The Metaphysical Circus…

The Tao is like a well:

used but never used up.

It is like the eternal void:

filled with infinite possibilities.
It is hidden but always present.

I don’t know who gave birth to it.

It is older than God.

The Metaphysical Circus…
This is perhaps the last posting this year to Turfing. It has been a year where Turfing reached an apex of daily post, to going to one or two (sometimes more or less) a week. As I got going on the editing of the Invisible College Magazine, and working more with my art, something had to give.
Sadly, that was the daily Turf. Yet, it still comes out, and maybe in not such an overwhelming manner. One of the main complaints I received over the last couple of years (amidst the praises & thumbs up) was the sheer volume of Turfing. The complaints generally were along the line that “Turfing is not a Blog, it is more of a magazine”…. which of course led to another direction.
This has been a good year, a year of transitions both physically, metaphysically and psychically for many including yours truly.
For one thing, I got back into my Art in a way I never expected. I must watch what I wish for at the the Solstice Fire, it is uncanny how things manifest when you are paying attention to the details… This culminated with a great little art show at Clinton Corner Cafe during the months of October through early December, and it looks like I have more shows coming in the spring, one being at Mirador as their Artist In Residence during the Art Walk event… (Mirador is a great store, and the home to my mural that looks like it will be unveiled again!)
There has been lots of changes, growth and new projects throughout the greater community this past year. I feel the great wheel is turning, and the path is opening up. This next year will see greater changes, and wonders yet.
Have a Happy New Year, and see you all very, very soon.
I pray, I pray.

(Paul, Sarah & Gwyllm at Glen’s Birthday Party….)

Prelude To The Menu:

The Greatest Story Ever Told is an interesting series of videos extracted from a documentary. Whether you agree with it or not, there are some fascinating points made. We get to visit with Brad Steiger on his “Pre-Historic Nuclear War? Reflections on Worlds Before Our Own”… I first discovered this theory in “Morning of the Magicians” when I was 17. It is a fascinating subject… AE blesses us with his poetry and art including his wonderful ‘Madame Blavatsky’ which graces the beginning of this entry…
And of course my beloved Dao De Ching…

On The Menu:

Dao De Ching…. here and not here…

The Greatest Story Ever Told (3 entries on this…)

Pre-Historic Nuclear War? Reflections on Worlds Before Our Own

Poems From AE (George William Russell

Art: AE

The Greatest Story Ever Told…



When the great Tao is forgotten,

goodness and piety appear.

When the body’s intelligence declines,

cleverness and knowledge step forth.

When there is no peace in the family,

filial piety begins.

When the country falls into chaos,

patriotism is born.


Look, and it can’t be seen.

Listen, and it can’t be heard.

Reach, and it can’t be grasped.
Above, it isn’t bright.

Below, it isn’t dark.

Seamless, unnamable,

it returns to the realm of nothing.

Form that includes all forms,

image without an image,

subtle, beyond all conception.
Approach it and there is no beginning;

follow it and there is no end.

You can’t know it, but you can be it,

at ease in your own life.

Just realize where you come from:

this is the essence of wisdom.

A Pre-Historic Nuclear War? Reflections on Worlds Before Our Own
by Brad Steiger
I find myself now in the seventh decade of life still asking two questions that in one way or another the great majority of my 165 published books have sought to answer: 1.) Who are we as a species? 2.) What is our destiny?
The basic reason that I wrote Worlds Before Our Own (G.P. Putnam‘s Sons, 1978; Anomalist Books, 2007) is that I have always found it incredible that such sophisticated people as we judge ourselves to be, do not really know who we are.
Archaeologists, anthropologists, and various academicians who play the “origins of Man” game, reluctantly and only occasionally acknowledge instances where unique skeletal and cultural evidence from the prehistoric record suddenly appear long before they should — and in places where they should not. These irritating artifacts destroy the orderly evolutionary line that academia has for so long presented to the public. Consequently, such data have been largely left buried in site reports, forgotten storage rooms, and dusty archives where one suspects that there is a great deal of suppressed, ignored, and misplaced pre-historical cultural evidence that would alter the established interpretations of human origins and provide us with a much clearer definition of what it means to be human.
There is now a basic academic consensus that the “homo” lineage goes back at least three million years, and that an ancestor of modern man evolved about one million years ago. Homo Sapiens, the “thinking man,” (our own species), became the dominant planetary life form on a worldwide basis, about 40,000 years ago.
It is difficult enough to explain the sudden appearance of Homo Sapiens at that time, but it is an even more complex question to ponder why Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon man correspondingly disappeared. And academic warfare rages unceasingly over whether or not Neanderthal and our ancestors were two separate species or whether they interbred.
And just as scientists are adding to a growing body of evidence that humankind developed in Africa, a Hungarian excavation surrenders a Homo Sapiens skull fragment in a context more than 600,000 years out of alignment with the accepted calendar of man’s migrations across the planet. Hominid fossils are unearthed in Dmanisi, Georgia, indicative of 1.77 million years old; and a homind tooth found in Niocene deposits near the Maritsa River in Bulgaria is dated at seven million years old.
What happens to Darwinian evolution when there are such sites as the one in Australia, which yielded Homo Sapiens (modern man), Homo erectus (our million-year-old ancestor), and Neanderthal (our Stone Age cousin) in what appears to be a contemporaneous environment? Then there is the Tabun site where Homo Sapiens fragments were found in strata below (which means older than) classic Neanderthal bones. In August 2007, scientists dating fossils found in Kenya challenged the conventional view that Homo Habilis (1.44 million years) and Homo erectus (1.55 million years) evolved one after the other. Dating of new fossil evidence revealed that the two species lived side by side in Africa for almost half a million years.
Somewhere, in what would appear to be a biological and cultural free-for-all, there must lie the answer to that most important question: Who are we?
But just as we are trying our best to fit skeletal fragments together in a manner that will be found acceptable to what we believe we know about our origins, footprints are being found in stone, which, if they are what they appear to be, will make a total shambles of our accepted evolutionary calendar. In Pershing County, Nevada, a shoe print was found in Triassic limestone, strata indicative of 400 million years, in which the fossilized evidence clearly revealed finely wrought double-stitching in the seams.
Early in 1975, Dr. Stanley Rhine of the University of New Mexico announced his discovery of human-like footprints in strata indicative of 40 million years old. A few months before, a similar find was made in Kenton, Oklahoma. At almost the same time, a discovery of a footprint in stone was revealed in north-central Wisconsin.
In Death Valley, there is ample fossil and skeletal evidence to indicate that the desolate area was once a tropical Garden of Eden where a race of giants lived and fed themselves with palatable foods taken from the local lakes and forests.
To speak of a race of prehistoric giants in what is now the desert sands of Death Valley is simultaneously to refute the doctrine which decrees that man is a relative newcomer to the North and South American continents. While on the one hand, new radiocarbon dates demonstrate that the Bering Land Bridge and Cordilleran Ice Corridor were not passable until 9000 years ago, an increasing amount of physical evidence indicates that man was surely in this hemisphere much earlier than that recent date.
For one thing, corn, an American contribution to the dinner tables of the world, is said to be, at 9000 years, our oldest domesticated seed crop. Some agriculturist had to be in the Americas more than 9000 years ago in order to domesticate the seed. Ancient squash seeds, peanuts, and cotton balls dated at 8,500 years old found in Peru’s Nanchoc Valley constitute additional evidence that New World farming was well established. Conclusive proof that such ancient farmers did exist in the Americas was offered when a Humble Oil Company drill brought up Mexican corn pollen that was more than 80,000 years old.
The anomalous Indian blood seration and dentition, and the geographic distribution of the American Indian, demands an impossible genetic time scale in which to transform Asiatic immigrants to distinctive New World inhabitants.
Even if we attempt to keep some kind of peace with the accepted theories of New World habitation, we must grant more evolution in 40,000 years in North America than that which took place in more than one million years in Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Skulls found in California, which are clearly those of American Indians, have been dated at 50,000 years old. But we are left with another mystery. A 140,000 year old American Indian type skull (via metric analysis) has been found at an Iranian excavation site.
What of the lost Amerindian civilization of Cahokia, complete with pyramids and a great wall? One site, near the present city of St. Louis, may have contained a metropolis of more than 250,000 North American Indians.
And who constructed the mysterious seven-mile walls of the Berkeley and Oakland, California, hills?
And which pre-Mayan peoples engineered an elaborate waterworks in Yucatan to irrigate crops over 2000 years ago?
The Caracol Tower at Chichen Itza is a remarkable Mesoamerican observatory that seems to have correlated its findings with similar sites in North America, including Mesa Verde, Wichita, and Chaco Canyon.
One of the most heretical theories that I suggest in Worlds Before Our Own is that the cradle of civilization might possibly have traveled from the so-called New World to the Old. Now, in December 2007, years after Ruth Shady Solis found the ancient city of Caral, Peru, scientists have accepted the carbon dating of 2,627 B.C.E., thereby establishing the civilization in South America to be much older than the Harappa Valley towns and the pyramids of Egypt. Caral must now be recognized as “the mother of all civilizations,” the missing link of archaeology, the Mother City.
Scientific knowledge has seemingly been prized by the inhabitants of every culture, known and unknown. Rock engravings, which may be as old as 60 million years, depict in step-by-step illustrations an entire heart-transplant operation and a Cesarean section.
The ancient Egyptians used the equivalent of contraceptive jelly and had urine pregnancy tests. The cement used in filling Mayan dental cavities still holds after 1500 years.
No fabric is supposed to have been found until Egypt produced cloth material 5000 years ago. How, then, can we deal with the Russian site which provides spindle whorls and patterned fabric designs more than 80,000 years old?
Not only did the ancient Babylonians appear to use sulphur matches, but they had a technology sophisticated enough to employ complex electrochemical battery cells with wiring. There is also evidence of electric batteries and electrolysis in ancient Egypt, India, and Swahililand.
Remains of a metal-working factory of over 200 furnaces was found at what is now Medzamor in Russian Armenia. Although a temperature of over 1780 degrees is required to melt platinum, some pre-Incan peoples in Peru were making objects of the metal. Even today the process of extracting aluminium from bauxite is a complicated procedure, but Chou Chu, famous general of the Tsin era (265-316 A.D.), was interred with aluminium belt fasteners on his burial costume.
Carved bones, chalk, stones, together with what would appear to be greatly ornamented ”coins,” have been brought up from great depths during well-drilling operations. A strange, imprinted slab was found in a coal mine. The artefact was decorated with diamond-shaped squares with the face of an old man in each ”box.” In another coal-mine discovery, miners found smooth, polished concrete blocks which formed a solid wall. According to one miner’s testimony. he chipped one block open only to find the standard mixture of sand and cement that makes up most typical building blocks of today.
A gold necklace was found embedded in a lump of coal. A metal spike was discovered in a silver mine in Peru. An iron implement was found in a Scottish coal-bed. Estimated to be millions of years older than man is believed to have existed. A metal, bell-shaped vessel, inlaid with a silver floral design was blasted out of solid rock near Dorchester, Massachusetts.
Two hypotheses may explain the presence of these perplexing artifacts: 1) that they were manufactured by an advanced civilization on Earth which, due either to natural or technological catastrophe, was destroyed before our world’s own genesis; 2) that they are vestiges of a highly technological civilization of extraterrestrial origin, which visited this planet millions of years ago, leaving behind various artifacts.
Even if a highly advanced extraterrestrial race might have visited this planet in prehistoric times, it seems unlikely such common, everyday items as nails, necklaces, buckles and vases would have been carried aboard a spacecraft deposited in such widely separated areas; for such artifacts have been found in North and South America, Great Britain, the whole of Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Mid-East.
In spite of the general unpopularity of catastrophism, there does seem to be a number of recently discovered “proofs” of ancient cataclysmic changes in the Earth’s crust which may account for the nearly total disappearance of these prehistoric worlds. Geological evidence indicates that these changes were both sudden and drastic might have completely overwhelmed and destroyed the early inhabitants and their cultures.
Perhaps the most potentially mind-boggling evidence of an advanced prehistoric technology that might have blown its parent-culture away is to be found in those sites which ostensibly bear mute evidence of prehistoric nuclear warfare.
Large areas of fused green glass and vitrified cities have been found deep in the strata of archaeological digs at Pierrelatte in Gabon, Africa; the Euphrates Valley; the Sahara Desert; the Gobi Desert; Iraq; the Mojave Desert; Scotland; the Old and Middle Kingdoms of Egypt; and south-central Turkey. In contemporary times, such material as fused green glass has only been known at nuclear testing sites (where the sand had melted to form the substance). It is quite unsettling to some to consider it possible that these sites provide evidence of a prehistoric nuclear war. At the same time, scientists have found a number of uranium deposits that appear to have been mined or depleted in antiquity.
If it is possible that nuclear annihilation of a global civilization did occur in prehistoric times, it seems even more urgent to learn who we really are before we find ourselves doomed to repeat the lessons left to us, by a world before our own.

Do you want to improve the world?

I don’t think it can be done.
The world is sacred.

It can’t be improved.

If you tamper with it, you’ll ruin it.

If you treat it like an object, you’ll lose it.
There is a time for being ahead,

a time for being behind;

a time for being in motion,

a time for being at rest;

a time for being vigorous,

a time for being exhausted;

a time for being safe,

a time for being in danger.
The Master sees things as they are,

without trying to control them.

She lets them go their own way,

and resides at the center of the circle.


The Greatest Story Ever Told – Part 2


Poems From AE (George William Russell


The blue dusk ran between the streets: my love was winged within my mind,

It left to-day and yesterday and thrice a thousand years behind.

To-day was past and dead for me, for from to-day my feet had run

Through thrice a thousand years to walk the ways of ancient Babylon.

On temple top and palace roof the burnished gold flung back the rays

Of a red sunset that was dead and lost beyond a million days.

The tower of heaven turns darker blue, a starry sparkle now begins;

The mystery and magnificence, the myriad beauty and the sins

Come back to me. I walk beneath the shadowy multitude of towers;

Within the gloom the fountain jets its pallid mist in lily flowers.

The waters lull me and the scent of many gardens, and I hear

Familiar voices, and the voice I love is whispering in my ear.

Oh real as in dream all this; and then a hand on mine is laid:

The wave of phantom time withdraws; and that young Babylonian maid,

One drop of beauty left behind from all the flowing of that tide,

Is looking with the self-same eyes, and here in Ireland by my side.

Oh light our life in Babylon, but Babylon has taken wings,

While we are in the calm and proud procession of eternal things.

A New Being

I know myself no more, my child,

Since thou art come to me,

Pity so tender and so wild

Hath wrapped my thoughts of thee.

These thoughts, a fiery gentle rain,

Are from the Mother shed,

Where many a broken heart hath lain

And many a weeping head.


I am the tender voice calling “Away,”

Whispering between the beatings of the heart,

And inaccessible in dewy eyes

I dwell, and all unkissed on lovely lips,

Lingering between white breasts inviolate,

And fleeting ever from the passionate touch,

I shine afar, till men may not divine

Whether it is the stars or the beloved

They follow with rapt spirit. And I weave

My spells at evening, folding with dim caress,

Aerial arms and twilight dropping hair,

The lonely wanderer by wood or shore,

Till, filled with some deep tenderness, he yields,

Feeling in dreams for the dear mother heart

He knew, ere he forsook the starry way,

And clings there, pillowed far above the smoke

And the dim murmur from the duns of men.

