In The Depths Of Spring…

“Music before all else,

and for that choose the irregular,

which is vaguer and melts better into the air…” – Paul Verlaine

Here is to Friday, and another wonderful day full of beauty in Portland. Walked to the post office, have been working on new web stuff, and generally trying to line up business etc.
I have retreated in a way today to works that I am deeply familiar with. Nothing adventurous, by today’s standards, but deeply so in their own times. Sharing these gifts from the past gives me such pleasure, I hope you do enjoy!
Hope this finds you in beauty, and among those who you love.
Bright Blessings,

PS: Check out Radio Free EarthRites and the latest edition of The Invisible College!

– Poemes Saturniens
I can guess, behind a whisper,

The subtle rustling of the ancient voices

And, in the musical glimmers,

I can see, O pale love, the future of a sunrise!- Paul Verlaine

On The Menu:

Dedication To John Michell

Le Sacre Du Printemps

The Quotes

The Myth and Ritual of Attis

2 Views Of Freedom…

Poetry: Paul Verlaine

Art: William Waterhouse

This Edition of Turfing Is Dedicated To John Michell…

John Michell, author, philosopher, harbinger of Earth knowledge past to the Western Ilses today in the UK….
I first read John Michell’s “New View Over Atlantis” when I was in my early 20′s. His writings introduced me to Sacred Geomancy, and a whole new way of interacting with the world around me. His works made it easier to live in my skin, by introducing me to to the possibility that my ancestors may have actually had a clue about life around them, the earth, the tumbling green world and their place (and therefore my place) within this wonderful scenario.
His writings touched everyone that I knew at that time, really he is one of those great influences that many don’t know about. I was in the process of working on reviews of his latest writings for The Invisible College… and I still will be publishing a review.
Here is to your passing John; thank you for the knowledge and the beautiful take on the ancient landscapes, the concepts of sacred roads and ley lines that eventually took me home to Britain, and a new life.

Le Sacre Du Printemps
Yes, I know Beltane is almost here… but, I like to give a nod to Mr. Stravinsky every year or so. I love this version! The Joffrey Ballet’s recreation of the 1913 Nijinsky choreography of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre Du Printemps is the best I have ever seen…. enjoy! (once more)
Rite Of Spring Pt. 1

Rite Of Spring Pt. 2

Rite Of Spring Pt. 3

The Quotes:
Randall Jarrell | “I think that one possible definition of our modern culture is that it is one in which nine-tenths of our intellectuals can’t read any poetry.”

C. P. Snow | “The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase; if you pursue happiness you’ll never find it.”

Mary Chase | “I’ve wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I’m happy to state I finally won out over it.”

Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka and Toshihiro Kawabata | “Feed a fever, starve a cold. Lightly sup with rickets.”

Booth Tarkington | “There are two things that will be believed of any man whatsoever, and one of them is that he has taken to drink.”

Ambrose Bierce | “Calamities are of two kinds: misfortunes to ourselves, and good fortune to others.”

Sean O’Casey | “All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.”

Sam Levenson | “It was on my fifth birthday that Papa put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Remember, my son, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.’”

George Burns | “The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending, then having the two as close together as possible.”

Albert Guinon | “When everyone is against you, it means that you are absolutely wrong– or absolutely right.”

Mel Brooks | “Humor is just another defense against the universe.”


From: The Golden Bough
The Myth and Ritual of Attis

– Sir James George Frazer


Another of those gods whose supposed death and resurrection struck such deep roots into the faith and ritual of Western Asia is Attis. He was to Phrygia what Adonis was to Syria. Like Adonis, he appears to have been a god of vegetation, and his death and resurrection were annually mourned and rejoiced over at a festival in spring. The legends and rites of the two gods were so much alike that the ancients themselves sometimes identified them. Attis was said to have been a fair young shepherd or herdsman beloved by Cybele, the Mother of the Gods, a great Asiatic goddess of fertility, who had her chief home in Phrygia. Some held that Attis was her son. His birth, like that of many other heroes, is said to have been miraculous. His mother, Nana, was a virgin, who conceived by putting a ripe almond or a pomegranate in her bosom. Indeed in the Phrygian cosmogony an almond figured as the father of all things, perhaps because its delicate lilac blossom is one of the first heralds of the spring, appearing on the bare boughs before the leaves have opened. Such tales of virgin mothers are relics of an age of childish ignorance when men had not yet recognized the intercourse of the sexes as the true cause of offspring. Two different accounts of the death of Attis were current. According to the one he was killed by a boar, like Adonis. According to the other he unmanned himself under a pine-tree, and bled to death on the spot. The latter is said to have been the local story told by the people of Pessinus, a great seat of the worship of Cybele, and the whole legend of which the story forms a part is stamped with a character of rudeness and savagery that speaks strongly for its antiquity. Both tales might claim the support of custom, or rather both were probably invented to explain certain customs observed by the worshippers. The story of the self-mutilation of Attis is clearly an attempt to account for the self-mutilation of his priests, who regularly castrated themselves on entering the service of the goddess. The story of his death by the boar may have been told to explain why his worshippers, especially the people of Pessinus, abstained from eating swine. In like manner the worshippers of Adonis abstained from pork, because a boar had killed their god. After his death Attis is said to have been changed into a pine-tree.
The worship of the Phrygian Mother of the Gods was adopted by the Romans in 204 B.C. towards the close of their long struggle with Hannibal. For their drooping spirits had been opportunely cheered by a prophecy, alleged to be drawn from that convenient farrago of nonsense, the Sibylline Books, that the foreign invader would be driven from Italy if the great Oriental goddess were brought to Rome. Accordingly ambassadors were despatched to her sacred city Pessinus in Phrygia. The small black stone which embodied the mighty divinity was entrusted to them and conveyed to Rome, where it was received with great respect and installed in the temple of Victory on the Palatine Hill. It was the middle of April when the goddess arrived, and she went to work at once. For the harvest that year was such as had not been seen for many a long day, and in the very next year Hannibal and his veterans embarked for Africa. As he looked his last on the coast of Italy, fading behind him in the distance, he could not foresee that Europe, which had repelled the arms, would yet yield to the gods, of the Orient. The vanguard of the conquerors had already encamped in the heart of Italy before the rearguard of the beaten army fell sullenly back from its shores.
We may conjecture, though we are not told, that the Mother of the Gods brought with her the worship of her youthful lover or son to her new home in the West. Certainly the Romans were familiar with the Galli, the emasculated priests of Attis, before the close of the Republic. These unsexed beings, in their Oriental costume, with little images suspended on their breasts, appear to have been a familiar sight in the streets of Rome, which they traversed in procession, carrying the image of the goddess and chanting their hymns to the music of cymbals and tambourines, flutes and horns, while the people, impressed by the fantastic show and moved by the wild strains, flung alms to them in abundance, and buried the image and its bearers under showers of roses. A further step was taken by the Emperor Claudius when he incorporated the Phrygian worship of the sacred tree, and with it probably the orgiastic rites of Attis, in the established religion of Rome. The great spring festival of Cybele and Attis is best known to us in the form in which it was celebrated at Rome; but as we are informed that the Roman ceremonies were also Phrygian, we may assume that they differed hardly, if at all, from their Asiatic original. The order of the festival seems to have been as follows.
On the twenty-second day of March, a pine-tree was cut in the woods and brought into the sanctuary of Cybele, where it was treated as a great divinity. The duty of carrying the sacred tree was entrusted to a guild of Tree-bearers. The trunk was swathed like a corpse with woollen bands and decked with wreaths of violets, for violets were said to have sprung from the blood of Attis, as roses and anemones from the blood of Adonis; and the effigy of a young man, doubtless Attis himself, was tied to the middle of the stem. On the second day of the festival, the twenty-third of March, the chief ceremony seems to have been a blowing of trumpets. The third day, the twenty-fourth of March, was known as the Day of Blood: the Archigallus or highpriest drew blood from his arms and presented it as an offering. Nor was he alone in making this bloody sacrifice. Stirred by the wild barbaric music of clashing cymbals, rumbling drums, droning horns, and screaming flutes, the inferior clergy whirled about in the dance with waggling heads and streaming hair, until, rapt into a frenzy of excitement and insensible to pain, they gashed their bodies with potsherds or slashed them with knives in order to bespatter the altar and the sacred tree with their flowing blood. The ghastly rite probably formed part of the mourning for Attis and may have been intended to strengthen him for the resurrection. The Australian aborigines cut themselves in like manner over the graves of their friends for the purpose, perhaps, of enabling them to be born again. Further, we may conjecture, though we are not expressly told, that it was on the same Day of Blood and for the same purpose that the novices sacrificed their virility. Wrought up to the highest pitch of religious excitement they dashed the severed portions of themselves against the image of the cruel goddess. These broken instruments of fertility were afterwards reverently wrapt up and buried in the earth or in subterranean chambers sacred to Cybele, where, like the offering of blood, they may have been deemed instrumental in recalling Attis to life and hastening the general resurrection of nature, which was then bursting into leaf and blossom in the vernal sunshine. Some confirmation of this conjecture is furnished by the savage story that the mother of Attis conceived by putting in her bosom a pomegranate sprung from the severed genitals of a man-monster named Agdestis, a sort of double of Attis.
If there is any truth in this conjectural explanation of the custom, we can readily understand why other Asiatic goddesses of fertility were served in like manner by eunuch priests. These feminine deities required to receive from their male ministers, who personated the divine lovers, the means of discharging their beneficent functions: they had themselves to be impregnated by the life-giving energy before they could transmit it to the world. Goddesses thus ministered to by eunuch priests were the great Artemis of Ephesus and the great Syrian Astarte of Hierapolis, whose sanctuary, frequented by swarms of pilgrims and enriched by the offerings of Assyria and Babylonia, of
Arabia and Phoenicia, was perhaps in the days of its glory the most popular in the East. Now the unsexed priests of this Syrian goddess resembled those of Cybele so closely that some people took them to be the same. And the mode in which they dedicated themselves to the religious life was similar. The greatest festival of the year at Hierapolis fell at the beginning of spring, when multitudes thronged to the sanctuary from Syria and the regions round about. While the flutes played, the drums beat, and the eunuch priests slashed themselves with knives, the religious excitement gradually spread like a wave among the crowd of onlookers, and many a one did that which he little thought to do when he came as a holiday spectator to the festival. For man after man, his veins throbbing with the music, his eyes fascinated by the sight of the streaming blood, flung his garments from him, leaped forth with a shout, and seizing one of the swords which stood ready for the purpose, castrated himself on the spot. Then he ran through the city, holding the bloody pieces in his hand, till he threw them into one of the houses which he passed in his mad career. The household thus honoured had to furnish him with a suit of female attire and female ornaments, which he wore for the rest of his life. When the tumult of emotion had subsided, and the man had come to himself again, the irrevocable sacrifice must often have been followed by passionate sorrow and lifelong regret. This revulsion of natural human feeling after the frenzies of a fanatical religion is powerfully depicted by Catullus in a celebrated poem.
The parallel of these Syrian devotees confirms the view that in the similar worship of Cybele the sacrifice of virility took place on the Day of Blood at the vernal rites of the goddess, when the violets, supposed to spring from the red drops of her wounded lover, were in bloom among the pines. Indeed the story that Attis unmanned himself under a pine-tree was clearly devised to explain why his priests did the same beside the sacred violet-wreathed tree at his festival. At all events, we can hardly doubt that the Day of Blood witnessed the mourning for Attis over an effigy of him which was afterwards buried. The image thus laid in the sepulchre was probably the same which had hung upon the tree. Throughout the period of mourning the worshippers fasted from bread, nominally because Cybele had done so in her grief for the death of Attis, but really perhaps for the same reason which induced the women of Harran to abstain from eating anything ground in a mill while they wept for Tammuz. To partake of bread or flour at such a season might have been deemed a wanton profanation of the bruised and broken body of the god. Or the fast may possibly have been a preparation for a sacramental meal.
But when night had fallen, the sorrow of the worshippers was turned to joy. For suddenly a light shone in the darkness: the tomb was opened: the god had risen from the dead; and as the priest touched the lips of the weeping mourners with balm, he softly whispered in their ears the glad tidings of salvation. The resurrection of the god was hailed by his disciples as a promise that they too would issue triumphant from the corruption of the grave. On the morrow, the twenty-fifth day of March, which was reckoned the vernal equinox, the divine resurrection was celebrated with a wild outburst of glee. At Rome, and probably elsewhere, the celebration took the form of a carnival. It was the Festival of Joy (Hilaria). A universal licence prevailed. Every man might say and do what he pleased. People went about the streets in disguise. No dignity was too high or too sacred for the humblest citizen to assume with impunity. In the reign of Commodus a band of conspirators thought to take advantage of the masquerade by dressing in the uniform of the Imperial Guard, and so, mingling with the crowd of merrymakers, to get within stabbing distance of the emperor. But the plot miscarried. Even the stern Alexander Severus used to relax so far on the joyous day as to admit a pheasant to his frugal board. The next day, the twenty-sixth of March, was given to repose, which must have been much needed after the varied excitements and fatigues of the preceding days. Finally, the Roman festival closed on the twenty-seventh of March with a procession to the brook Almo. The silver image of the goddess, with its face of jagged black stone, sat in a waggon drawn by oxen. Preceded by the nobles walking barefoot, it moved slowly, to the loud music of pipes and tambourines, out by the Porta Capena, and so down to the banks of the Almo, which flows into the Tiber just below the walls of Rome. There the high-priest, robed in purple, washed the waggon, the image, and the other sacred objects in the water of the stream. On returning from their bath, the wain and the oxen were strewn with fresh spring flowers. All was mirth and gaiety. No one thought of the blood that had flowed so lately. Even the eunuch priests forgot their wounds.
Such, then, appears to have been the annual solemnisation of the death and resurrection of Attis in spring. But besides these public rites, his worship is known to have comprised certain secret or mystic ceremonies, which probably aimed at bringing the worshipper, and especially the novice, into closer communication with his god. Our information as to the nature of these mysteries and the date of their celebration is unfortunately very scanty, but they seem to have included a sacramental meal and a baptism of blood. In the sacrament the novice became a partaker of the mysteries by eating out of a drum and drinking out of a cymbal, two instruments of music which figured prominently in the thrilling orchestra of Attis. The fast which accompanied the mourning for the dead god may perhaps have been designed to prepare the body of the communicant for the reception of the blessed sacrament by purging it of all that could defile by contact the sacred elements. In the baptism the devotee, crowned with gold and wreathed with fillets, descended into a pit, the mouth of which was covered with a wooden grating. A bull, adorned with garlands of flowers, its forehead glittering with gold leaf, was then driven on to the grating and there stabbed to death with a consecrated spear. Its hot reeking blood poured in torrents through the apertures, and was received with devout eagerness by the worshipper on every part of his person and garments, till he emerged from the pit, drenched, dripping, and scarlet from head to foot, to receive the homage, nay the adoration, of his fellows as one who had been born again to eternal life and had washed away his sins in the blood of the bull. For some time afterwards the fiction of a new birth was kept up by dieting him on milk like a new-born babe. The regeneration of the worshipper took place at the same time as the regeneration of his god, namely at the vernal equinox. At Rome the new birth and the remission of sins by the shedding of bull’s blood appear to have been carried out above all at the sanctuary of the Phrygian goddess on the Vatican Hill, at or near the spot where the great basilica of St. Peter’s now stands; for many inscriptions relating to the rites were found when the church was being enlarged in 1608 or 1609. From the Vatican as a centre this barbarous system of superstition seems to have spread to other parts of the Roman empire. Inscriptions found in Gaul and Germany prove that provincial sanctuaries modelled their ritual on that of the Vatican. From the same source we learn that the testicles as well as the blood of the bull played an important part in the ceremonies. Probably they were regarded as a powerful charm to promote fertility and hasten the new birth.


