Within the eye of the eye
Within the eye of the eye
I placed an eye
polished and adorned
with her beauty
but suddenly fell
into the Quarter of Perfection
and now am freed from sight,
from even the eye of contemplation.
– Ayn al-Qozat Hamadani
This entry is dedicated to our friend Craig McKewen, a fellow traveler, a teacher of many. Here is to his life, and the love that he shared with so many, by his example….
I have changed the format of this entry, and will probably keep it this way for at least awhile. The poetry is now moved up, as sometimes the stories are a bit long and all.
I have included 2 Coil videos, a first. Coil was a most delicious experiment starting out in the early-80′s, and ceasing to exist in 2004. They are not everyone’s cup of tea, but I find their work worthy of note, if not for the metaphysical/thelemic content over the years.
The story included this time is quite large, but I think its historical relevance is worth the read. The Plutonian Drug, is quite fascinating. Give it a go!
On the home side, Rowan is working away on preparation for his film, I am reading “Lao-Tzu’s TAOTECHING translated by Red Pine (a very nice gift!) and we are all figuring out our new smart phones. I discovered last night whilst looking at the local wifi connections that someone has a network named “Ron Weasley”… we have some serious Harry Potter Nerds around here I take it!
Hope the year is going well for you and yours!
On The Menu:
(Coil) A Journey to Avebury – Derek Jarman (1971)
Poetry: The Path of Divine Love
The Plutonian Drug
Coil – Bee Has The Photos
The Struggle For The Soul Of Israel
Dealing With The Dawks
The Indonesian Pyramid
Homeland Is Watching You Tweet!
Ten 100-year predictions that came true
(Coil) A Journey to Avebury – Derek Jarman (1971)
Poetry: The Path of Divine Love
I have loved in life
and I have been loved.
I have drunk the bowl of poison
from the hands of love as nectar,
and have been raised above life’s joy and sorrow.
My heart, aflame in love,
set afire every heart that came in touch with it.
My heart has been rent
and joined again;
My heart has been broken
and again made whole;
My heart has been wounded
and healed again;
A thousand deaths my heart has died,
and thanks be to love,
it lives yet.
I went through hell and saw there love’s raging fire,
and I entered heaven illumined with the light of love.
I wept in love
and made all weep with me;
I mourned in love
and pierced the hearts of men;
And when my fiery glance fell on the rocks,
the rocks burst forth as volcanoes.
The whole world sank in the flood
caused by my one tear;
With my deep sigh the earth trembled,
and when I cried aloud the name of my beloved,
I shook the throne of God in heaven.
I bowed my head low in humility,
and on my knees I begged of love,
“Disclose to me, I pray thee, O love, thy secret.”
She took me gently by my arms and lifted me above the earth,
and spoke softly in my ear,
“My dear one,
thou thyself art love, art lover, and thyself art the beloved
whom thou hast adored.”
~ Hazrat Inayat Khan
always traversing the world
what benefit has come of it?
which you are seeking
is with you;
and you seek
From before existence
our steed set out with love.
from the lamp of Union.
Until we return to non-existence
you will not find our lips dry
from that wine
un-forbidden in our path (madhhab).
O you who have left for Hajj,
where are you?
where are you?
The beloved is here!
The Beloved is your neighbor
what are you doing,
lost in the wilderness?
If you could see the formless face
of the Beloved
you’d know that you are the lord,
the house, and the Ka’ba!
So many times you set out on that road to that house;
come to the roof of this house.
Yes, that house [Ka’ba] is subtle,
you’ve told me about it.
But show me something
about the Lord of that house!
If you saw that garden,
where are the flowers?
If you dove in God’s ocean,
where is a single soul-jewel?
