Oracles & Divination 5

Surfing On The Here and Now



            Time has always fascinated me, especially the crest of the present, the Here and Now, upon which we surf into the future. This wave never lands us 'ashore' until the moment of our death when time as we know it must cease, or else transform itself into something too unknowable to contemplate. In the 'sixties, during a number of psychedelic journeys out of my normal consciousness , it seemed as if the 'higher' I became, the wider became the present, just as if I was drifting upwards in a balloon. I was lifted out of my everyday reactive mind, whose seat is in what A. N. Whitehead called the 'immediate past,' and merged into a Here and Now normally outside my reach. It was as if once the cumbersome information-processing of my normal mind state slowed, my awareness was freed to experience things more immediately. I experienced it as a passing through a series of levels, or planes of being, a tilt forward into the future.

            The first level included the plants, trees and animal life of my immediate surroundings. Their consciousnesses merged with my own, and at this moment, birds or other animals would approach closer to me than was than they otherwise were apt to do. Perhaps they were experiencing an entrainment of our separate vibrations, an empathic resonance -- the so-called 'contact high.' Here my previously described equation = = = -- 'equal equals equal' -- to approach all beings as equals, allowed me to open communications. If I passed beyond this level, I felt a gradually expanding unity that extended further in all directions. I united with the raccoons in the hollow, the buzzards wheeling over the treetops, my neighbors on the next ridge. Of course this could all have been my own delusion, but let's just assume it was not, for the sake of this Maybe So Story.

            At the same time that my connectedness to everything widened, the significance of occurring events deepened. The term Jung used to describe this meaningfulness was energeia, or mana, defined in his work "On Nature and the Psyche" as 'the extreme impressiveness of something.'[1] On a few occasions, the significance of happenings became so intense as to make me believe that they were of cosmic significance. Once I announced the end of the current Piscean Age, much to the surprise -- and amused concern -- of friends who had become accustomed to my occasional off-the-wall pronouncements. This points to one of the difficulties encountered during these dives into energeia, the need to filter the subjectively important from the objectively real.

            Beyond the non-reactive edge of the Here and Now of nature lies the plane of what Jung termed the Collective Unconscious. Here exist the archetypes, the great spirit beings such as the angellic bird spirits, the Trickster Coyote, the thunderbird. Here reign the elemental spirits of air and fire. Native American shamans recognize all of these beings as guides and helpers. This also may be the realm of divination and prophecy, where the planetary Book of Fate, of the so-called 'Akashic Records,' can be browsed.

            The acausal techniques utilized in various forms of divination, the random selection of a card -- or in Shady's case, a slip of paper -- are just one way of widening the narrow focus of our everyday reactive consciousness. The underlying assumption is that backstage, or off the playing field, everything is connected to everything else. Which of course it is. But how to expand our awareness to include these areas without losing a grasp on Consensus Reality itself?

            One problem inherent in any attempt to describe these realms is the lack of a generally accepted vocabulary. Each spiritual discipline, each religion has attempted to tabulate these planes, but we are dealing with such rarified subjective experiences that each particular system has its particular gaps. Once, in an attempt to bring order at least to my own mind, I merged a chart from "Trance, Art and Creativity" by John Curtis Gowan with my own additions.[2] I include it on the next page, after a few quotes from other authors:

            "The trouble is the narrowness of consciousness. It is as if you tried to see a panoramic scene through cracks in a high fence, but were never allowed to look over the fence and see it as a whole. And the narrowness lulls us into a state of permanent drowsiness, like being half anesthetised, so that we never attempt to stretch our powers to their limits. With the consequence that we never discover their limits."[3]

            "Reality, in this way, is pictured as a limitless series of levels which extend to deeper and deeper subtleties and out of which the particular, explicit order of nature and the order of consciousness and life emerge. Synchronicities can therefore be thought of as an expression of this underlying movement, for they unfold as patterns of thought and arrangements of material processes which have a meaningful conjunction when taken together. But in fact, it is the essence of this whole vision of the universe that synchronicities, in themselves, are no longer unique, for a similar complaxity is enfolded within each element of matter, each region of space-time and within the consciousness of the individual. A synchronicity can therefore be looked on as a microcosm which reflects the dynamics of the macrocosm as it unfolds simultaneously into the mental and material aspects of a person's life.[4]


            "For eternally and always there is only now, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end."[5]


[1] Carl Jung, Collected Works, Vol 8, par 441, quoted by Maria-Louise von Franz in On Divination and Synchronicity: The Psychology of Meaning Chance, Inner City Books, Toronto, 1980

[2]Trance, Art and Creativity by John Curtis Gowan

[3]The Occult, by Colin Wilson, Vintage, N.Y., 1973

[4]Synchronicity, The Bridge Between Matter and Mind, by F. David Pratt, Bantam, New York, 1987

[5]No Boundary, by Ken Wilbur, Shambala Publications, Inc., Berkeley, 1979







Interview Twenty-One

San Francisco



Q: Well, Shady, here we are outdoors! How are you after a considerable lapse in our conversations?

A: Side 1: cryogenisis the science that deals with the production of very low temperatures

      Side 2: tool; look; oil; out; up; fur

      (pronunciation guide)


Q: Care to comment on our book project, Shady?

