Friday, February 12, 2021

Post Vac Blues

 I thought after Vac shot 2,  I'd feel relieved, protected, released.  Well, I did.  For a day. Then there was a thought, worry, anxiety--like an eye floater: I Like This Way! I don't want it to stop! I don't want to "visit" 

For a moment, I thought it was just my late life curmudgeon self having a moment on stage.  You know "I love Humanity, it's people I can't tolerate".  It's a male-thing.  But then my wife began echoing similar thoughts.

Something Alchemical was happening.   I've been a student of Alchemy for a few decades and have learned that Things, People Transform.  Some very few times by plan, but usually by some larger set of forces that can only be seen in retrospect. Our quarantining is just such one force. In the process, our brains have been rewired.  There are consequences and even benefits.  More Tomorrow on the Distilling, the Tincturing that is taking place. We have less tolerance for dilute distractions and the people who deal in them. We are winnowing out our address books with ruthless and perhaps unconscious vigor.  Years ago, my 7-year old daughter was angry at her friend and this was the threat (and promise) "Nora, I'm taking you out of my address book"  Nora was crushed.  That is now playing out all over. Existential weariness sets in at even the thought of a Facetime, a Zoom or perhaps even a text exchange with some people. "OMG, I can't do it"

More tomorrow

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Wonder If...

 Many of us are just waiting... for the vaccine, for warmer weather... for things to get back to "normal".  Wonder If they never will?

How can we start to practice for this New World?  to accept that some things, some ways are over. It's happened many times in our lives already. Certainly the death of people close to us upends our world. Other traumas, failings, accidents are similar.  We usually come back to an amended world, resembling parts of the old one.. My favorite Marshall McLuhan quote is       

 "We go hurtling into the future looking in a rear-view mirror"

Are there ways to prepare now? Or is the Shock of it,  a big essential part of it all?

Talk, Talk, Talk doesn't really seem too helpful.  

I'm trying to arrange something less direct and more playful... a game-like activity. The Players get to make up the rules, choose appropriate Game Boards, Yes, there's contact with Chance (nice vintage dice), but the goal is not to WIN, but to turn a corner of awareness about how games can be played; that the rules change, the Game Pieces change.  There are hidden messages in games and game playing that can seep into the rest of our upended lives.   More on my Website

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Beginnings of Future Blogs: quotes and ideas

Finding and Practicing Ways to expand 
Vision, Sensibility in these Contentious Times  as our "normal" selves wear thin

No such thing as Bad Weather,  just unsuitable clothing.

Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across    Sun Tzu

“Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits. Fanatics will never learn that, though it be written in letters of gold across the sky. It is the prohibition that makes anything precious.”            Mark Twain

Yard Rage & Civility     People Home           Noise is a bigtime stressor  

Loud Boys 

Educate, not threaten  foster compromise or arguments will never stop

Phrase from recent Times article : Random Morbidity

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Wayward Artist Lost in a Political World

 As much as we (I) might want to barricade the door of my studio, I can't: 

Thomas Friedman on Trump: Politics of Humiliation

Trump as White Male Icon

Donald Trump, Political Dyslexic:

"I believe, you know, in always speaking Power to truth."

"I don't see anything, I don't believe"

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Casual Alchemy Booklet, June 2020


The Casual Alchemist June 2020.4      Your Ersions

Guides to Chaos, Order, Meaning and The Unknown

We all have our own special cast, our family, our clan of characters and characteristics that help make us who we are. We’ve inherited some and learned to favor and develop others. Some are big and noisy. Some we shun and shoo away, others arrive and visit quietly almost like a gentle breeze.

Some come and go. Getting to recognize and live with this group is a life-long adventure. They carry energy, meaning, joy and sadness into our lives.

 One old Greek said: Bidden or not, the gods arrive

The virus of this last year has changed the landscape and habitat of many of these forces. The slowing down and times in one place, particularly The Home have made these forces more available to humans. There’s now more opportunity to see them anew and learn more about them and their part in our lives. They are Guides, Tenders, Stationmasters of the Openings and Portals to learn more about our human nature and ways to create and renew meaning in our lives. First, these energies do not really have any one or simple name or form. They are tendencies, bundles, inflections. They have appeared throughout human history as fairy folk, alux, household gods, invisible friends, anima, Ix, Ux, Icklers, Itz, Itches, Ersions.

