Early Morning Bright….

Well we just saw Rowan off at the bus for his 2 weeks at the Oregon Shakespeare Theatre Festival in Ashland. A two week intensive… He was as nervous as a coney when we saw him off. Taking Wing… Taking Wing…
Lee Gilmore and her husband Ron Meiners announced the birth of their son Spencer Daniel Ardery Meiners who arrived a week early on July 21st…. I have known Lee for some 20 years, and I know that of all her adventures, this is the great one. Congratulations!
Off to work soon, we were up at 4:30 getting Rowan ready for the bus. I don’t do early, and I can’t figure out the formula for seeing the world at this time except by staying up all night… I don’t think the farming life is one I was ever destined for… 80) Anyway, life will be a bit off kilter for the next couple of weeks with the Rowan away….
On The Menu:

The Girl Comes Out of Meditation

The Poetry Of Odysseus Elytis

Art: Tadema

The Girl Comes Out of Meditation
Once upon a time, Manjusri, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, went to an assemblage of Buddhas. By the time he arrived, all had departed except for the Buddha Sakyamuni and one girl. She was seated in a place of highest honor, deep in meditation. Manjusri asked the Buddha how it was possible for a mere girl to attain a depth of mediation that even he could not attain. The Buddha said, “Bring her out of meditation and ask her yourself.”
So Manjusri walked around the girl three times [a gesture of reverence], then snapped his fingers. She remained deep in meditation. He then tried rousing her by invoking all his magic powers; he even transported her to a high heaven. All was to no avail, so deep was her concentration. But suddenly, up from below the earth sprang Momyo, an unenlightened one. He snapped his fingers once, and the girl came out of her meditation.

The Poetry Of Odysseus Elytis

You have a taste of tempest on your lips—But where did you wander

All day long in the hard reverie of stone and sea?

An eagle-bearing wind stripped the hills

Stripped your longing to the bone

And the pupils of your eyes received the message of chimera

Spotting memory with foam!

Where is the familiar slope of short September

On the red earth where you played, looking down

At the broad rows of the other girls

The corners where your friends left armfuls of rosemary.
But where did you wander

All night long in the hard reverie of stone and sea?

I told you to count in the naked water its luminous days

On your back to rejoice in the dawn of things

Or again to wander on yellow plains

With a clover of light on you breast, iambic heroine.
You have a taste of tempest on your lips

And a dress red as blood

Deep in the gold of summer

And the perfume of hyacinths—But where did you wander

Descending toward the shores, the pebbled bays?
There was cold salty seaweed there

But deeper a human feeling that bled

And you opened your arms in astonishment naming it

Climbing lightly to the clearness of the depths

Where your own starfish shone.
Listen. Speech is the prudence of the aged

And time is a passionate sculptor of men

And the sun stands over it, a beast of hope

And you, closer to it, embrace a love

With a bitter taste of tempest on your lips.
It is not for you, blue to the bone, to think of another summer,

For the rivers to change their bed

And take you back to their mother

For you to kiss other cherry trees

Or ride on the northwest wind.
Propped on the rocks, without yesterday or tomorrow,

Facing the dangers of the rocks with a hurricane hairstyle

You will say farewell to the riddle that is yours.

I lived the beloved name

In the shade of the aged olive tree

In the roaring of the lifelong sea
Those who stoned me live no longer

With their stones I built a fountain

To its brink green girls come

Their lips descend from the dawn

Their hair unwinds far into the future
Swallows come, infants of the wind

They drink, they fly, so that life goes on

The threat of the dream becomes a dream

Pain rounds the good cape

No voice is lost in the breast of the sky
O deathless sea, tell what you are whispering

I reach your morning mouth early

On the peak where your love appears

I see the will of the night spilling stars

The will of the day nipping the earth’s shoots
I saw a thousand wild lilies on the meadows of life

A thousand children in the true wind

Beautiful strong children who breathe out kindness

And know how to gaze at the deep horizons

When music raises the islands
I carved the beloved name

In the shade of the aged olive tree

In the roaring of the lifelong sea.

“The wind was whistling continuously, it was

getting darker, and that distant voice was

incessantly reaching my ears : “an entire life”…

“an entire life”…

On the opposite wall, the shadows of the

trees were playing cinema”

“It seems that somewhere people are celebrating;

although there are no houses or human beings

I can listen to guitars and other laughters which

are not nearby
Maybe far away, within the ashes of heavens

Andromeda, the Bear, or the Virgin…
I wonder; is loneliness the same, all over the

worlds ? “
“Almond-shaped, elongated eyes, lips; perfumes stemming

from a premature sky of great feminine delicacy

and fatal drunkeness.
I leant on my side -almost fell- onto the

hymns to the Virgin and the cold of spacious

Prepared for the worst.”
“FRIDAY, 10c
LATE MIDNIGHT my room is moving in the

neighborhood shining like an emerald.

Someone searches it, but truth eludes him

constantly. How to imagine that it is

placed lower
Much lower
That death too, has its own Red sea.”


Circe’s Power

I never turned anyone into a pig.

Some people are pigs; I make them

Look like pigs.
I’m sick of your world

That lets the outside disguise the inside. Your men weren’t bad men;

Undisciplined life

Did that to them. As pigs,
Under the care of

Me and my ladies, they

Sweetened right up.
Then I reversed the spell, showing you my goodness

As well as my power. I saw
We could be happy here,

As men and women are

When their needs are simple. In the same breath,
I foresaw your departure,

Your men with my help braving

The crying and pounding sea. You think
A few tears upset me? My friend,

Every sorceress is

A pragmatist at heart; nobody sees essence who can’t

Face limitation. If I wanted only to hold you
I could hold you prisoner.

Circe’s Torment

I regret bitterly

The years of loving you in both

Your presence and absence, regret

The law, the vocation

That forbid me to keep you, the sea

A sheet of glass, the sun-bleached

Beauty of the Greek ships: how

Could I have power if

I had no wish

To transform you: as

You loved my body,

As you found there

Passion we held above

All other gifts, in that single moment

Over honor and hope, over

Loyalty, in the name of that bond

I refuse you

Such feeling for your wife

As will let you

Rest with her, I refuse you

Sleep again

If I cannot have you.

Circe’s Grief

In the end, I made myself

Known to your wife as

A god would, in her own house, in

Ithaca, a voice

Without a body: she

Paused in her weaving, her head turning

First to the right, then left

Though it was hopeless of course

To trace that sound to any

Objective source: I doubt

She will return to her loom

With what she knows now. When

You see her again, tell her

This is how a god says goodbye:

If I am in her head forever

I am in your life forever.

One of my favourite modern poem cycles… Louise is truly an amazing talent, and for once someone gets the recognition for their work.
Louise Glück was born in New York City in 1943 and grew up on Long Island. She is the author of numerous books of poetry, most recently, Averno (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006), a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award in Poetry; The Seven Ages (2001); and Vita Nova (1999), winner of Boston Book Review’s Bingham Poetry Prize and The New Yorker’s Book Award in Poetry. In 2004, Sarabande Books released her six-part poem “October” as a chapbook.
Her other books include Meadowlands (1996); The Wild Iris (1992), which received the Pulitzer Prize and the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Award; Ararat (1990), for which she received the Library of Congress’s Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry; and The Triumph of Achilles (1985), which received the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Boston Globe Literary Press Award, and the Poetry Society of America’s Melville Kane Award.
In a review in The New Republic, the critic Helen Vendler wrote: “Louise Glück is a poet of strong and haunting presence. Her poems, published in a series of memorable books over the last twenty years, have achieved the unusual distinction of being neither “confessional” nor “intellectual” in the usual senses of those words.”
She has also published a collection of essays, Proofs and Theories: Essays on Poetry (1994), which won the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for Nonfiction. Her honors include the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, the Lannan Literary Award for Poetry, a Sara Teasdale Memorial Prize, the MIT Anniversary Medal and fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, and from the National Endowment for the Arts.
In 1999 Glück was elected a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. In the fall of 2003, she replaced Billy Collins as the Library of Congress’s twelfth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. In 2003, she was announced as the new judge of the Yale Series of Younger Poets, a position she will hold through 2007. She is a writer-in-residence at Yale University.

A Bit Of Beauty….

The weekend is looming and it seems that the material keeps coming… Some interesting links, full of recent odd and politically strange developments. A good article on Science and Psychedelics… Mark Pesce, doing his thing on Youtube…. and wonderful poetry from Zen Master Ryokan.
Cloudy mornings, hot afternoons. Portland saunters through the summer in a blaze of beauty and light.
Bright Blessings,
Wot’s On The Menu

Can Science Validate the Psychedelic Experience?

Mark Pesce… Doing What He Does Best…

Sweet Poetry: A Moment With Ryokan

Art: Japanese Prints, 18th Century (seen here before, but I loves em!)

The Links:

Nursing home cat can sense death, ease passing

Political Prisoner: Loose Change Producer Korey Rowe Arrested

1937 – UFO Over Vancouver City Hall

Chemical Warfare: Child use of antidepressants up four-fold

Is the Annexation of Canada Part of Bush’s Military Agenda?

The Coming Situtation: Working for the Clampdown


Can Science Validate the Psychedelic Experience?
written by Charles Hayes / pubished in Tikkun Magazine, in the March/April 2007 issue.
A portal to heaven opened up last summer when a study by a psychiatric team at preeminent Johns Hopkins School of Medicine revealed that psilocybin, the all-natural ingredient that packs the magic in magic mushrooms, can “occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance.”

Published in Psychopharmacology, the results of the double-blind study led by psychopharmacologist Roland Griffiths were blindingly persuasive and unambiguous. A whopping 79 percent of the thirty mentally healthy, well-educated, hallucinogen-naïve, religiously or spiritually active adult volunteers, reported that their psilocybin sessions were one of the five most important events of their lives, right up there with the birth of their first child. Thirty percent said it was the single most significant event ever. What’s more, after two months, most reported lasting positive effects on their sense of well-being and life outlook—confirmed by significant others.
While some reported experiencing strong anxiety and a few would decline to repeat the experiment, the potent breadth of the psychedelic’s positive effect on the majority constitutes a home run on almost anyone’s scorecard. In a society that fancies itself foremost as faithful, an encounter with divinity would seem to have optimal value. We’re not talking about a nice buzz or an amelioration of the jitters; we’re talking godhead, unitive ecstasis.

Granted, the sovereign, enlightened individual doesn’t really need science to validate what he intuitively—or experientially – already knows. In that sense, scoffed San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford, the Griffiths findings can be tossed onto “the pile of the science of the No Duh.” One might well ask, “Since when is science equipped to quantify spirituality, anyway?” Doesn’t more flow out of an entheogen-induced devekut—Kabbalist mystic union with God—than can possibly be caught in the clinical chalice? To tend The Garden and ingest its ennobling fruit, do we really need to wait idly for an approving nod from secular authority, be it Big Brother Science or his more imposing sibling, Government?
The Hopkins results highlight the struggle between our culture’s twin idolatries, science and religion, both of which render themselves incomplete and exclusionary by their certitude. “Science without religion is lame,” Einstein observed, and “religion without science is blind.” But there’s good news: the science applied by the new psychedelic researchers at Hopkins and elsewhere is both more rigorous and more humane – even capable, in fact, of working in league with religion. The mystical models that arise will deliver unprecedented insight into the mysterium tremendum and the subjective phenomena of the religious experience.
William Richards, the Hopkins study’s chief monitor and a veteran of LSD research for treating the terminally ill at Spring Grove Hospital, Maryland some two generations ago, asserts that the study’s protocol and psychometric instruments are far ahead of where they were back in the golden age of psychedelic research, an appraisal echoed by notable physicians, including former National Institute on Drug Abuse director Charles Schuster and Herbert Kleber, deputy director of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy under the first President Bush.

“It was as good a job as science can do today,” Richards says. “It almost makes me believe more in science than I did before.” The very first session, decades after his last work in the field, was profoundly mystical for him. “Just to be able to do it…. I felt awe and privilege myself.” Richards believes we’re finally in the “early dawn of psychology’s recognition and understanding of the spiritual experience.”

The prime mover behind all this progressive science is Robert Jesse, a former vice president of Oracle for whom life-changing entheogenic events inspired him to found the Council for Spiritual Practices (www.csp.org) in 1994 to develop “approaches to primary religious experience.” Working stealthily under the media radar, Jesse navigated the bureaucracy and moved the study to fruition, a strategy that kept it from being blackballed. Jesse once told me his aim isn’t to legalize psychedelics but to demonstrate their value. Mission accomplished at Johns Hopkins.