A: Side 1: revive] apparently dead in a faith, etc. resuscitation

      Side 2: to adapt (factory machinery) for a different product

      retort [L. re- + torquere, to twist]


Q: So, I revived your faith in the project. Good. Anything you wish to discuss?

A: Slip 1 Side 1: aorta [Gr. aeirein, to raise] The main

      carrying blood

      Side 2: antithesis the direct opposite

      Slip 2 Side 1: disbelief to refuse to believe

      Side 2: discomfiture



Q: The antithesis of disbelief and discomfiture.

      How about discussing disbelief further -- and I do believe in YOU, Shady!

A: Side 1: embrace

      Side 2: chin; she; thin

      (pronunciation guide)

      Slip 2 Side 1: manure on or into

      animal excrement, etc. used to fertilize


      Side 2: manly, brave, resolute, etc. manfully



Q: "Embrace the manuscript manfully?" I like it. We'll forget the 'manure' part. As for 'manganese,' perhaps I'll add it to my daily vitamin/mineral intake. Now, how would you describe the final part of our book, Shady?

A: Side 1: Quito the capital of Ecuador

      quits [see QUIETUS] on even terms

      Side 2: regarded as the basic studies

      r Math radius

      R. r. 1: radius 2: railroad


Q: We should quit on even terms, that's fine with me. Anything you feel should be included?

A: Side 1: of noise and confusion

      bed of roses [Colloq] a situation

      a position of ease and luxury


      Side 2: 2: the act, capability, or period of bringing forth bearing

      Slip 2 Side 1: 1: to become uneven 2: to become disturbed, irritated, etc. 1: a pleated strip ruffle

      Side 2: gives automatic approval rubber-stamp


Q: "Bearing a Bedouin bed of roses." What would that be?

A: Side 1: penny arcade a hall with coin-operated games, etc.

      penny pincher a very frugal or stingy person penny-pinching

      Side 2: pedometer an instrument carried to measure


Q: A 'penny arcade and a frugal pedometer' would be a Bedouin's bed of roses? Perhaps so! And what about the "ruffle rubber stamp?"

A: Side 1: caravan a company of people travelling

      Side 2: sideshows, rides, etc. carnival

      carnivore a carniverous animal

      Slip 2 Side 1: Siamese born in Siam any pair of twins with bodies joined together

      Side 2: to move the feet with a dragging movement shuffle


Q: A caravan of carnivores doing the Siamese Shuffle? But please answer again: is there anything we should include in the final section?

A: Side 1: a customary act

      observant 1: strict in observing a law, custom 2: paying careful attention 3: perceptive or alert

      Side 2: obtrude eject

      2: to force

      Slip 2 Side 1: of concrete and steel

      pillion behind the saddle

      Side 2: to put in a pickle solution


      Slip 3 Side 1: fortunate 2: showing or causing great pleasure or joy happily

      Side 2: discuss at length


Q: "Watch out for a pickpocket riding pillion-- that would indeed put me in a pickle!" I will pay strict attention and discuss happiness at length. My pleasure. So, is happiness the main goal of our planetary existence? Or if not, what is?

A: Side 1: completely

      through] 1: extending from one place to another [a through street] traveling to the destination without stops [a through train]

      Side 2: to beat out (grain) thresh

      tool; look; oil; out; up; fur

      (pronunciation guide)

      Slip 2 Side 1: paper used as a

      facile 1: not hard to do 2: working easily; fluent 3: superficial

      Side 2: Fahrenheit designation of a thermometer on which 32 degrees is the freezing point.

      Slip 3 Side 1: vomit matter ejected

      Side 2: wagon a wheeled vehicle

      Slip 4 Side 1: illness the condition of being in poor health; sickness, disease


      Side 2: idiosyncrasy a habit or manner that is peculiar to an individual


Q: "Life's complete goal is to thresh happily and thoroughly with facile temperature, and vomit illness and illogical idiosyncrasies." I think I understand: we should go about cooly separating the grain of experience from the chaff, and throw off the harvest wagon all diseases and illogical behavior. But is there an underlying purpose to all this? Where are we headed as mortal beings?

A: Side 1: of the woodwind family

      Englishman a native or inhabitant of England

      Side 2: encore once more a further

      in response to an audience's applause

      encounter to meet again

      Slip 2 Side 1: lummox a clumsy, stupid person

      lump 1: an indefinitely shaped mass of something 2: a swelling

      Side 2: [slang] a) disgusting b) poor; inferior c) well supplied lousiness

      Slip 3 Side 1: a member of a warlike Asiatic people who invaded Europe in the 4 and 5th centuries Hun


      Side 2: abnormal fear of water

      inability to swallow liquids hydrophobia

      Slip 4 Side 1: nonchargeable               nonobservance

                        nonclerical                    nonoccupational

      Side 2: none the less

      nonintervention refusal to intervene

      Slip 5 Side 1: sense; metaphorical

      speech figuratively

      Side 2: with filigree

      a small piece scraped off with a file: usually in pl filings



Q: Shady, you're being coy! Judy and I are headed for England this summer to meet with some acquaintances. But in a metaphorical sense are we headed towards a nonclerical, nonchargeable, nonoccupational nonobservance-nonexistence? Let me try rephrasing my question once more: where am I ultimately headed once this lifetime is over?

