Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea. Blog, Internet resources, online reading groups, articles and interviews, Illuminatus! info.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Festival 23 tickets available at 'early bird' price

Tickets for Festival 23 have gone on sale, with early ticket buyer prices of 55 pounds for festival members and 69 pounds for non-members. Second tier pricing kicks in on April 23, so if  you want to go, you should buy now, organizers say.

If you've missed our previous posts, Festival 23 is planned for July 22-24 this year in northern England. (If the exact location has been announced, I've missed it; the official website says only "northern Albion").

Here is a list of some of the attractions, from the latest official communique:

Legendary DJ Greg Wilson & Ruthless Rap Assassin Kermit Leveridge's Super Weird Substance

Writer, speaker & all round catalyst John Higgs presents Ziggy Blackstar & the Art of Becoming

Psychedelic ray-gun spray from Kavus Torabi's Knifeworld

Author, singer/songwriter and Sony-award winning Dr Bramwell

Life affirming musical experimentation from the gorgeous Bloom

Map 71 bring their blend of words, sinister ritual percussion & sparse electro textures

Conceptual rock band G I B L E T manifest their debut album ‘Holding The Egg’

Ian 'Cat' Vincent brings us DADA 101: An introduction to Defence Against the Dark Arts

Crisp off-kilter electro pop from the wonderful Barringtone

World renowned producer & DJ Richard Norris shows us what's up his wizard's sleeve

Question the very fabric of reality with guru, teacher & cosmic thinker Puppet Alan Watts

Dance, psychedelia & shenanigans a'plenty from our very own DISCO boy Horton Jupiter

Artist, activist and ex KLF member Jimmy Cauty bringing his Aftermath Dislocation Principle (ADP)

Mindfuckery and Erisian delight as the cast and crew of the ‘Cosmic Trigger Play’ and ‘Find the Others Conferestival’ close proceedings with the Cosmic Trigger Cabaret

Try clicking some of the links, for example for "Puppet Alan Watts" and "DADA 101." The word "unique" is perhaps overused in the English language, but if this festival doesn't present unique opportunities, I don't know what the word means.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

New 'Eris of the Month'

Adam Gorightly has posted the latest Eris of the Month, Part Two of Cpt. Bucky Saia’s Erismorphing Project. For more depictions of Eris, please see Adam's Historia Discordia website.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Reminder: Cosmic Trigger reading group begins soon

A quick reminder that the Cosmic Trigger I online reading group will begin here in two weeks, using the new version put out by Hilaritas Press (although the old editions will work most of the time.) More details here. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sandusky: The Illuminati lose a round!

I live in the Cleveland area in Ohio, but I work in Sandusky, an old city about halfway between Cleveland and Toledo on the northern Ohio Lake Erie coast.

The city recently came up with a new official logo, one that incorporates the city's heritage as a place originally designed by a Freemason. I was quite amused by the logo, which incorporates the symbol, and even had a pyramid in the middle:

 Alas, a backlash developed against the new seal, and the city decided to keep the old one. The old seal is below:

Saturday, March 26, 2016

RAW Festival planned in California in 2017

Robert Anton Wilson

The  latest RAWTrust newsletter, announcing the publication of the Prometheus Rising ebook, also has an announcement from Christina Pearson: She is trying to to put together a RAW festival in July of 2017.


In honor of July 23rd being Robert Anton Wilson Day in the town of Santa Cruz, CA (the Mayor of Santa Cruz announced this at the Santa Cruz premiere screening July 23rd, 2003 of Maybe Logic, the documentary that focused on Bob’s ideas and perspectives), and of course also in honor of the Dog Days of Sirius, which seem to envelop July 23rd in most calendars… 

We (right now I think it is mostly me) would like to create some kind of Investigatory / Celebratory / Transformatory / Interactory (hey, my new word!) multi-day process, not only to bring together in fun and friendship those who knew Bob personally, but also to inspire, cultivate, interconnect, and perhaps even showcase some of the creativity of the wonderfully wide spectrum of individuals around the world who have been touched in some way by his work.

