|1) Sisters of The Extreme,
Women Writing on the Drug
|2) Chögyam Trungpa, Great
|3) Nina Graboi photograph
|4) Steven Harrison,
Getting To Where You Are
|5) Alex Grey, The Mission of
|6) David jay Brown, Virus, the
|7) Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
|8) Daniel Quinn, Beyond Civilization
|9) Lao Tse, The Tao te Ching
|10) Jean Shinoda Bolen, The Millionth Circle,
How to Change Ourselves and the World
|11) Nick Herbert, Physics on all Fours
|12) Stephen Gaskin, Cannabis Spirituality
MARIJUANA MEDICAL HANDBOOK
|14) Saul Rubin: OFFBEAT
The Life and Times of the World's
|15) Chøgyam Trungpa:
THE PATH IS THE GOAL, A Basic Handbook of Buddhist Meditation.
McClen Novick: FUNDAMENTALS OF TIBETAN BUDDHISM.
THE TIBETAN BOOK OF THE
Cynthia Palmer and Michael Horowitz: Park Street Press Rochester,
Louisa May Alcott, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Anais
Nin, Mabel Dodge Luhan, Maya Angelou, Lenore Kandel,
Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf, Diane di Prima
Many Others -
I am both humbled and proud to be one of the "many others", sandwiched
between the wise words of Anita Hoffman (from Trashing) and the lovely
words of Rosemary Woodruff Leary, (Peyote Equinox).
What have you read about women in the world of psychedelics?
Probably very little. Perhaps something about the great Eleusinian
mysteries of ancient Greece, mysteries dedicated to the Goddess Demeter
which centered around the use of "kykeon" a drink made of ergot (LSD)
soaked grain. Something about the Inquisition and witches brews?
You might have heard of the women today unjustly imprisoned with long sentences
for being around illegal sacramental substances.
Well, this wonderful book, a very expanded version of
the author's previous book, Shaman Woman, Mainline Lady, makes
up for the dearth of information. It is amazingly complete. Some
of the women it references, will amaze you, such as Louisa May Alcott.
From the Goddess Isis, one of the great herbalists of all time, to Simone
Garrigues who initiates us into the kind of LSD communication possible
between a pregnant woman (her mother) and the fetus she is carrying, (herself,
Simone), there is a richness of sharing. "My mother and I achieved
a union that was more vast, more seamless than even our circumstances…
myearly introduction to psychedelics, two weeks after conception, is not
remarkable. … we grew out of, around and into drugs. The stuff is
in our very chromosomes…(and later when she herself took peyote) I
understood that inevitably my mind would return to its old habits if I
did not keep the gates open. So I began meditation practise."
These first hand accounts carry us
into the heavens, hells and purgatories of women who ingest consciousness
changing substances. There is a pushing of the boundaries of honesty. Great
waves of consciousness open the reader to feel the kinds of trips possible
with many kinds of sacraments: this book is not a moral tractate
but an unfolding of layer after layer of experience. Until all that
is left are the fascinating words.
" I know of some women, not Indians,
who wear a peyote button nestled high in their vaginas like a cervical
cap. … the women who tell me about this say this is an exquisite
way to 'suspend' ordinary consciousness … I first began searching for God
with LSD as the introductionto the realm of the invisible and have come
to celebrating with mushrooms the presence of all the Gods and Goddesses.
Gods and Goddesses are my name for forces that move through me, and are
not exclusive of monotheism at all. There are just many faces of
the Supreme Spirit." (Jeannine Parvatifrom Hygieia: A Woman's
And the experience itself. It is exactly
because these are women that the sharing of emotions and knowledge is awesome.
My "forever friend", Nina Graboi, who died last year,
is one of the last entries in a rich book
filled with woman after woman whose pioneering
explorations open up vistas of new consciousness.
She wrote: Today is my 80th birthday. I have
taken LSD to celebrate it.………… Watching my
body transform from young and vigorous to old
and frail removes the last illusions of a me-ness
confined to a physical body.
Since my body, at 78, is shutting down piece by piece, I, too can
really relate to that - and thank you, Nina. I had a death ceremony
for my 78th birthday, a beautiful celebration conducted by AumDoc and Steve.