The Plutonian Drug
Clark Ashton Smith
‘It is remarkable.’ said Dr. Manners, ‘how the scope of our pharmacopoeia has been widened by interplanetary exploration. In the past thirty years, hundreds of hitherto unknown substances, employable as drugs or medical agents, have been found in the other worlds of our own system. It will be interesting to see what the Allan Farquar expedition will bring back from the planets of Alpha Centaurt when — or if — it succeeds in reaching then and returning to earth. I doubt, though, if anything more valuable than selenine will be discovered. Selenine, derived from a fossil lichen found by the first rocket-expedition to the moon in 1975, has, as you know, practically wiped out the old-time curse of cancer. In solution, it forms the base of an infallible serum, equally useful for cure or prevention.’
‘I fear I haven’t kept up on a lot of the new discoveries,’ said Rupert Balcoth the sculptor, Manners’ guest, a little apologetically. ‘Of course, everyone has heard of selenine. And I’ve seen frequent mention, recently, of a mineral water from Ganymede whose effects are like those of the mythical Fountain of Youth.’
‘You mean clithni, as the stuff is called by the Ganymedians. It is a clear, emerald liquid, rising in lofty geysers from the craters of quiescent volcanoes. Scientists believe that the drinking of clithni is the secret of the almost fabulous longevity of the Ganymedians; and they think that it may prove to be a similar elixir for humanity.’
‘Some of the extraplaaetary drugs haven’t been so beneficial to mankind, have they? ‘ queried Balcoth. ‘I seem to have heard of a Martian poison that has greatly facilitated the gentle art of murder. And I am told that mnophka, the Venerian narcotic, is far worse, in its effects on the human system, than is any terrestrial alkaloid.’
‘Naturally,’ observed the doctor with philosophic calm, ‘many of these new chemical agents are capable of due abuse. They share that liability with any number of our native drugs. Man, as ever; has the choice of good and evil… I suppose that the Martian poison you speak of is akpaloli, the juice of a common russet-yellow weed that grows in the oases of Mars. It is colorless, and without taste or odor. It kills almost instantly, leaving no trace, and imitating closely the symptoms of heart-disease. Undoubtedly many people have been made away with by means of a surreptitious drop of akpaloli in their food or medicine. But even akpaloli, if used in infinitesimal doses, is a very powerful stimulant, useful in cases of syncope, and serving, not infrequently to re-animate victims of paralysis in a quite miraculous manner.
‘Of course,’ he went on, ‘there is an infinite lot still to be learned about many of these ultra-terrene substances. Their virtues have often been discovered quite by accident — and in some cases, the virtue is still to be discovered.
‘For example, take mnophka, which you mentioned a little while ago. Though allied in a way, to the earthnarcotics, such as opium and hashish, it is of little use for anaesthetic or anodyne purposes. Its chief effects are an extraordinary acceleration of the time-sense, and a heightening and telescoping of all sensations, whether pleasurable or painful. The user seems to be living and moving at a furious whirlwind rate — even though he may in reality be lying quiescent on a couch. He exists in a headlong torrent of sense-impressions, and seems, in a few minutes, to undergo the experiences of years. The physical result is lamentable — a profound exhaustion, and an actual aging of the tissues, such as would ordinarily require the period of real time which the addict has “lived” through merely in his own illusion.
‘There are some other drugs, comparatively little known, whose effects, if possible, are even more curious than those of mnophka. I don’t suppose you have ever heard of plutonium?’
‘No, I haven’t,’ admitted Balcoth. ‘Tell me about it.’
‘I can do even better than that — I can show you some of the stuff, though it isn’t much to look at — merely a fine white powder.’
Dr. Manners rose from the pneumatic-cushioned chair in which he sat facing his guest, and went to a large cabinet of synthetic ebony, whose shelves were crowded with flasks, bottles, tubes, and cartons of various sizes and forms. Re turning, he handed to Balcoth a squat and tiny vial, twothirds filled with a starchy substance.
‘Plutonium,’ explained Manners, ‘as its name would indicate, comes from forlom, frozen Pluto, which only one terrestrial expedition has so far visited — the expedition led by the Cornell brothers, John and Augustine, which started in 1990 and did not return to earth till 1996, when nearly everyone had given it up as lost. John, as you may have heard, died during the returning voyage, together with half the personnel of the expedition: and the others reached earth with only one reserve oxygen-tank remaining.
