You can understand and relate to most people better if you look at them — no matter how old or impressive they may be — as if they are children. For most of us never really grow up or mature all that much — we simply grow taller. O, to be sure, we laugh less and play less and wear uncomfortable disguises like adults, but beneath the costume is the child we always are, whose needs are simple, whose daily life is still best described by fairy tales.
A quick note: Mid week, expecting a friend from the south and it is several hours since I thought he might be here. Ah… off to bed. It has been quite the week and all. Lucid dreaming most nights… who needs cable or videos?
I hope you enjoy the entry!
On The Menu:
All India Radio – Persist
The Great Bay Wins “Best Science Fiction”
New Poetry Post Installed at Mirador Community Store! (with poems)
A New Eleusis – Paul Devereux
4 Poems – Ira Cohen
All India Radio – Four Three
All India Radio – Persist
The Great Bay Wins “Best Science Fiction”
Dales new novel, The Great Bay: Chronicles of the Collapse, has been awarded the Green Book Festival prize for “Best Science Fiction 2010.” My stories begin in 2021 with a global pandemic. By 2121 rising sea levels are creating a two hundred mile long bay in the Central Valley of California. As the stories move further and further into the future, technology moves backward. It takes a long time for the ice to return.
The Great Bay will be released as a hardcover book in July, and is available for pre-order at amazon.com You can reserve your copy below:
Terry and I went there on Sunday, and did it. This below is the first entry. It seems I use these to extracts from the Dao De Ching quite a bit as of late.
From The Dao De Ching (Tao Te Ching) – Lao Tse
The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.
The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.
Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.
Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.——
Cultivate harmony within yourself, and harmony becomes real;
Cultivate harmony within your family, and harmony becomes fertile;
Cultivate harmony within your community, and harmony becomes abundant;
Cultivate harmony within your culture, and harmony becomes enduring;
Cultivate harmony within the world, and harmony becomes ubiquitous.
Live with a person to understand that person;
Live with a family to understand that family;
Live with a community to understand that community;
Live with a culture to understand that culture;
Live with the world to understand the world.
How can I live with the world?
From The Dao De Ching (Tao Te Ching)
The Land of Faery,
Where nobody gets old and godly and grave,
Where nobody gets old and crafty and wise,
Where nobody gets old and bitter of tongue.
William Butler Yeats
The Land of Heart’s Desire
Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame.
William Butler Yeats
The Land of Heart’s Desire
Every man’s life is a fairy tale written by God’s fingers.
Hans Christian Andersen
Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.
G. K. Chesterton
I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now.
The loveliest fairy in the world; and her name is Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby.
The Water Babies
Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren’t go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together,
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl’s feather!
God defend me from that Welsh fairy,
Lest he transform me to a piece of cheese!
The Merry Wives of Windsor
Do not ask questions of fairy tales.
Religions are the great fairy tales of conscience
A New Eleusis
– Paul Devereux
Albert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist who was first to synthesise LSD and the first to taste its awesome power, died in April last year at the grand age of 102. Twelve years earlier, I was fortunate enough to have dinner with the grand old man; we talked about many things, but his vision of the need for a new Eleusis for the 21st century shone out the most brightly. But what was Eleusis?
The site of the Eleusian temple is located 12 miles (19km) west of Athens, Greece, and was the focus of a Greek Mystery cult that lasted for nearly 2,000 years. It was situated around a cave, said to be the entrance of the underworld, where Persephone was taken after she was abducted. In myth, her mother, Demeter, wandered and grieved in the area now occupied by the temple and eventually persuaded Hermes to rescue her daughter. The first building of the temple proper was built at the site c.1500 B.C., and other buildings were added to the complex over the centuries. The mysteries themselves were a 10-day event, held every September and were open to almost anyone, except murderers. The climax was a procession from Athens to the temple for the Mystery Night, where the revelation of the mystery, the epopteia, was to take place. As the candidates for initiation made their way to the temple they imbibed a sacramental drink, the kykeon. They then went through various procedures until a final, and secret, revelatory event took place in a strange building known as the Telesterion. This was unlike any other structure found in ancient Greece in that it had a plain exterior. There has been much debate about the nature of the sacred drink, but by far the best theory states that it was a beer containing ergot, a parasite of rye that contains alkaloids from which LSD can be synthesised. The evidence for this is overwhelming, and is detailed in the new, revised edition of my book, The Long Trip – A Prehistory of Psychedelia (available from Amazon US and Amazon UK).
