That Memory doth erect a fadeless shrine ~

For these I’ve known, admired, ardently friended

Stood by when Death their love, their youth swift ended.

———

Lieutenant William Noel Hodgson, 9th Battalion, the Devonshire Regiment. Hodgson was awarded the Military Cross. In April 1916 the Battalion was in front line trenches opposite Mametz. On the opening day of the Battle of the Somme, Hodgson was killed by a bullet in the throat from German machine gun fire while taking a supply of bombs to his men in newly captured trenches near Mametz. Buried at Devonshire Cemetery, Mansel Copse, Mametz.

I, that on my familiar hill

Saw with uncomprehending eyes

A hundred of Thy sunsets spill

Their fresh and sanguine sacrifice,

Ere the sun swings his noonday sword

Must say good-bye to all of this; ~

By all delights that I shall miss,

Help me to die, O Lord.

—-

2nd Lt. Henry Field: Served with the 6th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiement. He was killed on the first day Somme during the bitter fighting for Serre, one of 836 casualties from his battalion. He was 22. Buried at Serre Road Cemetery No.2, Beaumont Hamel &amp; Hebuterne.

Above the shot-blown trench he stands,

Tall and thin against the sky;

His thin white face, and thin white hands,

Are the signs his people know him by.

His soldier’s coat is silver barred

And on his head the well-known crest.

Above th shot-blown trench he stands,

The bright escutcheon on his breast,

And traced in silver bone for bone

The likeness of a skeleton.

———–

(At the end of this so called First Day of the Somme 58,000 British troops were lost (one third of them killed), which to this day remains a one-day record. The battle ran on until the 18th of November, at which point it was called off )

_____

A British Poet who died as well at Somme, but later:

Captain Richard DENNYS. Born December 17, 1884, in London. Educated at Winchester College: pianist, painter, actor, writer, poet. At the outbreak of the war, he was commissioned in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. Captain Dennys was seriously wounded on July 12, 1916, near Albert, while pushing forward with his battalion from Usna-Tara Hill during a heavy artillery bombardment in the Somme advance. He was taken to the British General Hospital at Rouen, where he died twelve days later.

Come when it may, the stern decree

For me to leave the cheery throng

And quit the sturdy company

Of brothers that I work among.

No need for me to look askance,

Since no rehgret my prospect mars.

