Elder Interviews: Jim Fadiman, 1998 Part 2

On Sale Now! The Hasheesh Eater

Here we go with the second part!

Elder Interviews: Jim Fadiman, 1998 Part 2

Second Half Continued:
He died of a heart attack, running around his swimming pool in California, doing his exercises to prevent a heart attack.

: But do you know that he had a psychedelic experience?
JF: That’s correct, as Stan has told you.

: But you also found a certain level of hostility from some of the entrenched powers of the humanistic movement. Where was that resistance corning from? Because, in other respects, they were rather progressive for their time. Why was the psychedelic issue, the transpersonal movement, so antithetical to where their belief systems were?

JF: Since I made an interior move from their position to mine, I really have a good feeling for it, which is: If you have been brought up in a world where there is only this world, in a sense you’ve been brought up intellectually provincial. The only experiences you’ve had with religion have been with people who also have never had any spiritual experience. If, you’ve been brought up where there’s formal religion. You then have people who are speaking in all the metaphors of religion – because that’s the best language we have – but all it brings up for you is your own rather impoverished spiritual background. You then project onto them or to me that if I’m speaking about being a divine agent of God, that I’m clearly a paranoid schizophrenic about to knife you. Because paranoid schizophrenics talk about being the divine agents or angels of God. You get people who are truly dealing with the fear that their entire worldview is little. When you’re in a position of power and your entire worldview is little, it’s not unrealistic for you to say that the people who are attacking it must be wrong.

Psychology has a wonderful way of turning disagreement into derangement, into disability, into pathology. When I said I wore a coat and tie at Stanford that was a very conscious and deliberate effort to make sure that people did not even ask me what I knew. A very nice way of saying it is: Fear in the scientific world is usually called skepticism. The people who I ran into – and run into today- truly are saying, as Werner Erhard might say, “From my observation and experience, everything you’re talking about does not exist.” If you read ancient history and you get, Herodotus’s view of certain ancient peoples who lived in places he’d never been, maybe carried their heads under their arms – I believe that was one of the groups that he writes about. If I’ve had no experience with that it’s unlikely, it’s unlikely that if you’ve never seen a giraffe or an elephant, that either exists. If you’ve had a little bit of biology, it’s highly unlikely that a duckbilled platypus exists. If someone comes to you and says “I would like you to meet my friend the elephant who will carry us in his trunk into the jungle.” Correctly, you would say “I’d rather you go away, and I certainly don’t want to hire you in my school. I certainly don’t want to publish your articles.”

: Would you say that this is also reflective of why the culture at large became so hostile to psychedelics, and why, after the initial enthusiasm, there was a wave of repression which included shutting down your Stanford program?

JF: Well, the way I’ve looked at it is that psychedelics were a wave growing in magnitude, and Vietnam was this stone wall. When psychedelics met Vietnam, the country split apart, the old guard who had created and maintained a Vietnam and were into war and so forth were correctly, terribly threatened. Because the psychedelic people were saying “We are not really interested in any of your institutions, and we’re willing to do what’s necessary to tear them down. We’re willing to eliminate your university, not to add some courses. We’re willing to eliminate your military, not improve training. We’re willing to turn your churches into parks, because true religious experience does not work well in stone halls. Each of those institutions said, “I don’t know what you guys are up to, but I’m so deeply threatened, to the extent that I can stop you, I will. Basically, you saw got an amazing unity of the major institutions against the psychedelic wave. What the major institutions said was, “We control all the guns. We control all the universities. We control all the roads. We control medicine. And, by God, we are at war with these people who are not content to let us live our lives, but are determined through the most dangerous and most vulnerable part of us, our children, to take away the love and respect and support of our institutions and ourselves.” From their point of view, it’s hard to know what else they could have done.

The Feast

: … also, you’re a great storyteller.

JF: I once looked at my speaking patterns; they are closest to pre-stroke Ram Dass. I was listening to him a couple of times and I got “Whoo!”

: You’ve just got the tempo …

JF: Tempo, well, the use of timing, use of humor, only for serious points. For instance, I never tell jokes, and I can. I don’t do anything for humor, but I use humor continuously as a way of breaking frameworks.

JF: It can be, but it’s the way I see the world. I mean, I really do see the world in its dramatic potential.

.: Recently I looked through a listing of all the articles in the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology over the years. In the first six or seven years are a great number of articles addressing the psychedelic issue. Then for about the next 12, 13, 14 years there’s not one article on psychedelics. What happened with the evolution of the transpersonal movement, and why did psychedelics fall out until relatively recently, when they re-entered?

