Inkwell: Authors and Artists
Tuppy Glossop (mcdee) Sat 27 Aug 11 09:58
Not surprising. The 1950s/60s era, back when LSD was taken quite seriously both as a medicine and a source of spiritual growth among various celebs was fascinating. Cary Grant couldn't say enough good things about it! Tiny Dr. Tim put an end to that, but as awful a person as he was, I suppose if he hadn't done it someone else would have. The democratization of psychedelics was probably inevitable.
Renshin (judyb) Sat 27 Aug 11 10:11
In my memory, we first took it for spiritual reasons but it quickly became just another entertaining drug.
Ed Ward (captward) Sat 27 Aug 11 11:00
I always liked Humphry Osmond's classification of psychedelics as a "technology." Understand how it works, then choose which application you want at a given time. I never did it lightly, which isn't to say I didn't have a bunch of fun. I've always regretted that, in the short time I was seeing Osmond socially (friend of my girlfriend's father, and colleague of her best friend's mother, frequently came to dinner after taking calligraphy lessons from her dad), I never revealed that I knew what he was talking about.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sat 27 Aug 11 11:41
There's a sense where every generation and culture needs a new myth as a syncretism for all that has passed; sort of an answer to David Byrne's "How did I get here?"... seems to be missing today. Shamans serve the role of cultural and mythic transmission; again, something missing today as well.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sat 27 Aug 11 11:42
That's not to say there aren't groups around: Burning Man, Evolver.net, Ion, etc.; all definitely 'fringe' :)
Donald Peter Dulchinos (dpd) Sat 27 Aug 11 12:46
yeah, i always thought the rave culture in the 90's and new generation jambands of the last decade seemed to preserve the spiritual essence of the experience, but i have been an old guy on the fringes of those so can't really speak to the internal experience.
Ed Ward (captward) Sat 27 Aug 11 13:19
Right now, any cultural phenomenon that stays on the fringe is probably well out of harm's way. Because the mainstream's a mess.
Tuppy Glossop (mcdee) Sat 27 Aug 11 13:26
I hadn't really looked at it that way, but good point! The contentious, deluded mainstream culture I was used to as a kid would probably seem like a breath of fresh air and common sense at this point. Straight folks don't know whether to shit or go blind these days. ;-)
Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Sat 27 Aug 11 16:00
It occurred to me to mention that the ritual ceremonies of the fraternal order the Grange, which is sort of an agricultural version of the Masons, make reference to the Mysteries as well.
Gail Williams (gail) Sat 27 Aug 11 16:45
<dpd> what groups and traditions do you explore in your book? Also, in another vein we tend to be interested in, how is the book being marketed/distributed?
Donald Peter Dulchinos (dpd) Sat 27 Aug 11 19:39
distribution - Autonomedia online bookstore. in my hometown, it's carried in lefty politics/lifestyle bookstore, and in New Age/Body Mind Spirit specialty bookstore. i think they distribute thru Publishers Group West. Marketing is author driven, like much of the world these days outside the big ticket writers. what groups and traditions? I thought i cast a wide net but the Grange is new to me. now that i live in the "midwest" (at least eastern colorado) i'll have to explore that. but lets see - classical Greek/Roman pagan traditions - a little bit of old testament judaism, plus jewish mysticism e.g. kabbalah (my last name comes from town called Dulcigno, now in Montenegro, and that was a place where a messiah figure named Shabbatai Sevi was exiled for his messianic/kabbalah movement in Ottoman Thessaloniki/Salonica) - witchcraft/wicca medieval burning times - i find Wiccan practitioners are sympathetic to my line of thinking - freemasonry - revival of Eleusis other pagan practice, plus cross pollenation with Islamic/Sufi strains and mysticism like the dervishes - Greek Orthodox, Athonite monasticism - hippie pagan and witchcraft revivalism; later techno-pagans
Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Sat 27 Aug 11 20:18
Tuppy Glossop (mcdee) Sat 27 Aug 11 20:49
I definitely never would have thought of a connection between the Eleusinian mysteries and the Grange.
Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Sun 28 Aug 11 05:43
Googling the two terms can be interesting and occasionally amusing. Here is one of the more serious looks at the links between the two. <http://theanarchistlibrary.org/HTML/Peter_Lamborn_Wilson__Grange_Appeal.html>
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sun 28 Aug 11 10:55
I like the conclusion: "That the earth is alive and in love with life may be true but unprovable, like certain axioms in mathematics. Precisely here mysteries can become Mysteries. Hermeticism is perhaps a science of the unprovable, and it is based on the axiom that the earth is not only alive but in some sense sacred. Long before modern neo-pagans began worshipping Nature, the cult of the goddess was already reborn, as it always will be but this time in the hearts of hardworking Temperance/Protestant American farm families. A strange moment in radical history, to be sure this birth of Green Spirituality." I suppose what we're discussing here, what shamanism is about and what the many references in the book point to, is a spirituality that is grounded in a connection with the earth, that acknowledges the character of matter as energy and energy as matter (cf Buddhist "form is emptiness, emptiness is form.") And the extent to which we've lost that connection. The Sunday morning church service liturgy is only the slightest reflection of the mystery. The typical party with alcohol and music may be a sense of ritual that's lost its spiritual connection. Today's shaman is hiding from legal restriction and social constraint. How could we revive the shamanic tradition as a timely aspect of 21st century culture?