My day was happy ~ and perchance

The coming night is full of stars.

~~~ THERE IS NO DEATH. With Forward by Captain Desmond Coke. (John Lane).

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Counting the cost of the Battle and more…

2.4 million:

Volunteers for British army, including territorial army (Conscription began early 1916. Few, if any, conscripts fought at the Somme.)

1 million+: Number of casualties on both sides at the Somme.

419,654: Number of British casualities at the Somme, including dead and wounded.

54,470: Number of British casualties on July 1st, 1916, of which

19,420 died in battle. This included:

2000+ from the Ulster Division who died. Another 2700 men were wounded.

500+ Battalions which suffered 500 plus casulties on the first day:

Ist Tyneside (620)

4th Tyneside (539)

Co Down Volunteers (595)

1st Royal Inniskillings (568)

Armagh, Cavan &amp; Monaghan Volunteers (562)

Leeds Pals (528)

The Germans Suffered Horribly as well:

465,000 to 600,000 Casualties (of which 164,055 killed or missing)

(A Chaplain Attending the Dead at The Somme)

NIMUE of the Lake

Wonderful Days here in Portland. Warm, the plants are going crazy with growth… Dragon Flys abound. More than I have seen in years. All the Fledglings in the local trees are trying their wings. Pretty exciting times for them! We had a Squirrel Tribe pound across the roof this morning, 5 of them moving together like the hoodlums that they can be.

Tonights entry is dedicated to the Lady in the Lake in all Ladies… Here is to your mysterious ways. I, am still enchanted.

Gwyllm

On The Menu:

The Links

The Lady of the Lake

Poetry:

To Nimue by Wildfrid Scawen Blunt

The Story of Nimue by Thomas De Beverley (George Newcomen)

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The Links:

More on the Morphic Fields, or Stream as the case may be…

Apply Equal Pressure… (Turn your Speakers On)

True Origin of Christian “FISH” Symbol Might Outrage, Shock Jesus Worshippers

No lunch for school children

Mexican ex-president ordered arrested in massacre

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The Lady of the Lake

(From The Britannica)

The Tradition: The Lady of the Lake was the foster-mother of Sir Lancelot and raised him beneath the murky waters of her Lake. She is, however, best known for her presentation to King Arthur of his magical sword Excalibur, through the intervention of the King’s druidic advisor, Merlin (Myrddin) who was constantly worried that his monarch would fall in battle.

Merlin had met the Lady at the Fountain of Barenton (Brittany) and fallen so deeply in love with her that he agreed to teach her all his mystical powers. The lady became Merlin’s scribe, who recorded his prophecies, as well as his lover. Unfortunately however, over the years, the Lady became so powerful that her magical skills outshone even her teacher and she imprisoned him in Glass Tower (or similar dungeon). To some extent she stepped into Merlin’s role at King Arthur’s side, but the old man’s removal contributed considerably to the great monarch’s downfall. The Lady of the Lake was eventually obliged to reclaim her sword when Arthur was fatally wounded at the Battle of Camlann and Excalibur was hurled back to misty waters. She was later one of the three Queens who escorted the King to Avalon.

Her Name: The Lady of the Lake is usually referred to by various spellings of the names Nimue or Vivienne. Nimue is thought to be related to Mneme, the shortened form of Mnemosyne, one of the nine water-nymph Muses of Roman and Greek Mythology who gave weapons, not unlike Arthur’s sword, to the heroic Perseus. Vivienne betrays the Lady’s Celtic form, for “Vi-Vianna” probably derives from “Co-Vianna”, a variant of the widespread Celtic water-goddess, Coventina. Remembering Latin pronunciation, this name probably relates to Merlin’s original partner in early poetry, his wife Gwendoloena. Thus Gw-end(-ol)-oena = Cov-ent-ina. There have also been attempts to show Vivienne as a corrupt form of Diana or Rhiannon. Though possible, these theories seem unlikely.

Dedication to Coventina from CarrawburghAncient Origins: Water deities were extremely popular with Celtic Society for they controlled the essential essence of life itself. The spontaneous movement of springs, rivers and lakes clearly showed the supernatural powers of the goddesses who lived within; and offerings at such aquatic features were commonplace, especially of weapons and other valuables. The practice continues today at wishing wells across the country, and the Lady of the Lake is remembered as “Lady Luck”!

