Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Poem by MarcLord

MarcLord graciously shared one of his own poems with me. I hope other readers will appreciate it as much as I do.

'Stared, chuffed, hooted and chattered at
by Neanderthals and then Cameroons,
I fled into a temple and was affixed
for syncretic centuries at its summit.

I was an idol who entered a priest;
I was worshipped and then sacrificed.
I took on the bloodied skins of Brahma
and raged through the forests of Eurasia.

For my demise, Shiva waited patiently
while Vishnu hissed and hated me;
they maintained I had done some deed
the ibis and crocodile had trembled at.

So they sealed me in sarcophagi
and left me to the yawning years.
I know the innocently smirking Sphinx
is far, far older than we think.'

Marc referred to some musings by Coleridge in Thomas De Quincey's 'Confessions of an Opium Eater' as his source of inspiration. I would recommend this book as well as Cocteau's 'Opium' to any one interested in the links between 'lucid dreaming', the influences of drugs on creativity and the spiritual component in hallucinogenic experiences. There is a wonderful book about the Symbolist movement entitled 'Opium and the Romantic Imagination'. It is the illustrations that make the book worth having.

For those who are not interested in the musings of writers on the topic of drugs, De Quincey wrote a marvelous essay on 'The Fine Art of Murder'. I think his talent as a writer often is underestimated. He himself felt that opium had made him less prolific than he otherwise might have been. On the other hand, 'Confessions' alone was enough to secure him a place in literary history.


MarcLord said...

Just dug out my old copy of Confessions and can't find the relevant sections, so maybe I was having my own Opium Episode. Pretty sure it's in there, though, and relates to Coleridge. I wrote this about seven years ago.

Haven't read Cocteau's work, so am looking forward to checking it out.

Kind Regards,

Freyashawk said...

I know that De Quincey mentions Coleridge more than once, and is rather disparaging with respect to Coleridge's attitude to laudanum.

On a related topic, what do you think of ibogaine? If any substance could be said to truly alter reality, I would imagine that ibogaine would be the most powerful candidate. I have no personal experience or knowledge of it, but I have read the literature and it is utterly fascinating. The fatalities are a little discouraging, but then, any real god/goddess probably does demand the occasional sacrifice...

MarcLord said...

Sorry for absence, work and houseguests sometimes interfere with blogging.

Still haven't run down the relevant sections in Confessions.

I heard of ibogaine as an effective Danish/Swiss heroin addict treatment. I never made the connection before, but Hunter S. Thompson said it was ambrosia, the exotic holy grail of highs. I of course have no personal experience with it (nor with the alcoholic tincture of laudanum, only because of lack of exposure). I see it was ritually used with great success in West Africa, and is the likely etymological root of the word "ganja."

Freyashawk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freyashawk said...

Dear Marc,

Actually, what interests me about ibogaine is the claim that it actually allows one to experience the past, to re-arrange memories and indeed to alter reality. That is why it was used as a 'treatment' for addiction. The individual was able to erase the addiction from his/her mind, body and soul, in effect.

That is the only use of ibogaine that received any media coverage, apart from the fatalites caused by it.

To me, it is fascinating in the sense that it apparently can alter the present and future by changing the past.

I did a little research on it once in the context of shamanism. Some of the accounts of experiences people had are rather incredible.
Terrifying, but incredible.

MarcLord said...

Dear Hawk,

Terrifying, but incredible. Hmmm. Dr. Hoffman's problem child might be said to approach the level of altering the present and future by changing the past, but not as clearly as you relate with the ibogans. It's insight by stripping away a protective layer on the synapses more than altering. Could you point me to some ibo accounts? Anecdotes are how I sidle up to history, and anything you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Herodotus said the Scythians would set copious amounts of a green weed into braziers above fires in their tents, close the flaps, let the brazier burn, then laugh and roar with the merriment of madmen. Just a stray anecdeote. Yet one suspects they were employing a still-common, mildly hallucinogenic intoxicant.