Sky Taste


Its rising is not bright
nor its setting dark

Unceasing, continuous
Branching out in roots innumerable
Forever sending forth the serpent coil
of living things
Mysterious as the formless existence
to which it returns

Twisting back
Beyond mind

We say only that it is form from the formless
Life from spiral void

-Tim Leary — from Psychedelic Prayers


Return to the source
honing in on the signal
a bee to nectar.


Here is to source, and finding ones way. Here is to helping the traveler on their way. Here is to bravery of every chosen path…

I have become enamored of a past I am just discovering, understanding how others lit my way when even I was not aware of it. This is praise, for voices unknown, whose generosity of spirit, and adventuring of soul laid the way open for all that has come forth.

There is nothing like the present, I will grant you that. Without those who blazed the trails, where would we be now I ask?

Bright Blessings,

Our last entry for July. This one came together, like the early morning it was conceived upon. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed bringing its diverse elements together.

On The Menu:
Marianne Faithfull – Si Demain
The Were-Wolf In The Middle-Ages
Sky Taste Alive Inside
Marianne Faithfull – Lullaby

The voice! Ah!
Marianne Faithfull – Si Demain


A further exploration of the shape-shifter, from an earlier time. – G

The Book of Were-Wolves, by Sabine Baring-Gould, [1865]

The Were-Wolf In The Middle-Ages

Stories from Olaus Magnus of Livonian Were-wolves–Story from Bishop Majolus–Story of Albertus Pericofcius–Similar occurrence at Prague–Saint Patrick–Strange incident related by John of Nüremberg–Bisclaveret–Courland Were-wolves–Pierre Vidal–Pavian Lycanthropist–Bodin’s Stories–Forestus’ Account of a Lycanthropist–Neapolitan Were-wolf

OLAUS MAGNUS relates that–”In Prussia, Livonia, and Lithuania, although the inhabitants suffer considerably from the rapacity of wolves throughout the year, in that these animals rend their cattle, which are scattered in great numbers through the woods, whenever they stray in the very least, yet this is not regarded by them as such a serious matter as what they endure from men turned into wolves.

“On the feast of the Nativity of Christ, at night, such a multitude of wolves transformed from men gather together in a certain spot, arranged among themselves, and then spread to rage with wondrous ferocity against human beings, and those animals which are not wild, that the natives of these regions suffer more detriment from these, than they do from true and natural wolves; for when a human habitation has been detected by them isolated in the woods, they besiege it with atrocity, striving to break in the doors, and in the event of their doing so, they devour all the human beings, and every animal which is found within. They burst into the beer-cellars, and there they empty the tuns of beer or mead, and pile up the empty casks one above another in the middle of the cellar, thus showing their difference from natural and genuine wolves. . . . Between Lithuania, Livonia, and Courland are the walls of a certain old ruined castle. At this spot congregate thousands, on a fixed occasion, and try their agility in jumping. Those who are unable to bound over the wall, as; is often the case with the fattest, are fallen upon with scourges by the captains and slain.”[1] Olaus relates also in c. xlvii. the story of a certain nobleman who was travelling through a large forest with some peasants in his retinue who dabbled in the black art. They found no house [1. OLAUS MAGNUS: Historia de Vent. Septent. Basil. 15, lib. xviii. cap. 45.] where they could lodge for the night, and were well-nigh famished. Then one of the peasants offered, if all the rest would hold their tongues as to what he should do, that he would bring them a lamb from a distant flock.

He thereupon retired into the depths of the forest and changed his form into that of a wolf, fell upon the flock, and brought a lamb to his companions in his mouth. They received it with gratitude. Then he retired once more into the thicket, and transformed himself back again into his human shape.

The wife of a nobleman in Livonia expressed her doubts to one of her slaves whether it were possible for man or woman thus to change shape. The servant at once volunteered to give her evidence of the possibility. He left the room, and in another moment a wolf was observed running over the country. The dogs followed him, and notwithstanding his resistance, tore out one of his eyes. Next day the slave appeared before his mistress blind of an eye.

Bp. Majolus[1] and Caspar Peucer[2] relate the following circumstances of the Livonians:–

[1. MAJOLI Episc. Vulturoniensis Dier. Canicul. Helenopolis, 1612, tom. ii. colloq. 3.

2. CASPAR PEUCER: Comment. de Præcipuis Divin. Generibus, 1591, p. 169.]

At Christmas a boy lame of a leg goes round the country summoning the devil’s followers, who are countless, to a general conclave. Whoever remains behind, or goes reluctantly, is scourged by another with an iron whip till the blood flows, and his traces are left in blood. The human form vanishes, and the whole multitude become wolves. Many thousands assemble. Foremost goes the leader armed with an iron whip, and the troop follow, “firmly convinced in their imaginations that they are transformed into wolves.” They fall upon herds of cattle and flocks of sheep, but they have no power to slay men. When they come to a river, the leader smites the water with his scourge, and it divides, leaving a dry path through the midst, by which the pack may go. The transformation lasts during twelve days, at the expiration of which period the wolf-skin vanishes, and the human form reappears. This superstition was expressly forbidden by the church. “Credidisti, quod quidam credere solent, ut illæ quæ a vulgo Parcæ vocantur, ipsæ, vel sint vel possint hoc facere quod creduntur, id est, dum aliquis homo nascitur, et tunc valeant illum designare ad hoc quod velint, ut quandocunque homo ille voluerit, in lupum transformari possit, quod vulgaris stultitia, werwolf vocat, aut in aliam aliquam figuram?”–Ap. Burchard. (d. 1024). In like manner did S. Boniface preach against those who believed superstitiously in it strigas et fictos lupos.” (Serm. apud Mart. et Durand. ix. 217.)

In a dissertation by Müller[1] we learn, on the authority of Cluverius and Dannhaverus (Acad. Homilet. p. ii.), that a certain Albertus Pericofcius in Muscovy was wont to tyrannize over and harass his subjects in the most unscrupulous manner. One night when he was absent from home, his whole herd of cattle, acquired by extortion, perished. On his return he was informed of his loss, and the wicked man broke out into the most horrible blasphemies, exclaiming, “Let him who has slain, eat; if God chooses, let him devour me as well.”

As he spoke, drops of blood fell to earth, and the nobleman, transformed into a wild dog, rushed upon his dead cattle, tore and mangled the carcasses and began to devour them; possibly he may be devouring them still (ac forsan hodie que pascitur). His wife, then near her confinement, died of fear. Of these circumstances there were not only ear but also eye witnesses. (Non ab auritis tantum, sed et ocidatis accepi, quod [1. De Λυκανθρωπία. Lipsiæ, 1736.] narro). Similarly it is related of a nobleman in the neighbourhood of Prague, that he robbed his subjects of their goods and reduced them to penury through his exactions. He took the last cow from a poor widow with five children, but as a judgment, all his own cattle died. He then broke into fearful oaths, and God transformed him into a dog: his human head, however, remained.

S. Patrick is said to have changed Vereticus, king of Wales, into a wolf, and S. Natalis, the abbot, to have pronounced anathema upon an illustrious family in Ireland; in consequence of which, every male and female take the form of wolves for seven years and live in the forests and career over the bogs, howling mournfully, and appeasing their hunger upon the sheep of the peasants.[1] A duke of Prussia, according to Majolus, had a countryman brought for sentence before him, because he had devoured his neighbour’s cattle. The fellow was an ill-favoured, deformed man, with great wounds in his face, which he had received from dogs’ bites whilst he had been in his wolf’s form. It was believed that he changed shape twice in the year, at Christmas and at Midsummer. He was said to exhibit much uneasiness [1. PHIL. HARTUNG: Conciones Tergeminæ, pars ii. p. 367.] and discomfort when the wolf-hair began to break out and his bodily shape to change.

He was kept long in prison and closely watched, lest he should become a were-wolf during his confinement and attempt to escape, but nothing remarkable took place. If this is the same individual as that mentioned by Olaus Magnus, as there seems to be a probability, the poor fellow was burned alive.

John of Nüremberg relates the following curious story.[1] A priest was once travelling in a strange country, and lost his way in a forest. Seeing a fire, he made towards it, and beheld a wolf seated over it. The wolf addressed him in human-voice, and bade him not fear, as “he was of the Ossyrian race, of which a man and a woman were doomed to spend a certain number of years in wolf’s form. Only after seven years might they return home and resume their former shapes, if they were still alive.” He begged the priest to visit and console his sick wife, and to give her the last sacraments. This the priest consented to do, after some hesitation, and only when convinced of the beasts being human beings, by observing that the wolf used his front paws as hands, and when he saw the [1. JOHN EUS. NIERENBERG de Miracul. in Europa, lib. ii. cap. 42.] she-wolf peel off her wolf-skin from her head to her navel, exhibiting the features of an aged woman.

Marie de France says in the Lais du Bisclaveret:–[1]

Bisclaveret ad nun en Bretan
Garwall Papelent li Norman.
* * * *
Jadis le poet-hum oir
Et souvent suleit avenir,
Humes pluseirs Garwall deviendrent
E es boscages meisun tindrent

There is an interesting paper by Rhanæus, on the Courland were-wolves, in the Breslauer Sammlung.[2] The author says,–”There are too many examples derived not merely from hearsay, but received on indisputable evidence, for us to dispute the fact, that Satan–if we do not deny that such a being exists, and that he has his work in the children of darkness–holds the Lycanthropists in his net in three ways:–

“1. They execute as wolves certain acts, such as seizing a sheep, or destroying cattle, &c., not changed into wolves, which no scientific man in Courland believes, but in their human frames, and with their

[1. An epitome of this curious were-wolf tale will be found in Ellis’s Early English Metrical Romances.

2. Supplement III. Curieuser und nutzbarer Anmerkungen von Natur und Kunstgeschichten, gesammelt von Kanold. 1728.] human limbs, yet in such a state of phantasy and hallucination, that they believe themselves transformed into wolves, and are regarded as such by others suffering under similar hallucination, and in this manner run these people in packs as wolves, though not true wolves.

“2. They imagine, in deep sleep or dream, that they injure the cattle, and this without leaving their conch; but it is their master who does, in their stead, what their fancy points out, or suggests to him.

“3. The evil one drives natural wolves to do some act, and then pictures it so well to the sleeper, immovable in his place, both in dreams and at awaking, that he believes the act to have been committed by himself.”

Rhanæus, under these heads, relates three stories, which he believes be has on good authority. The first is of a gentleman starting on a journey, who came upon a wolf engaged in the act of seizing a sheep in his own flock; he fired at it, and wounded it, so that it fled howling to the thicket. When the gentleman returned from his expedition he found the whole neighbourhood impressed with the belief that he had, on a given day and hour, shot at one of his tenants, a publican, Mickel. p. 62 On inquiry, the man’s Wife, called Lebba, related the following circumstances, which were fully corroborated by numerous witnesses:–When her husband had sown his rye he had consulted with his wife how he was to get some meat, so as to have a good feast. The woman urged him on no account to steal from his landlord’s flock, because it was guarded by fierce dogs. He, however, rejected her advice, and Mickel fell upon his landlord’s sheep, but he had suffered and had come limping home, and in his rage at the ill success of his attempt, had fallen upon his own horse and had bitten its throat completely through. This took place in the year 1684.

In 1684, a man was about to fire upon a pack of wolves, when he heard from among the troop a voice exclaiming–”Gossip! Gossip! don’t fire. No good will come of it.”

The third story is as follows:–A lycanthropist was brought before a judge and accused of witchcraft, but as nothing could be proved against him, the judge ordered one of his peasants to visit the man in his prison, and to worm the truth out of him, and to persuade the prisoner to assist him in revenging himself upon another peasant who had injured him; and this was to be effected by destroying one of the man’s cows; but the peasant was to urge the prisoner to do it secretly, and, if possible, in the disguise of a wolf. The fellow undertook the task, but he had great difficulty in persuading the prisoner to fall in with his wishes: eventually, however, he succeeded. Next morning the cow was found in its stall frightfully mangled, but the prisoner had not left his cell: for the watch, who had been placed to observe him, declared that he had spent the night in profound sleep, and that he had only at one time made a slight motion with his head and hands and feet.

Wierius and Forestus quote Gulielmus Brabantinus as an authority for the fact, that a man of high position had been so possessed by the evil one, that often during the year he fell into a condition in which he believed himself to be turned into a wolf, and at that time he roved in the woods and tried to seize and devour little children, but that at last, by God’s mercy, he recovered his senses.

Certainly the famous Pierre Vidal, the Don Quixote of Provençal troubadours, must have had a touch of this madness, when, after having fallen in love with a lady of Carcassone, named Loba, or the Wolfess, the excess of his passion drove him over the country, howling like a wolf, and demeaning himself more like an irrational beast than a rational man.

He commemorates his lupine madness in the poem A tal Donna:–[1]

Crowned with immortal joys I mount
The proudest emperors above,
For I am honoured with the love
Of the fair daughter of a count.
A lace from Na Raymbauda’s hand
I value more than all the land
Of Richard, with his Poïctou,
His rich Touraine and famed Anjou.
When loup-garou the rabble call me,
When vagrant shepherds hoot,
Pursue, and buffet me to boot,
It doth not for a moment gall me;
I seek not palaces or halls,
Or refuge when the winter falls;
Exposed to winds and frosts at night,
My soul is ravished with delight.
Me claims my she-wolf (Loba) so divine:
And justly she that claim prefers,
For, by my troth, my life is hers
More than another’s, more than mine.

Job Fincelius[2] relates the sad story of a farmer of Pavia, who, as a wolf, fell upon many men in the open country and tore them to pieces. After much trouble [1. BRUCE WHYTE: Histoire des Langues Romaines, tom. ii. p. 248. 2. FINCELIUS de Mirabilibus, lib. xi.]the maniac was caught, and he then assured his captors that the only difference which existed between himself and a natural wolf, was that in a true wolf the hair grew outward, whilst in him it struck inward. In order to put this assertion to the proof, the magistrates, themselves most certainly cruel and bloodthirsty wolves, cut off his arms and legs; the poor wretch died of the mutilation. This took place in 1541. The idea of the skin being reversed is a very ancient one: versipellis occurs as a name of reproach in Petronius, Lucilius, and Plautus, and resembles the Norse hamrammr.

Fincelius relates also that, in 1542, there was such a multitude of were-wolves about Constantinople that the Emperor, accompanied by his guard, left the city to give them a severe correction, and slew one hundred and fifty of them.

Spranger speaks of three young ladies who attacked a labourer, under the form of cats, and were wounded by him. They were found bleeding in their beds next morning.

Majolus relates that a man afflicted with lycanthropy was brought to Pomponatius. The poor fellow had been found buried in hay, and when people approached, he called to them to flee, as he was a werewolf, and would rend them. The country-folk wanted to flay him, to discover whether the hair grew inwards, but Pomponatius rescued the man and cured him.

Bodin tells some were-wolf stories on good authority; it is a pity that the good authorities of Bodin were such liars, but that, by the way. He says that the Royal Procurator-General Bourdin had assured him that he had shot a wolf, and that the arrow had stuck in the beast’s thigh. A few hours after, the arrow was found in the thigh of a man in bed. In Vernon, about the year 1566, the witches and warlocks gathered in great multitudes, under the shape of cats. Four or five men were attacked in a lone place by a number of these beasts. The men stood their ground with the utmost heroism, succeeded in slaying one puss, and in wounding many others. Next day a number of wounded women were found in the town, and they gave the judge an accurate account of all the circumstances connected with their wounding.

Bodin quotes Pierre Marner, the author of a treatise on sorcerers, as having witnessed in Savoy the transformation of men into wolves. Nynauld[1] relates that in a village of Switzerland, near Lucerne, a peasant was [1. NYNAULD, De la Lycanthropie. Paris, 1615, p. 52.] attacked by a wolf, whilst he was hewing timber; he defended himself, and smote off a fore-leg of the beast. The moment that the blood began to flow the wolf’s form changed, and he recognized a woman without her arm. She was burnt alive.

An evidence that beasts are transformed witches is to be found in their having no tails. When the devil takes human form, however, he keeps his club-foot of the Satyr, as a token by which he may be recognized. So animals deficient in caudal appendages are to be avoided, as they are witches in disguise. The Thingwald should consider the case of the Manx cats in its next session.

Forestus, in his chapter on maladies of the brain, relates a circumstance which came under his own observation, in the middle of the sixteenth century, at Alcmaar in the Netherlands. A peasant there was attacked every spring with a fit of insanity; under the influence of this he rushed about the churchyard, ran into the church, jumped over the benches, danced, was filled with fury, climbed up, descended, and never remained quiet. He carried a long staff in his hand, with which he drove away the dogs, which flew at him and wounded him, so that his thighs were covered with scars. His face was pale, his eyes deep sunk in their sockets. Forestus pronounces the man to be a lycanthropist, but he does not say that the poor fellow believed himself to be transformed into a wolf. In reference to this case, however, he mentions that of a Spanish nobleman who believed himself to be changed into a bear, and who wandered filled with fury among the woods.

Donatus of Altomare[1] affirms that he saw a man in the streets of Naples, surrounded by a ring of people, who in his were-wolf frenzy had dug up a corpse and was carrying off the leg upon his shoulders. This was in the middle of the sixteenth century.

[1. De Medend. Human. Corp. lib. i. cap. 9.]

This is the second themed poem that I have published of George Andrews. Both poems were retrieved from “The Psychedelic Review”

(Gwyllm – MacGreggor Mathers)

Sky Taste Alive Inside

George Andrews

I feel like a rocket that has just been launched
brain waves travel at the speed of light
shot through by all the stars
tense liquid movements turn me inside out
I am in all the worlds at once
after I have made a flute from the bones of my own skeleton
then I can begin to dance
my own ghost is holy and it is all I have
mother earth alive within me
calling all her children home
lost ones playing in the sky
I am in all your eyes
we are all inside each other’s bones
all wearing jewels from the same ocean
radioactive salt sounding in each ear
it is working just like magic sure as shit
writing with my own intestines
writing in my own intestines
signatures of maker sealer in order of the chromosomes
supreme secret foundation of the empire
protector of what is fine in all the worlds
of what in all the worlds holds true
coming up from beneath out of the abyss
tortoise shell oracle from the depths of time
seed of the space tribe planted before history began
rainbows oscillate through the flesh
innumerable worlds revolving in the galaxy of each individual sack of skin
each sensitive hungry island universe of an ego
has been alive in all the centuries
all the centuries are alive in me now
all is here now
all that ever was since time began
sea of primal radiance foam from which beauty springs
rare mountain fragance snowdrop breath
organic rainbow constellation
from inside the tissues paradise rays transform the flesh
revolution of the beautiful in the protoplasm
micro-explosion in the nucleus
morning glory story older than the earth we walk on
electromagnetic apple in the ecstatic garden
the scimitar of lightning severs my head from my shoulders
celestial earth within my flesh awakens the subtle part of my solid self
as caterpillar becomes butterfly so man becomes
a luminous giant thundering anthems
crown jewel on the forehead of our star the earth
recognize the other world in this one
the light takes me apart then puts me together again
bird in the mouth of the jaguar saved by a virgin’s hand
the markings on the tiger skin are in the language of the diamond back rattlers
zero in on one of those acts bathed in the fragance of the night
scars of passion like the markings on an animal’s coat
tell-tale traces of past experience
mother’s broth of many generations of lamentations
sort all the ingredients out
put each one in its proper place
now let’s begin again
the family of the forces in harmony
all back home again in one stew
traces of yesterday stirring in today’s home cooking
the dead in conscious contact with the living
ancestral traits alive and speaking
true nobility is this memory engraved in the bones
transformation thrice sanctified of the fossil into a living being
all the joy of what never was at last has a chance to be
scintillating at the peak each atom has danced its glory
when really pinned down up here
there is a lot of fast action for enormous stakes
scurrying of insect feet wars of species
whole lifetimes of energy being oozled up in a few instants
the marrow of the soul extracted
look into the fiery opal listen to the djinn
empty place between the eyes
space animal hidden in the human form
royal tiger science king game
armor of chain lightening links each star to its nerve
incredible night-hawks on the frontier of the open sky
extreme weathering of time along the seams of matter
cut that queen bee nectar with a knife of pollen
rainbow amoebas in my organism I am an organism of
crystallized light chords
each cell is an instrument in the orchestra of the body
floating cushion of joyous resonance
sound box swinging through the structure of the being
each cell in the body can communicate with any cell of any body
cosmic joke being played in the navel of the radiance
in the cauldron of exploding ether
you may think you are pissing it out of you
but it is in the salt of the bones forever
Short Interview, then an amazing piece of music. Enjoy.