Her names clearly reveal this Lady to have been the Celtic Water-Goddess Coventina (presumably identified by the Romans with their Mnemosyne). This lady was worshipped throughout the Western Roman Empire, in Britain, the Narbonne area of Gaul and North-Western Iberia too. She is most celebrated for her shrine at Brocolitia (Carrawburgh) on Hadrian’s Wall. Here a quadrangular temple surrounded a central pool fed by a sacred spring. Coin, jewellery and small bronze figurine offerings have been excavated as well as numerous altars dedicated by the local soldiers.

Since the Lady of the Lake’s place as Merlin’s student and lover was largely overtaken by Morgan Le Fay, a lady whose very name in Breton indicates a water-nymph, it seems that the two were aspects of the same character. Indeed, as both appear among the three queens who escort Arthur to Avalon, she no doubt had a third aspect making up the well-known theme of a Celtic Triple-Goddess.

_____________

TO NIMUE

by

WILDFRID SCAWEN BLUNT

I had clean forgotten all, her face who had caused my trouble.

Gone was she as a cloud, as a bird which passed in the wind, as a glittering stream-borne bubble,

As a shadow set by a ship on the sea, where the sail looks down on its double.

I had laid her face to the wall, on the shelf where my fancies sleep.

I had laid my pain in its grave, in its rose-leaf passionless grave, with the things I had dared not keep.

I had left it there. I had dried my tears. I had said, “Ah, why should I weep?”

I will not be fooled by her, by the spell of her fair child’s face.

What is its meaning to me, who have seen, who have known, who have loved what miracle forms of grace?

What are its innocent wiles, its smiles, its idle sweet girlishness?

I will not love without love. I despise the ways of a fool.

Let me prevail as of old, as lover, as lord, as king, or have done with Love’s tyrant rule.

I was born to command, not serve, not obey. No boy am I in Love’s school.

I have fled to the fields, the plains, the desert places of rest,

To the forest’s infinite smile, where the cushat calls from the trees and the yaffle has lined her nest,

To the purple hills with the spray of the sea, when the wind blows loud from the west.

I have done with her love and her, the wine-draughts of human pleasure.

The voice of nature is best, the cradle song of the trees which is hymned to Time’s stateliest measure,

As once a boy in the woods I heard it and held it an exquisite treasure.

I had clean forgotten all. I had sung to the indolent hills

Songs of joy without grief, since grief is of human things the shadow of human ills.

I sang aloud in my pride of song to the chime of the answering rills.

And, behold, the whole world heard, the dull mad man-ridden Earth.

And they cried, “A prophet hath risen, a sage with the heart of a child, a bard of no human birth,

A soul that hath known nor pain, nor sin, a singer of infinite mirth.”

And she too heard it and came. And she knew it was I grown wise.

And she stood from the rest apart, and I watched her with pitying scorn, and then with a sad surprise,

And last with a new sweet passionate joy, for I saw there were tears in her eyes.

And she came and sat at my feet, as in days ere our grief began.

And I saw her a woman grown. And I was a prophet no more, but a desolate voiceless man.

And I clasped her fast in my arms in joy and kissed her tears as they ran.

And I shall not be fooled by her, though her face is fair as a rose.

And I shall not live without love, though the world should forget my songs and I should forget its woes,

And the purple hills should forget the sea and the spray when the west wind blows.

———-

THE STORY OF NIMUE

BY

THOMAS DE BEVERLEY (GEORGE NEWCOMEN)

Merlin, by arts of Grammarie,

Had woven a spell, right cunningly,

That his mortal life prolonged should be.

Of herbs he had made an elixir quaint

To prolong his life, ere his years were spent;

But Fate hath frustrated his intent.

A chalice, he lifted in his hand,

To drink the elixir which fate had banned.

It fell and was spilt upon the sand.

“But,” he thought, “it is not as yet too late.

I will go at once, nor a moment wait;

Though the night be dark and the hour be late.”

Nimue knew of Merlin’s guile;

How evil he veiled in a simple smile.

How his heart was laden with many a wile.

She had gone by night to a churchyard grey

And the herbs she had torn from the earth away.

And Merlin will curse this evil day.

For the wizard will be appalled to think

That he is trembling upon the brink

Of the grave: Life’s elixir no more he’ll drink.

Old he grew in a single night;

His limbs were palsied, his hair was white.

Helpless was he to set it right.

Nimue was a fairy maid,

In a Grecian garment of white arrayed.

And her hair was bound with a golden braid.

Black was her hair as ebony,

Her eyes the fairest a man might see,

Shining with magic mystery.

“Now,” she cried, “is the hour mine own,

As Merlin shall for his sins atone;

His power for evil is past and gone.”

