Love, blood & pumas

I’m in the middle of a very interesting book titled, prosaically but accurately, How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan. The subtitle is What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression and Transcendence.

Apparently, psychedelics are making a comeback or at least coming out of the shadows where they never really went away after being made illegal decades ago, in no small part due to the endless antics of Dr. Timothy Leary.

There are indications of legal openings for some uses of these incredibly therapeutic materials.

Leary’s main thing was LSD, a chemical compound developed in the first part of the 20th Century, but entheogens — my preferred term for the various mind-expanding compounds — have been known and used for centuries in various cultures around the world.

If you know little of entheogens, I highly recommend this book.

I dived right into the sea of entheogens in 1997, and I swam around for a spell. It helped me immensely in the wake of a divorce that left me in an exceptionally bad place.

In 1997, I ingested psilocybin mushrooms twice and LSD twice, all under the guidance of a kind psychologist who lived in the woods outside Tallahassee, Florida. I have written about this previously, but many years ago. Perhaps this is a different take.

Between 1997 and 1999, I also took Ecstasy five or six times alone in my Houston condo. Lovely material.

And during an entheogen conference in Palenque, Mexico, in 1999, a year before I moved south, I inhaled vaporized 5-MeO-DMT. My final entheogen experience happened in Florida about a year after moving to Mexico. I was up for a visit.

That time I drank a chemical analog of ayahuasca.

During the ayahuasca experience, a voice spoke to me loud and clear: You don’t have to do this anymore. And I haven’t.

All the experiences were stunning, but it seems that some of it, important parts, had faded from my memory over the two subsequent decades. Pollan’s book brought them back.


Here are three

First: Dancing with love. This took place during the second psilocybin experience. If you state an intention before doing these things, it often will affect the experience. I said I wanted to dance with love, something I was feeling an immense lack of in the wake of my divorce.

What I imagined would happen was that a loving woman would appear to me, and we would dance. But that did not take place.

I saw nothing. There were no visuals, quite the opposite of what had happened during the first psilocybin excursion when the visuals were incredible. Instead, a sea of love enveloped me. It was sheer feeling and nothing like I had ever experienced in my life.

It was how you might imagine being embraced by God.

Second: Sea of blood. This one was a mix of LSD and psilocybin taken simultaneously. After the experience ended, the psychologist told me I had been laughing the entire time, which was strange considering what happened. A flood of blood from above had poured all over me.

Think the final scenes of Carrie.

While this sounds horrifying, it was not. Quite the contrary. While this happened, a voice told me it was time to grow up and become a man.

Third: The black panther. I remember this best of all, perhaps because it happened after I thought the experience had run its course. I was with my helper in his dark living room around midnight. It’s ended, I told him, and I decided to go to bed.

I felt totally normal.

I went into the bedroom, got undressed and lay on the bed in the dark. And I turned into a black panther. Just like that. My tail swished. My whiskers twitched. It was real. An incredible feeling of power. I don’t know how long it lasted, but then I became a woman.

I felt an extreme need to be cared for. I don’t know how long that lasted either, but then I drifted off to sleep.

The morning rooster

Walking through the living room just after dawn, I noticed this rooster. The light was coming through the window some distance away, but light travels. It was an illustration of what I had been thinking about earlier. As I head off into dreamland every evening, I hear dogs in the distance. When I wake before dawn, I hear roosters.

It’s usually not a tranquil world here, but you grow accustomed to it.

The garden grows

We’re firmly into March now and, the Goddess willing, there will be no more freezes, so I decided to call Abel the Deadpan Yardman to come over from where he lives on the other side of the sex motel, and trim the Willy-Nilly Zone. That’s the area just off the downstairs terraza where things grow wildly, i.e. willy-nilly.

The Willy-Nilly Zone has two sides because the sidewalk marches through its middle.

Side One, before. The monster aloe vera long lived here.
Side One, after. At the top left are bridal bouquets that haven’t bloomed in a few years.
Side Two, before. Bridal bouquets, red-hot pokers and at the rear, Birds of Paradise.
Side Two, after. Too early for flowers, but now they have space.

Less clutter lets one breathe easier. The days are beautiful here now, but it won’t last long because Springtime is the worst season hereabouts. The landscape gets drier and browner, and dust becomes a problem, which means my child bride wants the windows shut at all times, and they usually are. The only exceptions being at night, especially the bedroom windows, when Springtime stuffiness is challenging.

I say I hope the cold is gone now, but that’s not a given. Look at this photo from March 2016 that I snapped from the upstairs terraza. The milder weather has inspired me to change socks. My winter sock is a wool blend from Costco. My new springtime — and perhaps summer too — sock, also from Costco, are Pumas.

I am fond of pumas, panthers, whatever you want to call them, due to an entheogenic vision I had 25 years ago, which was the inspiration for the Hacienda’s front door, a design of my own making.

Thinking back …

New Image

YESTERDAY MORNING, after hard work in the yard, I was sitting at the dining room table after second breakfast, cereal. My child bride had returned to her pastry workshop, so I was alone, gazing out the window toward the distant Alamo Wall.

With elbows on the table, I placed my face into my hands, closed my eyes and thought. What a high pile of memories.

Three-quarters of a century of breathing combined with an adventuresome, sometimes reckless personality lead to all kinds of crap, most still alive in the cranium.

Three wives, two countries plus a Caribbean island, two languages, planes, parachutes, motorcycles, hot-air balloons, mind-altering materials, a number of jobs but only one of any duration. I did stick with that, which was good, and why I’m here right now.

Dancing in clover.

I wonder about people who live in a more linear fashion. Finish school, a real profession, marriage, have kids, grandkids, buy a home and stay put for decades. Take vacations every year to places like Paris, then head home again.

Yes, I know far fewer folks live like that these days, but many still do.

I ponder if I would have preferred that. Some moments of my life have been pure terror. Try two divorces for starters. Once I had a small plane spin out of control, but it got leveled off. Once I flew into a cloud bank with no training on how to deal with that. And once I overflew a rural runway and ended up in the weeds.

Drive a motorcycle drunk? Count the times. Other stuff so absurd I’m not even going to share. Yet, there I sat at the table, full of cereal, low-fat milk and chia seeds while my child bride was baking brownies, and the sun was shining in a cool, blue sky.

Oiling the cat


SOUNDS LIKE a chapter title in the Kama Sutra: Oiling the cat.

But it’s something more mundane in this case. The cat — a panther, actually — has posed on our front door for almost 17 years now. And the cat, like kitties everywhere, requires care, something I’ve put off too long.

I cleaned him this morning, the entire door too, and then applied a coat of 3-in-One furniture oil. The cat’s coat was dull before, but now he’s nice and shiny.

Cats like that.

The door design was my idea, and it was made by an artisan hereabouts during the Hacienda’s construction in 2003. There is an identical design on the inside of the door, but not being subject to the elements, the inside looks almost like new.

The inspiration for this was a panther vision I had under the powerful influence of psilocybin in 1997. It stuck with me, and now I see it daily.

This cat is my friend.