Gods of Divine Inebriation – Gwyllm

A Stream Flowing

Now I saw a stream flowing;
Now neither bank nor bridge was seen.
Now I saw a bush in bloom;
Now neither rose nor thorn was seen.
– Lalla

Dear Friends,

So it has been a very long time since I published anything on my blog and for that you have my sincere apologies.

Lots has been going on with my beloved’s health and with me helping to organize Portland Psychedelic Society’s Conference that was held on October 26th. (A big thank you to the presenters, especially Jim Fadiman)

Hopefully I will be posting more as time goes along. I find myself not wanting to be at the computer very much except to do art and writing.

I am burning out on social media even though  making a good part of my living by selling art on Facebook and other places. With that said I have been banned from Facebook for publishing art.  The AI or the people scanning pictures can’t tell the difference between a painting and a photograph and heaven help you if you post anything that looks like a nipple,

Of course if you’re a nazi/racist or you publish snuff pictures you get a free pass, so yeah I’m kind of done with that whole situation. I think social media has actually helped the decline of conversation and socializing. People get stuck in front of  screens for hours upon hours and I am among them so I know this happens.

I had no idea the internet would end up being in so many ways a psychic sewer and a commercial tool for faceless corporations …as well as a tool for social control via the media and governmental agencies. Who knew it would become a go to for lies and oppression?  It certainly didn’t seem that way back when.

Yet with all of that I still have hope that good people everywhere will use it to communicate for the common good and for enlightenment of our fellow humans. Everything can change, if we work at it.

Enough of all this we have some catching up to do with some poetry, music and an article from the Invisible College # 9 that I published that I wanted to share on the eve of the publication of the Invisible College #10.

The article “Imaginal Arcadia” is my take on an imagined golden age or one that occurred. As I am here instead of back then I would probably fall on the side of imaginal at this point, and that is okay. If it indeed was a golden age, well that works as well.

More coming soon,  I hope you enjoy this entry!


On The Menu:

The Links:
Commercial Break!
Lennie: Happens To The Heart
Poesy: Sufia Kumal
Poesy: Fadwa Tuqan
Imaginal Arcadia
Lennie: Steer Your Way
The Links:
Transgender Battles
Monkey Mind!
Psychedelics, Again
Solidarity is not dead: how workers can force progressive change
Commercial Break:

The 2020 Calendar(s)!
2020 Wall Calendar!
2020 Desk Calendar!

The Hasheesh Eater & Other Writings
Find it all here, the book in its’ various iterations, prints & Folio Editions

The Invisible College #9th Ediition
Get Your Copy Here!

Gwyllm Art, Just The Art…

Lennie: Happens To The Heart…
Absolutely love this. Pure Lennie. We miss ya!

Poesy: Sufia Kamal

That Love Of Yours

I’ve taken possession of that love of yours
that fills the earth’s vessel till it overflows,
filling my eyes, filling my heart,
and filling my two hands.
How unbearable is this joy, that this love is so intense.
With the touch like arrows of its golden rays
the inner bud blooms, as quickly as grass.
Illumined in my heart, it brings jewel-inlaid riches;
that’s why I’m wealthy, my joy will not perish.
With images ever new, this world has gratified me,
given as it is to praise, to perfumed blossoms dripping honey.
The diurnal light of sun, at every watch of the night,
merging hour by hour with your love’s every letter, will set.
Ever-new messages I hear;
my heart is overcome – so in love I compose my answering letter.
Warmed from the Sindhu’s expanse of river,
these clouds upon clouds of gentle moist air
ever bring these love letters, then carry them afar.
The eager heart grows devoted as an unmarried girl,
so it longs to compose scores upon scores
of ever-new messages of love and amours.
The heart fills with joy, grows voluble,
so I’ve gathered hence,
from the mortal earth, from the horizon’s expanse:
impassioned, illumined, that love of yours.

[Translated by Carolyne Wright with Ayesha Kabir]
Poesy: Fadwa Tuqan


Hamza was just an ordinary man
like others in my hometown
who work only with their hands for bread.
When I met him the other day,
this land was wearing a cloak of mourning
in windless silence. And I felt defeated.
But Hamza-the-ordinary said:
‘My sister, our land has a throbbing heart,
it doesn’t cease to beat, and it endures
the unendurable. It keeps the secrets
of hills and wombs. This land sprouting
with spikes and palms is also the land
that gives birth to a freedom-fighter.
This land, my sister, is a woman.’

Days rolled by. I saw Hamza nowhere.
Yet I felt the belly of the land
was heaving in pain.
Hamza — sixty-five — weighs
heavy like a rock on his own back.
‘Burn, burn his house,’
a command screamed,
‘and tie his son in a cell.’
The military ruler of our town later explained:
it was necessary for law and order,
that is, for love and peace!
Armed soldiers gherraoed his house:
the serpent’s coil came full circle.
The bang at the door was but an order —
‘evacuate, damn it!’
And generous as they were with time, they could say:
‘in an hour, yes!’

Hamza opened the window.
Face to face with the sun blazing outside,
he cried: ‘in this house my children
and I will live and die
for Palestine.’
Hamza’s voice echoed clean
across the bleeding silence of the town.
An hour later, impeccably,
the house came crumbling down,
the rooms were blown to pieces in the sky,
and the bricks and the stones all burst forth,
burying dreams and memories of a lifetime
of labor, tears, and some happy moments.
Yesterday I saw Hamza
walking down a street in our town —
Hamza the ordinary man as he always was:
always secure in his determination.
This is the article….

Before Greece was “Greece” it was, something else.

Arcadia (the domain of Pan)

(Pan, being the embodiment of nature, often described as the god of shepherds, having roots deep, deep in the per-neolithic dream-time, containing all nature in his being, the Lord of the animals, the animus of the world…)

Arcadia, with her roots in the times before deliberate cultivation, before the plow ripped our mothers’ flesh, rises up in visions, art, poesy again and again hearkening to the age when it was golden, verdant, a tumbling world of plant, animal, spirits, and gods… before the times of subservience, neolithic priest-craft, kings and corporations.

Arcadia, the wild hunt, Centaurs chased by nymphs as Hamadryades observe from cool glens and sacred groves… echoed later by the Dionysian frenzies of the Bacchante. Classical scholars look backwards to a past surpassing their present, to an age not forgotten, but hidden, dormant, sleeping.

Pre-Religion, before priest-craft before alphabets stealing essence of the ancient tales, un-tonguing bards striking vision down to dusty tablets, then rotting pages over the ages.

Rivers churning with fish, herded by naiads through channel and rapid, swimming languorously in pools of emerald purity. Children playing in streams, the sunlight slanting down through the canopy, letting fish slip through their hands, laughing.

Before the Πελασγοί, Pelasgoí, before the Mycenaeans and Doric hordes streaming southward into the mother country with their jealous Olympians ousting an older world; an older order of Goddesses & Gods, who had walked upon the earth, titans, dragons, the Great Mother all encompassing.

Bear Clans, Wolf Clans, Deer Clans, Lion, Leopard Clans, the Horse Clans/Centaurs running on ridges high above the vale, ages before the Pythian mysteries were seized by Golden Apollo, long before Persephone’s descent. A chaos of green, a riot of divine madness, endless, ancient.

There was Colloquy and Chaos, nature unbound untrammeled, un-subservient to plows & plunder, a world still wrapped in wonder. Arcadia…

Rites before religion, it rises chthonic again and again in the collective memory, through literature, art and inebriation. The world as it was, the world as it should be, the world in its original context, dreaming and full of life, infinite. Every child is born in Arcadia, and then dissuaded from their inheritance, to wander as orphans until the journey home.

Stars wheeling in the skies above forest and meadow, dolmens newly risen cave dwelling tree beautiful in the twilight. We ran with the packs, the herds, the tribes, chasing the moon, her maidens her shadows..

A moment suspended in aspic: Aurochs graze in meadows of poppy and anemone that sway in drowsy summer sun, stirred by afternoon zephyrs before the harvest of acorn and berry, so long ago. Epimelides wander past wild apple and herds of sheep.

Mortals commingling with Goddesses and Gods, celebrating through divine inebriation, and the rites of love and season.

The sun scuttles across the sky followed by the moon. Time spirals in the ever present now. Seasons come and go, now is all their is. Acadia still sleeps beneath the surface of our every thought, rising out of plants in human guise, humans transforming into animals, animals into plants, mineral, water stone. Unclad, beneath the sun and moon.

So, I have let my imagination flow backwards to ancient before ancient times, and savoured the imaginal in the ravines and valleys of my mind…

I was brought up on the classics. The first two books that I remember were illustrated versions of The Iliad, and The Odyssey. Of course these are tales of the Mycenaeans and Pelasgian peoples,who were cohabiting Greece at that time. The Olympians were just making their appearance, subverting the Elder Goddesses & Gods of the Pelasgians and older tribes by seizing shrines and places of spiritual and ritual importance. You know the stories that have informed the West for the last three thousand years at least.

Little did the Mycenaeans and Pelasgians know what was to befall them with the (supposed) incursions of the Ionian & Doric waves… Although the archaeological evidence could be deemed, “scant”, something indeed occur in the years/century after the fall of Ilium/Troy. Cities abandoned, palaces burned, a return to smaller communities, a loss of script, etc bringing in a dark age of at least 300 – 500 years. There are no records, only tales passed down through the years dimly.

The fading light that was Arcadia outside of the heartland was certainly quenched in the more… “civilized” cities, Thebes, Corinth (most ancient!), Athens, and mother Knossos. Did Arcadia still continue? Perhaps in the hinter lands, the mountain and hill country where the plow and serf were not yet introduced by the emerging lords of the land, whether the old ways and old Goddesses & Gods were still held in high esteem, where the Centaur tribes still rambled. It has been said that Pan would still manifest/visit the sacred groves and flocks up to the time that another dour faith appeared, with one jealous god, a god who forgot his origins as a mouse daemon amongst the grain, one who forgot he was but one of many.

Why is Arcadia, or the idea/ideal of it important? If you have spent time in wilderness, made love in a sun drenched meadow, or in moonlight, swum naked in a stream, lake or ocean it would not even be needed to ask.

I do not hold with Marija Gimbutas that all was copacetic before the “Kurgans” appeared (still being debated btw) but I will say that even up into the times of the Pelasgians & Mycenaeans melding of cultures, the Great Goddess perhaps known as Eurynome (Εὐρυνόμη) or by some older name held sway over cultures in Greece and the Balkans for thousands of years. There was inter-tribal conflict buy not necessarily like what came after with the Sea Peoples and the fall of the mother civilization.

It is a dim memory now, but Arcadia is also a dream of possible futures. Perhaps we will finally shed the barbarism that the later neolithic brought into being with its hierarchies and concepts of division from nature. I sit outside, and on one hand listen to the frantic sounds of mechanized transport, but yet the wind still blows the branches, the birds sing, and at night the frogs join together in choruses that echo into the darkness. The river flows near, and we are surrounded by the green and tumbling world still. It is here, just under the surface, ad we have just to awake to the world as it was and to what it really is.

Civilizations fall, this we know. This one will as well, even though it spans the entire globe. We can hope and work for a better one to follow, emerging out.

We tend to dream futures. You see it in literature. Arcadia as a concept came back into the western mind with the advent of a poem in 1504 written by Iacopo Sannazaro “Lament of Androgeo” (Arcadia). This poem influenced Milton, Shakespeare, Philip Sydney and others. It’s publication is cited as the beginning of the Renaissance, and for good reasons. You can feel the longing for Arcadia in the stories and poems since. Glimpses of that age appear in art, literature, in secret societies that welled up trying to overturn the direction of civilization in those times and since.

This reawakening was not an accident by any means. Nothing happens without deeper resonance. Dreams & realities will lie dormant until the time of awakening is right. We are now in such an awakening, we have a road map that leads us to where we are destined.

Arcadia is both past and future.

Gwyllm Llwydd – 2018

Lennie: Steer Your Way


1 Year…

“The wild gods live with the wild plants. Once, all of our gods were plants and animals. The allies are the ancient gods, their wisdom is the ancient substrate of our volition; they are the maternal transmitters of our vision ans dreams. Anthropomorphic gods were the children of the plant gods. That is why destroying wild habitat is parricide, because the gods cannot live without their habitat, and it was the gods that made us, and gave us our culture.” –  Dale Pendell

10 years ago, at Mantis Hill. Laura, Dale, Gwyllm

Time Flies…

Today marks the day last year that Dale Pendell left this plane of existence. The time has rushed by, first of course with his memorial, and all that followed.

Still, it is a bit of a jolt knowing that the conversation, at least on his part has ended. When people pass you free them, or try to. I have had some intense conversations this past year with Dale, some waking when I am writing or thinking, some in the Dream Time. This is the way it falls out it seems. I find old conversations still welling up; not as often but just as potent.

We talked on such subjects as poetic frenzy, the wild, the uses of ritual, the importance of sympathetic magic, and the language(s) of stillness. When he came to speak you could see ideas drifting up behind is eyes, as he dipped into that well of knowledge that he carried with him. A small smile would flicker across his face as he would make his statement, not too much, not too little, measured. Those moments were golden.

We talked, but now, I know not frequently enough. What time there was spent together was spent well though, and that suffices as it should. The times with Laura & Dale were golden. I still hear them laughing and talking as we walked along Hawthorne, or out in the meadow on their land.

When we were down at Mantis Hill last April, Mary & I sat outside the library looking across the meadow. Amazingly green at that time of year, the stream talking away noisily just to the left down the length of the meadow. It is a place of presence. No road noises, the sound of the wind, the occasional hawk, or wood pigeon, frogs in the evening. A perfect place for poets, and it served him and his beloved Laura well I believe. Spring also brings brush clearing, due to the increase in fires up against the Sierra Nevada’s. A concern always. Still. There is always a price to pay in that regard to finding part of the biome that corresponds to the heart.

There is the cost as well that we pay for visiting this place, dipping out of immortality for a taste of living, made sweeter by the moments passing by, with life whispering in your ear… “Now…now…now”. This sweetness comes with the sting of mortality, to an ending here before the great return.

Everything is made of the dust of stars, congealed sunlight. All is fleeting, yet the mystery tells that all is immortal at the same time. The form falls away, the spirit is something else. I ponder this alot as of late.

We have had a hint of mortality (within our family) this year as well, which has prompted some of these musings. Every moment, be present. That which is form, departs. I take solace in poetry, and I have been exploring Dales’ books again as well.

So, a year has passed, Dale is with his ancestors as we all will be. One of the great gifts of my life was the time we all spent together, and the friendships. You are loved, you are missed.


Medicine / Circle – Dale Pendell

The tenth century Chan master Yunmen said: “Medicine and sickness subdue each other—they mutually correspond. The whole earth is medicine. What is the self?”

Medicine and sickness, or poison and remedy, subdue each other; they correspond. Yunmen might have been defining the Greek word pharmakon, drug, meaning either poison or remedy, depending on context, or a spell, enchantment. Pharmacology is its child. And pharmakos, the scapegoat, hidden away in prison or hanging from the Cross, is its cousin.

Perhaps there was a wedding—poison and remedy—where friends of bride and groom didn’t know on which side to sit. Elder married couples—such as samsara and nirvana, and form and emptiness—sat in the balcony. Someone threw rice.

Poisons are three or five, depending on lineage. As three, they are greed, hatred, and ignorance. On the bhavacakra, the Wheel of Life, the three poisons form the hub: the cock, the snake, and the black hog chasing each other and spinning the cycle of existence like a trimorphic ouroboros. As five, the Vajrayana tradition adds pride and jealousy, or envy, to the poisons. As ten, the poisons are kleśa, the ten defilements that spoil the immaculate purity of the ālaya-vijñāna, the “storehouse-consciousness”. They are like graffiti, or pharmaka: polychromatic pigments, or makeup, applied to the world through discrimination and artistry. Or maybe we have the Seven Deadly Sins, the fly in the ointment whose name is Beelzebub. Either way, we are up to our nostrils. Or are we?

Which side are you on? Bride or groom? Some say not choosing is to side with the oppressors. Hands rise toward you in supplication. The hands are poisoned. Have been poisoned. Polluted, and sick. Self-poisoned. Hands with broken fingers. Dürer’s hands. Hands at gasho. Give me alms. Give me medicine. If poison and remedy mutually correspond, there is no doctor and no patient, so whose hands could they be?

Song Dynasty master Shiqi Xinyue said: “The intent of our teaching is like a poison-smeared drum. Once it is beaten, those who hear it, near and far, all perish. That those who hear it perish is surely true. But what about the deaf?”

The whole earth is medicine. Somewhere a mockingbird sings. Clouds gather. A rain may fall. Shiqi beats his drum and the sky cracks with thunder. The raised hands have become an army, swaying back and forth like tall grass in a light breeze. What will you do?

If the whole earth is medicine, that must include both ayahuasca and the leaf of an oak tree. This leaf is bitter, as is the ayahuasca: the curling margins host a few spines. Maybe it is Zhaozhou’s oak tree, in the garden or in the courtyard—the reason Bodhidharma came from the west. Surely this must be a medicine. But what medicine are you seeking? In matters of medicine, the oak leaf competes with the ayahuasca. Or perhaps that is backward. How is one to walk such a path, strewn with bitter brews and prickly oak leaves? Which are the sharper thorns?

Poison and remedy mutually correspond. The whole earth is remedy. What is the self?

This is the nub of the problem, the essential question for either approach—all else is distraction. Distraction is the poison, the disease. The “world” is distraction, yet the world is the medicine. From such a condition, Yunmen demands that we step forth and answer.


Exploded!      Whoever that was—

Some of it          abstract


then the spirits entered:

screeching,and crying,

not at all



even mannerly.
Where’s that line in the fuckin’ sand, man?

my toe is itchin’ to transgress.
and one by one

they had their say


(in some cases)

more than their say.
These scoundrels—they’d steal a drink right from under God’s chair.
And someone said

“She’s never happy unless she’s shakin’ her butt.”
They played drums and guitars and keyboards and horns

and danced in wild circles, thumping the ground.

Animals came to listen. A raccoon, his paws on the gate,

watched the whole set.They carried my litter to the center

and drummed as I purged.
How could there be any spiritual work in such chaos?
A man brought white sage, smudging my legs—

I reached, spilled the coals,my clothes caught fire.

They danced me out.


The Old Dust – Li Po

The living is a passing traveler;
The dead, a man come home.
One brief journey betwixt heaven and earth,
Then, alas! we are the same old dust of ten thousand ages.

The rabbit in the moon pounds the medicine in vain;
Fu-sang, the tree of immortality,
has crumbled to kindling wood.
Man dies, his white bones are dumb without a word

When the green pines feel the coming of the spring.
Looking back, I sigh; 
Looking before, I sigh again.
What is there to prize in the life’s vaporous glory?

Translated by:Shigeyoshi Obata


Take Care, we shall be back.


The Shaking Spheres….

With ravished ears The monarch hears, Assumes the god, Affects to nod, And seems to shake the spheres. – John Dryden

Jicarilla – Gwyllm Llwydd

Whoa, 2 post in 3 days, returning to some normalcy, at least for a while.
So, there are some offers on this post for art, calendars and publications. Check ’em out. The publications are a bit time sensitive, especially with the holidaze, but will let you know the delivery date. Great offers on Blotter, and Prints. Stay Tuned.

There are 2 interviews with yers truly on this, one with Tom Hatsis from this past May in Ashland. The other is more recent, from Reality Sandwich! by Ronnie Pontiac. Long, but fun.

Some great music, an article that was featured in Invisible College #9, “Arcadia” and some beautiful poetry from Persia…

Anyway, I hope December is treating you well. Got my lights up 2 weeks early, heavens will wonders never cease?

A blessing on you and yours, and thanks to all who have supported my work over the past year!

On The Menu:
Time Of The Season Holiday Offerings!
The Links:
Tom Hatsis Interviewing Yers Truly
First Light – Marconi Union
Divine Inebriation
The Secret Rose Garden
Lars Leonhard – Lucid Dreams

Time Of The Season Holiday Offerings!


The Handy Desk Calendar:
Desk Calendar

The Wall Calendar:
Wall Calendar

Holiday Sale of The Hasheesh Eater!
Five dollars off the purchasing price, inclusive of shipping
30.00 for an unsigned copy (shipped from printers)
36.00 for a personalized signed copy. Limited to Six Books on hand
This offer is good for US sales only, sorry.
Order Soon Though To Arrive Before The Holiday!

Check It Out Here!

Prints, Blotter Art On Sale.  Keep the wolves away from an artist’s door!
All kinds of stuff for yer stockin’!

Holiday Sale!

We are very excited about the 9th Edition, “Arcadia” in which we explore different cultural expressions from the past, present and future. Coming in at 148 pages, our largest edition yet,  filled with great art, poetry, articles!  For the first time we are following a theme, “Arcadia”. So excited about this one.  Almost 75 pages of art alone!

Get it here!

The Links:
Gwyllm Llwydd Interviewed In Reality Sandwich!
The End of Illusion
To Fight Climate Change We Must Empower Women!
Yes, the Octopus Is Smart as Heck. But Why?
Tom Hatsis Interviewing Yers Truly At Exploring Psychedelics  in Ashland, this past May….
I have spent lots of hours with Tom and his lovely friend Eden.  Wonderful, good people.  Life, she is good.

