Friday Offering

The world is now far too dangerous for anything less than Utopia.—Buckminster Fuller

Cold Days in Portland. Half my plants are living in the basement. The sun comes and goes… yet no heat or relief.

Everything can be a prayer, a meditation it seems. These quiet days I am struck by the struggle of life, and how we try to swim against the stream. Even the struggle can be a meditation. Let it go, let it go.

Here is a small entry for the ending of the week…



On The Menu

The Links

2 Koans

Poetry: Hafiz

Art: William Morris


The Links:

Nigerian Christmas without ‘evil’ Santas

Indian state gripped by fear of witches: report

From Doug: FBI Considered “It’s A Wonderful Life” Communist Propaganda

French space agency to publish UFO archive online


2 Koans:

The Gates of Paradise

A soldier named Nobushige came to Hakuin, and asked: “Is there really a paradise and a hell?”

“Who are you?” inquired Hakuin.

“I am a samurai,” the warrior replied.

“You, a soldier!” exclaimed Hakuin. “What kind of ruler would have you as his guard? Your face looks like that of a beggar.”

Nobushige became so angry that he began to draw his sword, but Hakuin continued: “So you have a sword! Your weapon is probably much too dull to cut off my head.”

As Nobushige drew his sword Hakuin remarked: “Here open the gates of hell!”

At these words the samurai, perceiving the master’s discipline, sheathed his sword and bowed.

“Here open the gates of paradise,” said Hakuin.


The Giver Should Be Thankful

While Seisetsu was the master of Engaku in Kamakura he required larger quarters, since those in which he was teaching were overcrowded. Umezu Seibei, a merchant of Edo, decided to donate five hundred pieces of gold called ryo toward the construction of a more commodious school. This money he brought to the teacher.

Seisetsu said: “All right. I will take it.”

Umezu gave Seisetsu the sack of gold, but he was dissatisfied with the attitude of the teacher. One might live a whole year on three ryo, and the merchant had not even been thanked for five hundred.

“In that sack are five hundred ryo,” hinted Umezu.

“You told me that before,” replied Seisetsu.

“Even if I am a wealthy merchant, five hundred ryo is a lot of money,” said Umezu.

“Do you want me to thank you for it?” asked Seisetsu.

“You ought to,” replied Uzemu.

Why should I?” inquired Seisetsu. “The giver should be thankful.”


Poetry: Hafiz

Teaching Of Hafiz XXIV

NOT one is filled with madness like to mine

In all the taverns! my soiled robe lies here,

There my neglected book, both pledged for wine.

With dust my heart is thick, that should be clear,

A glass to mirror forth the Great King’s face;

One ray of light from out Thy dwelling-place

To pierce my night, oh God! and draw me near.

From out mine eyes unto my garment’s hem

A river flows; perchance my cypress-tree

Beside that stream may rear her lofty stem,

Watering her roots with tears. Ah, bring to me

The wine vessel! since my Love’s cheek is hid,

A flood of grief comes from my heart unbid,

And turns mine eyes into a bitter sea!

Nay, by the hand that sells me wine, I vow

No more the brimming cup shall touch my lips,

Until my mistress with her radiant brow

Adorns my feast-until Love’s secret slips

From her, as from the candle’s tongue of flame,

Though I, the singèd moth, for very shame,

Dare not extol Love’s light without eclipse.

Red wine I worship, and I worship her–

Speak not to me of anything beside,

For nought but these on earth or heaven I care.

What though the proud narcissus flowers defied

Thy shining eyes to prove themselves more bright,

Yet heed them not! those that are clear of sight

Follow not them to whom all light’s denied.

Before the tavern door a Christian sang

To sound of pipe and drum, what time the earth

Awaited the white dawn, and gaily rang

Upon mine ear those harbingers of mirth:

“If the True Faith be such as thou dost say,

Alas! my Hafiz, that this sweet To-day

Should bring unknown To-morrow to the birth!”


THE days of absence and the bitter nights

Of separation, all are at an end!

Where is the influence of the star that blights

My hope? The omen answers: At an end!

Autumn’s abundance, creeping Autumn’s mirth,

Are ended and forgot when o’er the earth

The wind of Spring with soft warm feet doth wend.

The Day of Hope, hid beneath Sorrow’s veil,

Has shown its face–ah, cry that all may hear:

Come forth! the powers of night no more prevail!

Praise be to God, now that the rose is near

With long-desired and flaming coronet,

The cruel stinging thorns all men forget,

The wind of Winter ends its proud career.

The long confusion of the nights that were,

Anguish that dwelt within my heart, is o’er;

‘Neath the protection of my lady’s hair

Grief nor disquiet come to me no more.

What though her curls wrought all my misery,

My lady’s gracious face can comfort me,

And at the end give what I sorrow for.

Light-hearted to the tavern let me go,

Where laughs the pipe, the merry cymbals kiss;

Under the history of all my woe,

My mistress sets her hand and writes: Finis.

Oh, linger not, nor trust the inconstant days

That promised: Where thou art thy lady stays–

The tale of separation ends with this!

Joy’s certain path, oh Saki, thou hast shown–

Long may thy cup be full, thy days be fair!

Trouble and sickness from my breast have flown,

Order and health thy wisdom marshals there.

Not one that numbered Hafiz’ name among

The great-unnumbered were his tears, unsung;

Praise him that sets an end to endless care!


THE secret draught of wine and love repressed

Are joys foundationless–then come whate’er

May come, slave to the grape I stand confessed!

Unloose, oh friend, the knot of thy heart’s care,

Despite the warning that the Heavens reveal!

For all his thought, never astronomer

That loosed the knot of Fate those Heavens conceal!

Not all the changes that thy days unfold

Shall rouse thy wonder; Time’s revolving sphere

Over a thousand lives like thine has rolled.

That cup within thy fingers, dost not hear

The voices of dead kings speak through the clay

Kobad, Bahman, Djemshid, their dust is here,

“Gently upon me set thy lips!” they say.

What man can tell where Kaus and Kai have gone?

Who knows where even now the restless wind

Scatters the dust of Djem’s imperial throne?

And where the tulip, following close behind

The feet of Spring, her scarlet chalice rears,

There Ferhad for the love of Shirin pined,

Dyeing the desert red with his heart’s tears.

Bring, bring the cup! drink we while yet we may

To our soul’s ruin the forbidden draught

Perhaps a treasure-trove is hid away

Among those ruins where the wine has laughed!–

Perhaps the tulip knows the fickleness

Of Fortune’s smile, for on her stalk’s green shaft

She bears a wine-cup through the wilderness.

The murmuring stream of Ruknabad, the breeze

That blows from out Mosalla’s fair pleasaunce,

Summon me back when I would seek heart’s ease,

Travelling afar; what though Love’s countenance

Be turned full harsh and sorrowful on me,

I care not so that Time’s unfriendly glance

Still from my Lady’s beauty turned be.

Like Hafiz, drain the goblet cheerfully

While minstrels touch the lute and sweetly sing,

For all that makes thy heart rejoice in thee

Hangs of Life’s single, slender, silken string.

Premature Illumination

Logical Argument is what destroys Poetry because Poetry is beyond Logic.

– Robert Graves

Argh… Running Late and I put waaaay to much time trying to formulate this, though I am happy with the results.

Below freezing this morning. So much for the warm winter we were supposed to have here in the Northwest. Maybe snow by the weekend?

Preparing for the new year, got your wishes all lined up?



On The Menu

The Links

The Quotes

Premature Illumination

Poetry: Father & Son

Art: Warwick Goble

Warwick Goble (1862 – 1943) was a Victorian illustrator of children’s books. He specialized in fairy tales, and exotic scenes from Japan, India, and Arabia. He illustrated H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds.

I have seen Warwick’s art over the years, and am happy to present it to Turfing at this point. He blew hot and cold, sometimes it was great, other times…. not so much. Yet on the whole he has a great body of work, and we may visit it again in the future…



The Links:

NRA’s Secret Graphic Novel Revealed!

The Museum of Unworkable Devices…

Idiot of the Year Award?

Gibbons Defend Against Predators With Song

Crocheted Chaos


The Quotes

“Today’s scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.”

“With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another.”

“Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one.”

“Never go out to meet trouble. If you will just sit still, nine cases out of ten someone will intercept it before it reaches you.”

“No one travelling on a business trip would be missed if he failed to arrive.”

“Never try to tell everything you know. It may take too short a time.”

“I never lecture, not because I am shy or a bad speaker, but simply because I detest the sort of people who go to lectures and don’t want to meet them.”

“The only reason I made a commercial for American Express was to pay for my American Express bill.”


Premature Illumination

Robert Anton Wilson, the iconoclastic genius behind the famed ‘Illuminatus! Trilogy,’

has a few thousand things he’d like to teach you

By Bill Forman

Decades before the crossover cult film What the Bleep Do We Know!? popularized the idea that the principles of quantum mechanics could be applied to the world at large, Robert Anton Wilson had laid out much the same theory in his book, Prometheus Rising. Venture further into Wilson’s oeuvre and you’ll find equally prescient material on longevity research; you’ll likely even stumble across source materials that inspired Dan Brown to write The DaVinci Code.

“I think I’m the most ripped-off artist of our time,” says Wilson, seated in the living room of a modest Capitola apartment adorned with an array of pookahs, Buddhas and at least one Loch Ness monster. “People keep coming out with books 30 years after — books on things I wrote about — and they all become bestsellers.

“I wrote about them too early,” says Wilson, raising a thin arm and shaking his finger to emphasize his point: “Don’t be premature.”

Lance Bauscher agrees. “This whole DaVinci Code thing with Dan Brown, I mean, that’s all Bob’s material,” says Bauscher, who directed a film about Wilson called Maybe Logic and also runs an academy through which Wilson’s online course, “Tale of the Tribe,” begins on Aug. 14. “Dan Brown has probably read Bob’s books. But Bob doesn’t really compromise his storytelling — not that Dan Brown does — but it’s for a general audience, and Bob just doesn’t go there.”

Maybe that’s because Wilson can’t helping throwing his audiences so many curve balls, mixing esoteric facts with wild flights of imagination — and rarely revealing which is which. From self-destructing mynah birds to world domination enterprises determined to grant immortality to Adolf Hitler, the irascible Wilson’s Illuminatus! Trilogy (written in the ’70s with co-author Robert Shea) is a fun-house ride through every conspiracy theory under the sun — as well as a few that appear to have been hatched in some far distant solar system.

At age 73, Wilson’s body and voice have both been weakened by post-polio syndrome, but his brain and his humor are as sharp as ever.

“His humor is constant and people are never sure if he’s being serious,” says Bauscher of Wilson’s intellectual gymnastics. “I mean, the Illuminati: is it a joke or serious? And Discordianism: is it a joke disguised as a religion, or a religion disguised as a joke?”

All of which helps explain why Wilson’s name doesn’t frequent bestseller lists, nor is he routinely credited for the insights that are beginning to capture the public imagination decades later.

In fact, one day this past spring, after Santa Cruz moviegoers had lined up to see What the Bleep Do We Know!? in sufficient numbers to justify its three-month run, Robert Anton Wilson was lying alone, conscious but unable to move, on the floor of this one-bedroom Capitola apartment for 30 hours.

“It really didn’t seem that long,” says Wilson of his collapse, which ended when his daughter arrived and broke down the door. “And I remember thinking, as I’m lying there trying to move and unable to move: Hey, I may be dying now. And it didn’t frighten me or bother me at all.”

Wilson’s subsequent trip to the hospital, the first of his adult life, was a different story altogether.

“The worst thing about hospitals,” says Wilson, who was rescued when his daughter managed to break into the apartment, “is that all the rights guaranteed in the first 10 amendments are immediately canceled. You have no civil rights whatsoever. And the second thing is, all the ordinary rules no longer apply–you are no longer a person deserving of kindness, you’re a disobedient child who has to be reprimanded and herded around. My God, I don’t know why people put up with such treatment.” Wilson, we can presume, doesn’t particularly like being told what to do.

“Not by people who treat me like an idiot. Not when I’m 73 years old, I have 35 books in print, I supported a wife and four kids for most of my life. I do not appreciate being treated like a disobedient 4-year-old, the way they treat everybody in the hospital.”

Of course, you don’t have to go to a hospital to be treated like that, but Wilson’s on a roll …

“I was an editor of Playboy, for chrissake,” he cries, as though that, if nothing else, should carry some weight in this culture. “I’ve had plays performed in England, Germany and the United States; my books are in print in a dozen countries. Why the hell do they treat me like a child? I refuse to tolerate it. If they won’t treat me with dignity, I won’t go anywhere near them, especially with all the goddamned germs they got floating around there. CNN did a report on it — the number of people who are killed by diseases picked up in hospitals is much greater than the number who are killed by cars.

“I’m never going to a hospital again. Never, never, never, never! I will lie on the floor and die before I go back to a hospital.”

Maybe, Baby

A presumably less opinionated Robert Anton Wilson was born into this world — Brooklyn or Long Island, he claims not to remember which — on Jan. 18, 1932. Raised in an Irish-Catholic ghetto, he attended a Catholic school whose strict dogma and not exactly cheerful nuns helped inspire future rebellions. When he was 7 or 8, Wilson recalls in Bauscher’s film, they told him there was no Santa Claus.

“I kept waiting for them to admit there’s no God,” says Wilson. “They never did.”

Wilson attributes the curing of his childhood case of polio at the age of 4 to the Sister Kenny method of physical therapy, which in those days was regarded by the medical community as so much quackery.

Such formative events left Wilson with a high regard for experimentation and research, as well as a decided antipathy for faith-based and conventional wisdom.

“Faith-based organizations say we don’t need any more research, we know enough now, we can be dogmatic, whereas researchers say we don’t know enough now, investigate, research,” argues Wilson. “Faith is a reason to become stupid: ‘From this point forward, I will remain stupid.’ To me, faith-based organizations are responsible for everything I see wrong with this planet. Research-based organizations are responsible for everything I like about it. Before the French Revolution, the average life expectancy was 37 years. Now it’s 78 years. All due to research-based organizations. Not at all due to faith-based organizations. All faith-based organizations give you is George Bush. Research-based organizations give you cures for disease.”

At age 17, Wilson was planning a career in electrical engineering when he came across a copy of Alfred Korzybski’s Science and Sanity while perusing the library bookshelves at Brooklyn Technical High School. Korzbyski — who will be featured in the “Tale of the Tribe” class along with other seminal thinkers like Giordano Bruno, Giambatista Vico, Friederich Nietzsche, Ernest Fenollosa, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon and Marshall McLuhan had as profound an influence on Wilson’s young mind as his work would have on that of later generations.

Wilson was particularly taken with the Polish semanticist’s critique of newer European languages. “Korzybski suggested dozens of reforms in our speech and our writings, most of which I try to follow. One of them is if people said ‘maybe’ more often, the world would suddenly become stark, staring sane. Can you see Jerry Falwell saying: “Maybe God hates gay people. Maybe Jesus is the son of God.’ Every muezzin in Islam resounding at night in booming voices: ‘There is no God except maybe Allah. And maybe Mohammed is his papa. Think about how sane the world would become after a while.”

Maybe it would.

“Well, yeah,” says Wilson. “Maybe.”

Some of It Has Got to Be True

The opening of the American mind, or at least the one belonging to Robert Anton Wilson, continued more-or-less unabated throughout the ’50s and ’60s. In 1958, he married Arlen Riley — who had worked as a scriptwriter for an Orson Welles radio show — and she went on to introduce Wilson to the work of Alan Watts. Friendship and collaborations with Timothy Leary followed, as well as experimentation with an array of drugs and mystic traditions. But it was in the decidedly secular surroundings of the Playboy editorial office, back in the late ’60s, that two associate editors would hatch the idea of the Illuminatus! Trilogy, which remains Wilson’s best-known work to this day.

“I’m sorry to disappoint you, but it was much like working at any other magazine,” says Wilson, who never even got to visit Hef’s grotto. “I mean, you went into the office, you did your job and you went home. The difference is that all the girls were good-looking. Of course, I was happily married and not fucking all the secretaries, I’m sorry to say.”

Wilson and co-conspirator Robert Shea did borrow a few ideas from letters to the editor they received at Playboy, but most of the influence on their collaboration came from the broader gestalt of an era that was obsessed with esoteric arcana and increasingly paranoid about all manner of conspiracies.

“He and I were talking one night over bloody marys and peanuts,” recalls Wilson, “and he says, ‘What if every conspiracy theory is true?’ It began as satire, but a lot of people were really scared by it. Which makes sense, because some of it has got to be true.”

Careening wildly from detective story to first-person rant, from twisted history to apocryphal speculation, the Illuminatus works continue to influence the oddest assortment of young minds. Camper Van Beethoven were outspoken fans, as were the Seattle Posies, who paid tribute to Wilson on their first album. (Wilson says Guns ‘N’ Roses were also fans, but it’s probably unfair to hold him responsible for them,) Author Tom Robbins is a Wilson devotee, as is Bay Area author R.U. Sirius, who took his name from Wilson’s book, Cosmic Trigger, and went on to found Wired magazine precursor Mondo 2000. (Sirius is also one of the instructors at the Maybe Logic online academy, as are Dice Man author Luke Rhinehart; chaos magic godfather Peter Carroll; DePaul professor Patricia Monahan, who is also Robert Shea’s widow; and several others.)

Wilson has also inspired at least two religions, or send-ups thereof: Discordianism took root in the immediate wake of the trilogy, while the Church of the Subgenius enshrined Wilson — in the form of pipe-clenching icon Bob Dobbs — as its figurehead some two decades later.

While introducing him at a convention, Subgenius founder and high priest Ivor Stang called Wilson “the Carl Sagan of religion, the Jerry Falwell of quantum physics, the Arnold Schwarzenegger of feminism” and “the James Joyce of swingset assembly manuals.”

As the years went on, Wilson continued to write and speak with relentless energy. After he and his wife moved up to Capitola in the early ’90s, he used an early incident here as a way to explain quantum physics.

“When I moved from Los Angeles I moved into what I thought was Santa Cruz,” Wilson told a European audience during footage included in Bauscher’s film. “Then we had something stolen from our car and we called the police, and it turned out we didn’t live in Santa Cruz, we lived in a town called Capitola. The post office thought we lived in Santa Cruz, the police thought we lived in Capitola. I started investigating this and a reporter at the local newspaper told me we didn’t live in Santa Cruz or Capitola, we lived in a unincorporated area called Live Oak.”

“Now quantum mechanics is just like that,” Wilson continues, “except that in the case of Santa Cruz, Capitola and Live Oak, we don’t get too confused because we remember we invented the lines on the map. But quantum physics seems confusing because a lot of people think we didn’t invent the lines, so it seems hard to understand how a particle can be in three places at the same time and not be anywhere at all.”

The League of Armed Marijuana Patients

After 41 years of marriage, Wilson’s wife and co-conspirator, Arlen, passed away in 1999, leaving Robert to continue on his own. The onset of post-polio symptoms has all but eliminated his speaking engagements, while making him a fervent proponent of the medical marijuana movement. “I’m a member of WAMM [Wo/Man’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana] and of LAMP,” says Wilson. “LAMP is the League of Armed Marijuana Patients. And also the Guns & Dope Party.”

It was under the auspices of the latter party that Wilson ran as a write-in alternative to Arnold Schwarzenegger in the recall election, putting forth a platform that included the replacement of capitol legislators with ostriches. More seriously, he made a rare public appearance at a medical marijuana rally in Sacramento last month. “You know, at that WAMM rally the week before last, I was sitting up there and thinking, suppose some right-wing nut gets in and throws a bomb? Well, what the hell, I’d rather die for a cause then die for nothing. It didn’t bother me at all. I can’t frighten myself anymore.”