JF: Let’s make the question just a little larger: Where did psychedelics really deeply influence parts of the culture? If you go down a list of the major people in transpersonal psychology, or spiritual psychologies in general, what you will find is: Almost everyone was deeply affected by their own psychedelic experience. Let me give you a parallel world, which is if you go to a conference of the great computer hackers and breakthrough computer people of the first wave of computer companies, all of them were deeply affected by psychedelics. You will not find any mention of psychedelics in the history of computers, because it didn’t serve them to mention it, except to one another. At some point there’ll be a great outing of those people. Many of them have been asked and they have said, no, they would rather not come out at this point. What you got were people who were working with consciousness in the transpersonal. We’re also creating and trying to define what this branch of psychology was. What we found is: As we expanded, there were more and more people who were deeply concerned with one or another aspects of a spiritual tradition and how that affected consciousness. In a sense, psychedelics were less and less important to filling in the puzzle.

While the major figures all were affected by psychedelics, maybe continued to use them, maybe not, what was transpersonal became far larger. The way I like to talk about it is: People say, “Well, what is transpersonal psychology versus conventional psychology?” I reply, “Conventional psychology is at least 150 years old, and transpersonal psychology is 5,000 years old. What we learned is there are a lot of people who had actually explored things for hundreds of years that we were just discovering. We tended to begin to look to the Buddhists and the Tibetans and the Hindus – not for exploring our own personal experience, but for seeing how the worldview was discoverable through these much longer and sophisticated lenses. I mean, one of the things, as my blackboard incident says, is my understanding of things was not very large. I understand the fundamental truth of the universe, but if you ask me to describe that, I will fall into one metaphorical system or another, because I don’t have any choice. Transpersonal began to realize that we were able to publish articles of incredible depth and sophistication by drawing on thousands of years of other people’s work, rather than our early issues where we were drawing on our own personal experience which was initially naive and certainly kind of wobbly.

If you look at Castaneda’s work, you know, the first book of Castaneda says “I am a jerky graduate student, and I fell into a bunch of people, some of whom were illiterate, but all of them knew about a thousand times as much as I ever will, and, at the end of my book, I will throw in a little anthropological nonsense to prove that I am still a graduate student.” Gradually you lose any possibility that Castaneda knows anything of relevance, and that he is working from a worldview unknown to the rest of us, of the Native Mexican-American tradition. As we learn, he begins to understand that he was given psychedelics a lot because he had such a thick head and had so many conceptual boundaries that the question is: What can we do to get him to understand anything at all? I think Charlie Tart says that there are some of us who need to be hit across the head with a 2×4 to get our attention. We basically moved from our own self-congratulatory explorations to a much wider version of the world. I’ve given lectures and written books on certain religious traditions. Can I find psychedelics in those traditions? Of course. Do I need to mention it? Not particularly. Also, of course, as psychedelics had worse and worse press, and became less associated with fundamental religious experience, and more and more connected to whatever the federal government’s dishonest take of the day was, it was just less useful. Now you meet people in the transpersonal world – particularly people from other countries – who have come to transpersonal entirely without psychedelic experience, through various spiritual traditions.

Dialogue Of Dreams

: I guess now in the last six or seven years you’re starting to once again see articles on psychedelics in the transpersonal literature, there are xx [?] on psychedelics at the transpersonal conferences. What are the implications of this latest turn?

JF: The trend in the culture is to gently begin to admit, that while the federal government has stopped research, and the journal stopped accepting articles, and the funding organizations dried up, that young people are still taking psychedelics. Young people, predominantly better educated, and they are beginning to kind of admit to each other that the decades of misinformation hasn’t really held as well as the makers of disinformation would like. Just as it is generally known among approximately 12 to 20 million people that marijuana is not bad for you. Ginsberg said many years ago, “Imagine, given the success of marijuana and other psychedelic drugs, given the entirely hostile and wrong information about marijuana – imagine if we were allowed to advertise like tobacco.” What you’re seeing is another generation, of which some of you are members, that say, “I honestly had to look at my own experience versus the walls of misinformation, and my own experience seemed to be more valid. It’s now not so terrible to talk about psychedelics, because if you say in any public forum, “The government is both misinformed and misinforming,” no one is upset. Hitler had a theory that the Big Lie would work. And it does, unless you have personal experience.

Twenty years of Grateful Dead concerts have left a kind of road on which the culture of people who’ve had personal experience travel. The reason that marijuana is now available for medical use, whether the State of California likes it or not, is because too many physicians were saying it was a good idea. In spite of all of the rules that said that you are not allowed to tell the truth if you are a physician. You’re not allowed to tell the truth if you’re a psychologist. I did a series of films on psychedelics many years ago for KQED. And what we learned is – this was in the mid-Sixties, ’67 or so – that young people already knew that if someone was introduced as a government official or a physician that they were about to be lied to. That was the starting place in ’67. That core understanding – that you cannot trust your government to tell you about your own inner experience – has been maintained. We’re now seeing a kind of another wave of people who are in positions of authority and knowledge and responsibility who are being asked – particularly again by their children, now the third generation: “What’s the truth?”

: Were you also saying that, back then at least, you could not trust your physician to tell you the truth about your health?

JF: Right. This was at a period when if you had cancer your physician wouldn’t tell you.

Dream Engine

: Well, what about today? Looking at this, we had the origins of the transpersonal movement, which were heavily grounded in the psychedelic experience.

