I sent this below to Erika Biddle, who is putting together a November homeless art, poetry and music exhibition at Studios of Key West:
Morning, Erika – Here’s a link to something published about a week ago:
When Erica called me yesterday about the homeless art exhibition, I bitched and moaned some about my interior life, and we talked some about shamans, and she told me of a shaman friend of hers and suggested I look him up on Facebook.
This morning, Ericka emailed me:
Date: Sat, 29 Sep 2012 00:02:05 -0400
Subject: thanks for the info Sorry, I kept you so long on the phone today even though you told me that you have a bit trouble with your voice cords. Thank you for the info about the rescue syndrome. I totally fell into that group in the beginning of the project. I think that I am now pretty much in recovery from this and have since learned, that one cannot rescue or save anybody, just love and accept them on their personal journey. The concept of “Hidden in Plain View” is not an attempt to save but to make a connection on a different level, a timid attempt to build and expand our community “One Human Family” not motto, bumper sticker or slogan, but all embracing.
Perhaps I am naive, but who cares at least I tried.
With much love and remember to contain some of the shamanic energies to heal yourself.
If you seem to get weaker take a break so we can have you around for a long time.
I replied under the subject “The Eagle’s Gift”:
Thanks, my voice is much better now, the phone conversation was no problem. It was the rescue syndrome part of what you sent to me about the homeless art exhibition the angels inspired you to try to bring off, that caused me to caution you to have only one goal for the exhibition, which was the exhibition, and to leave off trying to piggy back onto it homeless people being cured of what all ails them. Art is a worthy goal itself, and who can say what vibration a homeless art exhibition might create in the invisible? Who can say how that vibration might manifest in the artists and poets and musicians involved in it? Who can say how that vibration might manifest in you and Kim and others involved in putting it on? Who can say how that vibration might manifest in the homeless community? Who can say how that vibration might manifest in the Key West area mainstream community? In the entire Keys homeless and mainstream communities? In the mainland homeless and mainstream communities?
Original art, poetry and music are very powerful spirit expressions, which work subjectively, under the intellectual radar, under the ego defenses. The intellect and the ego ever want to be in charge, make plans, set long-range goals. The intellect and the ego do not like surrendering to the process, to the unknown, to living in the moment, and try very hard to control the outcome. It took the angels a very long time to break me of trying to control the outcome of the various projects they laid on me. My testosterone drive was very strong, my need to try to prove myself just as strong. It was a while coming before I realized I only needed to be concerned with how God viewed me and what I did, or didn’t do.
Had a conversation about that yesterday morning with Andy Griffiths, who came into Coco’s Kitchen on Big Pine Key handing out VoteAndy magnets and ball point pens. [Andy is a school board candidate, seeking his sixth term.] We got to talking about fishing in the Keys, which was my life passion when I was much younger. Fishing was Andy’s line of work before he sold his boats to his captains. “Fish Andy” was his business’ “logo”. I told him that reminded me of “Fish Ande” – the fishing line that was so popular back when I was a bonefishing fanatic. Andy said Ande still is a popular fishing line.
I told Andy of a miracle that had happened on cold windy early late December day on Lower Matecumbe Key, where my father’s second home was. 1967, I think.
