Another piece that I have chosen to feature here as it is probably a censored vision for much of social media (IOW FB)…. This piece evokes multiple levels/layers of dream, flowering, sensuality, beauty. A nice taste of surrealism pervades it.
______________ The Dream Engine
I have been thinking a lot lately on what has transpired in the world of marijuana recently. I can only talk from a subjective view on this. I have been involved with MJ off and on (more off in the last few decades) for some 50 years. I have watched pot shops since the legalization pop up like mushrooms all over Portland and the surrounding areas. The laws surrounding the distribution and the taxation as well seems to be… onerous to a fault. The tax rate is much higher than on say, beer. The state tax here for beer is .08$ a gallon. (Alcohol Taxes Here) There is a 17% tax on Marijuana (MJ Tax Facts Here) which seems to me to be more than a bit out of hand. The gold rush is on folks, and what was left in the Sacred Space that MJ opened the door for many of us, seems to be more and more tainted with the full on onslaught of capitalism.
I am hearing that trimmer machines are coming in to the various grows, and what was once a cottage industry employing many out in the countryside has now gone the way of the loom, and factory mentality. Bad JuJu, and with the coming of the corporations (Hello Monsanto! Hello Big Tobacco!) it will get more and more obscene along the way.
If I had my druthers, I would go for decriminalization rather than legalization, and keep the damn business interest out. The only mitigating factor IMPOV is that one can grow their own, (4 plants max @ this point) and I know a few who are.
The smell of capitalism in the MJ world here is pretty rank, and down right sad. It takes the joy out of it. Going into a Pot store is probably the most depressing single social action I have taken part of in the last year, and that includes memorials. I don’t think I will go into another. The amount of tension around these businesses at least for me is palpable. No joy to be found there. Little art, no music, cash on the barrel head.
So, if you still use the plant be it by smoking, or edibles, tea, I suggest you grow your own. Retain the relationship you have built up over the years with the plant. There is a bond there, a plant ally that has a shared history with us going back countless millenia… If you have to buy, well, try to avoid the stores if you can. There are still people who grow for the love of the ally. They are out there, you just have to find them. Remember, a plant grown outside, in the dirt, free of pesticides is best. Allow the plant it’s life as close to nature as possible. Avoid the indoor grown if you can.
To turn this all around, I have decided to delve back into literature and poetry that I became familiar with. Before the days of “420”, and “apps for MJ delivery”, there is a wealth of poetry and literature spanning centuries. I can only hope that others will investigate the history and delve deeply into the richness of the culture around the plant. It truly is amazing. I have had profound and deeply spiritual experiences with it. I have visited heaven, and harrowed hell on my journeys with Cannabis/Hashish. I have seen vistas and experienced a deep and rich world, and come back refreshed and healed from pain and anxiety. I give thanks for the various gifts she brings. It has helped with my creativity over the years and has been a balm for pain when all other methods have failed.
Let us treat Cannabis with the respect she deserves, and not turn her into another product. That way lacks in respect. This edition of Turfing is dedicated to her, and all the beauty she has brought with her various gifts.
__________________ On The Menu:
On Social Media/Interactions
Gwyllm Art News
Susannah Martin Art
Poem Praising Hashish Over Wine
The End Of Law: The Hashisheen (Morning High)
Excerpt: The Oblivion Seekers Isabel Eberhardt (1899)
The Garden of Cafour, Cairo
Jean Léon Gérôme – Pool in a Harem
The End Of Law: The Hashisheen (Sinan’s Boat)
__________________ Radio EarthRites
A new show is coming tonight or tomorrow! Stay Tuned! Tune In Here!
__________________ On Social Media/Interactions
I am slowly building a new approach to dealing with social media. I am not withdrawing, but cutting back, and being a bit more judicious in my time there, my postings etc. I am moving some of the art off into Turfing and what ever evolves out of it. What is needed is a greater control of the presentation. Turfing always afforded me that, and although I am sure to attract at least for a while, a smaller audience than what I have on FB (some 41k followers), perhaps they will follow me here. 😉 So, I will be here more often, hopefully back to the daily that this once was.
_______________ Gwyllm Art News:
So, the mural that I had done at Mirador on 20th & Division 14 years ago got tagged, big time. Why, I don’t understand. The city couldn’t destroy it, and it has been a part of the community for a very long time. I am hoping that someone recognizes the tag, and can put me in touch with the person who did this. I would really like to know what was going through their heads.
Here is a piece that I wanted to put up on Social Media, by Susannah Martin “Empty Kingdom”. Those pieces like this one will be on the blog from here on out.
Drop the wine and drink from Haidar’s Lady,
which is perfumed with ambergris
and is green like chrysolite.
It is offered to you by a well-groomed young man
In the delicate palm of his hand
as if it were a special mark on a rosy cheek.
His outstretched hand reminds you
of the tender branches of the elegant plant,
moving softly at the slightest breeze,
disseminating its intoxicating aroma,
conveying to you by way of your nostrils
its exhilarating effect.
No wine or other tonic could generate
such a heavenly sensation.
It is a virgin,
and has not been adulterated by water,
nor has it been trodden by feet
or squeezed by hand.
It has never been mixed in a priest’s chalice.
It was not outlawed by Muslim rulers,
nor was it ever declared unclean by any.
Forget your trouble
and enjoy your indulgence
and don’t leave today’s pleasures for tomorrow.
Arabic Poem praising hashish over wine, from The Sufi Culture In Egypt
__________________ The End Of Law: The Hashisheen (Morning High)
Vox: Sussan Deyhim/Patti Smith
Excerpt: The Oblivion Seekers Isabel Eberhardt (1899)
In this ksar, where the people have no place to meet but the public square or the earthen benches among the foot of the ramparts on the road to Bechar, here where there is not even a café, I have discovered a kif den…
It is a partially ruined house behind the Mellah, a long hall lighted by a single eye in the ceiling of twisted and smoke-blackened beams. The walls are black, ribbed with lighter-colored cracks that look like open wounds. The floor has been made by pounding the earth, but it is soft and dusty. Seldom swept, it is covered with pomegranate rinds and assorted refuse…
This place serves as a shelter for Moroccan vagabonds, for nomads, and for every sort of person of dubious intent and questionable appearance. The house seems to belong to no one; as at a disreputable hotel, you spend a few badly-advised nights there and go on. It is a natural setting for picturesque and theatrical events, like the antechamber of the room where the crime was committed…
In one corner lies a clean red mat, with some cushions from Fez in embroidered leather. On the mat, a large decorated chest which serves as a table. A rosebush with little pale pink blooms, surrounded by a bouquet of garden herbs, all standing in water inside one of those wide earthen jars from the Tell. Further on, a copper kettle on a tripod, two or three teapots, a large basket of dried Indian hemp. The little group of kif-smokers requires no other decoration, no other mise-en-scene. They are people who like their pleasure…
On a rude perch of palm branches, a captive falcon, tied by one leg…
The strangers, the wanderers who haunt this retreat sometimes mix with the kif-smokers, notwithstanding the fact that the latter are a very closed little community into which entry is made difficult. But the smokers themselves are travelers who carry their dreams with them across the countries of Islam, worshipers of the hallucinating smoke. The men who happen to meet her at Kensadsa are among the most highly educated in the land…
The seekers of oblivion sing and clap their hands lazil; their dream -vouces ring out late into the night, in the dim light of the mica-paned latern. Then little by little the voices fall, grow muffled, the words are slower. Finally the smokers are quiet, and merely stare at the flowers in ecstasy. They are epicurian, voluptuaries; perhaps they are sages. Even in the darkest purlieu of Morocco’s underworld such men can reach the magic horizon where they are free to build their dream-palaces of delight…
Chance brought them here to Kenadsa. Soon they will set out again, in different directions and on different trails, moving unconcernedly toward the fulfillment of their separate destinies. But it was a community of taste that gathered them together in this smoky refuge, where they pass the slow hours of a life without cares…
________________ The Garden of Cafour, Cairo
Sylvestre de Sacy (1825)
The Garden of Cafour near Cairo is described by De Sacy as a place notorious because of the hashish which the fakirs used there. It was destroyed in 1258 A.C.E. The patrons eulogized the ecstasies of hashish by composing extravagant poetry such as the following.
The green plant which grows in the Garden of Cafour,
replaces in our hearts the effects of a wind old and generous,
When we inhale a single breath of its odor,
it insinuates itself in each of our members and penetrates
through our body,
Give us this verdant plant from the Garden of Cafour,
which supersedes the most delicate wine,
The poor when they have taken only the weight of one drachm
have a head superb above the Emirs.
________________ Jean Léon Gérôme – Pool in a Harem
________________ The End Of Law: The Hashisheen (Sinan’s Boat)
Vox · Ira Cohen
A pipe of Kif before breakfast gives a man the strength of a hundred camels in the courtyard
– Mooroccan Proverb (Thanks to Paul Bowles!)
Elle est retrouvée.
C’est la mer allée
Avec le soleil.
(It has been rediscovered.
It’s the sea fused
With the sun.) – Arthur Rimbaud
Late Night Musings…
Back from Bat Country, trying to organize myself out of a wet paper bag before Solstice comes, and the new year begins. Here is to endings, here is to beginnings. Here especially is to Love, and Beauty.
This is a Turfing entry playing loose and free with the structure.
____________________ A great chance to get some Gwyllm Art at great discounts!
Gwyllm Art Year End Sale!!!
Sobriety is not a virtue when
One desires the overthrow of
The monoliths of common thought…
The Goddess Emerges:
“Brighid – Gwyllm 2016
The White Goddess
All saints revile her, and all sober men
Ruled by the God Apollo’s golden mean –
In scorn of which we sailed to find her
In distant regions likeliest to hold her
Whom we desired above all things to know,
Sister of the mirage and echo.
It was a virtue not to stay,
To go our headstrong and heroic way
Seeking her out at the volcano’s head,
Among pack ice, or where the track had faded
Beyond the cavern of the seven sleepers:
Whose broad high brow was white as any leper’s,
Whose eyes were blue, with rowan-berry lips,
With hair curled honey-coloured to white hips.
The sap of Spring in the young wood a-stir
Will celebrate with green the Mother,
And every song-bird shout awhile for her;
But we are gifted, even in November
Rawest of seasons, with so huge a sense
Of her nakedly worn magnificence
We forget cruelty and past betrayal,
Heedless of where the next bright bolt may fall.
– Robert Graves
Here is praying for Evolution. Organize locally. Know the ones you are connected with.
The Drunken Boat
As I was going down impassive Rivers,
I no longer felt myself guided by haulers:
Yelping redskins had taken them as targets
And had nailed them naked to colored stakes.
I was indifferent to all crews,
The bearer of Flemish wheat or English cottons
When with my haulers this uproar stopped
The Rivers let me go where I wanted.
Into the furious lashing of the tides
More heedless than children’s brains the other winter
I ran! And loosened Peninsulas
Have not undergone a more triumphant hubbub
The storm blessed my sea vigils
Lighter than a cork I danced on the waves
That are called eternal rollers of victims,
Ten nights, without missing the stupid eye of the lighthouses!
Sweeter than the flesh of hard apples is to children
The green water penetrated my hull of fir
And washed me of spots of blue wine
And vomit, scattering rudder and grappling-hook
And from then on I bathed in the Poem
Of the Sea, infused with stars and lactescent,
Devouring the azure verses; where, like a pale elated
Piece of flotsam, a pensive drowned figure sometimes sinks;
Where, suddenly dyeing the blueness, delirium
And slow rhythms under the streaking of daylight,
Stronger than alcohol, vaster than our lyres,
The bitter redness of love ferments!
I know the skies bursting with lightning, and the waterspouts
And the surf and the currents; I know the evening,
And dawn as exalted as a flock of doves
And at times I have seen what man thought he saw!
I have seen the low sun spotted with mystic horrors,
Lighting up, with long violet clots,
Resembling actors of very ancient dramas,
The waves rolling far off their quivering of shutters!
I have dreamed of the green night with dazzled snows
A kiss slowly rising to the eyes of the sea,
The circulation of unknown saps,
And the yellow and blue awakening of singing phosphorous!
I followed during pregnant months the swell,
Like hysterical cows, in its assault on the reefs,
Without dreaming that the luminous feet of the Marys
Could constrain the snout of the wheezing Oceans!
I struck against, you know, unbelievable Floridas
Mingling with flowers panthers’ eyes and human
Skin! Rainbows stretched like bridal reins
Under the horizon of the seas to greenish herds!
I have seen enormous swamps ferment, fish-traps
Where a whole Leviathan rots in the rushes!
Avalanches of water in the midst of a calm,
And the distances cataracting toward the abyss!
Glaciers, suns of silver, nacreous waves, skies of embers!
Hideous strands at the end of brown gulfs
Where giant serpents devoured by bedbugs
Fall down from gnarled trees with black scent!
I should have liked to show children those sunfish
Of the blue wave, the fish of gold, the singing fish.
—Foam of flowers rocked my drifting
And ineffable winds winged me at times.
At times a martyr weary of poles and zones,
The sea, whose sob created my gentle roll,
Brought up to me her dark flowers with yellow suckers
And I remained, like a woman on her knees…
Resembling an island tossing on my sides the quarrels
And droppings of noisy birds with yellow eyes
And I sailed on, when through my fragile ropes
Drowned men sank backward to sleep!
Now I, a boat lost in the foliage of caves,
Thrown by the storm into the birdless air
I whose water-drunk carcass would not have been rescued
By the Monitors and the Hanseatic sailboats;
Free, smoking, topped with violet fog,
I who pierced the reddening sky like a wall,
Bearing, delicious jam for good poets
Lichens of sunlight and mucus of azure,
Who ran, spotted with small electric moons,
A wild plank, escorted by black seahorses,
When Julys beat down with blows of cudgels
The ultramarine skies with burning funnels;
I, who trembled, hearing at fifty leagues off
The moaning of the Behemoths in heat and the thick Maelstroms,
Eternal spinner of the blue immobility
I miss Europe with its ancient parapets!
I have seen sidereal archipelagos! and islands
Whose delirious skies are open to the sea-wanderer:
—Is it in these bottomless nights that you sleep and exile yourself,
Million golden birds, o future Vigor? –
But, in truth, I have wept too much! Dawns are heartbreaking.
Every moon is atrocious and every sun bitter.
Acrid love has swollen me with intoxicating torpor
O let my keel burst! O let me go into the sea!
If I want a water of Europe, it is the black
Cold puddle where in the sweet-smelling twilight
A squatting child full of sadness releases
A boat as fragile as a May butterfly.
No longer can I, bathed in your languor, o waves,
Follow in the wake of the cotton boats,
Nor cross through the pride of flags and flames,
Nor swim under the terrible eyes of prison ships.
He is affection and the present since he opened the house to foaming winter and the hum of summer, he who purified drink and food, he who is the charm of fleeting places and the superhuman deliciousness of staying still. He is affection and the future, strength and love that we, standing amid rage and troubles, see passing in the storm-rent sky and on banners of ecstasy.
He is love, perfect and reinvented measurement, wonderful and unforeseen reason, and eternity: machine beloved for its fatal qualities. We have all experienced the terror of his yielding and of our own: O enjoyment of our health, surge of our faculties, egoistic affection and passion for him, he who loves us for his infinite life
And we remember him and he travels. . . And if the Adoration goes away, resounds, its promise resounds: “Away with those superstitions, those old bodies, those couples and those ages. It’s this age that has sunk!”
He won’t go away, nor descend from a heaven again, he won’t accomplish the redemption of women’s anger and the gaiety of men and of all that sin: for it is now accomplished, with him being, and being loved.
O his breaths, his heads, his racing; the terrible swiftness of the perfection of forms and of action.
O fecundity of the spirit and immensity of the universe!
His body! The dreamed-of release, the shattering of grace crossed with new violence!
The sight, the sight of him! all the ancient kneeling and suffering lifted in his wake.
His day! the abolition of all resonant and surging suffering in more intense music.
His footstep! migrations more vast than ancient invasions.
O him and us! pride more benevolent than wasted charities.
O world! and the clear song of new misfortunes!
He has known us all and loved us all. Let us, on this winter night, from cape to cape, from the tumultuous pole to the castle, from the crowd to the beach, from glance to glance, our strengths and feelings numb, learn to hail him and see him, and send him back, and under the tides and at the summit of snowy deserts, follow his seeing, his breathing, his body, his day.
– Translated from the French – John Ashbery
Catullus’s Saturnalia Gift
If I didn’t love you, sweet teasing Calvus,
far more than my own eyes, then for today’s gift
I’d hate you with the hate of Vatinius;
for what have I said or done to deserve it
that you’re killing me now with all these poets?
May the gods frown down on whichever client
settled accounts with this roll of miscreants
(unless, as I suspect, it’s that school-master
Sulla, writing off debts by setting these texts,
then I bear no hate, have no complaint to make:
at least your hard work receives due recompense).
God, here’s as cursed a verse as one might expect –
a book, I know, you sent to your Catullus
to finish him off, to floor and to bore us
on Saturnalia, our day for pleasure.
No, not so fast, you can’t escape, my false friend,
for if this long night of torment ever ends
I’m off to the bookshops to buy Caesius,
Aquinus and Suffenus, all poison pens,
to pay you back in full for your own torture.
Until then, goodbye, farewell, it’s time to quit:
let those bad feet limp away, lines and couplets,
disease of the age, unreadable poets.
(translated by Josephine Balmer)
“Earth, mountains, rivers – hidden in this nothingness.
In this nothingness – earth, mountains, rivers revealed.
Spring flowers, winter snows:
There’s no being or non-being, nor denial itself.”
Do great works, do kind works.
Share with those you love
and those that need healing.
In this the season,
when all has gone to ground.
“Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.” ‘1984’George Orwell
“IntraCellular/InterStellar OverDrive” – Gwyllm 2017
I am changing the format of Turfing, and going towards less of a magazine feel to a journal of sorts. This entry deals with the concept of “Transmission”
Thank you for coming back to Turfing. I am humbled by the love that people have shown for my work, and the appreciation. Time is short, there is much to be done.
I have thought long and hard about the concept of Transmission. I realize that I have been the beneficiary of Transmissions going back time out of mind. Genetic transmissions (of course), teachings handed down over the countless generations, through thick and thin, through prosperity and poverty, peace and war.
I realize that I am here because of the efforts put forth by those who came before; my direct ancestors, and others who thought and dreamt the future. Without them, and the sacrifices made, we would not be here.
Transmission has been recently given over to the concept of the spiritual side. My Buddhist friends use the term frequently. This in itself is all kind of wonderful, and puts it a bit imo on a pedestal. Transmission from the teacher, the lineage etc. This of course is all well and fine and does serve a valuable purpose.
There is the transmission though of mammalian comfort, of love first of course from ones mother, holding you within her body for 9 months, and then in her arms after one makes their appearance in the world… There are countless ways that Transmission occurs. Little ones are like sponges, picking up the good, with the not so good. A child can learn love, or fear along these journeys, often commingled with countless myriads of conflicting signals.
The transmissions continue through ones life, and I think one has to do a sorting of sorts. Which ones did I accept at face value? Why do I repeat old saws, and are all of my thoughts truly mine? Are these emotions valid, or something I took on?
Perhaps the task is unraveling the various transmission that one tends to go back to, examine them for their validity. What do I want to pass on to those who come after? Surely not the gathered fears, angers, emotions that short circuit my life.
We all are on a voyage, as messengers from a distant past to a distant future. What transmissions do we truly want to deliver?