Ideally, we would love to also see the British stage production of Cosmic Trigger (developed and produced by Daisy Eris Campbell) brought here to the USA and performed onstage for our delight during the festival…

Christina will be setting up a crowdfunding effort in a few weeks to try to make this happen, and of course I'll let everyone know here when that is announced.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Revival set next year of Cosmic Trigger play in London

Lots of news from a newsletter issued by Daisy Campbell, text attributed to "Mich," including the fact that the Cosmic Trigger play will be revived for 23 performances in London in May 2017, and that plans are advancing for performances in Santa Cruz, California, in July 2017. There's other news, too.

A couple of bits:

The plan for Santa Cruz July 2017 (the ten year anniversary of Bob's death and the day named Robert Anton Wlson day by Santa Cruz's mayor) is now looking like the ultimate Discordian holiday-caper. A holiday in which we entice as many Bob enthusiasts as possible to work together HEROICALLY to stage Cosmic Trigger in ten gloriously chaotic days of rehearsals, set building and music making madness.

Rather than this being a poor cousin of a more professional tour of our show, we see this as the perfect way to bring together the Bob communities from both sides of the pond in a way that will bond us in Erisian-brother-and-sisterhood and seed many more future adventures.

Full scoop here.  Don't miss the Festival 23 news.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

New Prometheus Rising issued as ebook

Hilaritas Press has continued its efforts to publish definitive editions of Robert Anton Wilson's works by issuing the new ebook version of Prometheus Rising, with a paperback edition to follow soon. It follows the publication of Cosmic Trigger.

The new Prometheus Rising features an afterword by Richard Rasa.

Here is the planned publication schedule for the Hilaritas Press reprints; the publication of Quantum Psychology is expected soon.

1 ~ Cosmic Trigger I: The Final Secret of the Illuminati (1977)
2 ~ Prometheus Rising (1983)
3 ~ Quantum Psychology (1990)
4 ~ Email to the Universe (2005)
5 ~ Coincidance: A Head Test (1988)
6 ~ The Earth Will Shake (1982)
7 ~ The Widow’s Son (1985
8 ~ Nature’s God (1988)
9 ~ Cosmic Trigger II: Down to Earth (1992)
10 ~ Cosmic Trigger III: My Life After Death (1995)
11 ~ Sex, Drugs and Magick: A Journey Beyond Limits (1988)
12 ~ The New Inquisition (1986)
13 ~ Ishtar Rising (1989)
14 ~ Reality Is What You Can Get Away With (1992)
15 ~ Wilhelm Reich in Hell (1987)
16 ~ The Walls Came Tumbling Down (1997)
17 ~ TSOG: The Thing That Ate the Constitution (2002)
18 ~ Natural Law, or Don’t Put a Rubber on Your Willy (1987)
19 ~ Chaos and Beyond (1994)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Brian Dean on the 'RAW Resurgence'

To learn more about "framing," you can read Brian Dean's book.

At Disinformation, Brian Dean posts a piece on the resurgence of interest in Robert Anton Wilson. He mentions the new RAW biography that's in the works and John Higgs' book, Stranger Than We Can Imagine. But he doesn't mention the Cosmic Trigger play, Hilaritas Press, the thriving RAW community on Facebook at Robert Anton Wilson Fans and Discordian Libertarians (and Jake Shannon's FnordU), Adam Gorightly's barrage of books and  his website,  and so on. I'm sure I've leaving out something obvious. [UPDATE: But see the comments. Apparently, he turned in a much longer piece.]

Dean seems particularly interested in exploring the parallels he sees between RAWs ideas and George Lakoff's ideas: "My enthusiasm for RAW’s ideas precedes my interest in the somewhat drier linguistics work of George Lakoff by about 20 years. I owe my appreciation of the importance of Lakoff’s Frame Semantics to those two decades in which I internalised RAW’s multiple-model neurosemantics approach."

Michael Johnson also has written about Lakoff. James Taranto, the right wing pundit, has argued that liberals hurt themselves if they follow Lakoff's advice. 

UPDATE: Jesse Walker also offers a skeptical take. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tim Lott on Alan Watts

Alan Watts

A few days ago, Michael Johnson called my attention to an article by Tim Lott in Aeon, "Off-beat Zen: How I found my way out of depression, thanks to the writings of the English priest who brought Buddhism to the West," a piece about Alan Watts. 

Michael remarked, "Watts was a huge personal influence on RAW."

