100 YEARS…

On Radio Free EarthRites: Carbon Based Lifeforms – “Machinery”
“The answer is never the answer. What’s really interesting is the mystery. If you seek the mystery instead of the answer, you’ll always be seeking. I’ve never seen anybody really find the answer — they think they have, so they stop thinking. But the job is to seek mystery, evoke mystery, plant a garden in which strange plants grow and mysteries bloom. The need for mystery is greater than the need for an answer.” – Ken Kesey

This is Saint Jude, patron saint for hopeless, or lost causes. He came up in a discussion with Mary about me posting some of the articles and poetry that I do. She hinted that I tend to be obscure in my choices, and that most people hadn’t heard about the majority of artist, poets and the like. Well, I have been thinking on Saint Jude, and realizing if I were indeed Catholic, he would be my guy. Although my subjects often were not obscure in the days of their lives, and they are now so, their influences still live with us today… Where would we be if these artist and poets had not struggled to portray the world and its truths? I know that many wish that artist and poets would just basically stop pointing out that the emperor has no clothes, but there ya have it. Artist and Poets have always critiqued the society that they live in (unless they were thriving under the patronage system and then slyly) and have served as moral compasses. I have tried to figure out the why of this, and in less complicated times, I think the poet and artist could express the underlying tensions and myths that drove their societies….

Started this several days ago, finished it on Tuesday, but was at a loss for words. Funny, cat got the writers tongue and all that. I have been curious about the phenomena of writers block. I had it with music in my late 30′s. It seems the Muse had different ideas for me. She has been kind generally for writing and poetry though. I feel that my writing combined with the art I do is moving into something new. Exciting Mutations!
Still raining in Oregon. I tend to forget that this is what it does here. We have the world’s best summers though, just lovely. Spring though, is accelerating here! All the flowering trees and bushes! All the allergies!
Hope you have a lovely weekend!

On The Menu:

Richard Thompson – 1952 Vincent Black Lightning

100 Years:John Millington Synge

Monologue: Playboy Of The Western World

Monologue: The Tinker’s Wedding

The Poetry of J. M. Synge…

Richard Thompson – Genesis Hall – Live Session

Richard Thompson – 1952 Vincent Black Lightning

100 Years:John Millington Synge

Synge was born near Dublin in 1871 and died in 1909. He received his degree from Trinity College, Dublin, then went to Germany to study music and later to Paris, where he lived for several years working at literary criticism. Here, he met a compatriot, William Butler Yeats, who persuaded Synge to live for a while in the Aran Islands and then return to Dublin and devote himself to creative work. The Aran Islands (1907) is the journal of Synge’s retreat among these primitive people.
The plays of Irish peasant life on which his fame rests were written in the last six years of his life. The first two one-act plays, In the Shadow of the Glen, (1903), a comedy, and Riders to the Sea (1904), considered one of the finest tragedies ever written, were produced by the Irish National Theatre Society. This group, with Synge, Yeats and Lady Gregory as co-directors, organized in 1904 the famous Abbey Theatre. Two comedies, The Well of the Saints (1905) and The Playboy of the Western World (1907), were presented by the Abbey players. The latter play created a furor of resentment among Irish patriots stung by Synge’s bitter humor.
Synge’s later works included The Tinker’s Wedding, published in 1908 but not produced for fear of further riots, and Deirdre of the Sorrows, a tragedy unfinished at the time of his death but presented by the Abbey players in 1910.

The Playboy Of The Western World

A monologue from the play by John Millington Synge
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Playboy of the Western World. John Millington Synge. Boston: John W. Luce, 1911.
CHRISTY: Up to the day I killed my father, there wasn’t a person in Ireland knew the kind I was, and I there drinking, waking, eating, sleeping, a quiet, simple poor fellow with no man giving me heed. And I after toiling, moiling, digging, dodging from the dawn till dusk with never a sight of joy or sport saving only when I’d be abroad in the dark night poaching rabbits on hills, for I was a devil to poach. I’d be as happy as the sunshine of St. Martin’s Day, watching the light passing the north or the patches of fog, till I’d hear a rabbit starting to screech and I’d go running in the furze. Then when I’d my full share I’d come walking down where you’d see the ducks and geese stretched sleeping on the highway of the road, and before I’d pass the dunghill, I’d hear himself snoring out, a loud lonesome snore he’d be making all times, the while he was sleeping, and he a man ‘d be raging all times, the while he was waking, like a gaudy officer you’d hear cursing and damning and swearing oaths after drinking for weeks, rising up in the red dawn, or before it maybe, and going out into the yard as naked as an ash tree in the moon of May, and shying clods against the visage of the stars till he’d put the fear of death into the banbhs and the screeching sows. He’d sons and daughters walking all the great states and territories of the world, and not a one of them, to this day, but would say their seven curses on him, and they rousing up to let a cough or sneeze, maybe, in the deadness of the night. I’m telling you, he never gave peace to any, saving when he’d get two months or three, or be locked in the asylums for battering peelers or assaulting men. It was a bitter life he led me till I did up a Tuesday and halve his skull.

The Tinker’s Wedding
A monologue from the play by John Millington Synge
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Tinker’s Wedding. John Millington Synge. Boston: John Luce, 1911.
MARY: [A priest is tied in a sack, wriggling and struggling about on the ground. The others bundle things together in a wild haste while old Mary tries to keep him quiet.] Be quiet, your reverence. What is it ails you, with your wrigglings now? Is it choking maybe?
[She puts her hand under the sack, and feels his mouth, patting him on the back.] It’s only letting on you are, holy father, for your nose is blowing back and forward as easy as an east wind on an April day.
[In a soothing voice.] There now, holy father, let you stay easy, I’m telling you, and learn a little sense and patience, the way you’ll not be so airy again going to rob poor sinners of their scraps of gold.
[He gets quieter.] That’s a good boy you are now, your reverence, and let you not be uneasy, for we wouldn’t hurt you at all. It’s sick and sorry we are to tease you; but what did you want meddling with the like of us, when it’s a long time we are going our own ways–father and son, and his son after him, or mother and daughter, and her own daughter again–and its little need we ever had of going up into a church and swearing–I’m told there’s swearing with it–a word no man would believe, or with drawing rings on our fingers, would be cutting our skins maybe when we’d be taking the ass from the shafts, and pulling the straps the time they’d be slippy with going around beneath the heavens in rains falling.
[To the others.] Maybe he’d swear a mighty oath he wouldn’t harm us, and then we’d safer loose him; for if we went to drown him, they’d maybe hang the batch of us, man and child and woman, and the ass itself.
[To the priest.] Would you swear an oath, holy father, to leave us in our freedom, and not talk at all?
[Priest nods in sacking.] Didn’t I tell you? Look at the poor fellow nodding his head off in the bias of the sacks. Strip them off from him, and he’ll be easy now.

The Poetry of J. M. Synge…

A sketch of J.M. Synge by John B. Yeats at a rehearsal of The Playboy of the Western World on January 25th 1907, the day before the play opened. It was published in The Works of John M. Synge Volume II by Maunsel & Co Ltd, Dublin, 1910
Still south I went and west and south again,

Through Wicklow from the morning till the night,

And far from cities, and the sights of men,

Lived with the sunshine and the moon’s delight.
I knew the stars, the flowers, and the birds,

The gray and wintry sides of many glens,

And did but half remember human words,

In converse with the mountains, moors, and fens.

Seven dog-days we let pass

Naming Queens in Glenmacnass,

All the rare and royal names

Wormy sheepskin yet retains,

Etain, Helen, Maeve, and Fand,

Golden Deirdre’s tender hand,

Bert, the big-foot, sung by Villon,

Cassandra, Ronsard found in Lyon.

Queens of Sheba, Meath and Connaught,

Coifed with crown, or gaudy bonnet,

Queens whose finger once did stir men,

Queens were eaten of fleas and vermin,

Queens men drew like Monna Lisa,

Or slew with drugs in Rome and Pisa,

We named Lucrezia Crivelli,

And Titian’s lady with amber belly,

Queens acquainted in learned sin,

Jane of Jewry’s slender shin:

Queens who cut the bogs of Glanna,

Judith of Scripture, and Gloriana,

Queens who wasted the East by proxy,

Or drove the ass-cart, a tinker’s doxy,

Yet these are rotten—I ask their pardon—

And we’ve the sun on rock and garden,

These are rotten, so you’re the Queen

Of all the living, or have been.

To the Oaks of Glencree
My arms are round you, and I lean

Against you, while the lark

Sings over us, and golden lights, and green

Shadows are on your bark.

There’ll come a season when you’ll stretch

Black boards to cover me;

Then in Mount Jerome I will lie, poor wretch,

With worms eternally.

The Curse
Lord, confound this surly sister,

Blight her brow with blotch and blister,

Cramp her larynx, lung, and liver,

In her guts a galling give her.

Let her live to earn her dinners

In Mountjoy with seedy sinners:

Lord, this judgment quickly bring,

And I’m your servant, J. M. Synge.

Bring Kateen-beug and Maurya Jude

To dance in Beg-Innish,

And when the lads (they’re in Dunquin)

Have sold their crabs and fish,

Wave fawny shawls and call them in,

And call the little girls who spin,

And seven weavers from Dunquin,

To dance in Beg-Innish.
I’ll play you jigs, and Maurice Kean,

Where nets are laid to dry,

I’ve silken strings would draw a dance

From girls are lame or shy;

Four strings I’ve brought from Spain and France

To make your long men skip and prance,

Till stars look out to see the dance

Where nets are laid to dry.
We’ll have no priest or peeler in

To dance in Beg-Innish;

But we’ll have drink from M’riarty Jim

Rowed round while gannets fish,

A keg with porter to the brim,

That every lad may have his whim,

Till we up sails with M’riarty Jim

And sail from Ben-Innish.

The Passing of the Shee
[After looking at one of A.E.’s pictures.]
Adieu, sweet Angus, Maeve and Fand,

Ye plumed yet skinny Shee,

That poets played with hand in hand

To learn their ecstasy.
We’ll search in Red Dan Sally’s ditch,

And drink in Tubber fair,

Or poach with Red Dan Philly’s bitch

The badger and the hare.

A silent sinner, nights and days,

No human heart to him drew nigh,

Alone he wound his wonted ways,

Alone and little loved did die.
And autumn Death for him did choose,

A season dank with mists and rain,

And took him, while the evening dews

Were settling o’er the fields again.

Richard Thompson – Genesis Hall – Live Session

Open Me Slowly…

Je dis qu’il faut être voyant, se faire voyant. Le poète se fait voyant par un long, immense et raisonné dérèglement de tous les sens.

I say one must be a seer, make oneself a seer. The poet makes himself a seer by an immense, long, deliberate derangement of all the senses.
On Radio Free Earthrites Kristi Stassinopoulou ~ Islands

A quick excursion down various paths of the Turfing kind tonight. We have some music from Rena Jones, who we interviewed for The Invisible College, to Arthur Rimbaud Poetry, and many steps between.
I am a bit astounded at the Rimbaud poetry, I have never seen these translations before. He of course was always a seminal figure in poetry for many; I think of the influence he had on Patti Smith among many, and upon Jim Morrison as well if I recall correctly.
Amazing that he wrote the majority of his work in less than 2 years..
Well, it is a short one tonight, as it has been a long and very cold day here, heading off to sleep soon!
Bright Blessings,


On The Menu:

Rena Jones – The Passing Storm

Quotes: Arthur Rimbaud

The Regenerative Rites Of The Great Mother

Poet: Arthur Rimbaud

Rena Jones – Open Me Slowly

Artist: John Reinhard Weguelin


Biography of John Reinhard Weguelin

Painter of genre, classical, biblical and historical subjects. Born on 23rd June 1849. The son of a vicar of South Stoke, near Arundel in Sussex, who had presumably turned Roman Catholic, he was educated at Cardinal Newman’s Oratory School in Edgbaston. He began working as a Lloyds underwriter but then studied at the Slade under Poynter and Legros. He exhibited landscapes and biblical and classical subjects in the manner of Alma-Tadema. He illustrated several volumes of poems, translations and stories. Studied at the Slade School under Poynter and Legros. Exhibited from 1877 at the Royal Academy, Society of British Artists, Grosvenor Gallery, New Gallery and elsewhere. Titles at the RA including ‘The Labour of the Danaids’ (1878), ‘Herodias and her Daughter’ (1884) and ‘The Piper and the Nymphs’ (1897). Painted exclusively in watercolour after 1893, and was elected to the Royal Society of Painters in Watercolour in 1897. Lived for a time at Hastings and died on 28th April 1927.

Rena Jones – The Passing Storm


Arthur Rimbaud Quotes:
“Romanticism has never been properly judged. Who was there to judge it? The critics!”

“But, truly, I have wept too much! The Dawns are heartbreaking. Every moon is atrocious and every sun bitter.”

“I have stretched ropes from steeple to steeple; garlands from window to window; golden chains from star to star, and I dance.”

“Only divine love bestows the keys of knowledge.”

“Once, I remember well, my life was a feast where all hearts opened and all wines flowed.”

“But, truly, I have wept too much! The Dawns are heartbreaking. Every moon is atrocious and every sun bitter.”

” I who fashioned myself a sorcerer or an angel, who dispensed with all morality, I have come back to earth.”

The Regenerative Rites Of The Great Mother

Harold Willoughby

From the Oriental as well as from the Hellenic world there emanated mystery religions that made their appeal and offered their satisfactions to the individual man. Like the Greek cults just described, they operated as private religious brotherhoods, though in occasional instances they were brought under state patronage and supervision. They came to the Graeco-Roman world with all the authority of a venerable past, with a theology developed in mythological forms, with a ritual, very crude perhaps, yet capable of lofty spiritual interpretation. Their appeal was primarily an emotional one, and it was addressed specifically to the individual; for all classes and all races, Greeks as well as barbarians, slaves as well as free men, were welcomed to their membership.

Of these Oriental mystery religions the first to invade the west was the cult of the Great Mother of the Gods, which came from central Asia Minor. The divine personage in whom this cult centered was the Magna Mater Deum who was conceived as the source of all life as well as the personification of all the powers of nature. This aspect of universal motherhood was the comprehensive feature of her character most frequently emphasized in the various cult titles applied to her. She was the “Great Mother” not only “of all the gods,” but “of all men” as well. She was the “Mistress of All,” the “All-Nourisher,” and “All-Begetter,” the “Mighty Mother,” and the “Mother of Zeus Himself.” “The winds, the sea, the earth, and the snowy seat of Olympus are hers, and when from her mountains she ascends into the great heavens, the son of Cronus himself gives way before her, and in like manner do also the other immortal blest honor the dread goddess.” At Pessinus, the strongest center of her worship in Asia Minor, she was from primitive times represented by a sacred stone, said to have fallen from heaven. Indeed, the city itself, according to one legend, was named from this very circumstance (pesein, “to fall”). Here all the vital forces of mother earth were concentrated in “a stone not large, which could be carried in a man’s hand without pressure–of a dusky and black color–not smooth, but having little corners standing out.” This was the stone which was later carried to Rome when the worship of the Great Mother was officially introduced to the Occident. Ensconced in a silver statue where the face ought to be, it became the center of the Roman cult of the Great Mother–the whole life of nature embodied in a small, rough stone.
The Magna Mater of all living creatures was especially the goddess of the wilder aspects of nature. She was worshipped in the depths of virgin forests and on the tops of mounntains, and her cult titles named her the “Mountain Mother,” and the “Divinity of the Mountains,” not to mention such local appellations as “Dindymene,” or the “Idaean Mother.” Even Cybele, the familiar literary designation of the Great Mother, was, according to Strabo and Diodorus, derived from a mountain or range of mountains. “A grove I had upon the mountains’ crest, whither men brought me offerings,” said the goddess herself in describing one of her favorite haunts, “a pine forest beloved for many years, dim with dusky firs and trunks of maple.” Anacharsis the Scythian was a typical devotee of the Magna Mater, for he worshiped her in a place “full of trees.” She was also the “Mistress of Wild Beasts, and lions were her constant companions in literature and in art. The author of the fourteenth Homeric Hymn addressed the Mother of the Gods as one who “is glad in the cry of wolves and fiery-eyed lions, and in echoing hills, and woodland haunts.” Thus she appeared as the goddess of all natural life, particularly in its wild and untamed aspects.
With her was associated a hero-divinity called Attis who personified the life of the vegetable world particularly. The pine tree was peculiarly his own and played a prominent part in his annual ritual. His priests were tattooed with an ivy-leaf pattern. Statues represented him crowned with fruits and holding ears of corn in his hand. He was himself addressed as the “reaped green (or yellow) ear of corn” in the hymn of Hippolytus, and the myth of his sufferings was interpreted now as the harvesting of ripened grain or again as the fading of spring flowers. His devotees in their feasts, while they might eat the stalks and upper parts of plants, were forbidden to eat seeds and the roots of vegetables for in these the divine life of their god was especially manifested. Above all, the great festival of Attis, held at the time of the vernal equinox, took the form of a mystery drama which obviously represented the reviving of the vegetable world at that season of the year.
Around these two divinities, the Great Mother and the god of vegetation, there grew up a confused tangle of myths in explanation of their cult rites. Various writers, pagan and Christian, gave different versions of the Cybele-Attis myth. Pausanias recounted two very different renderings of the legend. One of these was repeated by the Christian writer Arnobius, on the authority of a certain Timotheus. In detail the final edition was much more elaborate than the earlier rendition by Pausanias. Diodorus also recounted the Cybele-Attis myth with one or two singular omissions, while Firmicus Maternus gave a markedly euhemeristic interpretation of the legend. The accounts by Ovid, bv the philosopher Sallust, and by the Emperor Julian were similar to each other at points, yet differed in important respects from the other renderings of the legend.
The specific variations in all these diverse statements do not concern us, for certain significant elements were common to all the various versions. In each instance the relationship of Cybele and Attis was essentially the same, and their experiences were much the same throughout. According to the myth, the goddess-mother loved the youthful, virgin-born shepherd Attis with a pure love. But Attis died, either slain by another or by his own hand. In the latter instance, he was unfaithful to the Great Mother and in a frenzy of regret he emasculated himself and died. The goddess-mother mourned her dead lover and finally affected his restoration. Thus, in the end, the mortal Attis became deified and immortal. These were the main elements in the developed myth which bulked largest in the mind of the devotee as he participated in the rites of the cult.
The whole myth was palpably transparent. Attis, the god of vegetation grown to youthful beauty, is loved by Mother Earth. But the flowers of springtime faded and the fruits of summer are harvested. Nature is despoiled of her vegetation. Attis dies. Then the Mother mourns her dead plant life and remains in sorrow during autumn and winter. But with returning springtime vegetation revives and the youthful god Attis is restored to life. These familiar natural phenomena, dramatized in the ritual of the Cybele-Attis cult, became the basis on which the devotees of the Magna Mater developed their personal religious experiences.