A few weeks later, I went to a Goa Gil trance dance in the mountains and
took LSD. Alas, my old body, pushing valiently to stay up all night, went
in and out of dream states from 2 or so on. I also discovered
what I should have known after all these years of ingesting sacrament -
taking LSD while attached to an oxygen tank with the cannula buzzing
noisily in my nose every few seconds was mightily unwise., not the proper
setting. But in spite of it all, love came and calmed the fears - with
a little help from my friends! At dawn I woke in time to see a huge
aum come electronically flying out of the video screen, the
sun came up over the hills, and Goa Gil's voice said, "In the
future, remember this moment ofjoy."
I want to thank Park Street Press for having
the courage to publish this wonderful book.
Certainly I want to thank Cynthia Palmer and
Michael Horowitz. Especially for including a chapter from
my book, The Scrapbook of a Haight Ashbury Pilgrim!
This is a book for reference, for spiritual
openings, for delight in reading. Savor it.
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Short Raves of Fabulous Books
Trungpa, Dorje Dradul of Mukpo: Great Eastern Sun, The Wisdom
of Shambala - edited by Carlyn Rose Gimian - SHAMBALA PUBLICATIONS
Trungpa was the perfect example of Timothy Leary’s great line, “The
lesson of the Tao is more likely to be found among ………smiling men with
bad reputations. ” His wisdom slices through hypocrisy and empty ritual.
In fact two of his books,
Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism
and Crazy Wisdom are seminal for the spiritual seeker.
remarkable teachings of Shambala can be accessed through Shambala, The
Sacred Path of the Warrior, and this book called The Great Eastern
Sun. “The Shambala training is based
on developing gentleness and genuiness so that we can help ourselves and
develop tenderness in our hearts … it is about time that we did something
to help the world.”
In my next collection of reviews
I promise to go over all of Trungpa’s books in my possession (lots).
For now this is not only highly recommended but some acquaintance with
Trungpa is suggested as a basis for sanity in the often confusing world
of “spiritual” paths.
"Heaven is anything that is
spacious. It includes your lofty ideas, your beliefs, your metaphysics,
your wishes, your desires. It is anything you hold as sacred, anything
you might put in your safe-deposit box …”
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Harrison: Getting To Where You Are, The Life
of Meditation - TARCHER/PUTNAM 1999
Steven Harrison is a delightful
and dedicated man whose life-work seems to be guiding the seeker into recognition
of non-action as ultimate enlightenment. Enlightenment is our excuse
to live in time, to live from thought , and to navigate our life from a
self centered perspective. …… If there is no enlightenment, then
all we have is the actuality of our life. This is not convenient.
A Tibetan Buddhist named Saraha
said that centuries ago, but it needs to be shouted for our times.
Harrison is giving weekend
seminars in how to Do Nothing, the title of his first book. I suppose
if he were really serious about his message, he’d probably garden more
and teach less. But his heart is very open, and so are his books.
He giggles and wisdoms you to self examination. Probably in the end,
you will take a bike ride or a toke and love yourself and this amazing
universe for exactly what it is, not what you want to make of it.
You’ll love him, too.
States of mind come and go. Thoughts
and feelings arise and pass away. Weíre not going anywhere,
thought is going somewhere. We donít have anywhere to go that
isnít where we already are.
Harrison walks his talk.
All author profits from his books are donated to charity through All Together
Now International, … providing aid to street children and the destitute
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Shaman, yogi, devotional prayer
Alex Grey: The Mission of
after another, the paintings of Alex Grey open us up to the electron energy
that pervades and underlies the material plane.
Foreword by Ken Wilber - SHAMBALA 1998
This book is a compendium
of wisdom and honesty, astounding art that reveals the intensity
of the universe in every blazing line and a deep inquiry into the nature
and meaning of art. It opens with a line drawing of Beethoven whose
third eye radiates fire, energy and musical notes. Under the painting,
one I had never seen of Grey’s, is the quotation from Beethoven: "There
is no loftier mission than to approach the Godhead nearer than other people,
and to disseminate the divine rays among humanity.”
The last words of the book are:
all break through with the visionary
Take the artist to the heights and depths
needed to find the medicine of the
A new image of the Infinite One,
the God of creation
With the same empty fullness
that Buddha knew
And the same compassionate healing
that Jesus spread.
Krishna plays his flute
and the Goddess dances
And the whole tree of life vibrates
with the power of love.