JF: Right.

: A long maturing period where the great world traditions were embraced, incorporated. Now, there’s a sense that psychedelics are opening up again, a bit perhaps in a less dramatic way, a bit more subtle. Looking at the role of physician, let’s say, who seem to have monopoly over administering drugs, can you envision a phenomena, a transpersonal psychiatry which would more directly address psychedelic drug administration?

JF: Well, I think there are two contexts for psychedelic. One is psychedelic, and the other is entheogenic. Entheogenic is that one’s religion must be a private act, and that government suppression of private, internal events is fundamentally against humanity. President Clinton, on his first trip to China, said there are certain fundamental human freedoms. One of them has been, in the United States. the freedom of religion. That’s the entheogenic path. That’s the path that I am committed to, because I now realize that the government did not stop my research with that letter ending the research in the next room on creativity. It basically said, “You may not practice your religion, or we will physically imprison you.” That’s a rather striking departure from what the United States has historically done.

The other use, what my dissertation, for example, reports, which is the use of psychedelics to help people live better lives by having less neurosis, less psychosis, less fixations, less perversions, whatever. It’s a very different question. Maybe that should be in the hands of the people who historically in a culture administer interventions, which have been called ‘medical.’ Now I’m personally a lot more radical than that, because I recall in the United States around 1830, the laws were: Anyone could practice any kind of healing or medicine they wish. If you hurt people, you could be sued. If you didn’t hurt people, then you wouldn’t be sued. That’s where I’m coming from, which is the freedom to help people. We’ve lost that to many professions. I am not a licensed psychologist, which means that I cannot legally help people and charge them. With that said, I’m also a minister, and I can help people if I wish. I have that freedom to be helpful. If I were a psychologist I would have an enormous set of restrictions on how I could help them. If I were a physician, I would have a different set of restrictions on how I could help them. I’ve opted for the religious way, which gives me the maximum freedom to be of maximum use.


: Looking in your crystal ball, projecting ahead into the future, do you prognosticate a role for psychedelics, for entheogens? At least in these models?

JF: Until we get to the bottom of this current era of enormous moral repression, things will not change much. This is a real Inquisition era that we’ve moved into, where the goal of enormous number of people in this country is to prevent other peoples having the right to choose: the right to have children or not to have children, the right to have medicine or not to have medicine, the right to have religion or not to have religion. We’re reached reaching a pretty ugly place in terms of the decline of personal freedom. Hopefully, we’ll bottom out, and the next wave will not only allow psychedelics in the medical model, and entheogens in the spiritual model, but will really begin to set up structures that make sense. Just as there are now some religions coming out of Brazil which have found not only, very sensible structures for entheogen use, but are remarkably middle class – non socially disruptive, non tear-down-the-foundations-of­ society – groups. The problem that we had in the ’60s: It’s not that our vision of what the world could be was incorrect. It was, that by tearing down the buildings we happened to be standing in, we made it doubly difficult. It’s like Yugoslavia really has pushed itself back to about the 14th century by everybody shooting at everybody. Yes, they had some disagreements, but everyone lost enormously because everyone went too far. In a sense, that was the problem with the ’60s. That isn’t happening on this next round. The nice thing about the desire in the medical profession to alleviate human suffering is: that everyone at some point gets that they could be helped. The entheogenic route is a little more difficult, but will probably occur as country after country stops buying into the United States’ demands to have a drug policy that meets our morally conservative paranoia. The camel’s nose under the tent is really medical marijuana. Once you admit that a substance that your government says is unmitigated evil for all people at all times, no matter what, and we should not learn anything about it, should we be wrong has been wildly wrong, thing start to change. At some point, grownup nations start saying, “Golly, this really doesn’t sound like the way grownups behave. Even if the largest bully on the planet keeps saying, ‘You gotta do it our way,’ our own citizens really deserve better.” At this moment in England, the House of Lords is looking into if medical marijuana a good idea. Same time, the drug czar of England has recently busted his own son. Okay? We are dealing with a little bit of nuttiness here, at a very high level. But we’re not dealing with nuttiness in the House of Lords, because the House of Lords really doesn’t have a great stake in medical marijuana, for or against. We in this country have bought into such a set of lies that it’s very hard for a politician to say, “Huhh! All my colleagues and I have been lying to you for 30 years. All the people who I trusted for information when I was just a hustling attorney trying to get a job in Congress, lied to me and I continue to pay them.” Hard. It’s very hard to find grownup politicians who will say, “I was wrong.” We have Havel, Mandela, – a few great beings. But most politicians feel afraid to say, “I was wrong.” However, I think the future is basically bright-in cycles. In some ways, I’d like it to get to the worst as soon as possible, so we could get done with it.

: Jim what would you say to young people about psychedelics?