But he can tire himself out. Not only is Wilson’s mobility limited by post-polio symptoms, they also make him experience temperatures as 20 to 40 degrees colder than they actually are. “I was bitching to Lance about how post-polio problems are making it harder and harder to lecture, and he said, ‘Well, why don’t you start teaching online?’

“I enjoy feedback,” says Wilson. “Intelligence is function of feedback. The more feedback you get, the more intelligent you become. The less feedback you get, the stupider you become.”

Now, Wilson can use his iMac to communicate with the world outside–including students, fans and colleagues. Among the latter category are people like Albert Hoffman, the inventor of LSD as well as a drug called Hydergine, which Wilson describes as his “current panacea.”

“It’s a dendrite stimulant,” explains Wilson. “Your nervous system has more dendrites than muscles. I may be walking naturally again someday if it works as well as some claim. Albert Hoffman is going to have his 100th birthday in January after 25 years on Hydergine, and everybody says he looks as healthy as a 60-year-old.”

Through the years, Wilson and Hoffman have stayed in touch. “He’s a fan of my books,” says Wilson, “and I’m a fan of his drugs.”

Yes, but Are You Serious?

In spite of his physical infirmity, Wilson is extremely generous with both his time and his wisdom. Still, even after hours of conversation, there remains one mystery he has yet to address. Maybe it’s like asking a magician to give away the tricks of his trade, but when exactly is Wilson kidding and when is he, you know, serious?

The question causes Wilson to pause for the first time in our conversation, and then — is it by chance or conspiracy? — his phone rings.

The caller asks for Arlen Wilson, wanting to know if “he” is available to come to the phone. Wilson says no, and the caller asks to whom she’s speaking.

“This is Boris Karloff,” says Wilson.

“I’m sorry,” says the caller, “did you say Boris Karloff?”

“Yes, what can I do for you?”

“Is Mr. Wilson available?”

“No, he moved to Shanghai a few years ago.”

The phone conversation comes to an abrupt end shortly thereafter.

A telemarketer? I ask.

No, jury duty, he answers.

OK, so at what point is Wilson kidding and at what point is he serious?

“The older I get, the less seriously I take anything,” says Wilson. “The Chinese say the wise become Confucian in good times, Buddhist in bad times and Taoist in old age. I’m old enough to be a Taoist. I don’t see anything very seriously.” Not even, as it turns out, mortality.

“I know I’m going to die sometime soon: five weeks, five months, five years,” says Wilson. “I don’t know, maybe 50 years if stem cell research moves along. But I don’t know and I don’t care. And I can’t take it seriously anymore. If George Bush is president of the free world, who can take anything seriously?”


Poetry: Father & Son

The Son: Robert Ranke Graves

The Welsh Incident

“But that was nothing to what things came out

From the sea-caves of Criccieth yonder.”

“What were they? Mermaids? dragons? ghosts?”

“Nothing at all of any things like that.”

“What were they, then?”

“All sorts of queer things,

Things never seen or heard or written about,

Very strange, un-Welsh, utterly peculiar

Things. Oh solid enough they seemed to touch,

Had anyone dared it. Marvellous creation,

All various shapes and sizes, and no sizes,

All new, each perfectly unlike his neighbour.

Though all came moving slowly out together.”

“Describe just one of them.”

“I am unable.”

“What were their colours?”

“Mostly nameless colours

Colours you would like to see; but one was puce

Or perhaps more like crimson, but not purplish

Some had no colour.”

“Tell me, had they legs?”

“Not a leg nor foot among them that I saw.”

“But did these things come out in any order?”

What o’clock was it? What was the day of the week?

Who else was present? How was the weather?”

“I was coming to that. It was half past three

On Easter Tuesday last. The sun was shining.

The Harlech Silver Band played Marchog Iesu

On thirty-seven shimmering instruments,

Collecting for Caernarvon’s (Fever) Hospital Fund.

The populations of Pwllheli, Criccieth,

Portmadoc, Borth, Tremadoc, Penrhyndeudraeth,

Were all assembled. Criccieth’s mayor addressed them

First in good Welsh and then in fluent English.

Twisting his fingers in his chain of office,

Welcoming the things. They came out on the sand,

Not keeping time to the band, moving seaward

Silently at a snail’s pace. But at last

The most odd, indescribable thing of all,

Which hardly one man there could see for wonder,

Did something recognizably a something.”

“Well what?”

“It made a noise.”

“A frightening noise?”

“No, no.”

“A musical noise? A noise of scuffling?”

“No, but a very loud, respectable noise –

Like groaning to oneself on Sunday morning

In chapel, close before the second psalm.”

“What did the mayor do?”

“I was coming to that.”


The Persian Version

Truth-loving Persians do not dwell upon

The trivial skirmish fought near Marathon.

As for the Greek theatrical tradition

Which represents that summer’s expedition

Not as a mere reconnaisance in force

By three brigades of foot and one of horse

(Their left flank covered by some obsolete

Light craft detached from the main Persian fleet)

But as a grandiose, ill-starred attempt

To conquer Greece – they treat it with contempt;

And only incidentally refute

Major Greek claims, by stressing what repute

The Persian monarch and the Persian nation

Won by this salutary demonstration:

Despite a strong defence and adverse weather

All arms combined magnificently together.


The Father: Alfred Perceval Graves

The Isle Of The Happy

(From the Early Irish)

Once when Bran, son of Feval, was with his warriors in his royal fort,

they suddenly saw a woman in strange raiment upon the floor of the

house. No one knew whence she had come or how she had entered, for the

ramparts were closed. Then she sang these quatrains of Erin, the Isle of

the Happy, to Bran while all the host were listening:

A branch I bear from Evin’s apple-trees

Whose shape agrees with Evin’s orchard spray;

Yet never could her branches best belauded

Such crystal-gauded bud and bloom display.

There is a distant Isle, deep sunk in shadows,

Sea-horses round its meadows flash and flee;

Full fair the course, white-swelling waves enfold it,

Four pedestals uphold it o’er the sea.

White the bronze pillars that this Fairy Curragh,[A]

The Centuries thorough, glimmering uphold.

Through all the World the fairest land of any

Is this whereon the many blooms unfold.

And in its midst an Ancient Tree forth flowers,

Whence to the Hours beauteous birds outchime;

In harmony of song, with fluttering feather,

They hail together each new birth of Time.

And through the Isle glow all glad shades of colour,

No hue of dolour mars its beauty lone.

‘Tis Silver Cloud Land that we ever name it,

And joy and music claim it for their own.

Not here are cruel guile or loud resentment,

But calm contentment, fresh and fruitful cheer;

Not here loud force or dissonance distressful,

But music melting blissful on the ear.

No grief, no gloom, no death, no mortal sickness,

Nor any weakness our sure strength can bound;

These are the signs that grace the race of Evin.

Beneath what other heaven are they found?

A Hero fair, from out the dawn’s bright blooming,

Rides forth, illuming level shore and flood;

The white and seaward plain he sets in motion,

He stirs the ocean into burning blood.

A host across the clear blue sea comes rowing,

Their prowess showing, till they touch the shore;

Thence seek the Shining Stone where Music’s measure

Prolongs the pleasure of the pulsing oar.

It sings a strain to all the host assembled;

That strain untired has trembled through all time!

It swells with such sweet choruses unnumbered,

Decay and Death have slumbered since its chime.

Thus happiness with wealth is o’er us stealing,

And laughter pealing forth from every hill.

Yea! through the Land of Peace at every season

Pure Joy and Reason are companions still.

Through all the lovely Isle’s unchanging hours

There showers and showers a stream of silver bright;

A pure white cliff that from the breast of Evin

Mounts up to Heaven thus assures her light.

Long ages hence a Wondrous Child and Holy,

Yet in estate most lowly shall have birth;

Seed of a Woman, yet whose Mate knows no man

To rule the thousand thousands of the earth.

His sway is ceaseless; ’twas His love all-seeing

That Earth’s vast being wrought with perfect skill.

All worlds are His; for all His kindness cares;

But woe to all gainsayers of His Will.

The stainless heavens beneath His Hands unfolded,

He moulded Man as free of mortal stain,

And even now Earth’s sin-struck sons and daughters

His Living Waters can make whole again.

Not unto all of you is this my message

Of marvellous presage at this hour revealed.

Let Bran but listen from Earth’s concourse crowded

Unto the shrouded wisdom there concealed.

Upon a couch of languor lie not sunken,

Beware lest drunkenness becloud thy speech!

Put forth, O Bran, across the far, clear waters.

And Evin’s daughters haply thou may’st reach.

[Footnote A: Plain or tableland such as the Curragh of Kildare.]


The Wisdom Of King Cormac

(From the Early Irish)



“Cormac, Conn’s grandson, and son of great Art

Declare to me now from the depths of thy heart,

With the wise and the foolish,

With strangers and friends,

The meek and the mulish,

The old and the young,

With good manners to make God amends–

How I must govern my tongue,

And in all things comport myself purely,

The good and the wicked among.”


“The answer thereto is not difficult surely.

Be not too wise nor too scatter-brained,

Not too conceited nor too restrained,

Be not too haughty nor yet too meek,

Too tattle-tongued or too loth to speak,

Neither too hard nor yet too weak.

If too wise you appear, folk too much will claim of you,

If too foolish, they still will be making fresh game of you,

If too conceited, vexatious they’ll dub you,

If too unselfish, they only will snub you,

If too much of a tattler, you ne’er will be heeded,

If too silent, your company ne’er will be needed,

If overhard, your pride will be broken asunder,

If overweak, the folk will trample you under.”


The shaman seers of the Fourth World generally agree that those who tenaciously cling to the past will fall into mass insanity.—John Hogue

Rowan picked up an interesting book for me for the holidays, ‘Poets on the Peaks’ (Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen & Jack Kerouac in the North Cascades) Wonderful book. Working my head a bit and how much I have missed mountain life. Been in the city… to long. I like the mountains, and I like the Ocean side. Ideal place is somewhere in-between. Gets my mind working. There is nothing like the depths of a mountain range. The folds, the mist. No motors, just the silence. Laying on a peak at night starring up at the sky, with the milky way uncurling above…. added bonus: the peak is above the ocean. The curve of the earth, unfolding like the Event Horizon

This book reminds me of those moments.

It takes me back to the early poetry of Snyder, and the writings of Kerouac, especially ‘The Dharma Bums’ with his take on Gary Snyder as ‘Jaffe Ryder’, young Zenster up in the Cascades… I have very fond memories of Dharma Bums. A must for everyone I would hope.

Hope the days are treating you nicely…

Must hop, working on a magazine.

Talk later,


The Menu:

The Links

DCD – Indoctrination

The Strange Stone Discs of Baian-Kara-Ula

Poetry: Gary Snyder


The Links:

I’ll take a tab on New Year’s Eve

Methamphetamine May Trigger Ischemic Stroke

Brazil Catches World Ecstasy Dealer

‘Warning: Dangerous Cat – has attacked 13 people in the last six years’

Ben Stiller’s bad, bad trip on mind-bending acid




The Strange Stone Discs of Baian-Kara-Ula

Unearthed from a remote mountain cave in 1938, these grooved stone discs defied translation until 1962. Researchers claim the discs tell an astounding story of alien visitors who survived their spaceship’s crash-landing in China 12,000 years ago.

Philip Coppens

Just before the outbreak of the Second World War, Chinese archaeologists stumbled upon a cave containing small skeletal remains. Alongside the bodies they found stone discs that were only deciphered 20 years later. They seemed to tell of an extraterrestrial craft that had crash-landed in the mountain range of Baian-Kara-Ula 12,000 years ago. The Western media treated the news with the usual attitude of “communist propaganda—do not believe a word of it”. But Hart wig Hausdorf recently returned from China with a different tale to tell. The discs exist—and do indeed seem to indicate that representatives from a space-faring alien race visited the Chinese mountain area in antiquity.

Slowly, the mountains of Baian-Kara-Ula, along the Chinese-Tibetan border, were starting to reveal their secrets. Scientists had stumbled upon an intricate network of connecting caves. In one of them they came across the neatly ordered graves of a race that appeared most peculiar, strange even: short bodies, except for the skull which was unproportionately large. At first, the scientists believed the caves had been the habitat of monkeys; but their leader, archaeologist Professor Chi Pu Tei, pointed out he had never heard of monkeys burying their dead.

During the unearthing of the bodies, an archaeologist recovered a stone disc from the bottom of a grave. All the archaeologists gathered around the artefact and turned it in every direction, trying to figure out what it had to mean. A circular hole in the middle and a groove spiralling inward or outward, however you wanted to look at it, were the only apparent features. Had they stumbled upon a Stone Age LP? Did “The Flintstones” really exist?

Closer inspection showed that the grooves were actually a line of small carvings or signs. Each disc was a book, but, upon their discovery in 1938, nobody possessed the dictionary so no one was able to read them. All the discs were collected and stored along with the other findings made in the area. There was no reason to consider these stone discs special or important; perhaps just odd.

The discs were kept in Peking, where, for the next 20 years, a line of experts tried to decipher the writing. Nobody succeeded. But, in 1962, Professor Dr Tsum Um Nui did succeed, and learnt of the astonishing message the discs contained. He announced his findings to a small group of friends and colleagues, but the public remained unaware of his discovery. The public was purposefully kept in the dark, for the authorities felt it wise not to announce the professor’s findings. The Peking Academy of Prehistory forbade the professor from publishing anything about the discs.

After two years of probably utter frustration, the professor and four of his colleagues were finally allowed to publish the conclusions of their research. They decided to call it “The cartelled script relating to the spaceship that, as is written on the discs, descended on Earth 12,000 years ago”. The discs, 716 of which were retrieved from one cave, told the story of inhabitants of another world stuck in the mountains of Baian-Kara-Ula. The peaceful intentions of these people had not been comprehended by the local population. Many extraterrestrials had been chased and killed by members of the Han tribe, living in nearby caves.

Professor Tsum Um Nui offered a few lines of his translation:

The Dropa came out of the clouds in their aeroplanes. Before sunrise, our men, women and children hid in the caves ten times. When they finally understood the sign language of the Dropa, they realised the newcomers had peaceful intentions…

Another part of the text stated the Han tribe regretted that the Dropa had crashed in this remote area and that they were unable to build a new spaceship so the Dropa could return to their home planet.

Tsum Um Nui’s colleagues laughed: the good professor had clearly lost his marbles. How could such a thing be true? Their ungrateful reception made the professor decide to move to Japan, where he died the following year.

Since the discs’ discovery more than 25 years before, other archaeologists had learnt more about the history of the area. That newly acquired knowledge indicated that the story, as it appeared in Tsum Um Nui’s translation, could be correct. Legends circulating even at that time spoke of short, skinny, yellow men that “had come out of the clouds a very long time ago”. These people had big, knobby heads and small bodies and were a terrible sight to see, according to the locals who had chased these people away on horseback. The description of these people is identical to the bodies Professor Chi Pu Tei had recovered in 1938.

Mural paintings were found inside the cave. They depicted sunrise, the Moon, unidentified stars and the Earth—all connected with dotted lines. The discs and the cave’s contents were dated at about 10,000 BC.

The caves were still inhabited by two tribes, calling themselves the Han and the Dropa, the latter people of strange expression. Barely 1.3 metres (4 feet) tall, they were neither Chinese nor Tibetan. Even an expert could not indicate their racial background.

The report on the translation of the discs, published in 1964, did not signal the end of this mystery. Obviously other people and organisations were interested.

Enquiries came from the Soviet Union, with scientists requesting some of the discs to be sent to them for study, which the Chinese did. The Soviets removed pieces of ‘dirt’ and made various chemical analyses. The Soviet scientists were surprised to learn that the discs contained fairly high amounts of cobalt and other metals.

Dr Viatcheslav Saizev reported in the Soviet magazine, Sputnik, which he had put the discs on a special machine which was somewhat like a gramophone. When turned on, the discs “vibrated” or “hummed” as if some kind of special electric charge had been pushed through the discs in a particular rhythm; or, as one scientist stated, “as if they formed a part of an electric circuit”. Somehow, at one time they had been exposed to high electric charges.

Such findings, however, had little to do with the other discs that stayed behind in China. Shortly after Tsum Um Nui’s decoding, the Cultural Revolution of the late 1960s swept over China, and there was no public concern over the discs’ fate or their message.

In 1974, an Austrian engineer, Ernst Wegerer, stumbled upon two discs in the Banpo Museum at Xian and photographed them. The Swiss “ancient astronauts” author, Erich von Däniken, learnt of the discs and Wegerer’s photographs, and wrote about the discs in one of his books. Few believed von Däniken reported a true discovery; most felt he had made it up.

It was German tour operator, Hartwig Hausdorf, who changed the situation. In March 1994, he and Peter Krassa, a friend of von Däniken, left for China. Hausdorf said later:

In Xian we visited the Banpo Museum searching for the discs that Wegerer had photographed two decades earlier. But our optimism was not rewarded. Nowhere could we find any trace of the discs. Had Wegerer really made up the entire story? That seemed unlikely.

We asked our guides and Professor Wang Zhijun, director of the museum. At first, they denied the discs even existed! Within an hour of our having shown them the photographs, Zhijun stated that one of his predecessors had indeed given Wegerer permission to photograph the discs, that the discs did indeed exist or had at least existed. Shortly after having given Wegerer permission to photograph the discs, that director was ‘asked’ to resign. We learnt that, ever since, not a single trace of the director had been found.

Krassa, a compatriot of Wegerer, had managed to collect all four of Wegerer’s photographs.

Director Zhijun showed us—when he realised we would not leave without knowing all there was to know—a book on archaeology in which photographs of the discs could be seen.

Afterwards, he took us to a nearby centre, the location where the museum’s artefacts were cleaned and catalogued. On one chair stood an enlarged copy of a stone disc. He hinted that, a few years ago, word had come down ‘from above’, from his superiors, that all traces of the discs had to be wiped out, and that he was to go on record as saying everything was one big lie. Such attitudes are of course not benevolent for anyone who wants to find the truth.

Had Hausdorf and Krassa been less obstinate, they might have classed Wegerer as a hoaxer.

Krassa and Hausdorf also came across the story of an Englishman, Dr Karyl Robin-Evans, who had travelled to China in 1947. Before his arrival, a Professor Lolladorff had shown him a stone disc which he believed to have been found in northern India. The object appeared to have belonged to a tribe, the “Dzopa”, who had used the discs during religious ceremonies. Dr Robin-Evans stated the discs had a radius of 12 centimetres and were about five centimetres thick.

The professor put the disc on a balance and connected the balance to a typewriter. He illustrated how the disc, over a period of three and a half hours, apparently gained and lost weight! After one day, this change in weight created a printed line on the paper in the typewriter. The change in weight had allowed the typewriter to print, leaving characters on the paper. The discs could sort of type! Though it was easy to explain what had happened, how it had occurred was basically impossible. How could a stone disc change weight?

Apparently Dr Robin-Evans was unwilling to lose face over this stunning experiment. Though his report had been written in 1947, it was only published in 1978, four years after his death (see Dr David Agamon [ed.], Sungods in Exile, Sudbury, 1978).

After his meeting with Prof. Lolladorff, Dr Robin-Evans set course for the Chinese mountains in search of the Dzopa tribe. First, he passed through Lhasa, Tibet, where he was welcomed by the 14th Dalai Lama, who was 12 years old at the time. In 1947, Tibet was still independent. Only in 1950, when the Dalai Lama fled to northern India, did the Chinese take possession of the country. As mentioned, Baian-Kara-Ula is situated along the Chinese-Tibetan border but it suffered little, being a remote mountain range.

Once in the high mountains, Robin-Evans1 Tibetan carriers decided to stay behind. They were afraid. The landscape had that sinister look and they wanted to return home. Their unwillingness illustrates how the Baian-Kara-Ula area was scarcely explored up until 1947, save the scientific expedition a decade earlier.