You can see evidence of that in Lott's essay. Here are the first couple of paragraphs: 

Ever since I was a child, I have been acutely sensitive to the idea — in the way that other people seem to feel only after bereavement or some shocking unexpected event — that the human intellect is unable, finally, to make sense of the world: everything is contradiction and paradox, and no one really knows much for sure, however loudly they profess to the contrary.

It is an uncomfortable mindset, and as a result I have always felt the need to build a conceptual box in my mind big enough to fit the world into. Most people seem to have a talent for denying or ignoring life’s contradictions, as the demands of work and life take them over. Or they fall for an ideology, perhaps religious or political, that appears to render the world a comprehensible place.

The bit about falling for an ideology sounds a lot like getting trapped in the reality tunnels that RAW wrote about.

Here's the end bit:

My personal ‘enlightenment’ came and went — but I hope it might return. Perhaps this article will be the first step in that direction. It feels like it is. It might be in my hands or it might not. But if I can find the path again, then I will stay on it — until I lose it. And, as the Zen saying instructs, if I see the Buddha, I will kill him. Because the moment you start thinking of yourself as ‘enlightened’, you are not.

The last sentence sounds like the Cosmic Schmuck principle, no?

Thanks, Michael!

Monday, March 21, 2016

The editor for the new RAW book

Mitch Horowitz

One more bit about the announcement on the new RAW biography: The editor for the projects, Mitch Horowitz, is an interesting writer in his own right. He is the author of two books, One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life and Occult America. His official website links to his articles, including many that might interest RAW fans, such as "Masons and the Making of America."  Excerpt: "Washington and other early American Freemasons rejected a European past in which one overarching authority regulated the exchange of ideas. And this outlook is found in one of the greatest symbols associated with Freemasonry: The eye-and-pyramid of the Great Seal of the United States, familiar today from the back of the dollar bill. The Great Seal's design began on July 4th, 1776, on an order from the Continental Congress and under the direction of Benjamin Franklin (another Freemason), Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams. "

Sunday, March 20, 2016

What Oz said

Oz Fritz in the recording studio

Oz Fritz, in  the comments in yesterday's blog post:

"I expect we will see multiple biographies, commentaries, and forays into RAW exegesis over time. He seems too large for any one person to completely cover. The full story of RAW, his work and legacy will get pieced together by many people I predict."

I have been thinking along the same lines, and I totally agree with Oz. It's not unusual for important writers to inspire many books, and while I'm not looking for an immediate explosion of books along the lines of all of the tomes written about James Joyce or Ezra Pound or Jane Austen, I think it would be perfectly normal for many books to be written about RAW. In the meantime, we still have one to read, Eric Wagner's tome.

It's also not hard to imagine many books being written on particular topics that RAW focused upon, such as How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival by David Kaiser, on the physicists featured in Cosmic Trigger.  That's a quite lovely book on Nick Herbert and many of the others mentioned in Trigger. 

If  you are new to my blog, by the way, and you don't recognize Oz Fritz's name, please check out his fascinating blog. He's a record producer and recording engineer and he meets a lot of interesting people. (From his newest posting: "Iggy Pop came by Greenpoint one day for a few hours to lay down some narration for Giant Robot.  He seemed a little reserved at first ... ")

Saturday, March 19, 2016

John Higgs on the new book about Robert Anton Wilson


John Higgs

In case you missed it in the comments, here is what Timothy Leary biographer John Higgs had to say about the announcement of a new book about Robert Anton Wilson. (A commenter had suggested Higgs should write the book).

"I'm very excited to hear this. And thanks for that thought Fyrefly, though I've long been of the opinion that a RAW biography needs to be written by an American, if only for practical reasons - it would need a lot of interviews and hanging out with those who knew him, I think, to capture him properly. What I couldn't understand was, with over 300 million Americans, why was it taking so long for one to step up? So, I'm really happy to hear this, I like the title very much, I confess I don't know anything about the guy writing it but can't wait to see what they come up with - and I'll be pre-ordering this as soon as!"

Friday, March 18, 2016

New music from Hail Eris band

 The Hail Eris band has released a new EP.  The first track is called "Kallisti." The music is hard-driving rap/rock. The EP is $5, but you can stream it for free. And you can watch the "Kallisti" video, above.

