Category Archives: Talismans

los | The Cynic Sang: The (Un)Official Blog of the William Blake Archive

The William Blake Archive is pleased to announce the publication of electronic editions of The Song of Los copies C and E, from the Morgan Library and Museum and the Huntington Library and Art Gallery respectively. They join copies A and D from the British Museum and copy B from the Library of Congress, giving the Archive five of the six extant copies of this illuminated book.

The eight plates of The Song of Los were produced in 1795; all extant copies (A-F) were color printed in that year in a single pressrun. Divided into sections entitled “Africa” and “Asia,” The Song of Los is the last of Blake’s “Continental Prophecies” (see also America [1793] and Europe [1794], exemplary printings of which are in the Archive). Blake abandons direct references to contemporary events to pursue the junctures among biblical narrative, the origins of law and religion, and his own developing mythology. Adam, Noah, Socrates, Brama, Los, Urizen, and several others represent both historical periods and states of consciousness. The loose narrative structure reaches towards a vision of universal history ending with apocalyptic resurrection.

via los | The Cynic Sang: The (Un)Official Blog of the William Blake Archive.


Godammit, I’m Mad! » Religion and the Yoruba according to Sister Wolf.

I can’t wait for my hate fans to eat up my new passion, which is reading the angry Sister Wolf’s blog called Godammit I’m Mad! I am so entertained, refreshed and my soul is strangely exfoliated and the epidermal existence of my everlasting “CAUL”  is nourished.

The Caul, I was so-called born with, according to my father, Voodoo Daddy. 

Is there a “Cauler-ID” for mystical face veils.  What the hell is she talking about!  Well, A caul is a thin membrane of transparent skin that is shimmering like star stuff.   So-called, once in a blue moon babies are born with.  The birth of a child with a caul is a sigil that your child might be able to possess psychic abilities :according to local legends in New Orleans and others.  A folk legend, that just might  originate in Africa and the threads of voodoo practices, brought to America by the earliest Africans.

A right-wing henchman might call it an ET jelly you put, when you put those “Please behave and act normal electrodes on your temples!  What I find so interesting about right-wing angry people is that ?  They have a sort of “imagination cloud computing”  domain which incorporates and encompasses all issues which just don’t fit into their allopathic search and destroy algorhymes.  This category is the Science Fiction anything goes, as long as it’s kept in outer space.  It’s ok if it’s wierd and kinky because it’s just Science Fiction and I can keep all my “don’t make sense” emotions and universal questions about life there!   The lovely banished untouchable deliciousness of that icloud chocolate space box!   Just like I need to work out my abs?  They need to work out their imaginations, and take a whorl on the magical mystery tour of the Yoruba’s!  It opens of my mind and thank you Sister Wolf!

But, for us magically romantic sods?  A mystical caul, is in olden New Orleans’ days: A sign that your child will be touched by the spiritual realms and just know shit for no reason, without any particular social skills.  It’s kind of like a pesticide for warding off paranoid smiling people!  The smiling people that fear, you might say something knowing and make them VERY uncomfortable.  My former boss, she once said to me.  ” You know Fumiko?  You scare people, you know?  You don’t realize it but you seem to just know things that you don’t realize that you know or what they are connected to and this scares people”  I promptly said that “As long as it scares you and keeps you as far away from me as possible and that I get a bigger pay check?  You can call me a Voodoo baby” 

She laughed and believe me, you needed a magical potion to keep this women from beginning to chomp on your elbow or eat your eyeballs.  There is no scarier revenge of the bitten, as my once upon a time Lady Mobster Boss!  All, I can say is that Terrence Stamp said that perhaps’ he would visit us and have a spot’ of tea…. when he had a bit more courage and some black widow repellant” !  I have to admit, I was always a bit jealous of her power to incinerate everyone’s egos.  But, Sister Wolf might hunt me down and scourge me, but it will be worth it!  Her blog is so great and I love her mind. She is amazing.  I could never articulate the ideology of international “ancestor worship” as she is able to here.  Her blog in general is capital “R” for Ranting, galloping marvelous. You know when people tell “their” truths?  It is so very necessary and cosmic. It has a cathartic omnipotent Zen potion beyond compare.  So Thank you Sister Wolf!  A great compliment to my at times messy soul blog which rambles in no amoeba direction as of late.  I know she at heart is a deeply romantic soul with very thick armor!  She will need it, in her blazing trails into the bullshit of life that she reports, nothing but her truths and that takes a lot of guts. Thank you Sister Wolf for “not allowing” me to reprint this great piece on the Yoruba religion. 

