I got ordained today. Somebody was talking about how she’s supposed to officiate at a friend’s wedding – apparently, you can be temporarily ordained by a Justice of the Peace to officiate at one wedding – and I mentioned that it’s actually really easy to be ordained. Anybody can do it. I pulled up a website and in a few minutes, I was ordained. I didn’t order my official certificate because, while the ordination is free, you have to pay for the paperwork. I would’ve but I blew my last paycheck on electricity and child support. But even without the paperwork, I am ordained and can perform weddings. And I will perform: if anybody is willing to cover travel, food and lodging, plus a nominal fee, I will officiate at their wedding and I’ll play at the reception free of charge. I’m totally serious. I don’t care if you’re straight or gay, just trying to get citizenship or anything. I’ll marry polyamorous covens on peyote in a nudist camp – actually, I’ll waive the fee for that.
Officiating at weddings is only one of the services I am willing and able to provide, only one of the many things I can do for you. As a deeply spiritual person, I am always looking for opportunities to contribute something positive to the world we live in.
Anyone reading this surely knows about the hours upon hours of noisy (not Noise), experimental, mostly improvisational and frequently difficult music that I have made available, much of it totally free, none of it priced at the ridiculously high rates charged by the mainstream music industry scum. You may also know that I have taken the Vow of the Bodhisattva and that I will, therefore, remain voluntarily in the cycle of death and rebirth, forsaking the incomprehensible bliss of Nirvana, until all sentient beings have achieved Enlightenment, at which point there will be no one left except a bunch of Bodhisattvas standing around saying “no, please, after you”. If you need a koan, I can provide you with one. If you are so close to attaining Enlightenment that all you need is someone to whack you with a stick or shout “katz!” at you, come on over. (Occasionally I pass a Wal-Mart or I see someone wearing an Insane Clown Posse shirt and I think about how many incarnations it’s going to take for all those assholes to be Awakened and I get kinda bummed out. I took the Vow – now I’m kinda stuck with it.)
If you’ve been following this thing for a while, you may recall that I once announced that I was starting a shamanic advice column. I got only one query from a snarky little barista, which I responded to with all due respect, but the advice column still stands. Send an email, letter or hand me a note and I will solve your life problem(s) right here in this space.
These are a few of the services I will provide. There are others. For example, if you ever need a B-side or a track to submit to a compilation – possibly a comp I am organizing – send me one of your songs and I’ll do a dub version. Actually, I don’t need the whole thing, just the drums and bass. If your song doesn’t have drums or bass, that’s fine. Just send what you have and I’ll do an alternative mix.
Need art? I got that. Need cover art? Well, by golly, let’s talk. I do a lot of the cover art for BDSR – if the label is willing to do it, I’m usually happy to let them – and I would be happy to provide cover art for you. Unless you are Insane Clown Posse, in which case I won’t.
Handpoke tattoos: $20/hr. I used to do them for free, but then I got tired of doing them. Another thing I used to do for free that I now charge $20/hr for: explaining why I don’t like your poetry.
Also, I’m a shaman. I shamanize. Usually, that takes the form of organizing and participating in performances, but I do other shamany shit too. For example, if your community is experiencing drought or if your usual food-animals have disappeared from the hunting grounds, I would happy to take care of that for you. I would, of course, require the complete cooperation of your community and payment in advance. Provide me with the details – estimates are free.
I admit that I am not as skilled as some at diagnosing and treating physical ailments. I have not focused much attention on this aspect of the shaman trade. I can witch your warts away, sure, that’s easy. If you have a lump on your testicle or bloody diarrhea, go to a fucking doctor. I will attend to some cases involving mental disorders, but I gotta tell ya, those can be tricky. Some things, situational depression for example, are relatively easy to cure; others can’t be cured at all. Certainly, a hearty helping of shamanic ritual can break through the psychological barriers that prevent an individual from locating their own hidden resources, which can completely eliminate some conditions and can make others much easier to deal with, but I would never advise anyone to substitute shamanic medicine for SSRIs or any other form of pharmacology. In general, I advocate psychiatric treatment, including medication as prescribed by the attending physician, as well as active spiritual development as the best possible treatment for mental disorders. As your Espresso Shaman, I would be happy to assist you in dealing with your fucked-up brain.