Dr Robin-Evans managed to reach his destination and gain the confidence of the Dzopa people. He was provided with a language instructor who taught him the basics of the Dzopa language.

Then, Lurgan-La, the religious leader of the Dzopa, told him the history of the tribe. He stated that their home planet was in the Sirius system. Lurgan-La explained that two expeditions had been sent to our Earth: the first, more than 20,000 years ago; the second in 1014 AD. During the 1014 AD visit, a few spaceships crashed; the survivors were unable to leave Earth. He said that the Dzopa are the direct descendants of those people.

Among the estate of Robin-Evans was a most remarkable photograph: the royal couple Hueypah-La and Veez-La. They measured 1.2 and 1.07 metres! Not only was their height small; their entire appearance could only be described as strange.

The important question was whether the “Dropa” and the “Dzopa” were one and the same tribes or different tribes. But Robin-Evans had apparently been aware of some controversy regarding that subject. Though “Dropa” was the correct spelling, “Dzopa” or, rather, “Tsopa” was closer to the correct pronunciation of the word. He felt it would be better to write “Dzopa”, as that was closer to the correct pronunciation (see Agamon [ed.], Sungods in Exile).

There were only two remaining problems. The date on the stone discs, 12,000 years ago, did not coincide with the statements of the religious leader: 20,000 years ago and 1014 BC. Furthermore, the discs appeared to contain statements by non-Dropa tribesmen describing the Dropa, but the stone discs were apparently written by the Dropa. Did some locals intermingle with the Dropa? Or was the information somewhat garbled? Though Hausdorf, Krassa and Robin-Evans have been unable to explain these contradictions, more research in the future might shed new light on that aspect of this intriguing case.

Hartwig Hausdorf hopes he will receive permission to enter the Baian-Kara-Ula mountain range to search for the Dzopa tribe people, should they still exist. But since the tribe was still in existence in 1947, there are probably living descendants today—except if the order of 1965 to “do away with all traces of the stone discs” has ended the tribe’s existence.

Hausdorf looked into the latest, 1982 list of recognised national minorities in China and learnt that the Dzopa are not recognised as a minority in their home province, Qinghai. Might they therefore no longer exist? The list does specify that 880,000 people are not recognised as ethnic minorities. They make up 25 tribes. Hence they might not be recognised, or they might be listed under a different name, as the Hanyu-Pinyin transcription ‘translated’ certain names completely differently from what they were before.

Another mystery with which Hausdorf battled was the name of Tsum Um Nei, a name that wasn’t Chinese. This fact had led to rumours that the man had never existed and was a figment of someone’s imagination. But an Asian friend of Hausdorf told him that “Tsum Um Nei” was a mixture of Chinese and Japanese. The Japanese pronunciation of the name had been written down in Chinese, just like any German named “Schmidt” would be named “Smith” in America. “Obviously the guy was Japanese,” Hausdorf realised, which would explain why the professor was able to return to Japan to retire.

Hartwig Hausdorf was able to prove that the stone discs and the Dzopa tribe really did exist. His next task is to find out whether their legend has come down accurately— and whether it might be true.

This article originally appeared in Nexus New Times Magazine, in 1995.


Poetry: Gary Snyder

At Tower Peak

Every tan rolling meadow will turn into housing

Freeways are clogged all day

Academies packed with scholars writing papers

City people lean and dark

This land most real

As its western-tending golden slopes

And bird-entangled central valley swamps

Sea-lion, urchin coasts

Southerly salmon-probes

Into the aromatic almost-Mexican hills

Along a range of granite peaks

The names forgotten,

An eastward running river that ends out in desert

The chipping ground-squirrels in the tumbled blocks

The gloss of glacier ghost on slab

Where we wake refreshed from ten hours sleep

After a long day’s walking

Packing burdens to the snow

Wake to the same old world of no names,

No things, new as ever, rock and water,

Cool dawn birdcalls, high jet contrails.

A day or two or million, breathing

A few steps back from what goes down

In the current realm.

A kind of ice age, spreading, filling valleys

Shaving soils, paving fields, you can walk in it

Live in it, drive through it then

It melts away

For whatever sprouts

After the age of

Frozen hearts. Flesh-carved rock

And gusts on the summit,

Smoke from forest fires is white,

The haze above the distant valley like a dusk.

It’s just one world, this spine of rock and streams

And snow, and the wash of gravels, silts

Sands, bunchgrasses, saltbrush, bee-fields,

Twenty million human people, downstream, here below.

Felix Baran

Hugo Gerlot

Gustav Johnson

John Looney

Abraham Rabinowitz

Shot down on the steamer Verona

For the shingle-weavers of Everett

the Everett Massacre November 5 1916

Ed McCullough, a logger for thirty-five years

Reduced by the advent of chainsaws

To chopping off knots at the landing:

“I don’t have to take this kind of shit,

Another twenty years

and I’ll tell ‘em to shove it”

(he was sixty-five then)

In 1934 they lived in shanties

At Hooverville, Sullivan’s Gulch.

When the Portland-bound train came through

The trainmen tossed off coal.

“Thousands of boys shot and beat up

For wanting a good bed, good pay,

decent food, in the woods — “

No one knew what it meant:

“Soldiers of Discontent.”

second shaman song

Squat in swamp shadows.

mosquitoes sting;

high light in cedar above.

Crouched in a dry vain frame

— thirst for cold snow

— green slime of bone marrow

Seawater fills each eye

Quivering in nerve and muscle

Hung in the pelvic cradle

Bones propped against roots

A blind flicker of nerve

Still hand moves out alone

Flowering and leafing

turning to quartz

Streaked rock congestion of karma

The long body of the swamp.

A mud-streaked thigh.

Dying carp biting air

in the damp grass,

River recedes. No matter.

Limp fish sleep in the weeds

The sun dries me as I dance

Boxing Day…

A nice day yesterday, a bit warn and tired today. 12 guest & family in all…

Rowan is out wandering, and the sun is going down. Quiet music on the system, and I understand the radio is down… argh.

This is the quiet time of the year… A few visitors making their way to Turfing, but in general pretty quiet around here.

I will be in the posting “lite” phase for the next few days. Poems, Pics, Music. Come on by, and if you have request…. please let me know.

A big hello to Sean and all the peeps at EE. Bright Blessings to ya all!

Big Love,



A Bit Of Silly Fun


Wenceslas: A Boxing Day poem by Martin Newell

Wenceslas was woken early,

By the hounds, who wanted out.

Brandy glass and tipped-up ashtray

Where his clothes were strewn about.

Cursing by his old four-poster

Utilising his gazunder

Limbs were stiff and head was aching,

Fit to split his skull asunder.

Christmas Eve had snowed all morning

Forced him out to get the stock in

Trip to town and lunchtime session

Followed by a late-night lock-in.

Memory blurred – a Tarantino

Hangover was what he’d got –

(That’s the one where all the flashbacks

Come, before you get the plot).

Still, he’d hang on to his castle

If he made it pay its way

Now his page stood waiting for him

For this was St Stephen’s day

Wenceslas and page were talking

Pipes had frozen overnight

Past the gatehouse they were walking

When a couple came in sight.

Poorly dressed for such bad weather

Gathering their winter fuel

City types, they looked, together

On a country break for Yule

“Page,” he asked, “Who are those people?”

Page replied with bridled sneer:

“Sire, they are the London grockles,

Renting your old cottage here.”

Page continued: “Most unhappy –

Been here for the past few days

It appears they’re having trouble

Coping with our country ways.

Sundry powercuts, snow, what-have-you

Laptops, car and mobile phone

Out of service now, they’re stranded

Hungry, cold and quite alone.”

Wenceslas, an old patrician

Patriarchal sort of gent

Said: “We can’t be having this one

Even though I’m overspent.

Fetch some logs, a festive hamper,

Crate of grog to slake their thirst

It can wait though, till it’s lunchtime

While we do some shooting first.”

Nikki and her partner Drew

Had flipped a coin for what to do

Thirty-something West Elevens

Found themselves at six and sevens

With the Saturnalia near

Tuscany might be too dear

Suffolk? Cheaper, if less fun

Prudence reigned and Suffolk won

Both employed as health advisors

To the various Czars and Kaisers

Who by cattle-prod or stealth

Police our ailing nation’s health

Now though, for their own health’s sake

They were on a winter break

Country cottage, bird-life, walking.

Perfect cure for weltschmerz stalking

Sat by fireside, bonding, thinking

Freed from stress-related drinking.

Firstly it had been plain sailing

Till the power-grid started failing

Due to weather most malignant

Now they bickered, cold, indignant.

Chiefly on nutrition issues

By a fire of twigs and tissues

All they had to keep them going

While the Suffolk wind was blowing

From the Russian steppes, unstopping

Troshing at the trees and stropping

At the chimneys, window-ledges

Freezing ponds and bending hedges

Nikki and her partner Drew

Found it took an hour or two

Heating soup with scented candles

Holding saucepans by their handles

Huddled up in duvet jackets

Snacking from organic packets.

Till the knock upon the door

And a stout stentorian roar.

Wenceslas stood beaming proudly.

Twinkle-eyed with outstretched hand

Boomed a Merry Christmas loudly

Gestured back towards his land:

“Brought some pine logs over for you

Took them down myself this year

What with all the various cutbacks

Just one man and me left here.

‘Tisn’t easy trying to manage

Told we must diversify

Still, despite the fiscal damage

What the hell – a chap gets by.

Met my page already, have you?

Helps me manage this estate

Yes, I grant he may seem surly

As a stockman though, first rate.”

Wenceslas regarded Nikki

Said: “The logs are in the ‘Drover

Move it girl, it’s freezing out here.”

Help me haul the buggers over.”

Half an hour or so – no later

Fire was roaring, cheered the gloom

Warmed the landlord and the peasants

As it flickered round the room.

“Page should be here any minute

With a case of wine and grub.

Can’t think where the bastard’s got to

Prob’ly stopped off at the pub

Touch and go, the trade round here now

Since they built that by-pass mall.

All the shops will disappear now

At this rate, there’ll be sod all.

How d’you say you make your living?

Health advice? That’s clever stuff.

Lot of call for that in London?

Citizens seem pale enough.

Hardly feel the need to go there

‘Less of course, they give us reason

Then we all troop down together

– Like that march we held last season.”

Wenceslas now paused a second

Rummaged in his waxy cloak

“Haven’t had a fag all morning

– Either of you people smoke?”

Can’t think where that page has got to

Must have been delayed somehow

Sharpener should clear the headache

“Ah! Here comes the fellow now.”

In the page came, even surlier

Than he’d been three hours earlier

“Bloody hunt-sabs in the lane.

– Ran over the fox again.

Accident it would appear

Third time it’s occurred this year.”


Tim Buckley Sings Fred Neal


Keep Warm!


Deus Sol Invictus

A Song to Mithras

(Hymn of the XXX Legion: circa 350 A.D.)

Rudyard Kipling

Mithras, God of the Morning, our trumpets waken the Wall!

‘Rome is above the Nations, but Thou art over all!’

Now as the names are answered, and the guards are marched away,

Mithras, also a soldier, give us strength for the day!

Mithras, God of the Noontide, the heather swims in the heat.

Our helmets scorch our foreheads, our sandals burn our feet.

Now in the ungirt hour—now ere we blink and drowse,

Mithras, also a soldier, keep us true to our vows!

Mithras, God of the Sunset, low on the Western main—

Thou descending immortal, immortal to rise again!

Now when the watch is ended, now when the wine is drawn,

Mithras, also a soldier, keep us pure till the dawn!

Mithras, God of the Midnight, here where the great bull dies,

Look on thy children in darkness. Oh take our sacrifice!

Many roads thou hast fashioned—all of them lead to the Light,

Mithras, also a soldier, teach us to die aright!

(Temple Of Mithras)

Happy Holidays!

Not much to say, but may the season be a blessing for you and yours!

Talk Soon,


On The Menu

The Links

Celtic Blessings…

Stoat Packs

Poetry by Rudyard Kipling


Celtic Blessings…

“May peace and plenty be the first to lift the latch on your door, and happiness be guided to your home by the candle of Christmas.”

“In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship and never in want.”

“The Magic of Christmas lingers on

Though childhood days have passed

Upon the common round of life

A Holy Spell is Cast”

“May the blessing of light be on you – light without and light within. May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire, so that stranger and friend may come and warm himself at it. And may light shine out of the two eyes of you, like a candle set in the window of a house, bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm. And may the blessing of the rain be on you, may it beat upon your Spirit and wash it fair and clean, and leave there a shining pool where the blue of Heaven shines, and sometimes a star. And may the blessing of the earth be on you, soft under your feet as you pass along the roads, soft under you as you lie out on it, tired at the end of day; and may it rest easy over you when, at last, you lie out under it. May it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be out from under it quickly; up and off and on its way to God. And now may the Lord bless you, and bless you kindly.” Amen.

—Scottish Blessing


The Links:

Who Stole Jesus’s Foreskin?

Retired narcotics officer tells public how to hoodwink drugs police

Bush Admin: What You Don’t Know Can’t Hurt Us


Stoat Packs – Merrily Harpur

The stoat is famous for its ability to ‘freeze’ a rabbit with its glare, for its slinky, hypnotic dance and for its ruthless predatory nature. However, Merrily Harpur reveals some less well-known behaviour – the triumphal capture dance, the funerary hiding of killed stoats and the swarming in huge stoat armies.

Illustrations by Sibylle Delacroix.

On a mild, sunny day in March, a man was walking down a Yorkshire lane. Partridges were calling in the stubble, there was a blue haze in the air, and all was quiet in that part of the wolds.

“Suddenly, as he walked, a pack of small animals charged down the bank into the lane and all about him. They leaped at him red-eyed, snapping little white fangs, leaping, dancing, darting, as agile as snakes on four legs. Indeed, they looked like furred snakes, with their short legs, their long, undulating bodies, their little pointed heads, their flattened ears, rat-like tails and little murderous eyes.

“The man laid about him with his stick. He knocked six or eight flying into the ditches on either side. He kicked off two or three that had fastened their fangs into his trouser leg. And those that he had knocked flying with blows that would have stunned a dog came out of the ditches and at him again. So, after a minute or two of this cut-and-thrust business, he took a good sharp run down the lane…”

The man in question was Sir Alfred Pease, “a brave man who knows more about animals than most”, and it was thus that J Wentworth Day described, in the 1930s, Sir Alfred’s encounter with a stoat pack.

Rarely encountered in the flesh, but common in country tales, stoat packs have long hunted the borderland between folklore and natural history. Thirty years after Sir Alfred’s alarming experience, a similar incident was reported by RS Hays in The Field:

“In the May of 1963, a doctor enjoying a day’s fishing on his beat of the Findhorn met a stoat on the river path. He was surprised to find that it did not seem inclined to run away. On the contrary, it had stopped in the middle of the path and seemed disposed to dispute his right of way.

“Close to the path there was the bole of an uprooted pine tree full of holes. ‘From practically every hole,’ said the doctor, ‘there was a stoat’s head peering out at me – possibly 15 or 20 in all.’ He struck at them with his gaff and they set up ‘a great chattering and squawking’, but he failed to hit any of them and succeeded only in bending his gaff. ‘As they appeared to be working themselves up to the point of attack,’ he admitted, ‘I decided to retire in haste.’”

The doctor’s disconcerting realisation that every crevice was filling with a stoat’s face was echoed by the experience of the writer and naturalist H Mortimer Batten:

“I went into a ruined house called Coltgarth, not far from Burnsall village, and on entering became aware of a hissing and chattering in the wall all round me, and on looking up saw the heads of stoats protruding from numerous crannies above, all very resentful of my presence. It would not be pleasant to be mobbed by such a gathering…”

The stoat (Mustela erminea) is the most enigmatic of the mustelidae – the family that includes weasels, ferrets, martens and otters. We are familiar with the paralysis it can inflict on rabbits, even at some distance, without knowing quite how it does it. H Mortimer Batten related an example in his book Habits and Characters of British Wild Animals, first published in the 1920s:

“Presently I saw a rabbit quite close to me flatten down, flat as a rag, its eyes wide with terror. I guessed what was afoot, and a few seconds later a stoat came out of the wall and sat upright on a flat stone staring at the rabbit. He was obviously gloating over it, knowing it to be helpless, and every now and then he jerked his black-tipped tail into the air in a curiously excitable manner. Then he jumped off the stone and made straight for the rabbit, landing on its back and tearing its ears with his teeth. He also tore at it with his claws, making no attempt to kill it, but torturing it as a cat tortures a mouse. But the rabbit remained motionless, uttering never a sound, so the stoat returned to its perch on the stone and again glared at it in luxurious cruelty…”

This went on several times until Batten could stand it no longer and shot the stoat.

Well documented also is the stoat’s whirling Dervish-like dance that mesmerises other animals until it darts forward and seizes one. Slightly less explicable is the dance that witnesses have reported the stoat performing as if in triumph over its already dispatched prey: “It gambolled round and round the dead bird,” wrote one, “sometimes almost turning head over heels; then it would break off to gallop madly into cover, and out again in what seemed to be a very ecstasy of triumph.” Stranger still is the fact that stoats carry their dead – appearing soon after one of their kind has been shot to drag the corpse into a hiding place.

It is perhaps such unnervingly anthropomorphic behaviours, along with their almost preternatural speed and sinuosity, which have given stoats a slightly uncanny character. They are elusive, usually solitary animals; collectively, however, they can induce a feeling of menace. Batten noted: “On frosty nights I have heard packs of stoats throwing their tongues like little death hounds as they worked along the stone walls or through the screes. In spite of the smallness of the sound it is a very sinister one…”

No one is really sure why stoats occasionally form packs. The ability to hunt bigger prey is one obvious motive, yet as many stoat packs have been recorded in times of plenty – high summer for instance – as during hard winters. A female stoat hunting with her large brood of kits (usually between six and 12), or an accidental meeting of two family groups, giving a false impression of an organised pack, has also been suggested. Yet the experience of a lorry driver near Thurso seemed to indicate a definite, if inexplicable, purpose behind the gatherings: he stopped his vehicle to watch what he described as an army of stoats streaming across the road. They crossed in groups of threes and fours, and sixes and sevens for 20 minutes, all heading for the seashore.

The most dramatic encounter with a stoat pack, however, was that of Suzanne Luff. It took place in the 1950s and, just as in folklore stoats bridge the natural and supernatural worlds, so Suzanne’s story also bridges a great divide, between the Surrey of the stockbroker belt as we know it today, and the Surrey of barely a generation ago, the still almost mediæval landscape near Dorking where she grew up.

“Shire horses were still worked on the steep slopes of the downs above the town,” she recalls, “and Ranmore Common, by the Denbies estate on which generations of our family had lived and worked, was cut off by snow for months at a time in winter.”

Two or three cars would pass in a week, and along with the cuckoo came the friendly, seasonal tramps, “such as one-eyed Jack who spent the summer in a yew tree behind the post office.”

Children’s pleasures were different then – Suzanne and her friends tobogganed down the smooth, russet slopes of fallen beech leaves on trays in autumn, and in summer sailed on the horse pond in a hip-bath. Their responsibilities were also more serious. When collectors came down from London and tried to bribe the estate children into revealing the secret locations of the rare butterfly orchids on Ranmore common, they remained steadfastly mute. The wooded common was bordered by a Pilgrim’s Way, along which it was Suzanne’s duty to walk half a mile (800m) to the dairy and back every morning and evening to collect the milk and return the empty cans.

“It was sometime between 1950 and 1952,” Suzanne said, “when I was eight or nine”:

“I was going home from the dairy one evening in late September and I met two of the estate workers – Bob Tester, the ostler who looked after the work horses and Ted Moore, a gardener, cutting back hedges, and I stopped to chat. ‘This is the second black winter we’re going to have,’ they told me, meaning iron-cold, ‘and the stoats will probably pack. If you hear this noise’ – and Ted made a high-pitched chittering noise – ‘just you bloody run for it. And if you’re too far from home, get up a tree. Those packs have been known to bring down horses, cattle, deer.’