JF: I would basically give them my ’60s lecture on set and setting, which is: If you’re going to use psychedelics, do it with someone you love, and hopefully someone who’s been there before you, and be aware that you may find out that the world is even better than you ever thought. Sometimes people do ask me that. I recently was talking with a recent Stanford MBA, who was really asking that question. I saw that MBA about three months later, and she said, “The world is really wonderful!” She said, “And yeah, to think I was afraid.” I said, “Well, when you’re afraid, that’s not the right time.” Really, what I say is – If it feels correct then you’re going to go ahead, and by all means try and understand what the truth of these things are, which is that they are very powerful, and that you can indeed make a lot of mistakes. I can tell you about all of our mistakes, because, you need to make your own mistakes, while you’re on your own path.


: How would you say that the psychedelic experience in your own life has affected your personal views, about aging and death?

JF: Those are really two separate questions. Let’s take death, because that’s easy. My psychedelic experience is very clear that for Jim Fadiman death is certainly going to end a lot of interesting anecdotal material. As Jim Fadiman, I certainly think that’s terrible. But as I- this other I – big deal! -I deeply have the realization that my personality is like my shirt. When my shirt really gets ragged enough, I’ll take it off. There are other shirts. “In my house, there are many shirts,” to ruin a perfectly good quote from Edgar Cayce. Death is something that I don’t particularly look forward to it, even if, it’s as someone said, it will cure whatever ails you. Eventually all your troubles, whatever your conditions are, you don’t have to worry. So that’s fine.

As for aging, I haven’t found much going for it yet. That’s why I’m one of the psychedelic “pioneers’” and I’m very happy to be joining psychedelic “elders,” who are certainly considerably older than I am.

: I think one way of our looking at ‘elders’ was: What information would they want to pass on to younger people.

JF: I understand. The word ‘elder’ from a shamanistic position is the right word. Ram Dass used to use a different term – which I think is really more what pioneer is about- which is “explorer.” What he said is “Now and then you’d go back to the Explorers Club and they’d say: ‘Where you been?”‘ I feel more like someone who’s part of National Geographic than the Akashic Records. What I say to young people is basically to understand that the government has misinformed you very, very badly, and that it would be an awful lot better if you knew what the truth was before you worked with psychedelics.

That is probably because the level of misinformation is so great, people are using psychedelics a little too young. What I learned from my own research is that psychedelics took your life experience and composted it, so that something new could grow. If you really didn’t have too much experience it didn’t seem to be much effect. You didn’t seem to gain enough. I look at psychedelics always as learning tools. Even in the middle of a psychedelic experience I would begin to think, “I wonder what I’m going to do with this?” I’d like it to be over so I can start to get to the digestion and assimilation and new brain cell production. The act of the psychedelic experience itself wasn’t what was of major interest.

Mind’s Eye

: Amongst indigenous peoples it’s not the young people going off on their own to take plants, psychedelics. Rather, it’s the elders facilitating a ritual of initiation to really, who’s desire it’s not for them to have a great personal experience but to fully incorporate them as functional adults within the society, within the community.

JF: Unless you know something about the nature of life and death, you’re not a grown up. Once you know something about the nature of life and death, then you don’t have much choice but to be a grownup. That’s the model that makes sense to me. So back to aging … As I got grew up fairly quickly during the ’60s, in terms of the deep things I know, I have filled in a lifetime of the shallow things: the making a living, and writing books, and having a family, and so forth. All of which, I’m very happy with. I’m not at all distressed about my life. But you do those whenever they come up. What I notice is that when I was much younger, old people were the age I am now. At my age, I still find old people are somewhat older. I don’t have much of a grasp on aging. I don’t do it much. I notice friends get into it but doesn’t attract me. When friends say, “Do you want to get cardiovascular improvement?” or “Would you like to go to the Galapagos?” I’d still rather go to the Galapagos.

Chelation doesn’t look like something I’m going to get excited by. Also, I’m a social being and what I’ve found is that one of the things about aging is that you become invisible to certain age groups. I don’t really find being invisible feels good, in terms of my neurotic needs and my desire to be liked and to do speaking and tell stories, it just doesn’t work for me. When someone says, “I’d like to learn something from you,” I’d prefer that we don’t have an age barrier. A problem, at least in this culture, is that aging raises those little barriers.

: Have you used psychedelics in more recent years? And if so have you found anything new?

JF: I had a long period in which I didn’t use them. Partly again, problems of set and setting. Making things illegal really doesn’t improve them. Most of my work was legal and legitimate. When I took psychedelics near the end of that period, it was still basically an acceptable thing; the thought police had not arrived.

There was a long period when I didn’t take them, but in the last year or so, I had a major psychedelic experience. My major concern, from that place of psychedelic clarity, could I say if had I lived my life within the framework of this larger vision. It was like a precursor of the Last Judgment, where they get those scales out and they weigh all those dirty things you did and all that groovy stuff you did, and you just watch the scale. I was relieved to find out that my life’s all right. Now, at higher levels, it couldn’t matter less what my life was, had I been a mass murderer and given bubonic plague to millions of children – at a high enough level, that’s just the way the universe was working.

