The Feast…

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A few items for your Monday night….
Bright Blessings,


On The Menu:

What Defines A Conscious Being?

The Links

Taqsim Oud maroc

Evidence of Fairies in Scotland

Through The Spring Dancing… The Poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé Part II

Doud – Zanzibar

Art:Ferdinand Hodler

What Defines A Conscious Being?


The Links:

Tierra Preta –!

Tree Huggers Take…

The Wooden Book of Montségur…



Taqsim Oud maroc



Evidence of Fairies in Scotland

[Note: This is taken from W.Y. Evans Wentz’s The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries.]


Our next witness from Barra is John Campbell, who is ninety-four years old, yet clear-headed. He was born on Barra at Sgalary, and lives near there now at Breuvaig. We were on our way to call at his home, when we met him coming on the road, with a cane in each hand and a small sack hanging from one of them. Michael saluted him as an old acquaintance, and then we all sat down on a big boulder in the warm sunshine beside the road to talk. The first thing John wanted was tobacco, and when this was supplied we gradually led from one subject to another until he was talking about fairies. And this is what he said about them :-
The Fairy and the Fountain.- ‘
I had a companion by the name of James Galbraith, who was drowned about forty years ago, and one time he was crossing from the west side of the island to the east side, to the township called Sgalary, and feeling thirsty took a drink out of a Spring well on the mountain-side. After he had taken a drink, he looked about him and saw a woman clad in green, and imagined that no woman would be clad in such a colour except a fairy woman. He went on his way, and when he hadn’t gone far, looked back, and, as he looked, saw the woman vanish out of his sight. He afterwards reported the incident at his father’s house in Sgalary, and his father said he also had seen a woman clad in clothes of green at the same place some nights before.’
A Step-son Pitied by the Fairies.- ‘
I heard my father say that a neighbour of his father, that is of my grandfather, was married twice, and had three children from the first marriage, and when married for the second time, a son and daughter. His second wife did not seem to be kind enough to the children of the first wife, neglecting their food and clothing and keeping them constantly at hard work in the fields and at herding.
‘One morning when the man and his second wife were returning from mass they passed the pasture where their cows were grazing and heard the enjoyable skirrels of the bagpipes. The father said, “What may this be?” and going off the road found the eldest son of the first wife playing the bagpipes to his heart’s pleasure; and asked him earnestly, “How did you come to play the bagpipes so suddenly, or where did you get this splendid pair of bagpipes? “ The boy replied, “An old man came to me while I was in the action of roasting pots in a pit-fire and said, ‘Your step-mother is bad to you and in ill-will towards you.’ I told the old man I was sensible that that was the case, and then he said to me, ‘If I give you a trade will you be inclined to follow it? ‘ I said yes, and the old man then continued, ‘How would you like to be a piper by trade?’ ‘I would gladly become a piper,’ says I, ‘but what am I to do without the bagpipes and the tunes to play?’ ‘I’ll supply the bagpipes,’ he said, ‘and as long as you have them you’ll never want for the most delightful tunes.’ “ The male descendants of the boy in question were all famous pipers thereafter, and the last of them was a piper to the late Cluny MacPherson of Cluny.’
Nature of Fairies.-
At this point, Michael turned the trend of John’s thoughts to the nature of fairies, with the following result :- ‘ The general belief of the people here during my father’s lifetime was that the fairies were more of the nature of spirits than of men made of flesh and blood, but that they so appeared to the naked eye that no difference could be marked in their forms from that of any human being, except that they were more diminutive. I have heard my father say it was the case that fairy women used to take away children from their cradles and leave different children in their places, and that these children who were left would turn out to be old men.
‘At Barra Head, a fairy woman used to come to a man’s window almost every night as though looking to see if the family was home. The man grew suspicious, and decided the fairy woman was watching her chance to steal his wife, so he proposed a plan. It was then and still is the custom after thatching a house to rope it across with heather-spun ropes, and, at the time, the man was busy spinning some of them; and he told his wife to take his place that night to spin the heather-rope, and said he would take her spinning-wheel. They were thus placed when the fairy woman made the usual look in at the window, and she seeing that her intention was understood, said to the man, “You are yourself at the spinning-wheel and your wife is spinning the heather-rope.”
‘I have heard it said that the fairies live in knolls on a higher level than that of the ground in general, and that fairy songs are heard from the faces of high rocks. The fairies of the air (the fairy or spirit hosts) are different from those in the rocks. A man whom I’ve seen, Roderick MacNeil, was lifted by the hosts and left three miles from where he was taken up. The hosts went at about midnight. A man awake at midnight is in danger. Cows and horses are sometimes shot in place of men ‘(and why, will be explained by later Witnesses).
Father MacDonald’s Opinions-
We then asked about the late Rev. Donald MacDonald, who had the reputation of knowing all about fairies and Spirits when he lived here in these islands, and John said :- ‘ I have heard my wife say that she questioned Father MacDonald who was then a parish priest here in Barra, and for whom she was a housekeeper, if it was possible that such beings or Spirits as fairies were in existence. He said “Yes “, and that they were those who left Heaven after the fallen angels; and that those going out after the fallen angels had gone out were so numerous and kept going so long that St. Michael notified Christ that the throne was fast emptying, and when Christ saw the state of affairs he ordered the doors of Heaven to be closed at Once, Saying as he gave the order, “Who is out is out and who is in is in.” And the fairies are as numerous flow as ever they were before the beginning of the world.’
Here we left John, and he, continuing on his way up the mountain road in an Opposite direction from us and round a turn, disappeared almost as a fairy might.

We introduce now as a Witness Donald McKinnon, ninety-six years old, a piper by profession; and not only is he the oldest man on Barra, but also the oldest man among all our witnesses. He was born on the Island of South Uist, one of the Western Hebrides north of Barra, and came to Barra in 1836, where he has lived ever since. In spite of being four years less than a hundred in age, he greeted us very heartily, and as he did not wish us to sit inside, for his chimney happened not to be drawing very well, and was filling the straw thatched Cottage with peat smoke, we sat down outside on the grass and began talking; and as we Came to fairies this is what he said : –
Nature of Fairies –
I believe that fairies exist as a tribe of spirits, and appear to us in the form of men and women. People who saw fairies can yet describe them as they appeared dressed in green. No doubt there are fairies in other countries as well as here.
‘In my experience there was always a good deal of difference between the fairies and the hosts. The fairies were supposed to be living without material food, whereas the hosts were supposed to be living upon their own booty. Generally, the hosts were evil and the fairies good, though I have heard that the fairies used to take cattle and leave their old men rolled up in the hides. One night an old witch was heard to say to the fairies outside the fold, “ We cannot get anything to-night.” The old men who were left behind in the hides of the animals taken, usually disappeared very suddenly. I saw two men who used to be lifted by the hosts. They would be carried from South Uist as far south as Barra Head, and as far north as Harris. Sometimes when these men were ordered by the hosts to kill men on the road they would kill instead either a horse or a cow; for in that way, so long as an animal was killed, the injunction of the hosts was fulfilled.’ To illustrate at this point the idea of fairies, Donald repeated the same legend told by our former witness, John Campbell, about the emptying of Heaven and the doors being closed to keep the remainder of its population in. Then he told the following story about fairies :-
The Fairy-Belt.- ‘
I heard of an apprentice to carpentry who was working with his master at the building of a boat, a little distance from his house, and near the sea. He went to work one morning and forgot a certain tool which he needed in the boat-building. He returned to his carpenter-shed to get it, and found the shed filled with fairy men and women. On seeing him they ran away so greatly confused that one of the women forgot her gird (belt), and he picked it up. In a little while she came back for the gird, and asked him to give it her, but he refused to do so. Thereupon she promised him that he should he made master of his trade wherever his lot should fall without serving further apprenticeship. On that condition he gave her the gird; and rising early next morning he went to the yard where the boat was a-building and put in two planks so perfectly that when the master arrived and saw them, he said to him, “Are you aware of anybody being in the building-yard last night, for I see by the work done that I am more likely to be an apprentice than the person who put in those two planks, whoever he is. Was it you that did it? “ The reply was in the affirmative, and the apprentice told his master the circumstances under which he gained the rapid mastership of his trade.’
It was nearing sunset now, and a long mountain climb was ahead of us, and one more visit that evening, before we should begin our return to Castlebay, and so after this story we said a hearty good-bye to Donald, with regret at leaving him. When we reached the mountainside, one of the rarest of Barra’s sights greeted us. To the north and south in the golden glow of a September twilight we saw the long line of the Outer Hebrides like the rocky backbone of some submerged continent, The scene and colours on the land and ocean and in the sky seemed more like some magic vision, reflected from Faerie by the ‘good people’ for our delight, than a thing of our Own world. Never was air clearer or sea calmer, nor could there be air sweeter than that in the mystic mountain stillness holding the perfume of millions of tiny blossoms of purple and white heather; and as the last honey-bees were leaving the beautiful blossoms their humming came to our ears like low, strange music from Fairyland.
Our next witness to testify is a direct descendant of the ancient MacNeils of Barra. Her name now is Marian MacLean; and she lives in the mountainous centre of Barra at Upper Borve. She is many years younger than the men who have testified, and one of the most industrious women on the island. It was already dark and past dinner-time when we entered her cottage, and so, as we sat down before a blazing peat-fire, she at once offered us some hot milk and biscuits, which we were only too glad to accept. . And, as we ate, we talked first about our hard climb in the darkness across the mountains, and through the thick heather-bushes, and then about the big rock which has a key-hole in it, for it contains a secret entrance to a fairy palace. We had examined it in the twilight as we came through the mountain pass which it guards, and my guide Michael had assured me that more than one islander, crossing at the hour we were, had seen some of the fairies near it. We waited in front of the big rock in hopes one might appear for our benefit, but, in spite of our strong belief that there are fairies there, not a single one would come out. Perhaps they came and we couldn’t see them; who knows?
Fairies and Fairy Hosts (‘Sluagh’)
(1) – ‘O yes,’ Marian said, as she heard Michael and myself talking over our hot milk, ‘there are fairies there, for I was told that the Pass was a notable fairy haunt.’ Then I said through Michael,’ Can you tell us something about what these fairies are?’ And from that time, save for a few interruptions natural in conversation, we listened and Marian talked, and told stories as follows : –
‘Generally, the fairies are to be seen after or about sunset, and walk on the ground as we do, whereas the hosts travel in the air above places inhabited by people. The hosts used to go after the fall of night, and more particularly about midnight. You’d hear them going in fine. weather against a wind like a covey of birds. And they were in the habit of lifting men in South Uist, for the hosts need men to help in shooting their javelins from their bows against women in the action of milking cows, or against any person working at night in a house over which they pass. And I have heard of good sensible men whom the hosts took, shooting a horse or cow in place of the person ordered to be shot.
(1) ‘Sluagh, “hosts,” the spirit-world. The “hosts “ are the spirits of mortals who have died. . . . According to one informant, the spirits fly about in great clouds, up and down the face of the world like the starlings, and come back to the scenes of their earthly transgressions. No soul of them is without the clouds of earth, dimming the brightness of the works of God, nor can any win heaven till satisfaction is made for the sins of earth.’ – ALEXANDER CARMICHAEL, Carmina Gadelica, ii. 330.
‘There was a man who had only one cow and daughter. The daughter was milking the cow at night when the hosts were passing, and that human being whom the hosts had lifted with them was her father’s neighbour. And this neighbour was ordered by the hosts to shoot the daughter as she was milking, but, knowing the father and daughter he shot the cow instead. The next morning he went where the father was and said to him, “You are missing the cow.” “Yes,” said the father “I am.” And the man who had shot the cow said, “Are you not glad your cow and not your daughter was taken? For I was ordered to shoot your daughter and I shot pour cow, in order to show blood on my arrow.” “I am very glad
of what you have done if that was the case,” the father replied “ It was the case” the neighbour said.
My father and grandfather knew a man who was carried by the hosts from South Uist here to Barra. I understand when the hosts take away earthly men they require another man to help them. But the hosts must be spirits, My Opinion is that they are both Spirits of the dead and other Spirits not the dead. A child was taken by the hosts and returned after one night and one day, and found at the back of the house with the palms of its hands in the holes in the wall, and with no life in its body. It was dead in the spirit. It is believed that when people are dropped from a great height by the hosts they are killed by the fall. As to fairies, my firm opinion is that they are Spirits who appear in the shape of human beings.’
The question was now asked whether the fairies were anything like the dead, and Marian hesitated about answering. She thought they were like the dead, but not to be identified with them, The fallen angel idea concerning fairies was an obstacle she could not pass, for she said, ‘When the fallen angels were cast out of Heaven God commanded them thus :- “ You will go to take up your abodes in crevices under the earth in mounds, or soil, or rocks.” And according to this command they have been condemned to inhabit the places named for a certain period of time, and when it is expired before the consummation of the world, they will be seen as numerous as ever.’
Now we heard two good stories, the first about fairy women spinning for a mortal, the second about a wonderful changeling who was a magic musician : –
Fairy-Women Spinners.- ‘
I have heard my father, Alexander MacNeil, who was well known to Mr. Alexander Carmichael and to Mr J. F. Campbell of Islay, say that his father knew a woman in the neighbourhood who was in a hurry to have her stock of wool spun and made into cloth, and one night this woman secretly wished to have some women to help her. So the following morning there appeared at her house six or seven fairy women in long green robes, all alike chanting, “A wool-card, and a spinning-wheel.” And when they were supplied with the instruments they were so very desirous to get, they all set to work, and by midday of that morning the cloth was going through the process of the hand-loom. But they were not satisfied with finishing the work the woman bad set before them, but asked for new employment. The woman had no more spinning or weaving to be done, and began to wonder how she was to get the women out of the house. So she went into her neighbour’s house and informed him of her position in regard to the fairy women. The old man asked what they were saying. “They are earnestly petitioning for some work to do, and I have no more to give them,” the woman replied. “Go you in,” he said to her, “and tell them to spin the sand, and if then they do not move from your house, go out again and yell in at the door that Dun Borve is in fire !” The first plan had no effect, but immediately on hearing the cry, “Dun Borve is in fire!” the fairy women disappeared invisibly. And as they went, the woman heard the melancholy wail, “Dun Borve is in fire! Dun Borve is in fire! And what will become of our hammers and anvil? “ – for there was a smithy in the fairy-dwelling.’
The Tailor and the Changeling.- ‘
There was a young wife of a young man who lived in the township of Allasdale, and the pair had just had their first child. One day the mother left her baby in its cradle to go out and do some shearing, and when she returned the child was crying in a most unusual fashion. She fed him as usual on porridge and milk, but he wasn’t satisfied with what seemed to her enough for any one of his age, yet every suspicion escaped her attention. As it happened, at the time there was a web of home-made cloth in the house waiting for the tailor. The tailor came and began to work up the cloth. As the woman was going out to her customary shearing operation, she warned the tailor if he heard the child continually crying not to pay much attention to it, adding she would attend to it when she came home, for she feared the child would delay him in his work.
‘All went well till about noon, when the tailor observed the child rising up on its elbow and stretching its hand to a sort of shelf above the cradle and taking down from it a yellow chanter [of a bagpipe]. And then the child began to play. Immediately after the child began to play the chanter, the house filled with young fairy women all clad in long green robes, who began to dance, and the. tailor had to dance with them. About two o’clock that. same afternoon the women disappeared unknown to the tailor, and the chanter disappeared from the hands of the child also unknown to the tailor; and the child was in the cradle crying as usual.
‘The wife came home to make the dinner, and observed that the tailor was not so far advanced with his work as he ought to he in that space of time. However, when the fairy women disappeared, the child had enjoined upon the tailor never to tell what he had seen. The tailor promised to be faithful to the child’s injunctions, and so he said nothing to the mother.
‘The second day the wife left for her occupation as usual, and told the tailor to be more attentive to his work than the day before. A second time at the same hour of the day the child in the cradle, appearing more like an old man than a child, took the chanter and began to play. The same fairy women tilled the house again, and repeated their dance, and the tailor had to join them.
‘Naturally the tailor was as far behind with his work the second day as the first day, and it was very noticeable to the woman of the house when she returned. She thereupon requested him to tell her what the matter might be. Then he said to her, “I urge upon you after going to bed to-night not to fondle that child, because he is not your child, nor is he a child: he is an old fairy man. And to-morrow, at dead tide, go down to the shore and wrap him in your plaid and put him upon a rock and begin to pick that shell-fish which is called limpet, and for your life do not leave the shore until such a time as the tide will flow so high that you will scarcely be able to wade in to the main shore.” The woman complied with the tailor’s advice, and when she had waded to the main shore and stood there looking at the child on the rock, it cried to her, “You had a great need to do what you have done. Otherwise you’d have seen another ending of your turn; but blessing be to you and curses on your adviser.” When the wife arrived home her own natural child was in the cradle.’
The husband of Marian MacLean had entered while the last stories were being told, and when they were ended the spirit was on him, and wishing to give his testimony he began :-
Lachlann’s Fairy Mistress.- ‘
My grandmother, Catherine Maclnnis, used to tell about a man named Lachlann, whom she knew, being in love with a fairy woman. The fairy woman made it a point to see Lachlann every night, and he being worn out with her began to fear her. Things got so bad at last that he decided to go to America to escape the fairy woman. As soon as the plan was fixed, and he was about to emigrate, women who were milking at sunset out in the meadows heard very audibly the fairy woman singing this song :-
What will the brown-haired woman do

When Lachlann is on the billows?
‘Lachlann emigrated to Cape Breton, landing in Nova Scotia; and in his first letter home to his friends he stated that the same fairy woman was haunting him there in America.’ (1)
Abduction of a Bridgegroom. –
‘I have heard it from old people that a couple newly married, were on their way to the home of the bride’s father, and for some unknown reason the groom fell behind the procession, and seeing a fairy-dwelling open along the road was taken into it. No one could ever find the least trace of where he went, and all hope of seeing him again was given up. The man remained with the fairies so long that when he returned two generations had disappeared during the lapse of time. The township in which his bride’s house used to be was depopulated and in ruins for up to twenty years, but to him the time had seemed only a few hours; and he was just as fresh and youthful as when he went in the fairy dwelling.’
Nature of Fairies. –
‘Previous to his story-telling Murdoch had heard us discussing the nature and powers of fairies, and at the end of this account he volunteered, without our asking for it, an opinion of his own : – ‘This (the story just told by him) leads me to believe that the spirit and body [of a mortal] are somehow mystically combined by fairy enchantment, for the fairies had a mighty power of enchanting natural people, and could transform the physical body in some way. It cannot be but that the fairies are spirits. According to my belief they cannot be anything but spirits. My firm belief, however, is that they are not the spirits of dead men, but are the fallen angels.’
Then his wife Marian had one more story to add, and she at once, when she could, began
(1) This curious tale suggests that certain of the fairy women who entice mortals to their love in modern times are much the same, if not the same, as the succubi of Middle-Age mystics. But it is not intended by this observation to confuse the higher orders of the Sidhe and all the fairy folk like the fays who come from Avalon with succubi; though succubi and fairy women in general were often confused and improperly identified the one with the other. It nee not be urged in this example that we have to do not with a being of flesh and blood, whatever various readers may think of her.
The Messenger and the Fairies. –
‘Yes I have heard the following incident took place here on the Island of Barra about one hundred years ago :- A young woman taken ill suddenly sent a messenger in all haste to the doctor for medicine. On his return, the day being hot and there being five miles to walk, he sat down at the foot of a knoll and fell asleep; and was awakened by hearing a song to the following air: “Ho, ho, ho, hi, ho, ho. Ill it becomes a messenger on an important message to sleep on the ground in the open air.”’
And with this, for the hour was late and dark, and we were several miles from Castlebay, we bade our good friends adieu, and began to hunt for a road out of the little mountain valley where Murdoch and Marian guard their cows and sheep. And all the way to the hotel Michael and I discussed the nature of fairies. Just before midnight we saw the welcome lights in Castlebay across the heather-covered hills, and we both entered the hotel to talk. There was a blazing fire ready for us and something to eat. Before I took my final leave of my friend and guide, I asked him to dictate for me his private opinions about fairies, what they are and how they appear to men, and he was glad to meet my request. Here is what he said about the famous folk-lorist, the late Mr. J. F. Campbell, with whom he often worked in Barra, and for himself : –
‘I was with the late Mr. J. F. Campbell during his first and second tour of the Island of Barra in search of legendary lore strictly connected with fairies, and I know from daily conversing with him about fairies that be held them to be spirits appearing to the naked eye of the spectator as any of the present or former generations of men and women, except that they were smaller in stature. And I know equally that he, holding them to be spirits, thought they could appear or disappear at will. My own firm belief is that the fairies were or are only spirits which were or are seen in the shape of human beings, but smaller as regards stature. I also firmly believe in the existence of fairies as such; and accept the modern and ancient traditions respecting the ways and customs of various fairy tribes, such as John Mackinnon, the old piper, and John Campbell and the MacLeans told us. And I therefore have no hesitation in agreeing with the views held by the late Mr. J. F. Campbell regarding fairies.’