© Jack Bell GalleryIn the ever-changing world of the Yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria, one thing that remains consistent is a close connection with their ancestors. The ancestral spirits of the Yoruba are much more than just dead relatives, they play an active role in the daily life of the living. They are sought out for protection and guidance, and are believed to possess the ability to punish those who have forgotten their familial ties. While there are numerous ways the ancestors communicate with the living, one of the most unique is their manifestation on earth in the form of masked spirits known as Egungun.The Yoruba believe that the transition from the realm of the living to the abode of the dead is not finite. It is just part of what African author Wole Soyinka describes as the “cyclical reality” of the “Yoruba world-view”. Each person comes to this life from the world of the unborn, through the “abyss of transition.” And each will leave again through this archetypal realm, as they make they way to the world of the ancestors.When a child comes into this world, he or she is said to carry with them aspects of a former ancestor who is reborn in the child. This is not to say they are the ancestor reincarnate, but that there are certain features of their personality and elements of inborn knowledge that come from a previous relative. When the time comes to leave this earth, it is not the end of their existence either. Yoruba scholar Bòlaji Idowu explains: “Death is not the end of life. It is only a means whereby the present earthly existence is changed for another. After death, therefore, man passes into a ‘life beyond’ which is called Èhìn-ÃŒwà —‘After-Life’”To be remembered is to be kept alive; to remain within the Sasa period, which is the realm of the living, the unborn and the ancestors.Once an ancestor has been forgotten, they simply slip into the vast expanse of the Zamani, where the gods, divinities and spirits dwell. As long as an ancestor remains within the Sasa period, they have the ability to help those here on earth, because the living-dead are bilingual: they speak the language of men, with whom they lived until ‘recently’; and they speak the language of the spirits and of God, to Whom they are drawing nearer ontologically. In exchange for being ritually remembered, the living-dead watch over the family and can be contacted for advice and guidance.

via Godammit, I’m Mad! » Religion.

Le blog de SoVeNa » Clarence John Laughlin

I was just thinking about how my Father loved New Orleans.  The stories he would share about being stationed there during the army for training. What a place to do your hardcore survivor stunts. He spoke about being paired up with a wonderful fella who also had relatives in the Hoosier Appalachians.  They dined with crocodiles.  My Father was raised with all chefs, cooks and musicians from New Orleans and La. ad nauseum where the trinity means “bell peppers, onions and….”

 How I remember him telling me that his army buddy and him to dropped from where Jimi Hendrix kissed the sky into the backwoods somewhere in La.  They had to survive for two months on literally zero.  You cannot imagine having a Dad who was an Army Sargent.  He would say if you don’t clean up your room you gonna have to hunt down a gofer and eat it for dinner.  In fact if you don’t catch one and skin it?  No pancakes on Sunday.  I fainted.

During the real survivor mode, not the TV series, I shudder with pride and amazement.  They lived eating skunks, crocodiles, bobcats, snakes, bees, bark, berries, insects and managed to show up Daniel Boon and the Last of Mohawks.  Two months!

After the ordeal of sleeping in the swamps?  His army buddy said now your gonna meet my kin.  Oh boy!  I treasure my Fathers stories.  I’m sure they could make a novella vignette of short films.

One story that stands out is not the boxing in the brigs but the dances.  The beautiful ladies that got gussied up for meet and greets.  My Father said you walked into the barn and it had a distinct smell of apricot pies, crystalline sugary glistening pale ecru cookies.  Cherry gobsmacking candies and the haunting smell of twirling fish and duck swimming in a lusty gumbo.  Strangely haunting there was no pickled okra?  There was no paled lace cuffs handing you pecan pies?  Where did the elusive smell of  overstuffed orchid pods hail from?  The sweet music of vanilla.

Like the ghost of  bakery sweets there were no buttery sins.  My Father asked Antoine what is this sweet heart beat that scents the skies and lacquers the barn walls?  Antoine laid out the shake down. He said well Jimmy, women around these parts don’t have money for fine French perfume.  They want to show there best Sunday go meetin smiles anyway so they douse their pretty fingers with vanilla baking extract and put it behind their ears and pulse regions.  My Father smiled.  He sure could bake up a storm.

I so loved that story and it has given me courage, humor and hope all of my life.

Working in N.Y. is not all that different from being stationed in the Bermuda triangle.  Sometimes and I had my share of lemon pay cheques, which bounced like a  spicy Baton Rouge- grilled cheese sandwich, with an ice tea made of crocodile tears,  that’ll  bounce as high as the World Trade Center sadly.

Once I had  upwards of 7 pay checks that I could not cash.  I was just about to eat some cat food but thank goodness not a bob cat and the only question would be could I afford Purina or Puppy chow. My credit cards were going into debt and I could no longer afford health insurance payments. I show up for work and she runs off with the dough.  I smiled all day as I slung around the Pheonix oolong to Temi, Sikkim, Darjeeling  tea leaves with the Buddha  statues smiling and her cash register singing.  I gave up my good job at the Metropolitan Museum for a Royal Scam.  The good news is that I can sling tea leaves like Jessie James and Wyatt Herb too and this experience has given me strength of paying dues no business school could ever compare.  Still a gal friday’s gotta eat.  My pride and Japanese loyalty has either nearly gotten me killed but most of all awful hungry cooking school is next!