Marianne Faithfull – Lullaby


The Tao that can be trodden is not the enduring and
unchanging Tao. The name that can be named is not the enduring and
unchanging name.

(Conceived of as) having no name, it is the Originator of heaven
and earth; (conceived of as) having a name, it is the Mother of all

Always without desire we must be found,
If its deep mystery we would sound;
But if desire always within us be,
Its outer fringe is all that we shall see.

Under these two aspects, it is really the same; but as development
takes place, it receives the different names. Together we call them
the Mystery. Where the Mystery is the deepest is the gate of all that
is subtle and wonderful.

Annihilating Illumination

(Gwyllm – Infinite Bunny)


What is above is below
What is without is within
What is to come is in the past
Tall… deep… tree… green… branching… leaf
Root… above… below… thrusting… coiling
Sky… earth… stem… root
Leaf… green… sap
Soil… air
Soil… visible
Hidden… breathing… sucking
Bud… ooze… sun… damp
Light.. dark… bright… decay… laugh
Tear.. vein.,. rain… mud branch… root

What is above is below
What is without is within
What is to come is in the past

These wooden carvings displayed in her endless shelves
Within each uncut branch—
The carver’s knife

—from Psychedelic Prayers
Timothy Leary

Dreaming of
that perfect
Everything within
white light.

On The Menu:
Pentangle – Light Flight
Annihilating Illumination
A Glass Of Ayahuasca
Pentangle – House Carpenter
Art – Gwyllm (mostly)

Pentangle – Light Flight


Annihilating Illumination


While being struck by lightning in slow motion
the fire sears away layer after layer
sizzles me down to my ultimate ash
I quiver shrieks of laughing crystals
the radiant frenzy of the storm’s soul dwells in the guts of the dragon
the bomb in my belly blasts my body to bits
a million suns burst into being
naked free no ring around me but my own desire
I hold the lightning in embryo in my arms
the blood of the cactus is the blood of a snake and the blood of a star
magnetic dragon throbbing in each corpuscle
shining snake of the light wave our beings are based on
glyph of the nucleus of the cosmos
original flash of let there be light
the boat of the sun navigates through the underworld of my intestines
perpetual pilgrim doomed to wander through the chromatic repercussions
the intimate structure of the transparent signs
flower of light flowing through the blood of the universe
I wander through the mazes of the glory and the horror of the life
vital jelly swarming in all possible creatures
I see the dead and the living merge
the dead call to us the living may we recognize them at last
the dead are in our blood each corpuscle an ancestor
the day all the living die the dead shall live
herald of the apocalypse sound the doomsday horn
‘Man stop the wheel of creation and look inside
the stars are all contained within our organs
galactic music spins inside the bones
coruscating symphonies coalesce iridescent vibrations
coupled poles of attraction combust the salt of a fantastic caprice
philosopher’s stone cooking in the cauldron of my skull
drain the bitter cup to its last drop
potent is the sorcerer’s broth
mighty as the giant bird who swoops down and carries me away
to the motionless point around which all motion spins
I see touch and count the seeds of destiny
I see how fate weaves its webs
dreaming worlds into being from the ooze of my own brain
God born of the goo of my membranes
and has suffered ever since the intricate combinations of the opposites
afloat forever a bubble on the surface of reality
O to make one perfect thing at last of all the worlds of wandering
a ransom for the soul’s pain
drink liquid lightning from the sacred river while it is before you
don’t miss a drop no one sees it twice
fire swims and pulses through each cell of my being
the seed of strong delight stirs .
myriad joys feel at home in an angel’s nest
revolving wheels of splendor palpitate potent beauty
clear colors cascade undulating reflections
of the diamond in the brain the pituitary gland decalcified
the mirror in the mind
the heavenly heart awakens the first beat tells the worlds
germ in the guts of God or God in the guts of a germ I am that I am the same dance is everywhere
the one law of cyclic change
that constantly accelerating fugue of incandescent experience
flaming sequences of rhythm patterns
I am alive within the living God
I throb unique among the infinite variations
and so what if all the evolution of consciousness only leads to the knowledge
that I am a germ in the guts of a greater being
I am older than creation older than all beings
the stars revolve within me
I voyage through the inner space between my atoms
I take space ships to the different parts of my body
each organ becomes a constellation as I spread across the sky
wheeling through the zodiac weaving the fate of future races
conceive a cosmos where life does not need to kin to live
create a system free from pain
in the spawn and seethe of the primeval ocean
out of chaos I pass the current
immortal diamonds shimmering on the foam of the instant now
scintillating images of the flux that never fixes
explode into extreme intensities
constantly generating golden brilliance
face to face with the annihilating illumination
how much revelation can an organism sustain and stay alive
mortals beware the rays of the absolute
Nerval: “They consider me insane but I know
that I am a hero living under the eyes of the gods.”
glistening tender stars in the organs of all forms of life
trembling jewels flicker as they crawl like snakes
hidden energy roots of the soul body contact
subtle link between the sun and our life metabolism
invisible fiery wheel inside me
one spark that transforms everything
I’ve been to paradise and out the other side
zoomed through it like the midnight express through a whistle stop
I have been torn apart by the fingers of the flash
flayed alive on my electric skeleton
pulverized by the power of the spasm
I am the bridge between the living and the dead
I am the spirit in the shaman’s drum
I quiver to the rhythm of the Sphinx
I visit my own body as a stranger
incredible paroxysms of the luminous protoplasm
kindle multiple modulations of rare royal reality
to know that at each moment the crown jewels of the absolute
are dancing in the slime of my tissue
the play of the light in the growing cell
pours through the pulse of my perception
phoenix singing in my flesh
bird that breathes lightning as we breathe air and fishes water
intricate egg of fire fluctuating
in the magnetic field of my affinities and repulsions
where myriads of globules circulate crosswires hum
most amplified fantasy of the diamond body harvest
I free my nucleus gathering ecstasy for the ages
MY psyche digests the apocalyptic wisdom
interplanetary nausea
perfection signals tremor on the skin
O frail fine blue star
your faint fragile tonalities swoon triumphant rainbows
as the berserk fury of the thunder’s roar fades into words on paper.
(Gwyllm – Uncle Allen 2)
by Allen Ginsberg

in my hotel room overlooking Desamparados’ Clanging Clock,
with the french balcony doors closed, and luminescent fixture out
“my room took on a near eastern aspect” that is I was reminded of Burroughs
with heart beating—and the blue wall of Polynesian Whorehouse, and
mirror framed in black as if in Black Bamboo-and wooden slated floor
and I in my bed, waiting, and slowly drifting away
but still thinking in my body till my body turned to passive wood
and my soul rocked back & forth preparing to slide out on eternal journey
backwards from my head in the dark
An hour, realizing the possible change in consciousness
that the Soul is independent of the body and its death
and that the Soul is not Me, it is the wholly other “whisper of consciousness”
from Above, Beyond, Afuera—
till I realize it existed in all its splendor in the Ideal or Imaginary
Toward which the me will travel when the body goes to the sands of Chancay
And at last, lying in bed covered my body with a splendid robe of
indian manycolors wool,
I gazed up at the grey gate of Heaven with a foreign eye
and yelled in my mind “Open up, for I am the Prince of eternity
come back to myself after a long journey in chaos,
open the Door of Heaven, My Soul, for I have come back to claim
my Ancient House
Let the Servants come forth to Welcome me and let Silent Harp make music
and bring my apparel of Rainbow and Star show me my shoes of Light and
my Pants of the Universe
Spread forth my meal of myriad lives, My Soul, and Show up thy
Face of Welcome
For I am the one who has dwelled in the secret Temple before,
and I have been man too long
And now I want to Hear Music of Joy beyond Death,
and now I am be who has waited to Welcome myself back Home
The great stranger is Home in his House of Joy.”

or words or thoughts or sensations & images to that effect.

Thus for an instant the Sensation of this Eternal House passed thru my hair
tho I couldn’t liberate my body from the bed to float away—
tho did glimpse the foot of the thought of the gate of Heaven—

Then opened my eyes and Saw the blast of light of the real universe
when I opened the window and looked at the clock on the R R Station
with its halfnaked man & woman with clubs, creators of time and chaos,
and down on the street where pastry venders sold their poor sugar
symbolic of Eternity, to Passerby-and great fat clanking beast of Trolley
with its dumb animal look and croaking screech on the tracks
Powered by electric life,, turned a corner of the Presidential Palace
where Bolivar 200 years ago in time planted a secret everlasting Fig-tree
and a fog from another life crept thru its own dimension
Past the cornice of the hotel and travelled downward in the street
To seek the river-had a bridge with little humans crossing, faraway
—and up in the hills the silver gleam of sunlight on the horizon thru thick fog
—and the Cerro San Christobal—with a cross atop and Casbah of poor
consciousness ratted on its hip—
and overall the vast blue flash & blast of open space
the Sky of Time, empty as a big blue dream
and as everlasting as the many eyes that lived to see it
Time is the God, is the Face of the God,
As in the monstrous image of the Ramondi Chavin Sculptured Stone Monument
A cat head many eyed sharp toothed god face long as Time,
with different eyes some upside down and 16 sets of faces
all have fangs—the structure of one consciousness
that waits upstairs to Devour man and all his universes
—turn the picture upside down—the top eyes see more than the human bottom rows
Indifferent, dopey, smiling, horrible, with Snakes & fangs—
The huge gentle creature of the Cosmic joke
that takes whatever form it can to Signify that it is the one that has come to its Home
where all are invited to Enter in Secret eternally
After they have been killed by the illusion of Impossible Death.
Lima, Peru
May 1960

Pentangle – House Carpenter


(Gwyllm – Dharma Wheel)


Surrealism 101

Surrealism… in its broader sense… represents a spiritual crisis that stems from the ideological developments of the nineteenth century, and has succeeded in producing a technique of writing and painting that conveys a materio-mystical vision of the universe. – Anna Balakian

Friday, Portland.
Working on this entry off and on for the last few days.
We have been scrambling, off to Astoria to see friends at their new seaside cabin, to visiting clients, working on the new edition of The Invisible College Magazine (Lucky #7!) and generally getting things done.

Our friends Leslie & Roberto drove past on Interstate 5 yesterday, sadly they couldn’t stop as they were running late for setting up for a show in Seattle. Hopefully we can visit them and other friends down in my favourite California town later in the year if the weather holds back in October and early November.

It is beautiful here right now. The little birds are all fledgling out, ready to take to the sky only if the parents keep feeding them. I swear, most of them are larger than their parents. Perhaps we are seeing some sort of mutation happening to multiple species in our back yard!

Anyway, hope this finds you well. Another themed entry, enjoy!


On The Menu:
STS9 – The Shock Doctrine
Surrealist Quotes
The Links
La Pieuvre Des Arbres
Scottish Fairytales: Fairy Transportation
The Surrealist Song Of Robert Desnos
Robert Desnos Biography
Layo & Bushwacka – Sleepy Language
Art: Ernst Fuchs

STS9 – The Shock Doctrine


Surrealist Quotes:

The mind which plunges into Surrealism, relives with burning excitement the best part of childhood. (Andre Breton)

One can understand why Surrealism was not afraid to make for itself a tenet of total revolt, complete insubordination, of sabotage according to rule, and why it still expects nothing save from violence. (Andre Breton)

Surrealism is embedded in the everyday, in the daily experience. (Katharine Conley)

Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision. (Salvador Dali)

Surrealism had a great effect on me because then I realised that the imagery in my mind wasn’t insanity. Surrealism to me is reality. (John Lennon)


The Links:

Stepping Into The Distant Past…
Are Cancers New Forms Of Parasites?
Drug Testing Via Your Fingerprints…
The Art Of Failing

La Pieuvre Des Arbres


Scottish Fairytales: Fairy Transportation

The power of the fairies was not confined to unchristened children alone; it was supposed frequently to be extended to full-grown persons, especially such as in an unlucky hour were devoted to the devil by the execration of parents and of masters; or those who were found asleep under a rock, or on a green hill, belonging to the fairies, after sunset, or, finally, to those who unwarily joined their orgies. A tradition existed, during the seventeenth century, concerning an ancestor of the noble family of Duffus, who, “walking abroad in the fields, near to his own house, was suddenly carried away, and found the next day at Paris, in the French king’s cellar, with a silver cup in his hand. Being brought into the king’s presence, and questioned by him who he was, and how he came thither, he told his name, his country, and the place of his residence! and that on such a day of the month, which proved to be the day immediately preceding, being in the fields, he heard the noise of a whirlwind, and of voices, crying ‘Horse and Hattock!’ (this is the word which the fairies are said to use when they remove from any place), whereupon he cried ‘Horse and Hattock’ also, and was immediately caught up and transported through the air by the fairies, to that place, where, after he had drunk heartily, he fell asleep, and before he woke, the rest of the company were gone, and had left him in the posture wherein he was found. It is said the king gave him the cup which was found in his hand, and dismissed him.” The narrator affirms “that the cup was still preserved, and known by the name of the Fairy Cup.” He adds that Mr. Steward, tutor to the then Lord Duffus, had informed him that, “when a boy at the school of Forres, he and his school-fellows were upon a time whipping their tops in the churchyard, before the door of the church, when, though the day was calm, they heard a noise of a wind, and at some distance saw the small dust begin to rise and turn round, which motion continued advancing till it came to the place where they were, whereupon they began to bless themselves; but one of their number being, it seems, a little more bold and confident than his companions, said, “‘Horse and Hattock with my top,’ and immediately they all saw the top lifted up from the ground, but could not see which way it was carried, by reason of a cloud of dust which was raised at the same time. They sought for the top all about the place where it was taken up, but in vain; and it was found afterwards in the churchyard, on the other side of the church.”

126:1 Sir Waiter Scott, Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border.


The Surrealist Song Of Robert Desnos

Dove in the Arch

be the father of the bride
of the blacksmith who forged the iron for the axe
with which the woodsman hacked down the oak
from which the bed was carved
in which was conceived the great-grandfather
of the man who was driving the carriage
in which your mother met your father.

The Ring of Stars

In order to make a star with five branches
Where six would have been the same
A circle must first be drawn
In order to make a star with five branches …

A ring!

One did not take so many precuations
In order to make a tree from many branches
Trees that hide the stars
You, full of nests and song birds
Covered with branches and leaves
That you lift as far as the stars!


What sort of arrow split the sky and this rock?
It’s quivering, spreading like a peacock’s fan
Like the mist around the shaft and knot less feathers
Of a comet come to nest at midnight.

How blood surges from the gaping wound,
Lips already silencing murmur and cry.
One solemn finger holds back time, confusing
The witness of the eyes where the deed is written.

Silence? We still know the passwords.
Lost sentinels far from the watch fires
We smell the odor of honeysuckle and surf
Rising in the dark shadows.

Distance, let dawn leap the void at last,
And a single beam of light make a rainbow on the water
Its quiver full of reeds,
Sign of the return of archers and patriotic songs.

Sky Song

The flower of the Alps told the seashell: “You’re shining”
The seashell told the sea: “You echo”
The sea told the boat: “You’re shuddering”
The boat told the fire: “You’re glowing brightly”
The fire told me: “I glow less brightly than her eyes”
The boat told me: “I shudder less than your heart does when she appears”
The sea told me: “I echo less than her name does in your love-making”
The seashell told me: “I shine less brightly than the phosphorus of desire in your hollow dream”
The flower of the Alps told me: “She’s beautiful”
I said: “She’s beautiful, so beautiful, she moves me.”

The Voice of Robert Desnos

So like a flower and a current of air
the flow of water fleeting shadows
the smile glimpsed at midnight this excellent evening
so like every joy and every sadness
it is the midnight past lifting its naked body above belfries and poplars
I call to me those lost in the fields
old skeletons young oaks cut down
scraps of cloth rotting on the ground and linen drying in farm country
I call tornadoes and hurricanes
storms typhoons cyclones
tidal waves
I call the smoke of volcanoes and the smoke of cigarettes
the rings of smoke from expensive cigars
I call lovers and loved ones
I call the living and the dead
I call gravediggers I call assassins
I call hangmen pilots bricklayers architects
I call the flesh
I call the one I love
I call the one I love
I call the one I love
the jubilant midnight unfolds its satin wings and perches on my bed
the belfries and the poplars bend to my wish
the former collapse the latter bow down
those lost in the fields are found in finding me
the old skeletons are revived by my voice
the young oaks cut down are covered with foliage
the scraps of cloth rotting on the ground and in the earth
snap to at the sound of my voice like a flag of rebellion
the linen drying in farm country clothes adorable women
whom I do not adore
who come to me
obeying my voice, adoring
tornadoes revolve in my mouth
hurricanes if it is possible redden my lips
storms roar at my feet
typhoons if it is possible ruffle me
I get drunken kisses from the cyclones
the tidal waves come to die at my feet
the earthquakes do not shake me but fade completely
at my command
the smoke of volcanoes clothes me with its vapors
and the smoke of cigarettes perfumes me
and the rings of cigar smoke crown me
loves and love so long hunted find refuge in me
lovers listen to my voice
the living and the dead yield to me and salute me
the former coldly the latter warmly
the gravediggers abandon the hardly-dug graves
and declare that I alone may command their nightly work
the assassins greet me
the hangmen invoke the revolution
invoke my voice
invoke my name
the pilots are guided by my eyes
the bricklayers are dizzied listening to me
the architects leave for the desert
the assassins bless me
flesh trembles when I call

the one I love is not listening
the one I love does not hear
the one I love does not answer.