Bolstering the new science with the requisite judiciary buttress for the pursuit of spirituality through chemistry is yet another ray of light that pierces our Drug War benightedness. Early last year the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously against the Bush administration’s attempt to block the ingestion of the hallucinogenic Amazonian brew ayahuasca by a branch of União do Vegetal (UDV), a Brazilian religious order that insists the hoasca tea brings members closer to God. In the opinion written by new Chief Justice John Roberts, the court affirmed that the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects the church’s taste in tea. Sounding a distinct note for reason, he observed that federal law already allows peyote use by Native Americans, and that Congress ought to be “striking sensible balances between religious liberty and competing prior governmental interests.” And there’s an ecclesiastical catch: The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Association of Evangelicals defended the UDV’s case for religious freedom, prompting psychedelic researcher and UCLA professor Charles Grob, an expert witness at the hearing, to notice that “religious rights can apparently trump the Drug War.”
There’s a real movement afoot. The field of psychedelic research is opening up, blossoming worldwide. The landmark study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy to treat post-traumatic stress disorder victims unresponsive to other treatment, launched at the University of South Carolina in 2004, has been showing “tremendous results,” according to Rick Doblin, president of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (www.maps.org), its sponsor. Privy to the extant data, Doblin noted that a telltale sign that subjects in the double-blind study had received MDMA rather than the placebo was their query of the monitor “And how are you doing?” once the drug kicked in.
A similar MAPS-funded study will begin soon in Israel. The Israeli Ministry of Health had been waiting for U.S. federal approval for the South Carolina study before launching its own MDMA work, to treat casualties of war and terrorism, under the direction of former IDF chief psychiatrist Moshe Kotler. The final condition, now satisfied, was express written support by the Israeli Anti-Drug Authority. Comparable MAPS-sponsored MDMA studies in Switzerland and Spain await approval.
MAPS is also hoping to start research at Harvard into LSD and psilocybin as treatments for cluster headaches, a horrifically painful affliction thus far resistant to lasting relief. A Neurology article by prospective monitors Andrew Sewell and John Halpern reports strong anecdotal evidence that unauthorized use of either of the two drugs—even in sub-psychoactive doses—as halted both shorter episodes and months-long cycles of these headaches.
Arising from the supplications of an underground population of law-breaking self-medicators, this research proposal demonstrates the moral authority of grassroots, people-driven science and how an overlooked, even factious interest group (www.clusterbusters.org) can force action and keep science honest.
“The psychedelic renaissance will have really begun in earnest and completely when we have LSD underway for both physiological and psychotherapeutic studies, particularly the latter,” says Doblin, who expects imminent approval for a MAPS-funded Swiss study of the psychotherapeutic use of LSD to ease anxiety in cancer patients. Still other psychedelic studies are in the pipeline, at different stages of the bureaucratic maze, including psilocybin research at NYU, and a not yet publicized LSD study to investigate brain function.
Psychedelic therapy has shown enormous potential to decouple minds from various kinds of captivity. Ketamine has been used successfully In St. Petersburg, Russia, to separate heroin addicts from their abusive habits. At the Iboga Therapy House (www.ibogatherapyhouse.net) in Vancouver, Canada, MAPS will conduct an investigation of ibogaine, a trance-inducing African tree bark, as a treatment for opiate dependence. Acute relief of obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms, after treatment with psilocybin, is described in a Journal of Clinical Psychiatry report on a University of Arizona, Tucson, study funded by MAPS and the Heffter Research Institute (www.hefter.org).

The case for treating substance abuse with psychedelic therapy dates back to the first studies fifty years ago, asserts Grob, Heffter’s director of clinical research and chief of child psychiatry at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. “The best therapeutic outcomes are with patients who have transpersonal experiences. In these patients you’ll see the most significant reduction of anxiety and the most sustained improvement.”

Getting religion has its health benefits. As William James once observed, “Religiomania is the best cure for dipsomania [alcoholism].” It was one such breakthrough in a legal LSD session in the 1950s that inspired Alcoholics Anonymous founder William Wilson to propose (unsuccessfully) to AA’s board that it use psychedelic therapy to help alcoholics break their bondage to the bottle.

Ponder for a moment the awesome power behind a force so strong that it can tear asunder a drug addict from his slave master, an obsessive compulsive from her involuntary rituals and ideation, and the searing vise of pain from a cluster headache sufferer. Yet psychedelics may also play a gentler role, in family or marital counseling.

The 2005 comedy When Do We Eat? (My Big Fat Jewish Seder) starring Michael Lerner (alas, not TIKKUN’S) and Jack Klugman, depicts what it might be like for the patriarch of a dysfunctional family to undergo an introspective trip on LSD-laced Ecstasy while presiding over the Passover ceremony. Dosed by his dopester son, Lerner is struck by a series of lustrous revelations that lead the family to catharsis and communal forgiveness. The final scene’s implication that a drug needn’t play such a role might be a cop-out, but it doesn’t nullify the fact that psychoactive substances have long held a revered place in religious ceremonies.
While not as rending as addiction busting, such religious communions are hardly trivial. Says Grob, who did biomedical psychiatric research into community ayahuasca ceremonies in the Amazon, “The intensive moral inventory of a night on ayahuasca is like the longest Yom Kippur you could ever imagine.” Grob places the family in a central supportive role in psychedelic therapy. His current study, using psilocybin to treat the anxiety of terminally ill cancer patients (beginning each session with a Native American-inflected ritual calling on the spirits of the four cardinal directions) has yielded highly positive results. He recalls how one sobbing subject (the late Pamela Sakuda) underwent a bout of profound empathy for her husband, soon to lose her. The reunion of the two at the end of the session brought tears to all present. Having treated seven of the twelve in the study design, Grob still needs five more volunteers (www.canceranxietystudy.org).

Some of us require a little nudge to take the leap toward faith. Religion scholar Huston Smith, a self-confessed “flat-footed mystic” who needed entheogens to connect with God, concedes, “religion is not accessible to everyone.” The so-called scandal of particularity, the alleged exclusion of the “infidel” from God’s embrace, is certainly at work in the socio-cultural realm of competing religions, but it also has genetic implications. Some of us are just better wired physiologically, or better situated environmentally (recall the role of set and setting). Select psychoactive agents could be an equalizer, enabling otherwise mystically barren subjects to undergo a lush transpersonal voyage of discovery.

The new science of neurotheology invites us to ponder the biochemistry of religion and its evolutionary role as a source of meaning and structure in the face of impending death. According to the Time cover story “The God Gene,” scientists have pinpointed a variation on a single gene that produces the monoamines that regulate mood, the presence of which determined how well volunteers scored on a self-transcendence test. Neither the variation nor the gene is the sine qua non for a spiritual life, of course, but the finding demonstrates both the value of science in detecting spirit-specific loci in the human biosphere—and the slippery slope of materialist/determinist interpretations of such findings.
So then, how do we construct a science devoted to human need and potential? Science is naturally driven by political culture. It’s only right that the tools of science are regulated by our (duly) elected officials. But what happens when the government censors its own scientists, and political or industrial cronyism overrules sound medical policy? Instead of basing climate change policy on the expert testimony of real climatologists, Congress turned to the defamatory fantasies of potboiler novelist Michael Crichton. Witness the FDA’s vacuous, contra-scientific pronouncement last year that cannabis has no medical value whatsoever. “Zilch, zero, nada,” sneered opioid gobbler Rush Limbaugh, impossibly rubbing it in.
Functionally speaking, science is only as good as its institutions and what makes it into print. When the science is rigorous, as Griffiths’ was, it helps build the case for sound medicine and public health policy, which can, if necessary, be hauled out and resurrected after its eclipse by unfavorable political leadership. No, we don’t need doctors or Congressmen to tell us that good can come of cannabis or psilocybin ingestion. But a reformed legal framework for the judicious use of psychedelics, as well as extensive scientific inquiry into how they work on the human psyche, would be welcome evolutionary tune-ups for our civilization.

The efflorescence of new psychedelic research is an emerging pattern of stars in the night sky of indiscriminate proscription. Once the dots are connected and reinforced by ongoing inquiry, we’ll be well on our way toward a wholesome science marked by rational integrity and a guiding heart that puts spirit and healing above profits and ideology.

Mark Pesce… Doing What He Does Best…













Sweet Poetry: A Moment With Ryokan

When I was a lad,

I sauntered about town as a gay blade,

Sporting a cloak of the softest down,

And mounted on a splendid chestnut-colored horse.

During the day, I galloped to the city;

At night, I got drunk on peach blossoms by the river.

I never cared about returning home,

Usually ending up, with a big smile on my face, at a pleasure pavilion!

Returning to my native village after many years’ absence:

Ill, I put up at a country inn and listen to the rain.

One robe, one bowl is all I have.

I light incense and strain to sit in meditation;

All night a steady drizzle outside the dark window —

Inside, poignant memories of these long years of pilgrimage.
To My Teacher
An old grave hidden away at the foot of a deserted hill,

Overrun with rank weeks growing unchecked year after year;

There is no one left to tend the tomb,

And only an occasional woodcutter passes by.

Once I was his pupil, a youth with shaggy hair,

Learning deeply from him by the Narrow River.

One morning I set off on my solitary journey

And the years passed between us in silence.

Now I have returned to find him at rest here;

How can I honor his departed spirit?

I pour a dipper of pure water over his tombstone

And offer a silent prayer.

The sun suddenly disappears behind the hill

And I’m enveloped by the roar of the wind in the pines.

I try to pull myself away but cannot;

A flood of tears soaks my sleeves.

In my youth I put aside my studies

And I aspired to be a saint.

Living austerely as a mendicant monk,

I wandered here and there for many springs.

Finally I returned home to settle under a craggy peak.

I live peacefully in a grass hut,

Listening to the birds for music.

Clouds are my best neighbors.

Below a pure spring where I refresh body and mind;

Above, towering pines and oaks that provide shade and brushwood.

Free, so free, day after day —

I never want to leave!

Yes, I’m truly a dunce

Living among trees and plants.

Please don’t question me about illusion and enlightenment —

This old fellow just likes to smile to himself.

I wade across streams with bony legs,

And carry a bag about in fine spring weather.

That’s my life,

And the world owes me nothing.


I was listening to Nusrat the other day… wonderful stuff, and it has been ten years since he past on, so in honor of him I have put up a couple of YouTube videos for your pleasure….

On The Menu:
2 videos from Nusrat

Announcement from Padrice


Three More From William….


Padrice just sent me this… of interest if local to Portland!
Your presence is warmly requested at a give-away ceremony.

We will be giving our joyous sweat and dancing as an offering to the earth, with gratitude and respect for the life the earth gives us.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007

enter ceremonial space at 6p

ceremony begins at 6:30p (no late arrivals please)

dancing: please plan on dancing barefoot

closing ceremony

then a light supper will be served
At the Little Church

5138 NE 23rd, just north of Alberta
Please bring your children, families and loved ones to make sacred.

This ceremony is by invitation only, for all of us and our beloveds.

(please respond and let me know how many are coming as I am making supper: email andromedanightshade@hotmail.com or call 503-230-6995
I am asking a $2 donation per person to pay for the space
August 1st is Lammas (loaf mass) eve, or the eve of Lughnasad. In the past, this European tradition has been observed in a few different ways, according to the information that is available to us nowadays. It has been thought to be the celebration of the first of the grain harvest, honored by making, offering and sharing loaves of bread. It has also been the solemn occasion of the death of the corn king and the birth of the holly king who dies again in winter. It is one of four cross quarter holidays of pagans in the past and today, and in the lore of the Celts, it is one of the days of battle between the oldest known deity-inhabitants of what we call Ireland and the new gods of the Danaan. Some say that this day was designated by the ancient god Lugh, who was skilled in all arts and infinitely clever, as the funereal feast of his step mother Taillte. On this holy day, it is said that men and women on opposite sides of a screen, would join hands through holes in the screen and be “married” for a year and a day. Also on this day, those who no longer wished to be married would stand back to back and walk away from each other to end their marriage from the previous year. With all of these stories and ways of observance in mind, I am inviting you to celebrate Lammas eve with me this year, in this time which is only now.

