The great religions are the ships, Poets the life boats. Every sane person I know has jumped overboard. – Hafiz
Well, this is not so much a traditional Beltane entry… Just a good note from Eric Davis, partially illuminating the greater mystery.
I have been coding and redesigning on Gwyllm-Arts.com
for the last couple of days, and I have yet to complete it. I am adding all kinds of goodies, I will keep ya alerted to what is going on.
I hope you are keeping yourselves healthy, and not worrying so much about the state of the world, ’tis always a turmoil…
Anyway, here is to the beginning of Summer, and all the rituals performed! I am heading off for a bit of that myself. 80)
“In somer when the shawes be sheyne,
And leves be large and long,
Hit is full merry in feyre foreste
To here the foulys song.
To see the dere draw to the dale
And leve the hilles hee,
And shadow him in the leves grene
Under the green-wode tree.
Hit befell on Whitsontide
Early in a May mornyng,
The Sonne up faire can shyne,
And the briddis mery can syng.”
– Anonymous, May in the Green Wode, 15h Century
On The Menu…
Andreas Scholl -”How sweet the moonlight”
Eric Davis, an introduction:Mushroom Magick
Brendan Behan Poetry
Andreas Scholl canta “Flow my tears”
Andreas Scholl -”How sweet the moonlight”
From Eric Davis, an introduction: Mushroom Magick A Visionary Field Guide
Abrams has just released Mushroom Magick, a marvelous field guide to Psilocybe and other hallucinogenic fungi, illustrated by Arik Roper, one of my favorite trippy young illustrator artist types. Here is a portion of my introduction to this excellent volume.
Mushrooms are all about appearances. They emerge in the dark of night or the blink of an eye, and sometimes disappear just as quickly. Now you see them, now you dont. No wonder the ancients thought they were germinated by thunderbolts: they dont seem to grow out of the ground so much as to pop out of thin air. And now we know that the mushrooms that do show up above the surface are themselves just transient representatives of a more lasting organism: the branching tangle of multi-cellular fungal threads that lies hidden beneath the soil. Under certain conditions of temperature and moisture, this internet of myceliumsometimes vast, sometimes ancientsends up fruiting bodies like periscopes in order to distribute reproductive spores. The mushroom, then, is already an icon of itself, appearing in our visible world of fields and forests like an avatar of some deeper, subtler spirit.
The appearance of the mushroom bodies themselves also resemble nothing else on earth, even though these shapes so often remind us of other things: hats and gnomes, umbrellas and cocks, or furniture for toads. Goofy and exotic, elfin and obscene, mushrooms are caricatures of themselves. Their colors can be vivid and strange: blue-blacks and purples and rusty sunset blazes that seem more like the work of fin-de-siècle bohemian artistes than the cheery sign painters who give birds and flowers their bright and happy hues. Some mushrooms even glow in the dark.
Growing out of rot or turd, in damp caves or along dead tree stumps, mushrooms appear in worlds that lie between life and death, animal and plant. Is it any wonder that our ancestors, making their way through the enchanted landscapes of life before science, associated mushrooms with the uncanny, with mischief and sorcery, with spirit transport and immortality? This occult legacy is still inscribed in the common names of so many species: Magecap, Witches Hat, Destroying Angel, Devils Urn, Jack-O-Lantern. Or consider the dozens of mushroom species whose fruiting bodies form circles or arcs on meadows and the forest floor. Can you fault the old ones for calling these designs fairy ringsronds de sorciers in French, hexenringe in Germanor for claiming that they mark the circle dances of pixies or hags? Even the Japanese call the fly agaric beni-tengu-take (scarlet tengu mushroom), after the tenguJapans mythical bird-like trickster impswho are said to get drunk from eating them.
Mushrooms are all about appearances, and appearances deceive. Even as the ancient Taoist sages wandered through their misty pine mountains hunting for the Marvelous Fungus that grants eternal life, many other mushrooms canand dokill. In English we find a traditional linguistic divide between mushrooms (edible) and toadstools (deadly), but this distinction, like most black-and-white moral schemes, does not hold. The mushroom is fundamentally undecidable. Experts still confuse tasty and poisonous specimens, while fungal classification itself remains a notoriously hairy and fractious scientific problem. The more you know them, the less sure you feel about identifying them, said the composer John Cage, an ardent mycophile. Its useless to pretend to know mushrooms. They escape your erudition. Embodying both elixir and toxin, salve and bane, the mushroom may be biologys purest example of what Plato called a pharmakona term, or a substance, that can mean both poison and medicine.
