Thursday, December 18, 2008

This my story and i'm stickin to it

       "Once while traveling across the Sky
        This lovely Planet caught my Eye. 
Being curious I flew close by,
     Now I'm caught here 'till I Die"

   Well since you asked........

"The Night I was born the Moon turned a fire RED,
My Mama cried out 'Lord the Gypsy was right'
and I watched her fall down Dead"
                                          Jimi Hendrix

  I was born at a very early age, in a hospital because I wanted to be close to my mother. See, I wasn't like the other children. I started out as a young boy wondering why I was invited so late to the party. Everybody seemed to have started having fun long before I got here and I wanted to catch up. Where did all this great stuff come from? Who were all these really big people with hair on there faces and big bumps on their chests and why were they staring at me with these goofy grins on thier faces?  What was this weird package I was in, I mean half the time I was looking for something to put in this hole in my face and the rest of the time I was wrapped in this wet and stinky cloth, I mean, how can I add to the fun when I can't even hold a drumstick in my hand? When I tried to ask all these questions the only thing that came out was goo-goo, blu-bla and Boom-chak-a-laka.  I figured that I'd better get my legs in gear and go find a dictionary or an encyclopedia or at least some music to help me translate myself since it seemed I was going to be here for a while....................

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Muse as.....Maria

As I walked up to the counter of a small convenience store in New Jersey with my conveniently plastic coated, price bloated and Bar Coded articles, items and "food products", I was thinking how the girl happily dispensing assorted poisons, small chances at large fortunes and priceless pearls of wisdom to faceless hearts and heartless faces, had a great look and an interesting style (and somehow, something else I couldn't quite put my finger on.....The burnt brown and yellow sound of the sun scorching the African plain, the scent of a leopard in heat?). For some reason, sensing that I only had the normal 20 seconds to get her to notice and remember me among the hundreds of encounters she must have every day, i thought to myself, "what can I say that doesn't sound like a stupid pickup line from some B grade movie or something so obtuse and intellectual that I sound like a deranged college professor that just escaped from Princeton and needs help finding my pipe and tobacco. Wlith about 5 seconds left till my chance, i'm thinking " Maybe Its okay, just be yourself, you can't fool this one anyway"
But wait, which self? The aging Hippie? The proud yet sensitive artist? The manly boy/girl? The loner who really just wants to not be alone? The regular guy with no issues that have to be deposited on some unsuspecting person who's just trying to help me find my pipe and tobacco?
Whoa, why do I want so much for her to see and remember me anyway? She's just another pretty girl doing a hard job in this store, probably just to help her family, not trying to meet another guy who wants to fall into her life and heart or be a drive up therapist for a lot of needy people who probably won't get it anyway.
Ok, I'm just going to relax and tell her she looks really nice and that I like her style and leave and get back to my elusive Grail Quest life.
As I look up into eyes like dark Sunstone hearts, she says....."Well Hello," you look really good., I like your style," "My name is Maria, are you single?"
As a sweet brown fog starts to settle in around us like a scene in a modern Shakespearian musical by Leonard Bernstein, I stammer "Uuh, uuh, I.. I'll be back" She says
"I hope so".

Maria, I just met a girl named Maria
..and suddenly that name will never be the same....................

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Words to Love by

Friday, November 04, 2005

Flowers in the Night

This is a response to a letter that I got recently from a girl I hadn't seen or heard from in 40 years

Wow! Hi, Lori, uh,... Hey, where have you been for the last 40 years? Where have I been?
I went out to California In 1969, San francisco, Berkeley, and ended up living in the coast range of Oregon from 1970 to 1975 when I moved to Sun Valley, Idaho, where I lived until 1990.
I've been living as an artist since I left NJ. I started out making roach clips on the streets of Berkeley and started making jewelry and cutting gems when I moved to Oregon. A few friends and I lived on 800 acres of prime timber land. It was sort of an art commune, we all made jewelry and grew our own food and shared ourselves and our inspiration and motivations.