I can enchant the trees and rocks, and fill

The dumb brown lips of earth with mystery,

Make them reveal or hide the god. I breathe

A deeper pity than all love, myself

Mother of all, but without hands to heal:

Too vast and vague, they know me not. But yet,

I am the heartbreak over fallen things,

The sudden gentleness that stays the blow,

And I am in the kiss that foemen give

Pausing in battle, and in the tears that fall

Over the vanquished foe, and in the highest,

Among the Danaan gods, I am the last

Council of mercy in their hearts where they

Mete justice from a thousand starry thrones.


Ere I lose myself in the vastness and drowse myself with the peace,

While I gaze on the light and the beauty afar from the dim homes of men,

May I still feel the heart-pang and pity, love-ties that I would not release;

May the voices of sorrow appealing call me back to their succour again.

Ere I storm with the tempest of power the thrones and dominions of old,

Ere the ancient enchantment allure me to roam through the star-misty skies,

I would go forth as one who has reaped well what harvest the earth may unfold;

May my heart be o’erbrimmed with compassion; on my brow be the crown of the wise.

I would go as the dove from the ark sent forth with wishes and prayers

To return with the paradise blossoms that bloom in the Eden of light:

When the deep star-chant of the seraphs I hear in the mystical airs,

May I capture one tone of their joy for the sad ones discrowned in the night.

Not alone, not alone would I go to my rest in the heart of the love:

Were I tranced in the innermost beauty, the flame of its tenderest breath,

I would still hear the cry of the fallen recalling me back from above,

To go down to the side of the people who weep in the shadow of death.

The Greatest Story Ever Told – Part 3


True words aren’t eloquent;

eloquent words aren’t true.

Wise men don’t need to prove their point;

men who need to prove their point aren’t wise.
The Master has no possessions.

The more he does for others,

the happier he is.

The more he gives to others,

the wealthier he is.
The Tao nourishes by not forcing.

By not dominating, the Master leads.


The Coming of the Sun….

On The Music Box: Zakir Hussain – Music of the Deserts

Even that old horse

is something to see this

snow-covered morning

On The Menu:

Giving Thanks

Holly King and Oak King

Poetry For The Winter Solstice…

Assorted Art & Photographs
Giving Thanks…
This is the time of the year that I find quite to be just so wonderful… Fire time, darkness, family and friends. This has been a great year. The tide has turned in many arenas in the world. From Australia, to recent decisions in the US Supreme Court… All three Left Coast State Govt’s are suing the EPA over the blockage of better standards of fuel consumption proposed by California for Auto emissions etc…. and BALI! Yes, there were changes that move the future…
We have had a good year with our Art and The Invisible College Magazine. I want to thank the editors, artist and contributors and the dear readers especially for making The Invisible College Magazine what it has become over the last year. May it grow in wild and wonderful ways! It has been a year of new projects and wonderful results. More is to come I pray in the coming months…
-John, Mike-(St. Mungo), Gwyllm & Mary this past Spring-

This year we have made some wonderful new friends, and renewed other friendships.. It is nice seeing Ron S., and becoming better acquainted with Tim from Ireland & John Archdeacon, Leana & Richard, Kyle & Trish among so many and to finding Ms. Padrice again. There are so many good people in this world, if wishes were fishes I would have all of you swimming in the same shoal as us! I cannot begin to list everyone, but I think of all of you as often as I can. From the Clans down in Australia, across the US and Canada and Mexico, to family and other friends in Europe. Though we may only talk on email, or the ever so infrequent phone call; you all have moved me in my life. A special big hello to all those friends on Earthrites… where ever you may be!
We have the birth of Eildon to Catherine the partner of my nephew Andrew to celebrate, and the birth of other new bright lights coming into the world, from Australia, down to Santa Cruz and beyond… 80)
We have had our departures as well. Our friend Nestor Perala past away this summer suddenly. Our friend in Canada John Beresford died in September. Our dear Doris Gunn died just before Samhain (Halloween), and our acquaintance and inspiration Laura Huxley died a week or so ago.
These are the days and specifically on the Solstice that we acknowledge and honour those that have joined us, and those that have left us. Life, goes on. The great circle dance continues, and the nodes of individuation rise up into the light and then into the darkness from whence all comes from. We are the multiple faces and thoughts expressing the Goddess/God that we all are a part of. We are individuations of the greater life force. We are consciousness expressing…
At the turning of the year, we drink to our time in the light, to our coming time in the dark, and to the whirl of the year and world around us. Life is so full of beauty, celebrate it!
Okay… so the Solstice is here again. I want you to take time to be with your friends and loved ones, and to just enjoy the season and the time together. Love is the supreme revolutionary act. With it, we can move the universe, and surprise surprise, never in the way we actually intended to….
Bright Blessings On This Solstice!


Holly King and Oak King

The Holly King and the Oak King are part of Celtic mythology, and they represent two sides to the Greenman, or Horned God.
They battle twice a year, once at Yule and once at Midsummer (Litha) to see who would rule over the next half of the year. At Yule, the Oak King wins and at Litha, the Holly King is victorious. In other words, the Oak King rules over the lighter half of the year, and the Holly King over the darker half. The change from one to the other is a common theme for rituals at Yule, and also at Midsummer.
Another version of the Holly King and Oak King symbolism, is that they do not directly switch places twice a year, but rather both live simultaneously. The Oak King is born at Yule, and his strength grows through the spring, peaks at Beltane and then he weakens and dies at Samhain. The Holly King lives a reverse existence, and is born at Midsummer, waxes more powerful through the summer and fall, to his peak at Samhain.
His influence then lessens until Beltane, when it is his turn to pass away. In this perspective, the two Kings enjoy a more intricate interplay of power and is perhaps a better illustration of their duality. At any given time, they both exist but have varying levels of influence throughout the year.
Either way, each King represents different ideas. The time of the Oak King is for growth, development, healing, and new projects. The Holly King’s time is for rest, reflection, and learning.


Poetry For The Winter Solstice…

To Juan at the Winter Solstice
There is one story and one story only

That will prove worth your telling,

Whether are learned bard or gifted child;

To it all lines or lesser gauds belong

That startle with their shining

Such common stories as they stray into.
Is it of trees you tell, their months and virtues,

Or strange beasts that beset you,

Of birds that croak at you the Triple will?

Or of the Zodiac and how slow it turns

Below the Boreal Crown,

Prison of all true kings that ever reigned?
Water to water, ark again to ark,

From woman back to woman:

So each new victim treads unfalteringly

The never altered circuit of his fate,

Bringing twelve peers as witness

Both to his starry rise and starry fall.
Or is it of the Virgin’s silver beauty,

All fish below the thighs?

She in her left hand bears a leafy quince;

When, with her right she crooks a finger smiling,

How may the King hold back?

Royally then he barters life for love.
Or of the undying snake from chaos hatched,

Whose coils contain the ocean,

Into whose chops with naked sword he springs,

Then in black water, tangled by the reeds,

Battles three days and nights,

To be spewed up beside her scalloped shore?
Much snow is falling, winds roar hollowly,

The owl hoots from the elder,

Fear in your heart cries to the loving-cup:

Sorrow to sorrow as the sparks fly upward.

The log groans and confesses

There is one story and one story only.
Dwell on her graciousness, dwell on her smiling,

Do not forget what flowers

The great boar trampled down in ivy time.

Her brow was creamy as the crested wave,

Her sea-blue eyes were wild

But nothing promised that is not performed.
Robert Graves

The Shortest Day
So the shortest day came, and the year died,

And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world

Came people singing, dancing,

To drive the dark away.

They lighted candles in the winter trees;

They hung their homes with evergreen;

They burned beseeching fires all night long

To keep the year alive,

And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake

They shouted, reveling.

Through all the frosty ages you can hear them

Echoing behind us – Listen!!

All the long echoes sing the same delight,

This shortest day,

As promise wakens in the sleeping land:

They carol, fest, give thanks,

And dearly love their friends,

And hope for peace.

And so do we, here, now,

This year and every year.

Welcome Yule!!
Susan Cooper

I have news for you:
The stag bells, winter snows, summer has gone

Wind high and cold, the sun low, short its course

The sea running high.

Deep red the bracken; its shape is lost;

The wild goose has raised its accustomed cry,

cold has seized the birds’ wings;

season of ice, this is my news
(9th century Irish)

The Olde Year Now Away is Fled

(sung to Greensleeves) 13th Century English

The olde year now away is fled,

The new year it is entered

Then let us now our sins downtread

And joyfully all appear

Let’s be merry this holiday

And let us run with sport and play

Han sorrow, let’s cast care away –

God send you a happy new year
Come, give us more liquor when I do call

I’ll drink to each one in this hall

I hope that so loud I must not bawl

But unto me lend me an ear

Good fortune to my master send

And to my dame which is our friend

God bless us all, and so I end

And God send us a happy new year
Translation By Lawrence Rosenwald

The Wren Song

The Wren, the Wren the king of all birds,

St. Stephenses day, he was caught in the furze.

Although he is little, his honor is great,

Rise up, kind sir, and give us a trate.

We followed this Wren ten miles or more

Through hedges and ditches and heaps of snow,

We up with our wattles and gave him a fall

And brought him here to show you all.

For we are the boys that came your way

To bury the Wren on Saint Stephenses Day,

So up with the kettle and down with the pan!

Give us some help for to bury the Wren!
British Traditional…

A Leaf From The Tree of Songs
When harpers once in wooden hall

A shining chord would strike

Their songs like arrows pierced the soul

Of great and low alike
Aglow by hearth and candleflame

From burning branch ot ember

The mist of all their music sang

As if to ask in wonder
Is there a moment quite as keen

Or memory as bright

As light and fire and music (sweet)

To warm the winter’s night?

Adam Christianson

Sonnet at the Winter Solstice
This solstice is the return of the light

At which the sun stands still then to decide

That each succeeding day be made more bright

Although it takes until the other one

A moment at a time and day by day

The summer solstice greets winter’s work done

And pauses then to turn the other way
The yin and the yang of the year elide

And I am reminded of you somehow

Written in my heart and the sky above

As both winter and summer solstice now

Become two eyes in the face of my love
Another year the sun has smiled its way

Two eyes in the face of my love dawn day
Steven Curtis Lance

Running On Empty?

This is one of the vitrified hill forts up in the Highlands of Scotland. There has never been an adequate explanation how the stone was vitrified… given the supposed technologies of the past… One of those mysteries!
On The Menu:

Thoughts Leading Up To The Solstice…

The Links

Running On Empty?

Andy M. Stewart – Robert Burn’s ‘A Red, Red Rose

Lyrical Poetry Of Silly Wizard…
Bright Blessings,


You can now get your own printed copy of The Third Edition of The Invisible College! Check out the calendar as well… just click on the images at to get a preview!


Thoughts Leading Up To The Solstice…
The Solstice bears down, and the darkness is now at its deepest. The northern lights hang a shimmering curtain far to the north, and the night sky is achingly beautiful further south here in Cascadia… It has been quite cold for Portland, the season may soon deliver its promised snow.
This is the time traditionally of deep contemplation, sitting by the fire staring into flames, or watching the night sky…. but it seems all are running around in the induced frenzy of the end-game of capital.
Food prices have risen 25% in the last few months in the US I heard today, and the main culprit is wheat and corn, and fuel cost….
Food supplies are down to 8 weeks (from 11 weeks – the poorest amount since 1980) across the world, and you know the poor are in for it if there is crop failures or weather problems again in the next year.
Corn is being eaten by vehicles instead of people, at a 1 to 1 ratio without a true energy relief. Sheer Madness. We are struggling to keep a model alive that is consuming the world, and threatening to take all of us with it for the profits of a few.
Now is the time to consider what we are to do in the coming year. This is the time to contemplate how we can change to help others and our selves out of a decaying, decadent system. Talk to your neighbors, start gardens, share plantings, changing our diets to ease the burden on others, and use those Bikes!
The Solstice bears down with the promise of change and the coming of new light. This is the time to push forward those dreams, those ideas that will touch others, and will bring renewal to the world.
Give the gift of Greater Love this Solstice; Love for all on this great and tumbling blue/green earth. Together, we can dream beauty into being. Together, we can bring about the changes that are needed to usher in a new awareness.
Friends, it is no longer just for ourselves and families, but for every being, especially those who will follow….

The Links:

Heritage Ireland are proud to present a “live” webcast of the winter solstice at Newgrange.

Ancient Egyptians ahead of time

Visions of the Divine…

Burning Man backs solar-power project for Nevada towns

Running On Empty?
When I was 36 years old, I got up one morning, went into my recording studio, sat down at my keyboards, and sat and stared at the wall. I sat there off and on for several days.
Where-as I could write 2-3 songs a day, with lyrics, and a basic structure, I was confronted with being completely empty. I cannot describe the horror of those days. I had been very prolific for 10 years, and then, I ran into the proverbial wall.
I withdrew from the world and went into a place that burned me down to the soul. I have never successfully written a full song since and committed it to recording (I can’t actually write music, but I can store most anything into memory if it has to do with creativity…) I gave up keyboards, and have only played since on stringed instruments.
I have found lately that after almost 20 years, I am beginning to compose again. I work out melodies for Rowan, so that he has something to practice. I have yet to try out lyrics, as my voice is a mess after all that time without singing, and smoking (I quit 17 years ago). I am working with the most wonderful of instruments, my mountain dulcimer that is now about 22 years as my companion. I put it away for several years, and then Rowan pulled it out one day last year and asked me for some lessons. It has been a slow tumble back into love again…
What the Muse takes away, she can also gift back. I don’t take her gifts lightly as I once did squandering youths’ bounties and endless energy. I played freely with her gifts, and didn’t listen to the wind as I should… I do now, and I feel very, very lucky to be apparently back in her graces again.
This time, it is dedicated to her, and may she be gentle with her old servant who has come back to service again.


(Andy M. Stewart – Robert Burn’s ‘A Red, Red Rose)


One of my favourite bands… Silly Wizard ( the song above was by its old singer, Andy M. Stewart…) They always impressed me. My friend Sam at Rhino Records introduced me to them. It was a real joy getting to know their music. Look it up, give it a listen!

(An early picture of Silly Wizard)

The Lyrical Poetry of Silly Wizard:

If I Was a Blackbird
I am a young maiden, my story is sad

For once I was carefree and in love with a lad

He courted me sweetly by night and by day

But now he has left me and gone far away

Oh if I was a blackbird, could whistle and sing

I’d follow the vessel my true love sails in

And in the top rigging I would there build my nest

And I’d flutter my wings o’er his broad golden chest
He sailed o’er the ocean, his fortune to seek

I missed his caresses and his kiss on my cheek

He returned and I told him my love was still warm

He turned away lightly and great was his scorn
He offered to take me to Donnybrook Fair

To buy me fine ribbons, tie them up in my hair

He offered to marry and to stay by my side

But then in the morning he sailed with the tide
My parents they chide me, and will not agree

Saying that me and my true love married should never be

Ah but let them deprive me, or let them do what they will

While there’s breath in my body, he’s the one that I love still
Male perspective…
I am a young sailor, my story is sad

For once I was carefree and a bold sailor lad

I courted a lassie by night and by day

But now she has left me and gone far away

Oh if I was a blackbird, could whistle and sing

I’d follow the vessel my true love sails in

And in the top rigging I would there build my nest

And I’d flutter my wings o’er her lily-white breast
Or if I was a scholar and could handle a pen

One secret love letter to my true love I’d send

And I’d tell of my sorrow, my grief and my pain

Since she’s gone and left me in yon flowery glen
I sailed o’er the ocean, my fortune to seek

Though I missed her caress and her kiss on my cheek

I returned and I told her my love was still warm

But she turned away lightly and great was her scorn
I offered to take her to Donnybrook Fair

And to buy her fine ribbons to tie up her hair

I offered to marry and to stay by her side

But she said in the morning she sailed with the tide
My parents they chide me, and will not agree

Saying that me and my false love married should never be

Ah but let them deprive me, or let them do what they will

While there’s breath in my body, she’s the one that I love still


This is in the old version of Scots’ English… You might look the words up!