This vial contains about a tenth of the existing supply of plutonium. Augustine Cornell, who is an old schoolfriend of mine gave it to me three years ago, just before he embarked with the Allan Farquar crowd. I count myself pretty lucky to own anything so rare.
‘The geologists of the party found the stuff when they began prying beneath the solidified gases that cover the surface of that dim, starlit planet, in an effort to learn a little about its composition and history. They couldn’t do much under the circumstances, with limited time and equipment; but they made some curious discoveries — of which plutonium was far from being the least.
‘Like selenine, the stuff is a bi-product of vegetable fossilization. Doubtless it is many billion years old, and dates back to the time when Pluto possessed enough internal heat to make possible the development of certain rudimentary plant-forms on its blind surface. It must have had an atmosphere then; though no evidence of former animal-life was found by the Cornells.
‘Plutonium, in addition to carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen, contains minute quantities of several unclassified elements. It was discovered in a crystalloid condition, but turned immediately to the fine powder that you see, as soon as it was exposed to air in the rocketship. It is readily soluble in water, forming a permanent colloid, without the least sign of deposit, no matter how long it remains in suspension.’
‘You say it is a drug?’ queried Balcoth. ‘What does it do to you?’
‘I’ll come to that in a minute — though the effect is pretty hard to describe. The properties of the stuff were discovered by chance: on the return journey from Pluto, a member of the expedition, half delirious with space-fever, got hold of the unmarked jar containing it and took a small dose, imagining that it was bromide of potassium. It served to complicate his delirium for a while — since it gave him some brand-new ideas about space and time.
‘Other people have experimented with it since then. The effects are quite brief (the influence never lasts more than half an hour) and they vary considerably with the individual. There is no bad aftermath, either neural, mental, or physical, as far as anyone has been able to determine. I’ve taken it myself, once or twice, and can testify to that.
‘Just what it does to one, I am not sure. Perhaps it merely produces a derangement or metamorphosis of sensations, like hashish; or perhaps it serves to stimulate some rudimentary organ, some dormant sense of the human brain. At any rate there is, as clearly as I can put it, an altering of the perception of time — of actual duration — into a sort of space-perception. One sees the past, and also the future, in relation to one’s own physical self, like a landscape stretching away on either hand. You don’t see very far, it is true -merely the events of a few hours in each direction; but it’s a very curious experience; and it helps to give you a new slant on the mystery of time and space. It is altogether different from the delusions of mnophka.’
‘It sounds very interesting,’ admitted Balcoth. ‘However, I’ve never tampered much vith narcotics myself; though I did experiment once or twice, in my young, romantic days with cannabis Indica. I had been reading Gautiet and Baudelaire, I suppose. Anyway, the result was rather disappointing.’
‘You didn’t take it long enough for your system to absorb a residuum of the drug, I imagine,’ said Manners. ‘Thus the effects were negligible, from a visionary standpoint, But plutonium is altogether different — you get the maximum result from the very first dose. I think it would interest you greatly, Balcoth, since you are a sculptor by profession: you would see some unusual plastic images, not easy to render in terms of Euclidean planes and angles. I’d gladly give you a pinch of it now, if you’d care to experiment.’
‘You’re pretty generous, aren’t you, since the stuff is so rare?’
‘I’m not being generous at all. For years, I’ve planned to write a monograph on ultra-terrestrial narcotics; and you might give me some valuable data. With your type of brain and your highly developed artistic sense, the visions of plutonium should be uncommonly clear and significant. All I ask is, that you describe them to me as fully as you can afterwards.’
‘Very well,’ agreed Balcoth. ‘I’ll try anything once.’ His curiosity was inveigled, his imagination seduced, by Manner’s account of the remarkable drug.