The following material, so truly Celtic in its word-colour and in the profound note of sadness and lamentation dominating it, may very appropriately conclude our examination of the Fairy-Faith of Scotland by giving us some insight into the mind of the Scotch peasants of two generations ago, and into the then prevailing happy social environment under which their belief in fairies flourished For our special use Dr. Alexander Carmichael has rendered it out of the original Gaelic, as this was taken down by him in various versions in the Western Hebrides. One version was recited by Ann Macneil of Barra, in the year 1865, another by Angus Macleod of Harris, in 1877. In relation to their belief in fairies the anti-clerical bias of the reciters is worth noting as a curious phenomenon : –
‘That is as I heard when a hairy little fellow upon the knee of my mother. My mother was full of stories and Songs of music and chanting. My two ears never heard musical fingers more preferable for me to hear than the chanting of my mother. If there were quarrels among children, as there were, and as there will be, my beloved mother would set us to dance there and then. She herself or one of the other crofter Women of the townland would sing to us the mouth-music We would dance there till we were seven times tired. A stream of sweat would be falling from us before we stopped – hairful little lassies and stumpy little fellows. These are scattered to-day! scattered to-day over the wide world! The people of those times were full of music and dancing stories and traditions. The clerics have extinguished these. May ill befall them! And what have the clerics put in their place? Beliefs about creeds, and disputations about denominations and churches! May lateness be their lot! It is they who have put the cross round the heads and the entanglements round the feet of the people. The people of the Gaeldom of to-day are anear perishing for lack of the famous feats of their fathers. The black clerics have suppressed every noble custom among the people of the Gaeldom – precious customs that will never return, no never again return.’ (Now follows what the Reciters heard upon the knee of their mother) : –
I have never seen a man fairy nor a woman fairy, but my mother saw a troop of them. She herself and the other maidens of the townland were once out upon the summer sheiling (grazing). They were milking the cows, in the evening gloaming, when they observed a flock of fairies reeling and setting upon the green plain in front of the knoll. And, oh King! but it was they the fairies themselves that had the right to the dancing, and not the children of men ! Bell-helmets of blue silk covered their heads, and garments of green satin covered their bodies, and sandals of yellow membrane covered their feet. Their heavy brown hair was streaming down their waist, and its lustre was of the fair golden sun of summer. Their skin was as white as the swan of the wave, and their voice was as melodious as the mavis of the wood, and they themselves were as beauteous of feature and as lithe of form as a picture, while their step was as light and stately and their minds as sportive as the little red hind of the hill. The damsel children of the shelling-fold never saw sight but them, no never sight but them, never aught so beautiful.
‘ “There is not a wave of prosperity upon the fairies of the knoll, no, not a wave. There is no growth nor increase, no death nor withering upon the fairies. Seed unfortunate they! They went away from the Paradise with the One of the Great Pride. When the Father commanded the doors closed down and up, the intermediate fairies had no alternative but to leap into the holes of the earth, where they are, and where they will be.”
This is what I heard upon the knee of my beloved mother. Blessings be with her ever evermore !’


Through The Spring Dancing… The Poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé Part II

Another Fan
(Of Mademoiselle Mallarmé’s)

O dreamer, that I may dive

In pure pathless joy, understand,

How by subtle deceits connive

To keep my wing in your hand.

A coolness of twilight takes

Its way to you at each beat

Whose imprisoned flutter makes

The horizon gently retreat.

Vertigo! How space quivers

Like an enormous kiss

That wild to be born for no one can neither

Burst out or be soothed like this.

Do you feel the fierce paradise

Like stifled laughter that slips

To the unanimous crease’s depths

From the corner of your lips?

The sceptre of shores of rose

Stagnant on golden nights,

Is this white closed flight that shows

Against your bracelet’s fiery light.

Album Leaf

All at once, as if in play,

Mademoiselle, she who moots

A wish to hear how it sounds today

The wood of my several flutes

It seems to me that this foray

Tried out here in a country place

Was better when I put them away

To look more closely at your face

Yes this vain whistling I suppress

In so far as I can create

Given my fingers pure distress

It lacks the means to imitate

Your very natural and clear

Childlike laughter that charms the air.

(Written to Mademoiselle Roumanille whom Mallarmé knew as a child.)

Little Air
Any solitude

Without a swan or quai

Mirrors its disuse

In the look I abdicate

Here from that pride’s excess

Too high to enfold

In which many a sky paints itself

With the twilight’s gold
But languorously flows beside

Like white linen laid aside

Such fleeting birds as dive

Exultantly at my side

Into the wave made you

Your exultation nude.
Unconquerably there must

As my hope hurls itself free

Burst on high and lost

In silence and in fury

A voice alien to the wood

Or followed by no echo,

The bird one never could

Hear again in life below.

The wild musician,

The one that in doubt expires

If not from his breast but mine

Has spurted the sob more dire

Utterly torn apart will he

Lie on some path beneath?


Doud – Zanzibar


Terra Preta…

It seems we are back, much earlier than anticipated!….

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Well… here we are again… something for you for Saturday Night! Hope your weekend is going well, and life is full of beauty!
The radio station is rocking… so please give it a listen if you are going to be in tonight… Radio Free EarthRites….
and make sure you turn your lights out for 8:00PM…. for an hour.
We are featuring some of Stevee Postman’s art tonight… 2 pieces that made it into the last magazine, and an extra one that didn’t for good luck. You’ll find a link below for Stevee’s site. Please check his work out, and on the magazine as well.
Bright Blessings,


On The Menu:

Terra Preta

Terra Preta – Horizon Transcript

Hiberian Faery Tale: The Black Thief And Knight Of The Glen

Through The Spring Dancing… The Poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé

The Art of Stevee Postman…. (Please visit Stevee’s Web


Terra Preta

Terra Preta – Horizon Transcript…



Hiberian Faery Tale: The Black Thief And Knight Of The Glen
In times of yore there was a King and a Queen in the south of Ireland who had three sons, all beautiful children; but the Queen, their mother, sickened unto death when they were yet very young, which caused great grief throughout the Court, particularly to the King, her husband, who could in no wise be comforted. Seeing that death was drawing near her, she called the King to her and spoke as follows:
`I am now going to leave you, and as you are young and in your prime, of course after my death you will marry again. Now all the request I ask of you is that you will build a tower in an island in the sea, wherein you will keep your three sons until they are come of age and fit to do for themselves; so that they may not be under the power or jurisdiction of any other woman. Neglect not to give them education suitable to their birth, and let them be trained up to every exercise and pastime requisite for king’s sons to learn. This is all I have to say, so farewell.’
The King had scarce time, with tears in his eyes, to assure her she should be obeyed in everything, when she, turning herself in her bed, with a smile gave up the ghost. Never was greater mourning seen than was throughout the Court and the whole kingdom; for a better woman than the Queen, to rich and poor, was not to be found in the world. She was interred with great pomp and magnificence, and the King, her husband, became in a manner inconsolable for the loss of her. However, he caused the tower to be built and his sons placed in it, under proper guardians, according to his promise.
In process of time the lords and knights of the kingdom counselled the King (as he was young) to live no longer as he had done, but to take a wife; which counsel prevailing, they chose him a rich and beautiful princess to be his consort–a neighbouring King’s daughter, of whom he was very fond. Not long after, the Queen had a fine son, which caused great feasting and rejoicing at the Court, insomuch that the late Queen, in a manner, was entirely forgotten. That fared well, and King and Queen lived happy together for several years.
At length the Queen, having some business with the hen-wife, went herself to her, and, after a long conference passed, was taking leave of her, when the hen-wife prayed that if ever she should come back to her again she might break her neck. The Queen, greatly incensed at such a daring insult from one of her meanest subjects, demanded immediately the reason, or she would have her put to death.
`It was worth your while, madam,’ says the hen-wife, `to pay me well for it, for the reason I prayed so on you concerns you much.’
`What must I pay you?’ asked the Queen.
`You must give me,’ says she, `the full of a pack of wool, and I have an ancient crock which you must fill with butter, likewise a barrel which you must fill for me full of wheat.’
`How much wool will it take to the pack?’ says the Queen.
`It will take seven herds of sheep,’ said she, `and their increase for seven years.’
`How much butter will it take to fill your crock?’
`Seven dairies,’ said she, `and their increase for seven years.’
`And how much will it take to fill the barrel you have?’ says the Queen.
`It will take the increase of seven barrels of wheat for seven years.’
`That is a great quantity,’ says the Queen; `but the reason must be extraordinary, and before I want it, I will give you all you demand.’
`Well,’ says the hen-wife, `it is because you are so stupid that you don’t observe or find out those affairs that are so dangerous and hurtful to yourself and your child.’
`What is that?’ says the Queen.
`Why,’ says she, `the King your husband has three fine sons he had by the late Queen, whom he keeps shut up in a tower until they come of age, intending to divide the kingdom between them, and let your son push his fortune; now, if you don’t find some means of destroying them; your child and perhaps yourself will be left desolate in the end.’
`And what would you advise me to do?’ said she; `I am wholly at a loss in what manner to act in this affair.’
`You must make known to the King,’ says the hen-wife, `that you heard of his sons, and wonder greatly that he concealed them all this time from you; tell him you wish to see them, and that it is full time for them to be liberated, and that you would be desirous he would bring them to the Court. The King will then do so, and there will be a great feast prepared on that account, and also diversions of every sort to amuse the people; and in these sports,’ said she, `ask the King’s sons to play a game at cards with you, which they will not refuse. Now,’ says the hen-wife, `you must make a bargain, that if you win they must do whatever you command them, and if they win, that you must do whatever they command you to do; this bargain must be made before the assembly, and here is a pack of cards,’ says she, `that I am thinking you will not lose by.’
The Queen immediately took the cards, and, after returning the hen-wife thanks for her kind instruction, went back to the palace, where she was quite uneasy until she got speaking to the King in regard of his children; at last she broke it off to him in a very polite and engaging manner, so that he could see no muster or design in it. He readily consented to her desire, and his sons were sent for to the tower, who gladly came to Court, rejoicing that they were freed from such confinement. They were all very handsome, and very expert in all arts and exercises, so that they gained the love and esteem of all that had seen them.
The Queen, more jealous with them than ever, thought it an age until all the feasting and rejoicing was over, that she might get making her proposal, depending greatly on the power of the hen- wife’s cards. At length this royal assembly began to sport and play at all kinds of diversions, and the Queen very cunningly challenged the three Princes to play at cards with her, making bargain with them as she had been instructed.
They accepted the challenge, and the eldest son and she played the first game, which she won; then the second son played, and she won that game likewise; the third son and she then played the last game, and he won it, which sorely grieved her that she had not him in her power as well as the rest, being by far the handsomest and most beloved of the three.
However, everyone was anxious to hear the Queen’s commands in regard to the two Princes, not thinking that she had any ill design in her head against them. Whether it was the hen-wife instructed her, or whether it was from her own knowledge, I cannot tell; but she gave out they must go and bring her the Knight of the Glen’s wild Steed of Bells, or they should lose their heads.
The young Princes were not in the least concerned, not knowing what they had to do; but the whole Court was amazed at her demand, knowing very well that it was impossible for them ever to get the steed, as all that ever sought him perished in the attempt. However, they could not retract the bargain, and the youngest Prince was desired to tell what demand he had on the Queen, as he had won his game.
`My brothers,’ says he, `are now going to travel, and, as I understand, a perilous journey wherein they know not what road to take or what may happen them. I am resolved, therefore, not to stay here, but to go with them, let what will betide; and I request and command, according to my bargain, that the Queen shall stand on the highest tower of the palace until we come back (or find out that we are certainly dead), with nothing but sheaf corn for her food and cold water for her drink, if it should be for seven years and longer.’
All things being now fixed, the three princes departed the Court in search of the Knight of the Glen’s palace, and
travelling along the road they came up with a man who was a little lame, and seemed to be somewhat advanced in years; they soon fell into discourse, and the youngest of the princes asked the stranger his name, or what was the reason he wore so remarkable a black cap as he saw on him.
`I am called,’ said he, `the Thief of Sloan, and sometimes the Black Thief from my cap; `and so telling the prince the most of his adventures, he asked him again where they were bound for, or what they were about.
The prince, willing to gratify his request, told him their affairs from the beginning to the end. `And now,’ said he, `we are travelling, and do not know whether we are on the right road or not.’
`Ah! my brave fellows,’ says the Black Thief, `you little know the danger you run. I am after that steed myself these seven years, and can never steal him on account of a silk covering he has on him in the stable, with sixty bells fixed to it, and whenever you approach the place he quickly observes it and shakes himself; which, by the sound of the bells, not only alarms the prince and his guards, but the whole country round, so that it is impossible ever to get him, and those that are so unfortunate as to be taken by the Knight of the Glen are boiled in a red-hot fiery furnace.’
`Bless me,’ says the young prince, `what will we do? If we return without the steed we will lose our heads, so I see we are ill fixed on both sides.’
`Well,’ says the Thief of Sloan, `if it were my case I would rather die by the Knight than by the wicked Queen; besides, I will go with you myself and show you the road, and whatever fortune you will have, I will take chance of the same.’
They returned him sincere thanks for his kindness, and he, being well acquainted with the road, in a short time brought them within view of the knight’s castle.
`Now,’ says he, `we must stay here till night comes; for I know all the ways of the place, and if there be any chance for it, it is when they are all at rest; for the steed is all the watch the knight keeps there.’
Accordingly, in the dead hour of the night, the King’s three sons and the Thief of Sloan attempted the Steed of Bells in order to carry him away, but before they could reach the stables the steed neighed most terribly and shook himself so, and the bells rung with such noise, that the knight and all his men were up in a moment.
The Black Thief and the King’s sons thought to make their escape, but they were suddenly surrounded by the knight’s guards and taken prisoners; where they were brought into that dismal part of the palace where the knight kept a furnace always boiling, in which he threw all offenders that ever came in his way, which in a few moments would entirely consume them.
`Audacious villains!’ says the Knight of the Glen, `how dare you attempt so bold an action as to steal my steed? See, now, the reward of your folly; for your greater punishment I will not boil you all together, but one after the other, so that he that survives may witness the dire afflictions of his unfortunate companions.’
So saying he ordered his servants to stir up the fire: `We will boil the eldest-looking of these young men first,’ said he, `and so on to the last, which will be this old champion with the black cap. He seems to be the captain, and looks as if he had come through many toils.’
`I was as near death once as the prince is yet,’ says the Black Thief, `and escaped; and so will he too.’
`No, you never were,’ said the knight; `for he is within two or three minutes of his latter end.’
`But,’ says the Black Thief, `I was within one moment of my death, and I am here yet.’
`How was that?’ says the knight; `I would be glad to hear it, for it seems impossible.’
`If you think, sir knight,’ says the Black Thief, `that the danger I was in surpasses that of this young man, will you pardon him his crime?’
`I will,’ says the knight, `so go on with your story.’
`I was, sir,’ says he, `a very wild boy in my youth, and came through many distresses; once in particular, as I was on my rambling, I was benighted and could find no lodging. At length I came to an old kiln, and being much fatigued I went up and lay on the ribs. I had not been long there when I saw three witches coming in with three bags of gold. Each put their bags of gold under their heads, as if to sleep. I heard one of them say to the other that if the Black Thief came on them while they slept, he would not leave them a penny. I found by their discourse that everybody had got my name into their mouth, though I kept silent as death during their discourse. At length they fell fast asleep, and then I stole softly down, and seeing some turf convenient, I placed one under each of their heads, and off I went, with their gold, as fast as I could.
`I had not gone far,’ continued the Thief of Sloan, `until I saw a grey- hound, a hare, and a hawk in pursuit of me, and began to think it must be the witches that had taken the shapes in order that I might not escape them unseen either by land or water. Seeing they did not appear in any formidable shape, I was more than once resolved to attack them, thinking that with my broad sword I could easily destroy them. But considering again that it was perhaps still in their power to become alive again, I gave over the attempt and climbed with difficulty up a tree, bringing my sword in my hand and all the gold along with me. However, when they came to the tree they found what I had done, and making further use of their hellish art, one of them was changed into a smith’s anvil and another into a piece of iron, of which the third soon made a hatchet. Having the hatchet made, she fell to cutting down the tree, and in the course of an hour it began to shake with me. At length it began to bend, and I found that one or two blows at the most would put it down. I then began to think that my death was inevitable, considering that those who were capable of doing so much would soon end my life; but just as she had the stroke drawn that would terminate my fate, the cock crew, and the witches disappeared, having resumed their natural shapes for fear of being known, and I got safe off with my bags of gold.
`Now, sir,’ says he to the Knight of the Glen, `if that be not as great an adventure as ever you heard, to be within one blow of a hatchet of my end, and that blow even drawn, and after all to escape, I leave it to yourself.’
`Well, I cannot say but it is very extraordinary,’ says the Knight of the Glen, `and on that account pardon this young man his crime; so stir up the fire, till I boil this second one.’
`Indeed,’ says the Black Thief, `I would fain think he would not die this time either.’
`How so?’ says the knight; `it is impossible for him to escape.’
`I escaped death more wonderfully myself,’ says the Thief of Sloan, `than if you had him ready to throw into the furnace, and I hope it will be the case with him likewise.’
`Why, have you been in another great danger?’ says the knight. `I would be glad to hear the story too, and if it be as wonderful as the last, I will pardon this young man as I did the other.’
`My way of living, sir,’ says the Black Thief, `was not good, as I told you before; and being at a certain time fairly run out of cash, and meeting with no enterprise worthy of notice, I was reduced to great straits. At length a rich bishop died in the neighbourhood I was then in, and I heard he was interred with a great deal of jewels and rich robes upon him, all which I intended in a short time to be master of. Accordingly that very night I set about it, and coming to the place, I understood he was placed at the further end of a long dark vault, which I slowly entered. I had not gone in far until I heard a foot coming towards me with a quick pace, and altho
ugh naturally bold and daring, yet, thinking of the deceased bishop and the crime I was engaged in, I lost courage, and ran towards the entrance of the vault. I had retreated but a few paces when I observed, between me and the light, the figure of a tall black man standing in the entrance. Being in great fear and not knowing how to pass, I fired a pistol at him, and he immediately fell across the entrance. Perceiving he still retained the figure of a mortal man, I began to imagine that it could not be the bishop’s ghost; recovering myself therefore from the fear I was in, I ventured to the upper end of the vault, where I found a large bundle, and upon further examination I found that the corpse was already rifled, and that which I had taken to be a ghost was no more than one of his own clergy. I was then very sorry that I had the misfortune to kill him, but it then could not be helped. I took up the bundle that contained everything belonging to the corpse that was valuable, intending to take my departure from this melancholy abode; but just as I came to the mouth of the entrance I saw the guards of the place coming towards me, and distinctly heard them saying that they would look in the vault, for that the Black Thief would think little of robbing the corpse if he was anywhere in the place. I did not then know in what manner to act, for if I was seen I would surely lose my life, as everybody had a look-out at that time, and because there was no person bold enough to come in on me. I knew very well on the first sight of me that could be got, I would be shot like a dog. However, I had not time to lose. I took and raised up the man which I had killed, as if he was standing on his feet, and I, crouching behind him, bore him up as well as I could, so that the guards readily saw him as they came up to the vault. Seeing the man in black, one of the men cried that was the Black Thief, and, presenting his piece, fired at the man, at which I let him fall, and crept into a little dark corner myself, that was at the entrance of the place. When they saw the man fall, they ran all into the vault, and never stopped until they were at the end of it, for fear, as I thought, that there might be some others along with him that was killed. But while they were busy inspecting the corpse and the vault to see what they could miss, I slipped out, and, once away, and still away; but they never had the Black Thief in their power since.’
`Well, my brave fellow,’ says the Knight of the Glen, `I see you have come through many dangers: you have freed these two princes by your stories; but I am sorry myself that this young prince has to suffer for all. Now, if you could tell me something as wonderful as you have told already, I would pardon him likewise; I pity this youth and do not want to put him to death if I could help it.’
`That happens well,’ says the Thief of Sloan, `for I like him best myself, and have reserved the most curious passage for the last on his account.’
`Well, then,’ says the knight, `let us hear it.’
`I was one day on my travels,’ says the Black Thief, `and I came into a large forest, where I wandered a long time, and could not get out of it. At length I came to a large castle, and fatigue obliged me to call in the same, where I found a young woman and a child sitting on her knee, and she crying. I asked her what made her cry, and where the lord of the castle was, for I wondered greatly that I saw no stir of servants or any person about the place.
` “It is well for you,” says the young woman, “that the lord of this castle is not at home at present; for he is a monstrous giant, with but one eye on his forehead, who lives on human flesh. He brought me this child,” says she, “I do not know where he got it, and ordered me to make it into a pie, and I cannot help crying at the command.”
`I told her that if she knew of any place convenient that I could leave the child safely I would do it, rather than it should be killed by such a monster.
`She told me of a house a distance off where I would get a woman who would take care of it. “But what will I do in regard of the pie?”
` “Cut a finger off it,” said I, “and I will bring you in a young wild pig out of the forest, which you may dress as if it was the child, and put the finger in a certain place, that if the giant doubts anything about it you may know where to turn it over at the first, and when he sees it he will be fully satisfied that the pie is made of the child.”
`She agreed to the scheme I proposed, and, cutting off the child’s finger, by her direction I soon had it at the house she told me of, and brought her the little pig in the place of it. She then made ready the pie, and after eating and drinking heartily myself, I was just taking my leave of the young woman when we observed the giant coming through the castle gates.
` “Bless me,” said she, “what will you do now? Run away and lie down among the dead bodies that he has in the room (showing me the place), and strip off your clothes that he may not know you from the rest if he has occasion to go that way.”
`I took her advice, and laid myself down among the rest, as if dead, to see how he would behave. The first thing I heard was him calling for his pie. When she set it down before him he swore it smelled like swine’s flesh, but knowing where to find the finger, she immediately turned it up, which fairly convinced him of the contrary. The pie only served to sharpen his appetite, and I heard him sharpening his knife and saying he must have a collop or two, for he was not near satisfied. But what was my terror when I heard the giant groping among the bodies, and, fancying myself, cut the half of my hip off, and took it with him to be roasted. You may be certain I was in great pain, but the fear of being killed prevented me from making any complaint. However, when he had eaten all he began to drink hot liquors in great abundance, so that in a short time he could not hold up his head, but threw himself on a large creel he had made for the purpose, and fell fast asleep. When I heard him snoring, as I was I went up and caused the woman to bind my wound with a handkerchief; and, taking the giant’s spit, reddened it in the fire, and ran it through the eye, but was not able to kill him.
`However, I left the spit sticking in his head, and took to my heels; but I soon found he was in pursuit of me, although blind; and having an enchanted ring he threw it at me, and it fell on my big toe and remained fastened to it.
`The giant then called to the ring, where it was, and to my great surprise it made him answer on my foot; and he, guided by the same, made a leap at me which I had the good luck to observe, and fortunately escaped the danger. However, I found running was of no use in saving me, as long as I had the ring on my foot; so I took my sword and cut off the toe it was fastened on, and threw both into a large fish-pond that was convenient. The giant called again to the ring, which by the power of enchantment always made him answer; but he, not knowing what I had done, imagined it was still on some part of me, and made a violent leap to seize me, when he went into the pond, over head and ears, and was drowned. Now, sir knight,’ says the Thief of Sloan, `you see what dangers I came through and always escaped; but, indeed, I am lame for the want of my toe ever since.’
`My lord and master,’ says an old woman that was listening all the time, `that story is but too true, as I well know, for I am the very woman that was in the giant’s castle, and you, my lord, the child that I was to make into a pie; and this is the very man that saved your life, which you may know by the want of your finger that was taken off, as you have heard, to deceive the giant.’
The Knight of the Glen, greatly surprised at what he had heard the old woman tell, and knowing he wanted his finger from his childhood, began
to understand that the story was true enough.
`And is this my deliverer?’ says he. `O brave fellow, I not only pardon you all, but will keep you with myself while you live, where you shall feast like princes, and have every attendance that I have myself.’
They all returned thanks on their knees, and the Black Thief told him the reason they attempted to steal the Steed of Bells, and the necessity they were under in going home.
`Well,’ says the Knight of the Glen, `if that’s the case I bestow you my steed rather than this brave fellow should die; so you may go when you please, only remember to call and see me betimes, that we may know each other well.’
They promised they would, and with great joy they set off for the King their father’s palace, and the Black Thief along with them.
The wicked Queen was standing all this time on the tower, and, hearing the bells ringing at a great distance off, knew very well it was the princes coming home, and the steed with them, and through spite and vexation precipitated herself from the tower and was shattered to pieces.
The three princes lived happy and well during their father’s reign, and always keeping the Black Thief along with them; but how they did after the old King’s death is not known.


