Forty Two Years Ago Today…

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted. —Albert Einstein

Caer Llywdd’s Late August Activities….
Click On The Images For Larger Pics…..

So you have to start somewhere…. this is a bit of an update and all. Here is a picture of the Absinthe fountain that Mary got me this last Winter Solstice, with the 50 centime coasters as well… this is a very sweet fountain, and has greatly added to the Absinthe Ceremony at Caer Llwydd….
There has been a bit of Absinthe imbibing as of late around here, leading to late starts, fuzzy thinking and general hilarity…
Both my friends Ryan and Terry have been by over the last couple of weeks for the celebrations….

The weekend before this one, I went with Gordon K to see STS-9. A wonderful show, great crowd and excellent location (McMenamins Edgefield) Nothing like an outdoor concert that fades brilliantly into the gloaming and then the darkness…
Gordon just moved to Portland from Eugene, with his lovely wife Heather and his son Zane. It is great seeing the community enlarge, and grow in such a nice way…
The show flowed nicely, with good sound, and a churning crowd of dancers… Incenses of various flavours wafted through the crowd as they danced and it was a beautiful evening in the Peoples Republic of Portland!

Rowan with his close friend Austyn Dancing….

We celebrated Rowan’s 18th this last weekend at the Redwing Cafe on Sunday evening… It was an overdue celebration, as Julie and Mike’s wedding occurred the night of Rowan’s birthday… so we waited a couple of weeks, and had a nice time together.
Mary prepared some great food, and I did a punch that everyone seemed to like (non-alcoholic) Rowan chose to have friends his own age, and members of our older community. It was a great evening filled with food, laughter, games, dancing and various other pleasantries…
Rowan said it was his best party ever… It had been planned to be a dance party, but for some reason the Cafe’s sound system wouldn’t play the mix disc that I had produced. We will be playing the whole 4 hour mix on Radio Free EarthRites soon!

Carly, our nephews’ Ethan friend/Girlfriend of several years has arrived in Portland from her recent forays in Japan. Whilst there, she was riding a bicycle near Mt. Fuji where she got hit by a hit and run car-driver….
She is well, and settling in to Portland to do her last year of Architectural Studies for the U of O. I understand that she just got an apartment after some frantic searching this past week.
We had her and Ethan over this past Wednesday. It was a very pleasant evening!
Bright Blessings,

On The Menu:

Caer Llywdd’s Late August Activities….

Forty Two Years Ago Today….

The Links…

Ustad Ail Akbar Khan

Chapter 21: Open Ending

The Poetry of Attar

Above & Beyond presents OceanLab – Miracle [album edit]

Art: Rick Griffin


Forty Two Years Ago Today….

Gwyllm as a young psychonaut….

Today marks the 42nd year from my first Psychedelic – Entheogenic Experience… I took a dose of LSD in Berkeley California, about 6:00pm, wandered down to The Jabberwocky Cafe with friends from the commune I was staying in, and as some say, the rest is history. I will not go over it all again, and you can read about it from the links at the bottom of this piece.
So, this is a time that I use to reflect on my life, and the changes wrought by Albert’s wondrous molecule; how this intervention of divine proportions weighing less than a hundred angels dancing on a pin transformed my consciousness to a point where the world as I knew it fell away forever.
Every act, moment, and thought had been altered by that moment in time… it is a bit like the prisoner emerging from confinement, to find an endless horizon of possibilities opening on a view of eternity unfolding. (over the top but you might catch my drift)
The world was indeed changed forever, and I moved into a territory uncharted in our times. It was never easy, and there were times when I wish the blinders had not been torn from my eyes. When I preferred to go asleep, I fell into patterns of self-annihilation. When I resumed/continued the quest, life expanded, and inner change moved my life forward in new and novel ways. Many moved into these uncharted waters of consciousness, and their efforts and lives have brought much value to the world.
Over the years I have revisited that space in various ways, but those first times leave an indelible mark. All that came before, and all that proceeded after….
Read The Story Here:

Teeming With Gods

The Story Finally Told 39 years ago…

The Links…

Burning Man?

Mohegans’ ancient burial ground reclaimed and blessed

Religion and its mortifying history of self-inflicted pain

Theocratic Sect Prays for Real Armageddon


Ustad Ail Akbar Khan


Chapter 21: Open Ending

-Terence McKenna
A Lost Chapter of True Hallucinations….

My own ideas concerning the mechanics by which the oversoul creates the UFO encounters might take the following form. Dimethyltriptamine when smoked, snuffed, or injected induces a brief and extremely intense psychedelic experience whose overwhelming sense of contact with the Other is unparalleled. For the last decade or so this extraordinary property of DMT has made it seem to many who sought a chemical basis for schizophrenia as the long sought schizotoxin. Studies have proved inconclusive however. DMT concentration has not been proven to differ significantly in schizophrenic and normal controls. Studies have established the presence of DMT in the human body, however the origin and significance of the DMT is unknown. Although it may reflect endogenous synthesis, it could also result from diet, bacterial byproducts, human laboratory error, or other sources. Bearing in mind the bizarre power of the DMT experience, its presence and unknown role in human metabolism, add one more fact: the strange aura of suggestibility that can precede the onset of the intense hallucination phase of the DMT experience. This period of suggestibility may last 15 seconds to a minute, and is a time during which the assumptions which the experient projects concerning the unusual shift of sensory input acquires enormous power. A few moments later the power of the now numinous assumption overwhelmes the consciousness of the observer with a scenario while totally bizarre and outrageous nevertheless is somehow a complete psychological fulfillment of the expectations formed in the few minutes of transition that preceded the visionary engulfment.
What I am proposing is that something like this happens during a UFO close encounter and the cause may very well be something which must be partially sought in the human organism. Imagine a person wandering alone in unfamiliar country: suddenly there’s a hackle-raising sense of weirdness, then a feeling of numbness in the limbs, followed by a clearing of vision and a loud crackling sound. At this point the sense of strangeness within and without the body would trigger a fear reaction in most people. The fear reaction causes a rapid and automatic search for a culturally-validated explaination of what is going on, and an explaination will always be found. It may range from, ‘I am being bewitched by a demon,’ to ‘Surely it is a visitation of the Holy Mother,’ to ‘My God! It must be a UFO!’ In each case the abandonment of the ego to a culturally prescribed explaination of the experience of the Other causes the experience to exfoliate, exploit and elaborate all the themes that the culture’s current myth of the Other entails. It is known that DMT binds preferentially to certain tissue when introduced into the human body. Is it not possible that we human beings are occasionally susceptible to a kind of visionary seizure? When for reasons of stress or diet these factors combine with psychodynamic factors to initiate a sudden dumping of accumulated DMT? Pheremones may play a part in this experience and isolation may be its trigger. Whatever its cause, our conditioning as individuals causes the experience to plunge us into a numinous scenario that reflects the deepest concerns and yearnings of the current culture toward the Other. In our own time this has given rise to the hope of friendly visiting extraterrestrials. As late as 1917 the miracle at Fatima was interpreted worldwide as a manifestation of the Virgin Mary. Today it would surely be hailed as an extraterrestrial contact. If my suggestion regarding DMT were found to be correct, it would provide insight into the way in which the cultural feedback thermostat explaination of UFOs put forth by Vallee and others actually works. Those people who experience the DMT seizure and are plunged into the current myth of the Other actually return as apostles of that myth, able to clarify and refine it, and by those means to exert the tuning and control of historical development that may be the purpose of the agency behind the UFOs.
Stress, generalized as an impending sense of historical crisis, may be the factor that induces the UFO/close-contact experience. As the historical crisis deepens the number of contacts will increase until the atemporal portion of the mass psyche has effected enough individuals that there is actually a turning away from the stress-causing course of action. How well is the Superego able to play the role of God? Can it come in saucerian splendor to save the world from the flames at the end of time? Or can it only beckon and warn with visions and dire prophesy? These are questions that we might answer if we diligently explore the states of mind that DMT and psilocybin make available. Perhaps the UFO encounters involve nothing more than an autonomous and negative psychic complex able to emerge during the situation of unusual energy dynamics induced in the psyche by psilocybin. However, a different explainatory approach merges psyche and world by involving a continuum whose modalities bisect each other with equal ease. This is the approach which grants the phenomenological existence of the constructs seen in the Stropharia trance and in UFO encounters. Indeed, the vast and dreamy world that we call imagination, or the unconscious, may merge imperceptibly into autonomously existing worlds we would call ‘hyperdimensional’, indicating the paradox of their simultaneous invisibility and their here-and-nowness in the psilocybin trance with a presence which belies the term hallucination.
Ahead of us lies the future, where we can expect the ingression of the alternative dimension to intensify. It is therefore important for us to have a sense of the powers in that Other world and their shifting agencies. In a traditional society, our exploration of these matters would be firmly imbedded in the extant shamanic mythos concerning these forces. Techniques tried and true would be available to fortify our psychic constitution. Since we are members of a profane society whose relation to the unconscious is one of estrangement, we have no such consolation. No dispelling ritual or words of proven self-empowerment. By reason and intuition we must attempt to conquer the fears that attend journeys into the unknown. But reason and intuition need data with which to construct maps of reality. If we outdistance the inflow of fact we move beyond the safety zone of the conjuring rod of intuition and reason. For these reasons we move slowly and steadily. We are human factors in a multi-variable equation where the shift of unseen parameters can trigger large perturbations and resonances of unexpected types. Knowing this, and knowing how little we do know, we should be excused for this defense of caution when taking to ourselves the visions which the Stropharia brings.
Carl Jung’s ‘Mysterium Coniunctionis’ reminds us of the reality of the situation that insues once the psyche is hooked into making the transference to the alchemical or saucerian goal. Jung, citing Gerhart Dorn, stresses that the materialization of the stone is only a prologue to the experience of the perfected self in a state of illumination. Jung wrote, ‘Though we know from experience that psychic processes are related to material ones, we are not in a position to say in what this relationship consists, or how it is possible at all. Precisely because the psyche and the physical are mutually dependent it has often been conjectured that they may be identical somewhere beyond our present experience.’ Of what does this relationship consist? My own hunch, and it is only a hunch, is that an explicitly spatial dimension – of a co-dimension inclusive of our continuum – allows a hologram of other realized forms of organization, far distant, to become visible at certain levels of quantum resonance in the synaptic field. These levels have been damped by selection in favor of mo
re directly relevant lines of information relating to animal survival. Evolution does not reinforce selectively the ability of an organism to perceive at a distance since such an ability has no selective advantage, unless the information it conveys falls upon the receptors of an organism already sophisicated enough in its use of symbols to abstract concepts for later application in different contexts.
Thus, these quantum resonances carrying intimations of events at a distance only begin to acquire genetic reinforcement once a species has already achieved sufficient sophistication to be called conscious and mind-possessing. The use of hallucinogens can be seen as an attempt at medical engineering which amplifies, for inspection by consciousness, the quantum resonance of the other parts of the spatial continuum holographically at hand. This experience is the vision which the UFOs and psilocybin impart: visions of strange planets, life forms, perspectives and societies, machines, ruins, landscapes. The hierophanies all unfold in a ‘nunc-stans’ that has all space—standing in it—like a frozen hologram. Thus, experimentation with hallucinogens by human beings and the rise in endogenously produced hallucinogens as one advances through the primate phylogeny could both be due to a slow focusing on the phenomenon of imagination. Imagination being the deepening involvement of the species with things beheld but not actually existing in the present at hand.
The conclusion such an idea makes necessary is that it is upon the ideological content of specific visions that empirical attention should center. What are the working details of the worlds whose presence impinges on ours so strongly? What of the beings sometimes confronted often furtively sensed, who seem to have some existence in a world of their own revealed by the psilocybin and in UFO contact? There may exist a vast communication network in the topological nature of things. A network that becomes a fact only for those species or individuals who will but have the intelligence enough to seek this vision. It will by them be found to be persistent in the nature of things. Alchemy thrives in a climate of such ideas. To validate the idea of the worth of the visions of worlds at a distance one must emerge with some idea spawned by the visionary Other but with a utility in the here and now. The wave quantification of the I Ching is the only idea of this sort that I personally have glimpsed in completeness. It took years to elaborate and its relation to the here and now is still elusive. Fragmentary themes abound: symbiosis, saucer-lens vehicles whose possessors navigate the higher topological oceans in our heads. All this could be transference and fantasy. In the classical sense of the word the experimenter with hallucinogens pursues gnosis: privileged knowledge concerning nature and vouchsafed by her in ecstacy.
The history of consciousness is the halting exploration of the once irrational images and processes met in dreams and trance. Such images become concepts and discoveries as information flows through the multiple-continuum of being seeking equilibrium, yet paradoxically carrying everywhere images of ways the flow towards entropy was locally reversed by this being or that society or phenomenon. We are immersed in a holographic ocean of places and ideas. We can understand this to whatever depth we are able. The ocean of images and the intricacy of their connections is infinite. It is perhaps why great genius preceeds by apparent leaps. Because the revolutionary idea which inspires the genius comes upon one complete, entire by itself, from the ocean of mind. History is the story of the search for the intuitive leap that will reveal the very mechanism of that other dimension. The need for such a leap by humanity will grow as we exhaust complexity in all realms save the microphysical and the psychological. My own method has been immersion in the images and self- examination of the phenomenon of tryptamine hallucinogenesis. This means taking the Stropharia psilocybe and pondering just what this all may mean. With confidence that as more people come to share this experience time will deepen our understanding, if not answer all questions. For psilocybin argues that hallucinogens are windows into higher dimensions. That even as a cone can yield circle, ellipse or parabola to an act of two-dimensional sectioning and yet remain intrinsically a cone, so reality is something that changes according to the angle of regarding. It argues that human beings are many forms over vast scales of time, that all life is unified at some level, and all intelligence in the universe are but facets of the mystery called humanness. In probing the Other we shall always come back with images of ourselves. In probing ourselves we shall return with images of the Other. In the phenomenon of being itself no less than in the phenomenon of the UFO encounters we are merely privileged observers of a relationship between what is naively called the world and the transpersonal portion of the human psyche. How this relationship came to be, and what its limitations are, we cannot know until we gain access to the transpersonal and atemporal part of the psyche. Of what this consists we do not know and no hypothesis can be ruled out. My hunch is that if we could really comprehend death then we could understand the UFO. But that neither can be understood unless they are looked at in light of the question, what is humanness? I believe that the transpersonal component of the human psyche is not distinct from matter and that therefore it can literally do anything. It is not subject to the will of any individual. It has a will and an understanding that is orders of magnitude more sophisticated than any one of the individuals who compose it as cells compose a body. It has a plan, glimpsed by individuals only as vision or religious hierophany. Nevertheless, the plan is unfolding. There will be many more UFO sightings, many more close contacts. Our belief systems are undergoing accelerated evolution via increased input from the other. Somewhere ahead of us there is a critical barrier where we will at last have enough data to obtain an integrating insight into the riddle of humanity’s relation to the UFO. I believe that as this happens the childhood of our species will pass away and when this is done we will be free to use the staggering understanding that humankind and the UFO are one.


The Poetry of Attar

We are busy with the luxury of things.

Their number and multiple faces bring

To us confusion we call knowledge. Say:

God created the world, pinned night to day,

Made mountains to weigh it down, seas

To wash its face, living creatures with pleas

(The ancestors of prayers) seeking a place

In this mystery that floats in endless space.
God set the earth on the back of a bull,

The bull on a fish dancing on a spool

Of silver light so fine it is like air;

That in turn rests on nothing there

But nothing that nothing can share.

All things are but masks at God’s beck and call,

They are symbols that instruct us that God is all.

The Triumph of the Soul
Joy! Joy! I triumph! Now no more I know

Myself as simply me. I burn with love

Unto myself, and bury me in love.

The centre is within me and its wonder

Lies as a circle everywhere about me.

Joy! Joy! No mortal thought can fathom me.

I am the merchant and the pearl at once.

Lo, Time and Space lie crouching at my feet.

Joy! Joy! When I would reveal in a rapture.

I plunge into myself and all things know.

Looking for your own face
Your face is neither infinite nor ephemeral.

You can never see your own face,

only a reflection, not the face itself.
So you sigh in front of mirrors

and cloud the surface.
It’s better to keep your breath cold.

Hold it, like a diver does in the ocean.

One slight movement, the mirror-image goes.
Don’t be dead or asleep or awake.

Don’t be anything.
What you most want,

what you travel around wishing to find,

lose yourself as lovers lose themselves,

and you’ll be that.

Mystic Silence
From each, Love demands a mystic silence.

What do all seek so earnestly? Tis Love.

Love is the subject of their inmost thoughts,

In Love no longer “Thou” and “I” exist,

For self has passed away in the Beloved.

Now will I draw aside the veil from Love,

And in the temple of mine inmost soul

Behold the Friend, Incomparable Love.

He who would know the secret of both worlds

Will find that the secret of them both is Love.

Attar, Farid al-Din Muhammad ibn Ibrahim (1145?-1221?), Persian poet, a strong believer in the principles of Sufism, a form of Islamic mysticism. He was born in present-day Khorasan Province, Iran. Attar’s most celebrated work is The Conference of the Birds, a poem consisting of 4600 couplets. The poem uses allegory to illustrate the Sufi doctrine of union between the human and the divine. His other important writings include Divan and Tazakor-ol-Oliah ( Biographies of the Saints), a prose work about the early Sufis.
Farid Od-din Attar Neyshaburi was one of the greatest Muslim mystical poets and thinkers of the 12th century. He has written at least 45,000 couplets and many brilliant prose works.
Attar travelled extensively, visiting Egypt, Syria, Arabia, India and Central Asia and finally settled in his native town Neishabour, northeastern Iran, where he spent many years collecting the verses and sayings of famous Muslim mystics.

As said before the greatest of his works is his well-known Manteq-u-ttair (the conference of the birds), which is an allegorical poem describing the quest of the birds. his other works include Elahinameh (divine book).

From the point of view of ideas, literary themes and style, Attar’s influence was strongly felt not in Persian literature but in other Islamic literatures.

His grand book of Tazakor-ol-Oliah is in prose and his most famous works in verse include: Asrarnameh, Elahinameh, Mosibatnameh, Manteq-u’ttair, Bulbulnameh, Heydarnameh, Mokhtarnameh and Khosrownameh.

Manteq-u-ttair or the Conference of Birds, sung in iambic hexameter, is an elegantly versified book. Following Solomon’s tradition the poet puts tongue in the mouths of the birds and enables them to warble his theme and fly high and high towards Mount Ghaf in search of the invincible Simorgh or Phoenix which he ascribes to the Almighty God, and by this metaphor Attar brings his episode to a surprising climax. Led by the unwavering hoopoe or Hod Hod, thirty birds out of many thousands manage to cross the seven fatal valleys in the Path and arrive at the majestic court of the Prince of Universe on the verge of annihilation.

What they see in amazement there is an enormous phantom mirror of a thousand molten planets which reflects their own shapes and purified selfs. Here they dissolve in the mirror and join the eternity.

Above & Beyond presents OceanLab – Miracle [album edit]


Poesy Poesy Poesy…

Not much to say… This has been building since Tuesday….
Bright Blessings,
On The Menu:

The Links

Aquelarre: A Tale From Basque Lands…

Poetry For The Dying Summer: Alfred Perceval Graves

The Links:

Portal to mythical Mayan underworld found in Mexico

Clash Of Clusters Provides New Dark Matter Clue

Pictured: Divers discover amazingly preserved shipwreck of HMS London on bottom of Thames

Sabertooth Cousin Found in Venezuela Tar Pit — A First

Aquelarre: A Tale From Basque Lands…
In the territory which stands between the towns of Zuggaramurdi and Echalar, a mountainous tract covered with woods, crossed by rivulets, and divided by narrow and very deep valleys, will be found, isolated and darksome, the mountain of Aquelarre, overgrown with brambles and thorns, and surrounded by rocks and waterfalls.
The position of the mountain and its conical form invites the attention of geologists visiting these rugged places; and in effect it is curious to notice that while other mountains, branches of the Pyrenees, are joined to-ether by defiles which form undulations full of various accidents, in some, of soft, ever-green brows, while in other instances their heights are perfect plains, and in some again peaked Aquelarre is roughly different from. the general form of these mountains, so that it stands an exception in the midst of them.
It is said that “Ariel,” the titular genius of the Biscayans, one day stretched out his powerful arm and wrenched from its base this singular mountain, placing it at a distance from its companion, so that they should not become contaminated by any contact with this accursed mountain. In fact Aquelarre is an accursed mountain. If you believe it not, remark the colour of the brambles which cover its enormous sides. It is not a green that pleases the sight, the colour in which the noble oak clothes its branches. Neither is it the silvery hue of the white poplar. Much less is it the brilliant green of the handsome beech-tree. Nor does it approach to the green which covers the cherry, the pear, and the nut-trees, full of white, fragrant flowers, in whose salyx shines the drop of dew, like a pure diamond.
The colour of the brushwood of Aquelarre, sombre, lugubrious, darksome, resembles the gigantic peak of Lithuania, or of the cypress which grows in the fissures of the stony hills of Arabia Petrea–a funereal sinister hue which saddens the spirit and represses the expansion of soul of the poet, that in a rapture contemplates the sumptuous gifts and graces of nature in the woods, or the smiling and simple glory of the flower-strewn valleys.
Why this notable contrast? Why this dark phantom in the midst of such beautifully bedecked nature? Because all things that are in contact with the genius of evil carry with them the seal of reprobation, substituting for their ancient beauty forms at once repugnant and loathsome.
Aquelarre finds itself in this sad state. Its heights are frequented by the prince of darkness, and in the crevices of the mountains are repeated the echoes of the irreligious songs which are entoned in his praise.
Many in terror and fear have heard these songs resounding in the mountains, and breaking the majestic silence of the night.
There are some who have seen columns of black smoke rising, and have perceived a nauseous smell emanating from the confines of this accursed mountain, and have with reason conjectured, that the smoke was produced by the holocausts offered to the genius of evil by his wicked worshippers in some mysterious sacrifices.
Nevertheless, who were these spirits? From whence do they come to celebrate their nocturnal revels?
The simple dweller of the mountains shrugs his shoulders on being asked these questions, and contents himself with replying laconically–”Eztaquit” (“I do not know”).
Suddenly a report was spread from mouth to mouth, and which gained ground and soon became general, to the effect, that the discovery had been made of what passed on the heights of the accursed mountain by a child.
Behold how tradition tells us this was effected.
Izar and Lañoa were two orphan children; the first was seven years of age and the latter nine. These poor children, true wandering bards, frequented the mountains, earning a livelihood by singing ballads and national airs in sweet infantile voices, in return for a bed of straw and a cupful of meal. Throughout the district these children were known and loved on account of their sad state, as well as for their graceful forms and winning ways.
There was, however, a difference between the two. Izar, the younger brother, was fair as jasper; his long hair fell in curls, pale as the stems of the maize, down his shoulders and back; his eyes were of the purest sky-blue, while from them shot glances at once sweet and suppliant of irresistible force; his lips were red as the flower of the wild pomegranate, around which hovered a smile as gentle as the light puff of an expiring breeze, and, on contracting them, two dimples appeared in his rosy cheeks. Izar was the more patient of the brothers, the meeker, and the more beautiful; his voice had a purer tone, and for that reason was the favourite of the inhabitants of the mountains.
Lañoa was as handsome as his brother, but Nature had dowered him with a different style of beauty. His figure was more lithe, and his limbs of stronger make; the looks he cast out of his black eyes were haughty–at times even arrogant and full of daring. The way he curled his upper lip revealed a passionate, proud character, his hair was black with the bluish shade seen on the feathers of the raven; his long eye-lashes somewhat softened the fire of his eagle eye. Nevertheless, Lañoa was a good lad, and loved his younger brother, notwithstanding that at times he would treat him roughly.
It was on a sad, cloudy day in November that these two were walking towards Aranaz, crossing with difficulty the mountains enveloped in a fog, and covered with snow.
Izar grew very tired climbing the heights, and the poor child had not the courage to ask his brother to help him up. Lañoa, on his part, was not disposed to offer any help, however much in his heart he desired Izar to ask assistance, which he could then give without to his pride.
“Poor fellow, he is tired,” he would say to himself; “but he does not wish to humble himself to ask me to help him up. If he expects me to offer it—-.”
Musing in this way, he increased his speed, thus lengthening the distance which separated him from Izar. The latter endeavoured to reach him by taking great strides to do so; but he could barely keep on his delicate feet, until by a great effort he sought to keep within hearing of his voice.
All at once a gust of wind brought down large masses of wet, heavy snow into the defile through which walked the brothers, and Lañoa was compelled to suspend the rapid speed he had sustained, and thus enabled Izar in a short time to come up to him.
“What shall we do?” he timidly asked.
“Do what you please, lazy boy,” Lañoa replied, roughly; “for my part I shall continue my walk as soon as the fog clears away a little.”
“Very well, my brother,” replied Izar, gently but meanwhile sit down at my feet and I will cover you with my capusay, 1 for you are in such a heat with your efforts.”
“Women and lazy children like yourself require to be sheltered from the wind; as for me, I am a man, and I am not frightened with the cold.”
Saying this, he uncovered his head, and exposed his wavy hair to the freezing gusts of the north wind.
“What are you doing, my brother?” cried Izar, rising from the broken rock upon which he had sat, and covering with his cap the head of Lañoa. “Oh, please let me cover you from the cold,” he continued. “I well know that you are stronger than I am, and for that very reason should you take care of yourself, so that you may help me that am so weak.”
“Be off!” cried Lañoa, pushing his brother away, who slipped and fell to the ground. And with bare head he resolutely commenced anew his march across the deep, cold snow.
Izar did not reply a word, nor did he even utter a cry of pain as his head was wounded by falling upon a stone. He rose up to renew his good work of abnegation and charity; and then he noticed with deep sorro
w that his brother had disappeared from view. He ran in all directions, calling him with loud cries; but the fog, was so dense that he was unable to find him. Then, half dead with fatigue, in despair, and shivering with the cold, the poor child looked around him, and perceived through the fog that at a short distance from him stood an immense tree, and that its trunk was hollow.
Night was rapidly closing in, covering with its dark mantle these solitary places. The fog grew more heavy and damp; and instead of dispersing, remained stationary, clinging to the branches of the trees, and descending like the waters of a stream into the marshes and valleys.
From the hollow of the tree in which our young hero had taken shelter could be seen an extensive tract of land covered with a white mist; in places it remained still like the waters of a lake; in others it rose and fell like the sea waves that break on the rocky promontories.
In that veritable ocean of fog could be perceived here and there black points like so many dark islands, which no doubt were the peaked heights of that range of mountains.
The silence was deep and solemn. The night was fast increasing in darkness.
In the distance, and above the fog, could be seen a yellow line of light presaging the rising of the moon, which at that time of the year was of opaque brilliancy, and more so seen in that atmosphere full of fog and mist.
Izar understood, from what he could descry, that he was standing on the top of a mountain; so quitting his shelter he reconnoitred the surroundings.
The protecting tree stood in the centre of a small plain, surrounded on all sides by thick shrubs and brushwood, so tangled and close that he could discover no opening or path by which he could possibly descend from its height down to the base.
How did that lost child find his way into such a spot?
He could not tell.
Feeling hungry and thirsty, and, moreover, finding himself in a spot which was totally unknown to him, he began to cry from anguish and fear; but at length, convinced that all this was unavailing, he returned to the worm-eaten hollow of that tree, fully determined to pass the night in its hospitable shelter. He fervently commended his soul to God; he thought in sadness of his. mother, who had loved him so tenderly, and he prayed to the All-powerful to deliver his elder brother of whatever danger he might find himself in. Having done this, he sat down, and wrapping himself as comfortably as he could in his poor coat, he huddled up in his hiding-place, and the sleep of innocence very soon closed his eyelids.
At the moment when he placed his soul and body trustingly in the safe keeping of a God full of goodness, the heavens were rent open and an angel beautiful as are all the angels, descended in a rapid flight and alighted on the branches of the tree. Then he extended his white wings, and with loving solicitude watched the sleep of the innocent child.
For a length of time did Izar sleep calmly and sweetly under the loving care of the angel. At length he was suddenly aroused by a singular and incessant uproar which seemed to fill space. He cautiously peeped out of the hollow trunk of the tree, and an incomprehensible spectacle presented itself to his view. The moon was shining on the plain, and, casting a pale reflection over space, imparted a weird appearance and fantastic form to all objects.
From the point in the heavens occupied by the planet of night, and extending along the vast line of the horizon, the tints were becoming more and more sombre, passing from light grey to the deepest black. Out of the four cardinal points of the horizon rose up four extremely long lines of fantastic shadows, from which issued terrible unearthly cries, and these shadows with astounding rapidity all travelled to meet in a concentric point. This point was actually the very plain which we have just described. To depict in words the strange cavalcade upon which these fantastic shadows were mounted, would be a work superior to human ability. The one would press between its fleshless knees the skeleton of a mammoth of huge proportions; the other rode a horrible monstrous owl; others, again, divided the air riding on broomsticks; while some were perched on the backs of serpents bearing enormous wings, long tails, and with brilliant eyes.
All these shadows joined one another until the four lines formed an immeasurable chain. And thus they whirled until they gathered together at a distance of about a hundred feet from the ground; then they greeted one another with frenzied cries, ringing shrieks of laughter, deafening shouts, and hideous yells. After this they began a circular flight in a confused disorder, and little by little they began to descend to the ground.
The astonishment and terror of Izar increased when he perceived that all these shadows were so many forms of decrepit old women. Their faces, blackened and wrinkled, were repulsive, while their hideous bodies inspired disgust, their short matted hair and fleshless limbs were truly fearful to see. The terror which all this scene inspired in the heart of Izar who was an unwilling witness, increased to a terrible degree when he noticed that all these women were preparing to execute some unearthly dance, taking one another’s hands, and forming a large circle around the hollow tree in which he had taken refuge. And, what was more strange still to him, was the fact that this immense crowd fitted perfectly in the plain without requiring to widen its circuit or to diminish the size of their figures. As Izar had feared, it was not long before the dance commenced. At first this dance was of slow movements, and all kept time stepping together, now on one foot now on the other.
Little by little the leaps became more violent, the turns more rapid, until at length this nameless dance turned into a sort of whirlwind, increasing in speed, until it caused dizziness to attempt to follow the movements.
Jumps, cries, terrible contortions, turns–all were supernatural, all horrible to the sight, all was a confused, incomprehensible jargon to the ear.
Poor Izar could no longer support that spectacle, and he fell fainting to the ground. When he recovered consciousness the moon had disappeared. The night was pitch dark, a sepulchral silence reigned throughout the plain. He looked out again from his hiding-place, judging that these fiendish women who had so alarmed him must have disappeared; but he perceived in terror that they still occupied the same spot as before, but in more strange attitudes, if possible. They were all ranged in a circle, huddled up close together, around a throne of ebony, upon which was seen calmly sitting an enormous he-goat, From this throne gleamed a few rays of yellow light, the only light which illumined the scene. The old women were successively approaching the throne, and as they did so they each respectfully kissed the hairy cloven foot of the goat. Then, after this long ceremony was concluded, the goat shook his head, and one by one each of these creatures commenced to relate what she had done.
Izar, horrified at being compelled to listen to their hideous narratives of premeditated deaths, mutilation of babes, profanation of cemeteries, and other crimes, was once more about to faint away with horror, when he heard a sweet voice which seemed to come from among the branches of the tree, and which pronounced his name. Astonished at this, he arose, and raising his eyes to the direction from whence came the voice, he saw among the branches a young man of celestial beauty, who was gazing upon Izar with tender, loving looks.
“Listen, and do not fear,” the young man said, “for I am here to guard and watch over you.”
Then Izar bent his ear to listen to what was said by the women, and he heard the following conversation.
“All my sisters,” one of the witches was saying in a hissing voice, “have obeyed your commands. There was not a single one of them who did not send you, oh sovereign master, some victims
, but I challenge any of them to do what I can.”
“Speak, my daughter,” murmured the goat: “I well know that you are one of my most devoted worshippers.”
“You know, my lord,” continued the witch, “that the grand reigning Duke of F—— and his lady are both zealous Christians, faithful and true, and you are also aware that they have a daughter lovely as the sun, whom they idolize. What a joy to me to make this beautiful creature die by inches; to wither that flower in all its youth and freshness, and to sow despair in the hearts of her parents, and so deliver them up to your powerful temptations! Would it not be a masterly stroke to kill them also after two or three months of cruel sufferings? What would it cost you, my lord, to impel them to destroy their own life?”
A horrible grimace, which no doubt was intended to be a smile of satisfaction, overspread the countenance of the goat, and his eyes darted gleams of fire impossible to describe.
“Should you do so,” replied the author of evil, “you will become the best beloved of my daughters.”
“Well, then, give me my reward, my lord. It is now a week since the princess began to suffer, and no one is able to discover the cause of her complaint, and still less can they find the remedies to effect her cure.”
“Are you not afraid that some one will discover it?
“No, my lord, because the spell which binds her consists in the existence of an enormous toad which lies concealed under a broken statue, which has been abandoned and cast away in a corner of the garden of the ducal residence. So long as this toad is not destroyed, the sickness will follow its course and the princess will die.”
“This that you tell me pleases me greatly, Bazzioti, and I desire to have frequent and exact accounts given me of what happens. I give you my thanks for what you do,” continued the genius of evil, “and I summon you to come next Saturday.”
Saying this, the evil one shook his head; a terrible thunder-clap was heard, and the throne disappeared along with he who sat upon it. All things became enveloped in a complete obscurity.
Soon after this Izar heard the noise of the witches rising up and taking to flight on the winds, and by the now dim light of the moon he descried the fantastic line of shadows that in silence were departing towards the points of the horizon from whence they came, and slowly disappeared among the mass of black clouds.
Izar then looked up to the branches of the tree and saw there the young man who had bidden him have no fear. This angelic youth then said to him, “Fulfil your mission as I have fulfilled mine!” Then, spreading his wings, he rose to the sky, casting behind him sparks of brilliant light, and leaving a celestial fragrance which comforted the child’s benumbed limbs and instilled warmth and courage into his heart.