First Light – Marconi Union

An article I wrote…
From The 9th Issue Of The Invisible College Review:
Divine Inebriation

What else is Wisdom? What of man’s endeavour
Or God’s high grace, so lovely and so great?
To stand from fear set free, to breathe and wait;
To hold a hand uplifted over Hate;
And shall not Loveliness be loved for ever?”
– Euripides,The Bacchae


Latin: maeander Greek maiandros…
This is a meander down ancient pathways. To perhaps cleave through the detritus of accumulated ages with the labrys of inner remembrance and recall down ivy laden trails into groves and grottoes of light and darkness, where our deep memories stir with the wild of the green and fecund world.

From Mt. Nysa, to Boeotia, across the wine coloured Mediterranean to Ægypt then onto Sumeria. Triumphant from India to Thrace vineyards sprung up where he strode with his maenads, leopards and wolves. The Centaurs decamped from Arcadia and followed his call from the Hellespont to the Atlas mountains… Twice born Dionysus, in whose blood and body we celebrated immortality and the dead,
a model for later incarnations… Lift up this krater of dark wine to our lips so that we might find imaginal realizations.

“Young man,
two are the forces most precious to mankind.
The first is Demeter, the Goddess.
She is the Earth — or any name you wish to call her —
and she sustains humanity with solid food.
Next came Dionysus, the son of the virgin,
bringing the counterpart to bread: wine
and the blessings of life’s flowing juices.
His blood, the blood of the grape,
lightens the burden of our mortal misery.
Though himself a God, it is his blood we pour out
to offer thanks to the Gods. And through him, we are blessed.”
– Euripides,The Bacchae

There were perhaps two great Gods who spanned the time of the Olympians but whose origins are far more ancient, Demeter & Dionysus. Of Demeter we will leave for another time our concern is with Dionysus.

Dionysus, Bromius, Bacchus, Eleutherios, Iacchus (may come from the Ιακχος (Iakchos), a hymn sung in honor of Dionysus.) All names/epithets for perhaps the greatest incarnation of divinity in the ancient world.

Although Thebes is said to have been city of origin, and his mother the mortal Semele and his father Zeus, there is perhaps a much older story that predates the Olympian gloss.

It is said that Dionysus is the younger of these two deities and this is of course based on the idea/assumption that grains were domesticated before grapes, but some see this as the outcome of the lack of imagination. If one goes out in the Autumn into the forest you’ll often find birds & mammals inebriated on late fruit & berries that have given themselves over to fermentation, a conspiracy between plant and free floating yeast & friendly molds. I have seen birds fall out of trees, drunk and raving from berries, a grand cacophony continues until all is consumed. Grain ferments as well of course, as an example there was a grain shipment that derailed up in British Columbia several years ago which spilled several tonnes of grain on the side of the tracks. Come the Autumn & trains had to proceed with great caution in the are of the derailment due to drunken bears laying about on the tracks, stumbling around etc.

It doesn’t take a grand leap to think that pre-neolithic peoples observed and partook of the gifts of the season. It would be foolish to consider that the roots of Dionysus doesn’t emerge in the paleolithic. This is of course imaginal thinking but if we extrapolate and veer off the familiar path then all kinds of possibilities open up around the archetype. There are enough connections between Dionysus and the green world, that the horned god found on cave walls throughout Europe & elsewhere is the progenitor of Dionysus, or Dionysus in an earlier form/incarnation. After all, when Dionysus was born he is mentioned to be “horned” surely a clue, a link lies here to earlier times.
We share the inebriated state across a wide biome of life. Flora provides it, fauna consumes it. The pursuit of this state may indeed be universal.

“He is life’s liberating force.
He is release of limbs and communion through dance.
He is laughter, and music in flutes.
He is repose from all cares — he is sleep!
When his blood bursts from the grape
and flows across tables laid in his honor
to fuse with our blood,
he gently, gradually, wraps us in shadows
of ivy-cool sleep.”
– Euripides,The Bacchae

There are many elements of inebriation. It breaks down inhibitions and brings down hierarchies of thought and societal structures.. One should not wonder at the current state of affairs with drug laws & prisons for users. Humans like their counterparts in other species are programmed for altered states, the quest for transcendence.

“Receive the god into your kingdom
pour libations, cover your head with ivy, join the dance!”
– Euripides, The Bacchae

Dionysus is closely associated with the grape and ivy in most classic volumes. Some mistake him for the sovereign of wine alone. He brings more than that. Greek wines, in classic times were not just alcohol, but an admixture of many different plant teachers. Mind you, that alcohol if used correctly can deliver a transcendental state, now pretty much forgotten due to its ubiquitous nature in modern society. Anything sacred can be reduced over time to banal commodity… but if one has the proper set and setting… The Greeks mixed wine with such substances as Papaver somniferum (Opium Poppies), Hyoscyamus niger (Henbane), Mandragora (Mandrake), and Cannabis in its various iterations was indeed a heady drink. Wine was usually mixed with water, diluted due to the added constituents. The dilution of wine to water was usually 1 to 4 parts. This gives you an idea of the strength of it. There may of been other plants (Ivy has been cited) and even perhaps fungi (Ya never know!) It is a guessing game at this time until new evidence is turned up.

One could consider that Dionysus is the persona of the divinity in nature, the wild, the untamed, unfurrowed, unfenced, forces of chaos & riot. The reassertion of our inner nature, boundless, untrammeled without the constraints of societal hierarchies, pristine, pure and dangerous. This state is both joyous, and full of grief. Everything in full measure.

Back though to this… Demeter & Dionysus as Goddess & God are exalted and constrained by nature, a trait which they share with us. The seasons are the their holy path, which seems to culminate in harvest and riot. The round of the year hold them close to us, the joy of flowering spring, a drowsy indolent summer, the abrupt changes and beauty of autumn, and the grief and sadness of winter. The fields of grain cut down, the vine left to rot on the midden. These are divinities that are born, live and die yearly. This is a part of their immortal mystery, tied to the ancient cycles of life and death.

“Knowledge is not wisdom: cleverness is not without awareness of our death, not without recalling just how brief our flare is. He who overreaches will, in his overreaching, lose what he possesses, betray what he has now. That which is beyond us, which is greater than the human, the unattainably great, is for the mad, or for those who listen to the mad, and then believe them.”
– Euripides,The Bacchae

That we might live again, in all immortality, we eat this flesh, we drink this wine…

“He is the god of epiphanies—sudden spiritual manifestations—and of transformation, and there is more shape-shifting associated with Dionysus than with any other Greek god except for his father, Zeus, whose metamorphoses were usually prompted by his pursuit of women.
– Euripides,The Bacchae
The Secret Rose Garden (and More)
The Poetry of Sa’d Ud Din Mahmud Shabistari

Muhdra II – Gwyllm Llwydd

Tavern Haunters

The tavern is the abode of lovers,
The place where the bird of the soul nests,
The rest-house that has no existence
In a world that has no form.
The tavern-haunter is desolate in a lonely desert,
Where he sees the world as a mirage.
The desert is limitless and endless,
For no man has seen its beginning or ending.
Though you feverishly wander for a hundred years
You will be always alone.
For the dwellers there are headless and footless,
Neither the faithful nor infidels,
They have renounced both good and evil,
And have cast away name and fame,
From drinking the cup of selflessness;
Without lips or mouth,
And are beyond traditions, visions, and states,
Beyond dreaming of secret rooms, of lights and miracles.
They are lying drunken through the smell of the wine-dregs,
And have given as ransom
Pilgrim’s staff and cruse,
Dentifrice and rosary.
Sometimes rising to the world of bliss,
With necks exalted as racers,
Or with blackened faces turned to the wall,
Sometimes with reddened faces tied to the stake.
Now in the mystic dance of joy in the Beloved,
Losing head and foot like the revolving heavens.
In every strain which they hear from the minstrel
Comes to them rapture from the unseen world.
For within the mere words and sounds
Of the mystic song
Lies a precious mystery.
From drinking one cup of the pure wine,
From sweeping the dust of dung-hills from their souls,
From grasping the skirts of drunkards,
They have become Sūfīs.
One Light

What are “I” and “You”?
Just lattices
In the niches of a lamp
Through which the One Light radiates.

“I” and “You” are the veil
Between heaven and earth;
Lift this veil and you will see
How all sects and religions are one.

Lift this veil and you will ask —
When “I” and “You” do not exist
What is mosque?
What is synagogue?
What is fire temple?
A Drop of Seawater

Behold how this drop of seawater
has taken so many forms and names;
it has existed as mist, cloud, rain, dew, and mud,
then plant, animal, and Perfect man;
and yet it was a drop of water
from which these things appeared.
Even so this universe of reason, soul, heavens, and bodies,
was but a drop of water in its beginning and ending.

…When a wave strikes it, the world vanishes;
and when the appointed time comes to heaven and stars,
their being is lost in not being.
The Marriage of the Soul

Descending to the earth, that strange intoxicating beauty of the unseen world
lurks in the elements of nature.

And the soul of man,
who has attained the rightful balance,
becoming aware of this hidden joy,
straightaway is enamored and bewitched.

And from this mystic marriage are born
the poets’ songs, inner knowledge,
the language of the heart, virtuous living,
and the fair child Beauty.

And the Great Soul gives to man as dowry
the hidden glory of the world.
Lars Leonhard – Lucid Dreams


I dwell no more in Arcady, But when the sky is blue with May, And birds are blithe and winds are free, I know what message is for me, For I have been in Arcady. – Louise Chandler Moulton


The lost blog posting. Originally meant for September 11th (time flies!)  Meant to send this out months ago, but life got weird, health stuff of a loved one.  Slightly changed due to the seasons (see below)  but still the same.


Yeah, it has been awhile, but I think that I might be getting back up on the pony again as far as blogging goes. I have been about launching the new Invisible College Review (dropped the term of “magazine” due to distinct differences).  This issue is a divergence from the past.  Thematic, with 1/3 more pages than before.  So happy with it.  I have included an extract from one of the articles, and a few pictures as well from the issue.  More to follow!

The winter is coming on rapidly, and I couldn’t be happier.  Rain today.  Perfection. The leaves have fallen already here in the north country, but mainly due to the lengthy drought.  So much smoke during the summer and early fall on the left coast…. Years of fire prevention has backfired (sorry), on us.  Fire is integral to the ecology of the west.  We are now reaping what has been sowed for the last 100+ years of over management.

Our son Rowan moved out with his beloved, and friends.  Empty Nesters!  Who would imagine? The house is a lot quieter than before, but we are adjusting to it.  Life, she flow on.

New projects coming, stay tuned. I am getting ready to do a tour to promote The Hasheesh Eater, and the new Review. If ya want me to come to your area and give a presentation, just let me know please..!

Bright Blessings,

On The Menu:
Arcadia The Ninth Edition
Extract: “Imaginal Arcadia”
Gwyllm @ Exploring Psychedelics
The Links
DCD:The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove
Poems From Ryokan:
The Timid Hare and the Flight of the Beasts
The Ninth Edition! “Arcadia”
Order here, or at Invisible College 9th Edition

Magazine w/Shipping

The Ninth Edition Features:
Dan Hillier/Master Collagist
Martina Hoffmann/Visionary Artist
Pascal Ferry/Visionary Artist
Robert Venosa/The Legacy
Noel Taylor/Exploring New Territories

Dale Pendell
Michael Conner
Sa’d Ud Din Mahmud Shabistari
Iacopo Sannazaro

P.D. Newman:  Alchemically Stoned: The Psychedelic Secret Of Free Masonry Extract:The Sprig of Acacia and DMT
Alan Piper:   The Altered States of David Lindsay: Three Psychedelic Novels of the 1920’s
Gwyllm Llwydd: Imaginal Arcadia  & Dionysus Considered: Divine Inebriation

148 pages, our largest edition yet, 46 pages more than the previous one, filled with great art, poetry, articles! For the first time we are following a theme, “Arcadia”. So excited about this one. Almost 80 pages of art alone.

From The Ninth Edition…
Extract: “Imaginal Arcadia”
Before Greece was “Greece” it was, something else.

Arcadia (the domain of Pan)

(Pan, being the embodiment of nature, often described as the god of shepherds, having roots deep, deep in the per-neolithic dream-time, containing all nature in his being, the Lord of the animals, the animus of the world…)

Arcadia, with her roots in the times before deliberate cultivation, before the plow ripped our mothers’ flesh, rises up in visions, art, poesy again and again hearkening to the age when it was golden, verdant, a tumbling world of plant, animal, spirits, and gods… before the times of subservience, neolithic priest-craft, kings and corporations.

Arcadia, the wild hunt, Centaurs chased by nymphs as Hamadryades observe from cool glens and sacred groves… echoed later by the Dionysian frenzies of the Bacchante. Classical scholars look backwards to a past surpassing their present, to an age not forgotten, but hidden, dormant, sleeping.

Pre-Religion, before priest-craft before alphabets stealing essence of the ancient tales, un-tonguing bards striking vision down to dusty tablets, then rotting pages over the ages.

Rivers churning with fish, herded by naiads through channel and rapid, swimming languorously in pools of emerald purity. Children playing in streams, the sunlight slanting down through the canopy, letting fish slip through their hands, laughing.

Before the Πελασγοί, Pelasgoí, before the Mycenaeans and Doric hordes streaming southward into the mother country with their jealous Olympians ousting an older world; an older order of Goddesses & Gods, who had walked upon the earth, titans, dragons, the Great Mother all encompassing.

Bear Clans, Wolf Clans, Deer Clans, Lion, Leopard Clans, the Horse Clans/Centaurs running on ridges high above the vale, ages before the Pythian mysteries were seized by Golden Apollo, long before Persephone’s descent. A chaos of green, a riot of divine madness, endless, ancient.

There was Colloquy and Chaos, nature unbound untrammeled, un-subservient to plows & plunder, a world still wrapped in wonder. Arcadia…


Gwyllm Speaking @ Exploring Psychedelics

 Gwyllm Speaking @ Exploring Psychedelics
The Links:
Tom Hatsis Interviewed By Ronnie Pontiac/Reality Sandwich!
The Response To Nike’s Add Campaign
Can a Tibetan Buddhist and a theoretical physicist find common ground on reality?
The Forest Man…
The Erasure Of Islam From Rumi’s Poetry Older article, but relevant.
The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove

Poems From Ryokan:

of Mount Kugami –
in the mountain’s shade
a hut beneath the trees –
how many years
it’s been my home?
The time comes
to take leave of it –
my .though/ts wilt
like summer grasses,
I wander back and forth
like the evening star –
till that hut of mine
is hidden from sight,
till that grove of trees
can no longer be seen,
at each bend
of the long road,
at every turning,
I turn to look back
in the direction of that mountain
Though frosts come down
night after night,
what does it matter?
they melt in the morning sun.
Though the snow falls
each passing year,
what does it matter?
with spring days it thaws.
Yet once let them settle
on a man’s head,
fall and pile up,
go on piling up –
then the new year
may come and go,
but never you’ll see them fade away
Too lazy to be ambitious,
I let the world take care of itself.
Ten days’ worth of rice in my bag;
a bundle of twigs by the fireplace.
Why chatter about delusion and enlightenment?
Listening to the night rain on my roof,
I sit comfortably, with both legs stretched out.
You do not need many things

My house is buried in the deepest recess of the forest
Every year, ivy vines grow longer than the year before.
Undisturbed by the affairs of the world I live at ease,
Woodmen’s singing rarely reaching me through the trees.
While the sun stays in the sky, I mend my torn clothes
And facing the moon, I read holy texts aloud to myself.
Let me drop a word of advice for believers of my faith.
To enjoy life’s immensity, you do not need many things.

The Timid Hare and the Flight of the Beasts
Once upon a time when Brahmadatta reigned in Benares, the Bodhisatta [the future Buddha] came to life as a young lion. And when fully grown he lived in a wood. At this time there was near the Western Ocean a grove of palms mixed with vilva trees.

A certain hare lived here beneath a palm sapling, at the foot of a vilva tree. One day this hare, after feeding, came and lay down beneath the young palm tree. And the thought struck him, “If this earth should be destroyed, what would become of me?”

And at this very moment a ripe vilva fruit fell on a palm leaf. At the sound of it, the hare thought, “This solid earth is collapsing,” and starting up he fled, without so much as looking behind him. Another hare saw him scampering off, as if frightened to death, and asked the cause of his panic flight.

“Pray, don’t ask me,” he said.

The other hare cried, “Pray, sir, what is it?” and kept running after him.

Then the hare stopped a moment and without looking back said, “The earth here is breaking up.”

And at this the second hare ran after the other. And so first one and then another hare caught sight of him running, and joined in the chase till one hundred thousand hares all took to flight together. They were seen by a deer, a boar, an elk, a buffalo, a wild ox, a rhinoceros, a tiger, a lion, and an elephant. And when they asked what it meant and were told that the earth was breaking up, they too took to flight. So by degrees this host of animals extended to the length of a full league.

When the Bodhisatta saw this headlong flight of the animals, and heard the cause of it was that the earth was coming to an end, he thought, “The earth is nowhere coming to an end. Surely it must be some sound which was misunderstood by them. And if I don’t make a great effort, they will all perish. I will save their lives.”

So with the speed of a lion he got before them to the foot of a mountain, and lion-like roared three times. They were terribly frightened at the lion, and stopping in their flight stood all huddled together. The lion went in amongst them and asked why there were running away.

“The earth is collapsing,” they answered.

“Who saw it collapsing?” he said.

“The elephants know all about it,” they replied.

He asked the elephants. “We don’t know,” they said, “the lions know.”

But the lions said, “We don’t know, the tigers know.”

The tigers said, “The rhinoceroses know.”

The rhinoceroses said, “The wild oxen know.”

The wild oxen, “the buffaloes.”

The buffaloes, “the elks.”

The elks, “the boars.”

The boars, “the deer.”

The deer said, “We don’t know; the hares know.”

When the hares were questioned, they pointed to one particular hare and said, “This one told us.”

So the Bodhisatta asked, “Is it true, sir, that the earth is breaking up?”

“Yes, sir, I saw it,” said the hare.

“Where,” he asked, “were you living, when you saw it?”

“Near the ocean, sir, in a grove of palms mixed with vilva trees. For as I was lying beneath the shade of a palm sapling at the foot of a vilva tree, methought, ‘If this earth should break up, where shall I go?’ And at that very moment I heard the sound the breaking up of the earth, and I fled.”

Thought the lion, “A ripe vilva fruit evidently must have fallen on a palm leaf and made a ‘thud,’ and this hare jumped to the conclusion that the earth was coming to an end, and ran away. I will find out the exact truth about it.”

So he reassured the herd of animals, and said, “I will take the hare and go and find out exactly whether the earth is coming to an end or not, in the place pointed out by him. Until I return, do you stay here.” Then placing the hare on his back, he sprang forward with the speed of a lion, and putting the hare down in the palm grove, he said, “Come, show us the place you meant.”

“I dare not, my lord,” said the hare.

“Come, don’t be afraid,” said the lion.

The hare, not venturing to go near the vilva tree, stood afar off and cried, “Yonder, sir, is the place of dreadful sound,” and so saying, he repeated the first stanza:

From the spot where I did dwell
Issued forth a fearful “thud”;
What it was I could not tell,
Nor what caused it understood.
After hearing what the hare said, the lion went to the foot of the vilva tree, and saw the spot where the hare had been lying beneath the shade of the palm tree, and the ripe vilva fruit that fell on the palm leaf, and having carefully ascertained that the earth had not broken up, he placed the hare on his back and with the speed of a lion soon came again to the herd of beasts.

Then he told them the whole story, and said, “Don’t be afraid.” And having thus reassured the herd of beasts, he let them go.

Verily, if it had not been for the Bodhisatta at that time, all the beasts would have rushed into the sea and perished. It was all owing to the Bodhisatta that they escaped death.

Alarmed at sound of fallen fruit
A hare once ran away,
The other beasts all followed suit
Moved by that hare’s dismay.
They hastened not to view the scene,
But lent a willing ear
To idle gossip, and were clean
Distraught with foolish fear.
They who to Wisdom’s calm delight
And Virtue’s heights attain,
Though ill example should invite,
Such panic fear disdain.
Source: The Jataka; or, Stories of the Buddha’s Former Births, edited by E. B. Cowell, vol. 3 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1897), no. 322, pp. 49-52. Translated from the Pali by H. T. Francis and R. A. Neil.