Robert Desnos Biography

Desnos, Robert (rôbĕr’ dĕsnôs’), 1900-1945, French poet. Among the best-known surrealist poets, he was one of the chief proponents of so-called automatic writing. He put himself in a trance before writing many of his works. They include La Liberté ou l’amour [liberty or love] (1927), Corps et Biens [bodies and blessings] (1930), État de veille [wakefulness] (1943), Contrée [thwarted] (1944), Félix Labisse (1945), and Choix de poems [choice of poems] (1945). He also wrote a novel, Le Vin est tiré [the wine is killed] (1943), and a surrealistic drama, La Place de L’étoile (1945). During World War II, Desnos died as a prisoner in the Theresienstadt concentration camp.

Desnos, Robert (1900-45). French poet. A very inventive Surrealist, he made contact with Breton in 1922. In the experiments with hypnotic sleep, he turned out to be the best subject, capable of writing in a trance. Even if the aphorisms of Rrose Sélavy (1922-3) were not the result of transatlantic telepathic communication with Marcel Duchamp, the latter provided the model. Desnos’s first published book, Deuil pour deuil (1924), an almost unclassifiable prose text, paved the way for the erotic fantasy La Liberté ou l’amour (1927). In his lifetime he brought out two major volumes of poetry: Corps et biens (1930), covering the decade from 1919 until his exclusion from the Surrealist group, includes the linguistic experiments of ‘L’Aumonyme’ and ‘Langage cuit’ (1923), the lyrical apostrophe ‘A la Mystérieuse’ (1926) and ‘Les Ténèbres’ (1927); Fortunes (1942) shows how he continued to explore the whole gamut of poetry, despite his radio and newspaper work. He also wrote two cantatas with Milhaud, Pour l’inauguration du Musée de l’homme (1937) and Les Quatre Eléments (1938), a novel, Le Vin est tiré (1943), a ‘play’, Le Place de l’Étoile (1945), and essays, e.g. Félix Labisse (1945). A Resistance poet, he died in a concentration camp. His posthumous publications include Choix de poèmes (1946), Domaine public (1953), Cinéma (1966).

[Keith Aspley]


Layo & Bushwacka – Sleepy Language


Like all revolutions, the surrealist revolution was a reversion, a restitution, an expression of vital and indispensable spiritual needs. – Eugene Ionesco

The Golden Index…

Dorothy Parker: “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.”

The Golden Index:

Dimidium Animae Meae… You know it when it happens. That merging, the conversations, the long nights that vanish so quickly, the rising and falling of the sun, the seasons. You become as one. I praise the one who holds my heart, and soul.

In The Golden Index, we stand, measured in our time, a unique moment together. Civilizations rise and fall, the seasons and seas change, but in that one eternal moment, we are.

This is an entry of random selections, put together on a muggy Sunday afternoon. Here is to the Beauty we dwell in. Here is Love.

Bright Blessings,

On The Menu:
The Random Quotes
Laika – Almost Sleeping
The Were-Wolf In The North
Sulpicia’s Verses
Laika – Breather

The Random Quotes

George Eliot: “We are all apt to believe what the world believes about us.”
E. V. Lucas: “I have noticed that the people who are late are often so much jollier than the people who have to wait for them.”
Barry Commoner: “Nothing ever goes away.”
William Faulkner | “The artist doesn’t have time to listen to the critics. The ones who want to be writers read the reviews, the ones who want to write don’t have the time to read reviews.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet.”
W. L. George: “Wars teach us not to love our enemies, but to hate our allies.”
J. Robert Oppenheimer: “Any man whose errors take ten years to correct is quite a man.”
George Burns: “I can remember when the air was clean and sex was dirty.”
Steven Weinberg: “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

Laika – Almost Sleeping


The Book of Were-Wolves
by Sabine Baring-Gould
Chapter III: The Were-Wolf In The North

(Arthur Rackham – Odin)

Norse Traditions – Manner in which the Change was effected – Vœlundar Kvœda – Instances from the Völsung Saga – Hrolf’s Saga – Kraka – Faroëse Poem – Helga Kvida – Vatnsdæla Saga – Eyrbyggja Saga

In Norway and Iceland certain men were said to be eigi einhamir, not of one skin, an idea which had its roots in paganism. The full form of this strange superstition was, that men could take upon them other bodies, and the natures of those beings whose bodies they assumed. The second adopted shape was called by the same name as the original shape, hamr, and the expression made use of to designate the transition from one body to another, was at skipta hömum, or at hamaz; whilst the expedition made in the second form, was the hamför. By this transfiguration extraordinary powers were acquired; the natural strength of the individual was doubled, or quadrupled; he acquired the strength of the beast in whose body he travelled, in addition to his own, and a man thus invigorated was called hamrammr.

The manner in which the change was effected, varied. At times, a dress of skin was cast over the body, and at once the transformation was complete; at others, the human body was deserted, and the soul entered the second form, leaving the first body in a cataleptic state, to all appearance dead. The second hamr was either borrowed or created for the purpose. There was yet a third manner of producing this effect-it was by incantation; but then the form of the individual remained unaltered, though the eyes of all beholders were charmed so that they could only perceive him under the selected form.

Having assumed some bestial shape, the man who is eigi einhammr is only to be recognized by his eyes, which by no power can be changed. He then pursues his course, follows the instincts of the beast whose body he has taken, yet without quenching his own intelligence. He is able to do what the body of the animal can do, and do what he, as man, can do as well. He may fly or swim, if be is in the shape of bird or fish; if he has taken the form of a wolf, or if he goes on a gandreið, or wolf’s-ride, he is fall of the rage and malignity of the creatures whose powers and passions he has assumed.

I will give a few instances of each of the three methods of changing bodies mentioned above. Freyja and Frigg had their falcon dresses in which they visited different regions of the earth, and Loki is said to have borrowed these, and to have then appeared so precisely like a falcon, that he would have escaped detection, but for the malicious twinkle of his eyes. In the Vælundar kviða is the following passage:–

Meyjar flugu sunnan
Myrkvið igögnum
Alvitr unga
Orlög drýgja;
þær á savarströnd
Settusk at hvilask,
Dró sir suðrœnar
Dýrt lín spunnu.

Ein nam þeirra
Egil at verja
Fögr mær fíra
Faðmi ljósum;
Önnur var Svanhvít,
Svanfjaðrar dró;
En in þriðja
þeirra systir
Var i hvítan
Háls Völundar.

From the south flew the maidens
Athwart the gloom,
Alvit the young,
To fix destinies;
They on the sea-strand
Sat them to rest,
These damsels of the south
Fair linen spun.

One of them took
Egil to press,
Fair maid, in her
Dazzling arms.
Another was Svanhwit,
Who wore swan feathers;
And the third,
Their sister,
Pressed the white
Neck of Vœlund.

The introduction of Sœmund tells us that these charming young ladies were caught when they had laid their swan-skins beside them on the shore, and were consequently not in a condition to fly.

In like manner were wolves’ dresses used. The following curious passage is from the wild Saga of the Völsungs:–

“It is now to be told that Sigmund thought Sinfjötli too young to help him in his revenge, and he wished first to test his powers; so during the summer they plunged deep into the wood and slew men for their goods, and Sigmund saw that he was quite of the Völsung stock. . . . Now it fell out that as they went through the forest, collecting monies, that they lighted on a house in which were two men sleeping, with great gold rings an them; they had dealings with witchcraft, for wolf-skins hung up in the house above them; it was the tenth day on which they might come out of their second state. They were kings’ sons. Sigmund and Sinfjötli got into the habits, and could not get out of them again, and the nature of the original beasts came over them, and they howled as wolves–they learned “both of them to howl. Now they went into the forest, and each took his own course; they made the agreement together that they should try their strength against as many as seven men, but not more, and. that he who was ware of strife should utter his wolf’s howl.

“‘Do not fail in this,’ said Sigmund, ‘for you are young and daring, and men would be glad to chase you.’ Now each went his own course; and after that they had parted Sigmund found men, so he howled; and when Sinfjötli heard that, he ran up and slew them all-then they separated. And Sinfjötli had not been long in the wood before he met with. eleven men; he fell upon them and slew them every one. Then he was tired, so he flung himself under an oak to rest. Up came Sigmund and said, ‘Why did you not call out?’ Sinfjötli replied, ‘What was the need of asking your help to kill eleven men?’

“Sigmund flew at him and rent him so that he fell, for he had bitten through his throat. That day they could not leave their wolf-forms. Sigmund laid him on his back and bare him home to the hall, and sat beside him, and said, ‘Deuce take the wolf-forms!”‘–Völsung Saga, c. 8.

There is another curious story of a were-wolf in the same Saga, which I must relate.

“Now he did as she requested, and hewed down a great piece of timber, and cast it across the feet of those ten brothers seated in a row, in the forest; and there they sat all that day and on till night. And at midnight there came an old she-wolf out of the forest to them, as they sat in the stocks, and she was both huge and grimly. Now she fell upon one of them, and bit him to death, and after she had eaten him all up, she went away. And next morning Signy sent a trusty man to her brothers, to know how it had fared with them. When he returned he told her of the death of one, and that grieved her much, for she feared it might fare thus with them all, and she would be unable to assist them.

“In short, nine nights following came the same she-wolf at midnight, and devoured them one after another till all were dead, except Sigmund, and he was left alone. So when the tenth night came, Signy sent her trusty man to Sigmund, her brother, with honey in his hand, and said that he was to smear it over the face of Sigmund, and to fill his mouth with it. Now he went to Sigmund, and did as he was bid, after which he returned home. And during the night came the same she-wolf, as was her wont, and reckoned to devour him, like his brothers.

“Now she snuffed at him, where the honey was smeared, and began to lick his face with her tongue, and presently thrust her tongue into his mouth. He bore it ill, and bit into the tongue of the she-wolf; she sprang up and tried to break loose, setting her feet against the stock, so as to snap it asunder: but he held firm, and ripped the tongue out by the roots, so that it was the death of the wolf. It is the opinion of some men that this beast was the mother of King Siggeir, and that she had taken this form upon her through devilry and witchcraft.”–(c. 5.)

There is another story bearing on the subject in the Hrolfs Saga Kraka, which is pretty; it is as follows:–

“In the north of Norway, in upland-dales, reigned a king called Hring; and he had a son named Björn. Now it fell out that the queen died, much lamented by the king, and by all. The people advised him to marry again, and so be sent men south to get him a wife. A gale and fierce storm fell upon them, so that they had to turn the helm, and run before the wind, and so they came north to Finnmark, where they spent the winter. One day they went inland, and came to a house in which sat two beautiful women, who greeted them well, and inquired whence they had come. They replied by giving an account of their journey and their errand, and then asked the women who they were, and why they were alone, and far from the haunts of men, although they were so comely and engaging. The elder replied–that her name was Ingibjorg, and that her daughter was called Hvit, and that she was the Finn king’s sweetheart. The messengers decided that they would return home, if Hvit would come with them and marry King Hring. She agreed, and they took her with them and met the king who was pleased with her, and had his wedding feast made, and said that he cared not though she was not rich. But the king was very old, and that the queen soon found out.

“There was a Carle who had a farm not far from the king’s dwelling; he had a wife, and a daughter, who was but a child, and her name was Bera; she was very young and lovely. Björn the king’s son, and Bera the Carle’s daughter, were wont, as children, to play together, and they loved each other well. The Carle was well to do, he had been out harrying in his young days, and he was a doughty champion. Björn and Bera loved each other more and more, and they were often together.

Time passed, and nothing worth relating occurred; but Björn, the king’s son, waxed strong and tall; and he was well skilled in all manly exercises.

“King Hring was often absent for long, harrying foreign shores, and Hvit remained at home and governed the land. She was not liked of the people. She was always very pleasant with Björn, but he cared little for her. It fell out once that the King Hring went abroad, and he spake with his queen that Björn should remain at home with her, to assist in the government, for he thought it advisable, the queen being haughty and inflated with pride.

“The king told his son Björn that he was to remain at home, and rule the land with the queen; Björn replied that he disliked the plan, and that he had no love for the queen; but the king was inflexible, and left the land with a great following. Björn walked home after his conversation with the king, and went up to his place, ill-pleased and red as blood. The queen came to speak with him, and to cheer him; and spake friendly with him, but he bade her be of. She obeyed him that time. She often came to talk with him, and said how much pleasanter it was for them to be together, than to have an old fellow like Hring in the house.

“Björn resented this speech, and struck her a box in the ear, and bade her depart, and he spurned her from him. She replied that this was ill-done to drive and thrust her away: and ‘You think it better, Björn, to sweetheart a Carle’s daughter, than to have my love and favour, a fine piece of condescension and a disgrace it is to you! But, before long, something will stand in the way of your fancy, and your folly.’ Then she struck at him with a wolf-skin glove, and said, that he should become a rabid and grim wild bear; and ‘You shall eat nothing but your father’s sheep, which you shall slay for your food, and never shall you leave this state.’

After that, Björn disappeared, and none knew what had become of him; and men sought but found him not, as was to be expected. We must now relate how that the king’s sheep were slaughtered, half a score at a time, and it was all the work of a grey bear, both huge and grimly.

“One evening it chanced that the Carle’s daughter saw this savage bear coming towards her, looking tenderly at her, and she fancied that she recognized the eyes of Björn, the king’s son, so she made a slight attempt to escape; then the beast retreated, but she followed it, till she came to a cave. Now when she entered the cave there stood before her a man, who greeted Bera, the Carle’s daughter; and she recognized him, for he was Björn, Hring’s son. Overjoyed were they to meet. So they were together in the cave awhile, for she would not part from him when she had the chance of being with him; but he said that this was not proper that she should be there by him, for by day he was a beast, and by night a man.

“Hring returned from his harrying, and he was told the news, of what had taken place during his absence; how that Björn, his son, had vanished, and also, how that a monstrous beast was up the country, and was destroying his flocks. The queen urged the king to have the beast slain, but he delayed awhile.

“One night, as Bera and Björn were together, he said to her:–’Methinks to-morrow will be the day of my death, for they will come out to hunt me down. But for myself I care not, for it is little pleasure to live with this charm upon me, and my only comfort is that we are together; but now our union must be broken. I will give you the ring which is under my left hand. You will see the troop of hunters to-morrow coming to seek me; and when I am dead go to the king, and ask him to give you what is under the beast’s left front leg. He will consent.’

“He spoke to her of many other things, till the bear’s form stole over him, and he went forth a bear. She followed him, and saw that a great body of hunters had come over the mountain ridges, and had a number of dogs with them. The bear rushed away from the cavern, but the dogs and the king’s men came upon him, and there was a desperate struggle. He wearied many men before he was brought to bay, and had slain all the dogs. But now they made a ring about him, and he ranged around it., but could see no means of escape, so he turned to where the king stood, and he seized a man who stood next him, and rent him asunder; then was the bear so exhausted that he cast himself down flat, and, at once, the men rushed in upon him and slew him. The Carle’s daughter saw this, and she went up to the king, and said,–’Sire! wilt thou grant me that which is under the bear’s left fore-shoulder?’ The king consented. By this time his men had nearly flayed the bear; Bera went up and plucked away the ring, and kept it, but none saw what she took, nor had they looked for anything. The king asked her who she was, and she gave a name, but not her true name.

“The king now went home, and Bera was in his company. The queen was very joyous, and treated her well, and asked who she was; but Bera answered as before.

“The queen now made a great feast, and had the bear’s flesh cooked for the banquet. The Carle’s daughter was in the bower of the queen, and could not escape, for the queen had a suspicion who she was. Then she came to Bera with a dish, quite unexpectedly, and on it was bear’s flesh, and she bade Bera eat it. She would not do so. ‘Here is a marvel!’ said the queen; ‘you reject the offer which a queen herself deigns to make to you. Take it at once, or something worse will befall you.’ She bit before her, and she ate of that bite; the queen cut another piece, and looked into her mouth; she saw that one little grain of the bite had gone down, but Bera spat out all the rest from her mouth, and said she would take no more, though she were tortured or killed.

“‘Maybe you have had sufficient,’ said the queen, and she laughed.”–(Hrolfs Saga Kraka, c. 24-27, condensed.)

In the Faroëse song of Finnur hin friði, we have the following verse:–

Hegar íð Finnur hetta sær.
Mannspell var at meini,
Skapti hann seg í varglíki:

Hann feldi allvæl fleiri.

When this peril Finn saw,
That witchcraft did him harm,
Then he changed himself into a were-wolf:

He slew many thus.

The following is from the second Kviða of Helga Hundingsbana (stroph. 31):–

May the blade bite,
Which thou brandishest
Only on thyself,
when it Chimes on thy head.
Then avenged will be
The death of Helgi,
When thou, as a wolf,
Wanderest in the woods,
Knowing nor fortune
Nor any pleasure,
Haying no meat,
Save rivings of corpses.

In all these cases the change is of the form: we shall now come to instances in which the person who is changed has a double shape, and the soul animates one after the other.

The Ynglinga Saga (c. 7) says of Odin, that “he changed form; the bodies lay as though sleeping or dead, but he was a bird or a beast, a fish, or a woman, and went in a twinkling to far distant lands, doing his own or other people’s business.” In like manner the Danish king Harold sent a warlock to Iceland in the form of a whale, whilst his body lay stiff and stark at home. The already quoted Saga of Hrolf Krake gives us another example, where Bödvar Bjarki, in the shape of a huge bear, fights desperately with the enemy, which has surrounded the hall of his king, whilst his human body lies drunkenly beside the embers within.

In the Vatnsdæla Saga, there is a curious account of three Finns, who were shut up in a hut for three nights, and ordered by Ingimund, a Norwegian chief, to visit Iceland and inform him of the lie of the country, where he was to settle. Their bodies became rigid, and they sent their souls the errand, and, on their awaking at the end of three days, gave an accurate description of the Vatnsdal, in which Ingimund was eventually to establish himself. But the Saga does not relate whether these Finns projected their souls into the bodies of birds or beasts.

The third manner of transformation mentioned, was that in which the individual was not changed himself, but the eyes of others were bewitched, so that they could not detect him, but saw him only under a certain form. Of this there are several examples in the Sagas; as, for instance, in the Hromundar Saga Greypsonar, and in the Fostbræðra Saga. But I will translate the most curious, which is that of Odd, Katla’s son, in the Eyrbyggja Saga.–(c. 20.)

“Geirrid, housewife in Mafvahlið, sent word into Bolstad, that she was ware of the fact that Odd, Katla’s son, had hewn off Aud’s hand.

“Now when Thorarinn and Arnkell heard that, they rode from home with twelve men. They spent the night in Mafvahlið, and rode on next morning to Holt: and Odd was the only man in the house.