Lori, do you remember when we went to the Rolling Stones concert in Newark? Well I do, you were so excited to see the Stones and I was excited to be with you.
We had been friends for a while when you suggested that we go see the Stones. It was like 1964-65., maybe their first US Tour. You were a gentle flower and I was a future gardener
Where did our relationship come from? I can't recall. Mostly I remember you were sick a lot, Afternoons in your bedroom with your mom in the next room, talking about the latest music and stuff about what was coming in the/our future. I never did figure out what was wrong with your health. Was it chronic Mono? Something much darker ? Were you just too fragile to go into the world? We talked about how Art could change the world. and people who were Artists should be listened to so they could help change the world. We laughed a lot, full of irony about a future that was rapidly approaching with a technicolor rush and a meaningful artistic part to play. We would help light the fires of creativity
and change everywhere so everyone could keep an ember within them and that, they could use that spark to lite a candle and illuminate a single life or fly to the moon on the worlds biggest candle.
And then our whole generation had it's "19Th. Nervous Breakdown"
The Rolling Stones came on the scene with a hard demanding Blues attitude. No fab four moptops, these guys. No matched suits and sweet smiles for the American audience. These guys were the commandos of the British Invasion bent on pillaging our wonderful Music Business and it's ability to generate vast sums of money on as little as a catchy title or a redo of a song that was a forgotten Oldie when my parents were young. Sums that went into the pockets of the record company executives and out of the pockets of the talented writers and performers who actually created it
They came armed with fiery guitars, bad haircuts and music that was never fully paid for. They came to take our women with suggestive moves and lyrics and a hard driving beat. disrupting the carefully established paridigm that said that women were weak and too stupid to even run their own sex lives, let alone enjoy the new wave of modern music that had liberating qualities for everyone.
The Stones were not only commandos but a main frontal force in the first battles of the Sexual Revolution
They were right, Time was on Their Side

Lori, somehow the Stones really spoke to you. You were like those girls jumping out of their seats watching the Beatles do tricks for Ed Sullivan on black+white TV.
I didn't understand it, they were so different from the 4 Seasons (New Jerseys finest) or the doo-wop music I loved and listened to. I thought girls liked drippy love songs with lyrics that told of lost loves and happily ever after resolutions, not calls to party hard because "This could be the Last Time",
But you wanted me to understand and you wanted to share this new world with me. Well, I wanted to be with you and I don't think we ever really went out and the music seemed to give you a strength and a look of power and I wanted to find out what it was all about.
When you asked me to go to stones concert at the Mosque Theater in Newark I wasn't sure about it. Newark was a tuff town, the music would probably suck. Were you gonna feel good enough to go out? Would I lose the total attention I had from you when we came out of the cocoon of our sick room relationship. Let's just stay home and listen to the 4 Seasons. And I guess you were looking forward to a time when you were well and could fan the fires of your heart, when you said to me "a modern woman needs a modern man and I want to show you how to be a modern man"
We walked into the theater with about 2000 other people and sat down in the middle. As soon as the curtain opened a srceam started that was at full volume til the end of the show. The Stones came on and as soon as they hit the first chord of the first song half the crowd was out of their seats rushing the stage. Before Mick Jagger could put his gigantic lips around his microphone, a beautiful girl with a strange fire in her eye, ran across the stage with two overwheight cops running after her and tackled Mick and threw him down in a terminal lovelock. As they reset the stage and tried to get everybody to sit down in their assigned seats like good boys and girls, you turned to me with a look like somebody who had just been cured by the Virgin Mary's face on a loaf of bread or something and asked me If brought my extra cigarette lighter. I said "yea, sure, why?" You smiled mysteriously and said "You'll see"
By the end of the concert, with no voice left, after the last time we all held our lighters in the air, I felt like I really got it. and I've been a fan of "The bad boys of rock and roll" ever since.
But, beyond that, I've always wanted to thank you for being the first person to turn me on to a different value of art and your artistic enthusiasm for a great world and I remember thinking at the concert "wow, this girl really knows how to have fun." and I also thought "I better stock up on lighter fluid if I'm gonna hang around with her."

Well, we drifted apart after that for all the right and wrong reasons, but my new found fire was somehow fueled by your glowing Inspiration and not a few volitile chemicals. I split from the Burn Baby Burn streets of Newark in 1968, looking for the campfires in the parks and streets of the Chicago Democratic Convention, where protesters held hands and sang of peace until police, who looked eerily like the same ones who chased that girl on stage, put the fire out with clubs and tear gas. By the time I got to California, I was a dormant (but not extinct) volcano building up pressure, waiting to erupt lava, brimestone and ash on an unsuspecting village of ostriches with their heads in the sand and their fat butts waving in the air.