The Hasheesh Eater

“The happiness of the drop is to die in the river.”
– Abu Hamid al-Ghazali

So…. This entry is formed around the release of “The Hasheesh Eater & Other Writings”. I hope you enjoy this edition… the first in a couple of months, I have to say that I have been busy with this project and others.
On the main (except the Hare logo) all art comes from this “The Hasheesh Eater & Other Writings”
Bright Blessings,

On The Menu:
The Hasheesh Eater & Other Writings Released!
On Video: Gwyllm Llwydd: Fitz Hugh Ludlow’s “The Hasheesh Eater”
The Quotes
New Logo!
Bill Laswell: Morning High
Fitz Hugh Ludlow – The Apocalypse Of Hasheesh
Poetry: The Hashish Eater -or- the Apocalypse of Evil
Bill Laswell: The Old Man Of The Mountain
The Hasheesh Eater & Other Writings Released!:
As previously said… I have been, busy.  Not only with work, but publishing 4 versions of Fitz Hugh Ludlows’  “The Hasheesh Eater” There is the original softbound version, the softbound extended edition (extra articles & illustrations) The hard bound extended version & the folio version, a boxed set with either the hardbound or softbound extended edition along with a limited edition set sign and numbered prints from the book.  Great care and thought were taken in the design … There is some 30+ original illustrations that I put together, as well as designing the layout, cover, etc.  I believe such a work as Ludlow’s wondrous volume deserves beauty… over and above.

With an introduction by Mike Crowley, (thanks Mike!) and art commentary by Martina Hoffmann, A.Andrew Gonzalez Liba Stambollion & Dan Hillier, I think you will find this book one to cherish.

I have worked some 2 years on this project and I am very happy about it.  I hope you take the time to check it out, and to consider supporting this effort.

I want to thank all who have supported the project so far!  Your feedback brings me joy! Your praise of it is wonderful validation of the efforts put in to it.

Here is the cover:

So, please visit the site, I would be honoured!
Gwyllm Llwydd: Fitz Hugh Ludlow’s “The Hasheesh Eater”
Here is a  an excerpt of the talk I gave on Fitz Hugh Ludlow at the Ashland Oregon “Exploring Psychedelics’  Conference this past May 24th. This is an abbreviated version, I will be loading up the full talk later on:

For more information on the project:  “The Hasheesh Eater”
Thanks So Much!

The Quotes:
“I am about to reveal to you,” I commenced, “something which I would not for my life allow to come to other ears. Do you pledge me your eternal silence?” “I do; what is the matter?” “I have been taking hasheesh—Cannabis Indica, and I fear that I am going to die.” ― Fitz Hugh Ludlow, “The Hasheesh Eater”

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

“This was my hypothesis: ‘Perhaps hashish is the drug which ‘loosens the girders of the soul,’ but is in itself neither good nor bad. Perhaps, as Baudelaire thinks, it merely exaggerates and distorts the natural man and his mood of the moment.’” – Aleister Crowley  “The Herb Dangerous, pt.II: The Psychology of Hashish”

Hashish will be, indeed, for the impressions and familiar thoughts of the man, a mirror which magnifies, yet no more than a mirror. – Charles Baudelaire

As a young child I wanted to be a writer because writers were rich and famous. They lounged around Singapore and Rangoon smoking opium in a yellow pongee silk suit. They sniffed cocaine in Mayfair and they penetrated forbidden swamps with a faithful native boy and lived in the native quarter of Tangier smoking hashish and languidly caressing a pet gazelle. – William S. Burroughs

“It is this process of symbolization which, in certain hasheesh states, gives every tree and house, every pebble and leaf, every footprint, feature, and gesture, a significance beyond mere matter or form, which possesses an inconceivable force of tortures or of happiness.” ― Fitz Hugh Ludlow, The Hasheesh Eater: Being Passages from the Life of a Pythagorean

There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others. – Harry J. Anslinger

“Unlimited goodwill. Suspension of the compulsive anxiety complex. The beautiful “character” unfolds. All of those present become comically iridescent. At the same time one is pervaded by their aura.” – Walter Benjamin, On Hashish
New Updated Logo.  Hope You Like:

Bill Laswell: Morning High
I love this whole Album. Amazing.


The Apocalypse Of Hasheesh
To be found within the covers of all editions!

Dec 1856
Putnam’s Monthly
A Magazine of Literature, Science, and Art
In returning from the world of hasheesh, I bring with me many and diverse memories. The echoes of a sublime rapture which thrilled and vibrated on the very edge of pain; of Promethean agonies which wrapt the soul like a mantle of fire; of voluptuous delirium which suffused the body with a blush of exquisite languor — all are mine. But in value far exceeding these, is the remembrance of my spell-bound life as an apocalyptic experience.
Not, indeed, valuable, when all things are considered. Ah no! The slave of the lamp who comes at the summons of the hasheesh Aladdin will not always cringe in the presence of his master. Presently he grows bold and for his service demands a guerdon as tremendous as the treasures he unlocked. Dismiss him, hurl your lamp into the jaws of some fathomless abyss, or take his place while he reigns over you, a tyrant of Gehenna!

The value of this experience to me consists in its having thrown open to my gaze many of those sublime avenues in the spiritual life, at whose gates the soul in its ordinary state is forever blindly groping, mystified, perplexed, yet earnest to the last in its search for that secret spring which, being touched, shall swing back the colossal barrier. In a single instant I have seen the vexed question of a lifetime settled, the mystery of some grand recondite process of mind laid bare, the last grim doubt that hung persistently on the sky of a sublime truth blown away.

How few facts can we trace up to their original reason! In all human speculations how inevitable is the recurrence of the ultimate “Why?” Our discoveries in this latter age but surpass the old-world philosophy in fanning this impenetrable mist but a few steps further up the path of thought, and deferring the distance of a few syllogisms the unanswerable question.

How is it that all the million drops of memory preserve their insulation, and do not run together in the brain into one fluid chaos of impression? How does the great hand of central force stretch on invisibly through ether till it grasps the last sphere that rolls on the boundaries of light-quickened space? How does spirit communicate with matter, and where is their point of tangency? Such are the mysteries which bristle like a harvest far and wide over the grand field of thought.

Problems like these, which had been the perplexity of all my previous life, have I seen unraveled by hasheesh, as in one breathless moment the rationale of inexplicable phenomena has burst upon me in a torrent of light. It may have puzzled me to account for some strange fact of mind; taking hypothesis after hypothesis, I have labored for a demonstration; at last I have given up the attempt in despair. During the progress of the next fantasia of hasheesh, the subject has again unexpectedly presented itself, and in an instant the solution has lain before me as an intuition, compelling my assent to its truth as imperatively as a mathematical axiom. At such a time I have stood trembling with awe at the sublimity of the apocalypse; for though this be not the legitimate way of reaching the explications of riddles which, if of any true utility at all, are intended to strengthen the argumentative faculty, there is still an unutterable sense of majesty in the view one thus discovers of the unimagined scope of the intuitive, which surpasses the loftiest emotions aroused by material grandeur.

I was once walking in the broad daylight of a summer afternoon in the full possession of hasheesh delirium. For an hour the tremendous expansion of all visible things had been growing toward its height; it now reached it, and to the fullest extent I realized the infinity of space. Vistas no longer converged, sight met no barrier; the world was horizonless, for earth and sky stretched endlessly onward in parallel planes. Above me the heavens were terrible with the glory of a fathomless depth. I looked up, but my eyes, unopposed, every moment penetrated further and further into the immensity, and I turned them downward lest they should presently intrude into the fatal splendors of the Great Presence. Joy itself became terrific, for it seemed the ecstasy of a soul stretching its cords and waiting in intense silence to hear them snap and free it from the enthrallment of the body. Unable to bear visible objects, I shut my eyes. In one moment a colossal music filled the whole hemisphere above me, and I thrilled upward through its environment on visionless wings. It was not song, it was not instruments, but the inexpressible spirit of sublime sound — like nothing I had ever heard-impossible to be symbolized; intense, yet not loud; the ideal of harmony, yet distinguishable into a multiplicity of exquisite parts. I opened my eyes, yet it still continued. I sought around me to detect some natural sound which might be exaggerated into such a semblance, but no, it was of unearthly generation, and it thrilled through the universe an inexplicable, a beautiful yet an awful symphony.

Suddenly my mind grew solemn with the consciousness of a quickened perception. I looked abroad on fields, and water, and sky, and read in them all a most startling meaning. I wondered how I had ever regarded them in the light of dead matter, at the furthest only suggesting lessons. They were now grand symbols of the sublimest spiritual truths, truths never before even feebly grasped, utterly unsuspected.

Like a map, the arcana of the universe lay bare before me. I saw how every created thing not only typifies but springs forth from some mighty spiritual law as its offsping, its necessary external development; not the mere clothing of the essence, but the essence incarnate.

Nor did the view stop here. While that music from horizon to horizon was still filling the concave above me, I became conscious of a numerical order which ran through it, and in marking this order I beheld it transferred from the music to every movement of the universe. Every sphere wheeled on in its orbit, every emotion of the soul rose and fell, every smallest moss and fungus germinated and grew, according to some peculiar property of numbers which severally governed them and which was most admirably typified by them in return. An exquisite harmony of proportion reigned through space, and I seemed to realize that the music which I heard was but this numerical harmony making itself objective through the development of a grand harmony of tones.

The vividness with which this conception revealed itself to me made it a thing terrible to bear alone. An unutterable ecstasy was carrying me away, but I dared not abandon myself to it. I was no seer who could look on the unveiling of such glories face to face.

An irrepressible yearning came over me to impart what I beheld, to share with another soul the weight of this colossal revelation. With this purpose I scrutinized the vision; I sought in it for some characteristic which might make it translatable to another mind. There was none! In absolute incommunicableness it stood apart, a thought, a system of thought which as yet had no symbol in spoken language.

For a time, how long, a hasheesh-eater alone can know, I was in an agony. I searched every pocket for my pencil and note-book, that I might at least set down some representative mark which would afterwards recall to me the lineaments of my apocalypse. They were not with me. Jutting into the water of the brook along which I wandered lay a broad flat stone. “Glory in the Highest!” I shouted exultingly, “I will at least grave on this tablet some hieroglyph of what I feel!” Tremblingly I sought for my knife. That, too, was gone! It was then that in a frensy I threw myself prostrate on the stone, and with my nails sought to make some memorial scratch upon it. Hard, hard as flint! In despair I stood up.

Suddenly there came a sense as of some invisible presence walking the dread paths of the vision with me, yet at a distance as if separated from my side by a long flow of time. Taking courage, I cried, “Who has ever been here before me, who in years past has shared with me this unutterable view?” In tones which linger in my soul to this day, a grand, audible voice responded, “Pythagoras!” In an instant I was calm. I heard the footsteps of that sublime sage echoing upward through the ages, and in celestial light I read my vision unterrified, since it had burst upon his sight before me. For years previous I had been perplexed with his mysterious philosophy. I saw in him an isolation from universal contemporary mind for which I could not account. When the Ionic school was at the height of its dominance, he stood forth alone, the originator of a system as distinct from it as the antipodes of mind. The doctrine of Thales was built up by the uncertain processes of an obscure logic, that of Pythagoras seemed informed by intuition. In his assertions there had always appeared to me a grave conviction of truth, a consciousness of sincerity, which gave them a great weight with me, though seeing them through the dim refracting medium of tradition and grasping their meaning imperfectly. I now saw the truths which he set forth, in their own light. I also saw, as to this day I firmly believe, the source whence their revelation flowed. Tell me not that from Phoenicia he received the wand at whose signal the cohorts of the spheres came trooping up before him in review, unveiling the eternal law and itineracy of their evolutions, and pouring on his spiritual ear that tremendous music to which they marched through space. No! During half a lifetime spent in Egypt and in India, both motherlands of this nepenths, doubt not that he quaffed its apocalyptic draught, and awoke, through its terrific quickening, into the consciousness of that ever-present and all-pervading harmony “which we hear not always, because the coarseness of the daily life hath dulled our ear.” The dim penetralia of the Theban Memnonium, or the silent spice groves of the upper Indua may have been the gymnasium of his wrestling with the mighty revealer; a priest or a gymnospohist may have been the first to annoint him with the palæstric oil, but he conquered alone. On the strange intuitive characteristics of his system, on the spheral music, on the government of all created things and their development according to the laws of number, yes, on the very use of symbols which could alone have force to the esoteric disciple, (and a terrible significancy, indeed, has the simplest form, to a mind hasheesh-quickened to read its meaning) — on all these is the legible stamp of the hasheesh inspiration.

It would be no hard task to prove, to a strong probability, at least, that the initiation into the Pythagorean mysteries and the progressive instruction that succeeded it, to a considerable extent, consisted in the employment, judiciously, if we may use the word, of hasheesh, as giving a critical and analytic power to the mind which enabled the neophyte to roll up the murk and mist from beclouded truths, till they stood distinctly seen in the splendor of their own harmonious beauty as an intuition.

One thing related of Pythagoras and his friends has seemed very striking to me. There is a legend that, as he was passing over a river, its waters called up to him, in the presence of his followers, “Hail, Pythagoras!” Frequently, while in the power of the hasheesh delirium, have I heard inanimate things sonorous with such voices. On every side they have saluted me; from rocks, and trees, and waters, and sky; in my happiness, filling me with intense exultation, as I heard them welcoming their master; in my agony, heaping nameless curses on my head, as I went away into an eternal exile from all sympathy. Of this tradition on Iamblichus, I feel an appreciation which almost convinces me that the voice of the river was, indeed, heard, though only in the quickened mind of some hasheesh-glorified esoteric. Again, it may be that the doctrine of the Metempsychosis was first communicated to Pythagoras by Theban priests; but the astonishing illustration, which hasheesh would contribute to this tenet, should not be overlooked in our attempt to assign its first suggestion and succeeding spread to their proper causes.

A modern critic, in defending the hypothesis, that Pythagoras was an impostor, has triumphantly asked, “Why did he assume the character of Apollo at the Olympic games? why did he boast that his soul had lived in former bodies, and that he had been first Acthalides, the son of Mercury, then Euphorbus, then Pyrrhus of Delos, and at last Pythagoras, but that he might more easily impose upon the credulity of an ignorant and superstitious people!” To us these facts seem rather an evidence of his sincerity. Had he made these assertions without proof, it is difficult to see how they would not have had a precisely contrary effect from that of paving the way to a more complete imposition upon the credulity of the people. Upon our hypothesis, it may be easily shown, not only how he could fully have believed these assertions himself, but, also, have given them a deep significance to the minds of his disciples.

Let us see. We will consider, for example, his assumption of the character of Phoebus at the Olympic games. Let us suppose that Pythagoras, animated with a desire of alluring to the study of his philosophy a choice and enthusiastic number out of that host who, along all the radii of the civilized world, had come up to the solemn festival at Elis, had, by the talisman of hasheesh, called to his aid the magic of a preternatural eloquence; that, while he addressed the throng whoin he had charmed into breathless attention by the weird brilliancy of his eyes, the unearthly imagery of his style, and the oracular insight of his thought, the grand impression flashed upon him from the very honor he was receiving, that he was the incarnation of some sublime deity. What wonder that he burst into the acknowledgment of his godship as a secret too majestic to be hoarded up; what wonder that this sudden revelation of himself, darting forth in burning words and amid such colossal surroundings, wend down with the accessories of time and place along the stream of perpetual tradition?

If I may illustrate great things by small, I well remember many hallucinations of my own which would be exactly parallel to such a fancy in the mind of Pythagoras. There is no impression more deeply stamped upon my past life than one of a walk along the brook which had frequently witnessed my wrestlings with the hasheesh-afreet, and which now beheld me, the immortal Zeus, descended among men to grant them the sublime benediction of renovated life. For this cause I had abandoned the serene seats of Olympus, the convocation of the gods, and the glory of an immortal kingship, while, by my side, Hermes trod the earth with radiant feet, the companion and dispenser of the beneficence of deity. Across lakes and seas, from continent to continent, we strode; the snows of Hæimus and the Himmalehs crunched beneath our sandals; our foreheads were bathed with the upper light, our breasts glowed with the exultant inspiration of the golden ether. Now resting on Chimborazo, I poured forth a majestic blessing upon all my creatures, and in an instant, with one omniscient glance, I beheld every human dwelling-place on the whole sphere irradiated with an unspeakable joy.

I saw the king rule more wisely, the laborer return from his toil to a happier home, the park grow green with an intenser culture, the harvest-field groan under the sheaves of a more prudent and prosperous husbandry; adown blue slopes came new and more populous flocks, led by unvexed and gladsome shepherds, a thousand healthy vineyards sprang up above their new-raised sunny terraces, every smallest heart glowed with an added thrill of exaltation, and the universal rebound of joy came pouring up into my own spirit with an intensity that lit my deity with rapture.

And this was only a poor hasheesh-eater, who, with his friend, walked out into the fields to enjoy his delirium among the beauties of a clear summer afternoon! What, then, of Pythagoras?

The tendency of the hasheesh-hallucination is almost always toward the supernatural or the sublimest forms of the natural. As the millennial Christ, I have put an end to all the jars of the world; by a word I have bound all humanity in etern alligaments of brotherhood; from the depths of the grand untrodden forest I have called the tiger, and with bloodless jaws he came mildly forth to fawn upon his king, a partaker in the universal amnesty. As Rienzi hurling fiery invective against the usurpations of Colonna, I have seen the broad space below the tribune grow populous with a multitude of intense faces, and within myself felt a sense of towering into sublimity, with the consciousness that it was my eloquence which swayed that great host with a storm of indignation, like the sirocco passing over reeds. Or, uplifted mightily by an irresistible impulse, I have risen through the ethereal infinitudes till I stood on the very cope of heaven, with the spheres below me. Suddenly, by an instantaneous revealing, I became aware of a mighty harp, which lay athwart the celestial hemisphere, and filled the whole sweep of vision before me. The lambent flame of myriad stars was burning in the azure spaces between its string, and glorious suns gemmed with unimaginable lustre all its colossal frame-work. While I stood overwhelmed by the visions, a voice spoke clearly from the depths of the surrounding ether, “Behold the harp of the universe!” Again I realized the typefaction of the same grand harmony of creation, which glorified the former vision to which I have referred; for every influence, from that which nerves the wing of Ithuriel down to the humblest force of growth, had there its beautiful and peculiar representative string. As yet the music slept, when the voice spake to me again — “Stretch forth thine hand and wake the harmonies!” Trembling yet daring, I swept the harp, and in an instant all heaven thrilled with an unutterable music. My arm strangely lengthened, I grew bolder, and my hand took a wider range. The symphony grew more intense; overpowered, I ceased, and heard tremendous echoes coming back from the infinitudes. Again I smote the chords; but, unable to endure the sublimity of the sound, I sank into an ecstatic trance, and was thus borne off unconsciously to the portals of some new vision.

But, if I found the supernatural an element of happiness, I also found it many times an agent of most bitter pain. If I once exulted in the thought that I was the millennial Christ, so, also, through a long agony, have I felt myself the crucified. In dim horror, I perceived the nails piercing my hands and feet; but it was not that which seemed the burden of my suffering. Upon my head, in a tremendous and ever-thickening cloud, came slowly down the guilt of all the ages past, and all the world to come; by a dreadful quickening, I beheld every atrocity and nameless crime coming up from all time on lines that centred in myself. The thorns clung to my brow, and bloody drops stood like dew upon my hair, yet, these were not the instruments of my agony. I was withered like a leaf in the breath of a righteous vengeance. The curtain of a lurid blackness hung between me and heaven, mercy was dumb forever, and I bore the anger of Omnipotence alone. Out of a fiery distance, demon chants of triumphant blasphemy came surging on my ear, and whispers of ferocious wickedness ruffled the leaden air about my cross. How long I bore this vicarious agony, I have never known; hours are no measure of time in hasheesh. I only know that, during the whole period, I sat perfectly awake among objects which I recognized as familiar; friends were passing and repassing before me, yet. I sat in speechless horror, convinced that to supplicate their pity, to ask their help in the tortures of my dual existence, would be a demand that men in time should reach out and grasp one in eternity, that mortality should succor immortality.

In my experience of hasheesh there has been one pervading characteristic — the conviction that, encumbered with a mortal body, I was suffering that which the untrammeled immortal soul could alone endure. The spirit seemed to be learning its franchise and, whether in joy or pain, shook the bars of flesh mightily, as if determined to escape from its cage. Many a time, in my sublimest ecstasy, have I asked myself, “Is this experience happiness or torture?” for soul and body gave different verdicts.

Hasheesh is no thing to be played with as a bauble. At its revealing, too-dread paths of spiritual life are flung open, too tremendous views disclosed of what the soul is capable of doing, and being, and suffering, for that soul to contemplate, till, relieved of the body, it can behold them alone.

Up to the time that I read in the September number of this Magazine the paper entitled “The Hasheesh-eater,” I had long walked among the visions of “the weed of insanity.” The recital given there seemed written out of my own soul. In outline and detail it was the counterpart of my own suffering. From that day, I shut the book of hasheesh experience, warned with a warning for which I cannot express myself sufficiently grateful. And now, as utterly escaped, I look back upon the world of visionary yet awful realities, and see the fountains of its Elysium and the flames of its Tartarus growing dimmer and still dimmer in the mists of distance, I hold the remembrance of its apocalypse as something which I shall behold again, when the spirit, looking no longer through windows of sense, shall realize its majesty unterrified, and face to face gaze on its infinite though now unseen surroundings.

