Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Re-member, reader/viewer, remember the sensations you have viewing the image, reading the poem, and the more popular format of adventure/fantasy fiction that will follow in this Fall Series.  Then let your unconscious re-member it-  Re-compose image, poem, history to tell its real story, to have its real effect on you- you will do anyway!  (From titillation to tragedy, the human heart rages, raves and roves in its search for true identity and peace.)

***After the Achekale, the Left Hand Path:



9/’11-- Musing

I came into this world before my parents began to tire out.  I often seemed to fall short of usual measures- i.e., sports and finance.  There was some talk about other gifts...  But little of that until college.  There, my world opened and grew exponentially.    After that, there was the Church and Pilgrimage and Panikkar, Lancaster, Georgia in a line of fine religious and secular teachers!

Church people[1] make terrible mistakes. So do secular altruists.  When church people get it right, it is a magnificent thing- but they waste a lot of time socializing and politicking.  It seems unavoidable.  So it is with secular altruists.  Better to just be ‘natural,’ use and support various social networks, ‘religious’ or ‘secular,’ to engage the fullness of the Spirit(s- Elohim) in solitude, and in commune.  Such discourse requires a diplomatic dedication (and skill!) to ‘do no harm,’ yet still push through nonsense and dishonesty in oneself and others on a path of realization and ‘de-light.’  (Shamans have depended upon such 'light' from the beginning- in various spectrums.)

In the forests of metaphor that are human sensibility, here is one of those rare aspects that is literal, though not necessarily physically so.    Lightfulness-  what Christianity references as ‘a Light that casts no shadow’ and Buddhism notes in its “Clear Light’ realizations. Language, ideas, images can support this experience- but finally give way before it.  In fact, it is this ‘visionary consciousness’ that forms and informs ‘sense’ itself: Language, ideas, images... The Lord is beyond form or content.  We can’t do without, it seems.

Believe in the Lord Christ (access), depend on the Lord Buddha (process), entertain with respect and 'honors of origin' Shamanistic Animism-- not without drawbacks as well, but it is our first great insight about the nature of being (along with discovery of tools) and no one knows Nature better-- the great, ineffable Sacrament of God’s Creation.[2]  In this, Science comes to its fullness...

[1] By ‘Church people,’ I mean any organized group experience with traditions, teachings, scriptures and/or practices maintained over time. 

[2] Materialism has a dark, forceful, prideful tendency that tries to dispense with a ‘spiritual’ dimension, but is miserable and lonely without it. 

Religions, secular or otherwise, tend to think they own the Light.  If they own anything its properties, ideas, images...  ‘Lightfulness’ always finds freedom in the midst of process and form.   

***235.  AFTER THE ACHEKALE-THE LEFT HAND PATH, Acrylic on Canvas, 20” x 16” 2003-2012.  SEE ACHEKALE.

***9. [7.]   Strider (Dragon Painting II) Oil on Canvas 5’ x 4  Amorphic color and space in counterpoint relationship with hardedge, linear and geometric embellishments- It’s about the relationship between the general context of being and specific experience as open and luminous.

The title, "Strider", is from the ‘motion’ of this nature painting that reminds me of the movement of a Water Strider...Yet, as well, the painting still suggests a more cosmic ambience.

 The ‘dragon’ theme in these works is a reference to nature and our metaphysical, technological relationships with nature...
Barometric and gravity drawn forces inside and around the artist and the art interact with artistic tools and training to evoke both the sensitivities of a migraine person and requirements for later spiritual training...


FALL SERIES II- 10.12.'11

[#122. UCB Catalog]



1.0  The Beast and Sister Mary

In the morning, he usually stood in his white boxer shorts surveying the vista from his ‘cave’ on a hill that sloped down from snow frosted mountains above, down to the vast plains of the Mojave Desert below.  He stood in the doorway of his studio apartment as he’s done so often, waking usually before sunup. His place had once been a large, partially underground root cellar that had been ‘improved’ just enough for modern comfort with a magnificent view. 