“Katla sat on the high seat spinning yarn, and she bade Odd sit beside her; also, she bade her women sit each in her place, and hold their tongues. ‘For,’ said she, ‘I shall do all the talking.’ Now when Arnkell and his company arrived, they walked straight in, and when they came into the chamber, Katla greeted Arnkell, and asked the news. He replied that there was none, and he inquired after Odd. Katla said that he had gone to Breidavik. ‘We shall ransack the house though,’ quoth Arnkell. ‘Be it so,’ replied Katla, and she ordered a girl to carry a light before them, and unlock the different parts of the house. All they saw was Katla spinning yarn off her distaff. Now they search the house, but find no Odd, so they depart. But when they had gone a little way from the garth, Arnkell stood still and said: ‘How know we but that Katla has hoodwinked us, and that the distaff in her hand was nothing more than Odd.’ ‘Not impossible!’ said Thorarinn; ‘let us turn back.’ They did so; and when those at Holt raw that they were returning, Katla said to her maids, ‘Sit still in your places, Odd and I shall go out.’

“Now as they approached the door, she went into the porch, and began to comb and clip the hair of her son Odd. Arnkell came to the door and saw where Katla was, and she seemed to be stroking her goat, and disentangling its mane and beard and smoothing its wool. So he and his men went into the house, but found not Odd. Katla’s distaff lay against the bench, so they thought that it could not have been Odd, and they went away. However, when they had come near the spot where they had turned before, Arnkell said, ‘Think you not that Odd may have been in the goat’s form?’ ‘There is no saying,’ replied Thorarinn; ‘but if we turn back we will lay hands on Katla.’ ‘We can try our luck again,’ quoth Arnkell; ‘and see what comes of it.’ So they returned.

“Now when they were seen on their way back, Katla bade Odd follow her; and she lea him to the ash-heap, and told him to lie there and not to stir on any account. But when Arnkell, and his men came to the farm, they rushed into the chamber, and saw Katla seated in her place, spinning. She greeted them and said that their visits followed with rapidity. Arnkell replied that what she said was true. His comrades took the distaff and cut it in twain. ‘Come now!’ said Katla, ‘you cannot say, when you get home, that you have done nothing, for you have chopped up my distaff.’ Then Arnkell and the rest hunted high and low for Odd, but could not find him; indeed they saw nothing living about the place, beside a boar-pig which lay under the ash-heap, so they went away once more.

“Well, when they got half-way to Mafvahlið, came Geirrid to meet them, with her workmen. ‘They had not gone the right way to work in seeking Odd,’ she said, ‘but she would help them.’ So they turned back again. Geirrid had a blue cloak on her. Now when the party was seen and reported to Katla, and it was said that they were thirteen in number, and one had on a coloured dress, Katla exclaimed, ‘That troll Geirrid is come! I shall not be able to throw a glamour over their eyes any more.’ She started up from her place and lifted the cushion of the seat, and there was a hole and a cavity beneath: into this she thrust Odd, clapped the cushion over him, and sat down, saying she felt sick at heart.

“Now when they came into the room, there were small greetings. Geirrid cast of her the cloak and went up to Katla, and took the seal-skin bag which she had in her hand, and drew it over the head of Katla.[1] Then Geirrid bade them break up the seat. They did so, and found Odd. Him they took and carried to Buland’s head, where they hanged him. . . . But Katla they stoned to death under the headland.”

[1. A precaution against the “evil eye.” Compare Gisla Saga Surssonnar, p. 34. Laxdæla Saga, cc. 37, 38.]
Sulpicia’s Verses

I Love Proclaimed

Love has come at last, such love that to hide it in shame
would be worse than being spoken of for showing it.
Won over by my Muse, Venus of Cythera,
brought him, and placed him here in my arms.
Venus fulfils what she promised: let my joy be told,
spoken by him who has no joy of his own.
I wouldn’t want to order any of my letters sealed
so that none can read them before my lover does.
I delight in my sin: I loathe composing my looks
for public opinion: let them declare worth meets worth.

II The Hateful Journey

My hateful birthday’s here, to be spent in sadness,
in the wretched country, and without Cerinthus.
What’s sweeter than the city? Is a villa fit for a girl
or the chilly river that runs through Arretium’s fields?
Peace now, Messalla, from over-zealous care of me:
journeys, dear relative, aren’t always welcome.
Snatched away, I leave my mind and feelings here,
she whom coercion won’t allow to make her own decisions.

III The Journey Abandoned

Did you know the threat of that wretched journey’s
been lifted from your girl’s spirits? Now I can be in Rome
for my birthday. Let’s all celebrate this birthday
that comes to you, now, by unexpected chance.

IV Her Reproach

Be grateful I’d not suddenly fall into evil foolishness,
now you allow yourself free reign, and are careless of me.
Any toga, any whore loaded down by a basket of wool
is dearer to you than Sulpicia, Servius’s daughter.
But they’re anxious for me, those for whom the greatest
reason for grief is lest I give myself to an unworthy bed.

V In Sickness

Have you any kind thought for your girl, Cerinthus,
now that fever wastes my weary body?
Ah, otherwise I would not want to conquer
sad illness, if I thought you did not wish it too.
And what use is it to me to conquer illness, if you
can endure my trouble with indifferent heart?

VI Her Apology

Let me not be such a feverish passion to you, my love,
as I seem to have been a few days ago,
if I’ve done anything in my foolish youth
which I’ve owned to regretting more
than leaving you, alone, last night
wishing to hide the desire inside me.

Laika – Breather


Mr. De Quincey, I Presume…

Thought is a kind of opium; it can intoxicate us, while still broad awake; it can make transparent the mountains and everything that exists. – Henri Frederic Amiel

Georges Antoine Rochegrosse – Harem Girls in an Aviary

On Morning Walks and Poppies…

So, I walk in the morning with Mary and Sophie (our faithful pup) and my main fascination is plants I see in the gardens along the way. When I used to go out on my own, I would either be running or on the bike. These morning jaunts are more relaxed, and fascinating. Details! We walk and converse, and check out the gardens and homes along the way. Mary has educated me on the various plants I don’t recognize. She has an amazing knowledge of plants and their uses and histories. Sophie of course likes to sniff everything, and she enjoys a good flower sniffing along the way. I have never seen a dog so interested in the flora.

I took to looking for various Poppy varieties a few weeks ago, and have identified many I have never seen before. The poppy is perhaps a bit of perfection flower wise. Fragile, and elegant. I especially like the flowers and form of Papaver Soniferum. Though often reviled now, this plant has a long and honorable companion history with the human race. It’s uses can be traced back to times before the Neolithic. The poppy has a deep symbiotic relationship with humans, irregardless of the false hysteria built up against it.

I remember walking in fields of poppies in Europe, edging on to the vast graveyards from the follies of past generations. The poppy is a symbol of Remembrance Day, and it is everywhere in the landscape. I can see it now, with Mary by my side. Poppies scattered amongst the grain, running up to the hedge rows in the distance, with the summer sun beaming down, the wind blowing a zephyr in from the west…

You will find Poppies around neolithic settlement sites, along with Wolfbane, and other medicinal plants from the deep past. You walk up to the hill forts, and you can imagine the pharmacopoeia of the ancient healers. The children of those ancient plantings still hang on in these places, holding silent witness to days long since past.

All of these thoughts on plants and especially poppies have been percolating in my mind over the last several weeks. I think upon our long relationship with the green and tumbling world, and how we find solace in that which is rooted to the earth. I know our garden is a place of reconnection for us here at Caer Llwydd. I sit often in the morning after I have walked, having a cup of coffee, looking at the various plants, and gazing on my Brugmansias, our Hop plants, and the Poppies of course. We share the garden with the birds, squirrels and the various insect clans. The garden is the heart, a paradise re-created every spring.

I must recommend a good morning walk. It sets one up for a good day, clearing the head, giving a bit more focus and clarity. In walking one reconnects with the community of life that is always around, every step a blessing, every breath a meditation on the life within and without moving as one. And then there are always the Poppies, standing in mute testament in the summer sun.

Bright Blessings,

On The Menu:
David Sylvian – Orpheus
Opium Quotes
Confessions of an Opium-Eater
Poetry Of The Poppy
David Sylvian – When Poets Dreamed of Angels
Artist: Various

David Sylvian – Orpheus


Opium Quotes:

There is always a need for intoxication: China has opium, Islam has hashish, the West has woman.
Andre Malraux

Under the pressure of the cares and sorrows of our mortal condition, men have at all times, and in all countries, called in some physical aid to their moral consolations – wine, beer, opium, brandy, or tobacco.
Edmund Burke

We have used the Bible as if it were a mere special constable’s handbook, an opium dose for keeping beasts of burden patient while they are overloaded.
Charles Kingsley

Among the remedies which it has pleased Almighty God to give to man to relieve his sufferings, none is so universal and so efficacious as opium.
Thomas Sydenham

Everything one does in life, even love, occurs in an express train racing toward death. To smoke opium is to get out of the train while it is still moving. It is to concern oneself with something other than life or death.
Jean Cocteau

If organized religion is the opium of the masses, then disorganized religion is the marijuana of the lunatic fringe.
Kerry Thornley

It is not opium which makes me work but its absence, and in order for me to feel its absence it must from time to time be present.
Antonin Artaud

Nobody will laugh long who deals much with opium: its pleasures even are of a grave and solemn complexion.
Thomas de Quincey

Religion is not merely the opium of the masses, it’s the cyanide.
Tom Robbins

Confessions of an Opium-Eater
by Thomas de Quincey

The Pleasures of Opium

It is so long since I first took opium, that if it had been a trifling incident in my life, I might have forgotten its date: but cardinal events are not to be forgotten; and, from circumstances connected with it, I remember that it must be preferred to the autumn of 1804. During that season I was in London, having come thither for the first time since my entrance at college. And my introduction to opium arose in the following way: From an early age I had been accustomed to wash my head in cold water at least once a day; being suddenly seized with tooth-ache, I attributed it to some relaxation caused by an accidental intermission of that practice; jumped out of bed, plunged my head into a bason of cold water, and, with hair thus wetted, went to sleep. The next morning, as I need hardly say, I awoke with excruciating rheumatic pains of the head and face, from which I had hardly any respite for about twenty days. On the twenty-first day I think it was, and on a Sunday, that I went out into the streets; rather to run away, if possible, from my torments, than with any distinct purpose. By accident, I met a college acquaintance, who recommended opium. Opium! dread agent of unimaginable pleasure and pain! I had heard of it as I had heard of manna or of Ambrosia, but no further; how unmeaning a sound was it at that time! what solemn chords does it now strike upon my heart! what heart-quaking vibrations of sad and happy remembrances! Reverting for a moment to these, I feel a mystic importance attached to the minutest circumstances connected with the place, and the time, and the man (if man he was), that first laid open to me the paradise of opium-eaters. It was a Sunday afternoon, wet and cheerless; and a duller spectacle this earth of ours has not to show than a rainy Sunday in London. My road homewards lay through Oxford Street; and near “the stately Pantheon,” (as Mr. Wordsworth has obligingly called it) I saw a druggist’s shop. The druggist (unconscious minister of celestial pleasures!), as if in sympathy with the rainy Sunday, looked dull and stupid, just as any mortal druggist might be expected to look on a Sunday; and when I asked for the tincture of opium, he gave it to me as any other man might do! and, furthermore, out of my shilling returned me what seemed to be a real copper halfpenny, taken out of a real wooden drawer. Nevertheless, in spite of such indications of humanity, he has ever since existed in my mind as the beatific vision of an immortal druggist sent down to earth on a special mission to myself. And it confirms me in this way of considering him, that when I next came up to London, I sought him near the stately Pantheon, and found him not; and thus to me, who knew not his name (if, indeed he had one) he seemed rather to have vanished from Oxford Street than to have removed in any bodily fashion. The reader may choose to think of him as, possibly, no more than a sublunary druggist: it may be so, but my faith is better: I believe him to have evanesced,[1] or evaporated. So unwillingly would I connect any mortal remembrances with that hour, and place, and creature, that first brought me acquainted with the celestial drug.

Arrived at my lodgings, it may be supposed that I lost not a moment in taking the quantity prescribed. I was necessarily ignorant of the whole art and mystery of opium-taking; and what I took, I took under every disadvantage. But I took it; and in an hour, — oh heavens! what a revulsion! what an upheaving, from its lowest depths, of the inner spirit! what an apocalypse of the world within me! That my pains had vanished, was now a trifle in my eyes; this negative effect was swallowed up in the immensity of those positive effects which had opened before me, in the abyss of divine enjoyment thus suddenly revealed. Here was a panacea, a , for all human woes; here was the secret of happiness, about which philosophers had disputed for so many ages, at once discovered; happiness might now be bought for a penny, and carried in the waistcoat pocket; portable ecstasies might be had corked up in a pint bottle; and peace of mind could be sent down in gallons by the mail-coach. But, if I talk in this way, the reader will think I am laughing; and I can assure him, that nobody will laugh long who deals much with opium; its pleasures even are of a grave and solemn complexion; and, in his happiest state, the opium-eater cannot present himself in the character of L’Allegro; even then, he speaks and thinks as becomes Il Penseroso. Nevertheless, I have a very reprehensible way of jesting, at times, in the midst of my own misery; and, unless when I am checked by some more powerful feelings, I am afraid I shall be guilty of this indecent practice, even in these annals of suffering or enjoyment. The reader must allow a little to my infirm nature in this respect; and with a few indulgences of that sort, I shall endeavour to be as grave, if not drowsy, as fits a theme like opium, so anti-mercurial as it really is, and so drowsy as it is falsely reputed.

And, first, one word with respect to its bodily effects; for upon all that has been hitherto written on the subject of opium, whether by travellers in Turkey (who may plead their privilege of lying as an old immemorial right) or by professors of medicine, writing ex cathedrâ, I have but one emphatic criticism to pronounce, — Lies! lies! lies! I remember once, in passing a book-stall, to have caught these words from a page of some satiric author: “By this time I became convinced that the London newspapers spoke truth at least twice a week, namely, on Tuesday and Saturday, and might safely be depended upon for — the list of bankrupts.” In like manner, I do by no means deny that some truths have been delivered to the world in regard to opium; thus, it has been repeatedly affirmed, by the learned, that opium is a dusky brown in colour, — and this, take notice, I grant, — secondly, that it is rather dear, which also I grant — for, in my time, East India opium has been three guineas a pound, and Turkey, eight; and, thirdly, that if you eat a good deal of it most probably you must do what is particularly disagreeable to any man of regular habits, namely, — die. [2] These weighty propositions are, all and singular, true; I cannot gainsay them; and truth ever was, and will be, commendable. But, in these three theorems, I believe we have exhausted the stock of knowledge as yet accumulated by man on the subject of opium. And, therefore, worthy doctors, as there seems to be room for further discoveries, stand aside, and allow me to come forward and lecture on this matter.

First, then, it is not so much affirmed as taken for granted, by all who ever mention opium, formally or incidentally, that it does or can produce intoxication. Now, reader, assure yourself, meo periculo, that no quantity of opium ever did, or could, intoxicate. As to the tincture of opium (commonly called laudanum) that might certainly intoxicate, if a man could bear to take enough of it; but why? because it contains so much proof spirit, and not because it contains so much opium. But crude opium, I affirm peremptorily, is incapable of producing any state of body at all resembling that which is produced by alcohol; and not in degree only incapable, but even in kind; it is not in the quantity of its effects merely, but in the quality, that it differs altogether. The pleasure given by wine is always mounting, and tending to a crisis, after which it declines; that from opium, when once generated, is stationary for eight or ten hours: the first, to borrow a technical distinction from medicine, is a case of acute, the second of chronic, pleasure; the one is a flame, the other a steady and equable glow. But the main distinction lies in this, that whereas wine disorders the mental faculties, opium, on the contrary (if taken in a proper manner), introduces amongst them the most exquisite order, legislation, and harmony. Wine robs a man of his self-possession; opium greatly invigorates it. Wine unsettles and clouds the judgment, and gives a preternatural brightness, and a vivid exaltation to the contempts and the admirations, to the loves and the hatreds, of the drinker; opium, on the contrary, communicates serenity and equipoise to all the faculties, active or passive; and with respect to the temper and moral feelings in general, it gives simply that sort of vital warmth which is approved by the judgment, and which would probably always accompany a bodily constitution of primeval or antediluvian health. Thus, for instance, opium, like wine, gives an expansion to the heart and the benevolent affections; but then, with this remarkable difference, that in the sudden development of kindheartedness which accompanies inebriation, there is always more or less of a maudlin character which exposes it to the contempt of the bystander. Men shake hands, swear eternal friendship, and shed tears, — no mortal knows why; and the sensual creature is clearly uppermost. But the expansion of the benigner feelings, incident to opium, is no febrile access, but a healthy restoration to that state which the mind would naturally recover upon the removal of any deep-seated irritation of pain that had disturbed and quarrelled with the impulses of a heard originally just and good. True it is, that even wine, up to a certain point, and with certain men, rather tends to exalt and to steady the intellect; I myself, who have never been a great wine-drinker, used to find that half-a-dozen glasses of wine advantageously affected the faculties, brightened and intensified the consciousness, and gave to the mind a feeling of being “ponderibus librata suis;” and certainly it is most absurdly said, in popular language, of any man, that he is disguised in liquor; for, on the contrary, most men are disguised by sobriety; and it is when they are drinking (as some old gentleman says in Athenæus), that men display themselves in their true complexion of character; which surely is not disguising themselves. But still, wine constantly leads a man to the brink of absurdity and extravagance; and, beyond a certain point, it is sure to volatilize and to disperse the intellectual energies; whereas opium always seems to compose what had been agitated, and to concentrate what had been distracted. In short, to sum up all in one word, a man who is inebriated, or tending to inebriation, is, and feels that he is, in a condition which calls up into supremacy the merely human, too often the brutal, part of his nature; but the opium-eater (I speak of him who is not suffering from any disease, or other remote effects of opium) feels that the diviner part of his nature is paramount; that is, the moral affections are in a state of cloudless serenity; and over all is the great light of the majestic intellect.

This is the doctrine of the true church on the subject of opium: of which church I acknowledge myself to be the only member, — the alpha and the omega; but then it is to be recollected, that I speak from the ground of a large and profound personal experience, whereas most of the unscientific[3] authors who have at all treated of opium, and even of those who have written expressly on the materia medica, made it evident, from the horror they express of it, that their experimental knowledge of its action is none at all. I will, however, candidly acknowledge that I have met with one person who bore evidence to its intoxicating power, such as staggered my own incredulity; for he was a surgeon, and had himself taken opium largely. I happened to say to him, that his enemies (as I had heard) charged him with talking nonsense on politics, and that his friends apologized for him by suggesting that he was constantly in a state of intoxication from opium. Now, the accusation, said I, is not primâ facie, and of necessity, an absurd one; but the defence is. To my surprise, however, he insisted that both his enemies and his friends were in the right. “I will maintain,” said he, “that I do talk nonsense; and secondly, I will maintain that I do not talk nonsense upon principle, or with any view to profit, but solely and simply,” said he, “solely and simply, — solely and simply (repeating it three times over), because I am drunk with opium, and that daily.” I replied that, as to the allegation of his enemies, as it seemed to be established upon such respectable testimony, seeing that the three parties concerned all agreed in it, it did not become me to question it; but the defence set up I must demur to. He proceeded to discuss the matter, and to lay down his reasons; but it seemed to me so impolite to pursue an argument which must have presumed a man mistaken in a point belonging to his own profession, that I did not press him even when his course of argument seemed open to objection; not to mention that a man who talks nonsense, even though “with no view to profit,” is not altogether the most agreeable partner in a dispute, whether as opponent or respondent. I confess, however, that the authority of a surgeon, and one who was reputed a good one, may seem a weighty one to my prejudice; but still I must plead my experience, which was greater than his greatest by seven thousand drops a day; and though it was not possible to suppose a medical man unacquainted with the characteristic symptoms of vinous intoxication, it yet struck me that he might proceed on a logical error of using the word intoxication with too great latitude, and extending it generically to all modes of nervous excitement, instead of of restricting it as the expression for a specific sort of excitement, connected with certain diagnostics. Some people have maintained, in my hearing, that they had been drunk on green tea; and a medical student in London, for whose knowledge in his profession I have reason to feel great respect, assured me, the other day, that a patient, in recovering from an illness, had got drunk on a beef-steak.