The primitive locus of this nature worship was in the uplands of Anatolia. In a general way legends agree in locating the rise of the Cybele-Attis cult in the area covered by Galatia, Phrygia, and Lydia. As M. Cumont has properly emphasized, the development of a highly emotional cult was natural in this vicinity. Here the climate went to extremes, cold and bleak in winter, hot and even scorching in summer. These climatic contrasts made themselves felt on the character of the inhabitants. Men were responsive to the varying moods of nature with the changing seasons. During the winter months they shared the sorrow of nature at the loss of her vegetation; but with the returning verdure of springtime they hailed with joy the revival of nature. Thus there developed in the uplands north of Paul’s birthplace a cult distinguished for its excessive emotionalism.
Just when this religion had its inception it is impossible to state with any exactness. It is clear, however, that from the sixth century B.C. onward the worship of the Great Mother was dominant in Asia Minor. The earliest monuments of the cult, the so-called Niobe of Mount Sipylus and two reliefs from the vicinity of Prymnessus, date from the middle of the sixth century at least. Herodotus was acquainted with certain external features of this worship, and he knew the Great Mother as belonging to Sardis and enthroned on Mount Dindymon. By the beginning of the fifth century Pessinus had become a center of her cult, and a hundred years later Asia Minor generally was familiar with it. Considerably before the period of Alexander, therefore, the worship of Cybele and Attis was well established and widely spread in Asia Minor–mountains like Dindymon, Ida, and Tmolus, and cities like Cyzicus, Sardis, and Pessinus being the importaint centers of the cult.
The Great Mother early emigrated from her Asian home and traveled to Europe, first by way of the Hellesspont and liter by the Aegean Islands. Pindar knew her worship at Thebes and Aristophanes ridiculed the goddess from Athens. The chorus of Euripides’ Bacchae came from Mount Tmolus and sang the praises of the Great Mother as well as of Dionysus. By the end of the fourth century, the worship of the Mother existed privately in the seaport town of the Peiraeus, while the Emperor Julian had a story to tell concerning the introduction of the Great Mother’s religion at Athens. Admittedly, however, the cult of the Magna Mater was not especially popular in Greece. The demand for a highly emotional type of religious experience was already well satisfied among the Hellenes. In the orgiastic rites of Dionysus, the Greeks had religious practices of strikingly similar character which gave them the desired emotional stimulation.
The coming of the Magna Mater to Rome and the west was under the most dramatic circumstances. It was in the year 204 B.C.; Hannibal was still in Italy and Rome was thoroughly exhausted. Moreover, the people had become frightened because of frequent showers of stones and other unusual phenomena. In desperation the Sibylline Books were consulted, and it was learned that the enemy could be conquered if the Idaean Mother should be brought from Pessinus to Rome. Accordingly, a delegation was sent to King Attalus of Pergamum, who conducted them to Pessinus and gave them the sacred stone which was the Mother of the Gods. On her arrival in Italy, the goddess was officially welcomed by the “best man” of the Republic and the leading matrons of Rome. Miracles attended the event, the citizens made holiday, and an annual festival was instituted in honor of the goddess. As a result–so it seemed–the crops of that year were successful and Hannibal was driven out of Italy and conquered. So the Magna Mater came in triumph to the west in 204 B.C.
Although the worship of the Great Mother was officially welcomed to Italy, it seems to have been regarded with suspicion, treated as foreign, and subjected to state regulation during the last two centuries of the Republic. Under the Empire, however, the cult came into its own. By the first century A.D. the legal restrictions of republican days were removed and the worship of the Magna Mater easily became one of the most popular and favored religions of the time. The Archigallus, or high priest of the cult, became the Attis populi Romani. During the reign of Claudius, the annual festival was elaborated with even more impressive rites than those of its native Phrygian home and it took on its final form as one of the great festivals of the Roman Empire. The literature of the first century shows the high degree of prominence attained by the cult during this period. Livy gave an account of the coming of the Great Mother to Rome. Ovid, in the Fasti, devoted much space to an explanation of the origin and significance of her rites. Vergil told how the Great Mother had protected Aeneas, the ancestral hero of the Roman race. Horace made several references to the Great Mother’s rites, and Propertius recounted the story of Claudia, who led the Roman matrons in welcoming the goddess to Italy. Even Maecenas composed a poem in honor of Cybele. The satirists, on the other hand, were unsparing in making the Galli the butt of crude jokes. Thus, during the period when Pauline Christianity was barely beginning to make itself felt as a missionary movement in the Graeco-Roman world, the cult of the Great Mother of the Gods had already won a place of prominence for itself in the life of the Roman Empire. It is important, therefore, to consider the phenomena of this gentile religion in relation to the development of early Christianity itself.

Our clearest index to the personal religious experience of the devotees of the Great Mother is found in a study of cult ritual. Because of their public character we possess the most extensive information concerning the annual spring festival of Attis, and the Taurobolium of the Magna Mater–ceremonials that had the official sanction of the Roman state. In considering the spring festival which Claudius incorporated as a part of the established religion of the Empire, it is important to bear in mind that it most it was but in elaborition of rites that had long been practiced in Asia Minor. We are specifically informed that the Roman ritual was celebrated Phrygio more. It may reasonably be assumed, therefore, that the Roman ceremonies were not essentially different from their Asian originals.
The prelude to the annual festival began on the Ides of March. On the second festival day, which was designated Arbor intrat in the calendar of Philocalus, the guild of dendrophori, or tree bearers, were in charge of the ceremonial. It was the duty of the dendrophori to cut down a pine tree in the woods and bear it with due pomp to the temple of Cybele. The perennial pine was a natural embodiment of Attis, the spirit of vegetation. According to legend, it was under a pine tree that he had mutilated himself and died. He had himself been transmuted into a pine tree and carried in this form into the cave of Cybele where the goddess mothered her dead lover; hence the pine tree borne by the dendrophori into the temple of Cybele was regarded as the corpse of Attis dead and treated with divine honors. It was swathed with fillets of wool as the body of Attis had been. Its branches were hung with garlands of violets, the flowers that sprang from his blood. From the middle of the stem was suspended an image of young man, who was doubtless Attis himself.’ The ritual fact was that the dead god was brought with funeral pomp to the temple of the Magna Mater.
The following day was one of fasting when the devotees of Attis mourned their god. It was a peculiar fast, however; Jerome called it “a gluttonous abstinence, when men ate pheasants in order not to contaminate cereals.” Meats, in general, were allowed, but fruits and vegetables were forbidden. This prohibition extended to wine also. The vegetable abstinence was a natural one. As the cutting down of the pine tree symbolized that the god of vegetation was dead, so the vegetable world shared in the defunct condition of the god. To partake of vegetables and cereals at such a season would be to violate the bruised and broken body of a god. This fast probably began with the fifteenth of March, and it had its influence as a physical preparation for the excessive emotionalism of the rites which marked the climax of the festival.
These rites came on the twenty-fourth of March, a day that was called, significantly enough, the “Day of Blood.” At this time the Great Mother of the Gods inspired her devotees with a frenzy surpassing that which the followers of Dionysus knew. It was a madness induced not by wine, but by the din of crashing music, the dizzy whirling of the dance, and the sight of blood. The music which accompanied these rites was wild and barbaric, made by clashing cymbals and blatant horns, shrilling flutes and rolling drums. It was maddening music, noisy and savage. Lucian vividly described the wild tumult made by the Galli on Mount Ida blowing their horns, pounding their drums, and clashing their cymbals. Music of this kind–the Anatolian prototype of modern jazz–was popularly known as Phrygian music.
To the accompaniment of these barbaric strains a dance was staged. With wagging heads and streaming hair, the devotees of the Great Mother whirled their bodies round and round in a dizzy dance, shouting and singing as they gyrated. Apuleius pictured such a dance performed in a Thessalian village by the mendicant priests of the Syrian goddess.
“They went forth with their arms naked to their shoulders, bearing with them great swords …. shouting and dancing like mad persons to the sound of the pipe ….. They began to howl all out of tune and hurl themselves hither and thither, as though they were mad. They made a thousand gests with their feet and their heads; theywould bend down their necks and spin round so that their hair flew out in a circle; they would bite their own flesh; finally every one took his two-edged weapon and wounded his arms in different places.”
This cruel custom of lacerating one’s own flesh during the frenzied ritual was a distinctive characteristic of the Great Mother’s cult. Slashing their arms with knives, or gashing their bodies, the worshipers sprinkled with their own blood the sacred tree that was Attis. When Martial was casting about for a comparison to make vivid the dangerous habits of a certain barber he could think of nothing more to the point than these bloody rites of the Great Mother. “He who desires not yet to go down to Stygian shades, let him, if he be wise, avoid barber Antiochus. White arms are mangled with knives less cruel when the frenzied throng raves to Phrygian strains,” he declared. To the modern mind this sanguine rite seems cruel in the extreme. It is probable, however, that the devotees, wrought up to a very high pitch of excitement by the din of the noisy music and the frenzy of the wild dance, were largely insensible to the pain. This ghastly ritual formed a part of the mourning for the dead Attis. When the Great Mother saw the freely flowing blood of her worshipers, she could not doubt that they shared with her in her sorrow. The blood may well have been intended, also, to appease the manes of the dead Attis or to strengthen him for his resurrection. To imitate Cybele in her grief and to call Attis back to life were the purposes of this bloody rite.
But the devotees of the Great Mother did not stop with the shedding of blood merely. Keyed up to the highest pitch of religious excitement, they followed the example of Attis and emasculated themselves. With this final act of self-sacrifice and consecration, the Dies sanguinis was crowned and the devotee became one of the Galli, a eunuch-priest of the Asian goddess. This was the regular practice in Phrygia, and in Rome, even, it is probable that the custom was followed. In his account of the Syrian goddess, whose cult was strikingly like that of Cybele, Lucian gave a description of this sacerdotal initiation. It is not only a vivid depiction of the bloody scene itself but also a good piece of psychological analysis, for it shows the strange fascination of these barbaric rites and reveals their mesmeric effect upon the spectators witnessing the supreme act of consecration. In abbreviated form Lucian’s account is as follows:
“During these days they are made Galli. As the Galli sing and celebrate their orgies, frenzy falls on many of them, and many who had come as mere spectators afterwards are found to have committed the great act. Any young man who has resolved on this action, strips off his clothes, and with a loud shout bursts into the midst of the crowd and picks up a sword. He takes it and emasculates himself and then runs wild through the city.”
For one who had performed this irrevocable sacrifice in a moment of hot excitement a strong revulsion of feeling was later inevitable. This emotional reaction was powerfully depicted by Catullus in his famous poem bearing the name “Attis.”
Undoubtedly for the devotee of Cybele the rite of self-mutilation had distinct religious values. By the very act the devotee himself became another Attis. He had done in the service of the goddess what Attis had already done. The Attis in the poem of Catullus was not the original lover of Cybele but rather one of her priests, who by the fact of priestly initiation had become identified with the god. “Methought in a dream that I had become Attis, and that the festival of the so-called Hilaria was fulfilled to me by the Great Mother,” wrote Damaskios, the
last of the Neoplatonists. The name Attis was actually used as a traditional title for the priesthood of the Great Mother. Just as Attis was believed to have attained the state of deity by the passion of emasculation so by the way of self-mutilation, the Gallus became a god instead of mortal.
The act that made an Attis of the votary placed him in peculiarly intimate relationship to the Mother Goddess herself. The broken instruments of his manhood were treated as an oblation to the goddess. Perhaps they were thrown into the lap of her statue, is the “Passion of St. Symphorian” suggests. In the case of a goddess of fertility, like the Magna Mater, this was a significant act. Thus the ministers of the Great Mother, who personated her divine lover, made it possible for her to exercise her beneficent function in renewing the life of nature. As a new Attis the votary assumed the role of a bridegroom to the goddess. There were “marriage chambers” in the sanctuary of the Great Mother at Lobrinon near Cyzicus. In such a chamber the newly consecrated priest, kept vigil during the night after his dedication, a bridegroom in the bridal chamber of his goddess. Indeed, a specific cult designation of the GalIus was “bridegroom.” This indicates that the experiences of the Dies Sanguinus and the following night were interpreted as a process of mystical union with the Great Goddess herself, and by means of certain obscure ritual acts there was developed a sense of intimate divine communion on the part of the devotee. From another standpoint the newly consecrated priest was thought of as a male counterpart of the goddess. Hence, he was called Kubebos. By the fact of emasculation he had assimilated himself to the nature of the goddess. As an indication of this transformation he henceforth wore feminine dress and allowed his hair to grow long. At some point in the ceremony there was also a solemn enthronement and the consecrated mortal was crowned in token of his deification. Nothing less than this, in the experience of the Gallus, was the result of his act of devotion. It made him realistically and mysticilly one with his goddess.
The day following the “Day of Blood” brought a delirium of joy to replace the delirium of sorrow. Dead Attis had been buried and around his grave his devotees had mourned his death long into the night. Toward morning, however, a great light appeared in the darkness and the resurrection of the god was announced. Firmicus Maternus thus described the scene: “When they are satisfied with their fictitious grief a light is brought in, and the priest, having anointed their lips, whispers, ‘Be of good cheer, you of the mystery. Your god is saved; for us also there shall be salvation from ills.’” Then joy took the place of sorrow, for the resurrection of the god brought with it the assurance of salvation for men, and this chiefly included the promise of a happy immortality. On the twenty-fifth of March, the first day when daylight exceeded darkness, the resurrection of the god was celebrated with universal license. The day’s celebration was known as the Hilaria and was characterized by the general good cheer. Mourning was not permitted; but instead there were masquerades and banquets. Even the Galli were eased of their wounds in their joy because of the resurrection of Attis.
There followed a day of much needed rest, the Requiratio. Then the festival closed with the Lavatio, or washing of the goddess in the Almo, a rite that aroused the scorn and sarcasm of Arnobius. The silver statue of the goddess was placed in a wagon drawn by oxen and conducted in solemn procession to the Almo where it was washed in the water of the river. Amid rejoicing the statue was drawn back to its temple, showered with the flowers of springtime on its way. This was probably a rite of purification considered necessary because of the experience through which the goddess had passed on the Dies Sanguinis. After marriage, purification was deemed essential even for a goddess. Because the Magna Mater had been mystically united with her ministers, such postnuptial purification was necessary in her case.
In this, the annual spring festival of their god and goddess, the Galli found the beginning of a new life for themselves. It was a highly wrought emotional experience induced by fasting, wild music, frenzied dancing, and the sight of flowing blood. The sorrow thus aroused was interpreted as a sympathetic sharing with the Great Mother in her grief at the death of her lover. The orgiastic rite reached its climax in the irrevocable sacrifice of manhood, an act whereby the devotee physically assimilated himself to divinity. He himself became Attis, a god, mystically united,is a divine lover to the Great Goddess. In the resurrection of his god he felt himself personally participant and he found therein the assurance of a happy future life. The experience was a crudely physical one and realistic in the extreme. Yet it had a strange fascination because of its very realism, and it held out to the devotees who were willing to make the supreme sacrifice the promise of a divinization of human nature and an immediate communion with deity.
To this experience the figure of a new birth was not inappropriately applied. The pagan writer, Sallust the Philosopher, used this very terminology in describing the effect of the Attis festival on those who participated in it. He said that those who passed through this form of initiation were actually treated as new-born babes and dieted on milk for some time afterward. His exact expression was: hosper anagennomenon, “as of those who are being born again.” Thus, at the annual spring festival the ministers of the Great Mother passed through a religious experience so fundamental that it seemed to them the beginning of a new life, essentially different from the life they had known before. It was a regeneration that transformed their beings, gave them a present communion with their god and goddess, and assured them of personal immortality.

Another bloody rite of great importance connected with the cult of the Great Mother was the taurobolium, or sacrifice of a bull, with its variant, the criobolium, or ram sacrifice. The origin of the taurobolium and its relationship to the cult of the Magna Mater is obscure. Almost certainly, however, it was of oriental origin localized in Anatolia, and it probably had its inception in the primitive practice of washing in the blood of an animal in order to secure its vital energy. In the cult of the Great Mother, however, the primitive notions attached to the practice became transformed and spiritualized. When the rite came to prominence in Italy early in the second century A.D. two distinct motives were apparent, one official, the other personal. The taurobolium was officially performed vicariously for the safety of the emperor, the empire, or a particular community–pro salute imperatoris, pro salute imperii, pro salute urbis, etc. This was a purely official and sacerdotal celebration, with the Archigallus presiding, and during the second and third centuries this usage was especially prominent in Roman practice.
But the taurobolium might be a private ceremony also, performed by an ordinary person who bore the expense of it himself–de suo, suo sumptu, or sua pecunia. In this case the purpose was a purely personal one and the motive which actuated the celebration was the purification and regeneration of the individual. This private rite was performed on laymen as well as priests and by persons of all classes and both sexes. It was strictly an individualistic ceremony. During the third and fourth centuries, probably because of Christian competition, the private celebration of the taurobolium came forward into particular prominence. Between these two types of ceremony, however, the official and the private, there can be no doubt as to which was prior to the other. The rite in itself was essentially of a private and personal nature and its public, vicarious usage was clearly a later adaptation. The devotees of the Mother and Attis certainly experienced it for their own benefit before ever the rite was enacted for the good of the community. Centuries before the taurobolium was performed in Italy for the safety of the state, it was enacted in Asia Minor for the benefit of the individual devotee.
The ceremony itself was picturesque. In the Peristephanon by the Christian poet Prudentius there is a description of the rite which purports to be by an eyewitness. A priest is the subject of the ceremony. With a golden crown on his head and adorned with fillets, he descends into a deep trench which is covered with a platform of perforated pIanks. A large bull, gleaming with gold and garlanded with flowers, is led on to the platform. Here he is stabbed to death by the consecrated spear, and his blood flows out over the covering of the trench and rains down on the expectant devotee below.
“Through the thousand crevices in the wood the bloody dews run down into the pit. The priest receives the falling drops on his head, clothes and body. He leans backward to have his cheeks, his ears, his lips, and his nostrils wetted. He pours the liquid over his eyes and does not even spare his palate, for he moistens his tongue with blood and drinks it eagerly.”
When the life of the bull is extinct, its body is removed and the neophyte emerges from the trench, drenched and dripping with blood. He rresents himself to the expectant throng of worshipers who do obeisance to him as to a god, as to one who has been born again to a divine life.
For the one who experienced the blood bath of the taurobolium this was exactly the meaning of the rite. He came up out of the trench reborn to a new kind of existence. In effect the bath of blood was believed to purify him from the sins and evils of his old life and make him a new man, or rather a divinized human. In some cases the efficacy of the rite was supposed to last for a period of twenty years, and then the grace was renewed. In other instances, the conviction was that the effect of the rite was everlasting and that the devotee was in aeternum renatus, to quote the formula of the inscriptions. There is a strong temptation at this point to question if this startling phrase and the whole conception of the new birth experience in the cult of the Magna Mater may not be due to Christian influence. There is not, however, a shred of evidence to substantiate this contention. Against it is the purely pagan character of the rite itself, its undoubted antiquity, and the fact that it naturally lent itself to the new-birth interpretation. Held as it usually was, though not invariably, at the time of the vernal equinox on the Dies Saguinis, the resurrection of vegetation and of the god of vegetation naturally suggested the regeneration of the individual. Thus the whole ritual became a sort of passion drama in and of itself, involving three parties: the god, the neophyte, and nature in a single cycle of events. The neophyte descended into the pit; Attis died; vegetation withered. The neophyte came up out of the pit; Attis arose from the dead; vegetation revived. In this way, at the spring festival of Attis, the regeneration of the individual was made to coincide with the rebirth of nature.

The Cybele-Attis cult included certain strictly private rites that are quite as important for the student of personal religion as the public ceremonies we have just examined. Julian, the Emperor, in discussing the March festival, made careful distinction between two series of rites following the cutting down of the sacred pine, one secret and mysterious, the other open to the public. It is probable, therefore, that the secret rites of the cult were more or less co-ordinated with the public ceremonials. Augustine demanded to know of these esoteric rites, “What good is to be thought of their sacred rites which are concealed in darkness, when those which are brought forth into light are so detestable?” This interrogation conveniently emphasizes the differentiation between the public and private rites of the Attis cult.
In the nature of the case the public rites were open to a more or less limited number of participants. The sacerdota] consecration of the Dies Sanguinis was a restricted type of initiation available only for men and to those only who felt impelled to make the supreme sacrifice. It was a masculine and priestly initiation. But the cult of the Great Mother welcomed women as well as men and included laymen as well as priests. Even the grace of the taurobolium was obtainable only by those who could bear the expense of the ceremony. The private rites of the cult, however, were accessible to a far larger group. They represented the type of initiation as contrasted with the priestly. Hence they are of more than usual importance from the point of view of personal religious experience.
Unfortunately, we know even less of these private ceremonials than of the secret rites in other mystery cults, and for much the same reason. Their secret has been too well guarded. Only a single formula has come down to us, in slightly variant forms, from the esotoric liturgy of the Attis cult. According to the version given by Clement of Alexandria the confessional of the initiate was:
I have eaten out of the drum:

I have drunk out of the cymbal:

I have carried the Kernos:

I have entered the bridal chamber.
Firmicus Maternus repeated the formula in a more brief form:
I have eaten from the drum:

I have drunk out of the cymbal:

I have become a mystic votary of Attis.
In this formula two experiential elements stand out clearly. One is union with divinity by the semblance of a mystic marriage. “I have entered the bridal chamber.” The votary entering the shrine of the goddess went there as a bridegroom. In the secret chamber divinity and humanity were united in marriage, and thus the devotee attained communion with his goddess. This was the lay equivalent for the priestly experience when the Gallus, as a new Attis, became the bridegroom of Cybele.
The second important element of mystical experience emphasized in this formula was communion with the deity by the act of eating and drinking.
I have eaten from the drum:

I have drunk from the cymbal.
The similarity of this confessional to the Eleusinian password is incontestable. Just as the initiate at Eleusis drank of the mixed barley potion and ate sacred food from the chest, so the devotee of the Great Mother drank from the cymbal and ate from the drum. The instruments mentioned, the drum and the cymbal, were the favorite musical instruments of the Great Mother. It was natural, therefore, that they should be used as cup and plate in this ceremony. Just what was the sacred food which the devotees shared we have scarcely a hint. We know only that it consisted of a beverage and of solid food.
Much more important than to know these external details is to understand the psychological effect of this communion meal on the participants. Was it merely a common meal that gave the votaries fellowship with one another, binding them together in a brotherhood like that of a great family? It may have had this meaning incidentally, but certainly this was not the inclusive significance of the rite for the votary. It was a communion with divinity rather than a communion with one’s fellow devotees. Firmicus Maternus, in denouncing this rite, contrasted it specifically with the Christian sacrament of the eucharist. His words show clearly that there was a genuine parallelism between the Christian rite and the pagan. Both were believed to communicate divine life to the devotee and assure him of salvation. Maternus concluded his invective against the pagan rite with the appeal, “It is another food that gives salvation and life. Seek the bread of Christ and the cup of Christ!” Apparently, therefore, the sacred meal in the Semele-Attis cult was a genuine sacrament that enabled the devotee to absorb the divine life in a realistic manner. In the liturgy of the cult, Attis himself was addressed as a “reaped ear of corn.” It is not unlikely that a corn product, or some other vegetable food in which Attis was believed especially to dwell, formed a part of the sacred repast. In partaking of this meal, the devotee was enabled to share in a materialistic manner the life of his god. The common meal of the Great Mother’s cult therefore was a means of attaining to a realistic type of mystical communion with divinity.
All these various rites in the cult of the Great Mother were crude enough. They were characterized by realism and naturalism. There was eating and drinking. There was a bath in blood. There was an orgy of self-induced sorrow and joy that had its climax in self mutilation. Yet these very rites with all their primitive crudity and cruelty became transmuted into vehicles for really deep religious experience. The act of eating and drinking became a sacrament of communion wherein the devotee partook of a divine substance and thus attained actual union with his deity. The semblance of a mystic marriage whereby the initiate as a divine lover was united to the goddess was another means of attaining the same end. The blood bath of the taurobolium brought with it the washing away of the sins and evils of an old life. It was a regenerating experience by which the neophyte was reborn for eternity. The passion drama depicting the death of natural life and its renovation in the springtime was an allegory of personal resurrection to eternal life. Even the act of self-mutilation became the means whereby the devotee, like Attis himself, effected his own deification and assimilated himself to the nature of the Great Mother. In the cult of the Mater Deum the communion of eating and drinking, the semblance of mystic marriage, the purification in the bath of blood, and the mortification of the flesh, all functioned as sacraments of spiritual regeneration.