Obviously, I am able to facilitate vision quests. I prefer to host, as my spirit animals are happiest here in the oldest mountain range in the world. I can travel, but that’ll cost ya. A vision quest is not a camping trip. There will be no Iron John-style men’s movement New Age bullshit. You will not have fun and there is no guarantee that you will have any kind of vision. Basically, you will pay me to take you out into the woods, get you lost, tell you to sit someplace for a day or so with no food and almost no water, without sleeping, possibly enduring some additional hardships which I will make up on the spot, all in the hope of experiencing some sort of vision or hallucination or esoteric wet dream or whatthefuckever and if you don’t get what you’re after, tough shit. Also, you will have to sign a waiver so your family can’t sue me if you die. You could just do it yourself, though I would advise doing a bit of research first. If you do hire me to facilitate your vision quest, I will help you figure out what you experienced, if anything. That’s really the crux of the whole vision quest thing. Anybody can go sit in the woods and be uncomfortable for a few days and almost anybody who does so will have some sort of noteworthy experience, but if you don’t know how to separate the wheat from the chaff and make sense of it, it’s nigh impossible to put it to any good use.
Musical instruction is not part of the shamanic trade, but I don’t feel the need to be bound by tradition, so: shamanic guitar lessons. Whether you are an accomplished shredder or a rank amateur, I will teach you to slough off “the right way” to play guitar and access your own personal style of making sounds come out of a guitar with no regard whatsoever for how “good” or “bad” those sounds are. The whole (spirit) world of shamanolodics will open up before you, beckoning you to strum your way in.
Honestly, though, it really is easier to teach people who don’t know anything. If you’re one of those, I will teach some basics – you really do have to know a little bit before you can launch off into inner space. I don’t mean sight-reading or transposition or any of that useless shit; I mean I’ll explain standard tuning so you’ll know what to avoid, how to annoy the shit out of people with perfect pitch and what to feed your wolf tones. If you don’t have a guitar, you can use one of mine until I locate one to sell you.
If you do know how to play, I’ll still work with you, but I’ll be a lot more abusive. It’s for your own good.
What else? I can explain Finnegans Wake, extract teeth, paint fences… really, I’m wide open. As I said, I’m constantly looking for ways to make the world a better place, constantly looking for ways to be of service.
How may I help you?
So, I haven't posted in a while because I've been busy and because the word program I was using was actually a temporary thing that my mom had on this computer and it ran out or stopped working or some such and I'm trying to figure out how to get another one without, ya know, paying for it.
And I been busy. All good stuff - work, daughter, art, music, snow, good things. I set up a BDSR Bandcamp and put up a bunch of songs. But I haven't been doing this thing, which I don't feel good about because I usually do three or four a month and I feel like I should put something up once in a while at least. So, enjoy some photos of my mom's back yard which she also left on this computer.
Oh yeah, uh, religion is the best thing people ever came up with. I haven't been depressed or dropped acid. I rode my skateboard to the mailbox and back t'other day. I'm reading The Gateless Gate again - it's awesome. My daughter turns five next month! Holy Shite, seems like just yesterday she was in diapers. Not Noise, meditation, look both ways, smell the coffee.
