“As I have not worried to be born, I do not worry to die.”

– Federico Garcia Lorca

From The Tao Te Ching:
“Those who know don’t talk.

Those who talk don’t know.
Close your mouth,

block off your senses,

blunt your sharpness,

untie your knots,

soften your glare,

settle your dust.

This is the primal identity.
Be like the Tao.

It can’t be approached or withdrawn from,

benefited or harmed,

honored or brought into disgrace.

It gives itself up continually.

That is why it endures.”

Listening to Rena Jones new album Indra’s Web lately. It is her best, and that is saying alot. Support the artist, and hunt it down. I recommend it, and it will be reviewed in the new edition of The Invisible College soon-ish.

Progenitors: Homage To Max Ernst

Collage is the noble conquest of the irrational, the coupling of two realities, irreconcilable in appearance, upon a plane which apparently does not suit them.

-Max Ernst
Artist are often pigeon-holed into one school of expression or another. Some going voluntarily, others kicking and screaming. Some bridge schools, and the ones that steal the most successfully, begin schools. (or so it is said…)
Sometimes, it is just a matter of realizing and saluting who your influences are. I have found that I have several, but one in particular stands out with the recent work that I have been working on: Max Ernst. A giant, and I only discovered him because of my first great art crush: Sätty. Sätty borrowed from Ernst, and I have borrowed inspiration from Sätty. There, I said it. Nothing original except in application of my awareness to the art form. Of course, I no longer use the tried and true methods that both Sätty & Ernst used. The computer is my medium, and one that I love. A blessing on Photoshop!
In a conversation I had with the friend of Sätty and the conservator of Satty’s estate Walter Medeiros, Walter said that he could not see a direct connection between my work and Sätty’s. I guess that I have been moving the collage formula into another direction, but my inspiration still lies with the classic works. Other artist have mentioned that they can see the connection. Funnily enough, they mention Ernst more often than not. I take that as a compliment btw.
You can readily see the influence that Ernst had on Sätty. One of the great criticisms of Satty was that his work appeared to be derivative of Ernst, which may or may not be true, but as time went along, you could see a divergence in application with Sätty’s collages. His last works were breath-taking.
Ernst was an original. His illustrated novels, paintings and other works stand out in the Surrealist Pantheon. His works with collage may indeed have been the biggest contribution to modern art through the Surrealist stream. Through Sätty, Max Ernst stepped forward and whispered into my ear. We all have influences, and we should recognize them, and celebrate them.

I started this entry around the Mimi & Richard Farina clips from Pete Seegers’ show in the mid-60′s. I admit, as a young man Mimi was better than sliced bread with jam on it. The fact that she could sing and play guitar well just added spice to it all. The reality of that I never had met her, and she was older, as well married to a brilliant partner didn’t complicate matters so much in my young mind. (There is a brilliant antiwar poster of her and her lovely sister as well as a friend from 67′: “Girls Say Yes To boys who say no”.)
Her husband Richard Farina was quite the Bohemian package. It has been said that between him, Bob Dylan, and the Baez sisters Mimi and Joan, they redefined beat into its 60′s manifestation. I can’t disagree with that, and I understand there is a book on it: “Positively 4th Street”. I am looking for a copy out of curiosity. I suggest Richard Farina’s book as well: “Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me”… this is a brilliant novelization of his early days.
I think you will find the music that Richard & Mimi made very interesting. It illuminated my days and nights when I was in my first youth, and I still find it beautiful today. Mimi died a few years back in her mid 50′s. After Richards death she still performed for awhile, but her crowning success is “Bread & Roses”… I find her work with prisoners to be a great inspiration. She lived a full life, and touched many including a young kid years ago.
This Entries Literary Theme: Turkish… through a folktale, and revisiting with Nazim Hikmet, we re-enter the stream of Turkish art. More to come, I keep discovering greater, and greater depths. This is such a great delight! If I could only devote more time to it!
Well, I have been working on this entry long enough, work is calling and the day is beautiful.
Bright Blessings,

On The Menu:

The Links

Mimi & Richard Farina performing “Dopico” and “Celebration For A Grey Day”

Max Ernst Quotes

Turkish Fairy Tales: Sister and Brother

Richard & Mimi Farina – “Bold Marauder”

The Poetry of Nazim Hikmet

Mimi & Richard Farina performing “Pack Up Your Sorrows” and a small chat with Mimi

Art: Max Ernst

Bio: Max Ernst


The Links:

The Mayor of 7th Avenue…..

Glass Frog?

The Plant That Pretends To Be Ill

Solstice At Stonehenge…

Talking To The Plants..

Mimi & Richard Farina performing “Dopico” and “Celebration For A Grey Day”

Max Ernst Quotes:

“Painting is not for me either decorative amusement, or the plastic invention of felt reality; it must be every time: invention, discovery, revelation.”

“You can drink the images with your eyes.”

“When the artist finds himself he is lost. The fact that he has succeeded in never finding himself is regarded by Max Ernst as his only lasting achievement. “

“All good ideas arrive by chance.”

“Woman’s nudity is wiser than the philosopher’s teachings.”