Usually, he’d be checking the conditions that would greet his morning run—ten miles or more.  He had the lithe, tall form of a runner with some of the left over bulk of a body builder years past.  Usually, after determining what kind of day would greet his run, he’d go back in, change into his running gear, stretch through that long sequence of yoga postures and then burst through his front door, across his flagstone patio, past the pinion and juniper trees that held the hill-- leaping, bounding down the switch-back path of sliding gravel as it cut cross country to the dirt road half mile down. 

Usually.  But this morning, he stood still at his portal, thin white boxers twisted too tightly by some violence across tensing muscles flexed by terror and threat.  His chest heaved, not finding its breath, his flat stomach, the envy of athletic friends, now concave in vulnerable rigor.  His face looked stricken as by a ghostly hand, eyes desperate to find his bearing. 

He stood in his familiar place, alien, feral.  A long hunting knife gripped in his right hand, dripping its dark red violence to bare, calloused feet upon the uneven stones of a fenceless yard.  Unable to scream, he stood frozen having gazed too long upon the sin of his survival within—


“As each instant slips into the past, we form memories of that instant, spontaneously creating a form of historical fiction. Poetry and mythic operatives distill essential elements from that vast array of memories--personal, genetic, environmental--to form culture and personhood. These are the play of spirit and matter investigated here.”



The main house on this same property was built in the ‘40s as a retirement cabin above and to the east a bit of the separate root cellar.  It is owned now by a Roman Catholic religious order as a place of private retreat for priests and nuns.  Sister Mary was the elderly caretaker.  She enjoyed the place and its solitude-- and the view, sometimes harsh, sometimes magnificent across hundreds of miles of open desert.  Her door was only hundreds of feet from the patio and cave/studio rented by this quiet, tall man—runner, writer and translator of ancient religious texts whose rent paid most of the expenses for keeping such a house. 

Sister Mary had become friends with this scholar/athlete during his time there.  They kept to themselves mostly, but proximity brought a crossing of paths- and a kindly friendship evolved between nun and young scholar. 

Jack Hartley had finished his first Ph.D. at 18 when he was at Georgetown, quite the savant.  His gift was recognized in kinder-garden and he was put in schools for the gifted early.  He finished his third doctoral degree by the age of 25. 

His father was valued as a manager of a ranch owned by a banker. The banker and his family lived in the exclusive enclave of San Marino next to Pasadena closely removed from downtown L.A.  But the ranch was not too far from town, about 50 miles.  The banker’s family spent weekends and holidays out at the ranch in the mountains north of L.A. where Condors still flew and Piru creek found its head waters. It was great for Christmas and summers.  That’s where Jack grew up.  The banker had arranged for most of Jack’s special studies.  Now in his 30’s, Jack still preferred the quiet reclusion of country near the tree line of these desert mountains well east of the ranch. 

It was here that Jack wrote reports to the Vatican, his principal employer, as well as continuing his own research.  Jack’s special fascination was languages, especially old languages like Sanskrit, or not-so-old languages like Aramaic, the language of Christ.  He helped keep the Vatican Curia up to date on recent scientific theories about ancient religions and the development of human culture.  

St. Andrew Benedictine monastery not far east of Jack’s cave apartment is located just close enough for him to faintly hear the bells that call the monks to prayer.  Just above that, in sight of Sister’s patio, the magnificent huge boulders of the Devil’s Punch Bowl bump against one another, as the infamous San Andres Fault comes to the surface of the earth before it dives under these mountains. These mountains, punched up radically vertical from their own rugged foothills, protect coastal Los Angeles from the real desert to the northeast.  (Maybe now, it’s the desert that needs protection...)

Sister had often seen Jack testing the environment of his run as he stood before his early morning door, sometimes sipping a cup of coffee.  She smiled in these moments at her successful life of celibacy-  his vigor and health, happy to have such a good neighbor and friend.  The years slowly twist her bones now- ankles bulge a bit and her brow has become more prominent above a still gracefully curved nose.   For her, muscles no longer regenerate.  What little fat ever was has fled the planes of her face and body.  She is the picture of an ancient matriarch, confident in her stance and the joy she believed was the underpinning of life.   