Donald McGillavry / O’Neill’s Cavalry March
Donald’s gane up the hill hard and hungry,

Donald comes down the hill wild and angry;

Donald will clear the gouk’s nest cleverly,

Here’s to the king and Donald Macgillavry.

Come like a weighbauk, Donald Macgillavry,

Come like a weighbauk, Donald Macgillavry,

Balance them fair, and balance them cleverly:

Off wi’the counterfeit, Donald Macgillavry.
Donald’s run o’er the hill but his tether, man,

As he were wud, or stang’d wi’ an ether, man;

When he comes back, there’s some will look merrily:

Here’s to King James and Donald Macgillavry.

Come like a weaver, Donald Macgillavry,

Come like a weaver, Donald Macgillavry,

Pack on your back, and elwand sae cleverly;

Gie them full measure, my Donald Macgillavry.
Donald has foughten wi’ rief and roguery;

Donald has dinner’d wi banes and beggary,

Better it were for Whigs and Whiggery

Meeting the devil than Donald Macgillavry.

Come like a tailor, Donald Macgillavry,

Come like a tailor, Donald Macgillavry,

Push about, in and out, thimble them cleverly,

Here’s to King James and Donald Macgillavry.
Donald’s the callan that brooks nae tangleness;

Whigging and prigging and a’newfangleness,

They maun be gane: he winna be baukit, man:

He maun hae justice, or faith he’ll tak it, man.

Come like a cobler, Donald Macgillavry,

Come like a cobler, Donald Macgillavry;

Beat them, and bore them, and lingel them cleverly,

Up wi’ King James and Donald Macgillavry.
Donald was mumpit wi mirds and mockery;

Donald was blinded wi’ blads o’ property;

Arles ran high, but makings were naething, man,

Lord, how Donald is flyting and fretting, man.

Come like the devil, Donald Macgillavry,

Come like the devil, Donald Macgillavry;

Skelp them and scaud them that proved sae unbritherly,

Up wi King James and Donald Macgillavry!

Golden, Golden
Slowly, slowly, walk the path,

And you might never stumble or fall.

Slowly, slowly, walk the path,

And you might never fall in love at all.

Golden, golden, is her hair,

Like the morning sun over fields of corn.

Golden, golden, is her love,

So sweet and clear and warm.
Lonely, lonely, is the heart

That ne’er another can call its own.

Lonely, lonely, lies the part

That has to live all alone.
Wildly, wildly, beats the heart

With a rush of love like a mountain stream.

Wildly, wildly, play your part

As free as a wild bird’s dream

Hame, Hame, Hame,
Hame, hame, hame, o hame fain wad I be–

O hame, hame, hame, to my ain countree!
When the flower is i’ the bud and the leaf is on the tree

The larks shall sing me hame in my ain countree;

Hame, hame, hame, o hame fain wad I be–

O hame, hame, hame, to my ain countree!
The green leaf o’ loyaltie ‘s beginning for to fa’

The bonnie white rose it is withering an’ a’;

But I’ll water ‘t wi’ the blude of usurping tyrannie

An’ green it will graw in my ain countree
O, there ‘s nocht now frae ruin my country can save Instant Song Lyrics

But the keys o’ kind heaven, to open the grave;

That a’ the noble martyrs wha died for loyaltie

May rise again an’ fight for their ain countree
The great now are gane, a’ wha ventured to save

The new grass is springing on the tap o’ their grave;

But the sun through the mirk blinks blythe in my e’e

‘I’ll shine on ye yet in your ain countree.’
Hame, hame, hame, o hame fain wad I be–

O hame, hame, hame, to my ain countree!

( I would like to dedicate this one to my friend Tomas Brawley…)
The Fisherman’s Song
By the storm-torn shoreline a woman is standing

The spray strung like jewels in her hair

And the sea tore the rocks near

the desolate landing

as though it had known she stood there.

For she had come down to condemn that wild ocean

for the murderous loss of her man,

His boat sailed out on Wednesday morning

And it’s feared it’s gone down with all hands.
Oh and white were the wave-caps

And wild was their parting

So fierce is the warring of love,

But she prayed to the gods

Both of men and of sailors

Not to cast their cruel nets o’er her love.
There’s a school on the hill

Where the songs of dead fathers

Are led toward tempests and gales,

Where their God-given wings

Are clipped close to their bodies,

And their eyes are bound-’round with ships’ sails.
What force leads a man

To a life filled with danger

High on seas or a mile underground?

It’s when need is his master

And poverty’s no stranger,

And there’s no other work to be found.


Invisible College Print Release!

We are happy to announce that The Invisible College 3rd Edition Magazine has finally been released in printed format!
After much gnashing of teeth and incredibly long correspondences with, The Invisible College 3rd Edition is now available for purchase. It contains 104 pages, full colour… (It is a POD – print on demand publication)
If you get a chance you can check out the web version of The Invisible College here: Web Editions – Invisible College This version differs, in that some articles are shorter, fewer pictures, and a web only article appears.
You can also get the full magazine in a 300dpi down load from as well btw.
As we said: Full Colour,(with no Advertisements!) this printed edition we feel will be a highly sought after collectible publication. Check It Out…. 8o)
Stay tuned for more publications soon!


On The Menu:

Laura Huxley Passes Away….

White Lotus Interview with Laura Huxley (1998)

Poems From Aldous….

Art: Gwyllm


Laura Huxley Passes Away….

Laura Achera Huxley passed away this Thursday at the age of 96.
I was privileged to have met her and sat and talked with her several years ago at MindStates when I was stage/event managing for Jon Hanna (thanks Jon!)
Laura and I talked about her favourite subject; children. She did much over the years to help little ones around the world with her charitable and foundation works. She personified words put into action. She touched many, many people, and her presence will be missed.
A blessed voyage to the Western Lands Laura, may you be re-united with Aldous….
White Lotus Interview with Laura Huxley (1998)
Ganga: Laura, I consider you a national resource and treasure.
Laura: Thank you very much. A national resource, that is very impressive. You mean I pay my taxes. Is that what you mean?
Ganga: I mean a real inspiration. I hope you will share, after being a yogini all your life, some insights for people new to the path. I wanted to get at some of your secrets.
Laura: There are no secrets, really. It is difficult because it seems so complicated. Probably, the secret is to be less complicated. We of course love to make complications—look at the way we live. We have this tremendous amount of information, and probably it is really not so necessary. Maybe if you just drink water, you are kind to people and walk a little bit it’s all done already. But we cannot resist this sophistication.
I’ve done a little yoga, not as a professional, and every time I have a good teacher, like recently Cheri Clampett, I see the immense possibilities and subtleties in this discipline. It’s a little bit like music. Each asana is like a piece of music that has a certain characteristic, a certain power. One asana is strong, then again another is very soft and gentle. So you have this modulation from one asana to another, just as you have from one feeling to another. Then they all, of course, make you lighter, give you space. I feel that space is what I get and receive and like to have—space inside which makes more space for openness outside.
Ganga: Space in the mind. Space in the body.
Laura: Yes, space in the body, space in the mind. .
Ganga: How did you get into yoga? What brought you to it?
Laura: My introduction was reading a book on a streetcar going downtown Los Angeles, many years ago. Someone told me about it and I bought one of the very early books on yoga. It was in 1945, when I played in the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra. I took a lesson and immediately could see how wonderful it was. I already had this idea of the empty spine even before I knew about yoga. I always felt the spine is central. Why didn’t anyone ever speak about it?

Ganga: What do you mean by the empty spine?
Laura: The spine should be empty so that energy moves up and down. I always felt this way as a child. Yoga is a natural thing. One time I think I was at the hairdresser and they had those uncomfortable chairs so I put up my feet like this [sitting cross-legged]. Somebody said, “Can you give me some yoga lessons?” They thought right away that I knew about yoga because I sat in a comfortable way.
Yogananda was already around when I started, and I met him and I met a few others. But when you speak about “this secret”, there are no secrets really. Most of it is just common sense. I call it visionary common sense. Although it is inspirational, it is just common sense. It is attention and openness.
You have so many different kinds of yoga. I met Iyengar in Switzerland with Krishnamurti and [acclaimed violinist] Yehudi Menuhin. He was giving a lesson to Yehudi and Krishnamurti. Then I asked for a lesson and finally he gave me some. They were very strong lessons and very good of course. It was strange because I was standing on my head and he came and he slapped my derriere and I thought I was going to fall—but I didn’t.
Ganga: He is famous for that.
Laura: He’s famous for that, yes.
Ganga:You’ve met so many extraordinary people. Can you say more about some of them?
Laura: Yes, I have. There was always an intensity in Krishnamurti. There was that tremendous intensity most of the time. It was as though he were ready to explode. And sometimes he was also playful. I stayed in his house in Madras. Somehow I felt that what he was saying was to be discussed and absorbed, but he could be easily misunderstood. He was fiery natured. And very elegant! A man of tremendous refinement in all that was visual, in materials, in all the senses, totally refined and ready to discuss anything and be very strong about it. We discussed healing, my work with human potential and Aldous’ research with psychedelics.
Ganga:Drugs are such an extraordinary problem in our society and there is such hysteria. Do you think there is a positive aspect that is being overlooked and the baby is being thrown out with the bath water.
Laura: Oh, certainly. There is danger in everything that we do. We are to eat food otherwise we don’t live and sometimes we eat food that is very damaging.
Ganga: Or we become addicted to food.
Laura: Or addicted to food. Oh, yes, addiction to food is unfortunately really grave, also to alcohol or to anything else. But these drugs can be such an extraordinary gift, really. Some, not all drugs. Again, how can we speak about “drugs”? It is like speaking about the human race—each person is different, each drug is different!
Ganga: There are different classes of drugs and they are all being lumped together.
Laura: Yes, but they don’t consider nicotine as a drug. Why don’t they put it together with all the other drugs? And alcohol is certainly one of the most abused drugs since ever and ever, since Dionysus. They say have a glass of wine at dinner, which was done in the Latin countries. In Italy we always had a glass of wine at dinner. It is a good thing. But if you have dozens of glasses of wine at dinner it is not so good. Paracelsius said that the difference between a good medicine and a poison is the dosage.
Ganga: There is a big resurgence of interest in shamanism as well as “plant teachers”. Do you think this is a good direction and what would you advise people?