Hail Eris is the band of Propaganda Anonymous, the fellow who has just signed a book deal to write a biography of Robert Anton Wilson.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Libertarians for Trump?

Everybody seems to be talking about Donald Trump these days. Michael Johnson has gone through a whole group of articles about Trump, commenting on them and awarding grades here and here.  (I still like Tyler Cowen's piece.)

Now we have a group called Libertarians for Trump.  I agree with the organizers that foreign policy is important, but I really have trouble seeing Trump as a peacemaker. Jesse Walker seems to be skeptical.  Kevin Carson also begs to differ. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

New book about RAW

Bogus Magus reports at the Maybe Logic blog, "Our very own PropAnon has landed a book deal with TarcherPenguin, to produce a book entitled "Chapel Perilous: The Life and Thought Crimes of Robert Anton Wilson" due in 2017."

Here is the announcement from Mitch Horowitz on Facebook:

Friends, I am happy to let you know about an exciting new project here at TarcherPenguin: "Chapel Perilous: The Life and Thought Crimes of Robert Anton Wilson" by Gabriel Kennedy. This is a biography of one of the greatest esoteric philosophers and literary adventurers of the 20th century: Robert Anton Wilson (1932-2007) , who dared to take seriously questions of the occult, other dimensions, and weird-but-plausible forces – yet Wilson never became a hardened ideologue and always pushed back at settled belief systems (including his own). Writing in a voice at once scholarly and street, Gabriel – known in underground culture as Propaganda Anonymous (his "Squat the Condos" album presaged Occupy Wall Street) – demonstrates how Wilson’s heroic uncertainty and attitude of experimentation just might save us in an age of coarseness and encamped opinion. Look for it in 2017!

Here is my 2014 posting on Prop Anon. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Adam Gorightly's Discordian lore

Greg Hill at an office party, from Adam Gorightly's The Early Discordians group on Facebook. 

Adam Gorightly has a new post up on "Discordianism Meets Ufology (Part 00001)"  up at his excellent Historia Discordia website.

But it's also worth pointing out that he had formed a Facebook group, The Early Discordians, where he also posts Discordian history and lore, including items that I haven't noticed at the website. It's a public group, which I think means you can look at it without joining Facebook. It's where I found the photo, above, that Adam recently posted.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Can you source the quote?

Robert Anton Wilson. Ready to hold forth, but not always sure he was right. 

Here is an oft-cited quote from Robert Anton Wilson: "If you think you know what the hell is going on, you're probably full of shit." It was used in Boing Boing blog post, and you've probably seen it in other places.

While this sounds like a pithy restatement of the Cosmic Schmuck principle, the folks at the RAW Trust  would like the source of the putative RAW "If you think"  quote. Did it come from a book? An essay? What can it be traced to? If you can help, please say something in the comments.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Ben Mack's book free to download

Ben Mack

Yesterday, I got an email asking about a book by Ben Mack,  a work of fiction called Poker Without Cards: A Consciousness Thriller. 

I had to admit I didn't know the author, but the Goodreads bio lists his influences as Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Anton Wilson, Neal Stephenson and Joseph Matheny. Pretty promising.

I also noticed that Poker Without Cards has as "letter of introduction" from Robert Anton Wilson praising the book. "Ben Mack is at the bleeding edge of avant garde fiction," Wilson writes.

I'm very busy right now, reading novels nominated for the Prometheus Award (book recommendations coming soon) but I'll try Mack's book when I can.  In the meantime, I can report that Poker Without Cards is available as a free PDF file. 

Hat tip: Aaron Grimaudo. Thanks for writing, Aaron.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

New Cosmic Trigger online discussion group starts on April 11

Charles Faris 

Here at, we've had online discussion groups that went through Illuminatus!, Quantum Psychology, Coincidance: A Head Test and Masks of the Illuminati. Everyone was invited to participate. All of those are archived here at the blog, and it's not too late to post your own additional comments if you decide to read or re-read one of them.

I'm pleased to be able to finally announce the schedule for our next discussion group: The well loved Robert Anton Wilson classic Cosmic Trigger: The Final Secret of the Illuminati. 

A brand new edition of the book has  just been released by Hilaritas Press, the publishing imprint of the Robert Anton Wilson Trust. It's available as an ebook and a paperback and it features a new introduction by John Higgs.