Many of the notable philosophers and intellectuals of ancient Greece, such as Plato, Aristotle and Sophocles, were initiated at Eleusis. A visionary, mind-altering initiation was therefore at the very roots of Western civilisation – an initiatory experience it has long-since abandoned. Hofmann felt that something like it needs to be re-established if Western culture is to save itself. Aldous Huxley envisaged such a renewed institution in his last novel, Island, but in reality we are still a long way from such a thing coming to pass. We are still arguing about cannabis, for goodness’ sake.
In 2008, British politicians re-categorised cannabis as a dangerous drug after a period of having it in a lower category. They ignored the advice of their own panel of experts and police chiefs who have been arguing for the legalisation of the drug. When pressed about this retrograde step, government spokesmen made the tired old demand that cannabis needs further testing to see if it is safe, along with promoting scare stories about it causing schizophrenia. Yet not only has the drug been tested for decades and found to be safer than many prescription drugs, tobacco or alcohol, the testimony of our forefathers confirms its spiritual and physical benefits. This latter fact was brought sharply into focus in November 2008, when it was announced that archaeologists had found a cache of cannabis in a Yanghai tomb in the Gobi Desert near Turpan in northwestern China. The cache consisted of 789 grams of dried cannabis contained in a leather basket and in a wooden bowl. It was c.2700 years old but had been preserved due to extremely dry conditions. While remnants of cannabis have been found elsewhere in the ancient world the helpful conditions in which this cache was found has allowed it to be the oldest so far that could be thoroughly tested for its properties. The research team found it to have a relatively high content of THC, the main active ingredient in cannabis. In the past, those sceptical of the mind-altering use of cannabis in prehistory have claimed (somewhat disingenuously) that it was only used for making ropes, fabric and so forth, but they can’t get away with that this time. This Chinese sample was clearly “cultivated for psychoactive purposes”, a paper in the peer-reviewed Journal of Experimental Botany states. “To our knowledge, these investigations provide the oldest documentation of cannabis as a pharmacologically active agent,” wrote the paper’s lead author, American neurologist Dr. Ethan B. Russo.
Perhaps the strangest aspect of this find is that the cannabis was uncovered in the tomb of a light-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian man, not an Asiatic person. He would have been a member of the somewhat curious Cheshi clan, a group of nomadic people of Indo-European origins who inhabited the region. The tomb also contained bridles, archery equipment and a harp, confirming the 45-year-old man’s high status. The researchers assume he had been a shaman.
Another intriguing side issue regarding this case is that a British laboratory that monitors crop quality for producing Sativex (a cannabis-based medicine approved in Canada for relieving pain in conditions such as multiple sclerosis, certain cancers, and so forth) was used to conduct the tests on the cannabis find, but it took months to cut through the red tape hindering the entry of the sample into Britain from China – a perfect cameo of how eccentric our modern Western attitudes to mind-altering drugs are compared with our ancestors.
As long as decisions about visionary substances are made on the basis of ignorance or political expediency, the creation of a new Eleusis remains merely a dream. Bernd Debusman, a Reuters columnist, underlined such stupidity in a December 2008 column. He points out that the failed “war on drugs” has helped to turn the United States “into the country with the world’s largest prison population” (it has 25 percent of the world’s prisoners). This failed war “has helped spawn global criminal enterprises that use extreme violence”. Among other things, Debusman points out that it has been estimated that legalising and regulating drugs would inject a total of over 76 billion dollars into the U.S. economy alone. Perhaps with the global financial collapse governments would be wise to consider this…
Ignorance needs to be banished – “know drugs” rather than “no drugs”. Decision-makers ought to be able to differentiate between dangerous, addictive drugs and those visionary substances that are mind-enhancing. On the other hand, altering consciousness is no light matter, and shouldn’t be simply another form of careless, hedonistic consumption that predominates in the popular counter-culture – it needs the framework, discipline and knowledgeable guidance that an Eleusian-like system would bring to bear.