_____ On The Menu:
Standing Rock Fund Raiser
Gwyllm Art Calendars!
Poetry: William Butler Yeats
“Symphony No.9, Boogie” by Matryomin Ensemble
Help Support The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe!
I have constructed this print in support of the Standing Rock Sioux, and all who have gathered in this struggle for clean water, and for Mother Earth.
All Profits go to The Standing Rock Sioux Food Fund.
This is our time, these are the issues, and we know the solutions.
Why have one calendar when you can have two?
_______ Poetry: William Butler Yeats
A Crazed Girl
That crazed girl improvising her music.
Her poetry, dancing upon the shore,
Her soul in division from itself
Climbing, falling She knew not where,
Hiding amid the cargo of a steamship,
Her knee-cap broken, that girl I declare
A beautiful lofty thing, or a thing
Heroically lost, heroically found.
No matter what disaster occurred
She stood in desperate music wound,
Wound, wound, and she made in her triumph
Where the bales and the baskets lay
No common intelligible sound
But sang, ‘O sea-starved, hungry sea.’
A Coat Poem
I made my song a coat
Covered with embroideries
Out of old mythologies
From heel to throat;
But the fools caught it,
Wore it in the world’s eyes
As though they’d wrought it.
Song, let them take it,
For there’s more enterprise
In walking naked.
A Cradle Song
THE angels are stooping
Above your bed;
They weary of trooping
With the whimpering dead.
God’s laughing in Heaven
To see you so good;
The Sailing Seven
Are gay with His mood.
I sigh that kiss you,
For I must own
That I shall miss you
When you have grown
These Are The Clouds
These are the clouds about the fallen sun,
The majesty that shuts his burning eye:
The weak lay hand on what the strong has done,
Till that be tumbled that was lifted high
And discord follow upon unison,
And all things at one common level lie.
And therefore, friend, if your great race were run
And these things came, So much the more thereby
Have you made greatness your companion,
Although it be for children that you sigh:
These are the clouds about the fallen sun,
The majesty that shuts his burning eye.
The Back Story: Theremin Nesting Dolls Extravaganza!
“A life without love is of no account. Don’t ask yourself what kind of love you should seek, spiritual or material, divine or mundane, eastern or western…divisions only lead to more divisions. Love has no labels, no definitions. It is what it is, pure and simple. Love is the water of life. And a lover is a soul of fire! The universe turns differently when fire loves water.”
― Shams Tabrizi
“The universe is an intelligence test.” Timothy Leary
It has taken a lot to get Turfing moving as of late, but the last week or so is just the thing to get it going. Hopefully, I will not let it slip back into sleep. There are circumstances as well why Turfing has to come back alive… (Please see below)
Turfing has been dormant, as I have worked on other projects. With the election, and the ascendancy of the Alt-Right viewpoint, the loss of Leonard and other issues… I lost my father and his wife this year, had to move due to the sell of our home in the South West of Portland, and go down to Bat Country with my younger brother to sort the parents estate. It has been a very hectic time.
Where do we go from here? My son and his friends have been out in the streets demonstrating. I am still trying to assess what is happening to the US. I am not surprised by the election results as some are; I figured Mr. Sanders was the real deal, and basically got screwed out of the nominations by the machinations of the Clinton Machine/DNC. It seems no one in the Democratic Party is listening to working class and lower middle class people outside of the major cities. This is not a victory for the Republicans mind you, but for Populism. We all will have to pay the piper for this little adventure it seems.
So, where from here? Do we hunker down and wait out the storm? This will work for some, but not for all. Let’s face it, everyone was expecting the centrist/Neo Con state to continue. This is a wonderful opportunity for those who are concerned for the earth, its family, and all to move forward. We have been given a gift, let us use it!
If you are coming here from FB, you’ll find the postings here a bit more earthy than what I publish there. So it is, We are in it for the long haul. Let us do this for the generations yet to come. Reach across the divide, talk to those who you would shun, only by this act of love, will the world change. Embrace them, do not refuse them.
“Vanitas” – Roberto Feri
This beautiful image helped get me banned for 30 days from FB. Imagine, art such as this being deemed… pornographic, or without redeeming social value. At times I feel that the wheels are running backwards, back to an age of prudery, muffled social dissent, and racsism…. oh, wait… Commercial Break:
This is a great book, especially if you are interested in Acid Culture outside of the US. (which takes up a bit of space). Andy Roberts ties disparate threads of the psychedelic culture of the UK together in a brilliant cohesive piece of work, recommended.
I cannot be satisfied until I speak with angels
I require to behold the eye of god
to cast my own being into the cosmos as bait for miracles
to breath air and spew visions
to unlock that door which stands already open and enter into the presence
of that which I cannot imagine
I require answers for which I have not yet learned the questions
I demand the access of enlightenment, the permutation into the miraculous
the presence of the unendurable light
perhaps in the same way that caterpillars demand their lepidoptera wings
or tadpoles demand their froghood
or the child of man demands his exit
from the safe warm womb
___ First They Slaughtered the Angels
First they slaughtered the angels
tying their thin white legs with wire cords
opening their silk throats with icy knives
They died fluttering their wings like chickens
and their immortal blood wet the burning earth
we watched from underground
from the gravestones, the crypts
chewing our bony fingers
shivering in our piss-stained winding sheets
The seraphs and the cherubim are gone
they have eaten them and cracked their bones for marrow
they have wiped their asses on angel feathers
and now they walk the rubbled streets with
eyes like fire pits
who finked on the angels?
who stole the holy grail and hocked it for a jug of wine?
who fucked up Gabriel’s golden horn?
was it an inside job?
who barbecued the lamb of god?
who flushed St. Peter’s keys down the mouth of a
North Beach toilet?
who raped St. Mary with a plastic dildo stamped with the
Good Housekeeping seal of approval?
was it an outside job?
where are our weapons?
where are our bludgeons, our flame throwers, our poison
gas, our hand grenades?
we fumble for our guns and our knees sprout credit cards,
we vomit cancelled checks
standing spreadlegged with open sphincters weeping soap suds
from our radioactive eyes
for the ultimate rifle
the messianic cannon
the paschal bomb
the bellies of women split open and children rip their
way out with bayonets
spitting blood in the eyes of blind midwives
before impaling themselves on their own swords
the penises of men are become blue steel machine guns,
they ejaculate bullets, they spread death as an orgasm
lovers roll in the bushes tearing at each other’s genitals
with iron fingernails
fresh blood is served at health food bars germ free
gulped down by syphilitic club women
in papier-mâché masks
each one the same hand-painted face of Hamlet’s mother
at the age of ten
we watch from underground
our eyes like periscopes
flinging our fingers to the dogs for candy bars
in an effort to still their barking
in an effort to keep the peace
in an effort to make friends and influence people
we have collapsed our collapsible bomb shelters
we have folded our folding life rafts
and at the count of twelve
they have disintegrated into piles of rat shit
nourishing the growth of poison flowers
and venus pitcher plants
we huddle underground
hugging our porous chests with mildewed arms
listening to the slow blood drip from our severed veins
lifting the tops of our zippered skulls
to ventilate our brains
they have murdered our angels
we have sold our bodies and our hours to the curious
we have paid off our childhood in dishwashers and miltown
and rubbed salt upon our bleeding nerves
in the course of searching
and they have shit upon the open mouth of god
they have hung the saints in straightjackets and they have
tranquilized the prophets
they have denied both christ and cock
and diagnosed buddha as catatonic
they have emasculated the priests and the holy men and
censored even the words of love
Lobotomy for every man!
and they have nominated a eunuch for a president
Lobotomy for every housewife!
Lobotomy for the business man!
Lobotomy for the nursery schools!
and they have murdered the angels
now in the alleyways the androgynes gather swinging their
lepers’ bells like censers as they prepare the ritual
rape of god
the grease that shines their lips is the fat of angels
the blood that cakes their claws is the blood of angels
they are gathering in the streets and playing dice with
they are casting the last lots of armageddon
now in the aftermath of morning
we are rolling away the stones from underground, from the caves
we have widened our peyote-visioned eyes
and rinsed our mouths with last night’s wine
we have caulked the holes in our arms with dust and flung
libations at each other’s feet
and we shall enter into the streets and walk among them and do battle
holding our lean and empty hands upraised
we shall pass among the strangers of the world like a
and our blood will melt iron
and our breath will melt steel
we shall stare face to face with naked eyes
and our tears will make earthquakes
and our wailing will cause mountains to rise and the sun to halt
THEY SHALL MURDER NO MORE ANGELS!
not even us
there are no ways of love but/beautiful/
I love you all of them
I love you / your cock in my hand
stirs like a bird
in my fingers
as you swell and grow hard in my hand
forcing my fingers open
with your rigid strength
you are beautiful / you are beautiful
you are a hundred times beautiful
I stroke you with my loving hands
pink-nailed long fingers
I caress you
I adore you
my finger-tips… my palms…
your cock rises and throbs in my hands
a revelation / as Aphrodite knew it
there was a time when gods were purer
/I can recall nights among the honeysuckle
our juices sweeter than honey
/ we were the temple and the god entire/
I am naked against you
and I put my mouth on you slowly
I have longing to kiss you
and my tongue makes worship on you
you are beautiful
your body moves to me
flesh to flesh
skin sliding over golden skin
as mine to yours
my mouth my tongue my hands
my belly and my legs
against your mouth your love
our bodies move and join
your face above me
is the face of all the gods
and beautiful demons
love touches love
the temple and the god
The Show for Tonight at 6:00 Pacific Coast Time!
Music From: Irfan, Tales Of Murder & Dust, Perfume Tree, Steve Roach, John Foxx, Jon Hassell, Charmparticles, Biosphere, Hans Zimmer, Moaning Cities, Robin Guthrie, Bombay Dub Orchestra, and much, much more!
If You Haven’t Listened To Radio EarthRites, Give It A Chance! Now with 524 Songs, (2.52gigs of music playing 24×7!) We have another 1932 songs in the library at this point!
Soon introducing new services as well! Thanks so much!
Well, it has been awhile. I had no idea it had been this long. I have found myself with something I never knew I had before: limitations on time. With launching the radio station, and getting ready to launch a new publishing house, as well as working at my other business, Art and Turfing has been taking a hit. More so on the Turfing side, obviously. I did find myself at a point two weeks ago, where I realized… “I’m not reading poetry”! Since getting back to poetry in a stop start kind of way, Turfing leaned over my shoulder and whispered… “How about it Bub? When are you going to get back on the horse?”
This will not be a huge entry, but it is a start.
I mention Radio EarthRites in that it eats up hours. I think about 12 hours a week, if not more. That is a sizeable chunk. I do enjoy the results, and a growing number of people seem to like it, from Cambodia to Finland! I get a thrill when I see listeners on there. A huge selection of music, please give it a try!
Drought: Out picking raspberries today, and they are going from baby to overripe just like that because of the heat. We are going through drought up here regardless of what it looks like. The lowest ever snowpack in the Cascades, and there was none this year on the Coastal range, or the Olympics. Scary. I see peeps watering lawns and I really scratch my head, as I don’t think this is going anywhere good anytime soon. Folks, plant native, and forget those lawns. Not needed. If the grass is worth its salt, it will come back if and when we get rain again.
Here is to new projects, and to old friends, and stories that still unfold. Here is to beauty, poetry, and art.
It is good to be back to my Turfing roots.
~~~~~~ On The Menu:
God Is An Astronaut: Forever Lost (Reprise)
Sa’d ud Din Mahmud Shabistari: Excerpt From The Secret Rose Garden
Celtic Fairy Tales: Munachar and Manachar
Irfan: Return to Outremer
~~~~~~ God Is An Astronaut: Forever Lost (Reprise)
~~~~~~ Sa’d ud Din Mahmud Shabistari: Excerpt From The Secret Rose Garden
THE PERFECT FACE OF THE BELOVED
THE EYE AND THE LIP
What is the nature of the eye and the lip?
Let us consider.
Coquettish and intoxicating glances shine from His eye.
The essence of existence issues from His ruby lip.
Hearts burn with desire because of His eye,
And are healed again by the smile of His lip.
Because of His eye hearts are aching and drunken.
His ruby lip gives soul-garments to men.
His eye does not perceive this visible world,
Yet often His lip quivers with compassion.
Sometimes He charms us with a touch of humanity,
And gives help to the despairing.
It is His smile that gives life to man’s water and clay;
It is His breath that opens heaven’s gate for us.
A corn-baited snare is each glance of that eye,
And a wine-shop lurks in each corner.
When He frowns the wide world is laid waste,
But is restored every moment by His kiss.
Our blood is at fever point because of His eye,
Our souls demented because of His lip.
How He has despoiled our hearts by a frown!
How He has uplifted our souls by a smile!
If you ask of Him an embrace,
His eye will say “Yea,” His lip “Nay.”
He finished the creation of the world by a frown,
Now and then the soul is revived by a kiss.
We would give up our lives with despair at His frown,
But would rise from the dead at his kiss.
. . . When the world meditates on His eye and His lip,
It yields itself to the intoxication of wine.
THE single point of the mole in His cheek
Is a centre from which circles
The two worlds circle round that centre.
The heart and soul of Adam evolved from there.
. . . Hearts bleed because they are a reflection
Of the point of that black mole,
And both are stagnant; for there is no escape
Of the reflection from the reflect.
Unity will not embrace Plurality,
For the point of Unity has one root only.
. . . I wonder if His mole is the reflection of my heart,
Or my heart the reflection of His mole.
Was my heart created from His mole’s reflection?
Or may it be seen shining in His mole?
I wonder if my heart is in His face,
Or if His mole abides in my heart.
But this is a deep secret hidden, alas! from me.
. . . If my heart is a reflection,
Why is it ever so changing?
Sometimes tired like His brilliant eye,
Sometimes waving to and fro as His curl waves,
Sometimes a shining moonbeam like His face,
Sometimes a dark shadow like His mole,
Sometimes it is a mosque, sometimes a synagogue,
Sometimes a hell, sometimes a heaven,
Sometimes soaring above the seventh heaven,
Sometimes buried far below this earth.
. . . After a spell the devotee and ascetic
Turns again to wine, lamp, and beauty.
IF you ask of me the long story
Of the Beloved’s curl,
I cannot answer, for it contains a mystery
Which only true lovers understand,
And they, maddened by its beauty,
Are held captive as by a golden chain.
I spoke too openly of that graceful form,
But the end of the curl told me to hide its glory,
So that the path to it should be twisted
And crooked and difficult.
That curl enchains lovers’ hearts,
And bears their souls to and fro
In the sea of desire. A hundred thousand hearts
Are tightly bound, not one escapes, alas!
No single infidel would remain in the world
If he could see the shaking aside
Of those black curls,
And on the earth there would not remain a faithful soul
If they were always in their place.
Suppose they were shorn. . . . No matter,
Day would increase and the night disappear.
As a spider spreads its nets to ensnare,
So does the Beloved in wantonness
Shake His locks from off His face.
Behold His hands plundering Reason’s caravan
And with knots binding it tight.
Never at rest is that curl,
Ever moving to and fro
Making now night, making now morning,
Playing with the seasons in wonder.
Adam was created when the perfume of that
Was blown by the wind on his clay.
And I too possess an ensample;
I cannot wait for a moment,
But breathlessly start working anew
To tear my heart out of my breast.
. . . Sore troubled am I by that curl
Which veils my longing soul from His face.
THE CHEEK AND THE DOWN
THE theatre of Divine beauty is the cheek,
And the down is the entrance to His holy presence.
Beauty is erased by His cheek, who says,
“Without my presence you are non-existent.”
In the unseen world the down is as green meadows
Leading to the mansion of Eternal Life.
The blackness of His curl turns day into night,
The down of His cheek holds the secret of life.
If only you can glimpse His face and its down,
You will understand the meaning of plurality and unity.
His curl will teach you the knowledge of this world,
His down will reveal hidden paths.
Imagine seven verses in which each letter
Contains oceans of mysteries;
Such is His cheek.
And imagine, hidden beneath each hair of His cheek,
Thousands of oceans of mysteries;
Such is His down.
As the heart is God’s throne in the water,
So is the down the ornament of the soul.
~~~~~ Celtic Fairy Tales:Munachar and Manachar
There once lived a Munachar and a Manachar, a long time ago, and it is a long time since it was, and if they were alive now they would not be alive then. They went out together to pick raspberries, and as many as Munachar used to pick Manachar used to eat. Munachar said he must go look for a rod to make a gad to hang Manachar, who ate his raspberries every one; and he came to the rod. “What news the day?” said the rod. “It is my own news that I’m seeking. Going looking for a rod, a rod to make a gad, a gad to hang Manachar, who ate my raspberries every one.”
“You will not get me,” said the rod, “until you get an axe to cut me.” He came to the axe. “What news today?” said the axe. “It’s my own news I’m seeking. Going looking for an axe, an axe to cut a rod, a rod to make a gad, a gad to hang Manachar, who ate my raspberries every one.”
“You will not get me,” said the axe, “until you get a flag to edge me.” He came to the flag. “What news today?” says the flag. “It’s my own news I’m seeking. Going looking for a flag, flag to edge axe, axe to cut a rod, a rod to make a gad, a gad to hang Manachar, who ate my raspberries every one.”
“You will not get me,” says the flag, “till you get water to wet me.” He came to the water. “What news today?” says the water. “It’s my own news that I’m seeking. Going looking for water, water to wet flag to edge axe, axe to cut a rod, a rod to make a gad, a gad to hang Manachar, who ate my raspberries every one.”
”You will not get me,” said the water, “until you get a deer who will swim me.” He came to the deer. “What news to-day?” says the deer. “It’s my own news I’m seeking. Going looking for a deer, deer to swim water, water to wet flag, flag to edge axe, axe to cut a rod, a rod to make a gad, a gad to hang Manachar, who ate my raspberries every one.”
“You will not get me,” said the deer, ”until you get a hound who will hunt me.” He came to the hound. “What news to-day?” says the hound. “It’s my own news I’m seeking. Going looking for a hound, hound to hunt deer, deer to swim water, water to wet flag, flag to edge axe, axe to cut a rod, a rod to make a gad, a gad to hang Manachar, who ate my raspberries every one.”
“You will not get me,” said the hound, ”until you get a bit of butter to put in my claw.” He came to the butter. “What news to-day?” says the butter. “It’s my own news I’m seeking. Going looking for butter, butter to go in claw of hound, hound to hunt deer, deer to swim water, water to wet flag, flag to edge axe, axe to cut a rod, a rod to make a gad, a gad to hang Manachar, who ate my raspberries every one.”
“You will not get me,” said the butter, “until you get a cat who shall scrape me.” He came to the cat. “What news to-day?” said the cat. “It’s my own news I’m seeking. Going looking for a cat, cat to scrape butter, butter to go in claw of hound, hound to hunt deer, deer to swim water, water to wet flag, flag to edge axe, axe to cut a rod, a rod to make a gad, gad to hang Manachar, who ate my raspberries every one.”
“You will not get me,” said the cat, “until you will get milk which you will give me.” He came to the cow. “What news to-day?” said the cow. “It’s my own news I’m seeking. Going looking for a cow, cow to give me milk, milk I will give to the cat, cat to scrape butter, butter to go in claw of hound, hound to hunt deer, deer to swim water, water to wet flag, flag to edge axe, axe to cut a rod, a rod to make a gad, a gad to hang Manachar, who ate my raspberries every one.”