Laura:I would advise them to study everything that they ingest. Study first of all their own organism and see what kind of reaction they might have. Some people just cannot take certain foods. That’s all. People are allergic. Some people are allergic to orange juice, can you imagine? Orange juice is very healthy isn’t it? Yet some people cannot drink it without having an allergic reaction. Also, who is the person giving it to you? With whom area you taking it? And where, and even why. It can be a tremendous gift but it also might be a dangerous gift.
Ganga: Like electricity.
Laura: Like electricity, exactly.
Ganga: How have psychedelics helped or harmed or influenced you?
Laura: I was deeply affected. They gave me a much wider view of the world, as well as a much wider view of our ignorance, and ignorance, according to the Buddha, is our basic difficulty. Psychedelics and the process of aging make that clear to me all the time.
Ganga: Let’s come back to yoga. You are eighty-six and you are extraordinarily alert and aware and interested in so many things. Do you attribute some of this to yoga? Is this something that was innate in you or did your yoga practice help?
Laura: It’s always nature and nurture together. The practice of yoga certainly is a fantastic practice. I only wish I would do it more. I find I can do it alone but it is much better if I have some guidance. Although I can do it alone it is a little bit sloppy. Ultimately, all of those techniques try to bring more oxygen to the brain. We can think and love better if we have more oxygen.
Ganga:Do you have a pranayama practice? Do you work with your breath?
Laura: I do it and don’t do it. Lately I have not been very disciplined. You would think that as you get older you would be more disciplined. As I get older I get less disciplined. I just play around!
Ganga:Maybe that is good! Aldous, of course, was an extraordinary person. He’s been called a prophet of the present age. He’s been called the father of the psychedelic 60’s, one of the fathers. What were your times with him like?
Laura: They were extraordinary years, not many years but extraordinary years, because we had this basic, extraordinary relationship. We had so many interests in common. He would be in one room and run to my room and say, “look what I found”. He was always researching, and of course researching on many different levels. I was interested in these things even before I married him but that accelerated and made my own knowing much wider and deeper. Wider and deeper, that is what I would say. Even more than anything else, those were the exchanges. But more than anything was the extraordinary kindness of this man, for everyone really. He started very young to be well known, when he was 20. Of course as a writer he was sardonic and ironic and all of that. But as a person he was always very, very kind. You can find reports from the time he was fifteen that he was always considerate with people. But as a writer he was very ironic and shocking and all of those things that made him famous. There was a sense of humor, strong and sophisticated. I never saw the part that was cynical, however. He was never cynical. One of the things that was said about him when he was young was that he had a contempt for the masses. On the contrary, he had a concern for the masses. He had a tremendous concern for people who did not have the possibilities and the privileges that he, you or I had—access to knowledge, to really be able to improve ourselves because we didn’t have to work ten hours a day in the mines or somewhere like that.
Ganga: You mentioned his kindness. In the beginning of our discussion you said that kindness was one of the most important things. Isn’t that how Aldous summed up his life’s insights once when he was asked by someone? What was his reply, treat each other a little kinder?
Laura: Be a little kinder to each other. There was a prodigious group of people, all doctors, Ph.D.’s, probably Nobel Prize winners, and they said, “Mr. Huxley, Would you tell us something that you found from your research?” He was so precise and deep in research. He said, ” It is a little embarrassing that after years of experience, study and research all I can tell you is to be a little kinder to each other.”
Ganga:There is nothing more profound.
Laura: Yes, that is right.
Ganga: His epochal book, Brave New World, was just voted the fifth best novel of our time. What were the early days like with him and Timothy Leary and Ram Dass? You were around for a lot of that.
Laura: Yes. Timothy was always fun. He was always a charming man. We went to Copenhagen together and Ram Dass was there too, for a big conference. Tim gave LSD to half a dozen people, or maybe many more. The next day it was all over the newspapers. Aldous kept saying, “Tim, just keep it private, keep it quiet because we want to research it.” Tim could not keep it quiet.
Ganga: They debated that amongst themselves, didn’t they? Aldous wanted to keep it for scientists and religious people and Timothy wanted to give it to the masses.
Laura: Yes, to everybody.
Ganga: Do you think it was a mistake in retrospect?
Laura: In retrospect it did do some harm because there has not been much research for thirty years, no research in drugs, LSD and psychedelics. Now it is beginning again. After thirty years one should be able to use it properly, particularly for short term therapy, for enhancement of talent, certainly for the dying or very sick people so that they can detach from the body more easily. There are many other substances, it is not only LSD that does that. So in that sense it was not good what Tim did. On the one hand we know some people were hurt, but on the other hand it accelerated this awareness that there is more to ourselves than we think there is. It did open the eyes and feelings and the hearts of many people. I think it would have been better to keep it quiet just for another few years, but Timothy couldn’t.
Ganga: Aldous left us on the same day that John Kennedy did?
Laura: That was ironic because the two men were both very good men and very much concerned with humanity. Aldous died in this house so quietly and so serenely and Kennedy being shot like that, really a contrast. I wonder if they met that afternoon? I hope they did. The ironic thing also is that we were invited twice to go to the White House and for some reason, some stupid reason, we didn’t go. And it would have been very good if we had gone. In fact when we were in Copenhagen in ’61 we thought, now we are going to the White House and give it to them, this group of people some opening with psychedelics. We didn’t do it. Today is the anniversary of Robert Kennedy’s death, which was really as tragic.
Ganga: One’s yoga eventually expresses itself in one’s action in the world and I think you have been exemplary in that. Can you talk a little bit about children as our ultimate investment?
Laura: That is what I am involved in mostly now. The situation with children is not good in this country, nor in other countries. It may be much worse in other countries. It is not just because of the lack of money. It is the lack of the awareness that children are very open, smart and knowing people when they are still very little. Afterwards they close down. Then they become like everyone and we have to work again to open up. One of the reasons is that people become pregnant without preparation. Sixty-eight percent of the pregnancies in the United States are neither prepared for nor expected. Of those sixty-eight percent, quite a bit end in abortion, but still there are a large number of children that come in this world without being expected. The preparation for conception to me is one of the most important things, if we are we interested in the general progress of our species.
Ganga: Moving toward conscious conception.
Laura: Yes, conscious conception. In other words you make love for the pleasu
re and the passion and for the love that two people have for each other. But then there is also this other thing. Are we going to make love to have a child? One has to be clear to do that. If you decide that you are making love to have a child then you are to prepare. Prepare physiologically, spiritually, and know that you have enough money to give him what you have to give him. Very often mothers go to work right away after the child is born and, unless the father or someone else stays home, this is quite serious. A baby has to be near its kin most of the time when he is little for three, four or five years. To give him this grounding, this feeling of connection, this feeling of relationship, is the most important thing.
That is why my work is now Our Ultimate Investment I have a project that I have been carrying out in Nevada City and am trying to put it in the public schools. It is called “Teens and Toddlers” which is a project for prevention of teenage pregnancy. I get children, young people fourteen, fifteen, sixteen and even up to eighteen, to take care of toddlers two or three years old. Toddlers are so powerful and so egocentric and teenagers are also so powerful, so egocentric. Here they are put in a school situation where they are to relate to these little giants and to think about them, instead of thinking about their own needs and all of that–which is a natural thing for all of us. When you are fourteen, fifteen years old it is even more so.
Ganga: What insight does it give them?
Laura: The first insight is, after two hours of working with the children, they are exhausted. That’s the first insight. Then they say, “What, I would have to continue with this for 24 hours a day!” The baby has all these needs, almost continuously, every hour you have to do something for the baby. They always decide to wait until they are 25 or 30 years old to have a baby. In the groups that we have made up in the North, there has been not a single unwanted pregnancy.
Ganga: That’s fantastic.
Laura: Yes, it is because the teenage pregnancy is such a tragic thing. It is such a sad and tragic thing because the children who have children do it because they think they are going to be loved. They are going to be loved, but they have to give love to be loved otherwise the child becomes depressed. Isolated and depressed. In other words apathetic. There have been many experiments with cameras. I speak about babies all the time, a baby tries to get the attention of the mother for awhile by looking and moving and it cries, and cries. Then after awhile, if there is no response from the mother, it just gives up. You can see already the giving up in relationship. There is a lot of that in the world. So teenagers have to be sustained; they have to be given something to live for and something that involves them without having to make a child, a human being. It is extraordinary. I come in this house and if I want to put in a new bathroom I have to ask the city to come and check. But anybody can make a baby without any checking, without thinking. This type of parenting can be tragic because one of the greatest actions a human being can do is to create another life. I call children “our ultimate investment.”
Ganga: That is a great phrase.
Laura: Yes, but it has a double meaning. They are also the ultimate investment for tobacco companies or the liquor industry or the gun industry. Children are the ultimate investment of all of those that want to make money, to sell, to dominate. So there are two meanings. They are our ultimate investment for anyone who is honest and ethical and loving, but also for all the commerce.
Ganga: It cuts both ways.
Laura: It is a very important work and I hope I can do it and that it can be done regardless of me. There is a little bit more awareness we need to have about all this. Things are happening! Every four hours a gun kills a child. Every fifty-nine seconds a teenager becomes pregnant. Can you imagine, every fifty-nine seconds? Today is Saturday. By Wednesday night there will be one million more people on Earth. Aldous’ book was about that sixty-five years ago. As long as there is no control of population, the population explosion will make it so easy for politicians to dominate.
Ganga: It is interesting that the population explosion started at the same time as the nuclear explosion—the baby boom and the atomic bomb. What is your view of spirituality? I think that is what you’ve been expressing in our discussion but can you verbalize it?
Laura: I believe more in concrete spirituality rather than in a spirituality that is divided from the body and from nature. There are four verses of William Blake.
Man has no Body distinct from his Soul;

for that call’d Body is a portion of Soul

discern’d by the five senses,

the chief inlets of Soul in this age.
And what he says is that the way that the soul is expressed now, and the only way it expresses itself in this age, is through the senses. He doesn’t mean tomorrow or in the next century, but in this age. How do I know you or how do you know me unless there is a connection? The connection comes by speaking, seeing, being present, or through hearing if you are not present. Everything has to come through the senses, as though the soul is speaking out through the senses. We are not yet communicating with extrasensory perception. Blake speaks about the soul in this age, not in the future. So how can we express the soul in this age, in this life, except through our body?
Ganga: Which also means through our works, our life.
Laura: What we do, what we feel, what we express, certainly.
Ganga: What would you say about the darkness in the world, in life?
Laura:The darkness. It is there. There is light. There is darkness. There is high and there is low. But in the world now it seems to me this struggle between light and darkness is more evident than ever. I don’t know if it is more evident because I look into it more or because there are just so many wonderful people, and much more so than we even know, trying to do something to help. And look what’s happening now in India, the land of Gandhi, with atomic bombs. Power is just so much part of the human being because power is survival. But I wonder if that is the best way to survive, by killing someone else.
Ganga: To move from darkness to light, you have an exquisite and sensitive use of light here. The way you have different colors and there is a lot of beauty around, nature is practically coming in the windows. What do you say about beauty and bringing beauty into our lives? What is your understanding of beauty as you’ve gone through the years?
Laura:To me it is a great savior. It’s almost an addiction, and also because you can always do it better. You know what I mean, you can do gardening a little bit better. For instance I just try to keep rooms empty, but I don’t succeed. Beauty, well, it’s one of the greatest, greatest gifts. I feel sorry sometimes because people are so worried and so involved in something that they don’t have even five minutes to look at something beautiful. I find beauty almost everywhere. Now more and more I find almost everything beautiful. That is why I have great difficulty in throwing away things because I think they are quite beautiful. Even the garbage, but I have to throw that away!
Ganga: Do you have any advice to new people starting yoga, to young people starting yoga, that would help them throughout their life?
Laura:My advice is very simple. Just do it. Just do it! I think that they stop because they do it so much and then it is too much. I think it probably should be done continuously. Also, to think about yoga not as something that you do fifteen minutes a day or half an hour a day. The awareness that yoga and gives can be used when you wash dishes.
Ganga: In all areas of your life.
I just thought of something else. You have such lovely couches and furniture here but every time I’ve been here we always sit on the floor. Is that one of your secrets?
Laura: Probably it is. Most furniture is not made for people—they are made for the people who sell them. I would much rather sit on the floor. Very rarely do I find a table and a chair that is comfortable. But the floor is comfortable. Some people sit on their feet—three-fourths of the earth sits like that. I would tell to young people to sit on their heels. Children do that naturally so if they never had furniture they would do it. It’s wonderful for all parts of the body.
Ganga: We’ve talked about conscious conception and conscious birth. What can you say about conscious aging, conscious dying?
Laura: There is no way not to know that one is aging, but how much attention do you pay to it and of what kind, morbid or healthy? Morbid attention is when we focus only on the shortcomings that come with aging, which are inevitable, and think that everything that is wrong is a result of aging. Healthy attention is to improve what can be improved and to accept what we cannot improve. And, one would hope that age teaches us how to be more aware of other people’s feelings.
Many times I thought I was dying. I think, “this is it”, but I never did die. So it is always still a question of a projection of our imagination. One time I thought I was dying (remember, you were there) and I didn’t so it is very difficult to speak about it. We don’t know what happens when, one by one, all the senses go and the body is already starting this disintegration. So we don’t know how our mind and our feeling will be. I have seen several deaths, too many deaths in my life, and they were all different. Each one was different. It didn’t seem to be necessarily connected with the life of the person. Some people that were not particularly developed or outstanding or spiritual died very easily. Some other people were on a very high level and had a difficult time in dying. So I don’t know, but it’s certainly something to think about because it could happen at any moment. I think that, at least in my experience, it is difficult when there is unfinished work. That makes it difficult to think of dying when what you have to do is not quite done. Of course it’s never quite done.
Since I was young my wish has been to die in perfect health—I mean to die with a body that is not destroyed by illness but a body that is consumed by its own long burning fire. Such a wish may be judged as an expression of hubris—I don’t know—but it is a project that cannot hurt anyone and may even be a blessing to those that love us.
Ganga: What inspired you to do service work and work with children?
Laura: Service. Service or giving is the other side of receiving. Giving and receiving is a full circle: a full circle feels more natural than a half circle.
Children. Initially it was emotional and personal experiences that turned my attention to children—that was the start. It continued not only emotionally, but also logically, for it is clear that our society can improve only if the next generation is given the chance, through loving and intelligent education, to be better developed than the present one. That is why my foundation is called Our Ultimate Investment. For many of us it is obvious that children are our ultimate investment, but unfortunately children are also the ultimate investment of the gun, tobacco and the liquor industries.
Ganga: Any final thoughts that you can share?
Laura: What I say is focus your mind and respect your body. But mostly love your heart. I think that is where to begin, from there and then it goes out.
Ganga: What do you mean love your heart?
Laura: Love your heart. It really is to love yourself to begin with and help everybody else in doing the same. But the heart being the center. You can focus your mind. You can respect your body. All of that is important. Then if you love your heart, this can be transmitted to other people. I mean you can help anybody that wants to do the same.
Have we covered the world and all the wisdom of the ages?
Ganga: Yes.
Laura: Of the ages of eighty-six, in any case.
Ganga: Thank you.
RESOURCE: Our Ultimate Investment

Post Office Box 1868

Los Angeles, CA 90028


Poems From Aldous….

Shepherd, to yon tall poplars tune your flute:

Let them pierce keenly, subtly shrill,

The slow blue rumour of the hill;

Let the grass cry with an anguish of evening gold,

And the great sky be mute.

Then hearken how the poplar trees unfold

Their buds, yet close and gummed and blind,

In airy leafage of the mind,

Rustling in silvery whispers the twin-hued scales

That fade not nor grow old.

“Poplars and fountains and you cypress spires

Springing in dark and rusty flame,

Seek you aught that hath a name?

Or say, say: Are you all an upward agony

Of undefined desires?

“Say, are you happy in the golden march

Of sunlight all across the day?

Or do you watch the uncertain way

That leads the withering moon on cloudy stairs

Over the heaven’s wide arch?

“Is it towards sorrow or towards joy you lift

The sharpness of your trembling spears?

Or do you seek, through the grey tears

That blur the sky, in the heart of the triumphing blue,

A deeper, calmer rift?”

So; I have tuned my music to the trees,

And there were voices, dim below

Their shrillness, voices swelling slow

In the blue murmur of hills, and a golden cry

And then vast silences.

I had been sitting alone with books,

Till doubt was a black disease,

When I heard the cheerful shout of rooks

In the bare, prophetic trees.
Bare trees,

prophetic of new birth,

You lift your branches clean and freeTo be a beacon to the earth,

A flame of wrath for all to see.
And the rooks in the branches laugh and shout

To those that can hear and understand:

“Walk through the gloomy ways of doubt

With the torch of vision in your hand.”

Misplaced Love
Red wine that slowly leaned and brimmed the shell

Of pearl, where lips had touched, as light and swift

As naked petals of the rose adrift

Upon the lazy-luted ritournelle

Of summer bee-song: laughing as they fell,

Gold memories: dream incense, childhood’s gift,

Blue as the smoke that far horizons lift,

Tenuous as the wings of Ariel: –
These treasured things I laid upon the pyre;

And the flame kindled, and I fanned it high,A

nd, strong in hope, could watch the crumbling past.

Eager I knelt before the waning fire,

Phoenix, to greet thine immortality…

But there was naught but ashes at the last.

The irony of being two…!

Grey eyes, wide open suddenly,

Regard me and enquire; I see a face

Grave and unquiet in tenderness.

Heart-rending question of women – never answered:

“Tell me, tell me, what are you thinking of?”

Oh, the pain and foolishness of love!

What can I do but make my old grimace,

Ending it with a kiss, as I always do?

On The Cusp

The Cantelope…
Side by side in the crowded streets,

Amid its ebb and flow,

We walked together one autumn morn;

(‘Twas many years ago!)
The markets blushed with fruits and flowers;

(Both Memory and Hope!)

You stopped and bought me at the stall,

A spicy cantelope.
We drained together its honeyed wine,

We cast the seeds away;

I slipped and fell on the moony rinds,

And you took me home in a dray!
The honeyed wine of your love is drained;

I limp from the fall I had;

The snow-flakes muffle the empty stall,

And everything is sad.
The sky is an inkstand, upside down,

It splashes the world with gloom;

The earth is full of skeleton bones,

And the sea is a wobbling tomb!
– Bayard Taylor

A return to theme… I had pretty much finished this entry last Friday, but life got in the way… and luckily, it brought a change to the whole set up. I changed out poetry, added an article and revamped the whole thing.
Pounding away on ideas, weather is dire so the head whirls with the coming year. I am all for the continual changes, and the gifts of a blind future.
I’ve talked to many people in the last few days, and it smells of hope, it feels like there is a sea-change in the air…
Much is going on, and things are beginning to unfold. Here is to a brilliant Solstice, and all that it brings, and says goodbye to….

Bright Blessings,

On The Menu:

Shameless Self Promotion…

Edith Piaf – Non, je ne regrette rien

The Links

The Vision of Hasheesh

Bayard Taylor – An American In The East…His Poetic Works…

Edith Piaf – Padam, Padam

Art: Rudolf Ernst

Announcing The Gwyllm Llwydd – 2008 Calendar!

I have finally decided to put my art out there as a calendar… 12 months of Surreal Enjoyment… So if you feel so inclined, here is your chance to decorate your house with a bit of madness! 8o)

Get Your Gwyllm Calendar here!
Edith Piaf – Non, je ne regrette rien (1961)



The Links:

A hug from Amma

Tracing Business Acumen to Dyslexia

Neanderthal-human hybrid ‘a myth’

The Vision of Hasheesh

by Bayard Taylor
Chapter X of The Lands of the Saracen. (A slightly different version was published in the April, 1854 edition of Putnam’s Monthly Magazine)
“Exulting, trembling, raging, fainting, Possessed beyond the Muse’s painting.”

