Today I am adding a “types and shadows” section to this blog . . . not because I consider myself to be a spokesperson for God ( like pastors and preachers of all ilk do when they read from a book and play the “God told me to tell you” game.) . . . I am a loner and I don’t understand religion at all . . . I DO feel, though, that it is very important for all of us to begin realizing that we are ALL spokespersons for God and our purpose on this planet is not to plunder and rape our mother as we are now doing.
Anyway, since I now see that Creedence Clearwater’s ‘bad moon’ has already risen, I have decided to write (what I consider to be) the reality behind the spiritual lessons our earth mother is trying to teach us. Her types and shadows are everywhere . . . and they all point in the same direction.. . . . to a God far different and far more mysterious than that old man in the clouds with his hierarchy to heaven. . . . we are in heaven right now, but because we are too dumb to realize it, we have created our heaven into our hell.
Following is a story I wrote some years ago about a people who got lost immediately upon arrival because they chose to worship rather than observe closely and learn the truths contained in this wonderful dimension we find ourselves sharing in.
This is a passage from the KJV, it’s taken out of Romans 18-32, that famous few verses where God pretty much includes everything and everybody into His wrath because of their idolatrous nature.
King James Version (KJV)
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Ok, let’s pretend I’m God and I’m trying to tell you guys something, but your aggravating me because you’re not listening.
ME: Ok guys look here. This planet I made is for you. Now the reasons why I made it is none of your business, but I want you to know what I expect you to do with it.
YOU: Oh most holy God we could never understand the glory and the greatness and the wonder and . . .
ME: Shut up and listen to me will you?! This is important! I need your full and undivided attention here.
ME: Creating a physical presence out of spiritual nothingness is tricky business, but I am very proud to say I have accomplished it. This planet is one beautiful place . . . but it is not perfect. That part I left up to you guys.
Now, listen up. The reason I created you guys in the first place is that I need you to be my caretakers . . . your duties will be to TAKE CARE of everything I made and keep it in order.
That means everything that is alive. You also have been given the power to create. That means this whole project can become your heaven or if you go stupid on me . . . your hell.
YOU: Oh thank you great and wonderful and wise and holy . . .
ME: You guys testing me?? . . . Now, the way it works is that everything that is alive is ME . . . just take my word for it . . . that means as you study the environment, the flora, the fauna, and all the creeping things and all the animals . . . you are studying, and getting to know, ME.
This is the only way we can communicate and the only way we will ever communicate. You cannot come to me because I AM already here. I am also YOU.
When you are asked my name by your children and your children’s children just tell them I AM . . .
Ok . . . I love you, I will always be with you . . . now get busy!
YOU: Oh thank you great and wonderful and wise and holy . . .
ME . . . (silence). . . . . . . .
YOU: GOD!! Where are you?? . . . Quick, set up an altar! Pray . . .Pray! . . . Pray!! . . . WHERE IS HE?
We are so afraid! Hurry we must subdue this planet . . . Kill all these animals and sacrifice them . . . Get rid of these damn trees!
OH MY GOD! WE forgot what He said already . . . Quick, write a book! . . . Build a temple! . . . We need an image! . . . We need something or someone to worship! . . . we need . . . We Need . . . WE NEED!!
Off in the distance a cloud formed dark and ominous and full of lightning and thunder. It grew until it encompassed the entire ocean. It moved inland towards the frightened caretakers as they bowed before their altars and prayed for deliverance.
The cloud burst upon them and pummeled them with rain for forty days and forty nights until every vestige of humanity had been erased off the planet. Man had once again drowned in his own ignorance. . . . by his own choice.
God wept, but began again.
When I was a kid I never had a family I was very proud of . . . but when I got older I DID . . . .
Joseph Campbell was being interviewed by Bill Moyers on the PBS “Power of Myth“ series when I first heard his phrase “follow your bliss”. In his viewpoint this undertaking must happen if a man were to experience fulfillment in his lifetime.
Joseph Campbell was a very wise man, but just what does it mean to follow one’s bliss? Well, in my opinion it means merely to be balanced enough to know your gift and be willing enough to work towards bringing it to fruition.
An artist creating a work.
A business man creating a new business.
A teacher creating wonder and hope in young minds.
A philanthropist in the creative stage of giving.
On an on it goes, different for each individual yet having the same affect on all of them by bringing purpose into their lives. Did you catch the major theme through all this dream following?
Creativity. Being a creative human being is what it’s all about. After all what are we if not creators? Followers.
Now, following is not bad nor necessarily wrong. Without leadership we would be living extremely chaotic lives on this planet, and in all reality would probably have gone extinct some time ago. But there is a balance that must be maintained while following or else you may just deny your gift and ultimately lose yourself in another’s cause.