A month had passed since Izar had been a witness to this strange conventicle. Full of faith in the words of the angel, he walked on to perform the charitable act which was so much in harmony with his good heart. Determined to overcome all the obstacles which might beset his path, he continued his march night and day towards Italy, for it was in one of its small States that the Grand Duke of F—— reigned.
How was he able to traverse great nations without means, and without even knowing the languages which were spoken in them? Tradition does not tell us anything concerning this particular. What is affirmed by the inhabitants of the Basque Provinces is, that he reached his destination and to the gates of the palace of the reigning grand duke.
It would certainly have been a difficult feat for our young adventurer to succeed in approaching the person of so high a personage, had not the duchess, who was returning from a neighbouring church, whither she had resorted to pray for the restoration of the health of her daughter, at that moment entered into the palace, and, noticing that a poor child was at the gates, supposed it was to solicit alms that he had come; so she beckoned to him and gave him a silver coin, saying, “Take this alms, poor child, and ask our dear Lord to grant that my daughter may be restored to health. The prayers of an innocent child are very pleasing to God, and will assuredly obtain the boon from Him which he refuses to us.”
“Is it your daughter that is sick?” sweetly asked Izar.
“Yes, my own darling daughter.”
“Very well, then,” Izar rejoined, “I will cure her.”
“You?” cried the duchess, in astonishment. “Poor child! perhaps you do not know that the first physicians of the land and the cleverest have despaired of effecting a cure?”
“I certainly was not aware of this; but all I know is that I have come here expressly to cure the princess, and cure her I will!”
The duchess, mute with astonishment, looked fixedly at Izar, who stood there surrounded by her servitors, yet calm, erect, but with a modest bearing, and uncovered head, his golden hair falling over his; shoulders in curls.
The clear look in his eyes manifested truth and candour; the smile that hovered around his lips was so gentle and winning, that the noble lady, after consulting for a few moments with the ladies of honour who accompanied her, and who all tacitly assented to the duchess allowing the child to carry out the purport of his words, took Izar by the hand and led him up the sumptuous stairs of the palace.
While this singular scene was taking place at the palace gates the duke sat by the bedside of his dying child.
The invalid was about eight years of age. Her large, almond-shaped eyes had already lost the light and life which was the delight of her parents, and were sinking in their sockets. A dark circle could be seen around her eyelids, and the extreme pallor of her delicate face clearly indicated the approaching end of that sweet flower prematurely fading away. The parched lips had lost their rosy colour. It was distressing to gaze upon that painful scene.
Nothing could be more terrible than the sorrow of the father as he witnessed the slow agony of his beloved daughter. A sorrow mute, it is true, but deep; a grief which, finding no vent in tears, was all the more fearful in its results. Because a father, besides endeavouring to stifle the grief which anguishes him, has at the same time to alleviate another pain–the sorrow of the mother.
At this moment the door of the sick chamber is opened, and the duchess was just entering, leading Izar by the hand, and followed by her ladies and pages, who, attracted by the novelty of the affair, had come to see the end of all this singular episode.
Izar did not manifest the least astonishment while treading the soft carpets of that regal house, or when crossing the chambers covered with damasks and velvets, gold and marbles.
On seeing him thus calmly following the duchess, without manifesting the least surprise or curiosity, and without opening his rosy lips, except to smile whenever she looked at him, none would have suspected for a moment that this lovely golden-haired boy had passed days and nights walking through woods covered with briars, or that he had slept under no better shelter or bed than the blackened thatch of rough cabins and huts of the Basque mountains and upon the hard ground. But this circumstance did not escape the observation of the duchess, and this very fact lit up a ray of hope in her heart.
Scarcely had the duchess entered the chamber than she was met by the duke, who, going to meet her, said in a sad tone: “My lady, we must lose all hope now; our beloved daughter will assuredly die!”
“Oh, my friend, be comforted,” she replied; “who knows but she will yet be spared?”
“Alas! no, I have no hope whatever,” said the duke “she is dying, my lady, she is fast dying.”
The duchess then turned towards Izar, who stood behind her, and as she did so noticed that he was casting a look full of smiles towards the duke.
“Whoever you are,” the duchess exclaimed, as she took Izar by the hand and drew him close to her, “is it true that you will cure our daughter?”
“I have come to do so,” quietly replied Izar.
“You perceive,” said the duchess to her husband, “that there is still some hope left.”
“Who is this boy?” asked the duke, greatly astonished.
“I do not know,” replied the duchess; “I met him on my return from the church, and on asking him to pray to God for our child, he replied that he had come to cure her!”
“Can this be so?” exclaimed the duke.
“It is,” replied Izar.
“Who are you?” rejoined the duke. “Perchance are you an angel sent by God to comfort us?
“I am a poor orphan, my lord.” Where do you come from? “I have come from distant lands.”
To cure my daughter?” demanded the sorrow-stricken father.
“Yes, that has been the only object of my journey, and I have walked the whole way, and day and night for a month.”
All the persons present at this singular interview gave a cry of surprise. The duke passed his hand across his brow like a man who is mentally agitated; then, after a few moments of thought, he took his resolve, and led the way towards where the sick child lay unconscious and fast dying away, and made a sign for Izar to approach.
The extraordinary replies of the boy, coupled with his self-possession, greatly excited the curiosity of all who, witnessed the scene, and the ladies and servitors were gathered together in a group at the door of the bedchamber.
Izar approached the bed, and in silence gazed for some time upon the unconscious form of the princess, who scarcely gave signs of life.
“Here is the invalid–can you cure her? ” said the duke to Izar.
Izar did not reply. He stood contemplating her. At length he murmured, in a scarcely audible voice–
“So this is the flower that is to wither away!”
The general anxiety was great.
Suddenly all the bystanders uttered a cry of joy. The princess was smiling sadly: certainly that smile was the first sign of life she had shown for days. The duchess, in obedience to a sudden impulse, fell on her knees before the boy, and, with a look on her face which it is impossible to describe, cried, in a tone of voice that made them all tremble–
“In the name of God, save our Sophia!”
“Rise up, poor sorrowing mother,” replied Izar, in a solemn voice; “I have come to save your daughter, and save her I will!”
“Do you hear, my daughter?” said the duchess, pressing to her lips the icy hand of the dying child. “This lad
has come to cure you.”
The sick girl opened her eyes, from which the light had almost departed, smiled faintly, and put out her hand to the orphan boy.
The excitement of those present reached its climax. The duke then placed both his hands on the curly head of that orphan boy, and in a solemn voice said, “I swear by my ducal crown that if you save my daughter you shall be her brother!”
Izar thanked him by an inclination of the head and swiftly left the chamber, requesting that none should follow him. All present respectfully made way for him to pass.
The boy descended the stairs and went into the garden. He searched every nook and corner, and the most retired spots under trees, until, after a diligent search, he discovered, hidden away, a broken statue, covered with overgrown masses of tangled thorns and briars. He cleared away, as well as he could, all these weeds, and by a great effort was able to raise the broken statue, when, to his great delight, he found the loathsome toad, which, on being discovered, glared at Izar with fierce, wild looks.
Izar jumped on the toad and crushed it dead. Then he quickly returned to the sick-room, where all were awaiting the return of the lad, anxious at his long absence.
When they heard the door opened, and saw that Izar had returned, every face beamed with joy. They awaited the mysterious child, and there he stood before them, calm and as self-possessed as ever. He approached the bed. of the sick girl, and said–
“Sophia, my sister, do you hear me?”
“Yes,” replied the princess; “I no longer feel that heavy weight here–here, on my chest.”
“Oh, my God! may you be praised cried the duchess, shedding a torrent of tears my Sophia is saved!”
“Do you hear what your mother says, my sister? Rise up, for now you are cured.”
The princess rose up slowly and sat on her bed, then looked around her as one awaking from a heavy sleep, rubbed her eyes, and said, smiling, ” Yes, I am well.”
Then the duke clasped Izar in his arms and said–
“In the name of the all-powerful God of heaven, I adopt as my own son this orphan, who has shed so much happiness on our house. Do you consent to this, duchess?”
The only reply of the grateful lady was to kneel before the orphan lad, and to say–
“My son, bless your mother.”
– – – –
The fame of this marvellous event soon spread throughout Italy, traversed the Alps, and became the theme for the improvisatores of the provinces, who narrated it in tender strophes. From thence it passed on to the Basque bards, and these again so distributed the legend and tale in the neighbourhood of the mountains, that the dwellers and inhabitants of the surrounding districts of Aquelarre, where this story had its first beginning, within a few months were well acquainted with all its details.

We said in the first part of this narrative that Lañoa, after pushing back his young brother, started off in spite of the dense fog. He very soon became aware that Izar was not following him, and he stopped in his walk, hoping that in a short time he should be able to rejoin him. But after some considerable time had passed, and there were no signs of his brother returning, he began to feel uneasy, and commenced to call him, in hopes that he should hear his voice. He called his name many times, but all was in vain–there was no response. The silence of the mountains remained unbroken by any reply, and seeing that it was useless to call him, as the fog prevented his voice from piercing space, he felt very anxious, and returned to the spot where he had left him. But the child was no longer there, and then a violent fit of despair and remorse took possession of Lañoa.
He wept bitterly for his brother whom he had forsaken: the excited imagination of the youth conjured him dying of cold and hunger on those bleak mountains, imploring his help and accusing him of unfeeling, harsh conduct.
Poor Lañoa became desperate: he ran all about the place, calling Izar in frenzied cries; then he threw himself on the ground, tearing his hair. Yet all was in vain. He spent the long night on that rock, a prey to fever and remorse.
On the following day he searched throughout the neighbouring mountains, but he could discover no vestige or track of footsteps to indicate to him that a human being had passed that way. Then a deep melancholy settled on his spirit, and from that day no one ever heard him sing his favourite ballads. He became a. misanthrope and a savage; he fled from every one, and hapless he who would have the hardihood to ask him tidings of Izar!
Five months passed away in this wandering, solitary manner, ever searching the woods and lonely places; and the shepherds who knew him began to suspect that he had committed the crime of Cain.
When these suspicions began to gain ground, the ballad and tale about the life of Izar, and the beautiful mysterious Sophia, were already sung in good Basque verses. This ballad was an exact narrative of all that had occurred from the separation of the brothers to the adoption of the orphan boy by the grand reigning duke.
It was not long before this song reached the ears of Lañoa, to whom it afforded an immense joy, and relieved his heart of its heavy weight of sorrow. He would follow those who sang this ballad, and, when it was ended, used to ask humbly that it be repeated.
His character suddenly altered: he became gentle and tractable. Meantime the beauty of spring had succeeded the bleakness of winter, the sweet perfumed breeze of April to the violent snowstorms of December. The mountains were clothed in freshness and verdure, and the birds were saluting with joyful songs the return of their season of love. “Aquelarre” alone remained sad and bleak as ever in the midst of that joyous nature. It was said that Aquelarre, jealous of the universal joy of nature, took delight in saddening the smiling scene by showing a sinister face, dark, and bleak in opposition, and as a striking contrast to the merry, laughing aspect of its neighbouring mountain companions. No bird sang on its trees; no playful roe ever climbed the rugged sides of the accursed mountain. All was solitude; all things were silent.
One day, at the twilight hour of evening, the shepherds of the valleys perceived in fear and astonishment that on the solitary heights of Aquelarre wandered a human form. Struck by the oblique rays of the setting sun, this form acquired gigantic proportions. Side by side with this figure was seen another of similar form and size, which faithfully followed all its movements. This was simply, the effect of an optical illusion, a phenomenon sufficiently common to those elevated regions where objects acquire colossal dimensions that become duplicated by the refraction of the solar rays crossing subtle masses of vapours.
Nevertheless, the simple shepherds ignore all this, and only see in that phenomena a warning for them to be on their guard against some coming evil. Moreover, fearful lest the night should surprise them in the immediate neighbourhood of the accursed mountain, in which, so they said, some sinister event of ill omen was being prepared, they hastened to collect together all their cattle, and shut themselves up in their huts and cabins. The solitary figure that wandered on the top of Aquelarre was Lañoa. From the moment that he heard the ballad which narrated the history of his brother, he was assailed by a yearning wish to see Izar, but his pride resisted this desire, and deceived him in respect to the passion which domineered over him, by saying, “No, no; I cruelly abandoned him when he was poor and weak. I should not, now that he is rich and in position, go and seek him. When, like Izar, I shall have performed some generous noble act, then will I go to him, ask his pardon, and I know that he will pardon me, he is so good. I shall go up to the accursed mountain and listen for some secret spoken in the conventicle and then I will set to work.”
It were necessary for any one who fostered such a thought as this, and moreover decided to carry it out, be dowered. with supernatural courage, and a strength of character above all proof; and Lañoa the bold most certainly possessed these qualities in a high degree. Another motive existed besides the above to impel him to attempt such an undertaking. It was vanity.
“What!” he used to say to himself, “shall I be less than my brother? He so weak–I so strong? He so gentle and meek–I so brave and hardy? No, no; I will ascend the rugged mountain, and challenge all the dangers which may beset me, until I attain to my end at any cost!”
The night was approaching, and Lañoa, following the route described in the ballad, found the tree, and concealed himself in its hollow trunk. It chanced that it was Saturday, and therefore the night set aside for assembling a conventicle. And so it happened. Towards midnight Lañoa began to hear a strange incessant noise that each moment approached nearer. He began to tremble when he descried the long lines of fantastic shadows which were directing their course towards the spot where he lay concealed. A cold perspiration ran down his forehead when the shadows saluted each other and formed the confused whirling dance that had so greatly surprised Izar. The cries and fiendish laughter of the witches increased his terror, and when at length he saw them descend on to the plain, and was able to distinguish their repugnant forms, the poor lad knew not what to do. The witches commenced their unearthly dances, and Lañoa was bitterly repenting that he had lent a willing ear to the counsels of pride. However, the evil was done, and now there was no help for it but to bear the consequences of his dire mistake, and he resolved to await as calmly as he could the unravelling of this fearful drama.
He had not long to wait. A fearful detonation shook the mountain to its base, and was quickly followed by the appearance of an ebony throne, and seated upon this throne was a figure, the most horrible that human eyes had ever beheld. The head of the prince of darkness was of an enormous size; his eyes, which were glaring and wide open, resembled the burning crater of a volcano; immense ears fell down on his shoulders; while out of the mouth, bereft of lips, issued volumes of dense smoke, across which could be descried now and again rows of long yellow pointed teeth. His hands and feet were covered with sharp nails, curved and long. The rest of his body corresponded to the hideousness of his countenance.
He cast a ferocious glance at the numerous retinue which tremblingly awaited the commands of their sovereign, and in a deep, cavernous voice cried out:
“Bazzoti! Bazzoti!”
One of the witches that were huddled together then rose and placed herself opposite the throne of ebony.
“Ha! ha!&#82
21; exclaimed the genius of evil. “What became of all your fine promises, you deceitful one?”
“They could not be carried out,” tremblingly replied the witch.
“Listen,” rejoined the one who sat on the throne: “the princess was cured, and her parents, far from thinking of destroying themselves through despair, each day are happier, and idolize more and more their child and my direst enemy!”
“Lord!” murmured the witch, half dead with fear.
“Silence!” replied the devil. “As I see that you are of no use to me in this world, go, and await me in the next.”
Saying this, he struck the ground with his foot, and the witch disappeared down a deep pit which opened at his feet.
The other witches lowered their heads to the very ground, and remained silent.
“Now,” he added, “I shall proceed to examine the tree.”
Lañoa trembled from head to foot on hearing those words, and judged that he was lost. And indeed very quickly did he feel that he was being grasped by a number of these witches, who commenced to torture him in every way, and with Satanic mirth carried him bodily to the foot of the throne of the prince of darkness,
“Ha! so here we have another inquisitive mortal, it appears!” he cried, making a horrible grimace. “Approach, you profane one, approach!”
Lañoa in that terrible situation made a supreme effort, and assumed an expression on his countenance of satirical jesting,
“It appears that you do not fear us?” continued Lusbel, grinding his teeth.
Lañoa as his only reply contemptuously shrugged his shoulders.
It was a terrible wrestling that which was imminent between the lad, who had as his only weapon of defence his character of iron, and Lusbel armed with all the powers of hell.
“What were you doing in that tree?” he asked, after looking fixedly at Lañoa for a considerable time.
“I was deriding you,” replied Lañoa, laughing.
“Profanation!” roared the witches.
“Silence! silence!” cried Satan; and the witches were hushed. “So you were deriding me?” he asked, after a moment of silence.
“Yes, I was, by my faith!”
“Do you perchance think that any one has ever been able to boast that he has derided me with impunity?” rejoined Lusbel.
“Yes, I do, seeing that my brother has done so with a good result,” replied Lañoa.
“Oh! oh! so you are brother to the one who saved the life of the Italian princess?”
Lañoa did not reply.
“Answer quickly, cursed one!” said the witch nearest to him.
Lañoa turned quick as thought, grasped the witch by the hair of her head, threw her down on the ground, and placed his foot across her throat, then folded his arms in a defiant manner, and looked fixedly at Satan.
The latter remained perfectly stupefied on witnessing this rapid action, and to behold the imperturbable calm of the lad.
“By my kingship, lad, but you interest me,” he at length said.
“Well, if I interest you, I on my part thoroughly despise you!” replied Lañoa.
“You dare to despise me?”
“Yes, I do!”
“You say this because you are not aware who I am!”
The lad curled his lip in sign of supreme contempt.
“Approach, if you dare, and touch my hand,” he added, as he extended a hand armed with sharp nails.
Lañoa pushed aside with his foot the loathsome form of the witch, and fearlessly took the hand of Satan.
“Does it burn you?” he asked.
“I do not feel any heat,” replied Lañoa, with the most perfect indifference; but nevertheless the lad’s hair had stood on end when it felt the contact of that scorching hand.
“It is passing strange!” murmured Lusbel.
“You can well perceive,” rejoined Lañoa, “that I do not fear you!”
“I own to that, certainly,” he replied, releasing the hand of the youth, “but nevertheless that is no proof that you despise me.”
“Do you wish for a proof?” arrogantly demanded L ah o a.
“Let us have one, certainly.”
“There you have one!” cried the youth, and he spat at the face of Lusbel.
To describe the expression of fiendish rage which appeared on the monstrous countenance of Satan is not given to any pen to do. He uttered a roar, in comparison of which the violent eruption of a volcano would be no more than a soft melody. He wrathfully rose from his throne, grasped the boy in his clutches, and cast him headlong, like to a catapult, down the precipice which stands more than a league from that spot. The body of Lañoa rebounded and fell down the fearful descent a lifeless form, but his soul, purified in that trial rose up to heaven.

– – – –
Since then the above-mentioned precipice is known under the appellation of Infernu erreca, and the shepherds of the mountains affirm that at the hour of midnight on all Saturdays, with the exception of Easter Eve, there is heard rising up from that depth a tender wailing, and a noise resounds similar to that which is produced by the falling of a body.

19:1 Aquelarre. A word composed of larre, pasture land, and Aquerra, buck goat; hence the word Aquelarre signifies the pasture land of the goat. It is well known that this animal figures in all the conventicles of witches as representing the Evil One.
24:1 Capusay. A sort of dalmatic of very thick cloth furnished with a hood.

Poetry For The Dying Summer: Alfred Perceval Graves

How Speeds the Wooing?
Passionate lover, prithee, tell

How speeds the wooing?

Passing well.

She entrancing,

I admiring,

I advancing,

She retiring.

Lover, of thy heart beware;

Too swift haste is slow despair.
Pensive lover, ere we pass,

How speeds the wooing?

Ill, alas!

I complaining,

Pleading, sighing,

She disdaining

Frowning, flying.

Little hast thou recked my rede,

Such fond haste has scanty speed.
Come, what luck, Sir Lover, now?

For thou bear’st a braver brow.

I returning

Flout with flouting,

She her spurning

Changed to pouting.

Now, if thou would conquer quite,

Rail until she weep outright.
How speeds the wooing? By thine air

Thou to-day hast tidings rare.

My denier,

Scouter, scorner

Sits a sigher

In the corner.

Then the suit is sped indeed,

May the marriage have like speed.

My Mountain Lake
My own lake of lakes,

My lone lake of lakes,

When the young blushing day

Beside you awakes,

The cold hoary mist

To gold glory kissed

Lifts laughing away

O’er your cool amethyst
My fair lake of lakes,

My rare lake of lakes,

How your tartan red-gold

In the summer air shakes;

Fold fluttering on fold

Of purple heath bloom

And gay, glancing broom,

A joy to behold.
My sad sleeping lake!

My mad leaping lake!

When the palled Tempest Powers

Into agony break,

Their tears scalding showers,

Thunder-moans their lament,

Their garments grief-rent
Thy broken hill bowers.
Bright, faint-heaving breast,

By fond visions possessed,

Not a wave frets thy beach

Scarce one ripple’s unrest!

Dim, weltering reach,

Where the Priestess of Heaven

And the steadfast Star-Seven

Hold Sibylline speech.

The Song of the Fairy King

From ‘Songs of the Sidhe’.
Bright Queen of Women, oh, come away!

Oh, come to my kingdom strange to see:

Where tresses flow with a golden glow,

And white as snow is the fair body.

Beneath the silky curtains of arching ebon brows,

Soft eyes of sunny azure the heart enthral,

A speech of magic songs to each rosy mouth belongs,

And sorrowful sighing can ne’er befall.
Oh, bright are the blooms of thine own Innisfail,

And green is her garland around the West;

But brighter flowers and greener bowers

Shall all be ours in that country blest.

Or can her streams compare to the runnels rich and rare

Of slow yellow honey and swift red wine,

That softly slip to the longing lip

With magic flow through that land of mine?
We roam the earth in its grief and mirth,

But move unseen of all therein;

For before their gaze there hangs the haze,

The heavy haze of their mortal sin.

But, oh! our age it wastes not; since our beauty tastes not

Of Evil’s tempting apple and droops and dies.

Cold death shall slay us never but for ever and for ever

Love’s stainless ardours shall illume our eyes.
Then, Queen of Women, oh, come away!

Far, far away to my fairy throne,

To my realm of rest in the magic West,

Where sin and sorrow are all unknown.

The Song of Niamh Of The Golden Tresses

From ‘Songs of the Sidhe’.
Down in the shades of Lene dark bowering

Hunting red deer through the glades gold flowering;

Oh, Finn! oh, Oscur, our glee!

When on a palfrey milk-white, a whiter one,

Shapely and slight, ah, no shapelier, slighter one,

Waved her sceptre star bright, the far brighter one—

Waved, waved in suppliant plea.

“Niamh am I of the locks gold glittering”—

O, at her cry the birds ceased twittering—

“Sole Child of The King of Youth.

Oiseen’s dark eyes in dreams have haunted me,

Oiseen’s song streams all day have daunted me!

I, who scatheless of Love long have vaunted me,

Ah! now know his searching truth.”

“Oscur and Finn, this long farewell from me!

Nought now can win this strong, sweet spell from me!

Ochone, ochone, ollalu!”

Panting with love to make my dear bride of her,

Murmuring dove, I leaped to the side of her!

Forth, forth our white palfrey flew.

On through the tangled and tost cloud armament

Into star-spangled deeps of the firmament;

While sweet rang Niamh’s lay,

“Come, O Oiseen, where sorrow shadeth not,

Scorn is unseen, and anger upbraideth not;

Come with thy Queen where beauty fadeth not,

Where Youth and Love are for aye!”

The Divine Hafiz….

“One regret dear world, that I am determined not to have when I am lying on my deathbed is that I did not kiss you enough.”


“Remember for just one minute of the day, it would be best to try looking upon yourself more as God does, for She knows your true royal nature.”

One of those larger entries, with lots of stuff…. I want to thank Roberto Venosa for his gift last year of ‘The Orientalist’ an overview with so many excellent paintings. This is directly related to the art you see in this entry of Jean Leon Gerome, one of my favourite painters… Also a big thanks to Mike Hoffman for reminding me of: ‘sigur ros – Svefn-g-englar’ Truly, a dialogue of angels.
I feel the summer waning, our first rains today. Huge thunderstorm yesterday, the gods were talking across the skies of Portland.
Ryan P. came by and worked on my new system. we had a great time, drinking a bit of Absinthe, and having an enjoyable evening.
So many people getting ready for Burning Man! I see postings from different list; it is as if the hive has to rise up and fly to the desert! I have recieved postings from Tribe from people looking to have their art cars towed south… people looking for rides, looking for camps….
Back to the magazine, and a wee bit of editing for the rest of the evening……
Bright Blessings,


On The Menu:

The Links

Sigur Ros – Glósóli

Hashish- Marijuana Quotes

The Visions of Hasheesh

Poetry: The Divine Hafiz

sigur ros – Svefn-g-englar

Art: Jean Leon Gerome

The Links:

Chemical Salvation

Foundation may be from Shakespeares Theatre?