“Well no, I wasn’t really frightened by this warning; you take things as a matter of course as a child. So I thought no more of stoats until the following January.

“I was returning from the dairy at about six o’clock on a bitterly cold night, but not dark because of starlight reflecting on the snow. I had gone past the ash tree at the crossroads when I heard a shrilling noise, a chittering of many tiny voices; it was exactly the noise that the gardener had made. I stopped and looked towards the wood and saw a shadow emerge from it about 70 yards away, and move over the snow towards me as if a cloud were passing over the moon.

“I ran back to the ash tree knowing I had to get up it somehow. I had never climbed it before, but, driven by desperation I jumped up and caught hold of the end of one of the low, sweeping branches, threw my legs over it, and shinned my way upside down towards the trunk. I scrambled into a V of branches and watched a wave of stoats break against the tree. There could have been 50 of them swarming round it, eyes glowing, for what must have been 10 minutes but which seemed like hours. I was alternately praying and cursing, getting more and more frozen. Then they must have heard something because one of them suddenly gave a sharp commanding call. All the others immediately packed behind it and swarmed through the hedge on the other side of the lane. From my vantage point, I could see them move over the adjoining field. When they were out of sight, I collapsed out of my tree and ran all the way home.”

Perhaps it was anecdotal evidence such as Suzanne’s – or an atavistic memory of such stories – on which Kenneth Grahame drew when he depicted weasels and stoats as the invaders from the Wild Wood who overrun Toad Hall in Wind in the Willows, overturning the old social order that maintained aristocratic Mr Toad. At the time Suzanne encountered the stoat pack there, the ancient Surrey woodland was undergoing just such a transition in reverse – from the Wild Wood, symbol of chaos in mediæval cosmology, to the small, tame SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) it is today.

In the following three decades, the Sitka spruce overran the hardwoods and the big estates were broken up by death duties. “Between them the Forestry Commission and property prices have done for Surrey,” laments Suzanne. As suburbia emasculates the wilderness, our contact with nature – so dramatically literalised in Suzanne’s experience – is progressively denuded of the intensity that finds expression in folklore, myth and literature.

And if we should experience another ‘black winter’, will there again be stoat packs to menace the commuters and second-home owners who now occupy the old cottages? And if so, are there any of that endangered species – knowledgeable country people – left over from the time when the countryside was not just a collection of trees and fields but a cultural milieu, who will warn them to bloody run for it?



Poetry: by Rudyard Kipling


Puck’s Song

See you the dimpled track that runs,

All hollow through the wheat?

O that was where they hauled the guns

That smote King Philip’s fleet!

See you our little mill that clacks,

So busy by the brook?

She has ground her corn and paid her tax

Ever since Domesday Book.

See you our stilly woods of oak,

And the dread ditch beside?

O that was where the Saxons broke,

On the day that Harold died!

See you the windy levels spread

About the gates of Rye?

O that was where the Northmen fled,

When Alfred’s ships came by!

See you our pastures wide and lone,

Where the red oxen browse?

O there was a City thronged and known,

Ere London boasted a house!

And see you, after rain, the trace

Of mound and ditch and wall?

O that was a Legion’s camping-place,

When Caesar sailed from Gaul!

And see you marks that show and fade,

Like shadows on the Downs?

O they are the lines the Flint Men made,

To guard their wondrous towns!

Trackway and Camp and City lost,

Salt Marsh where now is corn;

Old Wars, old Peace, old Arts that cease,

And so was England born!

She is not any common Earth,

Water or Wood or Air,

But Merlin’s Isle of Gramarye,

Where you and I will fare.


The Runes on Weland’s Sword

A Smith makes me

To betray my Man

In my first fight.

To gather Gold

At the world’s end

I am sent.

The Gold I gather

Comes into England

Out of deep Water.

Like a shining Fish

Then it descends

Into deep Water.

It is not given

For goods or gear,

But for The Thing.

The Gold I gather

A King covets

For an ill use.

The Gold I gather

Is drawn up

Out of deep Water.

Like a shining Fish

Then it descends

Into deep Water.

It is not given

For goods or gear,

But for The Thing.


Harp Song of the Dane Women

What is a woman that you forsake her,

And the hearth-fire and the home-acre,

To go with the old grey Widow-maker?

She has no house to lay a guest in –

But one chill bed for all to rest in,

That the pale suns and the stray bergs nest in.

She has no strong white arms to fold you,

But the ten-times-fingering weed to hold you

Bound on the rocks where the tide has rolled you.

Yet, when the signs of summer thicken,

And the ice breaks, and the birch-buds quicken,

Yearly you turn from our side, and sicken –

Sicken again for the shouts and the slaughters, –

And steal away to the lapping waters,

And look at your ship in her winter quarters.

You forget our mirth, and talk at the tables,

The kine in the shed and the horse in the stables –

To pitch her sides and go over her cables!

Then you drive out where the storm-clouds swallow:

And the sound of your oar-blades falling hollow

Is all we have left through the months to follow.

Ah, what is a Woman that you forsake her,

And the hearth-fire and the home-acre,

To go with the old grey Widow-maker?

Squirrelly Magick! (you are getting sleepy, sleepy, sleepy I say!)

Friday Aya

On The Music Box: Radio Free Earthrites!

Test Phase Going On Now!

Cut n Paste!

(Arnella Sphinx – Roberto Venosa)

The Friday Aya…

Here Tis’!

Have a good weekend,


On The Menu

The Links

Gnostisismo Revolutionario de la Concienca de Krishna

Poetry: Katharine Tynan

Art: Roberto Venosa


The Links:

From our friend Adele:Brazil Makes Unprecedented Conservation Announcement

Moths drink the tears of sleeping birds

The Reindeer’s Story

The Two-fer Links….

Going Postal: First There Was This..

Then There Was This…


Gnostisismo Revolutionario de la Concienca de Krishna

Council For Spiritual Practice

(Crystal Bay – Roberto Venosa)

Like the Santo Daime in Mapia, Brazil, Gnostisismo Revolutionario de la Concienca de Krishna is an example of a spiritual community based around the use of a psychoactive sacrament as an inspiration and teacher. Combining beliefs from various cultures, Gnostisismo Revolutionario de la Concienca de Krishna is a growing shamanic community which began fifteen years ago in the Putamayo and Caqueta regions of the Colombian jungle.

In the name, ‘Gnostisismo’ relates to the groups association with the gnostic movement. ‘Revolutionario’ refers to a (non-violent) “revolution in consciousness as a means of changing the world to a place where the people live in equality and freedom as brothers and sisters”. ‘De la concienca de Krishna’ comes from the affinity of the community with the spiritual traditions of India and Krishna. The group is also very ecologically and politically motivated, campaigning for the human rights of the campesinos who live in the jungle, and initiating ecological projects. Ayahuasca (known as yaje) is drunk in twice weekly ceremonies. It is revered as a teacher and spirit guide and seen as a spiritual path which can be followed to gain access to the realms of healing, divination and inner knowledge, as well as for maintaining an intimacy with the immediate environment and the planet. The community is led by a shaman named Vasudev who has been living in the jungle and working with Yajé for 17 years during which time he has studied with a number of indigenous shamans from Caqueta and Putamayo.

Those who live in the community follow a number of disciplines such as preparation through diet and the practice of tantra in their relationships. Menstruating and pregnant women are not permitted to drink yaje, but the children in the community do participate in the ceremonies. Menstruation is seen as a sacred time for inner quiet, rest, purification and artistic expression. The women spend this time away from the rest of the group, in a ‘women’s hut’ (Ranchito).

Members of the community undergo an initiation when they feel ready to accept the Way of Yaje as their spiritual path. The initiates head is shaved and he or she is given a spiritual name in a ceremony in front of the yaje altar. The ritual signifies the commitment of the initiate to yaje as their spiritual teacher.

A number of English people have visited this group and are now setting up a project with the aim of studying and making available information on the shamanic wisdom of Colombia and raising awareness about ecological and social issues arising from the abuse of nature and the world wide oppression and exploitation of people, their land, communities and cultures by the prevailing capitalist and imperialist forces. They also aim to promote awareness of the use of sacred plants for healing and spiritual purposes and initiate a cultural exchange between people in Britain and the community. They plan to give more people access to the experience of yaje by organising group journeys to Colombia.

Robert Maclaine is one of the founders of this project. After two visits to the community he became an initiate and committed himself to working with the medicine on a long term basis. Here is his account of his first yaje ceremony with the group.

“On the day of my first ceremony we had a herbal purification wash and had fasted since breakfast in order to prepare our minds and bodies for the ritual. After dark everyone changed into their white ceremonial clothing and gathered upstairs in Vasudev’s house. Some of the women gathered Coca leaves from the bushes outside and placed them in baskets on the floor for everyone to help themselves; chewing the leaves of the Coca bush gives a gentle clarity of mind and strengthens the body in readiness for Yajé.

After a while Vasudev went to the altar to begin the ritual. A bowl of burning Paulo Santo (an incense for purification) was brought into the room and we all stood to pray for protection and guidance in the ritual.

After drinking we chew some more coca and then lie down on blankets which have been laid out on the floor.

I begin to feel an energy moving in my body. It feels as if some giant being is waking up and filling the house…. Something is happening, I see shapes in my minds eye, swirling patterns, colours, and then I am by the river near to the house. I am trying to cross it – I see Vasudev’s brother, Marcello. His voice is in my mind “So you want to be an Indian?” I feel the presence of the other men and I feel like a frightened little boy. There are more voices and intense images crowding in on me, challenging me, laughing at me and all of a sudden I don’t want to be here, I am panicking inside, I don’t feel I’m up to this, I must have been stupid to think I was. But it doesn’t end, it only gets more intense. I see little devils appearing and disappearing, taunting me, jumping in and out of my vision, there are doorways, stairs, different levels.

By this time the others have started chanting again but I am unable to move, paralysed by fear, so I listen and the chanting seems to help me focus. I feel stronger and slowly I raise myself to a sitting position. I look in the direction of Vasudev just as the chanting is stopping and I see him presiding over a portal, a kind of window into other worlds. Then, to my surprise, he turns and looks directly at me; “There are many forces.” he says.

Someone puts some music on, Sufi chanting, and I shut my eyes in meditation. There is a beautiful light everywhere. I sit watching this beautiful expanding light flowing everywhere. I breathe it in and listen to the music feeling like I’ve just woken up in an entirely different, and yet somehow familiar, world. I see a huge sun slowly rising, Sufis facing it in deep prayer. Then, I am above the Earth. I can see it spinning. The sun travels across it. I glide down over the Amazon and see Indians in a clearing dancing to the sun as it sets.

I am feeling quite nauseous and dizzy by now until eventually I have to get up to go and vomit. I make it outside just in time as streams of liquid come shooting out of my mouth and nostrils and my stomach wretches violently. I look up and the plants are surrounded with colours, vibrating with life and, what’s more, I can sense their consciousness. They seem curious as if they know that I am new to this place. I look down at the plant nearest to me, a very delicate looking herb which grows close to the ground. I can see it growing, stretching its leaves toward the sky. I look closer and I can see hundreds of little silver and violet lights moving all around the leaves and along the stems busy building – I can see them building the form of the plant. At this moment I see the lights as little beings, and the plant as their palace/temple. I look upon this scene with astonishment, feeling deep in my heart the miracle of life. For a while I gawp at everything. It seems that I have returned to the state of innocent wonder which I felt as a young child.

My experience continued for hours after this with many more visions and insights not to mention a good deal of time spent crouched over a hole emptying my bowels. Eventually I went back inside the house feeling like I was returning from a long voyage. The atmosphere inside was relaxed, peaceful and focused, the people talking quietly in the candlelight and music playing in the background. I spent the rest of the night listening to and talking to the people. Later guitars and drums were brought out and we played and danced until the dawn light in joyous celebration.”

(Ayahuasca Dream – Roberto Venosa)


Poetry: Katharine Tynan


Where are ye now, O beautiful girls of the mountain,

Oreads all ?

Nothing at all stirs here save the drip of the fountain;

Answers our call

Only the heart-glad thrush, in the Vale of Thrushes;

Stirs in the brake

But the dew-bright ear of the hare in his couch of rushes

Listening, awake.


The Bird’s Bargain

‘O spare my cherries in the net,’

Brother Benignus prayed; ‘and I

Summer and winter, shine and wet,

Will pile the blackbirds’ table high.’

‘O spare my youngling peas,’ he prayed,

‘That for the Abbot’s table be;

And every blackbird shall be fed;

Yea, they shall have their fill,’ said he.

His prayer, his vow, the blackbirds heard,

And spared his shining garden-plot.

In abstinence went every bird,

All the old thieving ways forgot.

He kept his promise to his friends,

And daily set them finest fare

Of corn and meal and manchet-ends,

With marrowy bones for winter bare.

Brother Benignus died in grace:

The brethren keep his trust, and feed

The blackbirds in this pleasant place,

Purged, as dear heaven, from strife and greed.

The blackbirds sing the whole year long,

Here where they keep their promise given,

And do the mellowing fruit no wrong.

Brother Benignus smiles in heaven.


A Gardener-Sage

Here in the garden-bed,

Hoeing the celery,

Wonders the Lord has made

Pass ever before me.

I see the young birds build,

And swallows come and go,

And summer grow and gild,

And winter die in snow.

Many a thing I note,

And store it in my mind,

For all my ragged coat

That scarce will stop the wind.

I light my pipe and draw,

And, leaning on my spade,

I marvel with much awe

O’er all the Lord hath made.

Now, here’s a curious thing:

Upon the first of March

The crow goes house-building

In the elm and in the larch.

And be it shine or snow,

Though many winds carouse,

That day the artful crow

Begins to build his house.

But then–the wonder’s big !

If Sunday fell that day,

Nor straw, nor screw, nor twig,

Till Monday would he lay.

His black wings to his side,

He’d drone upon his perch,

Subdued and holy-eyed

As though he were in church.

The crow’s a gentleman

Not greatly to my mind,

He’ll steal what seeds he can,

And all you hide he’ll find.

Yet though he’s bully and sneak,

To small birds, bird of prey,

He counts the days of the week,

And keeps the Sabbath Day.


Tynan was born into a large farming family in Clondalkin, County Dublin, and educated at a convent school in Drogheda. Her poems were first published in 1878. Tynan went on to play a major part in Dublin literary life, until she married and moved to England; later she lived at Claremorris, County Mayo when her husband was a magistrate there from 1914 until 1919.

For a while, Tynan was a close associate of William Butler Yeats (who may have proposed marriage and been rejected, around 1885). She is said to have written over 100 novels; there were some unsurprising comments about a lack of self-criticism in her output. Her Collected Poems appeared in 1930; she also wrote five autobiographical volumes.

Tynan died in Wimbledon, London, in 1931 at the age of 70.

(AstralCircus – Roberto Venosa)

On The Turning Of The Solstice…

To Juan at the Winter Solstice

There is one story and one story only

That will prove worth your telling,

Whether are learned bard or gifted child;

To it all lines or lesser gauds belong

That startle with their shining

Such common stories as they stray into.

Is it of trees you tell, their months and virtues,

Or strange beasts that beset you,

Of birds that croak at you the Triple will?

Or of the Zodiac and how slow it turns

Below the Boreal Crown,

Prison of all true kings that ever reigned?

Water to water, ark again to ark,

From woman back to woman:

So each new victim treads unfalteringly

The never altered circuit of his fate,

Bringing twelve peers as witness

Both to his starry rise and starry fall.

Or is it of the Virgin’s silver beauty,

All fish below the thighs?

She in her left hand bears a leafy quince;

When, with her right she crooks a finger smiling,

How may the King hold back?

Royally then he barters life for love.

Or of the undying snake from chaos hatched,

Whose coils contain the ocean,

Into whose chops with naked sword he springs,

Then in black water, tangled by the reeds,

Battles three days and nights,

To be spewed up beside her scalloped shore?

Much snow is falling, winds roar hollowly,

The owl hoots from the elder,

Fear in your heart cries to the loving-cup:

Sorrow to sorrow as the sparks fly upward.

The log groans and confesses

There is one story and one story only.

Dwell on her graciousness, dwell on her smiling,

Do not forget what flowers

The great boar trampled down in ivy time.

Her brow was creamy as the crested wave,

Her sea-blue eyes were wild

But nothing promised that is not performed.

Robert Graves

Moon FLower – Roberto Venosa)

Wishing You and yours a Merry Solstice! Just had my first cookie that Miss Krista brought to us on the weekend. Wonderful shortbread in the form of a stylized snow flake. Ummmmmmm lovely!

Rushing around today, trying to finalize for the ceremonies later on. I wish the best for you and your friends and family.

Let’s take up new challenges in the coming cycle, deeper commitments to the Earth and to Change.

Here is to the power of Love!

Bright Blessings,



On the Menu

The Links

Thievery Corporation – Richest Man in Babylon

Sean Penn Sez…

Robert Graves Poetry

Roberto Venosa: Art

A Big Hello and Hugs to Harlan, Lizbeth, Greg, and Uncle Phil in LA!


The Links:

The new batch – 150,000 years ago

FBI releases last 10 pages of Lennon files

The, ‘Well Duh’! moment of the day: Study suggests animals dream


Thievery Corporation – Richest Man in Babylon


(Raw Shock – Roberto Venosa)

Thanks to Roberto Venosa for pointing this article out….!

Sean Penn Sez…

Sean Penn received The 2006 Christopher Reeve First Amendment Award from The Creative Coalition December 18, 2006, in New York City, where he delivered the following speech.

The Christopher Reeve First Amendment Award. For the purposes of tonight and my own personal enjoyment, I’m going to yield to the notion that I deserve this.

And in the spirit of that, tell you that I am very honored to receive it. And for this I thank the Creative Coalition and my friend Charlie Rose. It does seem appropriate to take this opportunity to exercise the right that honors us all – freedom of speech.

Note for later:

The original title for the Louis XVI comedy called “Start The Revolution Without Me” was one of my favorites. That original title was “Louis, There’s a Crowd Downstairs.” But I’ll come back to that…

Words may be our most civil weapons of change, when they connect to actions of sacrifice, or good will, but they have no grace or power without bold clarity. So, if you’ll bear with me, borrowing a line from Bob Dylan, “Let us not talk falsely now – the hour is getting late.”

Global warming

Massive pollution

Non-stop U.S. war in Iraq

Attacks on civil liberties under the banner of war on terror

Military spending

You and I, U.S. taxpayers, spend 1 1/2 billion dollars on an Iraq-war-’focused’ military everyday, while social needs cry out.

Health care


Public transit

Environmental protections

Affordable housing

Job training

Public investment

And, levy building.

We depend largely for information on these issues from media industries, driven by the bottom line to such an extent that the public interest becomes uninteresting.

And should we speak truth, we stand against government efforts to intimidate or legislate in the service of censorship. Whether under the guise of a Patriot Act or any other benevolent-sounding rationale for the age-old game of shutting down dissent by discouraging independent thinking and preventing progressive social change.

The most effective forms of de facto censorship are pre-emptive. Systemically, we are encouraged to keep our heads down, out of the line of fire – to avoid the danger, god forbid, that someone in the White House, on Capitol Hill, or a media blow-hard might take a shot at us.

But, as a practical matter, most of the limits on creative expression and other forms of free speech come from self-censorship, where the mechanism of corporate clout offers carrots and brandishes sticks. We avoid a conflict before the conflict materializes. We reach for the carrots and stay out of range of sticks.