Nusrat…. we miss you!



by Jake MacDonald

From the June 2007 edition of The Walrus
Long before touching down in San Francisco, LSD was primed to become a psychiatric wonder drug in Saskatoon.
All summers have their own record album, or at least they used to, and in 1967 the record that changed everything was simply called The Doors. I first heard it on a weekend in July when, with some friends, I drove to the Lake of the Woods district east of Winnipeg, climbed into a cramped tin boat with about ten people, blundered past nameless islands in the dark, and somehow found the cottage that someone’s parents had entrusted to their son for the weekend. ( “Just use your judgment, dear.” )
At least a hundred teenagers were crowded into the second storey of the big boathouse, everyone drinking, and in one corner, a guy I recognized from school in Winnipeg was pretending to be a boulder while another guy was crawling over him pretending to be a river.
This was not a typical high school beer party; it was a Dionysian revel with everyone lit up and barefoot girls dancing in slow motion to a record I had never heard before.
When the record ended someone would turn it over and play it again, the same record over and over, and more than anything else the hypnotic chanting of Jim Morrison’s baritone voice set the tone for the night: Your fingers weave quick minarets /Speak in secret alphabets /I light another cigarette /Learn to forget . . .
At daybreak, with a white-hot sunrise in the screens and unconscious people lying about, I sat on the floor with a few others and listened to a guy I knew from school telling stories about a drug called lsd. He was a little older than the rest of us, owned a 1967 Triumph Bonneville motorcycle, and was regarded as the sort of guy who knew what was cool and might even explain it to you. “You have to try lsd,” he said. “It’s incredible. You look at that carpet, and it’ll turn into an alligator.” I had never taken acid, but I liked the sound of it.
As it turned out, purchasing lsd in Winnipeg wasn’t easy. But one Saturday afternoon in late October, a friend and I went to a pool hall where we met a fifteen-year-old nicknamed Ringo, who sold us two hits of Blue Microdot for $6 each. He explained that a trip lasted about eight hours.
With a midnight curfew this presented a problem, but I gobbled mine down just before dinner anyway.
At first, nothing happened and everything seemed normal.
My sisters dressed for their dates while my dad, with his trusty rye and coke in hand, adjusted the rabbit ears and settled into the La-Z-Boy to watch Hockey Night in Canada. But when I went outside, I saw something remarkable. It was a young tree, leafless now, emerging from the frozen ground and extending its graceful, slender fingers up toward the moon. It was just one of those fast-growing weed trees they plant in new suburbs, but it was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. And it wasn’t beautiful just because I was affected by lsd. It had an inherent beauty that I hadn’t noticed before.
That was many years ago, but I still remember that exquisite tree. Once you’ve taken lsd, a tree never looks quite the same again.
The psychedelic properties of lsd ( lysergic acid diethylamide ) were discovered by accident.
In 1943, while millions of people were busily slaughtering each other across Europe, a young chemist named Albert Hofmann was doing research in neutral Switzerland.
His subject was ergot, a cereal-grain fungus with a formidable reputation. In medieval villages, ergot was known to cause a fearsome plague called St. Anthony’s Fire. One of the derivatives of ergot that Hofmann experimented with was lysergic acid.
On April 16, 1943, Hofmann was brewing up a compound of lysergic acid when he accidentally came into contact with the substance, either by inhaling it or spilling a drop on his skin. Shortly thereafter he began having sensations so bizarre and disturbing that he went home, where he sank into what he later described as “a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed . . . I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with [an] intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors.”
Intrigued by the experience, Hofmann waited three days and then self-administered 0.25 milligrams of the same compound, lysergic acid diethylamide. He considered it a safe dosage, small enough to have no lethal effect.
But lsd is potent, and he had given himself about five times what would later become a standard dose. This lsd trip was far more intense, with frightening hallucinations of witches and masks, followed by profound realizations of the power of the natural world.
In his memoir, written many years later, Hofmann recalled that the experience taught him that people’s sense of reality was fragile. “What one commonly takes as the reality, including the reality of one’s own individual person, by no means signifies something fixed, but rather something that is ambiguous . . . there are many realities.” He believed that lsd might have potential as a tool for psychiatric research, and in 1947 his employer, Sandoz, a Swiss pharmaceutical company, began to bottle it under the trade name Delysid.
In 1952, Sandoz’s Montreal branch sent a package of lsd to Saskatchewan, where several psychiatrists hoped to experiment with the drug as a treatment for mental illness.
Saskatchewan might seem like an odd place for research into mind-bending drugs, but during this period the province was one of North America’s most dynamic environments for research into mental illness.
This was due in part to the generous funding of public medicine by Tommy Douglas and his ccf government, but also to the crusading work of Dr. Humphry Osmond and Dr. Abram Hoffer.
Hoffer was the son of a Justice of the Peace and he had grown up watching rcmp officers bringing people home, where his dad would conduct impromptu hearings in the kitchen.
If a guest were deemed a lunatic — one well-dressed and cordial gentlemen insisted he was the Prince of Wales — Hoffer’s father would commit him to a mental hospital, from which such patients rarely returned.
Back then, the treatment for schizophrenia ( a fairly standard diagnosis ) consisted mainly of inducing patients into comas using insulin, which caused some to die. Electroconvulsive therapy was also a common treatment technique — induced without anaesthetic, the convulsions were known to break patients’ bones.
Having seen first-hand the plight of these harmless individuals, Hoffer became interested in mental illness.
Later, when he became a doctor, he decided to study psychiatry because so little was known about mental disorders.
Hoffer’s English colleague, a British doctor named Humphry Osmond, had tried to get approval for using mescaline to treat schizophrenia, but was rebuffed so emphatically by English medical authorities that he vowed to move as far away from the country as possible.
Saskatchewan, with its robust funding and wide-open ideology, seemed about right. Osmond met Hoffer soon after he arrived in the province, and the two psychiatrists formed an instant friendship. Both believed that the prevailing ideas about mental illness were fundamentally wrong.
They hypothesized that schizophrenia was partly biochemical in origin. Osmond knew lsd, like mescaline, was a psychomimetic ( madness-mimicking ) drug that produced psychological effects similar to schizophrenia. He reasoned that if they could learn how to construct psychosis with lsd, they might also learn how to deconstruct it with a chemical antidote.
Osmond and Hoffer launched their studies in 1952, with start-up funding from the Saskatchewan government. One of the first tests took place in the Munroe Wing of the Regina General Hospital. Believing that the experience would he
lp them to understand their debilitated patients, a number of doctors and nurses at the hospital volunteered to take lsd. The volunteers prepared themselves for an unpleasant day-long bout of hallucinations and paranoia, but the results were surprising. In written reports, most of the volunteers said their lsd experience provided them with moments of insight that they found both deeply affecting and difficult to describe.
Other psychiatrists from across the province soon joined the team, and chronic alcoholics volunteered to take lsd under their supervision. At the time, many psychiatrists considered alcoholism to be a character flaw — not a biochemical disease — and it was widely believed that alcoholics seldom quit drinking until they hit rock bottom and experienced all the grisly side effects of alcohol poisoning, such as the nightmarish hallucinations associated with delirium tremens.
Hoffer and Osmond speculated that lsd might reproduce the psychosis associated with “rock bottom” but without the dangerous and sometimes fatal results that accompanied a serious bout of DTs.
Later, in 1955, psychiatrist Colin Smith conducted a further lsd experiment at University Hospital in Saskatoon, which had a remarkable effect on the twenty-four alcoholics involved.
Follow-up surveys revealed that six reduced their drinking significantly, found jobs, and reconnected with friends and family.
Another six swore off alcohol altogether. Again, the psychiatrists were surprised to learn that none of the volunteers had reported being traumatized or otherwise scared straight by their lsd experience. Most said that they had gained new understandings of themselves and had had redemptive visions.
One described a beautiful spiral staircase leading upward and a mysterious voice offering powerful insights into life.
Meanwhile, in the United States, government intelligence agents were becoming interested in psychotropic drugs.
The cia was particularly keen to find a chemical can opener for the brains of enemy agents.
Nazi scientists had experimented with mescaline on prisoners at Dachau, and, after the war, some of these scientists were brought to the US to work on government-funded research.
The cia had been tinkering with heroin and mescaline as interrogation aids, and with lsd the spy agency believed it had finally found its longed-for truth serum.
Bundled together, these top secret experiments were funded under a program called mkultra that ran from 1953 to 1964. Though most of the program’s files were destroyed in 1973 by order of then cia director Richard Helms, the US Senate and the Rockefeller Commission later determined that mkultra involved thousands of unwitting subjects at more than thirty universities and other major institutions in the US and Canada. The experiments generally tested the efficacy of various mind-control tactics using radio waves and psychoactive drugs.
In one experiment, mkultra agents secretly dosed as many as 1,500 American soldiers with lsd and made them perform simple drills and parade marches while peaking on acid.
In another experiment, labelled Operation Midnight Climax, agents rented an apartment in San Francisco and hired prostitutes, who picked up citizens and brought them back to the space.
The subjects consumed drinks spiked with lsd and tried to have sex while agents filmed the proceedings through a one-way mirror.
In 1953, the cia held a three-day professional development workshop in a wooded retreat at Deep Creek Lodge in Maryland and dosed people with lsd without their knowledge. One of the group members, a biochemist named Frank Olson, had a history of emotional difficulties, and shortly after the conference he plunged through a window and fell thirteen storeys to his death. ( Olson was allegedly uncomfortable with his work in chemical weapons, and some believe he was murdered by the cia. The controversy was serious enough that his body was exhumed forty years later, after which the head of the medical forensic team declared that the body showed injuries “rankly and starkly suggestive of homicide.” ) Another infamous mkultra covert operative was the president of the Canadian Psychiatric Association, Dr. Donald Ewen Cameron, who used electroconvulsion, paralytic drugs, and lsd to conduct brutal “psychic driving” experiments on unwitting subjects at McGill University’s Allan Memorial Institute.
A mid all this cloak-and-dagger experimentation, a mysterious cia operative named Al Hubbard decamped from the United States and moved to Daymen Island, near Vancouver, where he built a manor home on a sprawling twenty-four-acre estate, complete with an aircraft hangar and a large yacht.
Hubbard was a mysterious figure.
With his shaven head and .45-calibre pistol, the self-appointed “Captain” Hubbard — who had taken acid as part of his cia training — was a barrel-chested and jovial eccentric who reputedly presided over his secluded hideaway like a swell Colonel Kurtz. According to those who knew him, Hubbard was always vague about his specific duties with the cia. In any event, he arrived in British Coumbia with several million dollars, broad connections in the US security establishment, and a very non-military enthusiasm for lsd.
Osmond met Hubbard through their mutual friend, Aldous Huxley. Osmond had become acquainted with Huxley when they both lived in England and had provided him with his first dose of mescaline, which the author used as inspiration for his book The Doors of Perception. ( Huxley got the title from William Blake, and Jim Morrison later borrowed it for the name of his band. ) Huxley kept in touch with Osmond and in one of his letters suggested that Osmond contact his pal Hubbard. In 1953, Osmond and Hubbard met for lunch at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. Osmond later recalled, “Hubbard was a powerfully built man, with a broad face and a firm handgrip.
He was also very genial, an excellent host.”
At Osmond’s invitation, Hubbard travelled to Saskatchewan, where he met Hoffer and observed the work of the two psychiatrists. It was Hubbard’s theory that lsd didn’t produce a “model psychosis” so much as a different way of seeing the world, one that offers us a clearer view of ourselves and our relationship to nature.
He said he wanted to introduce the top executives from Fortune 500 companies to lsd, and argued that humanity could be saved by psychedelic drugs. ( The word psychedelic was coined by Osmond in a letter to Huxley. ) Hubbard also wanted to start his own quasi-medical facility and in 1957 he linked up with Vancouver doctor J. Ross MacLean to open an lsd clinic in New Westminster.
The Hollywood Hospital was a stately mansion that had served for years as a detox centre for Vancouver’s more affluent drunks.
It remained so, but Hubbard and MacLean also turned it into a walk-in lsd boutique. Anyone with $500 was welcome.
Patients would check in, get a physical examination, fill out an mmpi psychological profile, and disclose in writing their personal histories, complete with “hang-ups.” After taking lsd, they retired to the “therapy suite,” where plush sofas, a high-end sound system, and fanciful artwork encouraged a positive experience. Providing a degree of medical respectability to the initiative, Hubbard and MacLean occasionally played therapist — but the real day-to-day therapy was handled by an itinerant adventurer named Frank Ogden.
Ogden, a barnstorming Ontario aviator with no training in psychiatric medicine, had learned about the clinic from an article in Maclean’s magazine. He thought of himself as an explorer and believed that the human mind was the ultimate frontier.
Ogden, who now lives in Vancouver, recalls that he dropped everything and flew out to the clinic to see if he could get a job. “I told them I was well qualified to work as a guide into ‘inner space’ because I’
d flown flying boats and survived helicopter crashes, and set a dangerous high-altitude record in a little single-engine Mooney. I told them adventure was my game.”
Ogden worked for free for a spell to prove himself and became the Hollywood Hospital’s main therapist after Hubbard quit. “Over the next eight years, I worked with more than 1,100 patients,” he says. “The majority arrived with problems and left as better people.
It wasn’t always a pleasant experience for them, but nothing worthwhile is. The most difficult patients were psychiatrists and engineers.
They were rigid in their thinking and they often had a hard time.”
While the hospital was named after the abundant holly trees in the area, the name was also appropriate, as it turned out, because many of the patients were celebrities — Cary Grant, Ethel Kennedy, and jazz crooner Andy Williams, among others. ( Williams signed up partly because of his marital problems.
He continues to perform, and says that the acid he took in Vancouver helped him understand that “the only things important to me were family, friends, and love. Maybe that’s why I’m so cool.” ) Ogden says they had a lot of local Vancouver people too. “I can’t mention their names because they’re still alive.
But we had a lot of wealthy housewives from the British Properties who drank too much and were in sexless marriages.
I remember one lady was frigid.
I touched the back of her hand and she had an orgasm.
I saw her at a social event a few months later and she joked, ‘You’re not going to do that to me again, are you? ‘ “
By 1959, Hubbard was getting impatient with MacLean. Hubbard believed that lsd should be available to everyone, rich and poor, while MacLean, who had acquired a big house on Southwest Marine Drive, preferred to treat the hospital as a lucrative private clinic.
Hubbard decided to give up his share in the clinic and move to California, where he became a sort of Johnny Appleseed of psychedelia, giving free lsd to everyone from housewives to celebrities such as James Coburn, Stanley Kubrick, Ken Kesey, and the Grateful Dead. Hubbard also became acquainted with a Harvard professor named Timothy Leary, who would do more than anyone else to promote the non-medical use of lsd among young people.
With his love beads, boyish enthusiasm, and rugged good looks, Leary kicked the lsd campaign into high gear. Ecstatically stoned and surrounded by avid young female fans, Leary toured college campuses urging students to “turn on, tune in, and drop out.” Abram Hoffer later wrote that he always feared lsd would become a street drug and, thanks to what he described as “the irresponsibility of Timothy Leary,” his fears were realized.
In 1966, Hoffer went to the University of California campus at Berkeley to present a research paper on the clinical uses of lsd. He says he received a polite response.
Afterward, he watched Leary make a presentation — the Harvard prof was received “with wild abandon” by the students, even though Hoffer couldn’t understand what Leary was trying to say. Public health authorities were alarmed by the craze, and later that same year lsd was banned in California. By the end of 1967 — the same year the Doors’ first album was released — use of the drug was banned in every state, even when supervised by legitimate researchers. Lawmakers in Canada followed suit, and lsd was soon prohibited by most countries in the Western world.
If you wanted to conduct your own experiments with lsd, you had to go looking for someone like Ringo.
Psychiatrists and biochemists never figured out exactly what lsd does to the human brain, and since the drug was banned there hasn’t been any research into the mystery.
It is believed that the compound is absorbed by the body and disappears in a short period of time, but its effect on the human psyche can endure for many hours and sometimes days. Obviously, the psyche is a complicated matter.
In layman’s terms, one might think of it as a structure, a rickety play fort that arises from the mud of childhood and eventually becomes a proud high-rise, containing all our accomplishments, defeats, jealousies, ambitions, biases, longings, and stored memories.
This is our hard-earned “identity,” and it becomes a sort of psychic headquarters from which we interpret and evaluate the world. lsd functions like a chunk of plastic explosive attached to the main load-bearing post in our underground garage. The chemical doesn’t need to stick around.
It only needs to cut one post and gravity does the rest.
What emerges from the smoke and dust of the collapsed psyche is a naked baby — the same wide-eyed infant that looms enormous in the final scene of Stanley Kubrick’s lsd-influenced film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Without the mediating structure of identity, the world becomes a terrifyingly vivid place.
Music, colours, texture, taste — all suddenly regain the distracting power we’ve spent so many years training ourselves to ignore. We ignore the world so that we can take care of business.
After all, how efficient would we be if we couldn’t step outside without pausing to stare in slack-jawed amazement at every tree?
Eating, too, would be an enormous problem.
After meeting up with my similarly dosed pal that October evening in Winnipeg, we walked to a large park, where we sat like fakirs in the darkness, listening to the potent silence of the woods, listening to acorns occasionally falling to the leafy floor with a startling crash.
Eventually we decided it would be a good idea to get something to chow down on. This turned out to be not so much a bad idea as a very complicated one. Under lurid fluorescent lights, surrounded by strange people, it took enormous concentration to deal with the simple fact that the world contained something as bizarre as pizza, and that one was expected to eat it. Each bite seemed to contain so much flavour that I sat walleyed for long minutes, trying to process the information contained in a morsel of pepperoni the size of an asterisk.
lsd seems to destroy the processing system by which we interpret everyday reality.
It opens the doors, as Huxley would have it, but this can be both an exhilarating and terrifying experience. It’s no fun listening to the quacking ignorance of our own opinions, suddenly realizing that so much of what we thought to be true is in fact nonsense. This is the stuff of the “bad trip,” and it’s such an integral part of the lsd experience that most experimenters try the drug only a few times.
During bad trips, our disgust with ourselves is projected outward, and the world can become a foul place. ( When Dr. Osmond took mescaline, he saw a child turning into a pig. ) Nonetheless, something important is going on. After the psyche disintegrates, it necessarily rebuilds.
And the reintegrated psyche takes account of what it now knows and is presumably strengthened. “I don’t believe in the notion of the bad trip,” says Frank Ogden. “lsd makes you face reality and deal with it.”
Odgen says he took lsd only three times when he was training to become a therapist but, he says, “They were some of the most interesting and valuable experiences of my life. I learned things from lsd, and it still keeps me young in my thinking.” Now a sharp-eyed and energetic eighty-six-year-old, Ogden has in his office and writing retreat a fanciful whale-shaped houseboat at the Coal Harbour marina in downtown Vancouver. He has fitted the interior with digital cameras, communications equipment, and warp-speed computer processors. Billing himself “Dr. Tomorrow,” he travels the world giving talks about technology and future trends.
Ogden believes that scientific research into lsd was terminated prematurely, and h
e would like to see bona fide researchers get legal access to the drug. Many scientists agree.
In March 2006, Dr. Ben Sessa, an Oxford psychiatrist, gave a speech to England’s Royal College of Psychiatrists arguing that lsd’s potential benefits to medicine must be re-examined. It was the first time in thirty years the institution considered the issue.
A pilot study is also being planned in Switzerland. lsd will be administered to several subjects suffering from anxiety associated with advanced-stage cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. “lsd was used safely and effectively thousands of times in clinical settings,” Sessa says. “No one would ask anaesthetists to forgo morphine use because heroin is a social evil. And there’s no valid reason to ban lsd research.”
Erika Dyck, a medical historian with the University of Alberta, has conducted the most extensive academic research into the early days of lsd experimentation and has spoken to some of Hoffer and Osmond’s former patients.
Her findings suggest that many are still extremely positive about the experience. “They can’t say enough about how helpful it was,” she says. “lsd triggered a psychological process that allowed them to see themselves.”
In January 2006, a large gathering of psychotherapists, medical doctors, academics, and, of course, aging hippies met in Basel, Switzerland, for a conference called lsd: Problem Child and Wonder Drug. The conference was ostensibly held to discuss the scientific importance of the drug, but, as much as anything else, people convened to celebrate the hundredth birthday of Albert Hofmann, the man who first experimented with lsd over half a century ago.
Bent and frail, supported by crutches and a burly Swiss guardsman, Hofmann was still bright-eyed as he walked onto the stage to thunderous applause. In a quiet voice, he told the audience he was concerned about the future of humanity. “All of life’s energy comes to us from the sun, via photosynthesis and the plant kingdom.
Our lives are becoming increasingly urbanized, and I believe lsd is a means of rebuilding our relationship to ourselves and to nature.”
It has been forty years since the so-called summer of love, and Aquarian dreams of basking in the sun and returning to the Garden of Eden, naked and hypnotized by the wonder of it all, seem quaint and dated. Today, even Jim Morrison sounds as corny as Rudy Vallee. But old apocalyptic visions are still in play. We’re still destroying the environment and, to paraphrase Albert Hofmann, we need to hang onto any tool that will help us to see that tree.
Jake Macdonald is an award-winning journalist and the author of 2005′s With the Boys: Field Notes on Being a Guy.