What’s your dream? (it is normally tied into your gift) Everybody who has not been beaten down or brainwashed by the society he lives in has one. What do you need to do in order to fulfill it?
I would say also that in order to follow your dream you must be realistic in your goals. Otherwise a man will spend his valuable youth chasing after someone else’s dream, be he/she a scholar, a movie star, a musician or a magician, it doesn’t matter.
He will merely be living as a copy cat who will never be as good as what he copies. Why? It’s not his. He is just fantasizing it is. Has anybody ever made Mozart’s music as good as Mozart himself? No, of course not. He may be good enough to copy and be almost equal to Mozart, but never will he surpass him. It’s impossible.
My gift is not in the music field and I know it, yet I still enjoy playing an instrument. Nor am I a painter, yet I enjoy painting a picture. We can do a lot of really cool stuff without activating our gift. Those who excel, the gifted ones who seemingly are heads above the rest of us, these guys are the ones I’m talking about.
I know my gift and when it’s working I am in another place. A place where nothing can touch me, nor harm me, spiritually speaking anyways. When I am in my gift, I am at one with the earth. That’s the best I can explain it. I’m sure Joseph could do better.
I fundamentally believe that each person born into this world has a gift of some sort programmed into his DNA and his goal, in order to be happy, is to find that gift and use it to the betterment of himself as well as his fellows.
The problem I see, at least in this country, is that in order to create anything of value you first must follow a learning curve of dedication, commitment, discipline and practice. All the things that seem to be out of vogue in this “hurry up I want it now!” society we live in.
As a practical matter we need to have a place of quiet solitude where we can meditate upon these questions and resolve them in our own minds before we even begin. Then we need to move forward to practice them.
Thich Nhat Hanh (a Vietnamese Buddhist monk) is a great example of a man following his bliss.
In the midst of the Vietnam War while the Americans were bombing the hell out of his country, he and his organization were busily rebuilding bombed villages, setting up schools and medical clinics, and helping through non violent means all he could to alleviate the plight of the citizens of his country.
For doing that he was ultimately forced out of his country and banned from ever returning. Nothing stopped him however and he remains practicing peace to this day in Plum Village somewhere in France.
Hopefully as/if things get worse for you in this country nothing will stop you either because what takes place on the outside is nothing to be compared to the power within once you find and follow your bliss. . . . Go for it! You’ll be glad that you did.
I first fell in love with music back in 69 or so when I was living in Portland trying to be a hippie. The affair started one day while I was getting stoned in some girls apartment and I heard an angels voice on the stereo. It was Joan Baez. At that moment I fell in love with her and as a result of her voice I fell in love with music also.
Up until then music was a good backdrop for whatever inanities I found myself doing, but I never really got into it much cause (maybe) in the 50’s projects you got your ass kicked for even thinking of being a musician. Well, I’m much older now, it’s winter and I’m starting to think about playing music again. This is something I’ve done off and on for the last forty years or so ever since I fell in love with Joan.
I have a music area in my library where the two (electric/acoustic) guitars live . . . and the cello . . . and the piano . . . alongside, let’s see, my rebuilt mandolin, two hand made American Indian flutes, a hammered dulcimer, a regular dulcimer, two sets of African bongo drums, a (no shit) digereedoo, a tin whistle, various little things like a kazoo, a jaw harp (the real harp I made I gave away . . . as well as my old fiddle)
Anyways you get the picture, I have lots of instruments on which to play music plus piles of books, sheet music etc. to compliment them. If you were to walk into my library and look around you’d swear I was a damn virtuoso, or a one man band.
Well, I’m a one man band house building machine, but as a musician I suck. I have little natural talent, a voice like a fog horn and I hate to practice. “Forget about Mary Had a Little Lamb. I’ll start out with the Jimi Hendrix version of the Star Spangled banner thank you.”
So, forty years later, I still grab and beat up my guitar the same old way running everybody out of the house with the same old worn out bad-to-begin-with melody following an equally bad out-of-sync base line. Then one day, not long ago . . . I fell in love once again.
It all started at the flea market where I used to peddle my access wood. I walked over to the table of a guy who was setting up late. He was not a regular, had just cleaned out his garage and was gonna sell the stuff he didn’t want. Leaning up against his pickup was an old guitar case. Knowing by the looks of it that it wasn’t one of those Chinese cheapies I asked, “Can I see the guitar”?
“Sure” said he.
