MonthAugust 2008

Jodorowsky’s spiritual memoir reviewed by Erik Davis

So it was with great excitement that I read the recent translation of Jodorowsky’s spiritual autobiography, entitled-hold onto your hats-The Spiritual Journey of Alejandro Jodorowsky. Like his films, it is a puzzling, wonderous, grotesque, and sometimes tedious book, but it does confirm the sense I get from his films that he is not fucking around with the mysteries. In the Sixties and Seventies, Jodorowsky was a serious practitioner of Zen, studying and meditating with a Japanese priest in Mexico City named Ejo Takata. Their koan combat is the most steady thread of this book, a male-buddy-cognitive conversation that forms a counterpoint with the other figures in the book, all of whom are women who offer Jodo various modes of initiation-artistic, sexual, magical, energetic. These women include the surrealist painter Leonora Carrington, who sounds as wacky brilliant as Dali, and a goat-killing silicone-implanted Mexican actress known as La Tigress.

The strongest aspect of the book are the tales themselves. Jodo is a great story-teller, and the details he provides about his fascinating life-a Chilean expat in Mexico, a renegade theatre director turned filmmaker, a celebrity in Mexico City’s hothouse creative environment-make me pray that someone chooses to translate his autobiography La Danza de la Realidad as well. His stories are rounded out with remarkable and sometimes hilariously bizarre details about random encounters with street urchins and strange synchronicities involving firing squads and singing vulvas. Late in the book, he visits a brujo, and the setting tells you all you need to know: ‘A black dog gnawed the remains of an iguana and a pig was snuggling its belly comfortably into a freshly dug hollow in a humid patch of ground.’

Full Story: Techgnosis

Potential military applications of cognitive technologies

Drugs that make soldiers want to fight. Robots linked directly to their controllers’ brains. Lie-detecting scans administered to terrorist suspects as they cross U.S. borders.

These are just a few of the military uses imagined for cognitive science — and if it’s not yet certain whether the technologies will work, the military is certainly taking them very seriously.

“It’s way too early to know which — if any — of these technologies is going to be practical,” said Jonathan Moreno, a Center for American Progress bioethicist and author of Mind Wars: Brain Research and National Defense. “But it’s important for us to get ahead of the curve. Soldiers are always on the cutting edge of new technologies.”

Full Story: Wired

(via Cryptogon)

Marijuana Grow House Found In Mall Of The Americas

The Drug Enforcement Administration discovered something unexpected in the Mall of the Americas.

DEA agents found a hydroponics lab with more than 200 marijuana plants, standing 3 to 6 feet tall in the air and worth millions of dollars, in a storage area on the second floor of the mall.

Authorities said the electricity that powered the lab was diverted from the mall’s main power supply.

No arrests have been made. Authorities said officials with the Mall of the Americas are cooperating with the investigation.

From: Central Florida News

(via Cryptogon)

Jack Parsons online bio comic

jack parsons comic

Richard Carbonneau is serializing an online bio comic about Jack Parsons. Looks great.

The Marvel: a biography of Jack Parsons

(via Popjellyfish)

Interview with Rick Strassman on DMT

An excellent interview with Rick Strassman in which he talks about his new book, and reflects on his DMT research and experiences with Zen Buddhism with more hindsight than he did in his book DMT: the Spirit Molecule:

It’s a multi-authored book, non-fiction. It’s pretty much the brain-child of the second author, whose name is Slavic Wojtowicz, who is an oncology researcher for a pharmaceutical company in New Jersey, and who also happens to be a big science fiction buff and illustrator. He read my book, DMT: The Spirit Molecule, and felt that there was a lot of overlap between the material we presented there and the kinds of things that people read and write about in science fiction. He felt it would be a fun and helpful thing to educate people in the science-fiction community about some of these overlaps and areas of similar interests.

He asked me if I’d like to collaborate with him, and I agreed. I asked another colleague of mine, Louis Eduardo Luna, who is a South American anthropologist who divides his time between Brazil and Helsinki and has been working with Ayahuasca for a few decades now. He has probably got one of the more balanced and sophisticated overviews of how to look at and apply the states and plant wisdom information that is associated with Ayahuasca. And so Louis Eduardo agreed to collaborate, and then Louis had a friend in Budapest Hungary named Ede Frecska, who is a Hungarian psychiatrist and has written a lot on new science views on shamanism – having to do with quantum mechanics and non-local theories of information transfer and storage – and so Louis Eduardo asked Ede if he’d like to collaborate. So that’s how the four of us came together to collaborate on writing the book.

Full Story: Reality Sandwich

See also: DMT and Extraterrestrial Communication at Brainsturbator.

And, of course, come to Esozone to hear Dennis McKenna talk about the role of entheogens in society, and Brainsturbator’s Thirtyseven talk about the end of reality.

Red Star Over Shambhala

“On his way across the wastes of Mongolia in 1921, Polish writer and refugee Ferdinand Ossendowski witnessed some strange behaviour on the part of his Mongol guides. Stopping their camels in the middle of nowhere, they began to pray in great earnestness while a strange hush fell over the animals and everything around. The Mongols later explained that this ritual happened whenever ‘the King of the World in his subterranean palace prays and searches out the destiny of all people on Earth.’