A: Side 1: by sliding a flat

      at a mark curling


      Side 2: look; oil; out; up; fur

      (pronunciation guide)

      Slip 2 Side 1: shrewd or tricky lawyer

      philander [Gr. philos, loving + aner, man] to engage lightly in love affairs, said of a man

      Side 2: pester to annoy, vex


      Slip 3 Side 1: or of wild birds or animals for sport or food 2: a) plucky; courageous b) enthusiastic; ready (for) the game is up failure is certain

      Side 1: 1: a former punishment in which the offender ran between two rows of men who struck him 2: a series of troubles, etc. gauntlet

      Slip 4 Side 1: unobstructed

      Side 2: chin;

      Fr. feu; Fr. mon

      (pronunciation guide)

      Slip 5 Side 1: 1: a staff serving as a symbol of office 2: a slender stick used in directing baton

      Side 2: boring; dull

      Slip 6 Side 1: complacence [see complacency] smug self-satisfaction

      Side 2: 4: to make calm 5: to set (type) to create musical works, etc. compose


Q: I interpret your answer as "The current curls, so don't pester me, you philanderer! The game is an unobstructed series of troubles to be met with complacency and composure."

      Over and out!

      {End of Interview}






Why Nature Grew Humans

A Maybe So Story



It all began, dear hearts, way back when the earth was mostly oceans, and the sun rarely shone through the clouds. But already the waters teemed with beasties of every shape and size. One day a daring youngster set out to discover the limits of the universe. Where did it go but straight up into the brighter realms, pushing higher and higher in spite of the blinding bliss. At last it came to the edge of death and nothingness, and what did it see but a mirror image of itself staring back. When it moved, this strange sky self moved. Oh, how it yearned to merge with that shining image! But whenever it jumped, it fell back choking and gasping.

It did not take long for this sky dance to become the rage among the younger set, especially on those days when a special golden brilliance poured down from the heights. When the fierce eye beyond nothingness was identified, he was greeted as Sky Mother, and Sky Self, the mirror image that always guarded the death barrier, the Son of Sky Mother. What great sport to swim up and touch trembling snouts with your own true sky self!

For our fishy sun-worshippers, calm water days were their Sabbaths. When continents and islands emerged from the primordial deeps, the congregations discovered the pleasures of dancing in the shallows. Leaping in a synchronized ballet, they could merge with the Son and taste for a glorious instant the blissful union with the Light. Surfing was the next great fad.

One day a water sister tumbled onto the beach by accident and by good luck was washed out by the next wave.

"What a hit!" she burbled to her friends. "Your whole life passes backwards before your eyes!"

The danger of the game only made it more zestful, and before long surfing outdistanced even the Sky Dance in popularity. What fun to frolic on the fringes of the Upper Limits and find out how much bliss you could tolerate!

The older fish were very shocked at the 'self-destructive' behavior of the young. Sometimes whole schools, caught up in a mating frenzy with the light, beached themselves by the thousands. Flapping helplessly in a fiery ecstasy, they gasped the air they were not equipped to breathe, relived their brief sojourns planetside and died.

Finally one strange-looking, runty little guy stranded himself for God on the sand. "Hey, what's the big religious deal?" he said, looking around. "This is a cinch! I'm breathing the stuff, and it's probably habit-forming." A lucky mutation had provided him with lungs, and he was a creature of two dimensions, ocean and air.

Amphibians fulfilled the fishes' dream of living in the golden realms with the Sky Mother. But they paid for the privilege by the loss of the Son, their reflection in the world above. Instead, they stared down at themselves mirrored in the water and became quite vain for creatures as homely as they were.

If the first Great Leap Forward was onto the beach, the second was into the air. Of course it all happened in easy stages, the amphibians first evolving forms that stayed out of the water all the time. Then a number of branches on the tree of life budded out into airborne models. Maybe the major reason was the tastiness of the insects who, as meals on wings, watched all this evolutionary activity with a great deal of paranoia. It all seemed to be aimed at catching them for lunch. But I believe a deeper reason underlay this general lift-off, the same one that had spurred the fishes upwards -- the love affair with the Sky Mother. Everyone yearned to discover how closely they could merge with the Source without crisping the body. That was the first game ever played, and no doubt will be the last.

For many millions of years the Life Form remained caught up in the serious business of survival in the lower reaches of the air ocean, hugged to the bosom of Mama Gaia. Yet if the phototropic urge to dive into the light was ever to be satisfied, gravity would somehow have to be overcome. After all, didn't nature evolve mankind to make the third Great Leap Forward -- into space? Thus the leaping salmon, the flying squirrel and man-in-space all shared one thing in common: they were pioneers in a new dimension which could kill unless special care was taken, but which expanded their awareness of their environment immeasurably.

But what, you ask, is the Ultimate Purpose? Why this senseless rush to the sun, like a moth blinded by a candle? Why are we the way we are? The real reason, the purpose of it all, so long in coming, I will now share with you, dearest of hearts.

Once upon a time, Old Great To The Tenth Power Grandpa Lemuel, or 'Lem' or 'Ul' or even '!,' famous in certain mystical circles as Yod Unmanifest, Dreamer of All and Everything, was snoozing down by the old fishin' hole, the Pool of All Possibilities. Suddenly the fishline tied to his big toe jiggled. He sat up quickly, reeled in the line -- hm, nothing! He crouched there, leaning over the water, and caught a glimpse of his reflection and -- he saw an old man with a long white beard! Sorry about that, all you more sophisticated religious types. This came as a big surprise to Great10 Grandpa Lem because he had always assumed, quite naturally since he was Endlessness Himself, that he was immortal.