Through The Spring Dancing… The Poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé

The Tomb of Charles Baudelaire

The buried temple shows by the sewer-mouth’s

Sepulchral slobber of mud and rubies,

Some abominable statue of Anubis,

The muzzle lit like a ferocious snout
Or as when a dubious wick twists in the new gas,

Having, we know, to wipe out insults suffered

Haggardly kindling an immortal pubis,

Whose flight strays according to the lamp

What votive leaves, dried in cities without evening

Could bless, as she can, vainly sitting

Against the marble of Baudelaire

Shudderingly absent from the veil that clothes her

She, his shade, a protective poisonous air

Always to be breathed, although we die of her.

Tomb (Of Verlaine)

Anniversary – January 1897

The black rock enraged that the north wind rolls it on

Will not stop itself, nor, under pious hands, still

Cease testing its resemblance to human ill

As if to bless some fatal cast of bronze.

Here nearly always if the ring-dove coos

This immaterial grief with many a fold of cloud

Crushes the ripe star of tomorrows, whose crowd

Will be silvered by its scintillations. Who

Following the solitary leap

External now of our vagabond – seeks

Verlaine? He’s hidden in the grass, Verlaine

Only to catch, naïvely, not drying it with his breath

And without the lip drinking there, at peace again,

A shallow stream that’s slandered, and named Death.


Hyperbole! From my memory

Triumphantly can’t you

Rise today, like sorcery

From an iron-bound book or two:

Since, through science, I inscribe

The hymn of hearts so spiritual

In my work of patience, inside

Atlas, herbal, ritual.

We walked our face

(We were two, I maintain)

Over the many charms of place,

Comparing them, Sister, to yours again.

The era of authority’s troubled

When without design, we say

Of this south that our double

Consciousness has in play

That its site, bed of a hundred irises,

They know if it truly existed,

Bears no name the golden breath

Of the trumpet of summer cited.

Yes, on an isle the air charges

With sight and not with visions

Every flower showed itself larger

Without entering our discussions.

Such flowers, immense, that every one

Usually had as adornment

A clear contour, a lacuna done

To separate it from the garden.

Glories of long-held desire, Ideas

Were all exalted in me, to see

The Iris family appear

Rising to this new duty,

But this sister sensible and fond

Carried her look no further

Than to smile, and as if to understand

I give her my ancient care.

Oh! Let the contentious spirit know

At this hour when we are silent

The stalks of multiple lilies grow

Far too tall for our reason
And not as the riverbank weeps

When its tedious game tells lies

In wishing abundance would reach

Into my young surprise
On hearing the whole sky and the map

Behind my steps, endlessly called to witness,

Even the ebbing wave, that

This country never existed.
The child already learned in roads,

Resigns her ecstasy

Says the word: Anastasius!

Born for parchments’ eternity,
Before a tomb could laugh

In any clime, her ancestor,

For bearing that name: Pulcheria!

Hidden by the too-high lily-flower.



Well… here we are at the end of the week. This coming Monday through Wednesday, will be down (maybe more, maybe less) as the hosting company is moving to a new location… so we will, absolutely be irrevocably missing from the scene, but take heart; we will be back and is about to go through a thorough face lift as it is…
WebSite Of Morgan Miller’s new site; quite tasty and growing…. Videos’, Music, Musings and more….
The Magazine is moving along, and I will be posting about it quite frequently as it is the cause of the hour around here…. If you haven’t see it, then please check it out!

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Purchase A Copy, Digital or Print!:
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Bright Blessings,


It should be noted that the art this time is from Maura Holden, these pieces and more are featured in The 4th Edition of The Invisible College…

On The Menu:

Cibelle – Gracefully

Coyote Morning

True Hallucinations: Chapter 20: The Oversoul as Saucer

Poetry: From The Ancients… Euripides

Cibelle – Refazenda

Art: Maura Holden…


Cibelle – Gracefully



Coyote Morning
Old men

and old coyote dogs

boil their dreams in the sun

served steaming within a bowl

filled with shadows

rolling sticks onto the ground

and making wild songs

while they smack their lips

and spit out the dust

blown in by the winds


and place-less

but hard to ignore.

True Hallucinations: Chapter 20: The Oversoul as Saucer

-Terence McKenna

There is building in global society an increasingly intense expectation of the intervention into human history by UFOs. It is very similar in tone to the buildup of messianic expectation in the Hellenistic world in the several centuries preceding the birth of Christ. The leaders of Roman society may have been caught off guard by the appearance of Christ, but they had no one to blame but themselves since milllions of people in the ancient world were expectantly awaiting some kind of messiah. So today, science and govenment koo-koo the idea of world contact with the UFOs, while the contact cults grow ever larger and more insistent that contact is about to occur.
Imagine, therefore, what you may never have seriously imagined before. Imagine what would happen if the UFOs were to appear. Imagine a spaceship of the close encounters of the third kind variety suddenly appearing in orbit around the Earth. Television and mass media would carry its image to every man, woman and child on the planet. Governments would be paralyzed. Science would be helpless to explain where it came from or how it got here. Millenarian hysteria would break out everywhere. The UFO would be hailed as savior and denounced as antichrist. The end of the world would appear imminent, and all this would occur before the contact was more than a visual image. Then the UFO would begin its revelation. Vast displays of beneficent power can be expected. Perhaps it would mysteriously neutralize all weapons of mass destruction, or it might use some sort of ray to cure all terrestrial cancer. Whatever it does one may be sure that its actions will be impressive. Its actions will convert millions to the UFO religion in a space of hours. Indeed, its actions will be specifically designed to overwhelm us with the reality of its power and presence. That will close the first stage of the revelation.
The second stage will be the teachings. Telepathically imparted, the specifics of the teachings cannot be anticipated, but they will urge love, voluntary simplicity, concern for one another, renunciation of war, perhaps renunciation of the destructive application of science. Whatever the teachings, the UFO will promise immense reward to those who follow them and dire consequences for those who do not. And the teachings will be delivered in so poetically perfect a way, so rich in understanding and appealing nuances that no one will doubt their origin in a being wise and good and immensely superior to ourselves. The delivery of the teachings will set the stage for the third and last and most shocking phase of the revelation: the departure.
The saucer, promising vaguely to return, will simply disappear. The entire process could take less than a month. If this seems a short time recall that the entire public career of Christ lasted only three years. Christ’s career occured in a world where information could move no faster than a horse’s gallup. Yet three years in one small part of the world was all that was necessary to launch a world religion that was vital for 1500 years. In a world of electronic communication the impact of the saucer’s arrival, miracles, teaching and departure would be incalculable – even if it all occured within a month. The saucer would leave in its wake a science utterly unable to provide any answers to the important questions concerning what had gone on. The vast majority of people would be fanatical converts to the teachings of the saucer, and any institution in opposition to those teachings could expect to be swept away almost overnight. The departure of the UFO would create a sense of abandonment, the agony of which could be expected to echo in the human psyche for centuries. The only panacea would be the religion of the saucer, the religion left behind. Science would be discredited and soon abandoned in favor of a thousand or more years of exegesis of the saucerian message. Is it not a familiar pattern in the light of our discussion of Christ and Rome?
What will never be said in the wake of such an event and so must be said now while there is still time for all of the above to occur and yet still be deception. A benign deception designed to save us from our advanced science and infantile ethics, but a deception nevertheless. The saucer, no matter how alien it appears, no matter how advanced its demonstrations of power, is NOT a vehicle from some other star system, it is the oversoul of humanity up to its oldest trick. If one knows this one can live through the revelation and the destruction of our scientific world and yet evade the immense power of this most powerful of all transference phenomenon and thereby maintain the integrity of one’s own soul and spirit. Remember, I am not a debunker of flying saucers or a defender of science, I am a contactee, and this book is the painstakingly told story of my own involvement with the UFOs. I am one of those Vallee has pinpointed as being a carrier of ideas that pave the way for the scenario I have just described. Yet from it all I have learned that there is no religious revelation more satisfying than the hard won fruits of simple understanding. And there is no liberation to compare with freeing oneself from the illusions and delusions of the age in which one lives.
I reach these conclusions through my use and familiarity with psilocybin and other psychedelic drugs. They immerse their user in the world of the oversoul and make one privileged to at least a part of its mechanics of operation. They allow a private dialogue with the oversoul that is outside the context of the struggle between science and revelation that leaves no choice between the alienation of the rationalist and the tired formulas of the fanatic believer. Psychedelic drugs hold out the possibility of healing the breach between science and morality at the level of the individual, thus freeing one to evolve independent of the chaos and transformation the UFOs may soon bring to humanity.
Vallee’s recent book ‘Messengers of Deception’ vibrates with fear of the unconscious and alienation from the matrix of the larger psyche out of which rational thought has emerged. He fears the destruction of rationalism and scientific thought, yet never once does he mention the potential world wrecking crisis that the undirected development of science and technology has brought into being. He paints himself as an open-minded investigator of UFOs, yet never questions the motives of the retired and unnamed intelligence officers in which he places so much faith. It is impossible that the CIA is unaware of the social impact belief in UFOs is having? If they were unaware of it before then surely the recent writings of Vallee himself must have alerted them to the potential challenge UFO beliefs pose to orthodox institutions. Based on Vallee’s own ideas of an informational struggle between rational and irrational elements, how was he able to ignore the possibility that the mutilations which he is so eager to connect with UFOs are nothing more that a govenment agency’s clumsy attempt to discredit the genuine UFO phenomenon? It is a typical method of the intelligence community to discredit human groups it opposes by faking atrocities in such a way that they appear to have been committed by the group whose discrediting is sought. Vallee gives examples of this but never suspects that some government agency might be using this technique to impede the transfer of loyalties from political institutions to the UFOs. He mentions the proximity of animal mutilations to high-security government installations but never suggests this might be because such installations are the source of these mutilations. Few UFO sightings involve confusion among witnesses over whether or not what they saw was a UFO or a helicopter. Yet in the animal mutilation cases many witnesses insist a helicopter was involved. Vallee is at pains to say no physical evidence of a UFO has ever been collected. Yet later he passes over the fact that a quite ordinary surgical scalpel was found at one cattle mutilation site. It seems possible to me t
hat some people in government have read Vallee and are familiar with his theories regarding UFOs as a factor introducing shifts in belief systems and institutional loyalties on a global scale. Without knowing what UFOs really are these persons and agencies have launched smokescreen operations designed to cast doubt on the motives and harmlessness of UFOs and so to retard or halt the shift of loyalties and beliefs now reaching epidemic proportions. I suspect that Vallee’s book may be the opening shot in a media war whose purpose will be to connect the occult, right-wing fanatacism, and animal mutilations to the UFO, all in an effort to cast doubt on the vast power and benign intent of the saucer phenomenon. Vallee’s title ‘Messengers of Deception’ bears a curious resemblance to J. Edgar Hoover’s ‘Masters of Deceit’. There the boogey man was communism. In Vallee’s book we are told the new boogey man is UFO phenomenon. Who chose the title for Vallee’s book? Was it Vallee or the mysterious major who was so helpful in guiding Vallee down these new avenues of speculation? I believe that Vallee whether wittingly or unwittingly is himself a messenger of deception and has become the spearhead of a conscious effort to sow even deeper confusion in society regarding UFOs.
We might say it is an effort foredoomed to failure. The collective overmind of our species is the source of the UFO and its designs cannot be deflected or turned aside. Its viewpoint is one of thousands of years and its means visionary and charismatic belief systems which act to restore the balance between understanding of and reverence for the universe is a message more powerful than any offered by the profane materialist societies that have grown so foolish as to imagine themselves the stewards of human destiny. Humanity alone and each of us individualy is the steward of human destiny. This is the real meaning of the UFOs and the experiment at La Chorrera.


Poetry: From The Ancients… Euripides

LOVE SONG (from “Cyclops”)
One with eyes the fairest

Cometh from his dwelling,

Some one loves thee, rarest,

Bright beyond my telling.

In thy grace thou shinest

Like some nymph divinest,

In her caverns dewy:–

All delights pursue thee,

Soon pied flowers, sweet-breathing,

Shall thy head be wreathing.

Fair by thy speed, Sidonian ship!

Thine oars, familiar to the oarsman’s grip,

Fall fast, and make the surges bound,

And lead along the dolphin train,

While all around

The winds forego to vex the main,

And the mariners hear

The sea-king’s daughter calling clear,

“Now, sails to the breeze, fling out, fling out,

Now pull, strong arms, to the cheering shout;

Speed royal Helen, away and away,

To Argos home, to the royal bay.”

What sacred hour, what festal tide

Shall bring fair Helen to Eurotas’ side?

Say, shall the Spartan maidens dance

Before Leucippis then? Or meet

That day perchance

At Pallas’ gate? Or shall they greet

Thee, lost so long,

With lost Hyacinthus’ nightly song,

How Phoebus slew him with quoit far-flown,

And yearly the maidens with mourning atone?

There is one of them, Helen, one fair of the fair,

Who will not be wife till her mother be there!

O for wings to fly

Where the flocks of fowl together

Quit the Afric sky,

Late their refuge from the wintry weather!

All the way with solemn sound

Rings the leader’s clarion cry

O’er dewless deserts and glad harvest ground.

We would bid them, as they go,

Neck by neck against the cloud

Racing nightly ‘neath the stars,

When Eurotas rolls below,

Light and leave a message loud,

How princely Menelaus, proud

With conquest, cometh from the Dardan wars.

Come, eternal Pair [1],

Come, Twin Brethren, from your heaven ascended;

Down the steep of air

Drive, by many a starry glance attended!

‘Mid the waters white and blue,

‘Mid the rolling waves be there,

And brotherly bring safe your sister through.

Airs from heaven, serene and pure,

Breathe upon her; bless and speed;

Breathe away her cruel shame!

Never he did Paris lure,

Never won her (as they rede)

Of Aphrodite for his meed,

Nor thither led, where never yet she came!
1 Castor and Pollux, brothers of Helen, set in the heavens as the constellation of the Twins and supposed to be propitious to mariners.

Breeze, breeze of the sea,

Who the wave-passers bearest home

Swift and unwearied o’er the billows’ foam,

Ah! whither lead’st thou me

Grief-worn? whose house must have

This thing — a captured slave?

Or shall I reach a harbor strand

Dorian of Phthian, where they tell

Apidanos o’erstreams the land,

Father of fairest founts that well?

Or else some island shore,

Urged, wretched, on my way with brine-splashed oar,

To lead a life of weary sorrow there,

Where the first palm bare fruit,

Where the bay raised each sacred shoot

To form a bower,

Leto’s protection in her trial of hour?

Or shall I, like Delian maiden,

Sing of Artemis divine,

Golden-filleted, bow-laden?

Or at Pallas’ sacred shrine

The steeds to her fair chariot yoke

To bear her, clad in saffron cloak,

And braid the silken garments thin

With saffron flowerets woven in?

Or shall I sing the Titan brood,

Whom Zeus, great Kronos’ son,

Poured twice-forged fire upon,

And did to lasting sleep by that fell bolt and rude?

Ah, sorrow for the young,

For those whose life was long,

For all the land,

A heap of smoking ruin,

Spear-pierced to her undoing

By Argive hand!

And I shall be a slave

Within a country not my own,

Leaving the land that Europe has o’erthrown,

‘Scaping the chambers of the grave.

Lady, the sun’s light to our eyes is dear,

And fair the tranquil reaches of the sea,

And flowery earth in May, and bounding waters;

And so right many fair things I might praise;

Yet nothing is so radiant and so fair

As for souls childless, with desire sore-smitten,

To see the light of babes about the house.

Cibelle – Refazenda



The Invisible College 4th Edition!

Yep…. the 4th edition! I am happy to finally see it complete, the labour was long, but I think worth it. I want to thank Mary and Rowan for being so patient with me during the delivery…
This issue has some great stuff, so please check it out, and if you like it, please purchase it.
Free Down Load!:
Purchase A Copy, Digital or Print!:
No advertisements, No filler… Art, Poetry, Interviews, Stories and more!
Contents of the 4th edition, “Entity Encounters”

The Poetric Musings Of Michael Hoffman

The Poetry of A.E. (George William Russell) Theosophical & Celtic Ruminations

The Bornless One (Hermetic Ceremony)

The Cracking Tower – Interview With Jim DeKorne (Jim wrote ‘Psychedelic Shamanism’, and was the founding editor of ‘The Entheogen Review’)

Divinity and Grace In Expression – The Art of Maura Holden (Wonderful Art!)

Notes From The Headland – Tales from the Western Shores of Ireland

– Tim Daly(Tim’s Tales are not to be missed!)

Moon Daughter Muse – Poetry & Article – Padrice Stewart (Padrice is a member of our Portland Community)

The Serpent & The Light Part 2 – Genesis and Isis… From The Early Hebrews To The Egyptian Gods – LyterPhotos (Another excellent article from LyterPhotos!)