But this morning, something, everything was wrong. 

As she puttered about with the usual morning chores of watering the garden before the day’s 100 degree+ heat arrived, she noticed Tom standing rigidly with arms out holding something in his right hand.  At first, she thought he was simply standing in prayer before Creation and she liked that, felt her influence might be having some effect on the rather too intellectual and practical young man.  But when she glanced up a bit later, she was just in time to see him bound across his patio and disappear down the side of the mountain, not in his usual sweats and expensive running shoes-- he was barefoot and naked but for his white boxers.

Sister Mary was not a busybody.  She had spent her life weeding out the usual human pettiness, any sort of ill will.  She was not the type to intrude in somebody else’s privacy.  Her old, disciplined body attended to her own faults rather than everybody else’s.  But she had a terrible feeling-- like at night in the desert where one might hear a rabbit being killed by some predator- a feeling like that creature’s high pitched scream, unforgettable and disturbing, haunting even to more hardened souls-- whipped through her being. 

After a while, worry and curious concern about Jack got the better of her.  The mid morning heat of spring was coming on when she decided to check on her neighbor.   On the path to the ‘Cave’ there was a bell about half way down that let the occupant below know that someone was on the way for a visit.  She rang the bell and waited a moment before proceeding.  When she turned the corner of the studio, she heard a terrible noise.  Flies. The kind of buzzing that announces only death.  

Sister Mary proceeded to the door that hung open as she peered inside.  Hundreds of flies agitated the room as her eyes adjusted to the gloom within.  First she gasped, and then, against the discipline of years, she could not stop a deep and horrified scream.

She stumbled back along the front of the studio.  Nearly falling more than once, she made her way to the house.  Called Emergency Services.  Then, grabbing her walking stick she fled the front door, stumbling and trotting as fast as her 76 years allowed to the nearest neighbor.  

Well known and loved in this spread out community, she was taken in without hesitation.  Though still shaken and terrified by what she had seen, she kept her mind about her as she recounted her story to neighbors and police.  Before saying a word about it to anyone, she had decided to follow a tiny whisper in her mind and heart.  She steadfastly failed to mention that she had seen Jack Hartley at all that morning.  Or, what she had seen in the studio before she began to scream, or tried to run- just a large pool of blackening blood on the floor and the near total destruction inside the apartment. She did not say that she had seen the back wall of the cave/studio seem to move as if it were a door closing on a dusty hinge of light —hard to see through the flies, gloom and horror in that room, hard to imagine, much less understand.  She needed to think about all of this on her own. 

Her trust in Jack Hartley was such that she would withhold judgments as to what had happened in that cave and was confident that he would be able to take care of himself out in the desert, somehow.  She did however call her Order to report and have them send some one out to stay with her. 

Sister Mary was hugely relieved when Sister Celestine arrived.  Celestine, at 6 feet and a solid 200 soccer and basketball pounds, is smart enough, street smart, and a dear, trusted friend.  Sister Mary had been the novice mistress when Celestine first started religious life and the two had become friends early-- shared many adventures through the years.  It’s to Celestine that Mary, later that night, revealed privately what she had seen of Jack and the moving wall-- and what she had seen, covered by flies, corrupting the studio floor. 

What do you think it was?  Asked Celestine.
I’m not sure.
Have you ever seen anything like it?
What was that?
I don’t want to say.
What do you mean?
Saying the name might attract its attention again.  I don’t want it coming back here. 
Alright.  Tell me another time.  When we are not here.  Suffice it to say you think there might be something supernatural about all this?  That Jack was involved in something, perhaps-- unholy?
No, I don’t mean that.  Not intentionally.  But there was a cruel suffering in the air when I got down there.  Maybe whatever or whoever it was went back into …from wherever it came.