A mosaic and tile maker inspired by Rumi
finds infinite patterns of connectivity
In the garden of spiritual interplay
As the World Spirit awaits its portraist.
Grey writes of art as informational
and inspirational. He opens his life to let us see his own search
in both a dark and brilliant way and how the sacramental use of LSD opened
him to his own heart. The heart is the altar of the body. The heart
is consecrated by its association with love and the living light of the
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David Jay Brown
- Virus, The Alien Strain - NEW FALCON PUBLICATIONS
Painting with words that shoot emotions, colors,
events at you in a psychedelic science fiction(??) intense and rapid
melodrama, Brown wins the “Best Novel that is Really a Psychedelic Trip
is Who? Whose brain splinters into the electron dance?
Yours?? Hers?? Is she a her or a him? Is she/he one of
the many characters inhabiting your/mine/mind or are these really characters
dancing along inside the pages of a book? Too
real to be real. Could
we REALLY experience an alien virus that would open us to expanded brownian
movement? Do you want to know what it is like to be smarter and faster
than the rest of humanity?
Is the hero/heroine insane, and can there really
be a virus transmitted by kissing? Come on and try - letís
see what happens.
Good story, good sex, fantastic
A miracle in action. A glorious time to
be alive in the universe. Pulsars and quasars winked rainbows knowingly
at us. Nodding nebulae slowly drifted by, as we sailed - in all of
our wonderful magnificence - across the vast oceans of interstellar space.
Reads a little like a trip I once had, or maybe several
trips I once had.
Although this is easy reading, good for a hot
summer afternoon or a cold winter night, it dissolves realities until,
ego shaking, you yearn to experience it and are grateful it is a story
in a paperback book. By
the way, the cover is a magnificent painting of a heroine rising, fingers
in a v-for-victory sign, towards the light of the One carried on the spiral
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Mark Nepo - The Book of Awakening, Having the Life
You Want By Being Present to the Life You Have - CONARI PRESS, 2000
Although I'm a little burned out
on the innumerable Book of Days that have been published in the last year,
I must admit that the honest personal simplicity of Mark Nepo is inspiring.
Most authors tell us what we should or shouldn't think from the heights
of their years of psychotherapeutic practice of spiritual know-how.
Nepo's illustrations often come from his own subjective experiences.
Today, he recommends helping each other through inquiring into our
needs for understanding or support.
Suppose, instead of vacuously asking an
acquaintance on the street “How ARE you?”, not really caring, we asked,
“Do you need any understanding, clarity, support?”. What a welcome
All these day books have Thoughts For The Day.
(By the way, you can get pithy, sometimes humerous, thoughts for the day
by joining - for free, of course - from http://www.changes org in
your e-mail if you care to do so! Try it; it's interactive and you can
contribute a few yourselves!)
Nepo's thought for today is: Thereís
no need to seek the truth, just put a stop to your opinions. Of course,
if I put a stop to my opinions, I could hardly write book reviews!
If you enjoy waking up in the morning and turning
to a poetically and spiritually inspiring passage that includes a quotation,
a commentary and some meditation suggestions, Nepo's book is one of the
better of the best of the many that have come my way.
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A marvelous translation. Whether Lao Tzu actually
existed or is a compendium of Taoists, whether he put down these words
before disappearing over the Great Wall of China into ‘barbarian’ lands
is immaterial. I'm going to simply copy a few verses.++++++++(the
above crosses were entered by my cat, Cheetah who wants me to get up from
the computer and let her out!)
Quinn - Beyond Civilization, Humanity’s Next Great Adventure - HARMONY
BOOKS, RANDOM HOUSE
(Although very late in reviewing this important book.)
Its short and pithy chapters are like Maxwell’s silver hammer in the Beetle's
song - they hit you in your meme-driven assumptions of what social life
is and what it could be if we’d just let go. …we shouldn't be
alarmed solely by the one percent who live like lords of the universe.
We must be equally alarmed by the other ninety nine percent who are hoping
to live like lords of the Universe.
Inspired by the possibilities of a new tribal
society right here in the middle of “civilization” (oh, boy) as we know
it and by the possibilities of really new ways of living our lives differently
in the Taker economy that surrounds us , Quinn promises no miracles.