During my stay in Damascus, that insatiable curiosity which leads me to prefer the acquisition of all lawful knowledge through the channels of my own personal experience, rather than in less satisfactory and less laborious ways, induced me to make a trial of the celebrated Hasheesh — that remarkable drug which supplies the luxurious Syrian with dreams more alluring and more gorgeous than the Chinese extracts from his darling opium pipe. The use of Hasheesh — which is a preparation of the dried leaves of the cannabis indica — has been familiar to the East for many centuries. During, the Crusades, it was frequently used by the Saracen warriors to stimulate them to the work of slaughter, and from the Arabic term of “Hashasheën” or Eaters of Hasheesh, as applied to them, the word “assassin” has been naturally derived. An infusion of the same plant gives to the drink called “bhang” which is in common use throughout India and Malaysia, its peculiar properties. Thus prepared, it is a more fierce and fatal stimulant than the paste of sugar and spices to which the Turk resorts, as the food of his voluptuous evening, reveries. While its immediate effects seem to be more potent than those of opium, its habitual use, though attended with ultimate and permanent injury to the system, rarely results in such utter wreck of mind and body as that to which the votaries of the latter drug inevitably condemn themselves.
A previous experience of the effects of hasheesh — which I took once, and in a very mild form, while in Egypt — was so peculiar in its character, that my curiosity, instead of being satisfied, only prompted me the more to throw myself, for once, wholly under its influence. The sensations it then produced were those, physically, of exquisite lightness and airiness — mentally, of a wonderfully keen perception of the ludicrous, in the most simple and familiar objects. During the half hour in which it lasted, I was at no time so far under its control, that I could not, with the clearest perception, study the changes through which I passed. I noted, with careful attention, the fine sensations which spread throughout the whole tissue of my nervous fibre, each thrill helping, to divest my frame of its earthly and material nature, until my substance appeared to me no grosser than the vapors of the atmosphere, and while sitting in the calm of the Egyptian twilight, I expected to be lifted up and carried away by the first breeze that should ruffle the Nile. While this process was going on, the objects by which I was surrounded assumed a strange and whimsical expression. My pipe, the oars which my boatmen plied, the turban worn by the captain, the water-jars and culinary implements, became in themselves so inexpressibly absurd and comical, that I was provoked into a long fit of laughter. The hallucination died away as gradually as it came, leaving me overcome with a soft and pleasant drowsiness from which I sank into a deep, refreshing sleep.
My companion and an English gentleman, who, with his wife, was also residing in Antonio’s pleasant caravanserai — agreed to join me in the experiment. The dragoman of the latter was deputed to procure a sufficient quantity of the drug. He was a dark Egyptian, speaking only the lingua franca of the East, and asked me, as he took the money and departed on his mission, whether he should get hasheesh “per ridere, o per dormire?” “Oh, per ridere, of course,” I answered; “and see that it be strong and fresh.” It is customary with the Syrians to take a small portion immediately before the evening meal, as it is thus diffused through the stomach and acts more gradually, as well as more gently, upon the system. As our dinner-hour was at sunset, I proposed taking hasheesh at that time, but my friends, fearing that its operation might be more speedy upon fresh subjects, and thus betray them into some absurdity in the presence of the other travellers, preferred waiting until after the meal. It was then agreed that we should retire to our room, which, as it rose like a tower one story higher than the rest of the building, was in a manner isolated, and would screen us from observation.
We commenced by taking a tea-spoonful each of the mixture which Abdallah had procured. This was about the quantity I had taken in Egypt, and as the effect then had been so slight, I judged that we ran no risk of taking an over-dose. The strength of the drug, however, must have been far greater in this instance, for whereas I could in the former case distinguish no flavor but that of sugar and rose leaves, I now found the taste intensely bitter and repulsive to the palate. We allowed the paste to dissolve slowly on our tongues, and sat some time, quietly waiting the result. But, having been taken upon a full stomach, its operation was hindered, and after the lapse of nearly an hour, we could not detect the least change in our feelings. My friends loudly expressed their conviction of the humbug of hasheesh, but I, unwilling to give up the experiment at this point, proposed that we should take an additional half spoonful, and follow it with a cup of hot tea, which, if there were really any virtue in the preparation, could not fail to call it into action. This was done, though not without some misgivings, as we were all ignorant of the precise quantity which constituted a dose, and the limits within which the drug could be taken with safety. It was now ten o’clock; the streets of Damascus were gradually becoming silent, and the fair city was bathed in the yellow lustre of the Syrian moon. Only in the marble court-yard below us, a few dragomen and mukkairee lingered under the lemon-trees, and beside the fountain in the centre.

I was seated alone, nearly in the middle of the room, talking with my friends, who were lounging upon a sofa placed in a sort of alcove, at the farther end, when the same fine nervous thrill, of which I have spoken, suddenly shot through me. But this time it was accompanied with a burning sensation at the pit of the stomach; and, instead of growing upon me with the gradual pace of healthy slumber, and resolving me, as before, into air, it came with the intensity of a pang, and shot throbbing along the nerves to the extremities of my body. The sense of limitation — of the confinement of our senses within the bounds of our own flesh and blood — instantly fell away. The walls of my frame were burst outward and tumbled into ruin; and, without thinking what form I wore — losing sight even of all idea of form — I felt that I existed throughout a vast extent of space. The blood, pulsed from my heart, sped through uncounted leagues before it reached my extremities; the air drawn into my lungs expanded into seas of limpid ether, and the arch of my skull was broader than the vault of heaven. Within the concave that held my brain, were the fathomless deeps of blue; clouds floated there, and the winds of heaven rolled them together, and there shone the orb of the sun. It was — though I thought not of that at the time — like a revelation of the mystery of omnipresence. It is diffcult to describe this sensation, or the rapidity with which it mastered me. In the state of mental exaltation in which I was then plunged, all sensations, as they rose, suggested more or less coherent images. They presented themselves to me in a double form: one physical, and therefore to a certain extent tangible; the other spiritual, and revealing itself in a succession of splendid metaphors. The physical feeling, of extended being was accompanied by the image of an exploding meteor, not subsiding into darkness, but continuing to shoot from its centre or nucleus — which corresponded to the burning spot at the pit of my stomach — incessant adumbrations of light that finally lost themselves in the infinity of space. To my mind, even now, this image is still the best illustration of my sensations, as I recall them; but I greatly doubt whether the reader will find it equally clear.
My curiosity was now in a way of being satisfied; the Spirit (demon, shall I not rather say?) of Hasheesh had entire possession of me. I was cast upon the flood of his illusions, and drifted helplessly whithersoever they might choose to bear me. The thrills which ran through my nervous system became more rapid and fierce, accompanied with sensations that steeped my whole being in unutterable rapture. I was encompassed by a sea of light, through which played the pure, harmonious colors that are born of light. While endeavoring, in broken expressions, to describe my feelings to my friends, who sat looking upon me incredulously-not yet having been affected by the drug-I suddenly found myself at the foot of the great Pyramid of Cheops. The tapering courses of yellow limestone gleamed like gold in the sun, and the pile rose so high that it seemed to lean for support upon the blue arch of the sky. I wished to ascend it, and the wish alone placed me immediately upon its apex, lifted thousands of feet above the wheat-fields and palm-groves of Egypt. I cast my eyes downward, and, to my astonishment, saw that it was built, not of limestone, but of huge square plugs of Cavendish tobacco! Words cannot paint the overwhelming sense of the ludicrous which I then experienced. I writhed on my chair in an agony of laughter, which was only relieved by the vision melting away like a dissolving view; till, out of my confusion of indistinct images and fragments of images, another and more wonderful vision arose.
The more vividly I recall the scene which followed, the more carefully I restore its different features, and separate the many threads of sensation which it wove into one gorgeous web, the more I despair of representing its exceeding glory. I was moving over the Desert, not upon the rocking dromedary, but seated in a barque made of mother-of-pearl, and studded with jewels of surpassing lustre. The sand was of grains of gold, and my keel slid through them without jar or sound. The air was radiant with excess of light, though no sun was to be seen. I inhaled the most delicions perfumes; and harmonies, such as Beethoven may have heard in dreams, but never wrote, floated around me. The atmosphere itself was light, odor, music; and each and all sublimated beyond anything the sober senses are capable of receiving. Before me — for a thousand leagues, as it seemed — stretched a vista of rainbows, whose colors gleamed with the splendor of gems — arches of living amethyst, sapphire, emerald, topaz, and ruby. By thousands and tens of thousands, they flew past me, as my dazzling barge sped down the magnificent arcade; yet the vista still stretched as far as ever before me. I revelled in a sensuous elysium, which was perfect, because no sense was left ungratified. But beyond all, my mind was filled with a boundless feeling of triumph. My journey was that of a conqueror — not of a conqueror who subdues his race, either by Love or by Will, for I forgot that Man existed — but one victorious over the grandest as well as the subtlest forces of Nature. The spirits of Light, Color, Odor, Sound, and Motion were my slaves; and, having these, I was master of the universe.
Those who are endowed to any extent with the imaginative faculty, must have at least once in their lives experienced feelings which may give them a clue to the exalted sensuous raptures of my triumphal march. The view of a sublime mountain landscape, the hearing of a grand orchestral symphony, or of a choral upborne by the “full-voiced organ,” or even the beauty and luxury of a cloudless summer day, suggests emotions similar in kind, if less intense. They took a warmth and glow from that pure animal joy which degrades not, but spiritualizes and ennobles our material part, and which differs from cold, abstract, intellectual enjoyment, as the flaming diamond of the Orient differs from the icicle of the North. Those finer senses, which occupy a middle ground between our animal and intellectual appetites, were suddenly developed to a pitch beyond what I had ever dreamed, and being thus at one and the same time gratified to the fullest extent of their preternatural capacity, the result was a single harmonious sensation, to describe which human language has no epithet. Mahomet’s Paradise, with its palaces of ruby and emerald, its airs of musk and cassia, and its rivers colder than snow and sweeter than honey, would have been a poor and mean terminus for my arcade of rainbows. Yet in the character of this paradise, in the gorgeous fancies of the Arabian Nights, in the glow and luxury of all Oriental poetry, I now recognize more or less of the agency of hasheesh.
The fullness of my rapture expanded the sense of time; and though the whole vision was probably not more than five minutes in passing through my mind, years seemed to have elapsed while I shot under the dazzling myriads of rainbow arches. By and by, the rainbows, the barque of pearl and jewels, and the desert of golden sand, vanished; and, still bathed in light and perfume, I found myself in a land of green and flowery lawns, divided by hills of gently undulating outline. But, although the vegetation was the richest of earth, there were neither streams nor fountains to be seen; and the people who came from the hills, with brilliant garments that shone in the sun, besought me to give them the blessing of water. Their hands were full of branches of the coral honeysuckle, in bloom. These I took; and, brea
king off the flowers one by one, set them in the earth. The slender, trumpet-like tubes immediately became shafts of masonry, and sank deep into the earth; the lip of the flower changed into a circular mouth of rose-colored marble, and the people, leaning over its brink, lowered their pitchers to the bottom with cords, and drew them up again, filled to the brim, and dripping with honey.
The most remarkable feature of these illusions was, that at the time when I was most completely under their influence, I knew myself to be seated in the tower of Antonio’s hotel in Damascus, knew that I had taken hasheesh, and that the strange, gorgeous and ludicrous fancies which possessed me, were the effect of it. At the very same instant that I looked upon the Valley of the Nile from the pyramid, slid over the Desert, or created my marvellous wells in that beautiful pastoral country, I saw the furniture of my room, its mosaic pavement, the quaint Saracenic niches in the walls, the painted and gilded beams of the ceiling, and the couch in the recess before me, with my two companions watching me. Both sensations were simultaneous, and equally palpable. While I was most given up to the magnificent delusion, I saw its cause and felt its absurdity most clearly. Metaphysicians say that the mind is incapable of performing two operations at the same time, and may attempt to explain this phenomenon by supposing a rapid and incessant vibration of the perceptions between the two states. This explanation, however, is not satisfactory to me; for not more clearly does a skilful musician with the same breath blow two distinct musical notes from a bugle, than I was conscious of two distinct conditions of being in the same moment. Yet, singular as it may seem, neither conflicted with the other. My enjoyment of the visions was complete and absolute, undisturbed by the faintest doubt of their reality; while, in some other chamber of my brain, Reason sat coolly watching them, and heaping the liveliest ridicule on their fantastic features. One set of nerves was thrilled with the bliss of the gods, while another was convulsed with unquenchable laughter at that very bliss. My highest ecstacies could not bear down and silence the weight of my ridicule, which, in its turn, was powerless to prevent me from running into other and more gorgeous absurdities. I was double, not “swan and shadow,” but rather, Sphinx-like, human and beast. A true Sphinx, I was a riddle and a mystery to myself.
The drug, which had been retarded in its operation on account of having been taken after a meal, now began to make itself more powerfully felt. The visions were more grotesque than ever, but less agreeable; and there was a painful tension throughout my nervous system — the effect of over-stimulus. I was a mass of transparent jelly, and a confectioner poured me into a twisted mould. I threw my chair aside, and writhed and tortured myself for some time to force my loose substance into the mould. At last, when I had so far succeeded that only one foot remained outside, it was lifted off, and another mould, of still more crooked and intricate shape, substituted. I have no doubt that the contortions through which I went, to accomplish the end of my gelatinous destiny, would have been extremely ludicrous to a spectator, but to me they were painful and disagreeable. The sober half of me went into fits of laughter over them, and through that laughter, my vision shifted into another scene. I had laughed until my eyes overflowed profusely. Every drop that fell, immediately became a large loaf of bread, and tumbled upon the shop- board of a baker in the bazaar at Damascus. The more I laughed, the faster the loaves fell, until such a pile was raised about the baker, that I could hardly see the top of his head. “The man will be suffocated,” I cried, “but if he were to die, I cannot stop!”
My perceptions now became more dim and confused. I felt that I was in the grasp of some giant force; and, in the glimmering of my fading reason, grew earnestly alarmed, for the terrible stress under which my frame labored increased every moment. A fierce and furious heat radiated from my stomach throughout my system; my mouth and throat were as dry and hard as if made of brass, and my tongue, it seemed to me, was a bar of rusty iron. I seized a pitcher of water, and drank long and deeply; but I might as well have drunk so much air, for not only did it impart no moisture, but my palate and throat gave me no intelligence of having drunk at all. I stood in the centre of the room, brandishing my arms convulsively, and heaving sighs that seemed to shatter my whole being. “Will no one,” I cried in distress, “cast out this devil that has possession of me?” I no longer saw the room nor my friends, but I heard one of them saying, “It must be real; he could not counterfeit such an expression as that. But it don’t look much like pleasure.” Immediately afterwards there was a scream of the wildest laughter, and my countryman sprang upon the floor, exclaiming, “O, ye gods! I am a locomotive!” This was his ruling hallucination; and, for the space of two or three hours, he continued to pace to and fro with a measured stride, exhaling his breath in violent jets, and when he spoke, dividing his words into syllables, each of which he brought out with a jerk, at the same time turning his hands at his sides, as if they were the cranks of imaginary wheels. The Englishman, as soon as he felt the dose beginning to take effect, prudently retreated to his own room, and what the nature of his visions was, we never learned, for he refused to tell, and, moreover, enjoined the strictest silence on his wife.
By this time it was nearly midnight. I had passed through the Paradise of Hasheesh, and was plunged at once into its fiercest Hell. In my ignorance I had taken what, I have since learned, would have been a sufficient portion for six men, and was now paying a frightful penalty for my curiosity. The excited blood rushed through my frame with a sound like the roaring of mighty waters. It was projected into my eyes until I could no longer see; it beat thickly in my ears, and so throbbed in my heart, that I feared the ribs would give way under its blows. I tore open my vest, placed my hand over the spot, and tried to count the pulsations; but there were two hearts, one beating at the rate of a thousand beats a minute, and the other with a slow, dull motion. My throat, I thought, was filled to the brim with blood, and streams of blood were pouring from my ears. I felt them gushing warm down my cheeks and neck. With a maddened, desperate feeling, I fled from the room, and walked over the flat, terraced roof of the house. My body seemed to shrink and grow rigid as I wrestled with the demon, and my face to become wild, lean and haggard. Some lines which had struck me, years before, in reading Mrs. Browning’s “Rhyme of the Duchess May,” flashed into my mind: —
On the last verge, rears amain;

And he shivers, head and hoof, and the flakes of foam fall off;
That picture of animal terror and agony was mine. I was the horse, hanging poised on the verge of the giddy tower, the next moment to be borne sheer down to destruction. Involuntarily, I raised my hand to feel the leanness and sharpness of my face. Oh horror! the flesh had fallen from my bones, and it was a skeleton head that I carried on my shoulders! With one bound I sprang to the parapet, and looked down into the silent courtyard, then filled with the shadows thrown into it by the sinking moon. Shall I cast myself down headlong? was the question I proposed to myself; but though the horror of that skeleton delusion was greater than my fear of death, there was an invisible hand at my breast which pushed me away from the brink.