2 Views Of Freedom…


Paul Verlaine… I can’t tell you how many hours I spent with Verlaine’s poetry. His works have always moved me, and it is like dipping into a cool well when I return again and again to his poesy…
Poetry: Paul Verlaine

The Young Fools (Les Ingénus)
High-heels were struggling with a full-length dress

So that, between the wind and the terrain,

At times a shining stocking would be seen,

And gone too soon. We liked that foolishness.
Also, at times a jealous insect’s dart

Bothered out beauties. Suddenly a white

Nape flashed beneath the branches, and this sight

Was a delicate feast for a young fool’s heart.
Evening fell, equivocal, dissembling,

The women who hung dreaming on our arms

Spoke in low voices, words that had such charms

That ever since our stunned soul has been trembling.
– Translated by Louis Simpson
Les Ingénus
Les hauts talons luttaient avec les longues jupes,

En sorte que, selon le terrain et le vent,

Parfois luisaient des bas de jambes, trop souvent

Interceptés–et nous aimions ce jeu de dupes.
Parfois aussi le dard d’un insecte jaloux

Inquiétait le col des belles sous les branches,

Et c’était des éclairs soudains de nuques blanches,

Et ce régal comblait nos jeunes yeux de fous.
Le soir tombait, un soir équivoque d’automne:

Les belles, se pendant rêveuses à nos bras,

Dirent alors des mots si spécieux, tout bas,

Que notre âme depuis ce temps tremble et s’étonne.


Before Your Light Quite Fail
Before your light quite fail,

Already paling star,

(The quail

Sings in the thyme afar!)
Turn on the poet’s eyes

That love makes overrun—

(See rise

The lark to meet the sun!)
Your glance, that presently

Must drown in the blue morn;

(What glee

Amid the rustling corn!)
Then flash my message true

Down yonder,—far away!—

(The dew

Lies sparkling on the hay.)
Across what visions seek

The Dear One slumbering still.

(Quick, quick!

The sun has reached the hill!)
– Translated by Gertrude Hall

Since Shade Relents

Paul Verlaine
Since shade relents, since ’tis indeed the day,

Since hope I long had deemed forever flown,

Wings back to me that call on her and pray,

Since so much joy consents to be my own,—
The dark designs all I relinquish here,

And all the evil dreams. Ah, done am I

Above all with the narrowed lips, the sneer,

The heartless wit that laughed where one should sigh.
Away, clenched fist and bosom’s angry swell,

That knave and fool at every turn abound.

Away, hard unforgivingness! Farewell,

Oblivion in a hated brewage found!
For I mean, now a Being of the Morn

Has shed across my night excelling rays

Of love at once immortal and newborn,—

By favor of her smile, her glance, her grace,
I mean by you upheld, O gentle hand,

Wherein mine trembles,—led, sweet eyes, by you,

To walk straight, lie the path o’er mossy land

Or barren waste that rocks and pebbles strew.
Yes, calm I mean to walk through life, and straight,

Patient of all, unanxious of the goal,

Void of all envy, violence, or hate

It shall be duty done with cheerful soul.
And as I may, to lighten the long way,

Go singing airs ingenuous and brave,

She’ll listen to me graciously, I say,—

And, verily, no other heaven I crave.
– Translated by Gertrude Hall

A Une Femme
To you these lines for the consoling grace

Of your great eyes wherein a soft dream shines,

For your pure soul, all-kind!—to you these lines

From the black deeps of mine unmatched distress.
‘Tis that the hideous dream that doth oppress

My soul, alas! its sad prey ne’er resigns,

But like a pack of wolves down mad inclines

Goes gathering heat upon my reddened trace!
I suffer, oh, I suffer cruelly!

So that the first man’s cry at Eden lost

Was but an eclogue surely to my cry!
And that the sorrows, Dear, that may have crossed

Your life, are but as swallows light that fly

—Dear!—in a golden warm September sky.


Bicycle Day – 2009!

A map of the emerging communal entity that is the internet…
Nice weekend here in Portland… I would talk about it, but it’s late, and this is really ready to publish, about now I think.


On The Menu:

The Links

Bicycle Day – 2009

The History Behind… Bicycle Day

Faun – Wind und Geige (march 2007/ Totem tour)

The New Alchemy – Alan Watts

Faun – Rosmarin (march 2007/ Totem tour)

The Links:

The 50 most brilliant Atheist Ever…

The Infinite Photograph Of Earth

The World’s Smallest Plane

10 Christ Like Figures Who Pre Date Jesus

Bicycle Day – 2009
I share the belief of many of my contemporaries that the spiritual crisis pervading all spheres of Western industrial society can be remedied only by a change in our world view. We shall have to shift from the materialistic, dualistic belief that people and their environment are separate, toward a new consciousness of an all-encompassing reality, which embraces the experiencing ego, a reality in which people feel their oneness with animate nature and all of creation.- Albert Hofmann
Today marks the 66th anniversary of Albert Hofmann’s wild bicycle ride after he intentionally dosed himself with about 250ug of LSD (or was that 350Ug? In all the excitement I can’t recall!)
Albert’s discovery and initial usage of LSD serves as one of those strange counter-points in the multiverse: The US was ramping up it’s work with atomics that would culminate first with Trinity and then at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These almost parallel series of events would signal the newest twist in humanities existence, total annihilation, or the awakening of higher consciousness on a scale never seen before.
Without the divine intervention of Albert’s miracle molecule, the world would be a far darker, and less caring place. His works, and bravery of spirit touches us all in many, many profound ways.
Thanks Albert!


The History Behind… Bicycle Day
On April 19, 1943 Dr. Hofmann intentionally ingested 250 µg of LSD, which he hypothesized would be a threshold dose, based on other ergot alkaloids. After ingesting the substance Hofmann was struggling to speak intelligibly and asked his laboratory assistant, who knew of the self-experiment, to escort him home on his bicycle, due to the lack of available vehicles during wartime restrictions. On the bicycle ride home, Hofmann’s condition became more severe and in his journal he stated that everything in his field of vision wavered and was distorted, as if seen in a curved mirror. Hofmann also stated that while riding on the bicycle, he had the sensation of being stationary, unable to move from where he was, despite the fact that he was moving very rapidly. Once Hofmann arrived safely home, he summoned a doctor and asked his neighbour for milk, believing it may help relieve the symptoms. Hofmann wrote that despite his delirious and bewildered condition, he was able to choose milk as a nonspecific antidote for poisoning.[5] Upon arriving, the doctor could find no abnormal physical symptoms other than extremely dilated pupils. After spending several hours terrified that his body had been possessed by a demon, that his next door neighbour was a witch, and that his furniture was threatening him, Dr. Hofmann feared he had become completely insane. In his journal Hofmann said that the doctor saw no reason to prescribe medication and instead sent him to his bed. At this time Hofmann said that the feelings of fear had started to give way to feelings of good fortune and gratitude, and that he was now enjoying the colours and plays of shapes that persisted behind his closed eyes. Hofmann mentions seeing “fantastic images” surging past him, alternating and opening and closing themselves into circles and spirals and finally exploding into coloured fountains and then rearranging themselves in a constant flux. Hofmann mentions that during the condition every acoustic perception, such as the sound of a passing automobile, was transformed into optical perceptions. Eventually Hofmann slept and upon awakening the next morning felt refreshed and clearheaded, though somewhat physically tired. He also stated that he had a sensation of well being and renewed life and that his breakfast tasted unusually delicious. Upon walking in his garden he remarked that all of his senses were “vibrating in a condition of highest sensitivity, which then persisted for the entire day”

Faun – Wind und Geige (march 2007/ Totem tour)

The New Alchemy

Alan Watts

an essay from This is It and Other Essays on Zen and Spiritual Experience,

by Alan Watts, Vintage Books, 1973, ©Alan Watts 1958, 1960.