So I got to work – my second job, the one that happens in the evening – already kinda spinning around in my head about some shit that’s been going on in my life lately, mainly related to She Who Shall Not Be Named. It was Old Time Night: a group of musicians play old time music all evening, which seems like it’d be cool, and it should be and would be except that it’s the same four or five musicians playing the exact same songs every week and doing it in the most gutless way imaginable. Then somebody said something about cider and I totally flashed back to:
This one night in 1997: I had this huge marble ashtray at that point into which I would put any pills that I happened upon, which were mostly painkillers, muscle relaxants and benzodiazepines, crush ‘em all up, stir in all the crystal meth I could get and then scoop out bumps on the point of a knife. I was also smoking a shit-ton of weed. Anyway, this one night, it would’ve been October or early November, this cocktail waitress/prostitute that I had a casual sex thing going on with “borrowed” a car from some other guy she was sleeping with and asked me to take her to work and then come get her when her shift ended because she would be too drunk to drive when she got off. I took her to work and then figured that since I was driving what was basically a stolen car and had no driver’s license, I might as well have some fun so I took the car for a joyride all over the goddamn county. There were a few cassettes in the car, almost all of which were pop music shit. The only remotely decent thing I could find was Chumbawamba’s Tubthumper, the title track of which was on the charts at the time. I knew a guy who ran a record label in Richmond which had included a Chumbawamba track on a compilation and I thought the whole anarcho-punk band crafting a hit single was hilarious and yes, I did kinda dig “Tubthumper”, plus I was blasted on a smorgasbord of chemicals, so I blared “Tubthumper” over and over while careening around the county, burning up some guy’s gas.
When I have detailed flashbacks to the late ‘90’s, it usually means something’s wrong. I started an interior scan for malfunctions and then realized that it’s officially autumn now – the time of year when I’m most likely to experience some mental/emotional problems. I don’t always have major issues. I’m properly medicated and I have a fairly sane and stable life, but I do get some little ripples and so I figured out what was happening: the change in season had tripped some wire which was crossing the recent shit and creating interference. I have ways and means of handling my mental/emotional disorders, so I decided to just put my head down, get through the shift and then draw on the available resources to prevent a major slide into depression: supportive and knowledgeable friends, prayer and meditation, avoiding any contact whatsoever with She Who Shall Not Be Named and other negative influences.
Well, aside from a few little mistakes on my part, the evening went as well as could be expected until the gutless musicians packed up their guitars and one of my coworkers hit “play” on one of the playlists on the house computer. My coworkers are all good and kind people and some of them are mildly subversive in hippie-ish ways, but they sure do love some godawful music. Most nights I’m able to just shut it out, but tonight I was already a little edgy and what came out of the stereo was particularly offensive: “Drugstore Truckdrivin’ Man”, the Gram Parsons solo version, not the slightly more tolerable Byrds; Pure Prairie League’s “Amie”; and then, “Ripple”, Jerry Garcia’s most heinous and unforgivable crime against humanity. As soon as I heard the opening notes of that loathsome abomination, I knew I couldn’t maintain. There was an hour or more left to go and unless something happened fucking fast I wasn’t going to be able to do it.
The coworker who had initiated the pollution of the atmosphere walked over to me and said she didn’t think anybody was going to come in, we might as well start closing work. This was the opportunity I needed.
“Well, if we’re going to start closing, how ‘bout we play something a little more upbeat?” says I. See, I’m fairly new to the place. I’m trying to get along with people and not rock the boat too hard. It’s not easy because I’m who I am and because I truly and genuinely hate so very much of what they love. I really really really try to tolerate the music they play. I do. But it’s so difficult sometimes. Music has a lot of power and I feel it keenly. I’m able to avoid horrible music most of the time, but when I can’t get away from it, it grates on my nerves. I don’t think I can just say to somebody “Hey, I really fucking hate this horrible shit you’re playing, mind if I change it?” That would be rude. Suggesting that we listen to something “more upbeat” while doing the closing work is a tactic that allows me to avoid being subjected to the Grateful Dead without grossly offending someone who I have to work with.