That is the text that we'll be using for our discussion group, which will begin on April 11, covering roughly 10 pages at a time. As in past discussions, the entries will be posted on Monday, giving everyone the rest of the week to weigh in with the comments section.

I've lead the discussions in the past, but this time we are trying something new. Charles Faris has agreed to lead the discussions this time; I will post his pieces and weigh in using the comments, just like the rest of you.

Charles has often written comments for this blog and wrote a piece about his experience of re-reading Iluminatus! for the discussion group. Here is a biographical sketch he wrote for me last fall, after he agreed to lead the discussion group, slightly updated for this blog post:

Charles was born in Alabama, raised in Hawaii, and spent his post-college life bouncing back and forth between Iowa and Bay Area California. He has worked as a dishwasher, busboy, lifeguard, grocer, retail whore, telephone solicitor, political canvasser, waiter, caretaker for the mentally disabled, chimney sweep, writing teacher, massage therapist, yoga teacher, and more. He has written a novel (burned), 2 collections of poetry (lost), 1 collection of short stories (MA thesis), and a variety of random non-fiction (HA!) pieces for a variety of dis-reputable journals. He is currently working on a long form writing project which takes a look at a contemporary family through a lens not unfamiliar with readers of Robert Anton Wilson. He resides in Roslindale MA, an old-school suburb of Boston with long term love Randi, son Rowan, and cat Sabina.

 Charles and I had hoped to begin the discussion earlier, but we also were determined to wait until the new edition of Cosmic Trigger became available. If you chose to use an earlier version of the book, because you can't afford the new one or simply don't see the need to get the new edition, you should be fine for most of the discussion. But if you purchase the new edition (as Charles and I already have done), you are helping to preserve RAW's legacy and also ensuring that his family will get the royalties they deserve. (If you didn't see it earlier, please see Christina Pearson's recent statement.)

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

K.P. van der Tempel on Sigils

I have been in Florida on vacation, but while I was away, Oz Fritz posted K.P. van der Tempel's article on sigils at his blog, The Oz Mix. It's another excerpt from the book Pause, Play: A Higher Consciousness Handbook, put out by Anecdota Press, the book publishing imprint I've been trying to get started.

Vinay Gupta interview

Vinay Gupta

An interview with Vinay Gupta, a "global resilience" guru. He describes Robert Anton Wilson as one of his heroes, and even says that reading RAW's writings saved his life.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Find (some) of the others at RAWnet

Mark Frauenfelder

Busy RAW Trust metaprogramming director Richard Rasa has launched RAWnet, a "find the others" project that lets you know about some of the people who are interested in the ideas of Robert Anton Wilson, or who have tried to advance them.

Some of the folks listed here have been favorites of mine for years, such as Mark Frauenfelder, the guru behind Boing Boing and other projects. Here is an interview with Mark about his work habits.

Of course, the nature of such projects is that it can't include everyone; you're always going to miss folks, such as Jake Shannon and Arthur Hlavaty and Michael Johnson. So to find some of the other others, read my blog!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

An important message from Christina Pearson

Christina Pearson

[If you want to help Robert Anton Wilson's family, you should consider buying the new editions of his work put out by the RAW Trust.

I have in the last few years bought new books from the New Falcon publishing house of RAW's work, and I assumed that my purchases provided royalties to RAW's relatives. Well, not so much. When I recently asked his daughter and literary executor Christina Pearson about the matter, she gave me a statement which I quote by permission. -- The Management]

New Falcon Publications, the firm that had the majority of contracts for RAW’s works, has been incredibly difficult to deal with, to get reports from, and to receive appropriate and legally owed royalties since shortly after my dad died.  Not only did royalties consistently come in late, I personally  have a hunch that the accounting records sent to me have not been accurate. And to make matters worse, New Falcon then continued to sell RAW books PAST the date of his publishing contract, which ended May 28, 2014. Without making royalty payments on copies sold. I am now told he is to give a “final accounting” along with royalties due this coming May.

I am utterly disgusted with the publishing industry, and am looking forward for Hilaritas Press, LLC to develop a very different approach to publishing. Here’s why.

