Thursday, December 31, 2009

David Levine, R.I.P.

T. S. Eliot by David Levine

2,500 more Levine drawings:


The conclusion to "Little Gidding" from Four Quartets by T. S. Eliot:

. . . .
A symbol perfected in death.
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
By the purification of the motive
In the ground of our beseeching.


The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one dischage from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
     Lies in the choice of pyre of pyre-
     To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
     We only live, only suspire
     Consumed by either fire or fire.


What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make and end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea's throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails
On a winter's afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.

With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

"Auguries of Innocence" by William Blake

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

A robin redbreast in a cage
Puts all heaven in a rage.

A dove-house fill'd with doves and pigeons
Shudders hell thro' all its regions.
A dog starv'd at his master's gate
Predicts the ruin of the state.

A horse misused upon the road
Calls to heaven for human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted hare
A fibre from the brain does tear.

A skylark wounded in the wing,
A cherubim does cease to sing.
The game-cock clipt and arm'd for fight
Does the rising sun affright.

Every wolf's and lion's howl
Raises from hell a human soul.

The wild deer, wand'ring here and there,
Keeps the human soul from care.
The lamb misus'd breeds public strife,
And yet forgives the butcher's knife.

The bat that flits at close of eve
Has left the brain that won't believe.
The owl that calls upon the night
Speaks the unbeliever's fright.

He who shall hurt the little wren
Shall never be belov'd by men.
He who the ox to wrath has mov'd
Shall never be by woman lov'd.

The wanton boy that kills the fly
Shall feel the spider's enmity.
He who torments the chafer's sprite
Weaves a bower in endless night.

The caterpillar on the leaf
Repeats to thee thy mother's grief.
Kill not the moth nor butterfly,
For the last judgement draweth nigh.

He who shall train the horse to war
Shall never pass the polar bar.
The beggar's dog and widow's cat,
Feed them and thou wilt grow fat.

The gnat that sings his summer's song
Poison gets from slander's tongue.
The poison of the snake and newt
Is the sweat of envy's foot.

The poison of the honey bee
Is the artist's jealousy.

The prince's robes and beggar's rags
Are toadstools on the miser's bags.
A truth that's told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.

It is right it should be so;
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.

The babe is more than swaddling bands;
Every farmer understands.
Every tear from every eye
Becomes a babe in eternity;

This is caught by females bright,
And return'd to its own delight.
The bleat, the bark, bellow, and roar,
Are waves that beat on heaven's shore.

The babe that weeps the rod beneath
Writes revenge in realms of death.
The beggar's rags, fluttering in air,
Does to rags the heavens tear.

The soldier, arm'd with sword and gun,
Palsied strikes the summer's sun.
The poor man's farthing is worth more
Than all the gold on Afric's shore.

One mite wrung from the lab'rer's hands
Shall buy and sell the miser's lands;
Or, if protected from on high,
Does that whole nation sell and buy.

He who mocks the infant's faith
Shall be mock'd in age and death.
He who shall teach the child to doubt
The rotting grave shall ne'er get out.

He who respects the infant's faith
Triumphs over hell and death.
The child's toys and the old man's reasons
Are the fruits of the two seasons.

The questioner, who sits so sly,
Shall never know how to reply.
He who replies to words of doubt
Doth put the light of knowledge out.

The strongest poison ever known
Came from Caesar's laurel crown.
Nought can deform the human race
Like to the armour's iron brace.

When gold and gems adorn the plow,
To peaceful arts shall envy bow.
A riddle, or the cricket's cry,
Is to doubt a fit reply.

The emmet's inch and eagle's mile
Make lame philosophy to smile.
He who doubts from what he sees
Will ne'er believe, do what you please.

If the sun and moon should doubt,
They'd immediately go out.
To be in a passion you good may do,
But no good if a passion is in you.

The whore and gambler, by the state
Licensed, build that nation's fate.
The harlot's cry from street to street
Shall weave old England's winding-sheet.

The winner's shout, the loser's curse,
Dance before dead England's hearse.

Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born,
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.

Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.

We are led to believe a lie
When we see not thro' the eye,
Which was born in a night to perish in a night,
When the soul slept in beams of light.

God appears, and God is light,
To those poor souls who dwell in night;
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day.

James Gurley, R.I.P.

LOS ANGELES – James Gurley, the innovative guitarist who helped shape psychedelic rock's multilayered, sometimes thundering sounds as a member of Big Brother and the Holding Company, the band that propelled Janis Joplin to fame, has died of a heart attack. He was 69.

Gurley was pronounced dead Sunday at a Palm Springs hospital, two days before his 70th birthday, the band announced on its Web site.

One of many prominent guitarists to emerge from San Francisco's psychedelic music scene in the mid-1960s — others included the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia, Jefferson Airplane's Jorma Kaukonen and Barry Melton of Country Joe and the Fish — Gurley was hailed by many as the original innovator of the sound.