Entity Encounters – Stories From The Poison Path & From The Realm Of Faery – Compiled by Gwyllm Llwydd & Fiona MacGreggor (Interesting stories from the entity encounters…)

The Short Review – Gwyllm Llwydd

Izwoz –An Art Collective From Adelaide (Wildness from Australia!)

Digital Joy! In The Lands Of Vision – Stevee Postman (wonderful digital collages!)

Close Encounters – Mike Crowley (Fractal Fantasies!)

Vimana – Gwyllm Llwydd
Community Page:

News,Events… and more
So Please check it out~!
Bright Blessings,


On The Menu:

The Invisible College

Igor Stravinsky’s “Le Sacre du printemps

The Black Bull of Norroway

From Peter:Aman Aman – Si veriash a la rana / Las casas de la boda

Robert Graves: Under A Spring Moon…

From Peter: AMAN AMAN – Los caminos


Igor Stravinsky’s “Le Sacre du printemps”

Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring

Pulled from the web:
“On May 29, 1913, in Paris, Les Ballets Russes stages the first ballet performance of The Rite of Spring (Le Sacré du Printemps,) with music by Igor Stravinsky and choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky. The intensely rhythmic score and primitive scenario — a setting of scenes from pagan Russia — shock audiences more accustomed to the demure conventions of classical ballet. The complex music and violent dance steps depicting fertility rites first draw catcalls and whistles from the crowd, and are soon followed by shouts and fistfights in the aisles. The unrest in the audience escalates into a riot.
The Paris police arrive by intermission, but they restore only limited order. Chaos reigns for the remainder of the performance. Nijinsky and Stravinsky are despondent. However, Sergei Diaghilev, the director of Les Ballets Russes, comments that the scandal was “just what I wanted.”
The ballet completes its run of six performances amid controversy, but no further disruption. Both Stravinsky and Nijinsky continue to work, but neither creates pieces in this percussive and intense style again. In later years, The Rite of Spring is regarded as a path-breaking 20th century masterpiece. The work is often heard in concert and the ballet is set by many prominent choreographers. After extensive research, Nijinsky’s original setting is reconstructed and presented by the Joffrey Ballet in 1988. This performance, 75 years after the premiere, causes no riots. In fact, it is televised nationally on PBS.”
One of my favourite pieces of music and dance… Enjoy!

The Rites Of Spring # 1


The Rites Of Spring # 2


The Rites Of Spring # 3



The Black Bull of Norroway

And many a hunting song they sung,

And song of game and glee;

Then tuned to plaintive strains their tongue,

“Of Scotland’s luve and lee.”

To wilder measures next they turn

“The Black, Black Bull of Norroway!”

Sudden the tapers cease to burn,

The minstrels cease to play.

“The Cout of Keeldar,” by J. Leyden.
IN Norroway, langsyne, there lived a certain lady, and she had three dochters. The auldest o’ them said to her mither: “Mither, bake me a bannock, and roast me a collop, for I’m gaun awa’ to seek my fortune.” Her mither did sae; and the dochter gaed awa’ to an auld witch washerwife and telled her purpose. The auld wife bade her stay that day, and gang and look out o’ her back door, and see what she could see. She saw nocht the first day. The second day she did the same, and saw nocht. On the third day she looked again, and saw a coach-and-six coming along the road. She ran in and telled the auld wife what she saw. “Aweel,” quo’ the auld wife, “yon’s for you.” Sae they took her into the coach, and galloped aff.
The second dochter next says to her mither: “Mither, bake me a bannock, and roast me a collop, fur I’m gaun awa’ to seek my fortune.” Her mither did sae; and awa’ she gaed to the auld wife, as her sister had dune. On the third day she looked out o’ the back door, and saw a coach-and-four coming along the road. “Aweel,” quo’ the auld wife, “yon’s for you.” Sae they took her in, and aff they set.
The third dochter says to her mither: “Mither, bake me a bannock, and roast me a collop, for I’m gaun awa’ to seek my fortune.” Her mither did sae; and awa’ she gaed to the auld witch-wife. She bade her look out o’ her back door, and see what she could see. She did sae; and when she came back said she saw nocht. The second day she did the same, and saw nocht. The third day she looked again, and on coming back said to the auld wife she saw nocht but a muckle Black Bull coming roaring alang the road. “Aweel,” quo’ the auld wife, “yon’s for you.” On hearing this she was next to distracted wi’ grief and terror; but she was lifted up and set on his back, and awa’ they went.
Aye they traveled, and on they traveled, till the lady grew faint wi’ hunger. “Eat out o’ my right lug,” says the Black Bull, “and drink out o’ my left lug, and set by your leavings.” Sae she did as he said, and was wonderfully refreshed. And lang they gaed, and sair they rade, till they came in sight o’ a very big and bonny castle. “Yonder we maun be this night,” quo’ the bull; “for my auld brither lives yonder”; and presently they were at the place. They lifted her aff his back, and took her in, and sent him away to a park for the night. In the morning, when they brought the bull hame, they took the lady into a fine shining parlor, and gave her a beautiful apple, telling her no to break it till she was in the greatest strait ever mortal was in in the world, and that wad bring her o’t. Again she was lifted on the bull’s back, and after she had ridden far, and farer than I can tell, they came in sight o’ a far bonnier castle, and far farther awa’ than the last. Says the bull till her: “Yonder we maun be the night, for my second brither lives yonder”; and they were at the place directly. They lifted her down and took her in, and sent the bull to the field for the night. In the morning they took the lady into a fine and rich room, and gave her the finest pear she had ever seen, bidding her no to break it till she was in the greatest strait ever mortal could be in, and that wad get her out o’t. Again she was lifted and set on his back, and awa’ they went. And lang they gaed, and sair they rade, till they came in sight o’ the far biggest castle, and far farthest aff, they had yet seen. “We maun be yonder the night,” says the bull, “for my young brither lives yonder”; and they were there directly. They lifted her down, took her in, and sent the bull to the field for the night. In the morning they took her into a room, the finest of a’, and gied her a plum, telling her no to break it till she was in the greatest strait mortal could be in, and that wad get her out o’t. Presently they brought hame the bull, set the lady on his back, and awa’ they went.
And aye they gaed, and on they rade, till they came to a dark and ugsome glen, where they stopped, and the lady lighted down. Says the bull to her: “Here ye maun stay till I gang and fight the deil. Ye maun seat yoursel’ on that stane, and move neither hand nor fit till I come back, else I’ll never find ye again. And if everything round about ye turns blue I hae beated the deil; but should a’ things turn red he’ll hae conquered me.” She set hersel’ down on the stane, and by-and-by a’ round her turned blue. O’ercome wi’ joy, she lifted the ae fit and crossed it owre the ither, sae glad was she that her companion was victorious. The bull returned and sought for but never could find her.
Lang she sat, and aye she grat, till she wearied. At last she rase and gaed awa’, she kedna whaur till. On she wandered till she came to a great hill o’ glass, that she tried a’ she could to climb, bat wasna able. Round the bottom o’ the hill she gaed, sabbing and seeking a passage owre, till at last she came to a smith’s house; and the smith promised, if she wad serve him seven years, he wad make her iron shoon, wherewi’ she could climb owre the glassy hill. At seven years’ end she got her iron shoon, clamb the glassy hill, and chanced to come to the auld washerwife’s habitation. There she was telled of a gallant young knight that had given in some bluidy sarks to wash, and whaever washed thae sarks was to be his wife. The auld wife had washed till she was tired, and then she set to her dochter, and baith washed, and they washed, and they better washed, in hopes of getting the young knight; but a’ they could do they couldna bring out a stain. At length they set the stranger damosel to wark; and whenever she began the stains came out pure and clean, but the auld wife made the knight believe it was her dochter had washed the sarks. So the knight and the eldest dochter were to be married, and the stranger damosel was distracted at the thought of it, for she was deeply in love wi’ him. So she bethought her of her apple, and breaking it, found it filled with gold and precious jewelry, the richest she had ever seen. “All these,” she said to the eldest dochter, “I will give you, on condition that you put off your marriage for ae day, and allow me to go into his room alone at night.” So the lady consented; but meanwhile the auld wife had prepared a sleeping-drink, and given it to the knight, wha drank it, and never wakened till next morning. The lee-lang night ther damosel sabbed and sang:
“Seven lang years I served for thee,

The glassy hill I clamb for thee,

The bluidy shirt I wrang for thee;

And wilt thou no wauken and turn to me?”
Next day she kentna what to do for grief. She then brak the pear, and found it filled wi’ jewelry far richer than the contents o’ the apple. Wi’ thae jewels she bargained for permission to be a second night in the young knight’s chamber; but the auld wife gied him anither sleeping-drink, and he again sleepit till morning. A’ night she kept sighing and singing as before:
“Seven lang years I served for thee,” &c. Still he sleepit, and she nearly lost hope a’thegither. But that day when he was out at the hunting, somebody asked him what noise and moaning was yon they heard all last night in his bedchamber. He said he heardna ony noise. But they assured him there was sae; and he resolved to keep waking that night to try what he could hear. That being the third night, and the damosel being between hope and despair, she brak her plum, and it held far the richest jewelry of the three. She bargained as before; and the auld wife, as before, took in the sleeping-drink to the young knight’s chamber; but he telled her he couldna drink it that night without sweetening. And when she gaed awa’ for some honey to sweeten it wi’, he poured out the drink, and sae made the auld wife think he had drunk it. They a’ went to bed again, and the damosel began, as before, singing:
“Seven lang years I served for thee,

The glassy hill I clamb for thee,

The bluidy shirt I wrang for thee;

And wilt thou no wauken and turn to me?”
He heard, and turned to her. And she telled him a’ that had befa’en her, and he telled her a’ that had happened to him. And he caused the auld washerwife and her dochter to be burned. And they were married, and he and she are living happy till this day, for aught I ken.[1]
[1] Chambers, Popular Traditions of Scotland.


From Peter:Aman Aman – Si veriash a la rana / Las casas de la boda



Robert Graves: Under A Spring Moon…

The bards falter in shame, their running verse

Stumbles, with marrow-bones the drunken diners

Pelt them for their delay.

It is a something fearful in the song

Plagues them — an unknown grief that like a churl

Goes commonplace in cowskin

And bursts unheralded, crowing and coughing,

An unpilled holly-club twirled in his hand,

Into their many-shielded, samite-curtained,

Jewel-bright hall where twelve kings sit at chess

Over the white-bronze pieces and the gold;

And by a gross enchantment

Flalils down the rafters and leads off the queens –

The wild-swan-breasted, the rose-ruddy-cheeked

Raven-haired daughters of their admiration –

To stir his black pots and to bed on straw.

The Worms of History
On the eighth day God died; his bearded mouth

That had been shut so long flew open.

So Adam’s too in a dismay like death-

But the world still rolled on around him,

Instinct with all those lesser powers of life

That God had groaned against but not annulled.
“All-excellent”, Adam had titled God,

And in his mourning now demeaned himself

As if all excellence, not God, had died;

Chose to be governed by those lesser powers,

More than inferior to excellence –

The worms astir in God’s corrupt flesh.
God died, not excellence his name:

Excellence lived, but only was not God.

It was those lesser powers who played at God,

Bloated with Adam’s deferential sighs

In mourning for expired divinity;

They reigned as royal monsters upon earth.
Adam grew lean, and wore perpetual black;

He made no reaching after excellence.

Eve gave him sorry comfort for his grief

With birth of sons, and mourning still he died.

Adam was buried in one grave with God

And the worms ranged and ravaged in between.
Into their white maws fell abundance

Of all things rotten. They were greedy-nosed

To smell the taint out and go scavenging,

Yet over excellence held no domain.

Excellence lives; they are already dead –

The ages of a putrefying corpse.

On her shut lids the lightning flickers,

Thunder explodes above her bed,

An inch from her lax arm the rain hisses;

Discrete she lies,
Not dead but entranced, dreamlessly

With slow breathing, her lips curved

In a half-smile archaic, her breast bare,

Hair astream.
The house rocks, a flood suddenly rising

Bears away bridges: oak and ash

Are shivered to the roots – royal green timber.

She nothing cares.
(Divine Augustus, trembling at the storm,

Wrapped sealskin on his thumb; divine Gaius

Made haste to hide himself in a deep cellar,

Distraught by fear.)
Rain, thunder, lightning: pretty children.

“Let them play,” her mother-mind repeats;

“They do no harm, unless from high spirits

Or by mishap.”

Penthesileia, dead of profuse wonds,

Was despoiled of her arms by Prince Achilles

Who, for love of that fierce white naked corpse,

Necrophily on her committed

In the public view.
Some gasped, some groaned, some bawled their indignation,

Achilles nothing cared, distraught by grief,

But suddenly caught Thersites’ obscene snigger

And with one vengeful buffet to the jaw

Dashed out his life.
This was a fury few might understand,

Yet Penthesileia, hailed by Prince Achilles

On the Elysian plain, paused to thank him

For avenging her insulted womanhood

With sacrifice.


From Peter: AMAN AMAN – Los caminos


Thank You Arthur!

For Arthur C. Clarke…

It is with lots of reflection on his death, that I realize what an influence the man was… Yes, yes, 2001 and all that, but even some of his quotes worked into my life, until I believed some had spilled out of my own head. Not so! They were his, and I was just borrowing, using and allowing them to illuminate the darkness just a bit.
Good on you Arthur, thanks for it all.
Bright Blessings,


On The Menu:

Sir Arthur C Clarke: 90th Birthday Reflections (Thank You Peter!)

Arthur C. Clarke Quotes

A Partial Bibliography

Pink Floyd – Childhood’s End

The Nine Billion Names of God

Rumi: On Death

Space Odyssey: Trip

Sir Arthur C Clarke: 90th Birthday Reflections (Thank You Peter!)


Arthur C. Clarke Quotes:
If an elderly but distinguished scientist says that something is possible he is almost certainly right, but if he says that it is impossible he is very probably wrong.
Subject: Science

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
We have to abandon the idea that schooling is something restricted to youth. How can it be, in a world where half the things a man knows at 20 are no longer true at 40 — and half the things he knows at 40 hadn’t been discovered when he was 20?
Every revolutionary idea seems to evoke three stages of reaction. They may be summed up by the phrases: 1- It’s completely impossible. 2- It’s possible, but it’s not worth doing. 3- I said it was a good idea all along.
Human judges can show mercy. But against the laws of nature, there is no appeal.
It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value.
Sometimes I think we’re alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we’re not. In either case the idea is quite staggering.
The limits of the possible can only be defined by going beyond them into the impossible.
Reading computer manuals without the hardware is as frustrating as reading manuals without the software.
I don’t pretend we have all the answers. But the questions are certainly worth thinking about.
I don’t believe in astrology; I’m a Sagittarius and we’re skeptical.
When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
This is the first age that’s ever paid much attention to the future, which is a little ironic since we may not have one.
CNN is one of the participants in the war. I have a fantasy where Ted Turner is elected president but refuses because he doesn’t want to give up power.
There is hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum.

A Partial Bibliography:
Prelude to Space (1951)

The Sands of Mars (1951)

Islands in the Sky (1952)

Against the Fall of Night (1953)

Childhood’s End (1953)

Earthlight (1955)

The City and the Stars (1956)

The Deep Range (1957)

A Fall of Moondust (1961)

Dolphin Island (1963)

Glide Path (1963)

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Rendezvous with Rama (1972)

Imperial Earth (1975)

The Fountains of Paradise (1979)

2010: Odyssey Two (1982)

The Songs of Distant Earth (1986)

2061: Odyssey Three (1988)

A Meeting with Medusa (1988)

Cradle (1988) (with Gentry Lee)

Rama II (1989) (with Gentry Lee)

Beyond the Fall of Night (1990) (with Gregory Benford)

The Ghost from the Grand Banks (1990)

The Garden of Rama (1991) (with Gentry Lee)

Rama Revealed (1993) (with Gentry Lee)

The Hammer of God (1993)

Richter 10 (1996) (with Mike McQuay)

3001: The Final Odyssey (1997)

The Trigger (1999) (with Michael P. Kube-McDowell)

The Light of Other Days (2000) (with Stephen Baxter)

Time’s Eye (2003) (with Stephen Baxter)

Sunstorm (2005) (with Stephen Baxter)

Firstborn (2007) (with Stephen Baxter)

The Last Theorem (to be published in 2008) (with Frederik Pohl)

Childhood’s End was perhaps my favourite Arthur C. Clarke Book. I read it several times, aided by this fine piece of music from Pink Floyd, and sundry alkemical mixtures…. 80)

Pink Floyd – Childhood’s End


The Nine Billion Names of God

By Arthur Clarke
“This is a slightly unusual request,” said Dr. Wagner, with what he hoped was commendable restraint. “As far as I know, it’s the first time anyone’s been asked to supply a Tibetan monastery with an automatic sequence computer. I don’t wish to be inquisitive, but I should hardly thought that your –ah– establishment had much use for such a machine. Could you explain just what you intend to do with it?”
“Gladly,” replied the lama, readjusting his silk robe and carefully putting away the slide rule he had been using for currency conversions. “Your Mark V computer can carry out any routine mathematical operation involving up to ten digits. However, for our work we are interested in letters, not numbers. As we wish you to modify the output circuits, the machine will be printing words, not columns of figures.”
“I don’t understand . . .”
“This is a project on which we have been working for the last three centuries — since the lamasery was founded, in fact. It is somewhat alien to your way of thought, so I hope you will listen with an open mind while I explain it.”
“It is really quite simple. We have been compiling a list which shall contain all the possible names of God.”