Though the studio was still cordoned off and entered only by forensic personnel, all they had to examine was the wreck of the room inside and large black tracks of congealing blood.  Whatever, or whoever had bled there was gone by the time the police arrived.  Sister Mary had decided that discretion was once again the better part and said nothing to neighbors or authorities about what made the smears of blood.  Only that she thought she had seen a body…

Later, she accompanied Sister Celestine to Home Depot in Palmdale to purchase heavy steel angle-irons. That night, when everyone was gone, they had one more duty to perform before they could rest.  Though no one on the forensics team suspected that it had moved, Sister Celestine bolted the back wall of the studio securely to the floor with the extra heavy angle-irons as Sister Mary intoned blessings and exorcisms from the official rituale.  Holy Water.  She used sacred sage as aspergis and incense to purify the room. 

To be continued...


Artists process information differently than do intellectuals and other more pragmatic people.  An artist, at least this artist, ‘takes in’ information for a long time, often intuitively choosing what is necessary for the ultimate artistic expression that results from such preparation.  The artist can be involved in all kinds of occupations, including travel, metaphysical practice, labor and usually makes acquaintances in every quarter- at least this artist did.  All of it feeds the inner vision/experience that will ultimately express itself in the art.  Often the ‘inner experience’ is unrecognized until it does express and develop itself outside the artist.

This process might involve days, months or years.  This series of presentations starting above with “Night Stream” and “Deadly Translations:  Old Sister Mary and the Beast” is an example of an artistic process that uses both images and ideas; images, commentary, stories and poems to grind a lens through which to better perceive and form our lives.

‘Grind’ is a good word for this long process. It began as a dedicated intention in 1973.  Now in the fall of 2011, I hope this series begun above will be the final integration of elements developed in the NEPSIS FOUNDATION:

FALL SERIES III: Goddess Rising- 10.19.'11

[70.] Goddess Rising 
(Read WHITE GODDESS by Robert Graves)
This painting is intended to carry some of the experience of 
a curious effect of the feminine on the masculine psyche. 
See #II below.

But, first

I.  Tears of mourning...

February, 2006.  After an unplanned drive from the Pacific Ocean to NE Arizona- (the motivations for this drive are too long a story to be included here).  As I approach Spider Rock, a huge natural stone tower in Canyon de Chelly, AZ,  I find myself to be in tears.  Tears of mourning for the deaths of my mother and brother the previous fall.  And I’d had a worrisome dream Christmas morning about my mother in the afterlife. 

I’d made little offerings at this place because Grandmother Spider, a creator deity, is reputed to live there.  I’m a believing Roman Catholic priest, but I still respect old insights and symbols about deity.  Many visits in the past produced nothing unusual.  This time, Grandmother Spider took over my consciousness, and indicated I should look up the right hand canyon- (Canyon de Chelly splits just there at Spider Rock).  I did so.  And there Changing Woman, a benevolent Navajo deity, appeared standing behind my mother.  My mother was protected (saved) and holding a box with golden light inside.  She was well.  

Intellectually, it interests me that a believing Catholic can experience a complete transliteration of a salvific moment.  That is, my mind and heart were much comforted, but spontaneously translated a salvific intuition into another religion's symbols and divinities. 

Its like St. Bernadette when she first envisioned the “Beautiful Woman”  Only later did the then controversial teachings about the Blessed Mother’s “Immaculate Conception” become identified with that series of visions.

Psyche of nature: As well, there are what the Irish call “thin places.”  That is, the 'other' world comes closer to this world in certain places.   Spider Rock is one such place.