He lay the case on the table and opened it up to reveal a lovely little folk guitar that had been made by Fender sometime in the early sixties. He was the original owner. After a bit of small talk I bargained him down to about 100.00 U.S. The remainder of the day I pedaled wood while anticipating the time I could take off to lick and tickle my new love in the privacy of our own home.
Last year I listened to a guy on Utube named Pierre Bensusan teaching and playing his guitar in an alternate tuning called DADGAD. Wow! I grabbed the old folk guitar messed around a bit trying to re tune it till I finally got out my tuner (cause I’m tone deaf) and did it right.
One brush over the strings and I was hooked. It was like playing a dulcimer, kinda mountainy and mysterious. The first (base string) played open can be a drone to a treble melody. . . and it’s all easy as hell, an absolute necessity for me cause I get bored real quick. Later you can improvise to your hearts content using chords, melody lines etc. . . . anything you can do in EADGBE you can do in DADGAD if you play alone like I do.
If you have a guitar and your intercourse is getting boring, give her a different tone and she may just perk up and play you a lively Irish jig . . . or go all soft and mysterious like a deep forest rain. . . all dank, wet, and dripping.
If your heart is strong give DADGAD a try.
I would advise everybody to pick up an instrument, learn to play it . . . and RELAX. This following short video proves my point . . .
Why is it one group sees the cop at Ferguson a killer while the other group sees him as being justified? What causes black people across the country to think and act like they do? They don’t know whether the young man was shot charging the cop or whether he had his hands up any more than I do . . . and yet they are convinced beyond a doubt that the kid was murdered. How can two people look at the same thing and come up with an entirely different viewpoint from that same evidence?
Distrust and disrespect . . .
The black man has been raised on a foundation of distrust and disrespect ever since the days the white man stole him out of his homeland and brought him to these America’s in the hold of a ship. He has been beaten down ever since.
In todays world various civil rights laws help him a bit, but I don’t see the foundation shifting or changing beneath his feet all that much. . . especially since the white corporate bosses packed up their factory jobs and left them, as well as the poor and middle class whites, holding an empty bag. If I were black . . . angry would be my middle name.
But I’m not black. My foundation’s entirely different than my black brothers foundation is . . . therefore I see a lot of things differently than they do. And in some cases I bought the white man’s con far easier than they would have.
I grew up in an all white lower class neighborhood. I don’t remember ever being around black kids, but basically, mostly because of our elders, us white kids didn’t like the blacks. I rarely ever saw one during my school years unless he was on the opposing football team.
In the early sixties I went into the military where I was forced to integrate and train with blacks. Once overseas we spent a large part of our time in the bush living in very close proximity to one another. We shared the same sleeping spots, ate the same rations, sweated and bitched about the same things.
I quickly found that in spite of my negative teaching, and though it was the rioting sixties, these guys were a lot of fun to hang out with. We were a small unit and quickly became like brothers.
Because of this experience I am no longer a racist. I have found many times I have far more in common with a lot of the “different” races of people than I have with those of my own race. Whites are so uptight they make me nervous. Get together with white guys and all they talk about are their portfolios and bank accounts and watching sports. I long for some of the good old time jaw jacking I used to get from the blacks.
Personally I would rather spend all my time amongst ALL the races, maybe have dinner one night with a black athlete and a Vietnamese artist and an Arab poet. (leave the religions out though cause I’m way sick of that stuff). Wouldn’t that be a lively evening? Wouldn’t that open a whole plethora of really interesting conversation?
I understand why the races distrust us . . . and why they think as they do. This thing at Ferguson has very little to do with the rule of law and a whole lot to do with perception based upon experience. I believe the actual incident is a secondary issue to all that.
So what are we going to do about it? Pass some more laws? Stand up and clap when race baiters like Al Sharpton come to town? Get all worked up and riot and ultimately settle back to the ‘same old shit different day’ routine in life we always do?
How about we ALL work on these distrust issues? . . . and these disrespect issues? . . . and bring back the jobs and balance the scales a bit before we judge each other. Nothing changes until we do.
Trust has no color . . . respect has no color . . . money does though . . . and those high white Wall Street/Politico war mongers who own it all? Now there’s a race of folks I truly DON’T trust . . . nor have any respect for.
Introducing . . . the happy . . . lively . . . downbeat beautifully neat! . . . Carolina Chocolate Drops!! . . . . .
The other day my daughter was telling me about a yoga friend of hers who is a professional astrologer, teacher and writer. I asked her to get me a reading while he was in town and (of course), she forgot and I didn’t get my reading.
Anyway, who among us that lived during the hippie days didn’t know their sign? . . . or that usually when meeting a chick the first question you asked was, “what’s your sign?” Continue reading
In Italy they have a saying, “Il bel far niente,” it means “The beauty of doing nothing.”