The Hashish Eater -or- the Apocalypse of Evil
Clark Ashton Smith

Bow down: I am the emperor of dreams;
I crown me with the million-colored sun
Of secret worlds incredible, and take
Their trailing skies for vestment when I soar,
Throned on the mounting zenith, and illume
The spaceward-flown horizons infinite.
Like rampant monsters roaring for their glut,
The fiery-crested oceans rise and rise,
By jealous moons maleficently urged
To follow me for ever; mountains horned
With peaks of sharpest adamant, and mawed
With sulphur-lit volcanoes lava-langued,
Usurp the skies with thunder, but in vain;
And continents of serpent-shapen trees,
With slimy trunks that lengthen league by league,
Pursue my light through ages spurned to fire
By that supreme ascendance; sorcerers,
And evil kings, predominanthly armed
With scrolls of fulvous dragon-skin whereon
Are worm-like runes of ever-twisting flame,
Would stay me; and the sirens of the stars,
With foam-like songs from silver fragrance wrought,
Would lure me to their crystal reefs; and moons
Where viper-eyed, senescent devils dwell,
With antic gnomes abominably wise,
Heave up their icy horns across my way.
But naught deters me from the goal ordained
By suns and eons and immortal wars,
And sung by moons and motes; the goal whose name
Is all the secret of forgotten glyphs
By sinful gods in torrid rubies writ
For ending of a brazen book; the goal
Whereat my soaring ecstasy may stand
In amplest heavens multiplied to hold
My hordes of thunder-vested avatars,
And Promethèan armies of my thought,
That brandish claspèd levins. There I call
My memories, intolerably clad
In light the peaks of paradise may wear,
And lead the Armageddon of my dreams
Whose instant shout of triumph is become
Immensity’s own music: for their feet
Are founded on innumerable worlds,
Remote in alien epochs, and their arms
Upraised, are columns potent to exalt
With ease ineffable the countless thrones
Of all the gods that are or gods to be,
And bear the seats of Asmodai and Set
Above the seventh paradise.

In culminant omniscience manifold,
And served by senses multitudinous,
Far-posted on the shifting walls of time,
With eyes that roam the star-unwinnowed fields
Of utter night and chaos, I convoke
The Babel of their visions, and attend
At once their myriad witness. I behold
In Ombos, where the fallen Titans dwell,
With mountain-builded walls, and gulfs for moat,
The secret cleft that cunning dwarves have dug
Beneath an alp-like buttress; and I list,
Too late, the clam of adamantine gongs
Dinned by their drowsy guardians, whose feet
Have fell the wasp-like sting of little knives
Embrued With slobber of the basilisk
Or the pail Juice of wounded upas. In
Some red Antarean garden-world, I see
The sacred flower with lips of purple flesh,
And silver-Lashed, vermilion-lidded eyes
Of torpid azure; whom his furtive priests
At moonless eve in terror seek to slay
With bubbling grails of sacrificial blood
That hide a hueless poison. And I read
Upon the tongue of a forgotten sphinx,
The annulling word a spiteful demon wrote
In gall of slain chimeras; and I know
What pentacles the lunar wizards use,
That once allured the gulf-returning roc,
With ten great wings of furlèd storm, to pause
Midmost an alabaster mount; and there,
With boulder-weighted webs of dragons’ gut
Uplift by cranes a captive giant built,
They wound the monstrous, moonquake-throbbing bird,
And plucked from off his saber-taloned feet
Uranian sapphires fast in frozen blood,
And amethysts from Mars. I lean to read
With slant-lipped mages, in an evil star,
The monstrous archives of a war that ran
Through wasted eons, and the prophecy
Of wars renewed, which shall commemorate
Some enmity of wivern-headed kings
Even to the brink of time. I know the blooms
Of bluish fungus, freaked with mercury,
That bloat within the creators of the moon,
And in one still, selenic and fetor; and I know
What clammy blossoms, blanched and cavern-grown,
Are proffered to their gods in Uranus
By mole-eyed peoples; and the livid seed
Of some black fruit a king in Saturn ate,
Which, cast upon his tinkling palace-floor,
Took root between the burnished flags, and now
Hath mounted and become a hellish tree,
Whose lithe and hairy branches, lined with mouths,
Net like a hundred ropes his lurching throne,
And strain at starting pillars. I behold
The slowly-thronging corals that usurp
Some harbour of a million-masted sea,
And sun them on the league-long wharves of gold—
Bulks of enormous crimson, kraken-limbed
And kraken-headed, lifting up as crowns
The octiremes of perished emperors,
And galleys fraught with royal gems, that sailed
From a sea-fled haven.

Swifter and stranger grow
The visions: now a mighty city looms,
Hewn from a hill of purest cinnabar
To domes and turrets like a sunrise thronged
With tier on tier of captive moons, half-drowned
In shifting erubescence. But whose hands
Were sculptors of its doors, and columns wrought
To semblance of prodigious blooms of old,
No eremite hath lingered there to say,
And no man comes to learn: for long ago
A prophet came, warning its timid king
Against the plague of lichens that had crept
Across subverted empires, and the sand
Of wastes that cyclopean mountains ward;
Which, slow and ineluctable, would come
To take his fiery bastions and his fanes,
And quench his domes with greenish tetter. Now
I see a host of naked gents, armed
With horns of behemoth and unicorn,
Who wander, blinded by the clinging spells
O hostile wizardry, and stagger on
To forests where the very leaves have eyes,
And ebonies like wrathful dragons roar
To teaks a-chuckle in the loathly gloom;
Where coiled lianas lean, with serried fangs,
From writhing palms with swollen boles that moan;
Where leeches of a scarlet moss have sucked
The eyes of some dead monster, and have crawled
To bask upon his azure-spotted spine;
Where hydra-throated blossoms hiss and sing,
Or yawn with mouths that drip a sluggish dew
Whose touch is death and slow corrosion. Then
I watch a war of pygmies, met by night,
With pitter of their drums of parrot’s hide,
On plains with no horizon, where a god
Might lose his way for centuries; and there,
In wreathèd light and fulgors all convolved,
A rout of green, enormous moons ascend,
With rays that like a shivering venom run
On inch-long swords of lizard-fang.

From this my throne, as from a central sun,
The pageantries of worlds and cycles pass;
Forgotten splendors, dream by dream, unfold
Like tapestry, and vanish; violet suns,
Or suns of changeful iridescence, bring
Their rays about me like the colored lights
Imploring priests might lift to glorify
The face of some averted god; the songs
Of mystic poets in a purple world
Ascend to me in music that is made
From unconceivèd perfumes and the pulse
Of love ineffable; the lute-players
Whose lutes are strung with gold of the utmost moon,
Call forth delicious languors, never known
Save to their golden kings; the sorcerers
Of hooded stars inscrutable to God,
Surrender me their demon-wrested scrolls,
lnscribed with lore of monstrous alchemies
And awful transformations.

If I will
I am at once the vision and the seer,
And mingle with my ever-streaming pomps,
And still abide their suzerain: I am
The neophyte who serves a nameless god,
Within whose fane the fanes of Hecatompylos
Were arks the Titan worshippers might bear,
Or flags to pave the threshold; or I am
The god himself, who calls the fleeing clouds
Into the nave where suns might congregate
And veils the darkling mountain of his face
With fold on solemn fold; for whom the priests
Amass their monthly hecatomb of gems
Opals that are a camel-cumbering load,
And monstrous alabraundines, won from war
With realms of hostile serpents; which arise,
Combustible, in vapors many-hued
And myrrh-excelling perfumes. It is I,
The king, who holds with scepter-dropping hand
The helm of some great barge of orichalchum,
Sailing upon an amethystine sea
To isles of timeless summer: for the snows
Of Hyperborean winter, and their winds,
Sleep in his jewel-builded capital,
Nor any charm of flame-wrought wizardry,
Nor conjured suns may rout them; so he fees,
With captive kings to urge his serried oars,
Hopeful of dales where amaranthine dawn
Hath never left the faintly sighing lote
And lisping moly. Firm of heart, I fare
Impanoplied with azure diamond,
As hero of a quest Achernar lights,
To deserts filled with ever-wandering flames
That feed upon the sullen marl, and soar
To wrap the slopes of mountains, and to leap
With tongues intolerably lengthening
That lick the blenchèd heavens. But there lives
(Secure as in a garden walled from wind)
A lonely flower by a placid well,
Midmost the flaring tumult of the flames,
That roar as roars a storm-possessed sea,
Impacable for ever; and within
That simple grail the blossom lifts, there lies
One drop of an incomparable dew
Which heals the parchèd weariness of kings,
And cures the wound of wisdom. I am page
To an emperor who reigns ten thousand years,
And through his labyrinthine palace-rooms,
Through courts and colonnades and balconies
Wherein immensity itself is mazed,
I seek the golden gorget he hath lost,
On which, in sapphires fine as orris-seed,
Are writ the names of his conniving stars
And friendly planets. Roaming thus, I hear
Like demon tears incessant, through dark ages,
The drip of sullen clepsydrae; and once
In every lustrum, hear the brazen clocks
Innumerably clang with such a sound
As brazen hammers make, by devils dinned
On tombs of all the dead; and nevermore
I find the gorget, but at length I find
A sealèd room whose nameless prisoner
Moans with a nameless torture, and would turn
To hell’s red rack as to a lilied couch
From that whereon they stretched him; and I find,
Prostrate upon a lotus-painted floor,
The loveliest of all beloved slaves
My emperor hath, and from her pulseless side
A serpent rises, whiter than the root
Of some venefic bloom in darkness grown,
And gazes up with green-lit eyes that seem
Like drops of cold, congealing poison.

What word was whispered in a tongue unknown,
In crypts of some impenetrable world?
Whose is the dark, dethroning secrecy
I cannot share, though I am king of suns,
And king therewith of strong eternity,
Whose gnomons with their swords of shadow guard
My gates, and slay the intruder? Silence loads
The wind of ether, and the worlds are still
To hear the word that flees mine audience.
In simultaneous ruin, al my dreams
Fall like a rack of fuming vapors raised
To semblance by a necromant, and leave
Spirit and sense unthinkably alone
Above a universe of shrouded stars
And suns that wander, cowled with sullen gloom,
Like witches to a Sabbath. . . . Fear is born
In crypts below the nadir, and hath crawled
Reaching the floor of space, and waits for wings
To lift it upward like a hellish worm
Fain for the flesh of cherubim. Red orbs
And eyes that gleam remotely as the stars,
But are not eyes of suns or galaxies,
Gather and throng to the base of darkness; flame
Behind some black, abysmal curtain burns,
Implacable, and fanned to whitest wrath
By raisèd wings that flail the whiffled gloom,
And make a brief and broken wind that moans
As one who rides a throbbing rack. There is
A Thing that crouches, worlds and years remote,
Whose horns a demon sharpens, rasping forth
A note to shatter the donjon-keeps of time,
Or crack the sphere of crystal. All is dark
For ages, and my toiling heart-suspends
Its clamor as within the clutch of death
Tightening with tense, hermetic rigors. Then,
In one enormous, million-flashing flame,
The stars unveil, the suns remove their cowls,
And beam to their responding planets; time
Is mine once more, and armies of its dreams
Rally to that insuperable throne
Firmed on the zenith.

Once again I seek
The meads of shining moly I had found
In some anterior vision, by a stream
No cloud hath ever tarnished; where the sun,
A gold Narcissus, loiters evermore
Above his golden image. But I find
A corpse the ebbing water will not keep,
With eyes like sapphires that have lain in hell|
And felt the hissing coals; and all the flowers
About me turn to hooded serpents, swayed
By flutes of devils in lascivious dance
Meet for the nod of Satan, when he reigns
Above the raging Sabbath, and is wooed
By sarabands of witches. But I turn
To mountains guarding with their horns of snow
The source of that befoulèd rill, and seek
A pinnacle where none but eagles climb,
And they with failing pennons. But in vain
I flee, for on that pylon of the sky
Some curse hath turned the unprinted snow to flame—
Red fires that curl and cluster to my tread,
Trying the summit’s narrow cirque. And now
I see a silver python far beneath-
Vast as a river that a fiend hath witched
And forced to flow reverted in its course
To mountains whence it issued. Rapidly
It winds from slope to crumbling slope, and fills
Ravines and chasmal gorges, till the crags
Totter with coil on coil incumbent. Soon
It hath entwined the pinnacle I keep,
And gapes with a fanged, unfathomable maw
Wherein Great Typhon and Enceladus
Were orts of daily glut. But I am gone,
For at my call a hippogriff hath come,
And firm between his thunder-beating wings
I mount the sheer cerulean walls of noon
And see the earth, a spurnèd pebble, fall—
Lost in the fields of nether stars—and seek
A planet where the outwearied wings of time
Might pause and furl for respite, or the plumes
Of death be stayed, and loiter in reprieve
Above some deathless lily: for therein
Beauty hath found an avatar of flowers-
Blossoms that clothe it as a colored flame
From peak to peak, from pole to sullen pole,
And turn the skies to perfume. There I find
A lonely castle, calm, and unbeset
Save by the purple spears of amaranth,
And leafing iris tender-sworded. Walls
Of flushèd marble, wonderful with rose,
And domes like golden bubbles, and minarets
That take the clouds as coronal-these are mine,
For voiceless looms the peaceful barbican,
And the heavy-teethed portcullis hangs aloft
To grin a welcome. So I leave awhile
My hippogriff to crop the magic meads,
And pass into a court the lilies hold,
And tread them to a fragrance that pursues
To win the portico, whose columns, carved
Of lazuli and amber, mock the palms
Of bright Aidennic forests-capitalled
With fronds of stone fretted to airy lace,
Enfolding drupes that seem as tawny clusters
Of breasts of unknown houris; and convolved
With vines of shut and shadowy-leavèd flowers
Like the dropt lids of women that endure
Some loin-dissolving ecstasy. Through doors
Enlaid with lilies twined luxuriously,
I enter, dazed and blinded with the sun,
And hear, in gloom that changing colors cloud,
A chuckle sharp as crepitating ice
Upheaved and cloven by shoulders of the damned
Who strive in Antenora. When my eyes
Undazzle, and the cloud of color fades,
I find me in a monster-guarded room,
Where marble apes with wings of griffins crowd
On walls an evil sculptor wrought, and beasts
Wherein the sloth and vampire-bat unite,
Pendulous by their toes of tarnished bronze,
Usurp the shadowy interval of lamps
That hang from ebon arches. Like a ripple
Borne by the wind from pool to sluggish pool
In fields where wide Cocytus flows his bound,
A crackling smile around that circle runs,
And all the stone-wrought gibbons stare at me
With eyes that turn to glowing coals. A fear
That found no name in Babel, flings me on,
Breathless and faint with horror, to a hall
Within whose weary, self-reverting round,
The languid curtains, heavier than palls,
Unnumerably depict a weary king
Who fain would cool his jewel-crusted hands
In lakes of emerald evening, or the field
Of dreamless poppies pure with rain. I flee
Onward, and all the shadowy curtains shake
With tremors of a silken-sighing mirth,
And whispers of the innumerable king,
Breathing a tale of ancient pestilence
Whose very words are vile contagion. Then
I reach a room where caryatids,
Carved in the form of voluptuous Titan women,
Surround a throne flowering ebony
Where creeps a vine of crystal. On the throne
There lolls a wan, enormous Worm, whose bulk,
Tumid with all the rottenness of kings,
Overflows its arms with fold on creasèd fold
Obscenely bloating. Open-mouthed he leans,
And from his fulvous throat a score of tongues,
Depending like to wreaths of torpid vipers,
Drivel with phosphorescent slime, that runs
Down all his length of soft and monstrous folds,
And creeping among the flowers of ebony,
Lends them the life of tiny serpents. Now,
Ere the Horror ope those red and lashless slits
Of eyes that draw the gnat and midge, I turn
And follow down a dusty hall, whose gloom,
Lined by the statues with their mighty limbs,
Ends in golden-roofèd balcony
Sphering the flowered horizon.

Ere my heart
Hath hushed the panic tumult of its pulses,
I listen, from beyond the horizon’s rim,
A mutter faint as when the far simoom,
Mounting from unknown deserts, opens forth,
Wide as the waste, those wings of torrid night
That shake the doom of cities from their folds,
And musters in its van a thousand winds
That, with disrooted palms for besoms, rise,
And sweep the sands to fury. As the storm,
Approaching, mounts and loudens to the ears
Of them that toil in fields of sesame,
So grows the mutter, and a shadow creeps
Above the gold horizon like a dawn
Of darkness climbing zenith-ward. They come,
The Sabaoth of retribution, drawn
From all dread spheres that knew my trespassing,
And led by vengeful fiends and dire alastors
That owned my sway aforetime! Cockatrice,
Chimera, martichoras, behemoth,
Geryon, and sphinx, and hydra, on my ken
Arise as might some Afrit-builded city
Consummate in the lifting of a lash
With thunderous domes and sounding obelisks
And towers of night and fire alternate! Wings
Of white-hot stone along the hissing wind
Bear up the huge and furnace-hearted beasts
Of hells beyond Rutilicus; and things
Whose lightless length would mete the gyre of moons—
Born from the caverns of a dying sun
Uncoil to the very zenith, half-disclosed
From gulfs below the horizon; octopi
Like blazing moons with countless arms of fire,
Climb from the seas of ever-surging flame
That roll and roar through planets unconsumed,
Beating on coasts of unknown metals; beasts
That range the mighty worlds of Alioth rise,
Afforesting the heavens with mulitudinous horns
Amid whose maze the winds are lost; and borne
On cliff-like brows of plunging scolopendras,
The shell-wrought towers of ocean-witches loom;
And griffin-mounted gods, and demons throned
On-sable dragons, and the cockodrills
That bear the spleenful pygmies on their backs;
And blue-faced wizards from the worlds of Saiph,
On whom Titanic scorpions fawn; and armies
That move with fronts reverted from the foe,
And strike athwart their shoulders at the shapes
The shields reflect in crystal; and eidola
Fashioned within unfathomable caves
By hands of eyeless peoples; and the blind
Worm-shapen monsters of a sunless world,
With krakens from the ultimate abyss,
And Demogorgons of the outer dark,
Arising, shout with dire multisonous clamors,
And threatening me with dooms ineffable
In words whereat the heavens leap to flame,
Advance upon the enchanted palace. Falling
For league on league before, their shadows light
And eat like fire the arnaranthine meads,
Leaving an ashen desert. In the palace
I hear the apes of marble shriek and howl,
And all the women-shapen columns moan,
Babbling with terror. In my tenfold fear,
A monstrous dread unnamed in any hall,
I rise, and flee with the fleeing wind for wings,
And in a trice the wizard palace reefs,
And spring to a single tower of flame,
Goes out, and leaves nor shard nor ember! Flown
Beyond the world upon that fleeing wind
I reach the gulf’s irrespirable verge,
Where fads the strongest storm for breath, and fall,
Supportless, through the nadir-plungèd gloom,
Beyond the scope and vision of the sun,
To other skies and systems.

In a world
Deep-wooded with the multi-colored fungi
That soar to semblance of fantastic palms,
I fall as falls the meteor-stone, and break
A score of trunks to atom powder. Unharmed
I rise, and through the illimitable woods,
Among the trees of flimsy opal, roam,
And see their tops that clamber hour by hour
To touch the suns of iris. Things unseen,
Whose charnel breath informs the tideless air
With spreading pools of fetor, follow me,
Elusive past the ever-changing palms;
And pittering moths with wide and ashen wings
Flit on before, and insects ember-hued,
Descending, hurtle through the gorgeous gloom
And quench themselves in crumbling thickets. Heard
Far off, the gong-like roar of beasts unknown
Resounds at measured intervals of time,
Shaking the riper trees to dust, that falls
In clouds of acrid perfume, stifling me
Beneath an irised pall.

Now the palmettoes
Grow far apart, and lessen momently
To shrubs a dwarf might topple. Over them
I see an empty desert, all ablaze
With ametrysts and rubies, and the dust
Of garnets or carnelians. On I roam,
Treading the gorgeous grit, that dazzles me
With leaping waves of endless rutilance,
Whereby the air is turned to a crimson gloom
Through which I wander blind as any Kobold;
Till underfoot the grinding sands give place
To stone or metal, with a massive ring
More welcome to mine ears than golden bells
Or tinkle of silver fountains. When the gloom
Of crimson lifts, I stand upon the edge
Of a broad black plain of adamant that reaches,
Level as windless water, to the verge
Of all the world; and through the sable plain
A hundred streams of shattered marble run,
And streams of broken steel, and streams of bronze,
Like to the ruin of all the wars of time,
To plunge with clangor of timeless cataracts
Adown the gulfs eternal.

So I follow
Between a river of steel and a river of bronze,
With ripples loud and tuneless as the clash
Of a million lutes; and come to the precipice
From which they fall, and make the mighty sound
Of a million swords that meet a million shields,
Or din of spears and armour in the wars
Of half the worlds and eons. Far beneath
They fall, through gulfs and cycles of the void,
And vanish like a stream of broken stars
into the nether darkness; nor the gods
Of any sun, nor demons of the gulf,
Will dare to know what everlasting sea
Is fed thereby, and mounts forevermore
In one unebbing tide.