For the student of Christian origins a knowledge of the regenerative rites of the Great Mother is doubly important because her worship was remarkably like that in a whole group of cults with which Paul, the Christian apostle, had early familiarity and contacts that were intimate. These were the religions indigenous to the lands of Syria and Cilicia, where Paul was brought up and where he had his early missionary experience. Unfortunately, our knowledge of these gentile cults is fragmentary and chaotic. They had nothing like the solidarity of the Greek and major Oriental systems, and it would be utterly impossible to reconstruct their history or to outline their ritual in any detail. Still it is possible to distinguish among them certain common elements that show a general resemblance to the Phrygian worship of the Great Mother. Usually, the central place in the cultus was held by a mother-goddess who embodied the power of life, and a somewhat subordinate position was assigned to a youthful male deity who like Attis died and rose again.
The prototype for this diversified, yet measurably unified complex of religious systems seems to have been the Babylonian cult of Ishtar, the deified personification of motherhood. She was known to biblical writers as Ashtoreth, and to the Greeks as Astarte or Aphrodite. With her was associated a young and active deity called Tammuz, who was slain but afterward revived. As in the case of Attis, lamentations formed an important part of his worship. In Ezekiel’s day this practice was adopted by Jews, even, and among the “abominations” which the prophet saw perpetrated at the very gate of the Jerusalem temple was the weeping of women for Tammuz! In Phoenicia the mother-goddess was worshiped under the name of Ashtart, and as early as the third century B.C. her cult was so pre-eminent that the kings of Sidon served her as priests. She, too, had her consort, Eshmun by name. Their houses were built together, and they were simultaneously glorified.
To the Greek world this immortal pair was familiar as Aphrodite and Adonis, the goddess of love and her impetuous young husband. “The Fourth Venus,” said Cicero, “was a Syrian . . . . who is called Astarte and is said to have been married to Adonis.” Greek and Latin writers delighted to retell the story of their love and of Aphrodite’s loss. The tale was that of an ardent young hunter who, all too rash, was wounded to death by a boar. Thus young Adonis died; but the grief of his goddess-lover brought about his restoration to life. In the cult of these divinities, also, traditional lamentations were a conspicuous element of the ritual. Sappho more than once referred to this weeping for the god, while Bion wrote a lament for Adonis which, though a conventional literary product and not an actual cult hymn, yet gives a fairly accurate impression of the mourning songs sung at Adonis’ festivals.
The annual celebrations in honor of the god were elaborated as a drama of marriage and passion. Around a ritual marriage bed the wedding of the divine pair was celebrated. There followed a lament for the dead Adonis ending in a forecast of the resurrection. Sometimes that joyous event was actually represented. At all the important centers of Adonis worship, not only in Syria and Cyprus but also in Athens and Alexandria, the festival of Adonis was one of the great events in the religious calendar. Theocritus, in one of his Idyls, described such a festival as it was conducted at the court of Ptolemy early in the Hellenistic period. The marriage song sung at this celebration began with a description of the wedding tableau and included an adequate account of the Adonis festival as a whole.
The bridal bed for Adonis spread of my own making is;

Cypris hath this for her wrapping, Adonis that for his.

Of eighteen years or nineteen, is turned the rose-limbed groom;

His pretty lip is smooth to sip, for it bears but flaxen bloom,

And now she’s in her husband’s arms, and so we’ll say good-night;

But tomorrow we’ll come with the dew, the dew, and take hands and bear him away

Where plashing wave the shore doth lave, and there with locks undight

And bosoms bare all shining fair will raise this shrilling lay:
“O sweet Adonis, none but thee of the children of gods and men

‘Twixt overworld and underworld doth pass and pass again:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Adonis sweet, Adonis dear,

Be gracious for another year;

Thou’rt welcome to thine own alway,

And welcome we’ll both cry today

And next Adonis-tide.”
Another Syrian goddess who gained considerable prominence in the Roman world was Atargatis. Her consort was Hadad, with whom the belief in immortality was connected at an early period. In his ritual, as in that of Adonis, an elaborate show of grief was a characteristic factor, and the prophet Zechariah knew of the lamentations for Hadad. But it was the goddess who attracted the attention of the Roman world. In the eyes of the Greeks she was the “Syrian goddess,” and among Latins this Dea Syria became popular as Iasura. During the latter days of the Republic her cult was notably propagated by the agency of slaves and under the Empire Syrian merchants became as her missionaries. She was especially popular with the lower classes, though some in high stations affected her cult. Marius was one of her devotees and Nero “held in contempt all religious rites except those of the Syrian Goddess”–though his esteem for her was not lasting one. The great slave uprising in Sicily in 134 was led by a slave who claimed to be inspired by the goddess herself–a revealing illustration of the loyalty she commanded for this class in society.
Her rites were such as would appeal to the proletariat and conserve religious values for them. They were realistic, picturesque, sensuous, and fascinating in their strangeness. Apulcius in an incidental account of the missionary operations of her traveling priests gave a memorable picture of their methods in actual practice among the rural population of Thessaly. The account was not a very complimentary one, and it was doubtless exaggerated. Certainly the itinerant priests of the Syrian goddess were generally actuated by more worthy motives than this particular group was represented to be. Still the description of their religious exercises was detailed by Apuleius with all the vividness of life itself, and it may be considered a true representation of the cult rites on festal occasions. Lucian, who was himself a Syrian and wrote as one wholly familiar with this religion, also described the rites in a way that parallels and confirms the account of Apuleius. The exercises were essentially the same as those that formed the climax of the Great Mother’s festival and made eunuch priests of her male devotees. To the accompaniment of wild music men danced themselves into a frenzy and then lacerated and mutilated themselves unsparingly. Here again the central experience of the cult was ecstatic in character, with a cruel and crudely physical emotionalism. But it was not without its mystical content; for in this way the devotees sought to affiliate themselves with their pitiless goddess.
Altogether the cults of Cilicia and Syria may be grouped in the same class as the Anatolian worship of the Cybele. They were redemption religions, the deities of which were revered as the saviors of the individual man. In their propagandist efforts they aimed at universalism through individualism. They were still tainted with much of the grossness of primitive naturalism; yet this very fact was not a disadvantage with the humbler folk in society whom they captivated by the barbaric appeal of their ritual. They were religions of enthusiasm which aroused fear, pain, hope, joy, all culminating in ecstasy. By mortification, by stimulating music, by self-mutilation, and like means, these Syrian zealots strove to rise to a higher state than mere mortality and unite themselves with divinity. This was their rebirth to a new life and immortality.

Poet: Arthur Rimbaud

The First Evening
– She was very much half-dressed

And big indiscreet trees

Threw out their leaves against the pane

Cunningly, and close, quite close.
Sitting half naked in my big chair,

She clasped her hands.

Her small and so delicate feet

Trembled with pleasure on the floor.
– The colour of wax, I watched

A little wild ray of light

Flutter on her smiling lips

And on her breast, – an insect on the rose-bush.
– I kissed her delicate ankles.

She laughed softly and suddenly

A string of clear trills,

A lovely laugh of crystal.
The small feet fled beneath

Her petticoat: “Stop it, do!”

– The first act of daring permitted,

Her laugh pretended to punish me!
– Softly I kissed her eyes,

Trembling beneath my lips, poor things:

– She threw back her fragile head

“Oh! come now that’s going too far!…
Listen, Sir, I have something to say to you…”

– I transferred the rest to her breast

In a kiss which made her laugh

With a kind laugh that was willing…
– She was very much half-dressed

And big indiscreet trees threw

Out their leaves against the pane

Cunningly, and close, quite close.
Sun and Flesh (Credo in Unam)


The Sun, the hearth of affection and life,

Pours burning love on the delighted earth,

And when you lie down in the valley, you can smell

How the earth is nubile and very full-blooded;

How its huge breast, heaved up by a soul,

Is, like God, made of love, and, like woman, of flesh,

And that it contains, big with sap and with sunlight,

The vast pullulation of all embryos!
And everything grows, and everything rises!
– O Venus, O Goddess!

I long for the days of antique youth,

Of lascivious satyrs, and animal fauns,

Gods who bit, mad with love, the bark of the boughs,

And among water-lilies kissed the Nymph with fair hair!

I long for the time when the sap of the world,

River water, the rose-coloured blood of green trees

Put into the veins of Pan a whole universe!

When the earth trembled, green,beneath his goat-feet;

When, softly kissing the fair Syrinx, his lips formed

Under heaven the great hymn of love;

When, standing on the plain, he heard round about him

Living Nature answer his call;

When the silent trees cradling the singing bird,

Earth cradling mankind, and the whole blue Ocean,

And all living creatures loved, loved in God!
I long for the time of great Cybele,

Who was said to travel, gigantically lovely,

In a great bronze chariot, through splendid cities;

Her twin breasts poured, through the vast deeps,

The pure streams of infinite life.

Mankind sucked joyfully at her blessed nipple,

Like a small child playing on her knees.

– Because he was strong, Man was gentle and chaste.
Misfortune! Now he says: I understand things,

And goes about with eyes shut and ears closed.

– And again, no more gods! no more gods! Man is King,

Man is God! But the great faith is Love!

Oh! if only man still drew sustenance from your nipple,

Great mother of gods and of men, Cybele;

If only he had not forsaken immortal Astarte

Who long ago, rising in the tremendous brightness

Of blue waters, flower-flesh perfumed by the wave,

Showed her rosy navel, towards which the foam came snowing

And , being a goddess with the great conquering black eyes,

Made the nightingale sing in the woods and love in men’s hearts!

I believe! I believe in you! divine mother,

Sea-born Aphrodite! – Oh! the path is bitter

Since the other God harnessed us to his cross;

Flesh, Marble, Flower, Venus, in you I believe!

– yes, Man is sad and ugly, sad under the vast sky.

He possesses clothes, because he is no longer chaste,

Because he has defiled his proud, godlike head

And because he has bent, like an idol in the furnace,

His Olympian form towards base slaveries!

Yes, even after death, in the form of pale skeletons

He wishes to live and insult the original beauty!

– And the Idol in whom you placed such maidenhood,

Woman, in whom you rendered our clay divine,

So that Man might bring light into his poor soul

And slowly ascend, in unbounded love,

From the earthly prison to the beauty of day,

Woman no longer knows even how to be a Courtesan!

– It’s a fine farce! and the world snickers

At the sweet and sacred name of great Venus!

If only the times which have come and gone might come again!

– For Man is finished! Man has played all the parts!

In the broad daylight, wearied with breaking idols

He will revive, free of all his gods,

And, since he is of heaven, he will scan the heavens!

The Ideal, that eternal, invincible thought, which is

All; The living god within his fleshly clay,

Will rise, mount, burn beneath his brow!

An when you see him plumbing the whole horizon,

Despising old yokes, and free from all fear,

You will come and give him holy Redemption!

– Resplendent, radiant, from the bosom of the huge seas

You will rise up and give to the vast Universe

Infinite Love with its eternal smile!

The World will vibrate like an immense lyre

In the trembling of an infinite kiss!
– The World thirsts for love: you will come and slake its thirst.
O! Man has raised his free, proud head!

And the sudden blaze of primordial beauty

Makes the god quiver in the altar of the flesh!

Happy in the present good, pale from the ill suffered,

Man wishes to plumb all depths, – and know all things! Thought,

So long a jade, and for so long oppressed,

Springs from his forehead! She will know Why!…

Let her but gallop free, and Man will find Faith!

– Why the blue silence, unfathomable space?

Why the golden stars, teeming like sands?

If one ascended forever, what would one see up there?

Does a sheperd drive this enormous flock

Of worlds on a journey through this horror of space?

And do all these worlds contained in the vast ether,

tremble at the tones of an eternal voice?

– And Man, can he see? can he say: I believe?

Is the langage of thought anymore than a dream?

If man is born so quickly, if life is so short

Whence does he come? Does he sink into the deep Ocean

Of Germs, of Foetuses, of Embryos, to the bottom

of the huge Crucible where Nature the Mother

Will resuscitate him, a living creature,

To love in the rose and to grow in the corn?…
We cannot know! – We are weighed down

With a cloak of ignorance, hemmed in by chimaeras!

Men like apes, dropped from our mothers’ wombs,

Our feeble reason hides the infinite from us!

We wish to perceive: – and Doubt punishes us!

Doubt, dismal bird, beat us down with its wing…

– And the horizon rushes away in endless flight!…

The vast heaven is open! the mysteries lie dead

Before erect Man, who folds his strong arms

Among the vast splendour of abundant Nature!

He sings… and the woods sing, the river murmurs

A song full of happiness which rises towards the light!…

– it is Redemption! it is love! it is love!…


O splendour of flesh! O ideal splendour!

O renewal of love, triumphal dawn

When, prostrating the Gods and the Heroes,

White Callipyge and little Eros

Covered with the snow of rose petals, will caress

Women and flowers beneath their lovely outstretched feet!

– O great Ariadne who pour out your tears

On the shore, as you see, out there on the waves,

The sail of Theseus flying white under the sun,

O sweet virgin child whom a night has broken,

Be silent! On his golden chariot studded with black grapes,

Lysios, who has been drawn through Phrygian fields

By lascivious tigers and russet panthers,

Reddens the dark mosses along the blue rivers.

– Zeus, the Bull, cradles on his neck like a child

The nude body of Europa who throws her white arm

Round the God’s muscular neck which shivers in the wave.

Slowly he turns his dreamy eye towards her;

She, droops her pale flowerlike cheek

On the brow of Zeus; her eyes are closed; she is dying

In a divine kiss, and the murmuring waters

Strew the flowers of their golden foam on her hair.

– Between the oleander and the gaudy lotus tree

Slips amorously the great dreaming Swan

Enfloding Leda in the whiteness of his wing;

– And while Cypris goes by, strangely beautiful,

And, arching the marvellous curves of her back,

Proudly displays the golden vision of her big breasts

And snowy belly embroidered with black moss,

– Hercules, Tamer of beasts, in his Strength,

Robes his huge body with the lion’s skin as with glory

And faces the horizons, his brow terrible and sweet!
Vaguely lit by the summer moon,

Erect, naked, dreaming in her pallor of gold

Streaked by the heavy wave of her long blue hair,

In the shadowy glade whenre stars spring in the moss,

The Dryade gazes up at the silent sky…

– White Selene, timidly, lets her veil float,

Over the feet of beautiful Endymion,

And throws him a kiss in a pale beam…

– The Spring sobs far off in a long ectasy…

Ii is the nymph who dreams with one elbow on her urn,

Of the handsome white stripling her wave has pressed against.

– A soft wind of love has passed in the night,

And in the sacred woods, amid the standing hair of the great trees,

Erect in majesty, the shadowly Marbles,

The Gods, on whose brows the Bullfinch has his nest,

– the Gods listen to Men, and to the infinite World!
May 70

Dance of the Hanged Men
On the black gallows, one-armed friend,

The paladins are dancing, dancing

The lean, the devil’s paladins

The skeletons of Saladins.
Sir Beelzebub pulls by the scruff

His little black puppets who grin at the sky,

And with a backhander in the head like a kick,

Makes them dance, dance, to an old Carol-tune!
And the puppets, shaken about, entwine their thin arms:

Their breasts pierced with light, like black organ-pipes

Which once gentle ladies pressed to their own,

Jostle together protractedly in hideous love-making.
Hurray! the gay dancers, you whose bellies are gone!

You can cut capers on such a long stage!

Hop! never mind whether it’s fighting or dancing!

– Beelzebub, maddened, saws on his fiddles!
Oh the hard heels, no one’s pumps are wearing out!

And nearly all have taken of their shirts of skin;

The rest is not embarrassing and can be seen without shame.

On each skull the snow places a white hat:
The crow acts as a plume for these cracked brains,

A scrap of flesh clings to each lean chin:

You would say, to see them turning in their dark combats,

They were stiff knights clashing pasteboard armours.
Hurrah! the wind whistles at the skeletons’ grand ball!

The black gallows moans like an organ of iron !

The wolves howl back from the violet forests:

And on the horizon the sky is hell-red…
Ho there, shake up those funereal braggarts,

Craftily telling with their great broken fingers

The beads of their loves on their pale vertebrae:

Hey the departed, this is no monastery here!
Oh! but see how from the middle of this Dance of Death

Springs into the red sky a great skeleton, mad,

Carried away by his own impetus, like a rearing horse:

And, feeling the rope tight again round his neck,
Clenches his knuckles on his thighbone with a crack

Uttering cries like mocking laughter,

And then like a mountebank into his booth,

Skips back into the dance to the music of the bones!
On the black gallows, one-armed friend,

The paladins are dancing, dancing

The lean, the devil’s paladins

The skeletons of Saladins.
– As translated by Oliver Bernard: Arthur Rimbaud, Collected Poems (1962)

Rena Jones – Open Me Slowly


Particles Or Waves?

(On The Music Box – The Small Faces~Ogden Nut Flake)
Only he who attempts the absurd is capable of achieving the impossible.—Miguel de Unamuno

Saturday… worked a half day at one of our clients. Came home, dealt with extended family issues, made lots of calls, and headed down for a nap. Actually a very extended nap. My first week back at work, and I am lagging a bit. We spent a quiet evening, a bit of dinner, and we are working through The Lord Of The Rings again. Rowan has been busy as a bee with studies, and Mary is just the ball of energy that she always is. Working on bids for new jobs, and the magazine print edition.
Tonight’s entry starts out with an excursion into minimalism again. We stop by the early 20th century for the quotes, back to Taoist China for some tales, and to the present to Wendell Berry for the poetry. Our Art is provided by one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelites…
and that really is all I have to say on that.
I hope your weekend is a beauty, and spring in full bloom for ya. I hope you are getting your gardens ready!
Take Care,


On The Menu:

Philip Glass: Metamorphosis 1

Antonin Artaud Quotes

Tales of the Tao…

Wendell Berry Poems For Your Beauty…

Philip Glass – Einstein On The Beach

Art: Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Philip Glass: Metamorphosis 1


Antonin Artaud Quotes:
All true language is incomprehensible, like the chatter of a beggar’s teeth.
Hell is of this world and there are men who are unhappy escapees from hell, escapees destined ETERNALLY to reenact their escape.
I myself spent nine years in an insane asylum and I never had the obsession of suicide, but I know that each conversation with a psychiatrist, every morning at the time of his visit, made me want to hang myself, realizing that I would not be able to cut his throat.
It is not opium which makes me work but its absence, and in order for me to feel its absence it must from time to time be present.
No one has ever written, painted, sculpted, modeled, built, or invented except literally to get out of hell.
So long as we have failed to eliminate any of the causes of human despair, we do not have the right to try to eliminate those means by which man tries to cleanse himself of despair.
There is in every madman a misunderstood genius whose idea, shining in his head, frightened people, and for whom delirium was the only solution to the strangulation that life had prepared for him.
Those who live, live off the dead.
When we speak the word ”life,” it must be understood we are not referring to life as we know it from its surface of fact, but to that fragile, fluctuating center which forms never reach.
Written poetry is worth reading once, and then should be destroyed. Let the dead poets make way for others.