What a lovely country that must be. I can quite easily see myself fitting into a society that sees beauty in doing nothing, as that has always been my goal . . . to get to the point where I can sit on my butt doing nothing more than just thinking and enjoying myself. Continue reading
If there is any it will come from the children . . .
this will be one of the ways we will operate in the world.
First we must educate or destroy the current systems that feed on power and profit and has absolutely no understanding of what being “alive” actually means . . .
We were sitting at the rented beach house one evening last week when my daughter, out of the blue, asks, “Dad, tell me about when you were in the military.”
“Ummm, no, how about I tell you about the hippie days, that was much more interesting.”
She kept pressing about the army. . . I kept himhawing around. My attempt to find a funny story or two fell short. I just wanted to change the subject.
At 72 I am so detached from the kid who loved the rush of jumping out of planes and blowing shit up that I find it all kinda embarrassing . . . and for a certainty I did nothing that I am particularly proud of.
Chris Hedges was a war correspondent for something like 15 years. He knows war like most never will and he defines it better than anybody I’ve ever read.
He wrote a book entitled War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning . . . the following is taken from this highly recommended read about the false glory and the bullshit of war.
Let me have a war, says I: It exceeds peace as far as day
Does night; it’s spritely, waking, audible, full of vent.
Peace is a very apoplexy, lethargy, mull’d deaf, sleepy,
Insensible; a getter of more bastard children than war is a
Destroyer of men.
(exerpt from Chapter Four)
The myth of war entices us with the allure of heroism. But the images of war handed to us, even when they are graphic, leave out the one essential element of war- fear. There is, until the actual moment of confrontation, no cost to imaginary glory. The visual and audio effects of films, the battlefield descriptions in books, make the experience appear real. In fact the experience is sterile. We are safe. We do not smell rotting flesh, hear the cries of agony, or see before us blood and entrails seeping out of bodies. We view, from a distance, the rush, the excitement, but feel none of the awful gut wrenching anxiety and humiliation that come with mortal danger. It takes the experience of fear and the chaos of battle, the deafening and disturbing noise, to wake us up, to make us realize that we are not who we imagined we were, that war as displayed by the entertainment industry might, in most cases, as well be ballet. But even with this I have seen soldiers in war try to recreate the fiction of war, especially when a television camera is around to record the attempted heroics. The result is usually pathetic.
The prospect of war is exciting. Many young men, schooled in the notion that war is the ultimate definition of manhood, that only in war will they be tested and proven, that they can discover their worth as human beings in battle, willingly join the great enterprise. The admiration of the crowd, the high-blown rhetoric, the chance to achieve the glory of the previous generation, the idea of nobility beckon us forward. And people, ironically, enjoy righteous indignation and an object upon which to unleash their anger. War usually starts with collective euphoria.
It is all the more startling that such fantasy is believed, given the impersonal slaughter of modern industrial warfare. I saw high explosives fired from huge distances in the Gulf war reduce battalions of Iraqis to scattered corpses. Iraqi soldiers were nothing more on the screens of sophisticated artillery pieces than little dots scurrying around like ants – that is, until they were blasted away. Bombers dumped tons of iron fragmentation bombs on them. Our tanks, which could outdistance their Soviet -built counterparts, blew iraqi armored units to a standstill. Helicopters hovered above units like angels of death in the sky. Here there was no pillage, no warlords, no collapse of unit discipline, but the cold and brutal efficiency of industrial warfare waged by well – trained and highly organized professional soldiers. It was a potent reminder why most European states and America live in such opulence and determine the fate of so many others. We equip and train the most efficient killers on the planet.
But even in the new age of warfare we cling to to the outdated notion of the single hero able to carry out daring feats of courage on the battlefield. Such heroism is about as relevant as mounting bayonet or cavalry charges. But peddling the myth of heroism is essential, maybe even more so now, to entice soldiers into war. Men in modern warefare are in service to technology. Many combat veterans never actually see the people they are firing at nor those firing at them, and this is true even in low – insurgencies.
To be sure, soldiers who kill innocents pay a tremendous personal emotional and spiritual price. But within the universe of total war, equipped with weapons that can kill hundreds or thousands of people in seconds, soldiers only have time to reflect later.
By then these soldiers often have been discarded, left as broken men in a civilian society that does not understand them and does not want to understand them.
The other day I went into a shoe store to buy a pair of running shoes. I found a pair of Reebok’s and bought them after I saw that they were made in Vietnam. All I could think was how I wanted to give some business to the people we were so stupid to start a war with in the first place. We sent 50 + thousand of our kids to their death over there . . . for what? Now we are friends and trading partners (something that Ho Chi Minh wanted in the first place) I STILL don’t get it . . .