Do Subatomic Particles Have Free Will?

Demons Among Us?

Sigur Ros – Glósóli


Hashish- Marijuana Quotes:
“Tobacco, coffee, alcohol, hashish, prussic acid, strychnine, are weak dilutions; the surest poison is time.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson
“If a man wishes to rid himself of a feeling of unbearable oppression, he may have to take hashish.”

“In regard to the physical effects, the Commission have come to the conclusion that the moderate use of hemp drugs is practically attended by no evil results at all. Speaking generally, the Commission are of opinion that the moderate use of hemp drugs appears to cause no appreciable physical injury of any kind. In regard to the alleged mental effects of the drugs, the Commission have come to the conclusion that the moderate use of hemp drugs produces no injurious effects on the mind, and no mental injury. In regard to the moral effects of the drugs, the Commission are of opinion that their moderate use produces no moral injury whatever. There is no adequate ground for believing that it injuriously affects the character of the consumer. Viewing the subject generally, it may be added that the moderate use of these drugs is the rule, and the excessive use is comparatively exceptional. The moderate use practically produces no ill effects. The injury from habitual moderate use is not appreciable. It has been the most striking feature of this inquiry to find how little the effects of hemp drugs have obtruded themselves on observation.”

-from The Indian Hemp Drugs Commission, 1894
“…marijuana is one of the safest, therapeutically active substances known to man.”

-DEA Judge Francis Young
“[In] my era everybody smoked and everybody drank and there was no drug use”

-DEA Chief Thomas Constantine, July 1, 1998
“When you return to this mundane sphere from your visionary world, you would seem to leave a Neapolitan spring for a Lapland winter – to quit paradise for earth – heaven for hell! Taste the hashish, guest of mine – taste the hashish! ”

-Alexander Dumas, ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’, 1844

The Vision of Hasheesh
-Bayard Taylor
Chapter X of The Lands of the Saracen.

A slightly different version was published in the April, 1854 edition of Putnam’s Monthly Magazine
“Exulting, trembling, raging, fainting,

Possessed beyond the Muse’s painting.”

During my stay in Damascus, that insatiable curiosity which leads me to prefer the acquisition of all lawful knowledge through the channels of my own personal experience, rather than in less satisfactory and less laborious ways, induced me to make a trial of the celebrated Hasheesh — that remarkable drug which supplies the luxurious Syrian with dreams more alluring and more gorgeous than the Chinese extracts from his darling opium pipe. The use of Hasheesh — which is a preparation of the dried leaves of the cannabis indica — has been familiar to the East for many centuries. During, the Crusades, it was frequently used by the Saracen warriors to stimulate them to the work of slaughter, and from the Arabic term of “Hashasheën” or Eaters of Hasheesh, as applied to them, the word “assassin” has been naturally derived. An infusion of the same plant gives to the drink called “bhang” which is in common use throughout India and Malaysia, its peculiar properties. Thus prepared, it is a more fierce and fatal stimulant than the paste of sugar and spices to which the Turk resorts, as the food of his voluptuous evening, reveries. While its immediate effects seem to be more potent than those of opium, its habitual use, though attended with ultimate and permanent injury to the system, rarely results in such utter wreck of mind and body as that to which the votaries of the latter drug inevitably condemn themselves.
A previous experience of the effects of hasheesh — which I took once, and in a very mild form, while in Egypt — was so peculiar in its character, that my curiosity, instead of being satisfied, only prompted me the more to throw myself, for once, wholly under its influence. The sensations it then produced were those, physically, of exquisite lightness and airiness — mentally, of a wonderfully keen perception of the ludicrous, in the most simple and familiar objects. During the half hour in which it lasted, I was at no time so far under its control, that I could not, with the clearest perception, study the changes through which I passed. I noted, with careful attention, the fine sensations which spread throughout the whole tissue of my nervous fibre, each thrill helping, to divest my frame of its earthly and material nature, until my substance appeared to me no grosser than the vapors of the atmosphere, and while sitting in the calm of the Egyptian twilight, I expected to be lifted up and carried away by the first breeze that should ruffle the Nile. While this process was going on, the objects by which I was surrounded assumed a strange and whimsical expression. My pipe, the oars which my boatmen plied, the turban worn by the captain, the water-jars and culinary implements, became in themselves so inexpressibly absurd and comical, that I was provoked into a long fit of laughter. The hallucination died away as gradually as it came, leaving me overcome with a soft and pleasant drowsiness from which I sank into a deep, refreshing sleep.
My companion and an English gentleman, who, with his wife, was also residing in Antonio’s pleasant caravanserai — agreed to join me in the experiment. The dragoman of the latter was deputed to procure a sufficient quantity of the drug. He was a dark Egyptian, speaking only the lingua franca of the East, and asked me, as he took the money and departed on his mission, whether he should get hasheesh “per ridere, o per dormire?” “Oh, per ridere, of course,” I answered; “and see that it be strong and fresh.” It is customary with the Syrians to take a small portion immediately before the evening meal, as it is thus diffused through the stomach and acts more gradually, as well as more gently, upon the system. As our dinner-hour was at sunset, I proposed taking hasheesh at that time, but my friends, fearing that its operation might be more speedy upon fresh subjects, and thus betray them into some absurdity in the presence of the other travellers, preferred waiting until after the meal. It was then agreed that we should retire to our room, which, as it rose like a tower one story higher than the rest of the building, was in a manner isolated, and would screen us from observation.
We commenced by taking a tea-spoonful each of the mixture which Abdallah had procured. This was about the quantity I had taken in Egypt, and as the effect then had been so slight, I judged that we ran no risk of taking an over-dose. The strength of the drug, however, must have been far greater in this instance, for whereas I could in the former case distinguish no flavor but that of sugar and rose leaves, I now found the taste intensely bitter and repulsive to the palate. We allowed the paste to dissolve slowly on our tongues, and sat some time, quietly waiting the result. But, having been taken upon a full stomach, its operation was hindered, and after the lapse of nearly an hour, we could not detect the least change in our feelings. My friends loudly expressed their conviction of the humbug of hasheesh, but I, unwilling to give up the experiment at this point, proposed that we should take an additional half spoonful, and follow it with a cup of hot tea, which, if there were really any virtue in the preparation, could not fail to call it into action. This was done, though not without some misgivings, as we were all ignorant of the precise quantity which constituted a dose, and the limits within which the drug could be taken with safety. It was now ten o’clock; the streets of Damascus were gradually becoming silent, and the fair city was bathed in the yellow lustre of the Syrian moon. Only in the marble court-yard below us, a few dragomen and mukkairee lingered under the lemon-trees, and beside the fountain in the centre.
I was seated alone, nearly in the middle of the room, talking with my friends, who were lounging upon a sofa placed in a sort of alcove, at the farther end, when the same fine nervous thrill, of which I have spoken, suddenly shot through me. But this time it was accompanied with a burning sensation at the pit of the stomach; and, instead of growing upon me with the gradual pace of healthy slumber, and resolving me, as before, into air, it came with the intensity of a pang, and shot throbbing along the nerves to the extremities of my body. The sense of limitation — of the confinement of our senses within the bounds of our own flesh and blood — instantly fell away. The walls of my frame were burst outward and tumbled into ruin; and, without thinking what form I wore — losing sight even of all idea of form — I felt that I existed throughout a vast extent of space. The blood, pulsed from my heart, sped through uncounted leagues before it reached my extremities; the air drawn into my lungs expanded into seas of limpid ether, and the arch of my skull was broader than the vault of heaven. Within the concave that held my brain, were the fathomless deeps of blue; clouds floated there, and the winds of heaven rolled them together, and there shone the orb of the sun. It was — though I thought not of that at the time — like a revelation of the mystery of omnipresence. It is diffcult to describe this sensation, or the rapidity with which it mastered me. In the state of mental exaltation in which I was then plunged, all sensations, as they rose, suggested more or less coherent images. They presented themselves to me in a double form: one physical, and therefore to a certain extent tangible; the other spiritual, and revealing itself in a succession of splendid metaphors. The physical feeling, of extended being was accompanied by the image of an exploding meteor, not subsiding into darkness, but continuing to shoot from its centre or nucleus — which corresponded to the burning spot at the pit of my stomach — incessant adumbrations of light that finally lost themselves in the infinity of space. To my mind, even now, this image is still the best illustration of my sensations, as I recall them; but I greatly doubt whether the reader w
ill find it equally clear.
My curiosity was now in a way of being satisfied; the Spirit (demon, shall I not rather say?) of Hasheesh had entire possession of me. I was cast upon the flood of his illusions, and drifted helplessly whithersoever they might choose to bear me. The thrills which ran through my nervous system became more rapid and fierce, accompanied with sensations that steeped my whole being in unutterable rapture. I was encompassed by a sea of light, through which played the pure, harmonious colors that are born of light. While endeavoring, in broken expressions, to describe my feelings to my friends, who sat looking upon me incredulously-not yet having been affected by the drug-I suddenly found myself at the foot of the great Pyramid of Cheops. The tapering courses of yellow limestone gleamed like gold in the sun, and the pile rose so high that it seemed to lean for support upon the blue arch of the sky. I wished to ascend it, and the wish alone placed me immediately upon its apex, lifted thousands of feet above the wheat-fields and palm-groves of Egypt. I cast my eyes downward, and, to my astonishment, saw that it was built, not of limestone, but of huge square plugs of Cavendish tobacco! Words cannot paint the overwhelming sense of the ludicrous which I then experienced. I writhed on my chair in an agony of laughter, which was only relieved by the vision melting away like a dissolving view; till, out of my confusion of indistinct images and fragments of images, another and more wonderful vision arose.
The more vividly I recall the scene which followed, the more carefully I restore its different features, and separate the many threads of sensation which it wove into one gorgeous web, the more I despair of representing its exceeding glory. I was moving over the Desert, not upon the rocking dromedary, but seated in a barque made of mother-of-pearl, and studded with jewels of surpassing lustre. The sand was of grains of gold, and my keel slid through them without jar or sound. The air was radiant with excess of light, though no sun was to be seen. I inhaled the most delicions perfumes; and harmonies, such as Beethoven may have heard in dreams, but never wrote, floated around me. The atmosphere itself was light, odor, music; and each and all sublimated beyond anything the sober senses are capable of receiving. Before me — for a thousand leagues, as it seemed — stretched a vista of rainbows, whose colors gleamed with the splendor of gems — arches of living amethyst, sapphire, emerald, topaz, and ruby. By thousands and tens of thousands, they flew past me, as my dazzling barge sped down the magnificent arcade; yet the vista still stretched as far as ever before me. I revelled in a sensuous elysium, which was perfect, because no sense was left ungratified. But beyond all, my mind was filled with a boundless feeling of triumph. My journey was that of a conqueror — not of a conqueror who subdues his race, either by Love or by Will, for I forgot that Man existed — but one victorious over the grandest as well as the subtlest forces of Nature. The spirits of Light, Color, Odor, Sound, and Motion were my slaves; and, having these, I was master of the universe.
Those who are endowed to any extent with the imaginative faculty, must have at least once in their lives experienced feelings which may give them a clue to the exalted sensuous raptures of my triumphal march. The view of a sublime mountain landscape, the hearing of a grand orchestral symphony, or of a choral upborne by the “full-voiced organ,” or even the beauty and luxury of a cloudless summer day, suggests emotions similar in kind, if less intense. They took a warmth and glow from that pure animal joy which degrades not, but spiritualizes and ennobles our material part, and which differs from cold, abstract, intellectual enjoyment, as the flaming diamond of the Orient differs from the icicle of the North. Those finer senses, which occupy a middle ground between our animal and intellectual appetites, were suddenly developed to a pitch beyond what I had ever dreamed, and being thus at one and the same time gratified to the fullest extent of their preternatural capacity, the result was a single harmonious sensation, to describe which human language has no epithet. Mahomet’s Paradise, with its palaces of ruby and emerald, its airs of musk and cassia, and its rivers colder than snow and sweeter than honey, would have been a poor and mean terminus for my arcade of rainbows. Yet in the character of this paradise, in the gorgeous fancies of the Arabian Nights, in the glow and luxury of all Oriental poetry, I now recognize more or less of the agency of hasheesh.
The fulness of my rapture expanded the sense of time; and though the whole vision was probably not more than five minutes in passing through my mind, years seemed to have elapsed while I shot under the dazzling myriads of rainbow arches. By and by, the rainbows, the barque of pearl and jewels, and the desert of golden sand, vanished; and, still bathed in light and perfume, I found myself in a land of green and flowery lawns, divided by hills of gently undulating outline. But, although the vegetation was the richest of earth, there were neither streams nor fountains to be seen; and the people who came from the hills, with brilliant garments that shone in the sun, besought me to give them the blessing of water. Their hands were full of branches of the coral honeysuckle, in bloom. These I took; and, breaking off the flowers one by one, set them in the earth. The slender, trumpet-like tubes immediately became shafts of masonry, and sank deep into the earth; the lip of the flower changed into a circular mouth of rose-colored marble, and the people, leaning over its brink, lowered their pitchers to the bottom with cords, and drew them up again, filled to the brim, and dripping with honey.
The most remarkable feature of these illusions was, that at the time when I was most completely under their influence, I knew myself to be seated in the tower of Antonio’s hotel in Damascus, knew that I had taken hasheesh, and that the strange, gorgeous and ludicrous fancies which possessed me, were the effect of it. At the very same instant that I looked upon the Valley of the Nile from the pyramid, slid over the Desert, or created my marvellous wells in that beautiful pastoral country, I saw the furniture of my room, its mosaic pavement, the quaint Saracenic niches in the walls, the painted and gilded beams of the ceiling, and the couch in the recess before me, with my two companions watching me. Both sensations were simultaneous, and equally palpable. While I was most given up to the magnificent delusion, I saw its cause and felt its absurdity most clearly. Metaphysicians say that the mind is incapable of performing two operations at the same time, and may attempt to explain this phenomenon by supposing a rapid and incessant vibration of the perceptions between the two states. This explanation, however, is not satisfactory to me; for not more clearly does a skilful musician with the same breath blow two distinct musical notes from a bugle, than I was conscious of two distinct conditions of being in the same moment. Yet, singular as it may seem, neither conflicted with the other. My enjoyment of the visions was complete and absolute, undisturbed by the faintest doubt of their reality; while, in some other chamber of my brain, Reason sat coolly watching them, and heaping the liveliest ridicule on their fantastic features. One set of nerves was thrilled with the bliss of the gods, while another was convulsed with unquenchable laughter at that very bliss. My highest ecstacies could not bear down and silence the weight of my ridicule, which, in its turn, was powerless to prevent me from running into other and more gorgeous absurdities. I was double, not “swan and shadow,” but rather, Sphinx-like, human and beast. A true Sphinx, I was a riddle and a mystery to myself.
The drug, which had been retarded in its operation on account of having been taken after a
meal, now began to make itself more powerfully felt. The visions were more grotesque than ever, but less agreeable; and there was a painful tension throughout my nervous system — the effect of over-stimulus. I was a mass of transparent jelly, and a confectioner poured me into a twisted mould. I threw my chair aside, and writhed and tortured myself for some time to force my loose substance into the mould. At last, when I had so far succeeded that only one foot remained outside, it was lifted off, and another mould, of still more crooked and intricate shape, substituted. I have no doubt that the contortions through which I went, to accomplish the end of my gelatinous destiny, would have been extremely ludicrous to a spectator, but to me they were painful and disagreeable. The sober half of me went into fits of laughter over them, and through that laughter, my vision shifted into another scene. I had laughed until my eyes overflowed profusely. Every drop that fell, immediately became a large loaf of bread, and tumbled upon the shop- board of a baker in the bazaar at Damascus. The more I laughed, the faster the loaves fell, until such a pile was raised about the baker, that I could hardly see the top of his head. “The man will be suffocated,” I cried, “but if he were to die, I cannot stop!”
My perceptions now became more dim and confused. I felt that I was in the grasp of some giant force; and, in the glimmering of my fading reason, grew earnestly alarmed, for the terrible stress under which my frame labored increased every moment. A fierce and furious heat radiated from my stomach throughout my system; my mouth and throat were as dry and hard as if made of brass, and my tongue, it seemed to me, was a bar of rusty iron. I seized a pitcher of water, and drank long and deeply; but I might as well have drunk so much air, for not only did it impart no moisture, but my palate and throat gave me no intelligence of having drunk at all. I stood in the centre of the room, brandishing my arms convulsively, and heaving sighs that seemed to shatter my whole being. “Will no one,” I cried in distress, “cast out this devil that has possession of me?” I no longer saw the room nor my friends, but I heard one of them saying, “It must be real; he could not counterfeit such an expression as that. But it don’t look much like pleasure.” Immediately afterwards there was a scream of the wildest laughter, and my countryman sprang upon the floor, exclaiming, “O, ye gods! I am a locomotive!” This was his ruling hallucination; and, for the space of two or three hours, he continued to pace to and fro with a measured stride, exhaling his breath in violent jets, and when he spoke, dividing his words into syllables, each of which he brought out with a jerk, at the same time turning his hands at his sides, as if they were the cranks of imaginary wheels. The Englishman, as soon as he felt the dose beginning to take effect, prudently retreated to his own room, and what the nature of his visions was, we never learned, for he refused to tell, and, moreover, enjoined the strictest silence on his wife.
By this time it was nearly midnight. I had passed through the Paradise of Hasheesh, and was plunged at once into its fiercest Hell. In my ignorance I had taken what, I have since learned, would have been a sufficient portion for six men, and was now paying a frightful penalty for my curiosity. The excited blood rushed through my frame with a sound like the roaring of mighty waters. It was projected into my eyes until I could no longer see; it beat thickly in my ears, and so throbbed in my heart, that I feared the ribs would give way under its blows. I tore open my vest, placed my hand over the spot, and tried to count the pulsations; but there were two hearts, one beating at the rate of a thousand beats a minute, and the other with a slow, dull motion. My throat, I thought, was filled to the brim with blood, and streams of blood were pouring from my ears. I felt them gushing warm down my cheeks and neck. With a maddened, desperate feeling, I fled from the room, and walked over the flat, terraced roof of the house. My body seemed to shrink and grow rigid as I wrestled with the demon, and my face to become wild, lean and haggard. Some lines which had struck me, years before, in reading Mrs. Browning’s “Rhyme of the Duchess May,” flashed into my mind: –
On the last verge, rears amain;

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


Poetry: The Divine Hafiz

Ghazal 417
Forever joy is my prize

With the wine of desire

Thankfully God gratifies

What I wish or require
O unpredictable fate

Embrace me like your mate

Sometimes golden cup and plate

Sometimes wine acquire
Drunk and insane is my game

It is my name and my fame

Unwise Elders will blame

And the Leaders for hire
From the recluse and devout

Loudly I repent and shout

The works of the pious doubt

“God forbid!” is my choir
O soul what can I say

Of pain of being away?

My eyes tearfully play

And my soul is on fire
To doubters it will not show

Such pain, who’ll ever know?

The spruce will long to grow

Your face the moon inspire
Longing for your lips

Has Hafiz in its grips

Forget the night-school’s tips

And prayers of morning crier
Saghi Nameh

ساقی نامه
O Bearer, bring the wine that brings joy

To increase generosity, & let perfection buoy

Give me some, for I have lost my heart

Both traits from me have kept apart

Bring the wine whose reflection in the cup

Signals to all the kings whose times are up

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

When was Jamshid, and when Kavoos was king

Bring me the elixir whose grace and alchemy

Bestows treasures, from bonds of time sets free

Give me so they’ll open the doors once again

Of long life and the bliss that will remain

Bearer give the wine that the Holy Grail

Will make claims of sight in the Void and thus fail

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

All secrets, like Jamshid, themselves avail

Speak of the tale of the wheel of fate

proclaim to the kings and heroes of late

This broken world is in the same state

As seen by Afrasiab, the mighty, the great

Whence his mobilizing army generals

Whence cunning heroes’ war cries and calls

Not only his palace has gone to the dust

Even his tomb is destroyed and long lost

This barren desert is in the same stage

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

Bring the wine whose reflection in the cup

Signals to all the kings whose times are up

Well said Jamshid, the old majestic king

Worthless is this transient stage and ring

Come Bearer, that fire, radiant, bright

Zarathushtra, beneath the earth, seeks so right

Give me wine, in the creed of the drunk

Whether fire-worshipper or worldly monk

Come Bearer, that wholesome drunk

Who is forever in the tavern sunk

Give me, ill repute bring to my name

The cup and the wine I shall only blame

Bring Bearer, the water that burns the mind

If lion drinks, forest will burn and grind

Courageous, I’ll go hunting lions of fate

Mess up this old wolf’s trap and bait

Bring Bearer, that high heavenly wine

That angels with their scent would entwine

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

Its wise aroma I will sense now and hence

Bearer, give me the wine that makes kings

Witnessing its virtues, my heart sings

Give me wine to wash away all my flaws

Joyous rise above this rut’s deadly claws

When the spiritual garden is my abode

Why have me bound to a board on this road

Give me wine and then see the Ruler’s face

Ruin me & see treasures of wisdom and grace

And when I hold the cup in my hand

In the mirror everything I understand

In my drunken state, kingship proclaim

A monarch, when I am drunken and lame

Drunken, pearls of wisdom unveil

In hiding secrets, the selfless fail

Hafiz, drunken, songs will compose

From its melody Venus’ song flows

O singer, with the sound of the stream

Of that majestic song muse and dream

Till I make my work joy and ecstasy

I will dance and play with robe of piety

Given a crown and throne by his fate

The fruit of the kingly tree of this estate

Ruler of the land, and Lord of the time

The grand and fortunate King of the clime

He is the greatness vested in the Throne

comfort of bird and fish from Him alone

For the blessed, he is light of the eyes

Yet he is the gift of the soul of the wise

Behold, O, auspicious bird

The happy inspiration to be heard

The world has no pearls in its shells like Thee

Fereydoon and Jamshid had no heirs like Thee

Instead of Alexander, be here many a year

Know thy heart and discover joy is near

But seditious fate many plans may devise

Me and my drunkenness troubled by Beloved’s eyes

One, for his work, may pick up the sword

Another’s business only deals with the word

O Player, play the song of the new creed

To music of the stream tell to my rival breed

Finally with my enemy I have a chance

At victory, in the skies I can glance

O Player, play something pleasing to the ear

With a song and a Gahzal begin a story, dear

My sorrows have tied me to the ground

Raise me with my principles that are sound

O singer, with the sound of the stream

Play and sing that majestic song I dream

Make the great souls happy with you

Parviz and Barbad remember too

O Player, paint a picture of the veil

Listen, inside, they tell a tale

Sing a minstrel’s song, such

That Venus’ harp dances with her touch

Play so the Sufi goes into a trance

Drunken, in Union, leaves his stance

O Player, tambourine and harp play

With a lovely tune, sing and sway

Deceptions of the world make a vivid tale

The night is pregnant, what will it entail

O Player, I’m sad, play one or two

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

I am astounded by the revolving fate

I don’t know who will next degenerate

And if the Magi set one on fire

Don’t know whose light will then expire

In this bloody resurrection field

Let the cup and jug their blood yield

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

To friends bygone, a salutation divine…


Wild Deer

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

I have known you for a while, here.

Both loners, both lost, both forsaken

The wild beast, for ambush, have all waken

Let us inquire of each other’s state

If we can, each other’s wishes consummate

I can see this chaotic field

Joy and peace sometimes won’t yield

O friends, tell me who braves the danger

To befriend the forsaken, behold the stranger

Unless blessed Elias may come one day

And with his good office open the way

It is time to cultivate love

Individually decreed from above

Thus I remember the wise old man

Forgetting such a one, I never can

That one day, a seeker in a land

A wise one helped him understand

Seeker, what do you keep in your bag

Set up a trap, if bait you drag

In reply said I keep a snare

But for the phoenix I shall dare

Asked how will you find its sign

We can’t help you with your design

Like the spruce become so wise

Rise to the heights, open your eyes

Don’t lose sight of the rose and wine

But beware of your fate’s design

At the fountainhead, by the riverside

Shed some tears, in your heart confide

This instrument won’t tune to my needs

The generous sun, our wants exceeds

In memory of friends bygone

With spring showers hide the golden sun

With such cruelty cleaved with a sword

As if with friendship was in full discord

When flows forth the crying river

With your own tears help it deliver

My old companion was so unkind

O Pious Men, keep God in mind

Unless blessed Elias may come one day

Help one loner to another make way

Look at the gem and let go of the stone

Do it in a way that keeps you unknown

As my hand moves the pen to write

Ask the main writer to shed His light

I entwined mind and soul indeed

Then planted the resulting seed

In this marriage the outcome is joy

Beauty and soulfulness employ

With hope’s fragrant perfume

Let eternal soul rapture assume

This perfume comes from angel’s sides

Not from the doe whom men derides

Friends, to friends’ worth be smart

When obvious, don’t read it by heart

This is the end of tales of advice

Lie in ambush, fate’s cunning and vice.

Ghazal 407
The green fields of fate were fully grown

While the new moon’s sickle hung in the west.

I remembered the crops I had sown

It was now time for my harvest.
I said O fate, when will you awake?

The sun is up, it is now dawn-break.

Said, you have made many a mistake,

Yet keep hope and faith within your breast.
If like the Christ, this world you depart

With integrity and with a pure heart,

Your brightness will give a new start

To the sun, even shinning at its crest.
Don’t seek your guidance in the skies

It is deceitful, though it seems wise.

It helped many kings majestically rise

Then brought them down at its own behest.
Though many jewels and rings of gold,

Necks and ears of many elegantly hold;

All the good times will one day fold.

With a clear mind listen, and a beating chest.
Don’t sell the harvest that you reap

In the market of love, for so cheap;

For the moon, a nickel you keep,

And for the stars a dime at best.
From evil eyes may you be freed;

Fate rode the sun and moon’s steed.

Hypocrites ruin their own creed and nest

Hafiz leaves without his dervish’s vest.


sigur ros – Svefn-g-englar


Dianes’ Blessings….

O Lady

the hem of whose garment

is the sky, whose grace

falls from her glance, who gives

life from the touch of one finger

O Lady

whose hair is the willow, whose breath

is the riversong, who lopes

thru the milky way, baying, stars

going out,

O Lady whose deathshead holds a thousand eyes

eye sockets black imploded stars, who trails

frail as a northern virgin on the mist,

O lady fling your bright drops to us, emblems

of your love, throw

your green scarf on the battered earth once more

O smile, disrobe for us, unveil

your eyes.

~Diane Di Prima

Just a quick one….

Diane Di Prima, one of my faves… Enjoy!

Diane Di Prima – Lunch Poems


Diane Di Prima Poems….

The Belltower
the weighing is done in autumn

and the sifting

what is to be threshed

is threshed in autumn

what is to be gathered is taken
the wind does not die in autumn

the moon

shifts endlessly thru flying clouds

in autumn the sea is high
& a golden light plays everywhere

making it harder

to go one’s way.

all leavetaking is in autumn

where there is leavetaking

it is always autumn

& the sun is a crystal ball

on a golden stand

& the wind

cannont make the spruce scream

loud enough


Rant, from a Cool Place
We are in the middle of a bloody, heartrending revolution

Called America, called the Protestant reformation, called Western man,

Called individual consciousness, meaning I need a refrigerator and a car

And milk and meat for the kids so, I can discover that I don’t need a car

Or a refrigerator, or meat, or even milk, just rice and a place with

————-no wind to sleep next to someone

Two someones keeping warm in the winter learning to weave

To pot and to putter, learning to steal honey from bees,

————wearing the bedclothes by day, sleeping under

(or in) them at night; hording bits of glass, colored stones, and

————stringing beads

How long before we come to that blessed definable state

Known as buddhahood, primitive man, people in a landscape

together like trees, the second childhood of man

I don’t know if I will make it somehow nearer by saying all this

out loud, for christs sake, that Stevenson was killed, that Shastri

————was killed

both having dined with Marietta Tree

the wife of a higher-up in the CIA

both out of their own countries mysteriously dead, as how many others

as Marilyn Monroe, wept over in so many tabloids

done in for sleeping with Jack Kennedy – this isn’t a poem – full of

————cold prosaic fact

thirteen done in the Oswald plot: Jack Ruby’s cancer that disappeared

————in autopsy

the last of a long line – and they’re waiting to get Tim Leary

Bob Dylan

Allen Ginsberg

LeRoi Jones – as, who killed Malcolm X? They give themselves away

with TV programs on the Third Reich, and I wonder if I’ll live to sit in

————Peking or Hanoi

see TV programs on LBJ’s Reich: our great SS analysed, our money exposed,

————the plot to keep Africa

genocide in Southeast Asia now in progress Laos Vietnam Thailand Cambodia

————O soft-spoken Sukamo

O great stone Buddhas with sad negroid lips torn down by us by the red

————guard all one force

one leveling mad mechanism, grinding it down to earth and swamp to sea

————to powder

till Mozart is something a few men can whistle

or play on a homemade flute and we bow to each other

telling old tales half remembered gathering shells

learning again “all beings are from the very beginning Buddhas”

or glowing and dying radiation and plague we come to that final great

————love illumination


My Lover’s Eyes Are Nothing Like The Sun

for Sheppard
These eyes are amber, they

have no pupils, they are filled

w/a blue light (fire).