Three More From William….

All the world’s a stage (from As You Like It)
All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players:

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,

Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.

And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,

Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad

Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,

Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,

Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,

In fair round belly with good capon lined,

With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws and modern instances;

And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts

Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,

His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide

For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,

Turning again toward childish treble, pipes

And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion,

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Sonnet #147
My love is as a fever, longing still

For that which longer nurseth the disease;

Feeding on that which doth preserve the ill,

The uncertain sickly appetite to please.

My reason, the physician to my love,

Angry that his prescriptions are not kept,

Hath left me, and I desperate now approve,

Desire his death, which physic did except.

Past cure I am, now reason is past care,

And frantic-mad with evermore unrest;

My thoughts and my discourse as madmen’s are,

At random from the truth vainly express’d;
For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright,

Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.

– Sonnet #138
When my love swears that she is made of truth

I do believe her, though I know she lies,

That she might think me some untutor’d youth,

Unlearned in the world’s false subtleties.

Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,

Although she knows my days are past the best,

Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue:

On both sides thus is simple truth suppress’d.

But wherefore says she not she is unjust?

And wherefore say not I that I am old?

O, love’s best habit is in seeming trust,

And age in love loves not to have years told:
Therefore I lie with her and she with me,

And in our faults by lies we flatter’d be.


nusrat fatah ali khan – piya re



Another Farewell…

“If we could sniff or swallow something that would, for five or six hours each day, abolish our solitude as individuals, atone us with our fellows in a glowing exultation of affection and make life in all its aspects seem not only worth living, but divinely beautiful and significant, and if this heavenly, world-transfiguring drug were of such a kind that we could wake up [the] next morning with a clear head and a undamaged constitution – then, it seems to me, all our problems (and not merely the one small problem of discovering a novel pleasure) would be wholly solved and the earth would become paradise.”

-Aldous Huxley (1894 – 1963)

It has been quite the week for people departing from this side of things over to the Western Isles…
It always seems that these events occur in groupings, kinda like births did at one time… The one thing we are certain of is our mortality. It is the sweetener to every moment, making life a precious thing.
We have been given a fabricate of lies that tries to conceal the end game of our lives. I think we should practice for our deaths, and be aware that each moment is unique. A gracious parting is something I think one should wish for.
Life is the great gift. How are we living ours? Are we seeding the future with beauty and hope? Do we reach out to those yet born with a message of love and joy?
Thoughts… thoughts… thoughts…

On The Menu:

Peter Stafford Departs

The Links

Unanswered Questions from Huxley’s Experiments

Dao Te Ching (for Peter)

Sad News: Peter Stafford, died a couple of days ago. (seen here with Clark Heinrich at the Sacred Elixirs Conference) I understand he fell off of a ladder at his place in Santa Cruz.
He was one of the originals, and will be missed. I was privileged to have spent time with him on a couple occasions. A gentle soul, a gentleman. A pioneer in psychedelic circles, he touched many people on many levels.

The Links:

Pot dispensaries at risk of closure

Generation Chickenhawk:the Unauthorized College Republican Convention Tour

Asian Parasite Killing Western Bees – Scientist

Viking treasure hoard uncovered


Unanswered Questions from Huxley’s Experiments

by Peter Stafford

Editors Note: This essay was first published in Blotter No. 2, in early 1978. The newsletter was the work of The Psychedelic Education Center/Linkage, a Santa Cruz based group that organized two psychedelic conferences and met regularly from 1977 to 1982. The main writings of Aldous Huxley about psychedelics and the visionary experience have now been gathered into a single volume — entitled Moksha, Stonehill Press, edited by Michael Horowitz and Cynthia Palmer. Though more than a quarter century has passed since Huxley’s death, this material resurrected from letters, talks and articles is timely today. For as the law and public reassess psychedelic questions via the door of medicine, nowhere will they find a more profound study of implications and of the questions raised.