And it worked. I gained access to the computer. The trick in this situation is to play something that I can stand which won’t cause everybody else to run to the computer to switch it to something terrible. Tonight I was inspired. I pulled up Dick Dale, added the Ventures and hit the go button. Boom. Surf rock for the rest of the shift. Duane Eddy, the Belaires, Link Wray, a Woody-load of unknowns and one-offs. All instrumental. That’s important. Rock lyrics are almost inevitably banal to the point of being insufferable. Instrumental surf rock is like abstract-expressionism: completely freed from the need to represent anything, the artist can just go apeshit. There is no stupid narrative. Titles don’t matter in the slightest. This is exactly why so many early BDSR tracks are untitled. Recently, I have started titling stuff because it gives me an opportunity to throw more puns around, but no one should think that the titles are meant to “mean something”.
Fuckin’ A, a heavy dose of early ‘60’s single-coil twang in 4/4 time was all I needed. I was able to slam through the closing work in record time, my joie de vivre in full force, except for those moments when duty forced me to step into the dishpit where the disher was playing Rising Appalachia, who sound every bit as nightmarish as a pair of Ani Difrancos slathering patchouli oil on the corpse of Harry Smith while stroking a djembe. Jesus fucking Christ: hippies.
I bitch about rock’n’roll as much as anybody. It really is a bloated and hackneyed cliché, shaved and neutered by the record industry. Crass pronounced punk dead in ’79 or so and they were spot on. The garbage that passes for rock’n’roll these days is as embarrassing as a forty-year-old man with his collar popped up. White Stripes? Yeah Yeah Yeahs? For fuck’s sake, man. I’d rather listen to crickets and sirens. Or that massive flock of swallows that spent a recent night in the trees around the apartment. They made an awesome racket.
I gotta say, though, Dick Dale and the Deltones pulled me out of the ditch tonight.
I am a textbook example of an alcoholic depressive. I never felt comfortable or okay or like I fit in. I was always comparing myself to others and coming up short. I sucked. Nothing would ever work out. I would get lost in fantasies about some far off future in which everything would suddenly work out perfectly for me, life would be easy and I would smite my enemies with battleaxes and fire, then a teacher would call on me and I wouldn’t know the answer. Happened a million times. I discovered alcohol when I was fifteen or so. Changed everything. When I was knee-walking drunk, I felt okay. Really, really okay. I never got the “ten-feet-tall-and-bullet-proof” thing that some drunks get, but I did get okay. I discovered punk rock around the same time, which was awesome. Suddenly having a shitty attitude and an aura of inarticulate angst was cool – well, nobody else thought it was cool, but they didn’t know about punk. I got an electric guitar – the red Hondo All-Star that I still have and still use – and a really crappy amp that some guy’s older brother built – it had car stereo speakers, I shit you not – and started thrashing. Senior year of high school, I noticed that another spazz/reject in the cafeteria had on plaid thriftstore pants. We got to talking, discovered we had a lot in common besides awkward taste in trousers: we both enjoyed punk, theft and alcohol. I had a girlfriend at that point and the three of us formed a band, the Impediments. We got the name from an article about the Replacements – they had originally been the Impediments, but had showed up drunk and played horribly under that name so many times that word had gotten around and they had to change their name to get gigs. I thought it was perfect. My girlfriend didn’t really care and the other guy was just killing time ‘til he could get the hell out of the Valley. I think he’s in Taiwan now. He and I “obtained” a drum set and he traded me his half of something else we “obtained” for my half of the drum set, so he was the drummer. My girlfriend was female and couldn’t play an instrument, so, obviously, she was the bassist. I owned a guitar.
What I wanted the Impediments to be was a synthesis of the loud, fast three-chord riff-rock of the early Replacements and the noisiest, freakouts of Sonic Youth. And I wanted to be drunk. Basically, the Replacements with less talent and more free-form feedback scree.
We had a few practices at my girlfriend’s house which basically consisted of drinking, setting up, drinking, playing the “Louie, Louie” riff, drinking, talking about how much we hated high school, me presenting some lyrics I’d written while not paying attention in class and the three-chord riff I’d come up with to accompany them, which was usually a variation on the “Louie, Louie” riff, and drinking. Sometimes we also smoked pot. Occasionally, we watched Rock’n’Roll High School. I actually convinced some college student I knew to let us play at a party at her house. The other Impediments were not as sure as I was that we should do it. They kept talking about the fact that we didn’t really know any songs. I was absolutely certain that if we showed up, drank a lot and attacked our instruments like we were trying to kill them before they killed us, we could blow minds and break hearts. As it happened, the other two didn’t show up at the party, the college student told me she’d only said yes because she thought I wasn’t serious and they wouldn’t let me drink their beer because I was a minor.