This essay was written in 1960.
Besides the philosopher’s stone that would turn base metal into gold, one of the great quests of alchemy in both Europe and Asia was the elixir of immortality. In gullible enthusiasm for this quest, more than one Chinese emperor died of the fabulous concoctions of powdered jade, tea, ginseng, and precious metals prepared by Taoist priests. But just as the work of transforming lead into gold was in many cases a chemical symbolism for a spiritual transformation of man himself, so the immortality to be conferred by the elixir was not always the literally everlasting life but rather the transportation of consciousness into a state beyond time. Modern physicists have solved the problem of changing lead into gold, though the process is somewhat more expensive than digging gold from the earth. But in the last few years modem chemists have prepared one or two substances for which it may be claimed that in some cases they induce states of mind remarkably similar to cosmic consciousness.
To many people such claims are deeply disturbing. For one thing, mystical experience seems altogether too easy when it simply comes out of a bottle, and is thus available to people who have done nothing to deserve it, who have neither fasted nor prayed nor practiced yoga. For another, the claim seems to imply that-spiritual insight is after all only a matter of body chemistry involving a total reduction of the spiritual to the material. These are serious considerations, even though one may be convinced that in the long run the difficulty is found to rest upon semantic confusion as to the definitions of “spiritual” and “material.”
However, it should be pointed out that there is nothing new or disreputable in the idea that spiritual insight Is an undeserved gift of divine grace, often conveyed through such material or sacramental means as the water of baptism and the bread and wine of the mass. The priest who by virtue of his office transforms bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, ex opere operato, by the simple repetition of the formula of the Last Supper, is in a situation not radically different from that of the scientist who, by repeating the right formula of an experiment, may effect a transformation in the brain. The comparative worth of the two operations must be judged by their effects. There were always those upon whom the sacraments of baptism and communion did not seem to “take,” whose lives remained effectively unregenerate. Likewise, none of these consciousness-changing chemicals are literally mystical experience in a bottle. Many who receive them experience only ecstasies without insight, or just an unpleasant confusion of sensation and imagination. States akin to mystical experience arise only in certain individuals and then often depend upon considerable concentration and effort to use the change of consciousness in certain ways. It is important here, too, to stress the point that ecstasy is only Incidental to the authentic mystical experience, the essence of which might best be described as insight, as the word is now used in psychiatry.
A chemical of this kind might perhaps be said to be an aid to perception in the same way as the telescope, microscope, or spectroscope, save in this case that the instrument is not an external object but an internal state of the nervous system. All such instruments are relatively useless without proper training and preparation not only in their handling, but also in the particular field of investigation.
These considerations alone are already almost enough to show that the use of such chemicals does not reduce spiritual insight to a mere matter of body chemistry. But it should be added that even when we can describe certain events in terms of chemistry this does not mean that such events are merely chemical. A chemical description of spiritual experience has somewhat the same use and the same limits as the chemical description of a great painting. It is simple enough to make a chemical analysis of the paint, and for artists and connoisseurs alike there is some point in doing so. It might also be possible to work out a chemical description of all the processes that go on in the artist while he is painting. But it would be incredibly complicated, and in the meantime the same processes could be described and communicated far more effectively in some other language than the chemical. We should probably say that a process is chemical only when chemical language is the most effective means of describing it. Analogously, some of the chemicals known as psychedelics provide opportunities for mystical insight in much the same way that well-prepared paints and brushes provide opportunities for fine painting, or a beautifully constructed piano for great music. They make it easier, but they do not accomplish the work all by themselves.
The two chemicals which are of most use in creating a change of consciousness conducive to spiritual experience are mescaline and lysergic acid diethylamide (known, for short, as LSD). The former is a synthetic formulation of the active ingredients of the peyote cactus, and the latter a purely synthetic chemical of the indole group which produces its effects even in such minute amounts as twenty-five micrograms. The specific effects of these chemicals are hard to identify with any clarity, and so far as is known at present they seem to operate upon the nervous system by reducing some of the inhibitory mechanisms which ordinarily have a screening effect upon our consciousness. Certain psychiatrists who seem overly anxious to hang on to the socially approved sensation of reality—more or less the world as perceived on a bleak Monday morning—classify these chemicals as hallucinogens producing toxic effects of a schizoid or psychotic character. I am afraid this is psychiatric gobbledygook: a sort of authoritative rumble of disapproval. Neither substance is an addictive drug, like heroin or opium, and it has never been demonstrated that they have harmful effects upon people who were not otherwise seriously disturbed. It is begging the question to call the changes of consciousness which they educe hallucinations, for some of the unusual things felt and seen may be no more unreal than the unfamiliar forms perceived through a microscope. We do not know. It is also begging the question to call their effects toxic, which might mean poisonous, unless this word can also be used for the effects of vitamins or proteins. Such language is evaluative, not descriptive in any scientific sense.
Somewhat more than two years ago (1958) I was asked by a psychiatric research group to take 100 micrograms of lysergic acid, to see whether it would reproduce anything resembling a mystical experience. It did not do so, and so far as I know the reason was that I had not then learned how to direct my inquiries when under its influence. It seemed instead that my senses had been given a kaleidoscopic character (and this is no more than a metaphor) which made the whole world entrancingly complicated, as if I were involved in a multidimensional arabesque. Colors became so vivid that flowers, leaves, and fabrics seemed to be illumined from inside. The random patterns of blades of grass in a lawn appeared to be exquisitely organized without, however, any actual distortion of vision. Black ink or sumi paintings by Chinese and Japanese artists appeared almost to be three dimensional photographs, and what are ordinarily dismissed as irrelevant details of speech, behavior, appearance, and form seemed in some indefinable way to be highly significant. Listening to music with closed eyes, I beheld the most fascinating patterns of dancing jewelry, mosaic, tracery, and abstract images. At one point everything appeared to be uproariously funny, especially the gestures and actions of people going about their everyday business. Ordinary remarks seemed to reverberate with double and quadruple meanings, and the role-playing behavior of those around me not only became unusually evident but
also implied concealed attitudes contrary or complementary to its overt intention. In short, the screening or selective apparatus of our normal interpretative evaluation of experience had been partially suspended, with the result that I was presumably projecting the sensation of meaning or significance upon just about everything. The whole experience was vastly entertaining and interesting, but as yet nothing like any mystical experience that I had had before.
It was not until a year later that I tried LSD again, this time at the request of another research team. Since then I have repeated the experiment five times, with dosages varying from 75 to 100 micrograms. My impression has been that such experiments are profound and rewarding to the extent that I do my utmost to observe perceptual and evaluative changes and to describe them as clearly and completely as possible, usually with the help of a tape recorder. To give a play-by-play description of each experiment might be clinically interesting, but what I am concerned with here is a philosophical discussion of some of the high points and recurrent themes of my experiences. Psychiatrists have not yet made up their minds as to whether LSD is useful in therapy, but at present I am strongly inclined to feel that its major use may turn out to be only secondarily as a therapeutic and primarily as an instrumental aid to the creative artist, thinker, or scientist. I should observe, in passing, that the human and natural environment in which these experiments are conducted is of great importance, and that its use in hospital wards with groups of doctors firing off clinical questions at the subject is most undesirable. The supervising physician should take a human attitude, and drop all defensive dramatizations of scientific objectivity and medical authority, conducting the experiment in surroundings of some natural or artistic beauty.
I have said that my general impression of the first experiment was that the “mechanism” by which we screen our sense-data and select only some of them as significant had been partially suspended. Consequently, I felt that the particular feeling which we associate with “the meaningful” was projected indiscriminately upon everything, and then rationalized in ways that might strike an independent observer as ridiculous—unless, perhaps, the subject were unusually clever at rationalizing. However, the philosopher cannot pass up the point that our selection of some sense-data as significant and others as insignificant is always with relation to particular purposes—survival, the quest for certain pleasures, finding one’s way to some destination, or whatever it may be. But in every experiment with LSD one of the first effects I have noticed is a profound relaxation combined with an abandonment of purposes and goals, reminding me of the Taoist saying that “when purpose has been used to achieve purposelessness, the thing has been grasped.” I have felt, in other words, endowed with all the time in the world, free to look about me as if I were living in eternity without a single problem to be solved. It is just for this reason that the busy and purposeful actions of other people seem at this time to be so comic, for it becomes obvious that by setting themselves goals which are always in the future, in the “tomorrow which never comes,” they are missing entirely the point of being alive.
When, therefore, our selection of sense-impressions is not organized with respect to any particular purpose, all the surrounding details of the world must appear to be equally meaningful or equally meaningless. Logically, these are two ways of saying the same thing, but the overwhelming feeling of my own LSD experiences is that all aspects of the world become meaningful rather than meaningless. This is not to say that they acquire meaning in the sense of signs, by virtue of pointing to something else, but that all things appear to be their own point. Their simple existence, or better, their present formation, seems to be perfect, to be an end or fulfillment without any need for justification. Flowers do not bloom in order to produce seeds, nor are seeds germinated in order to bring forth flowers. Each stage of the process—seed, sprout, bud, flower, and fruit— may be regarded as the goal. A chicken is one eggs way of producing others. In our normal experience something of the same kind takes place in music and the dance, where the point of the action is each moment of its unfolding and not just the temporal end of the performance.
Such a translation of everyday experience into something of the same nature as music has been the beginning and the prevailing undertone of all my experiments. But LSD does not simply suspend the selective process by cutting it out. It would be more exact to say that it shows the relativity of our ordinary evaluation of sense-data by suggesting others. It permits the mind to organize its sensory impressions in new patterns. In my second experiment I noticed, for example, that all repeated forms—leaves on a stem, books on shelves, mullions in windows—gave me the sensation of seeing double or even multiple, as if the second, third, and fourth leaves on the stem were reflections of the first, seen, as it were, in several thicknesses of window glass. When I mentioned this, the attending physician held up his finger to see if it would give me a double image. For a moment it seemed to do so, but all at once I saw that the second image had its basis in a wisp of cigar smoke passing close to his finger and upon which my consciousness had projected the highlights and outline of a second finger. As I then concentrated upon this sensation of doubling or repeating images, it seemed suddenly as if the whole field of sight were a transparent liquid rippled in concentric circles as in dropping a stone into a pool. The normal images of things around me were not distorted by this pattern. They remained just as usual, but my attention directed itself to highlights, lines, and shadows upon them that fitted the pattern, letting those that did not fall into relative insignificance. As soon, however, as I noticed this projection and became aware of details that did not fit the pattern, it seemed as if whole handfuls of pebbles had been thrown into-the optical space, rippling it with concentric circles that overlapped in all directions, so that every visible point became an intersection of circles. The optical field seemed, in fact, to have a structured grain like a photograph screened for reproduction, save that the organization of the grains was not rectilinear but circular. In this way every detail fitted the pattern and the field of vision became pointillist, like a painting by Seurat.
This sensation raised a number of questions. Was my mind imperiously projecting its own geometrical designs upon the world, thus “hallucinating” a structure in things which is not actually there? Or is what we call the “real” structure of things simply a learned projection or hallucination which we hold in common? Or was I somehow becoming aware of the actual grain of the rods and cones in my retina, for even a hallucination must have some actual basis in the nervous system? On another occasion I was looking closely at a handful of sand, and in becoming aware that I could not get it into clear focus I became conscious of every detail and articulation of the way in which my eyes were fuzzing the image—and this was certainly perception of a grain or distortion in the eyes themselves.
The general impression of these optical sensations is that the eyes, without losing the normal area of vision, have become microscopes, and that the texture of the visual field is infinitely rich and complex. I do not know whether this is actual awareness of the multiplicity of nerve-endings in the retina, or, for that matter, in the fingers, for the same grainy feeling arose in the sense of touch. But the effect of feeling that this is or may be so is, as it were, to turn the senses back u
pon themselves, and so to realize that seeing the external world is also seeing the eyes. In other words, I became vividly aware of the fact that what I call shapes, colors, and textures in the outside world are also states of my nervous system, that is, of me. In knowing them I also know my self. But the strange part of this apparent sensation of my own senses was that I did not appear to be inspecting them from outside or from a distance, as if they were objects. I can say only that the awareness of grain or structure in the senses seemed to be awareness of awareness, of myself from inside myself. Because of this, it followed that the distance or separation between myself and my senses, on the one hand, and the external world, on the other, seemed to disappear I was no longer a detached observer, a little man inside my own head, having sensations. I was the sensations, so much so that there was nothing left of me, the observing ego, except the series of sensations which happened—not to me, but just happened—moment by moment, one after another.
To become the sensations, as distinct from having them, engenders the most astonishing sense of freedom and release. For it implies that experience is not something in which one is trapped or by which one is pushed around, or against which one must fight. The conventional duality of subject and object, knower and known, feeler and feeling, is changed into a polarity: the knower and the known become the poles, terms, or phases of a single event which happens, not to me or from me, but of itself. The experiencer and the experience become a single, ever-changing self-forming process, complete and fulfilled at every moment of its unfolding, and of infinite complexity and subtlety. It is like, not watching, but being, a coiling arabesque of smoke patterns in the air, or of ink dropped in water, or of a dancing snake which seems to move from every part of its body at once. This may be a “drug-induced hallucination,” but it corresponds exactly to what Dewey and Bentley have called the transactional relationship of the organism to its environment. This is to say that all our actions and experiences arise mutually from the organism and from the environment at the same time. The eyes can see light because of the sun, but the sun is light because of the eyes. Ordinarily, under the hypnosis of social conditioning, we feel quite distinct from our physical surroundings, facing them rather than belonging in them. Yet in this way we ignore and screen out the physical fact of our total interdependence with the natural world. We are as embodied in it as our own cells and molecules are embodied in us. Our neglect and repression of this interrelationship gives special urgency to all the new sciences of ecology, studying the interplay of organisms with their environments, and warning us against ignorant interference with the balances of nature.
The sensation that events are happening of themselves, and that nothing is making them happen and that they are not happening to anything, has always been a major feature of my experiences with LSD. It is possible that the chemical is simply giving me a vivid realization of my own philosophy, though there have been times when the experience has suggested modifications of my previousthinking. (1) But just as the sensation of subject-object polarity is confirmed by the transactional psychology of Dewey and Bentley, so the sensation of events happening “of themselves” is just how one would expect to perceive a world consisting entirely of process. Now the language of science is increasingly a language of process—a description of events, relations, operations, and forms rather than of things and substances. The world so described is a world of actions rather than agents, verbs rather than nouns, going against the common-sense idea that an action is the behavior of some thing, some solid entity of “stuff.” But the commonsense idea that action is always the function of an agent is so deeply rooted, so bound up with our sense of order and security, that seeing the world to be otherwise can be seriously disturbing. Without agents, actions do not seem to come from anywhere, to have any dependable origin, and at first sight this spontaneity can be alarming. In one experiment it seemed that whenever I tried to put my (metaphorical) foot upon some solid ground, the ground collapsed into empty space. I could find no substantial basis from which to act: my will was a whim, and my past, as a causal conditioning force, had simply vanished. There was only the present conformation of events, happening. For a while I felt lost in a void, frightened, baseless, insecure through and through Yet soon I became accustomed to the feeling, strange as it was. There was simply a pattern of action, of process, and this was at one and the same time the universe and myself with nothing outside it either to trust or mistrust. And there seemed to be no meaning in the idea of its trusting or mistrusting itself, just as there is no possibility of a finger’s touching its own tip.
Upon reflection, there seems to be nothing unreasonable in seeing the world in this way. The agent behind every action is itself action. If a mat can be called matting, a cat can be called catting. We do not actually need to ask who or what “cats,” just as we do not need to ask what is the basic stuff or substance out of which the world is formed—for there is no way of describing this substance except in terms of form, of structure, order, and operation. The world is not formed as if it were inert clay responding to the touch of a potter’s hand; the world is form, or better, formation, for upon examination every substance turns out to be closely knit pattern. The fixed notion that every pattern or form must be made of some basic material which is in itself formless is based on a superficial analogy between natural formation and manufacture, as if the stars and rocks had been made out of something as a carpenter makes tables out of wood. Thus what we call the agent behind the action is simply the prior or relatively more constant state of the same action: when a man runs we have a “manning-running” over and above a simple “manning.” Furthermore, it is only a somewhat clumsy convenience to say that present events are moved or caused by past events, for we are actually talking about earlier and later stages of the same event. We can establish regularities of rhythm and pattern in the course of an event, and so predict its future configurations, but its past states do not “push” its present and future states as if they were a row of dominoes stood on end so that knocking over the first collapses all the others in series. The fallen dominoes lie where they fall, but past events vanish into the present, which is just another way of saying that the world is a self-moving pattern which, when its successive states are remembered, can be shown to have a certain order. Its motion, its energy, issues from itself now, not from the past, which simply falls behind it in memory like the wake from a ship.
When we ask the “why” of this moving pattern, we usually try to answer the question in terms of its original, past impulse or of its future goal. I had realized for a long time that if there is in any sense a reason for the world’s existence it must be sought in the present, as the reason for the wake must be sought in the engine of the moving ship. I have already mentioned that LSD makes me peculiarly aware of the musical or dance-like character of the world, bringing my attention to rest upon its present flowing and seeing this as its ultimate point. Yet I have also been able to see that this point has depths, that the present wells up from within itself with an energy which is something much richer than simple exuberance.
One of these experiments was conducted late at night. Some five or six hours from its start the doctor had to go home, and I was left alone in the garden. For me, this s
tage of the experiment is always the most rewarding in terms of insight, after some of its more unusual and bizarre sensory effects have worn off. The garden was a lawn surrounded by shrubs and high trees—Pine and eucalyptus—and floodlit from the house which enclosed it on one side. As I stood on the lawn I noticed that the rough patches where the grass was thin or mottled with weeds no longer seemed to be blemishes. Scattered at random as they were, they appeared to constitute an ordered design, giving the whole area the texture of velvet damask, the rough patches being the parts where the pile of the velvet is cut. In sheer delight I began to dance on this enchanted carpet, and through the thin soles of my moccasins I could feel the ground becoming alive under my feet, connecting me with the earth and the trees and the sky in such a way that I seemed to become one body with my whole surroundings.
Looking up, I saw that the stars were colored with the same reds, greens, and blues that one sees in iridescent glass, and passing across them was the single light of a jet plane taking forever to streak over the sky. At the same time, the trees, shrubs, and flowers seemed to be living jewelry, inwardly luminous like intricate structures of jade, alabaster, or coral, and yet breathing and flowing with the same life that was in me. Every plant became a kind of musical utterance, a play of variations on a theme repeated from the main branches, through the stalks and twigs, to the leaves, the veins in the leaves, and to the fine capillary network between the veins. Each new bursting of growth from a center repeated or amplified the basic design with increasing complexity and delight, finally exulting in a flower.
From my description it will seem that the garden acquired an atmosphere that was distinctly exotic, like the gardens of precious stones in the Arabian Nights, or like scenes in a Persian miniature. This struck me at the time, and I began to wonder just why it is that the glowingly articulated landscapes of those miniatures seem exotic, as do also many Chinese and Japanese paintings. Were the artists recording what they, too, had seen under the influence of drugs? I knew enough of the lives and techniques of Far Eastern painters to doubt this. I asked, too, whether what I was seeing was “drugged.” In other words, was the effect of the LSD in my nervous system the addition to my senses of some chemical screen which distorted all that I saw to preternatural loveliness? Or was its effect rather to remove certain habitual and normal inhibitions of the mind and senses, enabling us to see things as they would appear to us if we were not so chronically repressed? Little is known of the exact neurological effects of LSD, but what is known suggests the latter possibility. If this be so, it is possible that the art forms of other cultures appear exotic—that is, unfamiliarly enchanting—because we are seeing the world through the eyes of artists whose repressions are not the same as ours. The blocks in their view of the world may not coincide with ours, so that in their representations of life we see areas that we normally ignore. I am inclined to some such solution because there have been times when I have seen the world in this magical aspect without benefit of LSD, and they were times when I was profoundly relaxed within, my senses unguardedly open to their surroundings.
Feeling, then, not that I was drugged but that I was in an unusual degree open to reality, I tried to discern the meaning, the inner character of the dancing pattern which constituted both myself and the garden, and the whole dome of the night with its colored stars. All at once it became obvious that the whole thing was love-play, where love means everything that the word can mean, a spectrum ranging from the red of erotic delight, through the green of human endearment, to the violet of divine charity, from Freud’s libido to Dante’s “love that moves the sun and other stars.” All were so many colors issuing from a single white light, and, what was more, this single source was not just love as we ordinarily understand it: it was also intelligence, not only Eros and Agape but also Logos. I could see that the intricate organization both of the plants and of my own nervous system, like symphonies of branching complexity, were not just manifestations of intelligence—as if things like intelligence and love were in themselves substances or formless forces. It was rather that the pattern itself is intelligence and is love, and this somehow in spite of all its outwardly stupid and cruel distortions.
There is probably no way of finding objective verification for insights such as this. The world is love to him who treats it as such, even when it torments and destroys him, and in states of consciousness where there is no basic separation between the ego and the world suffering cannot be felt as malice inflicted upon oneself by another. By the same logic it might seem that with out the separation of self and other there can be no love. This might be true if individuality and universality were formal opposites, mutually exclusive of one another, if, that is, the inseparability of self and other meant that all individual differentiations were simply unreal. But in the unitary, or nondualistic, view of the world I have been describing this is not so. Individual differences express the unity, as branches, leaves, and flowers from the same plant, and the love between the members is the realization of their basic interdependence.
I have not yet been able to use LSD in circumstances of great physical or moral pain, and therefore my explorations of the problem of evil under its influence may appear to be shallow. Only once in these experiments have I felt acute fear, but I know of several cases in which LSD has touched off psychic states of the most alarming and unpleasant kind. More than once I have invited such states under LSD by looking at images ordinarily suggestive of “the creeps”—the mandibles of spiders, and the barbs and spines of dangerous fish and insects. Yet they evoked only a sense of beauty and exuberance, for our normal projection of malice into these creatures was entirely withdrawn, so that their organs of destruction became no more evil than the teeth of a beautiful woman. On another occasion I looked for a long time at a colored reproduction of Van Eyck’s Last Judgment, which is surely one of the most horrendous products of human imagination. The scene of hell is dominated by the figure of Death, a skeleton beneath whose batlike wings lies a writhing mass of screaming bodies gnawed by snakes which penetrate them like maggots in fruit. One of the curious effects of LSD is to impart an illusion of movement in still images, so that here the picture came to life and the whole entanglement of limbs and serpents began to squirm before my eyes. (2)
Ordinarily such a sight should have been hideous, but now I watched it with intense and puzzled interest until the thought came to me, “Demon est deus inversus—the Devil is God inverted—so let’s turn the picture upside down.” I did so, and thereupon burst into laughter for it became apparent at once that the scene was an empty drama, a sort of spiritual scarecrow, designed to guard some mystery from profanation by the ignorant. The agonized expressions of the damned seemed quite evidently “put on,” and as for the death’s-head, the great skull in the center of the painting, it became just what a skull is—an empty shell—and why the horror when there is nothing in it?
I was, of course, seeing ecclesiastical hells for what they are. On the one hand, they are the pretension that social authority is ultimately inescapable since there are post-mortem police who will catch every criminal. On the other hand, they are “no trespassing” signs to discourage the insincere and the immature from attaining insights which they might abuse. A baby is put in a play pen to keep it from gett
ing at the matches or falling downstairs, and though the intention of the pen is to keep the baby closed in, parents are naturally proud when the child grows strong enough to climb out. Likewise, a man can perform actions which are truly moral only when he is no longer motivated by the fear of hell, that is, when he grows into union with the Good that is beyond good and evil, which, in other words, does not act from the love of rewards or the fear of punishments. This is precisely the nature of the world when it is considered as self-moving action, giving out a past instead of being motivated by a past.
Beyond this, the perception of the empty threat of the death’s-head was certainly a recognition of the fact that the fear of death, as distinct from the fear of dying, is one of the most baseless mirages that trouble us. Because it is completely impossible to imagine one’s own personal absence, we fill the void in our minds with images of being buried alive in perpetual darkness. If death is the simple termination of a stream of consciousness, it is certainly nothing to fear. At the same time, I realize that there is some apparent evidence for survival of death in a few extraordinarily unexplainable mediumistic communications and remembrances of past lives. These I attribute, vaguely enough, to subtler networks of communication and interrelationship in the pattern of life than we ordinarily perceive. For if forms repeat themselves, if the structure of branching trees is reverberated in the design of watercourses in the desert, it would not be so strange if a pattern so intricate as the human nervous system were to repeat configurations that arise in consciousness as veritable memories of the most distant times. My own feeling, and of course it is nothing more than an opinion, is that we transcend death, not as individual memory-systems, but only in so far as our true identity is the total process of the world as distinct from the apparently separate organism.
As I have said, this sense of being the whole process is frequently experienced with LSD, and, for me, it has often arisen out of a strong feeling of the mutuality of opposites. Line and plane, concept and percept, solid and space, figure and ground, subject and object appear to be so completely correlative as to be convertible into each other. At one moment it seems that there are, for example, no lines in nature: there are only the boundaries of planes, boundaries which are, after all, the planes themselves. But at the next moment, looking carefully into the texture of these planes, one discovers them to be nothing but a dense network of patterned lines. Looking at the form of a tree against the sky, I have felt at one moment that its outline “belongs” to the tree, exploding into space. But the next moment I feel that the same form is the “inline” of the sky, of space imploding the tree. Every pull is felt as a push, and every push as a pull, as in rotating the rim of a wheel with one’s hand. Is one pushing or pulling?
The sense that forms are also properties of the space in which they expand is not in the least fantastic when one considers the nature of magnetic fields, or, say, the dynamics of swirling ink dropped into water. The concepts of verbal thought are so clumsy that we tend to think only of one aspect of a relationship at a time. We alternate between seeing a given form as a property of the figure and as a property of the ground, as in the Gestalt image of two profiles in black silhouette, about to kiss. The white space between them appears as a chalice, but it is intensely difficult to see the kissing faces and the chalice simultaneously. Yet with LSD one appears to be able to feel this simultaneity quite vividly, and thus to become aware of the mutuality of one’s own form and action and that of the surrounding world. The two seem to shape and determine each other at the same moment, explosion and implosion concurring in perfect harmony, so giving rise to the feeling that one is actual self is both. This inner identity is felt with every level of the environment—the physical world of stars and space, rocks and plants, the social world of human beings, and the ideational world of art and literature, music and conversation. All are grounds or fields operating in the most intimate mutuality with one’s own existence and behavior so that the “origin” of action lies in both at once, fusing them into a single act. It is certainly for this reason that LSD taken in common with a small group can be a profoundly eucharistic experience, drawing the members together into an extremely warm and intimate bond of friendship.
All in all, I have felt that my experiments with this astonishing chemical have been most worth while, creative, stimulating, and, above all, an intimation that “there is more in heaven and earth than is dreamed of in your philosophy.” Only once have I felt terror, the sense of being close to madness, and even here the insight gained was well worth the pain. Yet this was enough to convince me that indiscriminate use of this alchemy might be exceedingly dangerous, and to make me ask who, in our society, is competent to control its use. Obviously, this applies even more to such other powers of science as atomic energy, but once something is known there is really no way of locking it up. At the present time, 1960, LSD is in the control of pharmacologists and a few research groups of psychiatrists, and though there are unscrupulous and frankly psychotic psychiatrists, this seems to me a far more reliable form of control than that exercised by the police and the Bureau of Narcotics—which is not control at all, but ineffective repression, handing over actual control to the forces of organized crime.
On the whole, we feel justified in using dangerous powers when we can establish that there is a relatively low probability of disaster. Life organized so as to be completely foolproof and secure is simply not worth living, since it requires the final abolition of freedom. It is on this perfectly rational principle of gambling that we justify the use of travel by air and automobile, electric appliances in the home, and all the other dangerous instruments of civilization. Thus far, the record of catastrophes from the use of LSD is extremely low, and there is no evidence at all that it is either habit-forming or physically deleterious. It is, of course, possible to become psychically dependent on stimuli which do not establish any craving that can be identified in physiological terms. Personally, I am no example of phenomenal will power, but I find that I have no inclination to use LSD in the same way as tobacco or wines and liquors. On the contrary, the experience is always so fruitful that I feel I must digest it for some months before entering into it again. Furthermore, I find that I am quite instinctively disinclined to use it without the same sense of readiness and dedication with which one approaches a sacrament, and also that the experience is worth while to the precise degree that I keep my critical and intellectual faculties alert.
It is generally felt that there is a radical incompatibility between intuition and intellect, poetry and logic, spirituality and rationality, To me, the most impressive thing about LSD experiences is that these formally opposed realms seem instead to complement and fructify one another, suggesting, therefore, a mode of life in which man is no longer an embodied paradox of angel and animal, of reason fighting instinct, but a marvelous coincidence in whom Eros and Logos are one.