They are the eyes of gods

the eyes of insects, straying

godmen of the galaxy, metallic


Those eyes were green

are still, sea green, or grey

their light

less defined. These sea-green

eyes spin dreams on the

palpable air. They are not yrs

or mine. It is as if the dead

saw thru our eyes, other for a moment

borrowed these windows, gazing.

We keep still. It is as if these windows

filled for a minute w/a different

Not blue, not amber. But the curtain drawn

over our daily gaze is drawn aside.

Who are you, really. I have seen it

often enough, the naked

gaze of power. We “charge”

the other with it / the leap

into non-betrayal, a wind

w/ out sound we live in. Where

are we, really, climbing

the sides of buildings to peer in

like spiderman, at windows

not our own

You cannot write a single line w/out a cosmology

a cosmogony

laid out, before all eyes
there is no part of yourself you can separate out

saying, this is memory, this is sensation

this is the work I care about, this is how I

make a living
it is whole, it is a whole, it always was whole

you do not “make” it so

there is nothing to integrate, you are a presence

you are an appendage of the work, the work stems from

hangs from the heaven you create
every man / every woman carries a firmament inside

& the stars in it are not the stars in the sky
w/out imagination there is no memory

w/out imagination there is no sensation

w/out imagination there is no will, desire
history is a living weapon in yr hand

& you have imagined it, it is thus that you

“find out for yourself”

history is the dream of what can be, it is

the relation between things in a continuum
of imagination

what you find out for yourself is what you select

out of an infinite sea of possibility

no one can inhabit yr world
yet it is not lonely,

the ground of imagination is fearlessness

discourse is video tape of a movie of a shadow play

but the puppets are in yr hand

your counters in a multidimensional chess

which is divination

& strategy
the war that matters is the war against the imagination

all other wars are subsumed in it.
the ultimate famine is the starvation

of the imagination
it is death to be sure, but the undead

seek to inhabit someone else’s world
the ultimate claustrophobia is the syllogism

the ultimate claustrophobia is “it all adds up”

nothing adds up & nothing stands in for

anything else





There is no way out of a spiritual battle

There is no way you can avoid taking sides

There is no way you can not have a poetics

no matter what you do: plumber, baker, teacher
you do it in the consciousness of making

or not making yr world

you have a poetics: you step into the world

like a suit of readymade clothes
or you etch in light

your firmament spills into the shape of your room

the shape of the poem, of yr body, of yr loves
A woman’s life / a man’s life is an allegory
Dig it
There is no way out of the spiritual battle

the war is the war against the imagination

you can’t sign up as a conscientious objector
the war of the worlds hangs here, right now, in the balance

it is a war for this world, to keep it

a vale of soul-making
the taste in all our mouths is the taste of power

and it is bitter as death
bring yr self home to yrself, enter the garden

the guy at the gate w/ the flaming sword is yrself
the war is the war for the human imagination

and no one can fight it but you/ & no one can fight it for you
The imagination is not only holy, it is precise

it is not only fierce, it is practical

men die everyday for the lack of it,

it is vast & elegant
intellectus means “light of the mind”

it is not discourse it is not even language

the inner sun
the polis is constellated around the sun

the fire is central

the star, the child, the light returns

the darkness will not win completely nor will the green dragon entirely devour the sun
what is this softness that will not take no for an answer

that penetrates and masses like love

in an empty heart?
Buddha has seen the morning star dawns purple and then gold in the snowy mountains
your hands flicker like sunlight among candles

sit down in the streets they buy peace with their blood

it shines on the gloomy pavement
our prayers

envelope us like a crystal sphere in which we all are moving

The Loom of Dreams

“As perfume doth remain In the folds where it hath lain, So the thought of you, remaining Deeply folded in my brain, Will not leave me: all things leave me: You remain.”

– Arthur Symons

A quick one… (well, not really) Not much to say, except it has been a social and work whirl around the digs… 2 days of celebration of Mike & Julie’s wedding (more on this below), followed by Rowan’s gang showing up for D&D on Sunday going until 10, mixed with working on Saturday… I needed to go back to work on Monday just to get rested.
Rowan got a wonderful and most generous present of a Ford Taurus 97′ from our friends the Nixon’s for his graduation and 18th birthday, a wonderful gift! He is determined to get his license so he can use it when he needs it for filming etc. The Taurus is in spotless condition and Rowan’s head is spinning with it all.
Working on the magazine again finally, and will have a listing of articles etc. soon to share.
The emphasis on this edition (stories & poetry) centers on Wales and Cymric culture and mythology. I am excited about bringing you the poetry of Arthur Symons, a British Symbolist Poet from Wales. Wonderful stuff.
Bright Blessings,

On The Menu:

Mike & Julie Get Married!

The Shepherd of Myddvai

From Fairy-Faith In Celtic Countries…Wales

Welsh Symbolist Poet: Arthur Symons

Art: Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Mike & Julie Get Married!
So this past Friday we attended the wedding of our friends Julie and Mike. We have known Julie for 16 years, and Mike for 3-4 years. They have been the best of friends, and constant parts of our lives. The wedding was a wonderful event, and I am very happy that we were invited. We saw many friends, Randy and Deirdre with their daughter Bailey were up from Medford, John Gunn and Sebong were there, and up from Ashland: Karen and Emil, along with their daughter Alex, and son CoCo. Our friends the Rizzo’s were in attendance, and it was a very happy time. We met Mike’s parents up from Chattanooga, and Julies’ brother for the first time.
Mike and Julie are like peas in a pod, they go together so well. Here is wishing them much love and happiness! We will have a few more pictures of the wedding and the party the next evening as well in our next Turfing.
On Marriage

Kahlil Gibran

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.

You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.

Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.

But let there be spaces in your togetherness,

And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.

Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.

For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together yet not too near together:

For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

The Shepherd of Myddvai

This tale tells how a young shepherd won and lost a fairy bride from Lynn y Fan Fach (Van Vach), the fairy lake of the Brecon Beacons. This version was collected and told by Joseph Jacobs and appeared in his book Celtic Fairy Tales published in 1892 (David Nutt). The tale also appears in the chapter on Lake Fairies in British Goblins by Wirt Sikes 1881, as well as a synopsis of similar tales.
Up in the Black Mountains in Carmerthenshire lies the lake known as Lyn y Van Vach. To the margin of this lake the shepherd of Myddvai once led his lambs, and lay there whilst they sought pasture. Suddenly, from the dark waters of the lake, he saw three maidens rise. Shaking the bright drops from their hair and gliding to the shore, they wandered about amongst his flock. They had more than mortal beauty, and he was filled with love for her that came nearest to him. He offered her the bread he had with him, and she took it and tried it, but then sang to him:
Hard-baked is thy bread,’Tis not easy to catch me,

and then ran off laughing to the lake.
Next day he took with him bread not so well done, and watched for the maidens. When they came ashore he offered his bread as before, and the maiden tasted it and sang:
Unbaked is thy bread,I will not have thee,

and again disappeared in the waves.
A third time did the shepherd of Myddvai try to attract the maiden, and this time he offered her bread that he had found floating about near the shore. This pleased her, and she promised to become his wife if he were able to pick her out from among her sisters on the following day. When the time came the shepherd knew his love by the strap of her sandal. Then she told him she would be as good a wife to him as any earthly maiden could be unless he should strike her three times without cause. Of course he deemed that this could never be; and she, summoning from the lake three cows, two oxen, and a bull, as her marriage portion, was led homeward by him as his bride.
The years passed happily, and three children were born to the shepherd and the lake-maiden. But one day here were going to a christening, and she said to her husband it was far to walk, so he told her to go for the horses.
“I will,” said she, “if you bring me my gloves which I’ve left in the house.”
But when he came back with the gloves, he found she had not gone for the horses; so he tapped her lightly on the shoulder with the gloves, and said, “Go, go.”
“That’s one,” said she.
Another time they were at a wedding, when suddenly the lake-maiden fell a-sobbing and a-weeping, amid the joy and mirth of all around her.
Her husband tapped her on the shoulder, and asked her, “Why do you weep?”
“Because they are entering into trouble; and trouble is upon you; for that is the second causeless blow you have given me. Be careful; the third is the last.”
The husband was careful never to strike her again. But one day at a funeral she suddenly burst out into fits of laughter. Her husband forgot, and touched her rather roughly on the shoulder, saying, “Is this a time for laughter?”
“I laugh,” she said, “because those that die go out of trouble, but your trouble has come. The last blow has been struck; our marriage is at an end, and so farewell.”

And with that she rose up and left the house and went to their home. Then she, looking round upon her home, called to the cattle she had brought with her:
Brindle cow, white speckled,

Spotted cow, bold freckled,

Old white face, and gray Geringer,

And the white bull from the king’s coast,

Grey ox, and black calf,

All, all, follow me home,
Now the black calf had just been slaughtered, and was hanging on the hook; but it got off the hook alive and well and followed her; and the oxen, though they were ploughing, trailed the plough with them and did her bidding. So she fled to the lake again, they following her, and with them plunged into the dark waters. And to this day is the furrow seen which the plough left as it was dragged across the mountains to the tarn.
Only once did she come again, when her sons were grown to manhood, and then she gave them gifts of healing by which they won the name of Meddygon Myddvai, the physicians of Myddvai.
The physicians of Myddvai were famous throughout the middle Ages, their power and knowledge thought to have its roots in the power of the fairy race. Their last surviving descendant was said to have died in the 19th century.

From Fairy-Faith In Celtic Countries…Wales

Testimony From An Anglesey Seeress
At Pentraeth, Mr. Gwilyn Jones said to me :- ‘ It always was and still is the opinion that the Tylwyth Teg are a race of spirits. Some people think them small in size, but the one my mother saw was ordinary human size.’ At this, I immediately asked Mr. Jones if his mother was still living, and he replying that she was, gave me her address in Llanfair. So I went directly to interview Mr. Jones’s mother, Mrs. Catherine Jones, and this is the story about the one of the Tylwyth Teg she saw :-
‘Tylwyth Teg’ Apparition.-‘
I was coming home at about half-past ten at night from Cemaes, on the path to Simdda Wen, where I was in service, when there appeared just before me a very pretty young lady of ordinary size. I had no fear, and when I came up to her put out my hand to touch her, but my hand and arm went right through her form. I could not understand this, and so tried to touch her repeatedly with the same result; there was no solid substance in the body, yet it remained beside me, and was as beautiful a young lady as I ever saw. When I reached the door of the house where I was to stop, she was still with me. Then I said “Good night” to her. No response being made, I asked, “Why do you not speak?”
And at this she disappeared. Nothing happened afterwards, and I always put this beautiful young lady down as one of the Tylwyth Teg. There was much talk about my experience when I reported it, and the neighbours, like myself, thought I had seen one of the Tylwyth Teg. I was about twenty-four years old at the time of this incident.’ (1)
Just before crossing the Menai Straits I had the good fortune to meet, at his home in Llanfair, Mr. J. Morris Jones, M.A. (Oxon.), Professor of Welsh in the University College at Bangor, and he, speaking of the fairy-belief in Anglesey as he remembers it from boyhood days, said :-
‘Tylwyth Teg.’- ‘
In most of the tales I heard repeated when I was a boy, I am quite certain the implication was that the Tylwyth Teg were a kind of spirit race having human characteristics, who could at will suddenly appear and suddenly disappear. They were generally supposed to live underground, and to come forth on moonlight nights, dressed in gaudy colours (chiefly in red), to dance in circles in grassy fields. I cannot remember having heard changeling stories here in the Island: I think the Tylwyth Teg were generally looked upon as kind and good-natured, though revengeful if not well treated. And they were believed to have plenty of money at their command, which they could bestow on people whom they liked.’
(1) After this remarkable story, Mrs. Jones told me about another very rare psychical experience of her own, which is here recorded because it Illustrates the working of the psychological law of the association of ideas: – ‘My husband, Price Jones, was drowned some forty years ago, within four miles of Arms Head, near Bangor, on Friday at midday; and that night at about one o’clock he appeared to me in our bedroom and laid his head on my breast. I tried to ask him where he came from, but before I could get my breath he was gone. I believed at the time that he was out at sea perfectly safe and well. But next day, Saturday, at about noon, a message came announcing his death. I was as fully awake as one can be when I thus saw the spirit of my husband. He returned to me a second time about six months later.’ Had this happened in West Ireland, it is almost certain that public opinion would have declared that Price Jones had been taken by the ‘gentry’ or ‘good people’.

Upon leaving Anglesey I undertook some investigation of the Welsh fairy-belief in the country between Bangor and Carnarvon. From the oldest Welsh people of Treborth I heard the same sort of folk-lore as we have recorded from Anglesey, except that prominence was given to a flourishing belief in Bwganod, goblins or bogies. But from Mr. T. T. Davis Evans, of Port Dinorwic, I heard the following very unusual story based on facts, as he recalled it first hand :-
Jones’s Vision .-
William Jones, who some sixty years ago declared be had seen the Tylwyth Teg in the Aberglaslyn Pass near Beddgelert, was publicly questioned about them in Bethel Chapel by Mr. Griffiths, the minister; and he explained before the congregation that the Lord had given him a special vision which enabled him to see the Tylwyth Teg, and that, therefore, he had seen them time after time as little men playing along the river in the Pass. The minister induced Jones to repeat the story many times, because it seemed to please the congregation very much; and the folks present looked upon Jones’s vision as a most wonderful thing.’
To Mr. E. D. Rowlands, head master of the schools at Afonwen, I am indebted for a summary of the fairy-belief in South Carnarvonshire :-
‘Tylwyth Teg.’- ‘
According to the belief in South Carnarvonshire, the Tylwyth Teg were a small, very pretty people always dressed in white, and much given to dancing and singing in rings where grass grew. As a rule, they were visible only at night; though in the day-time, if a mother while hay-making was so unwise as to leave her babe alone in the field, the Tylwyth Teg might take it and leave in its place a hunchback, or some deformed object like a child. At night, the Tylwyth Teg would entice travellers to join their dance and then play all sorts of tricks on them.’ (1)
Fairy Cows and Fairy Lake-Women.- ‘
Some of the
(1) Here we find the Tylwyth Teg showing quite the same characteristics as Welsh elves in general, as Cornish pixies, and as Breton corrigans or lutins; that is, given to dancing at night, to stealing children, and to deceiving traveller.
Tylwyth Teg
lived in caves; others of them lived in lake-bottoms. There is a lake called Llyn y Morwynion, or “Lake of the Maidens “, near Festiniog, where, as the story goes, a farmer one morning found in his field a number of very fine cows such as he had never seen before. Not knowing where they came from, he kept them a long time, when, as it happened, he committed some dishonest act and, as a result, women of the Tylwyth Teg made their appearance in the pasture and, calling the cows by name, led the whole herd into the lake, and with them disappeared beneath its waters. The old people never could explain the nature of the Tylwyth Teg, but they always regarded them as a very mysterious race, and, according to this story of the cattle, as a supernatural race.’

Welsh Symbolist Poet: Arthur Symons

Amends to Nature
I have loved colours, and not flowers;

Their motion, not the swallows wings;

And wasted more than half my hours

Without the comradeship of things.
How is it, now, that I can see,

With love and wonder and delight,

The children of the hedge and tree,

The little lords of day and night?
How is it that I see the roads,

No longer with usurping eyes,

A twilight meeting-place for toads,

A mid-day mart for butterflies?
I feel, in every midge that hums,

Life, fugitive and infinite,

And suddenly the world becomes

A part of me and I of it.

The Opium Smoker
I am engulfed, and drown deliciously

Soft music like a perfume, and sweet light

Golden with audible odours exquisite

Swathe me with cerements for eternity

Time is no more, I pause and yet I flee

A million ages wrap me round with night.

I drain a million ages of delight

I hold the future in my memory.

At Fontainebleau
IT was a day of sun and rain,

Uncertain as a child’s swift moods;

And I shall never spend again

So blithe a day among the woods.
Was it because the Gods were pleased

That they were awful in our eyes,

Whom we in very deed appeased

With barley-cakes of sacrifice?
The forest knew her and was glad,

And laughed for very joy to know

Her child was with her; then, grown sad,

She wept, because her child must go.
And Alice, like a little Faun,

Went leaping over rocks and ferns,

Coursing the shadow-race from dawn

Until the twilight-flock returns.
And she would spy and she would capture

The shyest flower that lit the grass;

The joy I had to watch her rapture

Was keen as even her rapture was.
The forest knew her and was glad,

And laughed and wept for joy and woe.

This was the welcome that she had

Among the woods of Fontainebleau.

By Loe Pool
The pool glitters, the fishes leap in the sun

With joyous fins, and dive in the pool again;

I see the corn in sheaves, and the harvestmen,

And the cows coming down to the water one by one.

Dragon-flies mailed in lapis and malachite

Flash through the bending reeds and blaze on the pool;

Sea-ward, where trees cluster, the shadow is cool;

I hear a singing, where the sea is, out of sight;

It is noontide, and the fishes leap in the pool.

By the Pool of the Third Rosses
I heard the sighing of the reed

In the grey pool in the green land,

The sea-wind in the long reeds sighing

Between the green hill and the sand.
I heard the sighing of the reeds

Day after day, night after night;

I heard the whirring wild ducks flying,

I saw the sea-gull’s wheeling flight.
I heard the sighing of the reeds

Night after night, day after day,

And I forgot old age, and dying,

And youth that loves, and love’s decay.
I heard the sighing of the reeds

At noontide and at evening,

And some old dream I had forgotten

I seemed to be remembering.
I hear the sighing of the reeds:

Is it in vain, is it in vain

That some old peace I had forgotten

Is crying to come back again?

The Loom of Dreams
I broider the world upon a loom,

I broider with dreams my tapestry;

Here in a little lonely room

I am master of earth and sea,

And the planets come to me.
I broider my life into the frame,

I broider my love, thread upon thread;

The world goes by with its glory and shame,

Crowns are bartered and blood is shed;

I sit and broider my dreams instead.
And the only world is the world of my dreams,

And my weaving the only happiness;

For what is the world but what it seems?

And who knows but that God, beyond our guess,

Sits weaving worlds out of loneliness?

Born on Feb. 28th, 1865 at Milford Haven, Wales. Arthur Symons was the son of a Wesleyan minister.
English poet and critic, considered a leader of the symbolists in England. In 1884-1886 he edited four of Quaritch’s Shakespeare Quarto Facsimiles, and in 1888-1889 seven plays of the “Henry Irving” Shakespeare. He became a member of the staff of the Athenaeum in 1891, and of the Saturday Review in 1894.
His first volume of verse, Days and Nights (1889), consisted of dramatic monologues. His later verse is influenced by a close study of modern French writers, of Baudelaire and especially of Verlaine. He reflects French tendencies both in the subject-matter and style of his poems, in their eroticism and their vividness of description. ..


Wanderings Of The Young Dragon

So here we are on the edge of a beautiful weekend…. Julie and Mike are getting married tonight, and we’ll be there to share in the moment. As I said, they are a lovely couple. It is gonna be a wild ride for the next few days!
Rowan turned 18 today! Time has flown, and here it all is, from a child to a man. He is heading off this next week to Ashland for a bit of adventure at the Seminar finals in Ashland that he attended last year with the Shakespearean Festival. His friend Ivy is attending, and he is going to be there to cheer her on and to celebrate the two weeks that she just went through. Truly, the seminar changes young lives, and Rowan is still feeling the effects from last year.

Rowan & Ivy

Well… I Gotta Hop… take a shower, get dressed, and take care of biz before we head to the wedding. I hope your weekend is wonderful!
Bright Blessings, more on the way!

On The Menu:

The Links

Amorphous Androgynous – the Emptiness of Nothingness

Wanderings Of The Young Dragon

Amorphous Androgynous – Light Beyond Sound part1

Afghan Poets: The Poems Of Æabd-Ur-RaḤmĀn…

Æabd-Ur-RaḤmĀn Biography

Amorphous Androgynous – The Peppermint Tree

The Links:

The Masked Little People?

The Hollow Moon…

4,000-year-old Canaanite warrior found in Sidon dig…

Lord of the Memes

Amorphous Androgynous – the Emptiness of Nothingness

Wanderings Of The Young Dragon

On the assumption, which seems fair, that the historic traces of the dragon have led us back to Egypt and Babylonia–and very likely would lead us much farther could we penetrate the obscurities of a remoter past–it is fitting to inquire next how we may account for its presence and varied development elsewhere. Two theories oppose one another in respect to the fact that this and other myths, prejudices, and customs that appear alike, not to say identical, are encountered in widely separated regions, often half the globe apart. One theory explains it on the principle of the general uniformity of human nature and methods of thought, that is, namely: that peoples not at all in contact but under like mental and physical conditions will arrive independently at much the same conclusions as to the origin and causes of natural phenomena, will interpret mysteries of experience and imagination, and will meet daily problems of life, much as unknown others do. This is the older view among ethnologists, and in certain broad features it finds much support, as, for example, in the almost universal respect paid to rainfall and the influences supposed to affect this prime necessity.
Contrary to this view, most students, possessing broader information than formerly, now believe that such resemblances–strikingly numerous–are not mere coincidences arising from a postulated unity of human nature, but are the result of a spread of travellers and instruction from centres where new and impressive ideas or useful inventions have arisen. One of the foremost advocates of this theory of the geographical dispersion of myths and culture, as opposed to local independence of origin, is Professor Smith, quoted in the first chapter, whose books have been of much use to me in this connection. The theory does not deny the occasional independent rise of similar notions and practices here and there, but asserts that it alone accounts for all the important cases, particularly the central nature-myths, of which this of the dragon is esteemed the most important. The doctrine derives its main strength from its ability to show that in the very early, virtually prehistoric, times much closer contact and more frequent intercommunication than was formerly known or considered probable existed among primitive peoples all over the inhabited world. Assuming that at the dawn of history the most advanced communities were those of Egypt and Mesopotamia (with Elam), which were certainly in communication with one another both by land and by sea forty or fifty centuries before Christ, let us see how widespread, if at all, was their influence.
That the Egyptians were building large, sea-going ships as early as 2000 B.C. is well known. In them they traded with Crete and Phoenicia (whence the Phoenicians probably first learned the art of navigation) and with western Mediterranean ports. They sailed up and down the Red Sea, exploring Sinai and Yemen; visited Socotta, where grew the dragon-blood tree; went far south along the African shore; searched the Arabian coast, gathering frankincense (said to be guarded in its growth by small winged serpents); and made voyages back and forth between the Red Sea and the ports of Babylonia and Elam on the Persian Gulf. What surprise could there be were records available that these Egyptian mariners or those in the ships of the people about the Gulf of Persia sometimes continued on to India. Indeed Colonel St. Johnston elaborates a theory that not only the Malay Archipelago but the islands of the South Pacific, especially Polynesia, were colonized prehistorically by a stream of immigrants from Africa and India, who crept along the shore of the Indian Ocean, and from island to island in the East Indies, gradually reaching Australia and going on thence to the sea-islands beyond; and he and others believe that they carried with them ancestral ideas of supernatural beings, whence they made for themselves fish-gods and sea-monsters which some ethnologists regard as not only analogues, but descendants, of dragons. It is stoutly held, furthermore, that the religion of the half-civilized tribes of Mexico owes its characteristic features of serpent-worship and dragon-like symbols to the teaching of Asiatic visitors reaching middle America via Polynesia; but this is disputed, and I shall be content to avoid this controversy–also as far as possible serpent-worship per se–and confine myself to continental Asia and Europe.
The southwestern part of Persia, or Elam, was inhabited contemporaneously with early Babylonia, if not before, by a people of equal or superior culture, and holding a like religion. Their capital, Susa, was the most important city east of the lofty mountains between them and the valleys of Mesopotamia, and attracted traders and visitors from a great surrounding space. Most numerous, probably, were those from the north, from Iran, the country about the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains–inhabited by a race that used to be called Aryans; but many came also from Turanic nomads wandering with their cattle in the valley of the Oxus and eastward to the foot of the Hindoo Koosh, and still others from the eastern plains and coast-lands stretching to the Indus valley.
We may suppose these herdsmen and hunters to have been very simple-minded and crude, and their only semblance of religion to have been the rudest fetishism, animated by fear of ghosts and magic. Only the most enterprising among them, or prisoners of war brought back as slaves, would be likely to visit the more educated South, but there they would hear of definite ‘gods’ with stories behind them of the creation of the world, the gift of precious rain, and of unseen beings of immeasurable power; and they would learn the reason for representing these divine heroes in the forms they saw inscribed on monuments and temples, or in little images given them, thus getting some notion of the philosophy of worship. They would talk of these things by the camp-fire, when they had returned to Iran or Bactria or the Afghan hills, along with their tales of the civilization in Susa, and gradually plainsmen and mountaineers would grow wiser and more imitative. Sailors and merchants also carried enlightening information and ideas, crude as they may seem to us, into the minds of the natives of the shores of India and along the banks of the navigable Indus, whence this news from the West percolated into the more or less savage interior of the peninsula. Later we shall meet with some results of this slow and accidental propaganda.
Meanwhile, a stronger influence was affecting the North Persians. Soon after we first become acquainted with the Sumerians settled in Ur and other places on the lower Euphrates, we learn that they were conquered by Semitic tribes from the West, who created the Babylonian empire. After a while this was overthrown by still more powerful forces higher up the river, until finally the Assyrians became rulers of the whole valley, and ultimately of all Asia Minor north of the Arabian desert. The ancient gods received new names, but the old ideas remained. The antique dragon still stood at the gates of the Assyrian king’s palace, and Ea, the fish-god, reappeared on the shores of the Mediterranean as Dagon of the Philistines. But this is running ahead of my story.
North of Assyria, among the mountains of Armenia, dwelt the Medes, a nation of uncertain affinities, but apparently well advanced towards civilization even in the earlier period of Babylon’s history. They were not, at least primitively, influenced much by the sea-born myths of their southern neighbours, but held a religious creed combined of sun-worship and reverence for serpents–a conjunction which has had many examples elsewhere.
There was born among them, according to good authorities, about a thousand years before Jesus, a man of g
ood family, now called Zoroaster; but others believe he arose in Bactria, and probably at a much older time. He became the founder of a sect holding far higher ideas than those of any of the religious leaders about them. His sect was called Fire-Worshippers, because it kept fires burning perpetually on its altars as a symbol of the pure life believed to be received constantly from the supreme source of life and prosperity, Ormuzd, the All-Wise. It was thus a reform movement rather than a new religion, and inherited a stock of Medic practices and Vedic legends. Its founders and early communicants were evidently in close contact with the people of northern India many centuries before the era of Buddha or Christ, and were trying to elevate religious ideas which were based on faith in the endless conflict between powers classed as helpful to man or injurious to his interests, so that the same gods might be good at one time and bad at another. “Zoroaster established a criterion other than usefulness to determine whether a power was good or bad, by making an ethical distinction between the spirits.” Thus the old nature-gods were still recognized but re-classified on a new spiritual and ethical basis; yet they shrank into subordinate rank beside the Wise Spirit Ormuzd, who was in no sense a nature-god but “spirit only and withal the spirit of truth, purity, and justice.” These refined ideas gradually sank, however, into the meaner old religion that underlay them; and in opposition to Ormuzd, the personification of All Good, arose a host combined of all the old malicious spirits and influences (demons), led by a supreme personification of Evil called by Zoroaster Lie-Demon, who afterward “becomes the Hostile or Harmful Spirit, Angra Mainyu, Ahriman” of Persian writings. “Among the beings opposed to Ormuzd a conspicuous place is taken by the dragon, Azhi Dahaka, whose home is in Bapel (Babylon) a ‘druj,’ half-human, half-beast, with three heads. . . . This dragon creates drouth and disease.” Here we have recovered the trail of the figure we have been studying, and find him travelling eastward with the mark of Babylon still upon him.
The most ancient writings that have come down to us are the Vedas-poems, fables, and allegories recorded in ancient Sanscrit perhaps a dozen centuries before the beginning of the Christian era. They picture weather phenomena as a series of battles fought by a god, Indra, armed with lightnings and thunder, against Azhi, the evil genius of the universe, who has carried off certain benevolent goddesses described allegorically as ‘milch-cows,’ and who keeps them captive in the folds of the clouds. This fiend was described as a serpent, not because that reptile in life was subtle and crafty, but because he seeks to envelop the goddess of light, the source of the blessed rain, with coils of clouds as with a snake’s folds. In the Gathas and Yasnas, or earliest sacred writings of Persia, preceding the Avesta, the ‘Bible’ of the Zoroastrians, it is asserted that Trita smote Azhi before Indra killed the “monster that kept back the waters.” It is a theory of many primitive peoples that an eclipse of the sun or moon means that a celestial monster is swallowing the luminary: the Sumatrans say it is a big snake. Even at this day in China “ignorant folk at the beginning of an eclipse throw themselves on their knees and beat gongs and drums to frighten away the hungry devil.” The moon and rainfall are very closely connected in many mythologies.
The forms and characters in which the sky-war appears are almost innumerable as one reads the mythologic narratives of India and Persia; even the summary sketched in his Zoological Mythology (Chapter V), by Angelo de Gubernatis, is bewildering in its changes of persons and scenes and methods, involving an exuberance of imagery in which may be discerned the roots of many an attribute characterizing the dragon-stories of long-subsequent times, such as their guarding of treasure, or kidnapping of women, or the grotesque horror of their appearance. And it was all a matter of weather and of the preciousness of rain in a thirsty land!
Superstition went so far as to imagine that human beings of malignant temper might adopt the character and functions of these celestial mischief-makers. It is related in the book Si-Yu-Ki, written by Hiuen Tsang, the famous Chinese traveller of the 7th century A.D. (Beal’s translation), that in the old days, a certain shepherd provided the king with milk and cream. “Having on one occasion failed to do so, and having received a reprimand, he proceeded . . . with the prayer that he might become a destructive dragon.” His prayer was answered affirmatively, and he betook himself to a cavern whence he intended to ravish the country. Then Tathagata, moved by pity, came from a long distance, persuaded the dragon to behave well, and himself took up his abode in the cavern.
Having interpolated this incident, it may be pardonable to give another, extracted from the Buddhist Records, illustrating how Buddhist influences tended to modify the fierceness in Brahmanic teachings when they had penetrated the minds of Hindoos dwelling in the valley of the Indus, where, probably, the doctrines of the gentle saint began first to get a foothold in India. The lower valley of that river was visited in 400 A.D., by the Chinese traveller Fa-Huan, who reported that he found at one place a vast colony of male and female disciples:
A white-eared dragon is the patron of this body of priests. He causes fertilizing and seasonable showers of rain to fall within this country, and preserves it from plagues and calamities, and so causes the priesthood to dwell in security. The priests in gratitude for these favours have erected a dragon-chapel, and within it placed a resting-place for his accommodation [and] provide the dragon with food. . . . At the end of each season of rain the dragon suddenly assumes the form of a little serpent both of whose ears are edged with white. The body of priests, recognizing him, place in the midst of his lair a copper vessel full of cream; and then . . . walk past him in procession as if to pay him greeting. He then suddenly disappears. He makes his appearance once every year.
Let us now return to our proper path from this Indian excursion. The Persian Azhi, or Ashi Dahaka, is described in Yasti IX as a “fiendish snake, three-jawed and triple-headed, six-eyed, of thousand powers and of mighty strength, a lie-demon of the Daevas, evil for our settlements, and wicked, whom the evil spirit Angra Mainyu made.” Darmesteter asserts that the original seat of the Azhi myth was on the southern shore of the Caspian Sea. He says that Azhi was the ‘snake’ of the storm-cloud, and is the counterpart of the Vedic Ahi or Vritra. “He appears still in that character in Yasti XIX seq., where he is described struggling against Atar (Fire) in the sea Vourukasha. His contest with Yima Khshaeta bore at first the same mythological character, the ‘shining Yima’ being originally, like the Vedic Yima, a solar hero: when Yima was turned into an earthly king Azhi underwent the same fate.” He became then the symbol of the enemies of Iran, first the hated Chaldeans and later the Arabs who persecuted the Zoroastrians. A well-known poem of Firdausi relates the legend of how Ahriman in disguise kisses the shoulders of Zohak, a knight who is Azhi in human form, from which kiss sprang venomous serpents. These are replaced as fast as destroyed, and must be fed on the brains of men. In the end Zohak is seized and chained to a rock, where he perishes beneath the rays of the sun. “Fire is everywhere the deadly foe of these ‘fiendish’ serpents, which are water-spirits; they are ever powerless against the sun, as was Azhi, lacking wit, against Ormuzd.”
Such were the notions and faiths regarding dragons as expressed in the earliest written records we possess of philosophy and imager
y among Aryan folk; and they floated down the stream of time, remembered and trusted as generation after generation of these simple-minded, poetic people succeeded one another and gradually wandered away from their northern homes to become conquerors and colonists in Iran and India. Let us note certain stories in modern Persian history and literature exhibiting this survival of the ancient ideas.
In his narrative of his travels in Persia, published in London in 1821, Sir William Ouseley relates that in his time there stood near Shiraz the remains of a once mighty castle called Fahender after its builder, a son of the legendary king Ormuz (or Hormuz). This prince rebelled against his brother on the throne and took possession of Fars, with help from the Sassanian family, long before the founding of Shiraz in the 7th century A.D. The castle was repeatedly ruined and repaired as the centuries progressed, and local wiseacres maintain that in it are buried royal arms, treasures, and jewels hidden by the ancient kings, and these are guarded by a talisman. “Tradition adds another guardian to the precious deposit–a dragon or winged serpent; this sits forever brooding over the treasures which it cannot enjoy; greedy of gold, like those famous griffins that contended with the ancient Arimaspians.”
This term ‘Arimaspian’ seems to have been a name among the more settled people of Persia for the more or less nomadic tribes of the plains and mountains west of them, who in subsequent times, nearer the beginning of our era, are seen following one another in great waves of conquering migration from the steadily drying pastures of what we now call Kurdistan westward to the steppes of southern Russia. The earliest of these known as a definite nation were the Cimmerians, who perhaps reached their special country north of the sea of Azov by migration across the mountains of Armenia and the Caucasus. These were followed and replaced by the Scythians, and they in turn were driven out or absorbed by the Sarmatians. The area they occupied successively north of the Black Sea has been explored by Russian archaeologists, who find that during several centuries previous to the Christian era a substantial though crude civilization existed there, and the worship, or at least a respect for, the snake-dragon prevailed among these peoples. The writings of Prof. M. Rostovtzeff make these investigations accessible to English readers. The dragon-relics discovered make it evident that the notions relating to this matter preserved among the barbarians and peasantry of north-central Europe, which we shall encounter later, were largely derived from these proto-Russians, especially the Sarmatians; and also that they influenced the ideas of the dragon that we shall find in China, with which these early people of the western plains were in constant communication by way of Turkestan, Thibet and Mongolia.
Thus Osvald Siren, author of Chinese Art, in speaking of very early Chinese sculptures, and especially of dragon-figures, remarks:
It seems evident that these dragons are of Sarmatian origin. Their enormous heads and claws are sometimes translated into pure ornaments; their tails into rhythmic curves like the ornamental dragons on the runic stones in Gotland. These two great classes of ornamental dragons, the Chinese and the Scandinavian, are no doubt descendants from the same original stock, which may have had its first period of artistic procreation in western Asia. The artistic ideals of the northern Wei dynasty remained preponderant in Chinese sculpture up to the sixth century (A.D.).
In his famous epic the Shah Nameh, translated by Atkinson, Firdausi describes the wondrous adventures of the Persian hero Rustem, who like Hercules had to perform seven labours. At the third stage of this task he was alone in a wilderness with his magical horse Rakush, and lay down to sleep at night, after turning the horse loose to graze. Presently a great dragon came out of the forest. “It was eighty yards in length, and so fierce that neither elephant nor demon nor lion ever ventured to pass by its lair.” As it came forth it saw and attacked the horse, whose resistance awakened Rustem; but when Rustem looked around nothing was visible–the dragon had vanished and the horse got a scolding. Rustem went to sleep again. A second time the vision frightened Rakush, then vanished. The third time it appeared the faithful horse “almost tore up the earth with its heels to rouse his sleeping master.” Rustem again sprang angrily to his feet, but at that moment sufficient light was providentially given to enable him to see the prodigious cause of the horse’s alarm.
Then swift he drew his sword and closed in strife