“I beg your pardon?”
“We have reason to believe,” continued the lama imperturbably, “that all such names can be written with not more than nine letters in an alphabet we have devised.”
“And you have been doing this for three centuries?”
“Yes. We expected it would take us about fifteen thousand years to complete the task.”
“Oh.” Dr. Wagner looked a little dazed. “Now I see why you wanted to hire one of our machines. But exactly what is the purpose of this project?”
The lama hesitated for a fraction of a second, and Wagner wondered if he had offended him. If so, there was no trace of annoyance in the reply.
“Call it ritual, if you like, but it’s a fundamental part of our belief. All the many names of the Supreme Being — God, Jehovah, Allah, and so on — they are only man-made labels. There is a philosophical problem of some difficulty here, which I do not propose to discuss, but somewhere among all the possible combinations of letters, which can occur, are what one may call the real names of God. By systematic permutation of letters, we have been trying to list them all.”
“I see. You’ve been starting at AAAAAAAAA . . . and working up to ZZZZZZZZZ . . .”
“Exactly — though we use a special alphabet of our own. Modifying the electromatic typewriters to deal with this is, of course, trivial. A rather more interesting problem is that of devising suitable circuits to eliminate ridiculous combinations. For example, no letter must occur more than three times in succession.”
“Three? Surely you mean two.”
“Three is correct. I am afraid it would take too long to explain why, even if you understood our language.”
“I’m sure it would,” said Wagner hastily. “Go on.”
“Luckily it will be a simple matter to adapt your automatic sequence computer for this work, since once it has been programmed properly it will permute each letter in turn and print the result. What would have taken us fifteen thousand years it will be able to do in a thousand days.”
Dr. Wagner was scarcely conscious of the faint sounds from the Manhattan streets far below. He was in a different world, a world of natural, not man-made, mountains. High up in their remote aeries these monks had been patiently at work, generation after generation, compiling their lists of meaningless words. Was there any limit to the follies of mankind? Still, he must give no hint of his inner thoughts. The customer was always right . . .
“There’s no doubt,” replied the doctor, “that we can modify the Mark V to print lists of this nature. I’m much more worried about the problem of installation and maintenance. Getting out to Tibet, in these days, is not going to be easy.”
“We can arrange that. The components are small enough to travel by air — that is one reason why we chose your machine. If you can get them to India, we will provide transport from there.”
“And you want to hire two of our engineers?”
“Yes, for the three months which the project should occupy.”
“I’ve no doubt that Personnel can manage that.” Dr. Wagner scribbled a note on his desk pad. “There are just two other points–”
Before he could finish the sentence, the lama had produced a small slip of paper.
“This is my certified credit balance at the Asiatic Bank.”
“Thank you. It appears to be–ah–adequate. The second matter is so trivial that I hesitate to mention it — but it’s surprising how often the obvious gets overlooked. What source of electrical energy have you?”
“A diesel generator providing 50 kilowatts at 110 volts. It was installed about five years ago and is quite reliable. It’s made life at the lamasery much more comfortable, but of course it was really installed to provide power for the motors driving the prayer wheels.”
“Of course,” echoed Dr. Wagner. “I should have thought of that.”
The view from the parapet was vertiginous, but in time one gets used to anything. After three months George Hanley was not impressed by the two-thousand-foot swoop into the abyss or the remote checkerboard of fields in the valley below. He was leaning against the wind-smoothed stones and staring morosely at the distant mountains whose names he had never bothered to discover.
This, thought George, was the craziest thing that had ever happened to him. “Project Shangri-La,” some wit at the labs had christened it. For weeks now, Mark V had been churning out acres of sheets covered with gibberish. Patiently, inexorably, the computer had been rearranging letters in all their possible combinations, exhausting each class before going on to the next. As the sheets had emerged from the electromatic typewriters, the monks had carefully cut them up and pasted them into enormous books. In another week, heaven be praised, they would have finished. Just what obscure calculations had convinced the monks that they needn’t bother to go on to words of ten, twenty, or a hundred letters, George didn’t know. One of his recurring nightmares was that there would be some change of plan and that the High Lama (whom they’d naturally called Sam Jaffe, though he didn’t look a bit like him) would suddenly announce that the project would be extended to approximately 2060 A.D. They were quite capable of it.
George heard the heavy wooden door slam in the wind as Chuck came out onto the parapet beside him. As usual, Chuck was smoking one of the cigars that made him so popular with the monks — who, it seemed, were quite willing to embrace all the minor and most of the major pleasures of life. That was one thing in their favor: they might be crazy, but they weren’t bluenoses. Those frequent trips they took down to the village, for instance . . .” “Listen, George,” said Chuck urgently. “I’ve learned something that means trouble.”
“What’s wrong? Isn’t the machine behaving?” That was the worst contingency George could imagine. It might delay his return, than which nothing could be more horrible. The way he felt now, even the sight of a TV commercial would seem like manna from heaven. At least it would be some link from home.
“No — it’s nothing like that.” Chuck settled himself on the parapet, which was unusual, because normally he was scared of the drop.
“I’ve just found out what all this is about.”
“What d’ya mean — I thought we knew.”
“Sure — we know what the monks are trying to do. But we didn’t know why. It’s the craziest thing –”
“Tell me something new,” growled George.
” . . . but old Sam’s just come clean with me. You know the way he drops in every afternoon to watch the sheets roll out. Well, this time he seemed rather excited, or at least as near as he’ll ever get to it. When I told him we were on the last cycle he asked me, in that cute English accent of his, if I’d ever wondered what they were trying to do. I said, ‘Sure’ — and he told me.”
“Go on, I’ll buy it.”
“Well, they believe that when they have listed all His names — and they reckon that there are about nine billion of them — God’s purpose will have been achieved. The human race will have finished what it was created to do, and there won’t be any point in carrying on. Indeed, the very idea is something like blasphemy.”
“Then what do they expect us to do? Commit suicide?”
“There’s no need for that. When the list’s completed, God steps in and simply winds things up . . . bingo!”
“Oh, I get it. When we finish our job, it will be the end of the world.”
Chuck gave a nervous little laugh.
“That’s just what
I said to Sam. And do you know what happened? He looked at me in a very queer way, like I’d been stupid in class, and said, ‘It’s nothing as trivial as that’.”
George thought this over for a moment.
“That’s what I call taking the Wide View,” he said presently.
“But what d’ya suppose we should do about it? I don’t see that it makes the slightest difference to us. After all, we already knew that they were crazy.”
“Yes — but don’t you see what may happen? When the list’s complete and the Last Trump doesn’t blow — or whatever it is that they expect — we may get the blame. It’s our machine they’ve been using. I don’t like the situation one little bit.”
“I see,” said George slowly. “You’ve got a point there. But this sort of thing’s happened here before, you know. When I was a kid down in Louisiana we had a crackpot preacher who said the world was going to end next Sunday. Hundreds of people believed him– even sold their homes. Yet nothing happened; they didn’t turn nasty, as you’d expect. They just decided that he’d made a mistake in his calculations and went right on believing. I guess some of them still do.”
“Well, this isn’t Louisiana, in case you hadn’t noticed. There are just two of us and hundreds of these monks. I like them, and I’ll be sorry for old Sam when his lifework backfires on him. But all the same, I wish I was somewhere else.”
“I’ve been wishing that for weeks. But there’s nothing we can do until the contract’s finished and the transport arrives to fly us out.”
“Of course,” said Chuck thoughtfully, “we could always try a bit of sabotage.”
“Like hell we could! That would make things worse.”
“Not the way I meant. Look at it like this. The machine will finish its run four days from now, on the present twenty-hours-a-day basis. The transport calls in a week. O.K., then all we need to do is to find something that wants replacing during one of the overhaul periods — something that will hold up the works for a couple of days. We’ll fix it, of course, but not too quickly. If we time matters properly, we can be down at the airfield when the last name pops out of the register. They won’t be able to catch us then.”
“I don’t like it,” said George. “It will be the first time I ever walked out on a job. Besides, it would make them suspicious. No, I’ll sit tight and take what comes.”
“I still don’t like it,” he said seven days later, as the tough little mountain ponies carried them down the winding road. “And don’t you think I’m running away because I’m afraid. I’m just sorry for those poor old guys up there, and I don’t want to be around when they find what suckers they’ve been. Wonder how Sam will take it?”
“It’s funny,” replied Chuck, “but when I said goodbye I got the idea he knew we were walking out on him — and that he didn’t care because he knew the machine was running smoothly and that the job would soon be finished. After that — well, of course, for him there just isn’t any After That . . .”
George turned in his saddle and stared back up the mountain road. This was the last place from which one could get a clear view of the lamasery. The squat, angular buildings were silhouetted against the afterglow of the sunset; here and there lights gleamed like portholes in the sides of an ocean liner. Electric lights, of course, sharing the same circuit as the Mark V. How much longer would they share it? wondered George. Would the monks smash up the computer in their rage and disappointment? Or would they just sit down quietly and begin their calculations all over again?
He knew exactly what was happening up on the mountain at this very moment. The High Lama and his assistants would be sitting in their silk robes, inspecting the sheets as the junior monks carried them away from the typewriters and pasted them into the great volumes. No one would be saying anything. The only sound would be the incessant patter, the never-ending rainstorm, of the keys hitting the paper, for the Mark V itself was utterly silent as it flashed through its thousands of calculations a second. Three months of this, thought George, was enough to start anyone climbing up the wall.
“There she is!” called Chuck, pointing down into the valley. “Ain’t she beautiful!”
She certainly was, thought George. The battered old DC-3 lay at the end of the runway like a tiny silver cross. In two hours she would be bearing them away to freedom and sanity. It was a thought worth savoring like a fine liqueur. George let it roll around in his mind as the pony trudged patiently down the slope.
The swift night of the high Himalayas was now almost upon them. Fortunately the road was very good, as roads went in this region, and they were both carrying torches. There was not the slightest danger, only a certain discomfort from the bitter cold. The sky overhead was perfectly clear and ablaze with the familiar, friendly stars. At least there would be no risk, thought George, of the pilot being unable to take off because of weather conditions. That had been his only remaining worry.
He began to sing but gave it up after a while. This vast arena of mountains, gleaming like whitely hooded ghosts on every side, did not encourage such ebullience. Presently George glanced at his watch.
“Should be there in an hour,” he called back over his shoulder to Chuck. Then he added, in an afterthought, “Wonder if the computer’s finished its run? It was due about now.”
Chuck didn’t reply, so George swung round in his saddle. He could just see Chuck’s face, a white oval turned toward the sky.
“Look,” whispered Chuck, and George lifted his eyes to heaven. (There is always a last time for everything.)
Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out.

Rumi: On Death…

you mustn’t be afraid of death

you’re a deathless soul

you can’t be kept in a dark grave

you’re filled with God’s glow
be happy with your beloved

you can’t find any better

the world will shimmer

because of the diamond you hold
when your heart is immersed

in this blissful love

you can easily endure

any bitter face around
in the absence of malice

there is nothing but

happiness and good times

don’t dwell in sorrow my friend

On the Death bed

Go, rest your head on a pillow, leave me alone;

leave me ruined, exhausted from the journey of this night,

writhing in a wave of passion till the dawn.

Either stay and be forgiving,

or, if you like, be cruel and leave.

Flee from me, away from trouble;

take the path of safety, far from this danger.

We have crept into this corner of grief,

turning the water wheel with a flow of tears.

While a tyrant with a heart of flint slays,

and no one says, “Prepare to pay the blood money.”

Faith in the king comes easily in lovely times,

but be faithful now and endure, pale lover.

No cure exists for this pain but to die,

So why should I say, “Cure this pain”?

In a dream last night I saw

an ancient one in the garden of love,

beckoning with his hand, saying, “Come here.”

On this path, Love is the emerald,

the beautiful green that wards off dragonsnough, I am losing myself.

If you are a man of learning,

read something classic,

a history of the human struggle

and don’t settle for mediocre verse.

Our death is our wedding with eternity.

What is the secret? “God is One.”

The sunlight splits when entering the windows of the house.

This multiplicity exists in the cluster of grapes;

It is not in the juice made from the grapes.

For he who is living in the Light of God,

The death of the carnal soul is a blessing.

Regarding him, say neither bad nor good,

For he is gone beyond the good and the bad.

Fix your eyes on God and do not talk about what is invisible,

So that he may place another look in your eyes.

It is in the vision of the physical eyes

That no invisible or secret thing exists.

But when the eye is turned toward the Light of God

What thing could remain hidden under such a Light?

Although all lights emanate from the Divine Light

Don’t call all these lights “the Light of God”;

It is the eternal light which is the Light of God,

The ephemeral light is an attribute of the body and the flesh.

…Oh God who gives the grace of vision!

The bird of vision is flying towards You with the wings of desire.



Goodbye Arthur! Thank you for the dreams of the future!
(Sri Lanka, his home…)

Monday Rumi…

So here is to Monday, and all that it entails…
On The Menu:

Vas – The Promise

Tales from Idries Shah: When the Waters Were Changed

Poetry:Sweet Rumi For A Monday Afternoon…
Bright Blessings,


Vas – The Promise



Tales from Idries Shah: When the Waters Were Changed

Once upon a time Khidr, the teacher of Moses, called upon mankind with a warning. At a certain date, he said, all the water in the world which had not been specially hoarded, would disappear. It would then be renewed, with different water, which would drive men mad.
Only one man listened to the meaning of this advice. He collected water and went to a secure place where he stored it, and waited for the water to change its character.
On the appointed date the streams stopped running, the wells went dry, and the man who had listened, seeing this happening, went to his retreat and drank his preserved water.
When he saw, from his security, the waterfalls again beginning to flow, this man descended among the other sons of men. He found that they were thinking and talking in an entirely different way from before; yet they had no memory of what had happened, nor of having been warned. When he tried to talk to them, he realized that they thought that he was mad, and they showed hostility or compassion, not understanding.
At first, he drank none of the new water, but went back to his concealment, to draw on his supplies, every day. Finally, however, he took the decision to drink the new water because he could not bear the loneliness of living, behaving and thinking in a different way from everyone else. He drank the new water, and became like the rest. Then he forgot all about his own store of special water, and his fellows began to look upon him as a madman who had miraculously been restored to sanity.

Poetry:Sweet Rumi For A Monday Afternoon…

A Smile and A Gentleness
There is a smile and a gentleness

inside. When I learned the name
and address of that, I went to where

you sell perfume. I begged you not
to trouble me so with longing. Come

out and play! Flirt more naturally.
Teach me how to kiss. On the ground

a spread blanket, flame that’s caught
and burning well, cumin seeds browning,

I am inside all of this with my soul.

-Translator: Coleman Barks

The Freshness
When it’s cold and raining,

you are more beautiful.
And the snow brings me

even closer to your lips.
The inner secret, that which was never born,

you are that freshness, and I am with you now.
I can’t explain the goings,

or the comings. You enter suddenly,
and I am nowhere again.

Inside the majesty.

-Translator: Coleman Barks

Some Kiss We Want
There is some kiss we want with

our whole lives, the touch of
spirit on the body. Seawater

begs the pearl to break its shell.
And the lily, how passionately

it needs some wild darling! At
night, I open the window and ask

the moon to come and press its
face against mine. Breathe into

me. Close the language- door and
open the love window. The moon

won’t use the door, only the window.

-Translator: Coleman Barks

When you find yourself with the Beloved, embracing for

one breath,

In that moment you will find your true destiny.

Alas, don’t spoil this precious moment

Moments like this are very, very rare.

-Translator: Shahram Shiva

Your love lifts my soul from the body to the sky

And you lift me up out of the two worlds.

I want your sun to reach my raindrops,

So your heat can raise my soul upward like a cloud.

-Translator: Shahram Shiva

Not Intrigued With Evening
What the material world values does

not shine the same in the truth of
the soul. You have been interested

in your shadow. Look instead directly
at the sun. What can we know by just

watching the time-and-space shapes of
each other? Someone half awake in the

night sees imaginary dangers; the
morning star rises; the horizon grows

defined; people become friends in a
moving caravan. Night birds may think

daybreak a kind of darkness, because
that’s all they know. It’s a fortunate

bird who’s not intrigued with evening,
who flies in the sun we call Shams.

For awhile we lived with people,

but we saw no sign in them of the

faithfulness we wanted.
It’s better to hide completely within

as water hides in metal, as fire hides in rock.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill

where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.

Oh Your Witchy Ways…

Here is a fish of a different colour… experimenting with form and content a bit. Shape Shifting, Transformations, Spell Work… This edition covers some interesting territories from the century before last, and the early part of the 20th century. The birth of the modern Pagan Emergence can be readily traced to the works of Margaret Murray, and Charles Leland. Their works certainly informed my education, and this is a bit of a stroll down those lanes with a couple of diversions thrown in.
I hope you enjoy, and find something new to beguile you….
Bright Blessings,



On the Menu:

Pagan Quotes

Blast From The Past! Kristi Stassinopoulou “The Secrets Of The Rocks

I Sall Goe Until A Hare – Maddy Prior

Margaret Murray- The Witch-Cult in Western Europe

Nice Song… and a lovely Island in the Aegean: Astypalea

Charles Leland: From Aradia, Gospel Of The Witches: The Children of Diana, or How the Fairies Were Born

Pagan Quotes:
The Christian fear of the pagan outlook has damaged the whole consciousness of man.

David Herbert Lawrence

There is something pagan in me that I cannot shake off. In short, I deny nothing, but doubt everything.

-Lord Byron

Christianity has made of death a terror which was unknown to the gay calmness of the Pagan.


It makes no difference who or what you are, old or young, black or white, pagan, Jew, or Christian, I want to love you all and be loved by you all, and I mean to have your love.

-Victoria Woodhull

Great God! I’d rather be A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn; Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea; Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn…

-William Wordsworth

Blast From The Past! Kristi Stassinopoulou “The Secrets Of The Rocks”



I Sall Goe Until A Hare – Maddy Prior
I sall goe until a hare

Wi sorrow and sick mickle care

I sall goe in the devil’s name

An while I come home again
Ruled By The Moon
I am ruled by the moon

I move under her mantle

I am the symbol of her moods

Of rebirths cycle
I am companion to the gods

I can conceive while I am pregnant

I call the dawn and spring in

I am the advent
I bring life from water

In a cup that must be broken

I whisper to the bursting egg

I’m Aestre’s token
Scent Of Dog
Scent of dog, scent of man

Closer closer smell them coming

Hot breath, hot death

Closer closer hard the running
Tongues pant, hearts thump

Closer closer through the fields

Teeth snap, bones crack

Closer closer at my heels
Nearer yet and nearer

I can feel the poacher’s knife

He is running for his dinner

I am running for my life
Winter Wakeneth
Wynter wakeneth al my care

nou this leues waxeth bare;

ofte y sike ant mourne sare

when hit cometh in my thoht

of this worldes joie hou hit geth al to noht.
The Hare Said
Man sprays no weeds

The scythe cuts the corn bleeds

Leverets trapped in a harvest blade

‘Tis the time of man, the hare said
Here’s the tractor here’s the plough

And where shall we go now

We’ll lie in forms as still as the dead

In the open fields, the hare said.
No cover but the camouflage

From the winter’s wild and bitter rage

All our defense is in our legs

We run like the wind, the hare said.