"I'm getting old!" he shouted that day beside the Pool of all Possibilities upon the halcyon slopes of Paradise in the Total Perfection of the Absolute Sun. He counted his wrinkles and white hairs on his head before crying sweet tears. And as he cried, he picked up his guitar or oud or psaltery -- whatever you call it -- and sang "The Death Rattle Reincarnation Blues" from start to finish, missing only three Grand Barré's and a high G sharp.


The Death Rattle Reincarnation Blues


Oh, I went on down, to the fishin' hole,
All tranquil -- without a care.
My face stared back, all wrinkled and old,
The marks of death were there.

Oh arrrrrrrrrrgh!
It's the Death Rattle Reincarnation Blues!


Let me go, let me go, to the ocean sublime,
And ease my aches away.
Let me seed myself through the ages of time,
So death's dues I won't have to pay.


Oh arrrrrrrrrrgh! etc.


Well, it's just plain hard, to live alone,
And keep yourself in tune.
Much better to find yourself a friend,
To howl with at the moon.


Oh arrrrrrrrrrgh! etc.

Every note of that bluesiest of blues became a ripple in the Pool of Possibilities and each ripple a universe, and our universe is the third chord in the second line of the final verse (accompanying the word 'tune' for you esoteric types). His song quantum'd out in all directions and became manifest as All Time Everywhere in which a light century of ours is but a millisecond, a tachyon, a 'zt'. Old Ancient of Days Kingfish, crying and laughing and singing out across the waters from his perch, while coruscating galaxies coalesced and dissolved, while even in the coldest, deepest reaches of the pool something that was nothing stirred and resonated to his voice.

Ah, Halcyon the Kingfisher, who combs the water for his water brothers, who completes the fish-to-frog-to-human climb into a circle by preying on us as we pray. His tears are the soul-essence-spirit-spark of our reality, the nothingness-sperm-hydrogen Great10 Grandma Hattie spins into dust clouds of baby stars.

Great10 Grandma Hattie, creatrix of all us Milky Way creatures, Queen Bee of our heavenly hive, tirelessly giving birth to great ionized clouds of hydrogen trillions of miles in diameter. They swirl out along her arms while she spins the energy from hand to hand

'Ol' Kingfish,' she's thinking, 'that no-count husband of mine!' Always dropping by for a quickie while she was still dozing before dawn. Well, she bed him and fed him and packed him off to the fishin' hole. Once he was out of her hair, she could get back to the serious business of preserving the realm by her endless efforts. What a cornucopia of good things she was! And Great10 Grandpa Lem loved and appreciated her mightily in spite of his roving ways. On their eight billionth anniversary he wrote her a song that actually made it into the Old Testament (check Proverbs 31:10 under "The Sayings of Lemuel"). It's the original alphabet song that Hollywood transformed into 'A you're adorable, B you're so beautiful, C you're the creature I adore! D you're delightful and E you're exciteful and F you are mine forevermore!'

All right, so enough fun and games, you say. How does the creation of all these dreamy universes guarantee Great10 Grandpa Lem his immortality? Let's first take a closer look at what was really going on.

Great10 Grandpa Lem, realizing originally that despite his being Eternal Endlessness he was effing lonely, split himself in two for the sake of some company and also so his 'better half' could plunge into the chaos of Time and duplicate his essence on all cosmic dimensions. Great10 Grandma Hattie took his seeds -- or tears, if you will -- and scattered them throughout the fields of space, an effort that took all her energy for quite a while. The first generation born included all the oldest stars, the red giants and dwarfs which pack together to form the dense central globe of our spiral. The second and third generations produced the blue giants and dwarfs, one of which is our Mother Sun. Then Great10 Grandma produced seed-spores containing the DNA blueprint for planetary life and blew them like dandelion fluff through the infinite reaches. Wherever conditions were right, the spores took hold. The wonderful thing about them was that they were designed to replicate in the microdimensions all the characteristics of their originators, even on the frozen energy surfaces of planets such as ours.

It was damn hard work, but Great110 Grandma had help. Within the central core of older stars there evolved beings who could travel our galaxy -- shall we call them 'angels' or 'Faralongeers?' As the first snouty sprouts of baby beings poked their noses out of the primeval soup on Mama Gaia, along came a podful of Great-Grandma's intrepid Astral Gardeners, headed by none other than Metatron, the Seraph Sustainer, and Archangel Rafael, in charge of our solar system. Metatron preferred to be called by her ancient Persian name of 'Farun Faro Vakshur' and stood as high as the clouds while squads of angelic specialists fanned out to check things out under the watchful eyes of Sealiah and Sofiel, the angels of fruits and vegetables.

They poked into corners and tapped on shells. "Well, how far along are you?" they asked, and put a glowing ear down close to hear the tiny voice reply.

The Faralongeers tried to boost things along a notch so that before too long a grateful-to-the-tenth-power grandchild would come along who could get his antigravity shit together and light out for the stars to start helping out. After all, there will come a day when even the biggest and brightest of stars will dim, and mankind's destined task is to go out and stoke up the celestial furnaces. So there you have it, the why and wherefore of it all. What? You don't believe me? Well, I can't promise this is exactly the way it is, but it sure may be so.







