A Change In The Weather….

“The joy of life consists in the exercise of one’s energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal.”

-Aleister Crowley

The Rains are back in Portland… a bit early for what I need to do, but we are behind in the moisture level, so…. I found a lovely garden today in the North East, Daturas, Brugs, and just the best assortment of them all. All the plants were flowering, absolutely breath taking.
Getting ready for the show next week, and look to see the new Invisible College in the next couple of days!
I hope you have a brilliant week-end, and that you get out for a good walk in the changing of the seasons….
Bright Blessings,
On The Menu:

Aleister Crowley Quotes

Robert Schroeder – Galaxy Cygnus-A (Part 5 To 6)

The Links

Enter The Jaguar

3 Poems – Aleister Crowley

Ancient Dreams…
Aleister Crowley Quotes:
“I was asked to memorise what I did not understand; and, my memory being so good, it refused to be insulted in that manner.”
“Modern morality and manners suppress all natural instincts, keep people ignorant of the facts of nature and make them fighting drunk on bogey tales.”
“Indubitably, Magic is one of the subtlest and most difficult of the sciences and arts. There is more opportunity for errors of comprehension, judgment and practice than in any other branch of physics.”
“every man and woman is a star”
Robert Schroeder – Galaxy Cygnus-A (Part 5 To 6)



The Links:

Harvard Scientists Build a Bong to Smoke Weed During Brain Scan

World record hangover

The light’s on, but is anybody home?

Tardigrades from Sweden: first animals in open space conditions


Enter The Jaguar

© Mike Jay
The monumental ruins of Chavín de Huantar, ten thousand feet up in the Cordillera Blanca of the Peruvian Andes, are, officially, a mystery. The vast, ruined granite and sandstone structures – cyclopean walls, huge sunken plazas and step pyramids – date from around 1000BC but, although they were refashioned and augmented for close to a thousand years, the evidence for the material culture associated with them is fragmentary at best. Chavín seems to have been neither a city nor a military structure, but a temple complex constructed for unknown ritual purposes by a culture which had vanished long before written sources appeared. Its most striking feature is that its pyramids are hollow, a labyrinth of tunnels connecting hundreds of cramped stone chambers. These might be tombs, but there are no bodies; habitations, but they’re arranged in a disorienting layout in pitch blackness; grain stores, but their arrangement is equally impractical. Instead, there are irrigation ducts honeycombed through the carved rock, elaborately channeling a nearby spring through the subterranean maze, and in the centre a megalith set in a vaulted chamber and carved with a swirling, baroque representation of a huge-eyed and jaguar-fanged entity.
The archaeological consensus is that Chavín was some kind of ceremonial focus; some have tentatively located it within a lost tradition of oracles and dream incubation. But the mystery remains profound, and is considerably heightened by the bigger picture that it represents. By most reckonings, and depending on how the term is defined, ‘civilisation’ emerged spontaneously in only a handful of locations around the globe: Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, China, Mexico, perhaps the Nile. To this short list, especially if civilisation is defined in terms of monumental architecture, must now be added Peru. It was only proposed in the 1930s that Chavín is three thousand years old, and it’s only recently been recognised that huge ceremonial structures of plazas and pyramids were being constructed in Peru at least a thousand years earlier. The coastal site of Caral, only now being excavated, turns out to contain the oldest stone pyramid thus far discovered, predating those of Old Kingdom Egypt. So the mystery of Chavín is not an isolated one: it was the flowering of a pristine and unique culture, and one which still awaits interpretation.
San Pedro CactusBut there’s a salient and largely unexamined feature of the Chavín culture which offers a lead into the heart of the mystery: the presence of a complex of powerful plant hallucinogens in its ritual world. The San Pedro cactus (Trichocereus/Echinopsis spp.) is explicitly featured in its iconography; like the Mexican peyote cactus, San Pedro contains mescaline, and is still widely used as a visionary intoxicant in Peru today. Objects excavated from the site also include snuff trays and bone tubes similar to those still used in the Peruvian Amazon for inhaling seeds and barks containing the powerful hallucinogen dimethyltryptamine (DMT). The leading Western scholar of the culture, Yale University’s Richard Burger, whose Chavín and the Origins of Andean Civilisation (Thames & Hudson 1992) is the most authoritative survey of the territory, states plainly enough that ‘the central role of psychotropic substances at Chavín is amply documented’.
It’s not special pleading for a drug-centric view of ancient cultures (at least, not necessarily) to observe that the presence of mind-altering plants offers a bridge between remains and ritual by indicating the state of consciousness in which the latter would have taken place. It also opens up collateral evidence from the deep-rooted traditions of mind-altering plant use which still exist in the region, and from modern understandings of the drugs in question. The combination of mescaline- and DMT-containing plants has been surprisingly little explored even in the dedicated fringes of contemporary drug culture, but the preparations in question remain legally obtainable, relatively simple to prepare in high potency doses, and powerfully effective. Such observations may have limited explanatory power, since a state of consciousness is not a belief system and offers little evidence for the content of the ceremonies in which drugs are used. Nevertheless, the effects of these particular drugs set logistical parameters for their use, to which the design of the Chavín complex may have been a practical response.
So: first, a brief survey of the culture from which Chavín emerged, followed by some thoughts on the role which plant hallucinogens might have played in the temple’s mysteries.
For many thousands of years the Pacific coast of Peru has been as it is today: a barren, moonscape desert. Rain never falls except in El Niño years; fresh water is only to be found in the few river valleys which punctuate it; for the best part of a thousand miles, rocky shores meet cold ocean in a misty haze. But the harsh terrain has its riches: the Humboldt current, sweeping up from the freezing depths of the southern ocean, is loaded with krill and alive with fish, its biomass a hundred times greater than the balmy Atlantic at the same latitude off Brazil. For ten thousand years a substantial human population has been sustained by this current: rancid industrial fish-meal factories today, but in the Stone Age groups of itinerant hunter-gatherers whose presence is attested by massive shell middens. Some of these hills of organic detritus – oyster shells, cotton twine, dried chillis, crushed bones – are a hundred feet high, and remained in continuous use for five thousand years or more.
It was out of this seasonally nomadic coastal culture, shuttling between the arid coasts and the fertile mountain valleys, that the first monumental sites emerged. Dates are still being revised, but are now firmly set some time before 2000BC. The sites may have been used much earlier as huacas, natural sacred spots, around which ceremonial stone and adobe structures gradually accreted and expanded. Caral, a massive site a hundred miles north of Lima where substantial excavation is finally under way, is perhaps an example of this process. Its sprawling complex of dusty mounds centres on a megalith, perhaps originally upended into the valley by an earthquake; from the vantage point of this stone the oldest pyramid precisely mirrors the peak of the mountain which towers over it, suggesting that the megalith may have been the original focus for this alignment. The pyramids, at Caral as elsewhere, seem to have begun as raised platforms for fire-pits, which were subsequently extended upward in layers as the site grew to accomodate increasing human traffic. Below Caral’s pyramids is another feature which would endure for millennia and spread from the coast to the high mountains: a sunken circular plaza, large enough for a gathering of several hundred participants, with steps leading up to the platform of the pyramid above.
This plaza-and-pyramid layout, reproduced in dozens of sites spanning hundreds of miles and thousands of years, seems to have evolved for a ceremonial purpose, but there’s still little consensus about what this might have entailed. Beyond the general problem of reconstructing systems of meaning and belief from stone, these early sites are sparse in cultural materials. Graves are few, and simple; the early monumental building predates the firing of pottery (hence the archaeological term for the era, ‘Preceramic’). There’s little general evidence of human habitation, although there are some chambers in the Caral pyramids which may have housed those who attended the site. Some scholars have sought to cast these as a ‘priestly elite’, ruling caste of a stratified society, but they may equally have been no more than a class of specialist functionaries without particularly exalted status in the community. Certainly a site like Caral would
have been no prize residence: it’s not a palace at the centre of a subjugated settlement so much as a monastic perch on its desolate fringes. Its barren, windswept desert setting overlooks a fertile valley, taking up none of the precious irrigated terrain.
The size of the complex suggests that the fertile valley attracted visitors, and that Caral was a site of pilgrimage for more than its local community. The earliest agriculture on the coast emerged in such valleys, especially cotton and gourds, which were used for making fishing nets and floats: it may be, therefore, that the ceremonial site grew in size as the use of these cultivated commodities spread ever more widely through the loose network of fishing communities up and down the coast. This would suggest a very different picture from the one presented by better-known pristine civilisations such as Mesopotamia or the Indus Valley, where archaeologists have tended to associate the origins of monumental architecture with the control of complex power relations – a centralised state, coercive labour, irrigation systems, a powerful priestcraft or mililary might. Peru seems to tell a rather different story: one of structures emerging largely unplanned, piecemeal and over generations, within a shifting, stateless network of hunter-gatherers.
A further clue to the culture of these Preceramic coastal sites is provided by Sechin, a complex a few centuries later than Caral (around 1700BC) and couple of river valleys to the north. Here, for the first time, the temple is adorned with figurative carvings. But if these are a clue, they’re an oblique one: graphic but inscrutable representations carved in relief on stone blocks. Most are of human forms, some of them dismembered, but their most distinctive motif is wavy trail lines, often ending in finger-like tips, emanating from various parts of the bodies. Some of these seem to be intestines, and some emerge from the mouths of the carvings, but others coil from heads, hands and ears, suggesting they aren’t literal representations of blood, guts or bodily fluids. Their significance remains disputed. Early interpretations of them tended to claim that they were savage warrior figures commemorating tribal battles, victories and annihilated populations, but many of the figures are hard to fit into such a scheme. Recent interpretations, by contrast, have tended to focus on visionary, perhaps shamanic states, just as the Palaeolithic cave art of Europe is now increasingly interpreted not as realistic representations of ‘hunting scenes’ but of an imaginal dreamtime previously visited in a heightened state of consciousness – see, for example, David Lewis-Williams’ The Mind in the Cave (Thames & Hudson 2002). Within this reading, the numinous swirls and haloes would commemorate not military victories but the mysteries which the ceremony at Sechin engendered.
There’s circumstantial evidence for interpolating the use of plant drugs into this ceremonial world. Part of this comes from Chavín, where the same structures would emerge later with images of these plants explicitly represented. Part of it comes from nearby archaeological finds of chewed coca leaf quids and rolls of plant material which may be cored, skinned and dried San Pedro cactus. The coca, along with other plant remains, implies a trade network which connected the coast and the mountains – a symbiosis which would later characterise the Chavín culture. Coca doesn’t grow on the coast, but at an altitude of 1000-2000m up the mountain valleys; San Pedro begins to colonise the steep mountain cliffs at the upper end of this belt, continuing up to 3000m. Given that more bulky mountain plant foodstuffs were being supplied to the barren desert coast two or three days’ journey away, and dried and salted fish traded in return, fresh or dried San Pedro could have been brought down in quantity, as it still is today.
Chavín culture, when it emerged, would testify to the existence of such cross-cultural contact, and more besides. Yet Chavín wasn’t the first ceremonial centre in the mountains. The Preceramic site of Kotosh, a hundred miles away from it across the inland ranges, dates from a similar period to Sechin, and its remains show similar structures: altar-like platforms around stone-enclosed fire pits, stacked on top of each other through several layers of occupation. One gnomic Preceramic symbol also survives: a moulded mud-brick relief of a pair of crossed hands, now housed in the national museum in Lima. Centuries before Chavín, perhaps as early as 2000BC, Kotosh demonstrates that trade links between the mountains and the coast had also generated some commonality of worship.
The emergence of Chavín as a ceremonial centre, probably around 900BC, adds much to this earlier picture: it’s more complex in construction than its predecessors, and far richer in symbolic art. It’s set not on a peak or commanding ridge, but in the narrow valley of the Mosna river, at the junction of a tributary, with mountains rising up steeply to enclose it on all sides. Similarly, the temple structure itself isn’t designed to be spectacular or visible from a distance, but is concealed from all sides behind high walls. The approach to the site would have been through a narrow ramped entrance in these walls, whose distinctive feature was that they were studded with gargoyle-like, life-size heads, some human, some distinctly feline with exaggerated jaws and sprouting canine teeth, and some, often covered in swirling patterns, in the process of transforming from one state to the other. This process of transformation is clearly a physical ordeal: the shapeshifting heads grimace, teeth exposed in rictus grins. In a specific and recurrent detail, mucus emanates in streams from their noses.
Chavinoid stela photoInside these walls – now mostly crumbled, and with the majority of the heads housed in the on-site museum – there are still substantial remains of a ceremonial complex which was reworked and expanded for nearly a thousand years, its last and largest elements dating to around 200BC. The basic arrangement is the by now traditional one of plaza and step pyramid, but these are adorned with far more complexity than their predecessors. Many lintels, columns and stelae are covered with relief carvings, swirling motifs featuring feline jaws, eyes and wings. The initial impression is amorphous and chaotic, but on closer inspection these motifs unfurl into composite images, their interleaved elements in different scales and dimensions, the whole often representing some chimerical entity composed of smaller-scale entities roiling inside it. As the architecture develops through the centuries it becomes larger in scale, reflecting the increased scale of the site; at the same time, the reliefs gradually become less figurative and more abstract, discrete entities melting into a mosaic of stylised patterns and flourishes.
It was only in 1972 that the most striking of these reliefs were uncovered, on faced slabs which line the oldest of the sunken plazas, running like a frieze around its circle at knee height. These figures are presumably from the site’s formative period; the most remarkable is a human figure in a state of feline transformation, bristling with jaws, claws and snakes, and clutching an unmistakable San Pedro cactus like a staff or spear. Beneath this figure – the ‘Chaman’, as he’s become informally known – runs a procession of jaguars carved in swirling lines, with other creatures, birds of prey and snakes, sometimes incorporated into the whorls of their tails.
Tunnels at ChavinThese reliefs are all carved in profile, and all face towards the steps which lead up from the circular plaza to the old pyramid, at the top of which is the familiar altar-like platform. But at the back of this platform is something entirely unfamiliar: a pair of stone doorways disappearing into the darkness inside the pyramid itself. These lead via steps down into tunnels around six foot high and constructed, rather like
Bronze Age long barrows, from huge granite slabs and lintels. The tunnels take sharp, maze-like, usually right-angled turns, apparently designed to disorient and cut out the daylight, zig-zagging into pitch blackness. Opening out from these subterranean corridors are dozens of rock-hewn side chambers, some large enough for half a dozen people, others seemingly for solitary confinement. There are niches hacked in some of the chamber walls which might have housed oil lamps, and lintels which extrude like hammock pegs. Running through the bewildering network of tunnels and chambers are smaller shafts, some of them air vents, others water ducts which allowed the nearby spring to gush and echo through this elaborately constructed underworld.
Right in the heart of the labyrinth is a stela carved in the early Chavín style, a clawed, fanged and rolling-eyed humanoid form, boxed inside a cramped cruciform chamber which rises to the top of the pyramid. The loose arrangement of stones in the roof above, which form a plug at the crown of the pyramid, have led to speculation that they might have been removable, allowing the Lanzon, as the carved stela is known, to point up like a needle to a gap of exposed sky. Other fragments of evidence from the site, such as a large boulder with seven sunken pits in the configuration of the Pleiades, suggest that an element of the Chavín ritual – perhaps, given the narrow confines around the Lanzon, a priestly rather than a public one – might have involved aligning the stela with astronomical events.
This plaza and pyramid was Chavín’s original structure, but over the centuries more and grander variants were added. There are several shafts, some still unexcavated, which lead down into larger underground complexes, their stonework more regular than the old pyramid and their side-chambers typically more spacious. There is a far larger sunken plaza, too, square rather than circular and leading up to a new pyramid and surrounding walls on a more massive scale. Whatever happened at Chavín, the architecture suggests that it carried on happening for centuries, and for an increasing volume of participants.
The term most commonly applied to what went on at Chavín is ‘cult’, although elements of meaning might perhaps be imported from other terms like pilgrimage destination, sacred site, oracle or, in its classical sense, temple of mysteries. This is a conclusion partly drawn from lack of evidence that it represented an empire, or a state power: there are no military structures associated with it, nor centralised labour for major public works like irrigation or housing. During the several centuries of its existence, tribal networks would have risen and fallen around it, changes in the balance of power apparently leaving its source of authority untouched. Its cultic – or cultural – influence, though, spread far and wide. Throughout the first millennium BC, ‘Chavínoid’ sites spread across large swathes of northern Peru, and pre-existing natural huacas began to develop Chavín-style flourishes: rock surfaces carved with snaky fangs and jaws, standing stones decorated with bug-eyed, fierce-toothed humanoid forms. People were clearly coming to Chavín from considerable distances, and carrying its influence back to far-flung valleys, mountains and coasts.
Was Chavín, then, a religion? There’s been some speculation that the carvings on the site represent a ‘Chavín cosmology’, with eagle, snake and jaguar corresponding to earth and sky and so forth, and the humanoid shapeshifter, as represented on the Lanzon, a ‘supreme deity’. But Chavín was not a power base which could coerce its subjects to replace their religion with its own: the spread of its influence indicates that it drew its devotees from a wide range of tribal belief systems with which it existed in parallel. It’s perhaps better understood as a site which offered an experience rather than a cosmology or creed, with its architecture conceived and designed as the locus for a particular ritual journey. In this sense, the Chavín figures would not have been deities competing with those of the participants, but graphic representations of the process which took place inside its walls.
The central motif of this process is signalled clearly enough by the shapeshifting feline heads which studded its portals: transformation from the human state into something else. It’s here that Chavin displays the influence of a new cultural element not conspicuous in the sites which preceded it. The prominence of the jaguar and shapeshifting motifs suggest the intertwining of traditions not just from the coast and the mountains, but also from the jungle on the far side of the Andes. While the monumental style of Chavín’s architecture builds on earlier coastal models, its symbolism points towards the feline transformations which still chararacterise many Amazon shamanisms. The trading networks on the Pacific coast had long ago joined with those in the mountains; at Chavín, where the river Mosna runs east into the Rio Marañon and thence into the Amazon, it seems that these networks had also reached down the humid eastern Andean slopes into the jungle, and had transmitted the influence of another hunter-gatherer culture: one characterised by powerful shamanic technologies of transformation, in many cases with the use of plant hallucinogens.
These twin influences – the coastal mountains and the jungle – are mirrored by the presence at Chavín not of one hallucinogenic plant but two. The San Pedro cactus, as depicted on the wall of Chavín’s old plaza, may have been an element of the earlier coastal tradition, but is in any case native to Chavín’s high valley: a magnificent specimen, which must be at least 200 years old, towers over the site today. Local villages still plant hedges with it, and traders to the curandero markets down in the coastal cities still source it from the area. But the mucus pouring from the noses of the carved heads, combined with material finds of bone sniffing tubes and snuff trays, all point with equal clarity to the use at Chavín of plants containing a second drug, DMT, and a tradition with a different source: the Amazon jungle.
Today, the best-known ethnographic use of DMT-containing snuffs is among the Yanomami people of the Amazon, who traditionally blow powdered Virola tree bark resin up each others’ noses with six-foot blowpipes, a practice which produces a short and intense hallucinatory burst accompanied by spectacular streams of mucus. But there are various other DMT-containing snuffs used in the region, including the powdered seeds of the tree Anadenanthera colubrina, whose distribution – and its artistic depiction in later Andean cultures – makes it the most likely ingredient in the Chavín brew. Anadenanthera-snuffing has been largely replaced in many areas of the Amazon by ayahuasca-drinking, a more manageable technique of DMT ingestion, but this displacement is a recent one, and Anadenanthera is still used by some tribal groups in the remote forest around the borders of Peru, Colombia and Brazil. Even today, the tree grows up the Amazonian slopes of the eastern Andes and as far west as the highlands around Kotosh. The transformation offered at Chavín was, it seems, mediated by the combination of these two extremely potent psychedelics.
The presence of these two plants at Chavín, without necessarily illuminating the purpose or content of the rituals, has certain implications. The effects and duration of San Pedro and Anadenanthera are very distinct from one another, and characterised by quite different ritual uses. San Pedro, boiled, stewed and drunk, can take an hour or more before the effects are felt; once they appear, they last for at least ten. The physical sensation is euphoric, languid, expansive, often with some accompanying nausea; in many Indian traditions, such effects are dealt with by setting the participants to slow, shuffling three-step dances and chants. The effect on consciousness is similarly fluid and oceanic, including vis
ual trails and a heightened sense of presence: the swirling lines which surround the figures at Sechin could perhaps be read as visual representations of this sense of energy projecting itself from the body – particularly from the swirling, psychedelicised intestines – into an immanent spirit world.
Anadenanthera, by contrast, is a short sharp shock, and one that’s powerfully potentiated by a prior dose of San Pedro. At least a gramme of powdered seed needs to be snuffed, enough to pack both nostrils. This process rapidly elicits a burning sensation, extreme nausea and often convulsive vomiting, the production of gouts of nasal mucus and perhaps half an hour of exquisite visions, often accompanied by physical contortions, growls and grimaces which are typically understood in Amazon cultures as feline transformations. Unlike San Pedro, which can be taken communally, the physical ordeal of Anadenanthera tends to make it a solitary one, the subject hunched in a ball, eyes closed, absorbed in an interior world. This interior world is perhaps recognisable in the new decorative elements which emerges at Chavín. Images like the spectacular glyph that covers the Raimundi stela – a human figure which seems to be flowering into other dimensions and sprouting an elaborate headdress of multiple eyes and fangs – are reminiscent not just of ayahuasca art in the Amazon today but also of the fractal, computer-generated visual work associated with DMT in modern Western subcultures.
The distinct effects of these two drugs suggests a functional division between two elements or phases of the ritual which is mirrored in Chavín’s contrasting architectural elements. Like the kiva in Southwestern Native American architecture which it so closely resembles, the circular plaza is readily interpreted as a communal space, used for gathering and mingling, and thus perhaps for dancing and chanting through a long ritual accompanied by group intoxication with San Pedro: it may be that the cactus was already a traditional element of the coastal ceremonies where the form of the plaza originated. The innovative addition of chambers inside the pyramid, by contrast, seems designed for the absorbtion in an interior world engendered by Anadenanthera, an incubation where the subject is transformed and reborn in the womb of darkness.
Chavín’s architecture, in this sense, can be understood as a visionary technology, designed to externalise and intensify these intoxications and to focus them into a particular inner journey. This in turn offers an explanation for why so many might have made such long and arduous pilgrimages to its ceremonies. It wasn’t necessary to visit Chavín simply to obtain San Pedro or Anadenanthera. Both grow wild in abundance in the Andes; there could hardly have been, as in some cultures ancient and modern, a priestly monopoly on their use. Those who came to Chavín weren’t coerced into doing so; it drew participants from a wide area over which it exercised no political or military control. The Chavín ceremony, rather, would have offered a ritual on a spectacular scale, where the effects of the plants could be experienced en masse within an architecture designed to enhance and direct them.
Within this environment, participants could congregate to enter a shared otherworld, and also submit themselves to a highly charged individual vision quest. The sunken plaza might, as the reliefs suggest, have harnessed the heightened consciousness of San Pedro to a mass ritual of dancing and chanting; the participants might subsequently have ascended the temple steps individually to receive a further sacrament of powdered Anadenanthera seeds administered to them by the priests via bone snuffing tubes. As this was taking hold, they would be led into the chambers within the pyramid where they could experience their DMT-enhanced visions in solitary darkness. Here, the amplified rushing of water and the growls and roars of the unseen participants around them would enclose them in a supernatural world, one where ordinary consciousness could be abandoned, the body itself metamorphosed and the world seen from an enhanced, superhuman perspective – analogous, perhaps, to the uncanny night vision of the feline predator. The development of the subterranean chambers over centuries would reflect the logistical demands of ever greater numbers of participants willing to enter the jaguar portal and submit themselves to a life-changing ordeal that offered a glimpse of the eternal world beyond the human.
So Chavín remains a mystery, but perhaps in a more specific sense. If we want an analogy for its function drawn from Western culture, it might be the Eleusinian Mysteries, originating as they did in subterranean chambers near Athens a little later than Chavín, around 700BC. Like Chavín, Eleusis persisted for nearly a thousand years, under different empires, in its case Greek and Roman; like Chavín – and like the Haj at Mecca today – it was a pilgrimage site which drew its participants from a diverse network of cultures spanning virtually the known world. Classical written sources attest to some of the exterior details of the Eleusinian mysteries: its seasonal calendar, its processions, the ritual fasting and the breaking of the fast with a sacred plant potion, the kykeon. But over the thousand years that these mysteries endured, the deepest secrets of Eleusis – the visions that were revealed by the priestesses in the chambers in the bowels of the earth – were never revealed, protected under penalty of death. At Chavín the only surviving records are the stones of the site itself, but the mystery is perhaps of the same order.