Having dwelt so much on this first and leading error in respect to opium, I shall notice very briefly a second and a third; which are, that the elevation of spirits produced by opium is necessarily followed by a proportionate depression, and that the natural and even immediate consequence of opium is torpor and stagnation, animal and mental. The first of these errors I shall content myself with simply denying; assuring my reader, that for ten years, during which I took opium at intervals, the day succeeding to that on which I allowed myself this luxury was always a day of unusually good spirits.

With respect to the torpor supposed to follow, or rather (if we were to credit the numerous pictures of Turkish opium-eaters) to accompany the practice of opium-eating, I deny that also. Certainly, opium is classed under the head of narcotics, and some such effect it may produce in the end; but the primary effects of opium are always, and in the highest degree, to excite and stimulate the system; this first stage of its action always lasted with me, during my novitiate, for upwards of eight hours; so that it must be the fault of the opium-eater himself, if he does not so time his exhibition of the dose (to speak medically) as that the whole weight of its narcotic influence may descend upon his sleep. Turkish opium-eaters, it seems, are absurd enough to sit, like so many equestrian statues, on logs of wood as stupid as themselves. But that the reader may judge of the degree in which opium is likely to stupify the faculties of an Englishman, I shall (by way of treating the question illustratively, rather than argumentively) describe the way in which I myself often passed an opium evening in London, during the period between 1804 and 1812. It will be seen, that at least opium did not move me to seek solitude, and much less to seek inactivity, or the torpid state of self-involution ascribed to the Turks. I give this account at the risk of being pronounced a crazy enthusiast or visionary; but I regard that little. I must desire my reader to bear in mind, that I was a hard student, and at severe studies for all the rest of my time; and certainly I had a right occasionally to relaxations as well as the other people; these, however, I allowed myself but seldom.

The late Duke of Norfolk used to say, “Next Friday, by the blessing of Heaven, I purpose to be drunk;” and in like manner I used to fix beforehand how often, within a given time, and when, I would commit a debauch of opium. This was seldom more than once in three weeks; for at that time I could not have ventured to call every day (as I did afterwards) for “a glass of laudanum negus, warm, and without sugar.” No; as I have said, I seldom drank laudanum, at that time, more than once in three weeks: this was usually on a Tuesday or a Saturday night; my reason for which was this. In those days, Grassini sang at the Opera, and her voice was delightful to me beyond all that I had ever heard. I know not what may be the state of the opera-house now, having never been within its walls for seven or eight years; but at that time it was by much the most pleasant place of public resort in London for passing an evening. Five shillings admitted one to the gallery, which was subject to far less annoyance than the pit of the theatres; the orchestra was distinguished by its sweet and melodious grandeur, from all English orchestras, the composition of which, I confess, is not acceptable to my ear, from the predominance of the clangorous instruments, and the absolute tyranny of the violin. The choruses were divine to hear; and when Grassini appeared in some interlude, as she often did, and poured forth her passionate soul as Andromache, at the tomb of Hector, etc., I question whether any Turk, of all that ever entered the paradise of opium-eaters, can have had half the pleasure I had. But, indeed, I honour the Barbarians too much by supposing them capable of any pleasures approaching to the intellectual ones of an Englishman. For music is an intellectual or a sensual pleasure, according to the temperament of him who hears it. And, by the bye, with the exception of the fine extravaganza on that subject in “Twelfth Night,” I do not recollect more than one thing said adequately on the subject of music in all literature; it is a passage in the Religio Medici[4] of Sir T. Browne; and, though chiefly remarkable for its sublimity, has also a philosophic value, inasmuch as it points to the true theory of musical effects. The mistake of most people is, to suppose that it is by the ear they communicate with music, and therefore that they are purely passive to its effects. But this is not so; it is by the reaction of the mind upon the notices of the ear (the matter coming by the senses, the form from the mind) that the pleasure is constructed; and therefore it is that people of equally good ear differ so much in this point from one another. Now, opium, by greatly increasing the activity of the mind, generally increases, of necessity, that particular mode of its activity by which we are able to construct out of the raw material of organic sound an elaborate intellectual pleasure. But, says a friend, a succession of musical sounds is to me like a collection of Arabic characters: I can attach no ideas to them. Ideas! my good sir? there is no occasion for them! all that class of ideas which can be available in such a case has a language of representative feelings. But this is a subject foreign to my present purposes; it is sufficient to say, that a chorus, etc., of elaborate harmony, displayed before me, as in a piece of arras-work, the whole of my past life, — not as if recalled by an act of memory, but as if present and incarnated in the music; no longer painful to dwell upon, but the detail of its incidents removed, or blended in some hazy abstraction, and its passions exalted, spiritualized, and sublimed. All this was to be had for five shillings. And over and above the music of the stage and the orchestra, I had all around me, in the intervals of the performance, the music of the Italian language talked by Italian women, — for the gallery was usually crowded with Italians, — and I listened with a pleasure such as that with which Weld, the traveller, lay and listened, in Canada, to the sweet laughter of Indian women; for the less you understand of a language, the more sensible you are to the melody or harshness of its sounds. For such a purpose, therefore, it was an advantage to me that I was a poor Italian scholar, reading it but little, and not speaking it at all, nor understanding a tenth part of what I heard spoken.

These were my opera pleasures; but another pleasure I had which, as it could be had only on a Saturday night, occasionally struggled with my love of the opera; for, at that time, Tuesday and Saturday were the regular opera nights. On this subject I am afraid I shall be rather obscure, but, I can assure the reader, not at all more so than Marinus in his life of Proclus, or many other biographers and auto-biographers of fair reputation. This pleasure, I have said, was to be had only on a Saturday night. What then was Saturday night to me, more than any other night? I had no labours that I rested from; no wages to receive; what needed I to care for Saturday night, more than as it was a summons to hear Grassini? True, most logical reader; what you say is unanswerable. And yet so it was and is, that whereas different men throw their feelings into different channels, and most are apt to show their interest in the concerns of the poor, chiefly by sympathy, expressed in some shape or other, with their distresses and sorrows, I, at that time, was disposed to express my interest by sympathising with their pleasures. The pains of poverty I had lately seen too much of, — more than I wished to remember; but the pleasures of the poor, their consolations of spirit, and their reposes from bodily toil, can never become oppressive to contemplate. Now, Saturday night is the season for the chief regular and periodic return of rest to the poor; in this point the most hostile sects unite, and acknowledge a common link of brotherhood; almost all Christendom rests from its labours. It is a rest introductory to another rest; and divided by a whole day and two nights from the renewal of toil. On this account I feel always, on a Saturday night, as though I also were released from some yoke of labour, had some wages to receive, and some luxury of repose to enjoy. For the sake, therefore, of witnessing, upon as large a scale as possible, a spectacle with which my sympathy was so entire, I used often, on Saturday nights, after I had taken opium, to wander forth, without much regarding the direction or the distance, to all the markets, and other parts of London, to which the poor resort on a Saturday night, for laying out their wages. Many a family party, consisting of a man, his wife, and sometimes one or two of his children, have I listened to, as they stood consulting on their ways and means, or the strength of their exchequer, or the price of household articles. Gradually I became familiar with their wishes, their difficulties, and their opinions. Sometimes there might be heard murmurs of discontent; but far oftener expressions on the countenance, or uttered in words, of patience, hope, and tranquility. And, taken generally, I must say, that, in this point, at least, the poor are far more philosophic than the rich; that they show a more ready and cheerful submission to what they consider as irremediable evils, or irreparable losses. Whenever I saw occasion, or could do it without appearing to be intrusive, I joined their parties, and gave my opinion upon the matter in discussion, which, if not always judicious, was always received indulgently. If wages were a little higher, or expected to be so, or the quartern loaf a little lower, or it was reported that onions and butter were expected to fall, I was glad; yet, if the contrary were true, I drew from opium some means of consoling myself. For opium (like the bee, that extracts its materials indiscriminately from roses and from the soot of chimneys) can overrule all feelings into a compliance with the master key. Some of these rambles led me to great distances; for an opium-eater is too happy to observe the motion of time. And sometimes, in my attempts to steer homewards, upon nautical principles, by fixing my eye on the pole-star, and seeking ambitiously for a north-west passage, instead of circumnavigating all the capes and head-lands I had doubled in my outward voyage, I came suddenly upon such knotty problems of alleys, such enigmatical entries, and such sphynx’s riddles of streets without thoroughfares, as must, I conceive, baffle the audacity of porters, and confound the intellects of hackney-coachmen. I could almost have believed, at times, that I must be the first discoverer of some of these terræ incognitæ, and doubted, whether they had yet been laid down in the modern charts of London. For all this, however, I paid a heavy price in distant years, when the human face tyrannized over my dreams, and the perplexities of my steps in London came back and haunted my sleep, with the feeling of perplexities moral or intellectual, that brought confusion to the reason, or anguish and remorse to the conscience.

Thus I have shown that opium does not, of necessity, produce inactivity or torpor; but that, on the contrary, it often led me into markets and theatres. Yet, in candour, I will admit that markets and theatres are not the appropriate haunts of the opium-eater, when in the divinest state incident to his enjoyment. In that state, crowds become an oppression to him; music, even, too sensual and gross. He naturally seeks solitude and silence, as indispensable conditions of those trances, or profoundest reveries, which are the crown and consummation of what opium can do for human nature. I, whose disease it was to meditate too much and to observe too little, and who, upon my first entrance at college, was nearly falling into a deep melancholy, from brooding too much on the sufferings which I had witnessed in London, was sufficiently aware of the tendencies of my own thoughts to do all I could to counteract them. I was, indeed, like a person who, according to the old legend, had entered the cave of Trophonius; and the remedies I sought were to force myself into society, and to keep my understanding in continual activity upon matters of science. But for these remedies, I should certainly have become hypochondriacally melancholy. In after years, however, when my cheerfulness was more fully re-established, I yielded to my natural inclination for a solitary life. And at that time I often fell into these reveries upon taking opium; and more than once it has happened to me, on a summer night, when I have been at an open window, in a room from which I could overlook the sea at a mile below me, and could command a view of the great town of Liverpool, at about the same distance, that I have sat, from sunrise to sunset, motionless, and without wishing to move.

I shall be charged with mysticism, Behmenism, quietism, etc.; but that shall not alarm me. Sir H. Vane, the younger, was one of our wisest men; and let my readers see if he, in his philosophical works, be half as unmystical as I am. I say, then, that it has often struck me that the scene itself was somewhat typical of what took place in such a reverie. The town of Liverpool represented the earth, with its sorrows and its graves left behind, yet not out of sight, nor wholly forgotten. The ocean, in everlasting but gentle agitation, and brooded over by dove-like calm, might not unfitly typify the mind, and the mood which then swayed it. For it seemed to me as if then first I stood at a distance, and aloof from the uproar of life; as if the tumult, the fever, and the strife, were suspended; a respite granted from the secret burdens of the heart; a sabbath of repose; a resting from human labours. Here were the hopes which blossom in the paths of life, reconciled with the peace which is in the grave; motions of the intellect as unwearied as the heavens, yet for all anxieties a halcyon calm; a tranquility that seemed no product of inertia, but as if resulting from mighty and equal antagonisms; infinite activities, infinite repose.

O just, subtle, and mighty opium! that to the hearts of poor and rich alike, for the wounds that will never heal, and for “the pangs that tempt the spirit to rebel,” bringest and assuaging balm; — eloquent opium! that with thy potent rhetoric stealest away the purposes of wrath, and, to the guilty man, for one night givest back the hopes of his youth, and hands washed pure from blood; and, to the proud man, a brief oblivion for

Wrongs unredressed, and insults unavenged;
that summonest to the chancery of dreams, for the triumphs of suffering innocence, false witnesses, and confoundest perjury, and dost reverse the sentences of unrighteous judges; thou buildest upon the bosom of darkness, out of the fantastic imagery of the brain, cities and temples, beyond the art of Phidias and Praxiteles, — beyond the splendour of Babylon and Hekatompylos; and, “from the anarchy of dreaming sleep,” callest into sunny light the faces of long-buried beauties, and the blessed household countenances, cleansed from the “dishonours of the grave.” Thou only givest these gifts to man; and thou hast the keys of Paradise, oh just, subtle, and mighty opium!


1. Evanesced: — this way of going off the stage of life appears to have been well known in the seventeenth century, but at the time to have been considered a peculiar privilege of blood royal, and by no means to be allowed to druggists. For, about the year 1686, a poet of rather ominous name (and who, by the bye, did ample justice to his name), namely, Mr. FLAT-MAN, in speaking of the death of Charles II., expresses his surprise that any prince should commit so absurd an act as dying; because, says he,
Kings should disdain to die, and only disappear;
They should abscond, that is, into the other world.
2. Of this, however, the learned appear latterly to have doubted; for in a pirated edition of Buchan’s Domestic Medicine, which I once saw in the hands of a farmer’s wife, who was studying it for the benefit of her health, the doctor was made to say, — “Be particularly careful never to take above five-and-twenty ounces of laudanum at once.” The true reading being probably five-and-twenty drops, which are held equal to about one grain of crude opium.
3. Amongst the great herd of travellers, etc., who show sufficiently by their stupidity that they never held any intercourse with opium, I must caution my readers especially against the brilliant author of “Anastasius.” This gentleman, whose wit would lead one to presume him an opium-eater, has made it impossible to consider him in that character, from the grievous misrepresentation which he has given of its effects, at pp. 215-217, of vol. i. Upon consideration, it must appear such to the author himself; for, waiving the errors I have insisted on in the text, which (and others) are adopted in the fullest manner, he will himself admit that an old gentleman “with a snow-white beard,” who eats “ample doses of opium,” and is yet able to deliver what is meant and received as very weighty counsel on the bad effects of that practice, is but an indifferent evidence that opium either kills people prematurely, or sends them into a madhouse. But, for my part, I see into this old gentleman and his motives; the fact is, he was enamoured of “the little golden receptacle of the pernicious drug,” which Anastasius carried about him; and no way of obtaining it so safe and so feasible occurred, as that of frightening its owner out of his wits (which, by the bye, are none of the strongest). This commentary throws a new light upon the case, and greatly improves it as a story; for the old gentleman’s speech, considered as a lecture on pharmacy, is highly absurd; but, considered as a hoax on Anastasius, it reads excellently.
4. I have not the book at this moment to consult; but I think the passage begins, “And even that tavern music, which makes one man merry, another mad, in me strikes a deep fit of devotion,” etc.

Poetry Of The Poppy….

(Vincent G. Stiepevich (American-Russian, 1841-1910) -The Opium Den)

One cannot do such an entry without this classic…

Kubla Khan

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round :
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree ;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh ! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover !
A savage place ! as holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover !
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced :
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail :
And ‘mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean :
And ‘mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war !
The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves ;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice !

A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw :
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight ‘twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome ! those caves of ice !
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware ! Beware !
His flashing eyes, his floating hair !
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

– Samuel Taylor Coleridge

A Hemisphere In A Tress

Let me breathe, long, long, of the odor of your hair,
let me plunge my whole face in its depth, as a thirsty
man in the waters of a spring, let me flutter it with my
hand as a perfumed kerchief, to shake off memories into
the air.

If you could know all that I see! all that I feel! all
that I understand in your hair! My soul journeys on
perfumes as the souls of other men on music.

Your hair meshes a full dream, crowded with sails and
masts; it holds great seas on which monsoons bear me
toward charming climes, where the skies are bluer and
deeper, where the atmosphere is perfumed with fruits,
with leaves, and with the human skin.

In the ocean of your hair I behold a port humming
with melancholy chants, with strong men of all nations
and with ships of ^ery form carving their delicate, intri-
cate architecture on an enormous sky where lolls eter-
nal heat.

In the caresses of your hair, I find again the languor
of long hours on a divan, in the cabin of a goodly ship,
cradled by the unnoticed undulation of the port, between
pots of flowers and refreshing water-jugs.

At the glowing hearth-stone of your hair, I breathe the
odor of tobacco mixed with opium and sugar; in the
night of your hair, I see shine forth the infinite of the
tropic sky; on the downy bank-sides of your hair, I
grow drunk with the mingled odors of tar and musk,
and oil of cocoanut.

Let me bite, long, your thick black hair. When I
nibble your springy, rebellious hair, it seems that I am
eating memories.

-Charles Baudelaire

The Pains Of Sleep

Ere on my bed my limbs I lay,
It hath not been my use to pray
With moving lips or bended knees;
But silently, by slow degrees,
My spirit I to Love compose,
In humble trust mine eye-lids close,
With reverential resignation
No wish conceived, no thought exprest,
Only a sense of supplication;
A sense o’er all my soul imprest
That I am weak, yet not unblest,
Since in me, round me, every where
Eternal strength and Wisdom are.

But yester-night I prayed aloud
In anguish and in agony,
Up-starting from the fiendish crowd
Of shapes and thoughts that tortured me:
A lurid light, a trampling throng,
Sense of intolerable wrong,
And whom I scorned, those only strong!
Thirst of revenge, the powerless will
Still baffled, and yet burning still!
Desire with loathing strangely mixed
On wild or hateful objects fixed.
Fantastic passions! maddening brawl!
And shame and terror over all!
Deeds to be hid which were not hid,
Which all confused I could not know
Whether I suffered, or I did:
For all seemed guilt, remorse or woe,
My own or others still the same
Life-stifling fear, soul-stifling shame.

So two nights passed: the night’s dismay
Saddened and stunned the coming day.
Sleep, the wide blessing, seemed to me
Distemper’s worst calamity.
The third night, when my own loud scream
Had waked me from the fiendish dream,
O’ercome with sufferings strange and wild,
I wept as I had been a child;
And having thus by tears subdued
My anguish to a milder mood,
Such punishments, I said, were due
To natures deepliest stained with sin,–
For aye entempesting anew
The unfathomable hell within,
The horror of their deeds to view,
To know and loathe, yet wish and do!
Such griefs with such men well agree,
But wherefore, wherefore fall on me?
To be loved is all I need,
And whom I love, I love indeed.