In 1931, Aldous described his delight upon coming upon an unpromising looking, ponderous work by a German pharmacologist — “a thick book, dense with matter and, in manner, a model of all that literary style should not be.” He read this from cover to cover with a growing interest in “how the story of drugtaking constitutes one of the most curious and also, it seems to me, one of the most significant chapters in the natural history of human beings.” But it wasn’t until 22 years later, after he had published 39 books concerning human nature, that Huxley tried a psychedelic — 400 mg. of mescaline sulfate, administered at about 11 am on May 6th, 1953 by a young Canadian psychiatrist named Humphry Osmond.
In one of several remembrances of Aldous appearing in this volume, Osmond comments that the finest praise one could receive came in his expression, “How absolutely incredible!” Well, after about an hour and a half into the experience, Aldous noticed he was “not looking now at an unusual flower arrangement. I was seeing what Adam had seen on the morning of his creation — the miracle, moment by moment, of naked existence.” (In a letter to Chatto & Windus just after this mescaline experience, Huxley writes: “It is without any question the most extraordinary and significant experience available to human beings this side of the Beatific Vision; and it opens up a host of philosophical problems, throws intense light and raises all manner of questions in the fields of aesthetics, religion, theory of knowledge . . .”)
Over the next decade, there were to be nine other tries — two more with mescaline, one with morning glory seeds (8 of them), two with psilocybin and four with LSD. This may not be considered by some that much experience. But Huxley and his colleagues — mainly Osmond — were unusually sensitive to and articulate about what was at stake here. In an important sense, they have affected the way in which we see the issues.
In the first of his two short books about psychedelics — The Doors of Perception — Huxley remarked that the “untalented visionary may perceive an inner reality no less tremendous, beautiful and significant than the world beheld by Blake; but he lacks altogether the ability to express, in literary or plastic symbols, what he has seen.” Aldous, by way of contrast, by the time of his first contrived mystical experience had already spent a long lifetime as a student of the curious and mystical, and of English prose. Writing first about psychedelics at the age of 60, he was able to give (quoting from the above passage again) “some hint at least of a not excessively uncommon experience.”
I mean by this that the exploration of inner space is at least as vast and mysterious a study as that of outer space — and that in the former we were lucky to have had an Aldous Huxley and Humphry Osmond aboard as investigators. It is as if we had sent poets that first time to the moon!
It took Huxley 70 pages to describe what had happened on that first trip, to give some hint of this “not excessively uncommon experience,” as when he wrote that “All at once I saw what Guardi had seen and (with what incomparable skill) had so often rendered in his paintings — a stucco wall with a shadow slanting across it, blank but unforgettably beautiful, empty but charged with all the meaning and the mystery of existence.” Compare just this fragment with the total remaining report from the Harvard Psilocybin Project invesigators — when Huxley took 10 mg. psilocybin, and was observed: “No. 11 sat in contemplative calm throughout; occasionally produced relevant epigrams; reported experience was an edifying philosophic experience.”
There is much truth to the claim that to get the Aldous Huxley mescalinized experience you had to be Huxley — especially if talking about the bringing back of souvenirs. Aldous Huxley, blind at the age of 20, after regaining his sight was probably not by accident to become the most listenable of all as to the content of the contrived visionary experience. That appeared principally in his two books on the subject, after only two or three experiments. What he thought of the rest — which were quite different — is here, in what should stand as an unparalleled guide to investigators.
Speculations and explanations provided by Huxley are based on wide-ranging inquiries he undertook after having been greatly energized by that initial experiment. Most of this seems fresh today. How odd it seems, for example, to hear him describe the work of John Lilly with dolphins, or that of those accumulating death and dying accounts — and to realize that this was written more than a quarter century ago!
What struck me, reading through this compilation, most forcefully was Huxley’s questioning (mainly of Osmond). Here are some of those questions, which yet deserve clear answers:
# How many of the current ideas of eternity, of heaven, of supernatural states are ultimately derived from the experience of drug-takers?

# Do Galtonian visualizers react in a different way from non-visualizers? Again, is there any marked difference between the average reactions of extreme cerebrotonics, viscerotonics and somatotonics? Do people with a pronounced musical gift get auditory counterparts of the visions and transfigurations of the external world experienced by others”? How are pure mathematicians and professional philosophers affected?

# The inexplicable fact remains the nature of the visions. Who invents these astounding things? And why should the not-I who does the inventing hit on precisely this kind of thing?

# What those Buddhist monks did for the dying and the dead, might not the modern psychiatrist do for the insane?

# My old friend, Naomi Mitchison writes from Scotland, after reading the Doors, that she had an almost identical experience of the transfiguration of the outer world during her various pregnancies. Could this be due to a temporary upset in the sugar supply to the brain?

# Have you ever tried the effects of mescalin on a congenitally blind man or woman? This would surely be of interest.

# Can you tell me in a line or two what was the nature of the experiences induced by being shut up in silence, in the dark? Were those visions of a mescalin-like kind?

# Why should gems ever have been regarded precious? What has induced men to spend such enormous quantites of time, trouble and money on the finding and cutting of colored pebbles?

# Did I tell you that my friend Dr. Cholden had found that the stroboscope improved on mescalin effects, just as Al Hubbard did? . . . And anyhow, what on earth are the neurological correlations of mescalin and LSD experiences? And if neurological patterns are formed, as presumably they must be, can they be reactivated by a probing electrode, as Penfield reactivates trains of memories, evoking complete vivid recall?

# Who, having once come to the relization of the primoridal fact of unity in Love, would ever want to return to experimentation on the psychic level?

# Who on earth was John Sebastian? Certainly not the old gent with sixteen childen in a stuffy Protestant environment. Rather, an enormous manifestation of the Other — but the Other canalized, controlled, made available through the intervention of the intellect and the senses and emotions.

# How and why is heaven turned into hell?

# Can we with impunity replace systematic self-discipline by a chemical?

# Is a mescalinized person hypnotizable? If so, can hypnotic suggestions direct his new found visionary capacities into specific channels — e.g. into the realms of buried memories of childhood, or into specific areas of thought and imagery? Can we suggest to him, for example that he should see an episode from The Arabian Nights, or from the Gospel, or in the realms of archetypal symbols or mythology?

# How strange that we should all carry about with us this enormous universe of vision that which lies beyond vision, and yet be mainly unconscious of the fact! How can we learn to pass at will from one world of consciousness to the other? . . . The supreme art of life would be the art of passing at will from obscure knowledge to conceptualized, utilitarian knowledge, from the aesthetic to the mystical; and all the time to be able, in the words of the Zen master, to grasp the non-particular that exists in particulars, to be aware of the no-thought which lies in thought — the absolute in relationships, the infine in finite things, the eternal in time. The problem is how to learn that supreme art of life?

# Did you get what I have got so strongly on the recent occasions when I have taken the stuff — an overpowering sense of gratitude, a desire to give thanks to the Order of Things for the privilege of this particular experience, and also for the privilege — for that one feels it to be, in spite of everything — of living in a human body on this particular planet?

# Human beings will be able to achieve effortlessly what in the past could be only achieved with difficulty, by means of self-control and spiritual exercises. Will this be a good thing for individuals and for societies? Or will it be a bad thing?

# If we have a meeting of this highly pickwickian organization, what (aside the pleasure and interest of meeting a number of intelligent people interested in the same sort of thing) will be gained? . . . Would there be ulterior advantages? . . . Couldn’t the same results be attained more simply and cheaply by discussing matters at a meeting, or by correspondence, and dividing up the work among the various experimenters?

# Is it possible for a powerful drug to be completely harmless?

# Most of us function at about 15 percent of capacity. How can we step up our lamentably low efficiency? . . . Will it in fact be possible to produce superior individuals by biochemical means?

# To think of people made vulnerable by LSD being exposed to such people is profoundly disturbing. But what can one do about the problem? Psychiatry is an art based on a still imperfect science — and as in all the arts, there are more bad and indifferent practitioners than good ones. How can one keep the bad artists out? Bad artists don’t matter in painting or literature — but they matter enormously in therapy and education; for whole lives and destinies may be affected by their shortcomings.

# Have you any idea why some people visualize and others don’t?

# If you were having a love affair with a woman, would you be interested in writing about it?

# What’s happening in the brain when you’re having a vision? And what’s happening when you pass from a premystical to a genuinely mystical state of mind?

# To what extent are our thoughts, beliefs and actions the products of our inherited physique and temperament, and of the fluctuations, in response to internal and external events, of our body-chemistry? Just how valid is a philosophy based upon a state of mind (say the conviction of sin) which can be radically changed by the prick of a needle or a small daily dose of Ritalin? And what about those experiences induced by Dr. Hofmann’s physically harmless mind-changers — experiences of a world transfigured into unimaginably loveliness, charged with intrinsic significance, and manifesting, in spite of pain and death, an essential and (there is no other word) divine All-Rightness? Yes, what about them?
(Found on the Island.org Site. Thanks to Bruce for having a home for this.)


Dao Te Ching (for Peter)
The best of man is like water,

Which benefits all things, and does not contend with them,

Which flows in places that others disdain,

Where it is in harmony with the Way.
So the sage:

Lives within nature,

Thinks within the deep,

Gives within impartiality,

Speaks within trust,

Governs within order,

Crafts within ability,

Acts within opportunity.

Embracing the Way, you become embraced;

Breathing gently, you become newborn;

Clearing your mind, you become clear;

Nurturing your children, you become impartial;

Opening your heart, you become accepted;

Accepting the world, you embrace the Way.
Bearing and nurturing,

Creating but not owning,

Giving without demanding,

This is harmony.

Too much colour blinds the eye,

Too much music deafens the ear,

Too much taste dulls the palate,

Too much play maddens the mind,

Too much desire tears the heart.
In this manner the sage cares for people:

He provides for the belly, not for the senses;

He ignores abstraction and holds fast to substance.

Looked at but cannot be seen – it is beneath form;

Listened to but cannot be heard – it is beneath sound;

Held but cannot be touched – it is beneath feeling;

These depthless things evade definition,

And blend into a single mystery.
In its rising there is no light,

In its falling there is no darkness,

A continuous thread beyond description,

Lining what can not occur;

Its form formless,

Its image nothing,

Its name silence;

Follow it, it has no back,

Meet it, it has no face.
Attend the present to deal with the past;

Thus you grasp the continuity of the Way,

Which is its essence.

Nestor Perala: A Farewell To A Friend…

One of the first conversations I ever had with Nestor revolved around the Kalevala…

Nestor Perala

Nestor Perala past away this Wednesday, after sustaining a fall that broke his shoulder on Tuesday at the assisted living facility that he was residing at.
Nestor was a beloved member of our community, and in fact many communities. He had friends everywhere, and from what I could tell, he knew everyone in Portland.
He was proceeded in death by his son Kendrick last year, and by his wife Myra the year before.
He is survived by his daughter Julia, her husband Seymour and their two wonderful daughters Naomi, and Mira.
His daughter Christi was with him as he past, which was lucky, as she was up visiting from her home on the California/Oregon border that she shares with her husband John.
The last couple of years had taken a toll on him, and he went into the light (and from the story I heard it was blazing before him) with peace and joy.
I can still see him walking up the street with the cigar clamped in his hand…
Nestor’s’ parents were from Finland, and he loved his cultural roots. He was a cultural treasure of the highest degree. You would always find him at the local Scandinavian Events.
He was also a thoroughly modern person who saw the need for activism to keep government in check. He was an avid writer, and I was never surprised to see a letter to the editor from him in the Oregonian. He had recently been in the news as the US Army was trying to get him to re-enlist…. 80) Soldiers of Fortune: The U.S. Army still wants 84-year-old Nestor Perala
He had an abiding interest in entheogens, as he told me that they had literally “saved his life”. He was friends with Myron Stolaroff, and many others in the local community. His tolerance of others, his deep spiritual nature, and his constant curiosity and wonder made him a delight to be around.
Nestor, I will miss you, and your presence at our gatherings and the neighborhood will be sorely felt. Godspeed, and may that brilliant sun that you saw that last night hold you in its embrace.
Be Free.


Two Poems For Nestor
When I die…
When I die

when my coffin

is being taken out

you must never think

i am missing this world
don’t shed any tears

don’t lament or

feel sorry

i’m not falling

into a monster’s abyss
when you see

my corpse is being carried

don’t cry for my leaving

i’m not leaving

i’m arriving at eternal love
when you leave me

in the grave

don’t say goodbye

remember a grave is

only a curtain

for the paradise behind
you’ll only see me

descending into a grave

now watch me rise

how can there be an end

when the sun sets or

the moon goes down
it looks like the end

it seems like a sunset

but in reality it is a dawn

when the grave locks you up

that is when your soul is freed
have you ever seen

a seed fallen to earth

not rise with a new life

why should you doubt the rise

of a seed named human
have you ever seen

a bucket lowered into a well

coming back empty

why lament for a soul

when it can come back

like Joseph from the well
when for the last time

you close your mouth

your words and soul

will belong to the world of

no place no time
~RUMI, ghazal number 911,

translated May 18, 1992,

by Nader Khalili.