Tales of the Tao…

“The Ship Approaches”
A ship bearing the flag of Xinhua, Ming’s homeland, approached the island. It had been seven years since Ming’s body was cast upon the shore, accompanied only by wave-tattered planks and the clothes on his back. Ming saw the flag from atop a tree, where he was about to take a nap, and slowly walked towards the beach.
News spread quickly of the ship from Ming’s homeland. Men, women, and children all gathered around the beach and wept, for in the seven years Ming had lived with them, a great, contemplative peace had enveloped the land.
“Will you now abandon us, those who have given their food, shelter, and caring, to go back to your homeland?” the carpenter asked.
“You know as well as I that it must be done.”
“Then will you give us a final tale before your departure?”
The beach was silent, broken only by the low rumble of rolling waves. The townspeople looked up from their glum shoegazing in anticipation.
“I will tell seven tales for the seven years you have supported me. Then I will depart.”

Then the carpenter said “Tell us the tale of a carpenter.”

And Ming began the tale of a carpenter.
Young-Carpenter-Crooked-Toes left his woodshop, family, and friends to find peace and quiet. After a long day’s journey, he came upon a stream, surrounded by forest and far from civilization, where he would find peace and quiet. Thinking he was all alone, Young-Carpenter-Crooked-Toes took off his shoes, dropped his sack onto a nearby rock, and laid down on the cool, damp grass. He stretched his crooked toes towards the stream, while his arms reached up towards a pile of leaves. Before he could grab hold of his future headrest, however, his peace and quiet was interrupted by a fly. ZZZZ! It zoomed around, over rocks, through branches and around his head in a chaotic course that rivaled the currents of the Yangtze.
He followed No-Stop-Fast-Fly with his eyes for three hours, waiting for him to land. Losing his temper, Young-Carpenter-Crooked-Toes yelled at No-Stop-Fast-Fly to land and let him enjoy his peace and quiet he so rightly deserved. ZZZZ! He flew for another three hours, circling Young-Carpenter-Crooked-Toes, buzzing in his ear, landing on his nose, and skimming its legs along the stream before landing on top of the pile of leaves he’d gathered. Boiling like a pot of duck broth, he cursed No-Stop-Fast-Fly, accusing him of mockery and theft.

“Move, fly!” he shouted.
No-Stop-Fast-Fly stood his ground, rubbing and stretching his legs on Young-Carpenter-Crooked-Toes’ pile of leaves.
“Move, fly!” he repeated.
All of this commotion attracted the attention of Wang Chi, who was traveling home from the copper mines. He climbed a nearby tree and watched Young-Carpenter-Crooked-Toes yell at the fly for half an hour. Finally, his stomach hurt from laughing so hard that he climbed down and revealed himself.
“Why do you yell at this fly, carpenter?” he asked.
“This stupid fly has stolen my peace and quiet, as well as my pile of leaves.”
No-Stop-Fast-Fly licked the dew off a leaf and nestled himself between its ruffles.
“You wouldn’t discuss carpentry with a blacksmith would you? And yet you expect a fly to understand the ways of human communication. Who is the stupid one, Leaves-For-Brains?”
Wang Chi bent his knees, leaning towards the pile of leaves and blew. No-Stop-Fast-Fly flew across the stream, landing on another pile of leaves, yawned, and fell asleep.
“I see your toes and am reminded of the gnarled oak. Would I beg of you tips on running? Certainly not. Likewise, you would be a fool to ask me for hair grooming tips. My head is shinier than the rocks rubbed smooth by sand and water in that stream.”
Young-Carpenter-Crooked-Toes was amazed with Wang Chi’s wisdom and begged him to explain the ways of the universe to him. He was surprised to see Wang Chi’s face darken at this request.
“I see you’ve learned nothing. How can you explain The Way to someone who has no experience of its beauty? Can you describe the sea to an inland farmer? A hoe to a ship captain?”
Young-Carpenter-Crooked-Toes begged Wang Chi to tell him where to begin his search for The Way. Wang Chi honked Young-Carpenter-Crooked-Toes’ nose and ran away singing. Young-Carpenter-Crooked-Toes smiled and understood.

Then the fisherman said “tell us the tale of a fisherman.”
And Ming began the tale of a fisherman.
Huotian strutted across the beach, proudly displaying the large fish on a rope dangling down his back. Stretching from his neck to the top of his calves, it was the largest of the season. Other fishermen smiled as children asked Huotian if they could touch it. Never denied, they ran their small fingers across its slimy back, putting their fingers into its mouth, and daring each other to poke its eyes.
The fish was covered in herbs freshly plucked from the forest and cooked over hot coals. Huotian was honored and allowed to sit at the senior table, where the village elders sat. That night, as the whole town feasted on fish, steamed dumplings, and rice wine in the square, an old man, whiskers thin and long like a cat, came to the senior table and asked if he could have a small morsel to eat.
“I’ve traveled many miles and am now out of food. I was a fisherman in my younger years, and could repay you tomorrow if I was allowed to borrow a boat.”
The senior table discussed the matter and decided to let the old man eat.
At the end of the next day, the old man walked across the beach empty-handed. The other fishermen, including Huotian, who were comparing their catches, giggled and meowed as he walked towards them.
“Old Man Whiskers must have been too scared of the water,” Huotian said. The others laughed.
“My body doesn’t have the strength it used to. I couldn’t haul my catch into the boat, so I tied it to a tree. Will any of you help an old man repay his debt?”
Laughing at the old man’s weakness, they went to the shore and untied the rope from the tree. Huotian loosely grabbed the rope, expecting an easy yank, and ended up with rope splinters when it didn’t budge. It took four men to haul the fish, larger than a fishing boat, to town. That night, the town feasted again on fish, accompanied with white rice and berry juice. The old man sat at the senior table, where he quietly ate. Huotian watched him the entire time.
The next day, Huotian vowed to catch a fish larger than the old man’s. He caught three large fish in under an hour, throwing them all back in order to have room for a larger fish. All day he caught fish, one as large as his catch two days ago, throwing each one away. At the end of the day Huotian dragged his feet across the beach, empty-handed, sitting down on a tree stump polished smooth by the sand. He looked to his right and saw the old man walking along the beach, a small food satchel in hand. Huotian called out to him.
“I’ve been defeated once. Let me reclaim my honor. I challenge you to a fishing contest.”
The old man smiled and bid him good day.
“Then you are afraid of being beaten.”
The old man walked towards Huotian. His long whiskers blew against his narrow shoulders as the salty air traveled over the sand into town.
“Your fishing skills are extraordinary, and you provide more than enough food for both your family and townspeople. There is no need to compete with me to prove your fishing ability. I will not accept your challenge.”
“If you will not accept my challenge willingly, I will force it upon you.”
Huotian stood up, raised his arms, and charged the old man. The old man stood his ground, watching Huotian’s eyes, burning with anger as he ran towards him. As Huotian reached out, the old man stepped aside. Huotian fell face first into the sand.
“If you compete with no one, no one can compete with you.”

“Mushroom Soup”
Then the cook said “Tell us the tale of a cook.”
And Ming began the tale of a cook.
Cook Wang was to prepare a delicious mushroom soup for his parents, who were coming to visit that afternoon. He sharpened his cleaver and began to chop the onions, mince the ginger, slice the lemongrass stalks, and simmer the broth, but was overtaken with panic when the mushrooms he’d bought were nowhere to be found.
“Will you help me find the shiitakes?” he asked his wife. She rolled up the calligraphy scroll she’d been working on and helped search the kitchen. There were no mushrooms in the cupboard, and none in the drawers. They went down to the cellar, but found only ginger root and potatoes. The market was closed that day, so he would have to hunt down his own mushrooms.
Angered, he took his cleaver and stomped to the nearby forest. One by one, he tried chopping through vines, but made little progress. The cleaver became duller with every swipe, and soon he could no longer tell which side was the blade. Seeing what little progress he’d made, Cook Wang sulked back home, hurling his cleaver into a tree in disgust.
Mrs. Wang looked up from her calligraphy to see her husband dragging his feet home. She asked him what had happened, and he explained how the cleaver couldn’t slice through the vines.
“That is the fool’s way. Try again,” she casually told him, sitting back down to her calligraphy.
He sat down inside, pondering what his wife had told him. Looking up, he saw his father’s old sword, used in combat only once, and removed it from its sheath. It glistened in the sunlight. He ran his finger along the blade and a small cut formed on his finger. It was perfect.
Cook Wang skipped to the nearby forest, unsheathed his father’s sword, and began hacking away at the vines. Zip! Swish! The vines fell like rotten bamboo and hung limp on either side of him. Soon, he reached a stream, running fast and cold from the melting snow on top of Mt. Sanwu. He dipped his toe into the water and a cold chill crawled up his spine. Cook Wang dipped his finger into the water his entire hand cramped up, causing him to drop his father’s sword. He cried out as it floated away on the icy current.
Mrs. Wang looked up from her calligraphy to see her husband dragging his feet home. She asked him what had happened, and he explained how there was no way to cross the stream, and how it had consumed his father’s sword.
“That is the scholar’s way. Try again,” she casually told him, sitting back down to her calligraphy.

Cook Wang walked along the edges of the forest, pondering what his wife had told him. Time was running out. His parents would be here soon. They were expecting a fine mushroom soup and would be very disappointed in him if it didn’t have any mushrooms. He walked farther along the edge of the forest and noticed an open area he’d never seen before. Coming closer, Cook Wang realized it was a walking trail leading directly into the heart of the forest.
Skipping along the trail, he came across a group of rotting logs. Growing on top were hundreds of mushrooms, brown, woody shiitakes, larger than the palm of his hand.
Mrs. Wang looked up from her calligraphy to see her husband skipping and twirling like a dancer. She asked him what had happened, and he told her about the trail and the logs with mushrooms.
“That is The Way,” she told him, casually sitting back down to her calligraphy.

Wendell Berry Poems For Your Beauty…

The Silence
Though the air is full of singing

my head is loud

with the labor of words.
Though the season is rich

with fruit, my tongue

hungers for the sweet of speech.
Though the beech is golden

I cannot stand beside it

mute, but must say
“It is golden,” while the leaves

stir and fall with a sound

that is not a name.
It is in the silence

that my hope is, and my aim.

A song whose lines
I cannot make or sing

sounds men’s silence

like a root. Let me say
and not mourn: the world

lives in the death of speech

and sings there

The Country of Marriage

I dream of you walking at night along the streams

of the country of my birth, warm blooms and the nightsongs,

of birds opening around you as you walk.

You are holding in your body the dark seed of my sleep.

This comes after silence. Was it something I said

that bound me to you, some mere promise

or, worse, the fear of loneliness and death?

A man lost in the woods in the dark, I stood

still and said nothing. And then there rose in me,

like the earth’s empowering brew rising

in root and branch, the words of a dream of you

I did not know I had dreamed. I was a wanderer

who feels the solace of his native land

under his feet again and moving in his blood.

I went on, blind and faithful. Where I stepped

my track was there to steady me. It was no abyss

that lay before me, but only the level ground.

Sometimes our life reminds me

of a forest in which there is a graceful clearing

and in that opening a house,

an orchard and garden,

comfortable shades, and flowers

red and yellow in the sun, a pattern

made in the light for the light to return to.

The forest is mostly dark, its ways

to be made anew day after day, the dark

richer than the light and more blessed,

provided we stay brave

enough to keep on going in.

How many times have I come to you out of my head

with joy, if ever a man was,

for to approach you I have given up the light

and all directions. I come to you

lost, wholly trusting as a man who goes

into the forest unarmed. It is as though I descend

slowly earthward out of the air. I rest in peace

in you, when I arrive at last.

Our bond is no little economy based on the exchange

of my love and work for yours, so much for so much

of an expendable fund. We don’t know what its limits are—

that puts it in the dark. We are more together

than we know, how else could we keep on discovering

we are more together than we thought?

You are the known way leading always to the unknown,

and you are the known place to which the unknown is always

leading me back. More blessed in you than I know,

I possess nothing worthy to give you, nothing

not belittled by my saying that I possess it.

Even an hour of love is a moral predicament, a blessing

a man may be hard up to be worthy of. He can only

accept it, as a plant accepts from all the bounty of the light

enough to live, and then accepts the dark,

passing unencumbered back to the earth, as I

have fallen time and again from the great strength

of my desire, helpless, into your arms.

What I am learning to give you is my death

to set you free of me, and me from myself

into the dark and the new light. Like the water

of a deep stream, love is always too much. We

did not make it. Though we drink till we burst

we cannot have it all, or want it all.

In its abundance it survives our thirst.

In the evening we come down to the shore

to drink our fill, and sleep, while it

flows through the regions of the dark.

It does not hold us, except we keep returning

to its rich waters thirsty. We enter,

willing to die, into the commonwealth of its joy.

I give you what is unbounded, passing from dark to dark,

containing darkness: a night of rain, an early morning.

I give you the life I have let live for love of you:

a clump of orange-blooming weeds beside the road,

the young orchard waiting in the snow, our own life

that we have planted in this ground, as I

have planted mine in you. I give you my love for all

beautiful and honest women that you gather to yourself

again and again, and satisfy—and this poem,

no more mine than any man’s who has loved a woman.

The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

A Meeting in A Part

In a dream I meet

my dead friend. He has,

I know, gone long and far,

and yet he is the same

for the dead are changeless.

They grow no older.

It is I who have changed,

grown strange to what I was.

Yet I, the changed one,

ask: “How you been?”

He grins and looks at me.

“I been eating peaches

off some mighty fine trees.”

Philip Glass – Einstein On The Beach

The Number of Days…

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi
On Radio Free EarthRites: Christophe Goze – Keep On
(John Singer Sargent Fume d’ Ambre Gris)

Wednesday! Portland had one of those beautiful days, around 57f and gloriously sunny. Oh, the spring promise! I have gone back to work, and pacing myself…. 80) well, working, ‘kay? It is great to be out. Confined for a week, even Fred Meyer’s on Monday afternoon was like a social outing.
Some interesting stuff on the Turf tonight… from Terry Riley to Steve Reich, I dig around the roots of minimalism, calling back memories of when I first heard these pieces…. We have a Tale from old Bagdhad, extracts of Charles Fort, and poetry from the Jewish Mumbai Community. A mixed bag, but I think you might enjoy! I am especially excited about the art, which I have to thank Roberto Venosa for making me aware of a couple of years ago.
Bright Blessings,


On The Menu:

Terry Riley – A Rainbow In A Curved Air

Charles Fort Extracts

The Lady And Her Five Suitors

The Poetry Of Nissim Ezekiel

Music for 18 Musicians by Steve Reich

Art: John Singer Sargent & Vasily Vereshchagin

Lovely stuff from Terry Riley… the first electronic musician I listened to was John Cage. Terry Riley took me to another place all together. He pointed the direction so very well. – Gwyllm
Terry Riley – A Rainbow In A Curved Air – 1969

I was introduced to the work of Charles Fort at the age of 17. His works have been an inspiration and a beakon to me over the years. Here are some interesting extracts from various works. -G
Charles Fort Extracts

Wiltshire Wheat
There is, in Philosophical Transactions, 16-281, an account of a seeming cereal, said to have fallen in Wiltshire, in 1686 said that some of the “wheat” fell “enclosed in hailstones” but the writer in Transactions, says that he had examined the grains, and that they were nothing but seeds of ivy berries dislodged from holes and chinks where birds had hidden them. If birds still hide ivy seeds, and if winds still blow, I don’t see why the phenomenon has not repeated in more than two hundred years since.

Senility as Sainthood

I now have a theory that our existence, as a whole, is an organism that is very old–a globular thing within a starry shell, afloat in a super-existence in which there may be countless other organisms–and that we, as cells in its composition, partake of, and are ruled by, its permeating senility. The theologians have recognized that the ideal is the imitation of God. If we be a part of such an organic thing, this thing is God to us, as I am God to the cells that compose me. When I see myself, and c ats, and dogs losing irregularities of conduct and approaching the irreproachable, with advancing age, I see that what is ennobling us is senility. I conclude that the virtues, the austerities, the proprieties are ideal in our existence, because they are imitations of the state of a whole existence, which is very old, good, and beyond reproach. The ideal state is meekness, or humility, or the semi-invalid state of the old. Year after year I am becoming nobler and nobler. If I can live to be decrepit e nough, I shall be a saint.


There is not a physicist in the world who can perceive when a parlor magician palms off playing-cards.

A Fall of Fish
The best-known fall of fishes from the sky is that which occurred at Mountain Ash, in the Valley of Abedare, Glamorganshire, Feb. 11, 1859.

The Editor of the Zoologist, 2-677, having published a report of a fall of fishes, writes: “I am continually receiving similar accounts of frogs and fishes.” But, in all the volumes of the Zoologist, I can find only two reports of such falls. There is nothing to conclude other than that hosts of data have been lost because orthodoxy does not look favorably upon such reports. The Monthly Weather Review records several falls of fishes in the United States; but accounts of these reported occurrences are not findable in other American publications.

Conspicuous by Absence
We shall now have an unusual experience. We shall read of some reports of extraordinary circumstances that were investigated by a man of science not of course that they were really investigated by him, but that this phenomena occupied a position approximating higher to real investigation than to utter neglect. Over and over we read of extraordinary occurrences no discussion; not even a comment afterwards findable; mere mention occasionally burial and damnation.

The extraordinary and how quickly it is hidden away.

Burial and damnation, or the obscurity of the conspicuous.

A Bouquet of Hippopotami
In Continuity, it is impossible to distinguish phenomena at their merging-points, so we look for them at their extremes. Impossible to distinguish between animal and vegetable in some infusoria but hippopotamus and violet. For all practicable purposes they’re distinguishable enough. No one but a Barnum or a Bailey would send one a bunch of hippopotami as a token of regard.

Dogmatic Showers
I have data of other falls, in Persia and Asiatic Turkey, of edible substances. They are all dogmatically said to be “manna”; and “manna” is dogmatically said to be a species of lichens from the steppes of Asia Minor. The position that I take is that this explanation was evolved in ignorance of the fall of vegetable substances, or edible substances, in other parts of the world: that it is the familiar attempt to explain the general in terms of the local; that, if we have shall have data of falls of vegetable substance, in, say, Canada or India, they were not of lichens from the steppes of Asia Minor; that, though all falls in Asiatic Turkey and Persia are sweepingly and conveniently called showers of “manna,” they have not been even all of the same substance.