With that huge monster.–Dreadful was the shock

And perilous to Rustem, but when Rakush

Perceived the contest doubtful, furiously

With his keen teeth he bit and tore among

The dragon’s scaly hide; whilst, quick as thought,

The champion severed off the grisly head,

And deluged all the plain with horrid blood.
Another hero of popular legend woven into his history by Firdausi was Isfendiar (son of King Gushtask, himself a dragon-killer), who also had to perform seven labours, the second of which was to fight an enormous and venomous dragon such as this:
Fire sparkles round him; his stupendous bulk

Looks like a mountain. When incensed his roar

Makes the surrounding country shake with fear,

White poison foam drips from his hideous jaws,

Which, yawning wide, display a dismal gulf,

The grave of many a hapless being, lost

Wandering amidst that trackless wilderness.
Isfendiar’s companion, Kurugsar, so magnified the power and ferocity of the beast, which he knew of old, that Isfendiar thought it well to be cautious, and therefore had constructed a closed car on wheels, on the outside of which he fastened a large number of pointed instruments. To the amazement of his admirers he then shut himself within this armoured chariot, and proceeded towards the dragon’s haunt. Listen to Firdausi:
. . . Darkness now is spread around,

No pathway can be traced;

The fiery horses plunge and bound

Amid the dismal waste.

And now the dragon stretches far

His cavern-throat, and soon

Licks the horses and the car,

And tries to gulp them down.

But sword and javelin sharp and keen,

Wound deep each sinewy jaw;

Midway remains the huge machine

And chokes the monster’s maw.

And from his place of ambush leaps,

And brandishing his blade,

The weapon in the brain he steeps,

And splits the monster’s head.

But the foul venom issuing thence,

Is so o’erpowering found,

Isfendiar, deprived of sense,

Falls staggering to the ground.

As for the dragon–

In agony he breathes, a dire

Convulsion fires his blood,

And, struggling ready to expire,

Ejects a poison flood.

And thus disgorges wain and steeds.

And swords and javelins bright;

Then, as the dreadful dragon bleeds,

Up starts the warrior knight.


Amorphous Androgynous – Light Beyond Sound part1

Afghan Poets: The Poems Of Æabd-Ur-RaḤmĀn…


Behold! such an Omnipotent Being is my God,

That He is the possessor of all power, authority, and will.
Should one enumerate all the most mighty, pure, and eminent,

My God is mightier, purer, and more eminent than all.
No want, nor requirement of His, is dependant upon any one;

Neither is my God under obligation, nor beholden to any.
Out of nothingness He produced the form of entity;

In such wise is my God the Creator, and the Nourisher of all.
He is the artist and the artificer of all and every created thing:

My God is, likewise, the hearer of every word and accent.
That which hath neither type nor parallel anywhere,

Its essence and its nature, its material and its principle, my God is.
All the structures, whether of this world or of that to come,

My God is the architect, and the builder of them all.
He is the decipherer and the construer of the unwritten pages—

The unfolder and the elucidator of all mysteries my God is.
Apparent or manifest; hidden or obscure; intermediate or intercalary;

My God is cognizant of, and familiar with, all matters and things.
He hath neither partner nor associate—His dominion is from Himself alone

A sovereign, without colleague or coadjutor, my God is.
Not that His unity and individuality proceed from impuissance;

For, in His one and unique nature, He is infinite, unlimited.
They have neither need nor necessity of the friendship of others,

Unto whom my God is beneficently and graciously inclined.
Wherefore then the occasion that I should seek Him elsewhere,

Since, in mine own dwelling, my God is ever at my side?
O Raḥmān! He is neither liable to change, nor to mutation—

My God is unchangeable and immutable, for ever and ever!

My weeping for the beloved hath passed beyond all computation;

Yet the dear one is in no way affected at the sight of my tears.
Though every one of my words should be pearls of great price,

Still she doth not account them at all worthy of her ears.
Were she overcome by sleep, I would arouse her by my cries;

But though fully awake, my loved one is asleep unto me.
Like unto a writing, I speak, though with mouth covered;

But my silence surpasseth my wails and my lamentations?
When is there security for the crop of love in scorching ground!

It requireth a salamander to exist in this desert of mine.
This is not my love that separation hath parted from me:

’Tis my soul, which hath become separated from this body of mine.
I, Raḥmān, desire naught else than the beloved of my heart,

Should my prayer be accepted at the threshold of the Almighty.

There is no return for thee, a second time, unto this world!

To-day is thy opportunity, whether thou followest evil or good!
Every thing for which the opportunity is gone, is the phœnix of our desires;

But the immortal bird hath never been caught in any one’s net.
The stream, that hath left the sluice, floweth not back again!

The hour, which hath passed away, returneth to us no more!
For time is, alas! like unto the dead in the sepulchre’s niche;

And no one hath brought, by weeping, the dead to life again.
If thou hast any object to attain, be quick, for time is short:

Flatter not thyself on the permanency of this brief existence!
Each target, of which, in thy heart, thou considerest thyself sure,

Through pride and vanity, thou wilt surely miss thine aim of.
Over-sanguine hope hath rendered many desponding:

Be not off thy guard as to the deceit and fraud of time!
When thy mouth becometh shattered by the stroke of death,

In what manner wilt thou then offer praises with it?
The bereaved woman, who giveth utterance to her bewailings,

Lamenteth over thee, if thou understandest what she says.
Thou art not a child, that one should teach thee by force:

Thou art wise and intelligent, and arrived at maturity’s years.
Exercise, then, thine own understanding as to good and evil,

Whether thy well-being lieth in this, or in that.
Conceal thy face beneath thy mantle, and open thine eyes:

Fly not far away on the winds of vanity and ambition!
Soar not unto the heavens with thy head in the air,

For thou art, originally, from the dust of the earth created.
At the last day, inquiry will not be made of thee,

As to whether thou art the son or grandson of such an one.
To the bride, who may not be handsome in her own person,

What signify her mother’s or her grandmother’s good looks?
Practise goodness in thine own person, and fear evil!

Presume not on the virtues of thy father or thy mother!
These precepts, O my friend! I urge upon myself:

Be not then grieved that I have made use of thy name.
I use thine and those of others, but speak to myself alone:

With any one else, I have neither motive nor concern.
Whatever I utter, I address the whole unto myself:

All these failings and defects are only mine own.
Had I a place for these sorrows within my own breast,

Why should I give utterance unto these declamations?
Since the racking pains of mortality are before thee,

Why dost thou not die, O Raḥmān! before they come?

No one hath proved any of the world’s faithfulness or sincerity;

And none, but the faithless and perfidious, have any affection for it.
They who may lay any claim unto it, as belonging to them,

Speak wholly under delusion; for the world is no one’s own.
Fortune is like unto a potter—it fashioneth and breaketh:

Many, like unto me and thee, it hath created and destroyed.
Every stone and clod of the world, that may be looked upon,

Are all sculls; some those of kings, and some of beggars.
It behoveth not that one should place a snare in the world’s path;

For the capture of the griffin and the phœnix cannot be effected.
Who can place any dependence upon this fleeting breath?

It is impossible to confine the wind with the strongest chain!
Whether the sun or the moon, the upshot is extinction:

Doth the flower always bloom? Nothing can exist for ever!
Walk not, O Raḥmān! contrary to the ways of the enlightened;

Since the love of the world is not approved of by any wise man.

If one seek a charmer in the world, this is the one:

This is the dear one, who is the ornament of the universe.
There will hot be such another lover in it as myself;

Nor will ever such a beloved one be created like thee.
I had shown patience under thy harshness and cruelty;

But, in the place of lamentation, joy and gladness cannot be.
I will never consent to be separated from thee,

So long as my soul is not separated from this body of mine.
Like unto the congregation behind, with the priest before,

In such wise have I imitated and followed thee.
I am not the only one—the whole world loveth thee!

Whether it be the beggar, or the sovereign of the age.
Would that thou wouldst grant me a deed of protection,

Since thou puttest me off with the promise of to-morrow!
’Tis not that of mine own accord I am smitten with thee:

’Twas a voice from thy direction that reached me.
Indeed, from all eternity, I am devoted unto thee—.

It is not that to-day only, I have a beginning made.
When with the sword of thy love it shall be severed,

Then will the neck of Raḥmān have its duty performed.

The godly are the light and the refulgence of the world:

The pious are the guides and the directors of mankind.
If any one seek the way unto God and his Prophet,

The devout are the guides to point out the path.
The alchemist, that searcheth about for the philosopher’s stone,

Will find it the bosom companion of the sanctified.
In the society of the enlightened, he will turn to red gold,

Though a person may be as a stone or a clod of the desert.
The ignorant are, as it were, like unto the dead:

Verily, the wise are like unto the saints themselves.
The enlightened are, comparatively, like unto the Messiah;

Since, from their breath, the dead return to life again.
He who may not possess some portion of wisdom

Is not a man: he is, as it were, but an empty model.

I, Raḥmān, am the servant of every enlightened being,

Whether he be of the highest, the middle, or the lowest degree.

Come, do not be the source of trouble unto any one;

For this short life of thine will soon be lost, O faithless one!
No one is to be a tarrier behind, in this world:

All are to be departers, either to-day or to-morrow.
Those dear friends, who to-day bloom before thee,

Will, in two or three short days, fade and decay.
If the sight of any be pleasing to thee, cherish them:

After they wither and die, when will they again revive?
The leaves of autumn, that fall from the branch,

By no contrivance can the sage attach them again.
When the rain-drops fall from the sky upon the earth,

They cannot again ascend unto the heavens whence they came.
Imagine not, that those tears which the eye sheddeth,

Shall e’er again return to the eyes they flowed from.
This is a different sun that riseth every morn:

The sun, that setteth once, riseth not again.
Though paradise is not gained by devotion, without grace;

Still, every man his neck from the debt must release. ~
Shouldst thou incur a hundred toils for the flesh’s sake,

Not one shall be of any avail to-morrow unto thee.
Shouldst thou gorge thy stomach with the world itself,

Thou wilt not be remembered, either in blessings or in prayers.
Shouldst thou give but a grain of corn unto the hungered,

Verily, it will be hereafter thy provision in eternity.
Shouldst thou bestow but a drop of water on the thirsty,

It will become an ocean between thee and the fire of hell.
Shouldst thou once bow thy head in the road of the Almighty,

Thou shalt, at the last day, be more exalted than any.
This world, then, is the mart, if one be inclined to traffic;

But in that world there is neither barter nor gain.
If friends comprehend aught, to-day is their time,

That one friend may show self-devotion to another.
If there is any real existence here, of a truth ’tis this,

That in some one’s society it should in happiness pass.
May God protect us from such a state of existence,

Where thou mayst speak ill of others, and others of thee.
Poison even, is pleasant, if it be in peace and in concord;

But not sugar, combined with sedition and with strife.
The belly, filled with rubbish, is well, if free from sorrow;

But not so, though gorged with confection of the dregs of woe.
The back, bent from toil, is indeed estimable;

But not from a purse of ill-gotten money round the waist. ~
A blind man, who seeth nothing, is truly excellent;

Better than that he should set eyes on another man’s wife.
A dumb person is far better without palate or tongue,

Than that his tongue should become the utterer of evil words.
A deaf man, who cannot hear, is preferable by far,

Than that his ears should be open to scandalous tales.
Demon or devil, that may come upon one, is agreeable;

But let not the Almighty a bad man before thee bring!
Than to bear the society of a fool, it is more preferable

That a fiery dragon should become one’s bosom friend.
If there be a real difficulty, it is the healing of hearts;

But the profit and loss of the world are trifling affairs.
Its advantages, or its detriments, are trivial matters—

God forbid that any one become infamous for despicable things!
Forbid that any such desire of thine be accomplished,

Whereby the heart of thy brother or relation be grieved!
Should one eat delicious food, and another be eyeing it,

Such is not victuals, it is mere poison, so to speak.
It behoveth at times to respect other’s wishes, at times thine own;

But thine own good pleasure is not to be regarded always.
The wise concern not themselves in such matters,

In which there’s constant grief, and not an hour’s pleasure.
It is incumbent on judges to administer justice;

But not to give their ears unto venal things.
Thoughts and ideas of all sorts enter into man’s mind;

But it is not meet to account them all right and just.
The devout should have a constant eye towards their faith;

For some thoughts are virtues, whilst others are sins.
God forbid that iniquity proceed from any one’s hands!

What affinity is there between sin and innocence—evil and good?
It is not that all men are equally on a parity together;

For some are eminent, some indifferent, some vile and base.
The dignity of every one lieth within its own degree:

It idiot meet that the groom should the noble’s rank acquire.
I, Raḥmān, neither thank, nor complain of any one;

For I have no other friend or enemy but myself.


Æabd-Ur-RaḤmĀn Biography

Mullā Æabd-ur-Raḥmān is one of the most popular, and probably the best known, of all the Afghān poets. His effusions are of a religious or moral character, and chiefly on the subject of divine love, being, like the poetical compositions of all Muḥammadan poets, tinged with the mysticisms of Ṣūfi-ism, already described in the Introductory Remarks; but there is a fiery energy in his style, and a natural simplicity, which will be vainly sought for amongst the more flowery and bombastic poetry of the Persians.
Raḥmān belonged to the Ghorīah Khel clan or sub-division, of the Mohmand tribe of the Afghāns, and dwelt in the village of Hazār-Khānī, in the tapah or district of the Mohmands, one of the five divisions of the province of Pes’hāwar. He was a man of considerable learning, but lived the life of a Darwesh, absorbed in religious contemplation, and separated from the world, with which, and with its people, he held no greater intercourse than necessity and the means of subsistence demanded. He is said to have been passionately fond of hearing religious songs, accompanied by some musical instrument, which the Chastī sect of Muḥammadans ~ appears to have a great partiality for. After a time, when the gift of poesy was bestowed upon him, he became a strict recluse, and was generally found by his friends in tears. Indeed, he is said to have been in the habit of weeping so much, as in course of time to have produced wounds on both his cheeks. His strict retirement, however, gave opportunity to a number of envious Mullās to belie him; and they began to circulate reports to the effect, that Raḥmān had turned atheist or heretic, since he never left his dwelling, and had even given up worshipping at the mosque along with the congregation—a matter strictly enjoined on all orthodox Muḥammadans. At length, by the advice and assistance of some of the priesthood, more liberal and less bigoted than his enemies, he contrived to escape from their hands, by agreeing, for the future, to attend the place of public worship, and to pray and perform his other religious duties, along with the members of the congregation. He thus, whether agreeable to himself or not, was obliged in some measure to mix with the world; and this, doubtless, gave rise to the ode at page 29, to which the reader is referred.
Raḥmān appears to have been in the habit of giving the copies of his poems, as he composed. them, from time to time, to his particular friends, which they, unknown to each other, took care to collect and preserve, for the express purpose of making a collection of them after the author’s death. This they accordingly carried out, and it was not until Raḥmān’s decease that these facts became known. It then appeared also, that some of these pseudo friends had, to increase the bulk of their own collection of the poet’s odes, mixed up a quantity of their own trashy compositions with Raḥmān’s, and had added, or rather forged, his name to them in the last couplets. In this manner two of these collections of odes were made, and were styled Raḥmān’s first and second. Fortunately for his reputation, these forgeries were discovered in time, by some of the dearest of the poet’s friends, who recognised or remembered the particular poems of his composition; and they accordingly rejected the chaff, retaining the wheat only, in the shape of his Dīwān, or alphabetical collection of odes, as it has come down to the present day. Still, considerable differences exist in many copies, some odes having a line more or a line less, whilst some again contain odes that are entirely wanting in others. This caused me considerable trouble when preparing several of them for insertion in my “Selections in the Afghān Language;” but it was attended with a proportionate degree of advantage, having altogether compared some sixty different copies of the poet’s works, of various dates, some of which were written shortly after Raḥmān’s death, when his friends had succeeded in collecting the poems in a single volume.
By some accounts, the poet would appear to have been a co-temporary of the warrior-poet, Khushḥāl Khān; ~ and it has been stated, that on two or three occasions they held poetical disputations together. This, however, cannot be true; for it seems that although Raḥmān was living towards the latter part of that brave chieftain’s life, yet he was a mere youth, and was, more correctly speaking, a cotemporary of Afẓal Khān’s, the grandson and successor of Khushḥāl, and the author of that rare, excellent, and extensive Afghān history, entitled, “Tārīkh-i-Muraṣṣaæ,” and other valuable works. A proof of the incorrectness of this statement is, that the tragical end of Gul Khān and Jamal Khān, which Raḥmān and the poet Ḥamīd also have devoted a long poem to, † took place in the year of the Hijrah 1123 (a.d. 1711), twenty-five years after the death of Khushḥāl. Another, and still stronger proof against the statement of poetical disputations having taken place between them, is the fact of Raḥmān’s retired life, and his humble position, as compared with that of Khushḥāl, the chief of a powerful tribe, and as good a poet as himself.
Some descendants of Raḥmān, on his daughter’s side, dwell at present in the little hamlet of Deh-i-Bahādur (the Hamlet of the Brave), in the Mohmand district; but the descendants on the side of his only son have long been extinct.
The poet’s tomb may still be seen in the graveyard of his native village.


Amorphous Androgynous – The Peppermint Tree


The Spilled Cup..

Go sweep out the chamber of your heart.

Make it ready to be the dwelling place of the Beloved.

When you depart out, He will enter it.

In you, void of yourself, will He display His beauties.

-Mahmud Shabistari

So it has been a few days of feeling inspired around Turfing… This often happens when I discover new poetry, see a good film, hear some great music… or all of the above. I like the feeling of the event horizon opening up. There are such untapped worlds constantly around us…
A nice weekend, with good people.. (La Familia)… Rowan’s friend Jordan B. came by, they were working on some D&D game for later in the week. Rowan is turning 18 this coming weekend, on the 8th… Our friends Julie and Mike are getting married on his birthday, at 8:00 at night… 80) Really, they are such an excellent couple. I expect a gathering of the clan for this one. We are putting Rowan’s birthday celebration off for a bit so we can drink this one in. Julie has known Rowan since he was 2 years old. The time has flown by so quickly! Mike came into her life a couple of years back, and it is glorious match in my POV. So.. there family’s are coming into town, and it looks like one of those wonderful weekends coming up!
Hope this finds you well, and surrounded by Love,

On The Menu:


The Cobbler Astrologer – A Persian Tale

The Sacred Poetry Of Sa’d Ud Din Mahmud Shabistari

Do penguins fly?



