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 ) 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 Persingers 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 peoples 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 beloveds 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 Im 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 serpents tail; then there
are the fishy creatures from the watery
abyss, Milarepas “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 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
Jesses green shoot on the ancient root
(the medieval mystics thought)
of Adam and Eves most sinful sin
in that great green garden
at the beginning of everything.
But ah the green mans 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 fleshs own fire,
releasing the soul from stones old mineral lode
(no more its thrall)
soaring on wings of desire.