Before RAW died, he was very concerned about making sure that his work would continue to help his children, meaning me, my brother Graham, and my sister Alexandra. Especially my brother Graham, who has suffered severely from severe schizophrenia since my younger sister’s brutal death in 1976.  He also dreamed of his estate supporting three causes close to his heart: Hospice of Santa Cruz, the  Wo/Man’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM), and Amnesty International.

One of RAW’s great sadnesses in life was that his work never really reached a very wide audience, and thus never gave him the ability to provide for us as he really wanted to.  If it had (reached a larger audience), perhaps he would not have had such terrible financial stressors that plagued him right up until a few weeks before he died, and he might have been able to actually buy a home for he and Arlen (that was her dream), instead of always renting.
When I was very young,  I remember him having to writing a bad check to put food on the table; he cried - it crushed him. We all cried. But we ate.   It was such a relief to him when he began to actually be able to support himself and his family, but know this: in his best year ever (during the late 90’s) he actually brought home about $45,000. And this was AFTER he had raised four kids and supported a mostly stay-at-home wife for 40 years.  Never was he wealthy, never was he “in the money.” Instead though, he was so grateful to simply be able to write, and mostly pay his bills. Writing was his burning passion, his life. And my mom was “his muse.”

During the year before his death, I had many conversations with him about his writings, his hopes, and sorrows.  I promised RAW that I would work to protect his legacy and keep his work circulating to ever larger circles if at all possible. Thank goodness Rasa has been a constant support for this whole project; otherwise we would not be here today, starting to finally publish RAW’s works and eventually be able to spread the income received from them as he wished.

Here’s the bare fact: During his life he never received more than between 5-10% of the sale price of a book published by a printing label.  (Dell, Harper Collins, New Falcon, Ronin, Random House, Etc.)  Pretty pathetic, if I say so myself. To discover that the publishers benefitted so much more from his creative genius than he ever did literally makes me ill; (I must withhold my comments… !!! ) It could have improved his later years so very much.

Someday I do hope to write about our lives growing up in the House of RAW; it was incredibly textured, often mind expanding, sometimes dangerous, always challenging, now and then hilarious, and has formed in large part the being I am today.

— Christina Pearson, March 1, 2016

Friday, March 4, 2016

Galaxy and If magazines online

As there is considerable overlap between the people who read this blog and the folks who read science fiction, here is a bit of news I would like to share: If and Galaxy magazines, two magazines I read and loved in high school and college, are now available at the Internet Archive. There is a separate archive for Galaxy, and one for If; issues may be downloaded in a variety of formats.

Hat tip: Arthur Hlavaty.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Interesting political pieces

Bryan Caplan 

Bryan Caplan, who wrote a book a few years ago called The Myth of the Rational Voter, doesn't think voters in 2016 have gotten any more rational.  Interesting observations, and not the same old stuff.

A couple of other political pieces that caught my eye: Tyler Cowen examines the Democratic and Republican parties.  He references a Paul Krugman post that's worth a read.

And here is an Amanda Taub Vox piece on the rise of American authoritarianism and how that explains Trump.

Addendum: John Merritt sent me "Open Letter On Donald Trump From GOP National Security Leaders." As much as I dislike Republican national security leaders (I thought maybe the letter would tempt me to vote for Trump), it's hard to argue with many of these criticisms. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Christina Pearson on life in Yellow Springs Ohio

Sunflowers in Yellow Springs, Ohio

When Hilaritas Press sends out its email announcements, a highlight each time has been the dispatches from Christina Pearson, each time giving us an intimate glimpse of life with her father.

One of my favorite Robert Anton Wilson books is Cosmic Trigger II: Down to Earth, which includes vivid descriptions of life in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he developed his anarchist philosophy, tried life on the farm and got arrested in a civil rights demonstration. Simon Moon in Illuminatus! studied at Antioch College in Yellow Springs. And I live in Ohio.

So I was delighted that Christina's latest sketch was about life in Yellow Springs:

The thing about moving to Yellow Springs was Arlen and Bob were kind of on a “back to the land” mission at the time, wanting to be close to nature, and raise us kids with good food, clean air, etc…   Now please remember, at the time we lived there I was 6 and 7 years old. So this is of course, my 7 year-old point of view. And, my view was that Bob and Arlen belonged in a city! And bless her heart, I knew my mom loved TV dinners! But off to Green Acres we went! (As far as I was concerned, my mom was MUCH more beautiful than Zsa Zsa Gabor…) 

It was 1962 and 1963, Bob was already experimenting with mind altering substances, and in communication with other psychedelic explorers like Tim Leary. Where we lived was out on an old homestead, in a ramshackle house with three rooms and an outhouse. (Yup, no indoor toilet… and we took baths in a big metal tub that my mom would plunk down in the kitchen and fill with water from the sink spigot). 