3 Poems of Aleister Crowley

Turn back from safety, in my love abide,

Whose lips are warm as when, a virgin bride

I clung to thee ashamed and very glad,

Whose breasts are lordlier for the pain they had,

Whose arms cleave closer than thy spouse’s own!

Thy spouse–O lover, kiss me, and atone!

All my veins burst for love, my ripe breasts beat

And lay their bleeding blossoms at thy feet!

Spurn me no more! O bid these strangers go;

Turn to my lips till their cup overflow;

Hurt me with kisses, kill me with desire,

Consume me and destroy me with the fire

Of blasting passion straining at the heart,

Touched to the core by sweetness, that smart

Bitten by fiery snakes, whose poisonous breath

Swoons in the midnight, and dissolves to death!


Turn to me, touch me, mix thy very breath

With mine to mingle floods of fiery dew

With flames of purple, like the sea shot through

With golden glances of a fiercer star.

Turn to me, bend above me; you may char

These olive shoulders with an old-time kiss,

And fix thy mouth upon me for such bliss

Of sudden rage rekindled. Turn again,

And make delight the minister of pain,

And pain the father of a new delight,

And light a lamp of torture for the night

Too grievous to be borne without a cry

To rend the very bowels of the sky

And make the archangel gasp–a sudden pang,

Most like a traveller stricken by the fang

Of the black adder whose squat head springs up,

A flash of death, beneath a cactus cup.

Ah turn, my bosom for thy love is cold;

My arms are empty, and my lips can hold

No converse with thee far away like this.

O for that communing pregnant with a kiss

That is reborn when lips are set together

To link our souls in one desirous tether,

And weld our very bodies into one.


The first cool kiss, within the water cold

That draws its music from some bubbling well,

Looks long, looks deadly, looks desirable,

The touch that fires, the next kiss, and the whole

Body embracing, symbol of the soul,

And all the perfect passion of an hour.

Turn to me, pluck that amaranthine flower,

And leave the doubtful blossoms of the sky!

You dare not kiss me! dare not draw you nigh

Lest I should lure you to remain! nor speak

Lest you should catch the blood within your cheek

Mantling. You dared enough–so long ago!–

When to my blossom body clean as snow

You pressed your bosom till desire was pain,

And–then–that midnight! you did dare remain

Though all my limbs were bloody with your mouth

That tore their flesh to satiate its drouth,

That was not thereby satisfied! And now

A pallid coward, with sly, skulking brow,

You must leave Sodom for your spouse’s sake.

Coward and coward and coward; who would take

The best flower of my life and leave me so,

Still loving you–Ah! weak–and turn to go

For fear of such a God! O blind! O fool!

To heed these strangers and to be the tool

Of their smooth lies and monstrous miracles.

O break this bondage and cast off their spells!

Five righteous! Thou a righteous man! A jest!

A righteous man–you always loved me best,

And even when lured by lips of wanton girls

Would turn away and sigh and touch my curls,

And slip half-conscious to the old embrace.

And now you will not let me see your face

Or hear your voice or touch you. Ah! the hour!

He moves. Come back, come back, my life’s one flower!

Come back. One kiss before you leave me. So!

Stop–turn–one little kiss before you go;

It is my right–you must. Oh no! Oh no!

The Garden of Janus

The cloud my bed is tinged with blood and foam.

The vault yet blazes with the sun

Writhing above the West, brave hippodrome

Whose gladiators shock and shun

As the blue night devours them, crested comb

Of sleep’s dead sea

That eats the shores of life, rings round eternity!
So, he is gone whose giant sword shed flame

Into my bowels; my blood’s bewitched;

My brain’s afloat with ecstasy of shame.

That tearing pain is gone, enriched

By his life-spasm; but he being gone, the same

Myself is gone

Sucked by the dragon down below death’s horizon.

I woke from this. I lay upon the lawn;

They had thrown roses on the moss

With all their thorns; we came there at the dawn,

My lord and I; God sailed across

The sky in’s galleon of amber, drawn

By singing winds

While we wove garlands of the flowers of our minds.
All day my lover deigned to murder me,

Linking his kisses in a chain

About my neck; demon-embroidery!

Bruises like far-ff mountains stain

The valley of my body of ivory!

Then last came sleep.

I wake, and he is gone; what should I do but weep?
Nay, for I wept enough — more sacred tears! —

When first he pinned me, gripped

My flesh, and as a stallion that rears,

Sprang, hero-thewed and satyr-lipped;

Crushed, as a grape between his teeth, my fears;

Sucked out my life

And stamped me with the shame, the monstrous word of

I will not weep; nay, I will follow him

Perchance he is not far,

Bathing his limbs in some delicious dim

Depth, where the evening star

May kiss his mouth, or by the black sky’s rim

He makes his prayer

To the great serpent that is coiled in rapture there.
I rose to seek him. First my footsteps faint

Pressed the starred moss; but soon

I wandered, like some sweet sequestered saint,

Into the wood, my mind. The moon

Was staggered by the trees; with fierce constraint

Hardly one ray

Pierced to the ragged earth about their roots that lay.
I wandered, crying on my Lord. I wandered

Eagerly seeking everywhere.

The stories of life that on my lips he squandered

Grew into shrill cries of despair,

Until the dryads frightened and dumfoundered

Fled into space —

Like to a demon-king’s was grown my maiden face!
At last I came unto the well, my soul

In that still glass, I saw no sign

Of him, and yet — what visions there uproll

To cloud that mirror-soul of mine?

Above my head there screams a flying scroll

Whose word burnt through

My being as when stars drop in black disastrous dew.
For in that scroll was written how the globe

Of space became; of how the light

Broke in that space and wrapped it in a robe

Of glory; of how One most white

Withdrew that Whole, and hid it in the lobe

Of his right Ear,

So that the Universe one dewdrop did appear.
Yea! and the end revealed a word, a spell,

An incantation, a device

Whereby the Eye of the Most Terrible

Wakes from its wilderness of ice

To flame, whereby the very core of hell

Bursts from its rind,

Sweeping the world away into the blank of mind.
So then I saw my fault; I plunged within

The well, and brake the images

That I had made, as I must make – Men spin

The webs that snare them – while the knee

Bend to the tyrant God – or unto Sin

The lecher sunder!

Ah! came that undulant light from over or from under?
It matters not. Come, change! come, Woe! Come, mask!

Drive Light, Life, Love into the deep!

In vain we labour at the loathsome task

Not knowing if we wake or sleep;

But in the end we lift the plumed casque

Of the dead warrior;

Find no chaste corpse therein, but a soft-smiling whore.
Then I returned into myself, and took

All in my arms, God’s universe:

Crushed its black juice out, while His anger shook

His dumbness pregnant with a curse.

I made me ink, and in a little book

I wrote one word

That God himself, the adder of Thought, had never heard.
It detonated. Nature, God, mankind

Like sulphur, nitre, charcoal, once

Blended, in one annihilation blind

Were rent into a myriad of suns.

Yea! all the mighty fabric of a Mind

Stood in the abyss,

Belching a Law for “That” more awful than for “This.”
Vain was the toil. So then I left the wood

And came unto the still black sea,

That oily monster of beatitude!

(‘Hath “Thee” for “Me,” and “Me” for “Thee!”)

There as I stood, a mask of solitude

Hiding a face

Wried as a satyr’s, rolled that ocean into space.
Then did I build an altar on the shore

Of oyster-shells, and ringed it round

With star-fish. Thither a green flame I bore

Of phosphor foam, and strewed the ground

With dew-drops, children of my wand, whose core

Was trembling steel

Electric that made spin the universal Wheel.
With that a goat came running from the cave

That lurked below the tall white cliff.

Thy name! cried I. The answer that gave

Was but one tempest-whisper – “If!”

Ah, then! his tongue to his black palate clave;

For on soul’s curtain

Is written this one certainty that naught is certain!
So then I caught that goat up in a kiss.

And cried Io Pan! Io Pan! Io Pan!

Then all this body’s wealth of ambergris,

(Narcissus-scented flesh of man!)

I burnt before him in the sacrifice;

For he was sure –

Being the Doubt of Things, the one thing to endure!
Wherefore, when madness took him at the end,

He, doubt-goat, slew the goat of doubt;

And that which inward did for ever tend

Came at the last to have come out;

And I who had the World and God to friend

Found all three foes!

Drowned in that sea of changes, vacancies, and woes!
Yet all that Sea was swallowed up therein;

So they were not, and it was not.

As who should sweat his soul out through the skin

And find (sad fool!) he had begot

All that without him that he had left in,

And in himself

All he had taken out thereof, a mocking elf!
But now that all was gone, great Pan appeared.

Him then I strove to woo, to win,

Kissing his curled lips, playing with his beard,

Setting his brain a-shake, a-spin,

By that strong wand, and muttering of the weird

That only I

Knew of all souls alive or dead beneath the sky.
So still I conquered, and the vision passed.

Yet still was beaten, for I knew

Myself was He, Himself, the first and last;

And as an unicorn drinks dew

From under oak-leaves, so my strength was cast

Into the mire;

For all I did was dream, and all I dreamt desire.
More; in this journey I had clean forgotten

The quest, my lover. But the tomb

Of all these thoughts, the rancid and the rotten,

Proved in the end to be my womb

Wherein my Lord and lover had begotten

A little child

To drive me, laughing lion, into the wanton wild!
This child hath not one hair upon his head,

But he hath wings instead of ears.

No eyes hath he, but all his light is shed

Within him on the ordered sphere

Of nature that he hideth; and in stead

Of mouth he hath

One minute point of jet; silence, the lightning path!
Also his nostrils are shut up; for he

Hath not the need of any breath;

Nor can the curtain of eternity

Cover that head with life or death.

So all his body, a slim almond-tree,

Knoweth no bough

Nor branch nor twig nor bud, from never until now.
This thought I bred within my bowels, I am.

I am in him, as he in me;

And like a satyr ravishing a lamb

So either seems, or as the sea

Swallows the whale that swallows it, the ram

Beats its own head

Upon the city walls, that fall as it falls dead.
Come, let me back unto the lilied lawn!

Pile me the roses and the thorns,

Upon this bed from which he hath withdrawn!

He may return. A million morns

May follow that first dire daemonic dawn

When he did split

My spirit with his lightnings and enveloped it!
So I am stretched out naked to the knife,

My whole soul twitching with the stress

Of the expected yet surprising strife,

A martyrdom of blessedness.

Though Death came, I could kiss him into life;

Though Life came, I

Could kiss him into death, and yet nor live nor die!
Yet I that am the babe, the sire, the dam,

Am also none of these at all;

For now that cosmic chaos of I AM

Bursts like a bubble. Mystical

The night comes down, a soaring wedge of flame

Woven therein

To be a sign to them who yet have never been.
The universe I measured with my rod.

The blacks were balanced with the whites;

Satan dropped down even as up soared God;

Whores prayed and danced with anchorites.