Who are these homeless people anyways? Folks down on their luck who have just fallen through the cracks? Drunken bums? Drug addicts? Criminals? What does the rank and file in this empty faced army consist of? Do we even care? . . . or do we just want these losers to disappear from our streets so we don’t have to look at them.
As I see it the only difference between ‘us and them’ is that the homeless, for whatever reason, lost all their stuff. Therefore since we judge one anothers worth by the amount of stuff we possess, these people are deemed worthless.
This ‘haves and have nots’ attitude is so screwed up on so many levels that it is hard to even write about it. The changes it will take to actually create the society we love to brag about are almost insurmountable . . . but not quite.
Many years ago in this country we were snookered into believing that a monkey dressed in a three piece suit was no longer a monkey. Even if he had lied and cheated, even if he had killed to get that suit, it didn’t matter as much as the fact he possessed it.
Today we have a corporate owned government in this country filled with psychopaths and charlatans every bit as evil as the homeless thugs who enjoy strong arming other homeless persons as they sleep under a bridge. The only difference between the two classes of thugs is that the official has learned to cloak himself in respectability and hide in plain sight while his brother hunkers in the shadows. We need to break the spell . . . we need to wake up and get our priorities in order.
I got out of the military sometime in the mid 60’s, came home to the States and got a factory job right away. In those days hundreds of men physically manned the steel mills that ran three shifts 24/7. A large majority of these guys were black. It wasn’t too many years later that computerized machines were introduced into the factories and a steady shrinking of the work force began.
The black communities were hit very hard. Unable to find work the men lost their pride, they became drunks and druggies in order to cope. Many lost their family ties and ended up living in the streets. The army of the homeless began to grow in size.
Many soldiers came home from the war with PTSD and problems that drove them into the streets. The army of the homeless was strengthened. They say 30% of today’s homeless are veterans.
A 1985 report from Los Angeles estimated that 30% to 50% of homeless persons were seriously mentally ill. The study concluded that this was in part the product of the deinstitutionalization movement….The streets had become the asylums of the 80s.
So, basically we have three main reasons for homelessness: Loss of employment, veterans and their PTSD, the release of mentally ill through the deinstitutionalization movement. There are many others . . . and the army of the hopeless grows.
Today there are countless numbers of people who, although they are fine at the moment, are living off credit and only a couple days away from the streets themselves. It’s scary in America these days and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better.
You know, you’d think this country, especially since the corporate takeover at least, would begin to realize that coming up with a solution to the homeless problem would be GOOD for business. Remember what happened to the rich and powerful in Russia’s Bolshevik revolution? (see Dr. Zhivago)
Globalization may not be a bad thing, but just dumping our citizenry overboard for cheap off country labor and a higher profit margin to the corporation is so short sighted that I have to wonder just how intelligent the CEO actually is. As is, when he/she takes the podium I’m having a hard time seeing nothing but Cheeta in a three piece suit.
As a carpenter myself I found this video to be great on so many levels . . .
“There are thousands and thousands of people out there leading lives of quiet, screaming desperation, where they work long, hard hours at jobs they hate to enable them to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.”
― Nigel Marsh
“Damn weeds! Johnny . . . go get me the Roundup, I’m gonna kill this yellow bastard!! I hate dandelions !!! Hate em!” . . . And the beat goes on in every middle class allotment in the country.
There are whole industries built up around killing the dandelion. Just what is it that these little fellows have done to garner such contempt?
From University of Maryland medical site:
While many people think of the dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)as a pesky weed, it’s chock full of vitamins A, B, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc. Dandelion leaves are used to add flavor to salads, sandwiches, and teas. The roots are used in some coffee substitutes, and the flowers are used to make wines.
In the past, dandelion roots and leaves were used to treat liver problems. Native Americans also boiled dandelion in water and took it to treat kidney disease, swelling, skin problems, heartburn, and upset stomach. In traditional Chinese medicine, dandelion has been used to treat stomach problems, appendicitis, and breast problems, such as inflammation or lack of milk flow. In Europe, it was used in remedies for fever, boils, eye problems, diabetes, and diarrhea.
So far, there have not been any good quality scientific studies on dandelion. Today, the roots are mainly used to stimulate the appetite, and for liver and gallbladder problems. Dandelion leaves are used as a diuretic to help the body get rid of too much fluid.
So . . . we kill medicinal plants in order to have the perfect green yard that our kids or dogs can’t even play on because of the poison we PAID to have applied to it? How f..ing stupid is that?