Somewhere between immortality and death, poison and medicine, lies the realm of visions. Given the mushroom kingdoms enchanted profile in folklore, is it any wonder that within its alkaloidal pharmacy there exist a handful of molecules that shift and magnify the human mind? Over a hundred species of mushroom are known or suspected to contain psilocybin and/or its near relatives psilocin, baeocystin, and nor-baeocystinthe main psychoactive ingredients in the shrooms that are now found and gobbled across the planet. A smaller set of Amanitasthe most famous being the red-coated, pearl-spotted A. muscaria, the most caricatured of all mushroomscontain muscimol and ibotenic acid, which are also powerful if more tricksy hallucinogens. Other, weirder species lurk in the wings, half-grokked blends of toxin and drug.
Mushrooms are all about appearances, and the visions that come with a few dried grams of shrooms are nothing if not a stream of appearances. At low doses, the visible world of rocks and clouds takes on a mirthful incandescence that blooms, on the inner screen of the eyelids, into mandalas, mosaic patterns, and other abstract convolutions. At higher doses the mushroom seems to act like a portal into other dimensions. As waves of powerful emotionsawe, bliss, terror, hilaritybathe the mammal body, the bemushroomed person become what mycologist R. Gordon Wasson, echoing Emerson, famously called a disembodied eye. Cyclopean palaces and blinking UFOs may rise out of lost junglescapes, while insect lords and almond-eyed goddesses play hide-and-seek behind shimmering veils of alien hieroglyphs. Ones mind becomes the stage for an apocalyptic mystery play, whose final, flirting curtain promises a revelation of such cosmic import that it threatens to unravel the very texture of time and self.
Given such jaw-dropping phantasmagoria, it is understandable that some students of the mushroom believe that in the fungus they have stumbled across the hidden origins of human religion. Perhaps the most celebrated of these was Wasson himself, a Wall Street banker who, in a 1957 edition of Life magazine, revealed the existence of a magic mushroom cult practiced by peasant healers in the remote mountains of Oaxaca. Given the great deal of evidence we have for pre-Columbian use of Psilocybe mushrooms in Mesoamerica, Wasson reasonably believed that he had discovered the smoldering embers of an ancient tradition. Wasson went on to argue that psychedelic fungi contributed the secret sauce for soma, the mystical brew lovingly described in the Vedas of India, as well as for the kykeon guzzled during the ancient mystery rites of Eleusis.
Wasson was hardly alone. In 1970, John Allegro published The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, which argued that the origins of Christianity were fungal as well, a secret encoded in the Eucharist. Druids and Vikings were also speculated by some to be magic mushroom eaters, an argument that went down well in a counter-culture striving to ground its own hallucinogenic explorations in deep history. In the early 1990s, the scintillating psychedelic bard Terence McKenna picked up the thread and wove an even larger tale. As the rave scene sparked a new wave of mushroom gobbling around the globe, McKenna argued that the mushrooms semiotic rocket-ride kick-started language itself, and that human consciousness can be traced to the first ancestor who decided to munch some of the cow-pie companions that popped up on the Serengeti plains. In other words, mankind is mushroomkind.
But appearances can deceive. Despite the fact that Psilocybe spores carpet-bombed wide swaths of our planet millennia ago, there is little hard evidence for psychedelic mushroom use in traditional societieseven among groups that consume other mind-expanding plants and brews. Along with Mesoamerica, where royal weddings were capped with mushroom-fueled dance parties, the only other bulls-eye is Siberia, where shamans (and ordinary folks) consumed Amanita muscaria, the non-psilocybin-containing fungus whose psychoactive alkaloids were also passed around through the quaffing of urine. In Europe, there is scant s
uggestion of mushroom use, despite the ubiquity of several species. Solidly documented cases of probable Psilocybe intoxication begin in the eighteenth century, and they suggest that these accidental shroomers discovered nothing particularly cosmic in their tripsalthough some did get the giggles.