Complete Beauty
By “beauty,” I mean that which seems complete.
Obversely, that the incomplete, or the mutilated, is the ugly . . .
A hand thought of only as a hand, may seem beautiful.
Found on a battlefield–obviously a part–not beautiful.
. . . every attempt to achieve beauty is an attempt to give to the local the attribute of the universal.
Vasily Vereshchagin – Solomon’s Wall)

The Lady And Her Five Suitors
A Woman of the daughters of the merchants was married to a man who was a great traveler. It chanced once that he set out for a far country and was absent so long that his wife, for pure ennui, fell in love with a handsome young man of the sons of the merchants, and they loved each other with exceeding love. One day the youth quarreled with another man, who lodged a complaint against him with the Chief of Police, and he cast into prison. When the news came to the merchant’s wife his mistress, she well-nigh lost her wits. Then she arose and donning her richest clothes, repaired to the house of the Chief of Police. She saluted him and presented a written petition to this purport: “He thou hast clapped in jail is my brother Such-and-such, who fell out with Such-a-one, and those who testified against him bore false witness. He hath been wrongfully imprisoned, and I have none other to come in to me nor to provide for my support, therefore I beseech thee of thy grace to release him.” When the magistrate had read the paper, he cast his eyes on her and fell in love with her forthright, so he said to her: “Go into the houses till I bring him before me. Then I will send for thee and thou shalt take him.” “O my lord,” replied she, “I have none to protect me save Almighty Allah! I am a stranger and may not enter any man’s abode.” Quoth the Wali, “I will not let him go except thou come to my home and I take my will of thee.” Rejoined she, “If it must be so, thou must needs come to my lodging and sit and sleep the siesta and rest thewhole day there.” “And where is thy abode?” asked he, and she answered, “In such a place,” and appointed him for such a time.
Then she went out from him, leaving his heart taken with love of her, and she repaired to the Kazi of the city, to whom she said, “O our lord the Kazi!” He exclaimed, “Yes!” and she continued, “Look into my case, and thy reward be with Allah the Most High!” Quoth he, “Who hath wronged thee?” and quoth she, “O my lord, I have a brother and I have none but that one, and it is on his account that I come to thee, because the Wali hath imprisoned him for a criminal and men have borne false witness against him that he is a wrongdoer, and I beseech thee to intercede for him with the Chief of Police.”
When the Kazi looked on her, he fell in love with her forthright and said to her: “Enter the house and rest awhile with my handmaids whilst I send to the Wali to release thy brother. If I knew the money fine which is upon him, I would pay it out of my own purse, so I may have my desire of thee, for thou pleaseth me with thy sweet speech.” Quoth she, “If thou, O my lord, do thus, we must not blame others.” Quoth he, “An thou wilt not come in, wend thy ways.” Then said she, “An thou wilt have it so, O our lord, it will be privier and better in my place than in thine, for here are slave girls and eunuchs and goers-in and comers-out, and indeed I am a woman who wotteth naught of this fashion, but need compelleth.” Asked the Kazi, “And where is thy house?” and she answered, “In such a place,” and appointed him for the same day and time as the Chief of Police.
Then she went out from him to the Wazir, to whom she preferred her petition for the release from prison of her brother, who was absolutely necessary to her. But he also required her of herself, saying, “Suffer me to have my will of thee and I will set thy brother free.” Quoth she: “An thou wilt have it so, be it in my house, for there it will be privier both for me and for thee. It is not far distant, and thou knowest that which behooveth us women of cleanliness and adornment.” Asked he, “Where is thy house?” “In such a place,” answered she, and appointed him for the same time as the two others.
Then she went out from him to the King of the city and told him her story and sought of him her brother’s release. “Who imprisoned him?” enquired he, and she replied, “‘Twas thy Chief of Police.” When the King heard her speech, it transpierced his heart with the arrows of love and he bade her enter the palace with him, that he might send to the Kazi and release her brother. Quoth she: “O King, this thing is easy to thee, whether I will or nill, and if the King will indeed have this of me, it is of my good fortune. But if he come to my house, he will do me the more honor by setting step therein, even as saith the poet:
“O my friends, have ye seen or have ye heard

Of his visit whose virtues I hold so high?”

Quoth the King, “We will not cross thee in this.” So she appointed him for the same time as the three others, and told him where her house was.
Then she left him, and betaking herself to man which was a carpenter, said to him: “I would have thee make me a cabinet with four compartments one above other, each with its door for locking up. Let me know thy hire and I will give it thee.” Replied he: “My price will be four dinars. But, O noble lady and well-protected, if thou wilt vouchsafe me thy favors, I will ask nothing of thee. Rejoined she, “An there be no help but that thou have it so, then make thou five compartments with their padlocks.” And she appointed him to bring it exactly on the day required. Said he, “It is well. Sit down, O my lady, and I will make it for thee forthright, and after I will come to thee at my leisure.” So she sat down by him whilst he fell to work on the cabinet, and when he had made an end of it, she chose to see it at once carried home and set up in the sitting chamber. Then she took four gowns and carried them to the dyer, who dyed them each of a different color, after which she applied herself to making ready meat and drink, fruits, flowers, and perfumes.
Now when the appointed trysting day came, she donned her costliest dress and adorned herself and scented herself, then spread the sitting room with various kinds of rich carpets, and sat down to await who should come. And behold, the Kazi was the first to appear, devancing rest, and when she saw him, she rose to her feet and kissed the ground before him, then, taking him by the hand, made him sit down by her on the couch and lay with him and fell to jesting and toying with him. By and by he would have her do his desire, but she said, “O my lord, doff thy clothes and turban and assume this yellow cassock and this headkerchief, whilst I bring thee meat and drink, and after thou shalt win thy will.” So saying, she took his clothes and turban and clad him in the cassock and the kerchief. But hardly she done this when lo! there came a knocking at the door. Asked he, “Who is that rapping at the door?” and she answered, “My husband.” Quoth the Kazi, “What is to be done, and where shall I go?” Quoth she, “Fear nothing. I will hide thee in this cabinet,” and he, “Do as seemeth good to thee.”
So she took him by the hand and pushing him into the lowest compartment, locked the door upon him. Then she went to the house door, where she found the Wali, so she bussed ground before him and taking his hand, brought him into the saloon, where, she made him sit down and said to him: “O my lord, this house is thy house, this place is thy place, and I am thy handmaid. Thou shalt pass all this day with me, wherefore do thou doff thy clothes and don this red gown, for it is a sleeping gown.” So she took away his clothes and made him assume the red gown and set on his head an old patched rag she had by her. After which she sat by him on the divan and she sported with him while he toyed with her awhile, till he put out his hand to her. Whereupon she said to him: “O our lord, this day is thy day and none shall share in it with thee. But first, of thy favor and benevolence, write me an order for my brother’s release from gaol, that my heart may be at ease.” Quoth he, “Hearkening and obedience. On my head and eyes be it!” and wrote a letter to his treasurer, saying: “As soon as this communication shall reach thee, do thou set Such-a-one, free, without stay or delay, neither answer the bearer a word.” Then he sealed it and she took it from him, after which she began to toy again with him on the divan when, behold, someone knocked at the door. He asked, “Who is that?” and she answered, “My husband.” “What shall I do?” said he, and she, “Enter this cabinet, till I send him away and return to thee.” So she clapped him into the second compartment from the bottom and padlocked the door on him, and meanwhile the Kazi heard all they said.
Then she went to the house door and opened it, whereupon lo! the Wazir entered. She bussed the ground before him and received him with all honor and worship, saying: “O my lord, thou exaltest us by thy coming to our house. Allah never deprive us of the light of thy countenance!” Then she seated him on the divan and said to him, “O my lord, doff thy heavy dress and turban and don these lighter vestments.” So he put off his clothes and turban and she clad him in a blue cassock and a tall red bonnet, and said to him: “Erst thy garb was that of the wazirate, so leave it to its own time and don this light gown, which is better fitted for carousing and making merry and sleep.” Thereupon she began to play with him and he with her, and he would have done his desire of her, but she put him off, saying, “O my lord, this shall not fail us.” As they were talking there came a knocking at the door, and the Wazir asked her, “Who is that?” to which she answered, “My husband.” Quoth he, “What is to be done?” Qhoth she, “Enter this cabinet, till I get rid of him and come back to thee, and fear thou nothing.”
So she put him in the third compartment and locked the door on after which she went out and opened the house door when lo and behold! in came the King. As soon as she saw him she kissed ground before him, and taking him by the hand, led him into the saloon and seated him on the divan at the upper end. Then said she to him, “Verily, O King, thou dost us high honor, and if we brought thee to gift the world and all that therein is, it would not be worth a single one of thy steps usward.” And when he had taken his seat upon the divan she said, “Give me leave to speak one word.” “Say what thou wilt.” answered he, and she said, “O my lord, take thine ease and doff thy dress and turban.” Now his clothes were worth a thousand dinars, and when he put them off she clad him in a patched gown, worth at the very most ten dirhams, and fell to talking and jesting with him, all this while the folk in the cabinet hearing everything that passed, but not daring to say a word. Presently the King put his hand to her neck and sought to do his design of her, when she said, “This thing shall not fail us, but I had first promised myself to entertain thee in this sitting chamber, and I have that which shall content thee.” Now as they were speaking, someone knocked at the door and he asked her, “Who is that?” “My husband,” answered she, and he, “Make him go away of his own goodwill, or I will fare forth to him and send him away perforce.” Replied she, “Nay, O my lord, have patience till I send him away by my skillful contrivance.” “And I, how shall I do!” inquired the King. Whereupon she took him by the hand and making him enter the fourth compartment of the cabinet, locked it upon him.
Then she went out and opened the house door, when behold, the carpenter entered and saluted her. Quoth she, “What manner of thing is this cabinet thou hast made me?” “What aileth it, O my lady?” asked he, and she answered, “The top compartment is too strait.” Rejoined he, “Not so,” and she, “Go in thyself and see. It is not wide enough for thee.” Quoth he, “It is wide enough for four.” and entered the fifth compartment, whereupon she locked the door on him. Then she took the letter of the Chief of Police and carried it to the Treasurer, who, having read and understood it, kissed it and delivered her lover to her. She told him all she had done and he said, “And how shall we act now?” She answered, “We will remove hence to another city, for after this work there is no tarrying for us here.”
So the twain packed up what goods they ha
d and, loading them on camels, set out forthright for another city. Meanwhile, the five abode each in his compartment of the cabinet without eating or drinking three whole days, during which time they held their water until at last the carpenter could retain his no longer, so he staled on the King’s head, and the King urined on the Wazir’s head, and the Wazir piddled on the Wall, and the Wali pissed on the head of the Kazi. Whereupon the Judge cried out and said: “What nastiness is this? Doth not what strait we are in suffice us, but you must make water upon us?” The Chief of Police recognized the Kazi’s voice and answered, saying aloud, “Allah increase thy reward, O Kazi!” And when the Kazi heard him he knew him for the Wali. Then the Chief of Police lifted up his voice and said, “What means this nastiness?” and the Wazir answered, saying, “Allah increase thy reward, O Wali!” whereupon he knew him to be the Minister. Then the Wazir lifted up his voice and said, “What means this nastiness?” But when the King heard and recognized his Minister’s voice, he held his peace and concealed his affair.
Then said the Wazir: “May Allah damn this woman for her dealing with us! She hath brought hither all the chief officers of the state, except the King. Quoth the King, “Hold your peace, for I was the first to fall into the toils of this lewd strumpet.” Whereat cried the carpenter: “And I, what have I done? I made her a cabinet for four gold pieces, and when I came to seek my hire, she tricked me into entering this compartment and locked the door on me.” And they fell to talking with one another, diverting the King and doing away his chagrin. Presently the neighbors came up to the house and, seeing it deserted, said one to other: “But yesterday our neighbor, the wife of Such-a-one, was in it, but now no sound is to be heard therein nor is soul to be seen. Let us break open the doors and see how the case stands, lest it come to the ears of the Wali or the King and we be cast into prison and regret not doing this thing before.”
So they broke open the doors and entered the saloon, where they saw a large wooden cabinet and heard men within groaning for hunger and thirst. Then said one of them, “Is there a Jinni in this cabinet?-and his fellow, “Let us heap fuel about it and burn it with fire.” When the Kazi heard this, he bawled out to them, “Do it not!” And they said to one another, ” Verily the Jinn make believe to be mortals and speak with men’s voices.” Thereupon the Kazi repeated somewhat of the Sublime Koran and said to the neighbors, “Draw near to the cabinet wherein we are.” So they drew near, and he said, “I am So-and-so the Kazi, and ye are Such-a-one and Such-a-one, and we are here a company.” Quoth the neighbors, “Who brought you here?” And he told them the whole case from beginning to end. Then they fetched a carpenter, who opened the five doors and let out Kazi, Wazir, Wali, King, and carpenter in their queer disguises; and each, when he saw how the others were accoutered, fell a-laughing at them. Now she had taken away all their clothes, so every one of them sent to his people for fresh clothes and put them on and went out, covering himself therewith from the sight of the folk. Consider, therefore, what a trick this woman played off upon the folk!

(Vasily Vereshchagin – Jerusalem Kings’ Tombs)

The Poetry Of Nissim Ezekiel

Minority Poem
In my room, I talk

to my invisible guests:

they do not argue, but wait
Till I am exhausted,

then they slip away

with inscrutable faces.
I lack the means to change

their amiable ways,

although I love their gods.
It’s the language really

separates, whatever else

is shared. On the other hand,
Everyone understands

Mother Theresa; her guests

die visibly in her arms.
It’s not the mythology

or the marriage customs

that you need to know,
It’s the will to pass

through the eye of a needle

to self-forgetfulness.
The guests depart, dissatisfied;

they will never give up

their mantras, old or new.
And you, uneasy

orphan of their racial

memories, merely
Polish up your alien

techniques of observation,

while the city burns.

The Hill
This normative hill

like all others

is transparently accessible,

out there

and in the mind,

not to be missed

except in peril of one’s life.
Do not muse on it

from a distance:

it’s not remote

for the view only,

it’s for the sport

of climbing.
What the hill demands

is a man

with forces flowering

as from the crevices

of rocks and rough surfaces

wild flowers

force themselves towards the sun

and burn

for a moment.
How often must I

say to myself

what I say to others:

trust your nerves—

in conversation or in bed

the rhythm comes.
And once you begin

hang on for life.

What is survival?

What is existence?

I am not talking about

poetry. I am

talking about



and calling it


I say: be done with it.

I say:

you’ve got to love that hill.
Be wrathful, be impatient

that you are not

on the hill. Do not forgive

yourself or other,

though charity

is all very well.

Do not rest

in irony or acceptance.

Man should not laugh

when he is dying.

In decent death

you flow into another kind of time

which is the hill

you always thought you knew.

Night of the Scorpion
“I remember the night my mother was stung by a scorpion.

Ten hours of steady rain had driven him to crawl beneath a sack of rice.

Parting with his poison — flash of diabolic tail in the dark room — he risked the rain again.

The peasants came like swarms of flies and buzzed the Name of God a hundred times to paralyse the Evil One.

With candles and with lanterns throwing giant scorpion shadows

on the sun-baked walls they searched for him; he was not found.

They clicked their tongues. With every movement the scorpion made his poison moved in Mother’s blood, they said.

May he sit still, they said.

May the sins of your previous birth

be burned away tonight, they said.

May your suffering decrease

the misfortunes of your next birth, they said.

May the sum of evil balanced in this unreal world against the sum of good become diminished by your pain.

May the poison purify your flesh of desire, and your spirit of ambition, they said, and they sat around on the floor with my mother in the centre.

The peace of understanding on each face.

More candles, more lanterns, more neighbours, more insects and the endless rain.

My mother twisted through and through groaning on a mat.

My father, sceptic, rationalist, trying every curse and blessing, powder, mixture, herb, and hybrid. He even poured a little paraffin upon the bitten toes and put a match to it.

I watched the flame feeding on my mother.

I watched the holy man perform his rites to tame the poison with incantation.

After twenty hours it lost its sting.”

“My mother only said:

Thank God the scorpion picked on me and spared my children.”

Jewish Wedding in Bombay
Her mother shed a tear or two but wasn’t really

crying. It was the thing to do, so she did it

enjoying every moment. The bride laughed when I

sympathized, and said don’t be silly.
Her brothrs had a shoe of mine and made me pay

to get it back. The game delighted all the neighbours’

children, who never stopped staring at me, the reluctant

bridegroom of the day.
There was no dowry because they knew I was ‘modern’

and claimed to be modern too. Her father asked me how

much jewellery I expected him to give away with his daughter.

When I said I did’t know, he laughed it off.
There was no brass band outside the synagogue

but I remember a chanting procession or two, some rituals,

lots of skull-caps, felt hats, decorated shawls

and grape juice from a common glass for bride and

I remember the breaking of the glass and the congregation

clapping which signified that we were well and truly married

according to the Mosaic Law.
Well that’s about all. I don’t think there was much

that struck me as solemn or beautiful. Mostly, we were

amused, and so were the others. Who knows how much belief

we had?
Even the most orthodox it was said ate beef because it

was cheaper, and some even risked their souls by

relishing pork.

The Sabbath was for betting and swearing and drinking.
Nothing extravagant, mind you, all in a low key

and very decently kept in check. My father used to say,

these orthodox chaps certainly know how to draw the line

in their own crude way. He himself had drifted into the liberal

creed but without much conviction, taking us all with him.

My mother was very proud of being ‘progressive’.
Anyway as I was saying, there was that clapping and later

we went to the photographic studio of Lobo and Fernandes,

world-famous specialists in wedding portraits. Still later,

we lay on a floor-matress in the kitchen of my wife’s

family apartment and though it was part midnight she

kept saying let’s do it darling let’s do it darling

so we did it.
More than ten years passed before she told me that

she remembered being very disappointed. Is that all

there is to it? She had wondered. Back from London

eighteen months earlier, I was horribly out of practice.
During our first serious marriage quarrel she said Why did

you take my virginity from me? I would gladly have

returned it, but not one of the books I had read

instructed me how.


In 1978, admidst all the upheavals, and changes in the world… a bit of beauty. I bought “Music for 18 Musicians” and swam through Steve Reich’s dream for a very long time… Now, what I consider psychedelic, or entheogenic music may run counter to what many people consider to be… This music lifted me, and I could sit and meditate as if I was listening to Shakuhachi and Bamboo Flute meandering on the Zen Path. This was a wonderful moment, as Mary and I were assembling “Grey Pavilion”, buying synths, and trying out new ideas, and along comes Mr. Reich, who set the bar several notches up. Wonderful. – G
Music for 18 Musicians by Steve Reich – Beginning

Steve Reich “Music for 18 Musicians”-Section II

Steve Reich “Music for 18 Musicians” -Section IIIA

Steve Reich “Music for 18 Musicians” -Section IV

Steve Reich “Music for 18 Musicians” -Section V

Steve Reich “Music for 18 Musicians” -Section Vl

Steve Reich “Music for 18 Musicians” -Section Vll

Steve Reich “Music for 18 Musicians” -Section VIII

Steve Reich “Music for 18 Musicians” -Section IX

Steve Reich “Music for 18 Musicians” -Section X-XI

Steve Reich “Music for 18 Musicians” -Pulse

(John Singer Sargent – Ellen Terry As Lady Macbeth)

Along The Deepening Path

On Earthrites Radio: Stellamara

“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.” – Hafez

A nice weekend, though the weather has been chilly. Blessed with phone calls, and visits from my nephew Ethan, friends Ed and Janice and Richard & Leana as well on Saturday. Tom Beckett came by today (Sunday) with some excellent pastries! Tom and I got into a wonderful discussion on origins, and tracing the path of social movements tied in with populism. It is always a pleasure to have time with friends for these discussions. By the time you are finished, your mind has expanded and there are just so many new ways to look at what is going on in the world.
I even got out for a walk yesterday, though bitter cold it was! I have been working on the Invisible College, and talking to friends via Skype in Europe. I luv’s da Skype! What a great bit of technology.
I started to assemble this entry about 10 days ago. Got side tracked by all the events of last week, but I have been eager to share with you one of my abiding passions: Anne Briggs. I have jerry-rigged a couple of videos (sorry no moving pictures of her) and a few links that you might flesh out the story a bit.
You will also find poetry from that great Irish Poet: Patrick Kavanagh. I love his work I have included his very famous “Raglan Road” and two others worth your reading. I find reading them out loud is the best method. You will also find an excellent Folk Tale from Japan, “The First Rabbits.” We also get to visit with a hero of mine… Henri!
Bright Blessings,

On The Menu:

Anne Briggs -Along The Deepening Path: Commentary, Links & Videos

The First Rabbits

Poetry: Early Spring – Patrick Kavanagh

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Anne Briggs: Along The Deepening Path

The subject matter of this little foray revolves around a figure (Anne Briggs) not often recognized in the stream of “influences” that I so love to talk about. Before the internets, and all our communication revolution, the only way you might find out about someone like Anne Briggs might have been at an import section of an obscure record store, or a mention in an underground newspaper from the UK. Luckily we are in an age where if you look about, you can find these stories.
Anne is a figure of much mystery. She came out of nowhere it seems,at the age of 17 with the “Centre 42″ travelling theatre group and blazed across the firmament and vanished after working on her solo albums in the late 60′s, early 70′s to the wilds of Scotland. She lived with Bert Jansch at the beginning of his career and managed to influence the likes of Pentangle, Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin, Maddy Prior, June Tabor, The Oysterband, The Incredible String Band and countless others. Her voice and her early appropriations of ignored idioms of folk music profoundly influenced Jansch and John Renbourn who in turn… you get the story? Imagine for a moment if Dylan or Baez had recorded but 2-3 records, and then walked away from it all. There is something here that begs understanding about the Muse one would think.
So, after 10 years or so in the periphery of The British Folk Scene, she abandoned it all and moved to Scotland after just 2 solo albums and some collaborative works, and very sporadic live performances. She has sung maybe twice since then (1971) which is a deep loss for all.
So.. with that said… here is a bit about Anne. Enigma, Voice, Muse… and Free Spirit that was brave enough to walk away.
Anne Briggs Links:

Anne Briggs Interview…

Anne Briggs Recordings…

Thoughts on Anne Briggs as Traditional Singer
Anne Briggs – She Moved Through The Faire…

Anne Briggs – Living By The Water

The First Rabbits

The children in the sky were all crying. “Boo-hoo,” said one. “Boo-hoo,” said another. “Boo-hoo,” said the rest.
“Children, children, what is the matter?” asked the fairy mother of the sky.
“We’ve nothing to play,” replied one. “There’s nothing to do,” said another. “We can’t play for there’s nothing to do,” said the rest.
“Why don’t you twinkle the stars?” asked the fairy mother of the sky.
“The star lights are all put out,” sobbed one. “The sun is shining and the star lights are out,” sobbed another. “We can’t twinkle the stars when the sun is shining and the star lights are out,” sobbed the rest.
“Why don’t you beat the thunder drums?” asked the fairy mother of the sky.
“The thunder drums are all broken,” sighed one. “We’ve beaten all the thunder out of them,” sighed another. “We can’t beat the thunder drums for the thunder is all beaten out of them,” sighed the rest.
“Why don’t you shake the snow out of the snow sieves?” asked the fairy mother of the sky.
“It won’t shake through the sieve,” said one. “We’ve made the snow into balls,” said another. ” We can’t shake the snow through the sieve when its all made into balls,” said the rest.
“Why don’t you roll the snowballs?” asked the fairy mother of the sky.
“Oh, we will!” cried one. ”Yes,we will,” cried another. “Of course we will,” said the rest.
Away they ran to the snowball field.
“Let’s throw them,” said one. “Let’s toss them,” said another. ”Let’s catch them,” said the rest.
Up and down, this way and that way, back and forth, how the white balls danced and flew!
“Oh, look! They’re falling through the sky floor,” cried one. “They’re all falling through the twinkle holes of the stars,” said another. “They’re falling through the holes down on to the earth,” said the rest.
Away the snowballs jumped and bobbed. The star children all began to cry again.
Just then the fairy mother of the sky came with a torch to light the star lamps. “Crying again?” she said. “What’s the matter now?”