“You will not get any milk from me,” said the cow, “until you bring me a whisp of straw from those threshers yonder.” He came to the threshers. “What news to-day?” said the threshers. “It’s my own news I’m seeking. Going looking for a whisp of straw from ye to give to the cow, the cow to give me milk, milk I will give to the cat, cat to scrape butter, butter to go in claw of hound, hound to hunt deer, deer to swim water, water to wet flag, flag to edge axe, axe to cut a rod, a rod to make a gad, a gad to hang Manachar, who ate my raspberries every one.”
“You will not get any whisp of straw from us,” said the threshers, “until you bring us the makings of a cake from the miller over yonder.” He came to the miller. “What news to-day?” said the miller. “It’s my own news I’m seeking. Going looking for the makings of a cake which I will give to the threshers, the threshers to give me a whisp of straw, the whisp of straw I will give to the cow, the cow to give me milk, milk I will give to the cat, cat to scrape butter, butter to go in claw of hound, hound to hunt deer, deer to swim water, water to wet flag, flag to edge axe, axe to cut a rod, a rod to make a gad, a gad to hang Manachar, who ate my raspberries every one.”
“You will not get any makings of a cake from me,” said the miller, “till you bring me the full of that sieve of water from the river over there.”
He took the sieve in his hand and went over to the river, but as often as ever he would stoop and fill it with water, the moment he raised it the water would run out of it again, and sure, if he had been there from that day till this, he never could have filled it. A crow went flying by him, over his head. “Daub! daub!” said the crow. “My blessings on ye, then,” said Munachar, “but it’s the good advice you have,” and he took the red clay and the daub that was by the brink, and he rubbed it to the bottom of the sieve, until all the holes were filled, and then the sieve held the water, and he brought the water to the miller, and the miller gave him the makings of a cake, and he gave the makings of the cake to the threshers, and the threshers gave him a whisp of straw, and he gave the whisp of Straw to the cow, and the cow gave him milk, the milk he gave to the cat, the cat scraped the butter, the butter went into the claw of the hound, the hound hunted the deer, the deer swam the water, the water wet the flag, the flag sharpened the axe, the axe cut the rod, and the rod made a gad, and when he had it ready to hang Manachar he found that Manachar had BURST.
~~~~~ Irfan – Return to Outremer
~~~~~ Eurydice-Zhang Jingna But that beginning was wiped out in fear
The day I swung suspended with the grapes,
And was come after like Eurydice
And brought down safely from the upper regions;
And the life I live now’s an extra life
I can waste as I please on whom I please…
– Robert Frost
Here we are, winding down to the Solstice. It’s dark up here in the north country, we seem to get up in the dark, the sky lowers down early on, and into the long night again. It is a time of dreaming, spell work, and attending to matters close to the hearth. Yet, the season promises change. When the Solstice comes, we tip back, and the light will gather strength and speed again, and the great spiral of our lives will continue on.
Like any year 2014 has had it’s ups and downs. I am rather fond of 2014, I enjoyed one of the most beautiful summers in years here in Portland, along with a spectacular fall. Although I miss living in Portland proper, I have come to enjoy our place, and especially the garden and birds.
It has been one of my most productive years art wise. Still I have so many ideas percolating through my head of projects yet to be done.
One project I am very pleased with is the relaunch of Radio EarthRites. If you haven’t visited with the station yet, take some time to give it a listen! It is constantly changing and I think it is better than our old station. It has unlimited band-width/user capacity, and we are considering putting in a spoken word channel as well.
I think we have a good version of Turfing for this edition! Some great stuff, a book review, some of Mr. Watt’s quotes, a new band to listen to, the beautiful songs and poems of Kabir, and a great article by Peter Lamborn Wilson. What’s not to like?
I hope the year has been as sweet for you as for me. Here is to beauty, and to The Dreaming through the long winter’s night.
Gwyllm Art 2015 Calendars!
We have 2 calendars this year, the 13×19 wall calendar, and the 8.5×11 budget calendar. Some of the pieces have never been published, or printed before. “The Dreaming” (see above is one of 13 illustrations that grace the new calendars) We are using the proceeds from the sale of the calendar to pay for Radio EarthRites upkeep, and fees.
Check out the preview sections! They make great affordable gifts!
~~~~~~ On The Menu:
Book Review: Cannabis and the Soma Solution
Alan Watts Quotes
Allah-Las – No Voodoo
Kabir: Songs & Poems
The Caravan of Summer – Peter Lamborn Wilson
Allah Las – Tell Me (What’s On Your Mind)
~~~~~~ Cannabis and the Soma Solution
Author: Chris Bennett – (Trineday Publisher)
Having been schooled in the Soma = Amanita Muscaria School (A nod to Mr. Wasson) one might well be taken back by the ideas and concepts that emerge from Cannabis and the Soma Solution. Here is an interesting challenge to the Wasson school of thought on Soma. Chris Bennett has done an amazing amount of digging in the dirt surrounding the beginnings of the world religions, and cultures. Whilst digging about he kept on turning up connections to Cannabis, whether in Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism along with other older belief systems.
I think that we should pay attention to what has been turned up in this volume. Well researched, it is a large read, clocking in at 589 pages. (It has a healthy appendix and reference section as well.) It investigates the cannabis connection that threads through the ancient Scythians, Egyptian, Chinese, Old Europe, Greece, Iran etc. (The Zoroastrian connection is one of my faves.) He lays out the connections and some of the citations are very, very interesting.
Chris’s investigations into the Cannabis = Soma/Haoma has stirred controversy among various Psychedelic/Entheogenic Scholars, and I cannot think that is a bad thing. We need these discussions, and deeper investigations. Every theory should have it’s time to be investigated, tested and challenged. That is the way of discovery.
If you are interested in all things Cannabis or for that matter “Entheogenic”, or the ideas of what may be the basis of the various belief systems, or in the Soma/Haoma question, (there are other candidates out there besides Amanita Muscaria & Cannabis btw), this book will entertain, perplex or even make one angry at the assertions found within. It does not exclude Amanita Muscaria, Ephedra, or even other plants/fungi from the Soma Complex, but asserts that the original was Cannabis. Whether it was or wasn’t I can’t address. What I can say is that there is some very fascinating information in Cannabis and the Soma Solution that may indeed alter the way we have perceived this fascinating subject.
I think Cannabis and the Soma Solution will sit nicely with Hakim Bey’s & Abel Zug’s “Orgies of the Hemp Eaters”, along with Fritz Hugh Ludlow’s “The Hasheesh Eater” on your bookshelf. It certainly is wide ranging and an in-depth study of that most worthy plant.
A few quotes about Cannabis and the Soma Solution
“It is a volume that must be read by every scholar who works in the field of biblical studies, world religions, psycho-spirituality, or the history of the paranormal as friend and familiar.”
J. Harold Ellens, PhD Institute for Antiquity and Christianity of the Claremont Graduate School: Advisory Board Member, Former Board President, Research Scholar/Lecturer, 1980 to 2002. Research Scholar: University of Michigan Department of Near Eastern Studies, 1990 to date.
Professor of Philosophy and Psychology (20 years), Oakland University, Calvin Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary, Oakland Community College, Retired.
“A treasure trove of up-to-date ancient information on cannabis. High recommended to round out your library on religious uses of psychoactive drugs.”
Julie Holland, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine
Editor, The Pot Book. A Complete Guide To Cannabis.
Editor, Ecstasy: The Complete Guide.
“I have read Mr. Bennett’s several books on this subject and am in general agreement with what he states, especially about the extent to which the Vedic hallucinogen Soma was probably made from cannabis. Indeed, his research has changed my own thinking about this ancient conundrum (heretofore, the majority of scholars have suggested that Soma was prepared from psychotropic mushrooms).
As Chris Bennett amply demonstrates in this seminal book, the ritual use of cannabis has a very long history. It extends from Vedic India in the second millennium, B.C.E., where the hallucinogen in question was known as Soma, classical Greece, ancient Israel where it appears as keneh bosem, and the steppes of Central Asia, where, according to Herodotus in Book IV of his History, the ancient Scythians ritually inhaled the fumes given off by burning cannabis leaves. Indeed, the plant has consistently occupied a central position in shamanic cults almost everywhere. In more recent times, and especially in the twentieth century, users of cannabis for spiritual purposes have unfortunately been persecuted, in the United States and elsewhere, by authorities enforcing laws against its possession. A good example can be seen in the ongoing attempts to suppress its use in the Rastafarian religion. In short, I heartily recommend Bennett’s book to anyone seeking a better understanding of this well-nigh universal, albeit all too often misunderstood hallucinogen and its crucial role in the history of human spirituality.”
C. Scott Littleton, Ph.D.
Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus
Chris Bennett assembles religious, historical, medical and poetic sources with immaculate ease, in order to construct what is sure to be an enduring examination of the global history of cannabis use by widely diverse human populations.
Dr. David C.A. Hillman
Dr. David C.A. Hillman earned a Ph.D. in Classics and M.S. in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin, where he studied the medicine and pharmacology of antiquity. The London Times described his research as “the last wild frontier of classical studies.” Dr. Hillman’s work, while firmly grounded in primary sources – the original documents of Church authorities and others – is highly controversial. It is research that many modern Church officials do not want known. His dissertation committee refused to pass him unless he removed material about the use of psychedelic drugs in antiquity; he later published the forbidden material in The Chemical Muse. rs.
I’ve enjoyed this book immensely—a masterful investigation of religious intoxication cults from ancient India, Persia, Asia Minor, Scythia, and Europe. Refuting R. Gordon Wasson’s theory that Soma of the Vedas was Amanita muscaria mushrooms, Bennett shows that Soma was probably a mixture of cannabis, ephedra and poppy (confirmed by Sarianidi’s archaeological discoveries in Bactria), and he traces the uses of cannabis as a sacrament through many ancient cultures. This is a must-read for everyone interested in the ancient history of drugs.
Michael R. Aldrich, Ph.D.
Michael R. Aldrich, Ph.D is the author of the first doctoral dissertation on cannabis in the United States, Marijuana Myths and Folklore (1970); editor of the first pot ’zine, The Marijuana Review, 1968-1973; co-founder of Amorphia, The Cannabis Cooperative (1969-1973); organizer of California Marijuana Initiative (1972); curator of Fitz Hugh Ludlow Memorial Library (1974-2002) and the Aldrich Archives (1974-present); program coordinator, Institute for Community Health Outreach (California statewide AIDS outreach worker training program); executive director of CHAMP medical marijuana community center, San Francisco (2001-2002); and co-founder of the San Francisco Patient and Resource Center (SPARC), (2010-present). He and his wife Michelle have worked in the marijuana movement for more than 40 years together.
Please check it out, you just might enjoy Cannabis and the Soma Solution.
~~~~~~ Alan Watts Quotes:
I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.
No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.
Things are as they are. Looking out into it the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.
The myths underlying our culture and underlying our common sense have not taught us to feel identical with the universe, but only parts of it, only in it, only confronting it – aliens.
The ego is nothing other than the focus of conscious attention.
~~~ Allah-Las – No Voodoo
~~~ Kabir: Songs & Poems
Between the poles of the conscious and the unconscious, there has the mind made a swing:
Thereon hang all beings and all worlds, and that swing never ceases its sway.
Millions of beings are there: the sun and the moon in their courses are there:
Millions of ages pass, and the swing goes on.
All swing! the sky and the earth and the air and the water; and the Lord Himself taking form:
And the sight of this has made Kabîr a servant.
Having crossed the river,
where will you go, O friend?
There’s no road to tread,
No traveler ahead,
Neither a beginning, nor an end.
There’s no water, no boat, no boatman, no cord;
No earth is there, no sky, no time, no bank, no ford.
You have forgotten the Self within,
Your search in the void will be in vain;
In a moment the life will ebb
And in this body you won’t remain.
Be ever conscious of this, O friend,
You’ve to immerse within your Self;
Kabir says, salvation you won’t then need,
For what you are, you would be indeed
I went looking for Him
And lost myself;
The drop merged with the Sea –
Who can find it now?
Looking and looking for Him
I lost myself;
The Sea merged with the drop –
Who can find it now?
Tell me, Brother, how can I renounce Maya?
When I gave up the tying of ribbons, still I tied my garment about me:
When I gave up tying my garment, still I covered my body in its folds.
So, when I give up passion, I see that anger remains;
And when I renounce anger, greed is with me still;
And when greed is vanquished, pride and vainglory remain;
When the mind is detached and casts Maya away, still it clings to the letter.
Kabîr says, ‘Listen to me, dear Sadhu! the true path is rarely found.’
The Guest is inside you, and also inside me;
you know the sprout is hidden inside the seed.
We are all struggling; none of us has gone far.
Let your arrogance go, and look around inside.
The blue sky opens out further and farther,
the daily sense of failure goes away,
the damage I have done to myself fades,
a million suns come forward with light,
when I sit firmly in that world.
I hear bells ringing that no one has shaken,
inside ‘love’ there is more joy than we know of,
rain pours down, although the sky is clear of clouds,
there are whole rivers of light.
The universe is shot through in all parts by a single sort of love.
How hard it is to feel that joy in all our four bodies!
Those who hope to be reasonable about it fail.
The arrogance of reason has separated us from that love.
With the word ‘reason’ you already feel miles away.
How lucky Kabir is, that surrounded by all this joy
he sings inside his own little boat.
His poems amount to one soul meeting another.
These songs are about forgetting dying and loss.
They rise above both coming in and going out.
The Caravan of Summer by Peter Lamborn Wilson
Something of the real difference between pilgrim and tourist can be detected by comparing their effects on the places they visit. Changes in a place, a city, a shrine, a forest may be subtle, but at least they can be observed. The state of the soul may be a matter of conjecture, but perhaps we can say something about the state of the social.
Pilgrimage sites like Mecca may serve as great bazaars for trade and they may even serve as centers of production (like the silk industry of Benares) but their primary “product” is baraka or mana. These words (one Arabic, one Polynesian) are usually translated as “blessing”, but they also carry a freight of other meanings.
The wandering dervish who sleeps at a shrine in order to dream of a dead saint (one of the “people of the Tombs”) seeks initiation or advancement on the spiritual path; a mother who brings a sick child to Lourdes seeks healing; a childless woman in Morocco hopes the Marabout will make her fertile if she ties a rag to the old tree growing out of the grave; the traveler to Mecca yearns for the very center of the Faith, and as the caravans come within sight of the Holy City the hajji calls out, “Labaika Allahumma!” “I am here, O Lord!”
All these motives are summed up by the word baraka, which sometimes seems to be a palpable substance, measurable in terms of increased charisma or “luck.” The shrine produces baraka. And the pilgrim takes it away. But blessing is a product of the imagination and thus no matter how many pilgrims take it away, there’s always more.
In fact, the more they take, the more blessing the shrine can produce (because a popular shrine grows with every answered prayer.) To say that baraka is “imaginal” is not to call it “unreal.” It’s real enough to those who feel it. But spiritual goods do not follow the rules of supply and demand like material goods. The more demand for spiritual goods, the more supply. The production of baraka is infinite.
By contrast, the tourist desires not baraka but cultural difference. The tourist consumes difference. But the production of cultural difference is not infinite. It is not “merely” imaginal. It is rooted in languages, landscape, architecture, custom, taste, smell. It is very physical. The more it is used up or taken away, the less remains. The social can produce just so much “meaning,” so much difference. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
The modest goal of this essay is to address the individual traveler who has decided to resist tourism. Even though we may find it impossible in the end to “purify” ourselves and our travel from every last taint and trace of tourism, we still feel that improvement may be possible.
Not only do we disdain tourism for its vulgarity and its injustice, and therefore wish to avoid any contamination (conscious or unconscious) by its viral virulency, we also wish to understand travel as an act of reciprocity rather than alienation. In other words, we don’t wish merely to avoid the negatives of tourism, but even more to achieve positive travel, which we envision as a productive and mutually enhancing relationship between self and other, guest and host, a form of cross-cultural synergy in which the whole exceeds the sum of parts.
We’d like to know if travel can be carried out according to a secret economy of baraka, whereby not only the shrine but also the pilgrims themselves have blessings to bestow.
Before the Age of Commodity, we know, there was an Age of the Gift, of reciprocity, of giving and receiving. We learned this from the tales of certain travelers, who found remnants of the world of the Gift among certain tribes, in the form of pot latch or ritual exchange, and recorded their observations of such strange practices.
Not long ago there still existed a custom among South Sea islanders of traveling vast distances by outrigger canoe, without compass or sextant, in order to exchange valuable and useless presents (ceremonial art-objects rich in mana) from island to island in a complex pattern of overlapping reciprocities.
We suspect that even though travel in the modern world seems to have been taken over by the Commodity, even though the networks of convivial reciprocity seem to have vanished from the map, even though tourism seems to have triumphed. Even so, we continue to suspect that other pathways still persist, other tracks, unofficial, not noted on the map, perhaps even “secret” pathways still linked to the possibility of an economy of the Gift, smugglers’ routes for free spirits, known only to the geomantic guerrillas of the art of travel.
Perhaps the greatest and subtlest practitioners of the art of travel were the Sufis, the mystics of Islam. Before the age of passports, immunizations, airlines and other impediments to free travel, the Sufis wandered footloose in a world where borders tended to be more permeable than nowadays, thanks to the trans nationalism of Islam and the cultural unity of Dar al-Islam , the Islamic world.
The great medieval Moslem travelers, like Ibn Battuta and Naser Khusraw, have left accounts of vast journeys, Persia to Egypt, or even Morocco to China, which never set foot outside a landscape of deserts, camels, caravanserais, bazaars, and piety. Someone always spoke Arabic, however badly, and Islamic culture permeated the remotest backwaters, however superficially. Reading the tails of Sinbad the Sailor (from the 1001 Nights) gives us the impression of a world where even the terra incognita was still, despite all marvels and oddities, somehow familiar, somehow Islamic. Within this unity, which was not yet a uniformity, the Sufis formed a special class of travelers. Not warriors, not merchants, and not quite ordinary pilgrims either, the dervishes represent a spiritualization of pure nomadism.
According to the Koran, God’s Wide Earth and everything in it are “sacred,” not only as divine creations, but also because the material world is full of “waymarks,” or signs of divine reality. Moreover, Islam itself is born between two journeys, Mohammad’s hijra or “flight” from Mecca to Medina, and his hajj, or return voyage. The hajj is the movement toward the origin and center for every Moslem even today, and the annual Pilgrimage has played a vital role, not just in the religious unity of Islam, but also in its cultural unity.
Mohammad himself exemplifies every kind of travel in Islam; his youth with the Meccan caravans of Summer and Winter, as a merchant; his campaigns as a warrior; his triumph as a humble pilgrim. Although an urban leader, he is also the prophet of the Bedouin and himself a kind of nomad, a “sojourner”an “orphan.” From this perspective travel can almost be seen as a sacrament. Every religion sanctifies travel to some degree, but Islam is virtually unimaginable without it.
The Prophet said, “Seek knowledge, even as far as China.” From the beginning, Islam lifts travel above all “mundane” utilitarianism and gives it an epistemological or even Gnostic dimension. “The jewel that never leaves the mine is never polished,” says the Sufi poet Saadi. To “educate” is to “lead outside,” to give the pupil a perspective beyond parochiality and mere subjectivity.
Some Sufis may have done all their traveling in the Imaginal World of archetypal dreams and visions, but vast numbers of them took the Prophet’s exhortations quite literally. Even today dervishes wander over the entire Islamic worldbut as late as the 19th century they wandered in veritable hordes, hundreds or even thousands at a time, and covered vast distances. All in search of knowledge.