Turkish Fairy Tales: Sister and Brother
There once lived a man named Ahmed Aga. He was very rich, and beside his wife had no one belonging to him. The only thing that disturbed his happiness was the fact that he had no child. “Allah,” said he, “has endowed me with much property and wealth; I have also an honourable name; would that He might vouchsafe me a child! Then were my happiness complete. After my death he would inherit my whole fortune, and my fame would be enhanced.”
One night he was brooding as usual over this matter and said to his wife: “Would it not have been better if Allah had given us poverty with a child?” These words pained his wife very deeply, and before she went to bed she prayed to Allah for consolation, In the night she dreamt that she was sitting by the sea-shore. A mermaid came to the surface of the water with a pot in her hand and said to the woman “Tell your husband Allah has given him this kismet; let him come and fetch it.” She hastened home to tell her husband and in her excitement woke Ahmed Aga as well as herself. “What is the matter?” asked the man. “Nothing,” answered the woman; “but you have waked me.”
“No,” returned the man, “it was you who roused me.” Then his wife recounted what she had seen and heard in her dream. “Then that was why you woke me,” muttered her husband, and turning over went to sleep again. To his wife, however, the dream was a thing of good omen.
Rising next morning, the woman advised her husband to go down to the seashore. “It might be no vain dream after all,” she mused. “Do not be foolish,” retorted her husband, “our kismet is not in dreams; if Allah has any gift to bestow on us He will do it by other means.” His wife, how. ever, gave him no peace. “Nevertheless go,” she insisted; “the sea will not engulf you, and maybe Allah will bless us in this wise.” The man could not further withstand his wife, so when he went out for a stroll, he took the direction of the seashore.
While pacing up and down he noticed that some dark object was being washed ashore on the crest of the billows. As it came nearer he could see that it was a pot, the mouth of which was securely bound. Alternating betwixt hope and fear, he seized the pot and with a bismillah opened it. Imagine his joy to find therein two newborn babes. When Ahmed Aga saw them he was like a child himself; in his delight he knew not what to do first. Taking off his cloak, he wrapped the babes carefully in it and ran all the way home. He arrived out of breath, and dropped the bundle in his wife’s lap. When she opened it and saw what it contained she too was frantic with joy, kissing the children and pressing them to her heart. The babes being hungry soon began to cry lustily. This brought the worthy couple to their senses, and soon Ahmed was on the road in search of a nurse for their unexpected family. Before long he found a suitable woman, and engaged her at a very generous wage. As soon as she arrived the cries of the infants were stilled immediately. On the following day two more nurses were engaged, and thus cared for the children, a boy and a girl, grew fat and strong.
In another town there was likewise a man who had no children, although, like Ahmed Aga, he greatly desired a son. So he and his wife prayed earnestly to Allah that he would give them a child, and when they learned that their prayers were to be answered, their rejoicing was unbounded. The good news came to the ears of a servant who at one time had been in that household, but having been dismissed by the wife for neglecting her duties, she was desperately jealous at the happiness which was coming to her former mistress. Determined to take her revenge, she presented herself as a nurse, and was engaged. In due time twin babies, a boy and a girl, were born; but while their mother was sleeping, and before ever their father had seen them, the false nurse put the children into a pot, and having sealed it carefully, cast it into the sea. While the husband was sleeping, the false woman sat by him and whispered in his ear so that he thought it was a dream sent by Allah. She told him that he had been deceived and had, after all, no child. As the mother had been asleep, she could not tell what had become of her children, and certainly they were nowhere to be found. So the husband, believing his dream, was very angry at what he thought was his wife’s attempt to deceive him, and he drove her out of his house. The poor creature had not a friend in the world, and went forth weeping bitterly.
She wandered on from one hill to another, until one day, although it was dark, it seemed as though each hill was a different colour from the others. Fear seized upon her heart and tears started from her eyes. Hunger and fatigue overcame her, and she knew not what to do. Seeing a tree, she climbed up to spend the night in it and await Allah’s pleasure toward her. Having settled herself among the leafy branches, she wept herself to sleep. When morning dawned she descended in the hope of meeting with a passer by or coming to a village where she might obtain a little bread.
But, alas! no aid was nigh, and after wandering for many hours she sank down from sheer exhaustion. Presently, however, she saw in the distance a shepherd, and, summoning the remainder of her little strength, she accosted him. Offering her bread, the shepherd asked her trouble. When he had heard it he took pity upon her and led her home to his wife, his son, and his daughter.
As time went on the poor woman had almost forgotten her sorrow, excepting her grief for the loss of her children, over whom she often sighed and wept. How fared they in the meantime?
With the good Ahmed Aga and his wife they grew up to their fourteenth year and went together to school. One day the boy was playing with a companion, who, jealous of his superiority over him, said: “Be off, you fatherless and motherless brat, found by Ahmed Aga on the seashore.” At these words the boy’s brow became clouded, and he ran away angrily to his foster-mother, telling her what had been said to him. She endeavoured to calm him, but that same night the boy dreamt of the shepherd’s hut and of his mother, who in the dream related all her sufferings. When he repeated the dream to his sister, lo! she also had had a similar dream. Then the boy knew that what his playfellows had taunted him with was no untruth, but the fact. They went together to their kind foster-father and told him what they had both dreamt. The good man was troubled, but confessed that he had indeed found them in a pot washed up by the waves; of their mother he knew nothing. The brother and sister were in despair at the thought of their poor mother living in a shepherd’s cottage. It was impossible to comfort them, and finally the boy declared his intention of setting out to find his mother. His sister was left behind in the kind hands of her foster-parents.
Spurred on by his heroic courage and anxiety for his mother, the boy made all haste, and as he lay down to rest under the stars one night the place of his mother’s sojourn was revealed to him in a dream. To cut our story shorter, we will only say that in one day he covered a five-days, journey without experiencing either hunger or fear. As he followed the course indicated in his dream he found his further progress barred by a hideous dragon. The boy had no weapon, but picking up a large stone he flung it at the ugly beast with such tremendous force that the creature reeled backward and fell to the earth. “If you are a man throw another stone at me,” shouted the dragon; but the youth went his way, leaving the dragon to perish.
Indefatigably the boy travelled, and in due time reached the valley where his mother had once spent the night in a tree. Here he stopped, and at the foot of the tree sought the rest that had long been denied him. W
hile he slept, the brother of the dead dragon, having heard what had happened, came in search of the boy. The monster’s heavy strides caused the earth to tremble and awoke the youth. “I am certain you are the youth who has killed my brother,” began the dragon. “Now it is my turn.” Saying this, with jaws foaming and fire issuing from his nostrils, he sprang upon the lad. In self-defence the youth grasped the dragon’s foreleg, using such strength that he tore it from the body and flung it away. Then the dragon sank down weakening from loss of blood, saying: “To him who has taken my life belongs my treasure.” The unwieldy beast rolled over and over and finally disappeared into a cavern at the foot of a mountain.
Prompted by curiosity, the youth glanced into the mouth of the cavern and saw a staircase leading downward. Descending, he found a palace,
which he entered and explored in all directions. In one apartment was a maiden sitting on a throne–a maiden so lovely that his heart was a thou sand times filled with love of her. On her part the maiden was enraptured with the youth’s comeliness; but, not knowing of the dragon’s destruction, she cried: “Woe unto us! If the dragon sees this youth he will kill us both.” Then addressing the youth she asked: “How came you into this palace of the Breathless Dragon? Whomsoever he looks upon is slain by his mere glance.”
Now the youth related to the maiden how he had slain both dragons, and he besought her to come away with him. As she appeared not to comprehend, he repeated his words and urged her to hasten, as he had other business to fulfil. “That being so,” said the maiden at last, “there is much here that we might take away with us.” The maiden leading the way and the youth following, they entered the forty rooms of the palace, each of which was filled with gold, diamonds, and precious stones. However, the youth said: “My dear, I have first an important duty to perform; when that is done, we will return and take away as much of this treasure as we please.”
Thus they departed, and at some distance saw the shepherd’s hut which sheltered the youth’s mother. At once he recognised it as the building seen in his dream. Hurrying up, he knocked at the door, and it was opened by his mother herself. Each recognised the other from their dreams, and they fell into each other’s arms.
Next morning they all set off together for the dragon’s palace. On the backs of the horse and donkey they brought with them, they packed as many sacks of gold and diamonds as the animals could possibly carry. Then they hastened, with brief pauses for rest, to the home of Ahmed Aga, where the youth rejoined his sister and the mother saw her daughter. Now the joyful woman was repaid for all her past sufferings, and they all lived happily together for many years.
The worthy shepherd’s son was betrothed to the youth’s sister, while the youth himself was betrothed to the maiden of the dragon’s palace. A suitable husband was found for the shepherd’s daughter, and they were all married on the same day, the festivities lasting forty days and forty nights, and their happiness for ever.



Richard & Mimi Farina – “Bold Marauder”

The Poetry of Nazim Hikmet

Hymn To Life

The hair falling on your forehead

suddenly lifted.

Suddenly something stirred on the ground.

The trees are whispering

in the dark.

Your bare arms will be cold.
Far off

where we can’t see,

the moon must be rising.

It hasn’t reached us yet,

slipping through the leaves

to light up your shoulder.

But I know

a wind comes up with the moon.

The trees are whispering.

Your bare arms will be cold.
From above,

from the branches lost in the dark,

something dropped at your feet.

You moved closer to me.

Under my hand your bare flesh is like the fuzzy skin of a fruit.

Neither a song of the heart nor “common sense”–

before the trees, birds, and insects,

my hand on my wife’s flesh

is thinking.

Tonight my hand

can’t read or write.

Neither loving nor unloving…

It’s the tongue of a leopard at a spring,

a grape leaf,

a wolf’s paw.

To move, breathe, eat, drink.

My hand is like a seed

splitting open underground.

Neither a song of the heart nor “common sense,”

neither loving nor unloving.

My hand thinking on my wife’s flesh

is the hand of the first man.

Like a root that finds water underground,

it says to me:

“To eat, drink, cold, hot, struggle, smell, color–

not to live in order to die

but to die to live…”
And now

as red female hair blows across my face,

as something stirs on the ground,

as the trees whisper in the dark,

and as the moon rises far off

where we can’t see,

my hand on my wife’s flesh

before the trees, birds, and insects,

I want the right of life,

of the leopard at the spring, of the seed splitting open–

I want the right of the first man.