The level I was looking at was a very conventional, which is: Did I make use of what I’d learned in the way I treated human beings, the way I treated myself, the way I loved, the way I expanded. I was taking a kind of long evaluation session. I could very comfortably, certainly wanted to go back to a more what I would call directly spiritual, where we bypass all that. Didn’t happen. What I got out of it was a reaffirmation that my personality doesn’t hold my interest. It’s a good tool; I like it. It’s a tool for the kinds of things I do in the world. But so is my Honda.

: What does hold your interest?

JF: I’ve been freed from reading psychology, which is just an enormous gift of personal liberation. I returned to literature, where all the great psychological thinking was. From there, I’ve moved into writing fiction. What I’ve finding is that, as someone said, “If it’s fiction, it better be true.” I can say more clearly what interests me and explore it more deeply using the structure, the superstructure, the scaffolding of fiction more than anything else. I’m also looking at: Where am I totally deficient due to my education? The visual arts. I had a sixth-grade teacher who managed — with enormous perseverance over my sixth-grade year -to kill any possibility of drawing or painting or any kind of making imagery. In the last couple of years, I’ve taken drawing classes, basically to get over that. What I’ve found is: There is a kind of meditative clarity, putting my personality aside, when I am trying to draw. After several years, I’m still not very good, but the feeling of pleasure in the doing keeps increasing. Without keeping learning, I feel I would have become boring to myself and I certainly couldn’t have maintained a decent marriage.

I have a pretty good idea of who I was as a Harvard undergraduate. As someone once said of me, “Does he ever have a serious thought?” I was a silly, smart, clever, sarcastic, childish, arrogant yecchh! I mean, I’m amused by who I was, but I certainly wouldn’t have him for dinner. My world was very, very tiny. It was based on having a very large vocabulary, a moderately large IQ, and so little soul, that if you measured it in teaspoons you probably wouldn’t have tasted it. I wasn’t bas but I wasn’t much. I am very clear that psychedelics were the fundamental resource upon which I have drawn to become a human being. Does that. .. ? [laughs]

Our Lady Of The Inner Journey

: That’s a great answer, in fact, yeah. Who do you think should take psychedelics? Say, if it was in your power to design policy?

JF: Right, if it were in my power to design policy I would probably design something the way adult literacy is designed. For people to be given this experience in a good enough setting, those who are interested in helping other people would be empowered to do so. Certainly, there is no historical precedent for them to be people trained in either mental health or physical health as the primary criteria. It is very useful to have such people available, because sometimes there are problems, because these are very powerful and important materials. I would certainly feel very strongly that to return entheogens to a guide relationship, which has been true in every culture that I have studied, and during the years when I studied all cultures for their kind of entheogenic relevance, that’s what I found. The idea that people should go off and trip with people their own age, who don’t know any more than they do, be they 50 or 20 or 12, has never worked very well, and it didn’t work real well in our culture. If I were the religion czar, the spiritual experience czar, and decreed that people would be allowed to have freedom of religion in the United States of America, I would start by saying that freedom of religion of an entheogenic sort will be done similarly to the way one flies a private plane, which is: You don’t go up alone, you go up with someone who knows more than you do, and they steer the plane till you know how.

: What advice would you have for those of us who are interested in working within the system to make psychedelics available for healing? And similarly, what advice would you have for those like Bob Jesse who want to work within the system to make psychedelics available for religious experience?

JF: For those of you in the healing arts my advice is: Never trust anyone in the media to give you a fair shake. Even if you have given them psychedelics and their entire life is devoted to serving it.

: I’ve been through that one.

JF: That’s the first bit of advice. The second is – I don’t have any advice for you, I feel a combination of admiration and sorrow at the large rock you’re pushing up a very steep hill. When you get it up to the top each time, somebody pushes it down. In some sense you are a holding action; you are preventing the wisdom from being lost totally.

It’s like the Irish monks in the.9th and 10th centuries: You’re holding the knowledge until it can be used again but, honestly, the work that you’re allowed to do is damn little. If you were allowed to do research, I would be much happier for you, but to run studies to see if if it’s going to help cancer patients is as if you’re finding out if masturbating will get you off. It’s known.  I just admire you, really, for being willing to do this work that I clearly have dropped out of, because I was unwilling to push the rock Then again, you came up and that was the only door that was still open. The one’s I’d used were all closed. I watched them close a number of them in my face.

Therefore, I took some alternative routes to keeping the vision alive, if not the way of getting there. That’s the psychiatric side. On the spiritual side, I encourage that people continue to let the Divine Wind blow through them, however that can be done. If it’s satsang; if it’s meditation, whatever. I find that the national park system is a set of absolute cathedrals designed for people to let go of their small self.  I’m very supportive of the national park system. Give me Bryce Canyon, Death Valley, Zion, Yellowstone. The one thing that the government has not figured out is how much sedition is created by people falling in love with Nature.

Her Mysteries

: Anything we haven’t talked about, generally, or anything we have left out?

JF: Are we down to that one?

·: We’re getting there. We’re getting close.