When I Am Dead, My Dearest
When I am dead, my dearest,

Sing no sad songs for me;

Plant thou no roses at my head,

Nor shady cypress tree:

Be the green grass above me

With showers and dewdrops wet;

And if thou wilt, remember,

And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,

I shall not feel the rain;

I shall not hear the nightingale

Sing on, as if in pain:

And dreaming through the twilight

That doth not rise nor set,

Haply I may remember,

And haply may forget.
~Christina Rossetti

As You Like It…

On The Menu

A bit of Inspired Madness…

Psychedelic Music in the 80′s

Seijo’s Two Souls

Poetry from William Shakespeare…

A bit of Inspired Madness…

Quite a busy couple of days…
Dale and Laura Pendell flew in Monday (& flew out Tuesday)

for Dales’ reading at Powells’ promoting his new book: Inspired Madness – The Gifts Of Burning Man. (It was a great talk/reading btw)
We had many a good laugh, good conversation and good company with those that came and went… Cymon just back from France bringing sugar cubes she’d picked up while over there, just right for Absinthe. Andrew and Catherine brought young Eildon, Jan from Powell’s came bringing her outrageously beautiful laugh. Adele came down from Cedar Hillls… Ethan was here, Kyle back up from Country Fair, and Rowan sat there bemused by it all. Mike M. drove in from Ashland, just in time… just in time…
We passed Tuesday morning sitting and talking as the rain was coming down in buckets… we went out and pottered through the garden looking at the plants and checking out the french beds, showing Laura and Dale the techniques we use on our wee plot of land.
Dale & I went and checked out the various silk-screen/serigraph presses that we have in the outside studio… Dale published his first book using a silk screen press. We told stories back and forth of various projects and techniques of printing….
It was a wonderful time!
Kyle, Laura & Dale


Seijo’s Two Souls
Chokan had a very beautiful daughter named Seijo. He also had a handsome young cousin named Ochu. Joking, he would often comment that they would make a fine married couple. Actually, he planned to give his daughter in marriage to another man. But young Seijo and Ochu took him seriously; they fell in love and thought themselves engaged. One day Chokan announced Seijo’s betrothal to the other man. In rage and despair, Ochu left by boat. After several days journey, much to his astonishment and joy he discovered that Seijo was on the boat with him!
They went to a nearby city where they lived for several years and had two children. But Seijo could not forget her father; so Ochu decided to go back with her and ask the father’s forgiveness and blessing. When they arrived, he left Seijo on the boat and went to the father’s house. he humbly apologized to the father for taking his daughter away and asked forgiveness for them both.
“What is the meaning of all this madness?” the father exclaimed. Then he related that after Ochu had left, many years ago, his daughter Seijo had fallen ill and had lain comatose in bed since. Ochu assured him that he was mistaken, and, in proof, he brought Seijo from the boat. When she entered, the Seijo lying ill in bed rose to meet her, and the two became one.
Zen Master Goso, referrring to the legend, observed, “Seijo had two souls, one always sick at home and the other in the city, a married woman with two children. Which was the true soul?”


Psychedelic Music in the 80′s

Psychedelic Furs…


I loved this Band (The Psychedelic Furs) Ah, between The Furs and The Cure… I got a bit of psychedelia back in the 80′s.
The Cure – A Forest


Poetry from William Shakespeare…

From As You Like It…

All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,

Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms;

Then the whining school-boy, with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,

Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad

Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,

Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,

Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,

In fair round belly with good capon lin’d,

With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws and modern instances;

And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts

Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,

His youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wide

For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,

Turning again toward childish treble, pipes

And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion;

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing
The Phoenix and the Turtle

Let the bird of loudest lay

On the sole Arabian tree,

Herald sad and trumpet be,

To whose sound chaste wings obey.

But thou shrieking harbinger,

Foul precurrer of the fiend,

Augur of the fever’s end,

To this troop come thou not near.
From this session interdict

Every fowl of tyrant wing

Save the eagle, feather’d king:

Keep the obsequy so strict.
Let the priest in surplice white

That defunctive music can,

Be the death-divining swan,

Lest the requiem lack his right.
And thou, treble-dated crow,

That thy sable gender mak’st

With the breath thou giv’st and tak’st,

‘Mongst our mourners shalt thou go.
Here the anthem doth commence:—

Love and constancy is dead;

Phoenix and the turtle fled

In a mutual flame from hence.
So they loved, as love in twain

Had the essence but in one;

Two distincts, division none;

Number there in love was slain.
Hearts remote, yet not asunder;

Distance, and no space was seen

‘Twixt the turtle and his queen:

But in them it were a wonder.
So between them love did shine,

That the turtle saw his right

Flaming in the phoenix’ sight;

Either was the other’s mine.
Property was thus appall’d,

That the self was not the same;

Single nature’s double name

Neither two nor one was call’d.
Reason, in itself confounded,

Saw division grow together;

To themselves yet either neither;

Simple were so well compounded,
That it cried, ‘How true a twain

Seemeth this concordant one!

Love hath reason, reason none

If what parts can so remain.’
Whereupon it made this threne

To the phoenix and the dove,

Co-supremes and stars of love,

As chorus to their tragic scene.
BEAUTY, truth, and rarity,

Grace in all simplicity,

Here enclosed in cinders lie.
Death is now the phoenix’ nest;

And the turtle’s loyal breast

To eternity doth rest,
Leaving no posterity:

‘Twas not their infirmity,

It was married chastity.
Truth may seem, but cannot be;

Beauty brag, but ’tis not she;

Truth and beauty buried be.
To this urn let those repair

That are either true or fair;

For these dead birds sigh a prayer.


Monday Someday….

Poetry Alert:

Dale Pendell will be in Portland Oregon tonight at Powell’s Hawthorne Store at 7:30 for a reading from his newest book: Inspired Madness: The Gifts of Burning Man
This is a must-attend event! Be there or be square!

Lots hopping on Radio Free Earthrites! New Music, and soon an expanded spoken word channel.

Tune In At:
Awaiting the events of today… Cloudy and cool, finally.
On The Menu For Today:

Death Of A Carpet

The Earth-Shapers

Poetry For a Hazy Day: Robert Graves


Death Of A Carpet: We finally retired our 150 year old Baluchistan Carpet. It will soon be appearing in our household as floor pillows, runners etc. We are determined to keep it going. It was a gift to us some 18 years ago, from an interesting friend of my mother, Gene Goullard out of San Francisco. He has long since past on, but his related history of the rug gave it a history that was curious, and unique at the same time. He was a classical musician and you could see the marks rubbed into the rug from the grand piano… He loved to recount the various debaucheries that occurred under the piano, etc. He would go on for hours. Suffice to say we cleaned it thoroughly …
We once had an appraiser come out to look at it. He was a nice Persian gentleman who noted it was past its prime, but gave us the approximate age (hence the 150 years) and he said it had been heavily used (obviously), yet he praised it, and told us of its tribal origins (since forgotten) and he wished us many years of use, which we have had.
It served us well, Rowan learned to walk on it, it has witnessed a families life with all the drama and fun, it has been at the center of many a party, and even as it got ever more threadbare, there was always praise for its beauty. Finally the rips and the bare bits have overwhelmed it. Time for change once again….


The Earth-Shapers

In Tir-na-Moe, the Land of the Living Heart, Brigit was singing. Angus the Ever-Young, and Midyir the Red-Maned, and Ogma that is called Splendour of the Sun, and the Dagda and other lords of the people of Dana drew near to listen.
Brigit sang:
Now comes the hour foretold, a god-gift bringing .

A wonder-sight.

Is it a star new-born and splendid up springing Out of the night?

Is it a wave from the Fountain of Beauty up flinging Foam of delight?

Is it a glorious immortal bird that is Winging Hither its flight?
It is a wave, high-crested, melodious, triumphant,

Breaking in light.

It is a star, rose-hearted and joyous, a splendour Risen from night.

It is flame from the world of the gods, and love runs before it,

A quenchless delight.
Let the wave break, let the star rise, let the flame leap.

Ours, if our hearts are wise,

To take and keep.
Brigit ceased to sing, and there was silence for a little space in Tir-na-Moe. Then Angus said:
“Strange are the words of your song, and strange the music: it swept me down steeps of air–down–down–always further down. Tir-na-Moe was like a dream half-remembered. I felt the breath of strange worlds on my face, and always your song grew louder and louder, but you were not singing it. Who was singing it?”
“The Earth was singing it.”
“The Earth!” said the Dagda. “Is not the Earth in the pit of chaos? Who has ever looked into that pit or stayed to listen where there is neither silence nor song? “
“O Shepherd of the Star-Flocks, I have stayed to listen. I have shuddered in the darkness that is round the Earth. I have seen the black hissing waters and the monsters that devour each other–I have looked into the groping writhing adder-pit of hell.”
The light that pulsed about the De Danaan lords grew troubled at the thought of that pit, and they cried out: “Tell us no more about the Earth, O Flame of the Two Eternities, and let the thought of it slip from yourself as a dream slips from the memory.”
“O Silver Branches that no Sorrow has Shaken,” said Brigit, “hear one thing more! The Earth wails all night because it has dreamed of beauty.”
“What dream, O Brigit?”
“The Earth has dreamed of the white stillness of dawn; of the star that goes before the sunrise; and of music like the music of my song.”
“O Morning Star,” said Angus, “would I had never heard your song, for now I cannot shake the thought of the Earth from me!”
“Why should you shake the thought from you, Angus the Subtle-Hearted? You have wrapped yourself in all the colours of the sunlight; are you not fain to look into the darkness and listen to the thunder of abysmal waves; are you not fain to make gladness in the Abyss?”
Angus did not answer: he reached out his hand and gathered a blossom from a branch:
he blew upon the blossom and tossed it into the air: it became a wonderful white bird, and circled about him singing.
Midyir the Haughty rose and shook out the bright tresses of his hair till he was clothed with radiance as with a Golden Fleece.
“I am fain to look into the darkness,” he said. “I am fain to hear the thunder of the Abyss.”
“Then come with me,” said Brigit, “I am going to put my mantle round the Earth because it has dreamed of beauty.”
“I will make clear a place for your mantle,” said Midyir. “I will throw fire amongst the monsters.”
“I will go with you too,” said the Dagda, who is called the Green Harper.
“And I,” said Splendour of the Sun, whose other name is Ogma the Wise. “And I,” said Nuada Wielder of the White Light. “And I,” said Gobniu the Wonder-Smith, “we will remake the Earth!”
“Good luck to the adventure!” said Angus. “I would go myself if ye had the Sword of Light with you.”
“We will take the Sword of Light,” said Brigit, “and the Cauldron of Plenty and the Spear of Victory and the Stone of Destiny with us, for we will build power and wisdom and beauty and lavish-heartedness into the Earth.”
It is well said,” cried all the Shining Ones.
“We will take the Four Jewels.”
Ogma brought the Sword of Light from Findrias the cloud-fair city that is in the east of the De Danaan world; Nuada brought the Spear of Victory from Gorias the flame-bright city that is in the south of the Dc Danaan world; the Dagda brought the Cauldron of Plenty from Murias the city that is builded in the west of the De Danaan world and has the stillness of deep waters; Midyir brought the Stone of Destiny from Falias the city that is builded in the north of the De Danaan world and has the steadfastness of adamant. Then Brigit and her companions set forth.
They fell like a rain of stars till they came to the blackness that surrounded the Earth, and looking down saw below them, as at the bottom of an abyss, the writhing, contorted, hideous life that swarmed and groped and devoured itself ceaselessly.
From the seething turmoil of that abyss all the Shining Ones drew back save Midyir. He grasped the Fiery Spear and descended like a flame.
His comrades looked down and saw him treading out the monstrous life as men tread grapes in a wine-press; they saw the blood and foam of that destruction rise about Midyir till he was crimson with it even to the crown of his head; they saw him whirl the Spear till it became a wheel of fire and shot out sparks and tongues of flame; they saw the flame lick the darkness and turn back on itself and spread and blossom–murk-red–blood-red–rose-red at last!
Midyir drew himself out of the abyss, a Ruby Splendour, and said:
“I have made a place for Brigit’s mantle. Throw down your mantle, Brigit, and bless the Earth! “
Brigit threw down her mantle and when it touched the Earth it spread itself, unrolling like silver flame. It took possession of the place Midyir had made as the sea takes possession, and it continued to spread itself because everything that was foul drew back from the little silver flame at the edge of it.
It is likely it would have spread itself over all the earth, only Angus, the youngest of the gods, had not patience to wait: he leaped down and stood with his two feet on the mantle. It ceased to be fire and became a silver mist about him. He ran through the mist laughing and calling on the others to follow. His laughter drew them and they followed. The drifting silver mist closed over them and round them, and through it they saw each other like images in a dream–changed and fantastic. They laughed when they saw each other. The Dagda thrust both his hands into the Cauldron of Plenty.
“O Cauldron,” he said, “you give to every one the gift that is meetest, give me now a gift meet for the Earth.”
He drew forth his hands full of green fire and he scattered the greenness everywhere as a sower scatters seed. Angus stooped and lifted the greenness of the earth; he scooped hollows in it; he piled it in heaps; he played with it as a child plays with sand, and when it slipped through his fingers it changed colour and shone like star-dust–blue and purple and yellow and white and red.
Now, while the Dagda sowed emerald fire and Angus played with it, Mananaun was aware that the exiled monstrous life had lifted itself and was looking over the edge of Brigit’s mantle. He saw the iron eyes of strange creatures jeering in the blackness and he drew the Sword of Light from its scabbard and advanced its gleaming edge against that chaos. The strange life fled in hissing spume, but the sea rose to greet the Sword in a great foaming thunderous wave.
Mananaun swung the Sword a second time, and the sea rose again in a wave that was green as a crysolite, murmurous, sweet-sounding, flecked at the edges with amythest and purple and blue-white foam.
A third time Mananaun swung the Sword, and the sea rose to greet it in a wave white as crystal, unbroken, continuous, silent as dawn.
The slow wave fell back into the sea, and Brigit lifted her mantle like a silver mist. The De Danaans saw everything clearly. They saw that they were in an island covered with green grass and full of heights and strange scooped-out hollows and winding ways. They saw too that the grass was full of flowers–blue and purple and yellow and white and red.
“Let us stay here,” they said to each other, “and make beautiful things so that the Earth may be glad.”
Brigit took the Stone of Destiny in her hands: it shone white like a crystal between her hands.
“I will lay the Stone in this place,” she said, “that y
e may have empire.”
She laid the Stone on the green grass and it sank into the earth: a music rose about it as it sank, and suddenly all the scooped-out hollows and deep winding ways were filled with water–rivers of water that leaped and shone; lakes and deep pools of water trembling into stillness.
“It is the laughter of the Earth!” said Ogma the Wise.
Angus dipped his fingers in the water.
“I would like to see the blue and silver fishes that swim in Connla’s Well swimming here,” he said, “and trees growing in this land like those trees with blossomed branches that grow in the Land of the Silver Fleece.”
“It is an idle wish, Angus the Young,” said Ogma. “The fishes in Connla’s Well are too bright for these waters and the blossoms that grow on silver branches would wither here. We must wait and learn the secret of the Earth, and slowly fashion dark strange trees, and fishes that are not like the fishes in Connla’s Well.”
“Yea,” said Nuada, “we will fashion other trees, and under their branches shall go hounds that are not like the hound Failinis and deer that have not horns of gold. We will make ourselves the smiths and artificers of the world and beat the strange life out yonder into other shapes. We will make for ourselves islands to the north of this and islands to the west, and round them shall go also the three waves of Mananaun for we will fashion and re-fashion all things till there is nothing unbeautiful left in the whole earth.”
“It is good work,” cried all the De Danaans, “we will stay and do it, but Brigit must go to Moy Mel and Tir-na-Moe and Tir-nan-Oge and Tir-fo-Tonn, and all the other worlds, for she is the Flame of Delight in every one of them.”
“Yes, I must go,” said Brigit.
“O Brigit!” said Ogma, “before you go, tie a knot of remembrance in the fringe of your mantle so that you may always remember this place–and tell us, too, by what name we shall call this place.”
“Ye shall call it the White Island,” said Brigit, “and its other name shall be the Island of Destiny; and its other name shall be Ireland.”
Then Ogma tied a knot of remembrance in the fringe of Brigit’s mantle.