“Our snowballs all fell through the sky floor,” said one. “They all fell through the twinkle holes of the stars,” said another. “They’ve fallen though the holes down on to the earth,” said the rest.
”You naughty, naughty snowballs,” said the fairy mother of the sky. So she threw her torch after them, but it only scorched their tails and turned them black.
Down on the earth they are hopping still, these soft white balls with their little black tails, and you children call them the rabbits.

Early Spring – Patrick Kavanagh

On Raglan Road
On Raglan Road on an autumn day I met her first and knew

That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue;

I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way,

And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.
On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge

Of the deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion’s pledge,

The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay –

O I loved too much and by such and such is happiness thrown away.
I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign that’s known

To the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone

And word and tint. I did not stint for I gave her poems to say.

With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds over fields of May
On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her walking now

Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow

That I had wooed not as I should a creature made of clay –

When the angel woos the clay he’d lose his wings at the dawn of day.

Stony Grey Soil

O stony grey soil of Monaghan

The laugh from my love you thieved;

You took the gay child of my passion

And gave me your clod-conceived.
You clogged the feet of my boyhood

And I believed that my stumble

Had the poise and stride of Apollo

And his voice my thick tongued mumble.
You told me the plough was immortal!

O green-life conquering plough!

The mandril stained, your coulter blunted

In the smooth lea-field of my brow.
You sang on steaming dunghills

A song of cowards’ brood,

You perfumed my clothes with weasel itch,

You fed me on swinish food
You flung a ditch on my vision

Of beauty, love and truth.

O stony grey soil of Monaghan

You burgled my bank of youth!
Lost the long hours of pleasure

All the women that love young men.

O can I stilll stroke the monster’s back

Or write with unpoisoned pen.
His name in these lonely verses

Or mention the dark fields where

The first gay flight of my lyric

Got caught in a peasant’s prayer.
Mullahinsa, Drummeril, Black Shanco-

Wherever I turn I see

In the stony grey soil of Monaghan

Dead loves that were born for me.

They laughed at one I loved-

The triangular hill that hung

Under the Big Forth. They said
That I was bounded by the whitethorn hedges

Of the little farm and did not know the world.

But I knew that love’s doorway to life
Is the same doorway everywhere.

Ashamed of what I loved

I flung her from me and called her a ditch

Although she was smiling at me with violets.
But now I am back in her briary arms

The dew of an Indian Summer lies

On bleached potato-stalks

What age am I?
I do not know what age I am,

I am no mortal age;

I know nothing of women, Nothing of cities,

I cannot die Unless I walk outside these whitethorn hedges.


Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

The Quotes:
“Love is when the desire to be desired takes you so badly that you feel you could die of it.”

“In our time there are many artists who do something because it is new.. they see their value and their justification in this newness. They are deceiving themselves.. novelty is seldom the essential. This has to do with one thing only.. making a subject better from its intrinsic nature.”

“I have tried to do what is true and not ideal.”

“I paint things as they are. I don’t comment. I record.”

“Of course one should not drink much, but often.

The Video:

It Will Find You…

On The Music Box: Al Andaluz Project – Chamesse Lachia
Thought is an errand boy, fear a mine of worries.

-Yunus Emre

A lovely day here in Portland. Suns out, it is trying to warm up, and life is sweet. We just took delivery of “The JourneyBook” Rak & Tim’s UnderGrowth Project from Australia. We will be distributing it here for them. It looks very, very cool btw. I will have more info for you in the coming days. Ya gotta get a copy of this!
What’s been up around Chez Llwydd:

Well some of you may have heard, and some of you have probably not heard, that I had a preliminary diagnosis of Lymphoma last month. This of course set all kinds of things into action. I had the symptoms, well at least partially. Swollen lymph glands, tiredness. Dr. Randy a good friend had mentioned that I should get this looked at in November as I had a heck of a case of swelling. Our Dr. Julie arranged that I could get in touch with Dr. Kate Morris, a very cool oncologist at Legacy. It all culminated this week with me going in and getting a biopsy along with bloodwork and xray. This is what I sent out yesterday to friends and family yesterday after we got the results in:
“The Word Is: BENIGN!

It is not without a tale though. When the doctor went inside the lymph, it seems that it was oddly Blue & Green coloured… which happens to match the colours of my tattoo’d arm on the same side.

Theory: The lymph/immune system has been fighting my tattoo’s for a very long time. I have been working with toxins as well (paint,organic solvents etc), and in the last 18 years have had 1.pneumonia, 2.whooping cough, 3.massive allergies. 4.chest problems in general… for the last 12 of those years my body has contended with the tattoo’s as well. We have to figure the tired out as, time to start running again?

Other puzzles to puzzle out! I am contemplating having a second opinion just to make sure.”
Cool, eh? 80) I am following it up with exams at the end of the month and all. Big sigh of relief and all that!
I want to thank each and everyone who was pulling for me as I went in Tuesday for the Biopsy. I found myself as I was going under due to the sedative before the other meds hit, surrounded by and full of light etched out with the faces of friends, family and all who are dear around and within. Everything for a reason, every moment a pivotal point. I am blessed by friends, family and the company I keep. I want to thank the Sacred Fellowship who would of spirited me off to Peru for healing work if the diagnosis had gone the other way. I want to again thank Julie, Kath and Randy for being my allopathic advocates. I want to thank all the healers known and unknown who came forward and assured me that all would fall in place. It has. There was a wonderful lesson in this adventure for me. Trust your heart, your circle and the intentions of the universe.
And with that little story, let me tell ya, the print edition of The Invisible College is just around the corner.
Much Love,


On The Menu:

Maps – It Will Find You

The Quotes

The Laughing Apple & The Weeping Apple

The Poetry of Yunus Emre

Maps – To The Sky


Maps – It Will Find You

The Quotes:

Norman Douglas | “How hard it is, sometimes, to trust the evidence of one’s senses! How reluctantly the mind consents to reality.”

Edgar Wilson Nye | “Wagner’s music is better than it sounds.”

Hubert H. Humphrey | “The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.”

Jackie Mason | “Eighty percent of married men cheat in America. The rest cheat in Europe.”

Kurt Vonnegut | “There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don’t know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president.”

Oscar Wilde | “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”

Unknown | “All programmers are playwrights and all computers are lousy actors.”

Iris Murdoch | “Love is the difficult realization that something other than oneself is real.”

Franklin P. Adams | “I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way.”

Leo Tolstoy | “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

Paul Fix | “The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it’s unfamiliar territory.”

The Laughing Apple & The Weeping Apple

In olden time lived a Padishah who had three sons.

One day as the youngest was sitting in a kiosk, near which was a spring, there came an old woman to draw water. The boy threw a stone at her jug and broke it. Saying nothing the old woman went away, and presently returned with another jug. Again the youth threw a stone and shattered the jug. The woman went away as before, and returned a third time. The boy saw her, threw a stone at her jug and broke it as on the two previous occasions. Now spake the old woman:
“May you fall in love with the Laughing Apple and the Weeping Apple!” she said. With these words she disappeared.
A few days afterwards the words of the old woman began to take effect, and the King’s son was actually in love with the Laughing Apple and the Weeping Apple. Day by day he grew paler and weaker. As soon as his father heard that he was ill, he sent for the hodjas and physicians, but such an in disposition was beyond their skill.
One day a physician told the Padishah that the youth was lovesick. Upon this the monarch went to his son and asked what ailed him. The youth answered that he was in love with the Laughing Apple and the Weeping Apple. “What is to be done?” asked the father. “Where are the two apples to be found?” Then said the youth: “With your permission I will go and seek them.” The Padishah endeavoured to dissuade him, but the youth remained obstinate, determined at all costs to go in search of the apples. As his two elder brothers were willing to accompany him the father at length consented, and one day the party set out on their journey.
Up hill, down dale, and across the plains they wandered on, until one day they came to a spring where three roads met. Here was a notice set up for the information of travellers to the effect that whoever took the first road would return, whoever took the second road might return or not return; whoever took the third road would never return. The eldest of the brothers said he would take the first road, the middle brother elected to take the doubtful road, while the youngest was willing to take the road which promised no return. Ere they separated the youngest said: “How may we know which of us returns first? Let us take off our rings, put them under this stone, and as we return let each one take up his ring again.” Thus they agreed, and set out on their several ways.
The eldest walked on and on until he reached a land where there was a swimming-bath, and he engaged himself as a servant. The middle brother also wandered on and on until he came to a land where there was a coffeehouse; he entered and became an attendant.
Now we will see how the youngest fared. After long journeying he arrived one day at a spring where he saw an old woman drawing water. He accosted her with the words: “Mother, could you give me shelter just for tonight?” She answered: “My son, I have only a small hut, so small that when I lie down my feet are outside; where then could I put you?” He showed the old woman a handful of gold, and begged her to find room for him somewhere. As soon as she caught sight of the gold-pieces she said: “Come, my son, I have a large house. For whom should I make room if not for you?” Accordingly they went home together. As they sat at supper the youth asked: “Tell me, mother, where can I meet with the Laughing Apple and the Weeping Apple?”
Hardly had the question left his lips than the old woman struck him on the mouth crying: “Silence! their names are forbidden here!”
The youth offered her another handful of gold, on receiving which she said: “Get up in the morning and cross that mountain opposite; there you will meet a shepherd–the shepherd of the palace in which the Laughing Apple and the Weeping Apple are to be found. If you can win his favour you may gain admittance to the palace. But take care, and as soon as you have obtained possession of the apples make haste back to me.”
So next morning he went across the mountain and there found the shepherd, who was minding his sheep. He greeted him courteously, and the man returned the salutation. While in conversation the youth asked the shepherd about the Laughing Apple and the Weeping Apple. Hardly were the words out of his mouth than the shepherd struck him so violently in the face that he nearly fell. “Why do you strike me, shepherd?” asked the youth. “What! You still ask questions? I’ll soon silence you!” answered the shepherd, and again he struck him in the face. But the youth pleaded more earnestly than before, and gave the shepherd a handful of gold.
Being thus placated, the shepherd said to the youth: “I will now kill a sheep, so that I may make a leathern bottle of its skin; slip you into the skin. When it is evening and I drive the sheep home to the palace, you can go in with the sheep. At night when everybody is asleep go up to the first floor and steal unobserved into the chamber on the right. There lies the Sultan’s daughter in bed, and the apples will be found on the shelf near her. If you can get them away, it is well; but if not, it is all over with you.
The shepherd accordingly killed a sheep, hid the youth in its skin and drove the sheep to the serai. The youth succeeded in entering without discovery.
When night came on and everybody was asleep, the youth stole forth from the skin of the sheep, and crept carefully and slowly to the first floor. Entering the chamber indicated by the shepherd, he saw therein a bed on which lay a lovely maiden, beautiful as the moon at the full, She had black eyebrows, blue eyes, and golden hair; her equal surely did not exist in the world. So beautiful was she that the youth was beside himself with astonishment. While he gazed upon the maiden, one of the two apples on the shelf began to laugh, the other to weep bitterly. The youth shut the door quickly and ran back to the sheep. The noise made by the apples awakened the maiden. She got up, and seeing no one, looked about the room, scolded the apples for their stupidity, and lay down again.
After a while the maiden fell asleep once more, and the youth went upstairs, opened the door slowly and carefully, and entered. He took a few steps towards the apples, and again one began to laugh, the other to weep. The maiden woke up, but saw no one. “You naughty creatures!” she cried; “this is the second time you have waked me; if you do so again I shall cut you through.” Then she lay down again. When she was asleep the youth came again, opened the door, went straight to the apples, and as he took them from the shelf they began to laugh and weep. But the youth ran off, and when the maiden awoke for the third time there was nothing to be seen. “You impudent creatures!” she cried; “have you gone mad that you have waked me up a third time?” She struck them both and lay down again.
A short time afterwards the youth came a fourth time to the apartment, went to the shelf and took down the apples, which now made no sound, being angry at the treatment they had received. Quickly he made his exit and returned to the sheep.
When morning dawned the shepherd led his flock to the mountain. Then the youth crept out of the sheepskin, gave the shepherd another handful of gold, and saying “It was Allah’s will!” went back to the house of the old woman. When she saw the youth she filled a large basin with water, then killed a fowl and let its blood flow into the vessel. This done she put a plank into the water and set the youth upon it.
We will now return to the serai. When the maiden awoke, she saw that the apples were no longer on the shelf. “Oh, what has become of my apples?” she exclaimed, searching everywhere, but without avail. “Woe is me! my apples have been stolen. Three times they woke me, but I did not understand. A thief has been here!”

The maiden wept continually and sighed: “Oh, my apples! Oh, my apples!” When it came to the ears of her father, the Padishah, he ordered the gates of the city to be closed immediately, and a thorough search was instituted, but nowhere could the apples be found. He sent for the astrologers, who, consulting the stars, announced that he who had stolen the apples was at that moment in a ship on a sea of blood. “Oh, Padishah!” they said, “he must be very far away, for we know not where there is such a sea of blood.” The monarch realized that there was no chance of catching the thief, so the city gates were opened again.
The youth presented the old woman with a few more gold-pieces, and commending her to Allah, he set off again in search of further adventures. Some days later he found himself by the spring where he had parted from his brothers. Lifting the stone under which they had put their rings, he saw that neither of his brothers had yet returned. Replacing his own ring on his finger, he now set out along the road taken by his middle brother.
He wandered on and on, up hill, down dale, and across the plains, drinking water from the river, resting in the desert, listening to the song of the nightingales, till one day he came to a certain country. Entering a town he sought out a coffeehouse, and while drinking coffee and smoking his chibouque he recognized his middle brother serving coffee. His brother, however, knew him not. Calling him aside, he spoke to him, asking him so many questions that at length the elder recognized his brother. Then they both set off together and in due time arrived at the spring. The second ring was taken up and the pair now resolved to look for their eldest brother. They discovered him eventually, and made themselves known to him, and now all three returned to the spring. On the way they asked the youngest whether he had secured the apples. “Of course,” answered he, and brought them forth. They had hardly glanced at the two apples than they fell in love with them, and begged their brother to let them hold the apples in their hands. The youth com plied and gave them up. Being now in possession of the magic fruit, the two elder resolved to kill their youngest brother and divide the apples between them.
They went to a coffeehouse, where they sat down in the garden, and after ordering something to eat, asked the proprietor for a mat. In the garden was an open well; this they covered with the mat, and their youngest brother (not knowing of the well) sat on the mat and fell down to the bottom. The others, affecting not to notice his disappearance, ate, drank, and smoked, and eventually rose up and went away. When they arrived home their father asked what had become of his youngest son. The brothers answered that they had found the Laughing Apple and the Weeping Apple, but their youngest brother had taken the way from which there was no returning, and consequently they had seen him no more. The father shed tears, but hoped that if his son were still living he would find his way home before long.
Now, when the youth fell down the well, which was dry, he was not killed, but merely stunned. He soon returned to consciousness, and shouted several times in the hope of being heard. The coffeehouse keeper happened to be taking a walk in the garden. Hearing the cry he sent down a man to bring up the youth. Thanking his rescuer cordially the youth went his way, but not to his father’s house; instead, he offered himself as apprentice to a tinsmith.
One day the Padishah whose daughter’s apples had been stolen ordered a rosary of a thousand beads to be made, and this he sent by the hands of his servants into all countries. The magic power of this rosary was such that he who had stolen the apples would, on telling the beads, relate a full account of the incident. At length the rosary reached the land where the three brothers lived. When the youth heard of it he informed his master, the tinsmith, that he would tell the beads. Word was sent to the Padishah’s servants, who brought him the rosary and requested him to begin. The youth said he was willing to do so, but only in the presence of the Padishah of that land.

He was brought before the Padishah, to whom the affair was explained. The monarch consented to be a witness, and the rosary was handed to the youth, who began his task. He related a complete account of his adventures in search of the apples, and when he came to the part about his brothers casting him down the well, the rosary was finished. Now the Padishah, recognising his son, fell on his neck and kissed him, weeping for joy.
The strangers begged the Padishah to allow his youngest son to return with them, and consent was given; not, however, until the two wicked brothers had been severely punished. They started on their long journey and after many days came to the home of the apples. There the youth was taken before the Padishah, who as soon as he saw him felt his heart go out to the young Prince. The monarch ordered him to tell the beads before him.
Once more the youth related his adventure with the apples. When the story was ended the Padishah offered him his daughter in marriage, so that both the youth and the maiden might rejoice in the possession of the apples they both loved. Very willingly the young Prince consented; and with festivities lasting forty days and forty nights the lovers were united.
As they attained happiness, we will now seek our divan.

The Poetry of Yunus Emre

The Lover Is Outcast And Idle
My soul,

the way of the masters

is thinner than the thinnest.

What blocked Solomon’s way was an ant.
Night and day the lover’s

tears never end,

tears of blood,

remembering the Beloved.
“The lover is outcast and idle,”

they used to tell me.

It’s true.

It happened to me.
I tried to make sense of the Four Books,

until love arrived,

and it all became a single syllable.
You who claim to be dervishes

and to never do what God forbids –

the only time you’re free of sin

is when you’re in His hands.
Two people were talking.

One said, “I wish I could see this Yunus.”

“I’ve seen him,” the other says,

“He’s just another old lover.”

True Speech Is The Fruit Of Not Speaking
True speech is the fruit of not speaking.

Too much talking clouds the heart.
If you want to clear the heart,

say this much, the essence of all talking:
Speak truly. God speaks through words truly spoken.

Falsity ends in pain.
Unless you witness all of creation in a single glance,

you’re in sin even with all your religion.
The explanation of the Law is this:

The Law is a ship. Truth is her ocean.
No matter how strong the wood,

the sea can smash the ship.
The secret is this:

A “saint” of religion may in reality be an unbeliever.
We will master this science and read this book of love.

God instructs. Love is His school.
Since the glance of the saints fell on poor Yunus

nothing has been a misfortune.

We Encountered The House Of Realization
We encountered the house of realization,

we witnessed the body.
The whirling skies, the many-layered earth,

the seventy-thousand veils,

we found in the body.
The night and the day, the planets,

the words inscribed on the Holy Tablets,

the hill that Moses climbed, the Temple,

and Israfil’s trumpet, we observed in the body.
Torah, Psalms, Gospel, Quran –

what these books have to say,

we found in the body.
Everybody says these words of Yunus

are true. Truth is wherever you want it.

We found it all within the body.

Maps – To The Sky

Love’s Alchemy

On The Music Box – “I am a Bird now” ~ Antony & The Johnsons

Sunday afternoon… It is hailing, raining and snowing in Portland. The winter that last forever!… actually all the buds are coming into bloom. Just got back from visiting John & Sebong over near Multnomah Village. Spencer is coming by later, on his way to South America. Everything is in flux, and raised up, poised in some obscure moment of beauty. The birds are all back, the squirrel raids the bird feeder, the dog chases the squirrel and the old cat sleeps on the couch. You step outside, and you can smell the earth, slowly warming. Clouds stream across the sky, and the sun is sweet when you see it, unlike the deep summer sun, this one promises so much.
There is this sweetness; love is all around permeating. The earth is moving to it, and friends come calling by, children are being born and the days grow longer.
I am having powerful urges to paint. I found my palette shifting over to burnt umbers, and raw sienna. I haven’t visited those colours in nearly 12 years. I think it will be a bit of fun. I am getting the urge to put the forms of people in what has been focused on the inner sun and planets for the longest time. Changes, coming down the pike.
There are those moments, and this seems to be one of them.
In all things, Love.