So in my book the even matched the odd:

No word I wrote

Therein, but sealed it with the signet of the goat.
This also I seal up. Read thou herein

Whose eyes are blind! Thou may’st behold

Within the wheel (that alway seems to spin

All ways) a point of static gold.

Then may’st thou out therewith, and fit it in

That extreme spher

Whose boundless farness makes it infinitely near.

The Rose and the Cross

Out of the seething cauldron of my woes,

Where sweets and salt and bitterness I flung;

Where charmed music gathered from my tongue,

And where I chained strange archipelagoes

Of fallen stars; where fiery passion flows

A curious bitumen; where among

The glowing medley moved the tune unsung

Of perfect love: thence grew the Mystic Rose.
Its myriad petals of divided light;

Its leaves of the most radiant emerald;

Its heart of fire like rubies. At the sight

I lifted up my heart to God and called:

How shall I pluck this dream of my desire?

And lo! there shaped itself the Cross of Fire!


Ancient Dreams…



Green Flames & Other Delights…

It seems I am to have my first exhibition at a gallery space in some 8 years… I figured it was about time, as I have a basement and computer full of art. This one will be a print offering, and I will have the full catalog on-line soon. (I will announce when that transpires)
I have been as nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof over this, as it is a completely new direction for my art, breaking away from all that I have done previously. I like the re-inventing process; I feel it is healthy for you, and changes your consciousness in subtle ways.
If you get a chance, please check it out! I hope you will enjoy what you see, and as always, I love to have feedback, pro and con (of course preferring the pro… heh!)
The Clinton Corner Cafe is a great place, one of the centers of community in the South East of Portland. Good food, great drink, and a super staff. Locally owned, by some very wonderful people. At the corner of 21st and Clinton if you get a chance to visit!

On The Menu:

Green Flames: Thoughts on Burning Man, the Green Man, and Dionysian Anarchism, with Four Proposals – Dale Pendell

Koan: No Attachment to Dust

Regional Poems: Gary Snyder

Dale Pendell:
Green Flames: Thoughts on Burning Man, the Green Man, and Dionysian Anarchism, with Four Proposals
Burning Man as a “temporary autonomous zone.”

Burning Man was born in free and visionary revelry, and matured on the Black Rock Desert into a great gathering of the tribes, from the cyber-freaks to the lushy rednecks to the altered-consciousness pentathletes to the nasty punks to the fuckin’ hippies. And everything in between. This alone, from a historical perspective, is a matter of wonder and for rejoicing.
There was another big event, not as big as Burning Man in numbers, but also historically important, in Golden Gate Park, forty years ago, that was called “Gathering of the Tribes.” Gary Snyder spoke at that event, as did Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, Alan Watts, and others.
Such gatherings often take place in what Hakim Bey calls a “temporary autonomous zone,” in cracks and hidden openings overlooked by the guardians of the State. Bey was careful to refrain from defining TAZ rigorously, but it is clear that TAZ is applicable to the free spirit and the festive excesses of Burning Man:
The TAZ is like an uprising which does not engage directly with the State, a guerilla operation which liberates an area (of land, of time, of imagination) and then dissolves itself to re-form elsewhere/elsewhen, before the State can crush it.

–Hakim Bey
Other forces besides the State can quell a temporary autonomous zone: it can be co-opted by the market; it can exhaust its imagination and good will; or it can compromise itself into a more acceptable form. All of these forces continue to exert tremendous pressure on Burning Man.
Many burners feel that the “true TAZ” aspect of Burning Man peaked in the mid-1990s, and has declined ever since. Others, of course, say “stop complaining and party.” Whatever the truth, Burning Man is still a vibrant force with far-reaching social, political, and artistic potential.

Dionysian Anarchism

There has been a debate going on in philosophy for 2500 years about human nature. In fact, it is the only really crucial question of philosophy. At stake is the rationalization for a hierarchical, oppressive state. Before philosophers, religion imputed that human society should be like that of the gods, usually with a top god, and with the others doing their respective parts. These early state religions stressed that the kings on earth, if not divine themselves, were reflections of the order of heaven.
Plato, in the Republic, introduced the “Noble Lie,” that the wise should tell the commoners lies and myths to keep them in their place. A corollary is that if you don’t assist this process, you are not one of the wise, and you will be punished, if not with death or imprisonment, at least with marginalization.
Thomas Hobbes said that people were rapacious beasts, who would start killing and eating each other if it weren’t for an armed police force. Our mainstream culture seems desperate to maintain this viewpoint. During Hurricane Katrina, while the self-organizing cooperative efforts of thousands and tens of thousands of citizens to help each other went largely unreported, a scene of looting was replayed over and over. The clear message is “see, people can’t be trusted. We need the police.” In fact, police (or private security goons) broke up, and even fired on, the emerging cooperatives.
So who is on the other side? Many, actually. First off, we have the evidence of anthropology and human prehistory, which is overwhelmingly cooperative. We have the core teachings of deep mystical traditions.
Jean Jacques Rousseau offered that much of the sickness, the antisocial, and criminal behavior in society was not the result of our intrinsic natures, but of the society itself. Many are quick to dismiss Rousseau with a put-down—“ahh, the Noble Savage.” Rousseau never talked about any noble savage. The term was invented by a mid-nineteenth century pro-slavery American anthropologist, and has been an astoundingly effective little lie to cut off discussion on this topic.
Dionysian anarchism sides with the mystics and with anthropology. It sides with the way that people carry on their affairs most of the time: that is, cooperatively, and generally with a sense of good will. It sides with the spirit of DIY: do-it-yourself. Dionysian anarchists stress that means and ends have to be in accord, and if we can just stop things from getting worse, society will spontaneously realign itself towards freedom. That is our nature. As long as we have free horizons, as long as we are headed towards freedom and not away from it, we can relax a little with a long term view.
Forty years ago poet Gary Snyder, in answer to those who say that cooperative, non-coercive living is against human nature, wrote that we must patiently remind such people that they must know their own true natures first, before they can say that. That those who have gone furthest into deep mind, into deep nature–mystics, meditators, and visionary explorers—have been reporting for several thousand years that we have nothing to fear.
Gary’s solution included Buddhism and other inward-looking spiritual traditions, working within the context of tribal community, and opening to the radical teachings of the wild: wild places, wild animals, and wild plants—the true sources of our culture from our earliest beginnings. Timothy Leary stressed psychedelic visioning. Alan Watts talked about a philosophical sensualism. Ginsberg modeled the ecstatic spontaneity of the dancing bhakti.
But let’s look briefly at where we are.
Despite the pervasive rhetoric of progress from our politicians and media, for most people in the United States, for most plant and animal species, things are not getting better.
Real wages have been declining for over a generation. Measures of the quality of life have been declining. How much someone has to work to get by has been increasing. Infant mortality has been increasing. The percentage of the population in poverty has been increasing. Both the number of people and the percentage of the population in prison has risen dramatically. The United States has the largest prison population in the world, both in numbers and by percentage. Plants, animals, and habitat are being consumed at an ever increasing rate by global corporations which, by their definition and legal charter, can never have enough.
There is of course an upside—for those near the top of the heap, things are better than ever. There is sort of a choice here, aristos vs. demos. One can get with the program, stop complaining, and with some smarts and a good birth you can join the winners.
The Aztecs had a pathway for the commoners to gain entrance to the elite by becoming warriors and capturing sacrificial victims in the “flower wars”—wars maintained not for conquest of territory but for just that reason of providing victims. (One had to capture five victims to gain the highest ranking, with its attendant privileges, such as the right to drink chocolate.)

Freeing the Imagination
The first anarchist act is to free the imagination, to cut through our years of conditioning about what is “unthinkable.” By imagination, we do not mean mere reverie, but our imaging of the world, our mental picturing of who we are and the fundamental nature of existence, of reality. This is imagination in the sense that Blake used the word: the fire of consciousness, the fire of mind. Freeing the imagination means that you can act spontaneously in the world, not only artistically but in all of your interactions.
This is not as easy as it sounds. How to do that?
For poets, artists, musicians, dancers, meditators, and visionaries, it is a matter of continuing practice: plumbing the depths of mind, learning how to listen, and then sharing our insights through performance. This is the ancient wisdom of all gift economies.

Ecology and Deep Ecology
The Black Rock Desert was one of Gary Snyder’s favorite places to come and camp long before Burning Man ever came here, and it is one of the major inspirations for his poem “Mountains and Rivers without End.”
On the Black Rock, the environment is impossible to ignore: it fills our eyes and tents and drinking cups with every dust storm. It roasts us or freezes us. On the Playa, the spirit of place is never far away, even for newbies who have never heard of Lake Lahontan.
At first glance, Burning Man, with its penchant for fire, excess, inebriation, celebration, sexuality, radical self-expression, and generators, hardly seems a candidate for greenness. But there is a connection—a connection in mythopoesis, at a deeper level than our laudable efforts at recycling and solar electricity and “leave no trace.”
This connection relates to the difference between management ecology and deep ecology. Management ecology we need, desperately, but deep ecology we need even more. The Green Man is deep ecology—his leafy speaking is animistic. Plant intelligence, with its sense of place, and wild intelligence, with its sense of freedom, speak through his mouth.
The Green Man is the bridge, and the Green Man is madness. Ecstatic madness. Madness that recognizes that the earth is alive. What do we mean by that? Not that the earth is composed of cells with a DNA library, but that the earth is not a separate thing, distinct from our own living minds. Buddhists state that, ultimately, the seeming objectivity of the “external” world, is an illusion, that our own true nature and the salt of the playa are not separate. This is the message that mystics and yogis and shamans have maintained for millennia. Once this is realized, the problems don’t go away, but cutting away a hillside, building a house or factory, putting explosives into the earth, are all recognized as having a transgressive nature. We then have a tendency to try to ask permission—what does the earth have to say about what we are doing, the hillside, the animal that we are going to eat? And then we try to make things right, with a sense of gratitude and perhaps a bit of shame, or even guilt, to bring things back into harmony with the spirits. We recognize that we are being gifted, that countless generations of effort, sacrifice, and imagination make possible our birth and our sustenance. So we want to give something back. Snyder states: “Performance is currency in the deep world’s gift economy.”

The Green Man, Dionysus, and Divine Madness
In his last published essay, “Dionysus in 1990,” philosopher Norman O. Brown extended ideas of Georges Bataille and Marcel Mauss and others to invert the Marxist focus on production to that of consumption–more to the point, “wasteful consumption.” The idea of wasteful consumption is anathema to conservationists (and to all sane and rational people). The idea is, frankly, madness. Brown bets all with Socrates that if the madness is inspired by a god, that is, divine madness, it is the source of our greatest blessings. We might say that divine madness is the “wild” of consciousness.
The name of the god, for Brown, is Dionysus. Iconographically, it is easy to recognize Dionysus in the Green Man, the one whose very speech is wild nature.
Now Brown is not expecting people to actually bow down and worship Dionysus. For Brown, Dionysus is a shorthand for an irrepressible wild and joyful energy. The opposite of this energy is the Grand Inquisitor, with his benevolent lies. Success or failure seems to pivot on the issue of passive entertainment—Blake’s “spectral enjoyment.” The Inquisitor is betting that circuses will satisfy the masses. The Dionysian bets he is wrong. That is the idea behind “no spectators.”
The traditional manifestation of Dionysian energy has always been through festivals. Barbara Ehrenreich points out that in medieval Spain a third of the days of the year were holidays for festivals. There was a backwards day, a Feast of Fools when a donkey was led into the cathedral and the bishop’s miter placed on his head. Blasphemies were uttered, echoes of the Dionysian festivals of Greece. The Greeks were wise enough to recognize that although Dionysus meant trouble, the suppression of Dionysus was even worse—that trying to suppress the Dionysian spirit entirely, to end all licentiousness, all blasphemy, all risk, led to false madness, profane madness, and the sacrifice of children. Moloch. That is the true idolatry, when the blasphemies of art are petrified into literalism. The Romans, by the way, an Apollonian people, suppressed the Bacchanalia with much bloodshed—perhaps the first “War on Drugs.”
The church made occasional attempts to suppress the festivals—these moves mostly coming from Rome. The local priests generally resisted this suppression, saying that without the festivals they would have no congregation. Festivals, it should not surprise us, were sometimes the springboards for political rebellion.
A hardier force against the festival was the Enlightenment, along with mercantilism, and the Industrial Revolution. “Reason,” remember. Lenin even went so far as to praise the capitalists for disciplining the working classes.
We must remember that anytime large groups of people can get together cooperatively, it puts the lie to the Hobbesian thesis that people are innately irresponsible and dangerous. That is the real reason that the government insists on police presence—even though they are clearly unnecessary. Free festivals are a threat to the whole rationalization for the existence of the armed, coercive forces of “internal security.” Such a free festival would be a light to the world for centuries: proof that cooperative living, free from armed coercion, is not “unthinkable,” but the way things should be. Free the imagination!
In Brown’s system (which I go into more deeply in my Inspired Madness, The Gifts of Burning Man, published last year by North Atlantic Books), the rites of Dionysus, with their attendant licentiousness, danger, fire, blasphemy, and wasteful consumption (combustion for its own sake), must be seen as prophylactic: they protect us from calamity—the Greeks certainly understood them thus. I like to joke that in a more enlightened age Burning Man would be given a grant from the Defense Department, in gold. The alternative worship, as Brown clearly stated, is war.
There is, alas, no proof for this thesis. The mythopoetic foundation is very strong, but in the end it comes down to a wager. Everyone must choose a square.

A Few Proposals for Burning Man, LLC.
1. Stop the undercover stings by police. If you can’t stop them, at least speak out against them, LOUDLY and PUBLICLY. This violation of trust and goodwill is the opposite of everything that Burning Man stands for. Smoking cannabis may be illegal, but lying and violating another’s trust—“hey man, you got any weed you can share?”—is immoral and despicable. It is a poison that spreads distrust and division. It is the worst model of civic behavior. In the face of such behavior for Burning Man to state “we have an excellent relationship with law enforcement” amounts to collusion.
Personally, I believe that all police presence should be reduced. And reduced again. Let’s free our imaginations and not dismiss this possibility as “impossible.” Why do we let police strut through the dance clubs? It’s time to push back. Tell the BLM we’ll take the festival somewhere else—see what they say then. (The High Sierra Music Festival had some remarkable success with this tactic.)
2. Stop the car searches. This one is easy. It’s wrong that the very first encounter upon arriving at Burning Man is someone demanding to search one’s car, someone who tells me “I can’t take your word for it.” That’s “spectator” thinking.
How big a problem would it be if a few people who can’t afford a ticket sneak in? Maybe they should be there. Maybe they have something important to contribute. How many would there be? Three percent? Five percent? I’ll pay five percent more to cover them, until they can get their acts together. Isn’t our way to educate by example? Let’s see if we can make it work through the peer pressure of responsibility and good citizenship. Spirit of giving, anyone?
3. Consider dropping charges against Paul Addis (the man who set fire to the Man on Monday night). Perhaps such a benevolent act of clemency could bring him back into the fold. Make him do community service at Camp Arctica to cool him off and help him make some new friends. At least talk to the guy—he clearly wants to say something.
4. Wouldn’t ”Dreaming America” or just “Dreaming” be a better theme for 2008 than “The American Dream.” Consider the contradictions in the theme announcement.
Beneath a background of red, white, and blue (originally the flag of the East India Company, the English-speaking world’s first transnational corporation), Burning Man has announced that next year’s theme will be “about patriotism.” While one might pledge some allegiance to “the soil of Turtle Island,” the Burning Man theme is presented entirely in a nationalistic context. This kind of patriotism is one of the greatest diseases of civilization, responsible not only for the deaths of many millions of persons, but for wide scale scorching of the earth.
While waving a flag, Burning Man says this theme is not about flag worship (and, as well, that “flag burning [will] play no part in this year’s theme,” a rather ironic proscription). Presenting us with ideology, they say “leave ideology at home.” They seem to think that politics has to do with “the blue states and the red,” politics only in its most myopic and degenerate condition.
Astonishingly, beneath this banner of patriotism and the American Dream, we are given a (misquoted) fragment of Robinson Jeffers’ poem “Shine, Perishing Republic.” Jeffers, a wise man, is not turning in his grave, but, rather, “sadly smiling.” The point is the next line of the poem (not quoted):
“But for my children, I would have them keep their distance from the thickening center; corruption Never has been compulsory.”
Time for a regional?

No Attachment to Dust
Zengetsu, a Chinese master of the T’ang dynasty, wrote the following advice for his pupils:
Living in the world yet not forming attachments to the dust of the world is the way of a true Zen student.
When witnessing the good action of another encourage yourself to follow his example. Hearing of the mistaken action of another, advise yourself not to emulate it.
Even though alone in a dark room, be as if you were facing a noble guest. Express your feelings, but become no more expressive than your true nature.
Poverty is your teasure. Never exchange it for an easy life.
A person may appear a fool and yet not be one. He may only be guarding his wisdom carefully.
Virtues are the fruit of self-discipline and do not drop from heaven of themselves as does rain or snow.
Modesty is the foundation of all virtues. Let your neighbors discover you before you make yourself known to them.
A noble heart never forces itself forward. Its words are as rare gems, seldom displayed and of great value.
To a sincere student, every day is a fortunate day. Time passes but he never lags behind. Neither glory nor shame can move him.
Censure yourself, never another. Do not discuss right and wrong.
Some things, though right, were considered wrong for generations. Since the value of righteousness may be recognized after centuries, there is no need to crave an immediate appreciation.
Live with cause and leave results to the great law of the universe. Pass each day in peaceful contemplation.


Regional Poems: Gary Snyder

Three Deer One Coyote Running In The Snow
First three deer bounding

and then coyote streaks right after

tail flat out
I stand dumb a while two seconds

blankly black-and-white of trees and snow
Coyote’s back!

good coat, fluffy tail,

sees me: quickly gone.