Decades ago, Fred Friendly called it a “positive veto” – corporations putting big money behind shows that they want to establish and perpetuate. Whether in journalism or drama, creative efforts that don’t gain a financial “positive veto” are dismissible, then dismissed. We may not call that “censorship.” But whatever we call it, the effects of a “positive veto” system are severe. They impose practical limits on efforts to bring the most important realities to public attention sooner rather than later…

We’re beginning to see more revealing images of this war. But it’s later now, isn’t it? What we have to pay attention to are the results of these “practical limits.” One, is that wars become much easier to launch than to halt.

I’ve got a feeling about how we can begin to change this process and I want to pass it by you. Children grow up in our country — many by the way, under conditions of extreme poverty — and are told from a very early age “You will be accountable!” “With freedom, comes responsibility!” And so the lecture goes…Democratic and Republican alike. Lie-cheat-steal, and there will be consequences! Theft will be punished. Actions that cause the deaths of others will be severely punished. The message, from leaders in Washington, news media, mom, dad, and church is clear. Criminals MUST be held accountable.

Now, there’s been a lot of talk lately on Capitol Hill about how impeachment should be “off the table.” We’re told that it’s time to look ahead – not back…

Can you imagine how far that argument would go for the defense at an arraignment on charges of grand larceny, or large-scale distribution of methamphetamines? How about the arranging of a contract killing on a pregnant mother? “Indictment should be off the table.” Or “Let’s look forward, not backward.” Or “We can’t afford another failed defendant.”

Our country has a legal system, not of men and women, but of laws. Why then are we so willing to put inconvenient provisions of the U.S. constitution and federal law “off the table?” Our greatest concern right now should be what to put ON the table. Unless we’re going to have one set of laws for the powerful and another set for those who can’t afford fancy lawyers, then truth matters to everyone. And accountability is a matter of human and legal principle. If we’re going to continue wagging our fingers at the disadvantaged transgressors, then I suggest we be consistent. If truth and accountability can be stretched into sham concepts, we may as well open the gates of all our jails and prisons, where, by the way, there are more people behind bars than any other country in the world. One in every 32 American adults is behind bars, on probation, or on parole as we stand here tonight.

Which is to say that, globally, the United States is number one at demanding accountability and backing up that demand with imprisonment. But, when it comes to our president, vice president, secretary of state, former secretary of defense…this insistence on accountability vanishes. All of a sudden, what’s past is prologue. And we’re just “forward-looking.” But some people can’t just look forward. Men and women stationed in Iraq at this moment, under orders of a Commander-in-Chief so sufficiently practiced in the art of deception, that he got vast numbers of American journalists and the most esteemed media outlets of this country, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, and PBS to eagerly serve his agenda-building for war. And the process also induced vast numbers of artists and performers (probably even some in this room tonight) to keep quiet and facilitate the push for an invasion in Iraq.

I’m sure many people who I met in Baghdad, both in my trips prior to and during the occupation, now similarly cannot just look forward. With lives so entirely shattered by a violence of occupation – an ongoing U.S. war effort and the civil war that it has catalyzed. All on the back of a crumbled infrastructure, following eleven years of devastating U.N. sanctions.

And, where is the accountability on behalf of the American dead and wounded, their families, their friends, and the people of the United States who have seen their country become a world pariah. These events have been enabled by people named Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld, and Rice, as they continue to perpetuate a massive fraud on American democracy and decency.

On January 11, 2003, I made an appearance on Larry King’s show following my first trip to Iraq. I suggested that every American mother and father sit down with a scrap of paper and pencil and scribble the following words: Dear Mr. and Mrs. So-and-so — We regret to inform you that your son or daughter so-and-so, was killed in action in Iraq. I then asked that those mothers and fathers complete that letter in whatever way might comfort them should they receive it. When one considers what a bewildered continuation of those words a parent might attempt to write today, it seems inconceivable that this country could’ve ever bought into this war. Who were those mothers and fathers believing in?! We know it’s not the administration alone, but a culture at large, cloaking itself in self-righteousness, religion, and adolescent hero-dreaming machismo. Would they have believed Rush Limbaugh if they’d known he was high as a kite on OxyContin? Would they have believed the factually impaired Bill O’Reilly if they knew he was massaging his rectum with a loofah while telephonically harassing a staffer? Hannity, had they known he was simply a whore to the cause of his pimps – Murdoch and Ailes? Or the little bow-tie putz, if they knew all he was seeking was a good laugh from Jon Stewart? Maybe our countrymen and women were listening to Ted Haggert while he was whiffing meth and boning a muscle-headed gigolo? Or Mark Foley seeking junior weenis? Joe Lieberman, sitting Shiva? And Toby Keith, singing about how big his boots are?

“Oh, there goes Sean…he had to go and name-call. They say he can’t help himself.” Or, did I name-call? Maybe I just quickly summed up 7 or 8 little truths. Oh, no, you’re right – I name-called. I said, “putz”. I take it back. Or, do I? Did I say “whore?” Pimp? These are questions. But, the real and great questions of conscience and accountability would not loom so ominously — unanswered or evaded at such tremendous cost — without our day-to-day failure to insist on genuine accountability. Of course we’d prefer some easy ways to get there. But no easy ways exist. Not a new Congress. Not Barack Obama. And, not John McCain. His courage in North Vietnamese prison makes him a heroic man. His voting record in Congress makes him a damaging public servant. We have gotta stand the fuck up and show the world how powerful are the people in a democracy. That’s how we regain our position of example, rather than pariah, to the world at large. And that is how we can begin to put up our chins and allow pride and unification to raise our own quality of life and security.

They tell us we lost 3,000 Americans on 9/11. Is that enough? We’re about to match it. We’re within weeks, if not less, of killing 3,000 Americans in Iraq. I ask Speaker Pelosi, can we put impeachment on the table then? Without former FEMA chief Mike Brown being held accountable, post Katrina (scapegoat though he may have been) we’d have had the same chaos and neglect when Rita hit Houston. Think about it. And, the same people who trumpet deterrence as a justification for punishment when we speak of “crime and punishment,” will boast their positive thinking when dismissing the deterrent qualities of an impeachment proceeding.

What is impeachment? It’s not a Democratic versus Republican event. Not if used responsibly. If the House of Representatives votes to impeach this president, is he thrown out of office? No, he is not thrown out of office. That is not what impeachment is. Impeachment is the opportunity to proceed with accountability and give our elected senators, democratic and republican, the power to pursue a thorough investigation. The power to put the truth on the table. Mothers and fathers are losing their kids to horrifying deaths in this war every single day. Horrible deaths. Horrible maimings. Were crimes committed in enlisting the support of our country in this decision to go to war? For the moment we’re living the most spineless of scenarios; where the hawks abused impeachment eight years ago, now, the rest of us politely refuse to use it today. Let’s give the whistle-blowers cover, let’s get the subpoenas out there, and then, one by one, put this administration under oath. And then, if the crimes of “Treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” are proven, do as Article 2, Section 4 of the United States Constitution provides, and remove “the President, Vice President and…civil officers of the United States” from office. If the Justice Department then sees fit to bunk them up with Jeff Skilling, so be it.

So…look, if we attempt to impeach for lying about a blowjob, yet accept these almost certain abuses without challenge, we become a cum-stain on the flag we wave. You know, I was listening to Frank Rich this morning, speaking on a book tour. He said he thought impeachment proceedings would amount to a “decadent” sidetrack, while our soldiers were still being killed. I admire Frank Rich. And of course he would be right if impeachment is all we do. But we’re Americans. We can do two things at the same time. Yes, let’s move forward and swiftly get out of this war in Iraq AND impeach these bastards.

Christopher Reeve promised to get out of that chair. Well, I don’t know about you, but it feels like he’s up now and I wouldn’t be standing here if it weren’t on his shoulders. Let it be for something.

Georgie, there’s a crowd downstairs.

Thank you and good night.

(Logos – Roberto Venosa)


some of these we have published before, but they are fitting on the solstice, so a revisit is a good thing…

Poetry: Robert Graves

The Bards

The bards falter in shame, their running verse

Stumbles, with marrow-bones the drunken diners

Pelt them for their delay.

It is a something fearful in the song

Plagues them — an unknown grief that like a churl

Goes commonplace in cowskin

And bursts unheralded, crowing and coughing,

An unpilled holly-club twirled in his hand,

Into their many-shielded, samite-curtained,

Jewel-bright hall where twelve kings sit at chess

Over the white-bronze pieces and the gold;

And by a gross enchantment

Flalils down the rafters and leads off the queens –

The wild-swan-breasted, the rose-ruddy-cheeked

Raven-haired daughters of their admiration –

To stir his black pots and to bed on straw.


The White Goddess

All saints revile her, and all sober men

Ruled by the God Apollo’s golden mean –

In scorn of which we sailed to find her

In distant regions likeliest to hold her

Whom we desired above all things to know,

Sister of the mirage and echo.

It was a virtue not to stay,

To go our headstrong and heroic way

Seeking her out at the volcano’s head,

Among pack ice, or where the track had faded

Beyond the cavern of the seven sleepers:

Whose broad high brow was white as any leper’s,

Whose eyes were blue, with rowan-berry lips,

With hair curled honey-coloured to white hips.

The sap of Spring in the young wood a-stir

Will celebrate with green the Mother,

And every song-bird shout awhile for her;

But we are gifted, even in November

Rawest of seasons, with so huge a sense

Of her nakedly worn magnificence

We forget cruelty and past betrayal,

Heedless of where the next bright bolt may fall.


The Finding Of Love

Pale at first and cold,

Like wizard’s lily-bloom

Conjured from the gloom,

Like torch of glow-worm seen

Through grasses shining green

By children half in fright,

Or Christmas candelelight

Flung on the outer snow,

Or tinsel stars that show

Their evening glory

With sheen of fairy story–

Now with his blaze

Love dries the cobweb maze

Dew-sagged upon the corn,

He brings the flowering thorn,

Mayfly and butterfly,

And pigeons in the sky,

Robin and thrush,

And the long bulrush,

The cherry under the leaf,

Earth in a silken dress,

With end to grief,

With joy in steadfastness.


Return of the Goddess

Under your Milky Way

And slow-revolving Bear

Frogs from the alder thicket pray

In terror of your judgement day,

Loud with repentance there.

The log they crowned as king

Grew sodden, lurched and sank;

An owl floats by on silent wing

Dark water bubbles from the spring;

They invoke you from each bank.

At dawn you shall appear,

A gaunt red-legged crane,

You whom they know too well for fear,

Lunging your beak down like a spear

To fetch them home again.







(Alien Wind – Robert Venosa)

Old Europa…

On The Music Box: Astralasia….

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.

– Ray Bradbury

(Winter Solstice – Damien M. Jones)

Can you feel it? I feel the excitement building as the Solstice rolls around. I love the turnings of the year, as we tumble around the sun in the great hurley-burley that is called life on this wonderful planet.

Chill days here. Full of wind, bleakness and aching beauty. I dream well on these nights, visiting here and there in my past and future, and visiting those great halls where we all go for instruction and healing, coming back renewed each morning…

Rowan is working on presents for his pod of friends, it is a joy watching him apply himself to these projects as he pours himself over everybit, fretting as he does…

I must cut this short, but I am in a writing mood, so more will be following soon.

The station is still going through birth-pangs over in the UK, soon I hope, soon.

Something interesting soon coming our way, oh yes….



On The Menu

The Links

Old Europe

Poetry: Amergin


The Links:

India’s killer elephant shot dead

Head-butt by horse restores man’s sight

Aboriginal language had ice age origins

Comet born of our own Sun


Old Europe

Before Sumer, Crete or the Maltese civilisation, there was “Old Europe”, or the Vinca culture… a forgotten, rather than lost civilisation that lies at the true origin of most of our ancient civilisations.

Philip Coppens

There are lost civilisations, and then there are forgotten civilisations. From the 6th to the 3rd millennium BC, the so-called “Vinca culture” stretched for hundreds of miles along the river Danube, in what is now Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia, with traces all around the Balkans, parts of Central Europe and Asia Minor, and even Western Europe.

Few, if any, have heard of this culture, though they have seen some of their artefacts. They are the infamous statues found in Sumer, where authors such as Zecharia Sitchin have labelled them as “extra-terrestrial”, seeing that the shapes of these beings can hardly be classified as typically human. So why was it that few have seen (or were aware of) their true origin?

The person largely responsible for the isolation of the Vinca culture was the great authority on late prehistoric Europe, Vere Gordon Childe (1892-1957). He was a synthesiser of various archaeological discoveries and tried to create an all-encompassing framework, creating such terms as “Neolithic Revolution” and “Urban Revolution”. In his synthesis, he perceived the Vinca culture as an outlying cultural entity influenced by more “civilised” forces. His dogmatic stance and clout meant that the Vinca culture received only scant attention. Originally, interest in the signs found on pottery had created interest in some academic circles, but that now faded following Childe’s “papal bull”.

Interest was rekindled in the 1960s (following the death of Childe), largely due to a new discovery made in 1961 by Dr. N. Vlassa, while excavating the Transylvanian site of Tartaria, part of Vinca culture. Amongst various artefacts recovered were three clay tablets, which he had analysed with the then newly introduced radiocarbon dating methodology. The artefacts came back as ca. 4000 BC and were used by the new methodology’s detractors to argue that radio carbon-dating was obviously erroneous. How could it be “that” old?

Traditionally, the Sumerian site of Uruk had been dated to 3500-3200 BC. Vlassa’s discovery was initially (before the carbon dating results) further confirmation that the “Vinca Culture” had strong parallels with Sumer. Everyone agreed that the Sumerians had influenced Vinca Culture (and the site of Tartaria), which had therefore been assigned a date of 2900-2600 BC (by the traditional, comparative methodology, which relied on archaeologists’ logic, rather than hard scientific evidence). Sinclair Hood suggested that Sumerian prospectors had been drawn by the gold-bearing deposits in the Transylvanian region, resulting in these off-shoot cultures.

But if the carbon dating results were correct, then Tartaria was 4000 BC, which meant that the Vinca Culture was older than Sumer, or Sumer was at least a millennium older than what archaeologists had so far assumed. Either way, archaeology would be in a complete state of disarray and either some or all archaeologists would be wrong. Voila, the reason as to why radio carbon dating was attacked, rather than merely revising erroneous timelines and opinions.

There is no debate about it: the artefacts from the Vinca culture and Sumer are very much alike. And it is just not some pottery and artefacts: they share a script that seems highly identical too. In fact, the little interest that had been shown in the Vinca culture before the 1960s all revolved around their script. Vlassa’s discovery only seemed to confirm this conclusion, as he too immediately stated that the writing had to be influenced by the Near East. Everyone, including Sinclair Hood and Adam Falkenstein, agreed that the two scripts were related and Hood also saw a link with Crete. Finally, the Hungarian scholar Janos Makkay stated that the “Mesopotamian origin [of the Tartaria pictographs] is beyond doubt.” It seemed done and dusted.

But when the Vinca Culture suddenly predated Sumer, this thesis could no longer be maintained (as it would break the archaeological framework, largely put in place by Childe and his peers), and thus, today, the status is that both scripts developed independently. Of course, we should wonder whether this is just another attempt to save reputations and whether in the following decades, the stance will finally be reversed, which would mean that the Vinca Culture is actually at the origin of the Sumerian civilisation… a suggestion we will return to shortly.

But what is the Vinca Culture? In 1908, the largest prehistoric and most comprehensively excavated Neolithic settlement in Europe was discovered in the village of Vinca, just 14 km downstream from the Serbian capital Belgrade, on the shores of the Danube. The discovery was made by a team led by Miloje M. Vasic, the first schooled archaeologist in Serbia.

Vinca was excavated between 1918 and 1934 and was revealed as a civilisation in its own right: a forgotten civilisation, which Marija Gimbutas would later call “Old Europe”. Indeed, as early as the 6th millennium BC, three millennia before Dynastic Egypt, the Vinca culture was already a genuine civilisation. Yes, it was a civilisation: a typical town consisted of houses with complex architectural layouts and several rooms, built of wood that was covered in mud. The houses sat along streets, thus making Vinca the first urban settlement in Europe, but equally being older than the cities of Mesopotamia and Egypt. And the town of Vinca itself was just one of several metropolises, with others at Divostin, Potporanj, Selevac, Plocnik and Predionica. Maria Gimbutas concluded that “in the 5th and early 4th millennia BC, just before its demise in east-central Europe, Old Europeans had towns with a considerable concentration of population, temples several stories high, a sacred script, spacious houses of four or five rooms, professional ceramicists, weavers, copper and gold metallurgists, and other artisans producing a range of sophisticated goods. A flourishing network of trade routes existed that circulated items such as obsidian, shells, marble, copper, and salt over hundreds of kilometres.”

Everything about “Old Europe” is indeed older than anything else in Europe or the Near East. To return to their script. Gimbutas had a go at trying to translate it and called it the “language of the goddess”. She based her work on that of Shan Winn, who had completed the largest catalogue of Vinca signs to date. He narrowed the number of signs down to 210, stating that most of the signs were composed of straight lines and were rectilinear in shape. Only a minority had curved lines, which was perhaps due to the difficulty of curved carving on the clay surface. In a final synthesis, he concluded that all Vinca signs were found to be constructed out of five core signs:

– a straight line;

– two lines that intersect at the centre;

– two lines that intersect at one end;

– a dot;

– a curved line.

Winn however did not consider this script to be writing, as even the most complex examples were not “texts”; he thus labelled them “pre-writing”, though Gimbutas would later claim they were indeed “writing”. Still, everyone is in agreement that the culture did not have texts as that which was written was too short in length to be a story, or an account of a historical event. So what was it?

In Sumer, the development of writing has been pinned down as a result from economical factors that required “record keeping”. For the Vinca Culture, the origin of the signs is accepted as having been derived from religious rather than material concerns. In short, the longest groups of signs are thus considered to be a kind of magical formulae.

The Vinca Culture was also millennia ahead of the status quo on mining. At the time, mining was thought not to predate 4000 BC, though in recent years, examples of as far back as 70,000 years ago have been discovered. The copper mine at Rudna Glava, 140 km east of Belgrade, is at least 7000 years old and had vertical shafts going as deep as twenty metres and at the time of its discovery was again extremely controversial.

It is but two examples that underline that Old Europe was a civilisation millennia ahead of its neighbours. And Old Europe is a forgotten culture, as Richard Rudgeley has argued: “Old Europe was the precursor of many later cultural developments and […] the ancestral civilisation, rather than being lost beneath the waves through some cataclysmic geological event, was lost beneath the waves of invading tribes from the east.” Indeed, Rudgeley argued that when confronted with the “sudden arrival” of civilisation in Sumer or elsewhere, we should not look towards extra-terrestrial civilisation, nor Atlantis, but instead to “Old Europe”, a civilisation which the world seems intent on disregarding… and we can only wonder why. “Civilisation” in Sumer was defined as the cultivation of crops and domestication of animals, with humans living a largely sedentary life, mostly in village or towns, with a type of central authority. With that definition of civilisation, it is clear that it did not begin in Sumer, but in Old Europe. Old Europe was a Neolithic civilisation, living of agriculture and the breeding of domestic animals. The most frequent domestic animals were cattle, although smaller goats, sheep and pigs were also bred. They also cultivated the most fertile prehistoric grain species. There was even a merchant economy: a surplus of products led to the development of trade with neighbouring regions, which supplied salt, obsidian or ornamental shells.

In fact, they were not actually a “Neolithic civilisation” – they were even further ahead of the times: in the region of Eastern Serbia, at Bele Vode and (the already discussed) Rudna Glava, in crevices and natural caves, the settlers of Vinca came in contact with copper ore which they began fashioning with fire, initially only for ornamental objects (beads and bracelets). They were more “Bronze Age” than “Stone Age”… this at a time when the rest of Europe and the Near East was not even a “Stone Age civilisation”.