The Impediments did actually play publicly a few months later. Some kid’s parents were out of town the day after graduation so the kid had a party. I didn’t know the guy – I think the drummer knew a guy who went to another high school and that’s how we found out about the party. There were going to be bands playing on the back porch and a lot of beer. My girlfriend got thrown off a horse and broke her arm the day of the party, which seemed like a good omen since, according to the aforementioned article, the Replacements bass player had broken his arm the day of their first gig. I think he fell out of a tree. At any rate, the drummer and I went to the party and got drunk while some guys played B.T.O.’s “Takin’ Care Of Business” and shit like that. I don’t know if we’d forgotten our gear or if it was a conscious decision, but we were planning on using other peoples’ stuff. Nobody wanted to let us do that. When it started raining, everybody went inside and we saw our chance. We managed to make some goddawful racket for several minutes before the guys who owned the stuff we were banging around in the rain came out and threatened to kick our asses. That was pretty much the end of that band.
I am not sorry. I remain, to this day, 100% convinced that the Impediments was a grand idea. Sloppy, three-chord riffs and freakout noise made by angsty, drunk teenagers in cultural dead-zones is what keeps rock’n’roll alive. Oh yeah , I also wanted to do Hank Williams covers. That would’ve been awesome.
I was in a band or so after the Impediments, and I eventually married that girlfriend, who never did learn to play bass. The drinking and the drugging and the depression kept on getting worse. I quit playing guitar after I threw the red Hondo in a fit of punque pique and busted the humbucker (I eventually had another humbucker and two single-coils installed). The marriage didn’t last. I hadn’t felt okay in so long I didn’t know what okay was. Plus I kept developing new symptoms – agoraphobia, panic attacks, compulsive self-mutilation, aural and visual hallucinations, paranoia, psychotic breaks with reality, insomnia and on and on. I would go days without eating for no reason. Another girlfriend told me that sleeping beside me was “like sleeping next to an epileptic having a fit” – that I thrashed around and made weird incoherent noises all night. The nightmares were so horrible I would take speed to stay awake and then take a handful of downers so I could go straight to unconsciousness and hopefully miss the dreaming state, which never worked. I fucked up my liver so bad it stopped functioning properly. I had out-of-body experiences at inconvenient times. I was batshit crazy and I knew it, but knowing it only made it worse.
At any rate, I eventually got sober and started looking into mythology. I stopped arguing that there was no value in the world’s religions and became open-minded. I went to the local Community Services Board and got some selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors and I actually took them – and take them – as prescribed. I didn’t get all better overnight – Christ, I spent over a decade digging myself into a hole, I’m amazed that I survived – but I did get better. And better and better.
I haven’t had a drink or drug in a long time, thank gods. I no longer keep a loaded shotgun under the bed to defend my stash in case the feds/aliens/Mormons show up and/or I ever get up the nerve to blow my head off. I do still get mildly depressed occasionally, but thanks to the Rx, I don’t become catatonic and because of my spiritual condition, I’m able to just keep on keeping on. I’m able to pay my bills, play with my daughter, perform with my band, go hiking, ride my skateboard in the parking lot of the Baptist church up the street late at night…I have a good life.
Depression and addiction cost me years. Medication, myth and a lot of great friends gave me my life. I encourage anyone who suspects that they may have an emotional imbalance and/or problem with drugs/alcohol to seek help. The religions of the world, read metaphorically, were and are incredibly helpful to me. They might help you, too. If you do not have such an imbalance, you might still benefit from the myths – that is, after all, what they’re there for.