Interview Twenty-Two

San Francisco



Q: Shady, considering the number of possible methods for divination, is there a better way to communicate than the way we are using?

A: Side 1: jot [Gr. iota, the smallest letter] a very small amount jotted, jotting, to make a brief note

      Side 2: building, etc. 5. [slang] a marijuana cigarette 3: common to two or more (joint property) 2. sharing with another joint

      Slip 2 Side 1: of catching fire through heat generated by internal combustion spontaneous combustion

      spoof [Slang]

      Side 2: stain; blemish 3: to place; locate

      see; recognize spot

Q: "jot joint spontaneous combustion spoof." Write something about two people bursting into flame? Any more?

A: Side 1 (with of) 2: totally


      Side 2: 1: atmospheric moisture that condenses in drops on cool surfaces at nigth 2: anything refreshing dew

      Slip 2 Side 2: The speeding up or, sometimes, slowing down of a chemical reaction by adding


Q: Hm, upon rereading, I get the feeling that you want me to indulge in a small amount of a controlled substance. What is this? The 'Sixties all over again? May I ask again, Shady? Is there a better way to communicate than the way we are using? And if there is, what is it?

A: Side 1: from scarves worn by Croatian soldiers} a necktie


      Side 2: crease 1: a line made by folding

      2: a fold or wrinkle creasing

      Slip 2 Side 1: counterclockwise in a direction opposite to that in which the hands of a clock move.


      Side 2: corruscating to glitter; sparkle

      corvette a small, fast British warship for convoy duty

      Slip 3 Side 1: automatically

      Automation a manufacturing system

      Side 2: authenticate 1: to prove to be genuine


(Opening the blinds and letting the sun shine in)

Q: And repeating the question a third time: is there a better method of communication available to us, Shady? And if so, what is it?

A: Side 1: out a liquid in drops dropper


      Side 2: theater, bank, designed to serve people seated in cars. drive-in

      drivel to let (saliva) flow from the mouth


Q: You're going to have to be more exact. (Closing eyes and listening) Shady? Are you there?

A: I am always here


Q: You mean, I have gone to all this silly trouble to communicate with a voice that's always been available inside my head?

A: Yes


Q: And probably the same is true of all those 'other' times.

A: Yes


      Well, go on


Q: Who said that, you or me?

     Not being a touch typist, it would be more convenient if I could communicate with my eyes open, at least part of the time. Although I guess I could learn touch-typing.

A: You


Q: So now that you have enlightened me on this important point, please answer me regarding what else to include in this book.

A: I think this probably is the final chapter, isn't it?


Q: I agree. It probably is, since I think I'll move over to a cassette recorder.
This connection is like the 'invisible friend' that children have. It's easily accessible in the sunshine, but I just call it the 'same old thing.'

A: Everything is possible in the Hereafter


Q: But what about the 'Herebefore?'

A: It's a trying time


Q: What's the purpose?

A: To prepare this world for the wondrousness


Q: How to prepare this world

A: Attract happiness


Q: May all beings be peaceful and happy forever in all directions everywhere!

{End of Interview}







A Definitely So Story



    My understanding of reality came to me in a series of what I can only refer to as mystical insights over the years. After experiencing some aspects of the current world religions, I focused uponthe source of all of mankind's life, light and consciousness, the sun. I recognize the sun as our solar system's god, the only knowable -- visible -- creator within our normal material frame of reference. What lies beyond in space, in the center of the galaxy, or before time within that primal moment when the universe exploded into being, I can only conjure up in my imaginings. But my senses, my daily experience, tell me that the light-bringer from which mankind abstracted their notion of the deity is perceptible in the sky above us to all living things every day of their lives, and in my opinion acknowledged as such by most creatures -- except humans.

    The above insights began for me in February, 1966, when I traveled to the Mojave Desert for some time alone. I had resigned from the electronic music center I had founded with some artist friends. In the process of searching for a new creative direction, I had collaborated with Stewart Brand and The Merry Pranksters to produce the Trips Festival. It had succeeded beyond our wildest dreams, a three-day musical and theatrical extravaganza that combined for the first time many elements of the emerging Bay Area hippy scene. The energies had been cyclotronic, swirling me faster and faster until I achieved escape velocity and was flung towards the southwest.

    Once more I took up the long-delayed vision quest I had begun ten years earlier on Mount Tamalpais where, as a twenty-two-year-old, I spent two weeks alone on the ridge. My predominant religious interest then had been Zen Buddhism, fanned to a flame by the poetry of Gary Snyder, Ginsburg and Rexroth. What few Zen books were available at that time I carried with me in my backpack. I tried to meditate and pondered the koans. One evening there came a sunset of glorious light beams diffracting through the fog. It communicated to me such a beatific vision that I decided to restructure my life. The oceanic experience must have been 'satori,' I decided, the Zen enlightenment that I had been seeking. At that moment I embraced all and everything, my life's failures and its victories, in one harmonious total that seemed just one note in the universal chorus. I said 'Yes' with all my heart to that glorious message, and decided to retire to a simple cabin somewhere in the California countryside. I would turn away from society's meaningless power games, from the ruined marriage that had brought me out west for that summer, and merge myself with nature.