One scholar, the already cited Marija Gimbutas, has highlighted the importance of Old Europe. So much so, that many consider her to have gone too far. She interpreted Old Europe as a civilisation of the Goddess, a concept which has taken on a life of its own in the modern New Age industry, extending far beyond anything Gimbutas herself could ever have imagined. Bernard Wailes stated how Gimbutas was “immensely knowledgeable but not very good in critical analysis… She amasses all the data and then leaps to conclusions without any intervening argument… Most of us tend to say, oh my God, here goes Marija again”. But everyone agrees that her groundwork is solid, and it is from that which we build.

Gimbutas dated the civilisation of Old Europe from 6500 to 3500-3200 BC. It was at that time that the area was overrun by invading Indo-Europeans. The local population could do two things: remain and be ruled by new masters, or migrate, in search of new lands. It appears that the people of Old Europe did both: some went in search of a haven to the south, on the shores of the Aegean Sea, and beyond. Harald Haarmann has identified them as being responsible for the rise of the so-called Cycladic culture, as well as Crete, where the new settlers arrived around 3200 BC.

For Gimbutas, the difference between Old Europe and Indo-Europe was more than just one people invading another. It was the difference between a goddess-centred and matriarchal and the Bronze Age Indo-European patriarchal cultural elements. According to her interpretations, Old Europe was peaceful, they honoured homosexuals and they espoused economic equality. The Indo-Europeans were warmongering males. And it’s that conclusion with which many have great difficulty, for nothing is ever as distinct as that.

Today, artefacts of the Vinca culture grace the display cabinets of several museums, for they are magnificent ceramics – of an artistic and technological level which would not be equalled by other cultures for several millennia. It is believed that their writing originated out of sacred writing. Like Crete, they were a peaceful nation; Crete’s palaces had no defensive qualities.

The recovered artefacts of the Vinca culture equally show they had a profound spiritual life. The cult objects include figurines, sacrificial dishes, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic dishes. When we note that their number (over 1000 examples at Vinca alone) exceeds the total number of figurines discovered in the region of the Greek Aegean, we can only wonder why Old Europe is not better known today.

Life was represented on these objects as embodying the cycle of birth and death of Nature, along with the desire of man to get Nature’s sympathy or to mollify it in the interest of survival. Shrines were discovered in Transylvania with complex architectural designs, indicating the involvedness of the rituals which were conducted in them. It may not have been a matriarchal, Goddess worshipping civilisation, but it was definitely a complex and established religious framework. Though nothing suggests it was a Goddess cult.

The same mistake has been made in Malta, where for generations certain statues were interpreted as “Mother Goddess” statues, whereas alternative thinkers as Joseph Ellul pointed out that there was nothing specifically feminine about these statues; that they showed a deity, but that it could equally be male or female. Recently, Ellul’s point of view has become shared by other experts on Malta, such as Dr. Caroline Malone, who argued that the theory that the Maltese temples were erected as part of a goddess-worshipping culture is no longer valid. In her opinion, Maltese prehistoric society was a relatively stable, agricultural community, living on an intense and densely populated island, which celebrated cyclical cycles of life, rites of passage, transitions between different stages of life, from separation to reintegration, fertility, ancestors, all of this within a cosmological context… and very much like Old Europe.

Around 3200 BC, the culture of Old Europe migrated, to the Aegean Sea and to Crete. Today, they are considered to be the origin of the Minoan civilisation, though it is a dimension that few Minoan scholars have included in their writing, instead largely opting to see Crete as yet another “stand alone” civilisation. Gimbutas stated that: “the civilisation that flourished in Old Europe between 6500 and 3500 BC and in Crete until 1450 BC enjoyed a long period of uninterrupted peaceful living.” Motifs such as the snake, intertwined with the bird goddess motif, the bee and the butterfly, with the distinctive motif of the double axe, are found both in Old Europe and Crete. But the best evidence is in the writing of Old Europe and the Linear A script of Crete, which are to all intents and purposes identical.

But it is equally clear that contacts between Sumer and Old Europe existed at the time of the Ubaid culture, in Eridu – the site which inspired Sitchin so greatly in his formulation of the Annunaki theory and his identification of these statues as “Nephilim”. The Ubaid culture is ca. 4500 BC and though we should perhaps not go as far as concluding that Sumer was a child of Old Europe, the two cultures obviously knew each other. Indeed, in recent years, Old European artefacts were even discovered in Southeastern France, suggesting that the civilisation of Old Europe travelled not merely to the East, but also to the West. Perhaps we should even consider them to be at the origin of the megalithic civilisation? But no-one, it seems, has dared to topple that stone yet.


Poetry: Amergin

In which I bring back an old favourite, and introduce more of the ancient works…

Amergin’s call to the land of Ireland enabled the Milesians to land successfully and establish the presence of mortals on the magical isle.

I invoke the land of Ireland:

much coursed be the fertile sea,

fertile be the fruit strewn mountain,

fruit strewn be the showery wood,

showery be the river of waterfalls,

of waterfalls be the lake of deep pools,

deep pooled be the hill-top well,

a well of tribes be the assembly,

an assembly of kings be Temair.

Temair be the hill of the tribes,

the tribes the sons of Mil,

of Mil of the ships, the barks!

Let the lofty bark be Ireland,

Lofty Ireland, darkly sung,

an incantation of great cunning:

the great cunning of the wives of Bres,

the wives of Bres of Buiagne:

the great lady, Ireland,

Eremon hath conquered her,

I, Eber have invoked her

I invoke the land of Ireland.


Song of Amergin

I am a stag: of seven tines,

I am a flood: across a plain,

I am a wind: on a deep lake,

I am a tear: the Sun lets fall,

I am a hawk: above the cliff,

I am a thorn: beneath the nail,

I am a wonder: among flowers,

I am a wizard: who but I

Sets the cool head aflame with smoke?

I am a spear: that roars for blood,

I am a salmon: in a pool,

I am a lure: from paradise,

I am a hill: where poets walk,

I am a boar: ruthless and red,

I am a breaker: threatening doom,

I am a tide: that drags to death,

I am an infant: who but I

Peeps from the unhewn dolmen, arch?

I am the womb: of every holt,

I am the blaze: on every hill,

I am the queen: of every hive,

I am the shield: for every head,

I am the tomb: of every hope.


Fishful Sea

Fishful sea –

Fertile land –

Burst of fish –

Fish under wave –

With courses of birds –

Rough sea –

A white wall –

With hundreds of salmon –

Broad whale –

A port of song –

A burst of fish.


I AM the wind which breathes upon the sea,

I am the wave of the ocean,

I am the murmur of the billows,

I am the ox of the seven combats,

I am the vulture upon the rocks,

I am a beam of the sun,

I am the fairest of plants,

I am a wild boar in valour,

I am a salmon in the water,

I am a lake in the plain,

I am a word of science,

I am the point of the lance in battle,

I am the God who creates in the head the fire.

Who is it who throws light into the meeting on the mountain?

Who announces the ages of the moon?

Who teaches the place where couches the sun?


History Is Ending…

On the Music Box: Red Shift / ‘Ether’

Chuang Tzu and Hui Tzu were strolling along the dam of the Hao River when Chuang Tzu said, “See how the minnows come out and dart around where they please! That’s what fish really enjoy!”

Hui Tzu said, “You’re not a fish—how do you know what fish enjoy?”

Chuang Tzu said, “You’re not I, so how do you know I don’t know what fish enjoy?”

Hui Tzu said, “I’m not you, so I certainly don’t know what you know. On the other hand, you’re certainly not a fish—so that still proves you don’t know what fish enjoy!”

Chuang Tzu said, “Let’s go back to your original question, please. You asked me how I know what fish enjoy—so you already knew I knew when you asked the question. I know it by standing here beside the Hao.”

On the Run… will talk later. May I present:

The Tuesday Feast!

The Links

From The Chuang Tzu: In The World of Men On Long Distance Relationships

Mckenna: On UFOs and Science

Angels & Daimons

Chuang Tzu: Section Twenty-Two

Poetry: Chuang Tzu

Alien Dreamtime – Terence McKenna

From The Chuang Tzu:Discussion On Making All Things Equal

Art: William Blake


The Links

From our friend Adele: Python Rites Expanded!

Solved at last: the burning mystery of Joan of Arc

Pot is called biggest cash crop

Reading Shakespeare has dramatic effect on human brain


From The Chuang Tzu:

In The World of Men On Long Distance Relationships

I want to tell you something else I have learned. In all human relations, if the two parties are living close to each other, they may form a bond through personal trust. But they are far apart, they must use words to communicated the loyalty, and words must be transmitted by someone. To transmit words that are either pleasing to both parties or infuriating to both parties is one of the most difficult things in the world. Where both parties are pleased, there must be some exaggeration of the good points and where bother parties are angered, there must be some exaggeration of the bad points. Anything that smacks of exaggeration is irresponsible. Where there is irresponsibility, no one will trust what is said, and when that happens, the man who is transmitting the words will be in danger. Therefore the aphorism says, “Transmit the established facts; do not transmit words of exaggeration.” If you do that, you will probably come out all right.


Mckenna: On UFOs and Science


Angels & Daimons

Stories of guardian angels have enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, becoming a staple of fluffy New Age-ism and the subject of countless books. But, argues Patrick Harpur, these mediators between God and man have a long and fascinating history and might not be quite as cuddly as we’ve been led to believe.

Hope Macdonald describes, in When Angels Appear (1982), an incident in which a young mother sees that her three-year-old daughter, Lisa, has escaped from the garden and is sitting on the railway line beyond. At that moment, a train comes around the bend, its whistle blowing. “As she raced from the house screaming her daughter’s name, she suddenly saw a striking figure, clothed in pure white, lifting Lisa off the track with an arm around the child… When the mother reached the daughter’s side, Lisa was standing alone.”

Not many tales of guardian angels are as dramatic as this one, but a surprising number of people attest to some experience or other that they ascribe to the action of a guardian angel, whether it’s a single word of warning or, as is commonly reported, a simple touch on the shoulder or tug on the sleeve. According to a US poll in the 1990s, 69 per cent of Americans believe in angels; 46 per cent claim to have their own guardian angels and 32 per cent have felt an angelic presence. Nor does the pre-millennial craze for angels seem to have abated, if the number of Internet references to them is any indication.

While Lisa’s angel conforms to our expectations – a white, possibly winged, powerful and protective being – they are not always thus. A clergyman’s widow told her friend, folklorist Katharine Briggs, how she suffered from an injured foot and had been sitting one day on a seat in London’s Regent’s Park, wondering how on Earth she’d find the strength to limp home, when suddenly she saw a tiny man in green who looked at her very kindly and said: “Go home. We promise that your foot shan’t pain you tonight.” Then he disappeared. But the intense pain in her foot had gone. She walked home easily and slept painlessly all night.

Angelic Origins

The origin of angels is not easy to unravel. They do not feature greatly in the Old Testament but seem to have returned with the Jews from their Babylonian Captivity, where the angelology of Zoroastrian Persia was probably influential. Although the Zoroastrians had a well-developed doctrine of guardian angels, the angels who became dominant figures in the Jewish apocalyptic writings from the third century BC onwards were impersonal rather than personal. As Harold Bloom reminds us in Omens of Millennium (1996), far from being sweetness and light, angels were highly ambiguous, awesome, even terrifying, like the archangel Metatron. We might remember that when Muhammad the Prophet asked to look upon the angel Gabriel, who, as the agent of his revelation might well be called his guardian angel, he fainted dead away at the shock of seeing such a vast being, filling the horizon and stretching upwards out of view. In the Book of Enoch (Enoch was held by some to have been transformed into Metatron when “he walked with God, and was not, because God took him”) angels lust after Earth women, like the Nephilim of Genesis, who “mated with the daughters of men.” Thus did St Paul warn women “to have a veil on their heads, because of the angels” (Corinthians 11:10). In Colossians, he warns against worship of angels, implying that there’s no difference between angels and demons.

However, angels found their way into Western culture largely through Dionysius the Areopagite, who was originally believed to have been an Athenian disciple of St Paul, but is now reckoned to be a Syrian monk of the late fifth century. His book The Celestial Hierarchy is the most influential text in the history of angelology. It was he, for example, who decided that angels were pure spiritual beings, an idea taken up enthusiastically by St Thomas Aquinas, and hence by the Roman Catholic Church (although St Augustine was not so sure whether or not angels had material bodies). It was he who arranged the angels into their nine orders from Cherubim, Seraphim and Thrones, through Dominations, Virtues and Powers, down to Principalities, Archangels and Angels – each order a link in the Great Chain of Being which stretched from God down to mankind, the animals, plants and stones.

The idea that angels mediated between God and mankind was actually a much older one that the pseudo-Dionysius derived from the great Neoplatonists who flourished in the Hellenistic culture surrounding Alexandria in the first to fourth centuries AD. His whole system of theology in fact was cribbed wholesale from Plotinus, Iamblichus and Proclus and then Christianised. But in the original ‘theology’ the mediating beings were not called angels but daimones, daimons (or, after the Latin, if you prefer, dæmons). The idea of guardian angels comes from the Greek notion of the personal daimon.

The most famous personal daimon in antiquity belonged to Plato’s mentor, Socrates. According to Apuleius, in On the god of Socrates, the god was a daimon which mediated between God or the gods and Socrates. Daimons, claimed Apuleius, inhabit the air and have bodies of so transparent a kind that we can’t see them, only hear them. This was the case with Socrates, whose daimon was famous for simply saying “No” whenever he was about to encounter danger or do something displeasing to the gods. Nevertheless, the daimons are as much material as spiritual, despite what later Catholic apologists, such as Aquinas, might have us believe. To say they inhabit the air is a metaphor for the middle realm they inhabit between the material and spiritual realms – what the great scholar of Sufism, Henri Corbin, calls “the imaginal world” in which a different, daimonic reality prevails.

We all have a personal daimon, which the Romans translated as ‘genius’ – indeed, they sacrificed to their genius on their birthdays – but perhaps it is only in those with an exceptionally powerful summons from the daimon, a striking vocation, that daimons become unusually apparent. CG Jung, the great Swiss psychologist, for instance, dreamt of a winged being sailing across the sky. He saw that it was an old man with the horns of a bull. He held a bunch of four keys, one of which he clutched as if he were about to open a lock. The lock he was about to open, of course, was the locked unconscious psyche of Jung. This mysterious figure introduced himself as Philemon; and he visited Jung often after that, not only in dreams but while he was awake as well. “At times he seemed to me quite real,” wrote Jung in Memories, Dreams, Reflections (1961), “as if he were a living personality. I went walking up and down the garden with him, and to me he was what the Indians call a guru… Philemon brought home to me the crucial insight that there are things in the psyche which I do not produce, but which have their own life… I held conversations with him and he said things which I had not consciously thought… He said I treated thoughts as if I generate them myself but in his view thoughts were like animals in the forest, or people in a room… It was he who taught me psychic objectivity, the reality of the psyche.”

If this is an unconventional picture of a ‘guardian angel’, it is conservative compared to Napoleon’s ‘familiar spirit’ which, as described by Aniela Jaffé in Apparitions (1958), “protected him, which guided him, as a dæmon, and which at particular moments took on the shape of a shining sphere, which he called his star, or which visited him in the figure of a dwarf clothed in red that warned him”. On the other hand, it was not so eccentric when we consider that, according to the Neoplatonist Iamblichus, daimons favour luminous appearances or ‘phasmata’ second only to manifesting in personified form. The phasmata of daimons are “various and dreadful”. They appear “at different times… in a different form, and appear at one time great, but at another small, yet are still recognised to be the phasmata of dæmons”. Thus it’s not so surprising if a personal daimon shape-shifts, showing itself now as a Gabriel-sized angel, now as a red dwarf. And perhaps the little ‘aliens’ who appear to those who have shortly before seen an anomalous light in the sky, are not so much inhabitants of the UFO as an alternative manifestation of it.

Genius and genes

Another paradox in the nature of the personal daimon is that it can also be impersonal. Our clergyman’s widow encountered a being that was clearly and intimately connected with her – yet also almost part of the landscape, like a fairy. I suggest that, while the personal daimon is exactly that – personal – it is also always grounded in the impersonal and unknowable depths of the psyche. It is also, in other words, a manifestation of the Anima Mundi, or Soul of the World – as the case of Plotinus, the first and greatest of the Neoplatonic philosophers, makes clear.

While he was living in Rome, Plotinus was approached by an Egyptian priest who, wishing to show off his theurgical powers, asked if he might be allowed to invoke a visible manifestation of Plotinus’s daimon. The sage agreed. The rite took place in the Temple of Isis, the only pure place in Rome, according to the priest. But to everyone’s surprise, the daimon turned out to be a god. The priest was so shocked that the god disappeared before it could be questioned. Plotinus himself was eloquent on the subject of the personal daimon. He held that every human psyche is a spectrum of possible levels, on any one of which we may choose to live (each of us is an ‘intellectual cosmos’); whatever level one chooses, the next one above it serves as one’s daimon. If one lives well, one may live at a higher level in the next life, and then the level of one’s daimon will accordingly rise, until for the perfect sage the daimon is the One itself – the One being the transcendent source and goal of everything that is. In other words, the daimon was not, for Plotinus, an anthropomorphic being but an inner psychological principle, the spiritual level above that on which we conduct our lives. It is therefore both within us and, at the same time, transcendent; this suggests that it is simultaneously as personal as a ‘familiar’ and as impersonal as a god. Iamblichus went further, to assert that personal daimons are not fixed but can develop or perhaps unfold in relation to our own spiritual development, rather as Jung might say that, in the course of individuation, we move beyond the personal unconscious to the impersonal, collective unconscious, through the daimonic to the divine. We are assigned a daimon at birth, said Iamblichus, to govern and direct our lives; but our task is to obtain a god in its place.

This doctrine comes from a story or myth told by Plato in The Republic (X, 620e) concerning a man called Er, who had what we would now call a near-death experience. He brought back news not just of what happens after death, but what happens before birth. We choose the lives we are about to lead, he said, but we are allotted a daimon to act as guardian and to help us fulfil our choice. Then we pass under the throne of Necessity, the pattern of our lives having been fixed, to be born. Our daimons are the imaginative blueprints of our lives. They lay down the personal myth, as it were, which we are bound to enact in the course of our lives. They are the voice that calls us to our true purpose, our vocation. The reality of the personal daimon is affirmed by the fact that it is an idea that persists in the human mind, so that no matter how we may wish to grow out of belief in Plato’s old tale, it crops up in different guises again and again – as the Roman genius, for example, or the Arabic genie; as the shaman’s spirit helper or the Christian guardian angel.

Its latest, and debased, incarnation is in the Just So story of the ‘selfish gene’. In the early pages of his book of that name, Richard Dawkins finds it impossible to avoid talking about our ‘selfish genes’ as if they were personal daimons. They “create form”, he says, and “mould matter” and “choose”. They are “the immortals”. They “possess us” (my italics). We are merely “lumbering robots” whose genes “created us body and mind”. This anthropomorphic language is, I would suggest, hardly that of science, but let it pass. For Dawkins is doing what scientism often does: he is unconsciously literalising a myth. Traditionally, our bodies have been seen as the vehicles of our personal daimon, our soul or ‘higher self’. Now, by an amusing inversion, we are asked to believe that our most valuable attributes are simply pressed into the service of our genes. As Professor RC Lewontin sums up wryly in The Doctrine of DNA: Biology as Ideology (1993), “it is really our genes that are propagating themselves through us. We are only their instruments, their temporary vehicles…”

The ‘selfish gene’ is allotted to us by Chance and thereafter subjects us to its inexorable Necessity – the pattern we are forced by the genes to live out. Chance and Necessity: the twin goddesses of science who are supposed to rule our lives. But Plato’s daimon tells another tale, one which science has not so much replaced as inverted and made literal. The daimon is allotted to us in accordance with the life we have already chosen. We are not merely the random result of the chance meeting of our parents, for we have chosen them just as they have, willy-nilly, chosen each other. We really do come into the world ‘trailing clouds of glory’. Thereafter, we are subject, certainly, to Necessity; but it manifests as a fate or destiny we are also free to deny. Of course, that would not be advisable: to cut oneself off from one’s daimon is to lose its protection and guidance, to court accidents and to lose one’s way. Besides, to deny the daimon turns out to be only the illusion of freedom. Real freedom, it turns out, paradoxically, is freely to choose to subordinate our egotistical desires and wishes to the imperatives of the personal daimon, whose service is perfect freedom.