I made my way back to the room, in a state of the keenest suffering. My companion was still a locomotive, rushing to and fro, and jerking out his syllables with the disjointed accent peculiar to a steam-engine. His mouth had turned to brass like mine, and he raised the pitcher to his lips in the attempt to moisten it, but before he had taken a mouthful, set the pitcher down again with a yell of laughter, crying out: “How can I take water into my boiler, while I am letting off steam?”
But I was now too far gone to feel the absurdity of this, or his other exclamations. I was sinking deeper and deeper into a pit of unutterable agony and despair. For, although I was not conscious of real pain in any part of my body, the cruel tension to which my nerves had been subjected filled me through and through with a sensation of distress which was far more severe than pain itself. In addition to this, the remnant of will with which I struggled against the demon, became gradually weaker, and I felt that I should soon be powerless in his hands. Every effort to preserve my reason was accompanied by a pang of mortal fear, lest what I now experienced was insanity, and would hold mastery over me for ever. The thought of death, which also haunted me, was far less bitter than this dread. I knew that in the struggle which was going on in my frame, I was borne fearfully near the dark gulf, and the thought that, at such a time, both reason and will were leaving my brain, filled me with an agony, the depth and blackness of which I should vainly attempt to portray. I threw myself on my bed, with the excited blood still roaring wildly in my ears, my heart throbbing with a force that seemed to be rapidly wearing away my life, my throat dry as a potsherd, and my stiffened tongue cleaving to the roof of my mouth-resisting no longer, but awaiting my fate with the apathy of despair.
My companion was now approaching the same condition, but as the effect of the drug on him had been less violent, so his stage of suffering was more clamorous. He cried out to me that he was dying, implored me to help him, and reproached me vehemently, because I lay there silent, motionless, and apparently careless of his danger. “Why will he disturb me?” I thought; “he thinks he is dying, but what is death to madness? Let him die; a thousand deaths were more easily borne than the pangs I suffer.” While I was sufficiently conscious to hear his exclamations, they only provoked my keen anger; but after a time, my senses became clouded, and I sank into a stupor. As near as I can judge, this must have been three o’clock in the morning, rather more than five hours after the hasheesh began to take effect. I lay thus all the following day and night, in a state of gray, blank oblivion, broken only by a single wandering gleam of consciousness. I recollect hearing François’ voice. He told me afterwards that I arose, attempted to dress myself, drank two cups of coffee, and then fell back into the same death-like stupor; but of all this, I did not retain the least knowledge. On the morning of the second day, after a sleep of thirty hours, I awoke again to the world, with a system utterly prostrate and unstrung, and a brain clouded with the lingering images of my visions. I knew where I was, and what had happened to me, but all that I saw still remained unreal and shadowy. There was no taste in what I ate, no refreshment in what I drank, and it required a painful effort to comprehend what was said to me and return a coherent answer. Will and Reason had come back, but they still sat unsteadily upon their thrones.
My friend, who was much further advanced in his recovery, accompanied me to the adjoining bath, which I hoped would assist in restoring me. It was with great difficulty that I preserved the outward appearance of consciousness. In spite of myself, a veil now and then fell over my mind, and after wandering for years, as it seemed, in some distant world, I awoke with a shock, to find myself in the steamy halls of the bath, with a brown Syrian polishing my limbs. I suspect that my language must have been rambling and incoherent, and that the menials who had me in charge understood my condition, for as soon as I had stretched myself upon the couch which follows the bath, a glass of very acid sherbet was presented to me, and after drinking it I experienced instant relief. Still the spell was not wholly broken, and for two or three days I continued subject to frequent involuntary fits of absence, which made me insensible, for the time, to all that was passing around me. I walked the streets of Damascus with a strange consciousness that I was in some other place at the same time, and with a constant effort to reunite my divided perceptions.
Previous to the experiment, we had decided on making a bargain with the shekh for the journey to Palmyra. The state, however, in which we now found ourselves, obliged us to relinquish the plan. Perhaps the excitement of a forced march across the desert, and a conflict with the hostile Arabs, which was quite likely to happen, might have assisted us in throwing off the baneful effects of the drug; but all the charm which lay in the name of Palmyra and the romantic interest of the trip, was gone. I was without courage and without energy, and nothing remained for me but to leave Damascus.
Yet, fearful as my rash experiment proved to me, I did not regret having made it. It revealed to me deeps of rapture and of suffering which my natural faculties never could have sounded. It has taught me the majesty of human reason and of human will, even in the weakest, and the awful peril of tampering with that which assails their integrity. I have here faithfully and fully written out my experience, on account of the lesson which it may convey to others. If I have unfortunately failed in my design, and have but awakened that restless curiosity which I have endeavored to forestall, let me beg all who are thereby led to repeat the experiment upon themselves, that they be content to take the portion of hasheesh which is considered sufficient for one man, and not, like me, swallow enough for six.

Bayard Taylor – An American In The East…His Poetic Works…

From the Desert I come to thee

On a stallion shod with fire;

And the winds are left behind

In the speed of my desire.

Under thy window I stand,

And the midnight hears my cry:

I love thee, I love but thee,

With a love that shall not die

Till the sun grows cold,

And the stars are old,

And the leaves of the Judgment Book Unfold!

Look from thy window and see

My passion and my pain;

I lie on the sands below,

And I faint in thy disdain.

Let the night-winds touch thy brow

With the heat of my burning sigh,

And melt thee to hear the vow

Of a love that shall not die

Till the sun grows cold,

And the stars are old,

And the leaves of the Judgment Book Unfold!

My steps are nightly driven,

By the fever in my breast,

To hear from thy lattice breathed

The word that shall give me rest.

Open the door of thy heart,

And open thy chamber door,

And my kisses shall teach thy lips

The love that shall fade no more

Till the sun grows cold,

And the stars are old,

And the leaves of the Judgment Book Unfold!

Daughter of Egypt, veil thine eyes!

I cannot bear their fire;

Nor will I touch with sacrifice

Those altars of desire.

For they are flames that shun the day,

And their unholy light

Is fed from natures gone astray

In passion and in night.

The stars of Beauty and of Sin,

They burn amid the dark,

Like beacons that to ruin win

The fascinated bark.

Then veil their glow, lest I forswear

The hopes thou canst not crown,

And in the black waves of thy hair

My struggling manhood drown!

The wild and windy morning is lit with lurid fire;

The thundering surf of ocean beats on the rocks of Tyre, —

Beats on the fallen columns and round the headland roars,

And hurls its foamy volume along the hollow shores,

And calls with hungry clamor, that speaks its long desire:

“Where are the ships of Tarshish, the mighty ships of Tyre?”

Within her cunning harbor, choked with invading sand,

No galleys bring their freightage, the spoils of every land,

And like a prostrate forest, when autumn gales have blown,

Her colonnades of granite lie shattered and o’erthrown;

And from the reef the pharos no longer flings its fire,

To beacon home from Tarshish the lordly ships of Tyre.

Where is thy rod of empire, once mighty on the waves, —

Thou that thyself exalted, till Kings became thy slaves?

Thou that didst speak to nations, and saw thy will obeyed, —

Whose favor made them joyful, whose anger sore afraid, —

Who laid’st thy deep foundations, and thought them strong and sure,

And boasted midst the waters, Shall I not aye endure?

Where is the wealth of ages that heaped thy princely mart?

The pomp of purple trappings; the gems of Syrian art;

The silken goats of Kedar; Sabæa’s spicy store;

The tributes of the islands thy squadrons homeward bore,

When in thy gates triumphant they entered from the sea

With sound of horn and sackbut, of harp and psaltery?

Howl, howl, ye ships of Tarshish! the glory is laid waste:

There is no habitation; the mansions are defaced.

No mariners of Sidon unfurl your mighty sails;

No workmen fell the fir-trees that grow in Shenir’s vales

And Bashan’s oaks that boasted a thousand years of sun,

Or hew the masts of cedar on frosty Lebanon.

Rise, thou forgotten harlot! take up thy harp and sing:

Call the rebellious islands to own their ancient king:

Bare to the spray thy bosom, and with thy hair unbound,

Sit on the piles of ruins, thou throneless and discrowned!

There mix thy voice of wailing with the thunders of the sea,

And sing thy songs of sorrow, that thou remembered be!

Though silent and forgotten, yet Nature still laments

The pomp and power departed, the lost magnificence:

The hills were proud to see thee, and they are sadder now;

The sea was proud to bear thee, and wears a troubled brow,

And evermore the surges chant forth their vain desire:

“Where are the ships of Tarshish, the mighty ships of Tyre?”

Edith Piaf – Padam, Padam



The Hasheesh Eaters….

Thursday in the Great North Wetness… Rained again last night, I thought our Basement would start leaking again it was pounding sooooo much. Supposedly the great i-5 will be opened this evening, though I wonder about the mud etc. The coast is still a huge mess. It could be food-drops etc. in the next couple of daze…
Watched a great little film outa Canada last night: “Snow Cake”, Recommended. Alan Rickman, Sigourney Weaver, Carrie-Ann Moss and a cast of very tweaked people dealing with death, autism, and the changing of the seasons. Perfect winter fare. Lots of love in this film, and it is a keeper.
It looks like the error in printing on the Invisible College Magazine may be cleared up. I will let you know when it is available…
Just obtained a Wacom Tablet…. Amazing Device! This will be changing my whole approach to art… Thanks to John @ Godzero for his encouragement.

Announcing The Gwyllm Llwydd – 2008 Calendar!

I have finally decided to put my art out there as a calendar… 12 months of Surreal Enjoyment… So if you feel so inclined, here is your chance to decorate your house with a bit of madness! 8o)

Get Your Gwyllm Calendar here!


Off to make the world a tidier place!

On The Menu:

The Links

Repeat Entry: Hashish – The Drug of a Nation


On The Wings Of Love – The Poetry of Hafiz

Art: Rudolf Ernst

The Links:

In a parallel universe, this theory would make sense

Astronaut Edgar Mitchell searches for ‘inclusive view of reality’

Let us kill all the teddy bears

Alameda distiller helps make absinthe legitimate again


And on this occasion, I would like to repeat:

Hashish – The Drug of a Nation



From 1001 Arabian Nights

There was once, my lord and crown upon my head, a man in a certain city, who was a fisherman by trade and a hashish-eater by occupation. When he had earned his daily wage, he would spend a little of it on food and the rest on a sufficiency of that hilarious herb. He took his hashish three times a day: once in the morning on an empty stomach, once at noon, and once at sundown. Thus he was never lacking in extravagent gaity. Yet he worked hard enough at his fishing, though sometimes in a very extravagent fashion.
On a certain evening, for instance, when he had taken a larger dose of his favorite drug than usual, he lit a tallow candle and sat in front of it, asking himself eager questions and answering with obliging wit. After some hours of this delight, he became aware of the cool silence of the night about him and the clear light of a full moon abouve his head, and exclaimed affably to himself: “Dear friend, the silent streets and the cool of the moon invite us to a walk. Let us go forth, while all the world is in bed and none may mar our solitary exaltation.” Speaking in this way to himself, the fisherman left his house and began to walk towards the river; but, as he went, he saw the light of the full moon lying in the roadway and took it to be the water of the river. “My dear old friend the fisherman,” he said, “get your line and take the best of the fishing, while your rivals are indoors.” So he ran back and fetched his hook and line, and cast into the glittering patch of moonlight on the road.
Soon an enormous dog, tempted by the smell of the bait, swallowed the hook greedily and then, feeling the barb, made desperate efforts to get loose. The fisherman struggled for some time against this enormous fish, but at last he was pulled over and rolled into the moonlight. Even then he would not let go his line, but held on grimly, uttering frightened cries. “Help, help, good Mussulmans!” he shouted. “Help me to secure this mighty fish, for he is dragging me into the deeps! Help, help, good friends, for I am drowning!” The guards of that quarter ran up at the noise and began laughing at the fisherman’s antics; but when he yelled: “Allah curse you, O sons of bitches! Is it a time to laugh when I am drowning?” they grew angry and, after giving him a sound beating, dragged him into the presence of the kadi.
At this point Shahrazad saw the approach of morning and discreetly fell silent.
Allah had willed that the kadi should also be addicted to the use of hashish; recognizing that the prisoner was under that jocund influence, he rated the guards soundly and dismissed them. Then he handed over the fisherman to his slaves that they might give him a bed for calm sleep. After a pleasant night and a day given up to the consumption of excellent food, the fisherman was called to the kadi in the evening and received by him like a brother. His host supped with him; and then the two sat opposite the lighted candles and each swallowed enough hashish to destroy a hundred-year-old elephant. When the drug exalted their natural dispositions, they undressed completely and began to dance about, singing and committing a thousand extravagances.