JF: I don’t get to send a message to Zalman. He is one of the few people that would make the world want to be Jewish. Most theologians, of whatever persuasion, make you really are glad you’re not that. But Zalman really does the best I’ve ever seen at overcoming everyone’s concerns about the rigidity within the Jewish tradition. From a personal standpoint –this is a terrible time, where I don’t have any personal freedom, I live in this globalization country where “let’s make the poor, poor enough so that there’ll finally be a revolution, and the rich, rich enough so they can escape to some other country,” you know, choice, personal freedom, personal freedom of speech. There’s so little freedom speech anymore; it’s called political correctness. Unless you’re a right-wing fascist bigot, you can’t say what you want. Since I’m not-. I think I’m not – and I can’t say what I want in most public venues or I get attacked. We’re back to sexual repression as well.

As someone said, “I liked the Sixties.” My brother Jeff said it well. “For a few years a small percentage of the population was actually sexually satisfied.” That was a wonderful part of the Sixties, that people were free to love each other. I find this a very terrible time: From a slightly larger perspective, however, this is one of those “act two” eras, where act one was the Sixties and act two is now when everything gets terrible. When you work in fiction, you know that act three is where either you have a kind of joyful exuberance of discovery and reunification and the evils get undone, or you have a tragedy. Either one is art. Now that I can see more about what you do with fiction, either can have the same message, which is: No matter how great the darkness, there are still places of light.

One of the things I’m seeing in the 12th century is it was full of light. The 13th century was “pfft!’ – the darkness totally wins. The Catholic Church is at its unjust worst. It got so bad that we had the Reformation, that people said “God! This just can’t be the only game in town!” The Catholic Church said, ”Well, it actually is. We have eliminated all the other paths.”  The Catholic Church makes Microsoft look like, Ben & Jerry’s! Now, again, this is for people who are interested in being bold and brave and, as Ram Dass says, “Standing up. This is a wonderful time to be a hero, because the forces of darkness are everywhere. You know, in a time of universal peace, all this warrior stuff is inappropriate. I’m having a wonderful time at the moment. I’m aware that there is so much to be done. I mean, I used to give a talk on, “Don’t worry if people are not into your cause; there’s more than enough causes for them to participate in. As long as everyone is doing something, that’s very encouraging. Goethe says, “If every one in the world would sweep their front porch, the world would be clean.”

The High, The Holy

: From the long view, are you optimistic?

JF: On the long view I would say that there is no record of human history moving much. Socrates is still about as good as we get. We’ve now had a few thousand years, and there have been no improved models. I’m neither optimistic nor pessimistic. If you’ve been in enough theater, what you realize is, the play will go on. You’re either going to play your part as well as you can, or you’re going to be a big drag. I’m personally optimistic, because my life is really quite wonderful, and the people that I try and affect, I want their lives to be wonderful. If I could affect millions of people, I’d prefer that. But the people who tend to affect millions of people tend not to be able to make their lives much better. Okay? Therefore, the more optimists there are the better it is. One of the things about correct use of entheogens is that you can tap into a core of optimism that no amount of “this world” can defeat. Because this world is not the only game in town; it’s not the best game in town, but as they say, when you’re a gambler and the only slot machines are crooked, you’re still going to play.

: I guess if Socrates is as good as it gets, then can we return to Eleusis?

JF: Socrates had the advantage that his government allowed him religious freedom. until he didn’t. He was able to use such psychedelic materials, with guides, as were available. Certainly Buddha had the same opportunities. So, that’s the nice thing. If you look through history through an entheogenic lens, what you realize is: The truth is always available. People are going to discover it one way or another in every generation. Therefore, in this generation a lot of us had a chance to discover it, not in a formalized institutionalized setting where we all have the same words. The other side of it is-and this is the very positive side – there has never been a time in the history of humanity when all the spiritual traditions were as close as your nearest bookstore. No one ever has had that!

: Or your computer screen.

JF: Or your computer screen even wider. That means you don’t have to live near a bookstore, which is also a new thing. So that’s really different. You know, in the 12th century there were just a couple of paths, you could find: the Kabbalah, the Arthurian legends, chivalry and a few mystical traditions. But those were only if you were one of the very, very, very tiny few in Europe with a lot of education and could do a lot of traveling. We’ve never had access to all the spiritual traditions. In spite of the government’s blah blah blah, there’s still easy access to entheogens. This could be… What do they say? ”This could be the start of something swell.”

Entheogenic Eyes

· : Looking at history from entheogenic eyes, are you of the opinion that all the religions have an entheogenic core that may be long repressed but this would have been the original inspiration for what ensued?

JF: At the center of every spiritual tradition that is worth the name there is, somebody who had a break through into understanding what reality was. They were at that time in some kind of cultural matrix, so when they came back into being their bodies and their own cultural matrix and their own personality. They’d ponder, “How am I going to share this with anybody?” They did it in some way, and then eventually, they had ·a lot of people who hung out around them. Eventually some of the people hanging out around them said, ‘”I’ll do the shit work. I’ll arrange the meeting, I’ll bring in the food, I’ll handle things.” And the handlers gradually, as they always do, got control of the situation.