    First I had to fly back to New York to rid myself of my apartment, my ties. Also I took the opportunity to visit an intentional Christian community. One weekend among them convinced me that they might offer one last chance to put together my shattered relationship. After six months of living there, holding all things in common and working in their woodworking business, I talked my wife into coming to live there. We lived separately and chastely, and shortly became novice members. Their preparation intensive for baptism into full membership afforded me yet another enlightenment experience, but along a different route from the Zen masters, the path of ego-death and self-denial. I had to burn my old identity in the flames of God's wrathful judgment, and empty myself of everything to which I had once clung. There came a moment when, seated alone in my room, and having just had the last of my ego's underpinnings shattered in an encounter with the leader and his wife, I heard what was unmistakably God's voice saying, with unfathomable gentleness, 'I love you, Ramón.' Simplistic as it seems now to report these four words, they melted me away. I merged into the group mind for a number of months, yet there remained a lingering distrust of the sect's shock techniques. They seemed more akin to brain-washing than to true Christian compassion, the great 'No' as opposed to the cosmic 'Yes' I had experienced on that mountain top. The psychological process by which my ego had been peeled away to expose the anechoic chamber within my heart seemed an act of psychic savagery strangely at odds with the group's avowed dedication to brotherly and sisterly love. This nagging doubt surfaced during a second encounter session during which I realized that the anticipated renewal of my marriage would never work. Inasmuch as the brotherhood did not believe in divorce, it seemed my only choice was a lifetime extension of the two years of total celibacy that I already had undergone.

    At this point my body, bless it, finally rebelled and took the rest of me with it. In despair I returned to the 'outside world,' as it was called, feeling as if I had been cast into Inferno. Back in California, I immersed myself in the writings of the Russian Christian Berdyaev, an existentialist philosopher who celebrated the conquest of truth through the creative act. He believed we were on the edge of a new golden age of divine and human creation, and celebrated the artist as the one who had the potential of breaking through the objectification that deadened man's perceptions of his surroundings. I clung to Berdyaev's concepts, because they made me feel I had not been thrown to the wolves. For the next seven years, I devoted myself to composing music within the congenial artistic community thriving in San Francisco. After graduating from the Conservatory, I co-founded an electronic music center with composer friends that gave monthly concerts for four years.

    The psychedelic awakening of the early 'sixties reenergized my spiritual search again, at first to Tibetan Buddhism. Meanwhile the Trips Festival had brought to a climax the concert series aspect of my life, and I retreated to a small cave in the desert south of Needles. There I retraced my steps back through the layers of self-abnegation to that terrifying moment of ego-annihilation where once more I heard God's voice repeat that he loved me. But that day I was able to trace it to its source. The voice had come from the sun!

    What an incredible discovery! The sun was God! The answer had been literally staring me in the face all my life! What a fool I was, what a happy zany fool! Thinking back to that first time at the Christian community, I now remembered how the sun had been pouring through the window at the moment I heard those loving words. The sun had been there all along, always next to me twelve hours a day, only disappearing to shine with equal love on the other side of the planet. I felt as if I had reached back beyond the tainted patriarchal religions to man's earliest awareness, to the source of life itself. Now that I had 'awakened,' the obvious clues were everywhere -- in nature, in the animal world, even in those religious paintings that showed a ray of light descending from on high. Only man's vanity had placed God as invisible and out of reach in non-material dimension.

    I now realized that our dualistic view of the universe was a misconception. Matter, mind and spirit were just different vibrations -- differient notes along the same scale. And if the sun was a conscious being, so then -- could everything else be conscious as well? I had read this truth in the writings of the mystics, but it was totally different to experience it, to talk with the trees and flowers, the stars who were only our same God manifesting elsewhere in other solar systems. All was one, and that unity did not mean that only our material plane existed. Spirit and matter intermingled on an ascending and descending cosmic interplay.

    When I returned to the Bay Area, I discovered I was unable to live indoors, away from the true source and fountainhead of my joy. I needed to be outdoors in nature as much as possible to continue my yoga of adoration and my acclimatization to the solar presence. So I moved to a vacant ranch in Sonoma County that belonged to a friend. My dog Katy moved with me, and later that summer, my partner and some friends and fellow travelers joined us. All that year I was caught up in a Ramakrishna-like love affair with God both as father and mother, the former manifesting in the multi-colored rose windows the sun made in the redwood treetops, and the Holy Mother speaking to me through the meadows and orchards. Others also experienced her nearness, and a few even saw her standing under a tree one day. Some years later we learned to our great amazement that even before my friend bought the ranch, it had been dedicated to the Virgin Mary by a lay order of St. Dominic.

    I began to read through all the world's religions looking for where humans had 'lost themselves,' for references to the divinity of the sun and for places where my new vision resonated with what others had experienced. I could find little hints in the so-called world religions where the sun was used as a metaphor for the Divine, but I had to turn to the Native Americans to find true fellow-believers.

    I also found some parallels in the writings of the Hindu philosopher-yogi Sri Aurobindo Ghose. He shared with Berdyaev a vision of a spiritual evolution that was leading man to a 'divinized light bod that ultimately would replace our corruptible ones. The 'forerunners of this divine multitude,' as he named them in his epic poem 'Savitri,' were the rishis and holy beings who lived thousand-year-long lives in the Himalayas within bodies that no longer needed food, air or water. According to Aurobindo, through the meeting of eastern spiritual traditions and western technical discoveries, a synthesis of yoga and science would make the experience of this Himalayan advance guard available to everyone.