This is a perfect example to show just how ‘mind controlled’ we are in this country and to what length human beings can be led by a good PR program. Truth be known, if we find ourselves believing such nonsense, someone has already washed our brain of common sense and replaced it with their own contrived version of reality.
Walk into any upper class allotment on a hot summer day and what greets you first? The scent of cooking foods? The shouts and laughter of children? Music or any other sounds of life? What greets you first in the American middle/upper class allotment is dead quiet and the stench of lawn chemicals. Home sweet home or . . . hell stinky hell?
How much are you paying some service to keep your lawn perfect and green for you? How does it make you feel when you walk proudly about on your perfectly groomed lawn? Have you finally arrived? Where?
Testimony from a concerned mother:
I have a son that is allergic to a LOT of things…so rashes are common here. two years ago we discovered just how toxic lawn maintenance could be after we had our lawn treated…and 2 of our 3 kids ended up in an emergency visit for fully body rashes…categorized as “chemical reaction” to what had been put on our yard. needless to say, i called the next day to have the service cancelled.
I could add more, but you get the picture.
Here in the US we all suffer from a most virulent form of mind control. This particular strain is called “the keeping up with the Joneses syndrome” and it is responsible for enriching the corporation beyond belief. Time to wise up and take control of your mind and your life back from ‘wall street PR for profit’ lies. You are setting a bad example for your children.
I want to offer you an alternative. I have a lawn surrounding my house also, but when I built this place I did nothing at all to the landscape except make sure I had good drainage around the house. I replaced what topsoil I could save, graded the ground down to the creek and left it alone. It took no time at all to reseed the area and I did none of it . . . nature did it all for me. Here are some pictures of what she did for me for free.
It looks like this after mowing (yes they do come back)
Actually I’d rather not even mow, but then the weeds and wildflowers would grow 3′ high and take over . . . so we DO need to maintain . . . but do we need to poison?
Various closeups of my weeds:
My first acid trip
Many things have been written about the late sixties, some say if you were really there you wouldn’t remember them, but I was there and I remember.
The decade between 1965 and 1975 was a pivotal point in the history of our nation. The horror of Vietnam, and getting caught red handed in one monumental lie after another had placed our government center stage on everybody’s shit list. By the Fall of 1973 when ‘tricky Dick’ Nixon spouted his now famous one liner on TV concerning Watergate, “I am not a crook.” nobody believed him. He WAS a crook, as well as a liar when he promised to end the war and instead broadened it into Cambodia. He was a dick all right . . . a dickHEAD.
Many of us young folks, after realizing we were being ripped off, broke ties with the establishment and dedicated ourselves to the Utopian dream of peace and love instead of war and hate. For some of us, this was heavy, happy stuff, tantamount to be being born again.
Me? Fresh out of the military and a short, but brutal marriage, I would say I was more escape and evade than peace and love. More aggressive than giving. More . . . ahhh who knows? whatever I was, all I really wanted was another drink.
In 1968 I rolled across the high desert of eastern Oregon into Portland seeking only one thing . . . a place to hide.
The flower child craze was in full bloom on the West Coast by then and Portland seemed to be a mecca. I had a hard time keeping my meandering eye on the road as I gawked at one brightly dressed hippie after another loitering on her streets. One thing for sure, there was a lot going on in this town that looked like fun. And fun was something I desperately needed after leaving the misery of Ohio.
Once I found the bridge across the Willamette River and made my way to the SW section I cruised around Portland State University until I spotted a neon sign signifying that I’d found My Place Tavern. This was the bar where I was supposed to meet Tom Yoho, an old friend from high school who’d left home months before I had.
Going sunlight to bar light, I stepped inside the door and allowed my eyes to adjust to the darkness. I began noticing people. Some were hunched over the bar chatting while drinking their beers. Others were lounging around the three pool tables lining the center of the room with cue sticks in their hands. This joint might look the same, but it didn’t have the foreboding of an Ohio bar. The mixed crowd of people actually seemed to be having a good time.
I found a spot at the bar, ordered a beer from the pretty barmaid and began to relax. Looking . . . I found a payphone in the corner of the room and called Tom.
A short time later the door opened and through the stab of light Tom sauntered in. I barely recognized him. His hair had grown to his shoulders and he was all decked out like some kind of court jester trapped in a time warp. My tough guy, hoodlum friend had gone full bore counter culture.
“Sid!” (everybody called me Sid in those days) He seemed very happy to see me. “Wow, man, how you doing? Far out! Man, I’m glad to see you!” I wasn’t used to the Wow! stuff. Every other word out of his mouth was some sort of an exclamation point. Wow . . . Far out . . . Cool . . . Tom had learned a whole new strange, colorful, exuberant language. I was taken aback, but destined to soon mimic this funny hippie language and wear it like a badge of honor.
