Those who understand history are condemned to watch other idiots repeat it.Peter Lamborn Wilson
This Entry is a small stroll down memory lane…
November was a good month for Turfing.
With encouragement from readers, I was able to reach into the stash bag and find wee joys and novelties. Big Thanks to all who wrote in with suggestions, and thanks for the kind compliments.
Here is our first entry for December.
As it is the fading season, I thought a visit with a mutual friend would be nice. (I miss his wit and wisdom!)
The Mazatec Poetry from the Rituals are especially wonderful, read past the glossing over, and there are wonders to behold!
Such Things Are Memories Made Of: A psychedelic trip up the ladder of evolution
Poetry:Shamanistic Songs Of Roman Estrada
Art: Alchemical Arts… Poetry Section: Bruce Rimell – “At The Edge Of The Milky Way”
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“It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.”
“There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is in having lots to do and not doing it.”
“We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on.”
“To err is human; to forgive, infrequent.”
“Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?”
A psychedelic trip up the ladder of evolution
This article culled from The Independent On Sunday, a ‘quality paper’.
Read, be entertained and enlightened, or whatever. 11th July 1993
I think we should deal only with the facts when we talk of Terence McKenna, don’t you? I mean the Californian scholar with the theory about psilocybin mushrooms and the development of human consciousness – that the psychedelic experience triggered sentience in foraging, omnivorous apes and led them, in the evolutionary wink of an eye, to put rockets on the moon.
Mr. McKenna contends that hallucinogenic fungi inspired our primate forbears to develop language, boot-strapping us up the evolutionary ladder to the brink of self-realization, and that this humble mushroom is now ready and waiting for us to complete our ontological correspondence course, if we would only tear ourselves away from smack, crack, coke, caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, sugar, cocoa, uppers, downers and all the other bad substances we are addicted to.
He believes that hallucinogenic-plant gnosis is the lost key to our intellectual, moral and spiritual development as a race; that all subsequent drug abuse is merely an attempt to satisfy our primeval urge for psychedelic union with nature (‘an itch we cannot scratch’); and that cataclysmic change or certain extinction awaits us. His theory states : ‘No perception without hallucination.’
We are in a small house in west London. There are 40 people sitting on cushions around the room, which is large and airy, full of plants, and dominated by a huge skylight. We all face McKenna, who sits cross-legged on a black leather armchair, wearing a pair of baggy no-brand jeans and a T-shirt that says ‘DMT’. This stands for dimethyltriptamine, the strongest and fastest-acting organic hallucinogen known to man (Mr. McKenna will defend only DMT, psilocybin and marijuana – nothing man-made). His Birkenstock sandals are placed neatly nearby, and he wears black woollen socks.
A bearded academic type, Mr. McKenna does not need fashion to prop up his arguments. His learning and powers of language slowly unwind and coil around us, until eventually we are mesmerised, our token resistance crushed by the irresistible force of his rationale. History and nature; the psychedelic experience; prohibition of same by religion and capitalism; human proclivity for ‘altered states’; Oriental and Western philosophies; it is everything you have ever read and more.
Botany, biology, mathematics, quantum and Newtonian physics, chemistry – if you had trouble with it at school, he is sure to be au fait – all trip lightly off his tongue, along with classical quotations. This is the McKenna ‘rap’, the reason why people have paid $30 a head to be here. ‘Hallucinogens are data about reality,’ he says. ‘They are as dependable and as ‘true’ as any other source.’
‘We have to recognise that the world is not something sculptured and finished, which we as perceivers walk through like patrons in a museum; the world is something we make through the act of perception.’ He talks like a man reading out his own thoughts in essay form; at one point he actually says ‘paragraph break’. Only he has no notes, no prompts.
Things move gradually at first but accelerating all the time as his imagery resonates more powerfully. When he answers questions his words are vivid and his thinking clear and unhurried. He describes the Logos, where language is visible, a higher form of communication, a type of linguistic and spiritual evolution and I’m damned if you are not getting a glimpse behind the dusty old drapes of ‘meaning’ and ‘reality’ even as he speaks.
And it looks very appealing, this alternative world he imagines for us, this higher form of consciousness to which we are all party but which we so rarely explore, largely because of our cultural taboos and farcical drug laws.