He does not say that a few people changing can change the world. He
does say that a few people changing can can change more people into changing
can eventually change the world.
There is no real ending - just endless
beginnings. As Quinn wrote: The dynamite ending
is for YOU to write.
This simple but complex book with
its mandala of bees cooperating around a honey comb is important if you
have any aspirations to march to the beat of a different drummer.
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Tzu, The Tao Te Ching - translated by John C.H. Wu - SHAMBALA, originally
published by St. John’s Press 1961
(straw dogs, by the way, were dogs made
of straw and thrown by the hundreds into graves when people died.
Heaven-and-Earth is not sentimental;
It treats all things as straw-dogs,
The Sage is not sentimental;
He treats all people as straw-dogs.
There seems to be a Bellows:
It is empty, and yet it is inexhaustible;
The more it works, the more comes out of it.
No amount of words can fathom it:
Better look for it within you.
Puts a spin on how nature sees us.)
More: the first verse of #78:
Nothing in the world is softer and weaker
But, for attacking the hard and strong, there
is nothing like it!
For nothing can take its place.
That the weak overcomes the strong, and
the soft overcomes the hard,
This is something known by all, but practiced
Enough quoted to give you an idea of the poetry
and precision of this translation.
I want to add that the beauty of Shambala’s Dragon
Editions gives a whole new status to the idea of “paper backs”. Shambala
says of themselves The dragon is an age old symbol of the highest
spiritual essence……Shambala Dragon Editions offers a treasury of readings
in the sacred knowledge of Asia. In presenting the works of authors
both ancient and modern, we seek to make these teachings accessible to
lovers of wisdom everywhere.
Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D. - The
Millionth Circle, How to Change Ourselves and The World - CONARI PRESS
This extraordinary little book is another example
of how to express deep wisdom with few words. Although written ostensibly
for women’s circles, it is applicable to all circles. And we hope
there are more and more circles of people in growing understanding and
fewer and fewer of the anachronistic, medieval pyramid with a Teacher at
the top, whether talking heads at the countless and usually expensive seminars
and workshops or university teachers. (oops, my prejudices just surfaced
Shinoda writes so precisely, with so few words,
that her book itself is a testament to a new way of communicating.
Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D. is a Jungian analyst as
well as author and teacher.
The circle is a principle as well
as a shape.
It goes counter to the social order, pecking
superior/inferior, ranking order
that compares each individual woman to others.
Sitting in a circle, each woman has a physical
position that is equal
to every other woman in the circle.
She takes her turn and the circle turns,
she speaks up and is heard.
Still old habits prevail, until the practice
makes equality the expected norm.
This book and Quinn’s book are complementary.
As she says, When a critical mass - the hundredth
monkey or the millionth circle, tips the scales, a new era will be ushered
in and patriarchy will be over.
In the meantime, let us work for its end and
the concomitant end of mindless ecological disaster and violence as a means
of international politics.
There is also an on-line forum for millionth
circle readers ; FOR A CATALOG OF CONARI BOOKS, http://
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Nick was for years the brilliant,
barefoot physicist whose books like Faster Than Light, Elemental Mind
unveiled the secrets of quantum physics. Recently he has been undergoing
a mid-life rebirth into the joys of Quantum Tantra, the Science of the
New Millennium. Quantum Tantra aims to contact Nature directly, not
by external observation as our present physics does so well, but by joining
our inner lives to the inner lives of what we now regard as objects.
Physics on All Fours,
SEA CREATURE PRESS, BOX 261,
BOULDER CREEK, CA 95006
Herbert’s poetry is a geyser
of love for What Is.
A melding of rhythm and word leads to a melting
together of consciousness and the world out there, rocks, electrons, star
systems and Her, the created and creator. Or is it Creatress?
These poems are wonderful, wondrous,
magical zen exercises, a lover's loving embrace of Everything and beyond.
I laugh with love reading them.