I walk through where they ran
to study how that news all got put down

Regarding Wave
The voice of the Dharma

the voice

A shimmering bell

through all.
Every hill, still.

Every tree alive. Every leaf.

All the slopes flow.

old woods, new seedlings,

tall grasses plumes.
Dark hollows; peaks of light.

wind stirs the cool side

Each leaf living.

All the hills.
The Voice

is a wife


him still.

Before dawn the coyotes

weave medicine songs

dream nets — spirit baskets –

milky way music

they cook young girls with

to be woman;

or the whirling dance of

striped boys –
At moon-set the pines are gold-purple

Just before sunrise.
The dog hastens into the undergrowth

Comes back panting

Huge, on the small dry flowers.
A woodpecker

Drums and echoes

Across the still meadow
One man draws, and releases an arrow

Humming, flat,

Misses a gray stump, and splitting

A smooth red twisty manzanita bough.
Manzanita the tips in fruit,

Clusters of hard green berries

The longer you look

The bigger they seem,
`little apples’

Those are the people who do complicated things.
they’ll grab us by the thousands

and put us to work.
World’s going to hell, with all these

villages and trails.

Wild duck flocks aren’t

what they used to be.

Aurochs grow rare.
Fetch me my feathers and amber

A small cricket

on the typescript page of

“Kyoto born in spring song”

grooms himself

in time with The Well-Tempered Clavier.

I quit typing and watch him through a glass.

How well articulated! How neat!
Nobody understands the ANIMAL KINGDOM.

When creeks are full

The poems flow

When creeks are down

We heap stones.


Hafiz on a Friday Morning….

I had wild dreams last night… I was on the east coast in upper Virginia or somewhere like…. (dreamscapes remember) and the land was sinking into the sea… Waves were cresting over old stone buildings, and the trees were in the full glory of fall. I was travelling in the wake of a ship for awhile, then upon roads. It was both strange and beautiful simultaneously.
This is a small entry today, 2 poems, and some nice art. Off the cuff so to say.
Weather here is nice, and life has that wonderful quality of seasonal change.

Two Poems Ascribed To Hafiz….
Wild Deer

الا ای آهوی وحشی کجایی
Where are you O Wild Deer?

I have known you for a while, here.

Both loners, both lost, both forsaken

The wild beast, for ambush, have all waken

Let us inquire of each other’s state

If we can, each other’s wishes consummate

I can see this chaotic field

Joy and peace sometimes won’t yield

O friends, tell me who braves the danger

To befriend the forsaken, behold the stranger

Unless blessed Elias may come one day

And with his good office open the way

It is time to cultivate love

Individually decreed from above

Thus I remember the wise old man

Forgetting such a one, I never can

That one day, a seeker in a land

A wise one helped him understand

Seeker, what do you keep in your bag

Set up a trap, if bait you drag

In reply said I keep a snare

But for the phoenix I shall dare

Asked how will you find its sign

We can’t help you with your design

Like the spruce become so wise

Rise to the heights, open your eyes

Don’t lose sight of the rose and wine

But beware of your fate’s design

At the fountainhead, by the riverside

Shed some tears, in your heart confide

This instrument won’t tune to my needs

The generous sun, our wants exceeds

In memory of friends bygone

With spring showers hide the golden sun

With such cruelty cleaved with a sword

As if with friendship was in full discord

When flows forth the crying river

With your own tears help it deliver

My old companion was so unkind

O Pious Men, keep God in mind

Unless blessed Elias may come one day

Help one loner to another make way

Look at the gem and let go of the stone

Do it in a way that keeps you unknown

As my hand moves the pen to write

Ask the main writer to shed His light

I entwined mind and soul indeed

Then planted the resulting seed

In this marriage the outcome is joy

Beauty and soulfulness employ

With hope’s fragrant perfume

Let eternal soul rapture assume

This perfume comes from angel’s sides

Not from the doe whom men derides

Friends, to friends’ worth be smart

When obvious, don’t read it by heart

This is the end of tales of advice

Lie in ambush, fate’s cunning and vice.

Saghi Nameh

ساقی نامه
O Bearer, bring the wine that brings joy

To increase generosity, & let perfection buoy

Give me some, for I have lost my heart

Both traits from me have kept apart

Bring the wine whose reflection in the cup

Signals to all the kings whose times are up

Give me wine, and with the reed-flute I will sing

When was Jamshid, and when Kavoos was king

Bring me the elixir whose grace and alchemy

Bestows treasures, from bonds of time sets free

Give me so they’ll open the doors once again

Of long life and the bliss that will remain

Bearer give the wine that the Holy Grail

Will make claims of sight in the Void and thus fail

Give me so that I, with the help of the Grail

All secrets, like Jamshid, themselves avail

Speak of the tale of the wheel of fate

proclaim to the kings and heroes of late

This broken world is in the same state

As seen by Afrasiab, the mighty, the great

Whence his mobilizing army generals

Whence cunning heroes’ war cries and calls

Not only his palace has gone to the dust

Even his tomb is destroyed and long lost

This barren desert is in the same stage

As the armies of Salm & Toor were lost in its rage

Bring the wine whose reflection in the cup

Signals to all the kings whose times are up

Well said Jamshid, the old majestic king

Worthless is this transient stage and ring

Come Bearer, that fire, radiant, bright

Zarathushtra, beneath the earth, seeks so right

Give me wine, in the creed of the drunk

Whether fire-worshipper or worldly monk

Come Bearer, that wholesome drunk

Who is forever in the tavern sunk

Give me, ill repute bring to my name

The cup and the wine I shall only blame

Bring Bearer, the water that burns the mind

If lion drinks, forest will burn and grind

Courageous, I’ll go hunting lions of fate

Mess up this old wolf’s trap and bait

Bring Bearer, that high heavenly wine

That angels with their scent would entwine

Give me wine, I’ll burn it like sweet incense

Its wise aroma I will sense now and hence

Bearer, give me the wine that makes kings

Witnessing its virtues, my heart sings

Give me wine to wash away all my flaws

Joyous rise above this rut’s deadly claws

When the spiritual garden is my abode

Why have me bound to a board on this road

Give me wine and then see the Ruler’s face

Ruin me & see treasures of wisdom and grace

And when I hold the cup in my hand

In the mirror everything I understand

In my drunken state, kingship proclaim

A monarch, when I am drunken and lame

Drunken, pearls of wisdom unveil

In hiding secrets, the selfless fail

Hafiz, drunken, songs will compose

From its melody Venus’ song flows

O singer, with the sound of the stream

Of that majestic song muse and dream

Till I make my work joy and ecstasy

I will dance and play with robe of piety

Given a crown and throne by his fate

The fruit of the kingly tree of this estate

Ruler of the land, and Lord of the time

The grand and fortunate King of the clime

He is the greatness vested in the Throne

comfort of bird and fish from Him alone

For the blessed, he is light of the eyes

Yet he is the gift of the soul of the wise

Behold, O, auspicious bird

The happy inspiration to be heard

The world has no pearls in its shells like Thee

Fereydoon and Jamshid had no heirs like Thee

Instead of Alexander, be here many a year

Know thy heart and discover joy is near

But seditious fate many plans may devise

Me and my drunkenness troubled by Beloved’s eyes

One, for his work, may pick up the sword

Another’s business only deals with the word

O Player, play the song of the new creed

To music of the stream tell to my rival breed

Finally with my enemy I have a chance

At victory, in the skies I can glance

O Player, play something pleasing to the ear

With a song and a Gahzal begin a story, dear

My sorrows have tied me to the ground

Raise me with my principles that are sound

O singer, with the sound of the stream

Play and sing that majestic song I dream

Make the great souls happy with you

Parviz and Barbad remember too

O Player, paint a picture of the veil

Listen, inside, they tell a tale

Sing a minstrel’s song, such

That Venus’ harp dances with her touch

Play so the Sufi goes into a trance

Drunken, in Union, leaves his stance

O Player, tambourine and harp play

With a lovely tune, sing and sway

Deceptions of the world make a vivid tale

The night is pregnant, what will it entail

O Player, I’m sad, play one or two

In his Oneness, as long as you can, play too

I am astounded by the revolving fate

I don’t know who will next degenerate

And if the Magi set one on fire

Don’t know whose light will then expire

In this bloody resurrection field

Let the cup and jug their blood yield

To the drunk, of a good song, give a sign

To friends bygone, a salutation divine

A Mouthful of Pebbles…

An Image I put together for Turfing and I never used… This was a skull of a juvenile deer I found years ago in Mount Shasta. I still have it in a box, having put it away as some people find it hard not to stare at when it is on a table in front of them… I find it beautiful, and full of a certain grace.
We received a couple of beautiful presents today…. Laura Pendell sent a beautiful hand bound book. Her work is marvelous. The paper on the cover is hand made with a beautiful feather floating upon it. After I finish Turfing, I will take it to bed with me to read.
Peter sent some great music, which I am wading through in the next couple of days. I promise it will make it on the radio, and really, there is lots, lots of new music on Radio Free EarthRites! Give it a listen, please!

Radio Free EarthRites!
This the mid week edition, and we have some very nice picks this time of the season….
Bright Blessings!
On The Menu:
The Linkage

Miracle occurs at Zaynab Mosque in Syria

The Quotes

The Stone Cutter

More Poems Of Lorca

The Linkage:

Giving up car revs family up

World out of balance…

Shock and Awe


Miracle occurs at Zaynab Mosque in Syria, ENTITY APPEARS


This is footage taken at the Zaynab mosque in Syria where thousands of bystanders witnessed the sealed shut doors to A Miracle happened in the Maqam of Sayeda Zeinab (A.S) in the Arba’en of Imam Hussein (A.S) in Syria (1428 hijri – 2007).. The Shrine was firmly closed and nobody inside, and suddenly a Light came from inside the Maqam and the internal Large Gate started to open spontaneously…


The Quotes:
“Defining and analyzing humor is a pastime of humorless people.”
“In real life, I assure you, there is no such thing as algebra.”
“No one has ever had an idea in a dress suit.”
“Irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors.”
“Every composer knows the anguish and despair occasioned by forgetting ideas which one had no time to write down.”
“Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn’t mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.”


The Stone Cutter
There was once a stone cutter who was dissatisfied with himself and with his position in life.
One day he passed a wealthy merchant’s house. Through the open gateway, he saw many fine possessions and important visitors. “How powerful that merchant must be!” thought the stone cutter. He became very envious and wished that he could be like the merchant.
To his great surprise, he suddenly became the merchant, enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever imagined, but envied and detested by those less wealthy than himself. Soon a high official passed by, carried in a sedan chair, accompanied by attendants and escorted by soldiers beating gongs. Everyone, no matter how wealthy, had to bow low before the procession. “How powerful that official is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a high official!”
Then he became the high official, carried everywhere in his embroidered sedan chair, feared and hated by the people all around. It was a hot summer day, so the official felt very uncomfortable in the sticky sedan chair. He looked up at the sun. It shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by his presence. “How powerful the sun is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be the sun!”
Then he became the sun, shining fiercely down on everyone, scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers and laborers. But a huge black cloud moved between him and the earth, so that his light could no longer shine on everything below. “How powerful that storm cloud is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a cloud!”
Then he became the cloud, flooding the fields and villages, shouted at by everyone. But soon he found that he was being pushed away by some great force, and realized that it was the wind. “How powerful it is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be the wind!”
Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off the roofs of houses, uprooting trees, feared and hated by all below him. But after a while, he ran up against something that would not move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it – a huge, towering rock. “How powerful that rock is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a rock!”
Then he became the rock, more powerful than anything else on earth. But as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer pounding a chisel into the hard surface, and felt himself being changed. “What could be more powerful than I, the rock?” he thought.
He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a stone cutter.


More Poems Of Lorca…

Gacela of Unforseen Love

No one understood the perfume

of the dark magnolia of your womb.

Nobody knew that you tormented

a hummingbird of love between your teeth.
A thousand Persian little horses fell asleep

in the plaza with moon of your forehead,

while through four nights I embraced

your waist, enemy of the snow.
Between plaster and jasmins, your glance

was a pale branch of seeds.

I sought in my heart to give you

the ivory letters that say “siempre”,
“siempre”, “siempre” : garden of my agony,

your body elusive always,

that blood of your veins in my mouth,

your mouth already lightless for my death.

The Little Ballad of the Three Rivers

The Guadalquivir’s river

runs past oranges and olives.

The two rivers of Granada,

fall, to wheatfields, out of snow.
Ay, Love, that goes,

and never returns!
The Guadalquivir’s river

has a beard of clear garnet.

The two rivers of Granada

one of sorrow, one of blood.
Ay, Love,

vanished down the wind!
For the sailing-boats,

Seville keeps a roadway:

Through the waters of Granada

only sighs can row.

Ay, Love, that went,

and never returned!

Guadalquivir – high tower,

and breeze in the orange-trees.

Dauro, Genil – dead turrets,

dead, above the ponds.

Ay, Love,

vanished down the wind!

Who can say, if water carries

a ghost-fire of cries?

Ay, Love, that went,

and never returned!

Take the orange petals,

take the leaves of olives,

Andalusia, down to your sea.
Ay, Love,

vanished on the wind!

Paso (The Images of the Passion)
Virgin in a crinoline,

Virgin of Solitude,

spreading immensely

like a tulip-flower.

In your boat of light,

go –

through the high seas

of the city.

through turbulent singing,

through crystalline stars.

Virgin in a crinoline

through the roadway’s river

you go,

down to the sea!

The Dawn
New York’s dawn holds

four mud pillars,

and a hurricane of black doves,

paddling in foul water.

New York’s dawn

moans on vast stairways,

searching on the ledges,

for anguished tuberoses.

Dawn breaks and no one’s mouth breathes it,

since hope and tomorrow, here, have no meaning.

Sometimes coins, furiously swarming,

stab and devour the abandoned children.

The first to go outside know in their bones

Paradise will not be there, nor wild loves.

They know they go to the swamp of law, and numbers,

to play without art, and labour without fruit.

The light is buried by chains and by noise,

in the shameless challenge, of rootless science.

All across the suburbs, sleepless crowds stumble,

as if saved, by the moment, from a shipwreck of blood.


The Monday Patisserie

Stay Tuned for some announcements on upcoming events, you might be interested…
Monday came in, wet, soggy. Fall is here for sure. Sunflowers are falling over, and harvest time is here. A squirrel made off with one of our sunflower heads, daring thief! The visuals are a bit much, how did he do it? Maybe by squirrel committee?
Here is to a beautiful week, and wonderful times ahead.

Tune In! Radio Free EarthRites!

On The Menu:

The Links

Video without the Pics, Balkan Style…

The Gift of Insults

Poetry: Lorca (with one of his drawings)

Art: Franz von Stuck

The Links:

Forget Me Not Panties!

Paris ’68

Neanderthal man cleaned his teeth, experts find

Czech speedway rider knocked out in crash wakes up speaking perfect English

Carbon dating casts doubt on age of St Francis robe

Video without the Pics, Balkan Style…



The Gift of Insults
There once lived a great warrior. Though quite old, he still was able to defeat any challenger. His reputation extended far and wide throughout the land and many students gathered to study under him.
One day an infamous young warrior arrived at the village. He was determined to be the first man to defeat the great master. Along with his strength, he had an uncanny ability to spot and exploit any weakness in an opponent. He would wait for his opponent to make the first move, thus revealing a weakness, and then would strike with merciless force and lightning speed. No one had ever lasted with him in a match beyond the first move.
Much against the advice of his concerned students, the old master gladly accepted the young warrior’s challenge. As the two squared off for battle, the young warrior began to hurl insults at the old master. He threw dirt and spit in his face. For hours he verbally assaulted him with every curse and insult known to mankind. But the old warrior merely stood there motionless and calm. Finally, the young warrior exhausted himself. Knowing he was defeated, he left feeling shamed.
Somewhat disappointed that he did not fight the insolent youth, the students gathered around the old master and questioned him. “How could you endure such an indignity? How did you drive him away?”
“If someone comes to give you a gift and you do not receive it,” the master replied, “to whom does the gift belong?”

Poems of Lorca….

Song of the Moon, Moon

-to Conchita García Lorca
The moon came to the forge

with her bustle of nards.

The boy watches the sight.

The boy is watching her.
In the trembling air

the moon moves her arm

and lewd and pure shows

her breasts of hard tin.
“Run Moon, Moon, Moon.

If the gypsies came

they would twist your heart

into chains and rings of white.”
“Boy, let me dance.

When the gypsies come,

they’ll find you on the anvil,

fast asleep.”
“Run Moon, Moon, Moon,

because I hear their horses now.”

“Boy, leave my whiteness

The rider approached

tapping his tamborine.

Inside the forge was the boy,

with his eyes closed.
Through the olive grove they came,

all bronze and dreams, the gypsies.

Their heads lifted up,

their eyes half-shut.
“How the owl sings, Ay!

how the tawny owl sings in the tree!”

Through the sky the moon takes

the boy by the hand.
Inside the forge, the gypsies

cry and give shouts.

The wind guards, it guards.

The wind is guarding it.
(Drawing by Federico García Lorca)

Song of the Horseman

distant and alone.
Black pony, big moon,

olives in my saddlebag.

Though I know these roads,

I’ll never reach Córdoba.
Through the plains, through wind,

black pony, red moon,

death watching me

from the high towers of Córdoba.
Ay! What a long road.

Ay! What a brave pony.

Ay! Death, you will take me,

on the road to Córdoba.

distant and alone.

Ditty of First Desire

In the green morning

I wanted to be a heart.

A heart.
And in the ripe evening

I wanted to be a nightingale.

A nightingale.

turn orange-colored.


turn the color of love.)
In the vivid morning

I wanted to be myself.

A heart.
And at the evening’s end

I wanted to be my voice.