Manners brought out an antique whisky-glass, which he filled nearly to the rim with some golden-red liquid. Uncorking the vial of plutonium, he added to this fluid a small pinch of the fine white powder, which dissolved immediately and without effervescence.
‘The liquid is a wine made from a sweet Martian tuber known as ovvra,’ he explained. ‘It is light and harmless, and will counteract the bitter taste of the plutonium. Drink, it quickly and then lean back in your chair.’
Balcoth hesitated, eyeing the golden-red fluid.
‘Are you quite sure the effects will wear off as promptly as you say?’ he questioned. ‘It’s a quarter past nine now, and I’ll have to leave about ten to keep an appointment with one of my patrons at the Belvedere Club. It’s the billionaire, Claud Wishhaven. who wants me to do a bas-relief in pseudo-jade and neo-jasper for the hall of his country mansion. He wants something really advanced and futuristic. We’re to talk it over tonight — decide on the motifs, etc.’
“That gives you forty-five minutes,” assured the doctor — ‘and in thirty, at the most your brain and senses will be perfectly normal again. I’ve never known it to fail. You’ll have fifteen minutes to spare, in which to tell me all about your sensations.’
Balcoth emptied the little antique glass at a gulp and leaned back, as Manners had directed, on the deep pneumatic cushions of the chair; He seemed to be falling easily but endlessly into a mist that had gathered in the room with unexplainable rapidity; and through this mist he was dimly aware that Manners had taken the empty glass from his relaxing fingers. He saw the face of Manners far above him, small and blurred, as if in some tremendous perspective of alpine distance; and the doctor’s simple action seemed to be occurring in another world.
He continued to fall and float through eternal mist, in which all things were dissolved as in the primordial nebulae of chaos. After a timeless interval, the mist which had been uniformly gray and hueless at first, took on a flowing iridescence, never the same for two successive moments; and the sense of gentle falling turned to a giddy revolution, as if he were caught in an ever-accelerating vortex.
Coincidentally with his movement in this whirlpool of prismatic splendor, he seemed to undergo an indescribable mutation of the senses. The whirling colors, by subtle, ceaseless gradations, became recognizable as solid forms. Emerging, as if by an act of creation, from the infinite chaos, they appeared to take their place in an equally infinite vista. The feeling of movement, through decrescent spirals, was resolved into absolute immobility. Balcoth was no Ionger conscious of himself as a living organic body: he was an abstract eye, a discorporate center of visual awareness, stationed alone in space, and yet having an intimate relationship with the frozen prospect on which he peered from his ineffable vantage.
Without surprise, he found that he was gazing simultaneously in two directions. On either hand, for a vast distance that was wholly void of normal perspective, a weird and peculiar landscape stretched away, traversed by an unbroken frieze or bas-relief of human figures that ran like a straight undeviating wall.
For awhile, the frieze was incomprehensible to Balcoth, he could make nothing of its glacial, flowing outlines with their background of repeated masses and complicated angles and sections of other human friezes that approached or departed, often in a very abrupt manner, from an unseen world beyond. Then the vision seemed to resolve and clarify itself, and he began to understand.
The bas-relief, he saw, was composed entirely of a repetition of his own figure; plainly distinct as the separate waves of a stream, and possessing a stream-like unity. Immediately before him, and for some distance on either hand. the figure was seated in a chair — the chair itself being subject to the same billowy repetition. The background was composed of the reduplicated figure of Dr. Manners, in another chair; and behind this, the manifold images of a medicine cabinet and a section of wall-paneling.
Following the vista on what, for lack of any better name, might be termed the left hand, Balcoth saw himself in the act of draining the antique glass, with Manners standing before him. Then, still further, he saw himself previous to this, with a background in which Manners was presenting him the glass, was preparing the dose of plutonium, was going to the cabinet for the vial, was rising from his pneumatic chair. Every movement, every attitude of the doctor and himself during their past conversation, was visioned in a sort of reverse order, reaching away, unalterable as a wall of stone sculpture, into the weird, eternal landscape. There was no break in the continuity of his own figure; but Manners seemed to disappear at times, as if into a fourth dimension. These times, he remembered later, were the occasions whem the doctor had not been in his line of vision. The perception was wholly visual; and though Balcoth saw his own lips and those of Manner’s parted in movements of speech, he could hear no word or other sound.