The family was there for Christmas, a cold front had blown through, the water was all roiled up, but I got in my father’s 13-foot whaler anyway. Armed with a push pole and some live shrimp and two spinning rods, I headed down the way and started fishing the flat in front of what now is called Anne’s Beach. A flat I’d fished many times, seen many bonefish, but had never caught one there. A hard flat, you could not stick the push pole, aka idiot stick, into the bottom to stop the boat. The water was full of sand, the color half-white, half-chocolate milk. The wind was blowing straight down the flat, so I let it push the boat along, as I dragged the push-pole along the bottom behind to slow the boat’s progress. I had a spinning rod rigged with a shrimp lying on each gunnel, dangling the shrimp in the water. As I reached the bottom end of the flat close to Channel 2 bridge, a huge bonefish tail came up out of the water dead ahead of the boat, perhaps 40 yards downwind. How could that be? No way a bonefish was on that flat in that wind and chop, much less tailing. But there was a bonefish ahead of me doing just that. When the tail showed again, I dropped the anchor. The chop was so bad, the fish did not hear the anchor go in, or the boat chinch up as the anchor line drew taught, or the waves banging against the transom. I picked up one of the rods, opened the bail, and cast right on top of the big tail the next time it showed. I didn’t figure in that chop the fish would hear the shrimp land right on top of its head and spook it. I wanted the fish to find the shrimp. The fish found the shrimp and after about ten minutes I had the fish in the landing net. It was maybe 32 inches long, a very long bonefish, but it was a little thin. I figured it was 10 pounds, and at normal weight would have been about 12 pounds. Still, it was easily the largest bonefish I had ever caught, and I dropped it on the bottom of the boat, pulled in the anchor, drifted the boat off the flat, cranked the engine, and headed into the wind, banging the boat and myself up pretty good. Reaching my father’s place, I grabbed the miracle, I had to be the only person in the Keys who went out bonefishing that day, and hurried inside to show off the miracle to my family, especially to my father and younger brother. “Oh, that’s nice,” they said, if they said anything. Zero recognition of the miracle. Undaunted, I took the miracle back to the boat and cranked it up and banged it and me all the way up to Bud n’ Mary’s marina, where my father kept the boat stored when he was not down at his place. I had to leave the boat there anyway, the Christmas trip was over. I showed the miracle to the men at Bud n’ Mary’s. I knew them. Some worked there, others were flats guides just hanging out. They asked me where I had caught the fish? I told them. They laughed, said no way was a bonefish taling on that flat in that weather. I told them I knew that, but that bonefish was tailing on that flat in that weather. They said I had caught it nigger fishing with shrip in a channel. They never believed me. I was crushed. I told the fellow in charge that day to send the fish to Al Phleuger in Miami, to have the fish mounted. He said okay, he would do that. I did not know it then, but that was the last bonefish I would kill. Other people I took bonefishing killed fish to mount, but I never killed another one.
Flash forward to January 1994. Living in Boulder, Colorado. Deep winter, snow piled high. I go to an off-beat Sunday gathering I have been attending for a few weeks. Seekers, lost people, hurt people. Not a church. At the end of that meeting, a fellow I had not noticed there before came to the front and told us to close our eyes and ask God what we could do to best serve God? I closed my eyes and asked God what I could best do to serve God? Into my inner vision came a beautiful white writing quill. I felt the brush of angels’ wings on my back. I teared up. I left, because I didn’t want to burst into tears and cause a commotion that might interrupt the internal epiphany.
That night, at home, I was moved to pick up my diary and start writing. One word at a time, it came, slowly. Several fishing stories from my past, but as they went down on the paper, I saw them in new light. I was bawling my eyes out, my heart was heaving, I was shaking all over. I realized that miracle bonefish had given its life to teach me never to look to the approval of men for what I did. I told Andy that was pretty irreverent, killing that miracle fish and then taking so long to understand what the fish had done for me.
Two days ago, before dawn, Andy came to me in a dream promoting a “love fest.” This morning in a dream before dawn, I am wandering around, sort of lost, sort of looking for what I am to do, sort of out of money, I cannot find my leather briefcase, which I used when I went to court back when I practiced law. Then, my mother comes to me in a dream and hands me a big book, it looks new and has “Codex” on the cover. I wake up, crawl out of bed, open my laptop, see your email and start writing this to you.
By the time I am half-way through writing the miracle fish story, I realize that is what Andy and my mother had tried to get me ready to do. By the time I am done writing the miracle fish story, I realize I am supposed tell about that gathering and the white quill, and what I had realized about that miracle fish. By the time I write that, I realize I am supposed to say that I wrote a whole lot of new stuff that winter, and I bawled all the way through it. It was a love fest. And, it began with my writing about fishing when I was a boy. I can tell by the emotion welling in me that I’m supposed to try to retell some of those fishing stories now. It’s been nearly 20 years. Here’s what I remember.
The boy’s mother did not know why he loved to fish, but she knew he would die if he did not get to fish. The boy’s father did not like to fish and his mother arranged for other men to take him fishing, and when there were no men, she took him to a lake or stream with a sack lunch and thermos, and left him there for the day. When the day was done, sometimes he had a catch, sometimes not, but he was happy because he had gotten to fish. His mother wanted him to be a priest and did not understand why he wanted to go fishing on Sunday instead of attend church. She did not know a priest catches souls for the church, and the fish were God, the lake was their church, the boy was their congregation, and when they had taught the boy how to fish, they would send him forth to be a fisher of men.