Another ignorant view held by our politicians and shared by the mainstream culture as a whole is that the altered mind states caused by visionary substances are somehow hallucinatory, sham experiences. It is hard to counter such a false perception by pointing out that enhanced consciousness cannot by definition be illusory when the collective mindset promulgating such a misperception is itself not sufficiently enhanced to know that it is mistaken.
A new Eleusis would let badly needed light reach into the gloom of our modern civilisation’s general state of consciousness. The fruits of this would be for us to know collectively, as a culture, that the nature of reality is much greater than we currently think we know. It would humble us; make us aware that we have read but the first few pages of the great book of nature. It would link us to vast realms of knowledge, and pull us back from our isolation outside the gates of Eden into the folds of a consciousness that communes with the biosphere as a whole, and perhaps even greater consciousnesses beyond. It would make our political decisions, whether regarding the environment, foreign relations, the economy, scientific endeavour or social structures more informed, more humane, more sustainable. Anthropologists have noted that in antiquity, the use of visionary plants has seemingly triggered the flowering of some civilisations – our own modern culture is in desperate need of such a new flowering, otherwise it will leave the stage. As I remark in The Long Trip, if this proves to be the case, then the Earth, in the ages that belong to it alone, will surely birth a new species more capable of continuing the great adventure of consciousness.
4 Poems – Ira Cohen
Imagine Jean Cocteau
Imagine Jean Cocteau in the lobby
holding a torch
Imagine a trained dog act,
a Rock and Roll Band
Imagine I am Curly of the Three Stooges
disguised as Wm Shakespeare
Imagine that I’m the cousin of the Mayor
of New York or the King of Nepal
(I didn’t say Napoleon!)
Imagine what it is like to be in the glare
of hot lights when you are longing for dark
Imagine the Ghost Patrol, the Tribal
Imagine an elephant playing a harmonica
or someone weighing out bones on the edge
of the desert in Afghanistan
Imagine that these poems are recorded moments
of temporary sanity
Imagine that the clock was just turned back –
or forwards — a hundred years instead of an hour
Let us pretend that we have no place to go,
that we are here in the Cosmic Hotel,
that our bags are packed & that we have one hour
to checkout time
Imagine whatever you will but know that it is not
imagination but experience which makes poetry,
and that behind every image,
behind every word there is something
I am trying to tell you,
something that really happened.
An Act of Jeopardy
for Garcia Lorca
A star of blood you fell
from the point of the hypodermic
singing of fabulous beasts &
spitting out the sex of vowels
Your poems explode in the mouth
like torrents of sperm on a night
full of zebras & bootheels
Your ghost still cruses the river-
fronts of midnight assignations
in a world of dead sailors carrying
armfuls of flowers in search of
your unmarked grave
Your body no sanctuary for bees,
Death was your lover in a rain of
broken obelisks & rotting orchids
In the tangled rose of a single heartbeat
I offer you the shadow of a double
two heads held together at the bridge
of the nose by a nail of opium
in the long night’s dreaming
& memory of water poured between
In my mailbox I find a letter from
a dead man & know that for every
one is taken away
Yet subtraction is only a special form of
addition and implies a world of hidden
intentions below a horizon of lips
thin as your fingernail sprouting
mysteries in the earth
The ace of spades dealt from the bottom
of the deck severs the hand which
retrieves it & the eyes of Beauty
sewn together peer over a black lace fan
in the vulgar sunlight of a Spanish
morning without horses
The Belt of Orion is loosened
before you as you remove the silver
fingerstalls from your mummy hands &
kneel to plunder the nightsky in a shower of
(Somewhere under a blanket someone weeps
for a lover.)
Peace to your soul
& to your empty shoes
in the dark closets of
kings with no feet!!!
From The Moroccan Journal – 1987
My heart feels like an uncut diamond
Though it is still the same, it is not the same
Someone speaks of a bridge to be built from Tangier
to Algeciras or is it Gibraltar?
“Yes & then a highway to the stars or more likely
an elevator to the Underworld,” says Yellow Turban
To White Jellaba as the exhaust fumes from the bus
engulf them, leaving behind not even a single
Is that Mel Clay in a white jacket turning the corner?
No, it is a figment of my imagination escaped from the
Is that Ian Sommerville walking backwards up the street
as if pulled by a giant magnet?
No, that is Wm. Burroughs making electricity
from dead cats.