I Shall Run And Run
I’ve been cursed, I’ve been despised

As a witch with darkest powers

– I sall goe until a hare –

I’ve been hunted, trapped and punished

In these my darkest hours

– Wi sorrow and such mickle care –
I’ve been thrown into the fire

But I do not fear it

– I sall goe until a hare –

It purifies and resurrects

And I can bear it

– Wi sorrow and such mickle care –
I sall goe until a hare

wi sorrow and such mickle care
I have outrun dogs and foxes

And I’ve dodged the tractor wheels

– I sall goe until a hare –

I’ve survived your persecution

And your ever changing field

– Wi sorrow and such mickle care –
I will run and run forever

Where the wild fields are mine

– I sall goe until a hare –

I’m a symbol of endurance

Running through the mists of time

– Wi sorrow and such mickle care –


Margaret Murray- The Witch-Cult in Western Europe

4. Transformations into Animals

The belief that human beings can change themselves, or be changed, into animals carries with it the corollary that wounds received by a person when in the semblance of an animal will remain on the body after the return to human shape. This belief seems to be connected with the worship of animal-gods or sacred animals, the worshipper being changed into an animal by being invested with the skin of the creature, by the utterance of magical words, by the making of magical gestures, the wearing of a magical object, or the performance of magical ceremonies. The witches of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries appear to have carried on the tradition of the pre-Christian cults; and the stories of their transformations, when viewed in the light of the ancient examples, are capable of the same explanation. Much confusion, however, has been caused by the religious and so-called scientific
[1. Pitcairn notes: ‘Issobell, as usual, appears to have been stopped short here by her interrogators, when she touched on such matters’. i.e., the fairies.
2. Pitcairn, iii, pp. 606, 614.
3. Taylor, p. 81.]
explanations of the contemporary commentators, as well as by the unfortunate belief of modern writers in the capacity of women for hysteria. At both periods pseudo-science has prevented the unbiassed examination of the material.
There are no records extant of the animals held sacred by the early inhabitants of Great Britain, but it is remarkable that the range of the witches’ transformations was very limited; cats and hares were the usual animals, occasionally but rarely dogs, mice, crows, rooks, and bees. In France, where the solemn sacrifice of a goat at the Sabbath points to that animal being sacred, it is not surprising to find both men and women witches appearing as goats and sheep. Unless there were some definite meaning underlying the change of shape, there would be no reason to prevent the witches from transforming themselves into animals of any species. It would seem then that the witches, like the adorers of animal gods in earlier times, attempted to become one with their god or sacred animal by taking on his form; the change being induced by the same means and being as real to the witch as to Sigmund the Volsung[1] or the worshipper of Lycaean Zeus.[2]
In the earlier cults the worshipper, on becoming an animal, changed his outward shape to the eye of faith alone, though his actions and probably his voice proclaimed the transformation. The nearest approach to an outward change was by covering the body with the skin of the animal, or by wearing a part of the skin or a mask. The witches themselves admitted that they were masked and veiled, and the evidence of other witnesses goes to prove the same. Boguet suggests that the disguise was used to hide their identity, which was possibly the case at times, but it seems more probable, judging by the evidence, that the masking and veiling were for ritual purposes.
[1. Volsung Saga, Bks. I, II; Wm. Morris, Collected Works, xii, pp. 32, 77.
2. Pausanias, viii, 2, 3, 6, ed. Frazer. Cp. also the animal names applied to priests and priestesses, e. g. the King-bees of Ephesus; the Bee-priestesses of Demeter, of Delphi, of Proserpine, and of the Great Mother; the Doves of Dodona; the Bears in the sacred dance of Artemis; the Bulls at the feast of Poseidon at Ephesus; the Wolves at the Lupercalia, &c.]
In Lorraine in 1589 a male witness stated that ‘indem wird er eine Höle, welche sie nennen die Morelianische Klippe, gewahr, darinnen sechs Weiber mit Larven umb ein Tisch, voll guldernen und silbernen Geschieren herumb tanzten.’–Bernhardt’s Nicolaea said that she had seen in an open field ‘mitten am hellen Tage, einen Tantz von Männern und Weibern, und weil dieselben auff eine besondere Weise und hinterücks tantzten, kam es ihr frembd für, stunde derhalben still, und sahe mit allein Fleiss zu da ward sic gewahr, das etliche in dem Reyhen waren so Geiss und Kuhfuss hatten’.[1] At North Berwick in 1590 seven score witches ‘danced endlong the Kirk yard. John Fian, missellit [muffled, masked] led the ring.’[2] The witches whom Boguet examined in 1598 confessed to using masks: ‘Les Sorciers dansent doz cõtre doz, pour ne pas estre recogneus; pour la mesme raison its se masquent encor’ auiourd’huy pour la plus part–Ils se masquent pour le iour d’huy, selon que Clauda Paget l’a confessé, & auec elle plusieurs autres–Estienne Poicheux rapportoit que partie des femmes, qu’elle auoit veuës au Sabbat, estaient voilées. Et pour cela aussi les Lombards par leurs loix les appellent Mascas.’[3] In 1609 de Lancre points out that in the Basses-Pyrénées there were two grades of witches: ‘Il y en a de deux sortes. Aucu{n}s sont voilez pour doñer opinion aux pauures que ce sont des Princes & grãds seigneurs. Les autres sont decouuerts & tout ouuerteme{n}t dãcent, & ceux cy ne sont si prés du maistre, si fauoris ne si employez.’[4] In 1613 Barbe, the wife of jean-Remy Colin de Moyemont, said that ‘elle a veu dancer les assistans en nombre de sept à huict personnes, partie desquelles elle ne cognoissoit ad cause des masques hideux qu’elles auoient de noire.’[5]
Josine Deblicq in Hainault (1616) was asked, ‘Que savez vous de la troisième danse? R. Elle eut lieu an Rond-Chêneau, sur le chemin de Nivelles, près d’unc fontaine. Il y avait bien 21 ou 22 femmes, toutes masquées, chacune avec son amoureux accoutré d’un déguisement bleu, jaune ou noir.’[6] In 1652 a French witch ‘dist qu’elles dansoient les dots l’une à
[1. Remigius, pt. i, pp. 65, 67.
2. Pitcairn, i, pt. ii, pp. 245 6.
3. Boguet, pp. 120, 132-3.
4. De Lancre, Tableau, p, 129.
5. Fournier, p. 16.
6. Monoyer, p. 30.]
l’autre et qu’au milieux it y auoit vne feme masquée tenant vne chandelle’.[1]
It will be seen from the above that the witches were often disguised at the dance, a fact strongly suggesting that the masking was entirely ritual. As the witch trials in Great Britain seldom mention, much less describe, the dance, it follows that the greater number of the cases of masks are found in France, though a few occur in Scotland, still fewer in England.
The transformation by means of an animal’s skin or head is mentioned in the Liber Poenitentialis of Theodore in 668 (see p. 21). It continued among the witches, and in 1598 in the Lyons district ‘il y a encor des Demons, qui assistent à ces danses en forme de boucs, on de moutons. Antoine Tornier dit, que lors qu’elle dansoit, vn mouton noir la tenoit par la main auec ses pieds bien haireux, c’est à dire rudes & reuesches’.[2]
In many cases it is very certain that the transformation was ritual and not actual; that is to say the witches did not attempt to change their actual forms but called themselves cats, hares, or other animals. In the Aberdeen trials of 1596-7 the accused are stated to have ‘come to the Fish Cross of this burgh, under the conduct of Sathan, ye all danced about the Fish Cross and about the Meal market a long space’. Here there is no suggestion of any change of form, yet in the accusation against Bessie Thom, who was tried for the same offence, the dittay states that there, accompanied with thy devilish companions and faction, transformed in other likeness, some in hares, some in cats, and some in other similitudes, ye all danced about the Fish Cross’.[3] In 1617 in Guernsey Marie Becquet said that ‘every time that she went to the Sabbath, the Devil came to her, and it seemed as though he transformed her into a female dog’.[4] Again at Alloa in 1658, Margret Duchall, describing the murder of Cowdan’s bairns, said ‘after they war turned all in the
liknes of cattis, they went in ouer jean Lindsayis zaird Dyk and went to Coudans hous, whair scho declared, that the Dewitt being with
[1. Van Elven, v, p. 215.
2. Boguet, p. 132.
3. Spalding Club Misc., i, pp. 97, 114-15, 165; Bessie Thom, p. 167. Spelling modernized.
4. Goldsmid, p. 110.]
tham went up the stair first with margret tailzeor Besse Paton and elspit blak’. On the other hand, Jonet Blak and Kathren Renny, who were also present and described the same scene, said nothing about the cat-form, though they particularize the clothes of the other witches. Jonet Blak said, ‘the diwell, margret tailzeor with ane long rok, and kathren renny with the short rok and the bony las with the blak pok all went up the stair togidder’; while Kathren Renny said that ‘ther was ane bony las with ane blak pok, who went befor ower jean Lindsayis zaird dyk and Margret tailzeor with hir’.[1] The evidence of Marie Lamont (1662) suggests the same idea of a ritual, though not an actual, change; ‘shee confessed, that shee, Kettie Scot, and Margrat Holm, cam to Allan Orr’s house in the likenesse of kats, and followed his wif into the chalmer’; and on another occasion ‘the devil turned them in likeness of kats, by shaking his hands above their heads’.[2] In Northumberland (1673) the same fact appears to underlie the evidence. Ann Armstrong declared that at a witch meeting Ann Baites ‘hath been severall times in the shape of a catt and a hare, and in the shape of a greyhound and a bee, letting the divell see how many shapes she could turn herself into.–They [the witches] stood all upon a bare spott of ground, and bid this informer sing whilst they danced in severall shapes, first of a haire, then in their owne, and then in a catt, sometimes in a mouse, and in severall other shapes.–She see all the said persons beforemencioned danceing, some in the likenesse of haires, some in the likenesse of catts, others in the likenesse of bees, and some in their owne likenesse.’[3]
The method of making the ritual change by means of magical words is recorded in the Auldearne trials, where Isobel Gowdie, whose evidence was purely voluntary, gives the actual words both for the change into an animal and for the reversion into human form. To become a hare:
‘I sall goe intill ane haire,

With sorrow, and sych, and meikle caire,

And I sall goe in the Divellis nam,

Ay whill I coin hom againe.’
[1. Scottish Antiquity, ix, pp. 50-2.
2. Sharpe, pp. 132, 134.
3. Surtees Soc., xl, pp. 191, 193, 194.]
To become a cat or a crow the same verse was used with an alteration of the second line so as to force a rhyme; instead of ‘meikle caire’, the words were ‘a blak shot’ for a cat, and ‘a blak thraw’ for a crow or craw. To revert again to the human form the words were:
Hare, hare, God send thee care.

I am in an hare’s likeness just now,

But I shall be in a woman’s likeness even now’,
with the same variation of ‘a black shot’ or ‘a black thraw’ for a cat or a crow. The Auldearne witches were also able to turn one another into animals:
‘If we, in the shape of an cat, an crow, an hare, or any other likeness, &c., go to any of our neighbours houses, being Witches, we will say, I (or we) conjure thee Go with us (or me). And presently they become as we are, either cats, hares, crows, &c., and go with us whither we would. When one of us or more are in the shape of cats, and meet with any others our neighbours, we will say, Devil speed thee, Go thou with me. And immediately they will turn in the shape of a cat, and go with us.’[1]
The very simplicity of the method shows that the transformation was ritual; the witch announced to her fellow that she herself was an animal, a fact which the second witch would not have known otherwise; the second witch at once became a similar animal and went with the first to perform the ritual acts which were to follow. The witches were in their own estimation and in the belief of all their comrades, to whom they communicated the fact, actually animals, though to the uninitiated eye their natural forms remained unchanged. This is probably the explanation of Marie d’Aspilcouette’s evidence, which de Lancre records in 1609:
‘Elle a veu aussi les sorcieres insignes se changer en plusieurs sortes de bestes, pour faire peur à ceux qu’elles rencontroient: Mais celles qui se transformoyent ainsi, disoyent qu’elles n’estoyent veritablement transformees, mais seulement qu’elles sembloyent l’estre & neantmoins pendant qu’elles sont ainsi en apparences bestes, elles ne parlent du tout point’.[2]
[1. Pitcairn, iii, pp. 607, 608, 611. Spelling modernized.
2. De Lancre, Tableau, p. 128.]
The best example of transformation by means of a magical object placed on the person is from Northumberland (1673), where Ann Armstrong stated that ‘Anne Forster come with a bridle, and bridled her and ridd upon her crosse-leggd, till they come to [the] rest of her companions. And when she light of her back, pulld the bridle of this informer’s head, now in the likenesse of a horse; but, when the bridle was taken of, she stood up in her owne shape. . . . This informant was ridden upon by an inchanted bridle by Michael Aynsly and Margaret his wife, Which inchanted bridle, when they tooke it of from her head, she stood upp in her owne proper person. . . . Jane Baites of Corbridge come in the forme of a gray catt with a bridle hanging on her foote, and bridled her, and rid upon her in the name of the devill.’[1] This is again a clear account of the witch herself and her companions believing in the change of form caused by the magical object in exactly the same way that the shamans believe in their own transformation by similar means.
The Devil had naturally the same power as the witches, but in a greater degree. The evidence of Marie Lamont quoted above shows that he transformed them into animals by a gesture only. It seems possible that this was also the case with Isobel Shyrie at Forfar (1661), who was called ‘Horse’ and ‘the Devil’s horse’. The name seems to have given rise to the idea that ‘she was shod like a mare or a horse’; she was in fact the officer or messenger who brought her companions to the meetings. She was never seen in the form of a horse, her transformation being probably effected by the Devil, in order that she might ‘carry’ the witches to and from the meetings; Agnes Spark said that Isobel ‘carried her away to Littlemiln, [and] carried her back again to her own house’.’
There is also another method of transformation, which is the simplest. The witches themselves, like their contemporaries, often believed that the actual animals, which they saw, were human beings in animal form. Jeannette de Belloc, aged twenty-four, in the Basses-Pyrénées (1609), described the
[1. Surtees Soc., x1, pp. 192, 194, 197
2. Kinloch, p. 129. Spelling modernized.]
Sabbath as ‘vne foire celebre de toutes sortes de choses, en laquelle aucuns se promene{n}t en leur propre forme, & d’autres sont transformez ne scayt pourquoy, en animaux. Elle n’a iamais veu aucune d’elles se trãsformer en beste en sa presence, mais seulement certaines bestes courir par le sabbat.’[1] Helen Guthrie of Forfar (1661) states the case with even greater simplicity: ‘The last summer except one, shee did sie John Tailzeour somtymes in the shape of a todde, and somtymes in the shape of a swyn, and that the said Johne Tailzeour in these shapes went wp and doune among William Millne, miller at Hetherstakes, his cornes for the destructioune of the same, because the said William hade taken the mylne ouer his head; and that the diuell cam to her and pointed out Johne Tailzeour in the forsaid shapes unto her, and told her that that wes Johne Tailzeour.’[1]
[1. De Lancre, Tableau, pp. 129, 130.
2. Kinloch, p. 123.]

Nice Song… and a lovely Island in the Aegean: Astypalea


From Aradia, Gospel Of The Witches…

Charles Godfrey Leland

The Children of Diana, or How the Fairies Were Born
All things were made by Diana, the great spirits of the stars, men in their time and place, the giants which were of old, and the dwarfs who dwell in the rocks, and once a month worship her with cakes.
There was once a young man who was poor, with out parents, yet was he good.
One night he sat in a lonely place, yet it was very beautiful, and there he saw a thousand little fairies, shining white, dancing in the light of the full moon. “Gladly would I be like you, O fairies!” said the youth, “free from care, needing no food. But what are ye?”
“We are moon-rays, the children of Diana,” replied one:–
“We are children of the Moon;

We are born of shining light;

When the Moon shoots forth a ray,

Then it takes a fairy’s form.
“And thou art one of us because thou wert born when the Moon, our mother Diana, was full; yes, our brother, kin to us, belonging to our band.
“And if thou art hungry and poor… and wilt have
money in thy pocket, then think upon the Moon, on Diana, unto who thou wert born; then repeat these words:–
“‘Luna mia, bella Luna!

Più di una altra stella;

Tu sei sempre bella!

Portatemi la buona fortuna!’
“‘Moon, Moon, beautiful Moon!

Fairer far than any star;

Moon, O Moon, if it may be,

Bring good fortune unto me!’
“And then, if thou has money in thy pocket, thou wilt have it doubled.
“For the children who are born in a full moon are sons or daughters of the Moon, especially when they are born of a Sunday when there is a high tide.
“‘Alta marea, luna piena, sai,

Grande uomo sicuro tu sarei.’
“‘Full moon, high sea,

Great man shalt thou be!’
Then the young man, who had only a paolo 1 in his purse, touched it, saying:–
“Luna mia, bella Luna,

Mia sempre bella Luna!”
“Moon, Moon, beautiful Moon,

Ever be my lovely Moon!”
And so the young man, wishing to make money, bought and sold and made money, which he doubled every month.
But it came to pass that after a time, during one month he could sell nothing, so made nothing. So by night he said to the Moon–
“Luna mia, Luna bella!

Che io amo più di altra stella!

Dimmi perche e fatato

Che io gnente (niente) ho guadagnato?”
“Moon, O Moon, whom I by far

Love beyond another star,

Tell me why it was ordained

That I this month have nothing gained?”
Then there appeared to him a little shining elf, who said:–
“Tu non devi aspettare

Altro che l’aiutare,

Quando fai ben lavorare.”
“Money will not come to thee,

Nor any help or aid can’st see,

Unless you work industriously.”
Then added:–
Io non daro mai denaro

Ma l’aiuto, mio caro!”
“Money I ne’er give, ’tis clear,

Only help to thee, my dear!”
Then the youth understood that the Moon, like God and Fortune, does the most for those who do the most for themselves.
“Come l’appetito viene mangiando,

E viene il guadagno lavorando e risparmiando.”
“As appetite comes by eating and craving,

Profit results from labour and saving.”
To be born in a full moon means to have an enlightened mind, and a high tide signifies an exalted intellect and full of thought. It is not enough to have a fine boat of Fortune.
“Bisogna anche lavorare

Per farla bene andare.”
“You must also bravely row,

If you wish the bark to go.”
“Ben faremmo e ben diremmo,

Mal va la barca senza remo.”
“Do your best, or talk, but more

To row the boat you’ll need an oar.”
And, as it is said–
“La fortuna a chi dà

A chi toglie cosi sta,

Qualche volta agli oziosi

Ma il più ai laboriosi.”
“Fortune gives and Fortune takes,

And to man a fortune makes,

Sometimes to those who labour shirk,

But oftener to those who work.”


Prohibition: Its Roots and Bitter Fruit

Prohibition: Its Roots and Bitter Fruit

by Peter Webster

a lecture presented at ENCOD’s Drug Peace Conference

a counter-event to the annual meeting of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs

Vienna, 7-9 March 2008

Prohibition as Religion

I suspect that almost everyone here today already knows that the prohibition of recreational and religious drugs is a disastrous policy, and that it has always been so. We all know that prohibitions of things people want are self-defeating by their very nature, and we all know that prohibition is productive mainly of across-the-board corruption, immense criminal syndicates, disease, death, destruction and destitution, the poisoning of peoples and their lands and other such gross violations of human rights.
Although so much is obvious to us, representatives of many countries will next week, at their meeting at the U.N. here in Vienna, all continue to insist that it is the drugs that are the problem, and their continuing prohibition the only logical remedy. That idea, of course, has a long history. For some, it is a lie necessitated by their political duties or vested interests, those for whom prohibition is not a disaster but a source of personal advancement and comfortable salaries. To be frank, I can see little moral distinction between such persons and the so-called drug barons and drug-pushers whose livelihood is also the direct result of prohibition. For some others, the lie of prohibition is perpetuated for lack of courage, or perception of an alternative. For others still, the true believers, it is sheer delusion.
Since you all know these things already, what can I say to you this afternoon that might enlarge our collective understanding? I’d like to weave together a few diverse theories and observations, some of my own manufacture, that should help us understand the attitudes of these honourable gentlemen who will attend the U.N. meeting, and understand as well the attitudes and psychology of that great mass of the mostly-deluded both present and past who, simply by default or through a lack of courage and clear thinking, support the honourable gentlemen’s absurd quest for, in their own words, a “drug-free world.”
Only through an intimate and rigorous understanding of such a phenomenon as prohibition can we hope to effectively lessen its negative consequences. I will avoid, however, raising any hopes that we can soon overturn prohibition no matter what we do, for among other serious problems, it seems that the time left for achieving such a result is far too limited by a multitude of impending social, economic, and ecological crises now well underway. But let us at least try to understand why prohibition is so impervious to change, for no matter what the issue, the value of such fundamental knowledge can never be predicted and it has a strange way of providing opportunities for action that never could have been anticipated.
I just mentioned that prohibition today is directed not only at some recreational drugs, but also against religious drugs, some of them the designated sacraments of various religious followings. As you know, ayahuasca and peyote are two such religious drugs which are not subject to total prohibition everywhere, yet in general, the use of psychoactive drugs for religious purposes is either subject to total prohibition or at a minimum, very strict controls. This too has a long history worth exploring.
Taking a hint from this situation, it is then a short step toward concluding that prohibition itself is in many respects like a religious phenomenon, an important clue being that it is little affected by anything from the realms of science or logic, and depends primarily upon convictions:
On the one hand, the economic and political convictions of those who profit from prohibition, and on the other extreme, the convictions of the true believers, those for whom science and intellectual pursuit is for the most part just elitist snobbery, to be looked down upon by the common people who don’t need university learning to know right from wrong. Convictions, as the philosopher Frederick Nietzsche wrote, “are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.”
If I may borrow a few excellent phrases from a recent paper by my good friend Peter Cohen, who deserves a great deal of credit for promoting this idea widely, prohibition

“has a certain status that shields it from rational and functional evaluation. [It] has acquired a sacred significance that places it beyond the pale of what we call scientific discourse; [its status] removes it from the realm of ordinary debate about policy, or about scientific or economic issues. [It’s religious nature] censures any argument demonstrating the irrelevancy of the policy…in much the same way that the culture of the infallibility of the Bible ­ that is, of the Church ­ pronounced Galileo a heretic. [Prohibition is thus] not susceptible to observations or data proving the ban to be incompatible with human rights, dangerous, destructive, impossible to enforce, inhumane, expensive, crime-inducing, and dysfunctional…”
Well, that about sums it up, and provides us with an important evaluation of why our task of drug policy reform is so difficult. But there is something even deeper about prohibition’s connection with religion that we should be aware of, and it has to do with our collective western post-Renaissance perceptions about religion itself. Not only is prohibition like a religious phenomenon, not only does prohibition satisfy a religious function for many of its supporters, not only has prohibition become a religious phenomenon in the broad sense of the term, but an examination of the roots of prohibition, extending back over 500 years, shows that it is a religious undertaking. Prohibition is a direct descendant of the dogmatism that the Renaissance Catholic Church had evolved over the centuries, and then used as a tool to legitimate its political goals during the Age of Exploration.
The use of psychoactive plants for religious purposes is perhaps one of the most ancient of human universals, extending back into prehistory to our very origins. And so, as the great explorers of the Renaissance discovered new territories, the peoples they encountered were, more often than not, found to use a wide range of psychoactive drugs in their shamanic, religious, medical and social traditions.
According to recent findings by a few intrepid researchers including my good friend Carl Ruck of Boston University, the Catholic Church was, however, no stranger to the use of psychoactive plants for attaining religious ecstasy. A long tradition of such use by the Church elite now appears to be the case, but the practices were reserved for only the highest echelons within the church, and completely prohibited for the general masses of Christians. The inner sanctum of the Catholic Church realised, of course, that if Christians were able to attain religious ecstasy and insight on their own with the aid of psychoactive plants, then the authority of the Church would be severely undermined, and their political quest for world domination damaged if not destroyed.
A main purpose of the Holy Inquisition was therefore to stamp out uses of psychoactive plants wherever they were to be found. And that included branding as heretics those European outsiders such as the medieval practitioners of the ancient traditions of witchcraft and alchemy, the pursuits of whom we now know were concerned with the use of psychoactive plants such as mandrake, belladonna, and other native European drug-plants. The doctrine of the Church therefore became one of public repudiation of drug use as a form of Gnostic heresy, while at the same time secretly preserving the knowledge of that use for the Church elite.
In the following quotation from a book by David A. J. Richards, we see how this repudiation has translated itself into modern times, how it has become a general, inbuilt, default perspective about the Christian religion that dominates the outlook of theologians and Church members alike. Now please bear with me, this quote is important but a bit tricky to understand when spoken rather than read. For the benefit of those wishing to read the quote, as well as my entire talk today, I have made it available at my website. More on that later. Here is the quotation:
“Shamanic possession and ecstasy, at the heart of much earlier religion, becomes, from [the perspective of the Church’s repudiation], one form of demonic or satanic witchcraft, a charge that Catholic missionaries made against the shamanic practices they encountered in the New World. The leading contemporary defender of this Judaeo-Christian repudiation, R. C. Zaehner, has argued that the technology of the self implicit in the orthodox western religions requires an unbridgeable gap between the human and the divine, expressed in the submission of the self to ethical imperatives by which persons express their common humanity and a religious humility. Accordingly, western, in contrast to non-western mystical experience, expresses the distance between the human and the divine. Drugs, including alcohol, are ruled out as stimuli to religious experience because they bridge this distance, indulging the narcissistic perception that the user himself is divine and thus free of the constraints of ethical submission.” (End of quote)
Ethical submission to authority, there we have it. Whereas Eastern religion and philosophy has little problem with perceiving mankind and all creation as a manifestation of the Divine, quite capable of judging right from wrong, the Catholic Church, and today its political descendants, want us to be submissive, to laud their authority, and to never get the idea that we may in fact know as much about things as they do. I’ve read this quotation many times, and its great importance only slowly became obvious to me. It explains many things about contemporary attitudes to both religion and drugs, and why so many otherwise intelligent people will automatically support notions such as “drugs are wrong” and refuse even to consider their convictions through rational processes based on evidence and logic. Nietzsche’s condemnation of convictions being more dangerous enemies of truth than lies becomes even more to the point.
The Political Tool