Unofficially, there existed two basic types of wandering Sufi: the “gentleman-scholar” type, and the mendicant dervish. The former category includes Ibn Battuta (who collected Sufi initiations the way some occidental gentlemen once collected Masonic degrees), andon a much more serious level the “Greatest Shaykh” Ibn Arabi, who meandered slowly through the 13th century from his native Spain, across North Africa, through Egypt to Mecca, and finally to Damascus.
Ibn Arabi actually left accounts of his search for saints and adventurers on the road, which could be pieced together from his voluminous writings to form a kind of rihla or “travel text”: ( a recognized genre of Islamic literature) or autobiography. Ordinary scholars traveled in search of rare texts on theology or jurisprudence, but Ibn Arabi sought only the highest secrets of esotericism and the loftiest “openings” into the world of divine illumination; for him every “journey to the outer horizons” was also a “journey to the inner horizons” of spiritual psychology and gnosis.
On the visions he experienced in Mecca alone, he wrote a 12-volume work (The Meccan Revelations), and he has also left us precious sketches of hundreds of his contemporaries, from the greatest philosophers of the age to humble dervishes and “madmen,” anonymous women saints and “hidden Masters.”
Ibn Arabi enjoyed a special relation with Khezr, the immortal and unknown prophet, the “Green Man,” who sometimes appears to wandering Sufis in distress, to rescue them from the desert, or to initiate them. Khezr, in a sense, can be called the patron saint of the traveling dervishes and the prototype. (He first appears in the Koran as a mysterious wanderer and companion of Moses in the desert.)
Christianity once included a few orders of wandering mendicants (in fact, St. Francis organized one after meeting with dervishes in the Holy Land, who may have bestowed upon him a “cloak of initiation” the famous patchwork robe he was wearing when he returned to Italy), but Islam spawned dozens, perhaps hundreds of such orders.
As Sufism crystallized from the loose spontaneity of early days to an institution with rules and grades, “travel for knowledge” was also regularized and organized. Elaborate handbooks of duties for dervishes were produced which included methods for turning travel into a very specific form of meditation. The whole Sufi “path” itself was symbolized in terms of intentional travel.
In some cases itineraries were fixed (e.g. the Hajj); others involved waiting for “signs” to appear, coincidences, intuitions, “adventurers” such as those which inspired the travels of the Arthurian knights. Some orders limited the time spent in any one place to 40 days; others made a rule of never sleeping twice in the same place. The strict orders, such as the Naqshbandis, turned travel into a kind of full-time choreography, in which every movement was preordained and designed to enhance consciousness.
By contrast, the more heterodox orders (such as the Qalandars) adopted a “rule” of total spontaneity and abandon “permanent unemployment” as one of them called it an insouciance of bohemian proportions a “dropping-out” at once both scandalous and completely traditional. Colorfully dressed, carrying their begging bowls, axes, and standards, addicted to music and dance, carefree and cheerful (sometimes to the point of “blameworthiness”!), orders such as the Nematollahis of 19th century Persia grew to proportions that alarmed both sultans and theologians. Many dervishes were executed for “heresy.”
Today the true Qalandars survive mostly in India, where their lapses from orthodoxy include a fondness for hemp and a sincere hatred of work. Some are charlatans, some are simple bums, but a surprising number of them seem to be people of attainment…how can I put it?…people of self-realization, marked by a distinct aura of grace, or baraka.
All the different types of Sufi travel we’ve described are united by certain shared vital structural forces. One such force might be called a “magical” world view, a sense of life that rejects the “merely” random for a reality of signs and wonders, of meaningful coincidences and “unveilings.” As anyone who’s ever tried it will testify, intentional travel immediately opens one up to this “magical” influence.
A psychologist might explain this phenomenon (either with awe or with reductionist disdain) as “subjective”; while the pious believer would take it quite literally. From the Sufi point of view neither interpretation rules out the other, nor suffices in itself, to explain away the marvels of the Path. In Sufism, the “objective” and the “subjective” are not considered opposites, but complements. From the point of view of the two-dimensional thinker (whether scientific or religious) such paradoxology smacks of the forbidden.
Another force underlying all forms of intentional travel can be described by the Arabic word “adab”. On one level “adab” simply means “good manners,” and in the case of travel, these manners are based on the ancient customs of desert nomads, for whom both wandering and hospitality are sacred acts. In this sense, the dervish shares both the privileges and the responsibilities of the guest.
Bedouin hospitality is a clear survival of the primordial economy of the Gift – a relation of reciprocity. The wanderer must be taken in (the dervish must be fed) but thereby the wanderer assumes a role prescribed by ancient custom and must give back something to the host. For the Bedouin this relation is almost a form of clientage Ð the breaking of bread and sharing of salt constitutes a sort of kinship. Gratitude is not a sufficient response to such generosity. The traveler must consent to a temporary adoption, anything less would offend against “adab”.
Islamic society retains at least a sentimental attachment to these rules, and thus creates a special niche for the dervish, that of the full-time guest. The dervish returns the gifts of society with the gift of baraka. In ordinary pilgrimage, the traveler receives baraka from a place, but the dervish reverses the flow and brings baraka to a place. The Sufi may think of himself (or herself) as a permanent pilgrim but to the ordinary stay-at-home people of the mundane world, the Sufi is a kind of preambulatory shrine.
Now tourism in its very structure breaks the reciprocity of host and guest. In English, a “host” may have either guests or parasites. The tourist is a parasite for no amount of money can pay for hospitality. The true traveler is a guest and thus serves a very real function, even today, in societies where the ideals of hospitality have not yet faded from the “collective mentality.” To be a host, in such societies, is a meritorious act. Therefore, to be a guest is also to give merit.
The modern traveler who grasps the simple spirit of this relation will be forgiven many lapses in the intricate ritual of “adab” (how many cups of coffee? Where to put one’s feet? How to be entertaining? How to show gratitude? etc.) peculiar to a specific culture. And if one bothers to master a few of the traditional forms of “adab”, and to deploy them with heartfelt sincerity, then both guest and host will gain more than they put into the relation and this more is the unmistakable sign of the presence of the Gift.
Another level of meaning of the word “adab” connects it with culture (since culture can be seen as the sum of all manners and customs): In modern usage the Department of “Arts and Letters” at a university would be called Adabiyyat. To have “adab” in this sense is to be “polished” (like that well-traveled gem) but this has nothing necessarily to do with “fine arts” or literacy or being a city-slicker, or even being “cultured.” It is a matter of the “heart.”
“Adab” is sometimes given as a one-word definition of Sufism. But insincere manners (ta’arof in Persian) and insincere culture alike are shunned by the Sufi. “There is no ta’arof in Tassawuf [Sufism],” as the dervishes say; “Darvishi” is an adjectival synonym for informality, the laid-back quality of the people of the Heart and for spontaneous “adab”, so to speak. The true guest and host never make an obvious effort to fulfill the “rules” of reciprocity they may follow the ritual scrupulously, or they may bend the forms creatively, but in either case, they will give their actions a depth of sincerity that manifests as natural grace. “Adab” is a kind of love.
A complement of this “technique” (or “Zen”) of human relations can be found in the Sufi manner of relating to the world in general. The “mundane” world of social deceit and negativity, of usurious emotions, unauthentic consciousness (“mauvaise conscience”), boorishness, ill-will, inattention, blind reaction, false spectacle, empty discourse, etc. etc. all this no longer holds any interest for the traveling dervish. But those who say that the dervish has abandoned “this world”, “God’s Wide Earth”would be mistaken.
The dervish is not a Gnostic Dualist who hates the biosphere (which certainly includes the imagination and the emotions, as well as “matter” itself). The early Muslim ascetics certainly closed themselves off from everything. When Rabiah, the woman saint of Basra, was urged to come out of her house and “witness the wonders of God’s creation,” she replied, “Come into the house and see them,” i.e., come into the heart of contemplation of the oneness which is above the manyness of reality. “Contraction” and “Expansion” are both terms for spiritual states. Rabiah was manifesting Contraction: a kind of sacred melancholia which has been metaphorized as the “Caravan of Winter,” of return to Mecca (the center, the heart), of interiority, and of ascesis or self-denial. She was not a world-hating Dualist, nor even a moralistic flesh-hating puritan. She was simply manifesting a certain specific kind of grace.
The wandering dervish, however, manifests a state more typical of Islam in its most exuberant energies. He indeed seeks expansion, spiritual joy based on the sheer multiplicity of the divine generosity in material creation. (Ibn Arabi has an amusing “proof” that this world is the best world. For, if it were not, then God would be ungenerous which is absurd. Q.E.D.) In order to appreciate the multiple waymarks of the wide earth precisely as the unfolding of this generosity, the Sufi cultivates what might be called the theophanic gaze: The opening of the “Eye of the Heart” to the experience of certain places, objects, people, events as locations of the “shining-through” of divine light. The dervish travels, so to speak, both in the material world, and in the “World of Imagination” simultaneously. But for the eye of the heart, these worlds interpenetrate at certain points.
One might say that they mutually reveal or “unveil” each other. Ultimately, they are “one” and only our state of tranced inattention, our mundane consciousness, prevents us from experiencing this “deep” identity at every moment. The purpose of intentional travel, with its “adventures” and its uprooting of habits, is to shake loose the dervish from all the trance-effects of ordinariness. Travel, in other words, is meant to induce a certain state of consciousness or “spiritual state” that of Expansion.
For the wanderer, each person one meets might act as an “angel,” each shrine one visits may unlock some initiate dream, each experience of nature may vibrate with the presence of some “spirit of place.” Indeed, even the mundane and ordinary may suddenly be seen as numinous (as in the great travel haiku of the Japanese Zen poet Basho) : a face in the crowd at a railway station, crows on telephone wires, sunlight in a puddle.
Obviously one doesn’t need to travel to experience this state. But travel can be used, that is, an art of travel can be required to maximize the chances for attaining such a state. It is a moving meditation, like the Taoist martial arts.
The Caravan of Summer moved outward, out of Mecca, to the rich trading lands of Syria and Yemen. Likewise, the dervish is “moving out” (it’s always “moving day”), heading forth, taking off, on “perpetual holiday” as one poet expressed it, with an open heart, an attentive eye (and other senses), and a yearning for meaning, a thirst for knowledge. One must remain alert, since anything might suddenly unveil itself as a sign. This sounds like a bit of paranoia although “metanoia” might be a better term and indeed one finds “madmen” amongst the dervishes, “attracted ones,” overpowered by divine influxions, lost in the Light.
In the Orient, the insane are often cared for and admired as helpless saints, because mental illness may sometimes appear as a symptom of too much holiness rather than too little “reason.” Hemp’s popularity amongst the dervishes can be attributed to its power to induce a kind of intuitive attentiveness which constitutes a controllable insanity, herbal metanoia. But travel itself in itself can intoxicate the heart with the beauty of theophanic presence. It’s a question of practice, the polishing of the jewel, removal of moss from the rolling stone.
In the old days (which are still going on in some remote parts of the East), Islam thought of itself as a whole world, a wide world, a space with great latitude within which Islam embraced the whole of society and nature. This latitude appeared on the social level as tolerance. There was room enough, even for such marginal groups as mad wandering dervishes. Sufism itself, or at least its austere orthodox and “sober” aspect occupied a central position in the cultural discourse. “Everyone” understood intentional travel by analogy with the Hajj, everyone understood the dervishes, even if they disapproved.
Nowadays, however, Islam views itself as a partial world, surrounded by unbelief and hostility, and suffering internal raptures of every sort. Since the 19th century Islam has lost its global consciousness and sense of its own wideness and completeness. No longer therefore, can Islam easily find a place for every marginalized individual and group within a pattern of tolerance and social order. The dervishes now appear as an intolerable difference in society. Every Muslim must now be the same, united against all outsiders, and struck from the same prototype.
Of course, Muslims have always “imitated” the Prophet and viewed his image as the norm and this has acted as a powerful unifying force for style and substance within Dar al-Islam. But “nowadays” the puritans and reformers have forgotten that this “imitation” was not directed only at an early medieval Meccan merchant named Mohammad, but also at the insan al-kamil (the “Perfect Man” or “Universal Human”), an ideal of inclusion rather than exclusion, an ideal of integral culture, not an attitude of purity in peril, not xenophobia disguised as piety, not totalitarianism, not reaction.
The dervish is persecuted nowadays in most of the Islamic world. Puritanism always embraces the most atrocious aspects of modernism in its crusade to strip the Faith of “medieval accretions” such as popular Sufism. And surely the way of the wandering dervish cannot thrive in a world of airplanes and oil-wells, of nationalistic/chauvinistic hostilities (and thus of impenetrable borders), and of a Puritanism which suspects all difference as a threat.
The Puritanism has triumphed not only in the East, but rather close to home as well. It is seen in the “time discipline” of modern too-late-Capitalism, and in the porous rigidity of consumerist hyper-conformity, as well as in the bigoted reaction and sex-hysteria of the Christian Right. Where in all this can we find room for the poetic (and parasitic!) life of “Aimless Wandering”, the life of Chuang Tzu (who coined this slogan) and his Taoist progeny, the life of Saint Francis and his shoeless devotees, the life of (for example) Nur Ali Shah Isfahani, a 19th century Sufi poet who was executed in Iran for the awful heresy of meandering-dervishism?
Here is the flip side of the “Problem of Tourism”: The problem with the disappearance of “aimless wandering.” Possibly the two are directly related, so that the more tourism becomes possible, the more dervishism becomes impossible. In fact, we might well ask if this little essay on the delightful life of the dervish possesses the least bit of relevance for the contemporary world. Can this knowledge help us to overcome tourism, even within our own consciousness and life? Or is it merely an exercise in nostalgia for lost possibilities, a futile indulgence in romanticism?
Well, yes and no. Sure, I confess I’m hopelessly romantic about the form of the dervish life, to the extent that for a while I turned my back on the mundane world and followed it myself. Because of course, it hasn’t really disappeared. Decadent, yes, but not gone forever. What little I know about travel I learned in those few years I owe a debt to “Medieval accretions” I can never pay and I’ll never regret my “escapism” for a single moment. But I don’t consider the form of dervishism to be the answer to the “problem of tourism.” The form has lost most of its efficacy. There’s no point in trying to “preserve” it (as if it were a pickle, or a lab specimen) there’s nothing quite so pathetic as mere “survival.”
But beneath the charming outer forms of dervishism lies the conceptual matrix, so to speak, which we’ve called intentional travel. On this point we should suffer no embarrassment about “nostalgia.” We have asked ourselves whether or not we desire a means to discover the art of travel, whether we want and will to overcome “the inner tourist,” the false consciousness which screens us from the experience of the Wide World’s waymarks. The way of the dervish (or of the Taoist, the Franciscan, etc.) interests us, not the key, perhaps but…a key. And of course it does.
Peter Lamborn Wilson is the author of Sacred Drift and several books and studies exploring the role of heresy and mysticism in Islam. Wilson spent ten years wandering in the Middle East. He now wanders the streets of New York City. This paper was read at the annual meeting of The Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi Society and appeared in White Cloud Press’s Common Era: Best New Writings on Religion (PO Box 3400, Ashland, Oregon (97520, 1-800-380-8286).
Allah Las – Tell Me (What’s On Your Mind)
“Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in Eternal awareness or Pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity.” ― Voltaire (available at Gwyllm-Art/com)
It has been awhile. Too long in fact, we have been trying to migrate this part of Turfing back to the old server, so we can have everything on Earthrites.org again. So far, no luck but we are still aiming to get there. Life has been busy, restarted Radio EarthRites, working on The Invisible College and assorted short stories, and the Art of course. The piece above, “Her Beauty” is a new one. I hope you like it.
Anyway, not to carry on but thanks for coming back. More soon, hopefully. I always look forward to coming back and working on Turfing. I hope you like it enough to visit again soon as well!
~~~~~~~~ On The Menu!
Patreon Site (commercial break!)
Radio EarthRites Returns!
Hans Zimmer – Hunger
Hakim Bey – The Lemonade Ocean & Modern Times
Dead Skeletons – Ljósberinn
~~~~~~~~ Patreon Site (commercial break!)
On the advice of my son Rowan, I’ve started a Patreon Site to help finance some of the projects I am involved with. It is a neat set up, Patrons get to see art that I am doing before they get posted elsewhere, and it is set up so you can give feedback, and also pick up some perks that are available for your patronage. Kind of medieval and all, but look at the great works that came out of that system! 😉
Thanks for checking it out!
~~~~~~~~ Radio EarthRites Returns! Radio EarthRites!
Yes, back like the proverbial bad seed radio station of World,Ambient, Soundtracks, Chill, Goth, Psych Folk and Psychedelic Rock that it is. You are invited to listen, make request and even donate money to keep the beast up on the Internet!
There is 2-3 hours of new music added every couple of days. Hoping to add a spoken word channel if I can scare up funds to keep it up there.
At the present the address of said Radio EarthRites is: Radio EarthRites!
From The Blackhawk Down Soundtrack
~~~~~~~~ Rabia Poems
Ironic, but one of the most intimate acts
of our body is
So beautiful appeared my death – knowing who then I would kiss,
I died a thousand times before I died.
“Die before you die,” said the Prophet
Have wings that feared ever
touched the Sun?
I was born when all I once
feared – I could
In love, nothing exists between heart and heart.
Speech is born out of longing,
True description from the real taste.
The one who tastes, knows;
the one who explains, lies.
How can you describe the true form of Something
In whose presence you are blotted out?
And in whose being you still exist?
And who lives as a sign for your journey?
I have two ways of loving You:
A selfish one
And another way that is worthy of You.
In my selfish love, I remember You and You alone.
In that other love, You lift the veil
And let me feast my eyes on Your Living Face.
With my Beloved I alone have been,
When secrets tenderer than evening airs
Passed, and the Vision blest
Was granted to my prayers,
That crowned me, else obscure, with endless fame;
The while amazed between
His Beauty and His Majesty
I stood in silent ecstasy
Revealing that which o’er my spirit went and came.
Lo, in His face commingled
Is every charm and grace;
The whole of Beauty singled
Into a perfect face
Beholding Him would cry,
‘There is no God but He, and He is the most High.’
No one lives outside the walls of this sacred place, existence.
The holy water, I need it upon my eyes: it is you, dear, you – each form.
What mother would lose her infant – and we are that to God,
never lost from His gaze are we? Every cry of the heart
is attended by light’s own arms.
You cannot wander anywhere that will not aid you.
Anything you can touch – God brought it into
the classroom of your mind.
Differences exist, but not in the city of love.
Thus my vows and yours, I know they are the same.
I have just peeled the skin from the potato
and you are still contemplating its worth,
sweetheart; indeed there are wonderful nutrients in all,
for God made everything.
You joined our community at birth.
With your Father being who He is, what do the
world’s scales know of your precious value.
The priest and the prostitute – they weigh the same before the Son’s
but who can bear that truth and freedom,
so a wise man adulterated the
every wise man knows this.
My soul’s face has revealed its beauty to me;
why was it shy so long, didn’t it know how this made me suffer
A different game He plays with His close ones.
God tells us truths you would not believe,
for most everyone needs to limit His compassion; concepts of
right and wrong preserve the golden seed
until one of God’s friends comes along and tends your body
like a divine bride.
The Holy sent out a surveyor to find the limits of its compassion
God knows a divine frustration whenever He acts like that,
for the Infinite has
Why not tease Him about this?
Why not accept the freedom of what it means
for our Lord to see us
So magnificently sovereign is our Lover; never say,
‘On the other side of this river a different King rules.”
For how could that be true – for nothing can oppose Infinite strength.
No one lives outside the walls of this sacred place, existence.