And if you happen to be a teenager with a cheap guitar, shitty amp and a couple of friends, don’t stop rockin’.
“The wounded healer is an archetype for a shamanic traii(sic) and journey. This process is important to the young shaman. S/he undergoes a type of sickness that pushes her or him to the brink of death.” - Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaman
I am forty-three years old, 5’8” tall, and 135lbs. I’m a vegetarian with a devotion to caffeine, garlic and weapons-grade peppers. Every four or five years, influenza knocks me down for a day, but beyond that, I don’t get sick. A few months ago, I noticed that I can no longer focus on small objects that are nearer than eight inches from my face, so I can’t claim perfect vision anymore, but since everyone I’m related to by blood or marriage required reading glasses by first grade, I’d say I’m doing pretty well with it. Beestings, mosquito bites and the poisons ivy, oak and sumac, don’t even make a red spot on my skin. I started going grey in my late twenties, like everybody in my maternal line, but my hair is as thick now as ever, which is thick enough to draw commentary from barbers. My ears are sharp, my bottom firm, my knuckles hard, my muscles honed to bowstring tension. Some people believe that exposure to my sperm actually cures STD’s, but this claim has not been tested in a clinical setting. Certainly, the one child I’ve begotten is so radiantly beautiful that Latinos genuflect when she passes and Tibetan monks regularly show up to worship at her lotus feet, and that despite the fact that her mommy is allergic to reflected sunlight, sensitive to all foods containing molecules and becomes light-headed when dust motes. In short, I’m as healthy as a bull-ox yearling on good grass.
Mentally…not so much. I have dysthymia, a.k.a. neurotic depression, which basically means never-ending mild depression. As far as I can tell, I’ve always had it. That doesn’t mean that I was depressed as a four-year-old, though I might’ve been, just that my own perceptions of my own childhood are colored by the years of mild depression that came after. Like many people with dysthymia, I assumed that what I was feeling was normal and didn’t seek treatment until after I’d had almost a dozen major depressive episodes, which to me seemed like the same thing only a little more so. Major depression on top of dysthymia is known as “double depression”. I’m a “double Aries”, too, but that doesn’t really figure into this. Nobody who knows anything about this kind of thing will be at all surprised to learn that I’m also an alcoholic and drug addict, as substance abuse and dysthymia are co-occurring disorders in up to 50% of cases. I ingested my last mind-altering substance 26 February, 1998, at about one in the morning. It was marijuana, lightly dusted with something, probably crystal meth.
My dad once said, “I know that what I experienced there made me the man I am today, but there’s not enough money in the world to make me do it again.” He was talking about his tour of duty in Vietnam, 1970-71. I feel the same way about the thirteen years I spent fucked up.
The depression and addiction are well contained by prayer and medication and I’m doing fine, thanks. Cognitive therapy helped, but what really turned the tide and put me on the sunny side of life was religion and myth. I agree completely with Bongwater’s “Folk Song”, “Joseph Campbell gave me hope and now I have been saved”, but I mean it sincerely and with Bongwater you can never be sure. Campbell’s The Power Of Myth blew my mind and opened me to the entire long history of humans trying to make some semblance of sense of the ineffable. In those first few years of sobriety, my brain was still pretty scrambled, but the stories of gods and goddesses, tricksters and talking animals, windigos and ice giants cut through the confusion and reached some inner recess of my psyche, giving me the wherewithal to continue going and growing. The meanings of the tale of the prodigal son, Zen koans and The Bhagavad Gita rose up to the surface as I became able to understand them. Táin Bó Cúailnge, Beowulf, and von Eschenbach’s Parzival, the Norse Eddas, the Upanishads, Levi-Strauss, Watts, Eliade, North and South American Indians tales, Polynesian myths, Australian outback lore, and everything Campbell, all of it has seeped into my psyche.