A nightingale.

turn orange-colored.


turn the color of love.

The Saturday Blind Spot

(Gaston Bussiere – Deux Enfants Aux Couronnes De Fleurs)

My brother-in-law Peter blew through town last night coming back from a conference out in Hood River… We had a nice time, and a very good talk. He was picking up Rowan’s cousin Jake, who was down visiting his lady friend, Willow. Quite the item lately!
Weather is odd in Portland, lots of clouds, not much rain, but just enough to keep projects outdoors at bay.
Some good stuff on Turfing today, take your time, read, listen and enjoy! Check out the radio!
Bright Blessings,


What’s On The Menu:

Radio Free EarthRites

Shpongle Spores

Earth Democracy Thrives In Nandigram

Antonio Machado Poems

Antonio Machado Biography

Art: Gaston Bussiere

Liberate Your Speakers! Radio Free EarthRites

Now adding hours and hours of new music for your listening pleasure! More Poetry soon on the Spoken Word Channel!

Shpongle – Shpongle Spores


Earth Democracy Thrives In Nandigram

By Vandana Shiva
Nandigram a little known corner of Bengal, near the mouth of the Ganges river suddenly entered the nations consciousness in early 2007.
The fertile land of Nandigram had been identified as a Special Economic Zone (Zone) for a chemical hub to be run by the Salim Group. The Salim group is named after its founder Liem Sior Liong, alias Sordono Salim. In 1965, when Suharto overthrew Saekarno, Salim emerged as a crony who helped build Suharto’s $16 billion assets. In the 1980′s and 1990′s during Indonesia’s oil boom, Salim set up the Bank of Central Asia. He set up noodle, flour and bread businesses. He set up Indomobil Sukses Interantional to make cars, Indo cement Tunggal Prakasa to make cement. Altogether he held 500 companies in Indonesia. This is the group that was trying to grab the land of farmers in Nandigram.
Nandigram was chosen because it is next to Haldia, a major port. SEZ’s are tax free zones, where no law of the land applies – no environmental law, no labour law, no Panchayati Raj law for local governance. SEZ’s were created in 2006 through the SEZ Act of 2005, which allowed the government to appropriate farmers land and hand it over to corporations.
But the small and landless peasants of Nandigram stood up in revolt. They formed the Bhoomi Uched Pratirodh Samiti (the Movement against land grab) and refused to give up their land. In January, 2007 the first violence against the movement took place. On March 14th, 17 people were killed. On 29th April, another five lost their lives.
I was in Nandigram on 28th and 29th of April to pay homage to the martyr’s of Nandigram and to work with the farmers to give them Navdanya seeds for setting up seed banks and starting organic farming. The farmers of Nandigram had succeeded in driving out Salim’s chemical hub. I felt it was appropriate that we work together to make Nandigram a chemical free organic zone and the local communities were willing. All day we sat together and made plans while shootouts and bombing was taking place a few miles away. And during my visit to Nandigram I witnessed the practise of Earth Democracy in its most sophisticated form.
Nandigram’s Living Economy
Nandigram is rich in soil, water and biodiversity, the real capital of communities. Each village has its ponds, making for water sovereignty. Each farm is a multi functional production unit, producing “paan”, coconut, rice, bananas, papaya, drumstick and the richest diversity of vegetables I have seen or tasted. In fact, during our meeting, the village square blossomed into a farmers market – with farmers selling four kinds of potatoes, eight kinds of bananas, gur (sugar) made from date palm and Palmyra palm.
Farmers markets like the one in Nandigram need no oil, no Walmart, no Reliance, no middlemen. Farmers are traders, sellers and the buyers. The market is self organised. The community organizes itself for trade. There is no Government license raj, no corporate control. This is the real free market, the real economic democracy.
The rich biodiversity of Nandigram supports a rich productivity. In conventional measurement, based on monocultures, industrial agriculture is presented as being more productive because inputs are not counted, nor is the destruction of biodiverse outputs and the soil, water and air. In a biodiversity assessment, the biodiversity dense small farms of Nandigram are much more productive than the most chemical and energy intensive industrial farms.
The lunch the community cooked for us was the most delicious food we have eaten – greens from the fields, dum-aloo made from indigenous potatoes, brinjal that melted in the mouth – and of course for the fish eaters the inevitable fish curry of Bengali cuisine. All other meals we had in Calcutta or on the way to Nandigram in fancy restaurants were costly but inedible.
Nandigram has a food richness that big cities have lost. These are not impoverished, destitute communities but proud and self-reliant communities. In fact their self reliance was the ground of their resistance.
Nandigram is a post oil economy. Cycles, and cycle rickshaws are the main mode of transport. That is why when the Government unleashed violence against the people of Nandigram, they dug up the roads so no police or Government vehicle could enter. Their freedom from oil allowed them to defend their land freedom. Their living economy allwed them to have a living democracy. This is the practice of living economy, of Gandhi’s “Swadesh”.
Living Democracy
The living democracy in Nandigram allowed the communities to resist. Many farmers used to be members of CPM but in their resistance to land they transcended party lives. The Land Sovereignty Movement in Nandgram is totally self organised. There has been an attempt to present the land conflict a party conflict.
However, it is a conflict between global capital and local peasants, and the peasants have got organised because defending land is not a new issue in Nandigram. Peasants of the region participated in the revolt against East Inida Company in 1857. Nandigram is a celebration of 150 years of India’s first movement of independence from corporate rule with a new movement for freedom from corporate control. Nandigram was also the site of the Tebhaga Movement for Land Rights after the Great Bengal Famine. One can only enter Nandigram as a guest of the community – with their consent and their clearance. There is a high level of self-organisation, with women and children, old and young all involved in keeping watch for unwanted outsiders. Real democracy and living democracy, Gandhi’s “Swaraj”, is the capacity of self-organise.
Living Culture
The real strength of the people of Nandigram is their living culture – an agrarian culture, the culture of the land. This culture is common to the Hindus and the Muslims. Nandigram is strong because these community has not been divided by communal forces and the forces of religious fundamentalism. Hindus and Muslims practise their diverse faiths, but are part of one community. Even in the struggle against the SEZ and Salim, they have fought as one. Their identity with the land, their earth identity binds them together.
I have come away from Nandigram humbled and inspired. These are the elements of Earth Democracy we need to defend and protect from the violence and greed of corporate globalisation.
(Gaston Bussiere – Exotic Dancers)

Antonio Machado Poems

Fields of Soria

Hills of silver plate,

grey heights, dark red rocks

through which the Duero bends

its crossbow arc

round Soria, shadowed oaks,

stone dry-lands, naked mountains,

white roads and river poplars,

twilights of Soria, warlike and mystical,

today I feel, for you,

in my hearts depths, sadness,

sadness of love! Fields of Soria,

where it seems the stones have dreams,

you go with me! Hills of silver plate,

grey heights, dark red rocks.

The Wind, One Brilliant Day

The wind, one brilliant day, called

to my soul with an odor of jasmine.
“In return for the odor of my jasmine,

I’d like all the odor of your roses.”
“I have no roses; all the flowers

in my garden are dead.”
“Well then, I’ll take the withered petals

and the yellow leaves and the waters of the fountain.”
the wind left. And I wept. And I said to myself:

“What have you done with the garden that was entrusted to you?”


Who set, between those rocks like cinder,

to show the honey of dream,

that golden broom,

those blue rosemaries?

Who painted the purple mountains

and the saffron, sunset sky?

The hermitage, the beehives,

the cleft of the river

the endless rolling water deep in rocks,

the pale-green of new fields,

all of it, even the white and pink

under the almond trees!

Has My Heart Gone To Sleep?

Has my heart gone to sleep?

Have the beehives of my dreams

stopped working, the waterwheel

of the mind run dry,

scoops turning empty,

only shadow inside?
No, my heart is not asleep.

It is awake, wide awake.

Not asleep, not dreaming—

its eyes are opened wide

watching distant signals, listening

on the rim of vast silence.


Biography: Antonio Machado y Ruiz

Machado was born in Seville one year after his brother Manuel. The family moved to Madrid in 1883 and both brothers enrolled in the Institución Libre de Enseñanza. During these years, and with the encouragement of his teachers, Antonio discovered his passion for literature.
While completing his Bachillerato in Madrid, economic difficulties forced him to take several jobs including working as an actor. In 1899 he travelled with his brother to Paris to work as translators for a French publisher. During these months in Paris he came into contact with the great French Symbolist poets Jean Moréas, Paul Fort and Paul Verlaine, and also with other contemporary literary figures, including Rubén Darío and Oscar Wilde. These encounters cemented Machado’s decision to dedicate himself to poetry.
In 1901 he had his first poems published in the literary journal ‘Electra’. His first book of poetry was published in 1903 with the title Soledades. Over the next few years he gradually amended the collection, removing some and adding many more, and in 1907 the definitive collection was published with the title Soledades. Galerías. Otros Poemas.
In the same year Machado was offered the job of Professor of French at the school in Soria. Here he met Leonor Izquierdo, daughter of the owners of the boarding house Machado was staying in. They were married in 1909: he was 34; Leonor was 15. Early in 1911 the couple went to live in Paris where Machado read more French literature and studied philosophy. In the summer however Leonor was diagnosed with advanced tuberculosis and they returned to Spain. On 1 August 1912 Leonor died, just a few weeks after the publication of Campos de Castilla. Machado was devastated and left Soria, the city that had inspired the poetry of Campos, never to return. He went to live in Baeza, Andalucia, where he stayed until 1919. Here he wrote a series of poems dealing with the death of Leonor which were added to a new (and now definitive) edition of Campos de Castilla published in 1916 along with the first edition of Nuevas canciones
While his earlier poems are in an ornate, Modernist style, with the publication of “Campos de Castilla” he showed an evolution toward greater simplicity, a characteristic that was to distingush his poetry from then on.
Between 1919 and 1931 Machado was Professor of French in Segovia. He moved here to be nearer to Madrid, where Manuel lived. The brothers would meet at weekends to work together on a number of plays, the performances of which earned them great popularity. It was here also that Antonio had a secret affair with Pilar Valderrama, a married woman with three children, to whom he would refer in his work by the name Guiomar.
When Francisco Franco launched his coup d’état in July 1936, launching the Spanish Civil War, Machado was in Madrid. The coup was to separate him forever from his brother Manuel who was trapped in the Nationalist (Francoist) zone, and from Valderrama who was in Portugal. Machado was evacuated with his elderly mother and uncle to Valencia, and then to Barcelona in 1938. Finally, as Franco closed in on the last Republican strongholds, they were obliged to move across the French border to Collioure. It was here, on 22 February 1939 that Antonio Machado died, just three days before his mother.
Machado is buried in Colliore where he died; Leonor is buried in Soria. Geoffrey Hill has hailed him as Montale’s ‘grand equal’.
His phrase “the two Spains” — one that dies and one that yawns — referring to the left-right political divisions that led to the Civil War, has passed into Spanish and other languages.

(Gaston Bussiere – The_Nereides)

Night Flight

(Gaston Bussiere – Jean De Arc)

Late Evening… Wednesday. my sister Suzanne just left after visiting, I haven’t seen her in quite awhile. She looks great, having lost weight, and being focused on her publishing business…
Mary and I were working up in north Portland today, and while I was in checking for food at New Seasons, I ran into Padrice. A very pleasant surprise! She is looking wonderful, and she is doing well. It has been 3 years at least since we talked face to face. Time passes way to quickly. Anyway, we talked about writing, poetry, the Muse and kids. Especially dealing with the Muse when you have kids… now that is something that needs to be written about. It was a very pleasant event in my day, and I am very pleased to have met up with Padrice again…
Todays’ entry has the promised new poetry, from Antonio Machado. I will write a bit more about him this week, and we will have some more of his fine work.
I rediscovered a favourite French Symbolist, Gaston Bussiere… 3 pics in this edition, hopefully more later in the week.
Anyway, enjoy!


On The Menu:

Mothra (1961) the “lost” Mothra song

‘Dust Hath Closed Helen’s Eye’

The Poetry of Antonio Machado

Rebirth of Mothra 1 & 2

Art: Gaston Bussiere

Mothra (1961) the “lost” Mothra song


‘Dust Hath Closed Helen’s Eye’

– William Butler Yeats….

I have been lately to a little group of houses, not many enough to be called a village, in the barony of Kiltartan in County Galway, whose name, Ballylee, is known through all the west of Ireland. There is the old square castle, Ballylee, inhabited by a farmer and his wife, and a cottage where their daughter and their son-in-law live, and a little mill with an old miller, and old ash-trees throwing green shadows upon a little river and great stepping-stones. I went there two or three times last year to talk to the miller about Biddy Early, a wise woman that lived in Clare some years ago, and about her saying, ‘There is a cure for all evil between the two mill-wheels of Ballylee,’ and to find out from him or another whether she meant the moss between the running waters or some other herb. I have been there this summer, and I shall be there again before it is autumn, because Mary Hynes, a beautiful woman whose name is still a wonder by turf fires, died there sixty years ago; for our feet would linger where beauty has lived its life of sorrow to make us understand that it is not of the world. An old man brought me a little way from the mill and the castle, and down a long, narrow boreen that was nearly lost in brambles and sloe bushes, and he said, ‘That is the little old foundation of the house, but the most of it is taken for building walls, and the goats have ate those bushes that are growing over it till they’ve got cranky, and they won’t grow any more. They say she was the handsomest girl in Ireland, her skin was like dribbled snow’–he meant driven snow, perhaps,–’and she had blushes in her cheeks. She had five handsome brothers, but all are gone now!’ I talked to him about a poem in Irish, Raftery, a famous poet, made about her, and how it said, ‘there is a strong cellar in Ballylee.’ He said the strong cellar was the great hole where the river sank underground, and he brought me to a deep pool, where an otter hurried away under a grey boulder, and told me that many fish came up out of the dark water at early morning ‘to taste the fresh water coming down from the hills.’
I first heard of the poem from an old woman who fives about two miles further up the river, and who remembers Raftery and Mary Hynes. She says, ‘I never saw anybody so handsome as she was, and I never will till I die,’ and that he was nearly blind, and had ‘no way of living but to go round and to mark some house to go to, and then all the neighbours would gather to hear. If you treated him well he’d praise you, but if you did not, he’d fault you in Irish. He was the greatest poet in Ireland, and he’d make a song about that bush if he chanced to stand under it. There was a bush he stood under from the rain, and he made verses praising it, and then when the water came through he made verses dispraising it.’ She sang the poem to a friend and to myself in Irish, and every word was audible and expressive, as the words in a song were always, as I think, before music grew too proud to be the garment of words, flowing and changing with the flowing and changing of their energies. The poem is not as natural as the best Irish poetry of the last century, for the thoughts are arranged in a too obviously traditional form, so the old poor half-blind man who made it has to speak as if he were a rich farmer offering the best of everything to the woman he loves, but it has naïve and tender phrases. The friend that was with me has made some of the translation, but some of it has been made by the country people themselves. I think it has more of the simplicity of the Irish verses than one finds in most translations.
Going to Mass by the will of God,

The day came wet and the wind rose;

I met Mary Hynes at the cross of Kiltartan,

And I fell in love with her then and there.
I spoke to her kind and mannerly,

As by report was her own way;

And she said, ‘Raftery, my mind is easy,

You may come to-day to Ballylee.’
When I heard her offer I did not linger,

When her talk went to my heart my heart rose.

We had only to go across the three fields,

We had daylight with us to Ballylee.
The table was laid with glasses and a quart measure,

She had fair hair, and she sitting beside me;

And she said, ‘Drink, Raftery, and a hundred welcomes,

There is a strong cellar in Ballylee.’
O star of light and O sun in harvest,

O amber hair, O my share of the world,

Will you come with me upon Sunday

Till we agree together before all the people?
I would not grudge you a song every Sunday evening,

Punch on the table, or wine if you would drink it,

But, O King of Glory, dry the roads before me,

Till I find the way to Ballylee.
There is sweet air on the side of the hill

When you are looking down upon Ballylee;

When you are walking in the valley picking nuts and blackberries,

There is music of the birds in it and music of the Sidhe.
What is the worth of greatness till you have the light

Of the flower of the branch that is by your side?

There is no god to deny it or to try and hide it,

She is the sun in the heavens who wounded my heart.
There was no part of Ireland I did not travel,

From the rivers to the tops of the mountains,

To the edge of Lough Greine whose mouth is hidden,

And I saw no beauty but was behind hers.
Her hair was shining, and her brows were shining too;

Her face was like herself, her mouth pleasant and sweet.

She is the pride, and I give her the branch,

She is the shining flower of Ballylee.
It is Mary Hynes, this calm and easy woman,

Has beauty in her mind and in her face.