– Samuel Taylor Coleridge

An Opium Fantasy

Soft hangs the opiate in the brain,
And lulling soothes the edge of pain,
Till harshest sound, far off or near,
Sings floating in its mellow sphere.

What wakes me from my heavy dream?
Or am I still asleep?
Those long and soft vibrations seem
A slumbrous charm to keep.

The graceful play, a moment stopp’d,
Distance again unrolls,
Like silver balls that, softly dropp’d,
Ring into golden bowls.

I question of the poppies red,
The fairy flaunting band,
While I, a weed with drooping head
Within their phalanx stand:

“Some airy one, with scarlet cap !
The name unfold to me
Of this new minstrel who can lap
Sleep in his melody ! ”

Bright grew their scarlet kerchief’d heads,
As freshening winds had blown,
And from their gently-swaying beds
They sang in undertone: —

“O he is but a little Owl,
The smallest of his kin,
Who sits beneath the Midnight’s cowl
And makes this airy din. ”

“Deceitful tongues of fiery tints !
Far more than this ye know:
That he is your Enchanted Prince
Doom’d as an Owl to go.”

“Now his fond play for years hath stopp’d
But nightly he unrolls
His silver ball that, softly dropp’d,
Ring into golden bowls.”

-Maria White Lowell
1821 – 1853 (The first wife of James Russell Lowell. Frail and plagued with ill health, she died at the age of 32.)

David Sylvian – When Poets Dreamed of Angels


Opium teaches only one thing, which is that aside from physical suffering, there is nothing real. – Andre Malraux

(Vladimir Kush – Opium Lovers)

The Absinthe Ceremony

‘Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished’ – Lao Tzu

On The Absinthe Ceremony:

And now, for a subject dear to my heart. Once again, I found myself describing my first encounter with Absinthe some 34 years ago in Freiburg Germany. It’s odd how events take on a mythic quality, especially having been told repeatedly over the years.

Although I no longer pursue the experience as I once did, it is still a part of my life, and perhaps part of that which is within the acquired identity… I dearly love the ceremony of it all. The preparation, the anticipation, and the slow drip of the fountain. I cherish the aromatic signals as the water drips over the spoon and ice cube and stimulating the green absinthe to release its scent into the air… Ah, anticipation.

The lights must not be too bright… candle light is best. One can drink alone, and I have but company is best especially if they can engage in lengthy conversation but appreciate those moments of silence and revery. Music is good, but should not interfere with the conversation. One can certainly do without it if need be. Time, should be open ended. If the ceremony is done properly, four hours should just about suffice.

One should not drink too quickly. This leads to alcohol intoxication, as opposed to ones desired state of inebriation. Drink slowly, let the Wormwood/Thujone slowly build up in your body. I cannot stress this enough. You will recognize the difference if you are diligent.

One should plan not to be anywhere, but present where one already is. Driving a vehicle, riding a bicycle is out of the question on either count of intoxication or inebriation. Safety counts. I have found that a nice walk later on if I haven’t slipped in to a somnolent state can be quite enjoyable, especially in the very late hours.

I am often asked what the inebriation state is like. Well, I find it timeless, and full of golden light. Moments seem suspended, like a mote of dust in candle light. There can be some excitement, but generally there is a wonderful acceptance of what is. One looks down the halls of time, and sometimes into the heart of creation.

There is nothing wicked or decadent in my viewpoint of Absinthe. It can be very wicked yes, if you misuse it. I think the hangover for those that drink it is perhaps as bad as any that can be had. I do often find that I must forego the pleasure of it if I want to achieve a lot physically. I find it a wonderful companion for writing and doing my art work.

I have tried numerous types of Absinthe over the years. My commercial favourites come from Provence. A bit more Lavender it seems makes it into the mix, the Wormwood tends to love the heat as well. I do especially enjoy the home made, hand crafted varieties. Each that I have tried tend to speak of the passion of the alchemist who has crafted it. I think of these concoctions as perhaps the best. Talking to creator of what you drink informs the experience.

Absinthe is not for everyone. I have friends that it does not sit well with. Some people can only drink Absinthes with a lower alcohol content, or with a lower Wormwood/Thujone content. Some find the Anis off-putting. Luckily, none of these bother me! If you are to drink Absinthe, one should at least do it properly. I abhor seeing Absinthe mixed with water in a shaker. This is barbarism, plain and simple. If one is to have an Absinthe cocktail instead of the traditional method, at least have something that does not disguise the unique taste, or require the use of a shaker or blender.

There is an Absinthe cocktail I recommend: “Death In The Afternoon”, a concoction purportedly created by Ernest Hemingway. It is fairly simple, but on the whole is given to rather hasty consumption, so be wary my friends! The recipe is 1 part Absinthe to 4 or 5 parts Champagne. Use a champagne flute if possible. It is lovely, but in this case wicked. It is good for parties, but perhaps not for the deeper ceremony.

I have read various reports over the last few years of people not getting the effect of the Wormwood in Absinthe. Either the Absinthe they consumed was substandard, or they were hasty. There has been quite the little storm around this. I believe that if you follow the methods I have layed out above, you will not fail in your quest! Enjoy!

Bright Blessings,

On The Menu:
Erik Satie – Nocturne No. 1 (17)
Absinthe Quotes
Dracula 1992 Absinthe Scene
The Green Goddess – Aleister Crowley
Absinthe Poetry…
Erik Satie – Poudre d’Or


Erik Satie – Nocturne No. 1 (17)


Absinthe Quotes:

“What is there in absinthe that makes it a separate cult? … Even in ruin and in degradation it remains a thing apart: its victims wear a ghastly aureole all their own, and in their peculiar hell yet gloat with a sinister perversion of pride that they are not as other men.” — Aleister Crowley

“After the first glass (of absinthe), you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally you see things as they really are, which is the most horrible thing in the world.” – (purportedly) Oscar Wilde

“Got tight on absinthe last night. Did knife tricks.” — Ernest Hemingway

Dracula 1992 Absinthe Scene


The Green Goddess
Aleister Crowley

Keep always this dim corner for me, that I may sit while the Green Hour glides, a proud pavine of Time. For I am no longer in the city accursed, where Time is horsed on the white gelding Death, his spurs rusted with blood. There is a corner of the United States which he has overlooked. It lies in New Orleans, between Canal Street and Esplanade Avenue; the Mississippi for its base. Thence it reaches northward to a most curious desert land, where is a cemetery lovely beyond dreams. Its walls low and whitewashed, within which straggles a wilderness of strange and fantastic tombs; and hard by is that great city of brothels which is so cynically mirthful a neighbor. As Felicien Rops wrote,–or was it Edmond d’Haraucourt? – “la Prostitution et la Mort sont frere et soeur – les fils de Dieu!” At least the poet of Le Legende des Sexes was right, and the psycho-analysts after him, in identifying the Mother with the Tomb. This, then, is only the beginning and end of things, this “quartier macabre” beyond the North Rampart with the Mississippi on the other side. It is like the space between, our life which flows, and fertilizes as it flows, muddy and malarious as it may be, to empty itself into the warm bosom of the Gulf Stream, which (in our allegory) we may call the Life of God.

But our business is with the heart of things; we must go beyond the crude phenomena of nature if we are to dwell in the spirit. Art is the soul of life and the Old Absinthe House is heart and soul of the old quarter of New Orleans. For here was the headquarters of no common man—no less than a real pirate—of Captain Lafitte, who not only robbed his neighbors, but defended them against invasion. Here, too, sat Henry Clay, who lived and died to give his name to a cigar. Outside this house no man remembers much more of him than that; but here, authentic and, as I imagine, indignant, his ghost stalks grimly.

Here, too are marble basins hollowed—and hallowed!–by the drippings of the water which creates by baptism the new spirit of absinthe.

I am only sipping the second glass of that “fascinating, but subtle poison, whose ravages eat men’s heart and brain” that I have ever tasted in my life; and as I am not an American anxious for quick action, I am not surprised and disappointed that I do not drop dead upon the spot. But I can taste souls without the aid of absinthe; and besides, this is magic of absinthe! The spirit of the house has entered into it; it is an elixir, the masterpiece of an old alchemist, no common wine.

And so, as I talk with the patron concerning the vanity of things, I perceive the secret of the heart of God himself; this, that everything, even the vilest thing, is so unutterably lovely that it is worthy of the devotion of a God for all eternity. What other excuse could He give man for making him? In substance, that is my answer to King Solomon.

The barrier between divine and human things is frail but inviolable; the artist and the bourgeois are only divided by a point of view—”A hair divided the false and true.”

I am watching the opalescence of my absinthe, and it leads me to ponder upon a certain very curious mystery, persistent in legend. We may call it the mystery of the rainbow.

Originally in the fantastic but significant legend of the Hebrews, the rainbow is mentioned as the sign of salvation. The world has been purified by water, and was ready for the revelation of Wine. God would never again destroy His work, but ultimately seal its perfection by a baptism of fire.

Now, in this analogue also falls the coat of many colors which was made for Joseph, a legend which was regarded as so important that it was subsequently borrowed for the romance of Jesus. The veil of the Temple, too, was of many colors. We find, further east, that the Manipura Cakkra—the Lotus of the City of Jewels—which is an important centre in Hindu anatomy, and apparently identical with the solar plexus, is the central point of the nervous system of the human body, dividing the sacred from the profane, or the lower from the higher.

In western Mysticism, once more we learn that the middle grade initiation is called Hodos Camelioniis, the Path of the Chameleon. There is here evidently an illusion to this same mystery. We also learn that the middle stage in Alchemy is when the liquor becomes opalescent.

Finally, we note among the visions of the Saints one called the Universal Peacock, in which the totality is perceived thus royally appareled.

Would it were possible to assemble in this place the cohorts of quotation; for indeed they are beautiful with banners, flashing their myriad rays from cothurn and habergeon, gay and gallant in the light of that Sun which knows no fall from Zenith of high noon!

Yet I must needs already have written so much to make clear one pitiful conceit: can it be that in the opalescence of absinthe is some occult link with this mystery of the Rainbow? For undoubtedly one does indefinably and subtly insinuate the drinker in the secret chamber of Beauty, does kindle his thoughts to rapture, adjust his point of view to that of the artists, at least to that degree of which he is originally capable, weave for his fancy a gala dress of stuff as many-colored as the mind of Aphrodite.

Oh Beauty! Long did I love thee, long did I pursue thee, thee elusive, thee intangible! And lo! thou enfoldest me by night and day in the arms of gracious, of luxurious, of shimmering silence.


The Prohibitionist must always be a person of no moral character; for he cannot even conceive of the possibility of a man capable of resisting temptation. Still more, he is so obsessed, like the savage, by the fear of the unknown, that he regards alcohol as a fetish, necessarily alluring and tyrannical.

With this ignorance of human nature goes an ever grosser ignorance of the divine nature. He does not understand that the universe has only one possible purpose; that, the business of life being happily completed by the production of the necessities and luxuries incidental to comfort, the residuum of human energy needs an outlet. The surplus of Will must find issue in the elevation of the individual towards the Godhead; and the method of such elevation is by religion, love, and art. These three things are indissolubly bound up with wine, for they are species of intoxication.

Yet against all these things we find the prohibitionist, logically enough. It is true that he usually pretends to admit religion as a proper pursuit for humanity; but what a religion! He has removed from it every element of ecstasy or even of devotion; in his hands it has become cold, fanatical, cruel, and stupid, a thing merciless and formal, without sympathy or humanity. Love and art he rejects altogether; for him the only meaning of love is a mechanical—hardly even physiological!–process necessary for the perpetuation of the human race. (But why perpetuate it?) Art is for him the parasite and pimp of love. He cannot distinguish between the Apollo Belvedere and the crude bestialities of certain Pompeian frescoes, or between Rabelais and Elenor Glyn.

What then is his ideal of human life? one cannot say. So crass a creature can have no true ideal. There have been ascetic philosophers; but the prohibitionist would be as offended by their doctrine as by ours, which, indeed, are not so dissimilar as appears. Wage-slavery and boredom seem to complete his outlook on the world.

There are species which survive because of the feeling of disgust inspired by them: one is reluctant to set the heel firmly upon them, however thick may be one’s boots. But when they are recognized as utterly noxious to humanity—the more so that they ape its form—then courage must be found, or, rather, nausea must be swallowed. May God send us a Saint George!

It is notorious that all genius is accompanied by vice. Almost always this takes the form of sexual extravagance. It is to be observed that deficiency, as in the cases of Carlyle and Ruskin, is to be reckoned as extravagance. At least the word abnormalcy will fit all cases. Farther, we see that in a very large number of great men there has also been indulgence in drink or drugs. There are whole periods when practically every great man has been thus marked, and these periods are those during which the heroic spirit has died out of their nation, and the burgeois is apparently triumphant.

In this case the cause is evidently the horror of life induced in the artist by the contemplation of his surroundings. He must find another world, no matter at what cost.

Consider the end of the eighteenth century. In France the men of genius are made, so to speak, possible, by the Revolution. In England, under Castlereagh, we find Blake lost to humanity in mysticism, Shelley and Byron exiles, Coleridge taking refuge in opium, Keats sinking under the weight of circumstance, Wordsworth forced to sell his soul, while the enemy, in the persons of Southey and Moore, triumphantly holds sway. The poetically similar period in France is 1850 to 1870. Hugo is in exile, and all
his brethren are given to absinthe or to hashish or to opium. There is however another consideration more important. There are some men who possess the understanding of the City of God, and know not the keys; or, if they possess them, have not force to turn them in the wards. Such men often seek to win heaven by forged credentials. Just so a youth who desires love is too often deceived by simulacra, embraces Lydia thinking her to be Lalage.

But the greatest men of all suffer neither the limitations of the former class nor the illusions of the latter. Yet we find them equally given to what is apparently indulgence. Lombroso has foolishly sought to find the source of this in madness—as if insanity could scale the peaks of Progress while Reason recoiled from the bergschrund. The explanation is far otherwise. Imagine to yourself the mental state of him who inherits or attains the full consciousness of the artist, that is to say, the divine consciousness.

He finds himself unutterably lonely, and he must steel himself to endure it. All his peers are dead long since! Even if he find an equal upon earth, there can scarcely be companionship, hardly more than the far courtesy of king to king.

There are no twin souls in genius.

Good—he can reconcile himself to the scorn of the world. But yet he feels with anguish his duty towards it. It is therefore essential to him to be human. Now the divine consciousness is not full flowered in youth. The newness of the objective world preoccupies the soul for many years. It is only as each illusion vanishes before the magic of the master that he gains more and more the power to dwell in the world of Reality. And with this comes the terrible temptation—the desire to enter and enjoy rather than remain among men and suffer their illusions. Yet, since the sole purpose of the incarnation of such a Master was to help humanity, they must make the supreme renunciation.

It is the problem of the dreadful bridge of Islam, Al Sirak—the razor-edge will cut the unwary foot, yet it must be trodden firmly, or the traveler will fall to the abyss. I dare not sit in the Old Absinthe House forever, wrapped in the ineffable delight of the Beatific Vision. I must write this essay, that men may thereby come at last to understand true things. But the operation of the creative godhead is not enough. Art is itself too near the reality which must be renounced for a season.

Therefore his work is also part of his temptation; the genius feels himself slipping constantly heavenward. The gravitation of eternity draws him. He is like a ship torn by the tempest from the harbor where the master must needs take on new passengers to the Happy Isles. So he must throw out anchors and the only holding is the mire! Thus in order to maintain the equilibrium of sanity, the artist is obliged to seek fellowship with the grossest of mankind. Like Lord Dunsany or Augustus John, today, or like Teniers or old, he may love to sit in taverns where sailors frequent; or he may wander the country with Gypsies, or he may form liaisons with the vilest men and women. Edward Fitzgerald would see an illiterate fisherman and spend weeks in his company. Verlaine made associates of Rimbaud and Bibi la Puree. Shakespeare consorted with the Earls of Pembroke and Southampton. Marlowe was actually killed during a brawl in a low tavern. And when we consider the sex-relation, it is hard to mention a genius who had a wife or mistress of even tolerable good character. If he had one, he would be sure to neglect her for a Vampire or a Shrew. A good woman is too near that heaven of Reality which he is sworn to renounce!

And this, I suppose, is why I am interested in the woman who has come to sit at the nearest table. Let us find out her story; let us try to see with the eyes of
her soul!

She is a woman of no more than thirty years of age, though she looks older.

She comes here at irregular intervals, once a week or once a month, but when she comes she sits down to get solidly drunk on that alternation of beer and gin which the best authorities in England deem so efficacious.

As to her story, it is simplicity itself. She was kept in luxury for some years by a wealthy cotton broker, crossed to Europe with him, and lived in London and Paris like a Queen. Then she got the idea of “respectability” and “settling down in life”; so she married a man who could keep her in mere comfort. Result: repentance, and a periodical need to forget her sorrows. She is still “respectable”; she never tires of repeating that she is not one of “those girls” but “a married woman living far uptown,” and that she “never runs about with men.”

It is not the failure of marriage; it is the failure of men to recognize what marriage was ordained to be. By a singular paradox it is the triumph of the bourgeois. Only the hero is capable of marriage as the church understands it; for the marriage oath is a compact of appalling solemnity, an alliance of two souls against the world and against fate, with invocation of the great blessing of the Most High. Death is not the most beautiful of adventures, as Frohman said, for death is unavoidable; marriage is a voluntary heroism. That marriage has today become a matter of convenience is the last word of the commercial spirit.

It is as if one should take a vow of knighthood to combat dragons—until the dragons appeared.

So this poor woman, because she did not understand that respectability is a lie, that it is love that makes marriage sacred and not the sanction of church or state, because she took marriage as an asylum instead of as a crusade, has failed in life, and now seeks alcohol under the same fatal error.

Wine is the ripe gladness which accompanies valor and rewards toil; it is the plume on a man’s lancehead, a fluttering gallantry—not good to lean upon. Therefore her eyes are glassed with horror as she gazes uncomprehending upon her fate. That which she did all to avoid confronts her: she does not realize that, had she faced it, it would have fled with all the other phantoms. For the sole reality of this universe is God.

The Old Absinthe House is not a place. It is not bounded by four walls. It is headquarters to an army of philosophies. From this dim corner let me range, wafting thought through every air, salient against every problem of mankind: for it will always return like Noah’s dove to this ark, this strange little sanctuary of the Green Goddess which has been set down not upon Ararat, but by the banks of the “Father of Waters.”


Ah! the Green Goddess! What is the fascination that makes her so adorable and so terrible? Do you know that French sonnet “La legende de l’absinthe?” He must have loved it well, that poet. Here are his witnesses.

Apollon, qui pleurait le trepas d’Hyacinthe,
Ne voulait pas ceder la victoire a la mort.
Il fallait que son ame, adepte de l’essor,
Trouvat pour la beaute une alchemie plus sainte.
Donc de sa main celeste il epuise, il ereinte
Les dons les plus subtils de la divine Flore.
Leurs corps brises souspirent une exhalaison d’or
Dont il nous recueillait la goutte de—l’Absinthe!
Aux cavernes blotties, aux palis petillants,
Par un, par deux, buvez ce breuvage d’aimant!
Car c’est un sortilege, un propos de dictame,
Ce vin d’opale pale avortit la misere,
Ouvre de la beaute l’intime sanctuaire
Ensorcelle mon coeur, extasie mort ame!