The Menu:

The Links

The OysterBand – Molly Bond

Arabian Wisdom

Love’s Alchemy – The Poetry of John Donne

OysterBand – “Everywhere I Go”

Jean-Léon Gérôme – Art

The Links:

Early Europeans in New Zealand?

Vampire Grave Discovered In Venice…

Brain Differences Between Believers and Non Believers?

Dalek Found In Pond!

Finally a funeral for girl decapitated 700 years ago

The OysterBand – Molly Bond

Arabian Wisdom

-compiled by John Wortabet

Flaunting Kindness
To carry a heavy rock to the summit of a mountain is easier than to receive a kindness which is flaunted.

The bane of a generous action is to mention it.

It is better to refuse a kindness than to be reminded of it.

I would not accept the whole world if I were to suffer the humiliation of being constantly reminded of the gift.

To bestow and flaunt a kindness, and to be stingy and refuse to do an act of kindness, are equally bad.

When you do a kindness hide it, and when a kindness is done to you proclaim it.

Do good, and throw it into the sea.

Speculative Studies
All speculative research ends in perplexing uncertainty.

I sought in the great sea of theoretical learning a bottom on which to stand—and found nothing but one wave dashing me against another.

After a lifetime of research and learning, I amassed nothing but such phrases as: “It is said,” or “They say.”

O erring reason, I am sick of thee! I take a single step and thou movest a whole mile away from me.

The object sought in abstruse study is either a truth which cannot be known, or a vain thing which it is useless to know.

Thoughts, Doubts
Most thoughts are wishes.

The thoughts of the wise are more trustworthy than the convictions of fools.

Do not confuse opinions with certainties.

If you are doubtful of a thing let it alone.

Remove doubts by enquiry.

A thing that is heard is not like a thing that is seen.

Do not believe all that you hear.

It is not wise to be sure of a thing only because you think so.

Where there is much difference of opinion it is difficult to know the truth.

To think well of others is a religious duty.

He who thinks well of others is a happy man.

He who has an evil thing in him thinks all men are like him.

If a man think well of you, make his thought true.

A poet says: “It was my habit to think well of others until experience taught me otherwise.”

Be well with God and fear nothing.

Most men think well of themselves, and this is self-delusion.

Wisdom, Prudence, Experience
Reason is a light in the heart which distinguishes between truth and error.

A wise man sees with his heart what a fool does not see with his eyes.

Men should be judged according to their lights (reason).

A wise man is not he who considers how he may get out of an evil, but he who sees that he does not fall into it.

Actions are judged by their endings. If you desire a thing, consider its end.

A man cannot be wise without experience.

No wise man will be bitten twice from the same den.

No boon is so remunerative as reason.

Long experience is an addition to mind.

Consideration may take the place of experience.

A wise man is he who has been taught by experience.

One word is sufficient to the wise man.

A cheap offer makes a wise purchaser wary.

He who considers consequences will attain his object, and he who does not carefully think on them, evil will be sure to overtake him.

Everything has need of reason, and reason has need of experience.

Mind and experience are like water and earth co-operating—neither of which alone can bring forth a flower.

Reason and anxious thought are inseparable.
A wise man is never happy. (For in much wisdom is much grief, and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.—Eccles. i. 18.)

Ignorance, Folly
Ignorance is the greatest poverty.

Ignorance is death in life.

There is no evil so great as ignorance.

Folly is an incurable disease.

A foolish man is like an old garment, which if you patch it in one place becomes rent in many other places.

It is just as allowable to blame a blind man for want of sight as to blame a fool for his folly.

To bear the folly of a fool is indeed a great hardship.

The best way to treat a fool is to shun him.

The fool is an enemy to himself—how can he then be a friend to others?

An ignorant man is highly favoured, for he casts away the burden of life, and does not vex his soul with thoughts of time and eternity.

The most effectual preacher to a man is himself. A man never turns away from his passions unless the rebuke comes from himself to himself.

Silence, Guarded Speech
Wise men are silent.

Silence is often more eloquent than words.

Be not hasty with your tongue. If words are silver, silence is gold.

Not all that is known should be said.

Silence is a wise thing, but they who observe it are few.

When the mind becomes large speech becomes little.

Restrain your tongue from saying anything but what is good.

An unguarded word may do you great harm.

A man who talks much is open to much blame.

The most faulty of men are they that are most loquacious in matters which do not concern them.

To guard his tongue is one of the best traits in a man’s character.

Man is saved from much evil if he guard his tongue.

The tongue is a lion which must be chained, and a sharp sword which must be sheathed.

Nothing on earth is so deserving of a long imprisonment as the tongue.

Beware of saying anything of which you may be ashamed.

It is better to regret a thing which you did not say than a thing which you did say.

A slip of the foot is safer than a slip of the tongue. A false step may break a bone which can be set, but a slip of the tongue cannot be undone.

A thrust of the tongue is sharper than the thrust of a lance.

A word may cause much trouble, destroy a home, or open a grave.

A great tree grows out of a small seed.

The difference between loquacity and silence is like the difference between the noisy frog and the silent whale.

Wisdom is made up of ten parts—nine of which are silence, and the tenth is brevity of language.

A man conceals his ignorance by his silence.

He who says what he should not say, will have to hear what he would not like to hear.

He who talks much does little.

What is said at night the day blots out.

Love’s Alchemy – The Poetry of John Donne

Love’s Alchemy
Some that have deeper digg’d love’s mine than I,

Say, where his centric happiness doth lie;

I have lov’d, and got, and told,

But should I love, get, tell, till I were old,

I should not find that hidden mystery.

Oh, ’tis imposture all!

And as no chemic yet th’elixir got,

But glorifies his pregnant pot

If by the way to him befall

Some odoriferous thing, or medicinal,

So, lovers dream a rich and long delight,

But get a winter-seeming summer’s night.
Our ease, our thrift, our honour, and our day,

Shall we for this vain bubble’s shadow pay?

Ends love in this, that my man

Can be as happy’as I can, if he can

Endure the short scorn of a bridegroom’s play?

That loving wretch that swears

‘Tis not the bodies marry, but the minds,

Which he in her angelic finds,

Would swear as justly that he hears,

In that day’s rude hoarse minstrelsy, the spheres.

Hope not for mind in women; at their best

Sweetness and wit, they’are but mummy, possess’d.

The Bait
Come live with me, and be my love,

And we will some new pleasures prove

Of golden sands, and crystal brooks,

With silken lines, and silver hooks.
There will the river whispering run

Warm’d by thy eyes, more than the sun;

And there the ‘enamour’d fish will stay,

Begging themselves they may betray.
When thou wilt swim in that live bath,

Each fish, which every channel hath,

Will amorously to thee swim,

Gladder to catch thee, than thou him.
If thou, to be so seen, be’st loth,

By sun or moon, thou dark’nest both,

And if myself have leave to see,

I need not their light having thee.
Let others freeze with angling reeds,

And cut their legs with shells and weeds,

Or treacherously poor fish beset,

With strangling snare, or windowy net.
Let coarse bold hands from slimy nest

The bedded fish in banks out-wrest;

Or curious traitors, sleeve-silk flies,

Bewitch poor fishes’ wand’ring eyes.
For thee, thou need’st no such deceit,

For thou thyself art thine own bait:

That fish, that is not catch’d thereby,

Alas, is wiser far than I.

The Ecstasy
Where, like a pillow on a bed

A pregnant bank swell’d up to rest

The violet’s reclining head,

Sat we two, one another’s best.

Our hands were firmly cemented

With a fast balm, which thence did spring;

Our eye-beams twisted, and did thread

Our eyes upon one double string;

So to’intergraft our hands, as yet

Was all the means to make us one,

And pictures in our eyes to get

Was all our propagation.

As ‘twixt two equal armies fate

Suspends uncertain victory,

Our souls (which to advance their state

Were gone out) hung ‘twixt her and me.

And whilst our souls negotiate there,

We like sepulchral statues lay;

All day, the same our postures were,

And we said nothing, all the day.

If any, so by love refin’d

That he soul’s language understood,

And by good love were grown all mind,

Within convenient distance stood,

He (though he knew not which soul spake,

Because both meant, both spake the same)

Might thence a new concoction take

And part far purer than he came.

This ecstasy doth unperplex,

We said, and tell us what we love;

We see by this it was not sex,

We see we saw not what did move;

But as all several souls contain

Mixture of things, they know not what,

Love these mix’d souls doth mix again

And makes both one, each this and that.

A single violet transplant,

The strength, the colour, and the size,

(All which before was poor and scant)

Redoubles still, and multiplies.

When love with one another so

Interinanimates two souls,

That abler soul, which thence doth flow,

Defects of loneliness controls.

We then, who are this new soul, know

Of what we are compos’d and made,

For th’ atomies of which we grow

Are souls. whom no change can invade.

But oh alas, so long, so far,

Our bodies why do we forbear?

They’are ours, though they’are not we; we are

The intelligences, they the spheres.

We owe them thanks, because they thus

Did us, to us, at first convey,

Yielded their senses’ force to us,

Nor are dross to us, but allay.

On man heaven’s influence works not so,

But that it first imprints the air;

So soul into the soul may flow,

Though it to body first repair.

As our blood labors to beget

Spirits, as like souls as it can,

Because such fingers need to knit

That subtle knot which makes us man,

So must pure lovers’ souls descend

T’ affections, and to faculties,

Which sense may reach and apprehend,

Else a great prince in prison lies.

To’our bodies turn we then, that so

Weak men on love reveal’d may look;

Love’s mysteries in souls do grow,

But yet the body is his book.

And if some lover, such as we,

Have heard this dialogue of one,

Let him still mark us, he shall see

Small change, when we’are to bodies gone.

OysterBand – “Everywhere I Go”

The Battle Of The Beanfield…

Dear Friends,
A lot has happened in the last couple of weeks. First, my computer system went down, and I am finally recovering it back to its formal glory and all that. Tiresome bit of business I have to say. Thankfully, my friend Terry is leading me through it, and I have such a better understanding of what went on with it now.
Then, there was Art Walk! That was a blast, and it drove me to some new heights for creativity, and working with a bit of speed when it comes to painting. I painted 3 different new paintings, one which has been spoken for, namely “The Dharma Baby”. We had many visitors, Ed & Janice, Maggie & Tony, Miss Cymon, Gordon, Mike Hoffman, Julie & Mike, Joanne, Morgan and many others. Nemo pointed out earlier that many of my prints are 3-D, led to some very hilarious exchanges when I loaned my 3D glasses out to Art Walkers…80) The 3D effect also was demonstrated by some of my paintings, especially “Eziekiah Wheels” which was quite strange to look at. I will be publishing the new prints on my website Gwyllm-Arts.com soon for all to see. Now I have to figure out if they show up 3D on line as well! One of the great things that happened was that we took the boards off the front of the Infamous Mirador Mural! Steve & Lynn at Mirador were very happy as were we to see it see the light of day again! Hopefully soon it will be exposed once more. I feel a change is in the air!
I want to thank Lynn & Steve Hanrahan at Mirador Community Store for hosting Mary and I and my art work at Mirador for the Art Walk, and for providing a home to the mural. Steve and Lynn work constantly for the local community. Stop by, and get to know them. Wonderful People!

We have had some problems with the software that runs the blog, and I cannot at this time upload new pics until I figure out how to update/upload the software… (help!)
Thirdly, I have had what some call a health alert, and it seems that I am going into the hospital for some exploratory work this coming Tuesday. Hopefully, everything will turn out alright, which I feel it will. I will let people know about that, but it really will not be the topic of choice. I am doing some cleansing with herbs sent to me by my friend Tomas back east. Tomas, if you are reading this, bless your heart!
Enough of all that, we have some blogging to do. This was ready for the 19th of February… but with all the problems, in is out now.
Bright Blessings,


On The Menu:

The Levellers… 15 years

Remains Of The Deities

The Levellers…. Battle Of The Beanfield

Battle Of the Bean Field History


Three Zen Poets

I love this band. The Levellers are one of those acts you will never hear about in the popular press, and that is a shame. One of the best, and most sincere music makers in the UK. Support these guys!
The Levellers…. 15 Years

15 years
I never was a violent man

Said the man in the bar with his head in his hands

he’s Trying his best to understand the cause of his dismay

But the years of gin have broken him

they’ve left him cold where he’s fitted in

but It’s too late now to turn around and find another way
And the laughs in the late night lock-in

have Faded away when he gets in

the girl from fifteen years ago

Has packed and gone away
That’s never how it used to be

What happened to all that energy

You took one too many liberties, I’m tired of being afraid

So after the fight she took flight

Hiding swollen eyes and a wounded pride

The best years of her life denied, and sold for liquid shares
and The victims of their world, are advertised on posters

just A beach and a pretty girl, if you just take this potion
theres another week ’til his cheque comes through

He’s got a fiver left now to spend on food

But the doors of the bars are open, and he breaks another rule

well He sits on a stool that bears his name

Hes got a favorite glass well its called the same

he’s never been kept waiting, ‘cos he pays a landlord’s wage
An old one from Erik Davis…
Remains Of The Deities

Reading The Return of Paganism

By now, most of us need barely glance over our shoulders to see the cracks and fissures running through the facade of Western Civ. Rationality has degenerated into an instrument of control, science spawns the very problems it then hopes to mend, traditional canons crumble, and the social system that crawled out of Europe’s chilly bogs now munches its way across the planet’s surface like some cancerous machine set on auto-destruct.
For those of us inside this bustling ruin, the crisis of civilization is also a crisis of being. Our identities, forged in no small measure in the smithy of the state, are leaking, and conventional remedies–drugs, therapy, materialism, distraction–are just so many buckets. Identity must itself be tinkered with, unfolded, perhaps rekindled. And the first thing that needs major tweaking is our monotheism of mind.
Wait a minute. Isn’t God dead? Perhaps, but his chattering skull lives on. For what is the righteous ego if not our own personal Yahweh? Jealous of the other figures of mind, locked in his panopticon, armed with a Cartesian camera, this self-serious tyrant demonizes the pantheon of moods in the heart and the packs of beasts in the body. Left to its own devices, the ego becomes demiurge, breeding dualisms left and right, clutching a single tragic vision that divides the self from the dreaming world and kills that world in the process.
The unhealthy dominance of the ego calls for a cure, but obviously not the violence of surgical removal. Totalizing solutions are just more commandments, born-again delusions of a clean-slate self. Instead we need a complex, gradual disintegration. The Jungian renegade James Hillman suggests a polytheistic psychology. A cranky and oddly classicist postmodern of sorts, Hillman rejects the Jungian notion of a unified self as a humanist crock, while still accepting the psyched as a field that can be deepened into a collective landscape of imaginative resonance. “What we now all the unconscious are the old Gods returning, assaulting, climbing over the walls of the ego,” Hillman says. Rather than foment schizophrenia, this revival expands the self into a fluid and grounded multiplicity of styles, rhetorics, and drives, thickening the texture of interior life while simultaneously unfolding the self into the body, the street, and the field: no longer an alien master of dead matter, but a polymorphous Pagan in an awakened world.
But cures never work in the mind alone. They must be expressed and performed, and for at least three decades, all across the country, folks who have never read Hillman (or visited California) have been putting polytheistic remedies into practice: WASPs raised on Bewitched cast ritual circles, Jews invoke the Canaanite fertility goddess Astarte, systems analysts worship trees.
These Neopagans–or Pagans, as they increasingly call themselves–seek to live in a world in which, as Euripides said, “all things are full of gods.” To do this they must not only crack the mundane ego, but bootstrap the imagination, our distinct faculty of resonant perception. As children, all of us possessed a certain eye that glimpsed gnarled faces in rocks and clouds; Pagans seek to recapture that mode of liminal awareness, conjuring it our of the body with ritual and trance and magical visualizations.
Half a century old, larger than the Unitarian church, Paganism is no fad. As Chas Clifton writes in his introduction to Witchcraft Today: The Modern Craft Movement, the Craft “presents a radical critique of the dominant forms of spirituality more than it seeks an accommodation with them.” Wiccans–and the more inclusive category of Pagans–reject scientism, dualism, and the pure drive for escape velocity found in many transcendental Eastern paths. And though Pagans root through the New Age grab bag of positive thinking, alternative medicine, and Gaia talk, the movements chafe more than the sing: while well-heeled New Agers float in a diaphanous haze of “higher frequencies,” the far more bohemian Pagans ground the spirit in, as, as Clifton puts it, “dirt and flowers, blood and running water, sex and sickness, spells and household tools.”
The boldness of Paganism’s revisionary religion–as much a subculture as a system of worship–has swollen its ranks with the marginalized, the progressive, the weird: feminists and soldiers, lesbians and gays, SF fans and computer programmers, eco-hippies and Jews, garage scholars and the sword-wielding medievalists in the Society for Creative Anachronism. While any given Pagan festival–imagine a clothing-optional occult Renaissance Faire where everyone is in character–will turn up a wide mix of druids, Radical Faeries, and “Episcopagan” ceremonial magicians, witches (or Wiccans) increasingly dominate the movement. Most Wiccans work, with varying degrees of slack, within the tradition cobbled together by retired British civil servant and nudist Gerald Gardner in the 1940s: small covens that cast circles on full moons, dance and chant, and invoke a horned hunting God and a Triple Goddess.
While some “trad” Wiccans remain surprisingly insular and conservative–especially for folks whose rituals include nudity, flagellation and mild bondage–feminism and the anarchic strain of American spirituality have now produced far more “eclectics:” loose-limbed and more improvisational witches who sample from many traditions–and generally bag the scourges. And though generalizing about such a ragtag crew is like painting a rainforest with one shade of green, it can be said that all Pagans, recognizing humans as little more than animals with particularly swelled heads, seek to plug themselves into the imaginative and energetic matrix of nature. But while Pagans lose themselves in ritual, they simultaneously recover themselves in the folktales, relics and bloody testimonies of Indo-European history.

_ _ __
When secular intellectuals hear the words “European folk culture,” most reach for their revolvers, remembering how successfully Continental fascists juiced up the masses with appeals to intuition and peasant values. But such reactions say more about a common intellectual paranoia in the face of mythic thought and experience than they do about the intrinsic politics of occult spirituality or nature mysticism. Besides, with the exception of an isolated pocket of racist Vikings, fears of reactionary irrationalism are belied by what Pagans actually say and do.
Far too antiauthoritarian to brook fuhrers or gurus, Pagans use historical materials to cure themselves of historical determinations, and to tape the underground streams murmuring beneath the dominant narratives of the patriarchal state. Histories of the Craft invariably invoke the Inquisition, and images of conflagration haunt many Wiccans. Though often inflating the death toll of “the Burning Times” to Holocaust proportions, Wiccans use this historical echo to create an intimate connection among the underdogs of Europe–gays, women, heretics, the poor, Gypsies, Jews. And, with the exception of the Romany, all these groups are well represented in the Pagan revival.
By identifying with their pre-Christian ancestors, the white folk drawn to the Old Religion are performing a Euro-American equivalent of Afrocentricity. For they consider themselves yet another group colonized, then demonized, and now misrepresented by the powers that be. It’s no accident that the Celtic lore of Ireland–the most popular European tradition for Neopagans–belongs to one of Europe’s most downtrodden peoples. Besides their legitimate concern to distinguish witchcraft from Satanism, some contemporary witches condemn the evil hags and sirens of Halloween and Disney with all the earnestness of campus crusaders. And most Pagans are highly sympathetic to the struggles of people of color–and not just because many Native Americans, West Indians, and Latins are struggling for their gods as well.
Pagans thus navigate a powerful route between bland white liberal guilt and Caucasian appropriations of nonwhite cultures, whether Rastafarians, Indians, or Santeristas. Pagans thus create a margin of white authenticity from which to proclaim a critical religious and social counter-history of the West traced, like the Black Mass, backward: from the Christian devil to the horned Pan, from the early church to the mystery cults, and from ancient polytheists all the way back to the Stone Age haze when only the Goddess reigned.
All this leads to a highly combative use of history. In his feisty and fascinating Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture , Arthur Evans admits that because his heavily footnoted history of gay sex, heresy and rural magic concerns “the victims of Western civilization, rather than their rulers,” his book is one-sided, subjective and arbitrary as to sources. He further points out that all historians work this way. Of course, shit like this really riles academic scholars, but what stands out most in their intellectually legitimate critiques of Pagan revisionary history is not the sharpness of the bones they pick but their snide and arrogant pleasure in the process.
But the conflict goes beyond a turf war between professionals and garage scholars, into the thorny issue of the role of speculative imagination in our understanding of history. Europe’s Pagan residue lingers in the shadows of recorded (Christian) history. Any Pagan revisionist must also raid the worlds of mythology and poetic intuition, uncorking alembics of spirit in history’s dusty labs and transmuting the chemical record of the past into an alchemy of meanings.
Nowhere are the curious consequences of this alchemy more evident that in the work of archaeologist Marija Gimbutas. In the mid-70s, Gimbutas began using pots and figurines to construct a tale of an Old European matriarchal partnership society that worshipped the Goddess and lived in peace until around 6000 years ago, when marauding Conans and their macho sky gods came thundering in from the east on their excellent horses. Though clearly an eco-feminist Eden myth, Gimbutus fuels her speculative fire with a mass of research and comparative myth, and this tension between facts and an imaginative use of folklore makes for fascinating reading.
Gimbutas cleared the space for the Goddess movement to flourish, though the seeds were first sown by British revivalists like Gerald Gardner, feminist witches like Z. Budapest (who formed the Susan B. Anthony Coven in the early ’70s), and Starhawk, whose great The Spiral Dance galvanized the Craft with its pragmatic link between progressive politics and a no-bullshit grasp of magical techniques.
But where Gimbutas leaps, many of her followers veritably fly, and much of the Goddess phenomenon now stands apart from Paganism proper. In the hands of some feminists, the polymorphous Goddess of flux crystalizes into yet another totalizing, and essentially monotheist, ideology–what Morning Glory Zell calls “Jahweh in drag.” While it’s fine to experience such disgust with civilization that you reach back to the Stone Age for an image of the good life, this backwards-masked mode of ecological and patriarchal critique often settles into simple therapeutic catechism. Though the best Goddess books rattle their archaic evidence like curing fetishes, recovering the Goddess from the dust of pre-history often becomes the archaeological analog of recovering your inner child.
While too many Pagans and Goddess authors lapse into literalism and strident claims of authenticity, many also recognize that the creative force behind their revisionist stories is not truth but the polymorphous reflections of their own shifting perspectives. Strong polytheism allows fabrication and authenticity to dance without destroying each other. And when you set out to straddle the dry shores of facts and the swamps of mythology, or try to channel the oral ghosts which haunt the written word, distortions both clever and careless arise. But so what? History’s a Rorschach blot, and the gods peer out of your eyes. Can you see the vulva in a standing stone? The horns on a jester’s cap? The Green Man in the corner of a church? Or the goddess that surveys New York’s harbor? A funny thing happens when you start looking for the winks and signatures of these furtive figures. They start looking for you.