Shaman initiations commonly contain an episode in which the neophyte is taken to the underworld, ripped open and his/her organs are replaced with crystals, precious metals, oddly colored stones. No doubt, many Inuit and Cherokees have taken this literally, just as some Christians cling to the notion that God created the world and universe ex nihilo in seven twenty-four hour days, placed into it a naked couple who incurred His wrath after being led astray by a talking snake; but anthropological reports contain plenty of instances of shamans sidling up to the anthropologists and letting on that they know it’s not literally true, that the images they relate to their fellows are metaphors, poetic depictions of experiences that cannot be conveyed accurately in everyday language. I know that my guts are still just guts, but it is as if they have been replaced with diamond sutras, rocks of ages and golden scales, so deeply and thoroughly have the myths permeated me. This is not because I am in any way unique. Years of self-imposed isolation coupled with several tons of natural and man-made psychoactive substances may have helped me to see things somewhat differently from others, but they may just as easily have hindered my progress. The left-handed path got me halfway up the holy mountain, but I passed a few corpses on my journey and I don’t encourage anyone to follow that route.
In some class I took, we learned about depressive realism, the theory that people who have mild to moderate depression lack positive illusions of superiority and optimism bias and therefore have a more accurate view of reality. As theories go, depressive realism is somewhat controversial and has been contradicted by some studies, but I believe it because it makes sense to me. I have never understood how humanity could allow such things as famine and war. Rape and child abuse are beyond me. I took some speed and more than a few hallucinogens, but the vast majority of the pills, powders and potions I ingested were downers. I was trying to shut my brain off, not expand it; to make the voices stop, to end the horror of the world around me. Without meds and myth, I would do nothing but weep, perhaps taking a catatonic break once in a while; with them, I can function well enough, though I am occasionally reminded that there is a chasm betwixt myself and others.
11 September, 2001 was one. People were wandering around, pie-eyed and slack-jawed, as if everything they’d ever known had gone up in smoke, and for me it was just another day. The terrible, senseless violence was a little closer to home, but I’ve never lived in a world without war and cruelty and mass murder so it wasn’t a big shock. I was more upset when U.S. bombs started falling on Iraq, because I was minutely responsible for that. And because I knew “we” would kill far more people than “them”.
But I digress. I was saying that I am in no way unique. It’s true. I have a strong immune system and my feet are extra wide, but that’s about it. Nothing special. Two quotes come to mind:
“Of myself I am nothing; the Father doeth the works.” – common paraphrase of John 5:30
“The myth is not mine, but from my mother.” – Euripides, introduction to “The Separation of Earth and Sky at Creation”
I am just a cynical, working class, middle-aged man from rural Virginia, smarter than some, but not very good at using it to make money, and in possession of a strong immune system. I have no more musical or artistic talent than the average chimp, but I have spent decades messing around with the tools of those trades – pencils, guitars, technical pens, banjos, paintbrushes, sound programs – and I’ve learnt a few things. Religion and myth interest me, so I seek them out and again, I’ve learnt. This is one of the core principals of The Big Drum In The Sky Religion: anybody can do this. Anybody. Any sincere halfwit who exposes him/herself to any or all of the world’s religions for long enough will wake up one day to discover that, to paraphrase that talking snake, their eyes shall be opened and they shall be as gods. Yep, “as gods”. It wasn’t the serpent, symbol of the powers of the Earth, who was fibbing; it was the jealous sky-god, Jehovah. Eve’s work was well-begun, for it got the game going, but only half-done.
Satori, enlightenment, at-one-ment with the Celestial Blue Heaven, all are attainable, right here, right now, on this planet, in this incarnation; equally available to all who will have them. God is not lost; He does not need to be found. All beings have Buddha consciousness. That is what I learned in the other world(s). That is what BDSR is for. That is what I have been, and will be, born again and again and again to cry out in the wilderness. Religion – all of them – are medicine for our sick(ening) world and I’m doing what I can to apply it. I believe that because I am a product of the world-as-it-is and religion – all of them – is what worked for me.
Paradise is here and now. If you want it.
Brown Hat the Espresso Shaman
The pun is always intended.