From assorted lamas, Ossendowski learned that this King of the World was ruler of a mysterious, but supposedly very real, kingdom, ‘Agharti.’ In Agharti, he was told, ‘the learned Panditas [masters of Buddhist arts and sciences] write on tablets of stone all the science of our planet and of the other worlds.’ Whoever gained access to the underground realm would have access to incredible knowledge – and power. Ossendowski was not exactly a casual listener. As noted in a previous article [The ‘Bloody’ Baron von Ungern-Sternberg: Madman or Mystic?, New Dawn No. 108 (May-June 2008)], during 1921 he would become a key adviser to ‘Mad Baron’ Roman von Ungern-Sternberg who established a short-lived regime in the Outer Mongolian capital of Urga. A self-proclaimed warrior Buddhist who dreamed of leading a holy war in Asia, the Baron allegedly tried to contact the ‘King of the World’ in hopes of furthering his scheme.

Ossendowski’s credibility later was assailed by the likes of Swedish explorer Sven Hedin. Among other things, Hedin accused the Pole of plagiarising the story of Agarthi from an earlier work by French esotericist Joseph Alexandre St.-Yves d’Alveydre. To one extent or another, that probably was true, but Hedin, a veteran seeker after lost cities, did not dismiss the possibility of a hidden Kingdom; indeed, he likely harboured the aim of finding it himself. In any event, Ossendowski did not invent the story of a fabulous land secreted somewhere in – or under – the vastness of Central Asia, be it called Agharti, Agarttha, Shangri-la, or, most commonly, Shambhala. Some believed it to be a physical, subterranean realm inhabited by an ancient, advanced race, while to others it was a spiritual dimension accessible only to the enlightened.”

(via New Dawn Magazine)

Man Stole Pal’s Identity to Pay for Bypass Surgery, Police Say

“If your heart was failing, how far would you go to fix it? Authorities say John Parsons, 57, of Oak Park stole the identity of a mentally disabled friend to pay for heart bypass surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago in 2007. Parsons allegedly racked up about $350,000 in medical expenses billed to the friend’s Medicaid account.

It was not until copies of the bills started arriving at the Joliet home of Phillip Johnson that police said his live-in caregiver discovered the alleged scam. Parsons admitted stealing Johnson’s identity after his arrest, police said. He is due in court Sept. 15 on two counts of aggravated financial identity theft, the culmination of an eight-month investigation by Joliet police and the Will County state’s attorney’s office. Bail was set at $2.5 million.

“Unlike credit-card fraud where you can go back and seize that toaster or LCD television they bought, how do you go back in there and get somebody’s heart?” said Joliet Deputy Police Chief Patrick Kerr. “This is the first time in my 12 years I’ve seen anything like this.”

(via The Chicago Tribune)

A Website Dedicated to the Study of the Esoteric Sciences

“ immediately greets the visitor with a hieroglyphic at the top of the page known as The Great Ennead, which symbolizes Creation (Atum-Ra to Auset). With this powerful symbol comes the words that every beginner in the study of the occult sciences first encounters on their glorious journey, “Know Thy Self”. Words of wisdom that lets the viewer know that they are about to enter a world of knowledge and information that they may not be familiar with, but a fascinating one nevertheless.

[..] Ancient Khemet is the site’s theme, a plethora of links, videos and blogs takes the viewer through a variety of occult/esoteric information. The content presented is intended to guide the viewer far away from conventional religious thought and study to a path of self knowledge and empowerment. As one progresses through the site, one is lead to ask “why”?, why has this knowledge been hidden? for what purpose? and why has this sacred knowledge not been taught in our educational institutions? To find the answers to such probing questions, one must be willing to challenge one’s current paradigm, to question all that one has been taught to think and believe.”

(via Thanks DJ!)


James Curcio’s Fallen Nation optioned by Invictus Films and SB Productions

Congratulations to James Curcio, who’s novel Fallen Nation: has just been optioned by Invictus Films and SB Productions.

Announcement at Alterati

James will present an audio installation at Esozone this year.

Article on Indian sacred sex workers in the New Yorker

The devadasis stand in the direct line of one of the oldest institutions in India. The word comes from Sanskrit: deva means ‘god’ and dasi means ‘a female servant.’ At the heart of the institution lies the idea of a woman entering for life the service of a deity. The nature of that service and the name given to it have wide regional variations and have changed through time; only recently have most devadasis come to be working in the sex trade.

Some experts trace the institution to the ninth century; others maintain that it is far older, and claim that what is arguably one of the most ancient extant pieces of Indian art, a small bronze of a naked dancing girl from Mohenjo-daro, dating to around 2500 B.C., could depict a devadasi. By the time of Asoka, in the third century B.C., a piece of graffiti in a cave in the Vindhya hills, in central India, recalls the love of Devadinna, an artist, who had fallen for ‘Sutanuka, a devadasi.’ There are large numbers of images of temple dancing girls and a few textual references to devadasis from the early centuries A.D. onward, including some in the area immediately around Saundatti. The largest collection of inscriptions, however, comes from the Chola temples, around Tanjore, in Tamil Nadu, where the great Chola kings of the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries boast of giving hundreds of devadasis, or tevaratiyars, to the temples they founded. These royal temples were conceived as palaces of the gods, and just as the king was attended by ten thousand dancing girls so the gods also had their share of devoted attendants. The vast entourages added to the status of rulers, whether heavenly or terrestrial, and were believed to surround them with an auspicious female presence.

Full Story: New Yorker

(Thanks Dr. Gabbo!)

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