What nimbus-cloud
Or night of sudden and supreme eclipse,
Is on the suns opal? At my side
The rivers run with a wan and ghostly gleam
Through darkness falling as the night that falls
From spheres extinguished. Turning, I behold
Betwixt the sable desert and the suns,
The poisèd wings of all the dragon-rout,
Far-flown in black occlusion thousand-fold
Through stars, and deeps, and devastated worlds,
Upon my trail of terror! Griffins, rocs,
And sluggish, dark chimeras, heavy-winged
After the ravin of dispeopled lands,
And harpies, and the vulture-birds of hell,
Hot from abominable feasts, and fain
To cool their beaks and talons in my blood—
All, all have gathered, and the wingless rear,
With rank on rank of foul, colossal Worms,
Makes horrent now the horizon. From the wan
I hear the shriek of wyvers, loud and shrill
As tempests in a broken fane, and roar
Of sphinxes, like relentless toll of bells
From towers infernal. Cloud on hellish cloud
They arch the zenith, and a dreadful wind
Falls from them like the wind before the storm,
And in the wind my riven garment streams
And flutters in the face of all the void,
Even as flows a flaffing spirit, lost
On the pit s undying tempest. Louder grows
The thunder of the streams of stone and bronze—
Redoubled with the roar of torrent wings
Inseparable mingled. Scarce I keep
My footing in the gulfward winds of fear,
And mighty thunders beating to the void
In sea-like waves incessant; and would flee
With them, and prove the nadir-founded night
Where fall the streams of ruin. But when I reach
The verge, and seek through sun-defeating gloom
To measure with my gaze the dread descent,
I see a tiny star within the depths-
A light that stays me while the wings of doom
Convene their thickening thousands: for the star
increases, taking to its hueless orb,
With all the speed of horror-changèd dreams,
The light as of a million million moons;
And floating up through gulfs and glooms eclipsed
It grows and grows, a huge white eyeless Face
That fills the void and fills the universe,
And bloats against the limits of the world
With lips of flame that open . . .
Bill Laswell: The End Of Law – The Old Man Of The Mountain


All Illustrations Gwyllm Llwydd From “The Hasheesh Eater & Other Writings” available at “The Hasheesh Eater”


“I have always taught that things arise due to the conjunction of causes and conditions not that they arise without a cause.”  –  Red Pine

Mori Kansai (1814-1894), Rabbits, 1881. Two-panel screen. Ink, colour and gold leaf on paper.

The Great Tao

大道無形 Daidõ mugyõ, The Great Tao is without form,
眞理無對 Shinri mutai, The Absolute is without opposite;
等空不動 Hitoshiku kû fudõ, It is both empty and unmoving,
非生死流 Shõji no nagare ni arazu; It is not within the flow of Samsara;
三界不攝 Sangai fushõ, The Three Realms do not contain it,
非古夾今 Koraikon ni arazu. It is not within past, future, or present.
Nan-ch’üan P’u-yüan (Nansen Fugan 南泉普願)

Here is an entry that I have been working off and on for over a year it seems. (11 months if truth be told)  I have been busy on printing projects, and trying to keep the boat afloat.
So much sadness in the world of late, I hope this posting may alleviate  that, if even for just a little while.

On The Menu:
The Links
Bardol Thodol
The Temple of Perseus…
Shakuhachi – Kohachiro Miyata
Zen Poetry
Rebirth of the Bodhisattva
Excerpt: The Diamond Sutra
The Links:
That Beckoning Blue Light!
Pyramid Alignment…
Back To The Land 
You’ll Soon Love The Tax Cuts!
Bardo Thodol:
Clear Light
“Remember the clear light, the pure clear white light from which everything in the universe comes, to which everything in the universe returns; the original nature of your own mind. The natural state of the universe unmanifest. Let go into the clear light, trust it, merge with it. It is your own true nature, it is home.”
– Bardo Thodol
I have taken to reading the Bardo Thodol after 45 years of not doing so. Perhaps it is my age, and the passing of dear friends and family.
As I have stated before: “Half our lives we are saying hello, half our lives we are saying goodbye.” Perhaps this is an exercise in learning to let go. We all walk down this path. The party goes on, but the guest are ever changing…

“Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal.”
A Schopenhauer

Here is the Link!
Bardo Thodol
The Temple Of Perseus At Panopolis:
I am working through this a second time. It is indeed a time capsule, with various texts going back 2500 years. You find yourself submerged in a syncretic dream of competing and complementary threads swirling around the temples and times that was once Panopolis. Egyptian, Greek, Syriac, Christian and even more various streams of consciousness well up in this delightful text.
It is a keeper. I will be doing a fuller review in the forth coming edition of The Invisible College Magazine #9.

“Book as magpie s nest or mosaic made up of bits of other books, this work aims to give a thick impression of a single Egyptian city, Akhmim, called by the Greeks Panopolis, city of Pan. As a time machine, this book will take the reader back to the 5th century A.D., when the last champions of Paganism were battling against the coming triumph of Christianity. Alchemy, Magic, Gnosticism, Greco-Egyptian religion, psychotropic ritual and other syncretistic elements mingled to give birth to Hermeticism, a still-living tradition which provides us with the means to appreciate the voyage we will make into a Past that is not dead.”  From the review….

This is the Link…
The Temple At…
Had this album years ago, vinyl. Will try and find it for the radio station…
Shakuhachi [The Japanese Flute] – Kohachiro Miyata

Zen Poetry:

Buddha – Gwyllm 2011

Beyond This World
通玄峯頂 Over the crest of the T’ung-hsuan-feng,
不是人間 The human world is no more.
心外無物 Nothing is outside the Mind;
満目青山 And the eye is filled with green mountains.
– T’ien-t’ai Te-chao (天台德昭 Tendai Tokushõ; 891-972), most prominent disciple of Fa-yen (法眼 Hõgen), and abbot of a temple on Mount T’ung-hsuan-feng (通玄峯).

幽鳥語如篁 A bird in a secluded grove sings like a flute.
柳搖金線長 Willows sway gracefully with their golden threads.
雲歸山谷静 The mountain valley grows the quieter as the clouds return.
風送杏花香 A breeze brings along the fragrance of the apricot flowers.
永日蕭然坐 For a whole day I have sat here encompassed by peace,
澄心萬虞忘 Till my mind is cleansed in and out of all cares and idle thoughts.
欲言言不及 I wish to tell you how I feel, but words fail me.
林下好商量 If you come to this grove, we can compare notes.
– Ch’an master Fa-yen (法眼 Hõgen)

Emptiness Poem
Old P’ang requires nothing in the world:
All is empty with him, even a seat he has not,
For absolute Emptiness reigns in his household;
How empty indeed it is with no treasures!
When the sun is risen, he walks through Emptiness,
When the sun sets, he sleeps in Emptiness;
Sitting in Emptiness he sings his empty songs,
And his empty songs reverberate through Emptiness:
Be not surprised at Emptiness so thoroughly empty,
For Emptiness is the seat of all the Buddhas;
And Emptiness is not understood by the men of the world,
But Emptiness is the real treasure:
If you say there’s no Emptiness,
You commit grave offence against the Buddhas.
– P’ang “Who flourished in the Yüan-ho period (806-821) and thereabout, and was a younger contemporary of Ma-tsu.”

Immovable Mind
欲識永明旨 You wish to know the spirit of Yung-ming Zen?
門前一湖水 Look at the lake in front of the gate.
日照光明至 When the sun shines, it radiates light and brightness,
波夾波浪起 When the wind comes, there arise ripples and waves.
Yung-ming Yen-shou (永明延壽 Yõmyõ Enju; 904-975) disciple of T’ien-t’ai Te-chao (天台德昭 Tendai Tokushõ; 891-972).
“There is a time for peaceful contemplation; there is a time for dynamic action; and all the time the lake remains itself.”

Yen-shou’s Poem of Enlightenment
扑落非他物 Something dropped! It is no other thing;
縱横不是塵 Right and left, there is nothing earthy:
山河并大地 Rivers and mountains and the great earth,—
全露法王身 In them all revealed is the Body of the Dharmarâja.
Ch’an master Yung-ming Yen-shou (永明延壽 Yõmyõ Enju) (904-975)

Variant of the line 3 山河及大地
“His realization took place when he heard a bundle of fuel dropping on the ground.”

Gathas of Shen-hsiu and Hui-neng

身是菩提樹 This body is the Bodhi-tree,
心如明鏡台 The soul is like a mirror bright;
時時勤拂拭 Take heed to keep it always clean,
莫使惹塵埃 And let no dust collect on it. Shen-hsiu

菩提本無樹 The Bodhi is not like the tree,
明鏡亦非台 The mirror bright is nowhere shining;
本夾無一物 As there is nothing from the first,
何處惹塵埃 Where can the dust itself collect? Hui-neng

Gâthâs of Shen-hsiu (神秀 Jinshû) and Hui-neng (慧能 Enõ)
From Hui-neng’s Platform Sûtra (T’an-ching 壇經/Dankyõ,
full title Liu-tsu Ta-shih Fa-pao-t’an-ching 六祖大師法寶壇經 Rokuso Daishi
Rebirth of the Bodhisattva

Bodhisattva Padmapani cave – Ajanta,India

Once upon a time in the city of Mathila, there was a king who had two sons. The older one was named Badfruit, and his younger brother was called Poorfruit.

While they were still fairly young, the king made his older son the crown prince. He was second in command and next in line to the throne. Prince Poorfruit became commander of the army.

Eventually the old king died and Prince Badfruit became the new king. Then his brother became crown prince.

Before long, a certain servant took a disliking to Crown Prince Poorfruit. He went to King Badfruit and told a lie – that his brother was planning to kill him. At first the king did not believe him. But after the servant kept repeating the lie, the king became frightened. So he had Prince Poorfruit put in chains and locked up in the palace dungeon.

The prince thought, “I am a righteous man was does not deserve these chains. I never wanted to kill my brother. I wasn’t even angry at him. So now I call on the power of Truth. If what I say is true, may these chains fall off and the dungeon doors be opened!” Miraculously the chains broke in pieces, the door opened, and the prince fled to an outlying village. The people there recognised him. Since they respected him `they helped him, and the king was unable to capture him.

Even though he lived in hiding, the crown prince became the master of the entire remote region. In time he raised a large army. He thought, “Although I was not an enemy to my brother at first, I must be an enemy to him now.” So he took his army and surrounded the city of Mithila.

He sent a message to king Badfruit – “I was not your enemy, but you have made me so. Therefore I have come to wage war against you. I give you a choice – either give me your crown and kingdom, or come out and fight.” Hearing of this, most of the city people went out and joined the prince.

King Badfruit decided to wage war. He would do anything to keep his power. Before going out with his army, he went to say goodbye to his number one queen. She was expecting a baby very soon. He said to her “My love, no one knows who will win this war. Therefore, if I die you must protect the child inside you.” Then he bravely went off to war and was quickly killed by the soldiers of his enemy brother.

The news of the king’s death spread through the city. The queen disguised herself as a poor dirty homeless person. She put on old rags for clothes and smeared dirt on herself. She put some of the king’s gold and her own most precious jewellery into a basket. She covered these with dirty rice that no one would want to steal. Then she left the city by the northern gate. Since she had always lived inside the city, the queen had no idea where to go from there. She had heard of a city called Campa. She sat down at the side of the road and began asking if anyone was going to Campa.

It just so happened that the one who was about to be born was no ordinary baby. This was not his first life or his first birth. Millions of years before, he had been a follower of a long-forgotten teaching “Buddha” – a fully “Enlightened One”. He had wished with all his heart to become a Buddha just like his beloved master.

He was reborn in many lives – sometimes as poor animals, sometimes as long-living gods and sometimes as human beings. He always tried to learn from his mistakes and develop the “Ten Perfections”. This was so he could purify his mind and remove the three root causes of unwholesomeness – the poisons of craving, anger and the delusion of a separate self. By using the perfections, he would some day be able to replace the poisons with the three purities – non-attachment, loving-kindness and wisdom.

This “Great Being” had been a humble follower of the forgotten Buddha. He goal was to gain the same enlightenment of a Buddha – the experience of complete Truth. So people call him “Bodhisattva”, which mans “Enlightenment Being”. No one really knows about the millions of lives lived by this great hero. But many stories have been told – including this one about a pregnant queen who was about to give birth to him. After many more rebirths, he became the Buddha who is remembered and loved in all the world today.

At the time of our story, the Enlightenment Being had already achieved the Ten Perfections. So the glory of his coming birth caused a trembling in all the heaven worlds, including the Heaven of 33 ruled by King Sakka. When he felt the trembling, being a god he knows it was caused by the unborn babe inside the disguised Queen of Mithila. And he knew this must be a being of great merit, so he decided to go and help out.

King Sakka made a covered carriage with a bed in it, and appeared at the roadside in front of the pregnant queen. He looked just like an ordinary old man. He called out, “Does anyone need a ride to Campa?” The homeless queen answered, “I wish to go there, kind sir.” “Come with me then,: the old man said.

Since the birth was not far off, the pregnant queen was quite large. She said, “I cannot climb up into your carriage. Simply carry my basket and I will walk behind.” The old man, the king of the gods, replied, “Never mind! Never Mind! I am the cleverest driver around. So don’t worry. Just step into my cart!”

Lo and behold, as she lifted her foot, King Sakka magically caused the ground under her to rise up! So she easily stepped down into the carriage. Immediately she knew this must be a god, and fell fast asleep.

Sakka drove the cart until he came to a river. Then he awakened the lady and said, “Wake up, daughter, and bathe in this river. Dress yourself in this fine clothing I have brought you. Then eat a packet of rice.” She obeyed him, and then lay downs and slept some more.

In the evening she awoke and saw tall houses and walls. She asked, “What is this city, father?” He said, “This is Campa.” King Sakka replied, “I took a short cut. Now that we are at the southern gate of the city, you may safely enter in. I must go on to my own far-off village.” So they parted and Sakka disappeared in the distance, returning to his heaven world.

The queen entered the city and sat down at an inn. There happened to be a wise man living in Campa. He recited spells and gave advice to help people who were sick or unfortunate. While on his way to bathe in the river with 500 followers, he was the beautiful queen from a distance. The great goodness of the unborn one within gave her a soft warm glow, which only the wise man noticed. At once he felt a kind and gentle liking for her, just as if where were his own youngest sister. So he left his followers outside and went into the inn.

He asked her, “Sister, what village are you from?” She replied, “I am the number one queen of King Badfruit of Mithila.”

He asked, “Then why did you come here?” “My husband was killed by the army of his brother, Prince Poorfruit,” she said. “I was afraid , so I ran away to protect the unborn one within me.” The wise man asked, “Do you have any relatives in this city?” She said, “No sir.” Then he said, “Dont worry at all. I was born in a rich family and I myself am rich. I will care for you just as I would for my own young sister. Now you must call me brother and grab hold of my feet and cry out.”

When she did this, the followers came inside. The wise man explained to them that she was his long lost youngest sister. He told his closest followers to take her to his home in a covered cart. He told them to tell his wife that this was his sister, who was to be cared for.

They did exactly as he had said. The wife welcomed her, gave her a hot bath, and made her rest in bed.

After bathing in the river the wise man returned home. At dinnertime he asked his sister to join them. After dinner he invited her to stay in his home.

In only a few days the queen gave birth to a wonderful little baby boy. She named him fruitful. She told the wise man this was the name of the boy’s grandfather, who had one been King of Mithila.

Excerpt: The Diamond Sutra

“Subhuti, someone might fill innumerable worlds with the seven treasures and give all away in gifts of alms, but if any good man or any good woman awakens the thought of Enlightenment and takes even only four lines from this Discourse, reciting, using, receiving, retaining and spreading them abroad and explaining them for the benefit of others, it will be far more meritorious. Now in what manner may he explain them to others? By detachment from appearances-abiding in Real Truth. -So I tell you-Thus shall you think of all this fleeting world:A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;A flash of lightening in a summer cloud,A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.When Buddha finished this Discourse the venerable Subhuti, together with the bhikshus, bhikshunis, lay-brothers and sisters, and the whole realms of Gods, Men and Titans, were filled with joy by His teaching, and, taking it sincerely to heart they went their ways.”
― Gautama Buddha, Diamond Sutra

A Little Of This… A Little Of That

So, I have had this entry in the hold folder for 4 months, heaven knows why. I have used it to put the odd piece in as I go along. It is a bit of this, and that, errata in all of the best/worst ways.  There are some tangents here that you might enjoy… Some of it I added today, The Kate Tempest video & poetry, the Nina Paley entries as well. Thanks goes out to Shaun Darius Gottlieb for the Nina Paley entries, and Fa Bi An for the Kate Tempest. I deeply appreciate your contributions!

I have been working on new publications, announcements soon.

I am also looking for stuff to do… got any projects? Publishing, Editing, Illustrating? Ping Me!

I hope this finds you well.
On The Menu:
Hey, it was Semi Legal!
Nina Paley: God-Mother
Hazrat Inayat Khan, The Dance of the Soul
The Sun Blindness – trip in a painted world
On Sorcery
The Sun Blindness – It’s Only 3am
Science Theories
Kate Tempest: Brand New Ancients (Extract)
Nina Paley: You Gotta Believe

Hey, it was Semi Legal!

So, in 1967, I went from someone exploring psychedelics to someone who sought to help others find what they wanted. I met some characters up from Austin Texas in Denver who arrived in a beater 1950 Chevrolet, with a boot/trunk full of gelatine capsules containing Peyote extract. 2 of these double 00 capsules and one would enter into the realm. I traveled around with them in Colorado, whilst they distributed their wares.

As our relationship deepened I started to fly from Colorado with suitcases of mescaline to San Francisco, to exchange for Owsley Acid to bring back so they could distribute in Texas. If we had only known, Stanley was living no more than a mile and a half away, producing LSD in Denver, whilst financing The Family Dog…

I never got paid money, I wasn’t looking for cash, but I handed out hundreds of free mescaline doses across the west.  I was on a roll…

At that time, when I was in Colorado, I would host people travelling from the east coast going west, and vice versa.  Along the way in mid summer I hosted a group coming from Millbrook New York, where Tim Leary,  Ralph Metzner & Richard Alpert (later Baba Ram Dass) had set up the Castalia Foundation a few years earlier… Now it was Tim & Rosemary there, with people coming through.  Anyway, 6 travellers showed up at my door one night, and I put them up for a couple of days.  Sweet people, all of them.  We spend a couple of days tripping together, and on the way out back to their car, one of them stops, and presses 4 capsules of a red crystalline substance into my hands.  “This is something special” he said, “it is Yage. Take it out in the countryside”.  I of course didn’t know what Yage was at that point.  I thanked them, and off they went to San Francisco.

A couple of days later, I flew out to the west coast again to deliver mescaline.  After I was done I flew down to L.A. on my way home.  I stopped off at friends commune.  Of course I had my bottle of mescaline caps, and at the top of the bottle wrapped in tin foil, the crystallized yage.  I tossed the bottle over to my friend Richard when I came in, saying, “Hey! Mescaline, share it around the group!” Then thinking, I said, “Except for those capsules in the tin foil! I am saving those for something special!”…. We talked for a bit, and I headed over to Fairfax to Canter’s to meet other friends.  I was up all night of course. After Canters it was on to Sunset Strip and hanging out until daytime..  It was normal for that time it seems.

When I came  back to the commune the next day, Richard grabbed me and took me aside…. “I have to apologize, I took the capsules in the tin foil before you told us not to…. what was in it?” I asked, “Why?” He just stood there for a minute, composing himself and then speaking quietly, quickly, it just spilled out… “I took the red ones, and topped it off with 2 of the mescaline caps. in about a half hour it kicked in, and then I was in a place I had never been before with Acid, or anything!” “I was tripping, and then all of a sudden, I was in a jungle.  I realized I was a jaguar following a caiman or a crocodile…. and then I transformed into an anaconda following the jaguar… and then I looked up into the sky, and I became a great eagle flying over the jungle and the mountains!” “I passed into a great light after that, and woke up this morning!”

“Damn” I thought… “Sorry to have missed that”… I assured him it was okay.  It was not until reading Michael Harner’s (Bless his soul) works later on did I know what happened to my friend.

Modern Note: As I see it, someone in Millbrook or elsewhere had gotten ahold of some Caapi Vine, and reduced it down to crystalline levels, and capped it.  When Richard mixed the mescaline with it, there was a great synergy produced, not unlike the traditional mix of Caapi & P. Viridis…. If I recall, some tribes on the eastern slopes of the Andes combine Caapi with San Pedro (there might be the precedent!)  I don’t know how safe it is though… 

Back To The Past:  Well, we hung out the rest of the day before I caught the next flight out to Denver.  (Richard and I had further adventures, but those are for another time.)

Flying back into Denver, I decided it was time to head up into the mountains to a cabin the Mescaline Crew had, but that is an adventure for another time.

Nina Paley. An Amazing Artist/Visionary:


The Black Sun (detail), illustration by an unknown artist from the alchemical treatise “Splendor Solis”, 1582.