What is there in absinthe that makes it a separate cult? The effects of its abuse are totally distinct from those of other stimulants. Even in ruin and in degradation it remains a thing apart: its victims wear a ghastly aureole all their own, and in their peculiar hell yet gloat with a sinister perversion of pride that they are not as other men.

But we are not to reckon up the uses of a thing by contemplating the wreckage of its abuse. We do not curse the sea because of occasional disasters to our marines, or refuse axes to our woodsmen because we sympathize with Charles the First or Louis the Sixteenth. So therefore as special vices and dangers pertinent to absinthe, so also do graces and virtues that adorn no other liquor. The word is from the Greek apsinthion. It means “undrinkable” or, according to some authorities, “undelightful.” In either case, strange paradox! No: for the wormwood draught itself were bitter beyond human endurance; it must be aromatized and mellowed with other herbs.

Chief among these is the gracious Melissa, of which the great Paracelsus thought so highly that he incorporated it as the preparation of his Ens Melissa Vitae, which he expected to be an elixir of life and a cure for all diseases, but which in his hands never came to perfection.

Then also there are added mint, anise, fennel and hyssop, all holy herbs familiar to all from the Treasury of Hebrew Scripture. And there is even the sacred marjoram which renders man both chaste and passionate; the tender green angelica stalks also infused in this most mystic of concoctions; for like the artemisia absinthium itself it is a plant of Diana, and gives the purity and lucidity, with a touch of the madness, of the Moon; and above all there is the Dittany of Crete of which the eastern Sages say that one flower hath more puissance in high magic than all the other gifts of all the gardens of the world.

It is as if the first diviner of absinthe had been indeed a magician intent upon a combination of sacred drugs which should cleanse, fortify and perfume the human soul.

And it is no doubt that in the due employment of this liquor such effects are easy to obtain. A single glass seems to render the breathing freer, the spirit lighter, the heart more ardent, soul and mind alike more capable of executing the great task of doing that particular work in the world which the Father may have sent them to perform. Food itself loses its gross qualities in the presence of absinthe and becomes even as manna, operating the sacrament of nutrition without bodily disturbance.

Let then the pilgrim enter reverently the shrine, and drink his absinthe as a stirrup-cup; for in the right conception of this life as an ordeal of chivalry lies the foundation of every perfection of philosophy. “Whatsoever ye do, whether ye eat or drink, do all to the glory of God!” applies with singular force to the absintheur. So may he come victorious from the battle of life to be received with tender kisses by some green-robed archangel, and crowned with mystic vervain in the Emerald Gateway of the Golden City of God.


And now the cafe is beginning to fill up. This little room with its dark green woodwork, its boarded ceiling, its sanded floor, its old pictures, its whole air of sympathy with time, is beginning to exert its magic spell. Here comes a curious child, short and sturdy, with a long blonde pigtail, with a jolly little old man who looks as if he had stepped straight out of the pages of Balzac.

Handsome and diminutive, with a fierce mustache almost as big as the rest of him, like a regular little Spanish fighting cock—Frank, the waiter, in his long white apron, struts to them with the glasses of ice-cold pleasure, green as the glaciers themselves. He will stand up bravely with the musicians bye and bye, and sing us a jolly song of old Catalonia.

The door swings open again. A tall dark girl, exquisitely slim and snaky, with masses of black hair knotted about her head, comes in. On her arm is a plump woman with hungry eyes, and a mass of Titian red hair. They seem distracted from the outer world, absorbed in some subject of enthralling interest and they drink their aperitif as if in a dream. I ask the mulatto boy who waits at my table (the sleek and lithe black panther!) who they are; but he knows only that one is a cabaret dancer, the other the owner of a cotton plantation up river.

At a round table in the middle of the room sits one of the proprietors with a group of friends; he is burly, rubicund, and jolly, the very type of the Shakespearean “Mine host.” Now a party of a dozen merry boys and girls comes in. The old pianist begins to play a dance, and in a moment the whole cafe is caught up in the music of harmonious motion. Yet still the invisible line is drawn about each soul; the dance does not conflict with the absorption of the two strange women, or with my own mood of detachment.

Then there is a “little laughing lewd gamine” dressed all in black save for a square white collar. Her smile is broad and free as the sun and her gaze as clean and wholesome and inspiring. There is the big jolly blonde Irish girl in the black velvet beret and coat, and the white boots, chatting with two boys in khaki from the border. There is the Creole girl in pure white cap-a-pie, with her small piquant face and its round button of a nose, and its curious deep rose flush, and its red little mouth, impudently smiling. Around these islands seems to flow as a general tide the more stable life of the quarter. Here are honest good-wives seriously discussing their affairs, and heaven only knows if it be love or the price of sugar which engages them so wholly. There are but a few commonplace and uninteresting elements in the cafe; and these are without exception men. The giant Big Business is a great tyrant! He seizes all the men for slaves, and leaves the women to make shift as best they can for—all that makes life worth living. Candies and American Beauty Roses are of no use in an emergency. So, even in this most favored corner, there is dearth of the kind of men that women need.

At the table next to me sits an old, old man. He has done great things in his day, they tell me, an engineer, who first found it possible to dig Artesian wells in the Sahara desert. The Legion of Honor glows red in his shabby surtout. He comes here, one of the many wrecks of the Panama Canal, a piece of jetsam cast up by that tidal wave of speculation and corruption. He is of the old type, the thrifty peasantry; and he has his little income from the Rente. He says that he is too old to cross the ocean—and why should he, with the atmosphere of old France to be had a stone’s throw from his little apartment in Bourbon Street? It is a curious type of house that one finds in this quarter in New Orleans; meagre without, but within one comes unexpectedly upon great spaces, carved wooden balconies on which the rooms open. So he dreams away his honored days in the Old Absinthe House. His rusty black, with its worn red button, is a noble wear.

Black, by the way, seems almost universal among the women: is it instinctive good taste? At least, it serves to bring up the general level of good looks. Most American women spoil what little beauty they may have by overdressing. Here there is nothing extravagant, nothing vulgar, none of the near-Paris-gown and the lust-off-Bond-Street hat. Nor is there a single dress to which a Quaker could object. There is neither the mediocrity nor the immodesty of the New York woman, who is tailored or millinered on a garish pattern, with the Eternal Chorus Girl as the Ideal—an ideal which she always attains, thoough (Heaven knows!) in “society” there are few “front row” types.

On the other side of me a splendid stalwart maid, modern in muscle, old only in the subtle and modest fascination of her manner, her face proud, cruel and amorous, shakes her wild tresses of gold in pagan laughter. Her mood is universal as the wind. What can her cavalier be doing to keep her waiting? It is a little mystery which I will not solve for the reader; on the contrary—


Yes, it was my own sweetheart (no! not all the magazines can vulgarize that loveliest of words) who was waiting for me to be done with my musings. She comes in silently and stealthily, preening and purring like a great cat, and sits down, and begins to Enjoy. She know I must never be disturbed until I close my pen. We shall go together to dine at a little Italian restaurant kept by an old navy man, who makes the best ravioli this side of Genoa; then we shall walk the wet and windy streets, rejoicing to feel the warm sub-tropical rain upon our faces. We shall go down to the Mississippi, and watch the lights of the ships, and listen to the tales of travel and adventure of the mariners. There is one tale that moves me greatly; it is like the story of the sentinel of Herculaneum. A cruiser of the U.S. Navy was detailed to Rio de Janeiro. (This was before the days of wireless telegraphy.) The port was in quarantine; the ship had to stand ten miles out to sea. Nevertheless, Yellow Jack managed to come aboard. The men died one by one. There was no way of getting word to Washington; and, as it turned out later, the Navy Department had completely forgotten the existence of the ship. No orders came; the captain stuck to his post for three months. Three months of solitude and death! At last a passing ship was
signaled, and the cruiser was moved to happier waters. No doubt the story is a lie; but did that make it less splendid in the telling, as the old scoundrel sat and spat and chewed tobacco? No, we will certainly go down, and ruffle it on the wharves. There is really better fun in life than going to the movies, when you know how to sense Reality.

There is beauty in every incident of life; the true and the false, the wise and the foolish, are all one in the eye that beholds all without passion or prejudice: and the secret appears to lie not in the retirement from the world, but in keeping a part of oneself Vestal, sacred, intact, aloof from that self which makes contact with the external universe. In other words, in a separation of that which is and perceives from that which acts and suffers. And the art of doing this is really the art of being an artist. As a rule, it is a birthright; it may perhaps be attained by prayer and fasting; most surely, it can never be bought.

But if you have it not. This will be the best way to get it—or something like it. Give up your life completely to the task; sit daily for six hours in the Old Absinthe House, and sip the icy opal; endure till all things change insensibly before your eyes, you changing with them; till you become as gods, knowing good and evil, and that they are not two but one.

It may be a long time before the veil lifts; but a moment’s experience of the point of view of the artist is worth a myriad martyrdoms. It solves every problem of life and death—which two also are one.

It translates this universe into intelligible terms, relating truly the ego with the non-ego, and recasting the prose of reason in the poetry of soul. Even as the eye of the sculptor beholds his masterpiece already existing in the shapeless mass of marble, needing only the loving kindness of the chisel to cut away the veils of Isis, so you may (perhaps) learn to behold the sum and summit of all grace and glory from this great observatory, the Old Absinthe House of New Orleans.

V’la, p’tite chatte; c’est fini, le travail. Foutons le camp!

Absinthe Poetry…
Five o’clock Absinthe

When sundown spreads its hyacinth veil
Over Rastaquapolis
It’s surely time for an absinthe
Don’t you think, my son?

It’s especially in summer, when thirst wears you down
– Like a hundred Dreyfus gossips –
That it’s fitting to seek a fresh terrace
Along the boulevards

Where one finds the best absinthe
That of the sons of Pernod
Forget the rest! They’re like a sharp by Gounod:
mere illusion.

I say along the boulevards, and not in Rome,
Nor at the home of the Bonivards;
To be an absinthier is not to be any less a man.
And on our boulevards

One sees pass the sweetest creatures
With the gentlest manners:
You’re drinking, they rouse your nature,
They are exquisite… but let it pass.

You have your absinthe, it’s all about preparation
This is not, believe me,
As the cynics think, a small matter
Banal and without emotion

The heart should not be elsewhere
For the moment at least.
Absinthe wants first, beautiful ice water
The gods are my witness!

Tepid water, none of that: Jupiter condemns it.
Yourself, what say you?
Might as well, my faith, drink donkey piss
Or enema broth

And don’t come on like a German,
And scare her,
With your carafe; she would think, poor dear!
That you want to drown her.

Always rouse her from the first drop …
Like so … and so … very gently
Then behold her quiver, all vibrant
With an innocent smile;

Water must be for her like dew,
You must be certain about that:
Awaken the juices of which she is made
Only little by little.

Such as a young wife hesitates, startled
When, on her wedding night,
Her husband brusquely invades her bed
Thinking only of himself…

But wait: your absinthe has bloomed in the meantime,
See how she flowers,
Iridescent, passing through every shade of the opal
With a rare spirit.

You may sniff now, she is made;
And the beloved liquor
In the same instant brings joy to your head
And indulgence to your heart …

– Raoul Ponchon

Sonnet de l’Absinthe

Absinthe, ô ma liqueur alerte, later changed to : Absinthe, je t’adore, certes!
Il me semble quand je te bois
Boire l’âme des jeunes bois
Pendant la belle saison verte.

Absinthe, O my lively liquor, later changed to: Absinthe, I adore you, truly!
It seems, when I drink you
I inhale the young forest’s soul
During the beautiful green season.

Ton frais parfum me déconcerte
Et dans ton opale je vois
Des cieux habités autrefois
Comme par une porte ouverte.

Your perfume disconcerts me
And in your opalescence
I see the full heavens of yore,
As through an open gate.

Qu’importe, ô recours des maudits,
Que tu sois un vain paradis,
Sit tu contentes mon envie;

What matter, O refuge of the damned,
That you a vain paradise be,
If you appease my need;

Et si, devant que j’entre au port,
Tu me fais supporter la vie,
En m’habituant à la mort.

And if, before I enter the gate,
You make me put up with life,
By accustoming me to death.



Five o’clock.
Foul weather. Grey sky… depressing, hellish sort of grey.
Oh, for a good downpour to get rid of all these imbeciles milling around with their idiotic
airs!…Foul weather.
A bad day today, dammit. Bad luck.
Article rejected. So politely… :
‘Liked your article… interesting idea… nicely written… but not really in the style of the
magazine, I’m afraid…’
Style of the magazine? Style of the magazine?? Dullest magazine in the whole of Paris!
Whole of France.
Publisher preoccupied, distracted:
‘Got your manuscript here somewhere… yes, liked your novel… interesting idea… nicely
written… but business is very slow at the moment, you see… already got too much stuff
on our hands… ever thought of writing something aimed more at the popular market?
Lots of sales… awards…’
Went out politely, feeling stupid:
‘Another time, perhaps.’
Foul weather. Half past five.
The boulevards! Let’s take to the boulevards. Meet a friend or two. If you can call them
friends. Bunch of worthless… But who can you trust in Paris?
And why is everyone out tonight so ugly?
The women so badly dressed. The men looking so stupid.
‘Waiter! Bring me an absinthe and sugar!’
Amusing, watching the sugar lump melt gently on its little grid. Same way they say a drip
of water hollows out granite. Only difference, sugar softer than granite. Just as well, too.
Can you imagine? Waiter, one absinthe and granite!
Absinthe on the rocks! That’s a good one, that’s a good one. Quite funny. For people
who aren’t in a hurry – absinthe and granite! Nice one.
Sugar lump’s almost melted now. There it goes. Just like us. Striking image of mankind, a
sugar lump…

When we are dead, we shall all go the same way. Atom by atom, molecule by molecule.
Dissolved, dispersed, returned to the Great Beyond by kind permission of roots and

Everything sorted out then. Victor Hugo and a hack like Anatole Beaucanard equal in the
eyes of the Great God Maggot. Thank goodness.

Foul weather… Bad day. Fool of an editor. Unbelievable ass of a publisher.
Don’t know though. Perhaps not so much talent as keep telling self.
Good stuff, absinthe. Not the first mouthful, perhaps. But after that.
Good stuff.

Six o’clock. Boulevards looking a bit more lively now. And look at the women!
A lot prettier than an hour ago. More elegant, too. Men don’t look so cretinous either.
Sky still grey. Nice mother-of-pearl sort of grey. Rather effective. Lovely nuances. Setting
sun tingeing the clouds with pale coppery pink glow. Very fine.

‘Waiter! An absinthe and anis!’
Good fun, absinthe with sugar, but can’t stand around all day waiting for it to melt.
Half past six.
All these women! And so pretty, most of them. And so strange, too.
Mysterious, rather.
Where do they all come from? Where are they all going to? Ah, shall we ever know!
Not one of them spares me a glance – and yet I love them all so much.
I look at each one as she passes, and I’m certain I’ll never forget her face. Then she
vanishes, and I have absolutely no recollection what she looked like.
Luckily, there are always even prettier girls following behind.
And I would love them so, if only they would let me! But they all pass by. Shall I ever
see any one of them again?
Street Hawkers out there on the pavement, selling everything under the
sun…newspapers… celluloid cigar-cases… cuddly toy monkeys – any colour you want…
Who are all these men? Crushed by life, no doubt. Unrecognised geniuses. Renegades.
Hollow eyed. But fire still burning in their pupils.
A book waiting to be written about them. A great book. An unforgettable book. A book
that everyone would have to buy – everyone!
Oh, all these women!
Why doesn’t it occur to just one of them to come in and sit down beside me… kiss me
very gently… caress me…take me in her arms and rock me to and fro just as mom did
when I was small?
‘Waiter! An absinthe neat. And make it a large one!’

– Aphonse Allais

Erik Satie – Poudre d’Or


“The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom…for we never know what is enough until we know what is more than enough.” – William Blake

I hope you have enjoyed this entry!



“Do you really think it is weakness that yields to temptation? I tell you that there are terrible temptations which it requires strength, strength and courage to yield to.” – Oscar Wilde

Summer, drifting. Portland nights. Nothing better.

On The Menu:
The Links
St. Francis Quotes
Alice in Wonderland (1903)
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson – Poems
LeftField – “Open up” featuring John Lydon
Art: Auguste Raynaud

The Links:
Human Ingenuity…
Bee Colonies…
Nursery effect study shows trees remember their roots
Sea monsters really DO lurk beneath the waves…!

St. Francis Quotes:

“While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.”
“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”
“While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.”
“No one is to be called an enemy, all are your benefactors, and no one does you harm. You have no enemy except yourselves.”
“Where there is injury let me sow pardon.”

Alice in Wonderland (1903)


Charles Lutwidge Dodgson – Poems

My Fairy

I have a fairy by my side
Which says I must not sleep,
When once in pain I loudly cried
It said “You must not weep”
If, full of mirth, I smile and grin,
It says “You must not laugh”
When once I wished to drink some gin
It said “You must not quaff”.

When once a meal I wished to taste
It said “You must not bite”
When to the wars I went in haste
It said “You must not fight”.

“What may I do?” at length I cried,
Tired of the painful task.
The fairy quietly replied,
And said “You must not ask”.

Moral: “You mustn’t.”


When midnight mists are creeping,
And all the land is sleeping,
Around me tread the mighty dead,
And slowly pass away.
Lo, warriors, saints, and sages,
From out the vanished ages,
With solemn pace and reverend face
Appear and pass away.
The blaze of noonday splendour,
The twilight soft and tender,
May charm the eye: yet they shall die,
Shall die and pass away.
But here, in Dreamland’s centre,
No spoiler’s hand may enter,
These visions fair, this radiance rare,
Shall never pass away.
I see the shadows falling,
The forms of old recalling;
Around me tread the mighty dead,
And slowly pass away.

Alice & The White Knight

Alice was walking beside the White Knight in Looking Glass Land.

‘You are sad.’ the Knight said in an anxious tone: ‘let me sing you a song to comfort you.’

‘Is it very long?’ Alice asked, for she had heard a good deal of poetry that day.

‘It’s long.’ said the Knight, ‘but it’s very, very beautiful. Everybody that hears me sing it –
either it brings tears to their eyes, or else -’

‘Or else what?’ said Alice, for the Knight had made a sudden pause.

‘Or else it doesn’t, you know. The name of the song is called ‘Haddocks’ Eyes.”

‘Oh, that’s the name of the song, is it?’ Alice said, trying to feel interested.

‘No, you don’t understand,’ the Knight said, looking a little vexed. ‘That’s what the name
is called. The name really is ‘The Aged, Aged Man.”

‘Then I ought to have said ‘That’s what the song is called’?’ Alice corrected herself.