Once I took LSD or maybe it was mushrooms in
the Oregon woods. After struggling through a patch of blackberry
vines that tore at me in their fear of being violated, I threw myself down
exhausted in a meadow patch with great warm rocks. There the earth
took me for Herself. In the victory of her loving arms, I had a spontaneous
Nick’s book is an on-going celebration of that
experience; a paean to love. Not just love of women, although
that is graphically here. This is love for all that exists, the manifold
Here is just the tiniest bit of a quote - but
each poem is different - and each poem full of that love:
The last few verses of a poem called Virtual
Let's pretend we are gods
That run this whole show
And whatever we please
Is the way it will go
Let's play we are separate
Let's play we are One
Let's play we are dying
Pretending is fun
Let's pretend we are suffering
From a wound that won’t heal
Let's forget weíre pretending
Let'spretend it's all real.
That doesn’t really give you a good idea of the depths
of Herbert’s poetry, but I hope it's enough to make you want to buy this
book. It will tickle you into a new kind of ‘higher’
consciousness and titillate your love juices on the way. firstname.lastname@example.org
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VERY SHORT REVIEWS OF BOOKS CONSIDERED PITHY
Stephen Gaskin: CANNABIS
SPIRITUALITY, With 13 Guidelines for Sanity and Safety.
Thank you, Stephen, for having the courage to jump the medical/industrial
cannabis barriers and speak openly about the remarkable spiritual uses
of marijuana. Personally I use marijuana to calm my guts, to allay
the muscle spasms I get from the allopathic meds I must use, but
it's dearest use to me is as an aid in transcendence. ……
it's what makes it possible for us to make it on the planet, that we can
look around and catch somebody's eye and know that we're all really in
this together. Sometimes I take a joint and go out into the woods and smoke
it. I see everything that's there …… I go into communication with God and
the universe. Again thank you, Stephen Gaskin.
High Times Corporation 1997
Rosenthal, Dierginger, Mikuriya:
MARIJUANA MEDICAL HANDBOOK - from medicinal
uses of marijuana (Mikuriya is an M.D.) to how to roll a joint, this book
ranges over an enormous amount of material. 1997 Quick American Archives
. Excellent resource book. Recommended. Many patients
find marijuana essential to their daily functioning, relieving them from
the distractions of pain, discomfort and debilitating suffering.
Saul Rubin: OFFBEAT MARIJUANA,
The Life and Times of the World's Grooviest Plant.
From the history to the pop culture surrounding marijuana, this is a zingy
book, laid out to catch your (stoned?) eye. The information, researched,
amusing and often amazing, tickles the sensibilities. What
they say is true, many people who smoke marijuana move on to harder things,
graduate school, for example. A NORML POSTER)
THE PATH IS THE GOAL, A Basic Handbook of Buddhist Meditation. As
always Trungpa cuts through what Fritz Perl calaled "the elephant shit"
as he shows his students how to meditate - watch the observer/playwright/actors/set
and setting of their (our) melodramas. The teacher should be a
traveler too, someone who is traveling with you. ……… Rather than being
with enlightenment and unable to go beyond it.
Shambala 1995 - all of Trungpa's books are Highly
Rebecca McClen Novick:
FUNDAMENTALS OF TIBETAN BUDDHISM. Novick lays out the
basic tenets of Tibetan Buddhism so elegantly and simply that while we
can absorb them easily, we don't feel cheated of accuracy and depth.
Recommended for those unfamiliar with this highly evolved Buddhism or wanting
to re-engage in its basic principles. Only when one's compassion
is spontaneous can it be called "great compassion", Having generated
such compassion, the Mahayana practitioner then makes it her/his personal
goal to develop spiritually in order to help others overcome their suffering.
W.Y. Evans-Wentz: THE TIBETAN
BOOK OF THE GREAT LIBERATION or The Method of Realizing Nirvana Through
Knowing the Mind. (commentary by C.G. Jung) This book was one of
four illustrious works by Evans-Wentz. All four were of seminal importance
during the great awakening of the Haight Ashbury's Summer of Love.
In this book the life and teachings of Padma Sambhava are the background
for far reaching information on the nature of reality. Oxford University
Press 1954 (I don't don't know if this has been re-issued.) The
yogin must come to realize that the world of human concepts is merely a
product of the micro-cosmic mind even as the Cosmos is the product of the
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NOTICE OF CHANGES TO CHANGES - IN A MONTH
OR SO, HOPEFULLY WELL BEFORE CHRISTMAS, WE ARE GOING TO ADD REVIEWS OF
MUSIC OLD AND NEW, VINYL AND C.D. (IF MUSIC IS THE FOOD OF LOVE,
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