"Old Man pick some soldiers
Keep them close at hand
Seeds that were sown yesterday
Now flower in the land.
Guard yourself most carefully
with military might
Plants that cannot bloom by day
Must Flower in the night"

Baron Von Tollbooth and th Chrome Nun

After a few years of wandering around hoping someone would ask me for a light (I've always carried a few full lighters with me since that night in Newark), I found my self at the free Rolling Stones concert at Altamonte, California at the end of fall, 1969, the last great concert of the 60's and a stark contrast to the Peace, Love and Music of the Woodstock event that had happened just a few months before.
I thought a lot about you that day, this was the ultimate Stones party with Santana, Jefferson Airplane, Greatful Dead and 350,000 raging people; Stray cats, Street Fighting Men and people who "Couldn't get no Satisfaction". It was an amazing day and a real turning point for me personally and in some ways changed my life. (of course the 500 micrograms of LSD might have had something to do with it). This was the real thing. A revolutionary event and an awesome statement of music and the power of people, There was a lot of Sun and naked laughter but there was also a lot of Darkness and people cloaked in fear and rage.
Lori, I mean, I don't know how you would have reacted to it, but I really felt you should have been there.
The flame of youth set the world on fire that night and when I left there the next day thru the ashes of the 60's into an uncertain and dangerous future, I remember thinking to my self "I gotta get more lighter fluid"

Saturday, October 22, 2005


Chapter 3: Ballad of the Chrome Nun

Nobody needs to baptize me
any time I laugh I got religion
Cross my forehead, cross my knees
I'll take any good sign, I'm a clay pidgin.

"Ballad of the Chrome Nun"...Grace Slick

Abraxas? Abrasax? An esoteric word found only in obscure books? An idea lost in the mists of time and then appearing in the midst of modern life to a person with no knowledge of it's past? Just something to put in a ring to be worn as ornament?
What could it really mean? Something frivolous ? Something known only to the craftsman who made it? When a person spends the time and effort to find and carve and polish a beautiful Gem that will last for a very long time, he knows that there is nothing frivolous about the need to communicate the deep archetypal symbols of his time.
But the head of a Rooster? Snakes for legs? A warrior's shield and weapon?

In the times this and other engraved images were made the object was to impart large and meaningful concepts in concise and readily understandable forms.
Of course a lot of these were to show an allegiance to a particular family, king or conqueror. But many were made to impart mythical, religious and philosophical concepts that could only be understood by unique individuals and groups; those initiated into secret societies or esoteric schools of thought. Some were used to identify members to each other in the face of official condemnation and persecution such as the symbol of the fish early Christians used to locate meeting places and show themselves to each other during the Roman oppression.

One such group was theGnostics (400 B.C. to 250 A.D.), who incorporated the prevalent philosophies(Hellenistic Greek, Judeo/Christian) of the day as well as aspects of earlier, more esoteric and lost symbolisms into their approach to communicating with God and the greater world .
The Gnostics were probably the first semi-religious group to form and coalesce after Alexander the Great conquered the "known world". The result of Alexander's conquest was not the obliteration of disparate cultures and religions and the imposition of Greek ideology, but had the effect of bringing those very cultures into the sphere of greek life and thought and became the basis for post Alexandrian Greece. Perhaps that was Alexander's true greatness.

One of the main ideas of the Gnostics was the belief that each individual could communicate with God and the greater world in a personal way through rituals using the symbols of the "collective unconscious" as well as various esthetic practices such as fasting, celibacy, ecstasy, prayer and in some cases sexual magick.

They also used the artistic, creative practice of engraving symbols in gems for use in solidifying these concepts into tangible forms that had talismanic uses.
One of these symbols was Abraxas. Abraxas was not a god in the pagan sense of the word, nor did it represent a demiurge (force of nature i.e. gravity) but seemed to show some aspects of basic philosophical concepts such as strength, wisdom etc. The head was of a rooster which stood for vigilance and the legs were snakes which was a symbol of a close connection to the Earth.

In those days different materials were thought to have
different properties that interacted with people such as the ability to prevent disease or attract lovers. Rock and gem materials particularly were thought to possess strong permanent qualities.
Because of the adamant nature of rocks, many of these gems have come down to us thru the ages. Sometimes as the only things left from a culture whose written words were lost along with the perishable materials they used to record them.