“I have loved in life and I have been loved.
I have drunk the bowl of poison from the hands of love as nectar,
and have been raised above life’s joy and sorrow.
My heart, aflame in love, set afire every heart that came in touch with it.
My heart has been rent and joined again;
My heart has been broken and again made whole;
My heart has been wounded and healed again;
A thousand deaths my heart has died, and thanks be to love, it lives yet.
I went through hell and saw there love’s raging fire,
and I entered heaven illumined with the light of love.
I wept in love and made all weep with me;
I mourned in love and pierced the hearts of men;
And when my fiery glance fell on the rocks, the rocks burst forth as volcanoes.
The whole world sank in the flood caused by my one tear;
With my deep sigh the earth trembled, and when I cried aloud the name of my beloved,
I shook the throne of God in heaven.
I bowed my head low in humility, and on my knees I begged of love,
“Disclose to me, I pray thee, O love, thy secret.”
She took me gently by my arms and lifted me above the earth, and spoke softly in my ear,
“My dear one, thou thyself art love, art lover,
and thyself art the beloved whom thou hast adored.”
― Hazrat Inayat Khan, The Dance of the Soul–

On Sorcery:

In my life and wanderings I have encountered sorcerers….  They do not announce their presence, though if you are sensitive to them you’ll feel their presence and influence fairly quickly.  They use a variety of tools, mostly those tools that are concealed, but… the tools are always used for their gain, and not necessarily on the material plane…

Some emanate danger, and sometimes, this can be perceived at a great distance. One day I will tell a story of one such being whose influence could be felt across a great distance,  it is quite the story. Some emanate charm, and these are the ones to watch for.

If one ventures down the spiritual path… do so with caution, and with good intent. If you venture into the roads of magick, do it for community, and especially with love.  Observe yourself, and your actions.

Science Theories:

Scientific theory evolves as it goes along. As late as 1902 scientist were explaining that powered flight would never be possible. We constantly hear this is not possible, and that is not possible and then there is a break through of consciousness, and yes it is possible, and yes it does exist.

The more we learn the greater our ignorance as we uncover new secrets, and out of these greater questions arise. It is the natural order of things.

Because something falls outside of the explanations of current science, does not invalidate it’s possible expression or existance. We have just not applied ourselves enough in that direction…..

We may indeed come up against mysteries that have no explanation. That, is the real event horizon…
From: Fa Bi An (thank you so much!)
Kate Tempest
I am in awe of this:

An Extract:

from Brand New Ancients

The stories are here,
the stories are you,
and your fear
and your hope
is as old
as the language of smoke,
the language of blood,
the language of
languishing love.
The Gods are all here.
Because the gods are in us.
The gods are in the betting shops
the gods are in the caff
the gods are smoking fags out the back
the gods are in the office blocks
the gods are at their desks
the gods are sick of always giving more and getting less
the gods are at the rave –
two pills deep into dancing –
the gods are in the alleyway laughing
the gods are at the doctor’s
they need a little something for the stress
the gods are in the toilets having unprotected sex
the gods are in the supermarket
the gods are walking home,
the gods can’t stop checking Facebook on their phones
the gods are in a traffic jam
the gods are on the train
the gods are watching adverts
the gods are not to blame –
they are working for the council
now they’re on the dole
now they’re getting drunk pissing their wages down a hole
the gods are in their gardens
with their decking and their plants
the gods are in the classrooms
the poor things don’t stand a chance
they are trying to tell the truth
but the truth is hard to say
the gods are born, they live a while
and then they pass away.
They lose themselves in crowds, their guts are full of rot.
They hope there’s something more to life but can’t imagine
These gods have got no oracles to translate their requests,
these gods have got a headache and a payment plan and
stress about
when next they’ll see their kids,
they are not fighting over favourites –
they’re just getting on with it.
We are the Brand New Ancients.

from Brand New Ancients

Her name’s Gloria,
she works behind the bar
pulling pints for the locals
down the Albert and Victoria.
She’s happy in her way, she don’t expect too much from life.
She believes that everybody deserves to be treated right.
She used to be a troubled type with a look in her eyes
that invited looks from the guys
that she’d meet every night in the bars
that she went to with her best mate Jemma;
they swore they were gonna be best mates forever –
they loved each other, did everything together,
they used to run riot, a couple proper little terrors.
But then Jemma stopped calling her quite so much
‘cos Jemma got into going protests and stuff.
Jemma wanted the world to change,
she was 16 and smarter than most girls her age,
so while she was reading books and hanging out on picket
Gloria was sniffing lines
hooking up with different guys.
Jemma wanted to go uni; she started studying hard
and the two of them just drifted apart.
Glory ran away from home when she was 17,
he was supposed to be the man of her dreams:
he had a smile like a jewel in a sewer,
knuckles like an open tool box,
eyes like Kahlúa –
he made her feel like he was the only one who ever knew her
and when he told a lie nothing ever seemed truer.
Then one day she was in a state in a heap on the floor,
wiping the blood off her jaw,
thinking I deserve more.
At the time she might have been convinced it was love
but these days, she barely even thinks of him much.
She’s the kind of girl whose scars run deep
but if she smiles at you for a second it’ll last you all week.
She don’t compare herself to others,
she believes everybody has their own strengths;
if she was a statue she’d be less marble, more cement.
She’s straightforward, no-nonsense, she just wants people
to be honest,
she don’t have no time for pretenders and she’s never broke
a promise.
from Brand New Ancients

Polish the silverware, dust off the telly screen,
it’s holy hour on Saturday evening,
the new Dionysus is in his dressing room preening,
the make-up girls hold their breath as they dream him
into a perfect bronze and then leave him
to his pre-show routine of stretching and breathing.
He winks in the mirror as he flosses his teeth,
pulls his trousers up to his nipples and strides out to the stage.
The permatanned God of our age.
We kneel down before him, we beg him for pardon,
mothers feast on the raw flesh of their children struck by
the madness
that floods the whole country, this provocation to savagery.
Let’s all get famous. I need to be more than just this.
Give me my glory. A double page spread.
Let people weep when they hear that I’m dead.
Let people sleep in the street for a glimpse of my head
as I walk the red carpet into the den of the blessed.
Why celebrate this? Why not denigrate this?
I don’t know the names of my neighbours,
but I know the names of the rich and the famous.
And the names of their ex-girlfriends
and their ex-girlfriends’ new boyfriends.
Now, watch him shaking his head, he is furious:
how dare this contestant have thought for a second
that this godhead, this champion of unnatural selection,
should be subjected to another version
of a bridge over fucking troubled water.
I stare at the screen and I hear the troubadours sing
the Deeds of Simon. He took the eyes from our heads
and blamed us for our blindness.
Why is this interesting? Why are we watching?
Thanks To Shaun Darius Gottlieb
(Nina Paley, Again…)

Poet of Plants

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
– Buddha

One of my old T-shirt designs…

Salvia Eyes – Gwyllm

It has been quite a week. Working on The Invisible College Magazine, and other related projects. Still not 100% healthwise, but trying to get there. Weirdness hanging on into the 3rd week. Ack. Anyway, here is a second entry on the passing of Dale Pendell. As it happens, things come into focus a bit better as time goes along.

On The Menu:
On Meeting Dale
Dale Pendell: How I got involved with psychedelics
Dale Pendell Books
Interview: The Poet of Plants
Poetry: Dale & Laura

Salvia Vision… Gwyllm

On Meeting Dale:
The Breitenbush Salvia Conference

We met as I have mentioned before at The Salvia Conference at Breitenbush Hot Springs.  I was quite excited to attend the conference as a participant and as a vendor.  I got a hold of Rob Montgomery, and applied for a vendor spot to sell my T-Shirts, specifically my Salvia Divinorum designs. Strangely, I didn’t hear back. I thought little on it, purchasing my ticket, finishing up my printing and arranging to drive friends up to Breitenbush with me, Will Penna, and one other. I had talked to John Winslow of Om-Chi Herbs, and others… I was finally going to meet all of these wonderful people who I had been talking to on line for the last few years. So excited! Will came into town, and one other guy who sadly I cannot remember his name, we hung for a bit at Caer Llwydd, and then drove down I-5 to Salem, and then east towards Detroit Lake. Before Detroit Lake, we turned off to Breitenbush. It was December if I recall, and quite beautiful.

Well, we arrived, it was like a winter wonderland, little cabins, a main lodge, snow, trees, the usual Oregon winter. There were people from across the country, out of the country, and the presenters were Ralph Metzner, Jonathan Ott, Rob Montgomery, Daniel Siebert, Kat Harrison, Dale Pendell, Bret Blosser. It promised to be a great gathering (and it turned out to be!)

Anyway, I made my way to the vendors section. My friend John Winslow was setting up, and I looked for my table. It was not to be found, John offered me some space on his, and I pulled out my shirts. Along comes Rob, and tells me I can’t vend… which was disappointing to say the least. I packed my stuff up, even as I had all kinds of people wanting to buy my various shirts. I soon found out why… on receiving my request, Rob had told his sons’ about T-Shirts, and he decided they would sell theirs rather than allowing me to sell. Hilarity ensued. As the conference went on, more and more people came to my cabin to buy shirts. Soon almost every other person at the event had my shirts on, much to the consternation of Rob. It worked out in the end, and I got a long email apology from him. He was a good guy, and this is not a put down on him, it was just really odd the way it worked out…

But, I am here to talk about meeting Dale. The conference went on, there were great talks given by all of the presenters. I finally introduced myself to Dale, who I had an ongoing conversation with via email over the previous couple of years. We stood there talking with the crowd swirling around us. The discussion was very nice, and along the way Dale started to stutter. You can read about it, he mentions it many times in various missives. Well, he started to stutter, and as I answered him so did I. He started to get pissed at me thinking that I was mocking him. A little known fact though emerges from this: I have had a lifelong stutter, which only occurs in a couple of situations; high stress, and when I am talking to someone else who stutters. When I told him that I stuttered he reached out, and hugged me. This is the short tale of how we became friends. A shared condition, and shared interest.

We never stopped corresponding after that. When The Sacred Elixirs’ Conference came to be 5 years later Laura & Dale, Mary & yers truly finally got to spend 3-4 days together. Things just fell into place then…

There will be a memorial for Dale on April 14th up on the San Juan Ridge…  North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center on Tyler Foote Road in North San Juan, CA.

North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center

We are planning to be there. Hope to meet you all there as well.

Much  Love,

Here are some of Dales’ Books along with short reviews, and sourcing them if you like.  I suggest all of them, great writing, wonderful speculations, information and style.  Yeah Style.  Amazing.

Dale Pendell Books:
The Big Three:
The Pharmaco Series should be on every Entheothusiast bookshelf. Beautiful, could be likened to Homer’s Odyssey in that these volumes of poetry chart seas both mysterious and revealing.

Pharmako/Poeia: Plant Powers, Poisons, and Herbcraft includes a new introduction by the author and as in previous editions focuses on familiar psychoactive plant-derived substances and related synthetics, ranging from the licit (tobacco, alcohol) to the illicit (cannabis, opium) and the exotic (absinthe, salvia divinorum, nitrous oxide). Each substance is explored in detail, not only with information on its history, pharmacology, preparation, and cultural and esoteric correspondences, but also the subtleties of each plant’s effect on consciousness in a way that only poets can do. The whole concoction is sprinkled with abundant quotations from famous writers, creating a literary brew as intoxicating as its subject.

Pharmako/Dynamis: Stimulating Plants, Potions, and Herbcraft includes a new introduction by the author and as in previous editions focuses on stimulants (including coffee, tea, chocolate, and coca and its derivatives) and empathogens (notably Ecstasy). Each substance is explored in detail, not only with information on its history, pharmacology, preparation, and cultural and esoteric correspondences, but also the subtleties of each plant’s effect on consciousness in a way that only poets can do. The whole concoction is sprinkled with abundant quotations from famous writers, creating a literary brew as intoxicating as its subject.

Pharmako/Gnosis: Plant Teachers and the Poison Path includes a new introduction by the author and as in previous editions focuses on plant-based and derivative psychedelic “teachers” (including ayahuasca, peyote, LSD, and DMT) and on the “poison path” of substances such as belladonna, ketamine, and ibogaine. Each substance is explored in detail, not only with information on its history, pharmacology, preparation, and cultural and esoteric correspondences, but also the subtleties of each plant’s effect on consciousness in a way that only poets can do.The whole concoction is sprinkled with abundant quotations from famous writers, creating a literary brew as intoxicating as its subject.

The Great Bay:
I have read this 3 times. It gives more on each reading. 16 thousand years of speculation is wrapped up in this volume.

***WINNER, Best Science Fiction, 2010 Green Book Festival

Based in scientific reality, Dale Pendell presents a powerful fictional vision of a fast-approaching future in which sea levels rise and a decimated population must find new ways to live. The Great Bay begins in 2021 with a worldwide pandemic followed by the gradual rising of the seas. Pendell’s vision is all encompassing—he describes the rising seas’ impact on countries and continents around the world. But his imaginative storytelling focuses on California. A “great bay” forms in California’s Central Valley and expands during a 16,000-year period. As the years pass, and technology seems to regress, even memory of a “precollapse” world blends into myth. Grizzly bears and other large predators return to the California hills, and civilization reverts to a richly imagined medieval society marked by guilds and pilgrimages, followed even later by hunting and gathering societies. Pendell’s focus is on the lives of people struggling with love, wars, and physical survival thousands of years in California’s future. He deftly mixes poetic imagery, news-reporting-style writing, interviews with survivors, and maps documenting the geographic changes. In the end, powerful human values that have been with us for 40,000 years begin to reemerge and remind us that they are desperately needed—in the present.

Walking With Nobby
Cultural Writing. Essays. Biography and Memoir. Dale Pendell and retired professor Norman Brown, during walks taken along the coast of California, discuss many concepts and characters, including paganism and world religions, Dionysus, Marx, and Freud, presented here as footnoted conversations. Norman O. Brown (1913-2002) was an American scholar born in El Oro, Mexico. He studied at Oxford University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison and taught at Wesleyan University and the University of California, Santa Cruz. “Dr. Brown was a master of philosophical speculation, mixing Marx, Freud, Jesus and much else to raise and answer immense questions” (Douglas Martin). Writer Dale Pendell was a student and friend of Brown.

Inspired Madness: The Gifts of Burning Man:
This book has a real dreamlike quality to it. Why it wasn’t an official part of the Burning Man package is beyond me…

In part a nonfiction discussion of the Burning Man festival, in part a poetic romp through Nevada’s Black Rock desert, Inspired Madness is both an irreverent introduction for those curious about the notorious event and an exhilarating reminiscence for veteran “burners.” Loosely structured around a week at Burning Man, the book combines a history of the festival with personal stories and social commentary, juxtaposing images and stories to capture a sense of the wild and unpredictable nature of life on the Playa. Throughout the week, readers are taken on a memorable ride, exploring the festival itself and meeting Owl, an eccentric beatnik and one of the organizers of the Delphic Delirium Camp: Lolo, Jah, Scarlett, and other larger-than-life figures. Interweaving dialogue, anecdotes, and stream-of-consciousness narrative with historical, sociological, and political observation, Inspired Madness evokes the half-waking, half-dreaming quality of the Burning Man experience.

Salting The Boundaries:
A favourite of mine, hey I even get a mention in it! 😛 Anyway, a superb poetry book. Worth the admission cost.

Poetry. As a kind of stewardship and seasonal ritual, Dale Pendell takes us through the four seasons at his home in the Sierra foothills of northern California as he “salts the boundaries” of his property and his life, “keeping them clean,” as he puts it. No stranger to ancient culture(s) or rituals, the author writes a modern poetry that is, at once, contemporary and Celtic in its detail and focus on cultural and environmental sustainability (or the lack thereof). Drawing a circle around the seasons, Pendell finishes this poem-cycle with poems of winter. In his preface to the winter section he writes, “In California and other ‘Mediterranean’ climates, winter is when it rains. Fires are in the stove. It’s a good time for writing, and books.”

“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

Equations Of Power:
This is a distinctly quirky little poetry book. Excellent price IMO. It sits on my shelf, and is always happy to be taken down and read…

Contains eleven of Dale Pendell’s poems on physics and other scientific subjects. There can’t have been VERY many poems written honoring differential equations!

The Language of Birds Some Notes on Chance and Divination:
I adore this book. It hardly ever gets put back on the bookshelf, as it is on my table next to my bed for reading. This is a very magickal volume.

Honourable Mentions:
Eros, the Muse & Other Poisons: Explorations in Relationship and the Greek Lyric
Seeking Faust: Find it here Seeking Faust
Lunar Meanders
Seeding The New Year

There are several small books out there as well, limited editions generally. Very collectable!

From The L.A. Times, back in 2003.
This article came out just after Dale was scheduled to come up to Portland for a Mini-Conference that I had set up… just after his move to the land… he developed pneumonia, and couldn’t come up, sending Mike Crowley up in his stead. We missed having Dale, but Mike gave a heck of a good talk.
– G

The Poet of Plants

Dale Pendell Has Written Two Books on Botanical Pharmacopeia That Resonate With a Lusty Wit. He May Be America’s Answer to Blake, Coleridge and Wordsworth, Right Down to the Opium.
– Emily Green

The first conversation with Dale Pendell is like an overseas telephone call with a lag on the line. I speak. He listens. He thinks. Then he responds in such perfectly formed sentences that I can almost hear the commas.

The stilted speech is surprising. As a writer, Pendell is so fluent that he can make a list of drug side-effects sound interesting, a feat he routinely performed in his two books. Delve deeper into his work and you find poetry, beautiful poetry.

Pendell, 56, has been writing since the 1960s, but his work is little known. I discovered it last spring while serving as a judge for the 2003 Pen Awards overseeing the “Creative Nonfiction” category. As a case containing 57 books arrived at the office for consideration, two things worried me. The amount of reading and the “creative” part. Nonfiction is hard enough to get right when it’s written the old-fashioned way, straight up–who, where, why, when.

As it turned out, the books were at least 50% hard-luck stories, most of them trenchant. There was a war correspondent who got shot, an equestrienne whose leg was crushed by her horse, a profoundly moving brace of Korean stories of search for identity after diaspora. Daniel Ellsberg was there, recounting the events that led to the leaking of the Pentagon papers. There were a couple of biographies, wisecracking sociology from a newspaper columnist and ruminations on the essence of the West.

Then there was Pendell. In his 2002 book “Pharmako/Dynamis,” he merrily rolls out the pharmacology, history and botany behind a host of mind-altering drugs, including Psilocybe mushrooms, peyote, coffee, tea, heroin, Ecstasy, wine, tobacco and absinthe. They are classed by the nature of the high: “phantastica,” “exitantia,” “inebriantia” and others–or, in plain English, tripping, speeding, drunk and so on. Almost every drug is taken back to a plant source, and that plant’s trading history.

At the outset of judging, I wondered if Pendell was in the right category. Three months later, as the judging committee argued over finalists, I became convinced that his was the only book that actually met the brief of creative nonfiction. Yet, on the face of it, it was a dictionary, mainly of controlled substances. “A reference,” read one judge’s comments.

You can certainly look things up in it, including safety measures for taking Ecstasy, or how to score an opium poppy and apply the harvest in interesting places. But it wasn’t like any reference I’d ever seen. Pendell borrowed just as freely from pharmaceutical industry texts as medieval herbals. He used poetry, classical plant taxonomy, chemical equations, prose, anecdotes, jokes, slogans–whatever worked. The prose was indecently interesting, angry and eloquent, like that of a young Christopher Hitchens. The poetry was enigmatic one moment, lusty the next, witty, passionate–whatever it felt like.

Structurally, however, it was odd. It was, arguably, half a book, a continuation of Pendell’s companion volume, “Pharmako/Poeia.” When this appeared in 1995, the good and the great of the Bay Area Beat movement came out in support of it. Allen Ginsberg wrote a review for the jacket, calling it, among a long string of things, “an epic poem on plant humors.” Pulitzer prize-winning poet Gary Snyder supplied the introduction. The synthesizer of Ecstasy, Berkeley scientist Alexander Shulgin, gave his imprimatur to the chemistry. Yet there were no reviews in the major press. It has sold 12,000 copies in eight years, which would be a handsome figure for a Junior League cookbook.

The publication of “Pharmako/Dynamis” last year received slightly more recognition. Richard Gehr of the Village Voice called Pendell “the best writer on drugs to come along since the late Terence McKenna charted the beautiful and terrifying ‘invisible landscapes’ revealed by DMT and psilocybin mushrooms.”

Drug writer. Hard to argue. But what does that make his book? It reads so smoothly, its structure almost escapes notice. Under autopsy, however, there it is. The element that keeps the various information flowing is poetry. There is a narrator, like a Greek chorus, or in this case, a heckler, who prompts the greater text to sing in different voices. How many books manage witty asides that can jump into chemical signatures, then take off into a hallucinatory odyssey about crack cocaine, seamlessly?

The voting was long over, and my argument for Pendell as a finalist had prevailed, before the obvious dawned on me. Ginsberg was right in his volcanic blurb for “Pharmako/Poeia.” It was an epic poem. So is the sequel. I went back and pored over the construction of both books. The author of the head shop encyclopedia began to look less like a writer on drugs and more like an original Western Romantic, an American answer to Blake, Coleridge and Wordsworth, right down to the opium.

We meet on a july afternoon on the porch of his new cabin in the Sierra. He’s just moved to the mountains from Oakland. Most of his belongings are still in packing boxes. It’s midday, 100 degrees, the valley opposite shimmers with heat and a licorice-like scent hangs in the air from the baked scrub.