Poetry For a Hazy Day: Robert Graves

The Travellers’ Curse after Misdirection

(from the Welsh)
May they stumble, stage by stage

On an endless Pilgrimage

Dawn and dusk, mile after mile

At each and every step a stile

At each and every step withal

May they catch their feet and fall

At each and every fall they take

May a bone within them break

And may the bone that breaks within

Not be, for variations sake

Now rib, now thigh, now arm, now shin

but always, without fail, the NECK

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’d 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 or 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 Jesu

On thrity-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.’

Warning to Children

Children, if you dare to think

Of the greatness, rareness, muchness

Fewness of this precious only

Endless world in which you say

You live, you think of things like this:

Blocks of slate enclosing dappled

Red and green, enclosing tawny

Yellow nets, enclosing white

And black acres of dominoes,

Where a neat brown paper parcel

Tempts you to untie the string.

In the parcel a small island,

On the island a large tree,

On the tree a husky fruit.

Strip the husk and pare the rind off:

In the kernel you will see

Blocks of slate enclosed by dappled

Red and green, enclosed by tawny

Yellow nets, enclosed by white

And black acres of dominoes,

Where the same brown paper parcel –

Children, leave the string alone!

For who dares undo the parcel

Finds himself at once inside it,

On the island, in the fruit,

Blocks of slate about his head,

Finds himself enclosed by dappled

Green and red, enclosed by yellow

Tawny nets, enclosed by black

And white acres of dominoes,

With the same brown paper parcel

Still untied upon his knee.

And, if he then should dare to think

Of the fewness, muchness, rareness,

Greatness of this endless only

Precious world in which he says

he lives – he then unties the string.

The Great Wheel

The Buddha and all sentinent beings

are nothing but expressions of the one

mind. There is nothing else.

Saw the new Harry Potter film, “The Order of the Phoenix” Thursday. I think it is the best so far, lots of levels. Recommended.
Rain last night, thunder, and wondrous beauty. Cool this morning, a nice break from how it’s been over the last several days. We were watching Errol Flynn in “Captain Blood”…. excellent old film!
Off to work, and a full weekend, and don’t forget:
Dale Pendell

Monday the 16th, 7:30PM Powell’s Books on Hawthorne
In part a nonfiction discussion of the Burning Man festival, in part a poetic romp through Nevada’s Black Rock desert, Dale Pendell’s Inspired Madness: The Gifts Of Burning Man is both an irreverent introduction for those curious about the notorious event and an exhilarating reminiscence for veteran “burners.”

Bright Blessings,

On The Menu:
The Links

A lesson in Karma

Huang Po Quotes & Poems

The Links:

Check out the Richard Pryor one…

Magic mushroom

Worms…. falling from the sky?

Dog of a ban


A lesson in Karma

-Robert Anton Wilson
Lao-Tse says (at least in Leary’s translation) that the Great Tao is most often found with parents who are willing to learn from their children. This remark was to cause me considerable mental strain and dilation around this time in our narrative, because my children had become very self-directed adolescents and were getting into occultism with much more enthusiasm and much less skepticism than I thought judicious.
For a few years, we could not discuss these subjects without arguing, despite my attempts to remember good old Lao-Tse and really listen to the kids. They believed in astrology, which I was still convinced was bosh; in reincarnation, which I considered an extravagant metaphor one shouldn’t take literally; and in that form of the doctrine of Karma which holds, optimistically, that the evil really are punished and the good really are rewarded, which I considered a wishful fantasy no more likely than the Christian idea of Heaven and Hell. Worst of all, they had a huge appetite for various Oriental “Masters” whom I regarded as total charlatans, and an enormous disdain for all the scientific methodology of the West.
My own position was identical to that of Aleister Crowley when he wrote:
We place no reliance

On Virgin or Pigeon;

Our method is Science,

Our aim is Religion.
After every argument with one of the kids, I would vow again to listen more sympathetically, less judgmentally, to their Pop Orientalism. I finally began to succeed. I learned a great deal from them.
A “miracle” then happened. I know this will be harder for the average American parent to believe than any of my other weird yarns, but my horde of self-willed and self-directed adolescents began to listen to me. Real communication was established. Even though I was in my 40s and greying in the beard, I was able to talk intelligently with four adolescents about our philosophical disagreements, and our mutual respect for each other grew by leaps and bounds.
This, I think, is the greatest result I have obtained from all my occult explorations, even if the unmarried will not appreciate how miraculous it was.
Luna, our youngest-the one who might have levitated in Mexico and who had her first menstrual period synchronistically on the day Tim Leary was busted in Afghanistantaught me the hardest lesson of all. She had begun to paint m watercolors and everything she did charmed me: it was always full of sun and light, in a way that was as overpowering as Van Gogh.
“What do all these paintings mean?” I asked her one day.
“I’m trying to show the Clear Light,” she said.
Then, returning from school one afternoon, Luna was beaten and robbed by a gang of black kids. She was weeping and badly frightened when she arrived home, and her Father was shaken by the unfairness of it happening to her, such a gentle, ethereal child. In the midst of consoling her, the Father wandered emotionally and began denouncing the idea of Karma. Luna was beaten, he said, not for her sins, but for the sins of several centuries of slavers and racists, most of whom had never themselves suffered for those sins. “Karma is a blind machine,” he said. “The effects of evil go on and on but they don’t necessarily come back on those who start the evil.” Then Father got back on the track and said some more relevant and consoling things.
The next day Luna was her usual sunny and cheerful self, just like the Light in her paintings. “I’m glad you’re feeling better,” the Father said finally.
“I stopped the wheel of Karma,” she said. “All the bad energy is with the kids who beat me up. I’m not holding any of it.”
And she wasn’t. The bad energy had entirely passed by, and there was no anger or fear in her. I never saw her show any hostility to blacks after the beating, any more than before.
The Father fell in love with her all over again. And he understood what the metaphor of the wheel of Karma really symbolizes and what it means to stop the wheel.
Karma, in the original Buddhist scriptures, is a blind machine; in fact, it is functionally identical with the scientific concept of natural law. Sentimental ethical ideas about justice being built into the machine, so that those who do evil in one life are punished for it in another life, were added later by theologians reasoning from their own moralistic prejudices. Buddha simply indicated that all the cruelties and injustices of the past are still active: their effects are always being felt. Similarly, he explained, all the good of the past, all the kindness and patience and love of decent people is also still being felt.
Since most humans are still controlled by fairly robotic reflexes, the bad energy of the past far outweighs the good, and the tendency of the wheel is to keep moving in the same terrible direction, violence breeding more violence, hatred breeding more hatred, war breeding more war. The only way to “stop the wheel” is to stop it inside yourself, by giving up bad energy and concentrating on the positive. This is by no means easy, but once you understand what Gurdjieff called “the horror of our situation,” you have no choice but to try, and to keep on trying.
And Luna, at 13, understood this far better than I did, at 43, with all my erudition and philosophy… I still regarded her absolute vegetarianism and pacifism as sentimentality.

Huang Po Quotes & Poems


Only awake to the One Mind and there is nothing whatever to be attained.
This pure Mind, the source of everything, shines forever and on all with the brilliance of its own perfection. But the people of the world do not awake to it, regarding only that which sees, hears, feels and knows as mind…. If they would only eliminate all conceptual thought in a flash, that source-substance would manifest itself like a sun….

…To awaken suddenly to the fact that your own Mind is the Buddha, that there is nothing to be attained or a single action to be performed – this is the Supreme Way….

People are scared to empty their minds

fearing that they will be engulfed by the void.
What they don’t realize is that

their own mind is the void.
Here it is – right now. Start thinking about it and you miss it.
Our original Buddha-Nature is, in highest truth, devoid of any atom of objectivity. It is void, omnipresent, silent, pure; it is glorious and mysterious peaceful joy – and that is all. Enter deeply into it by awakening to it yourself. That which is before you is it, in all its fullness, utterly complete. There is naught beside. Even if you go through all the stages of a Bodhisattva’s progress towards Buddhahood, one by one; when at last, in a single flash, you attain to full realization, you will only be realizing the Buddha-Nature which has been with you all the time; and by the foregoing stages you will have added nothing to it at all. You will come to look upon those aeons of work and achievement as no better than unreal actions performed in a dream.
This is why the Tathagata said, “I truly attained nothing from complete, unexcelled enlightenment.” He also said: “This Dharma is absolutely without distinctions, neither high nor low, and its name is Bodhi.” It is pure Mind, which is the source of everything and which, whether appearing as sentient beings or Buddhas, or as the rivers and mountains of the world which has form, or as that which is formless, or penetrating the whole universe, is absolutely without distinctions, there being no such entities as selfness and otherness.


When practitioners of Zen fail to transcend

the world of their senses and thoughts,

all they do has no value.

Yet, when senses and thoughts are obliterated

all the roads to universal mind are blocked

and there is no entrance.

The primal mind has to be recognised along with the senses and thoughts.

It neither belongs to them nor is independent of them.

Don’t build your understanding on your senses and thoughts,

yet don’t look for the mind separate from your senses and thoughts.

Don’t attempt to grasp Reality by pushing away your senses

and thoughts.

Unobstructed freedom is to be neither attached not detached.

This is enlightenment.

The Real Buddha
People perform a vast number of complex practices

hoping to gain spiritual merit as countless as the grains

of sand on the riverbed of the Ganges:

but you are essentially already perfect in every way.

Don’t try and augment perfection with meaningless practice.

If it’s the right occasion to perform them, let practices happen.

When the time has passed, let them stop.

If you are not absolutely sure that mind is the Buddha,

and if you are attached to the ideas of winning merit from spiritual practices, then your thinking is misguided and not in harmony with the Way.

To practice complex spiritual practices is to progress step by step:

but the eternal Buddha is not a Buddha of progressive stages.

Just awaken to the one Mind,

and there is absolutely nothing to be attained.

This is the real Buddha.