Regularly visiting was an eclectic group of folks ranging from Zen monks, biracial couples (some of the first in the area) and college students to random intellectuals, who would often gather at our place for outdoor meals, fire circles, and various discussion gatherings.  Marijuana was smoked, mushrooms were eaten, songs were sung, and I remember at one point, Bob receiving sacred peyote from a Native American tribe through the US mail legally. We also received our baby chickens through the mail; and at the same time which is why I remember the peyote at all – they came together, in two separate packages. 

It was an interesting time, as I was beginning to understand that my parents were “different.” Not everybody’s parents seemed to dance nude under the full moon, or threw fresh bushels of sweet corn they grew on the land up to the engineers in their sooty cabs on the freight trains slowly rumbling by on the nearby railroad tracks.

It was there in Yellow Springs, sitting on her lap one starry evening, that my mom taught me the word “ecology,” explaining how important it would become during my lifetime. Prescient, she was.  

Meanwhile, back to snow. It was always a problem, as we were really not prepared for it. My feet would often freeze and I would cry. But there WAS a wonderful experience I remember having to do with snow; we built an igloo! Yup, with snow, water and a shovel, us kids (with help from the neighbor kids) built a rounded dome out of snow, packed it down, then dug out the inside (Guess it wasn’t a real igloo) and then the grownups sprayed it with water to firm it into a little dome of ice.

To me, the igloo was magical; you could go inside it, and it was warm (relatively speaking). Also, it was kind of dimly luminescent, with a tiny bit of light filtering through the dome’s icy walls. One day, I was upset about something and huffed off to hide somewhere, and ended up sitting inside the igloo alone. I sat there for quite some time, thinking that “they” (one of the family) would come find me and apologize. For what, I have no idea now, I just remember the feeling of huffiness.

So I sat there, and sat there. And sat there some more. No-one came! I was offended! Didn’t they even notice? What if I was lost?  Soon, my butt was getting cold sitting on the icy floor.  I had been angry, but the feeling began to slip away as I noticed something odd. If I kept my eyes open, but didn’t look at any part of my body, and looked at the inside of the igloo, it was just as if I had no body! I felt like I was floating in a big ocean of nothingness, I WAS a big ocean - and only my eyes existed, and they were kind of like the eyes of the world looking at itself because there WAS nothing else! 

The eerie filtered light within the icy curve-walled igloo made it so there was no differentiation between the ceiling, wall, and floor.  I slightly squinted, to see if I could identify anything, and found that I could not! It all fit seamlessly together.  A feeling of peace came over me (no, it was not frostbite) and the thought occurred to me “everything flows into everything.”

Suddenly, there was a large body leaning into the igloo’s little door, darkening and filling the entrance. It was Bob, who had come looking for me! He couldn’t fit inside, but he was able to get his head and shoulders in, and he said “Nice place! Are you ready for dinner?” I quickly said “Did you know everything flows into everything?”  Bob smiled, and reaching out his hand for me, said “Yes, It does.” Grabbing his hand, I crawled out of the igloo knowing that something special had happened, what, I wasn’t sure – I just knew it was good.

Today, some 53 years later, I find great delight in snow, it’s pristineness, its sparkle of rainbow hued ice crystals in the sun, its surface covered in tiny whorls created by wind, and I think back to that moment within a house of ice; where I shared my “discovery” with Bob that everything flows into everything.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

New Cosmic Trigger paperback out

The new paperback edition of Cosmic Trigger published by Hilaritas Press (the publishing imprint of the RAW Trust) has been released. It's list on Amazon for $15.23. Confusingly, as I wrote this post Monday, a more expensive older paperback edition was still being listed for a higher price; to get the new edition with the John Higgs intro, be sure that you order the one with the above cover.

Prometheus Rising will be the next book to be reprinted by Hilaritas; more information at the official site.  And for more information on this publishing effort, please see my recent interview with Richard Rasa.