Now it happened that the Sultan and his wazir were walking through the city, disguised as merchants, and heard a strange noise rising from the kadi’s house. They entered through the unlatched door and found two naked men, who stopped dancing at their entrance and welcomed them without the least embarrassment. The Sultan sat down to watch his venerable kadi dance again; but when he saw that the other man had a dark and lively zabb, so long that the eye might not carry to the end of it, he whispered in his wazir’s startled ear: “As Allah lives, our kadi is not as well hung as his guest!” “What are you whispering about?” cried the fisherman. “I am the Sultan of this city and I order you to watch my dance respectfully, otherwise I will have your head cut off. I am the Sultan, this is my wazir; I hold the whole world like a fish in the palm of my right hand.” The Sultan and his wazir realized that they were in the presence of two hashish-eaters, and the wazir, to amuse his master, addressed the fisherman, saying: “How long have you been Sultan, dear master, and can you tell me what has happened to your predecessor?” “I deposed the fellow,” answered the fisherman. “I said: ‘Go Away!’ and he went away.”
“Did he not protest?” asked the wazir.
“Not at all,” replied the fisherman. “He was delighted to be relased from the burden of kingship. He abdicated with such good grace that I keep him by me as a servant. He is an excellent dancer. When he pines for his throne, I tell him stories. Now I want to piss.” So saying, he lifted up his interminable tool and, walking over to the Sultan, seemed to be about to discharge upon him.
“I also want to piss,” exclaimed the kadi, and took up the same threatening position in front of the wazir. The two victims shouted with laughter and fled from that house, crying over their shoulders: “God’s curse on all hashish-eaters!”
Next morning, that the jest might be complete, the Sultan called the kadi and his guest before him. “O discreet pillar of our law,” he said, “I have called you to me because I wish to learn the most convenient manner of pissing. Should one squat and carefully lift the robe, as religion prescribes? Should one stand up, as is the unclean habit of unbelievers? Or should one undress completely and piss against one’s friends, as is the custom of two hashish-eaters of my acquaintance?”
Knowing that the Sultan used to walk about the city in disguise, the kadi realized in a flash the identity of his last night’s visitors, and fell on his knees, crying: “My lord, my lord, the hashish spake in these indelicacies, not I!”
But the fisherman, who by his careful daily taking of the drug was always under its effect, called somewhat sharply: “And what of it? You are in your palace this morning, we were in our palace last night.”
“O sweetest noise in all our kingdom,” answered the delighted King, “as we are both Sultans of this city, I think you had better henceforth stay with me in my palace. If you can tell stories, I trust that you will at once sweeten our hearing with a chosen one.”
“I will do so gladly, as soon as you have pardoned my wazir,” replied the fisherman; so the Sultan bade the kadi rise and sent him back forgiven to his duties.


On The Wings Of Love – The Poetry of Hafiz

School of Truth

O fool, do something, so you won’t just stand there looking dumb.

If you are not traveling and on the road, how can you call yourself a guide?
In the School of Truth, one sits at the feet of the Master of Love.

So listen, son, so that one day you may be an old father, too!
All this eating and sleeping has made you ignorant and fat;

By denying yourself food and sleep, you may still have a chance.
Know this: If God should shine His lovelight on your heart,

I promise you’ll shine brighter than a dozen suns.
And I say: wash the tarnished copper of your life from your hands;

To be Love’s alchemist, you should be working with gold.
Don’t sit there thinking; go out and immerse yourself in God’s sea.

Having only one hair wet with water will not put knowledge in that head.
For those who see only God, their vision

Is pure, and not a doubt remains.
Even if our world is turned upside down and blown over by the wind,

If you are doubtless, you won’t lose a thing.
O Hafiz, if it is union with the Beloved that you seek,

Be the dust at the Wise One’s door, and speak!

Let Thought Become Your Beautiful Lover

Let thought become the beautiful Woman.
Cultivate your mind and heart to that depth
That it can give you everything

A warm body can.
Why just keep making love with God’s child– Form
When the Friend Himself is standing

Before us

So open-armed?
My dear,

Let prayer become your beautiful Lover
And become free,

Become free of this whole world

Like Hafiz.

We Might Have To Medicate You

Resist your temptation to lie

By speaking of separation from God,

We might have to medicate

In the ocean

A lot goes on beneath your eyes.

They have clinics there too

For the insane

Who persist in saying things like:
“I am independent from the

God is not always around

Pressing against

My body.”

Like The Morning Breeze

Like the morning breeze, if you bring to the morning good deeds,

The rose of our desire will open and bloom.
Go forward, and make advances down this road of love;

In forward motion, the pain is great.
To beg at the door of the Winehouse is a wonderful alchemy.

If you practice this, soon you will be converting dust into gold.
O heart, if only once you experience the light of purity,

Like a laughing candle, you can abandon the life you live in your head.
But if you are still yearning for cheap wine and a beautiful face,

Don’t go out looking for an enlightened job.
Hafiz, if you are listening to this good advice,

The road of Love and its enrichment are right around the curve.


Sleep And Poetry

Sleep and Poetry – John Keats

«As I lay in my bed slepe full unmete

Was unto me, but why that I ne might

Rest I ne wist, for there n’as erthly wight

[As I suppose] had more of hertis ese

Than I, for I n’ad sicknesse nor disese.»


WHAT is more gentle than a wind in summer?

What is more soothing than the pretty hummer

That stays one moment in an open flower,

And buzzes cheerily from bower to bower?

What is more tranquil than a musk-rose blowing

In a green island, far from all men’s knowing?

More healthful than the leafiness of dales?

More secret than a nest of nightingales?

More serene than Cordelia’s countenance?

More full of visions than a high romance?

What, but thee Sleep? Soft closer of our eyes!

Low murmurer of tender lullabies!

Light hoverer around our happy pillows!

Wreather of poppy buds, and weeping willows!

Silent entangler of a beauty’s tresses!

Most happy listener! when the morning blesses

Thee for enlivening all the cheerful eyes

That glance so brightly at the new sun-rise.
But what is higher beyond thought than thee?

Fresher than berries of a mountain tree?

More strange, more beautiful, more smooth, more regal,

Than wings of swans, than doves, than dim-seen eagle?

What is it? And to what shall I compare it?

It has a glory, and nought else can share it:

The thought thereof is awful, sweet, and holy,

Chacing away all worldliness and folly;

Coming sometimes like fearful claps of thunder,

Or the low rumblings earth’s regions under;

And sometimes like a gentle whispering

Of all the secrets of some wond’rous thing

That breathes about us in the vacant air;

So that we look around with prying stare,

Perhaps to see shapes of light, aerial lymning,

And catch soft floatings from a faint-heard hymning;

To see the laurel wreath, on high suspended,

That is to crown our name when life is ended.

Sometimes it gives a glory to the voice,

And from the heart up-springs, rejoice! rejoice!

Sounds which will reach the Framer of all things,

And die away in ardent mutterings.
No one who once the glorious sun has seen,

And all the clouds, and felt his bosom clean

For his great Maker’s presence, but must know

What ’tis I mean, and feel his being glow:

Therefore no insult will I give his spirit

By telling what he sees from native merit.
O Poesy! for thee I hold my pen

That am not yet a glorious denizen

Of thy wide heaven – Should I rather kneel

Upon some mountain-top until I feel

A glowing splendour round about me hung,

And echo back the voice of thine own tongue?

O Poesy! for thee I grasp my pen

That am not yet a glorious denizen

Of thy wide heaven; yet, to my ardent prayer,

Yield from thy sanctuary some clear air,

Smoothed for intoxication by the breath

Of flowering bays, that I may die a death

Of luxury, and my young spirit follow

The morning sun-beams to the great Apollo

Like a fresh sacrifice; or, if I can bear

The o’erwhelming sweets, ’twill bring me to the fair

Visions of all places: a bowery nook

Will be elysium – an eternal book

Whence I may copy many a lovely saying

About the leaves, and flowers – about the playing

Of nymphs in woods, and fountains; and the shade

Keeping a silence round a sleeping maid;

And many a verse from so strange influence

That we must ever wonder how, and whence

It came. Also imaginings will hover

Round my fire-side, and haply there discover

Vistas of solemn beauty, where I’d wander

In happy silence, like the clear meander

Through its lone vales; and where I found a spot

Of awfuller shade, or an enchanted grot,

Or a green hill o’erspread with chequered dress

Of flowers, and fearful from its loveliness,

Write on my tablets all that was permitted,

All that was for our human senses fitted.

Then the events of this wide world I’d seize

Like a strong giant, and my spirit teaze

Till at its shoulders it should proudly see

Wings to find out an immortality.
Stop and consider! life is but a day;

A fragile dew-drop on its perilous way

From a tree’s summit; a poor Indian’s sleep

While his boat hastens to the monstrous steep

Of Montmorenci. Why so sad a moan?

Life is the rose’s hope while yet unblown;

The reading of an ever-changing tale;

The light uplifting of a maiden’s veil;

A pigeon tumbling in clear summer air;

A laughing school-boy, without grief or care,

Riding the springy branches of an elm.
O for ten years, that I may overwhelm

Myself in poesy; so I may do the deed

That my own soul has to itself decreed.

Then I will pass the countries that I see

In long perspective, and continually

Taste their pure fountains. First the realm I’ll pass

Of Flora, and old Pan: sleep in the grass,

Feed upon apples red, and strawberries,

And choose each pleasure that my fancy sees;

Catch the white-handed nymphs in shady places,

To woo sweet kisses from averted faces, –

Play with their fingers, touch their shoulders white

Into a pretty shrinking with a bite

As hard as lips can make it: till agreed,

A lovely tale of human life we’ll read.

And one will teach a tame dove how it best

May fan the cool air gently o’er my rest;

Another, bending o’er her nimble tread,

Will set a green robe floating round her head,

And still will dance with ever varied ease,

Smiling upon the flowers and the trees:

Another will entice me on, and on

Through almond blossoms and rich cinnamon,

Till in the bosom of a leafy world

We rest in silence, like two gems upcurl’d

In the recesses of a pearly shell.
And can I ever bid these joys farewell?

Yes, I must pass them for a nobler life,

Where I may find the agonies, the strife

Of human hearts: for lo! I see afar,

O’er sailing the blue cragginess, a car

And steeds with streamy manes – the charioteer

Looks out upon the winds with glorious fear:

And now the numerous tramplings quiver lightly

Along a huge cloud’s ridge; and now with sprightly

Wheel downward come they into fresher skies,

Tipt round with silver from the sun’s bright eyes.

Still downward with capacious whirl they glide;

And now I see them on a green-hill’s side

In breezy rest among the nodding stalks.

The charioteer with wond’rous gesture talks

To the trees and mountains; and there soon appear

Shapes of delight, of mystery, and fear,

Passing along before a dusky space

Made by some mighty oaks: as they would chase

Some ever-fleeting music on they sweep.

Lo! how they murmur, laugh, and smile, and weep:

Some with upholden hand and mouth severe;

Some with their faces muffled to the ear

Between their arms; some, clear in youthful bloom,

Go glad and smilingly athwart the gloom;

Some looking back, and some with upward gaze;

Yes, thousands in a thousand different ways

Flit onward – now a lovely wreath of girls

Dancing their sleek hair into tangled curls;

And now broad wings. Most awfully intent

The driver of those steeds is forward bent,

And seems to listen: O that I might know

All that he writes with such a hurrying glow.
The visions all are fled – the car is fled

Into the light of heaven, and in their stead

A sense of real things comes doubly strong,

And, like a muddy stream, would bear along

My soul to nothingness: but I will strive

Against all doubtings, and will keep alive

The thought of that same chariot, and the strange

Journey it went.

Is there so small a range
In the present strength of manhood, that the high

Imagination cannot freely fly

As she was wont of old? prepare her steeds,

Paw up against the light, and do strange deeds

Upon the clouds? Has she not shewn us all?

From the clear space of ether, to the small

Breath of new buds unfolding? From the meaning

Of Jove’s large eye-brow, to the tender greening

Of April meadows? Here her altar shone,

E’en in this isle; and who could paragon

The fervid choir that lifted up a noise

Of harmony, to where it aye will poise

Its mighty self of convoluting sound,

Huge as a planet, and like that roll round,

Eternally around a dizzy void?

Ay, in those days the Muses were nigh cloy’d

With honors; nor had any other care

Than to sing out and sooth their wavy hair.
Could all this be forgotten? Yes, a sc[h]ism

Nurtured by foppery and barbarism,

Made great Apollo blush for this his land.

Men were thought wise who could not understand

His glories: with a puling infant’s force

They sway’d about upon a rocking horse,

And thought it Pegasus. Ah dismal soul’d!

The winds of heaven blew, the ocean roll’d

Its gathering waves – ye felt it not. The blue

Bared its eternal bosom, and the dew

Of summer nights collected still to make

The morning precious: beauty was awake!

Why were ye not awake? But ye were dead

To things ye knew not of, – were closely wed

To musty laws lined out with wretched rule

And compass vile: so that ye taught a school

Of dolts to smooth, inlay, and clip, and fit,

Till, like the certain wands of Jacob’s wit,

Their verses tallied. Easy was the task:

A thousand handicraftsmen wore the mask

Of Poesy. Ill-fated, impious race!

That blasphemed the bright Lyrist to his face,

And did not know it, – no, they went about,

Holding a poor, decrepid standard out

Mark’d with most flimsy mottos, and in large

The name of one Boileau!

O ye whose charge
It is to hover round our pleasant hills!

Whose congregated majesty so fills

My boundly reverence, that I cannot trace

Your hallowed names, in this unholy place,

So near those common folk; did not their shames

Affright you? Did our old lamenting Thames

Delight you? Did ye never cluster round

Delicious Avon, with a mournful sound,

And weep? Or did ye wholly bid adieu

To regions where no more the laurel grew?

Or did ye stay to give a welcoming

To some lone spirits who could proudly sing

Their youth away, and die? ’Twas even so:

But let me think away those times of woe:

Now ’tis a fairer season; ye have breathed

Rich benedictions o’er us; ye have wreathed

Fresh garlands: for sweet music has been heard

In many places; – some has been upstirr’d

From out its crystal dwelling in a lake,

By a swan’s ebon bill; from a thick brake,

Nested and quiet in a valley mild,

Bubbles a pipe; fine sounds are floating wild

About the earth: happy are ye and glad.

These things are doubtless: yet in truth we’ve had

Strange thunders from the potency of song;

Mingled indeed with what is sweet and strong,

From majesty: but in clear truth the themes

Are ugly clubs, the Poets Polyphemes

Disturbing the grand sea. A drainless shower

Of light is poesy; ’tis the supreme of power;

’Tis might half slumb’ring on its own right arm.

The very archings of her eye-lids charm

A thousand willing agents to obey,

And still she governs with the mildest sway:

But strength alone though of the Muses born

Is like a fallen angel: trees uptorn,

Darkness, and worms, and shrouds, and sepulchres

Delight it; for it feeds upon the burrs,

And thorns of life; forgetting the great end 245

Of poesy, that it should be a friend

To sooth the cares, and lift the thoughts of man.
Yet I rejoice: a myrtle fairer than

E’er grew in Paphos, from the bitter weeds

Lifts its sweet head into the air, and feeds

A silent space with ever sprouting green.

All tenderest birds there find a pleasant screen,

Creep through the shade with jaunty fluttering,

Nibble the little cupped flowers and sing.

Then let us clear away the choaking thorns

From round its gentle stem; let the young fawns,

Yeaned in after times, when we are flown,

Find a fresh sward beneath it, overgrown

With simple flowers: let there nothing be

More boisterous than a lover’s bended knee;

Nought more ungentle than the placid look

Of one who leans upon a closed book;

Nought more untranquil than the grassy slopes

Between two hills. All hail delightful hopes!

As she was wont, th’ imagination 265

Into most lovely labyrinths will be gone,

And they shall be accounted poet kings

Who simply tell the most heart-easing things.

