Saint Alberts’ Day…

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Dealt with taxes all day Sunday… what a mess. Now I know why I paid someone to do taxes for years…. yikes!
In praise of the day. A large feast so to speak, in honour of Albert’s first experience…. I hope you enjoy the entry, and your day!
On The Menu:

April 16, 1943: Setting the Stage for the World’s First Acid Trip

The Tryp with Rak Razam!

The Links

Anoushka Shankar – Concert for George

Albert Hoffman Quotes

Richard Alpert (Ram Dass) on LSD

Extract: The Joyous Cosmology

In Praise of Poesy: Allen Ginsberg

Dr Albert Hoffman had the first LSD trip on this day in 1943.
April 16, 1943: Setting the Stage for the World’s First Acid Trip
1943: Dr. Albert Hofmann accidentally discovers the psychedelic properties of LSD.
Hofmann, a Swiss chemist, was researching the synthesis of a lysergic acid compound, LSD-25, when he inadvertently absorbed a bit through his fingertips. Intrigued by the stimulating effects on his perception, Hofmann decided further exploration was warranted. Three days later he ingested 250 milligrams of LSD, embarking on the first full-fledged acid trip.
In his autobiography, LSD, My Problem Child, Hofmann remembered his discovery this way:
“I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After some two hours this condition faded away.”
The experience led Hofmann to begin experimenting with other hallucinogens and he became an advocate of their use, in both the arenas of psychoanalysis and personal growth. He was critical of LSD’s casual use by the counterculture during the ’60s, accusing rank amateurs of hijacking the drug he still refers to as “medicine for the soul” without understanding either its positive or negative effects.
Hofmann was equally critical of what he considered — and still considers — society’s knee-jerk rejection of a drug that he believes is mostly beneficial and deserving of continued research. “I think that in human evolution it has never been as necessary to have this substance LSD,” he said at a symposium in 2006, marking the centennial of his birth. “It is just a tool to turn us into what we are supposed to be.”


Check Out Our Compatriots Magazine In OZ: Take The Tryp with Rak Razam!

On This Day: Shortly before sunset in 1651, two English country women saw, in the sky, a battle followed by angels of ‘a bluish colour and about the bigness of a capon, having faces (as they thought) like owls.’ Ninety years earlier, on 14 April, a large number of ‘plates’, ‘blood-coloured crosses’, and ‘two great tubes’ stages an aerial dog-fight, enthralling and frightening the whole population of Nuremberg.


The Links:

Britain’s fight against drugs ‘a total failure’

Indonesia called biggest ecstasy producer

The Great Tennessee Marijuana Cave

Anoushka Shankar – Concert for George (2003)


Albert Hoffman Quotes:

Deliberate provocation of mystical experience, particularly by LSD and related hallucinogens, in contrast to spontaneous visionary experiences, entails dangers that must not be underestimated. Practitioners must take into account the peculiar effects of these substances, namely their ability to influence our consciousness, the innermost essence of our being. The history of LSD to date amply demonstrates the catastrophic consequences that can ensue when its profound effect is misjudged and the substance is mistaken for a pleasure drug. Special internal and external advance preparations are required; with them, an LSD experiment can become a meaningful experience.


I believe that if people would learn to use LSD’s vision-inducing capability more wisely, under suitable conditions, in medical practice and in conjunction with meditation, then in the future this problem child could become a wonderchild.


I share the belief of many of my contemporaries that the spiritual crisis pervading all spheres of Western industrial society can be remedied only by a change in our world view. We shall have to shift from the materialistic, dualistic belief that people and their environment are separate, toward a new conciousness of an all-encompassing reality, which embraces the experiencing ego, a reality in which people feel their oneness with animate nature and all of creation.


Richard Alpert (Ram Dass) on LSD



The first text I ever read on LSD was Watt’s ‘The Joyous Cosmology’.. it profoundly shaped how I thought about and approached LSD in my early forays. Here is a small extract of it, in honor of this day!

Extract: The Joyous Cosmology

Alan W. Watts
To begin with, this world has a different kind of time. It is the time of biological rhythm, not of the clock and all that goes with the clock. There is no hurry. Our sense of time is notoriously subjective and thus dependent upon the quality of our attention, whether of interest or boredom, and upon the alignment of our behavior in terms of routines, goals, and deadlines. Here the present is self-sufficient, but it is not a static present. It is a dancing present—the unfolding of a pattern which has no specific destination in the future but is simply its own point. It leaves and arrives simultaneously, and the seed is as much the goal as the flower. There is therefore time to perceive every detail of the movement with infinitely greater richness of articulation. Normally we do not so much look at things as overlook them. The eye sees types and classes—flower, leaf, rock, bird, fire—mental pictures of things rather than things, rough outlines filled with flat color, always a little dusty and dim.
But here the depth of light and structure in a bursting bud go on forever. There is time to see them, time for the whole intricacy of veins and capillaries to develop in consciousness, time to see down and down into the shape of greenness, which is not green at all, but a whole spectrum generalizing itself as green—purple, gold, the sunlit turquoise of the ocean, the intense luminescence of the emerald. I cannot decide where shape ends and color begins. The bud has opened and the fresh leaves fan out and curve back with a gesture which is unmistakably communicative but does not say anything except, “Thus!” And somehow that is quite satisfactory, even startlingly clear. The meaning is transparent in the same way that the color and the texture are transparent, with light which does not seem to fall upon surfaces from above but to be right inside the structure and color. Which is of course where it is, for light is an inseparable trinity of sun, object, and eye, and the chemistry of the leaf is its color, its light.