Among those who will be attending the U.N. meeting next week, there will surely be ardent believers, the modern-day analogues of the second-tier of Catholic Church officials who honestly promoted the Inquisition’s anti-drug crusade, officials who were not privy to the inner sanctum of the Church and its secrets. But we can be sure that the highest level delegates to the U.N. meeting, especially from those countries with the loudest prohibitionist voices, know what the Church insiders knew: the entire prohibitionist undertaking is a ruse, false propaganda designed to promote and maintain ulterior motives and purposes. As it was for the Catholic Church of the Renaissance, this is a matter of world control by the chosen few, nothing more.
For such as these, prohibition is a just a blatant lie, as opposed to a fantastic delusion. Those in the inner sanctum of political power today use prohibition as a political tool for ends having nothing to do with the stated necessity to control drug use and assist society. But again, I think a mere mention of this is all that is necessary today, for we all know already how prohibition has been a prime tool of the CIA, a tool of the U.S. State Department and Executive Branch for invading countries, manipulating the world economic system, and making ‘offers they can’t refuse’ to various people on the world scene who have forgotten their place and attempted to resist the desires of the rulers of the world; we all know how prohibition and the Drug War has been a tool of successive U.S. regimes to build a gigantic prison system and a nation-wide network of courts and judges perfectly willing to ignore the most fundamental of Constitutional rights; how it has made of many police forces the close equivalent of a gang of storm troopers. The neoconservative movement, born in the early 1970s as a reaction against the ideals of the 1960s, when government realised just how powerful the people could be when they wanted to, has now reached the zenith of power, and what they intend to use their justice and prison system for is now becoming quite obvious. Enough said about that. We should conclude, of course, that any attempt to directly interfere with these processes has little chance of success, and may even involve personal danger, and on this count the lie of prohibition will remain untouchable.
Psychedelics in Eden

So let me take the religious theme back even further. I mentioned that the use of psychoactive plants goes as far back as we can show, probably to our very origins as a species. When did that occur? Quite recently, as modern genetic investigations have shown. In a lecture I gave in Basel, Switzerland, for the 100th birthday celebration for Dr Albert Hofmann, I presented a theory I had been working on for several years. Using evidence from many sources and fields, I outlined a scenario for the sudden awakening of the human race, exactly 74,000 years ago in the Ethiopian highlands of East Africa.
Our immediate ancestors, I shall call them the proto-humans, were physically identical with modern humans but lacking in our most human characteristics, and they had already been living in the area for 100,000 years or more. A technology of tools similar to that of the chimpanzee, and no indication of ritual or shamanism or other symbolic behaviour, was their collective condition. The obvious question is why, given that they were in every physical sense identical with modern humans, they did not evolve beyond the proto-human state over this great length of time?
One day 74,000 years ago however, Mount Toba on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia let loose with a spectacular volcanic eruption, spewing into the air an amount of material almost 3000 times that of the 1980 eruption of Mount St Helen’s in Washington state, USA. The eruption deposited meters of ash in locations as far away as the British Isles, and caused several years of a volcanic winter; it caused the onset of the severest part of the last ice age, and this radically lowered sea levels and continental precipitation.
Many species, including proto-man, were threatened with extinction, and it was thus that a small surviving band of our ancestors retreated to the highlands of Ethiopia in an attempt to escape the devastating conditions of their homelands further to the east. It was in these mountains that our ancestors, famished and at the end of their hope for survival, came to use a psychoactive plant, probably a mushroom. Shamanism, symbolic behaviour and religious awareness were born, and the course of evolution on earth was altered dramatically.
Now I have intentionally presented this brief summary of my theory in a most provocative way, designed to cause general disbelief that one could possibly find evidence to support such a fantastic idea. Yet no less an authority on human evolution than Chris Stringer, head of the Human Origins Group of the London Natural History Museum, admits in his book African Exodus, that there must have been some kind of unusual event, some catalyst, some kind of “trigger” which set in motion the very rapid rise of human culture from a mere handful of individuals, and a mere few moments ago on an evolutionary scale.
Studies of human genetics had already shown that the entire human race had descended from a small number of individuals who had lived in East Africa some time between 50 and 120 thousand years ago. The trick was to explain how and why.

Chris Stringer writes in his book:
“It was one of the critical events in mankind’s convoluted route to evolutionary success. The nature of the trigger of this great social upheaval is still hotly debated, but remains a mystery at the heart of our ‘progress’ as a species. Was it a biological, mental or social event that sent our species rushing pell-mell towards world domination? Was it the advent of symbolic language, the appearance of the nuclear family as the basic element of human social structure, or a fundamental change in the workings of the brain? Whatever the nature of the change, it has a lot to answer for. It transformed us from minor bit players in a zoological soap opera into evolutionary superstars, with all the attendant dangers of vanity, hubris and indifference to the fate of others that such an analogy carries with it.”

Needless to say, perhaps, in this age of drug paranoia, neither Chris Stringer nor any other professional scientist, with just one or two important exceptions, has written back to me when I suggested to them what the trigger may have been!
If any of you are interested to explore some of the evidence I have collected in support of the theory, a video of my presentation is available at my website, The Psychedelic Library. For our purposes today it suffices to say that the additional evidence I compiled from various sources shows that in all probability the psychoactive catalyst to our evolution was not just an incidental thing, perhaps helping us along on a process already well underway, but that the drug-produced awakening was absolutely necessary, that without it we would still be proto-humans. For newcomers to such an idea, it is certain to sound just too fantastic to be true, but I assure you that if you study the evidence I have collected with an open mind and stew on this idea for awhile, you will begin to see not only that it follows from the evidence, but that it has potential to explain a great many other things, including an aspect of our subject today, why prohibition is so resistant to attack and change.
If the spark to the entire collective psychology of the human race was a drug experience, whether or not you consider such ideas as a Jungian collective consciousness to have any scientific validity, we can be reasonably sure that such an event has somehow been preserved in the chreodes of human thought and the subconscious of all individuals, and that the ancient event exerts an effect on behaviour and inherent attitudes similar in nature to other inherited instincts.
An example of the effect of ancient attitudes persisting to the present day was provided by the famed banker-turned-ethnomycologist R. Gordon Wasson, who led the expeditions to Mexico in the 1950s to discover the continued use of magic mushrooms by Amerindian descendants of ancient meso-American peoples. Wasson showed in another important discovery that modern European attitudes to mushrooms in general, which differ greatly across Europe, could be traced to ancient European traditions of religious use of drugs. The traditions themselves had of course long been abandoned and forgotten, but inherent, almost instinctive attitudes about mushrooms had persisted into modern times. This has resulted in, for example, the British, Portuguese and Castilian Spanish seeing mushrooms as generally poisonous and something to be detested and never touched, while the Catalans, the Basques, Russians, and most eastern Europeans seek out and eat all the wonderful wild mushrooms they can find. Totally different inherent attitudes have persisted down through centuries, yet the mechanism for cultural transmission of such attitudes is for the most part a mystery. As Wasson showed, however, the effect is real, and based on ancient, long-forgotten traditions and beliefs.
During the sixty or so millennia following the human awakening in East Africa, mankind was to undertake his first Age of Exploration, in fact much more ambitious if more gradual than that of the Renaissance, and tribes of the human species migrated from their African homeland to populate essentially the entire globe. According to the evidence we have of aboriginal peoples, everywhere that early man went he found and used the psychoactive plants native to the new regions, in perpetuation and imitation of that same process which ignited human awareness in the first place. Shamanic religious, medical and social practice was in fact everywhere maintained by the use of drug plants.
Whether early mankind’s explorations were in part motivated by the search for psychoactives cannot be known of course, but since the quest for using psychoactive plants is evidently a human universal, that fact is surely strong evidence that the practices existed at the source, in East Africa right after the Toba eruption, and were not practices that sprang up at random in the various locations where man settled over the following millennia. Thus the universal use of psychoactive drugs is part and parcel of the entire human experience on earth, at least for our first 70 thousand years until the prohibitionists came upon the scene. Our long association with drug plants can be expected to have shaped the course of human consciousness and psychology significantly. Attitudes about drugs are therefore automatic and instinctive, and as Wasson showed, they can be negative or positive, but most importantly they require of an individual quite strenuous logical thought and analysis to understand and overcome where necessary. This is more than just a religious matter, it is inherent in being human.
I think you can see therefore how such an inheritance allows the propagandist to arouse automatic, instinctive attitudes in people so that they will support prohibitionist agendas without any question or analysis. On this matter of drug use, the uninitiated person is perhaps more susceptible to manipulation than on any other subject. In its latest reincarnation, the process of prohibition has been going on for over 500 years and as such has a momentum that will be extremely difficult to alter, even if we were to have fair and equal access to the media through which the prohibitionist agenda is broadcast. A few years ago I was considerably more optimistic about the possibility of slowly reversing this prohibitionist tide but I regret to inform you today that the more I examine the roots of prohibition, the more my optimism fades.
Malignant aggression – the xenophobic instinct

As long as we have examined prehistory in our quest today, why not go back even further to examine evolution itself, to see if it holds any clues to our present predicament with prohibition?
An eternal question for mankind has long been to know the source and reason for what might be called malignant aggression, that human characteristic that has been manifested collectively in the pointless slaughter of war and conquest, genocide and slavery, and individually in participation in horrendous acts of murder, pillage, rape, torture and so forth. Indeed, such violence seems to be the main determinant of the course of history.

It is a question that has occupied many a philosopher, psychologist and scientist, for it would appear that something special has gone wrong with evolution such that it would produce a species capable of wantonly killing its own kind, and apparently quite willing to eradicate itself and all life on the planet as well. Collectively, mankind seems especially insane, and it would seem that nothing in the study of evolution could demonstrate how such a situation could have occurred. In the past, such deliberation has probably led to much pernicious religious dogma such as the doctrine of original sin and the necessity of redemption, confessional practices and the belief in the irresistibility of sin and the superhuman power of evil, and the literal belief in the devil as an actor on the world stage.
It turns out, however, if a theory I’ve been working on is correct, that the seeds of human malignant violence grew from a necessary and beneficial characteristic in our immediate ancestors, the great apes, and it is only when this tendency became subject to the human abilities of language and symbolic behaviour that it then became unmanageable, uncontrollable for many, and the catalyst behind mankind’s collective insanity.
The psychiatrist and author Erich Fromm, in his 1973 treatise, The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, took up what is still an excellent analysis of the problem. His first task was to debunk a theory that had been proposed in the 1960s by the Nobel-prize winning ethologist Konrad Lorenz. His book, On Aggression, had become a best-seller, and its main thesis was that mankind’s collective behaviour as manifested in violence and destructiveness of every sort is due to a genetically programmed, powerful and innate disposition for aggression that forever lies in wait for the opportunity to express itself. In other words, mankind’s problem with violence was based on an instinct for violence that we were essentially powerless to counteract.
In his critique, Fromm relentlessly makes the case for the dismissal of the “instinctivist” theories on aggression. To begin his analysis, Fromm first stresses the important distinction between benign, biologically adaptive aggression, such as is aroused for the defence of life or territory, or for obtaining food, compared with what he calls malignant aggression, whose definition should be obvious. According to Fromm, it is a distinction which Lorenz and the instinctivists failed completely to make, seriously undermining their theories on that count alone.
Fromm then shows in a broad survey of animal and human behaviour that the evidence is solidly against blaming inherited instincts for violence and malignant aggression as the main determinant of the course of history. Fromm also makes the following important observation of why a theory such as Lorenz’ gained so much popular attention. To sum up his views on that point:
The turmoil and increasingly violent nature of the period when the theory captured the public mind, during which we witnessed the assassinations of the Kennedys, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, the Cuban missile crisis and the increasing threat of nuclear holocaust, through to the darkest days of the Vietnam genocide: such events produced in people a widely perceived feeling of powerlessness to change things, certainly contributing to the popularity of Lorenz’s neoinstinctivism. It was a case of public susceptibility rather than any scientific rigour of the theory — it was rejected by most psychologists and neuroscientists, according to Fromm. Its great appeal to the public also stemmed from the fact that it was a “magic bullet” kind of theory, pretending to explain away a complex phenomenon with an easy-to-understand, all-encompassing and irremediable cause. It was the always-popular kind of explanation that more or less relieved the reader from feeling any responsibility for the situation — how could one hope to go against a psychologically inbuilt inevitability?
Although Fromm certainly succeeds in discrediting Lorenz’ “instinct for violence” theory, I believe, nevertheless, that it is indeed an instinct at the root of the problem. It is an instinct that has come into existence through long evolutionary pathways, one that has been critical and necessary for the evolution of the most advanced hominid species. Its effects may therefore be surmised to be important, universal among members of our species as well as other advanced hominid and ape species, yet with the negative blowback for humans that it is indeed at the root of our problem with irrational violence and malignant aggression. It is not, however, an instinct for violence, nor aggression whether defensive or malignant, but an instinct which can be satisfied through a variety of behaviours, and whose net effect was a key factor in allowing the evolution of complex societies, large brains, and, surprisingly, true altruistic behaviour.
My theory would take far more time to justify with evidence than I have available today, so once again I must ask your indulgence when I insist that my brief outline to follow has been well researched and thought out, and would be far more convincing were you to see the complete body of evidence I have collected. I hope soon to finish a paper on the subject, but for now let me just describe the basic features of the idea so that I can connect it with the problem of prohibition. In fact, I already published an introduction to these ideas in the International Journal of Drug Policy in 1999. The paper was titled, “Drug Prohibition: A Perverted Instinct?” From that title you will already get a hint of the connection between my theory and the problem we are concerned with here today.
The concept of instinct needs some rehabilitation, however. Whether due to some still-lingering absurdities from the long reign of Behaviourist psychology, or the general tendency of scientists today to disbelieve in an entity unless having on hand several specimens in formaldehyde, it seems that mainstream science today is loathe even to use the word, substituting “innate behaviour” or some other euphemism when they need to explain certain behaviours. However, in promoting a rehabilitation of the term and concept of instinct I am not proposing we go back to accepting the ideas that proliferated early in the 20th century, with the long lists of sometimes very dubious things that were supposed to be instincts. For me, it seems that the concept of instinct was in its beginnings scientifically useful, and still is, but that it became corrupted by too wide and too wild an interpretation, especially by the public, leading to its discredit. This is no reason to throw out the baby with the bath-water, however. Many terms have general use meanings completely at odds with their scientific use. And not all scientists have joined in the condemnation, far from it. Here is what a top authority on cognitive neuroscience has to say: Jaak Panksepp has stated in his book Affective Neuroscience that, quote,
“It is becoming increasingly clear that humans have as many instinctual operating systems in their brains as other mammals. However, in mature humans such instinctual processes may be difficult to observe because they are no longer expressed directly in adult behavior but instead are filtered and modified by higher cognitive activity. Thus, in adult humans, many instincts manifest themselves only as subtle psychological tendencies, such as subjective feeling states, which provide internal guidance to behavior.” End of quote
I think we can accept the validity of such a view in spite of widespread professional objections, even if we do not know exactly how an instinct is implemented in the brain, or perhaps in some as-yet unproved manifestation such as a species collective memory, or whether we yet understand how an instinct is transmitted from generation to generation. For neuroscientists, everything is in the hard wiring. For evolutionary biologists, everything is in the genes. I’d recommend that they should go looking for the gene or the hard-wiring th
at makes them believe such reductionist nonsense!
Given the importance of instinct for behaviour throughout the entire animal kingdom, and the obvious way that instinct itself has been subject to evolutionary principles, it would be curious indeed if suddenly a species arose, ourselves, whose behaviour was simply beyond the influence of instinct. With that observation, I’ll leave my brief justification of instinct as a real and effective determinant of behaviour not only for animals but for humans as well, and go on to the meat of my theory.
So what is this instinct I propose that results in malignant violence and aggression? Agreeing with Fromm, the instinct itself has nothing to do with violence per se, but is one that arose and developed as advanced mammals – especially the monkeys and apes – began living in larger and larger, and more complex social groups. It is now believed that the advancing complexity of social groups and the demands that this entailed on individuals, was the primary evolutionary engine for the rapid increase in brain size we see in monkeys and apes through to the hominids and our own species. This increase in brain size, so rapid as to be declared by evolutionary biology as unprecedented, was obviously the most important development leading to the appearance of our species.
In order to live in complex, stable, exclusionary and coherent social groups, members of a group would necessarily have to know who was in the group, and who was not. To make a long story short concerning my findings, knowing who is in the “in-group” involves many complex aspects of individual and group interactions and thus could not be subject to a simple instinctive drive to enable it. Managing all the complexities of interactions in large social groups was and is the domain of our powerful and large brains, not something that could possibly be controlled by a simple instinct. However, knowing whether a given individual is in the “out-group” is a straightforward matter: it could easily be mediated by instinctive behaviour that led individuals and the group to define as the necessary characteristic any simple, easily-transmitted perception or quickly-invoked attitude about unfamiliar individuals. Once that determination has been made, it persists like a knee-jerk reflex.
And so, evolutionary pressures ensured that as ape societies became more complex, an instinct for xenophobia would develop, that is, an instinct mediating a simple, group-wide ability to instantly know an outsider, exclude him and thus preserve group coherence and stability. I call this, quite simply, the xenophobic instinct. It further turns out that recent research has shown that such group coherence, necessary so that group selection might occur, was the key evolutionary development that allowed the appearance of true altruistic behaviour. I’ll have to leave that tantalizing idea with just a brief mention, and continue with my central theme, but you can follow this and other ideas from the list of references supplied with the printed version of my lecture.
As for evidence of xenophobia and its instinctive nature in humans I wish to cite just two or three authorities on the matter.
In a paper by Alain Schmitt and Karl Grammer we read, “Indeed, xenophobia and ethnocentrism are universals and a primate legacy.” The noted ethologist Eibl-Eibesfeldt writes, “Xenophobia is a universal quality…an important component of the human behavioural repertoire. Infantile xenophobia was…observed in all cultures we studied. [Even children] born both blind and deaf display fear of strangers.”

Xenophobia in children and infants, observed in every culture, a primate legacy. And if exhibited by infants, no chance of cultural transmission by learning. Now if that is not an instinct, I should like to know why.
Let me briefly say some further things about instincts before I tie the matter to our present concerns.
— Instincts are in some ways like prejudices. It can be very difficult if not impossible to identify them as causative agents in one’s own behaviour. It’s not surprising that we, especially the scientists among us, believe that our rationality reigns supreme, free from inherited, unconscious determinants. That is, quite simply, the way it feels to be conscious.
Instinct and prejudice are also similar in that their sources lie in historical and psychological happenings mostly inaccessible to current awareness: from early childhood experiences and learning in the case of prejudice, and from hard-wiring or even collective species’ memory in the case of instincts. We see, of course, the major difference between instinct and prejudice: whilst the latter is something learned, instinct is inherent and inherited.
Consider then the never-ending phenomenon of racism, a very obvious example of a tragically common behaviour enabled and aggravated by the xenophobic instinct. We believe that racism has its roots in prejudice, and true, some aspects of racism are learned in childhood – they are culturally transmitted. But the cultural transmission of racist attitudes would not be nearly so effective, and a permanent feature of human societies, if it were not enabled by the pre-existing xenophobic instinct in the first place. It is the instinct which makes it so easy to impart life-long racist attitudes to young children, although the particulars of who is to be subject to that racism is culturally determined.
It can be exceedingly tricky to demonstrate in a given individual whether he does indeed harbour racist convictions. But in his society as a whole, for example in the south of the U.S., the prevalence of black/white only facilities, lynchings, organisations such as the KKK, or recently, even widespread voter suppression and so forth, demonstrates that racist prejudice must be widespread and have an indelible effect on the collective behaviour of that society. This observation then lends a proof of the universal prevalence of the xenophobic instinct.
— Instinct in humans, as is made clear in the Panksepp quotation I read to you, does not cause an on-or-off, all-or-nothing effect. The actual net effect of a given instinct might well be “subtle” and even vanishingly small, “filtered and modified by higher cognitive activity”, for an individual. But an instinct exerting a slight but significant tendency collectively in a large social group, should result in a powerful force. We humans, on issues and preferences that are “6 of one, a half-dozen of the other,” tend to split reliably very close to 50/50 in our decisions (for instance consider how close honest elections tend to be, always very close to 50/50. Thanks to Diebold touchscreens, even the dishonest ones don’t go far from an even split!). Therefore, such an incremental or even differential effect of an instinct, when applied to entire populations, may well translate into an important motivator for behaviour exhibited collectively. And this effect should be magnified due to another human propensity: when a style or perception gets rolling in one direction (whether due to the subtle influence of an instinct or otherwise), a great many seem to pile onto the bandwagon just for the ride.
— One further point, and this might at once provide an operational definition as well as a diagnostic characteristic for instinct: Satisfying an instinct makes the individual feel good, rewarded, successful, like he has accomplished something, but without any rational or logical perception of why or how that has happened.
With those observations to clarify the nature of my proposed xenophobic instinct, and instincts in general, let me take the final step which you should all now suspect. What allows authorities and governments to get peaceful citizens to fight wars, commit genocide, torture, and crimes against humanity yet believe they are justified in doing so, even though they may suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and even complete emotional breakdown for having participated in acts they know full well to be atrocities? What allows even democratic regimes to incite radical nationalism — the flag-waving, troop-supporting blind adherence to an undertaking that can easily be seen to be a war of aggression? What enables prohibitionist governments to fight the so-called Drug War, whether honestly or for ulterior motives, and have the great majority of citizens support the effort?
It is, above all, the appeal to the citizenry’s great weakness, that when an enemy has been defined, when an evil other, an out-group identified, when a group, a class, a race, a country or even a substance has been labelled as a threat, even for the most preposterous and mendacious reasons, it is the xenophobic instinct in every person which can be easily and reliably activated so that a great number of those persons can then be led off on the most absurd and destructive of crusades, to commit crimes and atrocities of every sort.