The original founders passed away, and then the handlers started to make it easier for themselves, because it’s easier to bring in the food if it’s every Sunday. It’s easier if everyone has ‘a certain place to sit. And so the bureaucrats always end up eating up spiritual food of the founder. Without a continual infusion of spiritual food you end up with what we call a religion. If you look at the religious right in Judaism, where you kill your prime minister; in the Arab world where you kill lots of other people; in the Christian world where you want to kill almost everybody -the religious right seems to be absolutely the same in every tradition, which is the farthest away from individual experience of universal love and compassion.

The religious urge cannot be repressed any more than the sexual urge – the need to be part of your whole self. But the expression of it always, inevitably – and I say that, without even any ill will anymore, gets “solidified.” That’s the nicer term; it gets ossified. Right? The bones start to be inflexible. Inflexible bones lead to inflexibility and that’s fine. My concern, for instance, with humanistic and transpersonal, is that it’s still run by people like me. I want to know who’s going to get rid of me, who’s going to throw us out. I’m looking towards – in a sense – the next psychedelic generation to say “What a bunch of tired old farts you are with this journal and this association and this old-fashioned transpersonal psychology when God is all around you!” I want then to say, “Carry him out!” I’ll say, ” Yes. Carry me out of the palace. You win! Let them tear down the walls and get back to basics.”

: So, maybe that’s your advice as an elder?

JF: Right. I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t shoot me. But please take my job!

– : Okay. Thank you, Jim.

JF: You so very welcome.

: That’s excellent.
[End of interview]

Thank You For Visiting!  More Soon!



Old Friends…


We went to see our old friend Nels Cline with his band Nels Cline 4 at the Mississippi Studio, in Portland in the north east part of town last April (yes just posting this…me bad!) Nels and his band mates performed a stellar set, transcendental to be exact.  “Pacific Pines” and “River Mouth (Parts 1 & 2) were the highlights for Mary & I.

We have known Nels since 1978/79 when he had just started working at Rhino Records on Westwood Blvd. 4 blocks from where we lived with Michael Conner, poet and lyricist and a member of the band “Grey Pavilion” where Nels guested on tracks and such.

His talents are many, you may know his works with Wilco, but for us it is his solo works, though we do love Wilco!



Henry Miller’s Best Friend…

Mary and I met Emil at the Henry Miller Museum in Big Sur. We had driven up from L.A. after moving to the States in late 1986. It was a pilgrimage of sorts, and a honeymoon as well (having married 8 years earlier). We were staying at the Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn… Eating Mushrooms, exploring.

We went to the museum. Emil was there, and he was taken with the beauty, and foreign accent of my wife. He took her hand and proceeded to kiss it up to the elbow, the old smoothy. We still have a poster he signed. We talked with him for about 2 hours about Henry, and art, Anais Nin. What a wonderful person.

Great Memory!


Why did Emil convert his house into a memorial for Henry? “Because I missed him.”

Emil’s Obituary

Gary Snyder
As For Poets – by Gary Snyder

As for poets
The Earth Poets
Who write small poems,
Need no help from no man.

The Air Poets
Play out the swiftest gales
And sometimes loll in their eddies.
Poem after poem,
Curling back on the same thrust.

At fifty below
Fuel oil won’t flow
And propane stays in the tank.
Fire Poets
Burn at absolute zero
Fossil love pumped back up.

The first
Water Poet
Stayed down six years.
He was covered in seaweed.
The life in his poem
Left millions of tiny
Different tracks
Criss-crossing through the mud.

With the Sun and Moon
In his belly,
The Space Poet
No end to the sky—
But his poems,
Like wild geese,
Fly off the edge.

A Mind poet
Stays in the house.
The house is empty
And it has no walls.
The poem
Is seen from all sides,
At once.




“Isis” – Gwyllm 2019

Behold Lucius I am come, thy weeping and prayers hath moved me to succour thee. I am she that is the natural mother of all things, mistresse and governesse of all the Elements, the initiall progeny of worlds, chiefe of powers divine, Queene of heaven! the principall of the Gods celestiall, the light of the goddesses: at my will the planets of the ayre, the wholesome winds of the Seas, and the silences of hell be diposed; my name, my divinity is adored throughout all the world in divers manners, in variable customes and in many names, for the Phrygians call me the mother of the Gods: the Athenians, Minerva: the Cyprians, Venus: the Candians, Diana: the Sicilians Proserpina: the Eleusians, Ceres: some Juno, other Bellona, other Hecate: and principally the Aethiopians which dwell in the Orient, and the Aegyptians which are excellent in all kind of ancient doctrine, and by their proper ceremonies accustome to worship mee, doe call me Queene Isis. Behold I am come to take pitty of thy fortune and tribulation, behold I am present to favour and ayd thee, leave off thy weeping and lamentation, put away all thy sorrow, for behold the healthfull day which is ordained by my providence, therefore be ready to attend to my commandment. This day which shall come after this night, is dedicated to my service, by an eternal religion, my Priests and Ministers doe accustome after the tempests of the Sea, be ceased, to offer in my name a new ship as a first fruit of my Navigation.”
― Lucius Apuleius, The Golden Ass
So, a bit of format change in this edition. One should not get stuck in a rut, so I am changing things a bit.  For instance, trying to be a wee bit current by using video on occasion! (heaven help us all!) I will be putting together a video blog once in awhile, and doing some podcast with radio content, and perhaps a talk or two. New horizons, it is time to get out there a bit more, and be a bit less reclusive.