(1) I have often made the point, as in The Way of Zen, that the “real” world is concrete rather than abstract, and thus that the conceptual patterns of order, categorization, and logic which the human mind projects upon nature are in some way less real. But upon several occasions LSD has suggested a fundamental identity of percept and concept, concrete and abstract. After all, our brains and the patterns in them are themselves members of the concrete, physical universe, and thus our abstractions are as much forms of nature as the structure of crystals or the organization of ferns.
(2) Later, with the aid of a sea urchin’s shell I was able to find out something of the reasons for this effect. All the small purple protuberances on the shell seemed to be wiggling, not only to sight but also to touch Watching this phenomenon closely, I realized that as my eyes moved across the shell they seemed to change the intensity of coloring, amounting to an increase or decrease in the depth of shadow. This did not happen when the eyes were held still. Now motion, or apparent motion, of the shadow will often seem to be motion of the object casting it, in this case the protrusions on the shell. In the Van Eyck painting there was likewise an alteration, a lightening or darkening, of actual shadows which the artist had painted, and thus the same illusion of movement.

I never met Gregory formally, but I sure knew who he was. After I moved back to San Francisco in 1973, I took to hanging out in North Beach. He was a constant there, I would run into him at City Lights, and he would light up when you smiled at him. He would be holding up the side of a brick wall up near Broadway or Columbia, and he would be BEAMING. I’d stop in at Vesuvio’s or some other place for a drink or coffee, and there he would be in the corner, either holding court, or writing quietly on his own. A great poet, and a true original. – Gwyllm

The Poetry Of Gregory Corso…


Poets Hitchiking on the Highway
Of course I tried to tell him

but he cranked his head

without an excuse.

I told him the sky chases

the sun

And he smiled and said:

‘What’s the use.’

I was feeling like a demon


So I said: ‘But the ocean chases

the fish.’

This time he laughed

and said: ‘Suppose the

strawberry were

pushed into a mountain.’

After that I knew the

war was on–

So we fought:

He said: ‘The apple-cart like a


snaps & splinters

old dutch shoes.’

I said: ‘Lightning will strike the old oak

and free the fumes!’

He said: ‘Mad street with no name.’

I said: ‘Bald killer! Bald killer! Bald killer!’

He said, getting real mad,

‘Firestoves! Gas! Couch!’

I said, only smiling,

‘I know God would turn back his head

if I sat quietly and thought.’

We ended by melting away,

hating the air!


is Life

It flows thru

the death of me


like a river


of becoming

the sea

The Whole Mess… Almost
I ran up six flights of stairs

to my small furnished room

opened the window

and began throwing out

those things most important in life
First to go, Truth, squealing like a fink:

“Don’t! I’ll tell awful things about you!”

“Oh yeah? Well, I’ve nothing to hide… OUT!”

Then went God, glowering & whimpering in amazement:

“It’s not my fault! I’m not the cause of it all!” “OUT!”

Then Love, cooing bribes: “You’ll never know impotency!

All the girls on Vogue covers, all yours!”

I pushed her fat ass out and screamed:

“You always end up a bummer!”

I picked up Faith Hope Charity

all three clinging together:

“Without us you’ll surely die!”

“With you I’m going nuts! Goodbye!”
Then Beauty… ah, Beauty –

As I led her to the window

I told her: “You I loved best in life

… but you’re a killer; Beauty kills!”

Not really meaning to drop her

I immediately ran downstairs

getting there just in time to catch her

“You saved me!” she cried

I put her down and told her: “Move on.”
Went back up those six flights

went to the money

there was no money to throw out.

The only thing left in the room was Death

hiding beneath the kitchen sink:

“I’m not real!” It cried

“I’m just a rumor spread by life…”

Laughing I threw it out, kitchen sink and all

and suddenly realized Humor

was all that was left –

All I could do with Humor was to say:

“Out the window with the window!”

They deliver the edicts of God

without delay

And are exempt from apprehension

from detention

And with their God-given

Petasus, Caduceus, and Talaria

ferry like bolts of lightning

unhindered between the tribunals

of Space & Time
The Messenger-Spirit

in human flesh

is assigned a dependable,

self-reliant, versatile,

thoroughly poet existence

upon its sojourn in life
It does not knock

or ring the bell

or telephone

When the Messenger-Spirit

comes to your door

though locked

It’ll enter like an electric midwife

and deliver the message
There is no tell

throughout the ages

that a Messenger-Spirit

ever stumbled into darkness

I Held A Shelley Manuscript
My hands did numb to beauty

as they reached into Death and tightened!
O sovereign was my touch

upon the tan-inks’s fragile page!
Quickly, my eyes moved quickly,

sought for smell for dust for lace

for dry hair!
I would have taken the page

breathing in the crime!