O may these joys be ripe before I die.
Will not some say that I presumptuously

Have spoken? that from hastening disgrace

’Twere better far to hide my foolish face?

That whining boyhood should with reverence bow

Ere the dread thunderbolt could reach? How!

If I do hide myself, it sure shall be

In the very fane, the light of Poesy:

If I do fall, at least I will be laid

Beneath the silence of a poplar shade;

And over me the grass shall be smooth shaven;

And there shall be a kind memorial graven.

But off Despondence! miserable bane!

They should not know thee, who athirst to gain

A noble end, are thirsty every hour.

What though I am not wealthy in the dower

Of spanning wisdom; though I do not know

The shiftings of the mighty winds that blow

Hither and thither all the changing thoughts

Of man: though no great minist’ring reason sorts

Out the dark mysteries of human souls

To clear conceiving: yet there ever rolls

A vast idea before me, and I glean

Therefrom my liberty; thence too I’ve seen

The end and aim of Poesy. ’Tis clear

As anything most true; as that the year

Is made of the four seasons – manifest

As a large cross, some old cathedral’s crest,

Lifted to the white clouds. Therefore should I

Be but the essence of deformity,

A coward, did my very eye-lids wink

At speaking out what I have dared to think.

Ah! rather let me like a madman run

Over some precipice; let the hot sun

Melt my Dedalian wings, and drive me down

Convuls’d and headlong! Stay! an inward frown

Of conscience bids me be more calm awhile.

An ocean dim, sprinkled with many an isle,

Spreads awfully before me. How much toil!

How many days! what desperate turmoil!

Ere I can have explored its widenesses.

Ah, what a task! upon my bended knees, 310

I could unsay those – no, impossible!


For sweet relief I’ll dwell
On humbler thoughts, and let this strange assay

Begun in gentleness die so away.

E’en now all tumult from my bosom fades:

I turn full hearted to the friendly aids

That smooth the path of honour; brotherhood,

And friendliness the nurse of mutual good.

The hearty grasp that sends a pleasant sonnet

Into the brain ere one can think upon it;

The silence when some rhymes are coming out;

And when they’re come, the very pleasant rout:

The message certain to be done to-morrow.

’Tis perhaps as well that it should be to borrow

Some precious book from out its snug retreat,

To cluster round it when we next shall meet.

Scarce can I scribble on; for lovely airs

Are fluttering round the room like doves in pairs;

Many delights of that glad day recalling,

When first my senses caught their tender falling.

And with these airs come forms of elegance

Stooping their shoulders o’er a horse’s prance,

Careless, and grand – fingers soft and round

Parting luxuriant curls; – and the swift bound

Of Bacchus from his chariot, when his eye 335

Made Ariadne’s cheek look blushingly.

Thus I remember all the pleasant flow

Of words at opening a portfolio.
Things such as these are ever harbingers

To trains of peaceful images: the stirs

Of a swan’s neck unseen among the rushes:

A linnet starting all about the bushes:

A butterfly, with golden wings broad parted

Nestling a rose, convuls’d as though it smarted

With over pleasure – many, many more,

Might I indulge at large in all my store

Of luxuries: yet I must not forget

Sleep, quiet with his poppy coronet:

For what there may be worthy in these rhymes

I partly owe to him: and thus, the chimes

Of friendly voices had just given place

To as sweet a silence, when I ’gan retrace

The pleasant day, upon a couch at ease.

It was a poet’s house who keeps the keys

Of pleasure’s temple. Round about were hung

The glorious features of the bards who sung

In other ages – cold and sacred busts

Smiled at each other. Happy he who trusts

To clear Futurity his darling fame!

Then there were fauns and satyrs taking aim

At swelling apples with a frisky leap

And reaching fingers, ’mid a luscious heap

Of vine leaves. Then there rose to view a fane

Of liny marble, and thereto a train

Of nymphs approaching fairly o’er the sward:

One, loveliest, holding her white hand toward

The dazzling sun-rise: two sisters sweet

Bending their graceful figures till they meet

Over the trippings of a little child:

And some are hearing, eagerly, the wild

Thrilling liquidity of dewy piping.

See, in another picture, nymphs are wiping

Cherishingly Diana’s timorous limbs; –

A fold of lawny mantle dabbling swims

At the bath’s edge, and keeps a gentle motion

With the subsiding crystal: as when ocean

Heaves calmly its broad swelling smoothiness o’er

Its rocky marge, and balances once more

The patient weeds; that now unshent by foam

Feel all about their undulating home.
Sappho’s meek head was there half smiling down

At nothing; just as though the earnest frown

Of over thinking had that moment gone

From off her brow, and left her all alone.
Great Alfred’s too, with anxious, pitying eyes,

As if he always listened to the sighs

Of the goaded world; and Kosciusko’s worn

By horrid suffrance – mightily forlorn.
Petrarch, outstepping from the shady green,

Starts at the sight of Laura; nor can wean

His eyes from her sweet face. Most happy they!

For over them was seen a free display

Of out-spread wings, and from between them shone

The face of Poesy: from off her throne

She overlook’d things that I scarce could tell.

The very sense of where I was might well

Keep Sleep aloof: but more than that there came

Thought after thought to nourish up the flame

Within my breast; so that the morning light

Surprised me even from a sleepless night;

And up I rose refresh’d, and glad, and gay,

Resolving to begin that very day

These lines; and howsoever they be done,

I leave them as a father does his son.


Songs From The Wood….

This is the time of year when nature presses us, reminding that it is the real presence, and the true force in the world. 10 inches of rain up here in Portland and Seattle, with some fantastic winds on the coast…
My Brother-in-Law Peter sent me a video of his yard, up in Olympia with a new stream running through it. you can view it here:Peter’s Flood Lands… I-5 is shut down with the floods across it. Wild times in the Great North West. Seems to be a problem with having all this pavement, the waters find it so much easier to head to the lowest lands… More Flood Pictures & Videos from Olympia…
The rains have picked up again, and what sun there was has now fled south…
On The Menu:

Song From The Wood

Song From The Wood Lyrics

Elf Invested Spaces

Prose Poems – Stephen Larsen

Warm Winter Blessings!

I have been revisiting some of the music from yesteryear… this is a wonderful song, great lyrics and a fun performance. Dedicated to Lois! (welcome back!)

Jethro Tull – Song From The Wood….


Song From The Wood:
Let me bring you songs from the wood:

To make you feel much better than you could know.

Dust you down from tip to toe.

Show you how the garden grows.

Hold you steady as you go.

Join the chorus if you can:

Itll make of you an honest man.

Let me bring you love from the field:

Poppies red and roses filled with summer rain.

To heal the wound and still the pain

That threatens again and again

As you drag down every lovers lane.

Lifes long celebrations here.

Ill toast you all in penny cheer.

Let me bring you all things refined:

Galliards and lute songs served in chilling ale.

Greetings well met fellow, hail!

I am the wind to fill your sail.

I am the cross to take your nail:

A singer of these ageless times.

With kitchen prose and gutter rhymes.

Songs from the wood make you feel much better.


Elf-Infested Spaces – Bob Trubshaw

Professor Michael Persinger and his colleagues at Laurentian University in Canada have spent many years researching ‘sensed presence’ phenomena (otherwise termed ‘ego-alien intrusions’) from a neurophysiological perspective. In the search for brain correlates to the experience of ‘presences’, their studies have focused primarily on the deep temporal lobe structures of the brain, the amygdala and hippocampus, which Persinger characterizes as the most electrically unstable structures in the human brain. By using electrodes to stimulate the temporal lobes, Persinger is able to induce a variety of deeply disturbing mental experiences (some readers may recall a BBC2 Horizon programme from 28th November 1994 when the Susan Blakemore interviewed Persinger and underwent temporal lobe stimulation). Such ‘temporal lobe dissociation’ generates stange visual and other sensations which the brain finds difficult to ‘process’ – subjects will often describe the sensations as being like someone pulling at their limbs, or even as a sequence of events which resemble aspects of so-called ‘alien abduction’ experiences. It seems reasonable to assume that the ‘alien abduction’ experiences (usually obtained by hypnotising the subject [1]) are ‘invented’ by the brain in a similar manner to the attempt to make sense of temporal lobe dissociation. A recent issue of Fortean Times (No.108) includes a useful overview of temporal lobe research and its relationship to anomalous experiences.
Devereux and Persinger have collaborated to explore the possibility that the anomalous energy seen as earthlights might have sufficient electrical energy to cause temporal lobe dissociation. Perhaps more relevant to this article is the recognition that many of the sensations induced by temporal lobe stimulation are akin experiences with some types of psychoactive plants and drugs. According to Dr Horace Beach (1997), auditory hallucinations – closely resembling experiences generated in Persinger’s experimental subjects – are a common experience with high doses of psilocybin (‘magic mushrooms’). As many readers will be aware, magic mushrooms and some other psychoactives, such as DMT, also readily lead to visions of little people – not for nothing has Terence McKenna (1992) described these imaginary worlds as ‘elf-infested spaces’.
Other researchers have indicated that such experiences are cross-cultural. Julia Phillips (1998) reports that Australian Aborigines from New South Wales recognise traditional ‘guardians of place’ whose descriptions tally closely with her first-hand encounters with an ‘archetypal’ British elf or fairy in ‘old’ south Wales. Kevin Callahan at University of Minnesota claims Ojibwa indians of the American Midwest see ‘little people’ for about thirty minutes during hallucinations induced by atrophine-containing plants from the Deadly Nightshade family. Callahan also notes that those in the second stage of alcohol withdrawal (i.e. two to three days after stopping drinking) report similar encounters with ‘little people’ (Callahan 1995).
More speculatively, Ralph Metzner (1994: 286) has suggested that the obscure Scandinavian Aesir goddess, Bil, was once regarded as a ‘henbane fairy’ – on the basis that the proto-Germanic word bil originally meant ‘vision, hallucination’ and there was a herb known to the Gaulish Celts as Belinuntia. The use of henbane was well known to Greek, early German and Anglo-Saxon writers; there is even evidence of henbane from bronze age urns found in the Alps (Graichen cited in Metzner 1994: 286). This may just mean that the rainbow bridge leading to Asgard, Bilfrost, may also have been originally linked to liminal visionary states.
Moving to modern times, I am intrigued that my grandmother, when in her early nineties and suffering from the combined effects of long-term crippling arthiritis (she could not stand unaided by then), failing eyesight, and the relatively limited social stimulation of living in a old people’s home where the fellow residents were almost all senile (whereas my gran was not senile, although beginning to have slight problems with short-term memory) began to report seeing a ‘little boy’ who came into her room at various times – often at night, when he would curl up in a chair or at the foot of her bed. Needless to say, children were infrequent visitors to the home and none stayed overnight.
Taken together, there is a variety of evidence to suggest that ‘elf-infested spaces’ are more common than rational twentieth century thinking would normally accept. Could it be that, as with the Old Hag of Newfoundland, folk lore is providing us with direct evidence of subtle mental states which we are too quick to dismiss as pure fantasy?

Prose Poems – Stephen Larsen

An Alchemical Angel
Alchemical Image I
She who made this image,

touched fur today

picked up an irridescent wild turkey feather

guarded children from

the stamping feet of horses

(whom she also loves)

The fire in their eyes,

their weight and power

harnessed to an antique

brain, their wildness also,

These her children too,

all these things she loves.

It is a bright day today;

bronze the color of His irridescence

on my beloved’s hair,

dark with golden highlights.

He numbers all our days.

Sun, though I know to touch your liquid fire

would be annihilation, I bathe in your rays,

and enjoy the way you open buds in

these April woods.

In the dark when the moon comes forth,

she is quiet, so she can hear, I think,

silvery laughter playing about the moonbeams.

Any creature without merely earthy form is target for her pen,

horses with spirit fire in their nostrils or joined to a man,

in this realm she is a “Watcher and a Holy one,” I think,

all may get caught in her spirit traps.

I think of liminal places where a limb,

or the brake of a wing breaks into

something else altogether; what is human

here, bestial and angelic there;

she loves the eyes of feathered serpents,

in the magic cranebag of her little book

These forms all newly made of ink and magic pigment,

that now walk, fly, writhe accross these pages have no

recognizeable names (no “Tom, Dick, Harry,”

Nor “Ferdinand, Olga, Jesus,”

Nor even “Mooncalf, Barnacle, Periwinkle, Nod,”

clings to them as of yet.)

But stickily newborn they stand just so,

the veil of divinity upon them,

as they peer wetly back at me.

Sometimes I’m so solar

I wonder at the luminosity which lets

all mystery with soft edges into this dreaming

sublunar world; lets the hard edges of mortality

and limitation blur for me and her I love.

In this alchemical vessel a tiny king and queen for a day,

stand in the crucible of all our transformations.

Listen shaman, love well this one, these ones,

within the circle of my arms in these,

our times together here

Darkness and light,

Darkness and light,

marking our passage,

guarding our flight.

kindle our genius,

let spirit shine bright.

Alchemical Image II
The Green Man and Melusina
The Green Man and Melusina,

scales, leaves, feathers, flames,

“Elementals sheathe themselves

in irridescent mantles,” she said

“Scales speak of the water,

the leaves are the earth,

the feathers are the air,

and the flameforms are the fire,

all my drawings move in these ways,

through the elements.”

“Sometimes the earth is represented

by a pig with a serpent’s tail; then there

are the fishy creatures from the watery

abyss, Milarepa’s “dancers in the element

of water,” and I love putting wings on horses

or unicorns, getting them up into the air

and I love even sometimes,

the tips of the wings where it seems for a moment

that an airy being bursts into flames.”

Green Man
Green man I see you there

as if behind a latticework of buds

of this backyard ash tree

all bursting with the tenderest green

this primaveral day.

Green man I see you there

in the eyes of my friend who

makes good things happen

and tries to be loving

with everyone he meets.

When Osiris walked,

the legends say, on the dark soil

of that Nile delta,

greenness sprang up in his footsteps

(tender vernal faces smile waving at

the disappearing form of the god who

brought them into being,)

No wonder Isis loved him.

Green man, I see you there,

wherever flourishing flourishes.
La floresta says my mystical friend from the Amazon,

–waving his hand vaguely

at this (indescribable) riot of green life–
La floresta, the flowering.

Green man, I see you there, beginning,

whenever a man or woman wears the title

“green thumb” but I also see you in

the shadow of creative souls,

whose afterimages through life vibrate in colors,

and who exhale the scent of paradise.

“Their works of love leave words

that do not end in the heart”

(Green man I see you in the poet Vernon Watkins

who penned these words.)

The spaces in the latticed leaves

are cavities in a poem.

Between the structured veins of the words

lies a place for spirit,

for imagination to flow in softly,

for implications to imply

(Green man I see you in the implications of all things.)

Christ was hung on a tree

Jesse’s green shoot on the ancient root

(the medieval mystics thought)

of Adam and Eve’s most sinful sin

in that great green garden

at the beginning of everything.

But ah the green man’s sap

flowed red, now drunk with

cup and cross and sign,

sacrament to a broken, wounded world

(come to the green man ye fruit and branches

to whom he would be vine.)

In drinking, know the sap will rise and fall

as we celebrate this sacrament,

in the lattice of our veins and nerves,

wake symbol and spirit over all,

And quicken the flesh’s own fire,

releasing the soul from stone’s old mineral lode

(no more its thrall)

soaring on wings of desire.