The captain said there were no fish at Destin in March, but the boy loved to fish and his father chartered the boat anyway. They caught a lot of bonito that day, the captain said he’d never seen anything like it. They went out again two days later, the same thing happened, and the captain said he had never seen anything like it. The boy knew God had sent the bonito to Destin, but he didn’t know why.
The boy was fishing alone on the pier in front of the hotel in Ft. Walton. He’d caught a lot of chofers (pin fish) and grunts. Then, something huge grabbed his bait and started dragging him and his rod and reel to the edge of the dock, he was going into the water for sure, then his line broke with a loud rifle shot and he was saved. He never saw what it was, the big one that got away. Deep down, though, he knew what it was like to take God’s bait and then somehow manage to get away.
The boy played golf because it was his father’s game. His father was very good, could have been a pro, but went into business instead. The boy sometimes cheated, didn’t count all of his strokes, improved his lie when nobody else was looking. He never beat his father but once, in a tournament, and that time he did not count all of his strokes. The boy loved fishing more. The boy and the fish, one on one, and there was no way to cheat.
He is the paper, the pen his soul, the ink his blood, and the poet is God. He is but a crooked hose through which living water flows, first to straighten him out, then to water a few other birds of the air and some lilies of the field.
Those were the core verses in that body of writing prompted by the white writing quill; those, and
Although he sometimes tries to write fiction, by the time the tale is told, every character is a character in himself, every plot a plot in himself. There are no surprises, only his to discover a part of himself he has lost, forgotten, thrown away, or never even knew was there. In this way, perhaps he and God are somewhat alike – they both create to discover just who and what they really are.
Who invented the rule that poetry must rhyme, have pentameter, be cast into verse? Yes, please tell me who invented that silly rule? Surely is wasn’t the maker of the first stone – otherwise, there’d be no stones to break all those slaving rules!
I named that body of work A Crazy Person’s Bible, perhaps because something like this came to me while the white quill was at work:
Because God is always asking him to do things that no sane person would ever do, he finally concluded that the only way to love God is to be crazy!
Oddly, perhaps, perhaps not, the sport I most watch on television is the pro golf tour. After teaching me how to fish, the fish wanted me to learn how to play golf, counting all of my strokes, playing each shot as it lies. I dunno, Erika. Perhaps this is part of the homeless art exhibition. Prehaps it is part of something else. Those white quill writings were shaman writings. Everything I write is poetry, every part of my life is poetry, art, music.
At your suggestion, I looked up your shaman friend, Jonathon Horwitz, on Facebook after we talked yesterday. I commented to his page, he commented back a couple of times, I commented back to him something pretty long. Shaman stuff. My long one I first posted to my FB page, to see if FB would accept something that long. Got some replies on my FB page, too. You might find it interesting, might not.
I had thought last night that today I would put up a post prompted by email correspondence yesterday from Todd German and Larry Murray re The Citizen not publishing the names of the two Key West High School thieves, but the loss of my briefcase in the dream before dawn left me feeling I am to stay away from that today. Shamans ignore their dreams at their peril, I have learned.
I also have learned that shamans direct their energies toward helping others, and leave for the spirit world to direct its energies toward helping shamans. Or so it was taught to me. As we discussed yesterday, Jesus was a shaman. He directed all of his energies toward trying to help other people. He trained me. He, and Michael and Melchizedek, and Magdalene, and others in their circle. And the Holy Spirit. The white quill writing was pure Holy Spirit. She wrote this with that white quill
Blood of Christ
there are no rainbows
and God is dead
the sacred prism through which
souls are refracted into their elemental parts,
purified in Holy Fire,
then one-forged and sent on their way
to not even God knows where,
simply because they are all
unique emanations of God,
I rather imagine, Erika, in God’s eyes, we humans all are homeless.
goodmorningbirmingham.com For the hard core, here is what I could find this morning on the Facebook page of what Erika’s shaman friend and I corresponded yesterday. Jonathan Horwitz had written to someone else of Don Juan and his teachings, which I took to mean Don Juan in Carlos Casteneda’s books. I wrote to Jonathan that The Eagle’s Gift was the Don Juan book that had really grabbed me. Johathan wrote back that I should try Journey to Ixtlan, which had transformed him, and the writings of a Sufi poet, Indires Kahn, I think was the name; and that he was a great fan of Gregory Peck.