For no evidence have I wrung from dreams–

yet what triumph is there in private credence?
Often, in some steep ancestral book,

when I find myself entangled with leopard-apples

and torched-skin mushrooms,

my cypressean skein outreaches the recorded age

and I, as though tipping a pitcher of milk,

pour secrecy upon the dying page.
Faun – Rosmarin (march 2007/ Totem tour)


Swimming Through The Age…

True affluence is not needing anything. – Gary Snyder

Monday Night -Tuesday Morning: Clouds Scuttling, fading moon. Rain, hail, clear skies, and then repeat. I feel the tendrils that the web sends out, coursing today with messages from friends, new and old. We are having a discussion over on Face Book about the possible futures of “The Invisible College Magazine”. Last night, I had a revelry. I don’t care if someone never buys it. I do it. It is what I do. I think my life is made up of those little ‘ah-ha!” moments. Not that I am anti-money, but there is something in the doing that can’t be tied to what tosses cash back at you. I have been tempted to have the magazine bound in hard cover, so that they will survive longer. It would be nice to think of them on someone’s coffee table 50 years after I have shed the mortal coil. I have dreams of what books, paintings, pictures, songs do to the stream of time. Little statements of life, of how life was at a particular moment, the “Now” expressed and the faint echoing into futures and past.
So, I am talking on line to friends. Robert A. M. writes from Northern California about his trip south to Texas with his wife selling their art… Funny how it is. I meet people on-line and it is as if you have known them forever. A goodly number of my friends I met on-line. When we finally gazed on each other, it was as if we had known each other in another lifetime. Some of these conversations go on for years, until you finally meet face to face. It reminds me of letters crossing the oceans back in the past, but now it is just so much more present
Today Doug writes from London, Tomas from Rhode Island, and Ley from Scotland. I receive a message from a roadside cyber cafe in Australia. I take it in stride, we all do. It wasn’t that long ago that I was courting Mary over the phone from L.A. to London. Now days, I have met many couples who met on line, fell in love without ever touching, ever meeting first. Some of these relationships are strikingly beautiful; they fell in love with the spirit of the other, and they melded before they ever met. Some kinda wonderful that. Novels should be written, and poems should be composed in honor of.
We take it all for granted, and here we are, in the midst of such a wonderful moment, so full of promise, and we are all Swimming Through The Age…
Much Love,
Slainte mhor agus a h-uile beannachd duibh

On The Menu:

Stellamara – Firtina

Gary Snyder Quotes

Dale Pendell: Sauntering with Lao Tzu

Poetry: Lorca, Sweet Lorca

Stellamara – Szerelem

Photography: Man Ray

Stellamara – Firtina

Gary Snyder Quotes:
“Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there.”
“When freedom fails, politicians use that failure to justify abandoning freedom, but when the state fails, politicians use the failure to justify expanding the state.”
“There are those who love to get dirty and fix things. They drink coffee at dawn, beer after work. And those who stay clean, just appreciate things. At breakfast they have milk and juice at night. There are those who do both, they drink tea.”
“Why should the peculiarities of human consciousness be the narrow standard by which other creatures are judged?”
“Forests in the tropics are cut to make pasture to raise beef for the American market. Our distance from the source of our food enables us to be superficially more comfortable, and distinctly more ignorant.”
“We . . . must try to live without causing unnecessary harm, not just to fellow humans but to all beings. We must try not to be stingy, or to exploit others. There will be enough pain in the world as it is.”
“I want to create wilderness out of empire.”


I would like to wish Dale a happy day today…. 80)

Rowan and Dale
Dale Pendell:

Sauntering with Lao Tzu

The Tao described in words is not the real Tao.

Words cannot describe it.

–Tao Teh Ching [1]
The book came as a gift, a drop of poison that slipped into my thoughts lightly clad, unassuming in metaphysics and thus able to evade the frontier defenses poised to attack any cosmic principle clothed in more theistic garb.
It was just a silly Peter Pauper Press book, and the translation, as I recognize now, not particularly scholarly. But it was compact, and direct.
Man is subject to the laws of the earth,

the earth is subject to the laws of the universe,

the universe is subject to the laws of Tao, and

Tao is subject to the laws of its own nature.

The words evoked an image of flowing, light and vacuous, more like a subtle inclination emanating from “that which is” than as a thing itself.
Looked for, it cannot be seen.

Thus it was all the more disturbing when I found that the accompanying philosophy was not only practical, including a theory of government and of history, but also radical.
the perfect state is small…

they have weapons but no reason to show them…

men forego writing, reckoning with knotted cord.

Do away with formal learning and you will not be annoyed by its multitude of details. [19]
and, in my own wording,
The scholar learns every day,

the follower of the Way unlearns every day.

Lao Tzu had a way of turning things upside down. Over the years I collected many translations of the Tao Teh Ching, but some verses remain in my memory in some altered or hybrid form.
Red Pine translates verse 38:
when the Way is lost virtue appears

when virtue is lost kindness appears

when kindness is lost justice appears

when justice is lost ritual appears

ritual marks the waning of belief

and onset of confusion
But in my memory the verse went more like
When the Way is lost there is custom,

when custom is lost, there is morality,

when morality is lost, there is ritual,

when ritual is lost, there are mere laws.
The gist is the same. Everywhere Lao Tzu challenges the entrenched ideas of “progress.” The Old Ways of the Neolithic were still alive in Lao Tzu’s century, though under assault from the centralizing forces of bronze and iron.
Lao Tzu taught leading from behind, that even better than leaders who were loved were leaders who were hardly noticed. He warned that fine sounding words were not often true, and that when most people heard of the Tao, they just laughed.
Thus the truly wise want the unwanted and do not prize what is rare. Study what is unstudied and preserve what is lost. Assist in the course of nature but never interfere in it. [64]
Lao Tzu offered the possibility of a different way of moving in the world–that the world was basically OK, as long as we didn’t mess with it too much, that living in harmony with the “Way” was more important than worldly striving. Lao Tzu taught accomplishing without doing, the way of letting things take their course.
Sometimes I wonder if this book which insinuated itself so deeply into the axioms of my thought was really a positive influence. How often had I let the way of inaction be an excuse for avoidance? Maybe I should have stayed with Camus and followed the Absurd. Do we really want to rely on knotted strings rather than writing? And how traceless should a life be?
Good walking leaves no tracks..

Over a thousand years after Lao Tzu, the Chan master Tung Shan taught the “Bird Path,” the trackless way. Another thousand years later one of his descendants, the Soto master Shigetsu Ein wrote:
In extending the hands, there is no separate road; it does not transgress the bird’s path. Traveling the bird’s path by yourself, yet you extend your hands. In the bird’s path there is no separate road; knowing the hidden roads yourself, you still don’t transgress it. Dwelling in the bird’s path, you don’t sprout horns on your head but always extend your hands. (Cleary, 1992)
Picking and choosing.

Shouting secrets.

Painting tracks on the wall.
Leaving messages.
Cleary, Thomas, and J. C. Cleary, The Blue Cliff Record, Shambhala,

MacHovec, Frank J., tr., The Book of Tao, Peter Pauper Press, 1962.
Powell, William F., The Record of Tung-shan, University of Hawaii,1986.
Red Pine, tr., Lao-Tzu’s Taoteching, Mercury House, 1996
You can read this essay and more at Dale’s Site: Dale

Poetry: Lorca, Sweet Lorca


A hundred riders in mourning,

where might they be going,

along the low horizon

of the orange grove?

They could not arrive

at Sevilla or Cordoba.

Nor at Granada, she who sighs

for the sea.
These drowsy horses

may carry them

to the labyrinth of crosses

where the singing trembles.

With seven nailed sighs,

where might they be going

the hundred Andalusian riders

of the orange-grove?

Under the orange-tree

she washes baby-clothes.

Her eyes of green

and voice of violet.

Ay, love,

under the orange-tree in bloom!
The water in the ditch

flowed, filled with light,

a sparrow chirped

in the little olive-tree.
Ay, love,

under the orange-tree in bloom!

Later, when Lola

has exhausted the soap,

young bullfighters will come.

Ay, love,

under the orange-tree in bloom!



enters, and leaves,

the tavern.
Black horses

and sinister people

travel the deep roads

of the guitar.

And there’s a smell of salt

and of female blood

in the fevered tuberoses

of the shore.

enters and leaves,

and leaves and enters

the death

of the tavern.


A long ghost of silver moving

the night-wind’s sighing

opened my old hurt with its grey hand

and moved on: I was left yearning.
Wound of love that will grant my life

endless blood and pure welling light.

Cleft in which Philomel, struck dumb,

will find her grove, her grief and tender nest.
Ay, what sweet murmurs in my head!

I’ll lie down by the single flower

where your beauty floats without a soul.
And the wandering waters will turn yellow,

as my blood runs through the moist

and fragrant undergrowth of the shore.

Stellamara – Szerelem


Invisible College 5th Edition Print Release!

The Invisible College 5th Edition Print Edition!

Look at the Free Edition Here: The Invisible College PDF Editions

Pick up your Print Edition, or download a Printable Edition Here:Print Edition and Printable Download Edition
The Official Blurb: A journal exploring the Emerging World Culture, Poetry, Visionary Arts, Interviews, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Entheogenic Investigations, Spiritual Adventures laying the ground for the society of tomorrow.
In This The 5th Edition you will find:

Photo Essay – “A Visit With Albert Hoffmann – Jon Hanna Photos from the last month of Albert’s life

Featured Artist:

Leo Plaw..

Amanda Sage..

Gwyllm Llwydd..

Featured Poets:

Clark Heinrich..

Dr. Con/Juris Ahn..


Featured Writers:

Mike Crowley..

Padraic Colum ..


Will Penna..

& An interview with Rak Razam Editor of “The Journeybook” and more!
There is some amazing talent on display in this edition. So what are ya waiting for? Check it out, and if you are pleased by what you see, consider buying a print copy or downloading the printable one. Lots of love and sweat went into the 5th edition of The Invisible College Magazine.
Eye Candy!


On The Menu:

implosion – bangen (ambient industrial coil pv)

Taoist Tales… 2 stories

Laura Riding: Poems…

Laura Riding Bio

VJ Bolverk – Inade “Titan In ” DARK AMBIENT INDUSTRIAL


implosion – bangen (ambient industrial coil pv)

Taoist Tales…

“The River”
Then a hunter said “speak to us of hunters.”

And Mingtian told them the story of a hunter.
Xie brought his son into the woods for his first hunt. Both carried a long, wooden pole sharpened to a deadly point into the forest, walking along the well-worn path until they reached a river, frothy and cold from the snow melts. They decided to eat lunch there, and both quickly fell asleep.

Xie woke up to find his son walking on a log that spanned the banks of the river. Before he could stop him, Little Xie fell into the muddy, bubbling river. Panicking, Little Xie’s head bobbed in and out of the water, coughing and frantically waving his arms, trying to swim upstream.
“Stay calm and follow the current. Let yourself drift to the bank.”
Little Xie did as his father said and soon reached the shore. They rested again before trekking deeper into the forest, where the large animals roamed, making their own trail as they went.
At the first sight of some deer running around in an opening, Little Xie scurried behind a tree, panting heavily and burying his face into the vines that crawled up the rough, lumpy bark.
Xie smiled and walked over to his son.
“We’ve practiced this hundreds of times before.”
“But these targets move.”
“Don’t think of their movement. The pattern of their strides will come to you if you clear your mind. Let your spear do the thinking. Act without knowledge of your actions.”
Little Xie poked his head between two bushes, observing the animal’s movements. Before he could act, one of the deer ran to the bush he was hiding behind, sniffed the air, and began eating some of the berries the bush grew. When the deer moved on, Xie looked over at his son’s terrified face.
“Act as you did in the river .”
“I don’t understand.”
“Clarity is learned by being patient in the presence of chaos. Tolerating disarray, remaining at rest, gradually one learns to allow muddy water to settle and proper responses to reveal themselves.”
At that, Little Xie stood up and moved behind a tree, watching the deer, observing their every movement. At just the right moment, he stood up, cocked his arm, and let his spear fly. It landed on target, right into the side of a deer in midstride. That night, Xie’s family had a large feast.