On Living


Living is no laughing matter:

you must live with great seriousness

like a squirrel, for example–

I mean without looking for something beyond and above living,

I mean living must be your whole occupation.

Living is no laughing matter:

you must take it seriously,

so much so and to such a degree

that, for example, your hands tied behind your back,

your back to the wall,

or else in a laboratory

in your white coat and safety glasses,

you can die for people–

even for people whose faces you’ve never seen,

even though you know living

is the most real, the most beautiful thing.

I mean, you must take living so seriously

that even at seventy, for example, you’ll plant

olive trees–

and not for your children, either,

but because although you fear death you don’t believe it,

because living, I mean, weighs heavier.

Let’s say you’re seriously ill, need surgery–

which is to say we might not get

from the white table.

Even though it’s impossible not to feel sad

about going a little too soon,

we’ll still laugh at the jokes being told,

we’ll look out the window to see it’s raining,

or still wait anxiously

for the latest newscast …

Let’s say we’re at the front–

for something worth fighting for, say.

There, in the first offensive, on that very day,

we might fall on our face, dead.

We’ll know this with a curious anger,

but we’ll still worry ourselves to death

about the outcome of the war, which could last years.

Let’s say we’re in prison

and close to fifty,

and we have eighteen more years, say,

before the iron doors will open.

We’ll still live with the outside,

with its people and animals, struggle and wind–

I mean with the outside beyond the walls.

I mean, however and wherever we are,

we must live as if we will never die.

This earth will grow cold,

a star among stars

and one of the smallest,

a gilded mote on blue velvet–

I mean this, our great earth.

This earth will grow cold one day,

not like a block of ice

or a dead cloud even

but like an empty walnut it will roll along

in pitch-black space …

You must grieve for this right now

–you have to feel this sorrow now–

for the world must be loved this much

if you’re going to say “I lived” …

Things I Didn’t Know I Loved
it’s 1962 March 28th

I’m sitting by the window on the Prague-Berlin train

night is falling

I never knew I liked

night descending like a tired bird on a smoky wet plain

I don’t like

comparing nightfall to a tired bird
I didn’t know I loved the earth

can someone who hasn’t worked the earth love it

I’ve never worked the earth

it must be my only Platonic love
and here I’ve loved rivers all this time

whether motionless like this they curl skirting the hills

European hills crowned with chateaus

or whether stretched out flat as far as the eye can see

I know you can’t wash in the same river even once

I know the river will bring new lights you’ll never see

I know we live slightly longer than a horse but not nearly as long as a crow

I know this has troubled people before

and will trouble those after me

I know all this has been said a thousand times before

and will be said after me
I didn’t know I loved the sky

cloudy or clear

the blue vault Andrei studied on his back at Borodino

in prison I translated both volumes of War and Peace into Turkish

I hear voices

not from the blue vault but from the yard

the guards are beating someone again

I didn’t know I loved trees

bare beeches near Moscow in Peredelkino

they come upon me in winter noble and modest

beeches are Russian the way poplars are Turkish

“the poplars of Izmir

losing their leaves. . .

they call me The Knife. . .

lover like a young tree. . .

I blow stately mansions sky-high”

in the Ilgaz woods in 1920 I tied an embroidered linen handkerchief

to a pine bough for luck
I never knew I loved roads

even the asphalt kind

Vera’s behind the wheel we’re driving from Moscow to the Crimea


formerly “Goktepé ili” in Turkish

the two of us inside a closed box

the world flows past on both sides distant and mute

I was never so close to anyone in my life

bandits stopped me on the red road between Bolu and Geredé

when I was eighteen

apart from my life I didn’t have anything in the wagon they could take

and at eighteen our lives are what we value least

I’ve written this somewhere before

wading through a dark muddy street I’m going to the shadow play

Ramazan night

a paper lantern leading the way

maybe nothing like this ever happened

maybe I read it somewhere an eight-year-old boy

going to the shadow play

Ramazan night in Istanbul holding his grandfather’s hand

his grandfather has on a fez and is wearing the fur coat

with a sable collar over his robe

and there’s a lantern in the servant’s hand

and I can’t contain myself for joy

flowers come to mind for some reason

poppies cactuses jonquils

in the jonquil garden in Kadikoy Istanbul I kissed Marika

fresh almonds on her breath

I was seventeen

my heart on a swing touched the sky

I didn’t know I loved flowers

friends sent me three red carnations in prison
I just remembered the stars

I love them too

whether I’m floored watching them from below

or whether I’m flying at their side
I have some questions for the cosmonauts

were the stars much bigger

did they look like huge jewels on black velvet

or apricots on orange

did you feel proud to get closer to the stars

I saw color photos of the cosmos in Ogonek magazine now don’t

be upset comrades but nonfigurative shall we say or abstract

well some of them looked just like such paintings which is to

say they were terribly figurative and concrete

my heart was in my mouth looking at them

they are our endless desire to grasp things

seeing them I could even think of death and not feel at all sad

I never knew I loved the cosmos
snow flashes in front of my eyes

both heavy wet steady snow and the dry whirling kind

I didn’t know I liked snow
I never knew I loved the sun

even when setting cherry-red as now

in Istanbul too it sometimes sets in postcard colors

but you aren’t about to paint it that way

I didn’t know I loved the sea

except the Sea of Azov

or how much
I didn’t know I loved clouds

whether I’m under or up above them

whether they look like giants or shaggy white beasts
moonlight the falsest the most languid the most petit-bourgeois

strikes me

I like it
I didn’t know I liked rain

whether it falls like a fine net or splatters against the glass my

heart leaves me tangled up in a net or trapped inside a drop

and takes off for uncharted countries I didn’t know I loved

rain but why did I suddenly discover all these passions sitting

by the window on the Prague-Berlin train

is it because I lit my sixth cigarette

one alone could kill me

is it because I’m half dead from thinking about someone back in Moscow

her hair straw-blond eyelashes blue
the train plunges on through the pitch-black night

I never knew I liked the night pitch-black

sparks fly from the engine

I didn’t know I loved sparks

I didn’t know I loved so many things and I had to wait until sixty

to find it out sitting by the window on the Prague-Berlin train

watching the world disappear as if on a journey of no return
19 April 1962



Last Will And Testament

Comrades, if I don’t live to see the day

– I mean,if I die before freedom comes –

take me away

and bury me in a village cemetery in Anatolia.
The worker Osman whom Hassan Bey ordered shot

can lie on one side of me, and on the other side

the martyr Aysha, who gave birth in the rye

and died inside of forty days.
Tractors and songs can pass below the cemetery –

in the dawn light, new people, the smell of burnt gasoline,

fields held in common, water in canals,

no drought or fear of the police.
Of course, we won’t hear those songs:

the dead lie stretched out underground

and rot like black branches,

deaf, dumb, and blind under the earth.
But, I sang those songs

before they were written,

I smelled the burnt gasoline

before the blueprints for the tractors were drawn.
As for my neighbors,

the worker Osman and the martyr Aysha,

they felt the great longing while alive,

maybe without even knowing it.
Comrades, if I die before that day, I mean

– and it’s looking more and more likely –

bury me in a village cemetery in Anatolia,

and if there’s one handy,

a plane tree could stand at my head,

I wouldn’t need a stone or anything.
Moscow, Barviha Hospital


Max Ernst Bio:

Max Ernst was born on April 2, 1891 in Brühl, near Cologne. Ernst began studying classical philology but then became interested in art and literature through the 1912 Cologne Sonderbund Exhibit and his friendship with August Macke, whom he met in 1910-11. He became acquainted with the ‘Blaue Reiter’, Apollinaire, Delaunay, Georges Grosz and Wieland Herzfelde as well as Hans Arp.
He fought in World War I in France and Poland, and recovered from clinical death, an experience which was to deepen his decision to take up art. Married the art historian Luise Straus (1918) and the next year, visited Paul Klee and created his first paintings, block prints and collages, and experimented with mixed media. Along with J. T. Baargeld and Hans Arp, he founded the Cologne Dada group, and in 1921 was invited by André Breton to Paris, where he befriended Tristan Tzara and Sophie Taeuber.
A year later, he moved there and illustrated the collage-novel Les Malheurs des immortels, to which Paul Éluard provided the texts. Illustrated further books of poetry by Eluard (1923) and created 17 wall murals for Eluard’s house in Eaubonne (rediscovered in the 60′s and exhibited).
In 1925 Ernst developed the frottage technique as it would be employed in his entire work process thereafter until his later graphic works. It was during this period that he created his series Histoire Naturelle, Bird Paintings, and Forests, and in 1926, the sets for Sergei Diaghilev’s Russian Ballet. He collaborated with Joan Miró, and then with Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí on the film l’Age d’Or.
In 1927 he married Marie-Berthe Aurenche. Two years later, he created another collage-novel La Femme à 100 Têtes. His first exhibit in New York took place in 1931. Spent time in Maloja with Alberto Giacometti (1934) and created the collage-novel Une Semaine de Bonté. Began using the décalcomanie technique – a sort of decal painting (1936) and did the set decoration for Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Enchaîné (1937). In the mean time, his work was being confiscated in Germany.
Ernst joined Leonora Carrington, and moved to southern France, Saint-Martin d’Ardèche in 1938. In 1939, he was sent to a concentration camp but set free again by Eluard’s appeal. The very next year he was again sent to a concentration camp, this one in Aix-en-Provence, from which he attempted to escape twice.
Emigrated to the USA (1941), settled in New York and married the art collector Peggy Guggenheim. He began exhibiting in 1942 and met with other émigrés such as David Hare, André Breton and Marcel Duchamp. Began working on new plastic art (1944). Met the artist Dorothea Tanning (1942), they took life-time vows to each other in 1946 and moved to Sedona, Arizona. He wrote the treatise Beyond Painting (1948) and only returned to Europe on a visit in 1949-50.
A retrospective of his works was held on his 60th birthday in Brühl (though he rejected the honorary citizenship later offered to him). Guest lecturer in Hawaii. In 1953 he returned to Paris but was excluded from the Surrealist circle. At the 27th Biennial in Venice (1954), received the first prize, which helped him to get financially back on his feet. Settled in Touraine in 1955 and became a French citizen in 1958.
On his 70th birthday, his work was shown in various exhibitions, among others at the Tate Gallery in London and the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne. In 1963 he and his wife Dorothea Tanning moved to the southern French town of Seilans. A retrospective was held at the Kunsthaus in Zurich. In 1964, his graphic series ‘Maximiliana’ printed, an important work. He designed stage sets and a fountain for the city of Ambois (1968). In 1975, retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the Galeries Nationales du Grand-Palais in Paris published a complete catalogue of his works, the Spies / Leppien Catalogue. A book in two volumes on his graphic work from 1906-1925 published.
Max Ernst died on April 1, 1976 in Paris

Mimi & Richard Farina performing “Pack Up Your Sorrows” and a small chat with Mimi


Across The Waves

Anarchists are opposed to violence; everyone knows that. The main plank of anarchism is the removal of violence from human relations. It is life based on freedom of the individual, without the intervention of the gendarme. For this reason we are the enemies of capitalism which depends on the protection of the gendarme to oblige workers to allow themselves to be exploited–or even to remain idle and go hungry when it is not in the interest of the bosses to exploit them. We are therefore enemies of the State which is the coercive violent organization of society.

–Errico Malatesta

Started writing this entry back on the 5th of June… It has built up a bit of steam since then. I have gotten side tracked on various issues; doing layout for a poetry book, painting on a house of incredible scary heights, watching the weather go from screwy to worse, and realizing you can’t always do it all. (though I try… and try)
Saturday: A Contemplation On Iran & The Shift:

Watching Twitter today, and the various media outlets, I have come to the conclusion that what we are seeing is the tip of the iceberg; the world may indeed be moving into the phase it was 41 years ago with the Paris Uprising, Chicago, the Martin Luther King Riots… Mexico City etc… I saw it pointed out that there is conflict right across from the Indus/Himalaya complex to the Mediterranean… and if that wasn’t enough North Korea and parts of Central & South America (and of course Africa) are blowing as well at this point. I am talking about the possibility of World Revolution at this point; for our children this may be the summer that they will remember and point to as “Everything Changed That Summer”… I am not wishing violence, indeed the counter to that, but so many factors are coming into play at this point. The economic shifts, the glaring in-equalities and the abandonment of any semblance of egalitarian balance amongst various populations, the sheer desperation of the greater number of the oppressed everywhere. There must be balance; and there will be in the end, unfortunately we may be moving into a very uncomfortable time of change and all the attending mayhem of the patterns of redress and sorting out.
It is amazing watching the news via Youtube and services (we don’t have a TV as much as a video monitor) and seeing the sheer bravery of the young of Tehran.
Sunday: The Neighborhood Tribes – Avian

I have been out walking most mornings from around 6:00 – 8:00am… the earlier the better for checking out the various creatures about their business and play. The Crows have been busy teaching their young ones how to fly. It is a flock event; everyone gets into the act, calling out encouragement, guarding the perimeter (I was roundly told off a couple of times walking under the trees they were all in…) I noticed a territorial element I hadn’t noticed before: The Crows occupy certain neighborhoods, the Jays others, though they will raid each others holdings on occasion. The Starlings raid everywhere, and without regard. The Robins are in familial groups, and tend not to flock during mid-summer, but in spring and fall.
We are working quite a bit in the yard, and setting up for the heat of late summer. This includes setting up for chickens & a barbecue area so we can cook outside in the worse of the heat. It has been raining and cool most days of late, but the summer does hit strongly in July and into early fall with August.
We bid farewell to Marley, Austyn’s family pup. He developed lymphoma, and the vet came by from what I understood today to ease his exit from this life. He was a very, very sweet dog.
One of the world’s greatest musicians past this week: Ali Akbar Khan. I first heard his music some 44 years ago. I never lost my appreciation of his great art. We will feature some of it hopefully this week on Turfing.
We are featuring the music of Karen Dalton, perhaps the best folk singer you have never heard of, although she was very influential on the works of Robert Dylan and others… We also are featuring the tales of The Selkie, heading up to the shores of Scotland, Ireland, the Hebrides and further to Iceland. We have some Anarchy quotes, and the brilliant poetry of Kalidasa, Indian Poet and Playwright…
Have a Happy Solstice! Remember the dance of life and how it flows through us all!
Bright Blessings,


On The Menu:

The Links

The Anarchy Quotes

Karen Dalton – It Hurts Me Too

The Seal’s Skin – Icelandic Folktale

The Great Selkie of Sule Skerrie

Sean & The Selkie

The Poetry of Kalidasa

Kalidasa Bio

Karen Dalton “Blues Jumped The Rabbit”


The Links:

Karen Dalton… the best singer you have never heard of….