The holy water my soul’s brow needs is unity.
Love opened my eye and I was cleansed
by the purity of each
~~~~~~ Hakim Bey – The Lemonade Ocean & Modern Times
1. One More River to Cross
2. Maximizing Marx
3. Lemonade Ocean
4. The Convivial Individualist
5. Universal Pantarchy & North American Phalanx
1. One More River to Cross
In our experience (that is, not merely in intellectual speculation but in everyday-life) we have found that “the Ego” can be as much of a spook as “the Group” — or indeed, spooky as any abstraction which is allowed to control behavior, emotion, thought, or fate. Deeply as we’ve been influenced by Stirner / Nietzsche Tucker/ Mackay, we have never held to any rigid ideological or psychological form of Individualism / Egoism. Individualist anarchism is lovely dynamite, but not the only ingredient in our cocktail.
Our position, put quite simply (in the form of a truism): The autonomy of the individual appears to be complemented & enhanced by the movement of the group; while the effectiveness of the group seems to depend on the freedom of the individual.
In the 1980’s — thru poverty, terror, mediation, & alienation — the individual was more & more isolated, while all forms of “combination” (communes, co-ops, etc.) were eliminated or else reduced to pure simulation. The pleasures of the isolated ego have begun to pull as the “self” is gradually reduced to a comm-terminal or funnel for commodity-fetishes. In the 90’s we will demand effective means of association which depend neither on Capital nor any other form of representation. We reject the false trance of the Spectacular group — but we also reject the lonely ineffectiveness of the embittered hermit. Always one more illusion to overcome!
2. Maximizing Marx
“Type-3 anarchism” (a term coined by Bob Black) designates a radically non-ideological form of anarchism neither Individualist nor Collectivist but in a sense both at once. This current within anti-authoritarianism is not a new invention, however (nor has it been given any final form). One can find versions of it in such works as bolo’bolo, or in the writings of the Situationists. One Situ group (“For Ourselves”) went so far as to suggest a synthesis of Max Stirner & Karl Marx, who in real life were bitter enemies. They pointed out that Stirner’s psychological existentialism does not necessarily conflict with Marx’s economics. Bakunin criticized not Marx’s original critique but rather the solution he proposed, dictatorship.
As for us, Stirner outweighs Marx because psychology precedes economics in our theory of liberation — but we read Stirner in the light of Bakunin & the early Marx — the light of the 1st International & the Commune of 1870 — the light of Proudhon.
In order to clarify this position, we’ll introduce two more names from our “family tree,” Steven Pearl Andrews (1812–1886) & Charles Fourier (1772–1837). In a sense we find them a more congenial pair than Max und Marx, because they both made significant donations to the cause of erotic liberation (a central concern of the Mackay Society), unlike say the virginal Bakunin, or Marx or Proudhon — both prudes — or for that matter Stirner, Nietzsche, or Tucker, who all more or less avoided the subject. Serious historians of the Social often ignore Andrews & Fourier because they were “cranks” — utopianists, marginals, Blake-like visionaries. One needs to be something of a surrealist to appreciate them. But our appreciation is more than erotic, aesthetic, or spiritual. We also draw from them a precise picture of our own position in the “type-3” current of contemporary libertarianism.
3. Lemonade Ocean
Fourier was amazing. He lived at the same time as De Sade & Blake, & deserves to be remembered as their equal or even superior. Those other two apostles of freedom & desire had no political disciples, but in the middle of the 19th century literally hundreds of communes (phalansteries) were founded on fourierist principles in France, N. America, Mexico, S. America, Algeria, Yugoslavia, etc. Proudhon, Engels, & Kropotkin all read him with fascination, as did Andre Breton & Roland Barthes. But today in America he is forgotten — not one complete work by Fourier is in print here — a few anthologies came out in the 70’s but have vanished — & only one work about him (a fine biography by Jonathan Beecher, which may serve to stir some enthusiasm). Fourier’s own disciples suppressed some of his most important texts (on sexuality), which did not appear in print till 1967. It’s about time he was re-discovered again.
To quote Fourier out of context is to betray him. To say for example that he believed the ocean would turn to lemonade in the future, when humanity comes to live in Harmonial Association, is to make him a figure of fun (as Hawthorne did in The Blythedale Romance). To understand the beauty of the idea it must be seen in the context of Fourier’s grand & brilliant cosmological speculations, rivals in complexity of Blake’s prophecies. For Fourier the universe is composed of living beings, planets, & stars, who feel passion & who carry out sexual intercourse, so that creation itself is continual. The miseries of Civilization have deflected Earth & humanity from their proper destiny in a literal cosmic sense. Passion, which we have been taught to regard as “evil,” is in fact virtually the divine principle. Human beings are microscopic stars, & all passions & desires (including “fetishes” & “perversions”) are by nature not only good but necessary for the realization of human destiny. In Fourier’s system of Harmony all creative activity including industry, craft, agriculture, etc. will arise from liberated passion — this is the famous theory of “attractive labor.” Fourier sexualizes work itself — the life of the Phalanstery is a continual orgy of intense feeling, intellection, & activity, a society of lovers & wild enthusiasts. When the social life of Earth is harmonized, our planet will re-join the universe of Passion & undergo vast transformations, affecting human form, weather, animals, & plants, even the oceans.
Passion draws humanity into association just as gravity draws celestial bodies into orbital systems. The phalanstery is a little solar system revolving around the central fire of the passions. Thus, altho Fourier always defends the individual against the tyranny of the Civilized groups (what we’ve called Spectacular groups, in the modern context), nevertheless for him the group in its ideal form takes on a quality of absoluteness. It’s been jokingly said of him that the only sin in his system is eating lunch alone. But “association” cannot be considered a form of collectivism or communism — it is not strictly “egalitarian,” nor does it eliminate personal property or even inheritance. Moreover, all the elaborate titles & ranks Fourier delighted to invent for his Harmonians were voluntary & purely ceremonial. The Harmonian does not live with some 1600 people under one roof because of compulsion or altruism, but because of the sheer pleasure of all the social, sexual, economic, “gastrosophic,” cultural, & creative relations this association allows & encourages.
4. The Convivial Individualist
One of Fourier’s favorite illustrations of how harmony works even in Civilization was the dinner party, where wine, wit, & good food are enjoyed according to a spontaneous order, not subject to any law or morality. Social Harmony would be like a never-ending party: Fourier envisioned people leaping out of bed at 3 a.m. to pick cherries as if they were rushing off to a grand ball.
Steven Pearl Andrews (who also used the dinner-party metaphor) was not a fourierist, but he lived through the brief craze for phalansteries in America & adopted a lot of fourierist principles & practices. His chief mentor was Josiah Warren, first exponent of Individualist anarchism (or “Individual Sovereignty”) in America — altho Warren in turn inherited much from certain strains of radical democracy & Protestant “spritual anarchy” which can be traced to the earliest Colonial period. Andrew was a system-builder, a “logothete” like Fourier & Blake, a maker of worlds out of words. He syncretized Abolitionism, Free Love, spiritual universalism, Warren, & Fourier into a grand utopian scheme he called the Universal Pantarchy.
He was instrumental in founding several “intentional communities,” including the “Brownstone Utopia” on 14th St. in New York, & “Modern Times” in Brentwood, Long Island. The latter became as famous as the best-known fourierist communes (Brook Farm in Massachusetts & the North American Phalanx in New Jersey) — in fact, Modern Times became downright notorious (for “Free Love”) & finally foundered under a wave of scandalous publicity. Andrews (& Victoria Woodhull) were members of the infamous Section 12 of the 1st International, expelled by Marx for its anarchist, feminist, & spiritualist tendencies.
Like Fourier, Andrews created a “religion” to replace all the corrupt authoritarian cults of Civilization. We admit that this mystical tendency in both thinkers interests us a great deal, & again rouses our sympathies more than the cold atheism (or “fundamental materialism”) of a Stirner of Marx. Type-3 anarchism includes for us the heritage of the Ranters, Antinomians, & Family of Love, as well as radical forms of buddhism, taoism, & sufism.
Like Blake, Fourier & Pearl Andrews built systems of their own so as not to be slaves to someone else’s — & these grand structures included psychological, sexual, & spritual dimensions missing from mere ideological or philosophical systems. The structural details of Harmony & Pantarchy are fascinating & inspiring, but for us their deepest value lies in the daring of their total “radical subjectivity.” Fourier & Pearl Andrews created poetics of life, not merely politics or economics, & it is this aspect of their work we most admire & wish to emulate.
5. Universal Pantarchy & North American Phalanx
In a more immediate sense, however, we find that Fourier & Pearl Andrews offer useful arguments & practical hints for the establishment of a kind of association which seems even more desirable now than before the age of Late Capitalism, Dead Communism, pure Spectacle, & the eerie alienation of credit cards & answering machines, polls & surveys, computer viruses, & immune-system breakdowns. In the 1980’s even the anti-authoritarian “Margin” fell into a spooky state of communication via the mail, BBSs, xerography, & tape. Physical separateness can never be overcome by electronics, but only by “conviviality,” by “living together” in the most literal physical sense. The physically divided are also the conquered & Controlled. “True desires” — erotic, gustatory, olfactory, musical, aesthetic, psychic, & spiritual — are best attained in a context of freedom of self & other in physical proximity & mutual aid. Everything else is at best a sort of representation. The entire revolt against Civilization can be seen (at least from one point of view) as an attempt to recreate the autonomous intimacy of the band, the free association of individuals.
Morbid loneliness is no better than the engineered consensus of the New World Order — in fact the two are but opposite sides of the coin, like homelessness & rent: false individualism vs. false collectivism. In the face of this illusory dichotomy we will continue to propagate Individual Sovereignty — but at the same time proclaim that our first & most urgent research of the decade must concern the nature of association.
Thus we announce our intention to revive & amalgamate both the Universal Pantarchy & the North American Phalanx, the local (NY area) manifestations of Andrews’ & Fourier’s systems. The new Universal Pantarchy & North American Phalanx (UP/NAP) will be first a society of appreciation & research (more musty-dusty 19th century obscure crackpots to venerate & imitate!) — but also & perhaps more importantly it may become a nucleus of association. We plan to make field trips to the original sites of Modern Times & the Phalanx; we intend to revive the fourierist tradition of banquets; we plan to construct a shrine to Fourier & the Pantarch; we may even go so far as to produce another newsletter!
And perhaps our research will actually lead to further experiments in the creation of temporary autonomous zones, free times & spaces excavated in the walls of Babylon — creative autonomy & comradeship in the no-go areas where power has “disappeared” — & who knows? even in our lifetimes, the mutation…“A crank? Yes, I’m a crank: a little device that causes revolutions!” (E.F. Schumacher).
Long live Individual Sovereignty! Long live the Pantarchy! Long live Harmony!
April 7 (Fourier’s birthday) 1991 NYC
Dead Skeletons – Ljósberinn
Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason. – Novalis
This is Gwyllm’s homage to one of the great women of the modern occult era,
Leila (Laylah) Waddell, musician, magician, the muse of Aleister Crowley, an adept who travelled the world consorting with all levels of society helping render change in the modern age.
(Leila) “was immortalized in his 1912 volume The Book of Lies and his autobiography The Confessions of Aleister Crowley. Crowley referred to her variously as ‘Divine Whore’, ‘Mother of heaven’, ‘Sister Cybele’, ‘Scarlet Woman’, and most affectionately of all, ‘Whore of Babylon’. They studied the occult and took mescaline together. Crowley’s famous Book of Lies was largely dedicated to Waddell, with poems like “Duck Billed Platypus” and “Waratah Blossoms”. A photograph of her in ritual is reproduced in the volume.”]
Waddell herself was an accomplished writer, magician, and a founding member of the original company of the Rites of Eleusis. In Oct and Nov 1910, Crowley starred Waddell and other members of his magical order the Argenteum Astrum, in his series of dramatic planetary-based magical rites, the Rites of Eleusis, at London’s Caxton Hall.”
~~~~~~~ An Introduction:
Yes, another long pause in the world of Turfing. I have been devoting myself to art and other projects as of late. Life is good at this point, every morning brings new joy. I gaze out the office window at hills, sky, clouds. I am surrounded by good friends, family and an interesting menagerie of plant, animal, insect & avian brothers and sisters. The web of life grows deeper and deeper from where I sit, and kinship is to be found everywhere.
~~~~~~ On The Menu
Poetry: A Review of Dale Pendell’s “Salting The Boundary”
Stellardrone – Invent the Universe
On The Poetry Post
Irish Magic, and Tuatha De Danaans
Proton Kinoun – Apeiron
Art: Gwyllm & Jim Fitzpatrick
Poetry…”Salting The Boundaries”
“Those who would know her spirit truly must therefore seek it in the company of poets, where she is free and pours forth her wondrous heart. But those who do not love her from the bottom of their hearts, who only admire this and that in her and wish to learn this and that about her, must visit her sickroom, her charnel-house.
Within us there lies a mysterious force that tends in all directions, spreading from a center hidden in infinite depths. If wondrous nature, the nature of the senses and the nature that is not of the senses, surrounds us, we believe this force to be an attraction of nature, an effect of our sympathy with her.”
The word when read silently to oneself has a certain power. The power to grasp a concept, to comfort, to stir an inner dialog, to tempt one with new ideas.
The word spoken aloud, now that is a different matter. The spoken word has the possibility of magick, it has the possibility of transformation, of Gnosis. You can read poetry, or you can speak it aloud. A poem read from a book can even evoke powers, much like a spell recited. Saying something out loud, tends to make it so.
The spoken word transforms the world. When you read Salting The Boundaries, take time to read the words aloud. You will find the world shifting,and magick working through it as tangible as it can be. The magick is in the fact that the poet stands within nature, narrating it. You’ll find that in this volume amply demonstrated.
That is why poetry has been the favorite instrument of true friends of nature, and the spirit of nature has shone most radiantly in poems. When we read and hear true poems, we feel the movement of nature’s inner reason and like its celestial embodiment, we dwell in it and over it at once.
Dale Pendell’s new book, “Salting The Boundaries” is a fine work of evocative magick. The poems are made to be read aloud, to be memorized and repeated by a fire at night. There is power in the writings, and an acceptance of the universal flow as well. Some of the poems evoke the Dao, and others recall incantations.
There is not a word wasted, or overstated. Dale Pendell continues to hone his craft. He calls forth powers, phrases, landscapes interior and outer with an adroit turn of a phrase, a word, a pause.
as an example: “First Rain”
Grass has its own fire:
three days of rain
and green flames cover the hills-
life rises from the mixing: wetfire,
If you have never read his poetry (which seems unfathomable to me) or if you are familiar with his works, Salting The Boundaries is a lovely parade that invites you, invokes you, to join in, and participate in the magick moment.
an excerpt: Why Wild Salmon Like to be Eaten”
They ranged the rivers of northern Europe,
the Vistula, the Elbe, the Loire, south to the Bay of Biscay.
Free leapers, from Hudson Bay to Cape Cod.
They ran the Thames, north through the Isles, fed on magic
red berries from a hazel tree, conferred the gift
of prescience on Finn MacCool.
“I’m glad I cleared the desktop and spread out and read all of SALTING THE BOUNDARIES this evening. These are all new poems to me, and new in tone, style, vocabulary. The breadth of knowledge and concern, mythopoetic, geologic, historic, et al is splendid. & your wild salmon poem: I’m so glad you did that. I had been idly dreaming of something like that for years but never got to it. This is an impressive gathering, and a welcome surprise for me.” -Gary Snyder
Cut and paste the links!
Find a copy of Salting The Boundaries here: http://www.spdbooks.org/Producte/9781883197377/salting-the-boundaries.aspx
Or at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Salting-Boundaries-Dale-Pendell/dp/1883197376/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405821439&sr=1-1&keywords=salting+the+boundaries
~~~~~~ Stellardrone – Invent the Universe
~~~~~~ On The Poetry Post:
Drunk on the Wine of the Beloved
Look at This Beauty
The beauty of this poem is beyond words.
Do you need a guide to experience the heat of the sun?
Blessed is the brush of the painter who paints
Such beautiful pictures for his virgin bride.
Look at this beauty. There is no reason for what you see.
Experience its grace. Even in nature there is nothing so fine.
Either this poem is a miracle, or some sort of magic trick.
Guided either by Gabriel or the Invisible Voice, inside.
No one, not even Hafiz, can describe with words the Great Mystery.
No one knows in which shell the priceless pearl does hide.
“Poor soul, you will never know anything
of real importance. You will not uncover
even one of life’s secrets. Although all religions
promise paradise, take care to create your own
paradise here and now on earth.”
– Omar Khayyam, Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám
Along The Sun-Drenched Roadside
Along the sun-drenched roadside, from the great
hollow half-tree trunk, which for generations
has been a trough, renewing in itself
an inch or two of rain, I satisfy
my thirst: taking the water’s pristine coolness
into my whole body through my wrists.
Drinking would be too powerful, too clear;
but this unhurried gesture of restraint
fills my whole consciousness with shining water.
Thus, if you came, I could be satisfied
to let my hand rest lightly, for a moment,
lightly, upon your shoulder or your breast.
– Rainer Maria Rilke
Irish Magic, And Tuatha De Danaans
Irish Druids And Old Irish Religions
by James Bonwick
By far the most interesting of the peoples that formerly inhabited Ireland were the Tuaths, or Tuatha de Danaans, or Dananns. There is much mystery about them in Irish traditions. They were men, gods, or fairies. They came, of course, from the East, calling in at Greece on the way, so as to increase their stock of magic and wisdom. Some trace them to the tribes of Dan, and note Dedan in Ezek. xxv. 13. Mrs. Wilkins identifies them with the Dedanim of Isa. xxl. 13, “a nomad, yet semi-civilized, people.” Isaiah calls them “travelling companies of Dedanim.”
The credulous Four Masters have wonderful tales of Tuath doings. In their invasion of Ireland, Tuaths had to deal with the dark aborigines, known as the Firbolgs, and are said to have slain 100,000 at the battle of Magh-Tuireadh Conga. Driven off the island by their foes, they travelled in the East, returning from their exile as finished magicians and genuine Druids. Mr. Gladstone, inJuventus Mundi, contends that Danaan is of Phœnician extraction, that a district near Tripoli, of Syria, is known as Dannié. He adds, “Pausanias says that at the landing-place of Danaos, on the Argive coast, was a temple of Poseidon Genesios, of Phœnician origin.”
After reigning in Ireland two hundred years, the Tuatha were, it is narrated, invaded by the children of Gail Glas, who had come from Egypt to Spain, and sailed thence to Erin under Milesius, the leader of the Milesians. When their fleet was observed, the Danaans caused a Druidic fog to arise, so that the land assumed the shape of a black pig, whence arose another name for Ireland–“Inis na illuic, or Isle of the Pig.” The Milesians, however, employed their enchantments in return, and defeated the Tuatha at Tailteine, now Teltown, on the Blackwater, and at Druim-Lighean, now Drumleene, Donegal.
The Tuatha have been improperly confounded with the Danes. Others give them a German origin, or a Nemedian one. Wilde describes them as large and fair-complexioned, carrying long, bronze, leaf-shaped swords, of a Grecian style, and he thinks them the builders of the so-called Danish forts, duns, or cashels, but not of the stone circles. McFirbis, 200 years ago, wrote–“Every one who is fair-haired, revengeful, large, and every plunderer, professors of musical and entertaining performances, who are adepts of druidical and magical arts, they are the descendants of the Tuatha-de-Danaans.”