If a hundred clerks were gathered together,

They could not write down a half of her ways.’
An old weaver, whose son is supposed to go away among the Sidhe (the faeries) at night, says, ‘Mary Hynes was the most beautiful thing ever made. My mother used to tell me about her, for she’d be at every hurling, and wherever she was she was dressed in white. As many as eleven men asked her in marriage in one day, but she wouldn’t have any of them. There was a lot of men up beyond Kilbecanty one night, sitting together drinking, and talking of her, and one of them got up and set out to go to Ballylee and see her; but Cloon Bog was open then, and when he came to it he fell into the water, and they found him dead there in the morning. She died of the fever that was before the famine.’ Another old man says he was only a child when he saw her, but he remembered that ‘the strongest man that was among us, one John Madden, got his death of the head of her, cold he got crossing rivers in the night-time to get to Ballylee.’ This is perhaps the man the other remembered, for tradition gives the one thing many shapes. There is an old woman who remembers her, at Derrybrien among the Echtge hills, a vast desolate place, which has changed little since the old poem said, ‘the stag upon the cold summit of Echtge hears the cry of the wolves,’ but still mindful of many poems and of the dignity of ancient speech. She says, ‘The sun and the moon never shone on anybody so handsome, and her skin was so white that it looked blue, and she had two little blushes on her cheeks.’ And an old wrinkled woman who lives close by Ballylee, and has told me many tales of the Sidhe, says, ‘I often saw Mary Hynes, she was handsome indeed. She had two bunches of curls beside her cheeks, and they were the colour of silver. I saw Mary Molloy that was drowned in the river beyond, and Mary Guthrie that was in Ardrahan, but she took the sway of them both, a very comely creature. I was at her wake too–she had seen too much of the world. She was a kind creature. One day I was coming home through that field beyond, and I was tired, and who should come out but the Poisin Glegeal (the shining flower), and she gave me a glass of new milk.’ This old woman meant no more than some beautiful bright colour by the colour of silver, for though I knew an old man–he is dead now–who thought she might know ‘the cure for all the evils in the world,’ that the Sidhe knew, she has seen too little gold to know its colour. But a man by the shore at Kinvara, who is too young to remember Mary Hynes, says, ‘Everybody says there is no one at all to be seen now so handsome; it is said she had beautiful hair, the colour of gold. She was poor, but her clothes every day were the same as Sunday, she had such neatness. And if she went to any kind of a meeting, they would all be killing one another for a sight of her, and there was a great many in love with her, but she died young. It is said that no one that has a song made about them will ever live long.’
Those who are much admired are, it is held, taken by the Sidhe, who can use ungoverned feeling for their own ends, so that a father, as an old herb doctor told me once, may give his child into their hands, or a husband his wife. The admired and desired are only safe if one says ‘God bless them’ when one’s eyes are upon them. The old woman that sang the song thinks, too, that Mary Hynes was ‘taken,’ as the phrase is, ‘for they have taken many that are not handsome, and why would they not take her? And people came from all parts to look at her, and maybe there were some that did not say “God bless her.”‘ An old man who lives by the sea at Duras has as little doubt that she was taken, ‘for there are some living yet can remember her coming to the pattern 1 there beyond, and she was said to be the handsomest girl in Ireland.’ She died young because the gods loved her, for the Sidhe are the gods, and it may be that the old saying, which we forget to understand literally, meant her manner of death in old times. These poor countrymen and countrywomen in their beliefs, and in their emotions, are many years nearer to that old Greek world, that set beauty beside the fountain of things, than are our men of learning. She ‘had seen too much of the world’; but these old men and women, when they tell of her, blame another and not her, and though they can be hard, they grow gentle as the old men of Troy grew gentle when Helen passed by on the walls.
The poet who helped her to so much fame has himself a great fame throughout the west of Ireland. Some think that Raftery was half blind, and say, ‘I saw Raftery, a dark man, but he had sight enough to see her,’ or the like, but some think he was wholly blind, as he may have been at the end of his life. Fable makes all things perfect in their kind, and her blind people must never look on the world and the sun. I asked a man I met one day, when I was looking for a pool na mna Sidhe where women of faery have been seen, how Raftery could have admired Mary Hynes so much if he had been altogether blind? He said, ‘I think Raftery was altogether blind, but those that are blind have a way of seeing things, and have the power to know more, and to feel more, and to do more, and to guess more than those that have their sight, and a certain wit and a certain wisdom is given to them.’ Everybody, indeed, will tell you that he was very wise, for was he not only blind but a poet? The weaver whose words about Mary Hynes I have already given, says, ‘His poetry was the gift of the Almighty, for there are three things that are the gift of the Almighty–poetry and dancing and principles. That is why in the old times an ignorant man coming down from the hillside would be better behaved and have better learning than a man with education you’d meet now, for they got it from God’; and a man at Coole says, ‘When he put his finger to one part of his head, everything would come to him as if it was written in a book’; and an old pensioner at Kiltartan says, ‘He was standing under a bush one time, and he talked to it, and it answered him back in Irish. Some say it was the bush that spoke, but it must have been an enchanted voice in it, and it gave him the knowledge of all the things of the world. The bush withered up afterwards, and it is to be seen on the roadside now between this and Rahasine.’ There is a poem of his about a bush, which I have never seen, and it may have come out of the cauldron of fable in this shape.
A friend of mine met a man once who had been with him when he died, but the people say that he died alone, and one Maurteen Gillane told Dr. Hyde that all night long a light was seen streaming up to heaven from the roof of the house where he lay, and ‘that was the angels who were with him’; and all night long there was a great light in the hovel, ‘and that was the angels who were waking him. They gave that honour to him because he was so good a poet, and sang such religious songs.’ It may be that in a few years Fable, who changes mortalities to immortalities in her cauldron, will have changed Mary Hynes and Raftery to perfect symbols of the sorrow of beauty and of the magnificence and penury of dreams.

When I was in a northern town awhile ago, I had a long talk with a man who had lived in a neighbouring country district when he was a boy. He told me that when a very beautiful girl was born in a family that had not been noted for good looks, her beauty was thought to have come from the Sidhe, and to bring misfortune with it. He went over the names of several beautiful girls that he had known, and said that beauty had never brought happiness to anybody. It was a thing, he said, to be proud of and afraid of. I wish I had written out his words at the time, for they were more picturesque than my memory of them.
(Gaston Bussiere – Salammbo)


The Poetry of Antonio Machado

Last night, as I was sleeping,
Last night, as I was sleeping,

I dreamt — marvelous error!—

that a spring was breaking

out in my heart.

I said: Along which secret aqueduct,

Oh water, are you coming to me,

water of a new life

that I have never drunk?
Last night, as I was sleeping,

I dreamt — marvelous error!—

that I had a beehive

here inside my heart.

And the golden bees

were making white combs

and sweet honey

from my old failures.
Last night, as I was sleeping,

I dreamt — marvelous error!—

that a fiery sun was giving

light inside my heart.

It was fiery because I felt

warmth as from a hearth,

and sun because it gave light

and brought tears to my eyes.
Last night, as I slept,

I dreamt — marvelous error!—

that it was God I had

here inside my heart.

I dreamt you took me
I dreamt you took me

up a white lane

through the heart of the green field

toward the blue of the high mountains,

toward the blue peaks,

one still morning.
I felt your hand in mine,

your perfect matching hand,

your girlish voice in my ear

like a new bell,

like the untouched bell

of a spring dawn.

It was your voice and your hand

in the dreams, so real, so true!…

Hope, live on — who knows

what the earth can swallow up!

The Waterwheel
Evening fell

sad and dusty.
The water was singing

its rustic verse

in the pockets

of the weary water wheel.
The mule was dreaming

– poor old mule! –

to the rhythm of shadows

drowsing in the water.
Evening fell

sad and dusty.
I don’t know which poet,

noble and divine,

joined to the sorrow

of the eternal wheel
the sweet music

of the sleepy water

and covered your eyes

– poor old mule!
It must have been a poet,

noble and divine,

a heart matured

by nighttime and knowledge.

Autumn Daybreak
A long roadway

between the gray crags of rock

and some humble meadow

where black bulls graze. Blackberries, weeds, field roses.
The earth is wet

with dewdrops

and the poplars turn golden,

along the riverbend.
Behind the broken blue peaks

the first whitening of dawn;

alert, a hunter strolls

between his hounds.

Rebirth of Mothra 1 & 2


(Gaston Bussiere – Salome)

The Playground of the Seraphim

Quite the weekend: Learning the fine art of matting, for my up-coming art show. I have lots to learn, and you know that has to be good. I had to recut 3 tonight, which was a major bummer.
I found some lovely poetry this weekend, you’ll be seeing it this week. More entries than recently… I pray.
Rowan is back in school, we are back working, and the summer vanishes into fall… (though you’d never know it by the temps up here in the northland…
Lots of changes. Friends moving, friends coming to visit, and here we all are, in the infinite now.
Bright Blessings,
On The Menu:

Hashish – The Drug of a Nation

Chapter III – The Playground of the Seraphim

Voice On The Wind: The Poetry of Hafiz

Art… Hashish Inspired….