Tricksters bring with them the gifts of illumination, playfulness, revelation, truth and balance. the ability to help us question life, embrace uncertainty and become receptive to seeing everything just as it is. What is Your Flavor of Holy Madness? think about your own inner Trickster. Has it been judged, banished, fered? outlawed to your Shadow? Do you give it enough healthy expression in your life? What does it look like, sound like and feel like?

fairies, demons, nature spirits and the other ‘small gods’ haunting the margins of Christendom

undisciplined tendency to evade such efforts at exorcism. Lurking in forest or fairy-mound, chuckling in dark corners of the home or of the demoniac’s body, they both define and disturb the borders of a religion that is endlessly syncretistic and in endless, active denial of its own syncretism.'Small Gods' at the Margins of Christendom  Ostling,




But they do all share certain ways:

They prefer to be off-center, hiding in the margins, wayward, shadowy, interstitial.

 They are nature-based  waiting to integrate animal and human nature, accessing the wisdom inherent in instinctual nature.     Be in Nature.  They are there.

They believe in the positive value of disorder, decay, uncertainty, anxiety, waiting. They vex and annoy to stay in touch, alert. They believe in “inherent vice”:  the tendency of material to deteriorate due to the essential instability of the components or interaction with other things.  They are committed to Change, ushering new “versions” of things, all kinds of versions.

 They are Shapeshifters: appearing as people, animals, objects, events using tricks and accidents to convey meaning.

The Spiral,  particularly The Meandering Spiral is a comfortable image for them.

They are dedicated to holding opposites and polarities together.  This is the way they put it to Buddha:  “Things are not what they seem,  nor are they otherwise.”

 They made sure The Gospel of Thomas was written, lost, then found, 1900 years later

“The Kingdom of God is inside/within you and all about you, not in buildings/mansions of wood and stone. When I am gone. Split a piece of wood and I am there, lift the/a stone and you will find me."

They inhabit a different form of Time. Theirs is Kairos, time infused with meaning. Our preferred form of time is Chronos, regular, linear time.

Ways and Times Humans Might encounter them

 Recall Defining Life Events. breech birth, lost body parts, early deaths.  They present in even normal shifts/jolts in human use of time & space through job change, aging, sickness, moving, trauma. Take note of events of disorder in your Home: accidents, breaks, leaks. This is their language. They like being remembered in Stories of unusual events, coincidences.

Be alert to Shadows and Patterns

Be with Children, especially 3 to 6 year old’s, who have ways of sensing the feral and the fleeting. Check those pictures they give you.

Also, be alert to children’s Imaginal Friends and favored toys

the invention of invisible friends can be seen as an exercise in the understanding of others’ points of view, imagination used in the service of social maturing. “Appreciating the knowledge, desires, intentions, or perspectives of another is ultimately an act of the imagination,” Wigger points out. “By playing with mind, by imaginatively representing other minds—even when invisible—children are fine-tuning their ability to understand others” (p. 107).

Play with the Words Discover prefixes, suffixes, rhymes, anagrams and puns that fit with Ersions, Ix, Ux, Icklers, Itz, Itches. They like this kind of play.

You may be lucky enough to come upon their nest. where they keep their toolkits of bees legs, finger and toenails, stolen puzzle pieces, toothpaste caps and used dental floss.

They especially present in Objects made, found, gifted and bought. 

 Make them offerings. They respond to attention from humans.  It may be filling birdfeeders or repairing a broken cup.

In your home altars and totems.  It’s likely you already have a relationship with these characters. Check what’s collected on your mantles, shelves and dresser tops.

They are skilled in asemic writing, a pre-conscious communication almost impossible for humans to understand consciously. Be Alert to bits of this you might have around. Sometimes it’s the hair you find on the shower wall

They usually inhabit marginal objects:   Folk Art, Scholars Rocks, Outsider Art, Deviant Art, Street Art, Found Art

Scholars Rocks Use the grotesque and picturesque, the sacred and profane. built around an appreciation for experimentation; sensuous, biomorphic forms; refined, carefully wrought materials; a sense of humor and whimsy

Scholar's rock (gongshi) based on subtleties of color, shape, markings, surface, and sound. Prized qualities include: awkward,overhanging asymmetry[10]  resonance/ringing when struck[10] representation or resemblance to mountainous landscapes, particularly ones believed to be inhabited by immortal beings [1] or figure[10][11]  texture[10]    moistness or glossy surface[10]   The stone may be displayed on a rosewood pedestal carved specifically for the stone.