We drank a few beers and caught up on old times for a while. The talk then turned to the new society and the drugs that gave it life. I listened intently as Tom expounded on the wonders of pot and LSD.
I’d vowed earlier to never take drugs because of the bad rap they had been given, but Tom assured me it was all a lie and that ten thousand hippies couldn’t be wrong. It wasn’t long till my resolve withered away and we were off to the local park in search of some purple Ozzly acid and a trip to his promised fantasy land. So much for my resolve.
This park wasn’t the normal ‘green grass and ducks in the pond’ kind of place either. This park, packed shoulder to shoulder with people, was a virtual marketplace of buyers and sellers of illegal drugs.
Guys walked up and down the paths hawking their particular products like hot dog vendors at a baseball game. Pot, acid, and a variety of uppers and downers that probably out did the local pharmacy in variety, were only a few bucks away.
We found a guy selling Purple Ozzly’s and bought two hits. We went back to the tavern, took a booth in the corner, popped the pills and waited for something to happen. The unknown had always been my favorite haunt and I was ready for the experience. . . It didn’t take long in coming.
My eyes went first. I lost focus and started picking up flashes of pure color in the corners. Then my ears began buzzing and I heard snapping and popping noises. Solid began to melt, shimmer and move. Nothing stood still except time itself. Seconds, minutes, later even hours were no different. I was caught in a wild, crazy time warp. The yellow brick road and the mad hatter . . . were real.
There was a large poster of a semi-naked female hanging on the melted wall behind the pool table. The girl’s exposed belly button had become a large black tunnel, and like a giant vacuum it began sucking the contents out of the room while she smiled back at me.
“Wow, man. Check it out.”
“Ohhhh, shit! The walls are melting.”
Tom was lost in his own trip. We were both high, but not on the same page. There are no pages on an acid trip. Everything happens at once. Instead of picking and choosing certain thoughts and emotions for consideration, a whole bucket of sensual stimuli is dumped on your brain at once. You have no time to sort them out.
If you don’t just go with the flow, you’re in for a very hard evening. There are no markers along the acid trip trail . . . and getting lost begins the proverbial bad trip. I wanted to laugh . . . or maybe cry. I couldn’t figure it all out so I ignored everything completely and went back to mesmerizing on the girls belly button.
The room was breathing. The people in it moved about in slow motion, their voices mingling to become one huge rush of wind. I couldn’t understand any of it and thought about losing control, but realized that although everything I considered normal had changed I was still behind the driving wheel. I began to relax and enjoy the trip.
I glance over at Tom who was pointing towards the door and saying something I couldn’t hear. I got up and followed him out of the safety of the room into the night.
Outside, the first thing I noticed was the brightness of the street lights. A car came by and slowly turned at the corner. Only instead of doing a normal turn the car actually bent around the corner like a worm. . . WOW!
We headed down the street. Noise came from every direction, snaps, bangs, whistle, crunch, pop . . . you name it.
“Let’s go in this bar,” Tom said. “You have to see this.”
We entered the narrow low lit beer joint. An ancient wooden bar traveled the extent of the entire right side. On the left were a couple empty tables and chairs. There were some guys sitting at the bar and a nondescript barmaid tending them.
“Take a look at this guys face.”
As if on cue, the first guy at the bar slowly turned and looked at us. He had the puffy, unhealthy face of an alcoholic. I could read it. The despair . . . the sadness . . . layer after layer of pent-up, burned up, emotion.
I felt his sadness to my soul. His face told a story that he probably never read . . . or denied it if he had. His rheumy, alcohol numbed eyes stared sightless into mine. No one said a word. I turned and walked out onto the safety of the street.
Tom caught up. “That’s what alcohol does to you, man. Can you dig it?”
Oh, boy did I ever. I had prior experience with booze and had been close to becoming a drunk myself. My ex-wife was a drunk. Lots of my friends were drunks. That acid induced encounter affected me so deeply that I have rarely taken a drink since. The guy at that bar was as close to being in hell as I had yet, in my young life, seen. . . and I had seen a lot of hellish life.
Later, we were walking around the neighborhood when some really cool chicks yelled down to us from their third floor apartment window. “Hey! . .. you guys wanna party?”
They buzzed us up and we sex, drugs, and rock and rolled with them till dawn. I loved this town!
Half way through the night I remember sitting on a window sill with my legs dangling out. There was no fear as I looked down . . . and no depth perception either. It seemed very reasonable to me that I could just step out into the night on the sidewalk below and walk on down the street.