About Huang Po
“…his words were simple, his reasoning direct, his way of life exalted and his habits unlike the habits of other men. Disciples hastened to him from all quarters, looking up to him as to a lofty mountain, and through their contact with him awoke to Reality. Of the crowds which flocked to see him, there were always more than a thousand with him at a time.”
Thus P’ei Hsiu (pronounced pay shoo), a scholar-official of great learning according to Blofeld, described Huang Po (hwong bo; Japanese: Obaku), whose teachings he recorded for posterity. Blofeld also tells us that P’ei Hsiu was devoted to Huang Po, so we can forgive him if he may have used a little puffery in describing the size of the crowds always in attendance, but his description of the man rings with honest conviction.
Lest you get the impression that Huang Po was mild-mannered, though, you might be interested to know that his teacher, Pai-chang (whose teacher was Ma-tsu), compared him to a tiger in his ferociousness.

Drink Your Tea

Be a bud sitting quietly on the hedge.

Be a smile, one part of wondrous existence.

Stand here. There is no need to depart.

-Thich Nhat Hahn

Very warm in Portland tonight, at 10:40 it is still 85f… got up to 106f today! Yikes. Sweating. Anyway, busy day, lots of things going on!
An early announcement: Dale Pendell will be speaking at Powell’s on Hawthorne this coming Monday evening the 16th of July. I will have more details for you soon.
Dale will be reading from his newest book: ‘Inspired Madness’ which is about the culture of Burning Man… So stay tuned, more info soon!
Our friend Jan who works at Powell’s Hawthorne is very excited, and hopes you all will show up. A good time is assured!

We have had a great turn out for Radio Free Earthrites! Lots of new stuff, and lots of new listeners! Join in!
Ta Ra for now,
On the Menu:

The Links

The Quotes


Poems of Thich Nhat Thanh…

The Links:

Unearthing history at ‘prehistoric Glastonbury’

Benedict Builds More Bridges!

The more Greek gods the merrier

Mysteries of the Snake Goddess: Art, Desire, and the Forging of History

The Quotes:

“I quit therapy because my analyst was trying to help me behind my back.”
“The best way to keep one’s word is not to give it.”
“If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure.”
“The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised. “
“The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.”
“We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.” “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”
“The whole dream of democracy is to raise the proletarian to the level of stupidity attained by the bourgeois.”


Asanga was one of the most famous Indian Buddhist saints, and lived in the fourth century. He went to the mountains to do a solitary retreat, concentrating all his meditation practice on the Buddha Maitreya, in the fervent hope that he would be blessed with a vision of this Buddha and receive teachings from him.
For six years Asanga meditated in extreme hardship, but did not even have one auspicious dream. He was disheartened and thought he would never succeed with his aspiration to meet the Buddha Maitreya, and so he abandoned his retreat and left his hermitage. He had not gone far down the road when he saw a man rubbing an enormous iron bar with a strip of silk. Asanga went up to him and asked him what he was doing. “I haven’t got a needle,” the man replied, “so I’m going to make one out of this iron bar. “Asanga stared at him, astounded; even if the man were able to manage it in a hun-dred years, he thought, what would be the point? He said to himself: “Look at the trouble people give themselves over things that are totally absurd. You are doing something really valuable, spiritual practice, and you’re not nearly so dedi-cated.” He turned around and went back to his retreat.
Another three years went by, still without the slightest sign from the Buddha Maitreya. “Now I know for certain,” he thought “I’m never going to succeed.” So he left again, and soon came to a bend in the road where there was a huge rock, so tall it seemed to touch the sky. At the foot of the rock was a man busily rubbing it with a feather soaked in water. “What are you doing?” Asanga asked. “This rock is so big it’s stopping the sun from shining on my house, so I’m trying to get rid of it.” Asanga was amazed at the man’s indefatigable energy, and ashamed at his own lack of dedication. He returned to his retreat.
Three more years passed, and still he had not even had a single good dream. He decided, once and for all, that it was hopeless, and he left his retreat for good. The day wore on, and in the afternoon he came across a dog lying by the side of the road. It had only its front legs, and the whole of the lower part of its body was rotting and covered with maggots. Despite its pitiful condition, the dog was snapping at passers-by and pathetically trying to bite them by dragging itself along the ground with its two good legs.
Asanga was overwhelmed with a vivid and unbearable feeling of compassion. He cut a piece of flesh off his own body and gave it to the dog to eat. Then he bent down to take off the maggots that were consuming the dog’s body. But he suddenly thought he might hurt them if he tried to pull them out with his fingers, and realized that the only way to remove them would be on his tongue. Asanga knelt on the ground, and looking at the horrible festering, writhing mass, closed his eyes. He leant closer and put out his tongue. The next thing he knew, his tongue was touching the ground. He opened his eyes and looked up. The dog was gone; there in its place was the Buddha Maitreya, ringed by a shimmering aura of light.
“At last,” said Asanga, “why did you never appear to me before?”
Maitreya spoke softly: “it is not true that I have never appeared to you before. I was with you all the time, but your negative karma and obscurations prevented you from seeing me. Your twelve years of practice dissolved them slightly so that you were at last able to see the dog. Then, thanks to your genuine and heartfelt compassion, all those obscurations were completely swept away and you can see me before you with your very own eyes. If you don’t believe that this is what happened, put me on your shoulder and try and see if anyone else can see me.” Asanga put Maitreya on his right shoulder and went to the marketplace, where he began to ask everyone: “What have I got on my shoulder?” “Nothing,” most people said, and hurried on. Only one old woman, whose karma had been slightly purified, answered: “You’ve got the rotting corpse of an old dog on your shoulder, that’s all. “Asanga at last understood the boundless power of compassion that had purified and transformed his karma, and so made him a vessel fit to receive the vision and instruction of Maitreya. Then the Bud-dha Maitreya, whose name means “loving kindness,” took Asanga to a heavenly realm, and there gave him many sublime teachings that are among the most important in the whole of Buddhism.


Poems of Thich Nhat Thanh…

Drink Your Tea
Drink your tea slowly and reverently,

as if it is the axis

on which the world earth revolves

– slowly, evenly, without

rushing toward the future;

Live the actual moment.

Only this moment is life.

Looking For Each Other
I have been looking for you, World Honored One,

since I was a little child.

With my first breath, I heard your call,

and began to look for you, Blessed One.

I’ve walked so many perilous paths,

confronted so many dangers,

endured despair, fear, hopes, and memories.

I’ve trekked to the farthest regions, immense and wild,

sailed the vast oceans,

traversed the highest summits, lost among the clouds.

I’ve lain dead, utterly alone,

on the sands of ancient deserts.

I’ve held in my heart so many tears of stone.

Blessed One, I’ve dreamed of drinking dewdrops

that sparkle with the light of far-off galaxies.

I’ve left footprints on celestial mountains

and screamed from the depths of Avici Hell, exhausted, crazed with despair

because I was so hungry, so thirsty.

For millions of lifetimes,

I’ve longed to see you,

but didn’t know where to look.

Yet, I’ve always felt your presence with a mysterious certainty.
I know that for thousands of lifetimes,

you and I have been one,

and the distance between us is only a flash of though.

Just yesterday while walking alone,

I saw the old path strewn with Autumn leaves,

and the brilliant moon, hanging over the gate,

suddenly appeared like the image of an old friend.

And all the stars confirmed that you were there!

All night, the rain of compassion continued to fall,

while lightning flashed through my window

and a great storm arose,

as if Earth and Sky were in battle.

Finally in me the rain stopped, the clouds parted.

The moon returned,

shining peacefully, calming Earth and Sky.

Looking into the mirror of the moon, suddenly

I saw myself,

and I saw you smiling, Blessed One.

How strange!
The moon of freedom has returned to me,

everything I thought I had lost.

From that moment on,

and in each moment that followed,

I saw that nothing had gone.

There is nothing that should be restored.

Every flower, every stone, and every leaf recognize me.

Wherever I turn, I see you smiling

the smile of no-birth and no-death.

The smile I received while looking at the mirror of the moon.

I see you sitting there, solid as Mount Meru,

calm as my own breath,

sitting as though no raging fire storm ever occurred,

sitting in complete peace and freedom.

At last I have found you, Blessed One,

and I have found myself.

There I sit.
The deep blue sky,

the snow-capped mountains painted against the horizon,

and the shining red sun sing with joy.

You, Blessed One, are my first love.

The love that is always present, always pure, and freshly new.

And I shall never need a love that will be called “last.”

You are the source of well-being flowing through numberless troubled lives,

the water from you spiritual stream always pure, as it was in the beginning.

You are the source of peace,

solidity, and inner freedom.

You are the Buddha, the Tathagata.

With my one-pointed mind

I vow to nourish your solidity and freedom in myself

so I can offer solidity and freedom to countless others,

now and forever.

A Teacher Looking For His Disciple
I have been looking for you, my child,

Since the time when rivers and mountains still lay in obscurity.

I was looking for you when you were still in a deep sleep

Although the conch had many times echoed in the ten directions.

Without leaving our ancient mountain I looked at distant lands

And recognized your steps on so many different paths.

Where are you going, my child?

There have been times when the mist has come

And enveloped the remote village but you are still

Wandering in far away lands.

I have called your name with each breath,

Confident that even though you have lost your

Way over there you will finally find a way back to me.

Sometimes I manifest myself right on the path

You are treading but you still look at me as if I were a stranger

You cannot see the connection between us in our

Former lives you cannot remember the old vow you made.

You have not recognized me

Because your mind is caught up in images concerning a distant future.

In former lifetimes you have often taken my hand

and we have enjoyed walking together.

We have sat together for a longtime at the foot of old pine trees.

We have stood side by side in silence for hours

Listening to the sound of the wind softly calling us

And looking up at the while clouds floating by.

You have picked up and given to me the firstred autumn leaf

And I have taken you through forests deep in snow.

But wherever we go we always return to our

Ancient mountain to be near to the moon and stars

To invite the big bell every morning to sound,

And help living beings to wake up.

We have sat quietly on the An Tu mountain’ with the

Great Bamboo Forest Master

Alongside the frangipani trees in blossom.

We have taken boats out to sea to rescue the boat people as they drift.

We have helped Master Van Hanh design the Thang

Long capital we have built together a thatched hermitage,

And stretched out the net to rescue the nun Trac Tuyen When!

The sound of The rising tide was deafening

On the banks of The Tien Duong river.

Together we have opened the way and stepped

Into the immense space outside of space.

After many years of working to tear asunder the net of time.

We have saved up the light of shooting stars

And made a torch helping those who want to go home

After decades of wandering in distant places.

But still there have been times when the

Seeds of a vagabond in you have come back to life

you have left your teacher, your brothers and sisters

Alone you go…
I look at you with compassion

Although I know that this is not a true separation

(Because I am already in each cell of your body)

And that you may need once more to play the prodigal son.

That is why I promise I shall be there for you

Any time you are in danger.

Sometimes you have lain unconscious on the hot sands of frontier deserts.

I have manifested myself as a cloud to bring you cool shade.

Late at night the cloud became the dew

And the compassionate nectar falls drop by drop for you to drink.

Sometimes you sit in a deep abyss of darkness

Completely alienated from you true home.

I have manifested Myself as a long ladder and

Lightly thrown myself down

So that you can climb up to the area where there is light

To discover again the blue of the sky and the

Sounds of the brook and the birds.

Sometimes I recognised you in Birmingham,

In the Do Linh district or New England.

I have sometimes met you in Hang Chau, Xiamen, or Shanghai

I have sometimes found you in St. Petersburg or East Berlin.

Sometimes, though only five years old, I have

Seen you and recognized you.

Because of the seed of bodhchita, you carry in your tender heart.

Wherever I have seen you, I have always raised

My hand and made a signal to you,

Whether it be in the delta of the North, Saigon or the Thuan An Seaport.

Sometimes you were the golden full moon hanging

Over the summit of The Kim Son Mountain,

Or the little bird flying over the Dai Laoforest during a winter night.

Often I have seen you

But you have not seen me,

Though while walking in the evening mist your clothes have been soaked.

But finally you have always come home.

You have come home and sat at my feet on our ancient mountain

Listening to the birds calling and the monkeys

Screeching and the morning chanting echoing from the Buddha Hall.

You have come back to me determined not to be a vagabond any longer.

This morning the birds of the mountain joyfully welcome the bright sun.

Do you know, my child, that the white clouds

Are still floating in the vault of the sky?

Where are you now?

The ancient mountain is still there in this

Place of the present moment.

Although the white-crested wave still wants to

Go in the other direction,

Look again, you will see me in you and in every leaf and flower bud.

If you call my name, you will see me right away.

Where are you going?

The old frangipani tree offers its fragrant flowers this morning.

You and I have never really been apart. Spring has come.

The pines have put out new shining green needles

And on the edge of the forest, the wild Plum

Trees have burst into flower.