most amazing is the duality of scale, the way the forms continually switch between miniature and actual size, from rock to mountain to rock again.  various textures -- smooth, dimpled, pocked, rippling, folded and wrinkled -- enhance this fluidity by suggesting bronze, wood, ceramic and elephant skin. almost motion, suggest cascading sheets of water rather than stone. the power of the scholars' rocks lies in the way their formal fluidity mirrors the shifting fluidity of the human imagination.their seeming naturalness cuts through the defenses briought to more obviously manufactured works of art. these objects set the mind in motion with unusual directness, inspiring esthetic experience                                               FLOW? Kairos

What OBJECTS are Emerging?  WHY  “Wholeness” via melancholy to vex rein in 

They are meant as prickers, ticklers for your own thinking and feeling.  

In the ancient world each thing was seen as inhabited by a daemon, a kind of intermediary between the gods and the earthly world.  Proclus said: “What we see is not the god himself, but an emanation from him which is partly mortal, partly divine, and even this we do not see with our physical eyes but with the eyes of our astral  body according to the principle ‘like is perceived by like’.” Learning is the discipline required to awaken the astral or soul body, the capacity to perceive the outer world as image. The central task of learning is not accumulation of information, but learning to learn. process consists of coming to realize the individual body in conjunction with the body of the world and to appreciate the  conjunction as container and reflector of soul p51

Objects, frequently remain idle around us for a long period of time. After we have used them, they rest inanimate, there, in our living places gathering dust, waiting to perform their next task. This idling is the object’s “INANIMATE MOMENTS”, when an object can offer new expressive possibilities. Now the object is there alone and perhaps not functioning it is only something to look at. Its presence Has to speak for itself  this can be the signifying moment that permits us to design in the object a  moment-story: a metaphorical moment,

 a connecting moment.                                                       

They Influence how and what humans make.  We are all makers.. Some of us make dinner, objects, trouble … The hands are an extension of what’s in our hearts. We have to Make. They want us all to get involved.

Again, it’s objects in service of meaning and interaction.

Find people in touch with them

Carl Jung recognized them as “Archetypes”


Poet W. H. Auden:We are being lived by powers we pretend to understand.”     


Rumi, Mary Oliver, Pablo Neruda know them


Albert Einstein The intuitive mind is a sacred gift andthe rational mind is a faithful servant.

If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairytales. If you want them to be

more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.


Thich Nhat Hanh calls them “The Remembrances”.  He describes five:


1. I am subject to aging. No way to avoid aging. 

2. I am subject to ill health. No way to avoid illness.

3. I am going to die. No way to avoid death 

4. Everyone and thing I love will change and be separated from me.

5. Only true possessions are my actions, I cannot escape their consequences.

Do not suppress knowledge of our frailty, impermanence and fears that lie in the depths of our consciousness. To be free of these fears invite the Remembrances into our consciousness and stop seeing them as enemies.

Friday, October 2, 2020


“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you

want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Albert Einstein

There is an ancient Taoist story about a tree. The tree was old and crooked; every branch twisted and gnarled. Somebody walking by that old and crooked tree commented to Chuang Tzu what a useless tree it was; because the trunk and branches were so crooked the tree served no purpose at all.   Chuang Tzu replied:

The tree on the mountain height is its own enemy… The cinnamon tree is edible: so it is cut down! The lacquer tree is profitable: they maim it. Every man knows how useful it is to be useful. No one seems to know how useful it is to be useless.


The uselessness of the tree is what protected it. Nobody wanted it for anything, so they didn’t cut it down, and it lived to be very old, fulfilling its own nature.

“No one seems to know how useful it is to be useless.” What does it mean to be useless? It means being empty of striving to become something, to be anything special, freeing the mind from that kind of gaining idea. To become useless is to settle back and allow our own nature to express itself in a simple and easy way.

There’s a famous monk in Thailand who summed up this attitude of mind, and indeed the whole Dharma, in a very short saying. He said: “There is nothing to be, nothing to do, and nothing to have.” Nothing special. Everything is impermanent, everything is in flow, in constant transformation. If we can free ourselves of the striving to be someone special, to be a certain way, or to have certain things – free of that desire to do or to be or to have anything at all – we can settle back into the natural unfolding of Dharma.

Joseph Goldstein, The Experience of Insight, Shambala Dragon Editions, p131