The Cobbler Astrologer

– A Persian Tale
In the great city of Isfahan lived Ahmed the cobbler, an honest and industrious man, whose wish was to pass through life quietly; and he might have done so, had he not married a handsome wife, who, although she had condescended to accept of him as a husband, was far from being contented with his humble sphere of life.
Sittâra, such was the name of Ahmed’s wife, was ever forming foolish schemes of riches and grandeur; and though Ahmed never encouraged them, he was too fond a husband to quarrel with what gave her pleasure. An incredulous smile or a shake of the head was his only answer to her often-told day-dreams; and she continued to persuade herself that she was certainly destined to great fortune.
It happened one evening, while in this temper of mind, that she went to the Hemmâm, where she saw a lady retiring dressed in a magnificent robe, covered with jewels, and surrounded by slaves. This was the very condition Sittâra had always longed for, and she eagerly inquired the name of the happy person who had so many attendants and such fine jewels. She learned it was the wife of the chief astrologer to the king. With this information she returned home. Her husband met her at the door, but was received with a frown, nor could all his caresses obtain a smile or a word; for several hours she continued silent, and in apparent misery. At length she said—
“Cease your caresses, unless you are ready to give me a proof that you do really and sincerely love me.”
“What proof of love,” exclaimed poor Ahmed, “can you desire which I will not give?”
“Give over cobbling; it is a vile, low trade, and never yields more than ten or twelve dinars a day. Turn astrologer! your fortune will be made, and I shall have all I wish, and be happy.”
“Astrologer!” cried Ahmed,—”astrologer! Have you forgotten who I am—a cobbler, without any learning—that you want me to engage in a profession which requires so much skill and knowledge?”
“I neither think nor care about your qualifications,” said the enraged wife; “all I know is, that if you do not turn astrologer immediately I will be divorced from you to-morrow.”
The cobbler remonstrated, but in vain. The figure of the astrologer’s wife, with her jewels and her slaves, had taken complete possession of Sittâra’s imagination. All night it haunted her; she dreamt of nothing else, and on awaking declared she would leave the house if her husband did not comply with her wishes. What could poor Ahmed do? He was no astrologer, but he was dotingly fond of his wife, and he could not bear the idea of losing her. He promised to obey, and, having sold his little stock, bought an astrolabe, an astronomical almanac, and a table of the twelve signs of the zodiac. Furnished with these he went to the market-place, crying, “I am an astrologer! I know the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the twelve signs of the zodiac; I can calculate nativities; I can foretell everything that is to happen!”
No man was better known than Ahmed the cobbler. A crowd soon gathered round him. “What! friend Ahmed,” said one, “have you worked till your head is turned?” “Are you tired of looking down at your last,” cried another, “that you are now looking up at the planets?” These and a thousand other jokes assailed the ears of the poor cobbler, who, notwithstanding, continued to exclaim that he was an astrologer, having resolved on doing what he could to please his beautiful wife.
It so happened that the king’s jeweller was passing by. He was in great distress, having lost the richest ruby belonging to the crown. Every search had been made to recover this inestimable jewel, but to no purpose; and as the jeweller knew he could no longer conceal its loss from the king, he looked forward to death as inevitable. In this hopeless state, while wandering about the town, he reached the crowd around Ahmed and asked what was the matter. “Don’t you know Ahmed the cobbler?” said one of the bystanders, laughing; “he has been inspired, and is become an astrologer.”
A drowning man will catch at a broken reed: the jeweller no sooner heard the sound of the word astrologer, than he went up to Ahmed, told him what had happened, and said, “If you understand your art, you must be able to discover the king’s ruby. Do so, and I will give you two hundred pieces of gold. But if you do not succeed within six hours, I will use all my influence at court to have you put to death as an impostor.”
Poor Ahmed was thunderstruck. He stood long without being able to move or speak, reflecting on his misfortunes, and grieving, above all, that his wife, whom he so loved, had, by her envy and selfishness, brought him to such a fearful alternative. Full of these sad thoughts, he exclaimed aloud, “O woman, woman! thou art more baneful to the happiness of man than the poisonous dragon of the desert!”
The lost ruby had been secreted by the jeweller’s wife, who, disquieted by those alarms which ever attend guilt, sent one of her female slaves to watch her husband. This slave, on seeing her master speak to the astrologer, drew near; and when she heard Ahmed, after some moments of apparent abstraction, compare a woman to a poisonous dragon, she was satisfied that he must know every- thing. She ran to her mistress, and, breathless with fear, cried, “You are discovered, my dear mistress, you are discovered by a vile astrologer. Before six hours are past the whole story will be known, and you will become infamous, if you are even so fortunate as to escape with life, unless you can find some way of prevailing on him to be merciful.” She then related what she had seen and heard; and Ahmed’s exclamation carried as complete conviction to the mind of the terrified mistress as it had done to that of her slave.
The jeweller’s wife, hastily throwing on her veil, went in search of the dreaded astrologer. When she found him, she threw herself at his feet, crying, “Spare my honour and my life, and I will confess everything!”
“What can you have to confess to me?” exclaimed Ahmed in amazement. “Oh, nothing! nothing with which you are not already acquainted. You know too well that I stole the ruby from the king’s crown. I did so to punish my husband, who uses me most cruelly; and I thought by this means to obtain riches for myself, and to have him put to death. But you, most wonderful man, from whom nothing is hidden, have discovered and defeated my wicked plan. I beg only for mercy, and will do whatever you command me.”
An angel from heaven could not have brought more consolation to Ahmed than did the jeweller’s wife. He assumed all the dignified solemnity that became his new character, and said, “Woman! I know all thou hast done, and it is fortunate for thee that thou hast come to confess thy sin and beg for mercy before it was too late. Return to thy house, put the ruby under the pillow of the couch on which thy husband sleeps; let it be laid on the side furthest from the door; and be satisfied thy guilt shall never be even suspected.”
The jeweller’s wife returned home, and did as she was desired. In an hour Ahmed followed her, and told the jeweller he had made his calculations, and found by the aspect of the sun and moon, and by the configuration of the stars, that the ruby was at that moment lying under the pillow of his couch, on the side furthest from the door. The jeweller thought Ahmed must be crazy; but as a ray of hope is like a ray from heaven to the wretched, he ran to his couch, and there, to his joy and wonder, found the ruby in the very place described. He came back to Ahmed, embraced him, called him his 1 dearest friend and the preserver
of his life, and gave him the two hundred pieces of gold, declaring that he was the first astrologer of the age.
These praises conveyed no joy to the poor cobbler, who returned home more thankful to God for his preservation than elated by his good fortune. The moment he entered the door his wife ran up to him and exclaimed, “Well, my dear astrologer! what success?”
“There!” said Ahmed, very gravely,—”there are two hundred pieces of gold. I hope you will be satisfied now, and not ask me again to hazard my life, as I have done this morning.” He then related all that had passed. But the recital made a very different impression on the lady from what these occurrences had made on Ahmed. Sittâra saw nothing but the gold, which would enable her to vie with the chief astrologer’s wife at the Hemmâm. “Courage!” she said, “courage! my dearest husband. This is only your first labour in your new and noble profession. Go on and prosper, and we shall become rich and happy.”
In vain Ahmed remonstrated and represented the danger; she burst into tears, and accused him of not loving her, ending with her usual threat of insisting upon a divorce.
Ahmed’s heart melted, and he agreed to make another trial. Accordingly, next morning he sallied forth with his astrolabe, his twelve signs of the zodiac, and his almanac, exclaiming, as before, “I am an astrologer! I know the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the twelve signs of the zodiac; I can calculate nativities; I can foretell everything that is to happen!” A crowd again gathered round him, but it was now with wonder, and not ridicule; for the story of the ruby had gone abroad, and the voice of fame had converted the poor cobbler Ahmed into the ablest and most learned astrologer that was ever seen at Isfahan.
While everybody was gazing at him, a lady passed by veiled. She was the wife of one of the richest merchants in the city, and had just been at the Hemmâm, where she had lost a valuable necklace and earrings. She was now returning home in great alarm lest her husband should suspect her of having given her jewels to a lover. Seeing the crowd around Ahmed, she asked the reason of their assembling, and was informed of the whole story of the famous astrologer: how he had been a cobbler, was inspired with supernatural knowledge, and could, with the help of his astrolabe, his twelve signs of the zodiac, and his almanac, discover all that ever did or ever would happen in the world. The story of the jeweller and the king’s ruby was then told her, accompanied by a thousand wonderful circumstances which had never occurred. The lady, quite satisfied of his skill, went up to Ahmed and mentioned her loss, saying: “A man of your knowledge and penetration will easily discover my jewels; find them, and I will give you fifty pieces of gold.”
The poor cobbler was quite confounded, and looked down, thinking only how to escape without a public exposure of his ignorance. The lady, in pressing through the crowd, had torn the lower part of her veil. Ahmed’s downcast eyes noticed this; and wishing to inform her of it in a delicate manner, before it was observed by others, he whispered to her, “Lady, look down at the rent.” The lady’s head was full of her loss, and she was at that moment endeavouring to recollect how it could have occurred. Ahmed’s speech brought it at once to her mind, and she exclaimed in delighted surprise: “Stay here a few moments, thou great astrologer. I will return immediately with the reward thou so well deservest.” Saying this, she left him, and soon returned, carrying in one hand the necklace and earrings, and in the other a purse with the fifty pieces of gold. “There is gold for thee,” she said, “thou wonderful man, to whom all the secrets of Nature are revealed! I had quite forgotten where I laid the jewels, and without thee should never have found them. But when thou desiredst me to look at the rent below, I instantly recollected the rent near the bottom of the wall in the bathroom, where, before undressing, I had hid them. I can now go home in peace and comfort; and it is all owing to thee, thou wisest of men!”
After these words she walked away, and Ahmed returned to his home, thankful to Providence for his preservation, and fully resolved never again to tempt it. His handsome wife, however, could not yet rival the chief astrologer’s lady in her appearance at the Hemmâm, so she renewed her entreaties and threats, to make her fond husband continue his career as an astrologer.
About this time it happened that the king’s treasury was robbed of forty chests of gold and jewels, forming the greater part of the wealth of the kingdom. The high treasurer and other officers of state used all diligence to find the thieves, but in vain. The king sent for his astrologer, and declared that if the robbers were not detected by a stated time, he, as well as the principal ministers, should be put to death. Only one day of the short period given them remained. All their search had proved fruitless, and the chief astrologer, who had made his calculations and exhausted his art to no purpose, had quite resigned himself to his fate, when one of his friends advised him to send for the wonderful cobbler, who had become so famous for his extraordinary discoveries. Two slaves were immediately despatched for Ahmed, whom they commanded to go with them to their master. “You see the effects of your ambition,” said the poor cobbler to his wife; “I am going to my death. The king’s astrologer has heard of my presumption, and is determined to have me executed as an impostor.”
On entering the palace of the chief astrologer, he was surprised to see that dignified person come forward to receive him, and lead him to the seat of honour, and not less so to hear himself thus addressed: “The ways of Heaven, most learned and excellent Ahmed, are unsearchable. The high are often cast down, and the low are lifted up. The whole world depends upon fate and fortune. It is my turn now to be depressed by fate; it is thine to be exalted by fortune.”
His speech was here interrupted by a messenger from the king, who, having heard of the cobbler’s fame, desired his attendance. Poor Ahmed now concluded that it was all over with him, and followed the king’s messenger, praying to God that he would deliver him from this peril. When he came into the king’s presence, he bent his body to the ground, and wished his majesty long life and prosperity. “Tell me, Ahmed,” said the king, “who has stolen my treasure?”
“It was not one man,” answered Ahmed, after some consideration; “there were forty thieves concerned in the robbery.”
“Very well,” said the king; “but who were they? and what have they done with my gold and jewels?”
“These questions,” said Ahmed, “I cannot now answer; but I hope to satisfy your Majesty, if you will grant me forty days to make my calculations.”
“I grant you forty days,” said the king; “but when they are past, if my treasure is not found, your life shall pay the forfeit.”
Ahmed returned to his house well pleased; for he resolved to take advantage of the time allowed him to fly from a city where his fame was likely to be his ruin.
“Well, Ahmed,” said his wife, as he entered, “what news at Court?”
“No news at all,” said he, “except that I am to be put to death at the end of forty days, unless I find forty chests of gold and jewels which have been stolen from the royal treasury.”
“But you will discover the thieves.”
“How? By what means am I to find them?”
“By the same art which discovered the ruby and the lady’s necklace.”
“The same art!” replied Ahmed. “Foolish woman!
thou knowest that I have no art, and that I have only pretended to it for the sake of pleasing thee. But I have had sufficient skill to gain forty days, during which time we may easily escape to some other city; and with the money I now possess, and the aid of my former occupation, we may still obtain an honest livelihood.”
“An honest livelihood!” repeated his lady, with scorn. “Will thy cobbling, thou mean, spiritless wretch, ever enable me to go to the Hemmâm like the wife of the chief astrologer I Hear me, Ahmed! Think only of discovering the king’s treasure. Thou hast just as good a chance of doing so as thou hadst of finding the ruby, and the necklace and earrings.
At all events, I am determined thou shalt not escape; and shouldst thou attempt to run away, I will inform the king’s officers, and have thee taken up and put to death, even before the forty days are expired. Thou knowest me too well, Ahmed, to doubt my keeping my word. So take courage, and endeavour to make thy fortune, and to place me in that rank of life to which my beauty entitles me.”
The poor cobbler was dismayed at this speech; but knowing there was no hope of changing his wife’s resolution, he resigned himself to his fate. “Well,” said he, “your will shall be obeyed. All I desire is to pass the few remaining days of my life as comfortably as I can. You know I am no scholar, and have little skill in reckoning; so there are forty dates: give me one of them every night after I have said my prayers, that I may put them in a jar, and, by counting them may always see how many of the few days I have to live are gone.”
The lady, pleased at carrying her point, took the dates, and promised to be punctual in doing what her husband desired.
Meanwhile the thieves who had stolen the king’s treasure, having been kept from leaving the city by fear of detection and pursuit, had received accurate information of every measure taken to discover them. One of them was among the crowd before the palace on the day the king sent for Ahmed; and hearing that the cobbler had immediately declared their exact number, he ran in a fright to his comrades, and exclaimed, “We are all found out! Ahmed, the new astrologer, has told the king that there are forty of us.”
“There needed no astrologer to tell that,” said the captain of the gang. “This Ahmed, with all his simple good-nature, is a shrewd fellow. Forty chests having been stolen, he naturally guessed that there must be forty thieves, and he has made a good hit, that is all; still it is prudent to watch him, for he certainly has made some strange discoveries. One of us must go to-night, after dark, to the terrace of this cobbler’s house, and listen to his conversation with his handsome wife; for he is said to be very fond of her, and will, no doubt, tell her what success he has had in his endeavours to detect us.”
Everybody approved of this scheme; and soon after nightfall one of the thieves repaired to the terrace. He arrived there just as the cobbler had finished his evening prayers, and his wife was giving him the first date. “Ah!” said Ahmed, as he took it, “there is one of the forty.”
The thief, hearing these words, hastened in consternation to the gang, and told them that the moment he took his post he had been perceived by the supernatural knowledge of Ahmed, who immediately told his wife that one of them was there. The spy’s tale was not believed by his hardened companions; something was imputed to his fears; he might have been mistaken;—in short, it was determined to send two men the next night at the same hour. They reached the house just as Ahmed, having finished his prayers, had received the second date, and heard him exclaim, “My dear wife, to-night there are two of them!”
The astonished thieves fled, and told their still incredulous comrades what they had heard. Three men were consequently sent the third night, four the fourth, and so on. Being afraid of venturing during the day, they always came as evening closed in, and just as Ahmed was receiving his date, hence they all in turn heard him say that which convinced them he was aware of their presence. On the last night they all went, and Ahmed exclaimed aloud, “The number is complete! To-night the whole forty are here!”
All doubts were now removed. It was impossible that Ahmed should have discovered them by any natural means. How could he ascertain their exact number? and night after night, without ever once being mistaken? He must have learnt it by his skill in astrology. Even the captain now yielded, in spite of his incredulity, and declared his opinion that it was hopeless to elude a man thus gifted; he therefore advised that they should make a friend of the cobbler, by confessing everything to him, and bribing him to secrecy by a share of the booty.
His advice was approved of, and an hour before dawn they knocked at Ahmed’s door. The poor man jumped out of bed, and supposing the soldiers were come to lead him to execution, cried out, “Have patience! I know what you are come for. It is a very unjust and wicked deed.”
“Most wonderful man!” said the captain, as the door was opened, “we are fully convinced that thou knowest why we are come, nor do we mean to justify the action of which thou speakest. Here are two thousand pieces of gold, which we will give thee, provided thou wilt swear to say nothing more about the matter.”
“Say nothing about it!” said Ahmed. “Do you think it possible I can suffer such gross wrong and injustice without complaining, and making it known to all the world?”
“Have mercy upon us!” exclaimed the thieves, falling on their knees; “only spare our lives, and we will restore the royal treasure.”
The cobbler started, rubbed his eyes to see if he were asleep or awake; and being satisfied that he was awake, and that the men before him were really the thieves, he assumed a solemn tone, and said: “Guilty men! ye are persuaded that ye cannot escape from my penetration, which reaches unto the sun and moon, and knows the position and aspect of

every star in the heavens. Your timely repentance has saved you. But ye must immediately restore all that ye have stolen. Go straightway, and carry the forty chests exactly as ye found them, and bury them a foot deep under the southern wall of the old ruined Hemmâm, beyond the king’s palace. If ye do this punctually, your lives are spared; but if ye fail in the slightest degree, destruction will fall upon you and your families.”
The thieves promised obedience to his commands and departed. Ahmed then fell on his knees, and returned thanks to God for this signal mark of his favour. About two hours after the royal guards came, and desired Ahmed to follow them. He said he would attend them as soon as he had taken leave of his wife, to whom he determined not to impart what had occurred until he saw the result. He bade her farewell very affectionately; she supported herself with great fortitude on this trying occasion, exhorting her husband to be of good cheer, and said a few words about the goodness of Providence. But the fact was, Sittâra fancied that if God took the worthy cobbler to himself, her beauty might attract some rich lover, who would enable her to go to the Hemmâm with as much splendour as the astrologer’s lady, whose image, adorned with jewels and fine clothes, and surrounded by slaves, still haunted her imagination.
The decrees of Heaven are just: a reward suited to their merits awaited Ahmed and his wife. The good man stood with a cheerful countenance before the king, who was impatient for his arrival, and immediately said, “Ahmed, thy looks are promising; hast thou discovered my treasure?”
“Does your Majesty require the thieves or the treasure? The stars will only grant one or the other,” said Ahmed, looking at his table of astrological calculations. “Your Majesty must make your choice. I can deliver up either, but not both.”
“I should be sorry not to punish the thieves,” answered the king; “but if it must be so, I choose the treasure.”
“And you give the thieves a full and free pardon?”
“I do, provided I find my treasure untouched.”
“Then,” said Ahmed, “if your majesty will follow me, the treasure shall be restored to you.”

The king and all his nobles followed the cobbler to the ruins of the old Hemmâm. There, casting his eyes towards heaven, Ahmed muttered some sounds, which were supposed by the spectators to be magical conjurations, but which were in reality the prayers and thanksgivings of a sincere and pious heart to God for his wonderful deliverance. When his prayer was finished, he pointed to the southern wall, and requested that his majesty would order his attendants to dig there. The work was hardly begun, when the whole forty chests were found in the same state as when stolen, with the treasurer’s seal upon them still unbroken.
The king’s joy knew no bounds; he embraced Ahmed, and immediately appointed him his chief astrologer, assigned to him an apartment in the palace, and declared that he should marry his only daughter, as it was his duty to promote the man whom God had so singularly favoured, and had made instrumental in restoring the treasures of his kingdom. The young princess, who was more beautiful than the moon, was not dissatisfied with her father’s choice; for her mind was stored with religion and virtue, and she had learnt to value beyond all earthly qualities that piety and learning which she believed Ahmed to possess. The royal will was carried into execution as soon as formed. The wheel of fortune had taken a complete turn. The morning had found Ahmed in a wretched hovel, rising from a sorry bed, in the expectation of losing his life; in the evening he was the lord of a rich palace, and married to the only daughter of a powerful king. But this change did not alter his character. As he had been meek and humble in adversity, he was modest and gentle in prosperity. Conscious of his own ignorance, he continued to ascribe his good fortune solely to the favour of Providence. He became daily more attached to the beautiful and virtuous princess whom he had married; and he could not help contrasting her character with that of his former wife, whom he had ceased to love, and of whose unreasonable and unfeeling vanity he was now fully sensible.


The Sacred Poetry Of Sa’d Ud Din Mahmud Shabistari

The Spilled Cup
The Universe: His wine cellar;

The atom’s heart: His measuring cup.

Intellect is drunk, earth drunk, sky drunk

heaven perplexed with Him, restlessly seeking,

Love in its heart, hoping at least

for a single whiff of the fragrance

of that wine, that clear wine the angels drank

from that immaterial pot, a sip of the dregs,

the rest poured out upon the dust:

one sip, and the Elements whirl in drunken dance

falling now into water, now in blazing fire.

And from the smell of that spilled cup

man rises from the dust and soars to heaven.


The Beloved Guest (from The Secret Rose Garden)
Cast away your existence entirely,

for it is nothing but weeds and refuse.

Go, clear out your heart’s chamber;

arrange it as the abiding-place of the Beloved.

When you go forth, He will come in,

and to you, with self discarded,

He will unveil His beauty.


The Tavern Haunters
Being a tavern haunter means

Being sprung free of yourself.
The tavern is where lovers tryst,

Where the bird of the soul comes to rest

In a sanctuary beyond space and time.

The tavern haunter wanders lonely in a desert

And sees the whole world as a mirage.

The desert is limitless and endless –

No one has seen its beginning or its end,

And even if you wandered in it a hundred years

You would not find yourself, or anyone else.

Those who live there have no feet or heads,

Are neither “believers” nor “unbelievers.”

Drunk on the wine of selflessness,

They have given up good and evil alike.

Drunk, without lips or mouth, on Truth

They have thrown away all thoughts of name and fame,

All talk of wonders, visions, spiritual states,

Dreams, secret rooms, lights, miracles.
The aroma of the Divine Wine

Has made them abandon everything;

The taste for Annihilation

Has sent them all sprawling like drunkards.

For one sip of the wine of ecstasy,

They ahve thrown away pilgrim staff, water jar, and rosary.

They fall, and then they rise again,

Sometimes bright in union,

Sometimes lost in the pain of separation;

Now pouring tears of blood,

Now raised to a world of bliss,

Stretching out their necks like racers;

Now, with blackened faces, staring at a wall,

Or faces reddened with Unity, chained to a gibbet;

Now whirling in mystic dance,

Lost in the arms of the Beloved,

Losing head and foot like the revolving heavens.

Every passage that the Singer sings them

Transmits the rapture of the invisible world,

For mystic singing is not only words and sounds;

Each note unveils a priceless mystery.
They have thrown away their senses

And run from all color and perfume,

And washed in purified wine

All the different dyes: black, green, or blue.

To them, devotion and piety are only hypocrisy;

They are weary of being either masters or disciples;

They have swept the dust of dunghills from their souls,

Without telling even a tiny part of what they see,

And grasped in bliss at the swirling robes of drunkards.

They have drunk one cup of the pure wine

And have become — at last, at long last — real Sufis.


The Wine of Rapture (from The Secret Rose Garden)
The wine, lit by a ray from his face,

reveals the bubbles of form,

such as the material world and the soul-world,

which appear as veils to the saints.

Universal Reason seeing this is astounded,

Universal Soul is reduced to servitude.
Drink wine! for the bowl is the face of the Friend.

Drink wine! for the cup is his eye, drunken and flown with wine.

Drink wine! and be free from cold-heartedness,

for a drunkard is better than the self-satisfied.
The world is his tavern,

his wine-cup the heart of each atom;

reason is drunken, angels drunken, soul drunken,

air drunken, earth drunken, heaven drunken.
The sky, dizzy with the wine-fumes’ aroma,

is staggering to and fro;

the angels, sipping pure wine from goblets,

pour down the dregs to the world.

From the scent of these dregs man rises to heaven.

Inebriated from the draft, the elements

fall into water and fire.

Catching the reflection, the frail body becomes soul,

And the frozen soul by its heat

thaws and becomes living.

The creature world becomes giddy,

forever straying from house and home.
One from the dregs’ odor becomes a philosopher.

One viewing the wine’s color becomes a relater.

One from half a draft becomes religious.

One from a bowlful becomes a lover.

Another swallows at one draught

goblet, tavern, cupbearer, and drunkards;

he swallows all, but still his mouth stays open.


One Light
What are “I” and “You”?

Just lattices

In the niches of a lamp

Through which the One Light radiates.
“I” and “You” are the veil

Between heaven and earth;

Lift this veil and you will see

How all sects and religions are one.
Lift this veil and you will ask –

When “I” and “You” do not exist

What is mosque?

What is synagogue?

What is fire temple?


Shabistari’s Secret Rose Garden (the Gulistan-i Raz, which can also be translated as The Rose Garden of Mystery) is considered to be one of the greatest works of Persian Sufism.
Mahmud Shabistari lived in Persia (Iran) during the time of the Mongol invasions of the region. It was a time of massacres and religious sectarianism. Yet it is also during this time that the Golden Age of Persian Sufism emerged.
In the Secret Rose Garden, Shabistari expresses a viewpoint of Sufi realization similar to the perspective of the great Sufi philosopher Ibn Arabi, but expressed through the rich Persian poetic tradition.
The value of Shabistari’s work was recognized almost immediately. Many commentaries on the work by other Sufi mystics soon began to appear. The Secret Rose Garden quickly was regarded as one of the central works of Sufism.


Do penguins fly?


I Have Forgotten

“If you lose all differentiation between yourselves and others,

fit to serve others you will be.

And when in serving others you will win success,

then shall you meet with me;

And finding me, you shall attain to Buddhahood.”

– Milarepa

A Beautiful day, before the scorchers coming…. low lying clouds over Portland, cool breezes. A strange summer. The weather goes up and down. The plants and the bees are all confused.
There are some notable contributions today, from Scott Taylor ‘Hiroshima Peace Bell Commemoration’ and from Victoria ‘Radiohead – The Rip’… Victoria’s contribution ended up with this wildly divergent stream. Somehow, I went from Radiohead, to Milarepa. I don’t remember how it quite happened, but happened it did.
If you get a chance, give Radio Free Earthrites a listen! Nice stuff on there today.
Well, I hope this finds you well. I know that this is one of those massive entries, but it was all cherry-picked with love!

On The Menu:

Hiroshima Peace Bell Commemoration

Portishead: The Rip

Rebirth of the Bodhisatta

Two Novel Short Films: ‘Doll Face’ & ‘Fluxis’

The Poems of Milarepa

Milarepa Biography

Milarepa – The Movie!

Radiohead – The Rip (Portishead cover) (Thanks Victoria!)


From Scott Taylor in Australia…

Hiroshima Peace Bell Commemoration

Hello Friends of Peace,
Sixty three years ago on August 5th, 1945 at 5:15 in the afternoon, (New Mexico time), a B17 bomber flew over Hiroshima, Japan, carrying a payload that had originated in Los Alamos. It was August 6th in Hiroshima at 8:15 in the morning. The whole city had spent anxious hours in bomb shelters the night before – an air raid. It had been a false alarm. The relieved people had returned home to sleep out the night. They had awakened to a beautiful clear day. At 8:15 many were on the way to work. Children were in schools. My friend Takashi Tannemori was playing hide-and-go-seek with his classmates when the single B17 bomber released its payload. A parachute opened. Blithely it floated down. People on the street noted the plane and the parachute, but were not overly concerned. Suddenly the “Pikadon” flashed. A excruciating blinding light was followed by an enormous explosion beyond anyone’s experience or imagination. The horrors of human suffering that ensued were unspeakable and are enduring.
Every year, in Hiroshima Japan at 8:15 in the morning of August 6th, people of Hiroshima have been ringing a Peace Bell, sending out their fervent prayer for the end of war – all war. They knew that life on Earth would be annihilated in any war with weapons such as these. This particularly human dilemma can be only solved by the creation of a world where humans use words instead of weapons; where kindness and compassion for all beings are prevailing human values. Only by evolving human consciousness will war become obsolete.
In Santa Fe, on the 60th year since the bomb was detonated over Hiroshima, we unified Santa Fe with the Hiroshima with a satellite link up. We rang bells for peace simultaneous with the Peace Bell in Hiroshima. Churches all over Northern New Mexico also rang their bells. That evening the radio news programs stopped with a minute of silence. We have continued this practice of ringing bells and sending prayers on August 5th at 5:15 PM, ever since.
On Tuesday, August 5th, at 5:00 PM you are invited to come to the Tree of Peace at the Capitol Round House (Santa Fe – New Mexico) – to the Annual Hiroshima Day Peace Bell Commemoration. You are invited to participate with a ceremony – ringing a Shinto shrine bell at 5:15 – creating a prayer bridge with the Japanese people. You are invited to bring a heart stone to join the other heart stones around our Tree of Peace that was planted as part of the Hiroshima Peace Bell commemoration a few years ago. You are invited to also bring prayers, songs, poems, your words to share, and mostly your intention to find your own way to be an ever greater vehicle for the realization of world peace.
And you are invited to empower the prayer bridge from wherever you are – to encourage your places of worship to ring their bells – to gather with friends and include young people to remember this horrific moment in human history – and to make your commitments to engage in peace processes of all kinds on all levels of culture for the future of our precious blue planet.
The wisdom and the prayers of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers and Corbin Harney, the spiritual leader of the Western Shoshone people (on whose land is the Nevada Test Site), have inspired in me a deepening commitment to the practice of and belief in the power of prayer. Corbin passed away last year.
May Peace Prevail,

If any of you ceremonialists would like to participate in the creation of this year’s ceremony, please do contact me (info below).
Please Disseminate Widely All Over the World
For a different view of the history of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima than what you learned about in school: Los Alamos Peace Project


Mankind must put an end to war,

or war will put an end to mankind…

John F. Kennedy



Promote the Abrogation of Xenophobia


Los Alamos Peace Project

PO Box 9509

Santa Fe, NM 87504

Telefax (505) 989-4482

Portishead: The Rip

Rebirth of the Bodhisatta

Once upon a time in the city of Mathila, there was a king who had two sons. The older one was named Badfruit, and his younger brother was called Poorfruit.
While they were still fairly young, the king made his older son the crown prince. He was second in command and next in line to the throne. Prince Poorfruit became commander of the army.
Eventually the old king died and Prince Badfruit became the new king. Then his brother became crown prince.
Before long, a certain servant took a disliking to Crown Prince Poorfruit. He went to King Badfruit and told a lie – that his brother was planning to kill him. At first the king did not believe him. But after the servant kept repeating the lie, the king became frightened. So he had Prince Poorfruit put in chains and locked up in the palace dungeon.
The prince thought, “I am a righteous man was does not deserve these chains. I never wanted to kill my brother. I wasn’t even angry at him. So now I call on the power of Truth. If what I say is true, may these chains fall off and the dungeon doors be opened!” Miraculously the chains broke in pieces, the door opened, and the prince fled to an outlying village. The people there recognised him. Since they respected him `they helped him, and the king was unable to capture him.
Even though he lived in hiding, the crown prince became the master of the entire remote region. In time he raised a large army. He thought, “Although I was not an enemy to my brother at first, I must be an enemy to him now.” So he took his army and surrounded the city of Mithila.
He sent a message to king Badfruit – “I was not your enemy, but you have made me so. Therefore I have come to wage war against you. I give you a choice – either give me your crown and kingdom, or come out and fight.” Hearing of this, most of the city people went out and joined the prince.
King Badfruit decided to wage war. He would do anything to keep his power. Before going out with his army, he went to say goodbye to his number one queen. She was expecting a baby very soon. He said to her “My love, no one knows who will win this war. Therefore, if I die you must protect the child inside you.” Then he bravely went off to war and was quickly killed by the soldiers of his enemy brother.
The news of the king’s death spread through the city. The queen disguised herself as a poor dirty homeless person. She put on old rags for clothes and smeared dirt on herself. She put some of the king’s gold and her own most precious jewellery into a basket. She covered these with dirty rice that no one would want to steal. Then she left the city by the northern gate. Since she had always lived inside the city, the queen had no idea where to go from there. She had heard of a city called Campa. She sat down at the side of the road and began asking if anyone was going to Campa.
It just so happened that the one who was about to be born was no ordinary baby. This was not his first life or his first birth. Millions of years before, he had been a follower of a long-forgotten teaching “Buddha” – a fully “Enlightened One”. He had wished with all his heart to become a Buddha just like his beloved master.
He was reborn in many lives – sometimes as poor animals, sometimes as long-living gods and sometimes as human beings. He always tried to learn from his mistakes and develop the “Ten Perfections”. This was so he could purify his mind and remove the three root causes of unwholesomeness – the poisons of craving, anger and the delusion of a separate self. By using the perfections, he would some day be able to replace the poisons with the three purities – non-attachment, loving-kindness and wisdom.
This “Great Being” had been a humble follower of the forgotten Buddha. He goal was to gain the same enlightenment of a Buddha – the experience of complete Truth. So people call him “Bodhisatta”, which mans “Enlightenment Being”. No one really knows about the millions of lives lived by this great hero. But many stories have been told – including this one about a pregnant queen who was about to give birth to him. After many more rebirths, he became the Buddha who is remembered and loved in all the world today.
At the time of our story, the Enlightenment Being had already achieved the Ten Perfections. So the glory of his coming birth caused a trembling in all the heaven worlds, including the Heaven of 33 ruled by King Sakka. When he felt the trembling, being a god he knows it was caused by the unborn babe inside the disguised Queen of Mithila. And he knew this must be a being of great merit, so he decided to go and help out.
King Sakka made a covered carriage with a bed in it, and appeared at the roadside in front of the pregnant queen. He looked just like an ordinary old man. He called out, “Does anyone need a ride to Campa?” The homeless queen answered, “I wish to go there, kind sir.” “Come with me then,: the old man said.
Since the birth was not far off, the pregnant queen was quite large. She said, “I cannot climb up into your carriage. Simply carry my basket and I will walk behind.” The old man, the king of the gods, replied, “Never mind! Never Mind! I am the cleverest driver around. So don’t worry. Just step into my cart!”
Lo and behold, as she lifted her foot, King Sakka magically caused the ground under her to rise up! So she easily stepped down into the carriage. Immediately she knew this must be a god, and fell fast asleep.
Sakka drove the cart until he came to a river. Then he awakened the lady and said, “Wake up, daughter, and bathe in this river. Dress yourself in this fine clothing I have brought you. Then eat a packet of rice.” She obeyed him, and then lay downs and slept some more.
In the evening she awoke and saw tall houses and walls. She asked, “What is this city, father?” He said, “This is Campa.” King Sakka replied, “I took a short cut. Now that we are at the southern gate of the city, you may safely enter in. I must go on to my own far-off village.” So they parted and Sakka disappeared in the distance, returning to his heaven world.
The queen entered the city and sat down at an inn. There happened to be a wise man living in Campa. He recited spells and gave advice to help people who were sick or unfortunate. While on his way to bathe in the river with 500 followers, he was the beautiful queen from a distance. The great goodness of the unborn one within gave her a soft warm glow, which only the wise man noticed. At once he felt a kind and gentle liking for her, just as if where were his own youngest sister. So he left his followers outside and went into the inn.
He asked her, “Sister, what village are you from?” She replied, “I am the number one queen of King Badfruit of Mithila.”
He asked, “Then why did you come here?” “My husband was killed by the army of his brother, Prince Poorfruit,” she said. “I was afraid , so I ran away to protect the unborn one within me.” The wise man asked, “Do you have any relatives in this city?” She said, “No sir.” Then he said, “Dont worry at all. I was born in a rich family and I myself am rich. I will care for you just as I would for my own young sister. Now you must call me brother and grab hold of my feet and cry out.”
When she did this, the followers came inside. The wise man explained to them that she was his long lost youngest sister. He told his closest followers to take her to his home in a covered cart. He told them to tell his wife that this was his sister, who was to be cared for.
They did exactly as he had said.
The wife welcomed her, gave her a hot bath, and made her rest in bed.
After bathing in the river the wise man returned home. At dinnertime he asked his sister to join them. After dinner he invited her to stay in his home.
In only a few days the queen gave birth to a wonderful little baby boy. She named him fruitful. She told the wise man this was the name of the boy’s grandfather, who had one been King of Mithila.