As we break for food and drink, I realise how fast his argument has proceeded and how far we have climbed, until we are right at the peak of this man’s thinking, way up there, floating off and gliding over such dense concepts. And he has taken us all this way without so much as a cigarette paper in sight. Forty people, soaring on one man’s imagination, logic and humour. Two hours have passed like magic. ‘But the point is not to listen to Terence McKenna,’ he says. ‘The point is to go home and get loaded.’ You don’t need telepathy to know that forty people are thinking : that’s my kinda guru.
After the break Mr. McKenna resumes with his theories about our evolutionary path, involving a lengthy description of communication between octopuses. It is dark, and on the wall behind him our host Danny, who runs an audio- visual company called Project Love, is screnning sub-aquatic imagery. ‘Stronger doses, more often,’ is Mr McKenna’s chilling, or, if you prefer, exhilarating advice.
You probably know what I found most disturbing about Mr. McKenna’s lecture – apart from his voice, nasal yet piercing, a laid-back call to reckoning. What bothers me is that, as a tax-paying professional, with Significant Other and five year-old daughter, great friends, a good home and neighbours, I certainly do not think of myself as a radical. So I was worried because nearly everything he said seemed to make sense.
Somehow I knew he would dare me to act on my beliefs, and he did. Commitment, that is what he wanted. ‘When are we going to come out of the closet?,’ he asked. And that is where I finally saw reason. I could get in a lot of trouble if people thought I took hallucinogenic drugs. Ha, the psychedelic experience! But he almost talked me into it. Phew, that was close.
SHAMANISTIC SONGS OF ROMAN ESTRADA
(Bruce Rimell – “At The Edge Of The Milky Way”)
Translation from Mazatec by Alvaro Estrada
Translation into English by Henry Munn
Medicinal herb, remedial herb
Cold herb, Lord Christ
Free this person from his sickness
Where is his spirit trapped?
Is it trapped in the mountain?
Is it enchanted in some gully?
Is it trapped in some waterfall?
I will search and I will find the lost spirit
I will follow his tracks
I am the important man
I am the man who gets up early
I am he who makes the mountains resound
I am he who makes their sides resound
I am he who makes the spirit resound
I make my tracks resound
I make my nails resound
Christ Our Lord
Lord Saint Martin is present
The Lord of the Dry Tree is present
The Lord of the Lake is present
Santa María Zoquiapan
I am the dawn
I am he who speaks with the mountains
I am he who speaks with the echo
There in the atmosphere
There amid the vegetation
I will make my sound felt
Father Saint John the Evangelist
We see how the dolls and eagles
Already play on the mountains
Already play between the clouds
Whoever curses us won’t do us any harm
Because I am the spirit and the image
I am Christ the Lord
I am the spirit
The serpent is present
It is coiled up
It is alive
I give relief
I give life
I am the tall and handsome one
I am Jesus Christ
I am Lord Saint Martin
I am Lord Saint Mark
In whose dominion there are tigers
Whoever curses us has no influence on us
I give strength to the sick
I am the medicine
I am the damp cloth
Come back lost spirit
I will whistle to guide you
May there come with you
Thirteen white horses
Your steps move thirteen mountains
The big clown is calling you
The master clown is calling you
I will make the mountains sound
I will make their abysses sound
I will make the dawn sound
I will make the day sound
I will make the Jar Mountain sound
I will make Mount Rabon sound
I will make the Stone Mountain sound
I will make the Father Mountain sound
I am the big man
The man who gives relief
The man of the day
It is time for the sick one to recuperate
It is time the miracle happens
The miracle of the Holy Trinity
Like the miracle of the creation
Like the miracle of lunar light
Like the miracle of the starlight
Of the Morning Star
Of the Cross Star
The dawn is coming
The horizon is already reddening
There is nothing bad outside
Because I am he who gives relief
I am he who gives the dawn
Santa María Ixtepec speaks
Santa María Ixcatlan speaks
There is the drought and the thorn
This is only a small part of the chant of the Wise Man. He has told me that the day his initiation ended — Roman explained this in Spanish — he received a diploma from the hands of the Principal Ones.