My mother, Georgia, and I visited another such place, a place of ‘energies,’ shortly after the summer solstice, 1996. We arrived at night. This place can be approached by car to within 500 yards. I drove slowly, looking for a place off the dirt road to stop. In the summer, this place is all dust and scrubby sage. But, the twilight moments of dawn and dusk are precious and the place radiates a peculiarly pure, psychic energy. As I rolled to a stop, a bright light flashed from the outcrop of rocks that is the center of these energies. The brief flash of light in the night was as tall as a house. I stopped the car pointed towards the rocks. We were anxious about who might be at this forsaken place this time of night to make such a light. Local Indian shamans? There is a reservation nearby. Skin walkers? The Holy Ones?  Such flashes of light are said to accompany some shamanistic activities.  As I considered this, my companion said, "The car is moving." "No, it's not," I replied. Moments passed. "The car is moving." "No, it's not," somewhat impatiently.
Then, I noticed that the car was moving. Sliding back and forth. Front to back. Without the benefit of gravity! The overwhelming sensation was that of the 'other' world. This was as clear as any other sensation might be; fear, love, joy, who can calculate its measure or prove the experience except by the consensus of witness. This time, someone was with me and shared a significant paranormal event. This had not been the case in the past for other such experience.
Though, the sensation of the moment was powerful, there was no sense of hostility. Just power and otherness. We decided that perhaps we did not need to be there. In fact, should not be there. We were intruding somehow. So, we backed out and drove slowly away. We became anxious to be away from there. Very... Away from that power that seemed so strong and unfamiliar. About ten miles back on that dirt road, there is a farmstead. We both felt that if we could get past that point, back in human surroundings, we would be OK. 
But, then, as we drove along, I heard a strong hissing noise. It became louder and louder. I stopped the car to investigate. I had a flat.  As I fixed it, it began to rain. We were in the northern Nevada desert in July. Rain is not impossible there, but not likely. Now it poured down. And at that anxious moment! The tire fixed, we continued our escape. We focused on looking for the farm, after which it is another ten miles to the paved road.
Then, all of a sudden, we were at the intersection with the paved highway. We did not pass the farm. We arrived at the pavement much too soon. And as soon as we got there, the rain stopped. Both of us had been looking for the farm. You can't miss it, since the road goes right through the barnyard. It has the only light in the area. Trans-temporal-spatial-relocation? Both of us would not have missed such an obvious landmark as the farmyard. 
The spirit(s= Elohim?) seemed to respond most strongly when Georgia was present.
It seemed as if some local spirit or deity laughed in the night. On another, earlier occasion, I perceived in my mind's eye, that the "spirit" of Eagle Rock looked like a series of vertical serpentine rods of golden white light. Like the Seraphim. But on that occasion, they simply hovered above the rocky crag, approving the one I brought there for initiation into these "mysteries." At the conclusion of that initiation, I clapped my hands above his chthonic chakras as he lay across those rocks. Simultaneously, lightening ignited the mountainous horizon in the distance, followed by thunder. Perfect timing, if unexpected.
Now, it was as if the seraphs hovered majestically for hundreds of square miles above the valley. Easily filling that vast emptiness, they "sing the glory of God in creation."



After traveling for a week with a friend in northern California, 1985, I had a surprising dream.  In the dream, on a grassy hill there is an exotic pavilion, a tent.  I approach. Through the tent flap, I see a young man, lying naked on a bed, legs dangling over the bedside.  He seems to be waiting for me.  The situation is spread with attraction and danger.   The young man lay on some softly lit, rich fabric covering the bed.  A boy/man.  A young adult. I approach more closely--  I nurse suckle the (energetic) milk from him as I spread further his muscular, no longer hairless, legs.

The scene of the dream shifts to a large procession.  A group of aristocratic looking women in medieval or renaissance garb move from behind the tent toward a river below and distant mountains.  A thunderstorm is building and threatening above and behind the mountains.

The scene shifts again to the river's side where I am trying to pull by rope, a heavy log, up, over the bottom branches of a large oak tree.

A vast flood charges, dark and thundering down the river
valley.  Both the tree and I disappear in the powerful waters. There is a sense that the waters are destiny and great peace...

The metaphor of the flood was not negative at all.  I was inundated with something remarkably positive.  The important and surprising point of this dream is that when I awoke, I was flooded with an energy of enormous delight.  Energy far beyond sexual ecstasy.  For hours after I woke, sensations of ebullient joy flowed through me.  Not just joy, but energy.  Flowing, endless energy.  For weeks after, if I told the story or even remembered the dream, I would again be suffused in delight.  What enabled me to evoke these levels of light-filled delight?  The erotic elements in the dream?  Not exactly. I believe that the dream indicated a shift between masculine and feminine poles in my psyche that engaged states of consciousness flooded with amorphous, transsexual (transcendent of opposites) delight.  