Perhaps the most singular feature of the vision was the utter absence of foreshortening. Though Balcoth seemed to behold it all from a fixed, immovable point, the landscape and the intersecting frieze presented themselves to him without diminution, maintaiaing a frontal fullness and distinctness to a distance that might have been many miles.
Continuing along the left-hand vista, he saw himself entering Manners’ apartments, and then encountered his image standing in the elevator that had borne him to the ninth floor of the hundred story hotel in which Manners lived. Then the frieze appeared to have an open street for background, with a confused, everchanging multitude of other faces and forms, of vehicles and sections of buildings, all jumbled together as in some old-time futuristic painting. Some of these details were full and clear, and others were cryptically broken,and blurred, so as to be scarcely recognizable. Everything, whatever its spatial position and relation, was re-arranged in the flowing frozen stream of this temporal pattern.
Balcoth retraced the three blocks from Manners’ hotel to his own studio, seeing all his past movements, whatever their direction in tri-dimensional space, as a straight line in the time-dimemion. At last he was in his studio; and there the frieze of his own figure receded into the eerie prospect of space-transmuted time among other friezes formed of actual sculptures. He beheld himself giving the final touches with his chisel to a symbolic statue at the afternoon’s end, with a glare of ruddy sunset falling through an unseen window and flushing the pallid marble. Beyond this there was a reverse fading of the glow, a thickening and blurring of the half-chiselled features of the image, a female form to which he had given the tentative name of Oblivion. At length, among half-seen statuary, the left-hand vista became indistinct, and melted slowly in amorphous mist. He had seen his own life as a continuous glaciated stream, stretching for about five hours into the past.
Reaching away on the right hand, he saw the vista of the fature. Here there was a continuation of his seated figure under the influence of the drug, opposite the continued basrelief of Dr. Manners and the repeated cabinet and wallpanels. After a considerable interval, he beheld himself in the act of rising from the chair. Standing erect, he seemed to be talking awhile, as in some silent antique film, to the listening doctor. After that, he was shaking hands with Manners, was leaving the apartment, was descending in the lift and following the open brightly-lighted street toward the Belvedere Club where he was to keep his appointment with Claud Wishhaven.
The Club was only three blocks away, on another street; and the shortest route, after the first block, was along a narrow alley between an office building and a warehouse. Balcoth had meant to take this alley; and in his vision, he saw the bas-relief of his future figure passing along the straight pavement with a background of deserted doorways and dim walls that towered from sight against the extinguished stars.
He seemed to be alone: there were no passers — only the silent, glimmering endlessly repeated angles of arc-lit walls and windows that accompanied his repeated figure. He saw himself following the alley, like a stream in some profound canyon; and there midway, the strange vision came to an abrupt inexplicable end, without the gradual blurring into formless mist, that had marked his retrospective view of the past.
The sculpture-like frieze with its architectural ground appeared to terminate, broken off clean and sharp, in a gulf of immeasurable blackness and nullity. The last wave-like duplication of his own person, the vague doorway beyond it, the glimmering alley-pavement, all were seen as if shorn asunder by a falling sword of darkness, leaving a vertical line of cleavage beyond which there was — nothing.
Balcoth had a feeling of utter detachment from himself, an eloignment from the stream of time, from the shores of space, in some abstract dimension. The experience, in its full realization, might have lasted for an instant only — or for eternity. Without wonder, without curiosity or reflection, like a fourth-dimensional Eye, he viewed simultaneously the unequal cross-sections of his own past and future.