A Classic Taoist Tale of Swordplay

Duke Wen of Zhao was so fond of dueling that he kept three thousand swordplayers at his residence. Day and night, they competed against another to entertain the duke. Though more than a hundred were killed every year, the duke’s fondness for swordplay never faded. Three years went by and as the state of Zhao declined, other states plotted to attack it.
Li, the crown prince, was greatly worried. He consulted his officials, promising, “Whoever can persuade the duke to give up swordplay will be rewarded with one thousand pieces of gold.” The officials all agreed, “Only Zhuangzi can accomplish the mission.”
The crown prince immediately ordered an official to send one thousand pieces of gold to Zhuangzi. Zhuangzi, however, refused to accept it and went to see the prince instead. He asked the prince, “What do you want me to do for you? Why do you grant me such a generous gift?”
Prince Li, “I’ve heard that you are an able and wise master. The gift is for your disciples. Now that you have refused to accept it, I have nothing to say!”
Zhuangzi said, “I heard that you wished me to persuade the duke to abandon his indulgence in swordplay. If my attempt should displease the duke and disappoint you at the same time, then I would be punished and killed. What would be the use for me to accept such a generous gift? On the contrary, if I could persuade the duke and please you, too, nothing I ask for from the state of Zhao should be unattainable!”
The prince agreed, and expressed his reservations. “The fact is that the duke sees nobody but these swordsmen.”
Zhuangzi replied, “That is not a problem, for I’m also skilled in swordplay.”
The prince continued, “But the players that the duke favors to see have disheveled hair, hats hanging low, and hat ribbons thick and course. They all wear fighting attire and have a glaring look. They are inarticulate blowhards. If you visit the duke in your scholar’s robes, things will end badly.”
Unperturbed, Zhuangzi said, “Please prepare the outfit of a swordsman.”
The Three Swords

For seven days the duke had his men compete with one another, during which time over sixty were killed or wounded. Finally, five were chosen and told to wait with their swords in front of the palace before Zhuangzi was called. The duke told him, “Today I’ll let you compete with these players. What kind of sword will you use, long or short?”
Zhuangzi answered, “I have three swords from which you may choose. Please allow me to explain before starting the contest.” The duke agreed.
Zhuangzi said, “The three swords are the sword of the king, the sword of the duke and the sword of the common man.”
The duke asked, “What’s the sword of the king like?”
Zhuangzi answered, “The sword of the king is made with Yanzi Gorge and Shicheng Hill as its point, Mount Tai as its blade, the states of Jin and Wei as its spine, the territory around the capital of Zhou and the state of Song as its ring, and the state of Han as its handle. It is wrapped with the uncivilized tribes and encircled with the four seasons, surrounded by the waters in the Bohai Sea, and ribboned with Mount Heng. It governs the world with the five elements and judges the right and the wrong with punishment and virtue. It initiates its power with energy of yin and yang, maintains its power with the warmth of spring and summer, and exercises its power with the force of autumn and winter. Nothing remains where the sword thrusts, whether straight forward, upward, downward, or sideward. When it pierces forward, it severs the clouds in heaven; when it swings downward, it cuts off the four corners of the earth. Once in use, it can rectify the dukes and subdue all. That is the sword of the king.”
Bewildered, Wen asked, “What is the sword of the duke?”
Zhuangzi replied, “The sword of the duke is made with men of courage and intellect at its point, men of honesty as its blade, men of capability and virtue as its spine, men of loyalty and wisdom as its ring, and men of valour as its handle. Similar to the power of the sword of the king, nothing remains wherever it goes, whether forward, upward, downward or sideward. Above, it obeys the order of the round heaven and follows the sun, the moon, and the stars. Below, it obeys the laws of the square earth and follows the four seasons. Between heaven and earth, it accords with the will of the public and achieves stability everywhere. When in use, it is as if the entire land within the borders was shaken by great thunder. No one refuses to obey its orders. That is the sword of the duke.”
The duke asked, “What about the sword of the common man?”
The reply was, “The sword of the common man is made for those with disheveled hair, hats hanging low, and hat ribbons thick and course. Its owners compete with one another and destroy themselves for show. As a result, they are either beheaded or disemboweled. In short, he who wields the sword of the common man is no different from the gamecock. Once he dies, he is no avail to the state. I say to myself that you, as the noble duke, should despise the sword of the common man you now favor.”
Duke Wen escorted Zhuangzi inside his palace, where the cook brought food. Feeling ashamed, the duke paced around the table three times. Zhuangzi said, “Your majesty, please sit down and calm yourself, for I have finished presenting my way of swordplay.”
From the Taoist classic book Zhuangzi

Laura Riding: Poems…

With The Face
With the face goes a mirror

As with the mind a world.

Likeness tells the doubting eye

That strangeness is not strange.

At an early hour and knowledge

Identity not yet familiar

Looks back upon itself from later,

And seems itself.
To-day seems now.

With reality-to-be goes time.

With the mind goes a world.

Wit the heart goes a weather.

With the face goes a mirror

As with the body a fear.

Young self goes staring to the wall

Where dumb futurity speaks calm,

And between then and then

Forebeing grows of age.
The mirror mixes with the eye.

Soon will it be the very eye.

Soon will the eye that was

The very mirror be.

Death, the final image, will shine

Transparently not otherwise

Than as the dark sun described

With such faint brightnesses.

In Due Form
I do not doubt you.

I know you love me.

It is a fact of your indoor face,

A true fancy of your muscularity.

Your step is confident.

Your look is thorough.

Your stay-beside-me is a pillow

To roll over on

And sleep as on my own upon.
But make me a statement

In due form on endless foolscap

Witnessed before a notary

And sent by post, registered,

To be signed for on receipt

And opened under oath to believe;

An antique paper missing from my strong-box,

A bond to clutch when hail tortures the chimney

And lightning circles redder round the city,

And your brisk step and thorough look

Are gallant but uncircumstantial,

And not mentionable in a doom-book.

Yes And No
Across a continent imaginary

Because it cannot be discovered now

Upon this fully apprehended planet—

No more applicants considered,

Alas, alas—
Ran an animal unzoological,

Without a fate, without a fact,

Its private history intact

Against the travesty

Of an anatomy.
Not visible not invisible,

Removed by dayless night,

Did it ever fly its ground

Out of fancy into light,

Into space to replace

Its unwritable decease?
Ah, the minutes twinkle in and out

And in and out come and go

One by one, none by none,

What we know, what we don’t know.

The World And I
This is not exactly what I mean

Any more than the sun is the sun.

But how to mean more closely

If the sun shines but approximately?

What a world of awkwardness!

What hostile implements of sense!

Perhaps this is as close a meaning

As perhaps becomes such knowing.

Else I think the world and I

Must live together as strangers and die—

A sour love, each doubtful whether

Was ever a thing to love the other.

No, better for both to be nearly sure

Each of each—exactly where

Exactly I and exactly the world

Fail to meet by a moment, and a word.


Laura Riding Biography:

She was born Laura Reichenthal in New York to a family of Austrian Jewish immigrants, and educated at Cornell University, where she began to write poetry, publishing first (1923-26) under the name Laura Riding Gottschalk. She became associated with the Fugitives and shared much of their poetic credo. Her first marriage, to the historian Louis Gottschalk, ended in divorce in 1925, at the end of which year she went to England at the invitation of Robert Graves and his wife Nancy Nicholson. She would remain in Europe for nearly 14 years.
Her first collection of poetry, The Close Chaplet, was published in 1926, and during the following year she assumed the surname Riding. By this time her poetry had become much more original: generally abandoning traditional metres for a highly unconventional form of free verse. She, Robert Graves, and Nancy Nicholson were based in London until Riding’s failed suicide-attempt in 1929. It is generally agreed that this episode was a major cause of the break up of Graves’s first marriage: the whole affair caused a famous literary scandal. Thereafter, until the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, Riding and Graves lived in Deya, Mallorca, where they were visited by writers and artists including James Reeves, Norman Cameron, John Aldridge, Len Lye, Jacob Bronowski, and Honor Wyatt. Progress of Stories (1935) would later be highly esteemed by John Ashbery and Harry Mathews among others. Between 1936 and 1939 Riding and Graves lived in England, France, and Switzerland; Graves accompanied Riding on her return to the USA in 1939. In that year they parted, and she married Schuyler B. Jackson in 1941.
Riding and Graves were highly productive from the start of their association, though after they moved to Majorca they became even more so. While still in London they had set up (1927) a private press (the Seizin Press), collaborated on A Survey of Modernist Poetry (1927) (which some believe inaugurated the New Criticism), A Pamphlet Against Anthologies (1928), and other works. In Majorca the Seizin Press was enlarged to become a publishing imprint, producing inter alia the substantial hardbound critical magazine Epilogue (1935-1938), edited by Riding with Graves as associate editor. Throughout their association both of them steadily produced volumes of major poetry, culminating for each with a Collected Poems in 1938.
In about 1941 Riding renounced poetry, though it would be fifteen to twenty years before she would feel able to explain her reasons. She withdrew from public literary life, working with Schuyler Jackson on a dictionary that would lead them into an exploration of the foundations of meaning and language. In April 1962 she read ‘Introduction for a Broadcast’ for the BBC Third Programme, her first formal statement of her reasons for renouncing poetry (there had been a brief reference-book entry in 1955). An expanded version of the piece was published that year in the New York magazine Chelsea, which also published ‘Further on Poetry’ in 1964, writings on the theme of women-and-men in 1965 and 1974, and in 1967 ‘The Telling’. The 62 numbered passages of this ‘personal evangel’ formed the ‘core-part’ of a book of the same title (Athlone 1972, Harper & Row 1973, Carcanet 2005), itself arguably the core-part of her life’s work. Writings and publications continued to flow throughout the sixties, seventies, and eighties, as Laura (Riding) Jackson (her authorial name from 1963-64 onwards) explored what she regarded as the truth-potential of language free from the artificial restrictions of poetic art. ‘My faith in poetry was at heart a faith in language as the elementary wisdom’, she had written in 1976. Her later writings affirm what she regarded as the truth-potential contained in language and in the human mind.

VJ Bolverk – Inade “Titan In ” DARK AMBIENT INDUSTRIAL


The Greening Of Days…

All of us live together in this corporate fetish cult. We agree upon and consent to its reality, just as the Aztecs agreed upon Quetzalcoatl and the lost people of Easter Island agreed that the great stone effigies of their remote island had significance…

– Joe Bageant

Happy Monday!
Not much to say, except hoping you are having a good time. Portland has been lovely the last several days, blue skies, flowers budding, hayfever building, you name it.
I took Rowan out for his first driving lessons, he got his permit on Friday. We drove around the auxiliary parking lot for OMSI for almost an hour. By the end of it, he was doing pretty well! Anyway, he has a couple of more months practicing before he can pass his final test.
Doing the spring cleaning kinda thing, looking at chickens and bees for the back forty… Mary is checking out the soil. I love this time of year. It seems like the longest winter ever. I am surprised we didn’t have wolf packs hunting through downtown Portland. The snow, the cold, the howling winds…
So here we are, with the miracle of life in the springtime …. The birds are back, lots of babies in strollers, the squirrels are chasing each other, the house critters have fleas, and the world is dancing again.


On The Menu:

The Links

The Journeybook Magazine!

Songs From The Wood…

Pagan Quotes

The Cult of Gods, Spirits, Fairies And The Dead -The Testimony of Paganism

Spring Becomes The Man: The Early Poetry of James Joyce

James Joyce Biography

Jack in the Green

The Links:

Escape From The Zombie Food Court…(Thanks Chaff!)

The Morphing Bee Brain…

Support Your Local Independent Bookstore!!

No Obama Won’t Legalize Marijuana…

THC Thrashes Cancer…

You’ll Be Relieved To Know!

From our friends Rak & Tim over in Australia… I do the distribution for this in the US at the present… Support a great bit of work!

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce The Journeybook!

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The price is a low AUD $40 (around US $25) for the 250 page book, with over 50 full colour plates, plus postage and handling US orders ship from our US fulfillment centre to keep postage costs down). The website also has forums to keep in touch with the Journeybook community and discuss the issues raised, art galleries and more. Do check out the Flipbook function on the site which allows you to browse through the book at leisure!
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Songs From The Wood…

Pagan Quotes:

“Great God! I’d rather be A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn; Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea; Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn”- William Wordsworth
“The old Irish when immersing a babe at baptism left out the right arm so that it would remain pagan for good fighting”
“Scratch the Christian and you find the pagan – spoiled”- Israel Zangwill
“Christianity has made of death a terror which was unknown to the gay calmness of the Pagan”- Marie Louise De La Ramee
“There is something pagan in me that I cannot shake off. In short, I deny nothing, but doubt everything.” – Lord Byron

From The Fairy Faith In Celtic Countries: The Cult of Gods, Spirits, Fairies And The Dead -The Testimony of Paganism