Creative Daimons

In The Soul’s Code (1996), James Hillman – the best of the post-Jungian analytical psychologists – develops a whole child psychology based on the idea of the personal daimon. He calls it the acorn theory, according to which “each life is formed by its unique image, an image that is the essence of that life and calls it to a destiny. As the force of fate, this image acts as a personal daimon, an accompanying guide who remembers your calling… The daimon motivates. It protects. It invents and persists with stubborn fidelity. It resists compromising reasonableness and often forces deviance and oddity upon its keeper and especially when it is neglected or opposed.”

Since it represents the fate of the individual – since our adult ‘oak’ life is latent in our acorn state – the personal daimon is prescient. It knows the future – not in detail, perhaps, because it can’t manipulate events, but the general pattern. It is that within us which is forever restless and unsatisfied, yearning and homesick, even when we are at home. (But we should note that it is not our conscience: the daimon is not a moralist, and so it is possible to ask our daimon to fulfil our own desires, even evil or selfish ones; we can appropriate the daimon’s power for our own egotistical ends.) In short, our behaviour is not just formed by the past, as psychology tends to suppose; it can be formed retroactively by the future, by the intuition of where our calling will take us, and what we are destined to become. Hillman cites the example of many famous people’s biographies where the child either knows what he might become – like Yehudi Menuhin insisting as a tiny child on having a violin, yet smashing the toy violin he was given: his daimon was already grown up and disdained to play a child’s toy – or fears to know what he must become – Manolete, bravest and best of bullfighters, clung to his mother’s apron strings as if he already knew the dangers he would have to encounter as an adult. Winston Churchill was a poor scholar, consigned to what we’d now call a remedial reading class, as if putting off the moment when he would have to labour for his Nobel Prize for Literature.

Thus, when we see bright children going off the rails, we should hesitate to blame their parents and their past. Their daimons are, after all, parentless and have plans for them other than the plans of parents or the conformist demands of school. (It’s notable that our passion for attributing aberrant behaviour in children to dodgy parenting is highly eccentric: in traditional societies, whatever’s wrong always comes from elsewhere, whether witchcraft, taboo-breaking, neglected rituals, contact with unfavourable places, a remote enemy, an angry god, a hungry ghost, an offended ancestor and so on – but never to what your mum and dad did to you, or didn’t do, years ago.)

Those exceptional souls who become aware of their daimon, as Jung did, have the satisfaction of fulfilling its purpose and hence of fulfilling their true selves. But this does not make them immune to suffering; for who knows what Badlands the daimon would have us cross before we reach the Isles of the Blessed? Who knows what wrestling, what injury, we are in for – like Jacob – at the hands of our angel? What our daimon teaches us, therefore, is not to always be seeking a cure for our suffering but rather to seek a supernatural use for it. “I have had much trouble in living with my ideas,” wrote Jung at the end of his long and fruitful life. “There was a daimon in me… It overpowered me, and if I was at times ruthless it was because I was in the grip of a daimon… A creative person has little power over his own life. He is not free. He is captive and driven by his daimon… The daimon of creativity has ruthlessly had its way with me.”

For the poet, the daimon is his or her Muse, who is at the very least a mixed blessing. Keats painted portraits of his Muse in Lamia and The Belle Dame sans Merci: white-skinned, cold, irresistibly alluring figures who seduce the poet, drain him like a vampire for their own purposes, and leave him “alone and palely loitering”. For, once she is awakened, the Muse will drive relentlessly to become the centre of the personality, casting aside whatever we think of as ourselves. The rewards in terms of achievement can be enormous, but they are also dangerous; and everyday life, with its little comforts and satisfactions, can be a casualty. As the late Poet Laureate, Ted Hughes, writes feelingly in Winter Pollen (1994), the Muse “from earliest times came to the poet as a god, took possession of him, delivered the poem, then left him.” It was axiomatic, he says, that she lived her own life separate from the poet’s everyday personality; that she was entirely outside his control; and that she was, above all, supernatural.

The last word on personal daimons goes to the great Irish poet, WB Yeats, who wrote in his book, Mythologies (1959): “I think it was Heraclitus who said: the Daimon is our destiny. When I think of life as a struggle with the Daimon who would ever set us to the hardest work among those not impossible, I understand why there is a deep enmity between a man and his destiny, and why a man loves nothing but his destiny… I am persuaded that the Daimon delivers and deceives us, and that he wove the netting from the stars and threw the net from his shoulder…” Here is a portrait of the personal daimon which is both daunting and beautiful and, like Jung’s, tinged with a poignant melancholy. For the daimon is our taskmaster, driving us to perform the most difficult work possible for us, no matter what the human cost. No wonder our feelings for it are as ambiguous as it shows itself to be. Anyone who invokes their guardian angel, therefore, should beware. It may not be as fluffy and cuddly as you’d have it. It will protect you, yes – but only the ‘you’ who serves its plan for your self. It will guide you, certainly – but who knows what sojourn in the wilderness this might entail? And, because the personal daimon is, finally, grounded in the impersonal Ground of Being itself, you will inevitably be led way, way out of your depth.



Chuang Tzu: Section Twenty-Two

Master Tung-kuo asked Chuang Tzu, “This thing called the Way-where does it exist?”

Chuang Tzu said, “There’s no place it doesn’t exist.”

“Come,” said Master Tung-kuo, “you must be more specific!”

“It is in the ant.”

“As low a thing as that?”

“It is in the panic grass.”

“But that’s lower still!”

“It is in the tiles and shards.”

“How can it be so low?”

“It is in the piss and shit.”


Poetry: Chuang Tzu

The Giant Peng Bird

In the Northern Sea there is a fish

Its name is Kun

The great size of Kun

We know not how many thousand leagues

Its name is Peng

The wingspan of Peng

We know not how many thousand leagues

It surges into flight.

Its wings are like the clouds that hang from the sky

This bird, when the ocean begins to heave

Will travel to the Southern Sea

The Southern Sea – the heavenly pond

trans. by Derek Lin


Distinguishing Ego from Self

All that is limited by form, semblance, sound, color is called object.

Among them all, man alone is more than an object.

Though, like objects, he has form and semblance,

He is not limited to form.

He is more.

He can attain to formlessness.

When he is beyond form and semblance, beyond “this” and “that,”

where is the comparison with another object?

Where is the conflict?

What can stand in his way?

He will rest in his eternal place which is no-place.

He will be hidden in his own unfathomable secret.

His nature sinks to its root in the One.

His vitality, his power hide in secret Tao.

-trans. T.Merton


Letting go of thoughts

The mind remains undetermined in the great Void.

Here the highest knowledge is unbounded.

That which gives things their thusness cannot be delimited by things.

So when we speak of ‘limits’, we remain confined to limited things.

The limit of the unlimited is called ‘fullness.’

The limitlessness of the limited is called ‘emptiness.’

Tao is the source of both.

But it is itself neither fullness nor emptiness.

-trans by T.Merton


One Legged Man

Kung Wen Hsien saw Yo Shi and exclaimed:

“What kind of person is this?

How come only one foot?

Is this ordained by Heaven,

Or caused by Man?”

He then said to himself:

“It is Heaven, not Man.

Heaven’s destiny let him be crippled.

The image of Man is given by Heaven.

Therefore we know this is the work of Heaven, not Man.”

-The True Tao


Alien Dreamtime – Terence McKenna SF Multimedia DMT Trip


From The Chuang Tzu:

Discussion On Making All Things Equal

Now let me ask you some questions. If a man sleeps in a damp place, his back aches and he ends up half paralyzed, but is this true of a loach? If he lives in a tree, he is terrified and shakes with fright, but is this true of a monkey? Of these three creatures, then, which one knows the proper place to live? Men eat the flesh of grass-fed and grain-fed animals, deer eat grass, centipedes find snakes tasty, and hawks and falcons relish mice. Of these four, which knows how food ought to taste? Monkeys pair with monkeys, deer go out with deer, and fish play around with fish. Men claim that Mao-chi’iang and Lady Li were beautiful, but if fish saw them they would dive to the bottom of the stream, if birds saw them they would fly away, and if deer saw them they would break into a run. Of these four, which knows how to fix the standard of beauty for the world? The way I see it, the rules of benevolence and righteousness and the paths of right and wrong are all hopelessly snarled and jumbled. How could I know anything about such discriminations?”

The sage embraces things. Ordinary men discriminate among them and parade their discriminations before others. So I say, those who discriminate fail to see.


Late Sunday – Early Monday: Positively Medieval ….

On The Music Box… Arcana: ‘The New Light’


Solstice 2006

Solstice Time Again… We had the traditional gathering of tribes this weekend… With people coming from as far as the north Washington Cascade slopes… to the the wilds of Sherwood and greater Wilsonville, they came as pilgrims do, ready to party, drink and dance….

We had a extra nice surprise this year: The Wild Cascadian Alkemist came down from the western slopes with his traveling circus of hounds, friends and his very own version of the ‘Water of Life’…

Here is a shot of the Solstice Tree the night before….

The Solstice Bunny and The Magick Licking Toad

We were blest by a visit of the Solstice Bunny and his good buddy, the Magick Licking Toad.

According to the legend, they travel to all good Solstice gatherings offering up the joys of the toad to all and sundry….

Many people were blest, and a few were frightened by the Toad, but most were just freaked by the Solstice Bunny. So it goes!

Our youngest party guest chowing down… She took great interest in the art, and the fire ceremony.

Miss F. asked if she could come back next year (as long as she brings her parents, our dear friends Paul and Barb!)… She was an absolute delight, with some very interesting comments on what she was observing…

Our group of younger members grows, and some are now coming back year after year.

Gen seems to be having a good time in this picture, and was seen dancing during the evening. She is well known for her guitar work on acoustic and electric, and hopefully we will get a song out her at next years Solstice gathering….

Just prior to the Fire Ceremony

Rowan has been taking on more of a role in the yearly winter rites. This year brought a new innovation; he and I read “For Juan on the Winter Solstice”, by Robert Graves by exchanging verses. I think it was a nice touch, and very moving with the ancient motifs that Graves brings forth. A keeper I think for the next year….

Andrew has a new Friend…

I was concerned when I found nephew Andrew getting kinda friendly with the rapidly morphing

Magick Licking Toad…

I checked him over, and found that he had been availing himself to the excellent Scottish Seasonal Ale that Morgan graciously brought…

All in all, a great evening, with wonderful friends and company!


On The Menu

The Links

Ardor: White Wedding

Powel, Prince of Dyfed

Medieval Poetry

Carmina Burana – From Corvus Corax

Art: Sulamith Wulfing

Born in Germany in 1901, Sulamith Wulfing began drawing at the age of four. Her family concerned itself with spiritual matters; in fact, her father was a Theosophist.

A touch of the supernatural embues all her work. She attended Art College in Wuppertal and completed her course of studies there in 1921. Her home and much of her art was destroyed during WW2. She continued to draw and paint until her death in 1989.


The Links:

120-Year-Old Woman Claims Smoking Pot Everyday Is Her Secret To Long Life

US church splits over sexuality

Airlines workers sacrifice camel at airport

Concern over Europe ‘snow crisis’

Charges Dropped on High Times Freedom Fighter Eddy Lepp After Feds Seize 32,512 Pot Plants


Ardor: White Wedding



Powel, Prince of Dyfed

POWEL, Prince of Dyfed, was lord of the seven Cantrevs of Dyfed; and once upon a time Powel was at Narberth, his chief palace, where a feast had been prepared for him, and with him was a great host of men. And after the first meal, Powel arose to walk, and he went to the top of a mound that was above the palace, and was called Gorseth Arberth.

” Lord,” said one of the court, “it is peculiar to the mound that whosoever sits upon it cannot go thence without either receiving wounds or blows, or else seeing a wonder.”

“I fear not to receive wounds and blows in the midst of such a host as this; but as to the wonder, gladly would I see it. I will go, therefore, and sit upon the mound.”

And upon the mound he sat. And while he sat there, they saw a lady, on a pure white horse of large size, with a garment of shining gold around her, coming along the highway that led from the mound; and the horse seemed to move at a slow and even pace, and to be coming up towards the mound.

“My men,” said Powel, ” is there any among you who knows yonder lady?”

“There is not, lord,” said they.

“Go one of you and meet her, that we may know who she is.”

And one of them arose ; and as he came upon the road to meet her she passed by, and he followed as fast as he could, being on foot; and the greater was his speed, the farther was she from him. And when he saw that it profited him nothing to follow her, he returned to Pwyll, and said unto him, “Lord, it is idle for any one in the world to follow her on foot.”

“Verily,” said Powel, “go unto the palace, and take the fleetest horse that thou seest, and go after her.”

And he took a horse and went forward. And he came to an open level plain, and put spurs to his horse; and the more he urged his horse, the farther was she from him. Yet she held the same pace as at first. And his horse began to fail; and when his horse’s feet failed him, he ye-turned to the place where Powel was.

“Lord,” said he, ” it will avail nothing for any one to follow yonder lady. I know of no horse in these realms swifter than this, and it availed me not to pursue her.”

“Of a truth,” said Powel, “there must be some illusion here. Let us go towards the palace.” So to the palace they went, and they spent that day. And the next day they arose, and that also they spent until it was time to go to meat. And after the first meal, “Verily,” said Powel, “we will go, the same party as yesterday, to the top of the mound. Do thou,” said he to one of his young men, “take the swiftest horse that thou knowest in the field. And thus did the young man. They went towards the mound, taking the horse with them. And as they were sitting down they beheld the lady on the same horse, and in the same apparel, coming along the same road. “Behold,” said Powel, “here is the lady of yesterday. Make ready, youth, to learn who she is.”

My lord,” said he “that will I gladly do.” And thereupon the lady came opposite to them. So the youth mounted his horse ; and before he had settled himself in his saddle, she passed by, and there was a clear space between them. But her speed was no greater than it had been the day before. Then he put his horse into an amble, and thought, that, notwithstanding the gentle pace at which his horse went, he should soon overtake her. But this availed him not: so he gave his horse the reins. And still he came no nearer to her than when he went at a foot’s pace. The more he urged his horse, the farther was she from him. Yet she rode not faster than before. When he saw that it availed not to follow her, he returned to the place where Powel was. ” Lord,” said he, “the horse can no more than thou hast seen.”

“I see indeed that it avails not that any one should follow her. And by Heaven,” said he, “she must needs have an errand to some one in this plain, if her haste would allow her to declare it. Let us go back to the palace.” And to the palace they went, and they spent that night in songs and feasting, as it pleased them.

The next day they amused themselves until it was time to go to meat. And when meat was ended, Powel said, “Where are the hosts that went yesterday and the day before to the top of the mound ?”

“Behold, lord, we are here,” said they.

“Let us go,” said he, “to the mound to sit there. And do thou,” said he to the page who tended his horse, “saddle my horse well, and hasten with him to the road, and bring also my spurs with thee.” And the youth did thus, They went and Sat upon the mound. And ere they had been there but a short time, they beheld the lady coming by the same road, and in the same manner, and at the same pace. “Young man, said Powel, “I see the lady coming give me my horse.” And no sooner had he mounted his horse than she passed him. And he turned after her, and followed her. And he let his horse go bounding playfully, and thought that at the second step or the third he should come up with her. But he came no nearer to her than at first. Then he urged his horse to his utmost speed, yet he found that it availed nothing to follow her. Then said Powel, “O maiden, ” for the sake of him who thou best lovest, stay for me.”

“I will stay gladly,” said she, “and it were better for thy horse hadst thou asked it long since.” So the maiden stopped, and she threw back that part of her head-dress which covered her face. And she fixed her eyes upon him, and began to talk with him,

“Lady,” asked he, “whence comest thou, and whereunto dost thou journey ?”

“I journey on mine own errand,” said she, “and right glad am I to see thee.”

“My greeting be unto thee,” said he. Then he thought that the beauty of all the maidens, and all the ladies that he had ever seen, was as nothing compared to her beauty.

“Lady,” he said, “wilt thou tell me aught concerning thy purpose?”

“I will tell thee,” said she. ” My chief quest was to seek thee.”

“Behold,” said Powel, “this is to me the most pleasing quest on which thou couldst have come. And wilt thou tell me who thou art ?”

“I will tell thee, lord,” said she. “I am Rhiannon, the daughter of Heveyth Hên, and they sought to give me to a husband against my will. But no husband would I have, and that because of my love for thee, neither will I yet have one unless thou reject me. And hither have I come to hear thy answer.”

“By Heaven,” said Powel, “behold this is my answer. If I might choose among all the ladies and damsels in the world, thee would I choose.”

“Verily,” said she, “if thou art thus minded, make a pledge to meet me ere I am given to another.”

“The sooner I may do so, the more pleasing will it be unto me,” said Powel, “and wheresoever thou wilt, there will I meet with thee.”

“I will that thou meet me this day twelvemonth, at the palace of Heveyth. And I will cause a feast to be prepared, so that it be ready against thou come.”

“Gladly,” said he, ” will I keep this tryst.”

“Lord,” said she, “remain in health, and be mindful that thou keep thy promise And now I will go hence.”

So they parted, and he went back to his hosts and to them of his household. And whatsoever questions they asked him respecting the damsel, he always turned the discourse upon other matters. And when a year from that time was gone, he caused a hundred knights to equip themselves, and to go with him to the palace of Heveyth Hên. And he came to the palace, and there was great joy concerning him, with much concourse of people, and great rejoicing, and vast preparations for his coming. And the whole court was placed under his orders.

And the hall was garnished, and they went to meat, and thus did they sit; Heveyth Hên was on one side of Powel, and Rhiannon on the other. And all the rest according to their rank. And they ate and feasted and talked, one with another; and at the beginning of the carousal after the meat, there entered a tall auburn-haired youth, of royal bearing, clothed in a garment of satin. And when he came into the hall he saluted Powel and his companions.

“The greeting of Heaven be unto thee, my soul,” said Powel. “Come thou and sit down.”

“Nay,” said he, “a suitor am I; and I will do mine errand.”

“Do so willingly,” said Powel.

“Lord,” said he, “my errand is unto thee ; and it is to crave a boon of thee that I come.”

“What boon soever thou mayest ask of me, as far as I am able, thou shalt have.”

“Ah,” said Rhiannon, “wherefore didst thou give that answer ?”

“Has he not given it before the presence of these nobles?” asked the youth.

“My soul,” said Powel, “what is the boon thou askest?”

“The lady whom best I love is to be thy bride this night I come to ask her of thee, with the feast and the banquet that are in this place.”

And Powel was silent because of the answer which he had given.

“Be silent as long as thou wilt,” said Rhiannon. “Never did man make worse use of his wits than thou hast done.”

“Lady,” said he, “I knew not who he was.”

“Behold, this is the man to whom they would have given me against my will,” said she.

“And he is Gwawl the son of Clud, a man of great power and wealth; and because of the word thou hast spoken, bestow me upon him, lest shame befall thee.”

“Lady,” said he, “I understand not thine answer. Never can I do as thou sayest.”

“Bestow me upon him,” said she, “and I will cause that I shall never be his.”

“By what means will that be?” said Powel.