"I would say all of my guitar-playing contemporaries strived to have their own sound, but I think James was a huge influence on all of us because he wasn't afraid to break the boundaries of conventional music," Melton said Thursday. "What one thinks of that genre of music is that place that it takes you to where the beat is just assumed and the whole thing is transported to another place, and James is the guy who started that."

Doing things like using an electric vibrator as a slide on his guitar, and picking up amplifiers and shaking them during performances, Gurley created a loud, esoteric sound that was the driving force behind Joplin's voice on such classic songs as "Ball and Chain," "Piece of My Heart" and "Summertime."

"Some of the innovations were the result of the fact he came from kind of a progressive bluegrass school of music where weirdness was encouraged," said Peter Albin, the group's bass player.

One of the few rock guitarists to use finger picks rather than a flat pick, Gurley had taught himself to play by listening to old Lightnin' Hopkins blues records as a teenager.

He was playing acoustic guitar in a coffee house in San Francisco in 1965 when legendary counterculture figure Chet Helms, founder of the Family Dog commune, introduced him to the other band members.

Although Joplin would become the public face of the band when she joined in 1966, Albin recalled Gurley as being the true force of nature who introduced the other members to alternative lifestyles, psychedelic drugs and musical innovation.

"He was very influential to the whole band early on, and even later, just by being a guy who had strange tastes and played guitar in a very bizarre manner," Albin told The Associated Press.

When he first met Gurley, Albin said, the guitarist was living in a walk-in closet with his wife and young son and told him that before that he'd lived in a cardboard house along the California coast and with indigenous people in the mountains of Mexico, where he had taken part in hallucinogenic religious ceremonies.

After Joplin left Big Brother in 1968, the group disbanded but has since reformed and continues to perform to this day. Gurley, however, left for good in the late 1990s after a falling out with the other members.

Born in Detroit in 1939, Gurley was the son of a stunt-car driver and, according to the band's Web site, would sometimes perform as a "human hood ornament" when his father drove a car through a flaming plywood wall.

After leaving Big Brother, he lived quietly in Palm Desert, occasionally working on solo projects. He released the album "Pipe Dreams" in 2000.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret, and sons Hongo and Django.

Band members plan to hold a memorial sometime next month in San Francisco.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Emerson's Dream

"I dreamed I floated at will in the great ether, and I saw this world also not far off, but diminished to the size of an apple. Then an angel took it in his hand and brought it to me and said, 'this must thou eat.' And I ate the world."--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, December 21, 2009

"A Valediction Forbidding Mourning" by John Donne

As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
"Now his breath goes," and some say, "No."

So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move ;
'Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears ;
Men reckon what it did, and meant ;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers' love
—Whose soul is sense—cannot admit
Of absence, 'cause it doth remove
The thing which elemented it.

But we by a love so much refined,
That ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assurèd of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to aery thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two ;
Thy soul, the fix'd foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if th' other do.

And though it in the centre sit,
Yet, when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like th' other foot, obliquely run ;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Washed in the Blood of the Lamb are We
Awash in a Sunburst Sea
You—Love—and I—Love—and Love Divine:
We are the Trinity

You—Love—and I—We are One-Two-Three
Twining Eternally
Two—Yes—and One—Yes—and also Three:
One Dual Trinity
Radiant Calvary
Ultimate Mystery

13 ways of looking at my guru. #6: Love's blessing

The words of Benedictus, from scene 7 of Rudolf Steiner’s Mystery Drama “The Portal of Initiation”:

You have been joined by destiny
together to unfold the powers
which are to serve the good in active work.
And while you journey on the path of soul,
wisdom itself will teach you
that the highest goal can be achieved
when souls will give each other spirit certainty,
will join themselves in faithfulness
for the healing of the world.
The spirit’s guidance has united you in knowledge;
so now unite yourselves for spirit work.
The rulers of this realm bestow on you,
through me, these words of strength:

Light’s weaving essence radiates
from person to person
to fill the world with truth.
Love’s blessing gives its warmth
to souls through souls
to work and weave the bliss of all the worlds.
And messengers of spirit
join human works of blessing
with purposes of worlds.
And when those who find themselves in others
can join one with the other
the light of spirit radiates through warmth of soul.

"Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him."
Proverbs 8:30

"Love is the goal of world history, the Amen of the universe."--Novalis

13 ways of looking at my guru. #12: Sarasvati-Isis-Mary-Sophia

"AI represents Sarasvati. The nasalization means the removing of pain. This is the seed-utterance of Sarasvati. With it the Word is worshipped."--Varada Tantra

"...we understand human individuality outside the physical body and know how it must be immediately taken up outside the physical body into the bosom of the beings of the higher hierarchies, so that it does not become destructive or lethal to our own being on the physical plane. And the feeling of the human soul resting in the bosom of a being of the higher hierarchies will become real, infinitely real. Then, for the first time, we will know how it looks beyond death. We will know that there on Earth we are surrounded by the mineral kingdom, the plant, animal, and human kingdoms. Beyond death we enter into the bosom of the higher hierarchies, to whose environment we belong, as here we belong to the environment of the physical beings that surround us. A certain feeling of communality with the beings of the higher hierarchies comes into our soul. We can permeate ourselves with this feeling. And we learn properly that a true penetration into the spiritual worlds is not at all possible without bringing with us certain feelings, which can be called religious and pious feelings, feelings of devotion to the higher spiritual world.
The feelings I have just described are so nuanced that they elicit a particular mood in the soul, which I can only express as a mood of resting in the bosom of spiritual beings. This soul mood is needed for any real experience of the spiritual worlds, just as in the physical human world, to be understood by other people, we need to produce an ee sound [as in meek] through the larynx and the other organs of speech. In the higher worlds the soul feeling flowing from devotion brings about what makes it possible to produce an ee sound in ordinary human speech. The experience of this kind of devotion is one of the vowels of the higher worlds. And we can experience nothing, read and hear nothing in the higher worlds if we cannot maintain this soul mood--and then wait for what the beings of the higher worlds have to communicate because we offer them this mood of the soul. From such soul moods, from such a way of meeting the higher worlds, the vowel system of the cosmos is composed.
You may have the feeling that the world surrounds you, but you cannot live in this world with your feeble human powers. You feel that what surrounds you while you live in your human body can be perceived in the shadowy forms of your thoughts and ideas; or, better said, they reflect themselves from inside you. You may also come to feel that you cannot experience these imaginations directly; your protecting angelic being in ordinary life must reduce it. And when you feel all of this inwardly with the necessary tone of inner piety, then you have the ability to perceive one of the vowels of the spiritual world."

--Rudolf Steiner, from the lecture "The Vowels and Consonants of the Spiritual World," given October 5, 1914, in Inner Reading and Inner Hearing, pp.39-40


In the eye of the soul is mirrored
The light of hope of the Earth.
The spiritual wisdom of the universe
Speaks to the human heart:
The Father's eternal love
Sends the Son to Earth,
Who, full of grace, on our human path
Bestows heavenly light.

Im Seelenaug' sich spiegelt
Der Erde Hoffnungslicht.
Der Welten heil'ge Weisheit
Zu Menschenherzen spricht:
Des Vaters ewige Liebe
Den Sohn zur Erde sendet,
Der gnadevoll dem Menschenpfade
Die Hiimmelshelle spendet.

--Rudolf Steiner, from a lecture given December 26, 1914

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Beholder [Der Schauende]: Rudolf Steiner

"Imagine you have before you a reflective wall; it reflects back what is spread about the room--for example, a table. However, what you see is not the table, but rather the reflection of the table. Imagine you wanted to go into the reflection, take the table out, and put something in its place. You would not be able to do that, because you cannot put a plate or soup bowl on the reflected table. It is just as impossible to put a plate or a soup bowl on the reflected table as it is to derive the essence of the soul's immortality from what human beings experience on the phgysical plane and have around themselves in a waking state between birth and death. For the real soul is immortal. It is not its reflection, which we experience on the physical plane. Think about that.
Human beings yearn to know what is constantly hidden from them and which, while they are on the physical plane, shows them only a reflection. The philosophies of all ages have striven to draw reality out from the reflections; they have sought to prove immortality from reflections. They have taken on the duty, symbolically speaking, of fetching the table out of the reflection, putting it in the room, and placing plates and bowls upon it.
...Why should we take philosophy into consideration at all, since it concerns itself only with a futile effort of humanity?
But that is not how things are, not how things are at all! What we do when we immerse ourselves in what, from a certain point of view, is otherwise a futile struggle, is nonetheless something infinitely important, something that can be replaced with nothing else. Philosophy will perhaps always remain unfruitful as far as knowledge of the immortal nature of the soul, the spiritual world, and of the divine is concerned, but it will not remain unfruitful for the unfolding of certain human powers and the further development of certain human abilities. Just because philosophy as such proves unsuitable to reach the things I have mentioned--because it remains to a certain extent dull in relation to them--it strengthens the human soul all the more. And if it cannot deliver knowledge, it still--because it is a concentrated life of thought--prepares the soul to make itself suitable to penetrate the spiritual world. What we gain through the practice of philosopy raises us into the spiritual world more than anything else."

"...Just as an infant sucks nourishment from its mother's breast, so the human soul can suck the stuff of life for a new form of Earth experience--by knowing oneself within the spiritual order--from what spiritual science can open up for us."

--Rudolf Steiner, from a lecture given December 19, 1914 [from the lecture series "How to Achieve Existence in the World of Ideas," in Inner Reading and Inner Hearing, pp. 121-122, 131]