    For long hours I lay in the semi-shade, staring up into the golden beams. I entered state after altered state of consciousness, searching for the method of what I called 'disappearing' myself, of getting out of the way so that the outer light that was consciousness-light-love could merge with the inner 'mother' light that fueled me, the life force. Once that happened, I would no longer be flesh but instead I would become the interstices of light-filled energies that bound my atoms together. I found I had an innate talent for stillness and meditation. Later I expanded my schedule to include daily Hatha Yoga and pranayama, yogic breathing that kept me from getting chilled during my long hours in the grove.

    It would take too long to describe all the marvels I experienced, but I know with certitude that I have tasted for a tiny, brief instant the nectar of physical immortality, Upon one or two occasions I came back to my body to find it suspended between breaths yet totally comfortable. I interpreted this as a positive sign that I was approaching my goal, that I was within reach of the 'switch' that one day would click on and merge the two lights within me. From there I would unite with solar consciousness, whose gift would be a lifetime as long as the sun itself existed.

    However there kept being distractions. It was difficult for the ranch to remain merely a center for spiritual research, for us not to apply some of our discoveries to others who came looking for answers of their own. Couldn't we at least share the mother spirit that hovered over us with whomever was in need of a home? My friends agreed, and by July of 1967 we were serving supper to over one hundred and fifty pilgrims -- and the neighbors were becoming irritated. It was the Summer of Love in the Haight Ashbury and a magic bus made weekly trips from the Free Store to our sanctuary, carrying anyone in need of 'time out,' as we called it.

    After the first visit from the sheriff's department, I left the ranch, feeling that the anonymity necessary for my launches into the sky had been shattered. But when I visited, the energies were so high, the newcomers so sincere, that I moved back. I built a sleeping platform on the dawn side of the property where I could watch the morning star rise over Sonoma Mountain, and there began a tribal decade in my life for which I will be forever grateful. I learned many wonderful things about living with other seekers, but also I found myself in a double-bind because I was not ready to share my deepest insights

    I knew that I was only a beginner, feeling my way step-by-step into the unknown. I could take responsibility for my own retinas during extended periods of sun-gazing, but I could not be responsible for others'. What if the rumor got around that I was burning out the eyes of the younger generation? The cops would close us down in minutes! About this same time an urban myth circulated about a group of college students that burned their retinas staring at the sun on LSD.

    Even if our cultural taboo against gazing at the sun turned out to be an old wives' tale that evolved along with the concept of an invisible god, I could not take the chance. We were still in the Kali Yuga, the most materialistic of the Hindu cycle of ages. Somewhere I had read a description of it as the age when mankind's spirit had become so dense, so imbedded in matter, that men could not gaze at the sun. And yet the Plains Indians danced all day with their gaze fixed on the sun in that most sacred of all rituals, the Sun Dance. What was their secret?

    I treasured any reference I could find to ancient sun practices or current lore. Romans took an oath on the sun by looking at it and saying, 'May Apollo strike me blind if I lie!' Coincidentally, a little child once had told me that the sun would not blind you if you hadn't told a lie. Elsewhere I ran across an item that nuns in Europe used to punish children for lying by making them stare at the sun! What a strange perversion, to make a punishment out of recharging one's soul, one's solar battery! Then there were the Bates eye-strengthening exercises that encouraged bathing the eyes in full sunlight in a carefully guided manner. But why would nature evolve an organ of sight incapable of looking at the most important thing in the sky? Somehow it seemed implausible.

    I felt like the man in Plato's story who left the cave of shadows and saw reality but could not convince his fellow cave dwellers to venture forth. However in my case, my fellow cavemen were all too eager to experiment themselves. So I only shared my insights with close friends. After all, our pain threshold acted as built-in fail-safe device, to which I definitely paid attention.

    One thing was certain: the quickest way for me to achieve a state of no-thought was to fix my gaze on the filtered light of our parent star. Immediately I would feel my heartbeat quicken and a warming sensation spread from my solar plexus (!) throughout my body. However I lacked a method for stabilizing a given amount of sunlight in one place for a long period of time. After ten or so minutes of lying prone in the grove, I would find myself either in too much shade or blinding full sun. I would have to come all the way 'down' to my body to shift positions and then start over. Perhaps I should summer at the North Pole? I dreamed of designing a sunlight attenuator, something that would allow me to select the ideal amount for extended gazing. I tried placing my hands in different positions or 'mudras' over my eyes. Not satisfactory.

    I did devise a pair of pinhole glasses, but it was difficult to decide where to allow the light to enter. On the blind spot, where the optic nerve entered the retina? Filters were out, because I was not sure which were the beneficial rays. The blue to violet seemed the most important, and it was the red and infra-red at sunset that seemed the most damaging from reports I had read. I did encounter a bluish Plexiglas skylight one ecstatic day in the Santa Cruz mountains that was terrific. How about those mirror balls they placed in the center of gardens? The answer must be simple, I told myself, right in front of me. It must be built into the human body itself one way or another.

    Another time I attained a remarkably blissful state in the city staring at a tensor lamp. Don't laugh. The meditation was shared by a number of new friends who upon the strength of that experience immediately moved to the ranch. But ultimately, nothing was as satisfactory as the redwood groves and they remained my sanctuaries.