But at the same time color and light are the gift of the eye to the leaf and the sun. Transparency is the property of the eyeball, projected outward as luminous space, interpreting quanta of energy in terms of the gelatinous fibers in the head. I begin to feel that the world is at once inside my head and outside it, and the two, inside and outside, begin to include or “cap” one another like an infinite series of concentric spheres. I am unusually aware that everything I am sensing is also my body—that light, color, shape, sound, and texture are terms and properties of the brain conferred upon the outside world. I am not looking at the world, not confronting it; I am knowing it by a continuous process of transforming it into myself, so that everything around me, the whole globe of space, no longer feels away from me but in the middle.
This is at first confusing. I am not quite sure of the direction from which sounds come. The visual space seems to reverberate with them as if it were a drum. The surrounding hills rumble with the sound of a truck, and the rumble and the color-shape of the hills become one and the same gesture. I use that word deliberately and shall use it again. The hills are moving into their stillness. They mean something because they are being transformed into my brain, and my brain is an organ of meaning. The forests of redwood trees upon them look like green fire, and the copper gold of the sun-dried grass heaves immensely into the sky. Time is so slow as to be a kind of eternity, and the flavor of eternity transfers itself to the hills—burnished mountains which I seem to remember from an immeasurably distant past, at once so unfamiliar as to be exotic and yet as familiar as my own hand. Thus transformed into consciousness, into the electric, interior luminosity of the nerves, the world seems vaguely insubstantial—developed upon a color film, resounding upon the skin of a drum, pressing, not with weight, but with vibrations interpreted as weight. Solidity is a neurological invention, and, I wonder, can the nerves be solid to themselves? Where do we begin? Does the order of the brain create the order of the world, or the order of the world the brain? The two seem like egg and hen, or like back and front.
The physical world is vibration, quanta, but vibrations of what? To the eye, form and color; to the ear, sound; to the nose, scent; to the fingers, touch. But these are all different languages for the same thing, different qualities of sensitivity, different dimensions of consciousness. The question, “Of what are they differing forms?” seems to have no meaning. What is light to the eye is sound to the ear. I have the image of the senses being terms, forms, or dimensions not of one thing common to all, but of each other, locked in a circle of mutuality. Closely examined, shape becomes color, which becomes vibration, which becomes sound, which becomes smell, which becomes taste, and then touch, and then again shape. (One can see, for example, that the shape of a leaf is its color. There is no outline around the leaf; the outline is the limit where one colored surface becomes another.) I see all these sensory dimensions as a round dance, gesticulations of one pattern being transformed into gesticulations of another. And these gesticulations are flowing through a space that has still other dimensions, which I want to describe as tones of emotional color, of light or sound being joyous or fearful, gold elated or lead depressed. These, too, form a circle of reciprocity, a round spectrum so polarized that we can only describe each in terms of the others.
Sometimes the image of the physical world is not so much a dance of gestures as a woven texture. Light, sound, touch, taste, and smell become a continuous warp, with the feeling that the whole dimension of sensation is a single continuum or field. Crossing the warp is a woof representing the dimension of meaning—moral and aesthetic values, personal or individual uniqueness, logical significance, and expressive form—and the two dimensions interpenetrate so as to make distinguishable shapes seem like ripples in the water of sensation. The warp and the woof stream together, for the weaving is neither flat nor static but a many-directioned cross-flow of impulses filling the whole volume of space. I feel that the world is on something in somewhat the same way that a color photograph is on a film, underlying and connecting the patches of color, though the film here is a dense rain of energy. I see that what it is on is my brain—”that enchanted loom,” as Sherrington called it. Brain and world, warp of sense and woof of meaning, seem to interpenetrate inseparably. They hold their boundaries or limits in common in such a way as to define one another and to be impossible without each other.