Pendell is taller than the jacket pictures suggest, lean, a born climber who hops easily from boulder to boulder on a stone outcropping near his house. I expect a wild woodsman, but instead he’s more textbook Berkeley, with twin earrings and slightly bushy eyebrows, the sort usually found on Englishmen in Victorian cartoons. When he listens, he tilts his head graciously toward his guest, like an interested minister.

He is, it turns out, the son of a minister. He has just returned from Orange County from a memorial service for his father, Thomas Roy Pendell, a life-long Methodist pastor who served at seven Southern California parishes. He seems relieved to be home, but apologizes for what he says is a cold he caught on the plane.

He suggests that we set ground rules for when the interview turns to illegal drugs, but then he doesn’t ask for any. Eventually, he has two specific requests. Could we not name the town where he lives and could we point out that though he spent time in jail for smuggling marijuana, he asked for and received a full presidential pardon? It was from Ronald Reagan and signed by a Justice Department official named Rudolph Giuliani.

We have been speaking for an hour before the first stutter erupts. It happens when the subject turns to the city where he spent puberty. “The Methodists move their pastors around,” he says, “so we moved to various places, including SSSSSSan Diego.”

Later, when I ask him about it, he says that he stuttered strongly as a child. “I never committed suicide, but I thought about it,” he says. “I wouldn’t use the telephone. I never wanted to introduce myself to anybody. I was morbidly shy.”

His father’s household was run according to scripture. Drink was off limits, as in: “It Is Good Neither To Eat Flesh Nor To Drink Wine, Nor Any Thing Whereby Thy Brother Stumbleth, Or Is Offended, Or Is Made Weak.” Romans, 14:21.

However, Pendell couldn’t help but wonder what Paul meant in Romans 14:13: “I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself” and Verse 20, in which he reiterates, “all things are indeed pure.” In 1964, age 17, still legally a minor, Dale Pendell left home and plunged headlong into all that purity out there.

Enrollment as a physics major at UC Santa Barbara lasted only a semester. He was rapt at the sheer elegance of physical equations, but already slipping toward poetry, raunchily. “I was at the southern end of the filthy speech movement,” he says. “It wasn’t filthy speech, though. It was just good erotica that I would post in my dormitory window. People would come by and read and think, ‘Oh, this is today’s offering,’ ” he says. “Anyway, I ended up in the dean’s office.” The stutter disappeared in front of the dean, he says. “Something about deans and police brings out my eloquence.”

He left Santa Barbara thumb-first. First stop, Berkeley. Then he crossed the country to New York with the writer Larry Beinhart (Beinhart, he explains, wrote the book “Wag the Dog,” adding appreciatively, “Good mystery writer.”)

By 18, Pendell was a heroin addict and had begun smuggling marijuana from Mexico to the U.S. He was so high while trafficking 200 pounds of Gold Brick, or enough pot to make a donkey groan, alarm bells didn’t sound when a window blind opened in a motel room next to his and he got a glimpse of a wall-mounted tape-recorder. Two separate arrests led to a four-month jail term in a Mexican prison, and a year-long one in Texas.

The addict’s whisper opens “Pharmako/Poeia.”


I hear you.

(any cops around?)

These are just words.

(yeah right …

any prospective

employers around?)

I don’t want to hear this

(then why did you call me?)

Back in Berkeley by 1967, Pendell says, “I finally realized that heroin was affecting my luck.” He retreated to the mountains. “I hiked up as far as I could. I wanted to be as far away as I could from people. I stayed there as long as I could. I took as much LSD as I could. All of the hatred kind of fell into the earth.”

He spent the next 14 years in and out of the California mountains, first on a mining claim in the Trinity Alps, near the Oregon border. He panned enough gold to make jewelry and gather material for his first anthology of poetry, “Gold-Dust Wilderness.” He hiked among the ponderosa pines and became friendly with an old-timer named Red Barnes, who Pendell couldn’t help but notice used to mentholate his tobacco using a local plant, Salvia sonomensis.

This, he says, is when it struck him that he didn’t know anything about the plants that covered the hillsides: their names, their properties, if you could smoke them, what happened then. “I wanted to know what the most common plants were,” he says, “the ones that didn’t have showy flowers, or any flowers at all, and weren’t in any of the those wildflower books.”

He began charting the anatomy of the hillside, collecting, pressing and drying plants, beginning what would become over the next 10 years a large herbarium. In the process, he got the idea for a book. He wanted to look at power plants, plants whose fruits are so dominant in our society we don’t even see them, or think of ourselves as taking drugs, like when we jolt ourselves awake with coffee.

In 1974, Pendell moved south, to the central ranges and Nevada County. Here a group of back-to-the-landers, led by poet Gary Snyder, the inspiration for Jack Kerouac’s “Dharma Bums,” were forming a poetry community. The following year, Snyder would win a Pulitzer Prize for for his poetry anthology “Turtle Island.”

Pendell used his plant know-how to start making and bottling an organic spruce root beer. The proceeds went to start a poetry magazine, Kyoi-Kuksu: Journal of Backcountry Writing.

Pendell studied Buddhism with Snyder, a discipline that to Western Romantics was what Unitarianism had been centuries earlier to Coleridge. Still, the most touching moments in the Pharmako series capture Pendell and Snyder not meditating, but partying. This is buried in the reference section of “Pharmako/Dynamis”: “Illustrating how any song written in ballad meter could be sung to any ballad tune, Gary Snyder once sang for me Blake’s ‘Mock on, Mock on, Voltaire Rousseau’ to the tune of ‘Mary Hamilton,’ ‘Barbara Allen’ and the ‘House of the Rising Sun.’

“Actually,” Pendell adds gleefully, “Blake violates the fourteener in the second line and it works better if you drop the second spondee.”

It was Snyder who helped a then-28-year-old Pendell finally subdue the stutter. “We were going to do a reading as a benefit for the magazine in Nevada City at the American Victorian Museum,” Pendell remembers. “Gary agreed to read at it, and a number of other fine poets. I was terrified. What was I going to do? Gary said, ‘Don’t worry, just read from the gut.’ ” Words came. Since then, says Pendell, fluency has been a “a continuous practice. If I start, I have to keep a channel open to where it all comes from, or I can’t talk at all.”

Hence, the long-distance effect, those perfect sentences.

In 1974, Pendell married Snyder’s assistant, Merle Goodkind, and became a father to her 2 1/2 year-old old son, Isaac. Asked what she did for a living, Pendell responds, “Her specialty was grace.” Later they had a daughter, Marici.

Pendell wrote this for Goodkind in 1975, a year after they met. It is called “Spring Song” and reads like a wedding vow.

Flowers know:

open with the first sun;

crack the drudgery,

drying soil,

quick as they can.

Pines sprout:

know water won’t last,

no time to waste

in the hasty spring.

Birds know:

songs rise with the morning.

we, also.

Come let’s kiss the greening-

tomorrow’s feet are lost to labor-

Brush our backs against the sun;

lie together, let these mountains

Rush, beneath us, back to sea.

Poetry is like modern art. A lot of people can’t tell whether it’s good or not. Allen Ginsberg thought that Pendell’s was good, and admired the pluck behind the root beer journal enough to contribute his own work. “We were first publication of some of Allen’s poems,” says Pendell. “Then he would send certain people my direction.”

Pendell kept the journal going six years. He built a cabin on rented land. His family got by–just. By 1981, he says, his “allotted time in heaven” had expired. Merle had lupus and needed better health care. They had two young children. He shut the magazine, sold the root beer company and moved to Santa Cruz to pursue a double major in creative writing and computer science at the UC campus there.

It led him to his second great mentor, philosopher Norman O’Brown. Pendell was in awe of O’Brown’s 1966 book “Love’s Body.” After a chance meeting, the philosopher pursued a friendship with Pendell because he was interested in plants. “We walked together a great deal,” says Pendell. “I used to show off by quoting poems by heart. He would answer back in Greek.”

This time as a student, Pendell finished both university degrees, with honors. When he graduated, a linguistics professor suggested, “Why don’t you support your poetry habit with programming?” For the next four years, Pendell wrote paper jam recovery programs instead of poetry. He scolded his now teenage son Isaac for smoking pot. It took Isaac to point out that he was becoming conventional, he says.

“I’d say, ‘Well, pot’s much stronger now.’ ”

In 1989, a three-week trip to the Amazon reminded Pendell of the old Trinity Alps idea for the book on power plants. It would be a pharmacopeia, a Greek term meaning “book of drugs, with directions how to make them.” Conventional pharmacopeias deal with what would have been in Pendell’s father’s medicine box. Pendell’s would embrace his, and beyond. He had only one line playing in his head like a mantra. “Tobacco, marijuana, then you’re in the jungle.”

He programmed by day and wrote by night. “The idea was that through immersion in each plant, something would come across in my style that would create a signature for the plant,” he says. “For example, the stimulant chapter turned out to be the longest.”

In January 1993, the book was almost halfway written when Isaac, then 22, died in a snowboarding accident. There is a gut-wrenching passage in “Pharmako/Poeia,” when Pendell, terrified and tripping, finally faces his son’s death. His marriage to Goodkind was never the same after Isaac died, he says.

When Pendell finished the first half of the book, Gary Snyder’s editor, Jack Shoemaker, sent sample chapters to Mercury House, a nonprofit San Francisco press. Pendell thought it was a prank when its publisher, Tom Christiansen, phoned to accept the book. “I said, ‘Come on, who is this?’ ”

The commission enabled Pendell to take a sabbatical from the software job to finish writing. Six months later, as rough drafts circulated among Pendell’s friends, there was confusion and shock. There was even a chapter on huffing solvents. Norman O’Brown asked him to take it out. “He said, ‘Everyone will know it’s a drug book,’ ” says Pendell.

Pendell left it in. “I thought of the information that I came across–that not all solvents are alike, some are much more dangerous than others–as harm reduction. I may reach somebody. The message: use toluene not gasoline, or better yet, nitrous oxide. Use ether, not chloroform.”

The text unnerved Mercury House sufficiently to affix this cautionary note: “A manuscript draft of Pharmako/Poeia caused us some concern. The author of this remarkable work was clearly exploring perilous terrain along his ‘Poison Path.’ This is a route we strongly advise others not to follow (except through this book, and through other approaches that lead in the direction of wisdom without dangerous self-experimentation).”

Pendell had his own definitions of danger, which come across plainly in the chapters that follow. “Huffers,” he speculated, “probably have an interesting terminology to describe the subtle differences of effects [between solvents], and it would be worth recording, if you could find an informant who is still articulate.” The chapter is the only one in his books where readers will find the words, “get off and get help.”

But with other drugs, he experimented freely on himself. Salvia divinorum, or “diviner’s sage,” only really kicked in, he reported, when he accidentally doubled the dose. The entry for wormwood begins, “The first effect was loosening of the sinuses . . . . Much stronger than the Japanese wasabi horseradish . . . . After some minutes I noticed that I wasn’t writing anything. I was just staring off into space. And the space was beautiful. The light was brighter. Mottled sunlight filtering down through the walnut tree. . . . The light was different, softer and more intense at the same time. I felt great, actually. I gazed around my studio and spent a lot of time looking at my painting . . . . A little tightness in the head and around the eyes.”

There is a recipe to make absinthe from scratch, and a time-saving alternative where you only have to doctor the Pernod.

The potential for ridicule is not lost on him. “Timothy Leary had a joke about LSD research,” he says. “You couldn’t write about LSD with any authority if you hadn’t tried it. On the other hand, if you had tried it, then how could anyone trust what you said?”

But for Pendell, the more ridiculous thing would be reporting on LSD without having taken it. “The approach is phenomenological,” he says. “We’re trying to work with what’s happening in real time and somehow convey that.” The science behind play is tricky territory. Pendell is not above trotting out ten-dollar words for instant authority.

As the book was revised and finally published, it was dedicated to Isaac. Along with Ginsberg and Ecstasy chemist Shulgin, actor Peter Coyote supplied a jacket blurb. Their task: somehow prime the public for the book.

I suggest to Pendell that he’s still trying to shock the dean. He nods and laughs in agreement. “I stated at my father’s memorial service that maybe I’ll emerge from adolescence in the next decade.”

Then I ask if he’s not also trying to shock us. Why he doesn’t do drugs the understood way? Secretly? Is he not simply a reflexive contrarian? Again, an acknowledging laugh. “Norman O’Brown gave me a lot of trouble that way,” he says. “He said, ‘At least I’m not working out my Oedipus complex with drugs.’ ”

But as the door opens for a defense of drugs, Pendell has one ready and it’s serious. The stumbling brother debate may have started with his father, he says, but now it’s with the world. It’s at the heart of his work. It’s over what gets banned, what doesn’t, and the War on Drugs. “It’s not that if you make a place for Dionysian energy, this kind of wild and unpredictable God, that everything will go OK,” he says. “That’s not true at all. But the cost of trying to suppress it is even worse. Then you sacrifice your own children.

“In the United States today we now have more people in prison than any other country on a per capita basis. The majority of these are for drug crimes. It’s a war against ourselves. It’s a war against our children. It was problematical for the Greeks but at least they came to recognize you have to admit a certain amount of chaos. You can’t try to live risk free. If you try to live completely risk free you’re going to destroy what you had. What’s a really secure environment? San Quentin is pretty secure.”

Society, he says, is police enough. “The solution is to let it be worked out by the culture. Peer pressure. Societal norms. Everyone knows that if you take a drink first thing in the morning, it’s not a good thing.”

But aren’t his books encouraging people to do drugs? “Encouragement is the big full-page ads in High Times,” he says. He has plenty of readers who don’t do drugs at all, he says. Bye the bye, he adds shortly afterward, he’s not exactly stoned all the time, either.

The irony, says Pendell, is that writing books about drugs largely requires staying off them. Plus, we grow out of them, he thinks. Heroin affected his luck. He’s at an age where he’s got to think of his liver when it comes to alcohol. LSD was a “great blessing” in his life, he says, but one of its teachings is to stop doing it. Marijuana can be useful on very rare occasions. He has one tobacco cigarette a day. But he won’t say no to an afternoon glass of home-brewed absinthe.

He offers one to illustrate the benignity of the drink, and I think to see if I’ll accept it. I do, curiously. After an hour, though it is getting later, everything seems just a little brighter. “There’s something about mottled light,” he says. “The change to the absinthe drinkers, you suddenly have light breaking out of everywhere.” Pendell reckons you can explain all of expressionist painting with absinthe. In a future project, he says, he wants to do a “pharmacological study of philosophy. Not enough attention has been paid to what philosophers have been drinking or imbibing.”

As he began writing the sequel, “Pharmako/Dynamis,” in 1996, his 22-year marriage ended. He moved to Santa Rosa and wrote–furiously. The theme of the new book: speed. It began with a mischievous look at the teetotaler’s stimulant of choice, coffee. By the middle of the text, he is describing the metallic taste of freebase cocaine.

Keep wanting

to get back

to where things were clear

Then there is a spirited defense of Ephedra, and a paean to Ecstasy, part-and-parcel of an ebullient horniness that permeates the second book. There is attention to sexual side-effects of drugs, which ones “give good lead,” which take it away. The Ecstasy chapter merrily contrasts a middle-aged generation of users who first used the drug in marriage counseling, whom Pendell fondly describes as “mush pile” sensualists, to the stomping ravers of the early 1990s. One anecdote has three friends admitting their feelings for each other while on the drug, a week later becoming lovers, dubbing themselves a “truple” and looking for things that came in threes.

His mood throughout was euphoric. While writing the second book, Pendell was in love. In 1998, living in Sonoma, he met Laura McCarthy, a visiting poet and book-binder from New York, who moved west and married him. McCarthy has an easy warmth and a ready, musical laugh as she describes her old East Coast longing for a place where leaving the house means emerging outdoors instead of into an apartment building hallway.

An excerpt from Pendell’s poem “The Dream Walker,” from the 1999 anthology “Living With Barbarians,” captures his wife as a refugee from Manhattan.


Looked for songs in the dry moss trees;

Picked them up where flames swirled.

Her thirst frightened the flowers;

Only the cacti survived.

She made her home in a land dry and barren as the moon.

Of course she grew lonely.

Someone who loves poems should take her home.

Her curling breath so dry would crack the tongue.

Pendell took her home. When she appears halfway through our interview, he hugs her and demands, “Aren’t I lucky?”

Over the next several days, in phone calls between Los Angeles and the Sierra, Pendell reports that what he thought was a cold turned out to be pneumonia. A friend tells him lungs equal grief. There has been a lot of death in the last five years. Ginsberg died in 1997, O’Brown last year, and Merle Goodkind succumbed to lupus in the spring. Then, in June, his father died.

But as antibiotics kick in, and he and McCarthy unpack their moving boxes, he’s feeling better. Twenty two years ago, he left the mountains reluctantly, for his wife and children. Now he’s back. Each day, he feels ambushed by joy.

He’s debating which to finish first, a book about his hero, Norman O’Brown, or the third drug book, “Pharmako/Gnosis.” He is toying with a “free the drug plants” campaign, complete with a green ribbon. “This is a DIY operation,” he says. “The first step in trying to clean up the mess of the drug war is free the plants.”

He also wants to circulate “Boycott Companies That Drug Test” bumper stickers. America’s office workers are drug free on a wink, he argues. They are routinely given two weeks’ notice before marijuana tests, so the drug can clear their systems. Once they take up jobs, inside every office is “a shrine to a coffee pot,” and outside, a bar.

But where another opponent of the war on drugs would be stumping for Ralph Nader, America’s poet of the second pharmacy is converting a country barn to a library to accommodate what he estimates are 10,000 pounds of reference books and botanical specimens. Part of him wants to be heard, not just by his father, but by every Methodist in America, by scientists, the DEA, his jailers. The other half wants to disappear into the wilderness.

Dale Pendell’s life adds up only if you give it enough columns. He’s a study in contradictions. He devoted his most lucid moments to recording his most stoned ones. He’s a mountain man-cum-computer programmer, an exaltant stutterer, Hamlet on absinthe. He insists on defending substances that even liberals abhor. He signed up with a publisher ideologically opposed to making money. He wrote highly technical reference books as epic poems. He wants to change the world without joining it.

When pressed about why he sought a presidential pardon, he bristled that all the Los Angeles Times wanted to know about were his teenaged crimes, then dismissed the long fight for the pardon as a theatrical act of no merit. He wants credibility, and to be incredible.

The single underlying theme always returns to the Bible, to Romans, to Paul and the stumbling brother. Pendell questions if the world can reasonably be asked to slow down to the pace of the slowest walker. Witness the stutterer who found his voice. Today, for the pastor’s prodigal son to speak at all, he has to believe what he’s saying. When that happens, the poet can’t help but find a pulpit.
Poetry: Dale & Laura

On Tour…

December 8. Rohatsu

ground crunch
snow sparkle
Buddha shrines in every burrow.
In all this space:
a star here or there –
in all this space
“Emptiness is only in form.”
Nothing needs doing.
Try not to add to the pain.

Orange rust yellow a flare of blue
this year no big fires in the meadow
orange rust yellow a flare of blue
it was the year of small fires
in the hearth & in the heart
where the heat builds & recede
& rebuilds energies dancing
sparks vibrating heartwood splinters
slivers combust jumping no fireworks
no bonfires just what we could control
inside the house and what we could not
it was the year of small fires the roaring
of pine manzanita & oak
what has fallen what we have cut
what we stacked once and then
stacked again closer by the door
lose some oak gain the heat
metamorphose into
orange rust yellow a flare
of smoke, & ash & heat
Following Fixed Form

Following fixed forms
is to deanimate the angeles;
(thus we follow fixed forms)
is idolatry;
(thus we bow to the image)
is blasphemy;
(nothing holy),

the news says “it’s all a hologram”
is that why I see animals in rocks
the rocks shaping themselves
into something soft and furry
an then upon closer inspection
returning to their stony forms
while the snow looks
like someone dosed it
with glitter
The Sigh that Created the World

Sigh of blessing.
or release, or relief,
or Sigh.
Sigh. Sigh.
Compassion for the many beings –
created the world –
so God, in his loneliness,
could be viewed by his creations.
Was it an in-breath,
or an out-breath,
“Sometimes,” he said, “looking at the world,
I think it was a mistake.”
Or like a sneeze:
some good, some bad.


Buddha – Gwyllm 2011

Emptiness is the Fundamental Nature of All Phenomena

“The sanctuary represents
a mind of great mercy and compassion;
the robe represents
a heart of gentleness and patience;
the throne represents
the awareness of emptiness in all phenomena.
These are the three principles to apply
when the Lotus Sutra is expounded. (Lotus Sutra 10: 2.19)

A blessing on all of you who have read so far.

On A Friends Passing…. Dale Pendell

Dale at Caer Llwydd

Sunday, 14/1/2018

It has been a couple of days of it…

Dale and Scarlett April 2015 (Photo Courtesy Laura Pendell)

How does one come to grips with a friends passing?  I sat here a few hours after getting the news that Dale, a friend for nearly 20 years passed early this Saturday morning.  Even expecting it, it still came as a blow.  Dazed, but thinking.  Lots.