“The Danans,” O’Flanagan wrote in 1808, “are said to have been well acquainted with Athens; and the memory of their kings, poets, and poetesses, or female philosophers, of highest repute for wisdom and learning, is still preserved with reverential regret in some of our old manuscripts of the best authority.” Referring to these persons, as Kings Dagad, Agamon and Dalboeth, to Brig, daughter of Dagad, to Edina and Danana, he exclaimed, “Such are the lights that burst through the gloom of ages?’ The Tuatha, G. W. Atkinson supposes, “must be the highly intellectual race that imported into Ireland our Oghams, round towers, architecture, metal work, and, above all, the exquisite art which has come down to us in our wonderful illuminated Irish MSS.” The polished Tuatha were certainly contrasted with the rude Celts. Arthur Clive declares that civilization came in with an earlier race than the Celts, and retired with their conquest by the latter.
“The bards and Seanachies,” remarks R. J. Duffy, “fancifully attributed to each of the Tuath-de-Danaan chiefs some particular art or department over which they held him to preside;” as, Abhortach, to music. The author of Old Celtic Romances writes–“By the Milesians and their descendants they were regarded as gods, and ultimately, in the imagination of the people, they became what are now in Ireland called ‘Fairies.” They conquered the Firbolgs, an Iberian or a Belgic people, at the battle of Moytura.
There is a strong suspicion of their connection with the old idolatry. Their last King was Mac–grene, which bears a verbal relation to the Sun. The Rev. R. Smiddy assumes them descendants of Dia-tene-ion, the Fire-god or Sun. In the Chronicles of Columba we read of a priest who built in Tyrconnel a temple of great beauty, with an altar of fine glass, adorned with the representation of the sun and moon. Under their King Dagda the Great, the Sun-god, and his wife, the goddess Boann, the Tuaths were once pursued by the river Boyne. This Dagda became King of the Fairies, when his people were defeated by the warlike Milesians; and the Tuatha, as Professor Rhys says, “formed an invisible world of their own,” in hills and mounds.
In the Book of Ballimote, Fintan, who lived before the Flood, describing his adventures, said–
“After them the Tuatha De arrived
Concealed in their dark clouds–
I ate my food with them,
Though at such a remote period.”
Mrs. Bryant, in Celtic Ireland, observes:–“Tradition assigns to the Tuatha generally an immortal life in the midst of the hills, and beneath the seas. Thence they issue to mingle freely with the mortal sons of men, practising those individual arts in which they were great of yore, when they won Erin from the Firbolgs by ‘science,’ and when the Milesians won Erin from them by valour. That there really was a people whom the legends of the Tuatha shadow forth is probable, but it is almost certain that all the tales about them are poetical myths.”
Elsewhere we note the Tuath Crosses, with illustrations; as that Cross at Monasterboice, of processions, doves, gods, snakes, &c. One Irish author, Vallencey, has said, “The Church Festivals themselves, in our Christian Calendar, are but the direct transfers from the Tuath de Danaan ritual. Their very names in Irish are identically the same as those by which they were distinguished by that earlier race.” That writer assuredly did not regard the Tuatha as myths. Fiech, St. Patrick’s disciple, sang–
“That Tuaths of Erin prophesied
That new times of peace would come.” Magic–Draoideachta–was attributed to the Irish Tuatha, and gave them the traditional reputation for wisdom. “Wise as the Tuatha de Danaans,” observes A. G. Geogbegan, “is a saying that still can be heard in the highlands of Donegal, in the glens of Connaught, and on the seaboard of the south-west of Ireland.” In Celtic Ireland we read–“The Irish worshipped the Sidhe, and the bards identify the Sidhe with the Tuath de Danaan.–The identity of the Tuath de Danaan with the degenerate fairy of Christian times appears plainly in the fact, that while Sidhes are the halls of Tuatha, the fairies are the people of the Sidhe, and sometimes called the Sidhe simply.”
The old Irish literature abounds with magic. Druidic spells were sometimes in this form–“I impose upon thee that thou mayst wander to and fro along a river,” &c.
In the chase, a hero found the lost golden ring of a maiden —
“But scarce to the shore the prize could bring,
When by some blasting ban–
Ah! piteous tale–the Fenian King
Grew a withered, grey old man.Of Cumhal’s son then Cavolte sought
What wizard Danaan foe had wrought
Such piteous change, and Finn replied–
‘Twas Guillin’s daughter–me she bound
By a sacred spell to search the tide
Till the ring she lost was found.
Search and find her, She gave him a cup–
Feeble he drinks–the potion speeds
Through every joint and pore;
To palsied age fresh youth succeeds–
Finn, of the swift and slender steeds,
Becomes himself once more.”
Druidic sleeps are frequently mentioned, as–
“Or that small dwarf whose power could steep
The Fenian host in death-like sleep.”
Kennedy’s Fictions of the Irish Celts relates a number of magical tales. The Lianan might well be feared when we are told of the revenge one took upon a woman–“Being safe from the eyes of the household, she muttered some words, and, drawing a Druidic wand from under her mantle, she struck her with it, and changed her into a most beautiful wolf-hound.” The Lianan reminds one of the classical Incubi and Succubi. Yet Kennedy admits that “in the stories found among the native Irish, there is always evident more of the Christian element than among the Norse or German collections.”
The story about Fintan’s adventures, from the days of the Flood to the coming of St. Patrick, “has been regarded as a Pagan myth,” says one, “in keeping with the doctrine of Transmigration.”
In the Annals of Clonmacnoise we hear of seven magicians working against the breaker of an agreement. Bruga of the Boyne was a great De Danaan magician. Jocelin assures us that one prophesied the coming of St. Patrick a year before his arrival. Angus the Tuath had a mystic palace on the Boyne. The healing stone of St. Conall has been supposed to be a remnant of Tuath magic; it is shaped like a dumb-bell, and is still believed in by many.
In spite of the Lectures of the learned O’Curry, declaring the story to be “nothing but the most vague and general assertions,” Irish tradition supports the opinion of Pliny that, as to magic, there were those in the British Isles “capable of instructing even the Persians themselves in these arts.” But O’Curry admits that “the European Druidical system was but the offspring of the eastern augurs”; and the Tuaths came from the East. They wrote or repeated charms, as the Hawasjilars of Turkey still write Nushas. Adder-stones were used to repel evil spirits, not less than to cure diseases. One, writing in 1699, speaks of seeing a stone suspended from the neck of a child as remedy for whooping-cough. Monuments ascribed to the Tuatha are to be seen near the Boyne, and at Drogheda, Dowth, Knowth, &c.
According to tradition, this people brought into Ireland the magic glaive from Gorias, the magic cauldron from Murias, the magic spear from Finias, and the magic Lia Fail or talking coronation stone from Falias; though the last is, also, said to have been introduced by the Milesians when they came with Pharaoh’s daughter.
Enthusiastic Freemasons believe the Tuatha were members of the mystic body, their supposed magic being but the superior learning they imported from the East. If not spiritualists in the modern sense of that term, they may have been skilled in Hypnotism, inducing others to see or hear what their masters wished them to see or hear.
When the Tuatha were contending with the Firbolgs, the Druids on both sides prepared to exercise their enchantments. Being a fair match in magical powers, the warriors concluded not to employ them at all, but have a fair fight between themselves. This is, however, but one of the tales of poetic chronicles; of whom Kennedy’s Irish Fiction reports–“The minstrels were plain, pious, and very ignorant Christians, who believed in nothing worse than a little magic and witchcraft.”
It was surely a comfort to Christians that magic-working Druids were often checkmated by the Saints. When St. Columba, in answer to an inquiry by Brochan the magician, said he should be sailing away in three days, the other replied that he would not be able to do so, as a contrary wind and a dark mist should be raised to prevent the departure. Yet the Culdee ventured forth in the teeth of the opposing breeze, sailing against it and the mist. In like manner Druid often counteracted Druid. Thus, three Tuatha Druidessess,–Bodhbh, Macha, and Mor Kegan,–brought down darkness and showers of blood and fire upon Firbolgs at Tara for three days, until the spell was broken by the Firbolg magic bearers–Cesara, Gnathach, and Ingnathach. Spells or charms were always uttered in verse or song. Another mode of bringing a curse was through the chewing of thumbs by enchantresses. Fal the Tuath made use of the Wheel of Light, which, somehow, got connected with Simon Magus by the Bards, and which enabled the professor to ride through the air, and perform other wonders. We hear, also, of a Sword of Light. The magic cauldron was known as the Brudins.
Some of the Tuath Druids had special powers,–as the gift of knowledge in Fionn; a drink, too, given from his hands would heal any wound, or cure any disease. Angus had the power of travelling on the wings of the cool east wind. Credne, the Tuath smith, made a silver hand for Nuadhat, which was properly fitted on his wrist by Dianceht, the Irish Æsculapius. To complete the operation, Miach, son of Dianceht, took the hand and infused feeling and motion in every joint and vein, as if it were a natural hand. It is right to observe, however, that, according to Cormac’s Glossary, Dianceht meant “The god of curing.”
Finn as elsewhere said, acquired his special privilege by accidentally sucking his thumb after it had rested upon the mysterious Salmon of Knowledge. He thus acquired the power of Divination. Whenever he desired to know any particular thing, he had only to suck his thumb, and the whole chain of circumstances would be present to his mind. The Magic Rod is well known to have been the means of transforming objects or persons. The children of Lir were changed by a magic wand into four swans, that flew to Loch Derg for 300 years, and subsequently removed to the sea of Moyle between Erin and Alba.
Transformation stories are numerous in the ancient legends of Ireland. A specimen is given in the Genealogy of Corea Laidhe. A hag, “ugly and bald, uncouth and loathesome to behold,” the subject of some previous transformation, seeks deliverance from her enchanted condition by some one marrying her; when “she suddenly passed into another form, she assumed a form of wondrous beauty.”
Some enchanters assumed the appearance of giants. The Fenians of old dared not hunt in a certain quarter from fear of one of these monsters. Cam has been thus described in the story of Diarmuid–“whom neither weapon wounds, nor water drowns, so great is his magic. He has but one eye only, in the fair middle of his black forehead, and there is a thick collar of iron round that giant’s body, and he is fated not to die until there be struck upon him three strokes of the iron club that he has. He sleeps in the top of that Quicken tree by night, and he remains at its foot by day to watch it.” The berries of that tree had the exhilarating quality of wine, and he who tasted them, though he were one hundred years old, would renew the strength of thirty years.
The Fate of the Children of Tuireann, in an Irish MS., gave a curious narrative of Tuath days and magic. It was published by the “Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language.” The sons had to pay heavy eric, or damages, on account of a murder. One failed, and died of his wounds. Lugh got helped by Brian the Druid against the Fomorians, who were then cruelly oppressing the Tuaths, exacting an ounce of gold from each, under penalty of cutting their noses off. Druidical spells were freely used by Lugh, the hero of the story.
The eric in question required the three sons to procure the three apples from the garden of the Hesperides,–the skin of the pig, belonging to the King of Greece, which could cure diseases and wounds,–two magic horses from the King of Sicily,–seven pigs from the King of the Golden Pillars, &c. Once on their adventures, Brian changed them with his wand into three hawks, that they might seize the apples; but the King’s daughters, by magic, changed themselves into griffins, and chased them away, though the Druid, by superior power, then turned them into harmless swans. One son gained the pig’s skin as a reward for reciting a poem. A search for the Island of Fianchaire beneath the sea was a difficulty. But we are told, “Brian put on his water-dress.” Securing a head-dress of glass, he plunged into the water. He was a fortnight walking in the salt sea seeking for the land.
Lugh came in contact with a fairy cavalcade, from the Land of Promise. His adventure with Cian illustrated ideas of transformation. Cian, when pursued, “saw a great herd of swine near him, and he struck himself with a Druidical wand into the shape of one of the swine.” Lugh was puzzled to know which was the Druidical pig. But striking his two brothers with a wand, he turned them into two slender, fleet hounds, that “gave tongue ravenously” upon the trail of the Druidical pig, into which a spear was thrust. The pig cried out that he was Clan, and wanted to return to his human shape, but the brothers completed their deed of blood.
Not only the pig, but brown bulls and red cows figure in stories of Irish magic. We read of straw thrown into a man’s face, with the utterance of a charm, and the poor fellow suddenly going mad. Prince Comgan was struck with a wand, and boils and ulcers came over him, until he gradually sunk into a state of idiocy. A blind Druid carried about him the secret of power in a straw placed in his shoe, which another sharp fellow managed to steal.
Illumination, by the palms of the hands on the cheek of one thrown into a magical sleep, was another mode of procuring answers to questions. Ciothruadh, Druid to Cormac, of Cashel, sought information concerning a foe after making a Druidical fire of the mystical mountain ash. But he was beaten in his enchantments by Mogh Ruith, the King of Munster’s Druid, who even transformed, by a breath, the three wise men of Cashel into stones, which may be seen to this day. That he accomplished with charms and a fire of the rowan tree. The virtues of rowan wood are appreciated to this day in Munster, where provident wives secure better butter by putting a hoop of it round their churns.
Tuaths had a reputation for their ability in the interpretation of dreams and omens, and their skill in auguries. Some Druids, like Mogh Ruith, could fly by the aid of magical wings. It was, however, no Irishman, but Math, the divine Druid, who brought his magic to Gwydron ab Dom, and was clever enough to form a woman out of flowers, deemed by poetic natures a more romantic origin than from the rib of a man. Manannan, son of a Tuath chieftain, he who gave name to the Isle of Man, rolled on three legs, as a wheel, through a Druidic mist. He subsequently became King of the Fairies.
Professor Rhys speaks of the Tuatha as Tribes of the goddess Danu; though the term, he says, “is somewhat vague, as are also others of the same import, such as Tuath Dea, the Tribes of the goddess–and Fir Dea, the men of the goddess.” He further remarks–“The Tuatha de Danann contain among them light and dark divinities, and those standing sometimes in the relation of parents and offspring to one another.”
Massey has the following philological argument for the Tuatha, saying:–“The Tuaut (Egy.), founded on the underworld, denotes the gate of worship, adoration; the worshippers, Tuaut ta tauan, would signify the place of worship within the mound of earth, the underground sanctuary. The Babylonian temple of Bit-Saggdhu was in the gate of the deep. The Tuaut or portal of Ptah’s temple faced the north wind, and the Irish Tievetory is the hill-side north. The Tuaut entrance is also glossed by the English Twat. The Egyptian Tuantii are the people of the lower hemisphere, the north, which was the type of the earth-temple. The Tuatha are still known in Ireland by the name of the Divine Folk; an equivalent to Tuantii for the worshippers.”
The Rev. R. Smiddy fancies the people, as Denan or Dene-ion, were descendants of Dene, the fire-god. An old MS. calls them the people of the god Dana. Clive, therefore, asks, if they were simply the old gods of the country. Joyce, in Irish Names says, ‘This mysterious race, having undergone a gradual deification, became confounded and identified with the original local gods, and ultimately superseded them altogether.” He recalls the Kerry mountain’s name of Da-chich-Danainne. He considers the Tuatha “a people of superior intelligence and artistic skill, and that they were conquered, and driven into remote districts, by the less intelligent but more warlike Milesian tribes who succeeded them.”
Lady Ferguson, in her Story of the Irish before the Conquest, has the idea of the Danaans being kinsmen to the Firbolgs, that they came from the region of the Don and Vistula, under Nuad of the Silver Hand, defeating Eochaid, King of the Firbolgs, at Moytura, and ruling Ireland two hundred years.
They were certainly workers in metal, and have therefore been confounded by monkish writers with smiths. St. Patrick’s prayer against smiths, and the traditional connection between smiths and magic, can thus be understood. They–according to the Book of Invasions—
“By the force of potent spells and wicked magic
And conjurations horrible to hear,
Could set the ministry of hell at work,
And raise a slaughtered army from the earth,
And make them live, and breathe, and fight again.
Few could their arts withstand, or charms unbind.” They were notorious in Sligo, a county so full of so-called Druidical remains. In Carrowmore, with its sixty-four stone circles, there must once have been a large population. “Why,” asks Wood-Martin, “is that narrow strip of country so thickly strewn with monuments of the Dead?” But he learned that the Fomorian pirates, possibly from the Baltic, swarmed on that wild coast. He especially notes the tales of Indech, a mighty Fomorian Druid, grandfather of the dreaded Balor, of the Evil Eye.
The mythic Grey Cow belonged to Lon mac Liomhtha, the first smith among the Tuaths who succeeded in making an iron sword. At the battle of Moytura, Uaithne was the Druid harper of the Tuatha. Of Torna, last of Pagan Bards, it was declared he was
“Sprung of the Tualtha de Danans, far renown’d
For dire enchanting arts and magic power.” But, as Miss Brooke tells us, “most of the Irish romances are filled with Dananian enchantments, as wild as the wildest of Ariosto’s fictions, and not at all behind them in beauty.” It was Dr. Barnard, Bishop of Killaloe, who traced the race to visitors from South Britain; saying, “The Belgæ and Danmonii, whose posterity in Ireland were called Firbolghs and Tuatha de Danan.”
In the destructive battle between the “manly, bloody, robust Fenians of Fionn,” and “the white-toothed, handsome Tuatha Dedaans,” when the latter saw a fresh corps of Fenians advancing, it is recorded that “having enveloped themselves in the Feigh Fiadh, they made a precipitate retreat.”
Jubainville’s Cours de la littérature Celtique does not omit mention of these wonder-workers. He calls to mind the fact that, like the Greeks of the Golden Age, they became invisible, but continued their relations with men; that the Christian writers changed them into mortal kings in chronicles; that their migrations and deities resemble those of Hesiod; that they continue to appear in animal or human forms, though more commonly as birds; that ancient legends record their descent to earth from the blue heavens.
He brings forward a number of the old Irish stories about the Tuaths. When defeated by the Sons of Milé, they sought refuge in subterranean palaces. One Dagan, a word variant of the god Dagdé, exercised such influence, that the sons of Milé were forced, for peace’ sake, to make a treaty with him. His palace retreat below was at Brug na Boinné, the castle of the Boyne. The burial-place of Crimtham Nia Nair, at Brug na Boinné, was chosen because his wife was a fairy of the race of Tuatha. In the Tain bô Cuailnge there is much about theSid, or enchanted palace. Dagdé had his harp stolen by the Fomorians, though it was recovered later on.
The son of Dagdé was Oengus. When the distribution of subterranean palaces took place, somehow or other, this young fellow was forgotten. Asking to be allowed to spend the night at one, he was unwilling to change his quarters, and stayed the next day. He then absolutely refused to depart, since time was only night and day; thus retaining possession. The same Tuath hero fell in love with a fair harper, who appeared to him in a dream. The search, aided by the fairies, was successful in finding the lady, after a year and a day.
It was in his second battle that Ogmé carried off the sword of Tethra, King of the Fomorians. This sword had the gift of speech; or, rather, said Jubainville, it seemed to speak, for the voice which was heard was, according to a Christian historian, only that of a demon hidden in the blade. Still, the writer of this Irish epic remarked, that in that ancient time men adored weapons of war, and considered them as supernatural protectors.
The Book of Conquests allows that the Tuatha were descended from Japhet, though in some way demons; or, in Christian language, heathen deities. One Irish word was often applied to them, viz. Liabra, or phantoms. It is believed that at least one Tuath warrior, named Breas, could speak in native Irish to the aboriginal Firbolgs.
A writer in Anecdota Oxon is of opinion that very different notions and accounts exist at the different periods of Irish epic literature concerning them. He declares that, excepting their names, no very particular traces of them have come down to us. The most distinct of the utterances about the race points to the existence of war-goddesses.