“In thy hand will I give thee a small bag,” said she. See that thou keep it well, and he will ask of thee the banquet and the feast, and the preparations, which are not in thy power. Unto the hosts and the household will I give the feast. And such will be thy answer respecting this. And as concerns myself, I will engage to become his bride this night twelvemonth. And at the end of the year be thou here,” said she, “and bring this hag with thee and let thy hundred knights be in the orchard up yonder. And when he is in the midst of joy and feasting, come thou in by thyself, clad in ragged garments, and holding thy bag in thy hand, and ask nothing but a bagful of food and I will cause that if all the meat and liquor that are in these seven cantrevs were put into it, it would be no fuller than before. And after a great deal has been put therein, he will ask thee whether thy bag will ever be full. Say thou then that it never will, until a man of noble birth and of great wealth arise and press the food in the bag with both his feet, saying, ‘Enough has been put therein.’ And I will cause him to go and tread down the food in the bag, and when he does so, turn thou the bag, so that he shall be up over his head in it’ and then slip a knot upon the thongs of the bag. Let there be also a good bugle-horn about thy neck, and as soon as thou hast bound him in the bag, wind thy horn, and let it be a signal between thee and thy knights. And when they hear the sound of the horn,. let them come down upon the palace.”

“Lord,” said Gwawl, “it is meet that I have an answer to my request.”

“As much of that thou hast asked as it is in my power to give, thou shalt have,” replied Powel.

“My soul,” said Rhiannon unto him, “as for the feast and the banquet that are here, I have bestowed them upon the men of Dyved, and the household, and the warriors that are with us. These can I not suffer to be given to any. In a year from to-night a banquet shall be prepared for thee in this palace, that I may become thy bride.”

So Gwawl went forth to his possessions, and Powel went also back to Dyved. And they both spent that year until it was the time for the feast at the palace of Heveyth Hên. Then Gwawl the son of Clud set out to the feast that was prepared for him, and he came to the palace and was received there with rejoicing. Powel also, the chief of Annuvyn, came to the orchard with his hundred knights, as Rhiannon had commanded him, having the bag with him. And Powel was clad in coarse and ragged garments, and wore large clumsy old shoes upon his feet. And when he knew that the carousal after the meat had begun, he went towards the hall, and when he came into the hall, he saluted Gwawl the son of Clud, and his company, both men and women.

“Heaven prosper thee ” said Gwawl, “and the greeting of Heaven be unto thee!”

“Lord,” said he, “may Heaven reward thee !” I have an errand unto thee.”

“Welcome be thine errand, and, if thou ask of me that which is just, thou shalt have it gladly.”

“It is fitting,” answered he. “I crave but from want and the boon that I ask is to have this small bag that thou seest filled with meat.”

“A request within reason is this,” said he, ” and gladly shalt thou have it. Bring him food.”

A great number of attendants arose, and began to fill the bag; but for all that they put into it, it was no fuller than at first.

“My soul,” said Gwawi, “will thy bag be ever full ?”

“It will not, I declare to Heaven,” said he, “for all that may be put into it, unless one possessed of lands and domains and treasure shall arise, and tread down with both his feet the food which is within the bag, and shall say, ‘Enough has been put herein.’ “

Then said Rhiannon unto Gwawl the son of Clud, “Rise up quickly.”

“I will willingly arise,” said he. So he rose up, and put his two feet into the bag. And Powel turned up the sides of the bag, so that Gwawl was over his head in it. And he shut it up quickly, and slipped a knot upon the thongs, and blew his horn. And thereupon behold his household came down upon the palace. And they seized all the host that had come with Gwawl, and cast them into his own prison. And Powel threw off his rags, and his old shoes, and his tattered array. And as they came in, every one of Powel’s knights struck a blow upon the bag, and asked, ” What is here ?”

“A badger,” said they. And in this manner they played, each of them striking the bag, either with his foot or with a staff. And thus played they with the bag. Every one as he came in asked, “What game are you playing at thus?”

“The game of Badger in the Bag,” said they. And then was the game of Badger in the Bag first played.

“Lord,” said the man in the bag, “if thou wouldest but hear me, I merit not to be slain in a bag.”

Said Heveyth Hên, “Lord, he speaks truth. It were fitting that thou listen to him ; for he deserves not this.”

“Verily,” said Powel, “I will do thy counsel concerning him.”

“Behold, this is my counsel then,” said Rhiannon “Thou art now in a position in which it behoves thee to satisfy suitors and minstrels let him give unto them in thy stead, and take a pledge from him that he will never seek to revenge that which has been done to him. And this will he punishment enough.”

“I will do this gladly,” said the man in the bag.

“And gladly will I accept it,” said Powel, ” since it is the counsel of Heveyth and Rhiannon.”

“Such, then, is our counsel,” answered they.

“I accept it,” said Powel.

“Seek thyself sureties.”

“We will be for him,” said Heveyth, until his men be free to answer for him.” And upon this he was let out of the bag, and his liege-men were liberated. Demand now of Gwawl his sureties,” said Heveyth : “we know which should be taken for him.” And Heveyth numbered the sureties.

Said Gwawl, ” Do thou thyself draw up the covenant.”

“It will suffice me that it be as Rhiannon said,” answered Powel. So unto that covenant were all the sureties pledged.

“Verily, lord,” said Gwawl “I am greatly hurt, and I have many bruises. I have need to be anointed ; with thy leave I will go forth. I will leave nobles in my stead to answer for me in all that thou shalt require.”

“Willingly,” said Powel, ” mayest thou do thus.” So Gwawl went towards his own possessions.

And the hall was set in order for Powel and the men of his host, and for them also of the palace, and they went to the tables and sat down. And as they had sat that time twelvemonth, so sat they that night. And they ate and feasted, and spent the night in mirth and tranquillity.

And next morning, at the break of day, “My lord,” said Rhiannon, “arise and begin to give thy gifts unto the minstrels. Refuse no one to-day that may claim thy bounty.”

“Thus shall it be, gladly,” said Powel, “both to-day and every day while the feast shall last.” So Powel arose, and he caused silence to be proclaimed, and desired all the suitors and the minstrels to show and to point out what gifts were to their wish and desire. And this being done, the feast went on, and he denied no one while it lasted. And when the feast was ended, Powel said unto Heveyth, “My lord, with thy permission, I will set out for Dyved to-morrow.”

“Certainly,” said Heveyth. “May Heaven prosper thee! Fix also a time when Rhiannon may follow thee.”

Said Powel, ” We will go hence together.”

“Willest thou this, lord ?” said Heveyth.

“Yes,” answered Powel.

And the next day they set forward towards Dyved, and journeyed to the palace of Narberth, where a feast was made ready for them. And there came to them great numbers of the chief men and the most noble ladies of the land, and of these there was none to whom Rhiannon did not give some rich gift, either a bracelet, or a ring, or a precious stone. And they ruled the land prosperously both that year and the next.

And in the fourth year a son was born to them, and women were brought to watch the babe at night. And the women slept, as did also Rhiannon. And when they awoke they looked where they had put the boy, and behold he was not there. And the women were frightened ; and, having plotted together, they accused Rhiannon of having murdered her child before their eyes.

“For pity’s sake,” said Rhiannon, “the Lord God knows all things. Charge me not falsely. If you tell me this from fear, I assert before Heaven that I will defend you.”

“Truly,” said they, “we would not bring evil on ourselves for any one in the world.”

“For pity’s sake,” said Rhiannon, “you will receive no evil by telling the truth.” But for all her words, whether fair or harsh, she received but the same answer from the women.

And Powel the chief of Annuvyn arose, and his household and his hosts. And this occurrence could not be concealed; but the story went forth throughout the land, and all the nobles heard it. Then the nobles came to Powel, and besought him to put away his wife because of the great crime which she had done. But Powel answered them that they had no cause wherefore they might ask him to put away his wife.

So Rhiannon sent for the teachers and the wise men, and as she preferred doing penance to contending with the women, she took upon her a penance. And the penance that was imposed upon her was that she should remain in that palace of Narberth until the end of seven years, and that she should sit every day near unto a horse-block that was without the gate ; and that she should relate the story to all who should come there whom she might suppose not to know it already; and that she should offer the guests and strangers, if they would permit her, to carry them upon her back into the palace. But it rarely happened that any would permit. And thus did she spend part of the year.

Now at that time Teirnyon Twryv Vliant was lord of Gwent Is Coed, and he was the best man in the world. And unto his house there belonged a mare than which neither mare nor horse in the kingdom was more beautiful. And on the night of every first of May she foaled, and no one ever knew what became of the colt. And one night Teirnyon talked with his wife: “Wife,” said he, “it is very simple of us that our mare should foal every year, and that we should have none of her colts.”

“What can be done in the matter?” said she.

“This is the night of the first of May,” said he. “The vengeance of Heaven be upon me, if I learn not what it is that takes away the colts.” So he armed himself, and began to watch that night. Teirnyon heard a great tumult, and after the tumult behold a claw came through the window into the house, and it seized the colt by the mane. Then Teirnyon drew his sword, and struck off the arm at the elbow: so that portion of the arm, together with the colt, was in the house with him. And then did he hear a tumult and wailing both at once. And he opened the door, and rushed out in the direction of the noise, and he could not see the cause of the tumult because of the darkness of the night; but he rushed after it and followed it. Then he remembered that he had left the door open, and he returned. And at the door behold there was an infant-boy in swaddling clothes, wrapped around in a mantle of satin. And he took up the boy, and behold he was very strong for the age that he was of.

Then he shut the door, and went into the chamber where his wife was. ” Lady,” said he, “art thou sleeping ?”

“No, lord,” said she: “I was asleep, but as thou camest in I did awake.”

“Behold, here is a boy for thee, if thou wilt,” said he, “since thou hast never had one.”

“My lord,” said she, “what adventure is this ?”

“It was thus,” said Teirnyon. And he told her how it all befell.

“Verily, lord,” said she, ” what sort of garments are there upon the boy?”

“A mantle of satin,” said he.

“He is then a boy of gentle lineage,” she replied. And they caused the boy to be baptised, and the ceremony was performed there. And the name which they gave unto him was Goldenlocks, because what hair was upon his head was as yellow as gold. And they had the boy nursed in the court until he was a year old. And before the year was over he could walk stoutly ; and he was larger than a boy of three years old, even one of great growth and size. And the boy was nursed the second year, and then he was as large as a child six years old. And before the end of the fourth year, he would bribe the grooms to allow him to take the horses to water.

“My lord,” said his wife unto Tiernyon, ” where is the colt which thou didst save on the night that thou didst find the boy ?”

“I have commanded the grooms of the horses,” said he, “that they take care of him.”

“Would it not be well, lord,” said she, “if thou wert to cause him to be broken in, and given to the boy, seeing that on the same night that thou didst find the boy, the colt was foaled, and thou didst save him?”

“I will not oppose thee in this matter,” said Tiernyon. “I will allow thee to give him the colt.”

“Lord,” said she, “may Heaven reward thee ! I will give it him.” So the horse was given to the boy. Then she went to the grooms and those who tended the horses, and commanded them to be careful of the horse, so that he might be broken ii’ by the time that the boy could ride him.

And while these things were going forward, they heard tidings of Rhiannon and her punishment. And Teirnyon Twryv Vliant, by reason of the pity that he felt on hearing this story of Rhiannon and her punishment, inquired closely concerning it, until he had heard from many of those who came to his court. Then did Teirnyon, often lamenting the sad history, ponder with himself; and he looked steadfastly on the boy, and as he looked upon him, it seemed to him that he had never beheld so great a likeness between father and son as between the boy and Powel the chief of Annuvyn. Now the semblance of Powel was well known to him, for he had of yore been one of his followers. And thereupon he became grieved for the wrong that he did in keeping with him a boy whom he knew to be the son of another man. And the first time that he was alone with his wife he told her that it was not right that they should keep the boy with them, and suffer so excellent a lady as Rhiannon to be punished so greatly on his account, whereas the boy was the son of Powel the chief of Annuvyn. And Teirnyon’s wife agreed with him that they should send the boy to Powel. “And three things, lord,” said she, “shall we gain thereby – thanks and gifts for releasing Rhiannon from her punishment, and thanks from Powel for nursing his son and restoring him unto him ; and, thirdly, if the boy is of gentle nature, he will be our foster-son, and he will do for us all the good in his power.” So it was settled according to this counsel.

And no later than the next day was Teirnyon equipped and two other knights with him. And the boy, as a fourth in their company, went with them upon the horse which Teirnyon had given him. And they journeyed towards Narberth, and it was not long before they reached that place. And as they drew near to the palace, they beheld Rhiannon sitting beside the horse-block. And when they were opposite to her, ” Chieftain,” said she, ” go not farther thus “I will bear every one of you into the palace. And this is my penance for slaying my own son, and devouring him.”

“Oh, fair lady,” said Teirnyon, “think not that I will be one to be carried upon thy back.”

“Neither will I,” said the boy.

“Truly, my soul,” said Teirnyon, ” we will not go.” So they went forward to the palace, and there was great joy at their coming. And at the palace a feast was prepared because Powel was come back from the confines of Dyfed And they went into the hall and washed, and Powel rejoiced to see Teirnyon. And in this order they sat Teirnyon between Powel and Rhiannon, and Teirnyon’s two companions on the other side of Powel, with the boy between them. And after meat they began to carouse and discourse. And Teirnyon’s discourse was concerning the adventure of the mare and the boy, and how he and his wife had nursed and reared the child as their own. “Behold here is thy son, lady,” said Teirnyon. “And whosoever told that lie concerning thee has done wrong. When I heard of thy sorrow, I was troubled and grieved. And I believe that there is none of this host who will not perceive that the boy is the son of Powel,” said Teirnyon.

“There is none,” said they all, ” who is not certain thereof.”

“I declare to Heaven,” said Rhiannon, “that if this be true, there is indeed an end to my trouble.”

“Lady,” said Pendaran Dyfed, “well hast thou named thy son Pryderi (end of trouble), and well becomes him the name of Pryderi son of Powel chief of Annuvyn.”

“Look you,” said Rhiannon “will not his own name become him better?”

“What name has he ?” asked Pendaran Dyfed.

“Goldenlocks is the name that we gave him.”

“Pryderi,” said Pendaran, “shall his name be.”

“It were more proper,” said Powel, “that the boy should take his name from the word his mother spoke when she received the joyful tidings of him.” And thus was it arranged.

“Teirnyon,” said Powel, “Heaven reward thee that thou hast reared the boy up to this time, and, being of gentle lineage, it were fitting that he repay thee for it.”

“My lord,” said Teirnyon, “it was my wife who nursed him, and there is no one in the world so afflicted as she at parting with him. It were well that he should bear in mind what I and my wife have done for him.”

“I call Heaven to witness,” said Powel, “that while I live I will support thee and thy possessions as long as I am able to preserve my own. And when he shall have power, he will more fitly maintain them than I. And if this counsel be pleasing unto thee and to my nobles, it shall be, that, as thou hast reared him up to the present time, I will give him to be brought up by Pendaran Dyfed from henceforth. And you shall be companions, and shall both be foster-fathers unto him.”

“This is good counsel,” said they all. So the boy was given to Pendaran Dyfed, and the nobles of the land were sent with him. And Teirnyon Twryv VIant and his companions set out for his country and his possessions, with love and gladness. And he went not without being offered the fairest jewels, and the fairest horses, and the choicest dogs; but he would take none of them.

Thereupon they all remained in their own dominions. And Pryderi the son of Powel the chief of Annuvyn was brought up carefully, as was fit, so that he became the fairest youth, and the most comely, and the best skilled in all good games, of any in the kingdom. And thus passed years and years until the end of Powel the chief of Annuvyn’s life came, and he died.


Extract: The Romance Of The Rose

– Guillaume de Lorris /translated by Brian Cole

People say that when we dream

they’re lying tales, not what they seem;

but then sometimes we may recall

a dream that tells no lies at all

and is confirmed by reality.

I can quote as guarantee

an author called Marcobes, who

did not consider dreams untrue,

and wrote about a vision once

King Cypion had experienced.

Those who think and even say

it’s mad or stupid in some way

to think a dream could come to pass

can if they wish think me an ass!

However I am quite convinced

that dreams have fortune-telling sense

and tell what comes, for good or ill;

for many people’s dreams are filled

with a host of things in dim half-light

that later they see clear and bright.

When my twentieth year had come,

the time with love calls on the young

to pay their tribute, I was abed

one night, and sleeping like the dead,

and in that state of trance so deep

I had a dream while I was asleep,

most fair, that gave me great delight

and every detail from that night

came true and in reality

happened exactly so to me.

And now my dream I will impart

in verse, to fill with joy your hearts,

for Love wills and commands this task.

And if a man or lady ask

the title I shall give this lay

that I’m just starting, I shall say

it is the ‘Romance of the Rose’

where all the art of love’s disclosed.

I shall tell beauteous things and new;

and may God grant it be well viewed

by her for whom I pen this verse.

For she’s a lady of such worth

deserving of a love so famed

that ‘Rose’ should be her proper name.

I thought that May was at the door

five years ago, or even more.

Yes, it was May, and I would dream

of days of loving joy; it seemed

that all of Nature was so gay

and every bush and hedge in May

you see will decorate itself,

of new-born leaves take on a wealth.

The woods, all winter long so dry,

are now bedecked with greenery;

the Earth is full of pride, and new

in its fresh coat of moistening dew,

and can forget the poverty

it suffered in long winter’s fee.

Then the Earth in all its pride

wants a new dress, like a bride,

and has one made that is so gay

with full two hundred different shades;

of grasses, flowers, violet and blue,

and many other colours too;

that is the dress that I describe

which fills the Earth with swelling pride.

The birds that all fell silent when

they felt the cold attack them, then

suffered from harsh winter’s frost,

now in May their cares have lost.

They are so gay they have to sing

to show their hearts are full of Spring

that forces them to loudest song.

The nightingale then joins the throng

and vies with wondrous tunes; and hark!

the vivid parrot and the lark

awake and join the happy throng.

Young people then should follow on,

devote themselves to love’s gay beat,

because the Spring is warm and sweet.

A hard heart does not love in May

when it hears the birds’ sweet lay

so moving in the branches green

One night I had a wondrous dream:

it was this month of joys untold,

when Love makes every creature bold.

I felt somehow not yet awake,

that morning was already late.

I quickly jumped up from my bed,

washed and dressed, and ate my bread.

I took a needle from its place

in a splendid sewing-case

and threaded it with greatest care.

I planned to leave the town, go where

the happy sounds of birds would ring

in fresh green bushes where they sing

in this new season all about.

I sewed my ruffs to flounce them out

and set off all alone that day

listening to the birds so gay

who called on all their strength to sing

in flowering verge and on the wing.



-Jean Froissart translated by Stan Solomons

Take Time as it is pleased to come;

For Fortune is a wheel that turns.

Old Time goes out, a new returns;

Take Time as it is pleased to come.

And I take comfort that I know

The new moon every month is born.

Take Time as it is pleased to flow;

For Fortune is a wheel that turns.


Extract:La Belle Dame Sans Merci

-Alain Chartier translated by A.S.Kline

I rode past, thinking, recently,

Like one who’s sad and sorrowful,

Of that lament that renders me

Of all lovers the most mournful,

Since, with his dart so dreadful,

Death has stolen my mistress,

And left me lonely: left me dull,

In the sole charge of Sadness.

I said to myself: ‘I should cease

Writing and rhyming, it appears,

Abandon laughter, and be pleased

To replace all this with tears.

And so I must employ my years,

Without heart or inclination

To pen a single thing, I fear,

That pleases me, or anyone.

If any would constrain my will

To write of happy things,

My pen would not possess the skill,

Nor my tongue the power to sing.

My lips could never part, in smiling,

Without a gaze that lips betrayed,

Since my heart would claim denial

Through the tears my cheeks displayed.

I leave it to the lover, who nurses

Hopes that his wound might heal,

To make ballads, songs and verses,

That each might his own skill reveal.

My lady, by her will, did steal

At her Death, God save her soul,

And carry away, my power to feel,

That lies with her beneath the stone.’


Carmina Burana – From Corvus Corax