Two Novel Short Films:

A study on Desire…
Doll Face


Milarepa Quotes:
“The affairs of the world will go on forever. Do not delay the practice of meditation.”
“Hasten slowly and ye shall soon arrive.”
“Though you youngsters of the new qeneration dwell in towns infested with deceitful fate, the link of truth still remains.”
‘Veiled by ignorance,

The minds of man and Buddha

Appear to be different;

Yet in the realm of Mind Essence

They are both of one taste.

Sometimes they will meet each other

In the great Dharmadhatu.’

The Poems of Milarepa
According to a blessing Milarepa uttered towards the end of his life, anyone who but hears the name Milarepa even once attracts an instant blessing and will not take rebirth in a lower state of existence during seven consecutive lifetimes. This was prophesied by Saints and Buddhas of the past even before his lifetime.

The Song on Reaching the Mountain Peak
Hearken, my sons! If you want

To climb the mountain peak

You should hold the Self-mind’s light,

Tie it with a great “Knot,”

And catch it with a firm “Hook.”

If you practice thus

You can climb the mountain peak

To enjoy the view.
Come, you gifted men and women,

Drink the brew of Experience!

Come “inside” to enjoy the scene –

See it and enjoy it to the full!

The Incapable remain outside;

Those who cannot drink pure

Beer may quaff small beer.

He who cannot strive for Bodhi,

Should strive for superior birth.

I Have Forgotten
May I be far removed from contending creeds and dogmas.

Ever since my Lord’s grace entered my mind,

My mind has never strayed to seek such distractions.

Accustomed long to contemplating love and compassion,

I have forgotten all difference between myself and others.
Accustomed long to meditating on my Guru as enhaloed over my head,

I have forgotten all those who rule by power and prestige.

Accustomed long to meditating on my guardian deities as inseparable from myself,

I have forgotten the lowly fleshly form.

Accustomed long to meditating on the secret whispered truths,

I have forgotten all that is said in written or printed books.

Accustomed, as I have been, to the study of the eternal Truth,

I’ve lost all knowledge of ignorance.
Accustomed, as I’ve been, to contemplating both nirvana and samsara as inherent in myself,

I have forgotten to think of hope and fear.

Accustomed, as I’ve been, to meditating on this life and the next as one,

I have forgotten the dread of birth and death.

Accustomed long to studying, by myself, my own experiences,

I have forgotten the need to seek the opinions of friends and brethren.

Accustomed long to applying each new experience to my own spiritual growth,

I have forgotten all creeds and dogmas.
Accustomed long to meditating on the Unborn, the Indestructible, the Unchanging,

I have forgotten all definitions of this or that particular goal.

Accustomed long to meditating on all visible phenomena as the Dharmakaya,

I have forgotten all meditations on what is produced by the mind.

Accustomed long to keeping my mind in the uncreated state of freedom,

I have forgotten all conventions and artificialities.
Accustomed long to humbleness, of body and mind,

I have forgotten the pride and haughty manner of the mighty.

Accustomed long to regarding my fleshly body as my hermitage,

I have forgotten the ease and comfort of retreats and monasteries.

Accustomed long to knowing the meaning of the Wordless,

I have forgotten the way to trace the roots of verbs, and the

sources of words and phrases.

You, 0 learned one, may trace out these things in your books…

Upon this earth
Upon this earth, the land of the Victorious Ones,

Once lived a Saint, known as the second Buddha;

His fame was heard in all the Ten Directions.

To Him, the Jewel a’top the eternal Banner of Dharma

I pay homage and give offerings.

Is He not the holy Master, the great Midripa?
Upon the Lotus-seat of Midripa

My Father Guru places his reliance;

He drinks heavenly nectar

With the supreme view of Mahamudra;

He has realized the innate Truth in utter freedom.

He is the supreme one, Jetsun Marpa.

Undefiled by faults or vices,

He is the Transformation Body of Buddha.
He says: “Before Enlightenment,

All things in the outer world

Are deceptive and confusing;

Clinging to outer forms,

One is ever thus entangled.

After Enlightenment, one sees all things and objects

As but magic shadow-plays,

And all objective things

Become his helpful friends.

In the uncreated Dharmakaya all are pure;

Nothing has ever manifested

In the Realm of Ultimate Truth.”
He says: “Before Enlightenment,

The ever-running Mind-consciousness within

Is shut in a confusing blindness

Which is the source of passions, actions, and desires.

After Enlightenment, it becomes the

Self-illuminating Wisdom –

All merits and virtues spring from it.

In Ultimate Truth there is not even Wisdom;

Here one enters the Realm where Dharma is exhausted.”
The coproreal form

Is built of the Four Elements;

Before one attains Enlightenment,

All illness and all suffering come from it.

After Enlightenment, it becomes the two-in-one Body

Of Buddha clear as the cloudless firmament!

Thus rooted out are the base Samsaric clingings.

In Absolute Truth there is no body.
The malignant male and femal demons

Who create myriad troubles and obstructions,

Seem real before one has Enlightenment;

But when one realizes their nature truly,

They become Protectors of the Dharma,

And by their help and freely-given assistance

One attains to numerous accomplishments.
In Ultimate Truth there are no Buddhas and no demons;

One enters here the Realm where Dharma is exhausted.

Among all Vehicles, this ultimate teaching

Is found only in the Tantras.

It says in the Highest Division of the Tantra:

“When the various elements gather in the Nadis,

One sees the demon-forms appear.

If one knows not that they are but mind-created

Visions, and deems them to be real,

One is indeed most foolish and most stupid.”
In time past, wrapped up in clinging blindness,

I lingered in the den of confusion,

Deeming benevolent deities and malignant

Demons to be real and subsistent.

Now, through the Holy One’s grace and blessing

I realize that both Samsara and Nirvana

Are neither existent nor non-existent;

And I see all forms as Mahamudra.
Realizing the groundless nature of ignorance,

My former awareness, clouded and unstable

Like reflections of the moon in rippling water,

Becomes transparent, clear as shining crystal.

Its sun-like brilliance is free from obscuring clouds,

Its light transcends all forms of blindness,

Ignorance and confusion thus vanish without trace.

This is the truth I have experienced within.
Again, the foolish concept “demons” itself

Is groundless, void, and yet illuminating!

Oh, this indeed is marvelous and wonderful!


Response to a Logician
I bow at the feet of my teacher Marpa.

And sing this song in response to you.

Listen, pay heed to what I say,

forget your critique for a while.
The best seeing is the way of “nonseeing” –

the radiance of the mind itself.

The best prize is what cannot be looked for –

the priceless treasure of the mind itself.
The most nourishing food is “noneating” –

the transcendent food of samadhi.

The most thirst-quenching drink is “nondrinking” –

the nectar of heartfelt compassion.
Oh, this self-realizing awareness

is beyond words and description!

The mind is not the world of children,

nor is it that of logicians.
Attaining the truth of “nonattainment,”

you receive the highest initiation.

Perceiving the void of high and low,

you reach the sublime stage.
Approaching the truth of “nonmovement,”

you follow the supreme path.

Knowing the end of birth and death,

the ultimate purpose is fulfilled.
Seeing the emptiness of reason,

supreme logic is perfected.

When you know that great and small are groundless,

you have entered the highest gateway.
Comprehending beyond good and evil

opens the way to perfect skill.

Experiencing the dissolution of duality,

you embrace the highest view.
Observing the truth of “nonobservation”

opens the way to meditating.

Comprehending beyond “ought” and “oughtn’t”

opens the way to perfect action.
When you realize the truth of “noneffort,”

you are approaching the highest fruition.

Ignorant are those who lack this truth:

arrogant teachers inflated by learning,

scholars bewitched by mere words,

and yogis seduced by prejudice.

For though they yearn for freedom,

they find only enslavement.

Not out yet on DVD… but I am excited to see this!

Milarepa – The Movie!


Milarepa Biography
Milarepa (often referred to as Jetsun Milarepa, meaning Milarepa the Revered One) is the central figure of early Tibetan Buddhism. He was a Buddhist saint, a yogi, a sorceror, a trickster, a wanderer, and a poet. He is both folk hero and cultural preceptor, the embodiment of the ideal in Tibetan Buddhism.
The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, an extensive collection of stories and poetry from the life of Milarepa, is a central text of popular Tibetan Buddhism, comparable to the Bhagavad Gita in Hinduism and the New Testament within Christianity. His life stories and poetry are read devoutly even today to inspire determination in meditation and spiritual pracitce.
Milarepa’s father died when he was still a boy, and the land that should have passed to him was seized by relatives who treated the young Milarepa and his mother and sister as slaves. After several years of this cruelty and hard labor, Milarepa’s mother convinced the teenaged boy to study magic with a local sorceror in order to take revenge on their relatives. Milarepa was so successful in this purpose that, it is said, a great hailstorm occured, destorying the house during a wedding ceremony, killing several members of the family. In the aftermath of this incident, Milarepa felt such guilt for his actions that he vowed to cleanse himself of the evil karma he had accumulated.
In his search for a pure spiritual teacher, Milarepa eventually met his guru, the Buddhist yogi and translator, Marpa, who was himself a disciple of the famous Indian Buddhist master Naropa. Marpa, seeing Milarepa’s great potential mixed with dark karma, put Milarepa through many years of severe trials and tests before he would formally accept Milarepa as a student.
Milarepa then spent several years meditating in seclusion in remote mountain caves, struggling, at times, against the demonic forces of the mind, until he achieved the ultimate enlightenment.
Rejecting the formalism of religious position and the endless squabbles of theological discourse, he adopted the life of a mendicant, travelling from village to village, speaking directly with the people he met, singing spontaneous songs of enlightenment and wisdom.

Thanks to Victoria for this!

Radiohead – The Rip (Portishead cover)


Glasgow Zen…

summer evening –

through the open window

an old song

Alan Spence – Seasons of the Heart

Books I am currently reading, or on the table awaiting their turn:

The Drunken Universe

Purity of Blood

The Gary Snyder Reader

A Druids Herbal of Sacred Tree Medicine

and last but not least:

Inner Paths To Outer Space
A couple of these are for review for The Invisible College, and a few others are for pure pleasure (Gary Snyder & Purity of Blood)
I want more TIME! 8o)
Lots of good stuff on this entry… mainly focused on Scotland, and some of its deep traditions. Having lived with a Scot for the last 30 years has given me a deep respect for dear Scotland. A sizable chunk of my family’s background originated there, and everytime I visit, it is a wonderful renewal. Soonish I hope.

Off to help a friend move some computer gear, and then to work for a few hours.
Enjoy the weekend!
Bright Blessings,


On The Menu:

The Links

Devendra Banhart – Carmensita

FAIRIES – From ‘Folk-lore of the North-East of Scotland’

Scottish Mystics: The Poetry of Alan Spence

Devendra Banhart – Little Yellow Spider

Art: John Duncan

The Links:

Click On ‘Channel Hop’ much thanks to Peter for this!

Freaks… yeah, Freaks, the movie from the 30′s

Restoring Ethiopia’s great obelisk

Ancient Stone Carvings Rediscovered…

Devendra Banhart – Carmensita

FAIRIES – From ‘Folk-lore of the North-East of Scotland’

The belief in fairies was all but universal. Some imagined them to be fallen angels, whose sin was not so great as theirs who were cast into the bottomless pit. They were believed to dwell inside green sunny hillocks and knolls, beside a river, a stream, or a lake, or by the sea-braes, in gorgeous palaces furnished with everything that was bright and beautiful. They had wells, too, called “fairy wells.” All that paid a visit to such wells left something in them–a pin, a button. Such wells seem to have been different from those having a curative power.
The fairies were under the rule of a queen. Commonly they appeared to man as men and women of small stature, dressed in green.
The name of fairy was not pleasing to them, and men spoke of them as “the fair folk,” or “the gueede neebours.” They were not ill-disposed towards men. Still they were inclined to be frolicsome towards them and to tease them, and there was need to guard against their frolic and trick. One sovereign guard against their power, in every form, was a stone arrow–”a fairy dairt” or “elf-shot”–which must be kept under lock and key.
If a dwelling-house had unluckily been built on a spot inhabited by the fairies, its inmates were liable to much annoyance from them. In such a house, their favourite time of coming forth was in the gloamin, when the inmates were quietly seated round the blazing hearth, before the lamp was lighted for the evening’s work. In that still hour, sometimes, if the spinning-wheel was not in use at the fireside, and the driving-band had not been taken off the wheel the sound of it going fast and furious was heard, and at other times, if one had peered round without the least noise, the eye caught the merry creatures frolicking on the floor, or over the furniture, peeping into this dish and into that, into this nook and into that. If the inmates had to leave the house and shut the door in the quiet gloaming for a time, “the fair folk” came forth in all their glee, and gave themselves to all kinds of noise-making. If the door was opened quickly and quietly they were seen scampering off in all directions–to the rafters, to the garret, up the “lum,” and out by the door–whizz, whizz, quick as lightning. But their frolics were not confined to that particular hour. Some of them were always out, and no woman would have risen from her spinning-wheel and gone outside, if there was no one left in the house, without first taking the driving-band off the wheel, and no prudent woman would have left the band on the wheel over night. If the band had not been taken off, a fairy set to work and spun with might and main the whole night. Meal-mills had also to be thrown out of gear at night, else the fairies would have set them on, and kept them going during night.
“The fair folk” were most covetous of new-born children and their mothers. Till the mothers were “sained” and churched, and the children were baptised, the most strict watch and ward had to be kept over them to keep them from being stolen. Every seven years they had to pay “the teind to hell,” and to save them from paying this tribute with one of themselves they were ever on the alert to get hold of human infants.
“There came a wind oot o’ the north,

A sharp wind and a snell;

And a dead sleep came over me,

And frae my horse I fell;

The Queen of Fairies she was there,

And took me to hersel.
And never would I tire, Janet,

In fairyland to dwell,

But aye, at every seven years

They pay the teind to hell;

And though the Queen macks much o’ me

I fear ’twill be mysel.”
Sometimes they succeeded in carrying off an unbaptised infant, and for it they left one of their own. The one left by them soon began to “dwine,” and to fret and cry night and day. At times the child has been saved from them as they were carrying it through the dog-hole. 1
A fisherwoman had a fine thriving baby. One day what looked like a beggar woman entered the house. She went to the cradle in which the baby was lying, and handled it under pretence of admiring it. From that day the child did nothing but fret and cry and waste away. This had gone on for some months, when one day a beggar man entered asking alms. As he was getting his alms his eye lighted upon the infant in the cradle. After looking on it for some time he said, “That’s nae a bairn; that’s an image; the bairn’s been stoun.” He immediately set to work to bring back the child. He heaped up a large fire on the hearth, and ordered a black hen to be brought to him. When the fire was blazing at its full strength, he took the hen and held her over the fire as near it as possible, so as not to kill her. The bird struggled for a little, then escaped from the man’s grasp, and flew out by the “lum.” The child was restored, and throve every day afterwards.
Another. A strong healthy boy in the parish of Tyrie began to “dwine.” The real baby had been stolen. A wise woman gave the means of bringing him back. His clothes were to be taken to a south-running well, washed, laid out to dry beside the well, and most carefully watched. This was done for some time, but no one came to take them away. The next thing to be done was to take the child himself and lay him between two furrows in a cornfield. This was carried out, and the child throve daily afterwards. All this was annoying to the “fair folk,” and rather than submit to such annoyance they restored the child, and took back their own one.
One day a fisherwoman with her baby was left a-bed alone, when in came a little man dressed in green. He proceeded at once to lay bold of the baby. The woman knew at once who the little man was and what he intended to do. She uttered the prayer, “God be atween you an me.” Out rushed the fairy in a moment, and the woman and her baby were left without further molestation.
Milk, particularly human milk, was very grateful to them. Therefore was it they were so anxious to carry off unsained and unchurched mothers. According to tradition, they did at times get hold of them. Here is one tradition. A mother was spirited away. In a short time, notwithstanding all the kindness and attention lavished on her by the “fair folk,” her strength was almost exhausted. She pleaded to be allowed to return to earth, and pledged herself to give the best mare under milk that her husband had. Her request was granted, and the mare was led to the fairy hillock and left. The animal disappeared, and after a time returned, but so lean and weak that she was hardly able to sustain her own weight. Here is another. A man in the parish of New Deer was returning home at night. On reaching an old quarry much overgrown with broom he heard a great noise coining from among the broom. He listened, and his ear caught the words “Mak’ it red cheekit an red lippit like the smith o’ Bonnykelly’s wife.” He knew at once what was going on, and what was to be done, and he ran with all his speed to the smith’s house and “sained” the mother and her baby–an act which the nurse had neglected to do. No sooner was the saining finished than a heavy thud, as if something had fallen, was heard outside the house opposite to the spot where stood the bed on which the mother and her baby lay. On examination a piece of bog-fir was found lying at the bottom of the wall. It was the “image” the fairies were to substitute for the smith’s wife.
Sometimes they contrived to induce, by their fair and winning ways, unwary men and women to go with them. When such entered their abodes, every kindness was showered upon them, and the most savoury food and the most delicious wines were set before them in tempting array. If from what they saw they had become aware among whom they were, and had the courage to refuse what was spread before them, they soon found themselves back among men. If they yielded, and tasted either the food or the drink, their doom was sealed for at least seven years. All idea of the flight of time was lost by them under the beauty of fairyland and the joy of life in it. When the fairy-thralls did at last return to earth, they found their places filled by others, and the memory of them well-nigh dead. It was only after many explanations the remembrance of them returned to friends and acquaintances, and they themselves came to know how long they had dwelt in fairyland. Such as did return never again took kindly to the works and ways of their fellow-men. They loved the sunny braes, the glens and woods, that lay far from the abodes of men, the quiet spots of daisied sward by the burnie side, the lonely nook of greenery by the margin of the loch, and the green slopes and hollows by the seashore. With dreamy longing eyes, gazing out for something they could not reach, they pined away the rest of their days, beings apart.
If a man or a woman did any one of them a kindness, the labour was not in vain. Gratitude for kindness done by man was one great trait of their character. Some article, whose use healed disease, was given, or virtue to cure disease or lessen pain was imparted, or success over after attended the doer of the kind deed.
They were very often in the habit of borrowing from man. What they borrowed was given back most punctually. Meal was an article they often borrowed, and they always asked a fixed measure, a “hathisch-cogfull.” If offered more, they would not take it. This borrowing was made usually in the gloamin, and by the females. In a parish on the east coast of Buchan, one wild night in winter, in the twilight, a little woman, dressed in green, went into a farm kitchen and begged for a “hathisch o’ meal” from the gueedwife. The gueedwife told the beggar that she was somewhat afraid to give away so much, as the stock of meal was almost exhausted, and grain had only just been taken to the mill, and it would be some time before a new stock of meal could be laid in. Besides, the weather was stormy, and everything betokened a long snowstorm. It was said to last thirteen weeks. However the meal was given. Not many days

after the little woman returned in the twilight, and gave back the meal. At the same time she asked how much meal was in the girnal. On getting an answer that there was not much, she gave strict orders to gather into one corner what remained of it, add to it what she returned for the loan, and always keep it well packed together. She at the same time told that the snowstorm would last thirteen weeks. The storm came down, the roads were blocked, and no meal was got from the mill; yet the meal in the corner of the girnal never grew less, notwithstanding the household had all through the thirteen weeks the usual supply.
But if one put a slight upon them, or in any way incurred their displeasure, they were not slow in taking revenge. A cow or a horse, if the offender had one, was soon “shot-a-dead,” or things began to take a wrong turn with the unfortunate, or, if a work was on hand, it did not go on with speed. It was misfortune on all sides.
Even animals could call forth their anger; and, when they did so, they had to pay the penalty. One evening, “atween the sin an the sky,” a man was ploughing with his “twal-ousen plew,” when a woman came to him, and offered him bread and cheese and ale. The man took the gift. Whilst he was enjoying his repast the good woman proceeded to give each of the oxen a piece of cakes. One by one the oxen took what was given, except the “wyner.” After partaking of the woman’s kindness, and she had left, the ploughman began his work again. All went on as usual till the plough reached the end of the furrow, when the “wyner,” that had refused to take the piece of cakes from the hands of the stranger, fell down, and broke his neck, as he was turning into the next furrow. The stranger was a fairy.
The “fair folk” were most skilled in music, and when mortals were stolen and taken to their abodes, or beguiled into them, one, of the great enchantments and allurements to stay with them was their music. But that music was not confined to their own dwellings. Often and again has it been heard by human ears in the quiet of the gloamin, or at the still hour of midnight, in the clear moonlight, now on this green hillock, now below this bridge, and now in this calm nook.
The fairies took to fishing in little boats of their own. When fishing, they wore their usual green, with little red caps for headdress. They prosecuted their labour in the fine summer mornings and evenings, and many a time have the fishermen seen them busy as they were going to sea, and returning from it.
If the sun shone during the time a shower of rain was falling, it was believed and said that the fairies were baking their bread. When bread was baked in a family the cakes must not be counted. Fairies always ate cakes that had been counted; they did not last the ordinary time.
The whirlwind that raises the dust on roads is called “a furl o’ fairies’ ween.”


Scottish Mystics: The Poetry of Alan Spence

Glasgow Zen

On the oneness of self and universe

On the ultimate identity of

matter and spirit, form and void


On the suchness of things


On identity in difference

On the implicit dualism

of value-judgements


Glasgow Zen – Song
the littlest bird

sang all for me

its song was love

it set me free
sang at my birth

and at my death

it sang its song

with my last breath
the littlest bird

sang in my soul

its song was joy

it made me whole
it made me whole

it set me free

it sang its song

its song was me

Japanese Boxes
(Daibutsu, Great Buddha, Kamakura)
I site inside

the compassionate Buddha

who sits inside

this world of things

which sits inside

the universe

which sits inside

the great void

which sits inside

my heart.

Seasons of the Heart
First warmth of spring

I feel as if

I have been asleep
first warmth of spring

under cracking ice

the jawbone of a dog

where last week

the snow lay thick
the spring breeze –

the paper flowers also

into the sea I launch

a piece of driftwood –

with great ceremony!
spring rain

a yellow oil-drum

bobbing down the river

Seasons of the Heart 2

dog rolling dart on the grass

beside the first daffodils

of the year
this spring evening

blue estuary light

vast empty sky
trying to talk

we can only laugh and point –

sun glinting on the loch
that old/new

smell of fresh

cut grass
morning meditation

clouds lift clear

from the mountain top
sunlight through stained glass

fragrances of oranges

the sound of a bell
the flowering pant nods


my gaze

Seasons of the Heart 3

two swallows

dip and soar

making a summer
the yellow gorse

making the sky

more blue
the whole sky and more

reflected in each raindrop

hanging from that branch
statue of Christ, the sun

behind his head –

butterfly opens its wings
puffed-up cloud

the swan’s feathers ruffled

white sails on the lake

Seasons of the Heart 4
camomile flowers –

a whole garden

in the bottom of my cup
the zen garden –

a crack on the wall

in exactly the right place
the zen garden –

I too

am included
the master’s footprints

along the old

dirt road

Seasons of the Heart 5


to find myself

the snowman

calmly awaiting

the thaw
the incense stick burns down –

a heap of ash

the fragrance


Alan Spence, author of poetry, novels, short stories and plays, was born in Glasgow. The city’s sights and sounds permeate much of his work, including his first collection of short stories, Its Colours They Are Fine (1977). In dealing with Scottish urban life, he brings to bear a compassionate detachment. Whatever their everyday preoccupations, his characters experience sudden flashes of wonder at the mystery of existence. This theme runs through The Magic Flute (1990), Stone Garden (1995) and Way to Go (1998). As a poet, Alan Spence has made zestful use of haiku in Plop! (1970), Glasgow Zen (1981), and Seasons of the Heart (2000). He uses the haiku form to explore the essential paradox of life, discovering timelessness in cycles of changes, immanence in the finite, simplicity in the intricate. He has received many awards for his writing. Alan Spence is based in Edinburgh where he and his wife run the Sri Chinmoy Meditation Centre. Contemplative meditation is at the heart of his life and the perspective derived from this practice informs all of his work.
Devendra Banhart – Little Yellow Spider


Making Magic…

(Ayahuasca Dream – Roberto Venosa)

A bit of the wonders for this Friday… the 1st of August. A taste of beauty, a vision of longing, and those secret joys. Happy to share some of my favourite subjects with you.
I hope you enjoy the flow, as much as I did putting these together.