Wilde gives a definite reason why we know so little about the Tuatha de Danaans. It was because “those who took down the legends from the mouths of the bards and annalists, or those who subsequently transcribed them, were Christian missionaries, whose object was to obliterate every vestige of the ancient forms of faith.” The distortion of truth about these singular, foreign people makes it so difficult to understand who or what they were; to us they seem always enveloped in a sort of Druidic fog, so that we may class them with men, heroic demi-gods, or gods themselves, according to our fancy.
~~~~~~ Proton Kinoun – Apeiron
“The Poison Path” – Gwyllm 2014
“The Poison Path” is a phrase we’ve have borrowed from Dale Pendell. (You should read his “Pharmako Series” Pharmako /Poeia /Gnosis /Dynamis published by Mercury House) (The design would rightly fall under “Gnosis”) The 4 symbols denote major molecular guides via the plant & fungi world. The molecules were chosen because of their universality in human affairs stretching back into time out of mind. (The upper left molecule though being originally limited to these shores.) The Poison Path is traditionally one of the “Left Hand” paths to Gnosis, a shortening of the way. It corresponds with various forms of Sexual Magick, and in some schools there is little differentiation between the two paths, and they are often viewed as one and the same. “The Poison Path” celebrates The Great Rites, in all of their ancient glory, depth and beauty.
We will let you work out what the 4 molecules are!
~~~~~~ The artist belongs to his work, not the work to the artist. – Novalis
Royal Crush – Gwyllm 2014
A new piece that may soon be part of a mural project. More details to follow.
Should have another entry this week. I will let ya know.
Heaven and Earth are everlasting
The reason Heaven and Earth can last forever
Is that they do not exist for themselves
Thus they can last forever
Therefore the sages:
Place themselves last but end up in front
Are outside of themselves and yet survive
Is it not due to their selflessness?
That is how they can achieve their own goals
– Tao Te Ching
On The Menu:
A Week Of It
Buster The Kitty
Anne Briggs (1971)
~~~ A Week Of It:
So… it has been a week of it. The trees are going nuts, the sky is either bright blue, or pounding down with rain, with little between. Perfect spring weather. We lost our old cat Buster to the grinding wheels of time yesterday. It was expected but what a shock. None of the 4 footed now remain in our tribe.
Today: So I got up really early and took a long walk. My health has been a bit of a concern, so I am spending less time sitting on the computer, and trying to get back up on the whole idea of exercising. So… there it is about 6:30 in the morning, and I am out walking thinking about the passed week, and the plans for the new week. Not much going on in the here and now until I got into the walk, and discovered part of the South West Portland Trail set up. I had been meandering along and all of a sudden I found a trail head in an area I had no idea that the trail existed in. Kind of neat finding it.
I arrived at home, fixed coffee, and proceeded to work on art. Whilst working on a new piece with pen and ink I came to realize that with Buster’s passing that I hadn’t accepted fully that we were entering a new phase in our lives. I understood that there had to be a ceremonial break, and after working on the Land Cruiser with Mary getting it ready for the week, I went into the shop, and retrieved the poetry box that has been gathering dust. I went out to the front, dug a hole for the post, and put the box up:
Jessa took this photo of yours truly, dishevelled, and happy:
You have to make a clean break of it. I always had, but the last bunch of changes have been on a new level all together. Time to move along, time.
The first poem was the last one posted at the old digs. Wendell Berry, who grows ever so in my estimations:
“Circles of Our Lives”
Within the circles of our lives
we dance the circles of the years,
the circles of the seasons
within the circles of the years,
the cycles of the moon
within the circles of the seasons,
the circles of our reasons
within the cycles of the moon.
Again, again we come and go,
changed, changing. Hands
join, unjoin in love and fear,
grief and joy. The circles turn,
each giving into each, into all.
Only music keeps us here,
each by all the others held.
In the hold of hands and eyes
we turn in pairs, that joining
joining each to all again.
And then we turn aside, alone,
out of the sunlight gone
into the darker circles of return.
~~~~~~ Buster The Kitty:
It has been a week of joy & sorrow. Our old kitty Buster passed away, just shy of his 18th birthday. The week in many ways was formed around him and the process he was in. Here is Buster at the place in the yard where the birdbath was. As he no longer hunted, he would wait for the Wren to bath in the morning, after which he would walk over/and later pull himself to, and drink his fill.
Buster came to us the day we moved into our old house on 22nd. A neighbor slipped him to Rowan who was about 5 at the time. I was really ticked off, as we already had a cat, but he soon made his way into our hearts. He would run up my leg (thank goodness for denim!) when he heard the can opener. He always loved his food.
Being the Beta cat, he ran the outside whilst Nickey our older kitty ruled the roost. Buster was a known terror of the neighborhood, who took on the task of Rat & Squirrel master. He would leave presents of what I called “Rat On A Stick” the bottom half eaten and the top half with a look of “Surprise!”. I would come out, and there he would be, prancing back and forth. I would have to retrieve the half rat, and make noises of praise, on which the strutting would get even more pronounced.
He was known locally in the old neighborhood as “Schwarzen-Kitteh” as he was very buff, though small. He was solid muscle, and the neighbors used to complain about his pursuits of squirrels through the upper trees, across roofs, through yards… He was a fierce hunter.
As he got older he mellowed out considerably. After Nicky passed away, he moved more into the house, and became a great companion. He always wanted to be in your lap, and loved hanging out with people. The only time he would make him self scarce was during Solstice and other large gatherings, to reappear and resume his place and dialog with the family. He became more vocal, and loved nothing better than hanging out lounging against my leg when I was on the computer. Eventually he took to sleeping with us, and he ruled the bed until he started losing it later on in life.
I think the move was hard on him. He had known but one place in his life. He was not happy at first in the new place. I don’t think he quite adjusted to it. In the last 4 months of his time with us he lost the use of his hind legs due to a Thrombus, and even that didn’t slow him down. He would pull himself through the house at a furious rate, though the last month found him not up to it anymore. He would come into the office, and want to be held, or he would lean against my leg for hours at a time. The last weeks were spent in a near constant communion with him when we were at home. Towards the end he wanted to be in our presence at all times.
When he finally died, he was being held by all of us. He went peacefully. We miss him already.
By – Anon
Translated by Seamus Heaney
From the ninth-century Irish poem
Pangur Bán and I at work,
Adepts, equals, cat and clerk:
His whole instinct is to hunt,
Mine to free the meaning pent.
More than loud acclaim, I love
Books, silence, thought, my alcove.
Happy for me, Pangur Bán
Child-plays round some mouse’s den.
Truth to tell, just being here,
Housed alone, housed together,
Adds up to its own reward:
Concentration, stealthy art.
Next thing an unwary mouse
Bares his flank: Pangur pounces.
Next thing lines that held and held
Meaning back begin to yield.
All the while, his round bright eye
Fixes on the wall, while I
Focus my less piercing gaze
On the challenge of the page.
With his unsheathed, perfect nails
Pangur springs, exults and kills.
When the longed-for, difficult
Answers come, I too exult.
So it goes. To each his own.
No vying. No vexation.
Taking pleasure, taking pains,
Kindred spirits, veterans.
Day and night, soft purr, soft pad,
Pangur Bán has learned his trade.
Day and night, my own hard work
Solves the cruxes, makes a mark.
Great album by one of Britain’s great interpreters of traditional music.
Anne Briggs (1971)
~~~~ Reading his works again. Always something to find in his writings! Against “Legalization”
By Hakim Bey
As a writer, I am distressed and depressed by the suspicion that “dissident media” has become a contradiction in terms – an impossibility. Not because of any triumph of censorship however, but the reverse. There is no real censorship in our society, as Chomsky points out. Suppression of dissent is instead paradoxically achieved by allowing media to absorb (or “co-opt”) all dissent as image.
Once processed as commodity, all rebellion is reduced to the image of rebellion, first as spectacle, and last as simulation. (See Debord, Baudrillard, etc.) The more powerful the dissent as art (or “discourse”) the more powerless it becomes as commodity. In a world of Global Capital, where all media function collectively as the perfect mirror of Capital, we can recognize a global Image or universal imaginaire, universally mediated, lacking any outside or margin. All Image has undergone Enclosure, and as a result it seems that all art is rendered powerless in the sphere of the social. In fact, we can no longer even assume the existence of any “sphere of the social. All human relations can be—and are—expressed as commodity relations.
In this situation, it would seem “reform” has also become an impossibility, since all partial ameliorizations of society will be transformed (by the same paradox that determines the global Image) into means of sustaining and enhancing the power of the commodity. For example, “reform” and “democracy” have now become code-words for the forcible imposition of commodity relations on the former Second and Third Worlds. “Freedom” means freedom of corporations, not of human societies.
From this point of view, I have grave reservations about the reform program of the anti-Drug-Warriors and legalizationists. I would even go so far as to say that I am “against legalization.”
Needless to add that I consider the Drug War an abomination, and that I would demand immediate unconditional amnesty for all “prisoners of consciousness”—assuming that I had any power to make demands! But in a world where all reform can be instantaneously turned into new means of control, according to the “paradox” sketched in the above paragraphs, it makes no sense to go on demanding legalization simply because it seems rational and humane.
For example, consider what might result from the legalization of “medical marijuana”—clearly the will of the people in at least six states. The herb would instantly fall under drastic new regulations from “Above” (the AMA, the courts, insurance companies, etc.). Monsanto would probably acquire the DNA patents and “intellectual ownership” of the plant’s genetic structure. Laws would probably be tightened against illegal marijuana for “recreational uses.” Smokers would be defined (by law) as “sick.” As a commodity, Cannabis would soon be denatured like other legal psychotropics such as coffee, tobacco, or chocolate.
Terence McKenna once pointed out that virtually all useful research on psychotropics is carried out illegally and is often largely funded from underground. Legalization would make possible a much tighter control from above over all drug research. The valuable contributions of the entheogenic underground would probably diminish or cease altogether. Terence suggested that we stop wasting time and energy petitioning the authorities for permission to do what we’re doing, and simply get on with it.
Yes, the Drug War is evil and irrational. Let us not forget, however, that as an economic activity, the War makes quite good sense. I’m not even going to mention the booming “corrections industry,” the bloated police and intelligence budgets, or the interests of the pharmaceutical cartels. Economists estimate that some ten percent of circulating capital in the world is “gray money” derived from illegal activity (largely drug and weapon sales). This gray area is actually a kind of free-floating frontier for Global Capital itself, a small wave that precedes the big wave and provides its “sense of direction.” (For example gray money or “offshore” capital is always the first to migrate from depressed markets to thriving markets.) “War is the health of the State” as Randolph Bourne once said—but war is no longer so profitable as in the old days of booty, tribute and chattel slavery. Economic war increasingly takes its place, and the Drug War is an almost “pure” form of economic war. And since the Neo-liberal State has given up so much power to corporations and “markets” since 1989, it might justly be said that the War on Drugs constitutes the “health” of Capital itself.
From this perspective, reform and legalization would clearly be doomed to failure for deep “infrastructural” reasons, and therefore all agitation for reform would constitute wasted effort—a tragedy of misdirected idealism. Global Capital cannot be “reformed” because all reformation is deformed when the form itself is distorted in its very essence. Agitation for reform is allowed so that an image of free speech and permitted dissidence can be maintained, but reform itself is never permitted. Anarchists and Marxists were right to maintain that the structure itself must be changed, not merely its secondary characteristics. Unfortunately the “movement of the social” itself seems to have failed, and even its deep underlying structures must now be “re-invented” almost from scratch. The War on Drugs is going to go on. Perhaps we should consider how to act as warriors rather than reformers. Nietzsche says somewhere that he has no interest in overthrowing the stupidity of the law, since such reform would leave nothing for the “free spirit” to accomplish—nothing to “overcome.” I wouldn’t go so far as to recommend such an “immoral” and starkly existentialist position. But I do think we could do with a dose of stoicism.
Beyond (or aside from) economic considerations, the ban on (some) psychotropics can also be considered from a “shamanic” perspective. Global Capital and universal Image seem able to absorb almost any “outside” and transform it into an area of commodification and control. But somehow, for some strange reason, Capital appears unable or unwilling to absorb the entheogenic dimension. It persists in making war on mind-altering or transformative substance, rather than attempting to “co-opt” and hegemonize their power.
In other words it would seem that some sort of authentic power is at stake here. Global Capital reacts to this power with the same basic strategy as the Inquisition—by attempting to suppress it from the outside rather than control it from within. (“Project MKULTRA” was the government’s secret attempt to penetrate the occult interior of psychotropism-–it appears to have failed miserably.) In a world that has abolished the Outside by the triumph of the Image, it seems that at least one “outside” nevertheless persists. Power can deal with this outside only as a form of the unconscious, i.e., by suppression rather than realization. But this leaves open the possibility that those who manage to attain “direct awareness” of this power might actually be able to wield it and implement it. If “entheogenic neo-shamanism” (or whatever you want to call it) cannot be betrayed and absorbed into the power-structure of the Image, then we may hypothesize that it represents a genuine Other, a viable alternative to the “one world” of triumphant Capital. It is (or could be) our source of power.
The “Magic of the State” (as M. Taussig calls it), which is also the magic of Capital itself, consists of social control through the manipulation of symbols. This is attained through mediation, including the ultimate medium, money as hieroglyphic text, money as pure Imagination as “social fiction” or mass hallucination. This real illusion has taken the place of both religion and ideology as delusionary sources of social power. This power therefore possesses (or is possessed by) a secret goal; that all human relations be defined according to this hieroglyphic mediation, this “magic.” But neo-shamanism proposes with all seriousness that another magic may exist, an effective mode of consciousness that cannot be hexed by the sign of the commodity. If this were so, it would help explain why the Image appears unable or unwilling to deal “rationally” with the “issue of drugs.” In fact, a magical analysis of power might emerge from the observed fact of this radical incompatibility of the Global Imaginaire and shamanic consciousness.
In such a case, what could our power consist of in actual empirical terms? I am far from proposing that “winning” the War on Drugs would somehow constitute The Revolution—or even that “shamanic power” could contest the magic of the State in any strategic manner. Clearly however the very existence of entheogenism as a true difference—in a world where true difference is denied—marks the historic validity of an Other, of an authentic Outside. In the (unlikely) event of legalization, this Outside would be breached, entered, colonized, betrayed, and turned into sheer simulation. A major source of initiation, still accessible in a world apparently devoid of mystery and of will, would be dissolved into empty representation, a pseudo-rite of passage into the timeless/spaceless enclosure of the Image. In short, we would have sacrificed our potential power to the ersatz reform of legalization, and we would win nothing thereby but the simulacrum of tolerance at the expense of the triumph of Control.
Again: I have no idea what our strategy shall be. I believe however that the time has come to admit that a tactics of mere contingency can no longer sustain us. “Permitted dissent” has become an empty category, and reform merely a mask for recuperation. The more we struggle on “their” terms the more we lose. The drug legalization movement has never won a single battle. Not in America anyway—and America is the “sole superpower” of Global Capital. We boast of our outlaw status as outsiders or marginals, as guerilla ontologists; why then, do we continually beg for authenticity and validation (either as “reward” or as “punishment”) from authority? What good would it do us if we were to be granted this status, this “legality”?
The Reform movement has upheld true rationality and it has championed real human values. Honor where honor is due. Given the profound failure of the movement however, might it not be timely to say a few words for the irrational, for the irreducible wildness of shamanism, and even a single word for the values of the warrior? “Not peace, but a sword.”
The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named is not the eternal name
The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth
The named is the mother of myriad things
Thus, constantly without desire, one observes its essence
Constantly with desire, one observes its manifestations
These two emerge together but differ in name
The unity is said to be the mystery
Mystery of mysteries, the door to all wonders
– Tao Te Ching
The lovely Lo Fo of the western land
Plucks mulberry leaves by the waterside.
Across the green boughs stretches out her white hand;
In golden sunshine her rosy robe is dyed.
‘my silkworms are hungry, I cannot stay.
Tarry not with your five-horse cab, I pray.’
Li Po (Li Bai)
The Great Wheel:
A beautiful week here in P-Town. Working in the N.E., working on art, hanging with my sweetheart.
Here we are, at perfect balance, the vernal Equinox. I love the cross quarter days, the feeling of The Great Wheel, the round, the juggernaut of eternity. We are here for awhile, these are our moments, and the world hangs in perfect balance.
It is colder up here on the hills, but the views! I look out as I type, and it is as if I am in a forest with just a few houses. A sweet illusion, but it works. We are plotting our return to inner Portland though, as the walking here takes you onto roads where one must compete with cars, and we are at a distance from most everyone we know.
Working on art, and trying to revive Radio Free EarthRites if I can just get my head around some tech stuff.
Thanks for visiting, I hope this finds you all well.
On The Menu:
Poems For The Vernal Equinox
Bad Liquor Pond
~~~~~~ Rancho Relaxo:
~~~~~~ Poems For The Vernal Equinox:
“The afternoon is bright,
with spring in the air,
a mild March afternoon,
with the breath of April stirring,
I am alone in the quiet patio
looking for some old untried illusion –
some shadow on the whiteness of the wall
some memory asleep
on the stone rim of the fountain,
perhaps in the air
the light swish of some trailing gown.”
– Antonio Machado, 1875-1939
“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”
– William Wordsworth, Daffodils
“Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough.”
– A. E. Houseman, Shropshire Lad
“Ere frost-flower and snow-blossom faded and fell,
and the splendor of winter had passed out of sight,
The ways of the woodlands were fairer and stranger
than dreams that fulfill us in sleep with delight;
The breath of the mouths of the winds had hardened on tree-tops
and branches that glittered and swayed
Such wonders and glories of blossom like snow
or of frost that outlightens all flowers till it fade
That the sea was not lovelier than here was the land,
nor the night than the day, nor the day than the night,
Nor the winter sublimer with storm than the spring:
such mirth had the madness and might in thee made,
March, master of winds, bright minstrel and marshal of storms
that enkindle the season they smite.”
– Algernon C. Swinburne, March: An Ode
“Gone were but the Winter,
Come were but the Spring,
I would go to a covert
Where the birds sing;
Where in the whitethorn
Singeth a thrush,
And a robin sings
In the holly-bush.
Full of fresh scents
Are the budding boughs
Arching high over
A cool green house:
Full of sweet scents,
And whispering air
Which sayeth softly:
We spread no snare;
Here dwell in safety,
Here dwell alone,
With a clear stream
And a mossy stone.
Here the sun shineth
Here is heard an echo
Of the far sea,
Though far off it be.”
– Christina Rossetti, Spring Quiet
“You ask me why I dwell in the green mountain;
I smile and make no reply for my heart is free of care.
As the peach-blossom flows down stream and is gone into the unknown,
I have a world apart that is not among men.”
– Li Bai
Solar Folk-Lore Sun Lore of All Ages, by William Tyler Olcott
The distinction between mythology and folklore is an extremely fine one, and though there is such a distinction, still the two subjects are so essentially analogous it will not be strange if portions of the material in this chapter would, according to some authorities, seem misplaced, and more properly included in the chapter on Solar Mythology, and vice versa. In view of the difficulties of an absolutely correct classification, the author makes no claim that his is the correct one.
In the early stages of the history of man, every act of nature and the movements of the heavenly bodies was attributed to the machinations of some one, a mysterious personage, an all-powerful being, an unseen god. The sun, as the chief luminary, commanded man’s attention from the earliest days, and it was but natural for primitive man to speculate on the phenomena of his daily appearance and disappearance in terms that seem to us now childish and puerile.