When Merlin crawled on his weary way,

The little children would pause at play

To jeer at the wizard, old and grey.

He sat him down by a hollow tree,

And unto him came Nimue.

She sat her down on the Wizard’s knee.

Long had the dotard followed her;

Chasing the fair one, near and far.

“Nothing now my desire will bar.”

He thought for her long white arms entwined

Round his shrunken neck; and the wanton wind

Blew her hair in his face; and she seemed kind.

His shrivelled lips upon hers were prest;

His hands were fondling her warm soft breast;

As this ladie weird he in love caressed.

He told her of many a subtle spell;

And, hearing his secrets her heart doth swell

As she cries, “O Merlin, I love thee well!”

“I am thine for ever, for good or ill,

If the wish of my heart wilt thou fulfil.

If thou wilt obey me, thou hast thy will.”

” ‘Neath yonder stone, hast thou said to me,

Is a cave and only by grammarie,

From its mouth, that great stone mov’d may be.”

“But to me it seemeth impossible

That the stone could be lifted by any spell.

Raise it for me; for I love thee well.”

Merlin arose with an air sedate,

To a certain doom, impelled by fate,

He openeth now the rocky gate.

“Further, I’ll prove thee,” then said she,

“Enter this magic cave for me;

Shut thou the door, by grammarie.”

“Then shall thou roll the rock away,

Proving thy power by this assay,

Thou’llt stand again in the open day.”

She spake, and the stone was rolled aside,

And the old man entered the cavern wide–

Besotted by love and by foolish pride.

Loud laughed the fairie Nimue:

She uttered some words of mysterie,

No more shall that dark cave opened be.

MERLIN AND THE GLEAM

Kind of a Saturday Bonus for those that are visiting.

I hope you enjoy!

Poetry By Lord Tennyson

Art by Louis Rhead

MERLIN AND THE GLEAM

by

ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON

I.

O YOUNG Mariner,

You from the haven

Under the sea-cliff,

You that are watching

The gray Magician

With eyes of wonder,

I am Merlin,

And I am dying,

I am Merlin

Who follow The Gleam.

II.

Mighty the Wizard

Who found me at sunrise

Sleeping, and woke me

And learn’d me Magic!

Great the Master,

And sweet the Magic,

When over the valley,

In early summers,

Over the mountain,

On human faces,

And all around me,

Moving to melody,

Floated The Gleam.

III.

Once at the croak of a Raven who crost it,

A barbarous people,

Blind to the magic,

And deaf to the melody,

Snarl’d at and cursed me.

A demon vext me,

The light retreated,

The landskip darken’d,

The melody deaden’d,

The Master whisper’d

“Follow The Gleam.”

IV.

Then to the melody,

Over a wilderness

Gliding, and glancing at

Elf of the woodland,

Gnome of the cavern,

Griffin and Giant,

And dancing of Fairies

In desolate hollows,

And wraiths of the mountain,

And rolling of dragons

By warble of water,

Or cataract music

Of falling torrents,

Flitted The Gleam.

V.

Down from the mountain

And over the level,

And streaming and shining on

Silent river,

Silvery willow,

Pasture and plowland,

Horses and oxen,

Innocent maidens,

Garrulous children,

Homestead and harvest,

Reaper and gleaner,

And rough-ruddy faces

Of lowly labour,

Slided The Gleam.–

VI.

Then, with a melody

Stronger and statelier,

Led me at length

To the city and palace

Of Arthur the king;

Touch’d at the golden

Cross of the churches,

Flash’d on the Tournament,

Flicker’d and bicker’d

From helmet to helmet,

And last on the forehead

Of Arthur the blameless

Rested The Gleam.

VII.

Clouds and darkness

Closed upon Camelot;

Arthur had vanish’d

I knew not whither,

The king who loved me,

And cannot die;

For out of the darkness

Silent and slowly

The Gleam, that had waned to a wintry glimmer

On icy fallow

And faded forest,

Drew to the valley

Named of the shadow,

And slowly brightening

Out of the glimmer,

And slowly moving again to a melody

Yearningly tender,

Fell on the shadow,

No longer a shadow,

But clothed with The Gleam.

VIII.

And broader and brighter

The Gleam flying onward,

Wed to the melody,

Sang thro’ the world;

And slower and fainter,

Old and weary,

But eager to follow,

I saw, whenever

In passing it glanced upon

Hamlet or city,

That under the Crosses

The dead man’s garden,

The mortal hillock,

Would break into blossom;

And so to the land’s

Last limit I came–

And can no longer,

But die rejoicing,

For thro’ the Magic

Of Him the Mighty,

Who taught me in childhood,

There on the border

Of boundless Ocean,

And all but in Heaven

Hovers The Gleam.

IX.

Not of the sunlight,

Not of the moonlight,

Not of the starlight!

O young Mariner,

Down to the haven,

Call your companions,

Launch your vessel,

And crowd your canvas,

And, ere it vanishes

Over the margin,

After it, follow it,

Follow The Gleam.