I am listening to the music of an organ. As leaves seemed to gesture, the organ seems quite literally to speak. There is no use of the vox humana stop, but every sound seems to issue from a vast human throat, moist with saliva. As, with the base pedals, the player moves slowly down the scale, the sounds seem to blow forth in immense, gooey spludges. As I listen more carefully, the spludges acquire texture—expanding circles of vibration finely and evenly toothed like combs, no longer moist and liquidinous like the living throat, but mechanically discontinuous. The sound disintegrates into the innumerable individual drrrits of vibration. Listening on, the gaps close, or perhaps each individual drrrit becomes in its turn a spludge. The liquid and the hard, the continuous and the discontinuous, the gooey and the prickly, seem to be transformations of each other, or to be different levels of magnification upon the same thing.
This theme recurs in a hundred different ways—the inseparable polarity of opposites, or the mutuality and reciprocity of all the possible contents of consciousness. It is easy to see theoretically that all perception is of contrasts—figure and ground, light and shadow, clear and vague, firm and weak. But normal attention seems to have difficulty in taking in both at once. Both sensuously and conceptually we seem to move serially from one to the other; we do not seem to be able to attend to the figure without relative unconsciousness of the ground. But in this new world the mutuality of things is quite clear at every level. The human face, for example, becomes clear in all its aspects—the total form together with each single hair and wrinkle. Faces become all ages at once, for characteristics that suggest age also suggest youth by implication; the bony structure suggesting the skull evokes instantly the newborn infant. The associative couplings of the brain seem to fire simultaneously instead of one at a time, projecting a view of life which may be terrifying in its ambiguity or joyous in its integrity.
Decision can be completely paralyzed by the sudden realization that there is no way of having good without evil, or that it is impossible to act upon reliable authority without choosing, from your own inexperience, to do so. If sanity implies madness and faith doubt, am I basically a psychotic pretending to be sane, a blithering terrified idiot who manages, temporarily, to put on an act of being self-possessed? I begin to see my whole life as a masterpiece of duplicity—the confused, helpless, hungry, and hideously sensitive little embryo at the root of me having learned, step by step, to comply, placate, bully, wheedle, flatter, bluff, and cheat my way into being taken for a person of competence and reliability. For when it really comes down to it, what do any of us know?

In Praise of Poesy: Allen Ginsberg

First Party At Ken Kesey’s With Hell’s Angels
Cool black night thru redwoods

cars parked outside in shade

behind the gate, stars dim above

the ravine, a fire burning by the side

porch and a few tired souls hunched over

in black leather jackets. In the huge

wooden house, a yellow chandelier

at 3 A.M. the blast of loudspeakers

hi-fi Rolling Stones Ray Charles Beatles

Jumping Joe Jackson and twenty youths

dancing to the vibration thru the floor,

a little weed in the bathroom, girls in scarlet

tights, one muscular smooth skinned man

sweating dancing for hours, beer cans

bent littering the yard, a hanged man

sculpture dangling from a high creek branch,

children sleeping softly in their bedroom bunks.

And 4 police cars parked outside the painted

gate, red lights revolving in the leaves.
December 1965

Haiku (Never Published)
Drinking my tea

Without sugar-

No difference.

The sparrow shits

upside down

–ah! my brain & eggs

Mayan head in a

Pacific driftwood bole

–Someday I’ll live in N.Y.

Looking over my shoulder

my behind was covered

with cherry blossoms.

Winter Haiku

I didn’t know the names

of the flowers–now

my garden is gone.

I slapped the mosquito

and missed.

What made me do that?

Reading haiku

I am unhappy,

longing for the Nameless.

A frog floating

in the drugstore jar:

summer rain on grey pavements.

(after Shiki)

On the porch

in my shorts;

auto lights in the rain.

Another year

has past-the world

is no different.

The first thing I looked for

in my old garden was

The Cherry Tree.

My old desk:

the first thing I looked for

in my house.

My early journal:

the first thing I found

in my old desk.

My mother’s ghost:

the first thing I found

in the living room.

I quit shaving

but the eyes that glanced at me

remained in the mirror.

The madman

emerges from the movies:

the street at lunchtime.

Cities of boys

are in their graves,

and in this town…

Lying on my side

in the void:

the breath in my nose.

On the fifteenth floor

the dog chews a bone-

Screech of taxicabs.

A hardon in New York,

a boy

in San Fransisco.

The moon over the roof,

worms in the garden.

I rent this house.

[Haiku composed in the backyard cottage at 1624

Milvia Street, Berkeley 1955, while reading R.H.

Blyth’s 4 volumes, “Haiku.”]

An Asphodel
O dear sweet rosy

unattainable desire

…how sad, no way

to change the mad

cultivated asphodel, the

visible reality…
and skin’s appalling

petals–how inspired

to be so Iying in the living

room drunk naked

and dreaming, in the absence

of electricity…

over and over eating the low root

of the asphodel,

gray fate…
rolling in generation

on the flowery couch

as on a bank in Arden–

my only rose tonite’s the treat

of my own nudity.
Fall, 1953

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