    Life at the ranch continued full of distractions, such as raids by sheriff's deputies and fly-overs by building inspectors. When a local judge placed an injunction on the property forbidding anyone except the owner to live there, those of us who stayed faced daily the prospect of arrest. Gradually we all moved to another ranch that had opened in a less accessible area, and there I continued for another few years. Finally in 1970 I left the now-beleaguered second ranch and spent some time indoors in Santa Cruz writing a history of the Open Land Movement, the name we had given our philosophy of living together without choosing our neighbors.

    While there, I visited the University of California campus and wired myself to their eight-channel EEG-EKG recorder. I sat outside in the sun, the wires leading from my head through an open window to the equipment. The tests were administered by a graduate student. By the time I received the results, I was in South America on the track of ancient solar cultures. The scrap of squiggles he mailed me and his brief analysis were enough to convince me that my body underwent measurable changes during sun-gazing sessions. My heartbeat changed radically whenever I looked at the sun, and my alpha rhythms were as strong as some they had recorded with Zen mediators.

    In South America I wrote "Being Of The Sun" that Alicia Bay Laurel co-authored, designed and drew. In it I attempted to put in the simplest language something of the religious experiences that I -- and it seemed by then many others -- were experiencing. By the time it was published, the hard-edged 1970s were in full swing and the gentle people had retreated to quiet eddies in rural backwaters to raise their children and gardens. The ones who needed the book's message were no longer interested, and the ones who were living the religion it described didn't need to be told the obvious.

    In the years that followed, I turned to writing fiction, hoping that within the context of this medium to find a career one notch more practical than either composing and mysticism. After completing a number of full-length manuscripts in my rural cabin, When my first novel "Zero Weather" was published in 1980, I moved back to San Francisco.

    These days I find it exhilarating to live in a high-stress, polluted environment with only the sun to steer by. I do not practice any other yogas except for the continuing awareness that I am in His presence most days, although most of the time shielded by panes of glass. Am I deliberately starving myself just for the indescribable pleasure of some future reunion? Well, dry periods occur on the spiritual path for every seeker, I tell myself. Right now I am content to lead an urban existence and bide my time while I a accumulate more data on the effects on light on living organisms.

    Yet I know there will come a day when once more I will shoot for the skies, when with whatever accumulated knowledge I have acquired, I will throw my soul as far through the hole in the ozone as possible and hope it will hook onto a sunbeam. Whatever else it is, this process must be a natural one, because I know this phototropic, light-seeking urge lies coiled in the deepest recesses of every living form. Meanwhile, I continue to experience spirit and matter as one continuum. After all, if everything is conscious and the sun is God, then heaven must also exist in our material universe.

    In one of the references to sun yoga that I found in India, the sun is referred to as the place where the spirits of the rishis and kings of ancient times went after death. I think our paradise, whence we return, exists within the sun.

   One thing is sure -- my dear friend Shady will be there to greet me!







         Now that I¹m about to offer this book on line, I feel it would be remiss not to bring things up-to-date with an Afterword. I also should mention that although my literary agent was delighted by this book, when he attempted to place it he discovered that the more conventional publishing houses felt it was too ŒNew Age.¹ At the same time, the New Age publishers thought it must be a tongue-in-cheek take-off on more conventional divinatory techniques. That sums up the story of Shady¹s literary career up until this point in time -- and also mine, because I tend to straddle the conventional and unconventional in a unique manner.

         Three years ago I began to work full-time jas the Administrative Director of the Now Valley Ministry / Community Center. That ŒNow¹ is a typo, but I like it so it remains. The job is perfect for me because it combines a number of my major interests: spirituality, community, music concerts and children via both the parents¹ co-op nursery school and classes in music and dance for all age groups. My wife and I contribute to the mix with a series of guest speakers on every Monday with an odd-number date. Shady made an appearance on the evening that we co-presented essays and poetry.

         Shady also continues to answer questions as the WELL¹s online oracle, and recently was very much on-target with some responses that I will include below.



(Opening the blinds and letting the sun shine in)

Q: And repeating the question a third time: is there a better method of communication available to us, Shady? And if so,

Shady, can I address the sun as ŒGrandmother Sun?²


Side one: Seventh Heaven

Side two: Set


How is "Shady" these days...Are you bringing her/him to May Day?




Well, I haven't consulted Shady as often recently as I did in the past,

I will right now.


Question: Shady, how are you?

Slip 1 Side A: loud enough to be heard


Side B: ATOLL - a ring-shaped island surrounding a lagoon

Slip 2 Side A: ready adj. astir [he is up and about]

1. on all sides

Side B: Aaron - the first high priest of the Hebrews

Slip 3 Side A: a hearing, esp a formal interview

AUDIO of frequencies corresponding to audible

Side B: of similar particles the other

THE ATOM - atomic energy




COMMENT: Well, THAT blew me away! First of all, the bag is thoroughly

mixed and has been in the same container for almot 30 years, so how come

all three slips start with 'A' words? Secondly, they're all about being heard

and ready to be heard. I guess Shady is super-eager to converse.


I've been intending to add an AFTERWORD to the "Conversations With

Shady" manuscript for these e-book folks, so maybe this is the start of it!

Thanks for the noodge, Karin!