I have always liked stepping off into the metaphorical abyss, and this suites me nicely.
We have some great poetry this go around from Whit Griffin, some nice music (featured on the “Serpent’s Lair” Radio Show) and to cap the radio announcements 27 seconds of yers truly speaking.

Here is to a new year, new projects, and to all of us coming together to help change the world.

On The Menu:
Radio EarthRites Updates/Thanks To Our Supporters!
The Links
Whit Griffin – “From The Universal Lyre”
Steve Roach – Bryon Metcalf “The Lair”
Radio EarthRites Updates:

New Weekly Series, Poets & Philosophers… Featuring poets, philosophy, various iterations of spoken word, chants, spells, mystery unfolding…

Music… as always.  New shows weekly. “The Serpent’s Lair” explores a more atmospheric approach to mainly acoustic sides, with a bit of sparkle thrown in with some electronics.  Lots of Steve Roach, a rarity from Popol Vuh, along with Patti Smith, Dead Horse One, and various nouveau rock acts from New York, UK, Sweden, Russia…

The Links:
The Digital Prudes…
Learning From The Little Ice Age
Planet Of The Apes?
The Universal Song…
Poesy: Whit Griffin

From The Universal Lyre

Yarrow, carpenter’s weed, old
man’s pepper. Sun
opener. Meadow

Colorful broom. Herb of the Spirits.

Wild olive, devil’s wood. Lilac,
the blue pipe tree. The bluish
flame which envelopes fraxinella.

Bees to blue flowers. Blue
Deer provides peyote. As blue
is the best color for the interior
of a tea cup.

Severed penises hang from her
goatskin apron. Her liver exults in mirth.

Nemain killed a hundred warriors with her voice.

goddess of war. The snake
goddess who lives in our backbones.

A tiny blaze of fire at the base of the spine.

A trumpet made from a femur.

Coca spoons from jaguar
bones. The visionary
divination from burning blood.

The coat of many colors is reserved
for those who know oneiromancy. Only those

who had achieved the fourth degree
of wisdom were permitted to be teachers
of occult philosophy.

Teaism is the smile
of philosophy. Play is the chemistry of yes.

They bathe their hands and heads
in the juice of elder berries when
they are being initiated into the mysteries.

The messiah returned,
and she is Tiamat.

As Puck to the Pooka, the
little Phrygian-capped mushroom.

The sacred cannibalism
that produces ecstasy and bestows knowledge.

To fashion stars out of dog
dung, that is the Great Work.

Thou art the eyeball of Vritra.

Floating stories, floating
figures. Feel with the eyes.

Khadomas of wisdom, with
red and green eyes.

The rewilding.

The relationship between
datura and palo verde.

The persea bears fruit in Egypt
but only flowers at Rhodes. As

the persea ripens its fruit at
the season of etesian winds.

The angel that spoke to
Angels are heavenly whores. Saint

Paul thought demons

were attracted to women’s

You will be embraced by your angel /


at the moment of your death.

Inca coca oracles. The
wonderful child with oracular
birds. A pebble

numbered 3663. Mithras and Abraxas
are gods of numerology. Wrap a naked boy in linen

from head to toe, then clap
your hands.

For an only child I request immortality.

For the earth-lion have I

obtained the boon. The negativity

placed on the serpent

arose from the dominance of

Evil arose with the bifurcation of the collective mind.

Evil arose from the weakness of scientific

From solid to spoked wheels. The correspondence

theory of truth. The secret name of
Rome. Correggio’s silver-

plated crescent moon. Shinjed rides

a fearless buffalo. The clarity
of mind
erases fear. Fear

guards the vineyard.
Fear is the barrier between the ego

and the full understanding

of reality. The giving up of
the sandals

to the giving up of the will.

Rashīd ad-Dīn Sinān – رشيد الدين سنان
‘Nothing is Forbidden, Everything is Permitted’
‘Nothing is Real, Everything is Permitted’
it is a subtle difference, but so much is based upon subtlety.” – Terezakis.

Old Man Of The Mountain

Happy New Year!

First, I want to wish you all a Happy New Year!

May this year shine for you and yours. Kindness and care will see us through.

Love is the answer to all questions… (I believe)

Thanks To All Of You Who Have Helped Keep Radio EarthRites Going! More music, more art, more poetry and mythology soon!

Bright Blessings,


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.