Thanks to Mr. Webster… Serpents A Short Meditation on Ophidian Botany

Fighting For Their And Our Lives…

The Military Looks To The Book…

Once The Seat Of Kings…

Thanks To Tom In Tacoma: “The Sacred Plants Of The Maya”


The Anarchy Quotes:

You can’t mine coal without machine guns. –Richard B. Mellon, Congressional testimony quoted in Time, June 14, 1937
A democracy cannot be both ignorant and free. –Thomas Jefferson
The great are great only because we are on our knees. Let us rise! –Max Stirner, The Ego and His Own
The liberty of man consists solely in this: that he obeys natural laws because he has himself recognized them as such, and not because they have been externally imposed upon him by any extrinsic will whatever, divine or human, collective or individual. –Mikhail Bakunin, God and the State
In a word, we reject all legislation, all authority, and all privileged, licensed, official, and legal influence, even though arising from universal suffrage, convinced that it can turn only to the advantage of a dominant minority of exploiters against the interests of the immense majority in subjection to them. –Mikhail Bakunin, God and the State

Karen Dalton – It Hurts Me Too

The Seal’s Skin – Icelandic Folktale

Once in the east of Mýrdalur a man went along the cliffs on the seashore early in the morning. He came to a mouth of a cave and heard the sound of merrymaking and dancing inside. Nearby he saw many seals’ skins. He took one of the skins, brought it home and locked it in a chest.
In the daytime he came again to the cave. There sat a young and pretty woman who was naked and cried desperately. She was the seal whose skin the man had taken. He let her dress herself, comforted her and brought her home with him. She has become attached to him, but did not get on with others. She often sat and looked at the sea.
Some time later the man married her. They lived in harmony and had children. The farmer kept the seal’s skin locked up in the chest and had the key with him wherever he went. Many years later he once went outdoors and left the key at home, under his pillow. Others say that the farmer went to celebrate Christmas with his men, but his wife was ill and could not go with them. While he changed his clothes, he left the key in a pocket of his everyday wear. When he came back home, the chest was open, and both the woman and the skin disappeared.
She had taken the key, looked into the chest out of curiosity and found the skin there. She could not resist the temptation, bade farewell to her children, put on the skin and plunged into the sea. And before she plunged into the sea, they say, she whispered:
Where have I to flee?

I’ve seven kids in the sea

And seven kids on dry land.
They say the man grieved much for that. Afterwards, when he went fishing, a seal often swam round his boat, and it seemed that tears ran from her eyes. Ever since that man always had good catch and was lucky.
When their children went to the shore for a walk, people often saw a seal that swam in the sea not far from them, both when they were on land and near water, and threw motley fish and nice sea shells to them. But their mother never came back.

The Great Selkie of Sule Skerrie
1.An earthly nourris sits and sings,

And aye, she sings, by lily wean!

Little ken I my bairn’s father,

Far less the land where he dwells in.
2.Then he arose at her bed-feet,

And a grumbly guest, I’m sure was he:

“Here am I, thy bairns father,

Although I be not comelie.”

3.”I am a man upon the land,

I am a Selkie in the sea;

And when I’m far and far frae land,

My dwelling is in Sule Skerrie.”
4.”It was na weel,” quo the maiden fair.

“It was na weel, indeed,” quo she,

“That the Great Selkie of Sule Skerrie

Suld hae come and aught a bairn to me.”
5.Now he has taen a purse of gold,

And he has pat it upon her knee,

Sayin, “Gie to me my little young son,

And tak thee up thy nourris-fee.”
6.Ane it shall come to pass on a simmer’s day,

When the sin shines het on evera stane,

That I will tak my wee young son,

And teach him for to swim the faem.
7.And thou shall marry a proud gunner,

And a proud gunner I’m sure he’ll be,

And the very first shot that ere he shoots,

He’ll shoot baith my young son and me.

Sean & The Selkie

by Grainne Rowland
The sun was just about to set. Three tired fishermen plodded along the narrow coast road to their homes. They were famished for their evening meals and looking forward to a bit of a rest.
Sean was the first around a bend in the road. He stopped so suddenly that the others bumped into him.
“Shhh!” Sean whispered. “Look!”
The three stared at the most beautiful woman they had ever seen. She sat on the rocks combing her long red hair.
“Who is she?” asked one. “I’ve never seen her before.”
Sean answered, “She’s got to be a selkie. Look, there’s her skin lying on the rock beside her.”
Patrick whispered, “You’re right. Since I was a young lad, people have told stories of the selkies, the seal people. But this is the first time I’ve ever seen one.”
Sean crept forward and made a quick grab; he stood up with what looked like a seal’s skin. He held it tightly with both hands.
The woman looked up with a sad expression on her face.
“Will you not give back my skin?” she asked sadly.
“No,” said Sean. “I am the only man in the village without a wife. I know selkies make the best wives. You will be my wife.”
“I will miss the sea if I come with you,” she said. “But as long as you keep my skin, I must stay with you.”
“You may come to the sea whenever you wish,” said Sean. “But I will keep your skin.”
Sean was married three days later, and his two friends were at the wedding. No one but the three knew that Sean’s wife was a selkie. As for Sean, he locked the selkie’s skin in a strong chest and kept the key on a chain around his neck.
Sean’s marriage was a good one. His fortunes improved as soon as he was married. He soon owned his own fishing fleet, and his two old fishing friends worked for him. His wife gave him three strong sons and two beautiful daughters. Sean was very happy.
Sean’s wife spent as much time as she could by the sea. She loved especially to sit by the sea on a night with a full moon. It was then she met her own people, the seal people, who came to console her on her fate among humans. Often, after they left, she would weep. How she missed her own people!
After many, many years, Sean decided that he was so rich that his family must move to a bigger, grander house. As they were all stepping into an elegant carriage to go to the new mansion, Sean’s wife went once more into the house to take a last look around. In one corner, she noticed something that looked like a small pile of rubbish.
Curious, she knelt down to see what it was; her heart began to beat faster. It was an old chest, rotting with age! Could it be? She quickly searched through it. There it was! Her skin! Her heart singing, she took it, ran out the door and raced down to the sea. As she reached the sea, she heard Sean chasing after her and shouting his love. But, before he could catch up, she threw on her skin. In front of his eyes, she changed back into her seal form and then swam far out to sea. She was never seen again.

The Poetry of Kalidasa:

Seasonal Cycle – Summer

“Oh, dear, this utterly sweltering season of the highly rampant sun is drawing nigh, and it will always be good enough to go on taking daytime baths, as the lakes and rivers will still be with plenteous waters, and at the end of the day, nightfall will be pleasant with fascinating moon, and in such nights Love-god can somehow be almost mollified…[who tortured us in the previous vernal season… but now without His sweltering us, we can happily enjoy the nights devouring cool soft drinks and dancing and merrymaking in outfields…]
“Oh, beloved one, somewhere the moon shoved the blackish columns of night aside, somewhere else the palace-chambers with water [showering, sprinkling and splashing] machines are highly exciting, and else where the matrices of gems, [like coolant pearls and moon-stone, etc.,] are there, and even the pure sandalwood is liquefied [besides other coolant scents,] thus this season gets an adoration from all the people…
“The beloved ones will enjoy the summer’s clear late nights while they are atop the rooftops of buildings that are delightful and fragranced well, while they savour the passion intensifiers like strong drinks and while the ladylove’s face suspires the bouquets of those drinks together with melodious instrumental and vocal music…
“The women are ameliorating the heat of their lovers with their chicly silken coolant fineries gliding onto their rotund fundaments, for they are knotted loosely, and on those silks glissading are their golden cinctures with their dangling tassels that are unfastened on and off, and with their buxom bosoms that are bedaubed with sandal-paste and semi-covered with pearly strings and golden lavalieres, and with their locks of hair that are sliding onto their faces, which locks are fragrant with bath-time emulsions, which are just applied before their oil bath…
“Brightly coloured with the reddish foot-paint that is akin to the colour of lac’s reddish resin, adorned with anklets that are festooned with jingling bells, whose tintinnabulations on their stepping after stepping mimic the clucks of swans, with such feet those women with bumpy behinds are rendering the hearts of people impassioned, in these days of pre-summer…
“These days the bosoms of womenfolk are bedaubed with scents and sandal-paste, and they are given out to snowily and whitely pearly pendants that are sported on those bosoms, and even their hiplines are with the dangling golden griddle-strings, with such a lovely ostentation whose heart is it, that does not fill with raptures…
“The seams of limbs of ladies of age are conquered by the often emerging sweat, thus those peaky bosomed lustful ladies are presently banding their bosoms with softish fineries, casting aside their roughish apparels …
“The rustles of air comprising the aroma of watered sandal-paste, blown off by the fans with peacocks’ plumage, and the rustle of strings of pearls when the roundish bosoms of loves are hugged, together with the subtle melody of string instruments, and subtly sung intonations of singers, now appear to awaken Love-god, Manmatha, who is as though asleep after his manoeuvres in the last spring season…
“On leisurely seeing the faces of the maids that are comfortably sleeping well on the tops of whitish edifices, the moon of these nights is highly ecstasized, for he is unpossessed with any such flawless face, as his own face is flawed with rabbit-like, deer-like foibles, and when the night dwindles, he doubtlessly goes into state of pallidity, as though ashamed to show his face to the flawless sun…
“The intolerable westerly wind of the summer is up-heaving the clouds of dust, even the earth is ablaze, set by the blazing sun, and the itinerants whose hearts are already put to blaze by the blazing called the detachment from their ladyloves, and now it has become impossible for them even to look at the blazing earth, to tread further…
“The reigning sun’s torridity rendered the animals parched, and with unquenchable thirst highly shrivelled are their tongues, throats and lips, and on seeing kneaded blackish mascara like mirages on the sky in another forest, that are cloudlike in their shine, those animals are rushing there, presuming them to be water…
“The women of charm are with smiles and slanted looks, and now they are on par with the twilights that are ornamented with a beautiful ornament called moon, and they are now decorating themselves confusedly and they are inciting the incorporeal Love-god in the hearts of itinerants…
“Extremely seared by the rays of sun, and even by the already seared dust on the pathway, with its slithery motion and downcast hood, repeatedly suspiring when being scalded thus awfully, that serpent is sinking down under the pave of peacock’s plumage, distrait of the fact that a peacock is an enemy of serpents, thus distrait is the relative danger from a born enemy or from the searing summer…
“Thwarted are the valorousness and venturesomeness of that king of animals, the lion, for the thirst is abnormal, thereby gaping his mouth much lengthily, and suspiring repeatedly with a lengthened and dangling tongue, and repeatedly whisking his frontal hair of the mane, that lion is not pawing the elephants, though they are at his nearby, and though they both of them are born rivals, thus the scalding summer cooled off their mutual contempt…
“Verily dried up are their throats, but somehow some cool water remaining in their trunks is brought to those dry throats with the prehensility of their trunks, but too scanty is that water for those mega-vores, further muchly scorched by sun’s scorching rays and overpowered by heightened thirst, even those water-seeking tuskers are unafraid of those nearby lions, as negligible is the physical danger than the natural danger…
“The scorching sunrays that are akin to the tongues of blazed up Ritual-fire, by them the bodies as well as the souls of peacocks are wilted, thus they wedge their faces in the pack of their plumage for certain coolness, and though they mark the serpents that are milling about under the very same plumage through the plumes and feathers, they peck not those serpents to death, as their priority is to cool off their faces and heads…
“The slime in the ponds is dried up but in some areas Bhadramusta grass is available, and while the herd of wild boars is digging up that grass with their long and broad snouts for a piggish slumber, the sunrays have highly sweltered their backs, but that herd dug the dry swamp more and more, as though to enter the interior of earth, to get a mucky, miry, muddy slumber…
“With the unbearable prickly heat of sunrays highly seared is a frog, and jumping up from a pond with mud and muddy water, it jumped to sit under the shade of a parasol, called the hood of a snake… neither thirstier frog is aware that it is the shade of a snake’s hood, nor the thirstiest snake is aware that it is shading a thirsty frog…
“When each other elephant is highly huddling, belaboured is that lake by their elephantine limbs, and completely uprooted are the tall slender stems of lilies and lotuses of that lake, without any remnants of standing lotuses or lilies, thus trampled and agglutinated with mud, they are heaped up under the feet of elephants, and ill-fated are the fishes when trodden by elephants underfoot, and the Saarasa waterfowls are fleeing with fear of this rumpus…
“Akin to sunshine upcast is irradiance of the jewel on its hood, and wigwagging is its twinned tongue licking the air, and it is seared by its own venom, by fiery soil, and by the searing sun as well, and thus tottering thirstily, that hooded serpent is not draining the dregs of frogs, to the dregs…
“Frothily gaping and reeling are the two-pieced snouts, and jerkily extruding are the lightly re
ddened tongues, and staggering thirstily looking for water with upraised snouts, those herds of she-buffalos are extruding from the caves of mountain with such snouts and gaits, wherein they took shade from the scorching sun so far, but thirst drove them out of those cool caves…
“Extremely withered as though by wildfire and utterly shrivelled are the tender stalks of crops, and windswept by harsh winds they are uprooted and completely wilted and reduced to straw, and all over scorched are they in an overall manner as the water is evaporated, and if seen from highlands till the end of forest, this summer is foisting upon the onlookers a kind of disconcert, as the straw in the wind about the monsoon is unnoticeable…
“Perching on the trees with wilted leaves, flocks of birds are hyperventilating, the overtired troops of monkeys are going nigh of viny caves on the mountain, the water-craving herds of buffalos are rambling hither and thither, the straight flying Sharabha birds are nose-diving into wells and easily lifting up the water…
“The wildfire, that is simulative of a just blossomed bright and fierily ochreish safflower, is exceedingly speedy and further whipped up by the speed of the wind it is eagerly embracing the treetops, that are on the banks of lakes and rivers, with tongues of fire, onto which trees the apices of climber plants are eager to embrace, thus that wildfire has burnt down every quarter of land, in a trice…
“That wildfire, now intensified by the gusts, is blazing the valleys of mountains, and thus skittering across it entered the stands of bamboos, only to shatter them in a second with clattering rattles, then escalated by gusts it is overspreading the straw fields, then from their within, on smacking the perimeter of straw-field, it is broiling the herds of deer, tumultuously …
“That wildfire taking a rebirth in the copses of silk-cotton trees is extremely blazing, and from within the cavities of the trees it is erupting with the glint of golden yellow, and thus uprooting the wizened leaves on wizened branches along with their trees, and then hurled by gusts it is whirling everywhere in that woodland unto its edging…
“When fire scorched their bodies, their dichotomic thinking of mutual hostilities had to be discarded, and those elephants, buffalos and lions come together as friends, and when blighted by the fire, they are quickly exiting their habitual confines to enter the areas of rivers that have broad sandbanks…
“Oh, dear melodious singer, what if the summer is scorching… fragrant lotuses are overlaid on coolant waters, agreeably refreshing is the fragrance of Trumpet flowers, comfortable is the fresh water in bathing pools, pleasurable are those moonbeams, and with these pearly pendants and these jasmine garlands, let our simmering summer nights enjoyably slip by, while we abide on the tops of buildings right under the moonscape, savouring potations and amidst music and song…