At first I just sat  absorbing it in. This, is not unusual.  Still, the day was surreal.  We had been expecting it for the last few weeks.  He was supposedly given to the 1st, but he went nearly 2 weeks longer than expected.  He had a rough go over the last few months.  He harrowed physical hell.  The cancer that the liver transplant had meant to stop had jumped pre op, blooming over a year later in his spinal column.  You can read about it more on his web page.  I am not going to dwell on it here, it was hard enough to read and hear about from where we are.  I will say this, he and Laura stayed the course together.  That, is love.  I cannot imagine what  it was like.

What gifts does a person bring?  Dale had a generous heart.  He brought the gift of observation, and immersion.  He  brought foremost, conscious poetry to the table.  We had conversations over the years about Poetry, Sympathetic Magick (see Salting The Boundaries) and many other things.  We were working on having an article of his poetry and an interview for The Invisible College Magazine.  He informed me a few months ago that he could no longer type.  He was looking for voice to computer software before things got bad.  Now, it will be poetry and my thoughts.  We had talked about this for about a year, and I hesitated tied up with other matters.  This is the type of thing that drives me mad… putting off what one needs to deal with.

We met years ago at the Salvia Conference at Breitenbush that Rob Montgomery put on (bless his departed soul as well!).  I fell in love with Dale & Laura, and their beautiful energy together.  In the years following, it only deepened.  Their love was a joy to step into, to observe.  You could see it crackle across the room when they were giving their presentations.  If you want to know what magick was, look to their relationship.

I have his books that he sent, plus the beautiful galley copies from the Pharmako series that he gifted me at Sacred Elixirs.  He was encouraging me even then to write, having seen Turfing evolve on almost a daily basis.  He laid out clues for me to follow to improve my writing.  I have taken them to heart, but haven’t his discipline it seems.  Still, one must try.

He kept working I believe for as long as he could.  There is another book coming out.  I know he wanted to see it, but.

We all come to this shore.  There is no escaping it.  Dale left the world a better place for his passing, with his poetry, ideas, but especially his deep and abiding love.

We shall miss you Dale.

Much Love,

Gwyllm, Mary & Rowan

Dale & Laura, Gwyllm & Mary

If you start anywhere with Dale, start perhaps with his poetry. Here are 3 pieces that I love. I hope you will as well.

Some Of Dale’s Poetry:

Consciousness Explained

Having a nightmare, I
must’ve been moaning
or whimpering, my cat
woke me up by
licking my arm, realized
that I did the same
for her, just, not
using my tongue.

Do lizards dream? I
think I heard that but
it’s hard to tell
just watching.
A blue-bellied fence swift
closes its eyes
while warming
on a rock
in the sun.

(From Equations of Power)
Not Choosing

The shadow of your eyelash extinguished my plans-
a vowel curled from your lip and stole my speech.
A dark wood grew from my shoulders:
vines and branches, caught on my feet,
pulled cities behind them-
hungry ruins, enchanted cemeteries,
gold, somewhere, buried I suppose.
If there were a crossroads between the path to hell
and the road to paradise,
neither of them knew it.
I held your arm, you balanced, bent, cut.
I did the same.
More like two fish turned to the same stream,
or two hungry buzzards, acting sated, both attracted
to the same gnarled branch.

(From Salting The Boundaries)

Chance favours numerous habits:
flippant, fortuitous,
hap and portent,
uncertain waver,
ultimate author,
risky ally,
fateful nemesis.

Favors, chance favors, fortune favors
the bold, the prepared.

“Alas, m’lord, by chance…”

Perchance on a stochastic fulcrum,
Divine Aim:
desultory cadenza,
dense song,
a shuffle dance crane-wrought
in ominous glyphs-

A pachinko telos
cascading from a hand
with 2,718 fingers,
or a ghostly rebellion
against the stacked deck of privilege.

Prayers incline her way,
kneeling supplicants
betting on a knucklebone revelation.
Casual, causal
(it depends on us):
a lucky fall.

Chance is the accidental liberator of heaven,
an apocalyptic alternative cast by lot,
the occult avatar of nihilistic fair play.
immortal threat to eternal order.

Ground of existence.
Hope for newness.
Smile of mantis.
The last excuse and the final request.
Necessity is her twin.

(Prelude from “The Language of BirdsSome Notes on Chance and Divination)

One of his narratives. We walked their land together. An absolutely beautiful place up in the foothills of the Sierra. Dale and Laura were very attentive to it, living with, and not on so to speak. They both understood that community did not stop at two leggeds, or even four, but that community was the biome that we tread through. There could be delightful conversations arise out of this of course, and did. A lovely piece:

Holes in the Ground
A catalogue of creatures
living in the soil

Dale Pendell…

I live off a dirt road, so the road to my house is also
dirt. The only paving on the property is the concrete
slab under the house and a couple of the outbuildings.
Otherwise, it’s all dirt: the paths and trails, and the ground
along them, whether covered by meadow, brush, or forest.
Everywhere I go, the dirt has holes in it. And for years now
I’ve been trying to find out who is responsible.
Easing into recovery from a recent surgery, I’ve been
going for daily walks. Or, let’s say, I’ve been sauntering, or
ambling. And the slower I go, the more holes I see—even
in these summer months when the meadow is all dry straw
and the ground is brick hard.
These Sierra foothill soils have to be some of the worst
in the world, with every nutrient but iron leached out. A
pick won’t dig a hole when the dirt is as dry as now, yet
new holes still appear. There are pencil-sized holes, dimesized
holes, quarter-sized holes. The more I look the more
I find. This isn’t even counting the larger and more ob-
vious holes—mole and gopher holes, or ground squirrel
holes or owl burrows—I know who makes those. But who
is making all these small holes?

A List in Progress:
First off, the Mammalia, our own dear class of milk drinkers,
are responsible for the largest holes, that’s clear. We dig
holes ourselves: postholes, outhouse holes, and trenches for
pipes—but they are usually filled in. Soldiers, of course,
dig holes, or used to, and call them foxholes. And foxes do
dig holes, though our foxes seem to prefer an abandoned
tree house.
Rabbits dig warrens, which are holes in the ground,
though they must dig them in the densest and most inac-
cessible brush thickets, because I never find them. Many
rabbit warrens, it is said, are connected underground. We
have skunks, and skunks have long claws and dig dens.
I think I found one of those once. Opossums will nest in
holes if they can find one, but I’ve read that they don’t dig
their own. Sometimes they live in trees.
And the coyotes dig holes and live in them. I found one
once, with pups in it, dug into the side of an embankment.
Actually, my little dog found the hole before I did. He
was just a little scamp Peekapoo with long curly hair and
big eyes that said “I love you, just stroke behind my ears,”
but when he heard a coyote howl, he put his chin way up
in the air and made this sound like a coyote and trotted off
like The Fool headed for the cliff. After about five minutes
I heard a terrible yelp of pain way off in the manzanita and
figured I’d better go find him. I did and there he was, kind
of bloodied up and needing a stitch or two, and there was
Mama, standing in front of her den looking at me, and
behind her coyote pups looking out and thinking this was
all the coolest thing that had ever happened.
Ground squirrels dig holes, of course, and they are easy
to spot, as are gopher holes and mole holes, with the dirt
piled around the entrances.
Moles tend to have their entrances in the center of
the excavated dirt, so it looks like a volcano, while gopher
holes are eccentric.
Moles and gophers make a lot of holes around here.
I’ve lost a dozen fruit trees to gophers—but there may be
even more moles. The cat catches gophers but she doesn’t
go after the moles. At least not anymore, not since one she
had cornered attacked and grabbed on to her paw with his
teeth and wouldn’t let go. For a nearly blind animal that
spends its whole life underground eating bugs, moles are
pretty feisty.
Besides moles and gophers, there are shrews, mice,
and voles. I’m not sure why voles are called “voles,” which
sounds like “moles,” because it’s shrews that are like moles.
Voles are like gophers. Voles are often called “meadow
mice,” and I realize now that many of the small “gophers”
caught by the cat were actually voles and that voles are
probably responsible for a large number of the excavated
holes that are slightly smaller than mole holes but have
dirt around the entrances. Like gophers, voles are mostly
vegetarian and seem to be better tasting to cats than the
insectivorous moles and shrews.
Whoever is digging exactly which hole, there is a lot of
bioturbation going on, and it is not all done by mammals,
not by a long shot.
Maybe some lizards dig holes. Skinks do, for sure. Alligator
lizards dig to bury their eggs, but mostly I find them
just under boards and under stuff lying on the ground.
Fence lizards, whiptails—I don’t know but they’ve got to
sleep somewhere.

Some spiders dig holes: deep, clean holes. Trap-door
spiders. And around here big wolf spiders dig a hole like
a trap-door spider, just without the door. Close to quarter
sized. The cat never sniffs at these holes. I had to go out
at night with a flashlight to see the spider, and I did. It was
there about half an inch down the hole with its legs on the
rim. So I took a piece of straw and rustled some dry grass
a couple of inches outside the hole. And, like, I knew what
was going to happen, but when the spider rushed out I still
jumped a foot into the air.
Most spiders, of course, live in webs.
Then there are the insects. And some in-between critters
like centipedes. Centipedes dig holes. Mostly, I think,
they dig holes and live in them. Except for the ones who
come into the house and hide under a sofa until you are
walking by at three in the morning headed for the kitchen,
when they lunge at your toes. I hate that. Why do they do
that? It makes me do that-forbidden-by-the-Buddha.
But insects, yes. Now we are getting to the pencil-sized
holes, or mostly.
Among the Hexapoda the most obvious and numerous
hole diggers are the ants. Lots of them, and they seem able
to dig into the very hardest of the hard-packed dirt right on
the driveway. So we see them a lot.
In fact, I’m watching them right now. These are fairly
sizeable ants, but fifty yards back there is an active nest
of very tiny ants, and both colonies may move the same
amount of dirt. They like to work in the cooler hours during
the summer, late afternoon, and early evening. In the winter
when it rains, I suppose these ant nests will become potholes.
I’d tired out early, as I’m still recovering from a chemo, so
sitting next to an ant hill seemed like a good place to rest.
Then, as a result of my treatments, I had half of a mental
whiteout: it was like a dust storm had come through and
half of my brain was left resembling the Playa at Burning
Man. Laura was with me.
“You know,” I said, “there was an early tribe of humans
who, being particularly observant of nature, decided that
underground was the proper place to live. They saw other
animals digging holes so they decided to do the same thing.
They were called troglodytes and they ate lizards and other
reptiles and small mammals and were known to be the fastest
runners in the world, which is strange, if you think
about it, because most of their lives they lived underground
in Ethiopia and were so poor of eyesight that they took to
herding large groups of moles from underground room to
underground room with short sticks. Caesar wrote about
them, but the book is lost.”
“Caesar, huh,” Laura asked, “like the salad?”
“Well, yes. And then Xerxes tried to hire them to dig
tunnels under the walls of a city he was besieging in Lydia,
but the troglodytes refused, explaining that such use of
their chthonic skills would be sacrilegious and offensive
to the gods of darkness, an explanation Xerxes accepted.”
“Xerxes, huh, are you sure you don’t mean Cyrus?”
“Yes, Cyrus, that’s who I meant. … The problems all
started when a Lydian king fell in love with his own wife—
that ended up being how the Persians found out about
the Greeks and went to war against them and why we run
marathons. The Greeks all wished that the troglodytes had
been more helpful to Cyrus and had finished the whole
thing before the Spartans arrived, so they passed laws protecting
people who lived underground in holes, exempting
them from certain taxes and service on triremes. Cyrus
and Croesus talked about it with Solon after they figured
out who was the happiest person alive.”
The fog was slowly lifting from my brain.
“See,” I said, “the barbarian women considered it an
affront to be seen naked … kind of like goddesses.”
“What’s this have to do with troglodytes?” Laura asked.
“Oh, because the troglodytes moved to Italy and became
Christians, and then they moved to Cappadocia.
One of their underground cities had eighteen-story buildings
and a population of twenty thousand. Nobody believes
that anymore, but you could look it up.”
Laura said she knew about Cappadocia.
I returned my attention to the ants. Some couldn’t
seem to find their way back to the nest. One, holding a
huge seed in its mandibles, missed the nest twice, and
was now more than a foot away and walking in the wrong
direction. Other ants touched antennae with it, but it still
hadn’t got the message.
“See,” I said, “the continued existence of underground
civilizations is a tightly held secret of the government: the
very existence of these cells is such a threat to national security
that they release occasional pictures of ufos instead.”

At that Laura concluded that I needed to walk some
more, so she helped me up and we started off again, but
now my eyes were tuned in to holes and we had to keep
stopping. I saw one very clean quarter-sized hole, or nearly
so, that I was sure was a new wolf spider hole. It even had
some paper-like web around the wall of the tunnel. I didn’t
stick my finger in.
Once we watched scores of flying ants hatching out of
several holes right in the driveway. They were orange and
black with blue wings and they just kept crawling out of the
holes and taking off into the air. I think the ants opened
new holes just for the hatching and then abandoned the
nest. At least the holes always seemed to be abandoned, until
I happened to walk by them one night when the moon
was out. Then I saw that the holes were indeed occupied, by
largish red and black ants that only come out long after dark.
Diptera: Flies, Midges, Gnats.
Not many insects live underground as adults, but many
live underground as larvae or pupae. I’ve see crane flies
dipping their ovipositors into the ground laying eggs. And
after the larvae pupate and the adults emerge, they leave
little holes behind them. Most of the little holes that are
left open are probably emergence holes—kind of like an
inter-dimensional passageway. Holes in regular use get
stuffed with gravel or straw.
Most Diptera prefer soil rich in decaying matter. Here,
that’s under the oak trees.

Hemiptera: True Bugs.
This is such a large order there must be some of them that
dig holes. Cicadas, for sure, in the suborder Homoptera,
produce large numbers of emergence holes.

Isoptera: Termites.
California has the western subterranean termite. As their
name implies, these termites nest in the ground, preferably
in a buried log. Their nests can get quite large, many galleries
connected by tunnels, the whole thing sometimes
hundreds of feet in diameter.

Orthoptera: Crickets,
Katydids, Grasshoppers.
Mole crickets live in the ground. The one we see the most
is the Jerusalem cricket, also called niña de la tierra. Is
there any bug more definitive of bugginess? I mean, they
are bugs. They’re huge, and they have those bald heads
that look like the bugs in the game “Cootie.” They are
harmless, but they will hiss and spit at you if you “bug”
them too much.
Laura and I were still walking but I could feel the
white noise returning and closing down the left side of
my brain.
“You see,” I said, “the verb to bug, as in ‘don’t bug
me, man,’ actually does come from bugs. Well, more from
beetles. From that annoying characteristic of beetles, in
particular, to come right back at you after you brush them
away. It’s like, you try to be nice and just knock them ten
feet away from your sleeping bag instead of crushing them
and what do they do? They turn right around and come
back. And they’ll keep doing that. And that’s how the verb
to bug came about, from backpacking beatniks, Jack Kerouac
and Japhy Ryder, I think, who finally said ‘Hey, that
bug is bugging us.’”
Laura: “Uh huh.”
“Well, yes. Or maybe it started before then, maybe in
Harlem, in some seedy jazz club, with cockroaches.”
Laura, who had lived in New York City for years,
thought that the latter etymology was more likely.
There are also some ground crickets in this order that
dig holes. And the California camel cricket, Ceuthophilus
californianus, lives in underground burrows.
The subject of grasshoppers brings us to blister beetles
and thus to the Coleoptera. Blister beetles get their name
from the ability of some species to secrete cantharidin,
which blisters human skin. Cantharides is also known as
“Spanish fly.” It should never be used as an aphrodisiac, but
preparations are sold as a topical treatment to remove warts.
There are more than a hundred species of blister beetles in
California, but few if any of them cause blistering.
Female blister beetles lay hundreds of eggs in meadows
or other grassy areas where grasshopper larvae are
in the ground. The blister beetle eggs hatch into a larva
that looks like a cross between a silverfish and an earwig.
These crawl around when it is warm, checking out every crack
and hole in the ground they can find, looking for a
grasshopper nest.
Entomological writing gets more colorful the further
back one goes in time. This may be because the earlier
generations of entomologists spent a lot of time lying
on the ground on their stomachs. Here’s Robert Evans
Snodgrass (1875–1962), on the triungulin of the striped
blister beetle:

“Though the young scapegrace of a beetle is a
housebreaker and a thief, his story, like that
of too many criminals, unfortunately, makes
interesting reading.”
—Insects: Their Ways and Means of Living (1930)

Finding a nest, the triungulin devour the grasshopper eggs
and then molt into a completely different-looking grub.
Eventually, after a number of successive moltings, a pupa
hatches into a new adult, which crawls out of a hole in
the ground.

Coleoptera: Beetles.
Besides blister beetles, the most obvious diggers in this
order are the burying beetles, Nicrophorus. Beautifully
described in Bernd Heinrich’s Life Everlasting: The Animal
Way of Death (2012), Nicrophorus beetles can dispose of a
mouse carcass in hours. If the ground beneath the carcass
is soft enough, a pair of beetles, after a brief marriage ceremony,
together dig the ground out from underneath the
carcass, meanwhile chasing away wasps, flies, and other
beetles. When the carcass is buried, the female lays her
eggs on it. I haven’t seen these colorful beetles yet, though
I keep hoping to attract them by putting out half-eaten
mouse carcasses left by the cat.
I’ve read that if the ground is too hard, the burying
beetles will crawl under the carcass, turn over on their
backs, and walk the carcass off of them with their legs. This
I want to see! I mean, how do they coordinate that? “No,
darling, I think we should go this way.” “No, you always say
that, but what happened last time, huh, bug guy?”
Most of the other subterranean beetles live in the
ground during the larval stage, such as the stink beetle
and the tiger beetle. Entomologists calculated that in southern Wisconsin,
depending on the type of soil, an acre of ground contained between fifty thousand and two
hundred thousand grubs.
Eleodes larvae live in the ground until they emerge as
adult beetles. The Eleodes beetle is a large and all-black
darkling beetle that will stand on its head if disturbed and
spray a foul-smelling amber liquid, hence “stink beetle”
or “stink bug.” My mother called them “pinacate beetles,”
a name more usual in the Southwest, derived from the
Nahuatl word for “black beetle.”
The best study of holes in the ground that I know of
was by a Kansas entomologist, H. R. Bryson, in the 1920s
and 1930s. He described the types of holes made by a wide
variety of insects (mostly Coleoptera and Hymenoptera),
along with the soil type, the depth of the hole, the characteristic
branching, incline, diameter, length, and even
weight of the excavated soil—as close to an identification
key as one is going to find.

Hymenoptera: Wasps, Bees, Ants.
While beetles inhabit the ground almost exclusively in the
larval stage, the Hymenoptera typically live in the ground
as adults. Bumblebees and mining bees dig burrows, as do
many solitary wasps. Yellow jackets also live in the ground,
in large nests (as anyone who has ever disturbed one knows),
but evidently they don’t dig the burrows themselves, instead
relying on finding abandoned mouse or vole holes.
Solitary wasps that live in the ground include the
cicada killer, eumenid wasps, digger wasps, sand wasps,
and spider wasps. Many of these wasps have to deal with
parasitic wasps that will steal into their burrows and leave
their own eggs to hatch and devour the original eggs or
pupae, so many digging wasps disguise the entrances to
their burrows, making them hard to find. For one, they
disperse the excavated soil, so that predators or parasites
won’t be able to spot it as easily, and then they also plug
the hole when they go out and often cover it with debris.
That leaves the worms.

Annelida: Earthworms.

I guess they’re out there—it’s just hard to remember that
in the summertime. Charles Darwin calculated 53,767
earthworms per acre. That was England, of course, where
it rains a lot. Darwin’s last published book was on earthworms,
called The Formation of Vegetable Mould through
the Action of Worms. The book was surprisingly popular,
selling more copies than the initial edition of Origin
of Species.
Once he had an estimate of the number of worms per
acre, Darwin went on to measure how much soil passed
through each worm and how much soil there was in England,
proving that all the topsoil in England had passed
through the intestinal canal on an earthworm many times.
He also calculated the rate at which earthworms bury ancient
ruins, doing his fieldwork at Stonehenge. Darwin also
performed extensive experiments with earthworms, establishing
that though they could not hear they could detect
vibrations and that they were intelligent and could learn.
This last assertion is an embarrassment to those who still
cling to the tenet that intelligence is a distinctly human
characteristic and that whatever animals do, especially invertebrates,
is something called “instinct.” Myself, I think
intelligence is still a good idea worth trying.
I could feel another whiteout coming on. Darwin had
filled the dining room with jars of worms and it was creating
a domestic crisis, Mrs. Darwin saying, at last, “You have
to choose: it’s me or the worms,” and Charles inventing
and calling in a “worm-mediation specialist” who brokered
a compromise, the worms getting Mondays, Wednesdays,
and Fridays and Mrs. Darwin getting Tuesdays, Thursdays,
and Saturdays.
Laura was talking to me. “What?” I said.
“It’s getting cold.”
You have to dig to find earthworms here. Or wait for a
rain. Laura grabbed an arm and we ambled on.
To know Dale one felt his deep connection with Buddhist tenets, and the practice. I leave you with this: He walked his walk. An authentic being. It was a deep privilege knowing him.

Bright Blessings,