“To Kill a Mocking Bird” is one of my favorite movies – Gregory Peck starred in it. [The novel was written by Harper Lee, a south Alabama woman, who was close to Truman Capote, they grew up together.] I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. I read Journey to Ixtlan a long time ago, will see if I can find it in the local library system before I try an online used bookstore. I developed intolerance for booze, makes me feel physically awful within a couple of hours of consumption. Never smoked cigarettes. Tried marijuana for a while, until I figured out why I was having bad headache the day following usage. Coffee and tea saga went same way. Like it I don’t, but I absorb into my soul and body the spirit crap in whatever work is headed my way, as if I’m a sewerage treatment plant. After I work through it, it clears out. Then comes the next load. Always a human world component to engage, which drives the alchemy. Been like this a lot of years, no end in sight. Serious karma from earlier in this life also in play – did it to myself. Mostly, it seems my work is upside down from the shamans I have known. I don’t do much journeying into the spirit realms. For me, what comes at me in this world drives the interior work in me. Most of the work is groups, communities, sometimes US, sometimes other countries. In the past, there was a good bit of one-on-one psycho-spirit work with individuals, but very little of that now. I imagine I can’t see most of what really is in play. I get up each morning and start breaking rocks again. Most of my guidance comes in dreams, but sometimes I hear direct plain English instruction/heads ups in my sleep, and when awake sometimes telepathically and in odd body sensations and sudden ah has! Like there are two of me, one in the eperiences, one observing me and the others involved. My seeing, hearing, sensing and feeling were changed dramatically, as if a light switch was thrown, in August 1988. No human shaman teacher. It came from angels taking me over, although I did ask for it in early 1987, not having a clue what I was asking for. When they came in reply and woke me up in the wee hours, they told me, “This will push you to your limits but you asked for it and we are going to give it to you.” Then, I was jolted by three successive bolts of spiritual lightning. Then, the two who had come dissolved into the darkness. That was the beginning, of which I was conscious. The changes started slowly, inside and where I lived. The pace picked up. The pace became horrific. It’s still rough, but it has been rougher. I have known a few people who were brought into it, two pretty deeply, one of them very deep. But we moved apart. Today, it’s a solo experience. Have friends who put up with me, but nobody who can relate to what I experience 24-7, 365. Eventually, I came to know the two angels as Jesus and Michael. Then, Melchizedek joined in. And others those three let have at me. Barrels of fun, they tell me it accelerates my spirit vibration. I tried lots of things of and not of this world to slow/lay it down, and the reaction was not encouraging. Other people tried their ways and about same result, although two shamans who came along at different times seemed to help with some stuff I wasn’t getting help with. Then, they were on their way.
Perhaps I should have included this poem, which fell out of me in 1991 and probably launched all that would follow:
I happened upon a mockingbird
singing its fool head off.
I asked it how and why it sang?
but all it did was look ahead,
all it did was sing.
It never turned to see if I was watching,
Or listened for money jingling in my pockets,
Or asked if I liked its music,
Or expected a recording contract -
It was too busy singing
to pay any attention to me.
And thus did I learn,
The greatest sin of all
is to kill a mockingbird. The Sufi poet I resonated with was Rumi, and his poem I most resonated with was “The Chick Pea.” That poor chick pea never did get out of the cook’s pot. The cook, of course, was God, and the chick pea needed heaps of seasoning and cooking. Heaps.
As I recall, much of The Eagle’s Gift was Don Juan telling Carlos Castenda about the tough inside work, looking in the mirror, using life’s rough servings as grist to increase Carlos’ own spirit vibration. As I recall, there was not as much woo woo stuff as there was in the other Don Juan books. The Eagle’s Gift found me in a lending library in a restaurant in March 1996, on the British Virgin Island Tortola (Spanish for dove), where I had fled hoping, perhaps unconsciously, to get away from God. Didn’t escape then, didn’t escape later times. Everywhere I go, God is waiting for me.
The homeless art, music, music exhibition is sacred.