‘No you oughtn’t: that’s another thing. The song is called ‘Ways and Means’ but that’s only
what it’s called, you know!’

‘Well, what is the song then?’ said Alice, who was by this time completely bewildered.

‘I was coming to that,’ the Knight said. ‘The song really is ‘A-sitting On a Gate’: and the
tune’s my own invention.’

So saying, he stopped his horse and let the reins fall on its neck: then slowly beating time
with one hand, and with a faint smile lighting up his gentle, foolish face, he began:

I’ll tell thee everything I can;
There’s little to relate.
I saw an aged, aged man,
A-sitting on a gate.
‘Who are you, aged man?’ I said,
‘ And how is it you live?’
And his answer trickled through my head
like water through a sieve.

He said ‘I look for butterflies
That sleep among the wheat:
I make them into mutton pies,
And sell them in the street.
I sell them unto men,’ he said,
‘Who sail on stormy seas;
And that’s the way I get my bread –
A trifle if you please.’

But I was thinking of a plan
To dye one’s whiskers green,
And always use so large a fan
That they could not be seen.
So, having no reply to give
To what the old man said,
I cried, ‘Come tell me how you live!’
And thumped him on the head.

His accents mild took up the tale:
He said, ‘I go my ways,
And when I find a mountain-rill,
I set it in a blaze;
And thence they make a stuff they call
Rowland’s Macassar Oil –
Yet twopence-halfpenny is all
They give me for my toil.’

But I was thinking of a way
To feed one’s self on batter,
And so go on from day to day
Getting a little fatter.
I shook him well from side to side
Until his face was blue:
‘Come tell me how you live,’ I cried,
‘And what it is you do!’

He said ‘I hunt for haddocks’ eyes
Among the heather bright,
And work them into waistcoat buttons
In the silent night.
And these I do not sell for gold
Or coin of silvery shine,
But for a copper halfpenny,
And that will purchase nine.

‘I sometimes dig for buttered rolls,
Or set limed twigs for crabs;
I sometimes search for grassy knolls
For wheels of hansom-cabs.
And that’s the way’ (he gave a wink)
‘By which I get my wealth –
And very gladly will I drink
Your Honour’s noble health.’

I heard him then, for I had just
Completed my design
To keep the Menai Bridge from rust
By boiling it in wine.
I thanked him much for telling me
The way he got his wealth,
But chiefly for the wish that he
Might drink my noble health.

And now if e’er by chance I put
My fingers into glue,
Or madly squeeze a right-hand foot
Into a left-hand shoe,
Or if I drop upon my toe
A very heavy weight,
I weep, for it reminds me so
Of that old man I used to know –
Whose look was mild, whose speech was slow
Whose hair was whiter than the snow,
Whose face was very like a crow,
With eyes, like cinders, all aglow,
Who seemed distracted with his woe,
Who rocked his body to and fro,
And muttered mumblingly and low,
As if his mouth were full of dough,
Who snorted like a buffalo –
That summer evening long ago
A-sitting on a gate.

As the Knight sang the last words of the ballad, he gathered up the reins, and turned his horse’s head along the road by which they had come.

LeftField – “Open up” featuring John Lydon


“If one could only teach the English how to talk, and the Irish how to listen, society here would be quite civilized.” – Oscar Wilde

Nobel Truths

Renunciation is not getting rid of the things of this world, but accepting that they pass away. -Aitken Roshi

The greatest achievement is selflessness.
The greatest worth is self-mastery.
The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.
The greatest precept is continual awareness.
The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.
The greatest action is not conforming with the worlds ways.
The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.
The greatest generosity is non-attachment.
The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind.
The greatest patience is humility.
The greatest effort is not concerned with results.
The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.
The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.

– Atisha

This edition of Turfing is dedicated to Cliff Berns, Terry Carnahan, Mike Crowley, Diane Darling, Clark Heinrich, Dale & Laura Pendell, and a raft of others who have taught me much on their Dharma path. Though they follow different schools in the Buddhist tradition, all show love and understanding.

You know my thoughts on what makes the Bodhisattva if you have followed my writings here on Turfing. It is together, and not alone. Without these good people, the way would be harder for me, and many others. Their presence is a blessing, and a joy. There are no other words that say this correctly.

Here is to the Noble Truths, and the living of Noble Lives. My gratitude goes out to all who have in their own ways given me guidance, even when they didn’t know it. Without your thoughts, concern and right actions, much would be difficult, and the way not as clear.

Bright Blessings,

These teachings are like a raft, to be abandoned once you have crossed the flood.
Since you should abandon even good states of mind generated by these teachings,
How much more so should you abandon bad states of mind!

Conquer the angry man by love.
Conquer the ill-natured man by goodness.
Conquer the miser with generosity.
Conquer the liar with truth.

– The Dhammapada

On The Menu:
Allen Ginsberg “Gospel Noble Truths” Animation
Thich Nhat Hanh Quotes
The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva
Buddhist Poetry Through The Ages
Red Buddha – Walk To The Inside
Art – Gwyllm Llwydd

Allen Ginsberg “Gospel Noble Truths” Animation


Thich Nhat Hanh Quotes:

“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”
“We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.”
“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts.”
“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.”
“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”
“Smile, breathe and go slowly”

A Big Thanks To Cliff For Posting This….!

The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva:
A Summary of How an Awakening Being Behaves

by Tog-me Zong-po ( bzang.po, 1245-1369) (Translated By Ken McLeod)

Namo Lokesvaraya

You who see that experience has no coming or going,
Yet pour your energy solely into helping beings,
My excellent teachers and Lord All Seeing,
I humbly and constantly honor with my body, speech, and mind.

The fully awake, the buddhas, source of joy and well-being,
All come from integrating the noble Way.
Because integration depends on your knowing how to practice,
I will explain the practice of all bodhisattvas.

Right now, you have a good boat, fully equipped and available — hard to find.
To free others and you from the sea of samsara,
Day and night, fully alert and present,
Study, reflect, and meditate — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

Attraction to those close to you catches you in its currents;
Aversion to those who oppose you burns inside;
Indifference that ignores what needs to be done is a black hole.
Leave your homeland — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

Don’t engage disturbances and reactive emotions gradually fade away;
Don’t engage distractions and spiritual practice naturally grows;
Keep awareness clear and vivid and confidence in the way arises.
Rely on silence — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

You will separate from long-time friends and relatives;
You will leave behind the wealth you worked to build up;
The guest, your consciousness, will move from the inn, your body.
Forget the conventional concerns — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

With some friends, the three poisons keep growing,
Study, reflection, and meditation weaken,
And loving kindness and compassion fall away.
Give up bad friends — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

With some teachers, your shortcomings fade away and
Abilities grow like the waxing moon.
Hold such teachers dear to you,
Dearer than your own body — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

Locked up in the prison of their own patterning
Whom can ordinary gods protect?
Who can you count on for refuge?
Go for refuge in the Three Jewels — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

The suffering in the lower realms is really hard to endure.
The Sage says it is the result of destructive actions.
For that reason, even if your life is at risk,
Don’t engage in destructive actions — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

The happiness of the three worlds disappears in a moment,
Like a dewdrop on a blade of grass.
The highest level of freedom is one that never changes.
Aim for this — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

For time without beginning, mothers have lovingly cared for you.
If they are still suffering, how can you be happy?
To free limitless sentient beings,
Give rise to awakening mind — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

All suffering comes from wanting your own happiness.
Complete awakening arises from the intention to help others.
So, exchange completely your happiness
For the suffering of others — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

Even if someone, driven by desperate want,
Steals, or makes someone else steal, everything you own,
Dedicate to him your body, your wealth, and
All the good you’ve ever done or will do — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

Even if you have done nothing wrong at all
And someone still tries to take your head off,
Spurred by compassion,
Take all his or her evil into you — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

Even if someone broadcasts to the whole universe
Slanderous and ugly rumors about you,
In return, with an open and caring heart,
Praise his or her abilities — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

Even if someone humiliates you and denounces you
In front of a crowd of people,
Think of this person as your teacher
And humbly honor him — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

Even if a person you have cared for as your own child
Treats you as his or her worst enemy,
Lavish him or her with loving attention
Like a mother caring for her ill child — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

Even if your peers or subordinates,
Put you down to make themselves look better,
Treat them respectfully as you would your teacher:
Put them above you — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

When you are down and out, held in contempt,
Desperately ill, and emotionally crazy,
Don’t lose heart. Take into you
The suffering and negativity of all beings — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

Even when you are famous, honored by all,
And as rich as the god of wealth himself,
Don’t be pompous. Know that the magnificence of existence
Has no substance — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

If you don’t subdue the opponent inside, your own anger,
Although you subdue opponents outside, they just keep coming.
Muster the forces of loving kindness and compassion
And subdue your own mind — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

Sensual pleasures are like salty water:
The deeper you drink, the thirstier you become.
Any object that you attach to,
Right away, let it go — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

Whatever arises in experience is your own mind.
Mind itself is free of any conceptual limitations.
Know that and don’t generate
Subject-object fixations — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

When you come across something you enjoy,
Though beautiful to experience, like a summer rainbow,
Don’t take it as real.
Let go of attachment — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

All forms of suffering are like dreaming that your child has died.
Taking confusion as real wears you out.
When you run into misfortune,
Look at it as confusion — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

If those who want to be awake have to give even their bodies,
What need is there to talk about things that you simply own.
Be generous, not looking
For any return or result — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

If you can’t tend to your needs because you have no moral discipline,
Then intending to take care of the needs of others is simply a joke.
Observe ethical behavior without concern
For conventional existence — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

For bodhisattvas who want to be rich in virtue
A person who hurts you is a precious treasure.
Cultivate patience for everyone,
Completely free of irritation or resentment — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

Listeners and solitary buddhas, working only for their own welfare,
Are seen to practice as if their heads were on fire.
To help all beings, pour your energy into practice:
It’s the source of all abilities — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

Understanding that reactive emotions are dismantled
By insight supported by stillness,
Cultivate meditative stability that passes right by
The four formless states — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

Without wisdom, the five perfections
Are not enough to attain full awakening.
Cultivate wisdom, endowed with skill
And free from the three domains — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

If you don’t go into your own confusion,
You may just be a materialist in practitioner’s clothing.
Constantly go into your own confusion
And put an end to it — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

You undermine yourself when you react emotionally and
Grumble about the imperfections of other bodhisattvas.
Of the imperfections of those who have entered the Great Way,
Don’t say anything — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

When you squabble with others about status and rewards,
You undermine learning, reflection, and meditation.
Let go of any investment in your family circle
Or the circle of those who support you — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

Abusive language upsets others
And undermines the ethics of a bodhisattva.
So, don’t upset people or
Speak abusively — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

When reactive emotions acquire momentum, it’s hard to make remedies work. A person in attention wields remedies like weapons, Crushing reactive emotions such as craving As soon as they arise — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

In short, in everything you do, Know what is happening in your mind.
By being constantly present and alert You bring about what helps others
– this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

To dispel the suffering of beings without limit,
With wisdom freed from the three spheres Direct all the goodness generated by these efforts To awakening —
this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

Following the teachings of the holy ones
On what is written in the sutras, tantras, and commentaries,
I set out these thirty-seven practices of a bodhisattva
For those who intend to train in this path.

Because I have limited intelligence and little education,
These verses are not the kind of poetry that delights the learned.
But because I relied on the teachings of the sutras and the revered
I am confident that The Practices of a Bodhisattva is sound.

However, because it’s hard for a person with limited intelligence like me
To fathom the depths of the great waves of the activity of bodhisattvas,
I ask the revered to tolerate
Any mistakes — contradictions, non sequiturs, and such.

From the goodness of this work, may all beings,
Through the supreme mind that is awake to what is ultimately and apparently true,
Not rest in any limiting position — existence or peace:
May they be like Lord All Seeing.

Tog-me, the monk, a teacher of scripture and logic, composed this text in a cave near the town of Ngülchu Rinchen for his own and others’ benefit.

Buddhist Poetry Through The Ages:

On This Summer Night

On this summer night
All the household lies asleep,
And in the doorway,
For once open after dark,
Stands the moon, brilliant, cloudless.
– Jusammi Chikako

Gorakh Bani

O Yogi die; die to the world.
Such death is sweet.
Die in the manner of Goraksa who died
and then saw the Invisible.

Speak not in haste, walk not in haste
Take slow cautious steps.
Let not pride overtake you. Lead a simple life,
says Goraksanath.

Goraksha says: Listen, O Avadhuta, this is how you should lead your life in this world.
See with your eyes, hear with your ears but never speak.
Just be a dispassionate witness to the happenings around you.
Do not react.

Goraksa says one who remains steadfast in observing his sadhna
keeping his spiritual practice, food habits and sleeping habits
under strict yogic discipline
neither grows old nor dies.

Goraksa says– Om Siva Goraksa Yogi is the mantra,
which is the substance of all true joys.
One should repair to a solitary place and chant this mantra so devoutly
that he becomes oblivious of his own body.

Om Siva Goraksa Yogi–
this auspicious mantra contains measureless sakti.
It is so powerful that even sinners of the worst kind have attained moksa
just by chanting this mantra.

Goraksa says he who chants the name vocally or non-vocally,
meditates, controls the five senses from their pleasures
and burns his body in the holy fire of Brahma
finds Mahadeva.

The mind is dull and fails to comprehend the secret of the the path of yoga.
It is very capricious and is always engaged in mischief,
thus causing a man to drift away
from the true path.

The mind itself is the abode of the good as well as of the evil.
One may either let the good prevail or may allow free play to the evil instincts.
This mind is pure and pious only when it lets the good in it prosper.
If the mind promotes the evil instincts residing in it then it becomes impure and impious.
Yoga is the means by which the mind can be trained to promote and sustain the good instincts.
– Gorakhnath


Some stories last many centuries,
others only a moment.
All alter over that lifetime like beach-glass,
grow distant and more beautiful with salt.

Yet even today, to look at a tree
and ask the story Who are you? is to be transformed.

There is a stage in us where each being, each thing, is a mirror.

Then the bees of self pour from the hive-door,
ravenous to enter the sweetness of flowering nettles and thistle.

Next comes the ringing a stone or violin or empty bucket
gives off –
the immeasurable’s continuous singing,
before it goes back into story and feeling.

In Borneo, there are palm trees that walk on their high roots.
Slowly, with effort, they lift one leg then another.

I would like to join that stilted transmigration,
to feel my own skin vertical as theirs:
an ant-road, a highway for beetles.

I would like not minding, whatever travels my heart.
To follow it all the way into leaf-form, bark-furl, root-touch,
and then keep walking, unimaginably further.
– Jane Hirshfield

Inscribed on the Wall of the Hut by the Lake

If you want to be a mountain dweller…
no need to trek to India to find a mountain…
I’ve got a thousand peaks
to pick from, right here in this lake.
Fragrant grasses, white clouds,
to hold me here.
What holds you there,
– by Chiao Jan

Red Buddha – Walk To The Inside


(Gwyllm Llwydd – Cosmos)

Fire In The Head

“How far away the stars seem, and how far is our first kiss, and ah, how old my heart.” – William Butler Yeats

(John Duncan – Sleeping Princess)

This entry is a return. If you know me at all, you will recognize what I speak of….

This is a farewell to June, in all her brilliance, beauty and apex of the season. I have had a fire in my head, a kindling of poetry and image. Life is good, and there is wonders yet to be felt, and shared. I hope that June was as sweet for you as it was for us here at Caer Llwydd.

Here is to the rest of the wild summer, hold each moment lightly. They fly so fast.


On The Menu:
William Butler Yeats Quotes
Perfume Tree – August / Crystal Tips
Scottish Highland Tales: The Fox And The Wrens
William Butler Yeats – Poems
Perfume Tree – Warm Sun Fingers
Art: John Duncan

William Butler Yeats Quotes:
“Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.”

“Time drops in decay,
Like a candle burnt out,
And the mountains and woods
Have their day, have their day;”

“Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!”

“When you are old and gray and full of sleep, and nodding by the fire, take down this book and slowly read, and dream of the soft look your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep.”

“But I, being poor, have only my dreams. I have spread my dreams under your feet; tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.”

“If suffering brings wisdom, I would wish to be less wise.”

“In dreams begin responsibility”

Perfume Tree – August / Crystal Tips

Scottish Highland Tales: The Fox And The Wrens

A FOX had noticed for some days a family of wrens, off which he wished to dine. He might have been satisfied with one, but he was determined to have the whole lot–father and eighteen sons,–and all so like that he could not tell one from the other, or the father from the children.

“It is no use to kill one son,” he said to himself, because the old cock will take warning and fly away with the seventeen. I wish I knew which is the old gentleman.”

He set his wits to work to find out, and one day, seeing them all threshing in a barn, he sat down to watch them; still he could not be sure.

“Now I have it,” he said; “well done the old man’s stroke! He hits true,” he cried.

“Oh!” replied the one he suspected of being the head of the family; “if you had seen my grandfather’s strokes you might have said that.”

The sly fox pounced on the cock, ate him up in a trice, and then soon caught and disposed of the eighteen sons, all flying in terror about the barn.

William Butler Yeats – Poems

The Song of Wandering Aengus

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

He Remembers Forgotten Beauty

When my arms wrap you round I press
My heart upon the loveliness
That has long faded from the world;
The jewelled crowns that kings have hurled
In shadowy pools, when armies fled;
The love-tales wrought with silken thread
By dreaming ladies upon cloth
That has made fat the murderous moth;
The roses that of old time were
Woven by ladies in their hair,
The dew-cold lilies ladies bore
Through many a sacred corridor
Where such grey clouds of incense rose
That only God’s eyes did not close:
For that pale breast and lingering hand
Come from a more dream-heavy land,
A more dream-heavy hour than this;
And when you sigh from kiss to kiss
I hear white Beauty sighing, too,
For hours when all must fade like dew,
But flame on flame, and deep on deep,
Throne over throne where in half sleep,
Their swords upon their iron knees,
Brood her high lonely mysteries.

A Poet To His Beloved

I bring you with reverent hands
The books of my numberless dreams,
White woman that passion has worn
As the tide wears the dove-grey sands,
And with heart more old than the horn
That is brimmed from the pale fire of time:
White woman with numberless dreams,
I bring you my passionate rhyme.

The Hosting Of The Sidhe

The host is riding from Knocknarea
And over the grave of Clooth-na-Bare;
Caoilte tossing his burning hair,
And Niamh calling Away, come away:
Empty your heart of its mortal dream.
The winds awaken, the leaves whirl round,
Our cheeks are pale, our hair is unbound,
Our breasts are heaving, our eyes are agleam,
Our arms are waving, our lips are apart;
And if any gaze on our rushing band,
We come between him and the deed of his hand,
We come between him and the hope of his heart.

The host is rushing ‘twixt night and day,
And where is there hope or deed as fair?
Caoilte tossing his burning hair,
And Niamh calling Away, come away.

Perfume Tree – Warm Sun Fingers

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.” – William Butler Yeats
(John Duncan – Pensive)