– W.Y. Evans-Wentz
‘The cult of forests, of fountains, and of stones is to be explained by that primitive naturalism which all the Church Councils held in Brittany united to proscribe.’ Ernest Renan.
Edicts against pagan cults–Cult of Sacred Waters and its absorption by Christianity–Celtic Water Divinities–Druidic Influence on Fairy-Faith–Cult of Sacred Trees–Cult of Fairies, Spirits, and the Dead–Feasts of the Dead–Conclusion.
THE evidence of paganism in support of our Psychological Theory concerning the Fairy-Faith is so vast that we cannot do more than point to portions of it–especially such portions as are most Celtic in their nature. Perhaps most of us will think first of all about the ancient cults rendered to fountains, rivers, lakes, trees, and, as we have seen (pp. 399 ff.), to stones. There can be no reasonable doubt that these cults were very flourishing when Christianity came to Europe, for kings, popes, and church councils issued edict after edict condemning them. 1 The second Council of Aries, held about 452, issued the following canon:–’If in the territory of a bishop, infidels light torches, or venerate trees, fountains, or stones, and he neglects to abolish this usage, he must know that he is guilty of sacrilege. If the director of the act itself, on being admonished, refuses to correct it, he is to be excluded from communion.’ 1 The Council of Tours, in 567, thus expressed itself:–’We implore the pastors to expel from the Church all those whom they may see performing before. certain stones things which have no relation with the ceremonies of the Church, and also those who observe the customs of the Gentiles.’ 1 King Canute in England and Charlemagne in Europe conducted a most vigorous campaign against all these pagan worships. This is Charlemagne’s edict:–’With respect to trees, stones, and fountains, where certain foolish people light torches or practise other superstitions, we earnestly ordain that that most evil custom detestable to God, wherever it be found, should be removed and destroyed.’ 2
The result of these edicts was a curious one. It was too much to expect the eradication of the old cults after their age-long existence, and so one by one they were absorbed by the new religion. In a sacred tree or grove, over a holy well or fountain, on the shore of a lake or river, there was placed an image of the Virgin or of some saint, and unconsciously the transformation was made, as the simple-hearted country-folk beheld in the brilliant images new and more glorious dwelling-places for the spirits they and their fathers had so long venerated.
In Brittany, perhaps better than in other Celtic countries to-day, one can readily discern this evolution from paganism to Christianity. Thus, for example, in the Morbihan there is the fountain of St. Anne d’Auray, round which centres Brittany’s most important Pardon; a fountain near Vannes is dedicated to St. Peter; at Carnac there is the far-famed fountain of St. Comely with its niche containing an image of Carnac’s patron saint, and not far from it, on the roadside leading to Carnac Plage, an enclosed well dedicated to the Holy Virgin, and, less than a mile away, the beautiful fountain of St. Columba. Near Ploermel, Canton of Ploermel (Morbihan), there is the fountain of Recourrance or St. Laurent, in which sailors perform divinations to know the future state of the weather by casting on its waters a morsel of bread. If the bread floats, it is a sure sign of fair weather, but if it sinks, of weather so bad that no one should take risks by going out in the fishing-boats. In some wells, pins are dropped by lovers. If the pins float, the water-spirits show favourable auspices, but if the pins sink, the maiden is unhappy, and will hesitate in accepting the proposal of marriage. Long after their conversion, the inhabitants of Concoret (Arrondissement de Ploermel, Morbihan) paid divine honours to the fountain of Baranton in the druidical forest of Brocéliande, so famous in the Breton legends of Arthur and Merlin:–’For a long time the inhabitants of Concoret … in place of addressing themselves to God or to his Saints in their maladies, sought the remedy in the fountain of Baranton, either by praying to it, after the manner of the Gauls, or by drinking of its waters.’ 1 In the month of August 1835, when there was an unusual drought in the land, all the inhabitants of Concoret formed in a great procession with banners and crucifix at their head, and with chants and ringing of church bells marched to this same fountain of Baranton and prayed for rain. 2 This curious bit of history was also reported to me in July 1909 by a peasant who lives near the fountain, and who heard it from his parents; and he added that the foot of the crucifix was planted in the water to aid the rain-making. We have here an interesting combination of paganism and Christianity.
Gregory of Tours says that the country-folk of Gévaudan rendered divine honours to a certain lake, and as offerings cast on its waters linen, wool, cheese, bees’-wax, bread, and other things; 3 and Mahé adds that gold was sometimes offered, 3 quite after the manner of the ancient Peruvians, who cast gold and silver of great value into the waters of sacred Lake Titicaca, high up in the Andes. To absorb into Christianity the worship paid to the lake near Gévaudan, the bishop ordered a church to be built on its shore, and to the people he said:–’My children, there is nothing divine in this lake: defile not your souls by these vain ceremonies; but recognize rather the true God.’ 1 The offerings to the lake-spirits then ceased, and were made instead on the altar of the church. As Canon Mahé so consistently sets forth, other similar means were used to absorb the pagan cults of sacred waters:–’Other pastors employed a similar device to absorb the cult of fountains into Christianity; they I consecrated them to God under the invocation of certain saints; giving the saints’ names to them and placing in them the saints’ images, so that the weak and simple-hearted Christians who might come to them, struck by these names and by these images, should grow accustomed to addressing their prayers to God and to his saints, in place of honouring the fountains themselves, as they had been accustomed to do. This is the reason why there are seen in the stonework of so many fountains, niches and little statues of saints who have given their names to these springs.’ 2
Procopius reports that the Franks, even after having accepted Christianity, remained attached to their ancient cults, sacrificing to the River Po women and children of the Goths, and casting the bodies into its waters to the spirits of the waters. 2 Well-worship in the Isle of Man, not yet quite extinct, was no doubt once very general. As A. W. Moore has shown, the sacred wells in the Isle of Man were visited and offerings made to them to secure immunity from witches and fairies, to cure maladies, to raise a wind, and for various kinds of divination. 3 And no doubt the offerings of rags on bushes over sacred wells, and the casting of pins, coins, buttons, pebbles, and other small objects into their waters, a common practice yet in Ireland and Wales, as in non-Celtic countries, are to be referred to as survivals of a time when regular sacrifices were offered in divination, or in seeking cures from maladies, and equally from obsessing demons who were thought to cause the maladies. In the prologue to Chrétien’s Conte du Graal there is an account, seemingly very ancient, of how dishonour to the divinities of wells and springs brought destruction on the rich land of Logres. The damsels who abode in these watery places fed travellers with nourishing food until King Amangons wronged one of them by carrying off her golden cup. His men followed his evil example, so that the springs dried up, the grass withered,
and the land became waste. 1
According to Mr. Borlase, ‘it was by passing under the waters of a well that the Sídh, that is, the abode of the spirits called Sídhe, in the tumulus or natural hill, as the case might be, was reached.’ 2 And it is evident from this that the well spirits were even identified in Ireland with the Tuatha De Danann or Fairy-Folk. I am reminded of a walk I was privileged to take with Mr. William B. Yeats on Lady Gregory’s estate at Coole Park, near Gort (County Galway); for Mr. Yeats led me to the haunts of the water-spirits of the region, along a strange river which flows underground for some distance and then comes out to the light again in its weird course, and to a dark, deep pool hidden in the forest. According to tradition, the river is the abode of water-fairies; and in the shaded forest-pool, whose depth is very great, live a spirit-race like the Greek nymphs. More than one mortal while looking into this pool has felt a sudden and powerful impulse to plunge in, for the fairies were then casting their magic spell over him that they might take him to live in their under-water palace for ever.
One of the most beautiful passages in The Tripartite Life of Patrick describes the holy man at the holy well called Cliabach:–’Thereafter Patrick went at sunrise to the well, namely Cliabach on the sides of Cruachan. The clerics sat down by the well. Two daughters of Loegaire son of Niall went early to the well to wash their hands, as was a custom of theirs, namely, Ethne the Fair, and Fedelm the Ruddy. The maidens found beside the well the assembly of the clerics in white garments, with their books before them. And they wondered at the shape of the clerics, and thought that they were men of the elves or apparitions. They asked tidings of Patrick: “Whence are ye, and whence have ye come? Are ye of the elves or of the gods?” And Patrick said to them: “It were better for you to believe in God than to inquire about our race.” Said the girl who was elder: “Who is your god? and where is he? Is he in heaven, or in earth, or under earth, or on earth? Is he in seas or in streams, or in mountains or in glens? Hath he sons and daughters? Is there gold and silver, is there abundance of every good thing in his kingdom? Tell us about him, how he is seen, how he is loved, how he is found? if he is in youth, or if he is in age? if he is ever-living; if he is beautiful? if many have fostered his son? if his daughters are dear and beautiful to the men of the world?”‘ 1
And in another place it is recorded that ‘Patrick went to the well of Findmag. Slán is its name. They told Patrick that the heathen honoured the well as if it were a god.’ 2 And of the same well it is said, ‘that the magi, i. e. wizards or Druids, used to reverence the well Slán and “offer gifts to it as if it were a god”‘ 2 As Whitley Stokes pointed out, this is the only passage connecting the Druids with well-worship; and it is very important, because it establishes the relation between the Druids as magicians and their control of spirits like fairies. 2 As shown here, and as seems evident in Columba’s relation with Druids and exorcism in Adamnan’s Life of St. Columba, 3 the early Celtic peoples undoubtedly drew many of their fairy-traditions from a memory of druidic rites of divination. Perhaps the most beautiful description of a holy well and a description illustrative of such divination is that of Ireland’s most mystical well, Connla’s Well:–’Sinend, daughter of Lodan Luchargian, son of Ler, out of Tír Tairngire (“Land of Promise, Fairyland”), went to Connla’s Well which is under sea, to behold it. That is a well at which are the hazels and inspirations (?) of wisdom, that is, the hazels of the science of poetry, and in the same hour their fruit, and their blossom and their foliage break forth, and these fall on the well in the same shower, which raises on the water a royal surge of purple. Then the (sacred] salmon chew the fruit, and the juice of the nuts is apparent on their purple bellies. And seven streams of wisdom spring forth and turn there again.’ 1
To these cults of sacred waters numerous non-Celtic parallels could easily be offered, but they seem unnecessary with Celtic evidence so clear. And this evidence which is already set forth shows that the origin of worship paid to sacred wells, fountains, lakes, or rivers, is to be found in the religious practices of the Celts before they became christianized. They believed that certain orders of spirits, often called fairies, and to be identified with them, inhabited, or as was the case with Sinend, who came from the Other-world, visited these places, and must be appeased or approached through sacrifice by mortals seeking their favours. Canon Mahé puts the matter thus:–’The Celts recognized a supreme God, the principle of all things; but they rendered religious worship to the genii or secondary deities who, according to them, united themselves to different objects in nature and made them divine by such union. Among the objects were rivers, the sea, lakes and fountains.’ 2
The things said of sacred waters can also be said of sacred trees among the Celts; and, in the case of sacred trees, more may be added about the Druids and their relation to the Fairy-Faith, for it is well known that the Druids held the oak and its mistletoe in great religious veneration, and it is generally thought that most of the famous Druid schools were in the midst of sacred oak-groves or forests. Pliny has recorded that ‘the Druids, for so they call their magicians, have nothing which they hold more sacred than the mistletoe 3 and the tree on which it grows, provided only it be an oak (robur). But apart from that, they select groves of oak, and they perform no sacred rite without leaves from that tree, so that the Druids may be regarded as even deriving-from it their name interpreted as Greek 1 (a disputed point among modern philologists). Likewise of the Druids, Maximus Tyrius states that the image of their chief god, considered by him to correspond to Zeus, was a lofty oak tree; 2 and Strabo says that the principal place of assembly for the Galatians, a Celtic people of Asia Minor, was the Sacred Oak-grove. 3
Just as the cult of fountains was absorbed by Christianity, so was the cult of trees. Concerning this, Canon Mahé writes:–’One sees sometimes, in the country and in gardens, trees wherein, by trimming and bending together the branches, have been formed niches of verdure, in which have been placed crosses or images of certain saints. This usage is not confined to the Morbihan. Our Lady of the Oak, in Anjou, and Our Lady of the Oak, near Orthe, in Maine, are places famous for pilgrimage. In this last province, says a historian, “One sees at various cross-roads the most beautiful rustic oaks decorated with figures of saints. There are seen there, in five or six villages, chapels of oaks, with whole trunks of that tree enshrined in the wall, beside the altar. Such among others is that famous chapel of Our Lady of the Oak, near the forge of Orthe, whose celebrity attracts daily, from five to six leagues about, a very great gathering of people.”‘ 1
Saint Martin, according to Canon Mahé, tried to destroy sacred pine-tree in the diocese of Tours by telling the people there was nothing divine in it. The people agreed to let it cut down on condition that the saint should receive its great trunk on his head as it fell; and the tree was not cut own. 1 Saint Germain caused a great scandal at Auxerre hanging from the limbs of a sacred tree the heads of wild animals which he had killed while hunting. 1 Saint Gregory the Great wrote to Brunehaut exhorting him to abolish among his subjects the offering of animals’ heads to certain trees. 2
In Ireland fairy trees are common yet; though throughout Celtdom sacred trees, naturally of short duration
, are almost forgotten. In Brittany, the Forest of Brocéliande still enjoys something of the old veneration, but more out of sentiment than by actual worship. A curious survival of an ancient Celtic tree-cult exists in Carmarthen, Wales, where there is still carefully preserved and held upright in a firm casing of cement the decaying trunk of an old oak-tree called Merlin’s Oak; and local prophecy declares on Merlin’s authority that when the tree falls Carmarthen will fall with it. Perhaps through an unconscious desire on the part of some patriotic citizens of averting the calamity by inducing the tree-spirit to transfer its abode, or else by otherwise hoodwinking the tree-spirit into forgetting that Merlin’s Oak is dead, a vigorous and now flourishing young oak has been planted so directly beside it that its foliage embraces it. And in many parts of modern England, the Jack-in-the-Green, a man entirely hidden in a covering of green foliage who dances through the streets on May Day, may be another example of a very ancient tree (or else agricultural) cult of Celtic origin.
There was also, as we already know, more or less of direct worship offered to fairies like the Tuatha De Danann; and sacrifice was made to them even as now, when the Irish or Scotch peasant pours a libation of milk to the ‘good people’ or to the fairy queen who presides over the flocks. In Fíacc’s Hymn 1 it is said, ‘On Ireland’s folk lay darkness: the tribes worshipped elves: They believed not the true godhead of the true Trinity.’ And there is a reliable legend concerning Columbkille which shows that this old cult of elves was not forgotten among the early Irish Christians, though they changed the original good reputation of these invisible beings to one of evil. It is said that Columbkille’s first attempts to erect a church or monastery on Iona were rendered vain by the influence of some evil spirit or else of demons; for as fast as a wall was raised it fell down. Then it was revealed to the saint that the walls could not stand until a human victim should be buried alive under the foundations. And the lot fell on Oran, Columbkille’s companion, who accordingly became a sacrifice to appease the evil spirit, fairies, or demons of the place where the building was to be raised. 2
As an illustration of what the ancient practice of such sacrifice to place-spirits, or to gods, must have been like in Wales, we offer the following curious legend concerning the conception of Myrddin (Merlin), as told by our witness from Pontrhydfendigaid, Mr. John Jones (see p. 147):–’When building the Castle of Gwrtheyrn, near Carmarthen, as much as was built by day fell down at night. So a council of the Dynion Hysbys or “Wise Men” was called, and they decided that the blood of a fatherless boy had to be used in mixing the mortar if the wall was to stand. Search was thereupon made for a fatherless boy (cf. p. 351), and throughout all the kingdom no such boy could be found. But one day two boys were quarrelling, and one of them in defying the other wanted to know what a fatherless boy like him had to say to him. An officer of the king, overhearing the quarrel, seized the boy thus tauntingly addressed as the one so long looked for. The circumstances were made known to the king, and the boy was taken to him. “Who is your father?” asked the king. “My mother never told me,” the boy replied. Then the boy’s mother was sent for, and the king asked her who the father of the boy was, and she replied: “I do not know; for I have never known a man. Yet, one night, it seemed to me that a man noble and majestic in appearance slept with me, and I awoke to find that I had been in a dream. But when I grew pregnant afterwards, and this wonderful boy whom you now see was delivered, I considered that a divine being or an angel had visited me in that dream, and therefore I called his child Myrddin the Magician, for such I believe my son to be.” When the mother had thus spoken, the king announced to the court and wise men, “Here is the fatherless boy. Take his blood and use it in mixing the mortar. The walling will not hold without it.” At this, Myrddin taunted the king and wise men, and said they were no better than a pack of idiots. “The reason the walling falls down,” Myrddin went on to say, “is because you have tried to raise it on a rock which covers two large sea-serpents. Whenever the wall is raised over them its weight presses on their backs and makes them uneasy. Then during the night they up-heave their backs to relieve themselves of the pressure, and thus shake the walling to a fall.”‘ The story ends here, but presumably Merlin’s statements were found to be true; and Merlin was not sacrificed, for, as we know, he became the great magician of Arthur’s court.
There are two hills in the Highlands of Aberdeenshire where travellers had to propitiate the banshee by placing barley-meal cakes near a well on each hill; and if the traveller neglected the offering, death or some dire calamity was sure to follow. 1 It is quite certain that the banshee is almost always thought of as the spirit of a dead ancestor presiding over a family, though here it appears more like the tutelary deity of the hills. But sacrifice being thus made, according to the folk-belief, to a banshee, shows, like so many other examples where there is a confusion between divinities or fairies and the souls of the dead, that ancestral worship must be held to play a very important part in the complex Fairy-Faith as a whole. A few non-Celtic parallels determine this at once. Thus, exactly as to fairies here, milk is offered to the souls of saints in the Panjab, India, as a means of propitiating them. 1 M. A. Lefèvre shows that the Roman Lares, so frequently compared to house-haunting fairies, are in reality quite like the Gaelic banshee; that originally they were nothing more than the unattached souls of the dead, akin to Manes; that time and custom made distinctions between them; that in the common language Lares and Manes had synonymous dwellings; and that, finally, the idea of death was little by little divorced from the worship of the Lares, so that they became guardians of the family and protectors of life. 2 On all the tombs of their dead the Romans inscribed these names: Manes, inferi, silentes, 3 the last of which, meaning the silent ones, is equivalent to the term ‘People of Peace’ given to the fairy-folk of Scotland. 4 Nor were the Roman Lares always thought of as inhabiting dwellings. Many were supposed to live in the fields, in the streets of cities, at cross-roads, quite like certain orders of fairies and demons; and in each place these ancestral spirits had their chapels and received offerings of fruit, flowers, and of foliage. If neglected they became spiteful, and were then known as Lemures.
All these examples tend to show what the reviewer of Curtin’s Tales of the Fairies and of the Ghost World states, that ‘The attributes of a ghost–that is to say, the spirit of a dead man–are indistinguishable from those of a fairy. And it is well known how world-wide is the worship of the dead and the offering of food to them, among uncivilized tribes like those of Africa, Australia, and America, as well as among such great nations as China, Corea, India, and Japan; and in ancient times it was universal among the masses of the people in Egypt, Greece, and Rome.
Samain, as we already know, was the great Celtic feast of the dead when offerings or sacrifice of various kinds were made to ancestral spirits, and to the Tuatha De Danann and the spirit-hosts under their control; and Beltene, or the first of May, was another day anciently dedicated to fetes in honour of the dead and fairies. Chapter ii has shown us how November Eve, the modern Samain, and like it, All Saints Eve or La Toussaint, are regarded amo
ng the Celtic peoples now; and the history of La Toussaint seems to indicate that Christianity, as in the case of the cult of trees and fountains, absorbed certain Celtic cults of the dead which centred around the pagan Samain feast of the dead, and even adopted the date of Samain (see p. 453).
Among the ancient Egyptians, so much like the ancient Celts in their innate spirituality and clear conceptions of the invisible world, we find a parallel feast which fell on the seventeenth Athyr of the year. This day was directly dependent upon the progress of the sun; and, as we have throughout emphasized, the ancient symbolism connected with the yearly movements of the Great God of Light and Life cannot be divorced from the ancient doctrines of life and death. To the pre-Christian Celts, the First of November, or the Festival of Samain, which marked the end of summer and the commencement of winter, was symbolical of death. 1 Samain thus corresponds with the Egyptian fête of the dead, for the seventeenth Athyr of the year marks the day on which Sitou (the god of darkness) killed in the midst of a banquet his brother Osiris (the god of light, the sun), and which was therefore thought of as the season when the old sun was dying of his wounds. It was a time when the power of good was on the decline, so that all nature, turning against man, was abandoned to the divinities of darkness, the inhabitants of the Realms of the Dead. On this anniversary of the death of Osiris, an Egyptian would undertake no new enterprise: should he go down to the Nile, a crocodile would attack him as the crocodile sent by Sitou had attacked Osiris, and even as the Darkness was attacking the Light to devour it; 1 should he set out on a journey, he would part from his home and family never to return. His only course was to remain locked in his house, and there await in fear and inaction the passing of the night, until Osiris, returning from death, and reborn to a new existence, should rise triumphant over the forces of Darkness and Evil. 2 It is clear that this last part of the Egyptian belief is quite like the Celtic conception of Samain as we have seen Ailill and Medb celebrating that festival in their palace at Cruachan.
There is a great resemblance between the christianized Feast of Samain, when the dead return to visit their friends and to be entertained, for example as in Brittany, and the beautiful festivals formerly held in the Sînto temples of Japan. Thus at Nikko thousands of lanterns were lighted, ‘each one representing the spirit of an ancestor,’ and there was masquerading and revelry for the entertainment of the visiting spirits. 3 It shows how much religions are alike.
Each year the Roman peoples dedicated two days (February 21-2) to the honouring of the Dead. On the first day, called the Feralia, all Romans were supposed to remain within their own homes. The sanctuaries of all the gods were closed and all ceremony suspended. The only sacrifices made at such a time were to the dead, and to the gods of the dead in the underworld; and all manes were appeased by food-offerings of meats and cakes. The second day was called Cara Cognatio and was a time of family reunions and feasting. Of it Ovid has said (Fasti, ii. 619), ‘After the visit to the tombs and to the ancestors who are no longer [among us], it is pleasant to turn towards the living; after the loss of so many, it is pleasant to behold those who remain of our blood and to reckon up the generations of our descendants.’ And the Greeks also had their feasts for the dead. 1