To men who looked to the west across a vast expanse of sea, the sun at nightfall seemed to sink directly into the waves, and, as they were confident that the sun was an extremely large and hot body they were convinced it would give out a hissing noise when the waters closed over it.
From the expression of the thought to the actual fact was but a step, and so we find Posidonius recording that the inhabitants of Cape St. Vincent, the westernmost point of Europe, claimed that the sun disappears each night into the sea with a great hissing noise.
We find the same idea current in the islands of Polynesia, in Iberia, and Germany, where the people claim to have heard the mighty hissing of the sea-quenched sun.
The Egyptians regarded the sun as a child when it was rising, and as an old man when it was setting in the evening. These ideas were also transferred to the annual motion of the sun. Macrobius states that the Egyptians compared the yearly course of the sun with the phases of human life; thus, a little child signified the winter solstice, a young man the spring equinox, a bearded man the summer solstice, and an old man the autumnal equinox. They also thought that Hercules had his seat in the sun, and that he travelled with it round the moon. The Hindus often referred to the sun as “the eye of Mithra, Varuna, and Agni,” and at sunrise or sunset, when the sun appeared to be squatting on the water, they likened it to a frog. This simile gave rise to a Sanscrit story, which is found also in German and Gaelic.
“Bhekî (the frog) was a beautiful maiden. One day when she was sitting near a well, a king rode by, and fascinated by her beauty, asked her hand in marriage. She consented on the condition that he would never show her a drop of water. He accepted, and they were married. One day being tired and thirsty she asked the king for a glass of water, and forgetting his promise, he granted her request, and his bride immediately vanished. That is to say, the sun disappeared when it touched the water.”
The sun was also regarded as a well, and in the Semitic, Persian, and Chinese languages the words “well” and “eye” are synonymous. Considered as a well, the rays of the sun were likened to the moisture that flows from the well.
In different parts of Africa we find the sun variously regarded. In Central Africa, where it is extremely hot, the rising of the sun is always dreaded, and the orb of day is a common enemy. It was the custom, among certain tribes, to curse the sun at his rising for afflicting the people with burning heat. In Southern Africa, on the contrary, the natives believed that they were descended from the Sun; and if, by chance, the rising of the sun was obscured by clouds, they thought the Sun purposely hid his face from them because their misdeeds offended him, and straightway they performed acts of propitiation. Work at once ceased, and the food of the previous day was given to the old women. The men of the tribe then went in a body to the river to purify themselves by washing in the stream. Each man threw into the river a stone from his hearth, and replaced it with a new one from the bed of the river. On returning to the village the chief kindled a fire in his hut, and the members of the tribe all gathered embers from it to light their individual hearth fires. The ceremony concluded with a dance in which the whole tribe joined. The idea seems to have been; that the lighting of the flame on earth would serve to rekindle the dead solar fire. When the sun set, these people said “The Sun dies.”
The early inhabitants of Polynesia called the sun “Ra,” which was also the Egyptian sun name. They believed that it was endowed with life, and the offspring of the gods. To account for its rise in the east each morning, after its disappearance in the west each night, they said that during the night it passed through a passage under the seas, so as to rise in its appointed place in the eastern sky each day.
In some of the islands the sun was thought to be a substance resembling fire, and they regarded its disappearance each night as a falling of the orb into the sea, and, as we have seen, the inhabitants of the westernmost islands were confident that they had heard the hissing occasioned by the sun’s plunge into the ocean.
The early tribes seemed to think they could control the light of the sun and s Lay or hasten its setting. “The Melanesians make sunshine by means of a mock sun,” says Frazer. 1 “A circular stone is wound about with red braid and stuck with owl’s feathers to represent the rays of the sun, or the stone is laid on the ground with white rods radiating from it to imitate sunbeams.” A white or red pig is sacrificed in the sunshine-making ceremony, and a black one when rain is desired.
In New Caledonia they burnt a skeleton to make sunshine, and drenched it with water if they wished for rain. They also had a more elaborate ceremony for producing sunshine, which Frazer 2 thus describes: “When a wizard desires to make sunshine he takes some plants and corals to the burial ground, and makes then into a bundle, adding two locks of hair cut from the head of a living child (his own child if possible), also two teeth, or an entire jawbone from the skeleton of an ancestor. He then climbs a high mountain whose top catches the first rays of the morning sun. Here he deposits three sorts of plants on a flat stone, places a branch of dry coral beside them, and hangs the bundle of charms over the stone. Next morning he returns to this rude altar, and at the moment when the sun rises from the sea, he kindles a fire on the altar. As the smoke rises he rubs the stone with the dry coral, invokes his ancestors and says: ‘Sun: I do this that you may be burning hot, and eat up all the clouds in the sky.’ The same ceremony is repeated at sunset.”
The sun, according to many traditions of primitive man, spent a part of its time in the underworld, or in a submarine passage beneath the seas, and if it did not go of its own volition, it was carried there by some enemy. Thus in Servia a tale is told, that when the devils fell, their king carried off the sun from heaven affixed to a lance. This was a great calamity, and the Archangel St. Michael was selected to try to recover it. He therefore set out for the underworld and succeeded in making friends with the archfiend. As they stood together by a lake, St. Michael proposed to the devil that they engage in a diving contest. The latter consented, and thrusting the lance which held the sun into the ground, he dived in. This was St. Michael’s opportunity, and making the sign of the cross, he grabbed the lance and made off, hotly pursued by the Evil One. Being fleet of foot he outdistanced him, but his pursuer was so close to him at one time that he managed to scratch his foot. In honour of St. Michael and his valiant deed, men, from that time on, were destined to have indented soles.
The old Germans called the sun “Wuotan’s eye,” and there is a German legend that reveals the sun as the punisher of evil thinkers: It appears that a prisoner was once on his way to execution, an object of pity to all whom he passed, but one woman, who was engaged in hanging up her linen to dry in the sun, remarked that he well deserved his fate. Immediately her linen fell to the ground, nor was she able to hang it up in this drying-place thereafter. It is further related that, at her death, she was taken up to the sun to remain there as long as the world endures, as a punishment for her lack of pity.
The peasants in various parts of Germany call the Milky Way the “Mealway” or the “Millway,” and say that it turns with the sun, for it first becomes visible at the point where the sun has set. It leads, therefore, to the heavenly mill, and its colour is that of the meal with which it is strewed. This brings us to the Norse story of “The Wonderful Mill,” 1 I an exceedingly interesting bit of folk-lore of solar significance. “The peasants of Norway to this day tell of the wondrous mill that ground whatever was demanded of it. The tradition is of great antiquity. The earliest version known is as follows: Of all beliefs, that in which man has at all times of his history been most prone to set faith, is that of a golden age of peace and plenty which has passed away, but which might be expected to return. Such a period of peace and plenty, such a golden time, the Norsemen could tell of in his mythic Frodi’s reign, when gold, or Frodi’s meal, as it was called, was so plentiful that golden armlets lay untouched from year’s end to year’s end on the King’s highway, and the fields bore crops unsown. In Frodi’s house were two maidens of that old giant race, Frenja and Menja. These daughters of the giant he had bought as slaves, and he made them grind his quern or hand-mill Grotti, out of which he used to grind peace and gold. Even in that golden age one sees there were slaves, and Frodi, however bountiful to his thanes and people, was a hard taskmaster to his giant handmaidens. He kept them to the mill, nor gave them longer rest than the cuckoo’s note lasted, or they could sing a song. But that quern was such that it ground everything that the grinder chose, though until then it had ground nothing but gold and peace. So the maidens ground and ground, and one sang their piteous tale in a strain worthy of Æschylus, as the other rested. They prayed for rest and pity, but Frodi was deaf. Then they turned in giant mood, and ground no longer peace and plenty, but fire and war. Then the quern went fast and furious, and that very night came Mysing the sea-rover and slew Frodi and all his men, and carried off the quern, and so Frodi’s peace ended. The maidens, the sea-rover took with him, and when he got on the high seas he bade them grind salt, so they ground, and at midnight they asked if he had not salt enough, but he bade them grind on. So they ground till the ship was full and sank. Mysing, maids, mill, and all, and that’s why the sea is salt.”
This wonder-working mill once stood in heaven, it is said, for Frodi its owner was no other than the Sun-God Freyr. The flat circular stone of Frodi’s quern is the disk of the sun, and its handle is the pramantha with which Indra or the Aswins used to kindle the extinguished luminary.
To explain the circular motion of the sun, the Incas of Peru believed that it was hung in space by a cord, and that each evening it entered the sea, and being a good swimmer it pierced through the waves, and reappeared next morning in the east.
The Incas claimed that the Sun was their own elder brother, and ruled over the cohorts of heaven by divine right. Their legends relate that the Sun took pity on the children of men, who, in primitive times, lived in a state of savagery, and he therefore sent his son and daughter to enlighten them, and teach them to live properly. They are said to have risen from the depths of Lake Titicaca, that marvellous sheet of water twelve thousand feet above the sea. They taught the Peruvians the essentials of culture and education.
According to another tradition, the Peruvians traced their origin from the first Inca, the Sun and his wife, who came from the island of the sun in Lake Titicaca, and founded the city of Cuzco, the sacred city of the sun. This island in the lake is therefore sacred to the Peruvians, and many ruins of the Incas are to be found there.
The Peruvians paid particular attention to the daily meridian passage of the sun, and observed that when it was in the zenith, it cast no shadow.
The early natives of Brazil believed that the sun was a ball of light feathers, which some mysterious being exhibits during the day, and covers at night with a pot.
The folk-lore of the North American Indian tribes is rich in legends respecting the sun. The Indians believed that the sun was an animated being endowed with human attributes. The following tales are related by the Thompson River Indians:
There was once a most mischievous and incorrigible youth who one morning strolled away from his home. On his return, he found that his parents had deserted him, but his old grandmother, who was unable to travel, was left behind. She taught the boy how to make a bow and arrows, and with these he was able to provide a daily supply of food. She also made blankets for him out of the skins of many coloured birds. These were of such beauty that they attracted the attention of the Sun. It had always been the custom of the Sun to travel about naked during the day, and clothe himself only in the dark hours. 1 But when the Sun saw these beautiful blankets, he purchased them from the boy, and wrapped them about his body, and soon disappeared, so that at set of sun you may see the gorgeous colouring of these robes in the western sky, especially the blue tint of the blue-jay blanket.
Another tale relates that originally the Sun lived much nearer the earth than now, 2 and preyed upon mankind. It was his custom to kill people every day on his travels, and carry them off to his home at night-fall to eat. His son lived quietly at home clad in fine garments of many colours. There was once an Indian who in gambling was most unlucky. One day, while much depressed, he set out on a journey in search of adventure, and finally came to the Sun’s abode in the absence of the owner. The son received him kindly, but fearing that his guest would be discovered by his cannibal father, he hid him under a heap of robes. The Sun arrived in the evening carrying a man on his back, and as he came near the house, he said: “Mum, Mum, Mum. 1 There must be a man here,” but his son persuaded him that he was mistaken. The next day the Indian was glad to leave this dangerous locality, and returned to his home laden with gifts from his benefactor. Out of gratitude he returned later to the Sun’s house and made his friend the present of a wife and one for his father. This pleased the Sun so much that he gave up the killing and eating of human beings. In the foregoing legend we find expressed the idea, current in the traditions of many primitive people, that celestial beings feed on human bodies.
The following tale is told of the Sun and his daughter: 1
Originally the Sun was an eminent chief, possessed of great power and wealth. He was also blessed with a beautiful daughter, and the fame of her beauty spread afar. A powerful magician, entranced with the maiden, sought her hand, and though at first repulsed, finally won the Sun’s favour and married his daughter. The Sun implored his daughter to visit him frequently. This, however, she neglected to do, and, finally, when she did go to her father with her two children, he transformed her into the present Sun. This is why the Sun travels each day from east to west in search of her father. Her children are occasionally seen as sun-dogs closely following their mother.
The Indians of Northern California relate the following story:
Once the sun fell by accident down from the sky just about sunrise, but the quick little mole was watching, and caught it before it touched the earth, and succeeded in holding it up until others arrived, when, by exerting all their strength, they succeeded in replacing it where it belonged in the sky, but ever thereafter the mole’s hands were bent far back to show how he had worked to hold up the sun.
As evidence of the Indian belief in the Sun’s solicitude in their affairs, and his protecting and saving influences, the Cheyenne tale of “The Eagle Hunter” is told:
There was an Indian who once set out to catch an eagle. Digging a hole in the ground he crept in, covered it over with brush, and cleverly baited it with a skinned buffalo calf. Presently an eagle espied the prey, flew down, and began to eat of it, when the Indian laid hold of its feet, and held it captive; but he had underestimated the power of the bird, which had strength enough to carry the man up to a mountain crag, where it was impossible for him to descend. The Indian realising his desperate plight, prayed to the Sun for deliverance, and the Sun, taking pity on him, sent a great whirlwind which swept the hunter from his lofty perch, and safely deposited him on the ground.
In a Maidu legend it is related that the Sun dwells in an impregnable house of ice into which she retreats after killing people on the earth. Once she abducted the Frog’s children, and was closely pursued by their angry mother, who finally overtook the Sun and swallowed her, but the Sun burst her open and transformed her into a Frog again.
There are many Indian tales wherein the sun figures as a target. The Shoshone Indians believed that, in the beginning, the sun did not shine till the Rabbit shot at him with his magical arrow (the fire drill).
In the following Mewan Indian legend, 1 the sunlight is extinguished by the arrow shot: “There was once a poor worthless Indian boy who got his living by begging. At length, finding people loath to assist him, he threatened to shoot out the sun, and as this had no effect, he made good his threat, and shot the sun, thus letting its light out, and the whole world became dark. It was dark for years, and every one was starving for want of light, when the Coyote-Man discovered a dim light a long distance off, and sent the Humming-bird to investigate. The bird, finding its way to the sun, pecked off a piece, and returned with it under its chin, and making repeated trips finally succeeded in restoring the full light of the sun, and to this day you can see the marks of its burden beneath the chin of the Humming-bird.” This association of the Humming-bird with the sun is found in the traditions of the Aztecs. In their temples was enthroned a deity known as “the Humming-bird to the left,” and this bird was considered by them to be a divine being, the emissary of the sun. In the Aztec language it is often called “Sunbeam,” or “Sun’s hair.”
Among the Indians there seems to have been an almost universal tradition that originally men lived in a world of darkness, or semi-darkness, before the sun was placed in the heavens. A Mewan legend relates that, in the early days, the land was shrouded in fog, and was cold and dark. It was such a poor place to live in that Coyote-Man was not satisfied with the conditions, and set out on a journey to seek some way to better it. He finally came to a pleasant land of sunshine, and, charmed with it, returned to tell his people of the delightful land he had visited. They suggested that he offer to buy the sun, so he returned to the land of light and made this proposition, but it was rejected, so Coyote-Man resolved to steal the sun as his people were in sore need of it.
This was a difficult matter as the sun was carefully watched by the Turtle, who slept with one eye always open. Coyote-Man, resorting to magic, took the form of a big oak log, and the Turtle, when out seeking for wood, took him and threw him on the fire. But the fire did not even singe him, and seeing the Turtle asleep, he resumed his form, seized the sun and ran off with it to his own land. The people, however, did not understand it, and bade Coyote-Man make it go, and, as he was sorry for the people he had deprived of the sun, he arranged a plan so that the sun could light up both lands. He carried the sun west to the place where the sky joins the earth, and found the place for the sun to crawl through, and where it could go down under the earth, and come up in the eastern sky in the morning through the hole in the east. The sun did his bidding, and thus both lands thereafter rejoiced in the blessedness of sunshine.
The Natchez of Mississippi, the Apalachees of Florida, the Mexicans and Peruvians, all believed that the sun is the bright dwelling-place of their departed chiefs and warriors.
A primitive Mexican prayer offered in time of war embodies this idea: “Be pleased, O our Lord, that the nobles who shall die in the war be peacefully and joyously received by the sun and the earth, who are the loving father and mother of all.”
It is said that General Harrison once called the Shawnee chief, Tecumseh, for a conference: “Come here, Tecumseh, and sit by your father,” he said. “You my father?” replied the chief with a stern air, “No, yonder sun [pointing toward it] is my father, and the earth is my mother, so I will rest on her bosom,” and he sat upon the ground.
The Kootenay Indians speak of the sun as a blind man who is cured by his father-in-law, Coyote-Man. Here we have another reference to the Coyote’s service to mankind in bringing sunshine to his people.
Among the New Zealanders the sun is regarded as a great beast whom the hunters thrashed with clubs. His blood is supposed to be used in some of their incantations, and according to an Egyptian tradition, the sun’s blood was kneaded into clay at the making of man.
We have seen how the sun was metaphorically regarded in India and other lands not merely as a human creature, but as the eye of a supreme and all-seeing deity. In like manner the inhabitants of Java, Sumatra, and Madagascar called the sun “the eye of day.” This metaphor has been used extensively even in modern poetry.
When the astronomers Galileo, Scheiner, and Fabricius discovered the spots on the sun, the Aristotelians indignantly insisted that they were mistaken, and that the phenomenon was due to defects in the optical properties of their telescopes or eyes. They argued that it was quite incompatible with the dignity of the Eye of the Universe that it should be afflicted with such a common ailment as ophthalmia.
Tylor 1 tells us that the Rev. Tobias Snowden, in a book published in the last century, proved the sun to be Hell, and the dark spots, gatherings of damned souls.
In Greece there was a general protest when the astronomers denied not only the divinity, but the very personality of the sun, and declared it to be nothing but a huge fiery globe. These statements were regarded as blasphemous, and, in fact, Anaxagoras was punished with death for having taught that the sun was not animated, and that it was nothing but a mass of iron, about the size of the Peloponnesus.
Such a state of affairs strikes us in this enlightened age as decidedly extraordinary, and yet in the history of the early settlers of this country we have in the trials for witchcraft an equally absurd and foolish state of affairs.
Every age, therefore, to be judged fairly on its merits, must be viewed in the light of its state of progress, and, grotesque as many of the foregoing legends related of the sun may seem, it behooves us to withhold our mirth, and endeavour to realise how much these traditions were a serious part of the lives of the people of unenlightened ages.
123:1 The Golden Bough, J. G. Frazer.
126:1 From Dasent’s Popular Tales from the Norse.
129:1 This may have been the Indian way of accounting for the invisibility of the sun at night.
129:2 It is strange that the nebular hypothesis conforms with this idea, that the sun and earth were close together at one time.
130:1 We are almost tempted to add, “I smell the blood of an Englishman,” for here we have a tale identical in many particulars with the popular fairy tale of “Jack the Giant Killer,” which some authorities claim is of solar origin.
131:1 This myth is typical of many that may well be styled Evaporation and Rainfall myths that are thus interpreted. The water is enamoured of the cloud, the beautiful daughter of the Sun. The Sun does not favour the suitor, and strives to kill him by subjecting him to a number of tests. The Water achieves success in all of these, and then receives the Sun’s permission to marry his daughter.
133:1 The Dawn of the World, C. Hart Merriam.
136:1 Primitive Culture, Edward B. Tylor.
~~~~~~ Bad Liquor Pond:
Spring Night in Lo-yang Hearing a Flute
In what house, the jade flute that sends these dark notes drifting,
scattering on the spring wind that fills Lo-yang?
Tonight if we should hear the willow-breaking song,
who could help but long for the gardens of home?
Li Po (Li Bai)