_ _ __
Though Paganism prides itself on rejecting holy scripture for immediate experience, it remains in many ways a religion of books. Surveys confirm that, as the witch Heather O’Dell put it, “most people drawn to the Craft are addicted to reading.” And many are also drawn to it through reading–not just classics like Janet and Stuart Farrar’s What Witches Do or Margot Adler’s Drawing Down the Moon (which remains the best history of the American movement), but through fantasy novels as well. Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon, a feminist revision of the Arthurian mythos, may have hooked more witches than Starhawk, and Pan only knows how many druids were born with the words “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”
Avoiding the ossifying reaction of academic traditionalists, the tiresome fugue states of theory, the glib ignorance of the New Age, or the ironic capitulation of TV addicts, Paganism finds its postmodern soul in the crepescule between dream and text. Many critics have noticed that for all the rhetoric of “information,” our age demonstrates the triumph of image over the word, the dissolution of intellectual coherence into a sea of simulation. But Pagans have their cake (and ale) and eat it too, and not just because magic has always been a science of simulacra. Pagans know that words feed images. In a sense, Pagans read Gimbutas, The Mabinogion, and Mircae Eliade the same way they read comic books, Carl Jung or Ursula LeGuin: with a strange combination of wonder and pragmatism. They want that buzz, that mythic resonance that sets the spine ablaze, but they’re also on the prowl, ready to poach maps, chants, and god from the texts at hand.
Modern witchcraft began not with a revelation or an initiation, but with reading and rewriting. Though Gerald Gardner claimed to have contacted a secret New Forest coven whose tradition stretched back centuries, the Craft scholar Aiden Kelley and others basically proved that Gardner’s system was basically fabricated. Gardner cribbed much of the ritual from the notorious occultist Aleister Crowley and the American folklorist Charles G. Leland, whose wonderful Aradia collects the spells of a late-19th century Italian Dianic cult. Gardner also heavily borrowed from the historian Margaret A. Murray’s 1921 The Witch-cult in Western Europe, which took somewhat Gimbutus-like leaps to argue that witches’ sabbaths were actually pagan fertility rites and the devil a man dressed as a horned god. Like Robert Graves, whose White Goddess also strongly influenced British Wiccans, Murray wove a tale from folklore and fact. But to Gardner and others, these historical poems rang true, and though subsequent work by Carlo Ginsberg and others has shown Murray’s essential intuition to be correct, most witches today owe their existence to what was in some sense a literary resonance.
Which is why my favorite Pagan origin story is not Gardner’s New Forest initiation but the birth of the Church of All Worlds at Westminster College, Missouri in 1962. Undergrads Lance Christian and Tim Zell were obsessed with Ayn Rand and Maslow’s self-actualizing philosophy. Then they read Robert Heinlein’s A Stranger in a Strange Land, which described the communal non-monogamist Church of All Worlds founded by the Martian exile Valentine Michael Smith. Grokking their deepest desires in the SF text, the two students and some female friends performed Smith’s sacred water-sharing ritual, hopped in the sack, and founded a church. Later Zell renamed himself Otter, penned a prescient form of the Gaia hypothesis, and started using the word “Pagan” to describe CAW’s increasingly earthy and eclectic religion. As Zell recently put it, “we’re a sequel to a myth that hasn’t even happened yet.”
Cobbling together new Old Ways, Pagans proceed by a curious process of memory and forgetting: first, remembering the broken limbs of the gods scattered in books, museums, and nursery rhymes, then erasing those mundane sources into a vast memory of practices which simulates the timelessness of oral transmission. Most Wiccans don’t have a clue that one popular midsummer chant is an adaptation of “A Tree Song” by Rudyard Kipling. Or if they know, they don’t really care, because for them the chant works.
Their emphasis on pragmatism may seem paradoxical to some, but Pagans are more positivist than you think–they just expand their definition of admissible evidence. Such this-worldliness explains why occult shops (and botanicas) are as much like hardware stores as book worlds: the candles, swords, bowls, cards, talismans, jars of herbs and incense, all asked to be used. And much of the printed material consists of reference tomes or how-to books like Scott Cunningham’s popular Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, which includes basic rituals, descriptions of tools and altar set-ups, and recipes for incense and “crescent cakes”. Most of these manuals are rather slight variations on a basic theme, and frequently lapse into the simply superstitious, forgetting the words that close the lovely Charge of the Goddess in the Gardnerian liturgy: “if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.”
Still, these Wiccan cookbooks invest their religion not with dogma but with lore–the customs, hints and hand-me-downs that help Craft the magic into ordinary life. Rather than the ponderous intonations of ceremonial magic, this kitchen witchery blurs the distinction between herbal remedies, Gramma’s cooking secrets, and the secret ingredients for a Full Moon ritual anointing oil. Reflecting the fact that most Neopagans are city-folk, Patricia Telesco’s The Urban Pagan include lots of handy ecological tips for apartment dwellers alongside self-help visualizations and herbal cures. Her chapter “The Frugal Magician” includes designs for popsicle stick pentagrams and a discussion of “techno-magic” using computers, microwaves and TVs–which, when turned off, apparently make good surfaces for scrying.
Telesco’s massive attempt to reimagine the alienated objects in the urban field stands as a testament to the Pagan urge to sacralize and imaginatively deepen the world by whatever means necessary. Clearly, these techniques, a kind of magical pop art, extend beyond the recovery of rural folkways or naive Romanticism. So what’s going on? In describing the options of the individual within the technocratic state, Michel De Certeau unintentionally nailed the tactics that underlie Pagan practice: “Increasingly constrained, yet less and less concerned with these vast frameworks, the individual detaches himself from them without being able to escape them and can henceforth only try to outwit them, to pull tricks on them, to rediscover, within an electronicized and computerized megalopolis, the ‘art’ of the hunters and rural folk of earlier days.” That art is natural magic.

_ _ __
The hands-on aesthetic of Pagan spirituality carves a postmodern peasant religion from a world of unseen but ever-present landlords. Yet a strong millennial strain courses through the movement, an apocalyptic urgency not grounded in Christian eschatology but in a frank assessment of our ecological crisis. Healing the soul of its imaginative anomie and the body of its rigidity becomes analogues to healing the earth. Pagans recognize that rules and regulations alone cannot alter attitudes toward nature that are welded to civilization at least as securely as sexism is. The belief that humanity lords over the biosphere as its master and finest product is a function of the structure of Western consciousness, a structure that Pagans attempt to erode with art and ritual and enacted imagination.
Still, apart from psychedelic aficionados, the environmentalist fringe, and a few cool comic books, the link between Pagan imagination and deep ecology remains confined with a rather hermetic subculture that doesn’t proselytize or sell itself–and may party more than it should. Pagans do draw folks into their world, but that world is itself conjured on the fly: festivals and ritual circles are said to be “between the worlds,” spaces cast and then collapsed (or “opened”) like a psychic nomad’s hut. Along with the few islands of Pagan-owned land, Pagandom consists of a shifting network of temporary autonomous zones and the virtual communities created through computer bulletin boards, online discussion groups, and, most the exchange of zines.
Pagans currently produce over 500 periodicals, a tremendous output for less than half a million people and one that underscores the centrality of writing to Pagan experience. The Crone Chronicles reclaims the figure of the Crone for older women, while the teens that put out HAM cater to the growing crop of Pagan kids. The increasing influence of gays on Paganism can be felt not only in ongoing debates about gender and magical polarity but in zines like Out of the Broom Closet and Coming Out Pagan (the latter of which noted that the obviously pagan Ice Man found in the Alps a few years ago had traces of sperm around his anus). But the Church of All World’s Green Egg remains the great Pagan publication: besides unearthing old gods and birthing new ones (call on Squat the next time you need a parking place), and Green Egg’s Readers Forum remains the best print intro to the fractious, funny, sexy texture of Pagan community.
Just as Pagans see our species as inextricably and joyously embedded in the matrix of the earth, they also view the human soul as immersed in collective experience, a carnival of dark mothers, gay centaurs, vengeful redwood sprites and cyberspace tricksters. A most postmodern archaic turn, one that suggests that the death of the subject may have been announced prematurely–the self did not die, it just slipped like Persephone into the underworld. The babbling surreality and fragmentation of contemporary culture not only signify the collapse of the West’s sun-bent master narrative, but the return of the tales of a thousand and one nights. And that’s why you make a friend of the moon.
(First appeared in the Voice Literary Supplement, November 1993)

The Battle Of The Beanfield

Some more of the Levellers… This is there take on The Battle Of The Beanfield

The Levellers…. Battle Of The Beanfield

thought I heard something calling me

I’ve seen the pictures on TV

And I made up my mind that I’d go and see

With my own eyes
It didn’t take too long to hitch a ride

With a guy going south to start a new life

Past the place where my friend died

Two years ago
Down the 303 at the end of the road

Flashing lights – exclusion zones

And it made me think it’s not just the stones

That they’re guarding
Hey, hey, now can’t you see

There’s nothing here that you can call free

They’re getting their kicks

They’re laughing at you and me
As the sun rose on the beanfield

They came like wolf on the fold

And no, they didn’t give a warning

They took their bloody toll
I seen a pregnant woman

Lying in blood of her own

I seen her children crying

As the police tore apart their home
And no they didn’t need a reason

It’s what your votes condone

It seems they were committing treason

By trying to live on the road
And I say,

Hey, hey, now can’t you see

There’s nothing here that you can call free

They’re getting their kicks

They’re laughing at you and me
Hey, hey, now can’t you see

There’s nothing here that you can call free

They’re getting their kicks

They’re laughing at you and me
Remember what you heard,
Hey, hey, now can’t you see

There’s nothing here that you can call free

They’re getting their kicks

They’re laughing at you and me

I was living in London when it all occured. As usual, I was up to my eyeballs with business and art, but I had planned to go to Stonehenge for the Solstice. Who wouldn’t? I still want to if I get a chance…. Anyway, Margaret Thatcher in her wisdom had shut the festival down. There was a public upwelling, and The Travellers and associated clans rose up to exercise their rights of assembly. What follows in the link and associated video is harsh, but this is but part of the greater story of the Clearances, continuuing to this day. I think that re-institution of the commons, with attending rights including assembly, free speech, freedom of association, cognitive liberty are some of the challenges we must address.
In the US you have Burning Man, but that is a paid event and though rather cool, still is outside of the Temporary Autonomous Zone.
The Video: Be prepared for Police Violence. Sorry, but that is part of the story. I think we need to be aware of what the Owners will do to enforce their will on the populace.
The Battle of The Beanfield Pt 1

The Battle of The Beanfield Pt 2


The Links:

The Wiki On “The Battle Of The Beanfield”

The Guardian looks at “The Battle Of The Beanfield”

Another Site Devoted To “The Battle”

Photos Of The Battle…

Three Zen Poets


I Hate Incense
A master’s handiwork cannot be measured

But still priests wag their tongues explaining the “Way” and babbling about “Zen.”

This old monk has never cared for false piety

And my nose wrinkles at the dark smell of incense before the Buddha.

A Fisherman
Studying texts and stiff meditation can make you lose your Original Mind.

A solitary tune by a fisherman, though, can be an invaluable treasure.

Dusk rain on the river, the moon peeking in and out of the clouds;

Elegant beyond words, he chants his songs night after night.

My Hovel
The world before my eyes is wan and wasted, just like me.

The earth is decrepit, the sky stormy, all the grass withered.

No spring breeze even at this late date,

Just winter clouds swallowing up my tiny reed hut.

A Meal of Fresh Octopus
Lots of arms, just like Kannon the Goddess;

Sacrificed for me, garnished with citron, I revere it so!

The taste of the sea, just divine!

Sorry, Buddha, this is another precept I just cannot keep.
Exhausted with gay pleasures, I embrace my wife.

The narrow path of asceticism is not for me:

My mind runs in the opposite direction.

It is easy to be glib about Zen — I’ll just keep my mouth shut

And rely on love play all the day long.
It is nice to get a glimpse of a lady bathing –

You scrubbed your flower face and cleansed your lovely body

While this old monk sat in the hot water,

Feeling more blessed than even the emperor of China!

To Lady Mori with Deepest Gratitude and Thanks
The tree was barren of leaves but you brought a new spring.

Long green sprouts, verdant flowers, fresh promise.

Mori, if I ever forget my profound gratitude to you,

Let me burn in hell forever.
(Mori was a blind minstrel, and Ikkyu’s young mistress)


Summer grasses:

all that remains of great soldiers’

imperial dreams
Eaten alive by

lice and fleas — now the horse

beside my pillow pees
Along the roadside,

blossoming wild roses

in my horse’s mouth
Even that old horse

is something to see this

snow-covered morning
On the white poppy,

a butterfly’s torn wing

is a keepsake
The bee emerging

from deep within the peony

departs reluctantly
Crossing long fields,

frozen in its saddle,

my shadow creeps by
A mountain pheasant cry

fills me with fond longing for

father and mother
Slender, so slender

its stalk bends under dew –

little yellow flower
New Year’s first snow — ah –

just barely enough to tilt

the daffodil
In this warm spring rain,

tiny leaves are sprouting

from the eggplant seed
O bush warblers!

Now you’ve shit all over

my rice cake on the porch
For those who proclaim

they’ve grown weary of children,

there are no flowers
Nothing in the cry

of cicadas suggests they

are about to die


When I was a lad,

I sauntered about town as a gay blade,

Sporting a cloak of the softest down,

And mounted on a splendid chestnut-colored horse.

During the day, I galloped to the city;

At night, I got drunk on peach blossoms by the river.

I never cared about returning home,

Usually ending up, with a big smile on my face, at a pleasure pavilion!
Returning to my native village after many years’ absence:

Ill, I put up at a country inn and listen to the rain.

One robe, one bowl is all I have.

I light incense and strain to sit in meditation;

All night a steady drizzle outside the dark window –

Inside, poignant memories of these long years of pilgrimage.
To My Teacher
An old grave hidden away at the foot of a deserted hill,

Overrun with rank weeks growing unchecked year after year;

There is no one left to tend the tomb,

And only an occasional woodcutter passes by.

Once I was his pupil, a youth with shaggy hair,

Learning deeply from him by the Narrow River.

One morning I set off on my solitary journey

And the years passed between us in silence.

Now I have returned to find him at rest here;

How can I honor his departed spirit?

I pour a dipper of pure water over his tombstone

And offer a silent prayer.

The sun suddenly disappears behind the hill

And I’m enveloped by the roar of the wind in the pines.

I try to pull myself away but cannot;

A flood of tears soaks my sleeves.
In my youth I put aside my studies

And I aspired to be a saint.

Living austerely as a mendicant monk,

I wandered here and there for many springs.

Finally I returned home to settle under a craggy peak.

I live peacefully in a grass hut,

Listening to the birds for music.

Clouds are my best neighbors.

Below a pure spring where I refresh body and mind;

Above, towering pines and oaks that provide shade and brushwood.

Free, so free, day after day –

I never want to leave!
Yes, I’m truly a dunce

Living among trees and plants.

Please don’t question me about illusion and enlightenment –

This old fellow just likes to smile to himself.

I wade across streams with bony legs,

And carry a bag about in fine spring weather.

That’s my life,

And the world owes me nothing.
When all thoughts

Are exhausted

I slip into the woods

And gather

A pile of shepherd’s purse.
Like the little stream

Making its way

Through the mossy crevices

I, too, quietly

Turn clear and transparent.
At dusk

I often climb

To the peak of Kugami.

Deer bellow,

Their voices

Soaked up by

Piles of maple leaves

Lying undisturbed at

The foot of the mountain.
Blending with the wind,

Snow falls;

Blending with the snow,

The wind blows.

By the hearth

I stretch out my legs,

Idling my time away

Confined in this hut.

Counting the days,

I find that February, too,

Has come and gone

Like a dream.
No luck today on my mendicant rounds;

From village to village I dragged myself.

At sunset I find myself with miles of mountains between me and my hut.

The wind tears at my frail body,

And my little bowl looks so forlorn –

Yes this is my chosen path that guides me

Through disappointment and pain, cold and hunger.
My Cracked Wooden Bowl
This treasure was discovered in a bamboo thicket –

I washed the bowl in a spring and then mended it.

After morning meditation, I take my gruel in it;

At night, it serves me soup or rice.

Cracked, worn, weather-beaten, and misshapen

But still of noble stock!
Midsummer –

I walk about with my staff.

Old farmers spot me

And call me over for a drink.

We sit in the fields

using leaves for plates.

Pleasantly drunk and so happy

I drift off peacefully

Sprawled out on a paddy bank.
How can I possibly sleep

This moonlit evening?

Come, my friends,

Let’s sing and dance

All night long.
Stretched out,


Under the vast sky:

Splendid dreams

Beneath the cherry blossoms.
Wild roses,

Plucked from fields

Full of croaking frogs:

Float them in your wine

And enjoy every minute!
For Children Killed in a Smallpox Epidemic
When spring arrives

From every tree tip

Flowers will bloom,

But those children

Who fell with last autumn’s leaves

Will never return.
I watch people in the world

Throw away their lives lusting after things,

Never able to satisfy their desires,

Falling into deeper despair

And torturing themselves.

Even if they get what they want

How long will they be able to enjoy it?

For one heavenly pleasure

They suffer ten torments of hell,

Binding themselves more firmly to the grindstone.

Such people are like monkeys

Frantically grasping for the moon in the water

And then falling into a whirlpool.

How endlessly those caught up in the floating world suffer.

Despite myself, I fret over them all night

And cannot staunch my flow of tears.
The wind has settled, the blossoms have fallen;

Birds sing, the mountains grow dark –

This is the wondrous power of Buddhism.
In a dilapidated three-room hut

I’ve grown old and tired;

This winter cold is the

Worst I’ve ever suffered through.

I sip thin gruel, waiting for the

Freezing night to pass.

Can I last until spring finally arrives?

Unable to beg for rice,

How will I survive the chill?

Even meditation helps no longer;

Nothing left to do but compose poems

In memory of deceased friends.
“When, when?” I sighed.

The one I longed for

Has finally come;

With her now,

I have all that I need.
(Written to the nun Teishin, his young mistress.)
My legacy –

What will it be?

Flowers in spring,

The cuckoo in summer,

And the crimson maples

Of autumn…

May Your Day Be Bright!