The fact of ancient Celtic cults of stones, waters, trees, and fairies still existing under cover of Christianity directly sustains the Psychological Theory; and the persistence of the ancient Celtic cult of the dead, as illustrated in the survival of Samain in its modern forms, and perhaps best seen now among the Bretons, goes far to sustain the opinion of Ernest Renan, who declared in his admirable Essais that of all peoples the Celts, as the Romans also recorded, have most precise ideas about death. Thus it is that the Celts at this moment are the most spiritually conscious of western nations. To think of them as materialists is impossible. Since the time of Patrick and Columba the Gaels have been the missionaries of Europe; and, as Caesar asserts, the Druids were the ancient teachers of the Gauls, no less than of all Britain. And the mysteries of life and death are the key-note of all things really Celtic, even of the great literature of Arthur, Cuchulainn, and Finn, now stirring the intellectual world.

427:1 Cf. F. Maassen, Concilia aevi merovingici, p. 133.

427:2 Cf. Boretius, Capitularia region Francorum, i. 59 for each of the above references cf. Jubainville, Le culte des menhirs dans le monde celtique, in Rev. Celt., xxvii. 317.

429:1 Cf. Mahé, Essai, p. 427.

429:2 See Villemarqué sur Bretagne.

429:3 Cf. Mahé, Essai, p. 326; quoted from De Glor. Conf., c. 2.

430:1 Cf. Mahé, Essai, p. 326; quoted from De Glor. Conf., c. 2.

430:2 Cf. Mahé, Essai, p. 326; quoted from Goth., lib. ii.

430:3 A. W. Moore, in Folk-Lore, v. 212-29.

431:1 Cf. Rhŷs, Arthurian Legend, p. 247.

431:2 Borlase, Dolmens of Ireland, iii. 729.

432:1 Stokes, Tripartite Life of Patrick, pp. 99-101.

432:2 Ib., text, pp. 123, 323, and Intro., p. 159.

432:3 Book II, 69-70; see our study, p. 267.

433:1 Rennes Dinnshenchas, Stokes’s trans. in Rev. Celt., xv. 457.

433:2 Cf. Mahé, Essai, p. 323.

433:3 The Celts may have viewed the mistletoe on the sacred oak as the seat p. 434 of the tree’s life, because in the winter sleep of the leafless oak the mistletoe still maintains its own foliage and fruit, and like the heart of a sleeper continues pulsing with vitality. The mistletoe thus being regarded as the heart-centre of the divine spirit in the oak-tree was cut with a golden sickle by the arch-druid clad in pure white robes, amid great religious solemnity, and became a vicarious sacrifice or atonement for the worshippers of the tree god. (Cf. Frazer, G. B.,2 iii 346 ff.)

434:1 Pliny, Nat. Hist., xvi. 95; cf. Rhŷs, Hib. Lect., p. 218.

434:2 Dissert., viii; cf. Rhŷs, ib., p. 219.

434:3 Meineke’s ed., xii. 5, 1; cf. Rhŷs, ib., p. 219. The oak-tree is pre-eminently the holy tree of Europe. Not only Celts, but Slays, worshipped amid its groves. To the Germans it was their chief god; the ancient Italians honoured it above all other trees; the original image of Jupiter on the Capitol at Rome seems to have been a natural oak-tree. So at Dodona, Zeus was worshipped as immanent in a sacred oak. Cf. Fraser, G. B.2 iii. 346 ff.

435:1 Cf. Mahé, Essai, pp. 333-4; quotation from Hist. du Maine, i. 17.

435:2 Cf. Mahé, Essai, p. 334; quoted from Lib. VII, indict. i, epist. 5.

436:1 Stokes, Tripartite Life, p. 409.

436:2 Cf. Wood-Martin, Traces of the Older Faiths in Ireland, i. 305.

437:1 W. Gregor, Notes on Beltene Cakes, in Folk-Lore, vi. 5.

438:1 Temple, Legends of the Panjab, in Folk-Lore, x. 406.

438:2 Lefèvre, Le Culte des Morts chez les Latins, in Rev. Trad. Pop., ix. 195-209.

438:3 See Folk-Lore, vi. 192

438:4 The term ‘People of Peace’ seems, however, to have originated from confounding síd, ‘fairy abode,’ and síd, ‘peace.’

439:1 Cf. Le Cycle Myth. Irl., p. 102.

440:1 The crocodile as the mystic symbol of Sitou provides one key to unlock the mysteries of what eminent Egyptologists have erroneously called animal worship, erroneously because they have interpreted literally what can only be interpreted symbolically. The crocodile is called the ‘son of Sitou’ in the Papyrus magique, Harris, pl. vi, II. 8-9 (cf. Maspero, Les Contes populaires de l’Égypte Ancienne, 3 Intro., p. 56); and as the waters seem to swallow the sun as it sinks below the horizon, so the crocodile, as Sitou representing the waters, swallows the Children of Osiris, as the Egyptians called themselves. On the other band, Osiris is typified by the white bull, in many nations the sun emblem, white being the emblem of purity and light, while the powers of the bull represent the masculinity of the sun, which impregnates all nature, always thought of as feminine, with life germs.

440:2 Cf. Maspero, op. cit., Intro., p. 49.

440:3 Cf. Borlase, Dolmens of Ireland, iii. 854.

441:1 Cf. Lefèvre, Rev. Trad. Pop., ix. 195-209.


Spring Becomes The Man: The Early Poetry of James Joyce

When the Star Goes forth in Heaven

When the shy star goes forth in heaven

All maidenly, disconsolate,

Hear you amid the drowsy even

One who is singing by your gate.

His song is softer than the dew

And he is come to visit you.

O bend no more in revery

When he at eventide is calling,

Nor muse: Who may this singer be

Whose song about my heart is falling?

Know you by this, the lover’s chant,

‘Tis I that am your visitant.

Strings in the Earth and Air
Strings in the earth and air

Make music sweet;

Strings by the river where

The willows meet.

There’s music along the river

For Love wanders there,

Pale flowers on his mantle,

Dark leaves on his hair.

All softly playing,

With head to the music bent,

And fingers straying

Upon an instrument.

My Dove, My Beautiful One
MY dove, my beautiful one,

Arise, arise!

The night-dew lies

Upon my lips and eyes.

The odorous winds are weaving

A music of sighs:

Arise, arise,

My dove, my beautiful one!

I wait by the cedar tree,

My sister, my love.

White breast of the dove,

My breast shall be your bed.

The pale dew lies

Like a veil on my head.

My fair one, my fair dove,

Arise, arise!

What Counsel has the Hooded Moon
What counsel has the hooded moon

Put in thy heart, my shyly sweet,

Of Love in ancient plenilune,

Glory and stars beneath his feet–

A sage that is but kith and kin

With the comedian Capuchin?

Believe me rather that am wise

In disregard of the divine,

A glory kindles in those eyes,

Trembles to starlight. Mine, O Mine!

No more be tears in moon or mist

For thee, sweet sentimentalist.


James Joyce Biography:

James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish novelist, noted for his experimental use of language in such works as Ulysses (1922) and Finneganns Wake (1939). Joyce’s technical innovations in the art of the novel include an extensive use of interior monologue; he used a complex network of symbolic parallels drawn from the mythology, history, and literature, and created a unique language of invented words, puns, and allusions.
James Joyce was born in Dublin, on February 2, 1882, as the son of John Stanislaus Joyce, an impoverished gentleman, who had failed in a distillery business and tried all kinds of professions, including politics and tax collecting. Joyce’s mother, Mary Jane Murray, was ten years younger than her husband. She was an accomplished pianist, whose life was dominated by the Roman Catholic Church. In spite of their poverty, the family struggled to maintain a solid middle-class facade.
From the age of six Joyce, was educated by Jesuits at Clongowes Wood College, at Clane, and then at Belvedere College in Dublin (1893-97). In 1898 he entered the University College, Dublin. Joyce’s first publication was an essay on Ibsen’s play When We Dead Awaken. It appeared in the Fortnightly Review in 1900. At this time he also began writing lyric poems.
After graduation in 1902 the twenty-year-old Joyce went to Paris, where he worked as a journalist, teacher and in other occupations under difficult financial conditions. He spent a year in France, returning when a telegram arrived saying his mother was dying. Not long after her death, Joyce was traveling again. He left Dublin in 1904 with Nora Barnacle, a chambermaid who he married in 1931.
Joyce published Dubliners in 1914, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in 1916, a play Exilesin 1918 and Ulysses in 1922. In 1907 Joyce had published a collection of poems, Chamber Music.
At the outset of the First World War, Joyce moved with his family to Zürich. In Zürich Joyce started to develop the early chapters of Ulysses, which was first published in France because of censorship troubles in the Great Britain and the United States, where the book became legally available only in 1933. In March 1923 Joyce started in Paris his second major work, Finnegans Wake, suffering at the same time chronic eye troubles caused by glaucoma. The first segment of the novel appeared in Ford Madox Ford’s transatlantic review in April 1924, as part of what Joyce called Work in Progress. The final version was published in 1939.
Some critics considered the work a masterpiece, though many readers found it incomprehensible. After the fall of France in WWII, Joyce returned to Zürich, where he died on January 13, 1941, still disappointed with the reception of Finnegans Wake.

Jethro Tull: Jack in the Green (02/10/1977)