Such states of consciousness might be the foundation of culture as well, since such dualistic (pluralistic) states and their resolution/transcendence are, I believe, the underlying content and construct of human perception.  Homoerotic love is an example since it is able to evoke feelings in individuals as powerful as the heterosexual drive to procreate.  The biological urge to propagate in any species, characterizes and indicates a capacity to redirect major elements of human personality.  The homoerotic emotion indicates a condition free of otherwise inexorable biological logic.  The feminine, the earth, and the storm, are evoked here, I suspect.

The homoerotic emotion is a catalytic strain laced through the psychic structure of human kind, perhaps the whole biological universe.  It is a dangerous and invaluable alternative, the experience of which is fraught with endless social problems.   If it were not very potent, why would people react so strongly to what really seems to be, otherwise, a minor issue.  Only a few topics generate the level of vitriolic bigotry that this topic manages to arouse.  The prohibitions against it in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are vague in that they probably are reactions against flagrant practices in erotic religious cults of cultures surrounding the authors of the Old and New Testaments--the negative reaction thus being as much xenophobic as homophobic.  After all David loved Jonathan "more than women."  Jesus Christ, who supersedes all previous God/World agreements, for Christians, said little about sex at all--but forgave the one caught in sin by sinners--much less about the homoerotic emotion-- except perhaps secretly to St. John.  

What I am treating here is the homoerotic emotion, not Gay culture.  That is something else for a different discussion.  Here we merely discuss an important, powerful element in human perception.

The problem might be in the deeper construct of culture.  Many cultures in the past 5000 years, since the development of civilizations and empires, have been so characterized by masculine domination and willful progress, as to be trapped in their own pathology of aggression.  It is a situation increasingly, violently, out of balance.  As the corporate, universal order of the world subconsciously tries to balance itself, individuals respond in the most remarkable ways.  Perhaps Gay culture is such a response.  I believe the more universal, homoerotic emotion certainly is.

FURTHER SPECULATION:  The dualistic powers that govern the biosphere are called upon to save it.  These opposite elements are but an expression of the inexpressible Godhead.  Poisons become elixirs, in the right circumstances, with certain personalities.  Sexuality and violence are closely related reactions that inherently seek the Eden of union, balance and radiant beauty in all things-- sometimes they just react.  ...the natural world is reeling from traumatic blows being struck against it by militant profiteering and commercial technology.  Profit and security are the motives now that dominate the dominant value structures in the world: Security in a world increasingly insecure.  Profit in a world increasingly bereft of natural resources, as vast populations, dazed by suffering, mourn their own fruitful increase.  Is there a way to respond to this sad demise of the natural world, our deep spiritual relationship with it?  Is there a way beyond the rational sanctity of humanist virtue and religion that has so far failed to save us from the raging human heart?


See Also Painting #s 31, 33, 36, 37, 44, 70, 80 on the UC Berkeley site:

 ______________Let me conclude today’s offering with the new caption from painting #80:

[80.] Great Goddess

See #44 and #70.

Before an embryo differentiates into male or female, the sex organs are the same. This painting reflects upon the capacity for coitus and the ecstatic drives that propagate species...

Also, many Christian icons depict the Holy One issuing from such a vertical ovoid shape.


Further issues in this vein above for future offerings: 

 ...Some will be completely straightforward and clear.   But some such might also be set in a matrix of--  well, I’ve always needed an editor.   But few editors would be able to tell what is simply poor literary style and what are necessary excursions (detours?) about difficult, elusive topics.  Metaphor is usually the safe harbor for most voyagers on these seas.  But mystical experience is literal.  The four scenarios above, describe some essential aspects of this most moving topic. 

Everything else about religion, emanating from a mystical core, is socializing and politics.  We might ...  

V.          The Meeting and The Tower-  (Permission to Advance
VI.          Mazatlan-  Another ‘thin place.’
VII.        ETC....