Indian poet and dramatist, Kalidasa lived sometime between the reign of Agnimitra, the second Shunga king (c. 170 BC) who was the hero of one of his dramas, and the Aihole inscription of AD 634 which praises Kalidasa’s poetic skills. Most scholars now associate him with the reign of Candra Gupta II (reigned c. 380-c. 415).
Little is known about Kalidasa’s life. According to legend, the poet was known for his beauty which brought him to the attention of a princess who married him. However, as legend has it, Kalidasa had grown up without much education, and the princess was ashamed of his ignorance and coarseness. A devoted worshipper of the goddess Kali (his name means literally Kali’s slave), Kalidasa is said to have called upon his goddess for help and was rewarded with a sudden and extraordinary gift of wit. He is then said to have become the most brilliant of the “nine gems” at the court of the fabulous king Vikramaditya of Ujjain. Legend also has it that he was murdered by a courtesan in Sri Lanka during the reign of Kumaradasa.
Kalidasa’s first surviving play, Malavikagnimitra or Malavika and Agnimitra tells the story of King Agnimitra, a ruler who falls in love with the picture of an exiled servant girl named Malavika. When the queen discovers her husbands passion for this girl, she becomes infuriated and has Malavika imprisoned, but as fate would have it, Malavika is in fact a true-born princess, thus legitimizing the affair.
Kalidasa’s second play, generally considered his masterpiece, is the Shakuntala which tells the story of another king, Dushyanta, who falls in love with another girl of lowly birth, the lovely Shakuntala. This time, the couple is happily married and things seem to be going smoothly until Fate intervenes. When the king is called back to court by some pressing business, his new bride unintentionally offends a saint who puts a curse on her, erasing the young girl entirely from the king’s memory. Softening, however, the saint concedes that the king’s memory will return when Shakuntala returns to him the ring he gave her. This seems easy enough–that is, until the girl loses the ring while bathing. And to make matters worse, she soon discovers that she is pregnant with the king’s child. But true love is destined to win the day, and when a fisherman finds the ring, the king’s memory returns and all is well. Shakuntala is remarkable not only for it’s beautiful love poetry, but also for its abundant humor which marks the play from beginning to end.
The last of Kalidasa’s surviving plays, Vikramorvashe or Urvashi Conquered by Valor, is more mystical than the earlier plays. This time, the king (Pururavas) falls in love with a celestial nymph named Urvashi. After writing her mortal suitor a love letter on a birch leaf, Urvashi returns to the heavens to perform in a celestial play. However, she is so smitten that she misses her cue and pronounces her lover’s name during the performance. As a punishment for ruining the play, Urvashi is banished from heaven, but cursed to return the moment her human lover lays eyes on the child that she will bear him. After a series of mishaps, including Urvashi’s temporary transformation into a vine, the curse is eventually lifted, and the lovers are allowed to remain together on Earth. Vikramorvashe is filled poetic beauty and a fanciful humor that is reminiscent of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
In addition to his plays, Kalidasa wrote two surviving epic poems Raghuvamsha (“Dynasty of Raghu”) and Kumarasambhava (“Birth of the War God”), as well as the lyric “Meghaduta” (“Cloud Messenger”). He is generally considered to be the greatest Indian writer of any epoch.
Karen Dalton “Blues Jumped The Rabbit”


12 Billion Years….

Infinity is that.

Infinity is this.

From Infinity, Infinity has come into existence.

From Infinity, when Infinity is taken away, Infinity remains. -Sri Chimoy…

I have been working on working, so to speak. More soon, I promise.

The Rebirth

“Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion.”

-Dalai Lama

Welcome to the new Turfing Blog!
A big thanks to our friend Doug Fraser for helping me with the transition from our old server to our new server. I am very, very excited! This is allowing me to change a good many things on, and to head towards our new direction! and have started transitioning to a new set up as well. First is on the design level and contents on is starting to transition over the weekend and next next.
Stay tuned for some pleasant surprises!

Bright Blessings!



On The Menu:

On Rebirth – The Quotes

Art Set To Music: Gil Bruvel

Fatimah, Mary and the Divine Feminine in Islam

The Poetry Of Hafiz

Art Set To Music:Mark Kostabi

Art: Gwyllm


On Rebirth – The Quotes:

“Life, death and rebirth are inevitable. ”

– Rig Veda

“After attaining Me the great souls do not incur rebirth, the impermanent home of misery, because they have attained the highest perfection.”

– Bhagavad Gita

“It quite often happens that the old man is subject to the delusion of a great moral renewal and rebirth, and from this experience he passes judgments on the work and course of his life, as if he had only now become clear-sighted; and yet the inspiration behind this feeling of well-being and these confident judgements is not wisdom, but weariness .”

– Friedrich Nietzsche

“Their comings and goings in reincarnation do not end; through death and rebirth, they are wasting away.”

– Sri Guru Granth Sahib


Art Set To Music: Gil Bruvel

Fatimah, Mary and the Divine Feminine in Islam
At the very core of Islamic philosophy there is evidence of what can be called a vision of the Motherhood of God.
In the first Sura of the Koran, the Fatiha that is recited by millions of Muslims in their daily devotions, God is called Al Rahmin, the merciful and compassionate one. “Ramin” is derived from the Arabic for “womb” or “matrix”, mercy is also a feminine attribute, and so Muslims are reminded that God can be either woman or man. Every day God is compared to a mother and woman.
While the Muslim vision is often perceived to be authoritarian and punitive the Koran, on close inspection, is filled with descriptions and vision of God’s more feminine attributes such as gentleness, providence, love, universal compassion and tender-heartedness.
Muhammad was himself a living example of the Divine’s infinite capacity for forgiveness: many times he forgave enemies who had committed unspeakable atrocities against him and his brethren.
The religious intolerance that characterises the behaviour of many Muslim communities today is inconsistent with the heritage of tolerance that is professed by the Islamic tradition. For example, the Koran clearly states in several passages that any person who lives a life of holy reverence is welcomed into paradise regardless of their religion. Muhammad openly praises both Judaism (Abraham is deeply respected within the Koran) and Christianity (Muhammad frequently praises Jesus and Mary in the Koran).
Even more surprising is the Koran’s reverence for Mary, mother of Christ. Muhammad (and also in later Islamic theological scriptures) regarded Mary as the most marvellous of all women, a high adept and living example of the pure and holy life. Later Koranic commentaries describe Mary as an intervening force between God (Allah) and humanity. This intervening force is characterised by Allah’s mercy, forgiveness, sweetness and humility- the embodiment of Allah’s love for creation.
When Muhammad retook Mecca he began a programme of removing the pagan influences from the Kaaba, the most holy of Muslim sites. He removed many frescoes and images that he considered inauspicious but he specifically left on the walls a fresco of the Virgin Mary and her child.
In one of the most powerful Hadiths ( prophetic sayings of Muhammad) it is reported that Muhammad said, “Paradise is at the feet of the Mother”. Does this suggest that the feminine aspect of God is an important and essential pathway to the attainment of supreme consciousness?
Muhammad’s peak defining experience, called the Meraj, saw him elevated through the seven heavens to the realm of God Almighty at the resplendant Sidrath where he communed with God, received his divine visions and instructions and was placed on the inexorable course of his life-mission to establish Islam. Muhammad was escorted by the archangel Gabriel (a masculine force) but the vehicle upon which Muhammad rode was the beautiful “Buraq”. The Buraq was a white horse with wings and the face of a woman! Clearly suggesting that the great power by which Muhammad was elevated to the level of supreme consciousness was ultimately feminine in nature! Some scholars say that the Buraq is an Islamic symbol of the Kundalini, a force that Eastern Yogis describe as the Goddess or Divine Mother.
Fatimah is another prominent female in the Islamic tradition. Muhammad revered Fatimah as if she were a divine being, saying “Allah, The Most High; is pleased when Fatimah is pleased. He is angered; whenever Fatimah is angered!”
Whenever Fatimah would go to the house of Muhammad, he would stand up out of respect for her and honour her by giving her a special place to seat herself in his house. He regarded her as a sort of primordial woman, a symbol of divine womanhood giving her many holy names, such as: Siddiqah; The Honest, The Righteous; Al-Batool, Pure Virgin; Al-Mubarakah, The Blessed One; .Al-Tahirah, The Virtuous, The Pure, Al-Zakiyah ;The Chaste, The Unblemished ;Al-Radhiatul Mardhiah, She who is gratified and who shall be satisfied; Al-Muhaddathah, A person other than a Prophet, that the angels speak to; Al-Zahra, The Splendid; Al-Zahirah, The Luminous.
Shias revere the person of Fatimah, Muhammad’s daughter and mother of the line of inspired imams who embodied the divine truth for their generation. As such, Fatimah is associated with Sophia, the divine wisdom, which gives birth to all knowledge of God. She has thus become another symbolic equivalent of the Great Mother.
Sunni Islam has also drawn inspiration from the female. The philosopher Muid ad-Din ibn al-Arabi (1165-1240) saw a young girl in Mecca surrounded by light and realised that, for him, she was an incarnation of the divine Sophia. He believed that women were the most potent icons of the sacred, because they inspired a love in men which must ultimately be directed to God, the only true object of love.
More generally speaking Muslims are reminded in the Koran that humans can experience and speak about God only in symbols. Everything in the world is a sign (aya) of God; so women can also be a revelation of the divine. Ibn al-Arabi argued that humans have a duty to create theophanies for themselves, by means of the creative imagination that pierces the imperfect exterior of mundane reality and glimpses the divine within. The faculty of imagination is commonly associated with the Divine Feminine.
While official Islam may not consistently describe the role of the Divine Feminine, this principle has been described and explored at length in the more esoteric Islamic tradition of Sufism. Sufism emphasises passionate, mystical adoration of God. Many Sufis (and other mystics in other religions) seek a spiritual union between themselves and the divine principle not unlike that between a child (the Sufi) and his mother (God) or a bride (Sufi) and the husband (God).
The Sufi poetry teaches the feminine qualities of joy, love, tenderness and self sacrifice on a path of true knowledge derived from the spiritual heart. The spiritual rebirth of the individual is not unlike the trial and tribulation of physical childbirth, according to the Sufis. They take the principle of divine love and use it to facilitate the process of alchemical transformation from mundane human to spiritual being.
The fanaticism that we see in modern Islam is a new development in a religion that, in its early history, was famous for its tolerance and respect for other religions. In Islam’s classical period in medieval Spain and Egypt perhaps only Buddhism rivalled Islam’s tolerance. The fundamentalism that characterises the behaviour of many of today’s Muslims is in fact anti-Koranic.
A Sufi Ode to the Divine Mother