Is that Tatiana glistening on Maxiton?
No, that is the sun dancing in the sugar bowl.
Is that Marc Schelfer wavering on the cliffedge?
No, it is a promontory in the wind of time
about to fall in the sea.
Is that Beethoven’s 9th Symphony being played
up the street?
No, it is the sound of the breadwagons
rumbling over cobblestones
Is that George Andrews with two girls in hand
looking for bread?
No, it is an unidentified flying object about to land.
Is that One-eyed Mose hanging by his heels?
No, that is the hanged man inventing the Taro.
Are the dead really so fascinated by lovemaking?
Yes, that is how they travel.
Is that Irving in short pants looking for trouble?
No, that’s me unable to stop thinking.
Is that Kenneth Halliwell looking for Joe Orton?
Is that Jane Bowles looking for Sherifa, Rosalind looking
for her baby, Alfred searching for his lost hair?
Is that the wig of it all, the patched robe of my brain,
the wind talking to itself?
Brion is dead and Yacoubi is dead, and I am a not unhappy
ghost remembering everything, the warp & woof of memories,
her yellow slip, her shaved cunt, her idiot child.
Dream shuttle makes me exist everywhere at once.
The blind beggars led by children keep coming.
“They all have many houses in the Casbah,”
chant the unbelievers sucking on sugar.
Words keep coming back like Bezezel for tits, Lictcheen
for oranges, like Mina, like Fatima, like Driss Berrada
dropping his trousers for an injection in the middle
of his shop.
The trunk is full of old sepia postcards,
barebreasted girls smoking hookahs etcetera.
We speak of the cataplana, the mist which obscures
even the cielo you cannot even see the hand in front
of your face.
We embrace, he says he thought of me only yesterday,
he says there are always nine such men who look like us
in the world and that we are the tenth.
We speak of the gold filets in the sky over Moulay Absalom.
The garbage men in rubber boots go thru the Socco pushing
wheeled drums of collected garbage.
An unveiled woman wobbles out of a taxi and heads home
Paul couldn’t believe that was a Karma Street,
but I will never forget it.
And Billy Batman, who made the best hash in the world,
he dropped a loaded pistol in Kabul, shot himself in the balls,
took some heroin and lay down to die.
Now I must get up from my table in the allnight Café Central.
No more Dr. Nadal, no more window with red crosses & red
The water thrown from buckets runs across the café floors
& over the sidewalks & I drop a dirham into the hand
of a blind beggar singing in the dark on the American stairs
From Anais Nin’s “A Spy in the House of Love”The women wear fireflies in their hair, but the fireflies stop shining when they go to sleep so now and then the women had to rub the fire- flies to keep them awake.”
Let’s take a silver train underground
to the back streets of Atlantis
thru the corrugated iron roots &
then to the peak itself, to the
saddle of the last ridge past strewn
finally meandering thru cascading snow
wearing miner’s hats on the perpendicular
dark night &
going up to the edge of the Southern Cross
where we reach at last the pure white
glistening glaciers &
begin to chant over bones in rags
Armless in the sticky substance how could
they ever have had a chance?
Permission will not be required
only poems of blood offered to
the memory of TREE
It is not ice which is eternal
but the fury of the absolute
separating the void from the spirit
uplifting like life when it is used
that is, Radical Love — & again, we
are reduced to living beings
Caught by the instant
we are taken away
We live in the imprint of the flame
& we are helmeted within the internal
where the ray begins its passage
across the indignant sky
Vain clouds uncaring in a tangle of
culminate in the hermaphroditic mirror
of the epileptic dancer
And during sleep
the light is joined
to the light
It is all a matter of getting up
and then to abandon the pain
It is there that the journey beings
in the self generated flame of
The main line running counter
to the triangle comprising the
MAELSTROM, the DOLDROMS & the
SARGASSO SEA where sleeping Atlanteans
this line, this battlefield of the ages,
crosses the divide of my most wandering
We will all have to go
if we want to reappear
in the rhythm of the ritual
It’s the wheel of fools spinning
over my bed
If I put my left foot first
they will find a way to call me
by that name
on drunken walls
in the negative palace
just before taking eave
of my senses
the white powder dissolves
in the sunlight
& making noise like a peacock
he hops on one foot up the mountain.
All India Radio – Four Three