All the while I knew I would never get lunch nor have money for dinner. She would proclaim, my hard knock employer that times were hard and she could give my job easily to someone who would work 10x as hard and for 10x less!  That there were starving people from countries that had to eat human beings like Chikatilla!  How I feel for those emigrants like my Mother whom come to America to get abused by unscrupulous employers.

I remembered that if my Father could survive on eating skunks and bobcats for the free world?  I too could devise a scheme to get these damn rubber checks cashed.  When it was pay day all 20 employees would line up and growl at each other at the bank teller line.  You felt as if you were a land lubber about to walk the plank.  I had developed seriously anemia and thyroid disorders and bled profusely sometimes, but I said so what!  It’s New York, New York and I love my family beloved and were gonna eat somehow.  The best schools are here, I can starve in front of the great Rodin’s, Monets, Francis Bacons and try on diamond earrings at Bergdorfs and be fashionably skinny.

I said I know just what I am gonna do!  I went next door to the Duane Reade next to the bank with employees lined up like the Depression era soup kitchen.  I said this time it’s my turn!  She had just so much she would keep in her account and it was like Claude Van Damn in the tattoo greasy inmate crib. We had to fight to the death to eat and it was horrific. She pitted each employee against the other until we felt like we were all crazed rocky racoons.  This was how she kept control. Most of the time I just let other people cash there checks.  I know how to survive.  Not this time!  So, I said maybe If I look enchanting and oh but there is some vanilla perfume!  Vanilla extract.  I said well it can’t hurt and I opened it up and poured it in my hair and I put on lipstick like cherry pies.  I help my breath shaking and I waltzed passed the soup kitchen line aka bank teller line of tea prisoners heh heh.

I decided to pretend that I was going to get a loan.  I walked to the back of the bank and opened up my compact and checked my cherry pie red lacquer lips.  I winked at myself in the mirror and said here goes and whoah Nellie….  I sauntered past the bank manager with a trail of vanilla invisible cookies.  He looks up and says who is that, that smells like cookies and pies!  I laughed and said it was me but suddenly I was so shamed.  I looked at my friends in line who had turned into beasts.  I broke into tears and my mascara ran down the Veranzzano bridge like Kiss of the Spider woman.  I broke down and told him this cannot go on.  You have to do something about this.  He looked at me smelling like cookies so confused.

He say’s ok, Ok, I will call her.  Usually, you can see that some  tellers of lesser character relish the propects of denying you your pay.  How easy it is turn to turn people into animals and wolves.  She used to call up and say who could get paid and who could not.  This fine gentleman had character and chutzpah.  He said I am going to pay all of the employees today and hold payment on her next deposits.  My Mother used to manage Bank of America and so I said oh Mommy is giving me good luck and a crows feather in my cap of humility but also of nobility.  That day we fought for our dinners and won!  So, I say thank you to that New Orleans Vanilla perfume!

My Father played all manner of woodwinds and specialized in bebop arrangments of Parker but I loved the Italian Jazz.  The muffelatas, the Louis Prima’s and the post man who turned Sax player Sam Butera.  In the end it is the music within that we must dance to and hop scotch with to get us thru rings of fire sometimes in the Midnights of our lives of good and evil.  How my Father loved all the film and culture of New Orleans.

I must thank Le Blog de SoVeNa for this wonderful collection of Clarence.  My Dad was raised by women from New Orleans and root work from Hoodoo to Voodoo suffuses or permeated their lives. You did not have to be a witch or a Madame Laveau!  It’s simply part of the everyday culture to believe that there simply is more to life than meets the eye.  I feel that enigmatic whistling of triple worlds in Clarence’s work.  The beauty of a land rich with so many Gods’  The land was settled by French Catholics to Creole Africans and Latino rhythms.  My Father had a strange superstition about shopping in second hand or Antique stores.  He felt that the pieces had soul which lived on beyond it’s owners.  That art was impregnated with spirits. He would say for all you know I might buy a belt buckle with dragons on it from a second hand store and go home and my wife might fight me and all because of that damn belt buckle!

I’d say Daddy that’s ridiculous!  He’d say well did I ever tell you about the time….  So many stories and so little time. I will say that my Father’s favorite past time was junking it up with yard sales and antiques and the radar set to ward off spiders and insects he bought from some own twilight zone science kit sure back fired.  He was fast asleep with his third wife and they wake up and the bed was filled with spiders and bugs!  I laughed until the crows flew back to Burma.  I said, well Daddy sometimes you gotta eat humble pie and he smiled.  Better unplug that radar set and dance wearing vanilla perfume.

I love these photos so much!

Le blog de SoVeNa » Clarence John Laughlin.










Universal Shamanism: The Japanese Context


The primacy of individual supernaturalism

via Universal Shamanism: The Japanese Context.

Sea God

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