Nonetheless, a number of authors insist that a hidden mushroom cult of fungal gnosis, rooted in Neolithic shamanism, has been passed down secretly. Given our theme here, whats most interesting about the evidence they marshal is how much of it depends on the appearance of mushroom-like images. As far as the Neolithic past goes, McKenna was particularly fond of a rock-art image from Tassili, Algeria, which depicts a wizardly character with a horned bee-shaped head and a body covered with some suggestive protuberances. Looking toward the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Clark Heinrich points to mushroom-shaped anomalies drawn from alchemical texts, illuminated manuscripts, and bronze panels from medieval cathedrals. Giorgio Samorini has offered similar speculations about the occasional mushroom trees found in early Christian art. Even the modern commercial images of Santa Clausa magical figure in red and white clothes who flies through the air and lives in the frozen northhas been interpreted as residue of Siberias Amanita shamanism.
Yet those who are looking for mushrooms may simply be more inclined to find them. Images deceive. The shapes on the Tassili figure may be fattened arrowheads, or the sort of abstract designs that permeate rock art around the world. Medieval iconologists identify the spindly mushroom tree on the oft-mentioned bronze panel from Hildesheim as a stylized ficus. For true believers, the fragmentary nature of this evidence simply confirms the sneakiness of the cult. Either way, there is a great irony in taking mushroom shapes found in art literally, as unambiguous evidence for the existence of psychedelic magico-religious rituals along the lines of the ones Wasson found in Oaxaca. The message that the mushroom delivers to the eye of the beholder may suggest another story: that appearances themselves are a trickster, a glamour, a phantasm. Now you see it, now you dont.
Brendan Behan Poetry
I REMEMBER IN SEPTEMBER
I remember in September,
When the final stumps were drawn,
And the shouts of crowds now silent
And the boys to tea were gone.
Let us, oh Lord above us,
Still remember simple things,
When all are dead who love us,
Oh the Captains and the Kings,
When all are dead who love us,
Oh the Captains and the Kings.
Far away in dear old Cyprus,
Or in Kenyas dusty land,
Where all bear the white mans burden
In many a strange land.
As we look across our shoulder
In West Belfast the school bell rings,
And we sigh for dear old England,
And the Captains and the Kings.
I wandered in a nightmare
All around Great Windsor Park,
And what did you think I found there
As I stumbled in the dark?
It was an apple half-bitten,
And sweetest of all things,
Five baby teeth had written
Of the Captains and the Kings.
OPEN THE WINDOW SOFTLY
Open the door softly,
Shut it-keep out the draught,
For years and years, Ive shed millions of tears,
And never but once have I laughed.
It was the time the holy picture fell,
And knocked me old Granny cold,
While she knitted and sang an old Irish song,
It was by traitors poor old Ulster was sold.
So open the window softly,
For Jaysus sake, hang an old latch,
Come in and lie down, and afterwards
You can ask me whats the catch.
Before these foreign-born bastards, dear,
See you dont let yourself down,
Well be the Lion and Unicorn,
My Rose unto your Crown.
ON THE EIGHTEENTH DAY OF NOVEMBER…
Just outside the town of Macroom.
The tans in their big Crossley tenders,
Came roaring along to their doom.
But the boys of the column were waiting
With hand grenades primed on the spot,
And the Irish Republican Army
Made shit of the whole mucking lot.
THE LAUGHING BOY
It was on an August morning, all in the moring hours,
I went to take the warming air all in the month of flowers,
And there I saw a maiden and heard her mournful cry,
Oh, what will mend my broken heart, Ive lost my Laughing Boy.
So strong, so wide, so brave he was, Ill mourn his loss too sore
When thinking that well hear the laugh or springing step no more.
Ah, curse the time, and sad the loss my heart to crucify,
Than an Irish son, with a rebel gun, shot down my Laughing Boy.
Oh, had he died by Pearses side, or in the G.P.O.,
Killed by an English bullet from the rifle of the foe,
Or forcibly fed while Ashe lay dead in the dungeons of Mountjoy,
Id have cried with pride at the way he died, my own dear Laughing Boy.
My princely love, can ageless love do more than tell to you
Go raibh mile maith Agath, for all you tried to do,
For all you did and would have done, my enemies to destroy,
Ill prize your name and guard your fame, my own dear Laughing Boy.
Andreas Scholl canta “Flow my tears”