Gail Williams (gail) Sun 28 Aug 11 11:51
I just want to say Wow to Sharon's link. > In its heyday, the Grange was one of the most progressive forces in the Populist movement, not just a club for lonely farmers in those long-dead days before cars and TVs atomized American social life. Once upon a time, the Grangers were firebreathing agrarian radicals. Moreover, it turned out that the Grange was a secret society with secret rituals. > Wow. Now back to Jon's question about revival.
Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Sun 28 Aug 11 12:21
<7th degree Grange member. I'm younger by 20 years than everyone else in my chapter, but it's interesting.
Jennifer Powell (jnfr) Sun 28 Aug 11 16:50
Jon, I like the way you phrase that so much, probably because it resonates with the pagan that I have always been. Though to be honest it's as easy to come up with examples that might prove the earth hates life as much as it loves life, or is at least indifferent to individual forms of life, however it enjoys the concept.
Donald Peter Dulchinos (dpd) Sun 28 Aug 11 17:05
i'm pleased to see Peter Wilson come up in the conversation. He was the editorial adviser at Autonomedia who recommended publishing, with some apt improvements suggested, my book. I've been a fan of his writings on spiritualism, heretical Islam, and of course his alter ego Hakim Bey of Temporary Autonomous Zones fame; funny how that's a seminal text of Net freedoms, where Wilson himself is almost entirely off the grid himself last I knew. to Jon's question, when i briefly considered making a legal run at legalization, i quickly came to conclude that the thing is a decentralized phenomenon to begin with. it may be that the embrace of Eleusinian mysteries by subsequent Hellenistic and Roman empires is where it went kind of wrong...
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Mon 29 Aug 11 04:04
Hmmm, that's the rub isn't it?....there's a tension between the organic experience and the ritualized structures that allow a 'creative chaos' and synthesis to occur. Coming from a monastic nomad tradition I find these 'transmissions' better served in retreats and one-on-one settings - better caught than taught ('better' implying it can be taught!). It seems to break down in the follow-up and follow-thru...what would be thought of as discipleship, the chief obstacle being that of avoiding a cult of personality rather than a focus on the (fill in your blank - divine, spiritual, cosmic...whatever). To put that in English, how many of us were "dropped" in the 60's and 70's and left to find our way? How many others 'lost' whatever they first glimpsed in the decade of partying that followed? It was what it was. The present zeitgeist seems to be the raising of a world-wide consciousness - a spiritual leap somewhere! Not sure that can be directed. In any case, it will transcend cultures so we're not likely to make the Greek-Roman-European mistake....we'll make entirely new ones:)
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 29 Aug 11 19:23
Big question for is whether the entheogenic substances - peyote/mescaline, mushrooms/psilocybin, ergot/LSD - reveal truth or create more delusion.
Michael Zentner (mz) Mon 29 Aug 11 20:09
Well, truth really is a delusion so what's the difference?
Can we grasp the sorry scheme of things entire? (robertflink) Tue 30 Aug 11 04:19
And there's that nagging thought that imagination may be more important than "truth" or "facts" or "reality".
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Tue 30 Aug 11 04:52
Breathing works fine for me:)
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 30 Aug 11 07:55
Our shared sense of a phenomenological reality allows us to access and use the world and have social connections based on common experience and perception. The psychedelic experience is subjective, much of it seems to be interior with the potential for disconnect from the "experience commons," similar to psychosis (hallucinogens are characterized as "psychomimetic," in that they mimic psychosis). So my comment about truth vs delusion was simplistic; I think what I refer to as "truth" is more of a consensus about phenomenological reality than any kind of absolute. (I always liked the concept in Gibson's _Neuromancer_ of the "consensus hallucination" - and the similar thing in "The Matrix" - if we all agree to a reality, does that alone make it "real"?) I think a value of the psychomimetic experience is that it gives you an alternative perception, so that you don't take the vernacular reality for granted as anything but a social reality, an agreement about what we'll say is "real." (I also liked the Berger/Luckman "Social Construction of Reality" - I studied literature because I was interested in authors' different representations of reality and how they could call bullshit on consensus.)
Members: Enter the conference to participate