For most of my life I have been in possession of one of these stones.
Abraxas carved in Bloodstone (a dark green Jasper with red spots) approximately 1 in. x 3/4 in.

I have been the steward of this particular original Gnostic carving for over 40 years. It was left to me by my father after he passed away in 1965 when I was 17. In some subtle and sublime way it is what led me to gemcutting and my lifelong natural interest in Gnostic philosophy, almost as if I was to pursue and fulfill a destiny for this stone and my life that was somehow preordained by the artist/magician who made this amulet 2000 years ago.
My father was a collector of antiques and antiquities and of all the things in his collection this stone was his prize possession and the only thing he personally identified with and wore (as a ring).
As a child I was fascinated by this gem and had no idea of what it was or where it came from. When it was given to me the only thing I or anybody else (except my father) knew about it was that it was the symbol of something called Abraxas.
Almost like a lost prince in a fantasy Grail story, given a mystery quest by the Fisher King, I somehow sensed then that my destiny and the destiny of this stone were inexorably wrapped together.
Since then I have worn, carried and protected this stone (and, I feel at times, it has protected me) and in 40 years it has never left my side.

Friday, October 21, 2005


Friday, October 14, 2005


Chapter 2; Serpent of Dreams

Flowers today blooming by the pathway
line the edge of tomorrows grave.
Bright shining way, living in the shadows,
Trying to be the master of tomorrow's slave.
Down in the mine,circled around a Diamond,
Serpent of your expectations sleeps a nervous dream
"Serpent of Dreams"--Jorma Koukanen

My first memory is of a man's hand reaching towards me as I was regaining consciousness. I knew that hand like the back of my mind. On that hand, in a Gold Ring was an engraved gem, a figure with snakes as legs holding a shield in one hand
and macelike weapon in the other.The head of this figure was of a bird, a Rooster? Phoenix? Starling?
I knew this symbol as well as the back of my Father's hand that was reaching to help me come back from one of my frequent Petit Mal epileptic seizures.
It was years later when I first heard the word
I was doing what any strange and sickly young boy who lived in an old, 4 story, Victorian house full of Antiquities and ancient artifacts would be doing. I was in the attic with a pile of old books looking for the answers to questions not yet asked and connections to my future past.
The sun was shining through the small window making the dust look like a microscopic Galaxy swirling in the dark and cornerless room.
As I was thumbing through an old book called;
"5000 Years of Gems and Jewelry", I came across a picture that seemed oddly familiar, a figure in a chariot driven by four white horses, this figure was the same as the one in my father's ring. Never having seen this image anywhere else, I felt as if I had made a great discovery...., little did I know then that I had found something that would be the key to a universe of human knowledge and a personal quest that would last my whole life.
As I went down the steep, rickety stairs to tell of my discovery, I could hear the sounds of intense adult discussion and the laughter that always seemed to accompany it.
Walking into my father's special room I could feel the excitement and anticipation as he and a few of his friends were gathered around a large wooden box slowly removing the excelsior packing material.
"Here it is," he said. "Careful, please, careful, " said Hap "Is it OK?"
As my father took away the last piece of old cloth wrapping, the excitement dissolved to a reverent hush. In his hand I could see a piece of glass, almost glowing with it's own numinous light, A piece of glass so old, the silica from the ancient sand it was made from, had started to Opalize.
Hap, my father's friend, exhaled.... "Oh yes!!, It's perfect, no chips, no cracks!"
As my father placed the small, amphora shaped bottle in the delicate, verdigris coated bronze holder that came with it, I said "Dad, Dad, what is it??"
Turning to me and noticing for the fist time that anybody else was in the room, he said, with his mysterious smile,
"Paul, this is one of the most unique and precious
things you will ever see....it' a 4,000 year old Egyptian Tear Vase used to capture the tears of Pharaoh's daughter upon his death".
As I gazed at this, I could feel myself swirling into that galaxy of dusty time, which this house and my whole life seemed to revolve around. When my father's hand reached out to to steady me,
I saw his ring. I said, "Dad, That's Abraxas!!
He smiled at me and said "Yes,.......I Gnow".
To be continued…