After that timeless interval of complete perception, there began a reverse process of change. He, the all-seeing eye, aloof in super-space, was aware of movement, as if he were drawn back by some subtle thread of magnetism into the dungeon of time and space from which he had momentarily departed. He seemed to be following the frieze of his own seated body toward the right, with a dimly felt rhythm or pulsation in his movement that corresponded to the merging duplications of the figure. With curious clearness, he realized that the time-unit, by which these duplications were determined, was the beating of his own heart.
Now with accelerative swiftness, the vision of petrific form and space was re-dissolving into a spiral swirl of multitudinous colors, through which he was drawn upward. Presently he came to himself, seated in the pneumatic chair, with Dr. Manners opposite. The room seemed to waver a little, as if with some lingering touch of the weird transmutation; and webs of spinning iris hung in the corners of his eyes. Apart from this, the effect of the drug had wholly vanished, leaving, however, a singularly clear and vivid memory of the almost ineffable experience.
Dr. Manners began to question him at once, and Balcoth described his visionary sensations as fully and graphically as he could.
‘There is one thing I don’t understand,’ said Manners at the end with a puzzled frown. ‘According to your account, you must have seen five or six hours of the past, running in a straight spatial line, as a sort of continuous landscape; but the vista of the future ended sharply after you had followed it for three-quarters of an hour; or less. I’ve never known the drug to act so unequally: the past and future perspectives have always been about the same in their extent for others who have used plutoninum.’
‘Well,’ observed Balcoth, ‘the reaI marvel is that I could see into the future at all. In a way, I can understand the vision of the past. It was clearly composed of physical memories — of all my recent movements; and the background was formed of all the impressions my optic nerves had received during that time. But how could I behold something that hasn’t yet happened?’
‘There’s the mystery, of course,’ assented Manners. ‘I can think of only one explanation at all intelligible to our finite minds. This is, that all the events which compose the stream of time have already happened, are happening, and will continue to happen forever. In our ordinary state of consciousness, we perceive with the physical senses merely that moment which we call the present. Under the influence of plutonium, you were able to extend the moment of present cognition in both directions, and to behold simultaneously a portion of that which is normally beyond perception. Thus appeared the vision of yourself as a continuous, immobile body, extending through the time-vista.’
Balcoth, who had been standing, now took his leave. ‘I must be going,’ he said, ‘or I’ll be late for my appointment.’
‘I won’t detain you any longer,’ said Manners. He appeared to hesitate, and then added: ‘I’m still at a loss to comprehend the abrupt cleavage and termination of your prospect of the future. The alley in which it seemed to end was Falman Alley, I suppose — your shortest route to the Belvedere Club. If I were you, Balcoth, I’d take another route, even if it requires a few minutes extra.’
‘That sounds rather sinister,’ laughed Balcoth. ‘Do you think that something may happen to me in Falman Alley?’
‘I hope not — but I can’t guarantee that it won’t.’ Manners’ tone was oddly dry and severe. ‘You’d better do as I suggest.’
Balcoth felt the touch of a momentary shadow as he left the hotel — a premonition brief and light as the passing of some night-bird on noiseless wings. What could it mean -that gulf of infinite blackness into which the weird frieze of his future had appeared to plunge, like a frozen cataract? Was there a menace of some sort that awaited him in a particular place, at a particular moment?
He had a curious feeling of repetition, of doing something that he had done before, as he followed the street. Reaching the entrance of Falman Alley, he took out his watch. By walking briskly and following the alley, he would reach the Belvedere Club punctually. But if he went on around the next block, he would be a little late. Balcoth knew that his prospective patron, Claud Wishhaven, was almost a martinet in denanding punctuality from himself and from others. So he took the alley.
The place appeared to be entirely deserted, as in his vision. Midway, Balcoth approached the half-seen door — a rear entrance of the huge warehouse — which had formed the termination of the time prospect. The door was his last visual impression, for something descended on his head at that moment, and his consciousness was blotted out by the supervening night he had previsioned He had been sand- bagged, very quietly and efficiently, by a twenty-first century thug. The blow was fatal; and time, as far as Balcoth was concerned, had come to an end.
Coil – Bee Has The Photos