Bright Blessings,

On The Menu:

Eric Satie Quotes

Eric Satie Gymnopédie1

Making Magic – Peter Gorman

Entheogen Meadow (Eric Satie – Gnossiennes)

Peruvian Poet: Cesar Vallejo

Cesar Vallejo – A Birography

Eric Satie – Gnossienne No.4

Art: Roberto Venosa

Eric Satie Quotes:

“The musician is perhaps the most modest of animals, but he is also the proudest. It is he who invented the sublime art of ruining poetry.”
“Before I compose a piece, I walk around it several times, accompanied by myself.”
“When I was young, I was told: ‘You’ll see, when you’re fifty. I am fifty and I haven’t seen a thing.”
“I liked the bit about quarter to eleven. (on Debussy’s “Dawn to Noon on the Sea”)”
“Why attack God? He may be as miserable as we are”


Eric Satie Gymnopédie1


Making Magic

By Peter Gorman

(from OMNI July 1993)

The night air in the backwater lowlands of the Peruvian Amazon was thick with the incessant buzzing of insects. Overhead bats flew, their shapes silhoutted by a half moon rising behind the forest across the Rio Lobo. Though the rainy season had begun, the river was still near the low point of the year, and great gnarled tree trunks, swept from the banks during the last flood season, stood out against the water like monstrous sculptures in the pale light. From beyond the jungle clearing of the tiny Matses Indian puebla of San Juan came the howling of a distant band of monkeys and the melancholy cry of the pheasant-like paujil.
In the camp, a handful of Matses children played our flashlights into the village trees, while their fathers combed the branches and nearby brush, hunting for a dow-kietl, the frog that secretes sapo, a vital element in the Matses pharmacopoeia. (Although the word sapo means “toad” in Spanish, the extract comes from a frog) The Matses limited command of Spanish doesn’t draw a distinction between the two.) The men imitated the frog’s mating call, a low, guttural bark, as they moved, and the women nearby giggled at the sound. I was suprised that the dow-kiet!s didn’t respond.
The Matses are a small, seminomadic, hunting-gathering tribe who live in the remote jungle along the Rio Yavari, on the border of Peru and Brazil. Unlike other tribes in the region, they possess only rudimentary weaving and ceramics skills, they have no formal religion, no ceremony or dance, and they produce nothing for trade. What they do is hunt – with bows and arrows, spears, clubs, and occasionally shotguns when they can get shells. Theirs is the harsh world of the lowland forests and swamps, a world where malaria, yellow fever, and venomous snakes keep mortality rates high. To survive, the matses have become masters of the natural history of the flora and fauna of the region.
They know the habits and cycles of the animals that share their land, they’ve studied the plant life that surrounds them, and they’ve learned to see the jungle as their ally. For the Matses the earth is a benevolent ti-ta, or mother, who provides for all their needs. Neighboring tribes say the Matses can move like the wind and talk with the animals. They say the Matses know the jungle’s secrets. Sapo is one of them.
I had come to Peru to collect dow-kiet! Specimens for researchers at the American Museum of Natural History, for whom I’ve collected Matses artifacts – mostly throwaway things like used leaf baskets and broken arrows – and the Fidia Research Institute for the Neurosciences in Rome. My reports on the uses of sapo had sparked interest and curiosity among scientists who were eager to see a specimen of the frog that produces the unusual material, in part because of the extraodinary experience it produced in me and in part because of my description of it’s myriad of uses. I was eager to see the dow-kiet! As well, because although I’d seen sapo used and had myself, I had never actually seen the frog that produces it.
That Western science look an interest in sapo is encouraging: Until recently, most researchers have dismissed the natural medicines of indigenous groups like the Matses. Fortunately, that attitute is changing, but with the loss of an average of one tribe a year in Amazonia alone – to acculturation, disease, or loss of their forest homes – the plant and animal medicines of these peoples are disappearing faster than they can be studied.
The Matses are one of the tribes currently at risk. During the eight years I’ve been visiting their camps, both missionary and military contact have been steadily increasing, and they’re quickly acculturating to a new lifestyle. Camps that planted no more than two or three crops to supplement their diet of game and wild foods just a few years ago now plant a dozen or more. And where most Matses had only a handful of manufactured things when I first met them – some clothing, a few metal pots, a machete, and perhaps and old shotgun – in some caps the men now work for loggers, and the sound of chain saws fills the air. At San Juan, the most accessible camp on the Lobo, most of the Matses not only have new Western clothing, they have begun to refer to Matses who live deep in the jungle as animales.
This is a very different group from the first Matses I ran into in 1984. It was my second trip to Peruvian Amazonia – I’d fallen in love with the jungle on my first trip – and I was studying food gathering and plant identification with my guide, Moises, a former military man who specialized in jungle survival. We had been working on a small river called the Auchyako for about a week when we ran into local hunters who said they had seen signs that a family of Matses had moved into the area. Moises, excited by the news, said we should make an attempt to meet them.
I was easily sold on the idea: so, hoping they would make contact, we hiked three days into the jungle and made a camp. Two days later, a young Matses hunter carrying a bow and arrows, his mouth tattooed and his face adorned with what looked like cat whiskers, came into our camp and borrowed our gun.
When he returned later in the day, he was carrying two large wounded monkeys in palm-leaf baskets he carried from his forehead with templines. Clinging to his hair was a baby monkey the offspring of one of the adults. The hunter returned our gun, left one of the monkeys, and then disappeared into to forest. We followed him back to his camp and watched from a distance as he gave the remaining adult to a women who began to roast it over an open fire, oblivious to its cries. The baby monkey he brought to a young woman who was nursing a child of her own. Without hesitation, she took the monkey and allowed it to nurse at her free breast.
Those dual images represented a combination of cruelty and compassion I’d never imagined and taught me more about the reaslity of the jungle than anything I had previosuly experienced. More than that, those images compelled me to return to the Matses again and again.
I first met Pablo in 1986 on my third trip to the Amazon. Moises and I had flown over the dense Peruvian jungle from Iquitos to the Rio Lobo, borrowed a small boat, and made our way to his camp. Pablo was Moises closest friend among the Matses, an adept hunter who fiercely resisted acculturation. The villiage, several days upriver and much more remote than San Juan, was home to Pablo, his four wives, their 22 children, and his brother Alberto, who had two wives and six children. Each wife had her own hut, so there were several in the puebla. When we arrived, we were invited to climb the steep and muddy riverbank to the Puebla. There, Pablo’s main wife, Ma Shu, served us a meal of cold roast sloth and yucca.
After dinner, Pablo produced an old brown beer bottle and a hollow reed tube. From the bottle he poured a find green powder into his hand and worked it into one end of the tube. Alberto put the other end of the tube to his nose and Pablo blew the powder into his nostrils. They repeated the process several times. Moises explained that the powder was nu-nu and that Matses hunters used it to have visions
of where to hunt. He said that after the visions they would go to the place they had seen and wait for the animals in the vision to appear. I told Moises he was dreaming, but he insisted that was what happened and pressed Pablo to give me some. A few minutes later, the tube was put to my nose. When The nu-nu hit, it seemed to explode inside my face. It burnt my nose and I began to choke up a wretched green phlegm. But the pain quickly subsided and I closed my eyes. Out of the blackness I began to have visions of animals–tapir, monkey, wild boar–that I saw more clearly than my limited experience with them sh
ould have allowed. Then suddenly the boars stampeded in front of me. As I watched them thunder past my field of vision, several began to fall. Moments later, the visions faded, and a pleasant spit of drunkenness washed over me.
Moises asked what I saw and whether I recognized the place where the vision happened. I told him it looked like the place where we’d eaten lunch earlier in the day. He asked what time it was in the vision, and I told him that the sun was shining but mist still hung from the trees. He put the time between 7 and 8 a.m. Despite my suspicion that I’d’ invented the entire vision, Moises told the Matses what I’d seen.
At dawn the next morning, several of us piled into our boat and headed toward the spot I’d described. As we neared it, I was astounded to hear the thunderous roar of dozens of boars charging across the river in front of us. We jumped out of the boat and chased them. Several ran into a hollow log and Pablo and Alberto blocked the ends with thick branches while me others made nooses out of vines. Holes were cut Into the top of the log with a machete, the nooses slipped through them, and the boars strangled. We returned with seven boars. enough meat for the entire village for four days.
Improbable as it seemed, the scene was close enough to what I’d described that there was no denying the veracity of the vision I later asked how nu-nu worked, and Pablo explained–in a mix of hand signals, Matses, and pigeon Spanish–that nu-nu put you in touch with the animals. He said the animals’ spirits also see the visions and know what awaits them. The morning after the hunt, I was with Pablo, sitting on the bark floor of Ma Shu’s hut, pointing to things and asking what the Matses words for them were. I made notes, writing down the phonetic spelling of things like bow, arrow, spear, and hammock. Pablo was utterly bored with the exercise until I pointed to a small leaf bag that hung over a cooking fire ‘Sapo.” he said, his eyes brightening.
From The bag he pulled a piece of split bamboo, roughly the size and shape of a doctor’s tongue depressor. It was covered with what looked like a thick coat of aging varnish. “Sapo.” He repeated, scraping a little of the material from the stick and mixing it with saliva. When he was finished, it had the consistency and color of green mustard. Then he pulled a smoldering twig from the fire, grabbed my left wrist, and burned the inside of my forearm. I pulled away, but he held my wrist tightly. The burn mark was about the size of a match head. I looked at Moises. “Una nueva medicinn,” he said, shaking his head, “I’ve never seen It.”
Remembering the extraordinary experience I’d had with nu-nu, I let Pablo burn my arm a second time He scraped away the burned skin, then dabbed a little of the sapo onto the exposed areas Instantly my body began to heat up. In seconds I was burning from the Inside and regretted allowing him to give me a medicine I know nothing about. I began to sweat. My blood began to race. My heart pounded. I became acutely aware of every vein and artery in my body and could feel them opening to allow for the fantastic pulse of my blood. My stomach cramped and I vomited violently. I lost control of my bodily functions and began to urinate and defecate. I fell to the ground. Then, unexpectedly, I found myself growling and moving about on all fours. I felt as though animals were passing through me, trying to express themselves through my body. It was a fantastic feeling but it passed quickly, and I could think of nothing but the rushing of my blood, a sensation so intense that I thought my heart would burst. The rushing got faster and faster. I was in agony. I gasped for breath. Slowly, the pounding became steady and rhythmic, and when it finally subsided altogether. I was overcome with exhaustion, I slept where I was. When I awoke a few hours later, I heard voices. But as I came to my senses.. I realized I was alone. I looked around and saw that I had been washed off and put into My hammock. I stood and walked to the edge of the hut’s unwalled platform floor and realized that the conversation I was over hearing was between two of Pablo’s wives who were standing nearly 20 yards away. I didn’t understand their dialect, of course, but I was surprised to even hear them from that distance. I walked to the other side of the platform and looked out into the jungle; its noises, too, were clearer than usual.
And it wasn’t just my hearing that had been improved. My vision, my sense of smell, everything about me felt larger than life, and my body felt immensely strong: That evening I explained what was feeling with hand gestures as much as language. Pablo smiled. “Bi-ram-bo sapo.” he said, “fuerte.” It was good sapo. Strong.
During the next few days, my feeling of strength didn’t diminish; I could go whole days without being hungry or thirsty and move through the jungle for hours without tiring Every sense I possessed was heightened and in tune with the environment, as though the sapo put the rhythm of the jungle into my blood.
I asked Pablo about sapo’s uses and discovered there were several. Among hunters; it was used both to sharpen the senses and as a way to increase stamina during long hunts when carrying food and water was difficult. In large doses, it could make a Matses hunter “invisible” to poor-sighted but acute smelling jungle animals by temporarily eliminating their human odor. As a medicine, sapo also had multiple uses, serving as a tonic to cleanse and strengthen the body and as a toxin purge for those with the grippe.
The women explained that they sometimes used sapo as well. In sparing doses applied to the inside of the wrist it could establish whether a woman was pregnant or not. And during the later stages of pregnancy, it was used to establish the sex and health of a fetus. Interpreting the information relied on an investigation of the urine a woman discharged following the application of the medicine: Cloudiness or other discoloration of the urine and the presence or absence of specks of blood were all evidently indicators of the fetus’s condition. In cases where an unhealthy fetus was discovered, a large dose of sapo applied to the vaginal area was used as an abortive. There was no way for me to verify what they said, though there was no reason to doubt them.
When I asked Pablo how the Matses learned about sapo, he said the dow-kiet! told them. Whether he meant the frog told them through their study of its behavior and habits or whether he believed he was in communication with it on some level, I don’t know.
When I returned to New York, I was surprised to find that my description of nu-nu was old hat to the anthropologists I spoke with at the American Museum of Natural History–several tribes evidently employed similar snuffs for shamanic purposes. What did surprise them, however, was my account of sapo. None of them had ever heard of it, and while several South American tribes have hunting myths about frogs, there were no records of the Matses or any other tribe utilizing a frog’s secretions in the way I described. But while my report was considered interesting, it was also inadequate, as I had no photographs of the frog and no samples of the medicine. The following year I returned to Pablo’s village and discovered that sapo was also used as a shamanic tool. It was spring and the lowlands were flooded. Game had retreated deep into the forest to seasonal lagoons, so hunting was difficult, and even nu-nu failed to produce hunting visions. When I arrived, the Matses hadn’t eaten meat for several days.
Pablo explained that when the river was so high, it was trapping season and that he was about to set a tem-po-te!, tapir trap. He had been giving himself five sapo burns each morning and night for three days in preparation for the task and would continue until the trap was successfu
l. Pablo explained, as well as I could understand it, that sapo, used In such large doses, allowed a hunter to project his animas – his spirit – to his trap while he slept. The animas would take the form of a tapir and lure real tapir to it.
The day after we arrived, Moises and I went into the jungle with Pablo and Alberto. We walked for almost two hours before Pablo found a suitable site and began to construct the trap, a simple spring device set between two trees. Pablo called to the tapir while he worked, telling it what a special path he was making. He called to the other animals as well, warning them to stay away, to leave this place for his friend. When he finished the trap, he chewed handfuls of leaves and spit them out across the trip vine, both to cover his human scent and as a signpost so that his animas could find it at night.
As we were returning to the puebla, Alberto explained that traps were only set when there was no other way to get meat, because once a trap was set, no other animals could be hunted. When I asked why, he explained that animals talk to each other and that killing them provokes their spirits, ruining the trap. Seeing that I didn’t understand, Pablo added that when he sent out his animas masquerading as a tapir, the provoked spirits would warn the prey that what they saw was not a real tapir but a Matses animas in disguise. Exceptions to the taboo were large river turtles and sloth-the turtle because it doesn’t bother to talk to other animals and the sloth because it speaks so slowly that by the time it says what’s on its mind, the river has fallen and trapping time is over.
During the next two days. Pablo never returned to the trap, although he continued using massive doses of sapo. But on the morning of the third day, he awakened us before dawn and said he had a nu-nu vision that the trap was about to be sprung. He was insistent that we hurry.
The Matses moved through the forest effortlessly, almost at a jog, and the women chided me for having to struggle to keep up. But as we neared the trap area, everyone stopped and grew absolutely quiet. Pablo’s eyes blazed. “Petro,” he whispered to me excitedly, “tian-te, tem-po-te” A tapir was about to be trapped.
We waited about ten minutes, then heard a sharp snap, followed by an agonizing animal scream. Suddenly, everyone began running toward the trap. The wounded and disoriented tapir crashed through the brush, bellowing in pain, then fell into a stream bed. The women caught up with it, killed it, and began to cut it up. While they did, Pablo brought me to the sprung trap and gave me the bloody spike.
Back in camp we feasted. Afterwards I asked Pablo for a sample of sapo, but he’d been using so much to prepare far the hunt that he had none to give me. So once again I returned to the states with no hard evidence of the existence. of the dow-kiet!
It took two more trips to Peru before finally managed to secure a small amount of sapo, and when I finally did, I gave half of the stick to Charles Myers. the curator of the museum’s Herpetology Department, who passed it on to John Daly at the National Institutes of Health. Having finally produced the material I’d frequently talked about, my reports began to circulate and prompted a letter from Vittorio Erspamer, a pharmacologist who worked with the Fidia Research Institute for the Neurosciences. He wondered whether sapo might not come from one of a number of frogs he’d randomly collected in Amazonia several years earlier. Research done by the chemicals found in their skin had shown that several produced peptides-protiens-that were similar to peptides produced by humans. If it could be shown, he wrote, that one of those frogs was already in use by humans, it would be an important scientific breakthrough. I wrote back and offered to provide him with a specimen if I ever managed to collect one.
A year after Erspamer’s letter reached me, I traveled back to the Lobo with Moises. We hiked across the jungle to Pablo’s, discovered his burned camp, and moved down the river where happily we found him at San Juan. “Malo casadores,” Moises snarled, after we’d been watching the men of San Juan trying to find a dow-kiet! for nearly an hour. “Bad hunters. Everything is changed with them. They’re finished.” He was still grumbling about the state of the Matses when I heard Pablo calling me. “Petro Dow-kiet! Petro?” He was standing on a hill at the back of the puebla with Pa Mi Shua and two of his children. “Bi-ram-bo, Pablo!” I laughed: “Bi-ram-ho dow-kiet!.” Yes, I would like a dow-kiet!
Pablo laughed and began to bark out the frog’s mating call. The other men in the camp stopped their hunting and watched him. Between the guttural barking noises he was making we could hear him berating the frogs for making the hunt so difficult. Pa Mi Shua and his children, walking along side him on the path toward the center of camp, roared his antics.
Suddenly Pablo stood and stiffened. From the grass on the side of the path came the sound Pablo was making. He barked again, and again his call was returned. Then a second frog joined the first, and a third, and suddenly the whole camp seemed to resound with the barking of dow-keit!s. Pablo bent down and picked one up. “Mas dow-kiet!, Petro?” More, Peter? I laughed and said yes. He bent down and picked up another. “Mas? Bastan-te sapo, Petro?” More? Did I want a lot of sapo?
I told him two were enough. and he came into the camp, a frog in each hand. He gave one of them to me. It was beautiful. A little smaller than my palm, it had an extraordinary electric green back, a lightly spotted white underside, and deep black eyes. It grasped my fingers tightly, and in secends could feel my blood begin to heat up as the sapo it was secreting began to seep into the small cuts that covered my hands. I quickly put it down. Pablo giggled with delight, then broke a small branch from a tree and placed both dow-kiet!s on it, hilariously imitating my reaction.
One of the Matses men collected four sticks and stood them in the ground, making a small square. Another pulled apart some palm leaves, stripped out the fibers and rolled them into strings against his leg. He handed four of them to Pablo. who tied one to each of one frog’s legs, then tied the free ends to the four posts, suspending the animal like some strange green trampoline. Once the frog was secure, Pa Mi Shua knelt and gently began to manipulate the frog’s elongated center toe between her fingers, stimulating it to secrete sapo. It was an unexpectedly sexual image, and the men joked about it. Pa Mi Shua blushed and told them to be quiet.
The man who had placed the sticks in the ground disappeared into his hut for a moment, then returned with a piece of split bamboo. He began to scrape the suspended frog’s sides and legs, collecting sapo. When the stick was covered, he dried out the secretions over our tiny kerosene lamp and then gave the stick to me.
That night, both frogs were tied by one leg to a low tree branch to keep them from escaping, and in the morning, the sapo from the second frog was collected. Neither was hurt by the process, and if I hadn’t been taking the two specimens back to the States, they would have been set free.
One of the frogs died shortly after I returned home, and I gave its skeleton along with part of the sapo sample and some photographs to the Natural History museum. The healthy dow-kiet! along with a second sapo sample and similar photos was sent to Erspamer in Rome. Six months later, I received his report. He was very excited.
He identified the dow-kiet! as a phyllomedusa bicolor, a rare arboreal tree frog. The sapo, he said, is a sort of fantastic chemical cocktail with potential medical applications. “No other amphibian skin can compete with it,” he wrote. “Up to seven percent of sapo’s weight is in potentl
y active peptides, easily absorbed through burned, inflamed areas of the skin.” He explained that among the several dozen peptides found in sapo, seven were bioactive- which meant that each has an affinity and selectivity for binding with receptor sites in humans. (A receptor is like a lock that when opened with the right key–the bioactive peptides-triggers chemical reactions in the body.) The peptide families represented in the dow-kiet! include bradykinins, tachykinins, caerulein, sauvagine, tryptophyllins, dermorphins. and bombesins.
Based on the concentrations and functions of the peptides found in and extracted from the sapo sample I sent, Erspamer was able to account for all of the physical symptoms I described as sapo intoxication. On the peripheral effects. Erspamer repoited, “Caerulein and the equiactive phyllocaerulein display a potent action on the gastrointestinal smooth muscle and gastric and pancreatic secretions. . . . Side effects observed (in volunteer patients with post operative intestinal atony) were nausea, vomiting, facial flush, mild tachycardia (heart palpitations), changes in blood pressure, sweating, abdominal discomfort, and urge for defecation.”
Phyllomedusin, a new peptide of the tachykinin family, strongly affects the salivary glands, tear ducts, intestines, and bowels: and contributed to the violent purging I experienced. Sauvagine causes a long-lasting fall in blood pressure, accompanied by severe tachycardia and stimulation of the adrenal cortex, which contributed to the satiety, heightened sensory perception, and increased stamina I described. Phyllokinin, a new peptide of the bradykinin family, is a potent blood-vessel dilator and accounted for the intense rushing in my blood during the initial phase of sapo intoxication.
“It may be reasonably concluded, Erspamer wrote. “that the intense peripheral cardiovascular and gastrointestinal symptoms observed in the early phase of sapo intoxication may be entirely ascribed to the known bioactive peptides occurring in large amounts in the frog material.”
As to sapo’s central effects, he wrote, “increase in physical strength, enhanced resistance to hunger and thirst, and more generally, increase in the capacity to face stress situations may be explained by the presence of caerulein and sauvagine in the drug. Caerulein in humans produces “an analgesic effect . . . possibly related to release of beta-endorphins .. . in patients suffering from renal colic, rest pain due to peripheral vascular insufficiency (limited circulation), and even cancer pain.” Additionally, “It caused in human volunteers a significant reduction in hunger and food intake.
The sauvagine extracted from sapo was given subcutaneously to rats and caused “release of corticotropin (a hormone that triggers the release of substances from the adrenal gland) from the pituitary with consequent activation of the pituitary-adrenal axis.” This axis is the chemical communication link between the pituitary and the adrenal glands, which controls our flight-or-fight mechanism. The effects on the pituitary-adrenal axis caused by the minimal doses given the laboratory rodents lasted several hours. Erspamer noted that the volume of sauvagine found in the large quantities of sapo I described the Matses using would potentially have a much longer lasting effect on humans and would explain why my feelings of strength and heightened sensory perception after sapo use lasted for several days.
But on the question of the “magical” effects I described in tapir trapping, Erspamer says that “no hallucinations, visions, or magic effects are produced by the known peptide components of sapo.” He added that “the question remains unsolved” whether those effects specifically, the feeling that animals were passing through me and Pablo’s description of animas projection were due to “the sniffing of other drugs having hallucinogenic effects, particularly nu-nu.
With regard to sapo’s uses relating to pregnancy, Erspamer did not address any of the issues but abortion: “Abortion ascribed to sapo may be due either to direct effect of the peptide cocktail on the uterine smooth muscle or, more likely, to the intense pelvic vase dilation and the general violent physical reaction to the drug.
From the medical-potential point of view, Erspamer said several aspects of sapo are of interest. He suggested that two of its peptide, phyllomedusin and phyllokinin have such a pronounced affect on the dilation of blood vessels that they “may increase the permeability of the blood-brain barrier. thus facilitating access to the brain not only of themselves, but also of the other active peptides.” Finding a key to unlocking the secret of passing that barrier is vital to the discovery of how to get medicines to the brain and could one day contribute to the development of treatments for AIDS, Alzheimer’s, and other disorders that threaten the brain.
There is also medicanal potential in dermorphin and deltrorphin, two other peptides found in sapo. Both are potent opioid peptides, almost identical to the beta-endorphins the human body produces to counter pain, and similar to the opiates found in morphine. Because they mirror beta-endorphins, however, sapo’s opioid peptides could potentially function in a more precise manner than opiates. Additionally, while dermorphin and deltorphin are considerably stronger than morphine (18 and 39 times, respectively), because of their similarities to the naturally produced beta-endorphin, the development of tolerance would be considerably lower and withdrawal less severe than to opiates.
Both phyllocaerulein and sauvagine possess medical potential as digestive aids to assist those receiving treatment for cancer. Other areas of potential medical interest in the peptides found in sapo include their possible use as anti-inflammatories, as blood-pressure regulators, and as stimulators of the pituitary gland.
The only report thus far on sapo from John Daly’s team at the National Institutes of Health (written with seven co-authors, including Katharine Mitten, who recently discovered the use of the phyllomedusa bicolor among several tribes closely related to the Matses) was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (November 14, 1992) and concentrates exclusively on a newly discovered peptide found in sapo One of the chemical fractions Daly’s team isolated is a 33-amino-acid-long peptide he calls adenoregulin. which may provide a key to manipulating cellular receptors for adenosine, a fundamental component in all human cell fuel. “Peptides that either enhance or inhibit binding of adenosine analogs to brain adenosine receptors proved to be present in extracts of the dried skin secretion,” Daly wrote. According to an interpretive report on the Daly paper written by lvan Amato and published in Science (November 20. 1992), “Preliminary animal studies by researchers at Warner-Lambert have hinted that those receptors, which are distributed throughout the brains of mammals, could offer a target for treating depression, stroke, seizures, and cognitive loss in ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Of course, medical potential only in frequently results directly in new medicines: Science may not be able to isolate or duplicate the peptides found in sapo or side effects may be discovered that would decrease their value as medicines. But even if sapo’s components do not eventually serve as prototypes for new drugs, sapo will become an important pharmacological tool in the study of receptors and the chemical reactions they trigger. Certainly the study of the unique activity of sapo’s bioactive peptides will advance our knowledge of the human body. Additionally, as possibly the first zoologically derived medicine used by tribals ever investigated for Western medical potential. Sapo will help open the door to a whole new field of investigat
Unfortunately, while science catches up to the natural medicines of tribal peoples, time is running out. That Pablo was the only man at San Juan still able to draw a response from the dow-kiet! is an indication that most Matses no longer rely on it. And we have no way of knowing how many other medicines the Matses–and others–once used but have abandoned, which might also have been valuable to us.
We do knew that nearly 80 percent of the world’s population relies on natural medicines for its primary health care. Investigations into a small portion of them have already provided us hundreds of drugs, from aspirin and atropine to digitalis and quinine. Fully 70 percent of the antitumor drugs used in the treatment of cancers are derived from traditional medicines as well. Yet our investigations have hardly begun. Obviously, there is much to learn from peoples like the Matses before acculturation strips them of their knowledge. It remains to be seen whether the discoveries that have begun to be made in connection with sapo spark the interest of investigators while there is still time to learn it.

(Prana Exhalation – Roberto Venosa)


Entheogen Meadow (Eric Satie – Gnossiennes)


Peruvian Poet: Cesar Vallejo

Black Stone on Top of a White Stone
I shall die in Paris, in a rainstorm,

On a day I already remember.

I shall die in Paris– it does not bother me–

Doubtless on a Thursday, like today, in autumn.
It shall be a Thursday, because today, Thursday

As I put down these lines, I have set my shoulders

To the evil. Never like today have I turned,

And headed my whole journey to the ways where I am alone.
César Vallejo is dead. They struck him,

All of them, though he did nothing to them,

They hit him hard with a stick and hard also

With the end of a rope. Witnesses are: the Thursdays,

The shoulder bones, the loneliness, the rain, and the roads…

Paris, October 1936
From all of this I am the only one who leaves.

From this bench I go away, from my pants,

from my great situation, from my actions,

from my number split side to side,

from all of this I am the only one who leaves.
From the Champs Elysées or as the strange

alley of the Moon makes a turn,

my death goes away, my cradle leaves,

and, surrounded by people, alone, cut loose,

my human resemblance turns around

and dispatches its shadows one by one.
And I move away from everything, since everything

remains to create my alibi:

my shoe, its eyelet, as well as its mud

and even the bend in the elbow

of my own buttoned shirt.

To My Brother Miguel In Memoriam
Brother, today I sit on the brick bench of the house,

where you make a bottomless emptiness.

I remember we used to play at this hour, and mama

caressed us: “But, sons…”
Now I go hide

as before, from all evening

lectures, and I trust you not to give me away.

Through the parlor, the vestibule, the corridors.

Later, you hide, and I do not give you away.

I remember we made ourselves cry,

brother, from so much laughing.
Miguel, you went into hiding

one night in August, toward dawn,

but, instead of chuckling, you were sad.

And the twin heart of those dead evenings

grew annoyed at not finding you. And now

a shadow falls on my soul.
Listen, brother, don’t be late

coming out. All right? Mama might worry.

Cesar Vallejo – A Birography
Cesar Vallejo (March 16, 1892 – April 15, 1938) published only three books of poetry but is nonetheless considered one of the great poetic innovators of the 20th century. Always a step ahead of the literary currents, each of his books was distinct from the others and in its own sense revolutionary.

Cйsar Vallejo was born the youngest of eleven children in Santiago de Chuco, a remote village in the Andes of Peru. He studied literature in the Universidad de la Libertad in Trujillo, Peru. The poet dropped out of the university several times, working at a sugar plantations where he saw firsthand the exploitation of agrarian workers, a sight that would influence his politics and aesthetics. Vallejo received a masters degree in spanish literature in 1915.
Later, Vallejo moved to Lima, where he lived a Bohemian lifestyle, meeting important members of the intellectual left, and working as a tutor and then a professor. The poet suffered a number of calamities in the years leading up to the publication of Los Heraldos Negros: He lost his teaching post after having refusing to marry a woman with whom he had an affair, his lover died of a failed abortion which he had forced her to undergo, his mother died in 1920, and he was imprisoned for 105 days after returning home to Santiago de Chuco and igniting a scandal there.
After publishing Trilce in 1923, the poet, having lost another professorship in Lima, emigrated to Europe, where he lived until his death in Paris in 1938. He is interred in the Cimetiиre du Montparnasse.

Los heraldos negros (1918)

Los heraldos negros is a book with traces of Spanish Modernism in the structure of its poems. In it, the poet confronts existential anguish, personal guilt, and pain, writing famously, “Hay golpes en la vida, tan fuerte…, yo no sй” (“There are blows in life, so hard… I don’t know”) and “Yo nacн un dнa / que Dios estuvo enfermo” (“I was born on a day / when God was sick”). The book of poetry sold relatively few copies, but was critically well received.
Trilce (1922)

Trilce, published in 1922, anticipated much of the avant-garde movement that would develop in the 1920s and 30s. Vallejo’s book takes language to a radical extreme, inventing words, stretching syntax, using automatic writing and other techniques now known as “surrealist” (though he did this before the Surrealist movement began). The book put Latin America at the center of the Avant-garde. Like James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake and Vicente Huidobro’s Altazor, Trilce borders on inaccessibility.
Poemas humanos (1939)

Poemas humanos, published by the poet’s wife after his death, is a leftist work of political, social poetry.
Eric Satie – Gnossienne No.4

(Astral Circus – Roberto Venosa)