Later I heard stories of suicides where kids had gotten high and jumped out of windows. I doubt they wanted to kill themselves though, they probably never realized how high they were and just thought it would be cool to step down onto the street or something like that.
Acid is dangerous in an open setting. It is not a party drug, but more of an inward searching kind of thing best taken in the safety of a controlled environment among friends. In the right environment it could be an amazing, mind blowing experience. One I had taken many times. In the wrong environment the horrors of Hell await. I have never had a bad trip, but I HAVE stayed up all night cradling a female friend in my arms while talking her down.
Personally, I have never been the same since that first trip, nor do I feel I’ve caused myself any harm mentally. I feel more like I was born again that night to an awareness and possibilities that I previously never even thought about.
I gave up being the tough guy I never really was anyway, and began to delve into a softer, hidden side of my psyche. I began to think of playing music, painting and writing poetry. . . even more important I began to shun the expected norms and started to look within myself for the answer. I began to realize my power.
Lastly . . . acid is a mind expanding phenomena. Although I can’t speak for others, because I have lost a few good friends along the psychedelic highway, I can say for myself . . . it was a great trip.
Attempting to write about the hippies is akin to a young soldier hunkered down on Omaha Beach attempting to write about the battle surrounding him. He hears it, but all he sees is the sky above his head.
To give the battle proper perspective, every man taking part, including the enemy, would have to have his story told also because every guy had a different story and every story was just as viable as the next if the truth was to be unadulterated by personal bias.
To tell the whole and honest story about the counter culture would be just as difficult . . . and quite honestly I don’t have the talent to do it. I was there. I experienced it first hand, but like the soldier on Omaha Beach I can only tell my part of a story that is so big, so diverse, that for the whole thing to be written the reader would have a hard time carrying the book it was written in.
One thing I CAN say for a certainty about the movement was that although it wore a uniform, it was not the “look” that counted, It was much broader in scope than all that ‘long hair, tie dye’, media inspired stuff that went on in the Haight, Ashbury district of San Francisco.
The power of the hippie movement lies in the “feel” of it and the sense of rightness in belonging to something larger than oneself. This feeling is what set our country on it’s heels and helped end the tragedy taking place in Vietnam.
Eventually this feeling evolved into the broad based environmental movement taking place in this country right now. The hippies may have left the Haight, but even today we are deeply active in the environmental movement . . . this may be our greatest legacy.
So, though others stories may differ, this is mine as I experienced it . . . The Tale Of The Two Jim’s . . . The story begins in the summer of 69 when I drove across the high desert of Eastern Oregon to meet up with a friend in Portland and ended up driving smack dab into the arms of the aquarian age . . . and the much needed rebirthing of my soul.
The Age Of Aquarius
When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius
The Age of Aquarius
Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the mind’s true liberation
When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius
The Age of Aquarius
Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the mind’s true liberation
The tale of the hippie is not at all about drugs . . . or about misguided youth in funny clothes . . . or even great music. The tale of the hippie is about the search for deeper meaning to life.
Most of us didn’t wear flowers in our hair or dress like circus performers. Quite a few were not even taken in by the lure of psychedelic drugs. The one thing we pretty much all shared though was the revulsion for our parents world and the desire for “change.”
We were sick and tired of the madness, and even more than that we were sick and tired of watching our friends get killed for no reason other than the war was good for business.
In reality, taking into consideration the cause and effect of all things both straight and hippie, I’d say that we were absolutely on the right path, but we got side tracked by naivety, immaturity and drugs. When it came to creating something real out of the Utopian dream, there were not enough true believers to make it happen.
Peace. love, freedom to do your own thing as long as it doesn’t harm anybody else, were wonderful ideas, but when the rubber hit the road, what happened? We were invaded by runaway kids, and addicts, and ex cons, and drug dealers, and drifting, dark minded people of all ilk. The counter culture movement, because of it’s non exclusivity, weakened, shriveled up and died.
The greatest cultural movement since the civil war came and left in a heated rush. In it’s wake, though there are many pretenders still hanging around, the core of true believers fled into the hills and valleys of rural America and began the environmental movements that today are all that holds back the juggernaut of big oil from completely destroying this country in it’s lust for the few fossil fuels still around.
Without us they would not stop until, like the old chief said:
Only when the last tree has died
and the last river been poisoned
and the last fish been caught
will we realize we cannot eat money
Cree Indian Proverb
(to be continued)
A bit crass . . . a bit simplistic . . . but I have been from there to here and I gotta say . . . “The dirty fucking hippies were RIGHT!” . . . sort of . . . in a way . . . but . . . Oh, what the hell it WAS a time of GREAT fun! . . . for me anyways.