On the face of the earth there is no one more beautiful than You

Wherever I go I wear your image in my heart

Whenever I fall in a despondent mood I remember your image

And my spirit rises a thousand fold

Your advent is the blossom time of the Universe

O Mother you have showered your choicest blessings upon me

Also remember me on the Day of Judgement

I don’t know if I will go to heaven or hell

But wherever I go, please always abide in me.


The Poetry Of Hafiz

(older translations…!)
I Cease Not From Desire

I cease not from desire till my desire

Is satisfied; or let my mouth attain

My love’s red mouth, or let my soul expire,

Sighed from those lips that sought her lips in vain.

Others may find another love as fair;

Upon her threshold I have laid my head,

The dust shall cover me, still lying there,

When from my body life and love have fled.
My soul is on my lips ready to fly,

But grief beats in my heart and will not cease,

Because not once, not once before I die,

Will her sweet lips give all my longing peace.

My breath is narrowed down to one long sigh

For a red mouth that burns my thoughts like fire;

When will that mouth draw near and make reply

To one whose life is straitened with desire?
When I am dead, open my grave and see

The cloud of smoke that rises round thy feet:

In my dead heart the fire still burns for thee;

Yea, the smoke rises from my winding-sheet!

Ah, come, Beloved! for the meadows wait

Thy coming, and the thorn bears flowers instead

Of thorns, the cypress fruit, and desolate

Bare winter from before thy steps has fled.
Hoping within some garden ground to find

A red rose soft and sweet as thy soft cheek,

Through every meadow blows the western wind,

Through every garden he is fain to seek.

Reveal thy face! that the whole world may be

Bewildered by thy radiant loveliness;

The cry of man and woman comes to thee,

Open thy lips and comfort their distress!
Each curling lock of thy luxuriant hair

Breaks into barbèd hooks to catch my heart,

My broken heart is wounded everywhere

With countless wounds from which the red drops start.

Yet when sad lovers meet and tell their sighs,

Not without praise shall Hafiz’ name be said,

Not without tears, in those pale companies

Where joy has been forgot and hope has fled.


The Bird of Gardens
The bird of gardens sang unto the rose,

New blown in the clear dawn: “Bow down thy head!

As fair as thou within this garden close,

Many have bloomed and died.” She laughed and said

“That I am born to fade grieves not my heart

But never was it a true lover’s part

To vex with bitter words his love’s repose.”
The tavern step shall be thy hostelry,

For Love’s diviner breath comes but to those

That suppliant on the dusty threshold lie.

And thou, if thou would’st drink the wine that flows

From Life’s bejewelled goblet, ruby red,

Upon thine eyelashes thine eyes shall thread

A thousand tears for this temerity.
Last night when Irem’s magic garden slept,

Stirring the hyacinth’s purple tresses curled,

The wind of morning through the alleys stept.

“Where is thy cup, the mirror of the world?

Ah, where is Love, thou Throne of Djem?” I cried.

The breezes knew not; but “Alas,” they sighed,

“That happiness should sleep so long!” and wept.
Not on the lips of men Love’s secret lies,

Remote and unrevealed his dwelling-place.

Oh Saki, come! the idle laughter dies

When thou the feast with heavenly wine dost grace.

Patience and wisdom, Hafiz, in a sea

Of thine own tears are drowned; thy misery

They could not still nor hide from curious eyes.

The Days Of Spring
The days of Spring are here! the eglantine,

The rose, the tulip from the dust have risen–

And thou, why liest thou beneath the dust?

Like the full clouds of Spring, these eyes of mine

Shall scatter tears upon the grave thy prison,

Till thou too from the earth thine head shalt thrust.

True Love

True love has vanished from every heart;

What has befallen all lovers fair?

When did the bonds of friendship part?–

What has befallen the friends that were?

Ah, why are the feet of Khizr lingering?–

The waters of life are no longer clear,

The purple rose has turned pale with fear,

And what has befallen the wind of Spring?
None now sayeth: “A love was mine,

Loyal and wise, to dispel my care.”

None remembers love’s right divine;

What has befallen all lovers fair?

In the midst of the field, to the players’ feet,

The ball of God’s favour and mercy came,

But none has leapt forth to renew the game–

What has befallen the horsemen fleet?
Roses have bloomed, yet no bird rejoiced,

No vibrating throat has rung with the tale;

What can have silenced the hundred-voiced?

What has befallen the nightingale?

Heaven’s music is hushed, and the planets roll

In silence; has Zohra broken her lute?

There is none to press out the vine’s ripe fruit,

And what has befallen the foaming bowl?
A city where kings are but lovers crowned,

A land from the dust of which friendship springs–

Who has laid waste that enchanted ground?

What has befallen the city of kings?

Years have passed since a ruby was won

From the mine of manhood; they labour in vain,

The fleet-footed wind and the quickening rain,

And what has befallen the light of the sun?
Hafiz, the secret of God’s dread task

No man knoweth, in youth or prime

Or in wisest age; of whom would’st thou ask:

What has befallen the wheels of Time?

– Trans G. Bell (1897)


Art Set To Music: Mark Kostabi

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