Hashish – The Drug of a Nation


Chapter III – The Playground of the Seraphim

What does one experience? What does one see? Marvellous things, is it not so? Wonderful sights? Is it very beautiful? and very terrible? and very dangerous? Such are the usual questions which, with a curiosity mingled with fear, those ignorant of hashish address to its adepts. It is, as it were, the childish impatience to know, resembling that of those people who have never quitted their firesides when they meet a man who returns from distant and unknown countries. They imagine hashish-drunkenness to themselves as a prodigious country, a vast theatre of sleight-of-hand and of juggling, where all is miraculous, all unforseen. — That is a prejudice, a complete mistake. And since for the ordinary run of readers and of questioners the word “hashish” connotes the idea of a strange and topsy-turvy world, the expectation of prodigious dreams (it would be better to say hallucinations, which are, by the way, less frequent than people suppose), I will at once remark upon the important difference which separates the effects of hashish from the phenomena of dream. In dream, that adventurous voyage which we undertake every night, there is something positively miraculous. It is a miracle whose punctual occurrence has blunted its mystery. The dreams of man are of two classes. Some, full of his ordinary life, of his preoccupations, of his desires, of his vices, combine themselves in a manner more or less bizarre with the objects which he has met in his day’s work, which have carelessly fixed themselves upon the vast canvas of his memory. That is the natural dream; it is the man himself. But the other kind of dream, the dream absurd and unforseen, without meaning or connection with the character, the life, and the passions of the sleeper: this dream, which I shall call hieroglyphic, evidently represents the supernatural side of life, and it is exactly because it is absurd that the ancients believed it to be divine. As it is inexplicable by natural causes, they attributed to it a cause external to man, and even to-day, leaving out of account oneiromancers and the fooleries of a philosophical school which sees in dreams of this type sometimes a reproach, sometimes a warning; in short, a symbolic and moral picture begotten in the spirit itself of the sleeper. It is a dictionary which one must study; a language of which sages may obtain the key.
In the intoxication of hashish there is nothing like this. We shall not go outside the class of natural dream. The drunkenness, throughout its duration, it is true, will be nothing but an immense dream, thanks to the intensity of its colours and the rapidity of its conceptions. But it will always keep the idiosyncrasy of the individual. The man has desired to dream; the dream will govern the man. But this dream will be truly the son of its father. The idle man has taxed his ingenuity to introduce artificially the supernatural into his life and into his thought; but, after all, and despite the accidental energy of his experiences, he is nothing but the same man magnified, the same number raised to a very high power. He is brought into subjection, but, unhappily for him, it is not by himself; that is to say, by the part of himself which is already dominant. “He would be angel; he becomes a beast.” Momentarily very powerful, if, indeed, one can give the name of power to what is merely excessive sensibility without the control which might moderate or make use of it.
Let it be well understood then, by worldly and ignorant folk, curious of acquaintance with exceptional joys, that they will find in hashish nothing miraculous, absolutely nothing but the natural in a superabundant degree. The brain and the organism upon which hashish operates will only give their ordinary and individual phenomena, magnified, it is true, both in quantity and quality, but always faithful to their origin. Man cannot escape the fatality of his moral and physical temperament. Hashish will be, indeed, for the impressions and familiar thoughts of the man, a mirror which magnifies, yet no more than a mirror.
Here is the drug before your eyes: a little green sweetmeat, about as big as a nut, with a strange smell; so strange that it arouses a certain revulsion, and inclinations to nausea — as, indeed, any fine and even agreeable scent, exalted to its maximum strength and (so to say) density, would do.
Allow me to remark in passing that this proposition can be inverted, and that the most disgusting and revolting perfume would become perhaps a pleasure to inhale if it were reduced to its minimum quantity and intensity.
There! there is happiness; heaven in a teaspoon; happiness, with all its intoxication, all its folly, all its childishness. You can swallow it without fear; it is not fatal; it will in nowise injure your physical organs. Perhaps (later on) too frequent an employment of the sorcery will diminish the strength of your will; perhaps you will be less a man than you are today; but retribution is so far off, and the nature of the eventual disaster so difficult to define! What is it that you risk? A little nervous fatigue to-morrow — no more. Do you not every day risk greater punishments for less reward? Very good then; you have even, to make it act more quickly and vigorously, imbibed your dose of extrait gras in a cup of black coffee. You have taken care to have the stomach empty, postponing dinner till nine or ten o’clock, to give full liberty of action to the poison. At the very most you will take a little soup in an hour’s time. You are now sufficiently provisioned for a long and strange journey; the steamer has whistled, the sails are trimmed; and you have this curious advantage over ordinary travellers, that you have no idea where you are going. You have made your choice; here’s to luck!
I presume that you have taken the precaution to choose carefully your moment for setting out on this adventure. for every perfect debauch demands perfect leisure. You know, moreover, that hashish exaggerates, not only the individual, but also circumstances and environment. You have no duties to fulfil which require punctuality or exactitude; no domestic worries; no lover’s sorrows. One must be careful on such points. Such a disappointment, an anxiety, an interior monition of a duty which demands your will and your attention, at some determinate moment, would ring like a funeral bell across your intoxication and poison your pleasure. Anxiety would become anguish, and disappointment torture. But if, having observed all these preliminary conditions, the weather is fine; if your are situated in favourable surroundings, such as a picturesque landscape or a room beautifully decorated; and if in particular you have at command a little music, then all is for the best.
Generally speaking, there are three phases in hashish intoxication, easy enough to distinguish, and it is not uncommon for beginners to obtain only the first symptoms of the first phase. You have heard vague chatter about the marvellous effects of hashish; your imagination has preconceived a special idea, an ideal intoxication, so to say. You long to know if the reality will indeed reach the height of your hope; that alone is sufficient to throw you from the very beginning into an anxious state, favourable enough to the conquering and enveloping tendency of the poison. Most novices, on their first initiation, complain of the slowness of the effects: they wait for them with a puerile impatience, and, the drug not acting quickly enough for their liking, they bluster long rigmaroles of incredulity, which are amusing enough for the old hands who know how hashish acts. The first attacks, like the symptoms of a storm which has held off for a long while, appear and multiply themselves in the bosom of this very incredulity. At first it is a certain hilarity, absurdly irresistible, which possesses you. These accesses of gaiety, without due cause, of which you are almost ashamed, frequently occur and divide the intervals of stupor, during which you seek in vain to pull yourself together. The simplest wor
ds, the most trivial ideas, take on a new and strange physiognomy. You are surprised at yourself for having up to now found them so simple. Incongruous likenesses and correspondences, impossible to foresee, interminable puns, comic sketches, spout eternally from your brain. The demon has encompassed you; it is useless to kick against the pricks of this hilarity, as painful as tickling is! From time to time you laugh to yourself at your stupidity and your madness, and your comrades, if you are with others, laugh also, both at your state and their own; but as they laugh without malice, so you are without resentment.
This gaiety, turn by turn idle or acute, this uneasiness in joy, this insecurity, this indecision, last, as a rule, but a very short time. Soon the meanings of ideas become so vague, the conducting thread which binds your conceptions together becomes so tenuous, that none but your accomplices can understand you. And, again, on this subject and from this point of view, no means of verifying it! Perhaps they only think that they understand you, and the illusion is reciprocal. This frivolity, these bursts of laughter, like explosions, seem like a true mania, or at least like the delusion of a maniac, to every man who is not in the same state as yourself. What is more, prudence and good sense, the regularity of the thoughts of him who witnesses, but has been careful not to intoxicate himself, rejoice you and amuse you as if they were a particular form of dementia. The parts are interchanged; his self-possession drives you to the last limits of irony. How monstrous comic is this situation, for a man who is enjoying a gaiety incomprehensible for him who is not placed in the same environment as he! The madman takes pity on the sage, and from that moment the idea of his superiority begins to dawn on the horizon of his intellect. Soon it will grow great and broad, and burst like a meteor.
I was once witness of a scene of this kind which was carried very far, and whose grotesqueness was only intelligible to those who were acquainted, at least by means of observation of others, with the effects of the substance and the enormous difference of diapason which it creates between two intelligences apparently equal. A famous musician, who was ignorant of the properties of hashish, who perhaps had never heard speak of it, finds himself in the midst of a company, several persons of which had taken a portion. They try to make him understand the marvellous effects of it; at these prodigious yarns he smiles courteously, by complaisance, like a man who is willing to play the fool for a minute or two. His contempt is quickly divined by these spirits, sharpened by the poison, and their laughter wounds him; these bursts of joy, this playing with words, these altered countenances — all this unwholesome atmosphere irritates him, and forces him to exclaim sooner, perhaps, than he would have wished that this is a poor rôle, and that, moreover, it must be very tiring for those who have undertaken it.
The comicality of it lightened them all like a flash; their joy boiled over. “This rôle may be good for you,” said he, “but for me, no.” “It is good for us; that is all we care about,” replies egoistically one of the revellers.
Not knowing whether he is dealing with genuine madmen or only with people who are pretending to be mad, our friend thinks that the part of discretion is to go away; but somebody shuts the door and hides the key. Another, kneeling before him, asks his pardon, in the name of the company, and declares insolently, but with tears, that despite his mental inferiority, which perhaps excites a little pity, they are all filled with a profound friendship for him. He makes up his mind to remain, and even condescends, after pressure, to play a little music.
But the sounds of the violin, spreading themselves through the room like a new contagion, stab — the word is not too strong — first one of the revellers, then another. There burst forth deep and raucous sighs, sudden sobs, streams of silent tears. The frightened musician stops, and, approaching him whose ecstasy is noisiest, asks him if he suffers much, and what must be done to relieve him. One of the persons present, a man of common sense, suggests lemonade and acids; but the “sick man,” his eyes shining with ecstasy, looks on them both with ineffable contempt. To wish to cure a man “sick” of too much life, “sick” of joy!
As this anecdote shows, goodwill towards men has a sufficiently large place in the feelings excited by hashish: a soft, idle, dumb benevolence which springs from the relaxation of the nerves.
In support of this observation somebody once told me an adventure which had happened to him in this state of intoxication, and as he preserved a very exact memory of his feelings I understood perfectly into what grotesque and inextricable embarrassment this difference of diapason and of pity of which I was just speaking had thrown him. I do not remember if the man in question was at his first or his second experiment; had he taken a dose which was a little too strong, or was it that the hashish had produced, without any apparent cause, effects much more vigorous than the ordinary — a not infrequent occurrence?
He told me that across the scutcheon of his joy, this supreme delight of feeling oneself full of life and believing oneself full of genius, there had suddenly smitten the bar sinister of terror. At first dazzled by the beauty of his sensations, he had suddenly fallen into fear of them. He had asked himself the question: “What would become of my intelligence and of my bodily organs if this state” (which he took for a supernatural state) “went on By the power of enlargement which the spiritual eye of the patient possesses, this fear must be an unspeakable torment. “I was,” he said, “like a runaway horse galloping towards an abyss, wishing to stop and being unable to do so. Indeed, it was a frightful ride, and my thought, slave of circumstance, of milieu, of accident, and of all that may be implied by the word chance, had taken a turn of pure, absolute rhapsody. ‘It is too late, it is too late!’ I repeated to myself ceaselessly in despair. When this mood, which seemed to me to last for an infinite time, and which I daresay only occupied a few minutes, changed, when I thought that at last I might dive into the ocean of happiness so dear to Easterns which succeeds this furious phase, I was overwhelmed by a new misfortune; a new anxiety, trivial enough, puerile enough, tumbled upon me. I suddenly remembered that I was invited to dinner, to an evening party of respectable people. I foresaw myself in the midst of a well-behaved and discreet crowd, every one master of himself, where I should be obliged to conceal carefully the state of my mind while under the glare of many lamps. I was fairly certain of success, but at the same time my heart almost gave up at the thought of the efforts of will which it would be necessary to bring into line in order to win. By some accident, I know not what, the words of the Gospel, “Woe unto him by whom offences come!” leapt to the surface of my memory, and in the effort to forget them, in concentrating myself upon forgetting them, I repeated them to myself ceaselessly. My catastrophe, for it was indeed a catastrophe, then took a gigantic shape: despite my weakness, I resolved on vigorous action, and went to consult a chemist, for I did not know the antidotes, and I wished to go with a free and careless spirit to the circle where my duty called me; but on the threshold of the shop a sudden thought seized me, haunted me, forced me to reflect. As I passed I had just seen myself in the looking-glass of a shop-front, and my face had startled me. This paleness, these lips compressed, these starting eyes! — I shall frighten this good fellow, I said to myself, and for what a trifle! Add to that the ridicule which I wished to avoid, the fear of finding people in the
shop. But my sudden goodwill towards this unknown apothecary mastered all my other feelings. I imagined to myself this man as being as sensitive as I myself was at this dreadful moment, and as I imagined also that his ear and his soul must, like my own, tremble at the slightest noise, I resolved to go in on tiptoe. ‘It would be impossible,’ I said to myself, ‘to show too much discretion in dealing with a man on whose kindness I am about to intrude.’ Then I resolved to deaden the sound of my voice, like the noise of my steps. You know it, this hashish voice: grave, deep, guttural; not unlike that of habitual opium-eaters. The result was the exact contrary of my intention; anxious to reassure the chemist, I frightened him. He was in no way acquainted with this illness; had never even heard of it; yet he looked at me with a curiosity strongly mingled with mistrust. Did he take me for a madman, a criminal, or a beggar? Nor the one nor the other, doubtless, but all these absurd ideas ploughed through my brain. I was obliged to explain to him at length (what weariness!) what the hemp sweetmeat was and what purpose it served, ceaselessly repeating to him that there was no danger, that there was, so far as he was concerned, no reason to be alarmed, and that all that I asked was a method of mitigating or neutralising it, frequently insisting upon the sincere disappointment I felt in troubling him. When I had quite finished (I beg you well to understand all the humiliation which these words contained for me) he asked me simply to go away. Such was the reward of my exaggerated thoughtfulness and goodwill. I went to my evening party; I scandalised nobody. No one guessed the superhuman struggles which I had to make to be like other people; but I shall never forget the tortures of an ultra-poetic intoxication constrained by decorum and antagonised by duty.”
Although naturally prone to sympathise with every suffering which is born of the imagination, I could not prevent myself from laughing at this story. The man who told it to me is not cured. He continued to crave at the hands of the cursed confection the excitement which wisdom finds in itself; but as he is a prudent and settled man, a man of the world, he has diminished the doses, which has permitted him to increase their frequency. He will taste later the rotten fruit of his “prudence”!
I return to the regular development of the intoxication. After this first phase of childish gaiety there is, as it were, a momentary relaxation; but new events soon announce themselves by a sensation of coolth at the extremities — which may even become, in the case of certain persons, a bitter cold — and a great weakness in all the limbs. You have then “butter fingers”; and in your head, in all your being, you feel an embarrassing stupor and stupefaction. Your eyes start from your head; it is as if they were drawn in every direction by implacable ecstasy. Your face is deluged with paleness; the lips draw themselves in, sucked into the mouth with that movement of breathlessness which characterises the ambition of a man who is the prey of his own great schemes, oppressed by enormous thoughts, or taking a long breath preparatory to a spring. The throat closes itself, so to say; the palate is dried up by a thirst which it would be infinitely sweet to satisfy, if the delights of laziness were not still more agreeable, and in opposition to the least disturbance of the body. Deep but hoarse sighs escape from your breast, as if the old bottle, your body, could not bear the passionate activity of the new wine, your new soul. From one time to another a spasm transfixes you and makes you quiver, like those muscular discharges which at the end of a day’s work or on a stormy night precede definitive slumber.
Before going further I should like, à propos of this sensation of coolth of which I spoke above, to tell another story which will serve to show to what point the effects, even the purely physical effects, may vary according to the individual. This time it is a man of letters who speaks, and in some parts of his story one will (I think) be able to find the indications of the literary temperament. “I had taken,” he told me, “a moderated dose of extrait gras, and all was going as well as possible. The crisis of gaiety had not lasted long, and I found myself in a state of languor and wonderment which was almost happiness. I looked forward, then, to a quiet and unworried evening: unfortunately chance urged me to go with a friend to the theatre. I took the heroic course, resolved to overcome my immense desire to to be idle and motionless. All the carriages in my district were engaged; I was obliged to walk a long distance amid the discordant noises of the traffic, the stupid conversation of the passers-by, a whole ocean of triviality. My finger-tips were already slightly cool; soon this turned into a most acute cold, as if I had plunged both hands into a bucket of ice-water. But this was not suffering; this needle-sharp sensation stabbed me rather like a pleasure. Yet it seemed to me that this cold enveloped me more and more as the interminable journey went on. I asked two or three times of the person with whom I was if it was actually very cold. He replied to me that, on the contrary, the temperature was more than warm. Installed at last in the room, shut up in the box which had been given me, with three or four hours of repose in front of me, I thought myself arrived at the Promised Land. The feelings on which I had trampled during the journey with all the little energy at my disposal now burst in, and I give myself up freely to my silent frenzy. The cold ever increased, and yet I saw people lightly clad, and even wiping their foreheads with an air of weariness. This delightful idea took hold of me, that I was a privileged man, to whom alone had been accorded the right to feel cold in summer in the auditorium of a theatre. This cold went on increasing until it became alarming; yet I was before all dominated by my curiosity to know to what degree it could possibly sink. At last it came to such a point, it was so complete, so general, that all my ideas froze, so to speak; I was a piece of thinking ice. I imagined myself as a statue carved in a block of ice, and this mad hallucination made me so proud, excited in me such a feeling of moral well-being, that I despair of defining it to you. What added to my abominable enjoyment was the certainty that all the other people present were ignorant of my nature and of the superiority that I had over them, and then with the pleasure of thinking that my companion never suspected for a moment with what strange feelings I was filled, I clasped the reward of my dissimulation, and my extraordinary pleasure was a veritable secret.
“Besides, I had scarcely entered the box when my eyes had been struck with an impression of darkness which seemed to me to have some relationship with the idea of cold; it is, however, possible that these two ideas had lent each other strength. You know that hashish always invokes magnificences of light, splendours of colour, cascades of liquid gold; all light is sympathetic to it, both that which streams in sheets and that which hangs like spangles to points and roughnesses; the candelabra of salons, the wax candles that people burn in May, the rosy avalanches of sunset. It seems that the miserable chandelier spread a light far too insignificant to quench this insatiable thirst of brilliance. I thought, as I told you, that I was entering a world of shadows, which, moreover, grew gradually thicker, while I dreamt of the Polar night and the eternal winter. As to the stage, it was a stage consecrated to the comic Muse; that alone was luminous; infinitely small and far off, very far, like a landscape seen through the wrong end of a telescope. I will not tell you that I listened to the actors; you know that that is impossible. From time to time my thoughts snapped up on the wing a fragment of a phrase, and like a clever dancing-girl used it as a spring-bo
ard to leap into far-distant reveries. You might suppose that a play heard in this manner would lack logic and coherence. Undeceive yourself! I discovered an exceeding subtle sense in the drama created by my distraction. Nothing jarred on me, and I resembled a little that poet who, seeing Esther played for the first time, found it quite natural that Haman should make a declaration of love to the queen. It was, as you guess, the moment where he throws himself at the feet of Esther to beg pardon of his crime. If all plays were listened to on these lines they all, even those of Racine, would gain enormously. The actors seemed to me exceedingly small, and bounded by a precise and clear-cut line, like the figures in Meissonier’s pictures. I saw distinctly not only the most minute details of their costumes, their patterns, seams, buttons, and so on, but also the line of separation between the false forehead and the real; the white, the blue, and the red, and all the tricks of make-up; and these Lilliputians were clothed about with a cold and magical clearness, like that which a very clean glass adds to an oil-painting. When at last I was able to emerge from this cavern of frozen shadows, and when, the interior phantasmagoria being dissipated, I came to myself, I experienced a greater degree of weariness than prolonged and difficult work has ever caused me.”
It is, in fact, at this period of the intoxication that is manifested a new delicacy, a superior sharpness in each of the senses: smell, sight, hearing, touch join equally in this onward march; the eyes behold the Infinite; the ear perceives almost inaudible sounds in the midst of the most tremendous tumult. It is then that the hallucinations begin; external objects take on wholly and successively most strange appearances; they are deformed and transformed. Then — the ambiguities, the misunderstandings, and the transpositions of ideas! Sounds cloak themselves with colour; colours blossom into music. That, you will say, is nothing but natural. Every poetic brain in its healthy, normal state, readily conceives these analogies. But I have already warned the reader that there is nothing of the positively supernatural in hashish intoxication; only those analogies possess an unaccustomed liveliness; they penetrate and they envelop; they overwhelm the mind with their masterfulness. Musical notes become numbers; and if your mind is gifted with some mathematical aptitude, the harmony to which you listen, while keeping its voluptuous and sensual character, transforms itself into a vast rhythmical operation, where numbers beget numbers, and whose phases and generation follow with an inexplicable ease and an agility which equals that of the person playing.
It happens sometimes that the sense of personality disappears, and that the objectivity which is the birthright of Pantheist poets develops itself in you so abnormally that the contemplation of exterior objects makes you forget your own existence and confound yourself with them. Your eye fixes itself upon a tree, bent by the wind into an harmonious curve; in some seconds that which in the brain of a poet would only be a very natural comparison becomes in yours a reality. At first you lend to the tree your passions, your desire, or your melancholy; its creakings and oscillations become yours, and soon you are the tree. In the same way with the bird which hovers in the abyss of azure: at first it represents symbolically your own immortal longing to float above things human; but soon you are the bird itself. Suppose, again, you are seated smoking; your attention will rest a little too long upon the bluish clouds which breathe forth from your pipe; the idea of a slow, continuous, eternal evaporation will possess itself of your spirit, and you will soon apply this idea to your own thoughts, to your own apparatus of thought. By a singular ambiguity, by a species of transposition or intellectual barter, you feel yourself evaporating, and you will attribute to your pipe, in which you feel yourself crouched and pressed down like the tobacco, the strange faculty of smoking you!
Luckily, this interminable imagination has only lasted a minute. For a lucid interval, seized with a great effort, has allowed you to look at the clock. But another current of ideas bears you away; it will roll you away for yet another minute in its living whirlwind, and this other minute will be an eternity. For the proportion of time and being are completely disordered by the multitude and intensity of your feelings and ideas. One may say that one lives many times the space of a man’s life during a single hour. Are you not, then, like a fantastic novel, but alive instead of being written? There is no longer any equation between the physical organs and their enjoyments; and it is above all on this account that arises the blame which one must give to this dangerous exercise in which liberty is forfeited.
When I speak of hallucinations the word must not be taken in its strictest sense: a very important shade of difference distinguishes pure hallucination, such as doctors have often have occasion to study, from the hallucination, or rather of the misinterpretation of the senses, which arises in the mental state caused by the hashish. In the first case the hallucination is sudden, complete, and fatal; beside which, it finds neither pretext nor excuse in the exterior world. The sick man sees a shape or hears sounds where there are not any. In the second case, where hallucination is progressive, almost willed, and it does not become perfect, it only ripens under the action of imagination. Finally, it has a pretext. A sound will speak, utter distinct articulations; but there was a sound there. The enthusiast eye of the hashish drunkard will see strange forms, but before they were strange and monstrous these forms were simple and natural. The energy, the almost speaking liveliness of hallucination in this form of intoxication in no way invalidates this original difference: the one has root in the situation, and, at the present time, the other has not. Better to explain this boiling over of the imagination, this maturing of the dream, and this poetic childishness to which a hashish-intoxicated brain is condemned, I will tell yet another anecdote. This time it is not an idle young man who speaks, nor a man of letters. It is a woman; a woman no longer in her first youth; curious, with an excitable mind, and who, having yielded to the wish to make acquaintance with the poison, describes thus for another woman the most important of her phases. I transcribe literally.
“However strange and new may be the sensations which I have drawn from my twelve hours’ madness — was it twelve or twenty? in sooth, I cannot tell — I shall never return to it. The spiritual excitement is too lively, the fatigue which results from it too great; and, to say all in a word, I find in this return to childhood something criminal. Ultimately (after many hesitations) I yielded to curiosity, since it was a folly shared with old friends, where I saw no great harm in lacking a little dignity. But first of all I must tell you that this cursèd hashish is a most treacherous substance. Sometimes one thinks oneself recovered from the intoxication; but it is only a deceitful peace. There are moments of rest, and then recrudescences. Thus, before ten o’clock in the evening I found myself in one of these momentary states; I thought myself escaped from this superabundance of life which had caused me so much enjoyment, it is true, but which was not without anxiety and fear. I sat down to supper with pleasure, like one in that state of irritable fatigue which a long journey produces; for till then, for prudence sake, I had abstained from eating; but even before I rose from the table my delirium had caught me up again as a cat catches a mouse, and the poison began anew to play with my poor brain. Although my house is quite close to that of our friends, and although there was a carriage at my disposal, I felt myself so overwhelmed with the necessity of dreaming
, of abandoning myself to this irresistible madness, that I accepted joyfully their offer to keep me till the morning. You know the castle; you know that they have arranged, decorated, and fitted with conveniences in the modern style all that part in which they ordinarily live, but that the part which is usually unoccupied has been left as it was, with its old style and its old adornments. They determined to improvise for me a bedroom in this part of the castle, and for this purpose they chose the smallest room, a kind of boudoir, which, although somewhat faded and decrepit, is none the less charming. I must describe it for you as well as I can, so that you may understand the strange vision which I underwent, a vision which fulfilled me for a whole night, without ever leaving me the leisure to note the flight of the hours.
“This boudoir is very small, very narrow. From the height of the cornice the ceiling arches itself to a vault; the walls are covered with narrow, long mirrors, separated by panels, where landscapes, in the easy style of the decorations, are painted. On the frieze on the four walls various allegorical figures are represented, some in attitudes of repose, others running or flying; above them are brilliant birds and flowers. Behind the figures a trellis rises, painted so as to deceive the eye, and following naturally the curve of the ceiling; this ceiling is gilded. All the interstices between the woodwork and the trellis and the figures are then covered with gold, and at the centre the gold is only interrupted by the geometrical network of the false trellis; you see that that resembles somewhat a very distinguished cage, a very fine cage for a very big bird. I must add that the night was very fine, very clear, and the moon brightly shining; so much so that even after I had put out my candle all this decoration remained visible, not illuminated by my mind’s eye, as you might think, but by this lovely night, whose lights clung to all this broidery of gold, of mirrors, and of patchwork colours.
“I was at first much astonished to see great spaces spread themselves out before me, beside me, on all sides. There were limpid rivers, and green meadows admiring their own beauty in calm waters: you may guess here the effect of the panels reflected by the mirrors. In raising my eyes I saw a setting sun, like molten metal that grows cold. It was the gold of the ceiling. But the trellis put in my mind the idea that I was in a kind of cage, or in a house open on all sides upon space, and that I was only separated from all these marvels by the bars of my magnificent prison. In the first place I laughed at the illusion which had hold of me; but the more I looked the more its magic grew great, the more it took life, clearness, and masterful reality. From that moment the idea of being shut up mastered my mind, without, I must admit, too seriously interfering with the varied pleasures which I drew from the spectacle spread around and above me. I thought of myself as of one imprisoned for long, for thousands of years perhaps, in this sumptuous cage, among these fairy pastures, between these marvellous horizons. I imagined myself the Sleeping Beauty; dreamt of an expiation that I must undergo, of deliverance to come. Above my head fluttered brilliant tropical birds, and as my ear caught the sound of the little bells on the necks of the horses which were travelling far away on the main road, the two senses pooling their impressions in a single idea, I attributed to the birds this mysterious brazen chant; I imagined that they sang with a metallic throat. Evidently they were talking to me, and chanting hymns to my captivity. Gambolling monkeys, buffoon-like satyrs, seemed to amuse themselves at this supine prisoner, doomed to immobility; yet all the gods of mythology looked upon me with an enchanting smile, as if to encourage me to bear the sorcery with patience, and all their eyes slid to the corner of their eyelids as if to fix themselves on me. I came to the conclusion that if some faults of the olden time, some sins unknown to myself, had made necessary this temporary punishment, I could yet count upon an overriding goodness, which, while condemning me to a prudent course, would offer me truer pleasures than the dull pleasures which filled our youth. You see that moral considerations were not absent from my dream; but I must admit that the pleasure of contemplating these brilliant forms and colours and of thinking myself the centre of a fantastic drama frequently absorbed all my other thoughts. This stayed long, very long. Did it last till morning? I do not know. All of a sudden I saw the morning sun taking his bath in my room. I experienced a lively astonishment, and despite all the efforts of memory that I have been able to make I have never been able to assure myself whether I had slept or whether I had patiently undergone a delicious insomnia. A moment ago, Night; now, Day. And yet I had lived long; oh, very long! The notion of Time, or rather the standard of Time, being abolished, the whole night was only measurable by the multitude of my thoughts. So long soever as it must have appeared to me from this point of view, it also seemed to me that it had only lasted some seconds; or even that it had not taken place in eternity.
“I do not say anything to you of my fatigue; it was immense. They say that the enthusiasm of poets and creative artists resembles what I experienced, though I have always believed that those persons on whom is laid the task of stirring us must be endowed with a most calm temperament. But if the poetic delirium resembles that which a teaspoonful of hashish confection procured for me I cannot but think that the pleasures of the public cost the poets dear, and it is not without a certain well-being, a prosaic satisfaction, that I at last find myself at home, in my intellectual home; I mean, in real life.”
There is a woman, evidently reasonable; but we shall only make use of her story to draw from it some useful notes, which will complete this very compressed summary of the principal feelings which hashish begets.
She speaks of supper as of a pleasure arriving at the right moment; at the moment where a momentary remission, momentary for all its pretence of finality, permitted her to go back to real life. Indeed, there are, as I have said, intermissions, and deceitful calms, and hashish often brings about a voracious hunger, nearly always an excessive thirst. Only, dinner or supper, instead of bringing about a permanent rest, creates this new attack, the vertiginous crisis of which this lady complains, and which was followed by a series of enchanting visions lightly tinged with affright, to which she so assented, resigning herself with the best grace in the world. The tyrannical hunger and thirst of which we speak are not easily assayed without considerable trouble. For the man feels himself so much above material things, or rather he is so much overwhelmed by his drunkenness, that he must develop a lengthy spell of courage to move a bottle or a fork.
The definitive crisis determined by the digestion of food is, in fact, very violent; it is impossible to struggle against it. And such a state would not be supportable if it lasted too long, and if it did not soon give place to another phase of intoxication, which in the case above cited interprets itself by splendid visions, tenderly terrifying, and at the same time full of consolations. This new state is what the Easterns call Kaif. It is no longer the whirlwind or the tempest; it is a calm and motionless bliss, a glorious resignèdness. Since long you have not been your own master; but you trouble yourself no longer about that. Pain, and the sense of time, have disappeared; or if sometimes they dare to show their heads, it is only as transfigured by the master feeling, and they are then, as compared with their ordinary form, what poetic melancholy is to prosaic grief.
But above all let us remark that in this lady’s account (and it is for this purpose that I have transcribed it) it is but a bastard ha
llucination, and owes its being to the objects of the external world. The spirit is but a mirror where the environment is reflected, strangely transformed. Then, again, we see intruding what I should be glad to call moral hallucination; the patient thinks herself condemned to expiate somewhat; but the feminine temperament, which is ill-fitted to analyse, did not permit her to notice the strangely optimistic character of the aforesaid hallucination. The benevolent look of the gods of Olympus is made poetical by a varnish essentially due to hashish. I will not say that this lady has touched the fringe of remorse, but her thoughts, momentarily turned in the direction of melancholy and regret, have been quickly coloured by hope. This is an observation which we shall again have occasion to verify.
She speaks of the fatigue of the morrow. In fact, this is great. But it does not show itself at once, and when you are obliged to acknowledge its existence you do so not without surprise: for at first, when you are really assured that a new day has arisen on the horizon of your life, you experience an extraordinary sense of well-being; you seem to enjoy a marvellous lightness of spirit. But you are scarcely on your feet when a forgotten fragment of intoxication follows you and pulls you back; it is the badge of your recent slavery. Your enfeebled legs only conduct you with caution, and you fear at every moment to break yourself, as if you were made of porcelain. A wondrous languor — there are those who pretend that it does not lack charm — possesses itself of your spirit, and spreads itself across your faculties as a fog spreads itself in a meadow. There, then, you are, for some hours yet, incapable of work, of action, and of energy. It is the punishment of an impious prodigality in which you have squandered your nervous force. You have dispersed your personality to the four winds of heaven — and now, what trouble to gather it up again and concentrate it!