America’s designated foes — and I single out America here not because it is alone in perpetrating these evils but because, just maybe, if there is one nation today that has the power to reverse this march toward destruction and global mayhem, it is the USA — America’s designated foes have been communists, gooks in Vietnam, rag-heads in Iraq, terrorists who hate our freedoms, Islamofascists, immigrants, and of course dope-smoking hippies, degenerate drug addicts and drug dealers who profit on the misery of others, and quite astonishingly most people go along with it. Try to get a great number of people to do something or believe something that is not enabled by the arousal of an instinct and you get apathy, indecision, endless bickering, and little action. But when an instinct can be aroused and used, perhaps 80% of the population will follow along, no questions asked.

Hard to believe that 80% figure?
Psychiatrists Erich Fromm and Michael Maccoby conducted personality surveys in the early 1970s that indicated that a significant minority of about 10 percent of persons in all societies were theoretically capable of becoming Hitlers or Himmlers, given the necessary historical and social circumstances. Fromm classed the Hitler type as necrophilous, or death-loving, while Himmler was of a sado-masochistic personality type, more interested to exert absolute control over people than kill them.
Another, similarly-sized minority, were observed to have dominant personality characteristics that classed them as biophiles, those life-loving persons like Albert Schweitzer and Albert Einstein, incapable of being persuaded into supporting great collective crimes. The 70-80% of citizens in the middle, between the two extremes, apparently just blow with the wind, and follow whomever is shouting the loudest. It is of course the Hitlers, Himmlers, and other fascists of this world who know well the method to arouse the people by manufacturing a threat to the homeland, by defining an enemy, the evil outsiders who threaten our liberty, hate our freedoms, and they do shout very loudly about it. To some less-aware fascist types it just comes naturally, but it is obvious that the most crafty among them consciously know how to apply the method, how to make the people feel insecure and threatened by some class or group of outsiders, even it they don’t suspect it is thanks to the xenophobic instinct that the method works so well.
The biophiles, for better or worse, tend never to shout, nor even take a role in government. We find that the biophilic personality typically experiences an all-encompassing unity of life, the kind of experience that mystics seek after, and which some have experienced through the judicious use of psychedelics. The experience of unity, of oneness of all life, may, in fact, be the only effective antidote to the xenophobic instinct, for such an experience simply does not allow fascist rabble-rousers to define a class of outsiders, or separate people into a us-them dichotomy. If all of us are one, who is the outsider?
Well, in telling you all this, I hope I have not lowered your own optimism to the level of mine! However, for any task it is of great importance to know what to expect of one’s attempts to bring about change. Realistic expectations are a great advantage for difficult tasks. The ideas I have expressed today were directed toward that end – to know the less-than-obvious history, psychology and reality of prohibition and its bitter fruits. I can only hope that such an understanding will assist you in whatever your tasks may be.

Peter Cohen (2008), “The culture of the ban on cannabis: Is it political laziness and lack of interest that keep this farcical blunder afloat?” Paper delivered to the conference on “Cannabis-growing in the Low Countries,” University of Ghent, 3 and 4 December 2007. Amsterdam: CEDRO. English translation by Beverley Jackson.
Carl A. P. Ruck & Blaise Daniel Staples: “Heretical Visionary Sacraments Amongst the Ecclesiastical Elite”:
David A. J. Richards: Sex, Drugs, Death, and the Law: An Essay on Human Rights and Overcriminalization. Chapter 4 — “Drug Use and the Rights of the Person”
Chris Stringer and Robin McKie: African Exodus. London: Jonathan Cape 1996
Peter Webster: “Psychedelics in Eden”.
Jaak Panksepp: Affective Neuroscience – The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions. Oxford University Press Series in Affective Science 1998. P. 122
See, for example, several papers supporting this view in Machiavellian Intelligence: Social Expertise and the Evolution of Intellect in Monkeys, Apes, and Humans. Richard Byrne and Andrew Whiten, editors. Oxford University Press 1988.
See Unto Others – The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior. Elliot Sober and David Sloan Wilson. Harvard University Press 1998.
Alain Schmitt and Karl Grammer: “Social intelligence and success: Don’t be too clever in order to be smart” In Machiavellian Intelligence, above.
Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Human Ethology. New York: Aldine de Gruyter 1989, P. 174

Saturday Sanctuary…

Well, it has been longer than I ever wanted to go without posting, so this is a bit over the top. Sooooo much for you to check out.
Have mercy, I can’t stop finding stuff.
Have a good weekend, and thoroughly enjoy yourselves!

On The Menu:

George Santayana Quotes

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan playing 12 and half beats

Sufi Tales –


A Chishti Tale

The Dream

Poetry: RUMI…. Dreams of Eternity….

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan – Malkauns (80′s)


George Santayana Quotes

“It is easier to make a saint out of a libertine than out of a prig.”
“Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds.”
“For a man who has done his natural duty, death is as natural as sleep.”
“Almost every wise saying has an opposite one, no less wise, to balance it.”
“All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible.”
“A soul is but the last bubble of a long fermentation in the world.”


Ustad Amjad Ali Khan playing 12 and half beats




People say that when Iblis was cursed, he was so excited and overcome by the intensity of his joy that he filled the whole world by himself. Some asked him: ‘How can you act this way seeing that you have been driven from the Divine Presence?’
He replied: ‘By this robe of honour the Beloved has singled me out; neither an angel who has been brought near, wears it, nor a prophet who has been sent forth’.

A Chishti Tale
A parrot, called Tuti, was asked by Khojasta, its mistress: “I like to hear a Sufi tale. Why don’t you tell me one?” Tuti answered, “Oh mistress, no evil will come to one who avoids these four things: first, anger; second, temper; third, indolence; fourth, haste. Although love and patience are not compatible, still one should not act in haste. If an unfortunate incident should arise, you should be able to extricate yourself just as the woman who saved herself from the leopard.”
Khojasta inquired: “How did that happen?”
Tuti replied: “It is reported that there lived a man in a city who had a wife who was extremely bad-tempered, quarrelsome, sharp-tongued, gossipy and peevish.
O Nakhshabi, if a woman always act like a shrew

Even a div will not endure a tongue so insolent.

There is no one on earth who will not run from a demon;

Even a devil shuns a female who is virulent.
The woman ranted as though she had thirty-two tongues like the harp. Her husband continually heard profanity pouring forth from her windpipe. One day as if he was tuning a rubab, he twisted her ears and pummelled her several times like a bass drum.
This woman from the gutter, who in wickedness was like a two-faced drum, left the house in a rage with her two children and went to the jungle. She reached a desolate wasteland, which was so terrifying that even a frog because of fear would not dare to make a noise and even a bird because of fright would not flap its wings.
Suddenly a leopard looking like a lion and with the power of an elephant appeared before her and wanted to carry off her children.
The woman thought to herself, “Whoever disobeys her husband and leaves her house without permission will experience what I am undergoing.” She greatly regretted her action and was so repentant in her heart that she made a vow saying to herself, “If I am ever rescued from this danger, I will never again leave my husband and will always serve and obey him”. Yea, the ignorant will act in the same way as the wise but only after feeling the whip of indignation and being subjected to humiliation.
O Nakhshabi, ignorance creates a heavy shackle.

I do not know what would cause you to become ecstatic.

The fact that the unwitting will follow the wise man’s path

Only after shame and disgrace is axiomatic.
When the woman realized that she was overtaken by disaster, she thought to herself, “I must devise a scheme and must think of some stratagem. If I am successful, I will achieve my purpose; if not my conscience will be clear that I have done everything I could.”

The woman shouted in a loud voice, “Oh leopard, come closer and listen to me.”
The leopard was astonished and said, “How dare you address me in this fashion?”
“There is a lion in this vicinity,” she said, “which by one assault can destroy the whole world. Every day three human beings supply the food for his kitchen. The people in my community have agreed to provide these to him. Today it is my turn with my children for our names have been drawn by lot.
“I am a woman who is descended from a tribe of dervishes. None of my ancestors has ever refused anyone his daily bread. Although you are here to make an attempt against my life, I do not wish you to go away unsatisfied. Come and eat one of my children and half of my body. In this way you will not be deprived of your share and at the same time the lion will get his portion.”
When the leopard heard these words, he was amazed and said, “Oh madam, I have never heard of anyone generous enough to offer herself as a means of subsistence to her enemy!”
The woman said, “Oh leopard, acts like these are not unusual for the devout and are not uncommon amongst the observers of religious precepts. ‘Umar bin ‘Abd al-‘Aziz (he was noted for his high religious and ethical standards, so much so that ‘Umar II was his nickname; he ruled as an ‘Umayyad caliph between 717-720; Siraj) who was the enthroned sultan of the caliphate was given poison by a slave, the news of which was widely reported. ‘Umar summoned the slave and asked him, ‘Did you commit the act of administering poison to me?’ He replied, ‘Yes the vizier, may his gall bladder rupture, forced me to do this for he coveted abundant riches. ‘Umar gave him money for travel and said, ‘This poison has been effective, and I will not survive its fatal dose. The rumour of this deed has spread. While I am still alive and before they arrest you for the attempt on my life, take this money and leave the city’.”
O Nakhshabi, be like the companions of Muhammad

In distinguishing between true friend and deceitful foe.

Others will have generosity only for their friends

Buth those with the prophet to their enemies grace did show.

“Oh leopard, since I am going to die today and my body is going to be eaten, it does not matter whether it is by a lion or by a leopard. To me you are more deserving because I have met and talked with you, but not with the lion. If you eat one of the children and half of my body and leave the other half for the lion, take care not to remain in these parts for the lion will not touch what has been eaten by another. Since we have been promised to him, he will ask for us. When he finds us in such a condition, he will pursue you and no matter where he overtakes you, he will not only slaughter you but will also exterminate your wife and children.”
When the leopard heard these words, he left the woman in such haste that for several miles he did not even glance back. Suddenly a fox appeared and saw the leopard in a state of great agitation and trepidation.
He said: “Oh leopard, what has happened?”
The leopard related to him everything that the woman had told him. The fox opened his mouth and said, “What people say is true: All brave men are foolish. Oh leopard you are not very proud of your courage. God has bestowed reason and the Creator has given intelligence. From head to foot man is full of deceit, hypocrisy and trickery. We who are famous for our cunning and shrewdness and are celebrated for our craftiness and chicanery have our hides made into capes by men and sometimes our pelts into garments.”
“How can a woman recognise bravery, and how can a female intimidate a leopard? Oh leopard, what does she mean with a promise to provide food for the lion and ‘eat half of us and leave the other half for the lion?’ Do not be deceived by her words. Go back immediately and free your heart from fear of her and do not miss eating such a delicious meal. Take me along with you so that through your charity I may replenish my kitchen and by your good fortune I may have some kebab.”
The leopard replied: “Oh fox, it is possible that the woman was telling the truth and the lion will come. Then you will dash into a hole and I will be left to be caught by his claws.”
“If you do not have faith in my ingenuity and do not trust my judgment”, the fox said, “tie me firmly to your leg and take me there with you. If the lion appears, throw me at his feet and run away from him.” The leopard agreed.
When the woman saw the fox bound to the leopard’s leg, she surmised that this was a manoeuvre of the fox. She cried out, “Oh hello, hello! You are welcome. Nowadays it is considered that one’s daily bread and food allotment should be brought and placed before him, and for a human being it should be delivered to his home.”
“Oh leopard, I am a woman who is a sorceress and a female who is a hyena. In this wilderness my food consists of the meat of crocodiles and my stew of the kebab of leopards. When I told you the story of the lion and of the promise made to him, I did so thinking that you would become angry and would come nearer to me, then with my own hands I would prepare kebab from your meat for my children and make soup from your bones. You left me and I regretted what I have said. Now you have returned and brought the fox as your donation, but what purpose will this lump of flesh serve and how can this meat satisfy my needs? If you intended to make a gift, you should have brought a lion or an elephant.”
When the fox heard these words, he said: “Oh leopard, this is not a human being. It is a curse from heaven. This is not a woman but a witch of the wilderness. If you can, escape as quickly as possible and safe your life by running away from her at once.”
The leopard fled and the fox, which was tied to his leg, was hit and wounded by flying stones and clods of dirt, while at the same time he was laughing and smiling in ridicule.
The leopard said, “Oh fox, why are you laughing?”
He replied: “I am laughing at your stupidity. Is this the time for you to carry a heavy load with you. If that sorceress overtakes you and swallows you like a morsel, what will become of you?”
The leopard untied the fox from his leg and the fox immediately dashed into a hole. Then the leopard ran so fast that he looked neither to the right nor left and never once looked backward. By this trick the woman saved herself from the leopard.

O, Nakhshabi, it is wise to take careful precautions

To escape from fatal entanglements by some device.

Should a man find himself in a perilous position

For lack of craftiness he must not his life sacrifice.

The Dream
A visitor came to a Chishti pir. This visitor wanted to demonstrate his own knowledge of the Qur’an and intended to overpower the Chishti pir in a debate. When he entered, the Chishti pir took the initiative however and mentioned Yusuf and the dreams he has had according to the Qur’an. He then suddenly turned to his visitor and asked him if he could tell him about a dream, so that the visitor may give his interpretation thereof. After receiving permission the Sufi told that he has had a dream and both of them were in it. The Chishti pir then went on by describing the following dream event: “I saw your hand immersed in a jar of honey, while my hand was immersed in the latrine”.
The visitor hastened to interpret: “It is quite obvious! You are immersed in wrong pursuits whereas I am leading a righteous life”.
“But’, the Sufi said, “there is more to the dream”. The visitor asked him to continue. The Chishti pir then went on by telling this: “You were licking my hand and I was licking yours”.
RUMI…. Dreams of Eternity….

Gone to the Unseen
At last you have departed and gone to the Unseen.

What marvelous route did you take from this world?
Beating your wings and feathers,

you broke free from this cage.

Rising up to the sky

you attained the world of the soul.

You were a prized falcon trapped by an Old Woman.

Then you heard the drummer’s call

and flew beyond space and time.
As a lovesick nightingale, you flew among the owls.

Then came the scent of the rosegarden

and you flew off to meet the Rose.
The wine of this fleeting world

caused your head to ache.

Finally you joined the tavern of Eternity.

Like an arrow, you sped from the bow

and went straight for the bull’s eye of bliss.
This phantom world gave you false signs

But you turned from the illusion

and journeyed to the land of truth.
You are now the Sun –

what need have you for a crown?

You have vanished from this world –

what need have you to tie your robe?
I’ve heard that you can barely see your soul.

But why look at all? –

yours is now the Soul of Souls!
O heart, what a wonderful bird you are.

Seeking divine heights,

Flapping your wings,

you smashed the pointed spears of your enemy.
The flowers flee from Autumn, but not you –

You are the fearless rose

that grows amidst the freezing wind.
Pouring down like the rain of heaven

you fell upon the rooftop of this world.

Then you ran in every direction

and escaped through the drain spout . . .
Now the words are over

and the pain they bring is gone.

Now you have gone to rest

in the arms of the Beloved.

( “Rumi – In the Arms of the Beloved”, Jonathan Star

New York 1997)

He Comes
He comes, a moon whose like the sky ne’er saw, awake or dreaming.

Crowned with eternal flame no flood can lay.

Lo, from the flagon of thy love, O Lord, my soul is swimming,

And ruined all my body’s house of clay!
When first the Giver of the grape my lonely heart befriended,

Wine fired my bosom and my veins filled up;

But when his image all min eye possessed, a voice descended:

‘Well done, O sovereign Wine and peerless Cup!’
Love’s mighty arm from roof to base each dark abode is hewing,

Where chinks reluctant catch a golden ray.

My heart, when Love’s sea of a sudden burst into its viewing,

Leaped headlong in, with ‘Find me now who may!’
As, the sun moving, clouds behind him run,

All hearts attend thee, O Tabriz’s Sun!
R. A. Nicholson

‘Persian Poems’, an Anthology of verse translations

edited by A.J.Arberry, Everyman’s Library, 1972

I made a far journey

Earth’s fair cities to view,

but like to love’s city

City none I knew
At the first I knew not

That city’s worth,

And turned in my folly

A wanderer on earth.
From so sweet a country

I must needs pass,

And like to cattle

Grazed on every grass.
As Moses’ people

I would liefer eat

Garlic, than manna

And celestial meat.
What voice in this world

to my ear has come

Save the voice of love

Was a tapped drum.
Yet for that drum-tap

From the world of All

Into this perishing

Land I did fall.
That world a lone spirit


Like a snake I crept

Without foot or wing.
The wine that was laughter

And grace to sip

Like a rose I tasted

Without throat or lip.
‘Spirit, go a journey,’

Love’s voice said:

‘Lo, a home of travail

I have made.’
Much, much I cried:

‘I will not go’;

Yea, and rent my raiment

And made great woe.
Even as now I shrink

To be gone from here,

Even so thence

To part I did fear.
‘Spirit, go thy way,’

Love called again,

‘And I shall be ever nigh thee

As they neck’s vein.’
Much did love enchant me

And made much guile;

Love’s guile and enchantment

Capture me the while.
In ignorance and folly

When my wings I spread,

From palace unto prison

I was swiftly sped.
Now I would tell

How thither thou mayst come;

But ah, my pen is broke

And I am dumb.
A..J. Arberry

‘Persian Poems’, an Anthology of verse translations

edited by A.J.Arberry, Everyman’s Library, 1972

Our feast, our wedding

Will be auspicious to the world.

God fit the feast and wedding

To our length like a proper garment.
Venus and the moon

Will be matched to each other,

The parrot with sugar.

The most beautifully-faced Beloved

Makes a different kind of wedding every night.
With the favor of our Sultan’s prosperity,

Hearts become spacious

And men pair up with each other.

Troubles and anxieties are all gone.
Here tonight, You go again

To the wedding and feasting.

O beauty who adorned our city,

You will be groom to the beauties.
How nicely You walk in our neighborhood,

Coming to us so beautifully.

O our river, O One

Who is searching for us,

How nicely You flow in our stream.
How nicely You flow with our desires,

Unfastening the binding of our feet.

You make us walk so nicely, holding our hand,

O Joseph of our world.
Cruelty suits You well.

It’s a mistake for us to expect Your loyalty.

Step as You wish on our bloody Soul.
O Soul of my Soul, pull our Souls

To our Beloved’s temple.

Take this piece of bone.

Give it as a gift to our Huma.
O wise ones, give thanks

To our Sultan’s kindness, who adds Souls to Soul,

Keep dancing, O considerate ones.

Keep whirling and dancing.
At the wedding night of rose and Nasrin

I hang the drum on my neck.

Tonight, the tambourine and small drum

Will become our clothes.
Be silent! Venus becomes the Cupbearer tonight

And offers glasses to our sweetheart,

Whose skin is fair and rosy,

Who takes a glass and drinks.
For the sake of God, because of our praying,

Now Sufis become exuberant

At the assembly of God’s Absence.

They put the belt of zeal on their waists

And start Sama’.
One group of people froth like the sea,

Prostrating like waves.

The other group battles like swords,

Drinking the blood of our glasses.
Be silent! Tonight, the Sultan

Went to the kitchen.

He is cooking with joy.

But a most unusual thing,

Tonight, the Beloved is cooking our Halva.
– Ghazal (ode) 31 Divan-i Kebir, Meter 1

Translated by Nevit Oguz Ergin

Current Walla Walla, WA, U.S.A
Huma: legendary bird which eats bone. The person on whom she casts her shadow becomes a Sultan. Also called stately bird.

Nasrin: A variety of rose.

Sama’: Ritual of the Whirling Dervishes.

Halva: Sweetmeats.

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan – Malkauns (80′s)