Voice On The Wind: Hafiz


ARISE, oh Cup-bearer, rise! and bring

To lips that are thirsting the bowl they praise,

For it seemed that love was an easy thing,

But my feet have fallen on difficult ways.

I have prayed the wind o’er my heart to fling

The fragrance of musk in her hair that sleeps

In the night of her hair-yet no fragrance stays

The tears of my heart’s blood my sad heart weeps.
Hear the Tavern-keeper who counsels you:

“With wine, with red wine your prayer carpet dye!”

There was never a traveller like him but knew

The ways of the road and the hostelry.

Where shall I rest, when the still night through,

Beyond thy gateway, oh Heart of my heart,

The bells of the camels lament and cry:

“Bind up thy burden again and depart!”
The waves run high, night is clouded with fears,

And eddying whirlpools clash and roar;

How shall my drowning voice strike their ears

Whose light-freighted vessels have reached the shore?

I sought mine own; the unsparing years

Have brought me mine own, a dishonoured name.

What cloak shall cover my misery o’er

When each jesting mouth has rehearsed my shame!

Oh Hafiz, seeking an end to strife,

Hold fast in thy mind what the wise have writ:

“If at last thou attain the desire of thy life,

Cast the world aside, yea, abandon it!”


THE bird of gardens sang unto the rose,

New blown in the clear dawn: “Bow down thy head!

As fair as thou within this garden close,

Many have bloomed and died.” She laughed and said

“That I am born to fade grieves not my heart

But never was it a true lover’s part

To vex with bitter words his love’s repose.”
The tavern step shall be thy hostelry,

For Love’s diviner breath comes but to those

That suppliant on the dusty threshold lie.

And thou, if thou would’st drink the wine that flows

From Life’s bejewelled goblet, ruby red,

Upon thine eyelashes thine eyes shall thread

A thousand tears for this temerity.
Last night when Irem’s magic garden slept,

Stirring the hyacinth’s purple tresses curled,

The wind of morning through the alleys stept.

“Where is thy cup, the mirror of the world?

Ah, where is Love, thou Throne of Djem?” I cried.

The breezes knew not; but “Alas,” they sighed,

“That happiness should sleep so long!” and wept.
Not on the lips of men Love’s secret lies,

Remote and unrevealed his dwelling-place.

Oh Saki, come! the idle laughter dies

When thou the feast with heavenly wine dost grace.

Patience and wisdom, Hafiz, in a sea

Of thine own tears are drowned; thy misery

They could not still nor hide from curious eyes.


WIND from the east, oh Lapwing of the day,

I send thee to my Lady, though the way

Is far to Saba, where I bid thee fly;

Lest in the dust thy tameless wings should lie,

Broken with grief, I send thee to thy nest,

Or far or near there is no halting-place

Upon Love’s road-absent, I see thy face,

And in thine car my wind-blown greetings sound,

North winds and east waft them where they are bound,

Each morn and eve convoys of greeting fair

I send to thee.
Unto mine eyes a stranger, thou that art

A comrade ever-present to my heart,

What whispered prayers and what full meed of praise

I send to thee.
Lest Sorrow’s army waste thy heart’s domain,

I send my life to bring thee peace again,

Dear life thy ransom! From thy singers learn

How one that longs for thee may weep and bum

Sonnets and broken words, sweet notes and songs

I send to thee.
Give me the cup! a voice rings in mine cars

Crying: “Bear patiently the bitter years!

For all thine ills, I send thee heavenly grace.

God the Creator mirrored in thy face

Thine eyes shall see, God’s image in the glass

I send to thee.
Hafiz, thy praise alone my comrades sing;

Hasten to us, thou that art sorrowing!

A robe of honour and a harnessed steed

I send to thee.”

Goodbye John…

With this edition of Turfing we say goodbye to our friend John Beresford, and touch on some of the ideas that he talked to me about over the years. May I be as brave as he was, and bring about such change and compassion into the world!
Blessings, Gwyllm
On The Menu:

Memoriam: Dr. John Beresford

I Support The Troops

The Nazi Comparison- Dr. John Beresford

Excerpts from the Tao Te Ching

John Beresford, Psychedelic Pioneer passed on September 2nd, 2007. Co-Founder of the Agora Scientific Trust, John, Michael Hollingshead, and Jean Houston helped to launch the modern movement with ‘the magic gram’ that John purchased from Sandoz.
Born in England, he had moved to the US and took US citizenship, later moving to Canada. I think John was perhaps one of the kindest persons I ever communicated with. Always thoughtful, considerate and concerned with the well-being of others.
His work with the Commitee On Unjust Sentencing/Tallahassee Project is perhaps what he will (or maybe would of liked) to be remembered for. He developed the Tallahassee Project to publicize, and to remedy the plight of non-violent drug war prisoners. He campaigned tirelessly in many POW’s (prisoners of the drug war) behalf.
He will be missed, and he was one of the real ones!
Good Voyage John, be at peace.

I Support The Troops


THE NAZI COMPARISON – Dr. John Beresford

(thanks to erowid.org for this!)
Drug War prisoners that I correspond with call themselves POWs. Some write “POW in America” in the corner of an envelope under the writer’s name and prison number. “Political prisoner” and “gulag” are terms that enter conversation. Solzhenitsyn’s The First Circle and The Gulag Archipelago are works sometimes referred to.
America’s vast network of prisons, boot camps, and jails invites comparison with the detention machinery of former totalitarian regimes. The certainty of conviction that an accusation of a drug law violation brings — through confession ( 95 percent ) or trial and a finding of guilt ( the remaining 5 percent ) — matches the idea of automatic conviction that goes with popular belief about the nazi and communist systems. “Nazi” is a term used by Drug War prisoners and non-prisoners alike, as though it were a given that the mentality behind Nazi behavior a half-century ago and the operation of today ’s Drug War is no different.
The comparison is an uncomfortable one, and one’s first inclination is to reject it. A US judge has objected that nothing in the conduct of today’s Drug War resembles the terror tactics in Nazi Germany where SS troops could storm into a person’s home and no one saw or heard of that person again. The objection is understandable, but it rests on a false premise. The Nazis were not a bunch of crooks, operating outside the confines of the law. Everything they did had legal backing, and if on some occasion a law was needed they composed one.
Flat out, it will be objected that a world of difference separates a prison from a death camp. Drug War prisoners are not intended for a holocaust. Ominously for our peace of mind, however, until the last minute neither were the people held in concentration camps. They were held there to protect the health of society. Moreover, with the obsession with death that gains ground daily, it is probable that death is in the cards for people accused of drug law violations in the future. A questionnaire is making the rounds in Congress that has Yes and No boxes for questions which include: “Do you favor the death penalty for drug trafficking?” Who in their right mind in Congress, I wonder, will check No to that question, “trafficking” being the loaded term for what most people call dealing?
Someone will point to the absurdity of thinking that America would ever tolerate a “Fuhrer,” a wild man with a funny mustache and a way of haranguing crowds burlesqued by Charlie Chaplin. The point, though, is that the Nazi comparison refers not so much to rhetoric, inevitably different in two quite different places and at different times, as to the dehumanization and trashing of large numbers of people for lifestyles and practices that violate the norms of mainstream society. For this we do not need a Hitler. We can do it the American way.
Myself, I am sympathetic to the Nazi comparison. I was in Nazi Germany as a child.
In the summer of 1938, when I was 14, my parents sent me on a two-week vacation with a family in a village in north-west Germany. There were Mr. and Mrs. Otting, their daughter Irmgard, and the youngest son Wolfgang, who wore his Hitler Jugend uniform at Wednesday night meetings. The two older sons I never saw. One was in the army. The other was doing two years of voluntary farm labor, which excused him from army service.
Mr. and Mrs. Otting were old-time Christians, and had the family bible on display in the china cabinet in the dining room. On the shelf above the Holy Bible you saw the red and white dust jacket of Mein Kampf, Hitler’s version of scripture. No one said anything about it, but there had to be a copy of Mein Kampf on display for two reasons. Every five or six houses or apartments had an informant who could sift through mail, collect gossip, and pay a visit to make sure the householder did not have suspicious material lying around. Also, schoolchildren were taught to report suspicious behavior to the police.
There wasn’t any TV, but there was plenty of entertainment — parades, outdoor concerts, Hitler on the radio, sports.
The economy was great. Everyone had a job. Germany was strong. Hitler wanted peace. New construction was going up everywhere. The trains ran on time. You didn’t see beggars in the street, hanging around. Undesirables had been rounded up, got out of the way.
The newspapers were full of praise for the Nazi system. A weekly periodical with pictures showed who the Untermenschen were, the underclass of people who had no place in decent society. In those days the underclass consisted of gypsies, Jews, homosexuals, the wrong sort of artists, trade unionists, and communists. They were described in terms we now call demonization and scapegoating.
The universities had their share of academics who endorsed Nazi policy. Doctors, engineers, race specialists, and others spelled out theories which gave the Nazis a green light.
At 14 I was barely aware of all this. Yet by the end of my two weeks with the Ottings I had a feeling that to this day remains hard to describe. I took this feeling home to England, where I promptly forgot it. It wasn’t the sort of feeling you had there. I didn’t have it during the war, which started the next year. I didn’t have it when I studied medicine, emigrated to America, became an American citizen, and lived in New York for 20 years. I didn’t have it in Canada, where I practiced psychiatry for 15 years. I didn’t have it when I retired from practice and spent time in a Buddhist monastery.
On and off, I would read about Nazi Germany, but the feeling that I had when I was briefly in Nazi Germany as a child had gone.
In the fall of 1992 an ad appeared in the personal column of High Times Magazine, sent in by Brian Adams. Brian wrote that he was 18 years old, just out of high school, when he was arrested and sentenced to ten years of imprisonment for passing out LSD to his friends. If a High Times reader was interested in LSD sentencing methods, the reader could write to Brian and learn something.
I wrote to Brian, who introduced me to Tim Dean, who introduced me to other LSD prisoners and soon I was in the thick of a correspondence which has not stopped growing. In 1993 I began to visit Drug War prisoners in prison. I drove to the Canadian border, crossed into the United States, and talked with Pat Jordan in County Jail in Nashville, Tennessee. I drove to Michigan City to talk with Franklin Martz, sentenced to 40 years in the Indiana State Prison in that city. I drove to other prisons to speak with Drug War prisoners, paying attention to the information they provided. That started my Drug War education.
One day something happened. I realized that every time I left the monastery and entered the United States I was struck with a weird feeling that left as soon as I re-entered Canada. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it was as real as day. When the meaning of this realization dawned, it hit me like a ton of bricks. The feeling I had acquired in Nazi Germany and forgotten more than half a century before was back. My Drug War education had clicked in.
The feeling told me everything. The exponent of democracy had fallen on hard times. America was treading the same path as Nazi Germany. The War on Drugs and Hitler’s war on anyone he took exception to — the symptoms in the two cases were identical.
One thing I had to accept was that I could not stay on in the monastery. I could not sit back and watch disaster unfold. I had to get out in the world and become an activist, whatever becoming an activist entailed. Even if no one else saw the War on Drugs in the same light I did, I had to do what might lie in my power to stop it.
I won’t go into what has happened since, except to mention a friendship with Nora Callahan and a tie to the November Coalition. It is a relief to know that others share the perception that hist
orically we are in big trouble, without their having once glimpsed life in Nazi Germany.
Where it will end, no one can say. But there is reason for hope. In 1938 people in Germany did not know the price they would soon pay for subscribing to Nazi policy. We, looking back, do know. With the benefit of hindsight and with concerted effort we may still halt the juggernaut, free Drug War prisoners, reverse an unsalutary policy, and restore meaning to the words “liberty and justice for all.” If we don’t, we will have no one to blame for the disaster that lies just around the corner but ourselves.

From The Tao Te Ching…

Knowing (47)
Without taking a step outdoors

You know the whole world;

Without taking a peep out the window

You know the colour of the sky.
The more you experience,

The less you know.

The sage wanders without knowing,

Looks without seeing,

Accomplishes without acting.

Peace (35)
If you offer music and food

Strangers may stop with you;

But if you accord with the Way

All the people of the world will keep you

In safety, health, community, and peace.
The Way lacks art and flavour;

It can neither be seen nor heard,

But its benefit cannot be exhausted.

Limitless (4)
The Way is a limitless vessel;

Used by the self, it is not filled by the world;

It cannot be cut, knotted, dimmed or stilled;

Its depths are hidden, ubiquitous and eternal;

I don’t know where it comes from;

It comes before nature.

Death (50)
Men flow into life, and ebb into death.
Some are filled with life;

Some are empty with death;

Some hold fast to life, and thereby perish,

For life is an abstraction.
Those who are filled with life

Need not fear tigers and rhinos in the wilds,

Nor wear armour and shields in battle;

The rhinoceros finds no place in them for its horn,

The tiger no place for its claw,

The soldier no place for a weapon,

For death finds no place in them.